Google Analytics

I have long considered using Google Analytics but frankly became very confused on how to set it up until now. You have to go to Admin and :-

  • Create an account – which website you are analysing
  • Create a property – setup the ID and tracking code that has to be copied the page you are tracking on your website
  • Create a view – how much and what type of information you want to know.

Once you have done this you can then copy the code into your heading. This varies according to style of your chosen web building package eg Wix, WordPress,etc. You can create as many websites as you wish to track using the above method. The main point is to copy that tracking code onto your website.

There is a free Google Analytics app for you to observe the traffic to your website(s). Simple to see at a glance or create reports to view specific information. This is really a beginners approach I don’t claim to be an expert here.

There are stats built into WordPress which makes it very easy to see who and where your audience are looking at your website content

Difference between Local and Microsoft Accounts

Today I was setting up a computer to login as a local user not via Microsoft. It is confusing but here is an explanation from Lifewire that explains what the pro’s and con’s of using either Microsoft or local account:-

What Is a Local Account?

Microsoft Surface laptop
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If you’ve ever signed in to a home computer running Windows XP or Windows 7, then you’ve used a local account.

The name may throw off novice users, but it’s nothing more than an account to access the computer as a default administrator. A local account works on that specific computer and no others.

Benefits of using a local account include:

  • More secure — You create a complex password that works on one computer and nowhere else.
  • Private — Your settings and computer users don’t transmit to remote servers. Everything is stored locally on one computer.
  • Internet-independent — A Microsoft login requires a connection to the internet to retrieve user settings and preferences.
  • Custom login name — You don’t use your email address as a login name, so it won’t be displayed on the login screen when your screen locks.

Choose a local account if you want to keep your experience like it was on previous versions of Windows. You’ll log in, change your settings, install software, and keep your user area separate from others on the system. However, you’ll also miss out on a bunch of features made possible by Microsoft Accounts. 

What Is a Microsoft Account?

A Microsoft Account is a new name for what used to be called the Windows Live ID. If you’ve used services such as Xbox Live, Hotmail,, OneDrive, or Windows Messenger, you have a Microsoft Account. Microsoft has combined these services, providing access to them with a single email address and password.

Having a Microsoft Account means you’ll have easier access to all of Microsoft’s various services but using it with Windows 10 provides a few more perks.

Access to the Windows Store

Signing in to Windows gives you access to the Windows Store where you can download apps to your Windows computer. These apps are similar to the apps found in the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. The difference is that Windows Store apps can be used on a PC. On Windows 10, the Windows Store apps can be used like regular desktop apps.

You’ll find thousands of free apps in categories including games, sports, social, entertainment, photo, music, and news. Some are paid apps, but many more are free of charge, and they’re all easy to use.

Free Cloud Storage

Setting up a Microsoft Account provides you with 5 GB of storage space in the cloud, free of charge. This service, known as OneDrive, stores files online so you can access them from your other devices.

Not only is your data easier to get to, but it’s also easier to share. You can give your friends and family access to files stored in your OneDrive account. With your permission, they can log in to view these files or download a copy.

OneDrive also provides tools for editing your files using Office Online: a suite of simplified Microsoft Office programs for editing and creating documents stored in OneDrive.

If you decide not to use your Microsoft Account with your PC, you still have 5 GB of free storage with OneDrive.

Sync Your Account Settings

Perhaps the most exciting feature of a Microsoft Account is that it stores your Windows 10 account settings in the cloud. When you log in to your account on one Windows computer and set it up the way you like, the changes are stored in the cloud through a process that syncs your desktop with OneDrive.

A Windows 10 account makes sync even better by syncing network profiles, passwords, and Windows Store app settings between accounts. Windows 10 also makes it possible for you to share Wi-Fi passwords seamlessly in the background with your friends and colleagues.

Cons of Logging in With a Windows Account

Some of the downsides of using a Microsoft account to log in to your Windows computer include:

  • Hackable — Since your Microsoft account is stored on the internet, if it gets hacked, the hacker gains access to your computer and every Microsoft service you use.
  • Internet needed — It is possible to login to your computer if you don’t have internet access, but it requires an extra step to confirm that you want to use the latest saved settings.
  • Shared password — If you share a Microsoft login with anyone so they can access the computer, they have access to your Microsoft services and any sensitive information stored there.
  • Less privacy — Your computer settings are stored on Microsoft servers, along with your computer usage, sites you visit, and apps you use.
  • Synced settings — If you use the same Microsoft account on all your devices, your settings are automatically synced across these devices.

Getting locked out of your Microsoft account also means you’ll get locked out of all the devices you use with that account. Thankfully, unlocking your Microsoft password is easy.

Which Account Type Should You Choose?

A Microsoft Account offers many features that a local account does not, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

If you don’t care about Windows Store apps, only have one computer, and don’t need access to your data anywhere but your home, then a local account will work just fine. It’ll get you into Windows and provide you with personal space to call your own.

If you’re interested in accessing all the features that Windows 10 has to offer, then you’ll need a Microsoft Account to take full advantage of them.

The Smyles Podcast

You may have noticed I have been doing a series of Podcasts on Assistive Technology called The Smyles Podcast. If you want to see the whole series then click below. I have not decided how many more I will do . I will stop when I run out of ideas.

Episode 8 – Voice View

This episode is looking at how to make your Smart TV accessible using a screen reader option on the Amazon Fire TV stick and it might be voice controlled ( not tried yet!)

You can find it also as part of a series in The Smyles Podcast . Enjoy and Happy new Year!

Voice View on the Amazon Fire TV Stick

Screenreaders are necessary for the blind and partially sighted to access information. On the Amazon Fire TV Stick under Settings then Accessibility lies Voice View which is a screen reader for the Fire TV Stick. It will allow the user using the remote to navigate through the menu’s and tell you what is listed. Under Accessibility you can also activate audio description on Prime. Obviously, you have to have a Prime account to make this work but you can access movies and have audio description.

Finally, the new kid on the Amazon block is The Cube. This gives voice control to the TV as well as having a screenreader. According to the blurb it can access use Voice View which is great news as the two components of text to speech (screenreader) and speech recognition (Alexa). I previosly tried this with the echo dot but it was limited to commands “Play” and “Pause” and didn’t appear to navigate the menu. So when I purchase one, as I have client who might like this, I will tell you how we got on.

The alternative would be a Samsung TV with text and voice control but it might require button pressing to navigate the system. If voice control is possible with The Cube then this is a viable system for the blind and partially-sighted.

Blind Assisitve Technology Course

Just proposed a new course for people to request. A bespoke course on the use of assistive technology to help the blind and visually impaired. As a volunteer with AbilityNet I do meet a lot of people who are blind or partially sighted and there is some great tech out there that can bring back some of the daily living lost.

From smart speakers to clever glasses there is something to meet the needs of sensory limitations.

Sight loss can be devastating and isolating . But help is at hand. The main need is matching the AT solution to the individual. That is where I come in! That interface between a person’s need and the technology that can help them is vital to finding a solution.

Take a look at:-

Episode 7 – Integrated Packages

I said last week we would discuss integrated packages. What they are? What they do? And most importantly how useful they are? This podcasts explains this and gives an overview of the main providers as well as some insight into cloud storage and thoughts surrounding security and GDPR .