Tech – for Everyone

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

Friday Good Stuff

Here are a few items for your Friday.

* Why TV is doomed: HBO Now and the new cord-cutting economics

The entire old-school television distribution system has been rocked by a quake of epic magnitude. Now I can watch whatever I want — and save hundreds of dollars a year.” Read more..

Related: Add Pluto TV To Your Internet TV Lineup

If you are looking for a FREE internet based TV like environment you may enjoy exploring Pluto TV where the amount of content is amazing.” Read more..

That number should be much much higher, IMHO. But.

That number should be much much higher, IMHO. But.

* I don’t care about the Apple Watch. Would never own/wear an Apple Watch. And as a family-friendly blogger, cannot print what I think about the Apple Watch. If you’re looking for info on the Apple Watch, well, every single tech website out there has oodles & oodles of drooling propaganda advertising hype articles on the latest Apple gizmo, so feel free togo to one of those. (To do so, click here.)

* Firefox helps you cover your assets with latest Tracking Protection feature

Did you know that not all websites honor Do Not Track? If privacy while browsing is at the top of your priority list, Jack Wallen offers up a Firefox tip that just might allow you to sigh a breath of private air.Read more..

[My best guess is that no website {0} honors ‘Do Not Track’, actually.. Why should they? Tracking you pays $$$.]

Today’s Important Message: As you know, tax season is a “prime cybercrime season”, and we are warned to be on the alert for bogus IRS emails/phone calls. Truth is.. it’s always “Prime Cybercrime Season”, and we must realize it. Operating with an ever-vigilant healthy paranoia has to be our day-to-day.

Today’s Poll:

Today’s Fun Video:

Today’s quote:For it is in giving that we receive.” ~ Francis of Assisi

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.

April 10, 2015 Posted by | Apple, browsers, cloud computing, consumer electronics, Firefox, how to, Internet, News, privacy, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ease Holiday Mailings With Word and Mail Merge

Use Word To Create Labels From Your Address Book Of Contacts

mail merge graphicYou can use Word’s “mail merge” feature when you want to create a set of documents that are essentially the same but where each document contains unique elements. For example: a letter of holiday greeting, your inserted photos and the basic message (text) will appear in each letter, but the address and greeting line will be different in each letter.

Using mail merge, you can create:

  • A set of labels or envelopes The return address is the same on all the labels or envelopes, but the destination address is unique on each one.
  • A set of form letters, e-mail messages, or faxes The basic content is the same in all the letters, messages, or faxes, but each contains information that is specific to the individual recipient, such as name, address, or some other piece of personal data.
  • More…

Using mail merge, all you have to do is create one document that contains the information that is the same in each version. Then you just add some placeholders for the information that is unique to each version. Word takes care of the rest.

It is that first – creating address labels – that can really help if you need to send correspondence to a lot of people. Your “address book”, or “Contacts” list, can be used as the source for the label maker (see Step 2). Microsoft has a very clear tutorial on using Word’s “mail merge” feature, and here are the links:
Step 1: Choose a document type and main document
Step 2: Connect to a data file and select records
Step 3: Add fields to the main document
Step 4: Preview the merge and then complete it

When you have “merged” your address book, and the ‘labels’ (or, if your printer allows it, envelopes), you just insert a sheet of labels (such as Avery) and hit “Print”. Saves having to look up, and manually copy down each person’s address…

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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December 15, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, MS Word | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gmail — Automated Phishing Detection

Google’s Gmail is currently testing a service designed to alert Gmail users to messages that appear to be phishing attacks.

Gmail phishing alert

These phishing alerts operate automatically, much like spam filtering. Gmail’s spam filters automatically divert messages that are suspected of being unwanted messages into ‘Spam’. Similarly, Gmail’s phishing alerts automatically display warnings with messages we suspect are phishing attacks so you know to exercise caution before providing any personal information. (for more details, click here)

Important: You should always be wary of any message that asks for your personal information, or messages that refer you to a webpage asking for personal information.

(You might want to think about how Gmail could do this ‘detecting’…)

If you aren’t quite sure what to look for when you suspect an e-mail might be one of these cybercrime ploys, this brief video can help.

To Detect Phishing

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 30, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, Google, how to, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IE 8 – Protecting Your Privacy Online

Do you surf the Internet? Do you use Internet Explorer? According to the statistics, the odds are pretty good that you will answer “yes” and “yes”. The latest Internet Explorer, IE 8, has a feature I like very much, and I think everyone who surfs the net should be aware of — it’s called “InPrivate” filtering. IE_logo

InPrivate helps protect your privacy by monitoring 3rd party content (read, advertisers) on the websites you visit, and helps you stop them from tracking you. My only complaint is it must be “enabled” each time you start IE, when IMHO it should be on by default! Please visit the InPrivate FAQ to learn more about this important feature. (or, How do I turn on InPrivate Browsing?)

I have written many articles containing advice and tips for getting the most out of Internet Explorer, and how to troubleshoot ‘glitches’ when they occur, and I have listed links to my more popular tips below. I invite you to scan the topic titles, and see if any catch your eye.
(The bottom link will present all my Internet Explorer articles by date.)

Restore Missing Favorites In IE*

Internet Explorer Runtime Error!!*

Quick Tip: Turn on ClearType in Internet Explorer

Can’t Download? Reset IE

How To Clear Your Cache

View Multiple Mail Identities in One Browser

Extracting text from Web pages*

Precautions for your Internet privacy*

Quick Tip: Customize new tabs behavior

IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*

Internet/E-mail Troubleshooting – JavaScript

What is a “homepage”?

How to use tabs in IE 7

Saving webpages as files

For more of my IE tips and repair advice, click here.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 12, 2009 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, how to, Internet, Microsoft, privacy, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Outlook as a security risk

Disable E-mail Client’s Preview Pane For Safer Computing & Less Spam

A recent article on scam spam (e-mail) prompted a reader to send in this good question,

Hi Paul –
You wrote “don’t even open e-mail from unknown sources.. doing so can/will mark your e-mail address as a “live” person, …”.
How do we delete without opening a specific email message?   Even while deleting in bulk the first email in the highlighted selections opens.  I’m using Outlook Express.  Thanks for your help!

What is being referred to is the feature common to e-mail clients called the “Preview Pane”.


Dear Reader–
You’re correct that most webmail settings, and e-mail clients, (by default) have what is called a “preview pane”, which opens the first (topmost/most recent) e-mail in your Inbox, and shows you the first few lines of the e-mail. Yes.. this will trigger whatever the spammers/hackers are using to verify receipt (such as downloading an invisible jpeg). Because of this, I always turn the Preview Pane off.
To do this in OE, click on the View menu and select Layout.
Then in the Preview Pane Properties, uncheck the “Show preview pane” checkbox.

BTW– by exploring Properties/Options/Settings/Preferences (different names for the same thing), you can disable the preview pane in every e-mail viewer.. Hotmail, Thunderbird, etc.

Tip of the day: While many people find the preview window a convenient way to skim their incoming mail, using it automatically opens your machine up to security risks (especially if you are allowing HTML, and/or images, as the OE pictured above does) and tells anyone who’s interested that yes, is a valid address.. suitable for spamming.

I advise disabling the feature, and doing without the ’speed enhancement’ of previewing. Doing so will reduce the amount of spam you receive, improve your privacy, and close the door on one of the methods hackers can use to infect your machine.
Trust me folks, you do not want to be on a spammer list.

Today’s free download: (For Mac) Evernote is the ubiquitous notetaking/data capture utility, and I was pleased to find it for Apple machines/devices. From site: “Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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February 14, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, Internet, privacy, security, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enable ShadowCopy On Home Editions / XP

From time to time Vista creates ’snapshot’ copies of your files with a service called “Shadow Copy”.  This allows you to retrieve older versions of files you accidentally delete or alter.

To go back to a prior version of your file/document, you simply right-click on the file and select “Restore previous versions”, which can get you out of some nasty jams. (For more on recovering deleted files, click here.)

Shadow Copy is enabled on all versions  of Vista, but Microsoft grants user access to these copies only in the Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions. (Clearly as a method to try to sell more copies of the pricier Ultimate Edition.)

Tip of the day: Users of the “Home” editions of Vista can use Shadow Copy too.
The odds are pretty good that if you bought a new computer, and it came with Vista, it came with Vista Home Premium. I say that because if you walk into a store selling computers, I dare you to find the one that has Ultimate Edition on it. It seems to me that they all come with Home Premium!

Remember how I said Shadow Copy was “enabled” on all versions? Yes? Well, for owners of Vista Home Premium and Vista Home Basic, the service is running, but you need a way to “interface” with it (sometimes called a “front end”). To do that, download and install ShadowExplorer, and gain some of Ultimate Edition’s functionality. This cool piece of software is free, but donations are accepted.

Today’s free link: People who are using Windows 2000 or XP can get an almost identical file functionality with FileHamster from Mogware. This program is designed for people whose talents lie in the Creative Arts, so you don’t ave to be a geek to use it. There’s helpful user forums, too.

Please note: This ability is by no means a substitute for regular system backups. This is for small “oopsies”, not recovery/restoration.

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

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December 30, 2008 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, missing files, PC, performance, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments