DEAR SUN SPOTS: What has happened to Windows 7? I want to purchase a new computer but do not want windows 8 or 8.1. I tried one, and it was complicated. Where can I buy a new computer with Windows 7? Thanks. — Jean, Rumford

ANSWER: You have touched a sore spot with Sun Spots, who has been struggling with a recent upgrade to 8.1 and muttering about Microsoft under her breath.

She consulted Mr. Sun Spots, a technology professional, on your problem as well as hers, and came up with three options.

1. Buy an older model computer that has Windows 7 on it. They are still available, although Microsoft will eventually pull them from the market. You can look online or at a store such as Best Buy.

Sun Spots searched on eBay for “computer with Windows 7” and got plenty of responses. The same search at bestbuy.com also came up with many hits. Of course, these computers may not have some of the more recent bells and whistles.

2. Buy the software for Windows 7 and move your computer back. This is probably not a good solution for inexperienced users, as problems may result with some applications.

3. Download a free copy of Classic Shell at www.classicshell.net. This is a program that recreates the traditional Windows interface, blue screen, start menu and all. The Spotses have been using it for quite some time on their newest computer and are very pleased with it.

Classic Shell is one of a category of software called donationware. The programmer writes a program and gives it away free, requesting donations of willing givers but not charging regular fees.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Once again I ponder and just have to ask this question. In the Sunday edition of the Sun Journal the paper that the classifieds are printed on is much heavier than the rest of the paper. Why is that? Just curious. Thanks. — Richard Rau, [email protected]

ANSWER: Sun Spots got your answer from James Costello Jr., who is in charge of the printing of the paper. He wrote:

“We generally use a 30-pound newsprint-grade product to print the paper. For the Sunday paper we use a 55-pound newsprint-grade paper on the front of our classified section and sometimes the comic section.

“Those are the two sections that are printed ahead of time, and we utilize them to put inserts in. The heavier paper helps make the product stiff enough to run through our inserting equipment and put other products inserts into it.

“We then run that product back through the inserting equipment on Saturday night and put it in the main four sections we print live. This allows us to put more inserts in the paper and get the product out to our customers faster.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Here’s a tip for those looking for old newspaper reports and articles. Many newspapers have been indexed from other parts of the country, and I’ve found that including “Lewiston” in my search terms sort of limits my search to our Lewiston Sun/Journal papers.

All our local newspapers’ past names have included “Lewiston” in their name over the years (Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston Daily Sun, Lewiston Sun Journal, etc.). Including Lewiston is thus helpful even if you’re looking for something that deals with Auburn. The word “Lewiston” appears on every page along the top.

You can also use the feature directly from Google by typing “site:google.com/newspapers (then your search terms).” Here’s an example pre-made for an old newspaper search for Auburn City Hall: http://bit.ly/1fe05Ux. And here’s one using quotes that would find anything about Barker Mill from yesteryear: http://bit.ly/1fe3gvn. — David Gudas, Lewiston, [email protected]

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]


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