Category Archives: How-to guides

Self-publishing via Word and Createspace – page setup

This is the second post in this series and this time, I’ll be showing you how to setup your Word document to match the Createspace template for your chosen trim size. If you’ve forgotten about templates and trim sizes, you can find the post explaining what they are, why you need them and where to find them…here.

Right. So in this post I will assume that:

  1. you have typed up your manuscript in Word or in a Word compatible format – e.g. Rich Text Format or .rtf for short.
  2. you want to change that manuscript to make it compatible with Createspace so the printing process goes smoothly
  3. you have decided on a trim size
  4. you have downloaded the appropriate template [from Createspace] specifically for that trim size
  5. you have looked at the template but did not change any of the settings

If any of these assumptions are incorrect, please go back to the overview article linked above and make sure you have everything that you need.

How to easily change the font and font size to match the Createspace template [of your choice]

The first step is to open Word. Then, open both your manuscript and the template document. The template document will look something like this:

I chose a trim size of 5.5 x 8.5 so this is the template for that trim size. Garamond is a common font, and 12 is an average font size. Your template may be different. One thing, however, is most most certain to be true – the font in the template will not match the font you used in your manuscript. Assuming you want to change the font in your manuscript, the following is the simplest, easiest way to do it. But…be warned before you begin – this method will change your title and chapter headings as well.

First, we have to select the entire document. There are two ways of doing this.

The first way is to hit the Ctrl key and the ‘a‘ key at the same time. Ctrl-a is a keyboard shortcut and will ‘select all’ on most apps.

The second way is to use the ribbon:

Microsoft Word 10 uses tabs so the ‘Select’ options are on the Home tab, at the top right of the ribbon as shown. Click ‘Select’ and then click ‘Select All’ from the dropdown options.

Your manuscript should now look like this:

WARNING: hitting the ‘Delete’ key or the spacebar when everything is selected can lead to the loss of your entire document. If you make a mistake and everything disappears, DO NOT PANIC. Simply click the ‘Undo’ button to cancel whatever you last did. The ‘Undo’ button can be found here:

You can also undo your last action by hitting Ctrl Z [Ctrl and ‘z’] on your keyboard.

Moving on. With the entire document highlighted as above, click the small arrow next to the font box as shown:

Select the appropriate font for your template. For mine it was ‘Garamond’.

With the document still highlighted in blue [i.e. selected] click the small arrow next to the font size box as shown:

Click on the appropriate font size and then click inside your document to de-select it. The blue highlighting should disappear.

The next change we will make is to adjust the alignment and first-line indent of each paragraph. To do this, click the small button in the Paragraph category on the Home tab of the Ribbon:

You should now be looking at the Paragraph dialog box as shown below. Here, you can specify how all the text in the document is aligned. As most books are justified, that is the option I’ve chosen under ‘General’. I’ve also chosen a first-line indent of 1 cm so that everyone can easily see where a new paragraph begins. This is important, imho, as I’ve also chosen ‘Single’ line spacing.

Finally, I’ve clicked on the option ‘Set as Default’ down at the bottom. Word then wants to know what I mean by default. Choosing ‘All documents…’ would change the Normal style for every Word document I create from here on in. I don’t want to do that so I selected ‘This document only’.

 

Click on ‘OK’ and you will notice that…nothing has changed!

Don’t panic. In reality, the Normal style has changed, we simply have to tell Word to reflect those changes in the document. To do this, Select All again, and when the whole document is highlighted in blue, click the Normal style as shown:

Ta dah…the first big change is complete. The headings still need to be fixed up but that can wait. The next thing we need to do is change the size of the ‘paper’ so that we can start to see roughly how many pages this document really contains.

Changing the paper size to reflect the trim size of our ‘book’

To find out what is the correct paper size for our book, open the template document. Then open the ‘Page Layout’ tab of the Ribbon. With the Page Layout tab open, click the small button under the Page Setup group of functions:

You should now be looking at the Page Setup dialog box for your template. Under ‘Paper size’ you should have a number in cm for width and height. Write those 2 numbers down. Then click on the Margins tab. Again, you should write the margin numbers down and note whether ‘Mirror margins’ are specified. The following screenshots are from my template:

Now, go back to your own document, open the Page Layout tab and click on the small button to open the Page Setup dialog box. You should be looking at the tab for Paper. Click inside the ‘Paper size’ boxes and type in the dimensions that were shown in the template document. Mine looks like this:

Next, click the Margins tab and again, type in the numbers you found in your template. Mine looks like this:

Congratulations! You’ve changed some of the most important aspects of your manuscript to reflect the Createspace template.

But there is still a great deal to do. The Title and Headings will have to be fixed and to do that we will change the default styles to make the changes quick and easy. The book will also need page numbering, but some parts should not have page numbers – e.g. the Title page – so first we will have to insert section breaks. As well as making sure the page numbering is correct, section breaks are necessary to ensure that the first page of every new chapter always starts on an odd page. Nothing shrieks ‘amateur’ in a print book like wonky formatting.

And finally, there’s the cover. Front page + back page + THE SPINE! Plus ISBNs, pricing, royalty calculations….

I hope you guys are in for the long haul as this could take a while. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


Self-publishing via Word and Createspace – overview

This is the first in a series of how-to posts that will help you publish a print version of your book…without making all the mistakes I made with Innerscape. The posts will focus on Word 10 and Amazon’s Createspace. The information is accurate as at April, 2017.

Right, first and foremost – what is Createspace?

Createspace is the print book arm of Amazon’s self-publishing toolset. Createspace allows you to publish a trade paperback version of your manuscript which will be produced on a ‘Print On Demand’ basis [POD]. POD is a fast way of printing small to very small print runs of books.

How small? Try just one.

Essentially, when a customer buys a POD book, they are placing an order for a book that does not yet exist in physical form. Once the order is placed, the book takes 1-3 days to produce, and then it’s posted out to the customer just the same as a book printed in the ordinary way.

PROS

  • Amazon will place your book for sale just like any other book – i.e. it will have the same visibility, or lack thereof, as any other book.
  • Self-publishers can have the pleasure of holding a physical copy of their own work.
  • Readers who do not like ebooks can find and buy your work in a physical format.
  • POD costs nothing up front, and printing charges* are subtracted from the sale price of the book – no sale, no charge.
  • POD books do not have to be warehoused.

CONS

  • Because POD books lack efficiencies of scale, they are not cheap*.
  • Because POD books come from Indies [and may or may not be returnable], bookshops generally do not accept them.
  • Most Indies sell far more ebooks than POD versions, but that may simply be a function of price [see above]
  • Preparing your manuscript for printing via Createspace requires a fair bit of work, or at least I found it to be so.

This is a cutesy video that walks you through the sales and royalties side of the process:

*Before you can calculate your royalties, however, you have to set a price that will not only cover your print charges, but will also bring in a small profit…to you. Working out the print charges, however, is a little bit like finding the end of a tangle of string.

  1. Print charges depend on the total page number, BUT >>
  2. the page number will change depending on the trim size of your book – i.e. how big or small it is, BUT >>
  3. Word documents are in A4, not in standard trim sizes, so a 200 page Word document could be up to 400 pages, depending on the trim size.

Trim size

I admit, I struggled with this. Trim size refers to the actual physical dimensions of the book you end up with after the printing process is finished. But what are these sizes? And how do they relate to my Word document?

After much floundering I found this table of trim sizes:

This information is from the Createspace website and the sizes shown in bold are the standard ones. Without going into too much detail, ordinary printers can print any sized book you can imagine, but POD printers like Createspace can only print the standard sizes. So, go standard. 🙂

After much messing around with measuring tapes and various sized books, I settled on the 5.5″ x 8.5″ trim size. Imho, not too big and not too small. But I was still no closer to knowing how many pages I’d end up with. Enter the Createspace templates.

Createspace templates

Before I say anything else, I have to say that trying to pour my manuscript into one of the templates was an exercise in frustration. For example, I could not get the page numbering to work. At all. I really wouldn’t recommend actually using the templates but…they do provide invaluable information such as:

  • Standard fonts
  • margins
  • layout etc

The information on the margins is absolutely vital. So next step is to find a template for the trim size you have chosen. You will find the most up-to-date information on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. If you have already published an ebook with KDP, login as normal. If not, got to this link:

https://kdp.amazon.com/

and login with your normal Amazon ID and password. Once you have logged in, select the ‘Help’ option from the top of the page. From the first Help screen select ‘Paperback Manuscript Formation’ as show below :

 

From the next screen, select ‘Paperback Manuscript Templates {Beta} as shown:

From the next screen, select ‘Templates with Sample Content’ to display the list of templates available for each trim size:

The ‘sample’ part helps you to see how the bits fit.

Select the appropriate template and save it to your computer. Open it and look at it, but do NOT change anything. This template works for Createspace, so you need to keep it with its original settings so you know what to change in your own Word document.

In the next post, I’ll show you how to:

  • change the font and font size of your manuscript to match the template,
  • change the margins and page setup to match the template
  • change the alignment and line spacing to match the template.

In future posts, I’ll walk you through how to:

  • change the styles to make formatting easier,
  • how and why to insert section breaks and
  • how to insert different page numbers in different areas of your book
  • how to calculate costs and royalties based on the number of pages you end up with in your formatted manuscript
  • how to calculate the price you need to charge for your book in order to make a profit, or at least break even.

This may seem like a very back to front way of doing things, but you can’t make any of the important calculations until you know exactly what size book you want to create and how many pages it will have.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 


How to uninstall Intel Security Truekey when all else fails

Before I get to the ‘how-to’, a quick explanation: I downloaded the latest version of Adobe Flash, from the Adobe website. I was not shown an opt-out screen for the two applications bundled with Flash – i.e. McAfee and Intel Security Truekey. All three applications were installed on my pc as I watched in fury, unable to stop it from happening.

As soon as the installation finished, I immediately uninstalled McAfee via the Control Panel, but for some reason, Truekey did not show up at all, not as ‘Truekey’ and not as ‘Intel Security Truekey’. Yet there it was on my desktop, cosily installed on my pc.

I went online and found suggestions that did not work. If you are in the same boat here is what you do:

  1. Go online and search for Intel Security True Key support in your home country. In Australia it’s – 1 800 073 267,
  2. Ring, and when you finally get through to a tech, do not give them your email address – it is not necessary,
  3. Do not agree to remote access support. Remote access means that someone, somewhere is given permission to get into your computer to fix it. Never, ever allow remote access because you have no way of knowing whether that access has been permanently closed or not,
  4. DO ask to speak to a supervisor. It may take a few minutes but this is your right, especially if you did not want the application in the first place.
  5. If the supervisor doesn’t offer it, demand a link to their software removal application. You will have to download it and install it on your pc, but you can check it with your own anti-virus application before you run it. The application I was given is called: MCPR.exe.

I had to run MCPR.exe twice as the first attempt was not successful:

After the first, unsuccessful attempt, I was told to restart my pc and then run MCPR.exe again. I did, and finally managed to get rid of Truekey completely, but I wasted a lot of time doing it.

To say that I’m angry is an understatement. Apparently there is an opt-out screen on which you can uncheck both McAfee and Truekey, BUT that opt out screen doesn’t always display. I know, because I found a lot of other angry people who could not opt out either. You’d think a company as large as Adobe could get something like that right, wouldn’t you?

Apparently not. And then, to add insult to injury, my research revealed that I didn’t need Flash in the first place! The only site I use regularly that did use Flash, once upon a time, is Youtube, and it doesn’t use Flash any more. There may be certain games that still require Flash, but the whole industry is moving away from it because of the constant security issues. That in itself should be a red flag.

So, my advice is to stay away from Adobe products like Flash unless you absolutely have to have them. And if you do download one of Adobe’s products, and become the victim of an unwanted application installation, don’t just shrug it away. User apathy is one reason these companies get away with behaviour that is one, small step away from malware.

Right, I feel a bit better now. Time to go make the Offspring’s birthday cake.

cheers,

Meeks

 


#Tweetdeck – how to filter columns for conversations

TweetDeck is an app owned by Twitter that helps make sense of your Tweets by allowing you to filter and display them according to your own needs. For example, I’m currently having a really interesting conversation with @YorgosKC and @DavidGaughran about politics and the birth of democracy in the ancient city-state of Athens. Trouble is, I’m missing half the conversation because there is no way of tracking a conversation in Twitter.

Enter TweetDeck. It won’t let you track conversations either…but it does have the smarts to create a workaround.

To start using TweetDeck, simply go to:

https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/#

The TweetDeck banner screen displays a button to sign in to Twitter. Do it. Essentially, you are in Twitter, but you’re viewing it through a ‘shell’ that has some special functions, such as the ability to display different types of information, side-by-side, in columns.

What you can see in the screenshot below, is my TweetDeck screen after I removed the default columns and replaced them with 2 Mentions columns:

tweetdeck-filters

The reason for selecting the Mentions columns was so I could filter who mentioned whom. In the left hand column are tweets by David Gaughran in which he mentions Yorgos KC. [Users: By @DavidGaughran, mentioning @ YorgosKC]. As I am part of the conversation anyway, I don’t have to worry about him mentioning me.

In the right hand column, I’ve filtered the tweets so that I only see the tweets in which Yorgos KC mentions David Gaughran. [Users: By @YorgosKC, mentioning @DavidGaughran].

I admit that filtering the tweets this way is tedious, but at least I can see all the tweets of this three-way conversation in one place.

In case anyone wants to do the same thing, here’s a quick how-to:

tweetdeck-filters-4Clicking this small icon at the top right of your column will open a kind of settings menu. At the bottom of the settings menu is the option to ‘Remove’ the column. I removed all the existing columns so I could force TweetDeck to display my new columns side-by-side.

To display new columns of your choice, click the ‘+’ button on the narrow menu pane on the left of the screen. The following popup will display:

tweetdeck-filters-3

Each option is essentially a category of tweet. The ‘Mentions’ circled in red is for single Twitter accounts. If you have more than one account, select the ‘Mentions (all accounts)’ option.

Once you have your chosen column in place, click the settings button to display the menu options:

tweetdeck-users1

Click the arrow as shown to select the ‘Users’ option. With the Users sub-menu displayed, click inside the ‘By’ box to display further options:

tweetdeck-users2

The option we want is ‘specific user…’ Click. Now you can enter the Twitter handle of the person you’re interested in:

tweetdeck-users3

Type in the name preceded by the ‘@’ symbol and hit ENTER on your keyboard.

Next, do the same thing for the person mentioned by your first…mentionee?

tweetdeck-users5

Again, hit ENTER when you have finished typing in the name. Now the only tweets displayed in that column will be those in which person 1 mentions person 2.

Repeat the entire process to display the tweet in which person 2 mentions person 1.

As I said, it’s a workaround and not terribly elegant, but it’s better than giving a 3rd Party App access to your Twitter account. There are apps out there that will track conversations for you…but you have to give them access to your account and allow them to tweet in your name. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a no-no.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


#Cloud storage & #sync.com…….or a positive tech post for a change!

After coping with the security issues of Windows 10, it was such a pleasant surprise to find an ‘app’ that is unabashedly security conscious! And yes, Sync.com, I’m talking about you. But first, a quick word about the problems that sync.com solves: storage, backup and version control.

Normally, when you create a file on your computer, you save it to your computer – i.e. onto the harddrive inside the physical ‘box’. If you’re super organised, you may also save that file to an external harddrive or USB device, as a form of ongoing ‘backup’. Belt-and-braces type people might save that data to a DVD as well, giving them multiple backups in case of disaster.

But all of these various types of storage have one, critical downside – a change made in one copy of the data will NOT be reflected in the other copies. If you have 3 copies of a particular file, you will have to manually update each copy.

There is also another issue that can be a nightmare – version control. Let me give you an example. Every time I work on my WiP [work in progress], I save it to my desktop, and then I copy it to my USB device. The latest version from the desktop always over-writes the version on the USB. Obviously, this is so I always have at least one copy of my work no matter what happens [e.g. the house burns down in a bushfire or some other catastrophe].

But what if I have 2 computers and want to add to my WiP on both?

That is the problem I’ve been struggling with for the last few days: there’s no point having the laptop if I don’t use it for my work, but if I do use it while I’m away from home, how do I keep the versions straight?

My fear is that if I continue with the USB device, sooner or later I am going to get the latest version of the WiP wrong. In a moment of madness or tiredness or distraction, I’ll over-write the wrong copy and then I’ll be up the creek without a paddle. Enter cloud storage.

Like the USB drive or DVD etc., cloud storage saves your files outside your pc, usually in a server on the other side of the world. The file is ‘up-loaded’ to the cloud via your internet connection, and once it’s there, you can access it from any computer device you choose. You can also share that file with others if you wish.

For me, cloud storage means I can work on my WiP at home and have it synced to my laptop so if I go out, I can continue working on the WiP where I left off.

Lovely concept, right?

Unfortunately, the grand-daddy of cloud storage – Dropbox – showed that cloud storage can be hacked, and most reviews I’ve read say their security has not improved much if at all since then. Now, I’m not working on anything ‘naughty’ that I need to hide from anyone, but privacy is very important to me, and I would die if I lost four years worth of work through someone else’s ‘oopsie’. So no Dropbox.:(

I was trawling through the umpteenth review/comparison of cloud storage offerings – there are heaps of them! – when I came across Sync.com. And guess what! The thing that sets sync.com apart from the rest is its security. 🙂 Plus it’s Canadian, so not subject to some of the, um, government sponsored hacking found over the border.

And now for the acid test – does sync.com work?

Yes, yes, it does. 🙂

The two screenshots below show my desktop and the laptop. They’ve been synced via sync.com and the test files I used have shown up on both computers with only a very short delay – approx. 20 seconds or thereabouts.

sync com screenshots

So now I know the system works, and thankfully, getting it to work is really simple too.

How to use Sync.com

  1. First, register for the sync.com free, 5 GB plan: https://www.sync.com/install/
  2. Then download the installer to the first pc. Install Sync to the first pc using the account name you setup in step 1. Part of the setup process is the creation of a folder called ‘Sync’.
  3. Now, download and install the Sync installer to the second pc. Make sure you have a ‘Sync’ folder on the second pc as well.
  4. Drag and drop [or copy/paste] a file into the ‘Sync’ folder on the first pc.
  5. Wait 20? seconds and you will see that the file now appears in the ‘Sync’ folder of the second pc as well.

The Sync presence on your pc is minimal. If you need to do something with the actual app., you can find it inside ‘Show hidden icons’ on your taskbar:

sync taskbar icon

All other work is done on the website itself. Once I’ve worked out how to share files with friends, I’ll detail that in a separate post. For now, I’m really happy with my new way of working.

Last question: was finding and installing Sync as easy or convenient as using the default OneDrive cloud storage app offered by Windows 10?

Simple answer: no. Installing and learning how to use Sync didn’t take me long, but it still required some time and effort on my part, the payoff, however, is more than worth it:

  • I have an excellent cloud storage app.
  • It has excellent security features, and
  • I am in control, not Micro$oft
  • oh…and Sync is free [unless I want heaps more storage]

By contrast, I pay for the ‘convenience’ of Windows 10 by handing Micro$oft my privacy on a plate. No contest.

cheers

Meeks

 


#Windows 10 updates – #Metered Connection

This how-to is for all non-US users of Windows 10 who have capped broadband plans – i.e. only get XX gigabytes of data per month.

Pre-Step A

Go to:

  1. Start
  2. Settings
  3. Update & Security
  4. Windows Update
  5. Advanced Options

Now make sure ‘Choose How Updates are Installed’ is set to ‘Automatic (recommended)’ as shown below:

update auto is on

[Note: if this option is set to ‘Notify to reschedule restart’ at this point, Windows becomes…confused and could go into a perpetual loop. Mine did and I had to do a hard shutdown to get it to stop].

Step 1 – Finding the ‘Metered connection’ option

Click on the Start button and then select:

  1. Settings
  2. Network and Internet
  3. Wifi
  4. Advanced Options

Under ‘Metered connection’, click the slider button to show ‘on’:

metered connection

Step 2 – changing how Windows 10 updates are scheduled

Now go back to:

  1. Settings
  2. Update & security
  3. Windows update
  4. Advanced options

and under ‘Choose how updates are installed’, change ‘Automatic’ to ‘Notify to schedule restart’.

Now, Windows 10 will notify you of:

  • available updates, and
  • how much broadband they will use

but it will not download and install them automatically. This is what my laptop now shows:

new update option

My heartfelt thanks to The Opening Sentence for showing me where the ‘Metered connection’ option was hiding! I feel a lot better now. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


#Amazon, US #Tax and #Australian Citizens

meeka thumbs upAnything sold on Amazon – including self-published books – is subject to a 33% withholding tax.

This is a tax that Amazon must take out of the sale before you get your share.

This tax is applicable across the board and non-US citizens are not exempt.

 

Unless………..:

  • their country of origin has a trade treaty with the US
  • and they apply for an exemption under that trade treaty

As an Australian citizen, I am lucky enough to meet the ‘trade treaty’ criterion but until today, I did not apply for the exemption because:

  • I was not making enough money for it to matter, and
  • the process was just TOO HARD

I’m not sure what changed, or when exactly, but suddenly the process of applying for an exemption is so easy I’m still pinching myself in case I’m dreaming.

So what’s needed?

  1. Your country of origin must have a trade treaty with the US
  2. You must have an account with Kindle Direct Publishing [nah..really? lol]
  3. You must have a tax file number [or equivalent] from your country of origin

Seriously, that’s it. With those three things you can log into Kindle Direct Publishing and fill in a very VERY easy online form and you’re done.

  1. Log in to your KDP account
  2. Select My Account
  3. Select the option for Tax Interview
  4. Have your tax file number handy
  5. And start filling in the questions.
  6. When you get to the page that asks if you want to do an electronic signature* – select YES
  7. The electronic signature is nothing more than your typed name, email address [same as for logging into KDP] and ‘Submit’.
  8. Be sure to print off a copy at the end and you’re done.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll sit there scratching your head and wondering how you can send an electronic signature. Is there a special program you have to invest in to create such a signature? Or do you have to print the page off, sign it manually and then post it off? Hah!

The answer to all those questions is a big, fat NO. There appears to be no valid reason for doing things the hard way, so don’t.

Having procrastinated for years, literally, I am so relieved to finally have this Sword of Damocles removed from my halo. Thank you IRS and thank you Amazon! Now if only I could be paid via PayPal or EFT I’d be delirious with happiness…

-smack- Don’t be greedy, girl!

Much happy dancing,

Meeks


#howto delete – Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI

Before I tell you how to delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI, there are a few important things you need to know:

What does Flash Player do?

“Adobe Flash Player is a plugin that allows browsers such as Firefox to display Flash media on web pages. Flash is often used for animations, videos and games. This article explains how to install Flash.

When you visit a webpage that uses Flash and the plugin is missing, you will see the message “A plugin is needed to display this content” for parts of the page that require Flash (if at all)..”

That’s a quote taken directly from the Mozilla website. But what does it mean in practical terms? It means that animations created in Flash need Flash Player to work. This often means parts of certain websites that use Flash for bling won’t work…but only ‘parts’. It also means that browser games created with Flash need Flash Player to work. Get rid of Flash Player entirely and those things will no longer work. As far as I know, many of the browser games available via Facebook [?] use Flash. So if you play them, be warned [of course you don’t have to use this version of Flash Player!]

But…having just completely deleted Flash Player from my computer I can tell you that nothing I use on a daily basis has been affected. And by nothing I mean:

  • Youtube works fine [for music videos, haven’t tried anything else]
  • Jigsaws work
  • WordPress works [obviously]
  • Soundcloud works
  • My internet banking works [Bendigo Bank]
  • And my MMOs work

In fact, everything seems to be loading faster, not just Firefox, but that could just be a weird kind of digital placebo effect.

Why delete Adobe Flash Player 20 NPAPI in the first place?

In a nutshell, the latest version of Mozilla Firefox uses this version of Flash Player, but the Flash Player is crap. Mozilla Firefox whined until I updated Flash Player and I’ve regretted it ever since. Despite being a supposedly agile little browser, Firefox became slower and I noticed that crashes increased in frequency. These crashes were preceded by a sudden massive slowdown – as if I were typing each letter of a word with a sip of coffee in-between. And then, instead of getting better, it would completely freeze to the point where I would have to do:

CTRL + ALT + DEL to open Task Manager and then manually END PROCESS on Firefox and Flash Player.

The reason is that this version of Flash Player gobbles up RAM [short term memory for your computer]. I suspect there is a memory ‘leak’ responsible, but Adobe isn’t admitting to it, yet.

Anyway, when your computer runs out of ‘memory’, it’s like a car that runs out of petrol – it stops. The latest version of Firefox isn’t that great on memory either, but I might save that for a future post.  For now, if you use Firefox [which uses Flash Player] and you experience ‘freezes’ then check your Task Manager to see if Flash Player is using oodles of memory.

[Note: as knowing how to use Task Manager is a great computer survival skill, I’m including it below]

How to open Task Manager in Windows 7

  • On your keyboard, press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys all at the same time.

You will see a pale blue screen with just a few options on it.

  • Click ‘Start Task Manager’.

[Note: it’s not possible to take a screenshot of the blue screen as it seems to be ‘outside’ the Windows environment]

After you select ‘Start Task Manager’, the following screen will be displayed:

firefox taskmanager 1

The default tab [Applications] only shows which programmes are currently open. You can close programmes from this window but it’s easier to do it from the Processes tab where you can also see how much memory they are using.

  • Click the Processes tab to open it.

I can’t show you the Flash Player memory usage because I didn’t think to take a screenshot before I deleted it completely. Mea culpa. Anyway, this is the current list of processes on my computer and will do in order to show you what to do next. So you should now be looking at your version of the Processes tab:

firefox taskmanager 2

In order to see which programmes [i.e. processes] are using the most memory [RAM]:

  • click the column heading for ‘Memory [Private Working Set]’. This will sort everything in that column. If you don’t get the largest usage up the top, click the heading a second time.

Now a word of warning – unless you know what you’re doing, don’t go shutting down processes willy nilly. Some of them use a lot of memory BUT THEY’RE MEANT TO! All you want to shut down at this point is the process for Flash Player and the one for Firefox.

[Note: As a rule of thumb, only shutdown processes which bear the user name – ‘user’. NEVER shutdown anything belonging to ‘SYSTEM’]

  • Click the line that holds information about firefox.exe *32 so it’s highlighted,
  • and then click the button down the bottom that says ‘End Process’.

In the example shown below, I’m ending the process for MSPaint instead of Firefox so I can keep working on this post – because, of course, WordPress only works within my browser. But you knew that, right? 🙂

firefox taskmanager 3

Now do exactly the same thing for Flash Player and then exit from the Task Manager.

How to uninstall Flash Player for Windows XP, Vista and 7 only

If you’ve used Windows a lot you’ll know that uninstalling programmes via Control Panel doesn’t always get rid of all those pesky bits and pieces that end up as programming debris. Unfortunately, that programming debris can keep having an effect on whatever you install afterwards, so this is how to get rid of absolutely EVERYTHING belonging to Flash Player.

  • First, you will need to go to the Adobe page below and download the uninstaller.

https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

The page looks like this:

firefox Flashplayer uninstall 1

  • Click ‘Uninstaller’ as shown in the screenshot above.

You will be asked to either run or save the uninstaller. I suggest saving it to somewhere that you’ll be able to find it again. On my computer, I have a special folder called ‘Software downloads’ and everything I download off the internet goes there first. Then I scan it with my anti virus software before I actually install it.

  • Next, find the uninstaller – the file is called ‘uninstall flash player.exe‘ – and double click to make it run. If you get a message asking if you really want to do this, click yes.

All done? Okay, we have now uninstalled Flash Player from the main areas of the computer, but there are still some leftovers to get rid of. This is not hard, but if you have not done anything like this before, it can feel a little scary. Just take it slow, check each step and generally do NOT go messing with anything else. At least not until you know what you’re doing. 😀 [I learned that the hard way]

How to find the leftovers

Now you will navigate to 3 different locations on your computer, deleting Flash files and folders in all three.

  • Click on the Start button and

firefox run 1

  • type the word ‘run’ into the search box as shown above:

Windows displays the closest matches to your search word and displays the Run command at the top of the list.

  • Click the Run command as shown.

With the Run dialogue box displayed:

  • Click inside the box as shown and type the following EXACTLY:

C:\Windows\system32\Macromed\Flash

The colon is a colon, not a semi-colon. The slash is a backslash [found under the Backspace button on most keyboards] and THERE ARE NO SPACES.

firefox run 2

When you are sure you have typed the address in correctly [it’s an address on your computer rather than the internet],

  • click the OK button.

At this point you’re just driving to your destination. Nothing will happen if you take a wrong turn! If all went well, you should now be looking at a screen similar to this:

firefox run delete 1

Essentially, the Run command we used simply acts as a shortcut to the folder we want to delete – i.e. Flash.

How to delete a folder

Now that we’ve arrived, we’re going to delete the whole Flash folder, including whatever is still inside.

Make sure the Flash folder is selected – i.e. click on it to highlight the folder like so:

firefox run delete 3

Next, RIGHT click on the Flash folder. This will cause the context sensitive menu to be displayed. One of the options on this menu is Delete. Click the Delete option to delete the Flash folder:

firefox run delete 2

Just two more folders to delete and we’re done!

**Go back to the Start button and type Run into the search box as before. But this time when the little dialogue box opens,

  • type in the following:

%appdata%\Adobe\Flash Player

% does mean the percent sign on your keyboard! And don’t forget to use the backslash under the Backspace key. Your Run dialogue box should now look like this:

firefox run delete 5

  • Click OK.

Again, the Run command will take you directly to the folder we need to delete. In this case it’s called ‘Flash Player’. Click on it to make sure it’s highlighted, then RIGHT click on it to display the context sensitive menu. Select the Delete option to delete the Flash Player folder.

Lucky last!

Repeat all the steps from ** above but this time, the Run dialogue box should contain this :

%appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player

The Run dialogue box should look like this:

firefox run delete 4

  • Click OK.

When you are looking at the Macromedia\Flash Player folder, RIGHT click on Flash Player and select Delete from the context sensitive menu.

And that’s it. Flash Player is completely gone from your computer. At this point, you are ready to install an earlier, less buggy version of Flash Player, safe in the knowledge that there are no leftovers to screw things up. Or, you can do what I’m going to do, which is to leave Flash Player off entirely.

If anyone is truly desperate to put a version of Flash Player back on, please let me know in comments and I’ll put together a separate how-to for that.

Phew.

Cheers

Meeks


#howto – search for an image on the internet

My thanks to Pinky for showing me how to do this! Now for the why. The answer is the big C. No, not cancer, copyright.

If you are just downloading pictures off the internet for your own enjoyment, and no, I’m not going to go there, then copyright is not an issue. The instant you use one of those images in anything vaguely commercial, even a simple blog post, you have to be sure you’re not infringing on someone’s copyright.

But how do you do that when you have no idea where the picture originally came from?

This is where Google Images comes in. Google has long been the king of word searches, but now it also lets you search by picture [and voice], and it all starts in the familiar Google search box…sort of.

How to find Google Images

If you are using Google Chrome then it’s easy. Simply click on the ‘Images’ option in the top, right hand corner of the screen:

googleimages 1

That will lead to this:

googleimages 2If you’re using some other browser [I use Firefox], type http://images.google.com into the address box of your browser and hit Enter :

googleimages 3[Note: as soon as the page is displayed, the URL changes to ‘https‘. As I’m a purist I always type the plain ‘http’.]

You should now be looking at this:

googleimages 4[Note: in Firefox, the Google search box does not include the ability to search by voice. This is only available in Chrome.]

How to actually do an image search

Whatever route you took to get here, you should now click on the small icon of a camera as shown above. That will lead to this:

googleimages 5

The ‘Search by image’ dialogue box contains two tabs – Paste image URL, and Upload an image.

Click the tab to Upload an image. This is what you will see:

googleimages 6

Click the ‘Browse’ button as shown. This will allow you to browse your own computer in order to find the image to be searched:

googleimages 7

The next bit assumes that you know how to find your way around the Windows files and folders. If you don’t, you can find a step-by-step how-to here.

Find the folder that contains the image you’re interested in. Click on that image and then click on ‘Open’ [as shown in the screenshot above].

And now the magic happens. Google search will think for a moment or two and then it will present you with the closest match it can find on the internet. This is the result for my image:

googleimages 8

As the image I chose is from a game, I did not expect to get a perfect match, and I didn’t. That’s because game avatars, even when customised, are based on a preset image. So they’re not unique. Photos of people and/or drawings etc., are unique, so they’re easier to find.This also means that if you use a copyrighted image in your blog, it can be found. So be careful!

cheers

Meeks

 


Amazon #LookInside – how to install it

Part 2 of my Amazon LookInside article is now live on Indies Unlimited:

Amazon’s New ‘Look Inside’ Feature for Blogs and Websites [Part Two]

The LookInside feature allows you to turn static images of your books [or anyone else’s books] into portals that allow visitors to read the LookInside excerpt that goes with the book.

Part 2 is a step-by-step guide to installing the feature onto WordPress.com blogs.

cheers

Meeks


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