Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

Solutions: Options are out there for free PDF creation tools

Effective Jan. 10, PDF creation tools will no longer be offered through Acrobat.com and will be available only through Adobe for a low monthly price. Do you have any recommendations to replace this formerly free capability?

There are many free PDF creation programs such as PrimoPDF, which can be found at download.cnet.com (search for PrimoPDF). For Microsoft Office 2010 users, that capability is built-in (Save to PDF…). A free add-in for Office 2007 is available at www.microsoft.com/download; search for SaveAsPDFandXPS.exe.

About a month ago, I received an email that claimed to be from one of my sons. His name was in the "from" window of the email. The only thing in the message part of the email was a link. I clicked on the link, which took me to what looked like a website infomercial. I thought it was a joke. Later, while talking with my son via Skype, I mentioned the email, but he said he had not sent it and suggested that I forward it to him so that he could investigate. I recently received a similar email from my sister.

These emails may be spoofed (made to look like it is from someone other than the real sender) or perhaps you or someone you know inadvertently made their address book available through a social website. It is not uncommon and is not necessarily a virus. It's always a good idea to report this to the person being spoofed. To be on the safe side, tell them to consider changing their email password. You should do this as well.

The Windows 8 interface is radically different from previous versions, nothing like what I was used to. Is there an option that will allow Windows 8 to use the older, more familiar interfaces?

This is a common sentiment for many people regarding the new Windows 8 interface. I recently helped a good friend transition his old Windows XP PC to a new Windows 8 PC. Like many, he felt a little lost with the new interface. Unfortunately, there isn't a built-in Windows 8 option for changing the interface. However, I came across a free program by the name of Classic Shell (classicshell.sourceforge.net). After a quick and easy installation, the familiar Start button was back along with all the familiar folder-structured menu of programs and options. The Windows live tile interface is still there, but one click to the Desktop and you're back in familiar territory.

I've heard that Microsoft Security Essentials is not compatible with Windows 8. Why?

Windows 8 comes with a very robust antivirus built in to the operating system. It is now called Windows Defender (once again). I know the revolving names are confusing, but this was a good move by Microsoft. If for some reason you decide to install a third-party antivirus solution made for Windows 8, you must first disable Windows Defender.

Send questions to [email protected] or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

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On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

On Jan. 18, 2018: Record cold in Tampa Bay. On Jan. 19, 1977: Snow.

One day. Just one day on a calendar separates an epic cold snap from what was arguably the most historic January weather event in Tampa Bay history.On Thursday, the region dealt with a brutal arctic blast produced record low temperatures that caused ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners are set to unveil a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit. Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional tr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Princess Pigtails' diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care

Princess Pigtails' diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care

Editor’s note: Shannon Colavecchio, a former Tampa Bay Times reporter now living in Tallahassee, decided in the summer of 2016 to begin the process of becoming a foster parent. Having been raised by her grandparents after her biological mother ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: One more chilly morning before a return to Florida weather

Forecast: One more chilly morning before a return to Florida weather

Tampa Bay can finally bid farewell to this week’s stretch of brutally cold conditions.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area It will be a bit of a slow return to normal, as some residents are still waking up to frost and sub-fr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON — A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: WWII veteran’s missing dog tags returned; can bus rapid transit solve Tampa Bay’s transit woes?; Lightning’s slide continues; tips for attending Gasparilla Children’s Parade

The Daystarter: WWII veteran’s missing dog tags returned; can bus rapid transit solve Tampa Bay’s transit woes?; Lightning’s slide continues; tips for attending Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Thankfully, the cold snap is over. Today’s temperature will rise into the 60s, according to 10Weather WTSP. And the weekend will be beautiful: Saturday and Sunday will both b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Daniel Ruth: If it’s time to move on from light rail, let’s move faster this time

Daniel Ruth: If it’s time to move on from light rail, let’s move faster this time

Perhaps it was that noted existentialist philosopher Kenny Rogers, or maybe it was the post-modernist French thinker Michel Foucault, who first said, "You need to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em." But let’s not quibble.If you are one ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER — Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER — By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows he’s now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18
New editor: Help me learn the Florida way

New editor: Help me learn the Florida way

It was one more reminder of how much I have to learn about this place.The reporter met me as I came back from lunch on one of the many cold days we’ve had recently. She’d received a tip about a snook kill in Hernando Beach. Did I think we should writ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago