Extensions do what they say, Part 1

A short series on How To Make The Most of Your Screentime, brought to you by STUG, The Sarasota Tech Users Group. First up, Mercury Reader.

If there’s anything that can make me madder than banner ads and commercial sidebars, it’s the pop-ups and un-asked-for videos when I am simply trying to read an article on the web.

Yeh, okay, I know,

Continue reading “Extensions do what they say, Part 1”

The Wealth You Didn’t Know You Possess

It’s an endless world of possibilities out there on the web, the internet, the intranet, whatever you call it… and here’s a get-started-quick intro to all you can learn, browse, gain:

From Storytime reading by your favorite librarians to STEM Classes, book reviews to a Lord of the Rings Escape Room experience, check out the Sarasota County Library Systems on-demand-programs.

And there’s 268 videos and growing, to watch on the library system’s Vimeo page.

Now, if there’s a tech question you can’t seem to find an understandable explanation of, you’ll love the recorded videos of GeeksOnTour. They cover everything from how to send photos from your phone to how to plan your next trip… in a way we can understand!

The STUG YouTube channel is being added to weekly, so check it out too.

Still can’t find the answer to your question, problem, or just plain curiosity? “Google it,” they say. But sometimes that’s not as easy as you’d like. Dig deep in the sand to find your hidden treasure with these 10 Tips and Tricks to Use Google Search More Effectively.

Zoom! Be the Hostess with the Mostest

By now, we most of us know how to attend a Zoom meeting… but have you ever thought to host one? For friends and family?

Maybe you’ve tried but you just stuck with the basics….

Or maybe you’ve hosted one which wasn’t quite as engaging as you’d like it to be.

Or maybe you felt it didn’t really reflect your personality.

There’s a lot on that Zoom dashboard, and there’s so

Continue reading “Zoom! Be the Hostess with the Mostest”

Is this you?

Stun the younger members of your family with all you learn…

If so, join us. We know that no one knows everything, and we’re devoted to helping you make the most of your screen time. With multiple ways to get help for just that small yearly dues, we might save you time, frustration… and help you stun the younger members of your family with info even THEY didn’t know.

No, I mean *exactly* where?

Tired of missed connections? There’s something I just discovered on Google Maps that might help. It’s called Plus Codes.

Plus Codes work similar to street addresses. They can help you get and use a simple digital address. They can also help you define a specific location for a conventional address. For example, you can identify different entrances to the same building. 

… or for example where in Phillippi

Continue reading “No, I mean *exactly* where?”

Join the Space Age

One day I decided to explore the extensions in my Chrome browser, and it’s been a joy ride to uninterrupted reading ever since.

My favorite Chrome Extension is Mercury Reader. If you’ve ever been annoyed and distracted by ads, popups, videos which run without your permission you need this!

In addition to (almost 100%, nobody’s perfect) eliminating the commercials while leaving the meat of a web page, Mercury Reader also allows you adjust font size, copy text, and even adjust the background color from white to black. You can print the cleaned-up page, send it via email, even make a PDF of it. You can even send pages to your Kindle reader, though I haven’t tried that.

The upper right of my screen in Chrome browser.

With Mercury Reader, I make the most of my screen time!

Let me get back to me on that…

I love to cruise the ‘net, but alas… I get so easily distracted. So I’ve learned how to save articles and feast on leftovers later. Kinda like eternal Tupperware.

If you’re running the latest version of Chrome on your computer, you’ve probably noticed the Reading List button—it’s right below your avatar in the top right corner of the browser, unmistakably labeled “Reading List.” (On an iPhone or iPad? Tap the three dots in the bottom right of the screen.)

Using the Reading List is the same as bookmarking a web page. It’s available in Chrome on the desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and for iPhone and iPad. Android user? Read this.

Pages saved to your Chrome Reading List can be read without an internet connection—though you do need internet to add to the list.

I prefer Pocket myself; It’s the graphics it saves that help me remember why I wanted to get back to me on that. It also can read many of your saved articles to you. I do need some organizational skills though so I should probably read this.

How about sending webpages to your Kindle? Yup, you can do that.

The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Want a deeper dive?

Should I use CC? or BCC?

Probably only us oldsters know that CC: stands for the time-honored “carbon copy” for business correspondence. But we don’t need to sigh over those faint, smudged carbon copies because the e-revolution brought us something much more exciting: BCC‘s. That stands for “blind carbon copies”, or “don’t tell him but I sent her a copy” (or vice versa, of course, to be inclusive. )

So what to use when, how to use the “to” field, and what do your choices look like to your recipients?

In short, every recipient email address you enter into the “to” and “CC” fields will be able to see each other.  The email addresses you add to the “BCC” field will not be visible to the “to” and “CC” recipients or the other “BCC” recipients. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • To: enter the email addresses of the people the email is specifically targeted to
  • CC: enter the email addresses of people you want to know about the email, remembering that everyone involved will have access to these email addresses
  • BCC: enter the email addresses of the people you want to know about the email but not announce to everyone else that they are getting a copy, and/or to not broadcast their email address to others, including others who might be in the bcc list.

The most important use, in this writer’s humble opinion, for BCC is whenever you’re sending an email to many recipients who don’t know each other. Using BCC is crucial in this situation. You don’t want to higgledy-piggledy give everyone on your [business/ personal/club/interest] list, everyone else’s email.

And as a recipient of same, what’s expected of you?

Email etiquette dictates that only the main recipients of the email appear in the “To” field. Primary recipients are more directly affected by the email and are typically expected to respond or take action. For CC recipients, on the other hand, responding and acting are generally optional. The key purpose of the CC field is to simply keep someone in the loop. It’s often called a “courtesy copy” for this reason.

Responding to emails based on how you rank:

CC’d individuals will receive all additional responses to the email, assuming the “Reply All” function is used. BCC’d recipients do not receive additional emails unless you choose to forward them.

The most important thing I learned when writing this post for you:

When typing your reply to an email, start by DELETING the person’s email address. Then write your reply. That way, deciding to send that overcomplicated/ incorrect/ snarky reply will be your choice as you re-enter the recipient(s) name(s), rather than a hasty decision you’ll regret 30 seconds later.

Info in this post from, and more info available, at

It’s alive! It’s ALIVE!

Remember when we saw all the wonderful things that we could do with computers, circa 1982? Pretty cool, huh. We could balance our checkbooks and dial a number until it’s answered. (Well, nix on that last thing, right?)

Well, here’s something else that can be done, and I think it’s just about the BEST thing to do:

Keep old books alive. It’s a fascinating process.

To be able to have not only well-known information at our fingertips but more obscure information? Such as The Florida driving test no longer requires parallel parking (learning to parallel park took up my entire summer of ’63.) Or what was in your kitchen cupboards in 1925. If you wanted, you can read all about it in a 1925 book called The story of a pantry shelf thanks to a book kept “alive” by the Internet Archive.

But digitizing old books is not all the Internet Archive does. One way to use the Internet Archive that you may be familiar with, is to see what web sites used to look like. Here’s STUG’s website in 1996: