Tech – for Everyone

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

You On The Web (and some free tools)

I do not simply tell my readers the Internet is risky place to visit, and is being abused (ruined?) by many: I have for four years now provided tips, advice, and how-to’s for keeping yourself, your machines, and your ‘identity’ safer and more secure. Here are a few more items I think you should know about…

image source: PCWorld

Google’s ‘Me on the Web’ Tool Alerts You to Personal Data Leaks

Google has launched Me on the Web, a new tool allowing anyone with a Google account to monitor what personal information about them appears online.Read more..

And I have discovered (new-to-me, that is) an interesting browser add-on.. TrackMeNot Firefox Add-on Keeps Search Engine Data Profilers Confused

The free TrackMeNot Firefox add-on takes a unique and creative approach to protecting your privacy from search engines that can create profiles of you based on terms you search for. Rather than hiding your searches from them in some way, it takes the exact opposite tack: It inundates search engines with a blizzard of background searches from you, so that no practical profile can be built because there are too many random searches.Read more..

(To see my personal list of Firefox security add-ons, click here.)

Best Free Software for Protecting Your PC and Your Privacy

Want to make sure that your PC and all its files and data are kept safe, secure, and private–without breaking the bank to do it? It’s not an impossible task–in fact, it’s easy to do. We’ve rounded up ten free pieces of security software that do everything from protecting you against malware, to keeping you safe at WiFi Hot Spots, to encrypting your entire hard disk.Read more..

Folks, the Internet is not Disneyland, nor a vast public library, where everyone is on their best behavior, and there’s security guards keeping an eye on things. Ha! Not even close! The reality is the Internet is a battleground, as well as being Big Brother. In the best cases, folks are merely trying to sell, sell, SELL, you stuff. In the worst, they’re trying to steal everything you own (or put the company you work for out of business)(Or bring down your government). Please don’t be a victim. Exercise paranoid common sense when online (no – your email did not just win the online lottery). And sign up to receive my newsletter, and keep receiving information you can use to be savvy. For instance..

.. do you know what that ‘paperclip’ symbol means?

It means if you, or your email client’s Preview Pane opens that email, your address will be automatically added to the Global Sucker List, and I guaranty you’ll get more spam. (See, Disable the Preview Pane For Safer Computing & Less Spam)

Today’s quote:Friends and neighbors complain that taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might the more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

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


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September 7, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, free software, how to, Internet, privacy, security zones, software | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Attention XP fans– get your copies NOW

Redmond laid to rest rumors that they might reconsider pulling XP from retail shelves and from most PC makers next Monday. Bill Veghte, the Senior Veep who manages Microsoft’s online and Windows business groups, confirmed that June 30 would indeed be the deadline when MS halts all shipments of boxed XP copies to retailers and stops licensing the OS directly to major computer manufacturers.*

So, if you’re one of those folks who thinks XP is the last Microsoft OS (version) you’re going to run, you better go buy whatever copies you think you might need for the future.
It’s going bye bye. Adios, amigo.

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

* Source: WServerNews Vol. 13, #27 – Jun 30, 2008 – Issue #681

[Addenda: For more on the latest (last?) Service Pack for XP, including troubleshooting, click here]

June 28, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, PC, software, tech, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can’t use their thumb drive at work–Reader Question

A reader e-mailed me a question I believe will be of interest to other readers of this series. He wants to use a thumb drive to transfer files between his computer at his work and his home computer, but the work computer will not recognize the thumb drive. He wanted advice on how to fix this.

Q: My thumb drive works great at home, but when I took it into work to try and copy some files so I could work at home, I plug it in and the little window never opens so I cannot use it. What am I doing wrong?
A: There are several possible reasons for this, and here’s a few things to try:
* One may be that Windows is “recognizing” the device, but isn’t displaying the little “Found new hardware” balloon for some reason (such as a Service isn’t running). Open My Computer, Start >My Computer, (just “Computer” in Vista) and look for the drive there. If it’s there, great, just double-click it, but if it’s not…

* Try plugging the drive into a different USB port. It is possible that the one you tried has “gone bad”. (It helps if you use an open port on the machine, and not use a hub.) If that isn’t it…

* Ask your company’s IT department if USB volumes have been disabled. Many companies are turning off USB access to iPods/Media Players and thumb drives (storage devices) in an effort to prevent “data leakage”.. which is a fancy way of saying, preventing the employees from walking out the door with the Company Secrets. If this is indeed the case, you can ask that an exception be made in your case. If your request is granted, they will re-“enable” USB storage devices on your machine.
But if that isn’t it…

* It is possible that the drive letter your thumb drive is pre-disposed to being assigned (say, “E:” or “F:”), is being used by another device or “share” on the company network, and so it isn’t being seen as a volume (aka “drive”).. you’ll have a volume, but without a drive letter, Windows won’t “see” it and you can’t use it.
a) Right-click on My Computer and select “Manage” from the context menu.
b) click the “+” sign next to “Storage” to expand the tree, and then click on “Disk Management”.
You will now see all the volumes on your computer..
DMang

This screenshot  shows that I have two volumes/drives, and that they both have been assigned drive letters [(C:) and (D:)] — this means they’re “recognized” and fully functional. What we’re looking for in our thumb drive issue is a volume that does not have a letter.

c) If you see one (that will be the troublesome thumb drive), right-click on it and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” from the context menu. A small window will open.
d) click on the “Add” button, and another small window will open. Use the drop-down arrow next to “Assign the following drive letter” and choose one of the letters (those shown will be “available” letters on the company network). It really doesn’t matter which letter you choose. Then click “OK”, and “OK” again.

You should now be back in business, and you can use the thumb drive as you’re used to. Open My Computer again and you’ll see the thumb drive and double-clicking it will open it up.

* If these steps fail to allow Windows to see the USB thumb drive, submit a trouble ticket to your company’s IT department.

Today’s free link: Once upon a time, the visionaries of IT thought that the answer to creating a “paperless society”, and getting all the disparate machine types talking to each other, was the PDF (portable document format). The PDF was to be create-able by anyone and readable by anyone, but Adobe didn’t see much profit in that… If you find that you need to create a PDF, but don’t have Acrobat or Word 2007, you can do so by downloading PrimoPDF, which can convert over 300 formats into .pdf’s.

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

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April 7, 2008 Posted by | add device, advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, Plug and Play, tech, troubleshooting, USB storage devices, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments