Randy May Family in Hillsboro Oregon

December 16, 2018

Alternatives to Siri

Filed under: Computing,How To,Linux — rmay4 @ 6:04 am

I have not had to use Apple products in my life for some time now. That is a position I want to maintain. I also want to be aware that Google could be something I wanted to avoid at some time in my future. Accordingly, I like to keep an eye our for ideas and options to live my life not bound too tightly to any potential abusive power house.

To that end I wanted to post this link to a site with many options to use instead of Siri and also ones that are alternatives to Google and Microsoft. Free and some open source and still free.  CLICK HERE!!!

Read on!

In looking for other alternatives. Here are some great options to check out!

Sketchup? look at blender: Sweet Home 3D, FreeCAD, Blophome, Floorplanner, Room Arranger, LibreCAD, Room Sketcher, PC.Con Planner

Ubuntu Studio VS Mac Book and IOs. Ad to this many options for editing and creating sound on the applications-CLICK HERE!!! 

If you want to move away from Windows or Apple PC operating systems, Linux is the most common route. CLICK HERE for a list of apps that help you create installed or bootable devices to either try Linux out or make the switch permanent!

If you think you are stuck at the mercy of the big name brands in buying a computer configured the way you want, think again. Sites like PC Part Picker allow you to set your goal for your PC both by capacity and price and then selects a list of individual parts and suppliers for them so you can pay for and build only what you want but also all that you want. Check it out!


Randy May


August 13, 2016

The Blind Leading the Blind in Remote Computer Access and Repair

Filed under: Antivirus,Computing,How To,Linux,malware,Portable Apps,Settings — rmay4 @ 7:43 am

This is the beginning and a very rough draft of a project to explore the best ways to help anyone that is not tech savvy and when I am not so savvy myself as well keep and operate their computer and other electronics. This industry seems to have exploded since the last time I look at it and the options are many. I have started using Linux for more and more stuff and find that to be a useful tool for me in this process as well. This will cover Windows solutions,, cross platform solutions and web based solutions as well as mobile platforms under Android systems.

Trying to help the non-computer savy (i.e. parents or such) manage their computer. It becomes tough when they have issues that stop them from even logging in or connecting but here is the beginning of my search and results from my research and trials.

I started with the article found here (http://lifehacker.com/5846072/how-do-i-troubleshoot-my-parents-pc-remotely) at Lifehacker.com. It is old and dated but has some great info. Some of the options are relevant. The first one they mention is teamview which is relevant and maybe even more so as it is better than before and many of the other options are gone or costly for occasional used like this (i.e. Logmein no longer has a free option. Neither does GoToMyPC) Teamviewer also does not require much to install and set up. Specifically it does not require port fowarding and you can connect from your phone or tablet to the other PC.

Join.me – https://www.join.me/

This could be the easiest for quick attended and inpromptu assisting. It is the one I started with due to simplicity and familiarity.

Join.me is a meeting service (free and pay) from LogMeIn that also provides remote control. It’s convenient for impromptu support in that all you need on the controlling PC is a Web browser.

The process is simple:
The user with the computer that will host the meeting (and offer control) simply surfs to the Join.me site, selects Start Meeting, and downloads and executes the joinme.exe a file. After running said file, the meeting originator (computer desiring to be controlled) we see a 9 digit meeting number or pass coade. They will pass the provided passcode to the user or users on the other end, who in turn enter the passcode in the “Join Meeting” field on the Join.me homepage. The meeting originator’s desktop will appear in the browser. Once access to the originators screen is granted, remote access control can be granted as well. The host user can click on the small circle containing 3 dots at the top of the page and select “Share mouse control”or the guest can do the same to request it and then the host grant it. You can chat, send files, and more. This will give the guest who joined the ability to control the mouse and keyboard. That is it and you are in. It is simple, easy, and free requires little knowledge of computers at all to operate.

This does not require a download on the guests side, only the host who is wanting to be controlled. Easy-peasy, but note that Join.me isn’t suited for unattended remote control, which makes it only a partial replacement for LogMeIn.

I did also notice that it is not a perfect desktop share. As I was trying to install software and run programs remotely, there are things I could not see on the host PC. Pop windows asking for permission or other messages were almost never visible or accessible from the guest computer even when I had full access to share the screen and control the mouse and keyboard. This is where it shows its true colors and that it was primarily designed as a collarboration and team based tool. There was also more delay between me moving the mouse and it actually moving on the host computer. Enough that I clicked the wrong item several times.

All-in-all, it is a web based tool that does require installation and only the host computer has to download anything. It is a great tool that I am sure I will use again and reccomend for initial and light weight sharing of computers and resources. It will not however, be my goto solution. That falls to Teamviewer at this time.

TeamViewer — http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx

I used join.me to start the process repairing my parents computer but quickly moved to TeamViewer which operated in real time and responded much faster to mouse and keyboard input. As soon as I set up the short cut on the host PC, it became even easier to start up than Join.met. Believe me that easy and simple operation is important when dealing with people not that familiar with computers! I actually used join.me to download TeamViewer Portable on the host PC remotely so that I could run it with no install. They had so many isssues going on, that I was not sure their PC would install it properly anyway.

Team View is free for personal use and cross platform compatible, even the portable version I mentioned. Here are some of the other benefits of this program.

No configuration
Start and use TeamViewer instantly. TeamViewer even works behind firewalls and automatically detects any proxy configuration.

Free for testing and personal use
Test TeamViewer for free, without having to provide any personal information. Also, use the software at home for personal use free of charge.

Cross-platform PC to PC, mobile to PC, and PC to mobile connections that support Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, iOS, Android, Windows App, BlackBerry and a portable version.

Maximum compatibility
TeamViewer runs on a broad spectrum of operating systems ranging from state-of-the-art system software to older operating systems.

No configuration
Start and use TeamViewer instantly. TeamViewer even works behind firewalls and automatically detects any proxy configuration.

Easy to understand
Enjoy a state-of-the-art user interface that is clearly arranged, simple, touch-friendly, and quick to operate.

Unattended use
It can be installed and set up for unattended use.

This is now my go to software for remote access for my family members PC that I am trying to help trouble shoot or help them with.

There are many other applications that can assist with this and I have many listed after the break below. I also have links to websites that have info that I found to be helpful. There is even information and links about recovering PC that are in trouble from a remote location. I have not used most of these applications but wanted to list them for you here.

Good hunting and I hope my experience has helped.



Application Links:
RealVNC — http://www.realvnc.com/
WebEx Free — http://www.webex.com/

Website Links:












12 Excellent, Free Screen Sharing & Remote Access Tools You Haven’t Heard Of Yet

Quick Screen Share: Screen Sharing Without Client Software Or User Accounts [Cross-Platform]

Remote Desktop Roundup: TeamViewer vs. Splashtop vs. Windows RDP

How To Help Your Parents With Computers Remotely Without Freaking Out

The Best Tools to Easily Perform Remote Tech Support


Info on recovery and rebooting:

What it is dead and you need to recover or rescue it from that status. Obviously start with all the easy things like plugs, connectors, batteries, updates, security scans etc. Test the hardware if possible. If you are past all that and pretty sure it is software or can not get there becuase you are stopped by the software, you need a rescue disk of some kind.

There are several ways. First of all, is there a rescue USB drive or CD that was created on their machine when it was operating properly? If so, that is probably the place to start. Here is how to create one: http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/operating-systems/how-to-create-a-windows-rescue-usb-stick-984726



How to Create and Use a Recovery Drive or System Repair Disc in Windows 8 or 10



Downloaded the “Media Creation Tool” and use it to create the bootable “Upgrade/Install USB” to Win10. After upgrading the systems you can wipe them out and used the same device to do a “CLEAN” install of Win10 on all of the machines in your home.

USB Windows Installation Disk:

If you are looking to create the ultimate rescue USB here is an article on that:


Linux to the rescue: How to use Ubuntu to rescue a failed PC

Ubuntu has a Live CD option that creates a bootable CD and a non logging session that installs nothing and leaves nothing but is crazy powerful and will work on older machines that will not boot from a USB drive. Here is a great article: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/31804/the-10-cleverest-ways-to-use-linux-to-fix-your-windows-pc/

You can use it to make and image of the entire hard drive: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/use-ubuntu-live-cd-to-backup-files-from-your-dead-windows-computer/


If there will boot from a thumb drive then you can create a full bootable version of Ubuntu that will allow you to install programs and save settings to the drive for future use.




Put Ubuntu on Flash Drive using Windows

Install Ubuntu On Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive



If you do have access to your parents computer before you head off for college, you may consider setting up VNC, which is completely free remote management for Mac, Windows, and Linux, but does require that you set up port forwarding on your parents’ router (if they have one,) change the default port that VNC operates on, and lock down the connection with a username and password. Additionally, you’ll have to install the VNC server on their desktop and the client on yours. VNC is a great, completely free option that gives you a way to connect directly without a middleman in the way. Also, there are dozens of different VNC applications, so you can pick one that works on your OS and works best with your connection. However, VNC also means that if you have trouble connecting, you’re on your own figuring it out – there’s no support line to call if you or your parents have problems. If you want to go that route, here’s a guide that can help you get set up.


Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop has been included in every version of Windows from XP on.

It does require you to either do or talk the the other user through these two steps:

1) Enabling remote desktop (rt-click My Computer—>Properties—>Remote—>Allow Users to Connect Remotely…).

2) Browse to WhatIsMyIP.com to get the address you will use to connect.

If the computer to be controlled has a simple single connection from a computer to the internet modem, this should work. If it is connecting wirelessly or through a router, then port forwarding will need to be set up and that is usually too complicated to do over the phone and should be prepared in advance. For those that want to consider it, the default RDP port to forward is 3389.

RDP apps abound for computers, tablets and smartphones making it possible to easily support mom and pop from anywhere at a moments’ notice.

Nothing is more versatile and full featured than RDP, certainly nothing free.

The basic concept behind Windows Remote Desktop is to let users control their office computer remotely so that they can work from home. Hence, although all versions of Windows (Basic, Home, and so on) can establish a Remote Desktop connection and control a PC, only the Professional, Business, and Ultimate versions of Windows can be controlled.

As most office computers are one among many on a network, you need to have the office router tweaked to forward a port (3389) to the PC you want to control. You can edit the Registry to allow control of more than one PC by adding more ports, but that’s a very techie task.


Microsoft Live Mesh is a good consideration as well.  The live service lets it cut through firewalls easily. It’s also a very easy install since it is packaged in the Windows Updates in the optional catagory (simplifies the install and does so from a trusted source).

VNC comes in many flavors. Some with little to no support and require knowledge and experience to operate. It can be tricky to set up if you are trying to walk someone through it over the phone. Here is a good example.


Free for personal use

The widest platform support in the business. Control a huge range of Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX computers from practically any desktop, or from iOS, Android and Chrome-powered devices wherever you happen to be.

Amazingly versatile

Our customers use VNC to remotely access office computers from home, provide support to staff, customers or friends and family, collaborate on projects, demonstrate to classes, virtualize software or services, conduct automated tests, and much more. So whenever you need to connect people and devices, VNC provides the answer.

Intuitive to use

VNC is simplicity itself. There’s a VNC Server app for the computer you want to control, and a VNC Viewer app for the device you want to connect from. Connect the two, and VNC Server continuously transmits screen updates to VNC Viewer, which sends back your keyboard, mouse and touch inputs as you make them. And the user interface is available in English, French, German and Spanish.


VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, isn’t itself a product, but an open-source remote-control and display technology that’s implemented by Tight VNC (free), Ultra VNC (free) and RealVNC (free and pay), among other parties. VNC isn’t hard to use, but it’s not as simple as Join.me and TeamViewer, which don’t require user knowledge of IP addresses.

VNC is a good option if you need to control multiple PCs regularly.
To use VNC, install it on both the PCs you want to connect and then set them to listening. To control another PC, simply open the VNC viewer (client), enter the PC’s IP address, and have at it. You may also have to open port 5900 on your firewall and router, and to direct said port to the PC you want to control.

You can use VNC to connect to multiple PCs behind a public IP by opening and using more ports. Most VNC implementations install both the server and viewer software by default, so (as with TeamViewer) you can control in either direction.

Though it’s a tad difficult to set up, VNC is cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux), and it works extremely well once installed.


Another to research for the purpose is WebEx

WebEx Free: Not just for multiuser meetings.
Most users think of WebEx as a tool for multiuser boardroom meetings, but it’s also perfectly suitable for small-scale, live (not unattended) remote control and support. WebEx works a little differently from Join.me in that installing software is required at both ends, but that’s a relatively painless procedure.

Once users have joined the meeting, initially they can only view the originator’s desktop, but the originator can make another person the presenter, pass control over the mouse and keyboard, and share files, chat, and utilize webcams for face-to-face interaction. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you stray from the main features (available from the usual drop-down panel at the top of the display), but overall WebEx is quite easy to use.



November 9, 2014

After more antenna research for the GMRS/MURS bands…

I was thinking most any dual band 2M/70CM ham antenna would work fine for me to operate on the GMRS and MURS bands but it is not really true. The antennas can not tune effeciently to those frequencies. I am finding if I want to operate mainly in those bands I need an antenna designed and tuned for them.

In trying to keep costs down I found a few to consider that seem to do the job.

This one I found on Ebay:


It might be other places but it appears to be a kit that requires some assembly and a piece of PVC pipe and the hardware to mount it. I can not find a company that sells it complete. It appears to be an individual making them and selling them on ebay.

Then there is the Slim Jim sold by Two Way Electronics which appears to be a very portable and affordable unit that can be portable, hung on the wall inside the home or used with a piece of PVC to to mount it on a mast outside or in the attic.
http://www.2wayelectronix.com/Dual-band-MURS-GMRS-Slim-Jim-Antenna-dualmurs.htm. Here is the owners web site with more info and ideas on how to mount and tune the antenna. http://www.n9tax.com/Slim%20Jim%20Info.html


The other options is a little more expensive but seems to be the better built and designed J-Pole Antenna meant to be mast mounted and seems to be indestructible and made by Arrow. http://www.arrowantennas.com and click on Open Stub J-Pole and the band you are looking for.


Another company makes a single band GMRS mast antenna. It is not dual band but seems well made and with plenty of gain made by DPD Products.  http://www.dpdproductions.com/page_gmrs.html


So far these appear to be the best options I can commercially or to buy to operate efficiently on the GMSR and MURS radio bands.  Of course there are tons of homebrew plans and options that can be made. You can made a simple 1/4 wave ground plane to your own J-Pole or Yagi or Loop antennas. Here are many plans here.  No matter what you do, the best plan is to use an antenna that is designed to do the job you want it to do.

No matter what antenna you end up with, you will need a SWR meter to test it with. You can spend a lot of money on these for sure. About the least amount of money you can spend and still get one that works and works across the 2M and 70CM ham bands is the http://redmancb.com/custom-lighted-workman-104-swr-watt-power-test-meter-vhf-uhf-ham-radio-120-500-mhz-dual-band/. It is not perfect but seems to get you on paper and some idea of where you are.

73 and see you on the air.


November 3, 2014

Download or print entire survival blog

Here is a blog on survival that includes the ability to download the entire blog into one large PDF for off line use and printing.



September 23, 2014

Buiding Antennas for Ham Radios

Ones I might buy for now:



Here is a review and step by step assembly of it as well. Seems like a great antenna for the money!  http://advancedsurvivalguide.com/2010/09/15/review-centerfire-deluxe-discone-antenna/










SWR Meter










2 Meter vertical from PVC


2 Meter info in general


Apartment Antenna













This is for the GMRS and MURS



Diamond 7900A mobile antenna


Other 2M and 70CM Antennas


































Ham Band Info





Other hardware




















Cheap and Emergency Repeater set up








January 27, 2009

How To’s

Filed under: How To,Tools and Projects — rmay4 @ 9:26 am
Tags: , ,

Free alert service Exactfactor tracks search engine results by key words, and can email anyone interested in how any web site is doing in the battle for the top Google, Yahoo, or Live.com spot.


Google OS














http://www.instructables.com/id/Wallet-made-from-Tyvek-mailing-envelope/ http://www.thesimpledollar.com/







Power Point






How to Do Everything with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 (How to Do Everything) (Paperback)

by Ellen Finkelstein



Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
By David Allen

25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks (Hardcover)

by John C. Maxwell

The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (Hardcover)

by John C. Maxwell

The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (Hardcover)

by John C. Maxwell

The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (Hardcover)

by John C. Maxwell






Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Paperback)

by Rolf Potts






Zero Gravity Space Pens

Other Fisher Space Pen products

Bullet Space Pen

Other Fisher Space Pen products
var parentProductTitle = document.getElementById(‘btAsinTitle’);
if (parentProductTitle) {
parentProductTitle.style.display = ‘inline’;

var reviewHistPing =
function() {
reviewHistDU.requestUpdate(”, ”, ”, null, null, null, false);

n2RunThisWhen( ‘lastlibraryloaded’,
function() {
reviewHistDU = new N2DynUpObject(‘reviewHistDU’);
reviewHistDU.setHandler(‘/gp/customer-reviews/common/du/recordHistoPop’, ‘sd’);

Hipster PDA

















Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.