Tech – for Everyone

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

And so it goes.

Loyal readers won’t be surprised by this latest “breach” headline..

* Premera Blue Cross hit by “sophisticated” hack, 11M affected

The multi-state health insurance company was attacked in January and is working with the FBI to determine the cause of the breach.Read more..

and I think it’s time to conclude that if your “personally identifying information” is in anyone’s database (and you should know, it is in several [at a minimum]) it will fall into a badguy’s hands, and your identity will be stolen, if it hasn’t been already. (Seems it’s no longer a question of “if”..) Because it sure looks to me like databases and/or their networks cannot be secured.

So I urge all my readers to sign up for a credit monitoring service; to make it part of your routine to keep a careful eye on your bank, and credit card statements, and look for any signs of unauthorized activity.

And no. Don’t turn on your smartphone’s payment feature. Ever. Regardless how ‘convenient’ it might seem on that asinine TV commercial. (You may want to join me in wrapping your credit cards in tinfoil too. See Digital pickpockets using smartphones to steal credit cards)

Just my two cents.

(Better, pay off, and then cut up every credit card but a single FEO one [for emergency use only].)

Today’s quote:A mathematical formula for happiness: Reality divided by Expectations.There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.” ~ Jodi Picoult

Copyright 2007-2015 © “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.

March 18, 2015 Posted by | cloud computing, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, security, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SB96

Here’s another pretty picture for your Sunday.

Click on image to see more by this artist

“Blue” by David Surtees, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Today’s quote:In what you say of another, apply the test of kindness, necessity and truth, and let nothing pass your lips without a 2/3 majority.” ~ Liz Armbruster

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 4, 2012 Posted by | Digital Images | , , | 6 Comments

Troubleshooting the Blue Screen Of Death

BSOD’s, spontaneous reboots, freezing, and “incorrect password” lockouts. Bad computer. Bad.

bsod.jpg

Ah yes, the Blue Screen of Death. I sincerely hope you never see this rascal. The BSOD, or more properly, the Windows Stop Message, occurs when Windows detects a problem from which it cannot recover. The operating system halts and ‘diagnostic information’ is displayed on a blue screen as a series of hexadecimal numbers (there actually are a few humans capable of understanding, and using this information to effect repairs…but as far as I know, they all live in Seattle) which, frankly, will be of little use to the average user. Usually, a simple reboot resolves the issue. But sometimes it doesn’t–you reboot, Windows loads, you get the Welcome screen, and bingo! BSOD. Wash/rinse/repeat. Aargh!!!

If this happens to you, the odds are pretty good that you have (quite recently) added a new device (or card) or memory module to your machine, or installed a program that your machine just doesn’t like.
If it was a module, device, or card, try removing it and restoring your machine to the way it was before the install. If you run for a day or so with no BSOD’s, then you can be fairly sure you’ve found the culprit. It may be that the device is defective. It may be that you didn’t install it exactly correctly [maybe it didn’t “seat” all the way into its slot?], or maybe your machine was being fussy the day you installed? Don’t give up on your new card/device/module just yet. Go to the manufacturer’s Website and download the latest device driver for your version of Windows, and “unzip” and install it (by double-clicking on the downloaded file). Then reinstall your card/device/module–taking extra care to fully seat it, and double check your wires and cables–and reboot. If it is a defective unit, it will not be long before our friend the BSOD revisits…return the unit to the seller (or manufacturer) for exchange or refund.

If you suspect a recently installed application (or…Microsoft Update) is the cause, then use the Add/Remove Programs tool to uninstall it. (XP+older: Start> Control Panel> Add/Remove Programs, Vista: Start> Control Panel> Uninstall a program.) [Note: in Vista, uninstalling Updates is done through Windows Update itself, not Add/Remove.]
If you are unable to get into Windows, reboot and start hitting the F8 key to get into Safe Mode. [For more info, click here] Again, run for a day or two, and if you do not experience any BSOD’s, you’ve (most likely) found the perp. Again, you need not despair and abandon the program. It may have simply been an incomplete or corrupted install that was causing the stop errors. Try reinstalling it, but first make sure that there are no other applications running–turn off your AV, your IM, and close IE. You will soon know whether it is simply an incompatible or poorly written application.

I am going to stop here, but I want to acknowledge that this is far from a complete discussion on all the possible causes (nor cures) for BSOD’s and the other woes mentioned at the top of this post. I will return to this topic again, and I invite your comments and critiques, and suggestions. I close by suggesting you also read my article on the Windows System Restore tool (click here) and reminding you that — should all your efforts fail, my services are available at http://aplusca.com.

Today’s free link: Sandra Lite from SiSoft. This is a benchmarking and system analysis tool that shows you a wealth of information about the workings of your computer, and detects areas that aren’t working as well as they should.

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

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May 3, 2008 Posted by | advice, BSOD, computers, device drivers, hardware, how to, PC, performance, Plug and Play, removing Updates, Safe Mode, System Restore, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments