Tech – for Everyone

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

How To Set Your Browser To Surf More Safely – Picture Tutorial*

How to Configure Internet Explorer to Stay (More) Secure Online: Step-by-Step

The Internet is an amazing place. It is the world’s largest man-made object. It has changed and enhanced our lives in countless ways. Like most things, it has it’s “good side” and it’s “bad side”. I think you need to know: cyber-criminals are ruining the Internet, and stealing billions of dollars a year in the process (that we know about.. think “tip of the iceberg”).

Instead of simply telling you “be safer”, I have a link to a step-by-step slideshow tutorial: How to configure Internet Explorer for secure surfing.

The pictures make it very easy to follow, and performing the steps can prevent many online attacks against your computer.

“With assistance from the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), this slideshow will walk you through the steps to configure Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to limit the damage from hacker attacks.”

lockdown_ie

click for slideshow

In this digital age, we are all connected, and each of us plays an important role in securing cyberspace.” So do your part. Make sure your web browser is “hardened” against online attacks. Click and learn!

Today’s free download: For further browser security, I recommend installing Spyware Blaster as well as the steps above. It works well with your existing protections.

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for and clean spyware–it prevents it from being installed in the first place. SpywareBlaster prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, browser hijackers, and other potentially unwanted programs. It can also block spyware/tracking cookies in IE, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, and many other browsers, and restrict the actions of spyware/ad/tracking sites. With the built-in Check for Updates feature, you can help ensure your protection is up-to-date. SpywareBlaster also includes a System Snapshot feature, which lets you take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state and later revert, undoing many changes made by spyware and browser hijackers.

Related: Earlier I posted a slideshow tutorial for the web browser Firefox (see, Safer Internet Surfing Cont. – Tutorial: Tweak Firefox for Greater Security)

Folks, to find out more about cyber-security, and connect to more educational resources, click here.

* Orig post: 10/18/10

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


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July 11, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, cyber crime, how to, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IE, Firefox, or Chrome – Which is best?* | Consumer as beta tester

I am frequently asked my opinion about web browsers: mainly, “which is best – Firefox or Chrome?” Yes, sometimes I am asked about IE or Opera too. Well.. what do you mean by “best”? And is your definition of “best” the same as mine? Fortunately, I don’t have to think too hard when I am asked, as web browsers all basically do the same thing –> show you websites.

I use Firefox as my “alternative” browser. And I have chosen it simply because of the many Add-ons available. If these “Add ons” were not available, I would not use Firefox. It’s that simple.

So, what Firefox Add-ons do I use? I’ll show you:

FF_addons

[addenda: I have recently added OptimizeGoogle (specifically to strip out the ads in Gmail) to my suite of defenses.]

With the exception of the Vimeo video capture-to-blog plug in, I would recommend this configuration. Why? Well, what do these things do? Look at them, and you’ll see that they are defenses – typically, blocking elements I do not want. And yes folks, your machine needs defenses on the Internet. (OK. The Java is not a defense. It’s a vulnerability.. see, Java, the new Adobe (+How To Protect Yourself).)

Adding Add-ons to Firefox is easy: click on the Tools menu, and then Add-ons. A window like the one pictured will open. In the upper left is the Get Add-ons button. Click it.
(If that seems like too many to you, I would say at a minimum you want NoScript, WOT, and Flashblock.)

*     *     *

Do you have a favorite TV show? Do you ever record movies?

I thought so. So I have a reading reco for you, a tutorial: How To Burn A Recorded TV Show in Windows Media Center

“Many people out there that have Windows Vista and Windows 7 based computers have never tapped into the Windows Media Center component that is right under their noses.”

* Orig post: 11/12/2010

Today’s reco’d read: Should we now expect to pay $500+ to be tablet beta-testers?

Tablet makers continue to fall short of the Apple iPad and roll out buggy and incomplete tablet devices, at prices of $500 or more, and I am getting tired of it. Aren’t you?Read More…

Today’s quote:Success is simply a matter of luck.  Ask any failure.”  ~ Earl Wilson

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


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July 6, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Firefox, Google, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Want IE 9? How To Turn Off The Update Nag

For those of you not ready to switch to IE 9, or want to go back to IE 8, this article (written back when Microsoft was moving us from IE 7 to IE 8) tells you what you need to know.. I simply updated it by changing the number!

IE 8 9 is an “Important” Update, Yes, But I Don’t Want It

Sometimes we need to tell Windows Update to stop prompting us to install a particular Update.
Ups_avail

When Microsoft has released important and/or critical Updates (aka “patches”) for us, Windows has various ways of letting us know, including a System Tray icon. [note: The normal route for accessing Update choices is Start >Windows Update, or Start >Programs >Windows Update. Click “View available updates”.]

I am a big fan of Updates. I (almost) always install them the moment I become aware of them. I use Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector to keep an eye on all my installed programs’ update state.. and I recommend you do too. Updates are ‘good’ and you want them.

Tip of the day: Manage Windows Updates prompts.
Currently, Microsoft Update is annoying me by continuously nagging me that there are Updates available. And when I click on the icon to see just what these updates are…
Hide_Update

.. and I see that there is just one Update Microsoft wants me to install (the others only rate “optional”) — Internet Explorer 8 9.
Now, I understand why Microsoft wants us to be using a more secure browser (and I understand why it’s considered “important”) and I will upgrade from IE7 8 on most of my machines — but not all. Not yet.

So I right-click on the Update I don’t want to be nagged about and then click on “Hide update”.

That’s it. I’m done. Windows Update will no longer prompt me to install this (now) ‘hidden’ update. At a later date, to see Updates that I’ve hidden, I just click on “Show hidden updates”. I can undo my change.

Note: This technique can be used on any Update — such as troublesome Updates that cause incompatibility issues, such as a BSOD. If a Windows Update install causes you trouble, and you need to uninstall it, the “Hide” tip won’t help you (it’s too late). Please refer to the 3rd answer in this article, IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*, to see how to remove Updates.
After you get that Update uninstalled, (then) use the Hide feature to prevent Windows Update from re-Installing it on you again.

To uninstall IE 8 9: Uninstalling IE 8 9 will automatically restore your older version (IE 8). Please see Microsoft’s official How To, here, How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8? How do I install or uninstall Internet Explorer 9?

Today’s free download(s):
* Panda Cloud Antivirus Panda Security has a ‘new’ type of antivirus – Internet based. “FREE, antivirus service for consumers which is able to process and block malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products.”
[For more, also see Panda Cloud Antivirus – Is it netbook ready?]

* Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go.

Today’s quotable quote:You can observe a lot just by watching.” ~ Yogi Berra

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


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June 4, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, ie 8, IE 9, Microsoft, PC, removing Updates, software, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

YouTube Gone In Two Months?

It is my humble opinion that there is only one reason you and I have the Internet.

yahoo page

Some of you may remember – from about a year ago now – that Google purchased YouTube, and shortly thereafter came the headline: YouTube Launches Video Ads — Public Reaction Negative.

Google wants to make money with YouTube. Problem is… the site is expensive as *heck* to run, and they just can’t seem to run enough ads to pay for it all. What’s the solution? Make the user experience as crappy as *heck*, so they use less bandwidth as people stop coming to the site, AND make money during the entire process! Do I smell a hint of BRILLIANCE?” *

This quote was from an article about Google’s  move to fit more ads onto YouTube, posted on LockerGnome. You can read the whole article here, and see the details, but I would like to say some of you may find the language a little salty (though, it’s not too bad, really.) It suggested that YouTube now had a year to live

That year is up in April. (I wonder what the Internet without YouTube will be like…?)

In one of my prior articles (talking about the Yahoo! “mergers” and take-over bids) I came up with a catchy title — “A World Run By Ad Revenue“. It seems to me that we have reached a point in our evolution where we have become so inundated with advertising, that we have developed an internal ability to block them all from our minds.

When that doesn’t work — there’s the Mute button.

Today’s free download(s): I don’t actually see all that many ads when I surf the Internet because I use ad-blocking software/tools. (Don’t worry all you businesses running ads, I never buy stuff because you ran an ad anyway. I boycott you because I hate ads that much).
Firefox: I use the plug-ins AdBlock Plus, NoScript and FlashBlock
Internet Explorer: I download and install SelectView

There are other products available for you to choose from, both free and ‘for sale’.

[note: hackers (really “cybercriminals”) have found ways to deliver malware through ads, so blocking ads is safer. But naturally, advertisers don’t like the idea that we can ‘block’ their expensive come-ons, and are constantly pressuring developers and lawmakers to find ways to take such tools out of our hands.]

I very much doubt that YouTube will go away.. or that advertisers will clue into the fact they are throwing away money… But I do also hope this is not our future..

hong-kong-advertising

Because some *people* thinks it works…

Yes Advertisers. It’s true. I stopped watching TV because of you (the 5,000,000th pharmaceutical ad was the ‘straw’).

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


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February 12, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, Google, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, software, tech | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Step-by-Step Security Tutorial – Internet Explorer

How to Configure Internet Explorer to Stay (More) Secure Online: Step-by-Step

The Internet is an amazing place. It is the world’s largest man-made object. It has changed and enhanced our lives in countless ways. Like most things, it has it’s “good side” and it’s “bad side”. I think you need to know: cyber-criminals are ruining it. And stealing billions of dollars a year in the process (that we know about.. think “tip of the iceberg”).

Instead of simply telling you “be safer”, I have a link to a step-by-step slideshow tutorial: How to configure Internet Explorer for secure surfing

“With assistance from the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), this slideshow will walk you through the steps to configure Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to limit the damage from hacker attacks.”

lockdown_ie

click for slideshow

In this digital age, we are all connected, and each of us plays an important role in securing cyberspace.

It Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

So do your part. Make sure your web browser is “hardened” against online attacks.

Today’s free link: If IE is your main browser, I recommend installing Spyware Blaster as well as the steps above.

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for and clean spyware–it prevents it from being installed in the first place. SpywareBlaster prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, browser hijackers, and other potentially unwanted programs. It can also block spyware/tracking cookies in IE, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, and many other browsers, and restrict the actions of spyware/ad/tracking sites. With the built-in Check for Updates feature, you can help ensure your protection is up-to-date. SpywareBlaster also includes a System Snapshot feature, which lets you take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state and later revert, undoing many changes made by spyware and browser hijackers.

Related: Earlier I posted a slideshow tutorial for the web browser Firefox (see, Safer Internet Surfing Cont. – Tutorial: Tweak Firefox for Greater Security)

Folks, to find out more about cyber-security, and connect to more educational resources, click here.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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October 18, 2010 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, Microsoft, Phishing, phraud, privacy, security, software | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Internet/E-mail Troubleshooting – JavaScript

JavaScript Makes The Web Go Round

This weekend I received a call for help with an e-mail problem. The person was getting errors when trying to access their webmail (online e-mail, such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail). Which had them quite upset naturally, but was really no problem at all, and was quite easily fixed with a few clicks of the mouse.

My caller’s errors all referred to JavaScript – which is (short version) a programming language used extensively on the Internet; mostly to make Web pages dynamic and interactive with the viewer. Many websites rely on JavaScript to function, and Gmail and Hotmail do too.

My caller’s computer was saying that JavaScript was “not installed”, but in reality, all that had happened was it had been somehow inadvertently “disabled” (aka “turned off”), and needed to be switched on again.

Tip of the day: enable (or, re-enable) JavaScript in your Web browser.
1) Open Internet Explorer and in the upper right find the gray gear icon “Tools” menu. Click it, and then click on “Internet Options

2) Now a new window will open. Click on the “Security” tab (top), as shown below.
IESec_Opts

3) Click the “Custom level…” button.

4) Use the slider to scroll down the list of options until you come to “Active scripting“, as shown below.
IESec_Opts_Scrpt

5) Click on the “Enable” ‘radio’ button, and then click on OK, twice.

6) Close Internet Explorer and then re-launch (aka “Open”) it again.

Now JavaScript (should be) is enabled and functioning and you can surf the Web and access Webmail as you had before. Problem solved!

Today’s free download: Trillian Astra
More than three years in the making, Trillian is back with a slight name change and a slew of new features. The chat client now supports Google, MySpace IM, Skype, and Facebook, as well as AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC. It  has both POP3 and IMAP e-mail checking.
Trillian now has deep hooks into Facebook and Twitter. It will automatically shorten URLs in your tweets, as well as allow direct messages, re-tweets, and replies. Twitter Trends can show up in your contact list, and you can get tweets to appear in tooltip form. Facebook features include news feed integration, Facebook Inbox checking, and synchronized message updating in addition to Facebook IM.

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

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October 5, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, IE 7, Internet, PC, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Tips for Internet Explorer

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”. Because of those facts, I have written many articles IE_logocontaining advice and tips for getting the most out of Internet Explorer, and how to troubleshoot ‘glitches’ when they occur.

I have listed links to my more popular tips, and 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*

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. post to jaanix

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June 29, 2009 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, how to, IE 7, Internet, software, tech | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments