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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, June 15, 2014

To all the Dads, we wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!!

The editors of this newsletter will be taking vacation for the next three weeks. We wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Don't Let Car Rental Companies Take You for a Ride
Special Series: Using the Windows 8 Search Feature
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Ejecting Drives
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer - Disable Aero on Windows 7 or Vista
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Using iCloud
Websites of Interest: Father's Day; Summer Solstice; Independence Day

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Special Feature: Don't Let Car Rental Companies Take You for a Ride

By Audri Lanford of scambusters.org

Has this happened to you: You've booked a great deal on a rental car, only to get sticker shock once you hit the auto rental counter. You wonder: how do car rental companies manage to extract so much extra money?

Here are five ways car rental agencies stretch extra dollars out of that economy rental -- and what you should do about them:

1. Don't Buy the Gas

This is probably the best known way car rental companies boost their profits. There are several variations of this tactic, but a common one is that the rental agent offers you the option of buying a full tank of gas at a "reduced" price. Or you can fill up the tank before you bring the rental car back.

Usually, the so-called reduced price falls within pennies of the gas you can buy at a nearby station. And what happens to any unused gas you leave in the car? You guessed it -- the company gets to re-sell it at a "reduced" price to the next customer.

Unless you are habitually tardy at airports and risk missing your flight, opt to buy the gas yourself before you return the vehicle.

And be sure you understand what a "full" tank of gas means -- or you could be charged a $10 (or more) surcharge!

2. When Upgrades Cost -- Just Say No

Here's a scam one subscriber shared with us:

"My wife was persuaded to upgrade her rental because the car I had reserved for her was 'not powerful enough' for a three hour trip on major highways out in Arizona. Instead of refusing... she paid the $60 more."

When car rental companies run out of the class of vehicle you have reserved -- as often happens with economy vehicles -- they usually offer to upgrade you to a more expensive class for free.

But before they do, they may try to talk you into the upgrade -- and charge you for it.

This is a scam. Just say no and get the vehicle you came for. Or, if they don't have the vehicle you reserved, let them offer you the upgrade for free. After all, it's rare the car you rented "isn't powerful enough." ;-)

3. Don't Double Your Insurance

You're at the sales counter and they ask you: Do you want the insurance coverage? Sounds like something you might need, right?

Not always.

Many times the insurance offered by agents duplicates insurance you already have. And at $30 per day, insurance is one of the biggest fees car rental agencies use to boost your bill.

Coverage is optional, and in most locations, the company cannot refuse to rent a car to you if you decline them.

If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, it likely will extend that coverage to a rental vehicle, eliminating the need for a Collision Damage Waiver.

Important Action: Call your own insurance companies before you rent a car to find out ahead of time if there is any reason to buy additional coverage. Also call your credit card company. Many credit cards automatically provide car rental insurance as a benefit of using their credit card to pay for the rental -- you just need to find out beforehand.

Finally, be sure that any dents or other problems are clearly marked on your contract before you drive away. You don't want to be charged for someone else's damages!

4. Taxes, Fees and Other Things Your Rental Company May Not Be Telling You

The base fee on your rental may sound great, but to get the REAL price of that rental, you need to know the state sales taxes, local taxes, airport surcharges and licensing fees. Be sure and ask for these before you make your reservation -- or you could be VERY unpleasantly surprised!

A 2005 Travelocity study found that major American airports tacked on an average of 25.8 percent to your total bill in local and state taxes. The worst offender, Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, charged a price 66.1 percent higher than their car rental base price.

Likewise, the airport may charge additional fees -- such as concession recovery fees and customer facility charges -- that can ratchet up the price as much as 10 percent.

Unfortunately, these taxes and fees are hard to avoid -- but you should at least know about them in advance. You might avoid these last fees by renting your car from an off-airport location, but make sure it's worth the inconvenience and any extra transportation expense first.

5. The Fine Print

Some car rental companies charge different rates based on the length of your rental, when you arrive, etc. If your flight is delayed, this can mean your plans -- and your rates -- change.

Car rental companies used to just look the other way -- but now they are more likely to enforce these rules. And these rules are usually buried in the fine print.

So ask them about any charges if your flight is delayed or if there are any other penalty charges -- before you rent. Will there be any drop-off fees if you have to change the airport to which you return your car? What about if you need to cancel your reservation? It's important to understand the costs beforehand so you can make an informed decision.

In summary, car rental base rates sometimes are intentionally low-balled to lure customers to the counter. Don't be fooled. Get the REAL car rental price before booking a reservation, find out your insurance needs ahead of time, and don't pay extra dollars for gas or unnecessary car rental upgrades.

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Special Series: Using the Windows 8 Search Feature

From gcflearnfree.org

Using the Search Feature

Once you've used Windows 8 for a while, you'll start to have more and more files, such as music, photos, and documents. It may sometimes be difficult to find the exact file that you want. You may even have trouble finding a specific app, since Windows 8 has moved everything around. Luckily, there is a built-in search feature, which can help you find files, apps, or almost anything else on your computer.

To Search from the Start Screen:

From the Start screen, type what you're looking for. Your search results will instantly appear on the left side of the screen, and search options will appear on the right.

Using Different Search Options

By default, the search results will show apps. However, you can select different search options on the right side of the screen to find files, settings, and more:

You can select Settings or Files to search for a setting or file.

Searching From the Desktop

If you're on the Desktop, you will first need to press the Windows key to switch to the Start screen, and then type what you're looking for.

Searching on a Tablet

If you're using a tablet without an attached keyboard, you can search by swiping in from the right, and then selecting the Search charm. You can then type what you're looking for.

Do you have a question about Windows 8 that we haven’t covered yet? Please email your question and we’ll cover it in a future newsletter article.
info@computerkindergarten.com

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Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Ejecting Drives

From gcflearnfree.org

Ejecting Drives

When you connect a flash drive or external hard drive to your Mac, it is known as mounting the drive. Before you disconnect the drive, it's important to eject it (or unmount it) properly to avoid damaging the data.

To Eject a Drive

Click the Finder icon on the Dock.
Locate your drive in the sidebar and click its eject button.
The drive will disappear from the sidebar and you can safely disconnect it from the computer.

If your flash drive appears as an icon on the desktop, right-click the drive icon and select Eject. The drive icon will disappear from the desktop. Alternatively, you can click and drag it to the Trash. It can then be safely disconnected from your computer.

 

To review Mac OS X Mavericks Finder, please see these articles from previous newsletters:

Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Finder
http://computerkindergarten.com/042714.html

Mac OS X Mavericks - Finder Tabs
http://computerkindergarten.com/050414.html

Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders
http://computerkindergarten.com/051114.html

 

In our next newsletter: Mac OS X Mavericks - The Dock

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Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer - Disable Aero on Windows 7 or Vista

From howtogeek.com

The Windows Aero Glass interface for Windows 7 or Vista requires a decent video card, you won’t be able to use it on an old clunker computer. For those worried about performance, sometimes squeezing every last drop requires disabling Aero.

Disabling Aero in Windows 8

If you’re trying to disable Aero in Windows 8, you’ll be interested to know that there’s no reason to, because they’ve disabled the Aero transparency theme by default anyway. So there’s no point in bothering for Windows 8 or 8.1.

Disabling Aero for Windows 7

Right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize from the menu.

Scroll through the themes down until you see the Basic themes. Click to select Windows Basic.

Disabling Aero on Windows Vista

Right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize. Click the “Window Color and Appearance” link.

In the next screen, click the link near the bottom for “Open classic appearance properties for more color options”

Disable Aero by choosing Windows Vista Basic in the next screen under Color scheme. Click OK.

This concludes our series Speed Up a Slow Computer. We hope you enjoyed it!

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - Using iCloud

From gcflearnfree.org

Once you've set up iCloud on all of your devices, you can begin using it. For example, take a few photos on your iPad, then exit the Camera app. As soon as your device is connected to Wi-Fi, your photos will be pushed to all your other devices. If you've enabled automatic downloads, you can also begin purchasing music or TV shows, and they'll appear on your devices right away.

Although most iCloud features happen automatically, the backup feature only happens when your iOS device meets certain conditions. It must be plugged into a power source (a wall outlet or computer), connected to Wi-Fi, and also locked. For many people, this means the backup will happen when you charge the device at night.

iCloud.com

One of the best things about iCloud is the fact that you can view your most important information online, even if you don't have any of your devices with you. Simply go to iCloud.com, and sign in with your Apple ID. You'll be able to view your calendar, locate your device, and more right in your web browser.

In our next edition:
Communication Apps

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Websites of Interest:

History of Father's Day
http://www.twilightbridge.com/hobbies/festivals/father/history.html

Fatherville
Here is a website for fathers with a tremendous amount of resources that can make parenting easier.
http://www.fatherville.com

Summer Solstice
June 21 is the first day of Summer. Read facts and information about the Summer Solstice at this site.
http://www.chiff.com/a/summer-solstice.htm

4th of July - Independence Day

Read the Declaration of Independence at this website:
www.usacitylink.com/usa/declaration.html

Learn about history, customs, observances and much more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(United_States)

July 4th articles, video, pictures and facts
http://www.history.com/topics/july-4th

Fourth of July Party Recipes
http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/4th-of-july/index.html