Tech – for Everyone

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

Today, A Guy in the Checkout Line Laughed At Me…

So I asked him, “what’s so funny?”

“It’s not you”, he said. “It’s just good to be be back in Silicon Valley!” And he pointed at my keys.

thumb-drive-1

Doesn’t everybody use a thumb drive as their key fob?

Other signs you may be a Geek: ¹
* You ‘text’ and/or ‘surf’ while walking/skateboarding/riding bicycle/driving.
* You know that BIOS is pronounced “bye-ose”.
* You recently partitioned your hard drive so you could dual-boot to the latest Ubuntu.

¹ Here at T4E Headquarters, “Geek” is a complimentary term.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 7, 2010 Posted by | computers | 7 Comments

A Reminder For Spring

Spring — Time For Taxes And, Cleaning

Recently I posted What The Inside Looks Like… which showed the insides of computers, and a savvy and experienced gentleman wrote in and pointed out that looking inside your PC will reveal a build up of dust and lint. Oh, yes! (Especially if your floor is carpeted.) Like most technicians, I carry a can of air, and as a ‘value add’, will blow that gunk out for my clients. Why?

Tip of the day: Get rid of the dust and lint. Dust and lint can reduce your computer’s performance, cooling efficiency, and even cause ‘fatal’ short-circuits. It is simple, and doesn’t take long.. and it’s important. So for your “Spring cleaning” this year, don’t forget your computer!

* For desktop PCs, unplug your computer’s power cord from the wall and open your computer’s case so you can see all the neat-o circuitry inside. How, exactly your case opens will vary with make/model, but it is usually a side panel, and the side panel is held in place with two thumb-screws (the manufacturer’s website will have instructions).
Once the case is open, use the techniques I described in my printer maintenance article to remove the built-up dust bunnies. Pay special attention to air venting areas (and screens), such as by the power supply. (And, be careful and be gentle.)

* For notebooks, your cleaning is going to be a little different: you will want to get all the debris from out from under your keyboard keys, as I describe in this article. And you’ll want to wipe down your screen with an anti-static cloth (which may may require the slightest [just a drop or two] moistening with plain water.

Today’s free download: PhotoScape “is an all-in-one style photo editor with fun and ease of use. Major capabilities are: viewer, editor, batch editor, page, combine, animated GIF, print, splitter, screen capture, color picker, rename, raw converter, resizing, brightness/color/white-balance adjustment, backlight correction, frames, balloons, text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal and blooming.”

Food for thought:

(01-13) Washington –

Twenty-eight percent of all traffic accidents are caused when people talk on cell phones or send text messages while driving, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Safety Council. (Read more, click here.)

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 7, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IT Service Maintenance center

from: IT Service Maintenance center
reply-to: ITMentainance@mail2webmaster.com
to:
date: Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 4:15 AM
subject: Limit Exceeded

Dear Email user,

This message is from Administration center Maintenance Policy Verified that your mailbox has exceeded its limit. You will be unable to receive new email.

In order to ensure that you don’t experience service interruptions/possible deactivation please you must reply to this email immediately confirming your email account details below for confirmation/identification:

Email Address: ______________
User Name: _______________
Password: _______________

Failure to do this will result in limited access to your mailbox.

From IT Service Maintenance center.

╘ 1996-2010 All Rights Reserved

Maybe I just woke up “on the wrong side of the bed”, or maybe I have just grown too jaded, but sometimes.. every so often.. I sometimes think, “hey, if they are *naive* enough to respond to this, maybe they shouldn’t have a computer”.
But I get over it.

So. What are the clues here, people? How can an experienced person tell at a glance this is a “phishing” attempt?
(Think of it as a quiz. Leave your answer as a Comment [below].)
(Okay, don’t think of it as a “quiz”. Think of it as “helping others”.)

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 7, 2010 Posted by | Internet, security | 2 Comments

Free TaxCut, TurboTax, e-Filing | April is here…*

IRS Program Lets Taxpayers Use Tax Preparation Software and e-File For Free
April 15th Approaches…

(* Reposting) I am like many Americans in that I have become somewhat reliant on my computer to help me do my Federal taxes. It all started with a CD I received in the mail — a free copy of H&R Block’s TaxCut. I tried it. And I found it just a wee bit easier to use and figure out than the 1040A user manual our government provides.

The following year, I received a CD, and the year after that.. and sure enough, I became “hooked” on TaxCut. (I understand that the other tax prep software player(s) did the same in other locations.)

Last year, however, H&R Block neglected to send me a free TaxCut CD.

Well, NBD, I figured. I’ll just go to the H&R Block website and download a copy.
Wrong.
On the site, H&R Block wants to sell me a copy.

By now, I was “jonesing” for my TaxCut “fix”… I almost paid. But with a little further research I found out that to access the free version of TaxCut, I had to first go to to the IRS website.

IRS banner

On the IRS site, there is a page called “FreeFile”, and here you will find the “partnership links” to the free versions of 19 accepted tax prep programs — of which TaxCut (and also TurboTax) is one.
To qualify, you must have an Adjusted Gross Income of $56,000 or less.

Today’s free link: FreeFile at the IRS
Note: there’s two buttons on the page; “I will choose” and “help me choose”. Though all of the programs there are accepted by the IRS, I would recommend clicking the “I will choose”, and then selecting either TaxCut or TurboTax.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 6, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hacker’s Returned Mail, Scammer’s Yahoo Calendar

Two *new* Internet security items for you folks to be alert to:

You have probably received an automated e-mail “delivery failure” notice before, so the cybercrooks are hoping that familiarity (and your curiosity) will get you to click your way to a virus infection with this “look alike” scam.

new_attack

Scammers use “image spam” to bypass your filters (see below), now they are using legit links – in this case Yahoo! Calendar – to lend an air of respectability, as your link scanner tool will give you an “OK” (in this example, WOT).

new_scam156

From:Alex Saviour (alexsaviour@yahoo.com)

http://calendar.yahoo.com/alexsaviourv=126&a1(obfuscated)

Image spam is a kind of E-mail spam where the message text of the spam is presented as a picture in an image file. Since most modern graphical E-mail client software will render the image file by default, presenting the message image directly to the user, it is highly effective at circumventing normal E-mail filtering software.

A game of cat and mouse…

3) Bonus!
And I thought this one was kind of interesting: “to make sure our attack website works.. please make sure you use JavaScript.”

spam asks for JavaScript enable

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 5, 2010 Posted by | cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | , | 5 Comments

Kewel Science

Bionic Eye Attempts to Restore Vision

“A bionic eye prototype developed by researchers in Australia aims to implant an array of electrodes in the eye that can deliver electrical impulses directly to neurons in the retina.

The group, called Bionic Vision Australia, has developed a device called the wide-view neurostimulator for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss.

It is really designed to give people back their mobility so they can move around their environment and avoid obstacles,” says Anthony Burkitt, research director of Bionic Vision Australia. “We are also working on a second-generation product that will help people recognize faces and read large print.”  Read the whole article here.

bionic-eye-australia
Yes.. the idea of “bionic” implants is the sort of stuff science fiction writers have been playing with for years. And implanting tech in our bodies does raise some “slippery slope” concerns, worthy of some lively debate. But, don’t doubt, we are now at the stage of Man’s development where “micro” surgical techniques are sufficiently developed, and the technology sufficiently “miniaturized”, that science fiction like this is becoming our reality. Sure, this is only a 1st Gen prototype, but…

Yes.. I have some concerns. But, helping a blind “vision-challenged” person “see” — what could possibly be wrong with that?

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 5, 2010 Posted by | News, tech | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sunday Funnies 2

Folks I hope you have a happy Easter. Here’s a great pic to help you smile.

Synjin by Janice Winsor - All Rights Reserved
“I thought I saw that ‘any’ key right over…”

This ARR© photo was generously and graciously offered for my readers to view. Please, do not copy or otherwise reproduce it without first receiving permission.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 4, 2010 Posted by | computers | | 4 Comments