Tech – for Everyone

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

I may start surfing with Chrome…

I won’t use Google’s Chrome browser; but this headline has me considering switching to it. (I hope the other browsers will do the same.)

* Google boots China’s main digital certificate authority CNNIC

Google says a future update in Chrome will remove trust for all certificates from China’s main root certificate authority.Read more..

And yet more good news:
* Inexpensive table-top robots will disrupt light manufacturing

Collaborative robots for light industry are coming along at precisely the right moment. They’re primed for quick adoption, and that means big changes for small- and mid-sized manufacturers.” Read more..

[ .. I think “disrupt” has now come to mean “eliminate all jobs”. ]

* Lebanon Believed Behind Newly Uncovered Cyber Espionage Operation

Middle East, US, and other targets hit in nearly three-year-old ‘Volatile Cedar’ cyber attack campaign.Read more..

Best for last * Healthcare Is Ignoring Cyber Risk Intel, Academia Even Worse

For all of 2013 and 2014, the healthcare sector was abuzz with cyber activity invisible to most. As the weeks rolled by, the cyber event data collected and analyzed by our analytic data warehouse increasingly brought an image into sharp focus — and it was beginning to look a lot like an active radar console of the skies over Iraq circa 1991.” Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” ~ Andy Rooney

Copyright 2007-2015 © “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.

April 2, 2015 Posted by | browsers, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Cyberwarfare, Google, Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internet Explorer Favorites Are Missing

Bookmarks (called “Favorites” in Internet Explorer) make returning to our favorite Websites an easy task, and I — for one — rely on mine. The other day I got a call from someone whose Favorites had disappeared. Quite naturally, I think, they wanted to get them back, and came to me for aid.

An important thing to understand is that Favorites and Bookmarks are shortcuts.. just like the icons on your Desktop are shortcuts to programs (.exe’s) located in your c:\Program Files folder. Your “Favorites” are simply a list of shortcuts to URL’s, and when you click on the gold star Favorites icon, this list is displayed. You can (and should) “export” this list to other browsers, a comma-separated-values (.csv) file, or a HTML file.. And you can add and delete items from this list as your heart desires.
[note: Firefox answer is here: Restore Bookmarks in Firefox– quick tip]

Tip of the day: IE is a integral component to Windows, and Windows stores your custom configurations in your User Account– your Desktop icons, Theme, Settings, etc.. Windows allows for multiple users, and each person who uses the machine should have their own user account– it also has some built-in accounts, like Administrator, and Guest (or “Public”).

If your Favorites list is empty, and not displaying any shortcuts, the first thing you should check is that you’re logged into your User Account. Click the Start button, and then choose “Log off” (or “Switch User”, depending) and verify that you are indeed logged into your user profile (and not Guest or Admin..).

If this is not the issue, navigate to the folder that contains the shortcuts list– this is called “Favorites”, and it’s located in your User folder. In XP, your User folder is in the Documents and Setting folder, so your path is C:\Documents and Settings\username*\Favorites.
In Vista and Windows 7, it’s C:\Users\username\Favorites.

Open the Favorites folder and see if your bookmarks are there. If they’re not, well, something’s happened to them somehow, and this might very well be a cause for concern (has a hacker been playing on your machine?) or it might be just ‘one of those things..’ we Windows users sometimes experience.
To restore the shortcuts, you can “import” a .csv, or .html ‘export’ you made earlier (hint, hint).. or copy the contents from a backup copy of your Favorites folder (which, because you follow my advice, you have on CD/DVD and/or another drive).

Or, you have never exported and haven’t backed up your files and folders.. (ahem), well, here is where you can try System Restore to revert your computer to an earlier date. System Restore does not restore deleted files, but it does store User Account information, and so you may have luck this way.
My article on using System Restore is here.

Today’s free download: PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD image file processing tool, which allows you to open, extract, create, edit, burn, compress, encrypt, split and convert ISO files, and mount these files with internal virtual drive. It can process almost all CD-ROM image files including ISO and BIN.

Today’s quote:People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Let’s review: If your “favorites” list is important to you, back it up. “Export” it to a file. Like, now. (Maybe.. email the file to yourself, too.) The How To steps are here.

Note: You may have noticed from the dates on the screenshot that this article was first published back in 2008. Back then, I used to urge people to “make a backup” at least once a month. Years ago, I gave up .. “wasting my breath”. But, since it is NCSAM, I’ll say it one more time (though the evidence is in and it’s conclusive: not one person will get smart, and follow through. Oh, well. Your loss, tears, and heartache.)

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.

October 27, 2012 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, how to, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Day Early

Made possible by the magic of digital wizardry, I am now in two places at once — here, and away (fishing).

I scheduled this to appear today because I’d like to share with you an important message for your Thursday…

Hey hey mama said the way you move, Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove.

Ah-ah child way you shake that thing, Gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting.

Now, I know that many of you will not recognize the (possibly) most famous opening lines from the (unquestionably) greatest rock and roll band of all time, so I found a video that we can either call “Today’s Educational Video” or “Friday Fun A Day Early”.


Because, I truly believe, it is very healthy to play air guitar every once in a while, and I want us all to be healthy. (So go ahead! It really doesn’t matter if anyone’s looking. [Well.. maybe you don’t want to rock out in front of the boss.. Your call.])

Today’s quote:Party on, Wayne.” ~ Garth Algar (aka Dana Carvey)

Breaking News: It seems there is a new Firefox beta available.

Number 15.

Is any FF user in the audience still using Firefox, or did you leave?

I have said it before. The people at Firefox headquarters need to chill out. Stop breaking the thing. Almost everyone I know has bailed for Chrome. (And a few went back to IE.)

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.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | browsers, computers | , , , , | 4 Comments

Oracle – The Worst Tech Company?

I am tired of asking nicely, been doing so for years, so now I am just going to say it. IMHO the people at Oracle (who purchased Sun, which brings us Java) should be legally reprimanded. Whether it should prove they’re too lazy, simply morons, or deliberately sleazy makes no difference to me at this point. In my mind they’re criminally lazy and/or criminally stupid and/or criminally sleazy.
And/or all three.

And there’s no excuse. If it were at all possible, I would not get near anything they produced.

Why am I so angry? Yesterday, I told my browser, Firefox, to “Find Updates” for my Add-ons and Plug-ins. (Click on the “Tools” menu, then “Add ons”.)

and it turned out I needed to update my Java. So I did. Of course I did! Java is a known favorite target of the hackers (because it’s an easy target? Because it’s weak code? Because it’s everywhere?).

Here is Unpardonable Sin 1

Note there is no “Back” button, or “do not install this crap” option visible

Recommend?? I cannot print the words I use when I see this. To call them “angry and salty” is gross understatement. In case you do not know, Ask.com has a reputation as the greasy used-car salesman of the Search engine set. In case you do not know, browser “toolbars” are spyware. (I’ll further tell you, I assess how “savvy” someone is by counting their installed toolbars. And I’ll tell you you won’t find any on my machines, or those of my family, or my clients.)

When I see this kind of thing built into an installer – particularly for an update – I know I am dealing with either a ‘starving artist’ independent programmer (freelancer) or bottom feeders. These latter types are counting on the fact that you “average computer users” are ignorant and/or mentally lazy and/or unobservant, in hopes of penny-packet profits.

But it gets better. Unpardonable Sin 2

Even though it is 2012, the programmers at Sun/Oracle still do not build an old version uninstaller into their installer package .. even though a 1st year programming student would know to do this.
Doing so is fundamental. Basic. ABC.

That means the old, insecure (and “vulnerable”) version of Java – the one I am trying to replace (aka “update”) IS STILL THERE. Still saying, “here I am! Attack me!

So I have to go into Control Panel > Programs and features > Uninstall a program and remove the old version(s) manually. And I have to go into my browsers and disable/uninstall the old plug ins. Even though it’s 2012, the “average computer user” does not know to do this. They assume that because they clicked “Update now” they’re safe. And they should be.

I think such a basic failure is reprehensible.

Inexcusable.

And the toolbar business, vile.

The most polite words I can use. Oracle management and employees, shame on you. (And in case you’re wondering, yes; I feel this way about  Adobe, and their “Flash”, too.)

Important Tech Tip: Do yourself a favor. Take a moment – right now – and open your Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel, as described above.

1) Uninstall any (non-Security) toolbars you find listed.

2) Uninstall any old versions of Java, Java runtime, Java Update, Java Deployment Toolkit. (At the time of this writing, version 7 update 5 is the most current.)

3) Reboot (aka “restart your computer”)

Now you’ll be less vulnerable to hackers and “drive-by downloads“, less spied on, and your web browsing will probably be faster.

Bonus Important Tip: Next, visit Secunia’s online scanner and have it scan your machine for any other outdated (aka “vulnerable”) items of software. To get started, click here. (You want to do this every so often, as a habit — say, once a week, or every two weeks at the most. Or, if that’s too much trouble, download and install their PSI (onboard) updater.)

.. counting on the naivete of people for profit.. leaving insecure code behind.. that’s snake-belly low, any way I look at it.

(For those of you wondering what “Java” really is.. well, think of it like the motor oil in your car. It doesn’t really do anything for you, like, say, your windshield wipers do, but you probably need it for the engine to run smoothly. Kinda.)

Today’s reading:

* Which is the most popular antivirus software?

Summary: “Using a data set consisting of 120,000 data points, researchers from OPSWAT estimate that Avast is the market share leader in the antivirus software market.” Read more..

* Free App Encrypts, Destroys Mobile Messages

Startup Wickr launches today with iPhone, iPad, iTouch app that ‘leaves no trace’ of text, video, and picture messages.Read more..

~     ~     ~

Today’s quote:Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man’s help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

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.

June 28, 2012 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, hackers, iPhone, privacy, security, tech | , , , , | 6 Comments

Safe Browser Rebuttal + More

The other day I mentioned a study which concluded that Internet Explorer by far and away blocked more malware than the competition (see Which Browser Blocks The Most Malware? Surprise!). Today I noticed a fresh article which takes quite a different view..

Internet Explorer is the safest Web browser!? Ha!

Microsoft is trying again to con people into thinking that Internet Explorer is the safest browser around. It’s not. At best, it’s tied with Chrome.Read more..

Some other items of interest..

Google engineer calls Google+ a “pathetic afterthought” and “knee-jerk reaction”

A Google software engineer who accidentally broadcast a 4,578-word rant about the company’s failings saved his toughest criticism for the Google+ service. A list of features can’t make up for a…” Read more..

New UK ISP porn filter: a tragedy of transparency, privacy and security

UK government will hold ISP’s responsible for filtering internet content to appease a Christian charity. There is no technical or peer scrutiny in filter implementation.Read more..

[What? Government does something stupid? No!]

Oh. Yes. There’s a new iPhone. (Yippee.)

iOS 5 breaks down upon arrival for some mobile users

iOS 5 is here…at least for some iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners.Read more..

(Oops..)

RIM ramps apology parade for outage: Lazaridis up to bat

The timing of RIM’s outages couldn’t be worse with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 4S and a new BlackBerry 7 cycle.Read more..

(Oops)

Again? Sony’s PlayStation Network hit with another attack

Sony’s PlayStation Network, the gaming and entertainment platform knocked offline for weeks this spring, has been hit again. Read more..

(Oops)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “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. <<


October 13, 2011 Posted by | browsers, computers, Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Which Browser Blocks The Most Malware? Surprise!

In Q2 of 2011, NSS Labs performed a test of web browser protection against socially-engineered malware targeting users around the globe.

Socially-engineered malware is a widespread problem, claiming one third of internet users as victims. The use of free browser-based reputation systems to assist in the fight against socially-engineered malware is a strong use of cloud technologies. However, in this global test of socially-engineered malware, we found that not all vendor implementations and daily operations yield the same results.

So who did the best at blocking online threats? The result of one lab’s tests may surprise you.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) caught an exceptional 99.2% of live threats. Read more..

(A full report of their tests is available as a PDF download. Anyone interested in the true state of Internet insecurity should take a quick read.. pick up a few interesting [and scary] factoids.)

Today’s quote:A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.” ~ Leonard Louis Levinson

Copyright 2007-2011 © “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. <<


October 8, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, hackers, IE 9, Internet, security, software | , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Video Tutorial and Sunday Beauty 59

Folks, regular readers have heard me say (many times) that I use Firefox as my web browser; and that I do so mainly for the safety provided by the security “add on” NoScript. Today, I have a short video which explains the basic How To (and the “why”) of NoScript.

Fact: The Internet has become a dangerous place.

And it being Sunday, how about a pretty picture?

Click on image to see more by this artist (reco'd)

venice-19 (romantic venice at night) by Alan Light, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everybody!

Today’s quote:The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Copyright 2007-2011 © “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. <<


September 25, 2011 Posted by | browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, Internet, security | , , , , | 6 Comments