Tech – for Everyone

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

Im young cute and fun, but im sitting at home alone.

It has been a while, so.. here you go. A snapshot of Crime In Progress.

Do you ever wonder.. what are these *people* thinking? Wonder how their brain works?

And when you think about the fact that something like 90% of Internet use – at any given moment – is *people* sending this *stuff* …

Well. I guess they have to do something with their time…

And now – finally – in mid 2012 – I have run out of any sympathy for any person who responds to one of these.

“GREATNESS CHANCE DEAL” ??????????! (Nice nonsense to SHOUT.)(Love the name, tho – “Aart”.)

Related? Here’s something from Readers Digest (remember them?) Dumb Human Behavior to Avoid

Today’s quote:Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

Bonus: I have to wonder.. what are the kids smoking?

Zoosk? Seriously? Now there is a word that instills confidence..
Zoosk? C’mon. Time to grow up.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | cyber crime, Internet, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | 6 Comments

Poll Results: How Much Time Online Is “Too Much”.

Let me start out today with a little reminiscing. When I was a young man, long ago, before Pong, and helmet laws, a fella told me a few words of wisdom. He said, “if everyone you meet tells you that you have a tail, then – as impossible as it sounds – you better wake up to the fact that you do have a tail.

I didn’t really get what he was trying to say. I don’t think.

This feels like a subject change, but it’s not: a short while ago I posted a poll, which readers could “vote” on. The poll asked how many hours a day, spent in front of a computer, online, would constitute “too many” — a possible “problem”. (See, Too Much Time Online?)

I included “there is no such thing” as a voting choice.

To save you a click, let me sum up the results. The answer “there is no such thing” (as too many hours online) was the clear “winner” (and had twice as many votes as it’s nearest competitor -> 4 hours). I will also say that not enough people participated in this poll for the numbers to really mean anything. But I found it curious/interesting none the less.

While the poll was open, I refrained from commenting. I will do so now.

First, I was not surprised by this result. And too, in a way, the poll had the same inherent flaw you would have if you asked ” how many beers/day is too many?” and let active drunkards participate. (You would see answers like “650”.)

Yes, IMHO there is – indeed – such a number as “too many hours”. I don’t know what that number might be (and I suspect it varies) but I refer you to my little parable from my youth (above).

If your husband/wife/significant other has told you, more than once, you are spending too much time “playing at the computer”, well, then, dangit, you may very well have a tail.
(If you have been “dumped” because you sat at the ‘puter too much, then there’s no guesswork.. you do have a tail.)

Have you failed to complete homework because that arena match was so wicked awesome it didn’t end until 5:45 a.m.? Like.. more than a few times? And now Teacher wants to see you after school?
You may have a tail.

Do you talk to people you have never actually met more than you do your family (assuming you have one..) ?
Tail.

Is your online activity causing your bank account balance to be too low to meet your month’s obligations? Has this happened before?
Tail!

If people close to you are always complaining  (because they just don’t “get it”) about your ‘puter time, well, my opinion, I think maybe, it’s you who does not “get it”.

.. now, I am not going to start using words like “addiction”. And only you can decide if there’s a problem (and if so, how serious a one). Nor am I going to offer any solutions for you. I am just a repair technician. But I do talk to people. I know a few who say it was the Internet that caused their divorce. And I have heard more than one parent complain about how the kids never look up from their devices…

(I think the measuring stick here is “neglect”.)

I do have two items for you — if this topic interests you at all, that is. (And please note, they use “addiction”, not me..)

* There’s an online addiction assessment test you can take if you have suspicions/concerns about how much time you or a loved one is spending online.

* Internet Addiction and Internet Sex (This is a good read [from my Blogroll].)

*     *     *

No intro needed: Report: Android Malware Growing Exponentially

 “Android devices are being heavily targeted by hackers and malware producers.Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:What you get free costs too much.” ~ Jean Anouilh

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Android, computers, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

So What’s New In The World?

For the past several days, I have been noticing that my Spyware Doctor has been downloading new “definitions”.

Nothing unusual there. You want your protection to keep itself updated. But what did strike me as unusual was that there has been two or three large downloads each day. That is a lot of activity. Which (probably) means the hackers¹ are active. Due to that, I have been keeping a closer eye on my InfoSec news headlines. Here’s a few that might interest you…

* Cyber crime ringleader sentenced to five years in prison

One of the masterminds behind the infamous “Operation Phish Phry” was sentenced by a district judge to five years in prison for her part in the international ring.Read more..

So.. by miracle, they actually catch one of these *people*…
And give them a 5 year sentence (out in 3?).
Hmmm…
Crime pays?

Do you remember MySpace? Some people used it, I have heard.

* MySpace settles with FTC after misleading users

After being charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with sharing its users’ personal information, including browsing habits, with advertisers, social networking service MySpace has agreed to settle…Read more..

As part of the settlement, MySpace must undergo biennial audits for the next 20 years and is blocked from making future privacy misrepresentations of its users’ information.

Ewww… scary punishment. (And this is when you get caught.)
Hmmm.. Graft pays? (“Graft” is not the right word.. um.. hmmm.. “deception”?)

* MySpace employee fired for stealing info

An employee of the social networking site MySpace was recently fired after collecting the sensitive data of co-workers.

How many victims? Unknown.

What type of personal information? Names, Social Security numbers and compensation information.Read more..

Fired? Hmmm… do we need to bring back tar and feathered?

And closer to home..

* Data on 700K California home care workers, recipients lost

The personal information of home care workers and their elderly and disabled recipients may have been compromised when the storage device on which it was contained was lost in the mail.

How many victims? 700,000

What type of personal information? Full names, Social Security numbers, wages, and state identification numbers.Read more..

(Paul bangs forehead on desk.) (Can you say “encryption”?)

Keeping a sharp eye out: You can barely notice Google’s warning – in fact, you have to be actively looking for it, it is so obscure – but it seems the popular Urban Dictionary website has may have been “hacked” (aka “compromised”, aka “poisoned”)…

click on me

To find out what it means when you see that on a Search result, click here.

Be nice if Google made those warnings a little more NOTICEABLE wouldn’t it? (But doing so might erode Consumer Confidence.)

*     *     *

Watching these headlines for years… I think I am becoming a wee bit discouraged. Most discouraging? Nobody seems to care.

¹ You do know the media term “hacker” means “cyber criminal”.. right?

Be careful online folks. Use good healthy paranoid common sense. Keep your anti-malware up-to-date (even you Mac owners). And try not to give too much of your PII (personally identifiable information) away.. clowns will just lose it in the mail. Or store it on a server running unpatched Win2K..

Happy Monday.

“… it would be wise to proceed with caution.” ~ Google

Related: Report says cyber security still takes a backseat for major companies

While they are some of the most distinguished enterprises in the world, and considered big targets for cyber attacks, the report indicates that top-level management at the firms still neglect suitable governance over the “security of their digital assets.Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” ~ George S. Patton

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 21, 2012 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Simple Things In Life

(AKA “Sunday Beauty #88)

Here is another pretty picture for your Sunday.

Click on image to see more by this artist

“Red at night” by mrbillt6, courtesy of Flickr Commons

It flew right over me!
(Click to see larger)

Not applicable to most of you: If you are here in (or very near) the Silicon Valley area, and you love warbirds, you may want to know that once again the Wings Of Freedom group is at Moffett, and you can go for a ride in a real airplane from WW II.

Today’s quote:Better to fight for something than live for nothing.” ~ George S. Patton

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 20, 2012 Posted by | Digital Images | , | 3 Comments

Saturday Software Giveaway

Folks, I have another nice surprise today. My recent license giveaway received enthusiastic audience response and feedback, so for those who missed out, I am repeating it.

PearlMountain Image Converter is a photo converter as well as batch image converter, which helps you convert images to other formats, resize, rotate, crop, add watermark, apply effects and add border to thousands of images at a time.

Some of the features include:

•    Convert thousands of files at once in batch mode.
•    Supports the most popular image formats: BMP, JPEG, TIFF, RAW, PNG, GIF, TGA, and PSD, and almost all image formats.
•    Save operations that you usually use as profiles and bring convenience to you in the future.
•    Convert between many different image file formats.
•    Resize image for any different use, such as for web, e-mail, photo printing, Facebook, MySpace, mobile phone, ipod/ipad/iphone, etc., with optimum quality.
•    Add image and text watermark for Image Copyright Protection
•    Adjust image brightness, contrast and saturation in batch to make your images look more special.
•    Apply borders to your images.
•    Crop photos, removing unwanted areas.

Product info page: http://www.batchimageconverter.com/image-converter/

Due to time constraints, I only had time to play with test this utility a little bit. So I can only tell you it worked, and that I enjoyed the animated GIFF feature (aka “no product review here.”) And for me, there was zero “learning curve”, as I have used this type of graphics program before. But even if you have not, learning how to make optimum use of this photo/image tool should not take long.. maybe, mere minutes. (The link above has a illustrated How To. Take a peek, and see for yourself.)

I can also say that the feedback I received from prior winners was positive.

PearlMountain has again generously donated ten licenses to me, and I have had the pleasure to give them away – to the first ten people who leave a comment with a valid (not Facebook) email (so I can send you the license keycode). This software retails for $29.90.

Thank you, PearlMountain!

You can download a full-featured “trial” version, here, if you’d like. It will put a watermark on any output files, but otherwise performs just like the paid version.

Sorry, the giveaway has been given away.

Today’s quotable quote:It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 19, 2012 Posted by | computers, free software, tech | , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

How About Some Friday Fun?

Do you like puzzles?

Okay. I have one for you. Can you explain why a “company” (and I do use the term loosely) which produces not one thing (aka “goods”), has no assets (other than a few employees), and probably is responsible for reducing the GNP (by enhancing worker un-productivity), can be “valued” at $104 BILLION (and climbing)?

Uh.. really?

I don’t really want an answer to that. They make money.. it’s as simple as that. But how? Could it be from all our personal information they’ve been sucking up like a Hoover vacuum?
Nah.

One day I, too, want to be a 28 year old MULTI-BILLIONAIRE.  So I won’t knock it.

But still.. maybe ask yourself: isn’t there something wrong here? (I never took more than Economics 101, but, maybe.. we need to bring back the Gold Standard..?)

Related:

* Facebook IPO Valuation Sets Record: Is It Really Worth $104 Billion

“Facebookfinally set its IPO price Thursday evening: $38 a share, for a record-setting value of $104 billion on the social media giant. Is it worth it?” Read more..

* WOW! Facebook Is Now Worth More Than These 10 Huge

 “That means that the total value of Facebook, an eight-year-old company, is more than some of the largest, most successful companies in the Read more..

Update: Facebook’s IPO fails to live up to all the hype

Facebook shares, which underwriters had priced at $38 late Thursday, opened on the Nasdaq stock market Friday just below $43, and in their first hour of trading sank to as low as $38. The stock then recovered as IPO underwriters stepped in to support its price, according to reports. Facebook’s share price eventually finished the day at $38.23. Read more..

More puzzles (and games):

* JigZone is an online Jigsaw Puzzle where you choose the level of difficulty from a simple 6 piece cut to a challenging 247 piece cut.  A new Puzzle-of-the-day every day.

* PuzzleFactory.com Online Puzzle Games – Flash Games PuzzleFactory.com Online Games Puzzles. Retro. Arcade. Sudoku. Casino. Racing. Dress Up. Driving. Strategy. Board Games. Action. Adventure. Customize

Fun video:

Today’s quote:

Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of.

I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks.” ~ spambot comment left on yesterday’s article.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 18, 2012 Posted by | computers, Gaming, Internet, News, tech | , , | 6 Comments

How To Remove Windows 8 From Dual-boot (or Multiboot) Machines

Easily Remove Windows 8 Beta from Your PC

The time has come for me to uninstall Windows 8 Developer Preview (I just could not adapt to Metro). Here’s how I did it.

To test out the new Windows operating system, I had created a 3rd partition on the machine’s hard drive and installed the Win8 DP there. The other 2 partitions held a Vista and a Win 7 operating system. My concerns about removing Win 8 centered on the fact that Windows 8 had installed its own bootloader — would simply deleting the (Win8) partition prevent the other OSes from booting? To eliminate that possibility, I started the operation by editing the machine’s BCD file ¹.

** Backup Your Important Files To Another Location Before Doing Things Like This! **

1) Download BootICE (or EasyBCD) and extract it. ¹ It is a “portable” app, so you can run it from a thumb drive, or your Desktop. Double-click to Run (aka Open) the bootice.exe file.

2) Click on the BCD Edit tab, then click the “View / Edit” button.

3) In the left column, click on the “Windows 8” entry and turn it blue (aka “select” it)…

.. and then click the “Del” (delete) button.

4) Reboot the machine. You should now see the old style multi-boot menu. Choose one of your older OSes (in my case, I chose Windows 7).

5) Now you can go into Disk Management and delete the partition where you had installed Windows 8, and reclaim the space it took up.

5a) Press the Windows Key + “R” key to launch a Run dialogue box, and type “diskmgmt.msc” (no quotes) into the run box.

5b) Right-click on the appropriate drive in the list, and click on the Delete Volume option in the context menu. You will be prompted and warned that all data will be lost, select “Yes” to continue. (You did make a copy of anything important, right?)

5c) You should now see “empty” space.. and the top bar has turned black. Right-click on the the partition the partition with the blue header, directly before it, and select Extend Volume from the context menu.

A “wizard” will open – simply click “next”, “next”, OK.

That’s it. You’re done. Windows 8 is gone, and your machine is back to how it was before you installed the beta.

¹ Note: This is for machines where at least one of the other operating systems is Vista/Win 7 (which uses a bcd boot loader). If the only other OS in your multiboot setup is XP, you might try the msconfig method instead of Steps 1 – 3. A tutorial for that is here.

 Today’s quote:A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 17, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments