Tech – for Everyone

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

Today’s Must Read (And a bit about Bitcoins)

For Those Thinkers Out There.

Folks, a quick reading reco: Privacy concerns about data collection may lead to dumbing down smart devices

A new wave of smart devices sensors and Internet of Things collecting data will make it hard to remain anonymous offline. Will the public wake up to the risks all of that data poses to their privacy?Read more..

Keyword there is “offline”.

(And people can hope.. as the article says.. Ahem.)

I highly recommend you read that whole article.

News: Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World

The most prominent Bitcoin exchange appeared to be on the verge of collapse late Monday, raising questions about the future of a volatile marketplace.Read more..

(I think that’s kind of funny.. What’ya expect from an unregulated, ‘virtual’ [meaning non-existant artificiality] currency?)

Today’s bonus: Cyberattacks fallout could cost the global economy $3 trillion by 2020

The global economy has yet to mount an adequate defense against the rise of cyberattacks, according to new research. The impact could be $3 trillion in lost productivity and growth.Read more..

Bah. Peanuts! (And, it probably already has. But no one can/will say so.)

Today’s quote:War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.” ~ George Orwell, 1984

Copyright 2007-2014 © “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.
And please, never forget – one person can make a difference.

February 25, 2014 Posted by | advice, cloud computing, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Cyberwarfare, Internet, News, privacy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Scams of Christmas (and Yahoo, too)

Folks, as we approach the Holidays, please be aware, and remind your friends and family, that we are now in the peak scam, ripoff, fraud, and – of course! – phishing season. The vermin are happily and busily creating phony online stores, and filling our Inboxes, Faceboook, and Twitter with bait and lures of all types.

Holiday shoppers can expect cybercriminals to be out in force this season,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Shoppers should be alert to scams and other attempts to lure them to provide personal and financial information that could lead to data loss or the infection of an Internet connected device. We encourage everyone to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and make sure they have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of actions and behavior and enjoy the benefits of holiday shopping online.

McAfee has released a list of the most popular scams on the Internet during the holiday season. You can see them here: 12 Scams of Christmas

We should/can take steps to increase our safety, security and confidence online with these simple tips:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: All the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets – should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems and other key programs and apps.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
  • Think Before you Act: Be wary of communications that offer amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately – including indicating a problem with an order or payment—or ask you to view the website or an account via a provided link.
  • Protect your Personal Information: Be alert to the kinds and amount of information being collected during transactions. Information requested should only be enough to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Use Safe Payment Options: Credit cards are generally the safest option. They allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards may limit the monetary amount you will be responsible if your account is compromised. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service.
  • Make Sure the Site is Legitimate: This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. Check reviews of sites you have never used before.
  • Keep a Paper Trail: Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller.

Yes, great deals can be found. I am not saying don’t shop online — but I am saying now is the time to double-up on your “paranoid common sense”. Nobody’s protecting you; there’s no “Internet police”. But there are *scumbuckets* intent (focused like a laser beam) on stealing from you. Thousands and thousands (and thousands!) of them.

This looks suspicious to me too

Um… But I don’t have an Am Ex Merchant Account…

There’s a whole stack of other depressing news, too. But I’ll spare you. I’ll just say – again – let’s be careful out there. Be well, at your earliest easement.

Update: I’m on my third day of Yahoo Mail uh, um, ‘technical difficulties’ (which they first called “routine maintenance”). I’m not alone. Yahoo forced to acknowledge Yahoo Mail problems in worst failure yet

After a public UI and technical failure with its October redesign, Yahoo Mail miraculously gets worse as it goes. And then, Yahoo acknowledges delivery failures stretching back to November 25.Read more..

Do you Yahoo? It’s a good (and valuable) read even if you don’t.

Today’s quote: “When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears.” ~ ?

Copyright 2007-2013 © “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.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, how to, Internet, News, security, social networking, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sorry, there’s a problem with Hotmail right now…

Hotmail seems to be having an outage. Anyone else see this?

They said they have added new features, so please refresh the browser…

2/14/12 @ 10:30pm Pacific

[update: this seems to be a big massive global one.]

[update: While I have no way of knowing the cause of this, I suspect that we can help the Microsoft data center Geeks by giving them time between login attempts.]

Fixed here

[Update @ 11:56pm Pacific refreshing the page (press the F5 key) restored my Inbox (also someone in Rumania reported success).]

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 14, 2012 Posted by | e-mail, Internet, News | , , , , , , , , , , , | 139 Comments

Cure for Windows Update Error 66A

Shutting down for the night, I noticed that my 64-bit Vista machine had “Updates ready to install” for the 3rd night in a row.. which is a pretty good clue that at least one Update was failing to install.

So, I clicked on the Start button > All Programs > Windows Update > “View update history“.

Sure enough, in the “Status” column, I saw a “failed”.. on an Update named “Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (KB2160841)” (also applies to KB2446708).

So to find out what the problem was, I right-clicked > “View details”. What I am looking for is the “error code”.

I saw that the code in this case is 66A. Clicking “Get help with this error” led to several ‘solution’ suggestions – too many. So I will tell you the one that works for me.

Step 1) Click Start > Control Panel > Programs and features.

Step 2) Scroll down until you find Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile, and click on it, once, to “select” it (turn it blue), then click the Uninstall/Change menu button (above list).

Step 3) A new window will open. Make sure the “Repair” radio button is selected, and press “next”. The automatic repair may take a few minutes to complete.

Step 4) Return to Windows Update (as per Step 1) and make sure that only the “Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (KB2160841) is checked, and click “Retry” or “Install Updates”. Now the Update should succeed. If it doesn’t, get the “standalone” installer by clicking here and choose either 32 (x86) or 64 bit (x64) to match your system.

If that fails, I suggest calling Microsoft’s support number for free tech support (as this qualifies as a security issue) 1-866-PC-SAFETY.
(That’s right. Free. Microsoft provides free support for any safety/security related problem.)

* Orig post: 4/17/11

Free offer: Folks, I just noticed that on, you can get a free 6 months of CA’s (Computer Associates) antivirus + anti-spyware.. if you need some protection. Click here for details.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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July 18, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, security, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s not your fault– how the Tech Industry is failing you

Your computer was infected with pop-up pornography because you visited a popular travel Website to look at hotel room prices in Orlando. And you have a well-known Company’s Internet Security Suite.

Or maybe, because your ISP promised you they’d scan all your e-mails for you, before they got into your Inbox.. you thought they really did, and you also thought that made your e-mail safe. You clicked on a link in one of those e-mails… (it said it was from your Uncle Victor..) and, voilà! Someone’s using your credit card.
In Malaysia.
To buy big-screen TV’s.
Like, six of them.. so far.

Perhaps you did neither of those things. But.. your friends wanna know why you’re sending them all this junk e-mail, and your ISP is threatening to turn you off if you don’t stop sending mass-mailings. Huh?
Turns out, you happen to have CoolProgram 6.0* on your machine, and a cracker has “exploited” the code and turned your machine into a spambot. Your machine has been merrily sending out thousands of e-mail come-ons for generic drugs, male enhancements, and penny stocks… all while you were asleep in bed.

Or you brought home a new digital picture frame…

Does this sound like a bad sci-fi movie to you? It does to me. But, sadly, this is our current reality.

You haven’t done anything wrong (or, really stupid) and you’ve even tried to protect your machine, but you got hijacked anyway.

I, for one, think there’s something seriously wrong with this state of affairs. When I think about the state of the Internet, I start feeling like that guy in the movie.. you know the one..

Why is this happening? Many reasons. Some are:
* Software companies are, to this day, releasing programs which contain insecure code.
* Hardware manufactures don’t include any extra features– like hard-wired security.
* In their rush to bring us new and exciting technology (he who’s first to market, wins), nobody stops and ponders the consequences.. or the vulnerabilities.
* For a long time, nobody took the hackers seriously enough.
* Cost. (I put this last because this can be offset.)

Believe it or not, there are steps the IT Industry can take to remedy a lot of this, and counteract this unsecured Internet. They could be doing much more to combat spam, malware, and hackers. There’s also steps we (us “consumers”) can take as well.. which space restriction has run out of room for today, and I will discuss tomorrow.

To be continued…

Today’s free link: I have recommended other graphics manipulation/image editing tools in the past, and it is only fitting that I give space to another winner: Paint.NET is simply the closest thing to Photoshop I have seen. 5 Star-rated by C/Net.

* Pick a program, any program. “CP 6.0” is simply my generic example.

*** Folks, like my new look? Hate it? Let me know by answering this 1 Question survey Click Here to take survey. ***

To read part 2, click here.

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

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May 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments