2014 DiscoverSkills Most Popular Technology ArticlesAs the new year approaches, one thing I always like to do is go back and re-read articles I’ve written the past year, just to remind myself of what happened during the year, and to review the most urgent questions my students asked (since I often write articles in response to questions).

But this year, as I was scanning articles on this site (DiscoverSkills.com), it occurred to me that it might be fun to make a list of the most popular articles and pass it along to you, my students and supporters.

So that’s what I did!

Here is a clickable list of articles on DiscoverSkills from the past year (plus a few How-To articles from previous years).  Just click on the article title to open up the page and read it.

I hope you find the articles useful!  And have a wonderful New Year!!!

Click on an article title to view it
How to check your Windows Update Settings

Doing Windows Updates is an important part of staying safe on the Internet. This article show you how to check your update settings to confirm that they are set to automatically happen.

Beware of “Fix Your Computer” Scams
This past year we saw a huge increase in Internet and Phone scams, including those that claim your computer is broken and needs to be fixed. This article tells you how to avoid those kinds of scams.

Norton 360’s “end of life” leads me to a new Anti-Virus favorite!
Although I’ve been a fan of Norton Anti-Virus for years, 2014 saw a big change that lead me to a new favorite Anti-Virus program. This article explains what happened to Norton, and what my new favorite is.

Getting Started with Google Apps (Tools)
Almost everyone uses Google for searching, but a lot of folks miss the fact that Google also offers a wealth of FREE apps (I call them tools), including a calendar, word-processor, and spreadsheet (just to name a few). This article (and video) give you an overview of how to find the tools and get started using them.

Windows 8 – A Tale of Update Versions
This past year, Windows 8 was big news, especially since a lot of folks were upset at how different Windows 8 looked from Windows 7 (and Vista and XP), and how lost they were using Windows 8. In this article I describe the 3 versions of Windows 8 that appeared, and point out they key differences between them.

Is Windows 8 for me? Good Question!
With Windows XP “ending it’s life” in 2014, a lot my students ended up shpping for a new computer, and one of their biggest questions to me was… “should I get a computer with Windows 8 or Windows 7?” In this article I attempt to answer that question.

UPDATE: Now it’s called Windows 10 (NOT 9)…
In the wake of Windows 8 getting slammed, Microsoft released information about a new version of Windows that would retain a lot of what Windows 8 brought (such as the Start Screen), but also bring back features from Windows 7 that many people missed. In this article I show a preview of what is to come, and explain how they are calling the new version Windows 10, and skipping the number “9”.

Should I get a Tablet or a Laptop?
Another common question I was asked this past year came from those trying to decide if they would be better served by a Tablet or by a Laptop. In this article I describe the pros and cons of each device.

Free Online Photo Editing with Pixlr…
This past year in our photography-related classes, I started promoting and using a FREE online photo editor called Pixlr. In this article (video) I show the basics of how to get started using Pixlr for fixing up your important photos.

Being on the “bleeding edge” isn’t always your best bet…
Apple had it’s share of news this past year, especially with the release of iOS 8. In this article, I talk about the iOS 7 to iOS 8 changes, and how it’s not always wise to immediately upgrade to new iOS versions when they appear!

CryptoLocker – A “bad” example of ransomware
2014 saw lots of Internet security threats, including a new threat that incrypted your data, and then asked for a ransom!!! In this article I talk about the most “popular” of those threats, called CryptoLocker.

Great Alternatives to Microsoft Office
As much as Microsoft Office (which includes Word and Excel) is top-of-the-line when it comes to a word-processor and spreadsheet, a lot of folks just don’t want to pay the $120 (or more) it costs to get Office. In this article I pass along three FREE alternatives to Office that are worth taking a look at.

How-To ArticlesAnd here are some other “How To” articles that might interest you…

Browser Basics plus My Favorite Browser Tip
Almost all of my technology students use the Internet, to some degree or another. But I’m always suprised at how many of them have never learned the basics of browsing. In this article, I pass along the basics of how to effectively navigate the internet, and my best browser tip.

Taking Control of the Windows 7 Desktop
This is actually a series of articles/videos that show you how to organize and customize your Windows Desktop

Using the Windows View Menu

How to Use a Flash Drive


Select multiple files with the CTRL & SHIFT keys

Email Attachments – The Basics

The Best Password…

Camera Lag – Fix it with Exposure Lock


As always, I would love to hear your commentsYou can leave them below!!!

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How to Check Your Windows Update Settings

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As I’ve mentioned in numerous “security” related articles here on DiscoverSkills, Windows Updates are an important part of keeping yourself safe from the “nasty stuff” that’s out there on the Internet. And because of the importance of making sure your updates are happening, I routinely get asked… “how do I check for updates” and “can […]

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Beware of “Fix Your Computer” Scams!

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By now you’ve probably heard of them, but in case you haven’t (and since they are still a popular method of fraud), I wanted to make sure you all know about “Fix Your Computer” scams. What Happens There are various forms of this scam, but here is typically what happens… You get a phone call or […]

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Black Friday to Cyber Monday… What’s it all about?

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[Updated for November, 2014] Marketing people love an excuse for a sale. Any excuse will do. If “something” is happening, a sale can be built around that “something”. This time of year the “something” is Christmas, which is an obvious no-brainer for marketers to build sales around. But not being happy with just “Sales for Christmas”, […]

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Norton 360’s “end of life” leads me to a new Anti-Virus favorite!

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[Quick Summary: realizing this is a long article, for those not interested in the details, I’m moving away from Norton 360 and over to Kaspersky Internet Security as soon as my subscription to Norton has ended. You can CLICK HERE to visit my Amazon Store and see the latest Kaspersky pricing. HOWEVER, I do have some […]

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Getting Started with Google Apps (Tools) – Free Word-Processing and Spreadsheet

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One of my favorite online destinations is Google, in fact, on most of my computer browsers Google is my home page! Sure, part of the reason for this is that I’m often “looking for things” on the Internet, and Google is the perfect place to start since its main purpose in life is to be […]

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UPDATE: Now it’s called Windows 10 (NOT 9)…

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[Update: October 6, 2014] As you’ve probably heard, on September 30th Microsoft released a preview version of the new Windows, and more details about what’s coming.  The BIG NEWS was… it’s NOT going to be called Windows 9, but instead, Windows 10.  Wow! Other big news included the fact that it probably won’t be released […]

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Being on the “bleeding edge” isn’t always your best bet…

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[UPDATE: October 10th, 2014] As of this week, I’ve started telling my iPad & iPhone students that “I’m OK” with them upgrading from iOS7 to iOS8.02 (the latest iOS8 version as of this date). I’ve been using heavily now for about a week, and things are OK. BUT… I have a cautionary note for users […]

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CryptoLocker – A “bad” example of ransomware

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[UPDATE: August 10, 2014] Some good news for those affected by CryptoLocker! FireEye and Fox-It (two companies that provide corporate security solutions) have created a support web site called DeCryptCryptolocker (www.decryptcryptolocker.com). Those who are infected with CryptoLocker can go to the DeCryptCryptolocker site, which allows you to enter your email address and then upload to them one of your infected […]

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