015: Installing Software

So far on this channel, I have recommended two pieces of software: Google Chrome and LastPass, and I walked you through the process of Installing Chrome in some detail, but not so for LastPass. I have a lot more software to recommend, so I thought I’d step you through the process of installing software so you can be confident that you are doing it safely and properly.

There are several things to think about when you want to install some software. What do I want, where do I get it from, how do I install it?
Deciding what you want is a fairly obvious one, you might have seen a recommendation from this or another YouTube channel, you might have seen something on the TV, heard it on the radio or had it recommended by a friend. If you know exactly what you want you can often find it by going directly to the manufacturer’s website or googling the name of the product. Be aware though, not everything is always exactly as it seems. It is possible that nefarious groups or individuals can buy website domain names similar to or with subtle misspellings of actual product names.

Once you are sure that you have the correct page, you can buy, or if it’s a free program (as many of the ones _I_ recommend will be) download it to your computer. Downloading a program simply collects the required installation files from the seller’s website and puts them into the Downloads Folder of your computer. You will know from Episode 14  that you can find the Downloads folder by going to Windows Explorer, or you can usually find a link to the installer at the bottom of the chrome window that you used to start the download.

To install the program, simply double-click on the installer icon. The program will then likely step you through several different screens telling you about the program, asking you to accept the license agreement, asking where to install and possibly offering other software that can be installed at the same time. I urge you not to just keep clicking next, but at least get a quick understanding of what each screen is asking before you press next, and don’t feel pressured to accept an offer of a program just because it comes with another piece of software that you do want. Make your own decisions, don’t let others make it for you.

Many programs, once installed, will either start themselves automatically or place an icon for you on the desktop. If that’s not the case you will find it in the programs list in the start menu, and from there you can pin it to the start menu, or even the taskbar if it is something you use often.

That’s all there is to it, enjoy your new program!

014: Windows Explorer (File Management)

Today we’re going to cover another one of those essential parts of Windows 10, the File Manager. It’s another one of those basics that we really can’t move on without, so I’ll cover it here in enough detail to make everyone comfortable.

So what is a File Manager? A file manager is an essential part of just about  every operating system that allows you to see all your files, organise them and shift them around.

The easiest way to start the Windows File Manager is to click the yellow folder icon with the blue clip at the bottom. This is usually one of the first three icons down in the taskbar. Another way is to hold the Windows key
on the keyboard and press the “E” key at the same time. The standard Explorer display has a few menus at the top: a list of locations and folders down the left side and a group of recent files and folders in the main pane on the right. By default the left pane gives quick access to the following folders: Desktop, Downloads Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos.

Below that is a OneDrive link then the “This PC” list showing the same items again as well as 3D Objects, the local drives (C: etc) and a Network Link. These folders are the standard folders that Windows provides for you to store your files in. I’ll leave Documents, Pictures Music and Videos as they should be fairly self-explanatory.

The desktop is simply a link to the files, shortcuts and folders that you store on the Desktop. The Downloads folder is the default storage location for files downloaded from the internet. This will be more important when we start to install programs. The C: Drive is the hard disk where all of your files are likely stored. This computer also has a second hard drive, so it shows up as a D: Drive. You might also see CD and USB drives here. The network folder may show you a list of other computers on the local network.

To start with, most of these folders will be empty, but as you create documents and letters, you’ll likely find that they appear here, or pictures you import from your camera will appear in the Pictures folder.

The important thing to know is how to find things and how to move files
and folders around safely. Let’s start by clicking the Documents folder. Right now mine is empty so I’ll need to create something let’s right-click and go to New and then Text Document. This creates a file called “New Text Document” but it’s highlighted in blue because the system wants us to change the name. I’m going to type “Test Document”  and press Enter. The documents now called Test Document so we need to file it  away somewhere.

Let’s create a folder. Right-click and select New and then Folder and rename the folder to test folder. Now I’m going to intentionally misspell it and add an extra T on the end and press Enter so we’ve created a folder but it doesn’t have the name that we want. There’s several ways to change the name, one of the easiest being to right-click on the folder itself and then go down and click the Rename button. Because everything is already highlighted, I can either just type a new name or in this case I can click at the end or press the right arrow to take me to the end of the input box and then simply delete the errant “T” and press Enter.

Other ways to rename the folder are to press the [F2] key which will automatically put you in the edit mode for anything highlighted, or click on the file wait one second and then click on it again will also put you in edit mode.

To move the file into the folder we can simply click on the file, hold the mouse button down as you drag it into the folder and then let go. Now if we open the folder we can see that the file is there. Another way is to right-click and “cut” the file and then go back to the folder we want to put it in, right click and “paste”. We can also use keyboard shortcuts of [CTRL-X] for Cut and [CTRL-V] for Paste.

Okay that’s enough for now, have a play with all of your files and
folders and get really comfortable moving things around. It will really help
you get comfortable with your computer.

013: YouTube: Logging in, Subscribing & Commenting

We all make assumptions. I try not to assume a particular level of knowledge on this channel, and seek to fill in the gaps in people’s knowledge as best I can, because that’s what I’m here for, to teach and empower people.

It occurred to me during the week that I’ve been asking people to subscribe to this YouTube channel without telling anyone how or why they might want to do it! So if you were wondering, then this episode is for you.

So what is a Youtube Subscription? Subscribing to a channel simply means that you follow it. There is no cost involved, it is pretty much the same as liking a Facebook page. It means you will see the videos from that channel in your subscriptions tab on the youtube homepage.

Firstly, you will need a few things. A web browser. I prefer Chrome and have an episode all about it here.
Secondly, you will need a google account. There is an episode about Google Accounts here.

Once you are logged in to your google account, to subscribe to a Youtube channel, just go to any video on the channel and press the red button that says “subscribe”.

The next step is the little Bell icon beside the subscribe button. If you click that, you will get a notification every time the channel uploads a new video. In my case, that will likely be 1 to 2 times per week, which shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience. Some channels may upload daily so be aware of who you are getting notifications for.

It’s also worth noting that there is an option to like or dislike individual videos on youtube, using the thumbs up and thumbs down under each video. This gives the creator some feedback on what you think of individual videos. For new YouTubers, it is a great source of encouragement, as is subscribing. Knowing that people want to see your content and be notified when content comes out is extremely heartwarming.

Also heartwarming is some real feedback from viewers via the comments. I would love to have some comments or questions to read. Be sure I will read every single one of them, and respond to as many as possible. To leave a comment, simply scroll down the page a bit to the area that says: Comments and there will be a line that says “Add a public Comment”. Click there and start typing. When you have finished, click the “Comment” button to the right and you are done.

Thank you so much for commenting, and thank you for watching. the Tech Doctor Network is here to help you feel comfortable with your computer. We are here to guide you each step of the way so you can make the best use of your Technology. We release new videos every weekend. Now that you know what to do, you can subscribe or leave a question or comment below.

012: Passwords and Lastpass

Hi and welcome to The Tech Doctor Network, Episode 12 all about passwords and my favorite password keeper LastPass.

Working in IT, I probably spend more of my day dealing with passwords than anything else. It’s not unusual for me to have to reset the passwords of five to fifteen users each and every day (mostly students)

The reality of the world today is that for the time being, we’re going
to need passwords or passphrases or passcodes or whatever you choose to
call them. In this episode, I’m going to give you a couple of ideas for creating strong, memorable, passwords and introduce you to a system that will mean you’re mostly free from passwords completely.

But before we go there, let’s ask the question: why do we need passwords at all? Put simply, computer systems need a way to identify who we are and until we come up with a better, cheaper way to do it, usernames and passwords are likely here to stay. The first concept I want you to
consider is the idea of passphrases.

A passphrase is a group of four to five words often with a few numbers and
symbols to make the complexity scales happy. Here’s a simple example:

“Welcome 2 the jungle.”

Yes, it’s the title of a wonderful Guns and Roses songs from my
youth, no it’s never been my password on any site. Other than the fact that I just posted it here in this video, it would make a pretty good password. It’s a total of 22 characters long, contains upper and lowercase letters and a number and the symbol: the full stop at the end.

According to Kaspersky’s password website, it could be cracked in 1966
centuries on a home PC. I think that’s secure enough for me.

You could use a favourite poem, song or nursery rhyme. It could even be the names of your first four goldfish.

If you’re stuck somewhere that forces you to change your password frequently, you could incorporate the month or season you change the password into the passphrase itself. The possibilities are endless and the couple of extra seconds you spend typing a longer password will be more than made up for by the time and humiliation saved not having to go to
the IT guy for a password reset.

The second concept is that of layers of password security. Many people will tell you not to reuse the same password on multiple sites and while it’s good
advice, without a password manager it’s simply not feasible for most people. It’s quite likely that at some point in time some of the sites into which you put your username and password will be compromised and those passwords will be shared on the internet. See Episode #019. Therefore people will be able to use those credentials on other sites which is not what we want.

Rather than use unique passwords, I prefer to think in layers of security.
The bottom level is websites that I really don’t care about, where there is
no personal information or financial connection at all. Forums, news sites,
reminders, that sort of thing, often get the same or similar passwords and a low care factor.

Up the list are those sites that hold personal information or act as a password gateway for other sites. Not only is there some personal information there but my Facebook login is also my login for a variety of other sites, although admittedly, most of them are bottom tier sites.

Second tier from the top is sites that include banking, credit cards or government identity. These need to be super secure and unique.

The top of the chain for me holds two passwords: the one for my email and the one for LastPass. Why email you say? Well, most of the other passwords can be reset via my email account, so if someone has access to that, they have access to change almost every password I have.

The last one is LastPass, my password management software. LastPass is my password brain. It remembers all my passwords for me so that I don’t have to. To be fair, I do remember many of the important passwords I need day to day, but for everything else there’s LastPass.

Looking in my LastPass console, it holds passwords for 1535 sites.
each of those sites may hold between one and twenty different accounts.

But how does it work, I hear you ask? LastPass is a web service and browser extension. I’ll cover more about Chrome extensions in another episode soon, but basically, it plugs into Chrome it helps you to get things done.

In this case, it offers to generate truly random passwords for you and then
remember your passwords when you change them. Anytime I go to a site that I have a saved password for, LastPass will either automatically log me in, fill my username and password for me, or if there are many it will sit patiently up in the chrome toolbar waiting for me to activate it and call down all of my saved accounts for that site.

When it sees that I’m signing in to a new site, it offers to remember that site’s username and password for me, as well as giving me a way to generate totally random, really secure but totally immemorable passwords programmatically.

I invite you to give it a try using the link above or the one in the show notes
below. Full disclosure: I’m a LastPass premium user and if you use that link
and sign up for a premium account I’ll get a free month and you’ll get a free
month. Thanks for that.

It’s worth noting before we go any further, that being logged into your Google account and using Chrome will actually do a decent portion of these tasks of remembering passwords but it’s not quite as flexible.

Before I finish I want to share with you a final concept that is gaining traction. 2-factor authentication or 2fa as it’s known. Two-factor authentication is also called universal second factor and it’s
an addition to passwords and possibly a replacement for them that uses something that you have.

You may be familiar with the concept of a text message used to reset a password if you’ve forgotten it. This relies on what is called a second
factor. The first factor is something you know: your username and password, the second factor is something you have: in
the case of a text message your mobile phone. It may also be the fingerprint
reader or facial recognition on your smartphone. These systems add a second layer of security if used properly and are worth considering. LastPass has several that works well with them.

Ok, I hope that was useful. At The Tech Doctor Network, our goal is to help you feel comfortable with your computer. We’re here to guide you each step of the way so you can be comfortable with your technology and make the best use of it.

We release new videos every weekend and we’d love you to subscribe. If you have a question or a comment please pop it in the comments below. I’m here to help you.

Thank you so much for watching.
Have a great day!