Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Interview with an ID thief

This CNN special report interviews spammer Jason Carpenter. Though it is dated, it is interesting.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I Should Be Studying…

I really should spend my time studying today, but.. I think I’ll do this instead.




Have a safe and happy Holiday!

Today’s free link: Consider Online Gifts for the Web Surfer on your List

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

November 26, 2008 Posted by | how to | Leave a comment

How To Install a New Font

Sometimes, our creative side demands that we use a special, uncommon font– a fancy and festive font perhaps. Fortunately, there are many fonts (and font “families”) available for downloading and adding to your computer’s repertoire.

Last year around this time, I published the article Add color to your documents, and I demonstrated a few word processor tricks to brighten up your Holiday letters of Season’s Greeting. This year, I’m going to suggest you enter “download fonts” in a search engine, and explore the world of typefaces. (Or.. see today’s free link below.)

When you have found one you like, and have downloaded it..
To install a font, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type the following command, “%windir%fonts” (no quotes) and then click OK:
  3. On the File menu, click Install New Font. (Vista users: right-click in a blank area of the fonts folder, and select from the context menu.)
  4. In the Drives box, click the drive that contains the font that you want to add, (usually C:) and turn it blue.
    Note The floppy disk drive is typically drive A. The CD drive is typically drive D.
  5. In the Folders box, click the folder that contains the font that you want to add, and then click OK. (Desktop is found in your User folder. C:UsersusernameDesktop)
  6. In the List of fonts box, click the font that you want to add. To select more than one font at a time, press and hold the CTRL key while you select each font.
  7. Click to select the Copy Fonts To Fonts Folder check box. The new font is saved in the WindowsFonts folder.
  8. Click OK.


Windows supports TrueType fonts, or fonts that are designed especially for Windows which can be purchased and/or downloaded separately. Some programs also include special fonts (which are installed as part of the program installation). Additionally, TrueType or special Windows fonts are frequently included with printers.

Today’s free link: An excellent resource for fonts is 1001 Free Fonts. Each font is available in both a PC (Windows) and a Mac version, so be sure to click the right button.

I’m not sure why.. but this one grabs my attention..
.. but it’s not what I would use in a Holiday Greeting letter. Hmmm… maybe calligraphy?

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 26, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, how to, MS Word, PC, software, tech, tweaks, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Recent Reports Outline Our Lack Of Security

Folks, I really didn’t want to bring these to you during a Holiday period.


So I’m only going to show you the headlines and provide the links so that you can delve further into this alarming state of affairs, if you so choose. This is important stuff, so I encourage you to.

“China is actively conducting cyber espionage as a warfare strategy and has targeted U.S. government and commercial computers, according to a new report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“China’s current cyber operations capability is so advanced, it can engage in forms of cyber warfare so sophisticated that the United States may be unable to counteract or even detect the efforts,” according to the annual report (PDF) delivered to Congress on Thursday. “

From: Report: U.S. vulnerable to Chinese cyber espionage
(If you read it, you’ll see “can engage in” should really read “is engaging in”.. but, that might ruffle some feathers.)


• Bank accounts were the most commonly advertised item for sale on underground economy servers.
• Symantec observed an average of 61,940 active bot-infected computers per day in the second half of 2007.
• The United States had the most bot-infected computers, accounting for 14 percent of the worldwide
total, a slight increase from 13 percent in first half of 2007.
• The education sector accounted for 24 percent of data breaches that could lead to identity theft, more than any other sector.
• Government was the top sector for identities exposed, accounting for 60 percent of the total, a
significant increase from 12 percent in the first half of 2007.
• Theft or loss of computer or other data-storage medium was the cause of the most data breaches that could lead to identity theft during this reporting period, accounting for 57 percent of the total.

Source: Symantec Global Internet Security Threat Report
Trends for July–December 07 (to read the report, click here.)

Today’s free link: Caution– Trend Micro’s Housecall Spoofed.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 25, 2008 Posted by | advice, News, security, tech | 8 Comments

General advice for purchasing a new digital camera*

I have been receiving e-mails here at Tech–for Everyone that have been regarding my recent article about the fella who went traveling, and for the first time left his 35mm gear at home. (He only carried a digital camera.)

These e-mails have been asking me which digital camera it was. The reason they wrote is, they want to buy the same one. I had very carefully avoided naming a specific make or model of digital camera, as (believe it or not) I am not in the business of promoting sales.

But I understand perfectly why people want some advice when it comes to buying a digital camera. There is a whole gaggle of them to choose from– an overwhelming variety.. and when you start shopping, it’s easy to become confused by the jargon.
A “mega” pixel is better than an ordinary, everyday “pixel”.. right? (You bet it is. It contains more vitamins and minerals.)

A long, long, time ago I wrote a three-part advice series on buying a new computer, and today I am going to reiterate a bit of advice from there– when buying a digital camera, you have to hold it in your hands. The “right” camera for you will just, well, “feel right”. If you keep accidentally pushing a button, or put your thumb right on the viewer screen.. that’s not good.

Tip of the day: General advice for purchasing a new digital camera.

* Optical zoom is better than digital zoom. Make sure that the “zoom” feature of your camera is handled by a moving lens. Digital zooming is okay in very small amounts, but the way it works will cause funny-looking “pixilation” when really put to work.
* You want image stabilization. Image stabilization is in my opinion simply a “must have”; fortunately, almost every manufacturer provides it. I won’t spend time, here, describing the different types. If you’re curious, click the link.
* The Megapixel. Folks, there is a lot of confusion regarding the camera jargon word “megapixel”. A higher megapixel number does not necessarily equate with “sharper image” or “clearer picture“.. in fact, they usually have nothing to do with each other.
Megapixels refers to the image (data) size and determines how big an enlargement you can make before you start to experience distortions (think of it as being a bit like film sizes). If the largest prints you ever make are 5 x 7, a three-to-four Megapixel camera is all you need. A 10 Megapixel camera is overkill for the vast majority of uses, and it will simply fill your memory card faster, with fewer shots. (But, you can make poster-size prints.)
* LCD “viewfinder”. I think it is important to have a manual viewfinder, as well as the LCD screen.. but that is personal opinion. In terms of LCD, the two factors to consider are placement and size. It should be big enough that you can see what it is showing when you hold the camera away from your body, and, it should be positioned on the camera in such a way as to not cause you to hold your hand in a funny/odd way so that you can see it.
Important: The LCD screen not only needs to be large enough to see, but it needs to be bright enough that you can see the preview when you’re outdoors in sunshine. If the image looks kind of dim in the store…
* And I’d like to repeat, your camera should just feel right in your hand.
* Don’t buy features you won’t use. If you are not a photography buff, and don’t want to memorize a 200-page owners manual, then you don’t want to buy a D-SLR; you want a “point-and-shoot”, (You won’t impress anybody with it anyway) and you don’t need 24 “settings” if you’re only going to use one. Right? Right.

Today’s free link: If you are like the fella I mentioned in the original articles, and like to read reviews and technical specs, or if you just want more information about digital photography (maybe it’s your hobby), check out

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, Digital camera, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tips for computing in public

Let me ask you a question: if you were on a long flight, were restless and bored, and the person in the seat next to you took out a laptop and fired it up, would you peek at their screen? Be honest now. Would you? Of course you would.laptop_privacy

I read somewhere that 45% of travelers answered “yes” to that  question in a survey. That strikes me as a low number (and tells me more about how people answer surveys than anything else). I mean.. what else is there to look at?

The fact is, in part thanks to the availability of WiFi and public “hotspots”, more and more people are becoming “road warriors” and take their notebook computers with them when they travel. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, people are using computers out in public — where prying eyes can see. You will see people on computers at the library, at Starbucks, and on planes… well, pretty much anywhere.

This raises some security issues, and some privacy issues. “Shoulder surfing” and “screen snooping” can reveal things about yourself that it might not be wise to reveal. Your email address for example. (And if you’re using an ATM, entering your PIN..)
There are several security factors to consider when using public WiFi, which I will discuss in a future article(s), such as packet capture, man-in-the-middle, and rogue access points, but today I just want to discuss your privacy.

Tip of the day: Keep your screen private. If you are like me, you really don’t want strangers reading your computer screen. If you are careless enough, someone could watch you and learn things that would allow them to steal your identity. A business competitor could steal company secrets (a brief aside: corporate information loss damages range in the billions each year, though screen snooping is not the usual method for loss). Besides, my “stuff” is my stuff.

If you do any public computing, in any sort of public place, I highly recommend you invest in a privacy screen filter. These are special plastic sheets that fit over your screen and only allow viewing from directly in front of the screen. They work sort of like polarizing lenses, or perhaps a slatted window shade is a better example, so that people (eyes) off to the side will only see black. This narrowness of view works well enough that your airplane seatmate will be unable to see a thing.

You might think these privacy filters would reduce your ability to see your screen, or reduce its brightness, but by reducing glare they actually seem to clarify your view. If you don’t like snoops, and want to thwart cyber-criminals, you’ll want one of these screens. The one I recommend is made by 3M.

Today’s free link: I download large files frequently enough that I find a download manager tool invaluable. The one I use is Free Download Manager. From site: “FDM accelerates downloads by splitting files into sections and then downloading them simultaneously. As a result download speed increases up to 600%, or even more! FDM can also resume broken downloads so you needn`t start downloading from the beginning after casual interruption.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 23, 2008 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, gadgets, how to, Portable Computing, privacy, security, tech | 1 Comment

The Right Way To Dispose Of Old Tech Gear

One of the great things about Tech is there’s always something new coming out; and Moore’s Law tells us that the power of computers doubles every 18 months– Tech is ever evolving and advancing.ewaste

What is not so great about that is our gear becomes obsolete, and winds up gathering dust on a closet shelf or taking up room in our garage. What did you do with that huge CRT monitor when you got the nifty flat-panel LCD?

Our old tech equipment contains many materials and chemicals that are quite poisonous — lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, to name a few (aka “e-waste”) — and they must be properly disposed of so they won’t cause an environmental disaster and poisoned water supplies, like it’s currently doing to China, India, and Pakistan.

So, how do you get rid of that old stuff the right way?
Essentially, there’s two good ways to dispose of your old tech gear– recycling, and donation.

Recycling: We know that we can’t just toss our old stuff in the trash, so what do we do with it?
1) You may not know this, but when you purchased your item, you may have also paid a “disposal fee” as part of the purchase price, and the manufacturer will take the old item off your hands (this is standard practice these days). Contact the device manufacturer and ask how to recycle their item.
Dell, for example, will take any Dell product in for recycling at no charge.
2) Your town may accept e-waste for a fee (this covers the cost of properly separating out the toxins), and a Internet search (or the Yellow Pages) will point you to the nearest drop-off point. Also, where I live, there are special “amnesty days” once a year, and toxins can be turned in at no cost.
3) Another form of recycling is donation, where your old tech can be put back to beneficial use.

Donation: I am a big fan of donating tech and getting more life out of it. Two factors must be considered when thinking about donation: the age of the device, and whether it’s in working order. If the device is of a fairly recent vintage, it probably can be put to use whether it’s currently working or not– but no matter how well it’s working, nobody’s going to want Pentium II computers, 10 Mbps co-axial networking gear, and daisy-wheel printers (okay.. maybe somebody would.. but good luck finding them!)

1) Your old tech may actually be worth a few dollars. Repair tech’s like me sometimes acquire old equipment for replacement parts. If you’ve an inclination, you may want to list your old gear in the classifieds, and/or on sites like eBay and Craig’s List. It won’t make you rich, but you might be surprised at the interest you get.
2) Donating non-working gear can actually assist job training, and so just because it’s not working doesn’t mean you can’t donate it. You may want to check with schools near you and see if they will accept your stuff (I’m thinking High Schools and Adult Schools, but..?) Also, you may want to consider contacting the Free Geek community. is a Website that specializes in helping you locate a place willing to accept your gear.
3) Get a receipt. Your donations may (probably) qualify for tax credits.

Please Note– A word of caution: When getting rid of any device that has storage memory– such as a computer’s hard-drive, or cellphone’s Flash– you must take special precaution and thoroughly eradicate the 1’s and 0’s: simple deleting is NOT ENOUGH. Your data can be retrieved. Please read Delete does NOT erase your data*– preventing recovery and follow the advice there before allowing the device to leave your control.

Today’s free link: Porn Surfing – Put a Software Condom on Your Computer!
Original posting: 8/27/08

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 22, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, PC, recycling, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment