Tech – for Everyone

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

Some Thots & Reco’s

Today I noticed in my stats that yesterday the search engines had sent me three viewers who had searched for “rootkit for iPhone“.
Nice.
(A “rootkit” is a virtually undetectable item of malware [aka “virus”]. Very, very nasty.)

I am going to speculate that these people were up to no good.

And I am going to tell you that there are a lot more than three people up to no good out there in the “world-wide” web yesterday.
A lot more. Cybercrime costs us over $100 billion (with a “B”) every year — that we know about.

And I am going to ask you, is your antivirus (or, “security suite”) expired? I sure hope not! But if it is, fix that right now. At the time of this writing (May, 2012) my recommendation for an Internet Security Suite (paid subscription) is Norton (either the “360” or “Norton Internet Security 2012”).
And my recommendation for a free antivirus is Avast! for PC’s, Lookout for smartphones and tablets, and Sophos for Macs. (If you look in my Blogroll, you can find independent security product reviews.)

Some reading 4 U:

* Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive: which one is right for you?

If you’re a Windows user looking for free online storage, three services stand out from the rest. Although Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive are superficially similar, there are some big differences. Here’s what to look for.Read more..

* Ben Franklin would say our online liberty is the same as liberty itself

It’s a fine line to walk. Rather than great thinkers like Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, we’re stuck with the 112th U.S. Congress.Read more..

* Growing Number of Mobile Device Infections Traced Back to Social Media

Hackers increasingly are turning to social-networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter to deliver malware to mobile devices, according to AVG Technologies’ “Q1 2012 Community Powered Threat Report.” AVG said Google’s Android platform is particularly susceptible to attack, and noted that the search giant removed more than 100 malicious applications from its Google Play store last year.Read more..

Hmm.. one more reason I’m glad I don’t do that Facebook thingy. (BUSTED: Wall Street Journal Catches Facebook, Zynga Giving Your Info To Advertisers)

Today’s quote:I used to do Facebook but you get a little too wrapped up in that stuff. Its more distracting than anything so I don’t any more. I left it behind. I detoxed!” ~ Emma Stone

Copyright 2007-2012 © “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.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | advice, Android, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, mobile, News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Beauty #86

Today’s image was one of several that caught my eye, but when I saw it was taken with a cellphone, well, that earned it a spot in my Sunday Beauty feature.

Click on image to see more by this artist

“Untitled” by hijadesastre, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Quotable quote for the day:Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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.

April 29, 2012 Posted by | Digital Images | , | 3 Comments

CYA

Sometimes, the essence of an article of “good advice” boils down to “CYA”.

Loyal readers will remember my earlier posting of this. Of them, I ask, did you follow through? This item of advice (and How To) could save you thousands of dollars; received many “comments”; and is worth repeating. (Scroll down for newer stuff.)

Photographic Proof For Insurance (Included: a good “general tip”)

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say; but if you had a catastrophe and your insurance company refuted, or undervalued, your claim – a picture could be worth thousands of dollars.

If your house burned to the ground, and your insurance company disagreed with you about the contents of your home, or severely undervalued them, or both, how would you respond? I would open my email.

What did he say?

Step 1) (Takes an hour, or two, or so) Get a hold of a digital camera, or use your cell phone’s camera if you have no other option, and photograph all your rooms in a “panorama” type perspective. Also be sure to take good pictures of all your key (valuable) possessions – furniture, electronics, appliances, jewelry, artwork, vehicles, power tools, silverware, etc. Open your closets and snap some pics of their contents (your wardrobe); and also your cabinets with all your pots and pans and popcorn poppers. Create a “visual tour” of your home/garage/tool shed.

Step 2) Transfer the images to your PC into a folder you create named “Insurance” (or.. something similar). Then apply a “batch resizer” to the JPEGs (the pictures) you just took. Digital images from cameras usually are quite large (file size, I mean) and to complete the next step, you need to ‘shrink’ them down to a smaller (file) size — say, under 500 KB each. It is easy, don’t worry; scroll down for my reco on a free “resizer” tool.

Step 3) Now import (or attach) the (smaller) images to an email and send the email to yourself.
This may be easiest if you use a “zip” utility (such as Windows’ Send to compressed folder).
Now, no matter what happens to your camera or computer, a copy of those photos will be stored on your email server – ready to show to your insurance claims adjuster should you ever need them. It may take more than one email to send yourself them all..
(Or “upload” them to your [SkyDrive] online storage service, or online “backup”.)

(And naturally, I hope we never do need them..!)

Let’s face it; if we had to sit down and write out a list from memory.. how many things would we forget without that visual reminder?

(Optional Step 4) “Burn” a copy of the original “Insurance” folder to a CD/DVD (the large size images) and put the disc in your safety deposit box (or give it to a friend to keep for you.)

Walking through with a video camera is a great thing to do too. But be sure to store the ‘tape’ somewhere else – a safe deposit box, your office at work, or a friend’s house.

And YES, folks: you have to do this before the tornado (or hurricane, or earthquake, or flood, or..) strikes.

Today’s free download: Batch Image resizing made easy. Fotosizer is a free batch photo/image resizer tool. It lets you resize hundreds of photos in a matter of minutes in a quick and easy way.

(The tip here can be good to know just for “GP”. You never know when you might want to email a large number of photos..)

Related: Home Inventory: How to Document Your Personal Property (there is also a link to two videos at the bottom..)

Bonus: An Online Full-Featured Audio Workstation

If you are into music composition, then there is an online solution called AudioSauna that you have to check out. If your gift to life is not music, you still need to check out AudioSauna… It is an awesome display and example of what we can now do in our web browsers. AudioSauna is a […]” Read more..

Today’s quote:Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” ~ Albert Einstein

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.

April 28, 2012 Posted by | advice, Digital Images, free software, how to | , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Make Your Music Play In iTunes (or other media player)

By default, when you click on a folder containing music, you will be prompted to use Windows Media Player — which perhaps you do not use, preferring iTunes, or Winamp, or some other. You can easily change this ‘default behavior’ to use your preferred media player by following these simple steps.

Click Start button > Control Panel, then Programs

Under Default Programs, click  Set Default Programs (or “Set your default programs”).


On the left-hand pane, scroll until you find the desired program (in my example “Media Player Classic”, but yours could/will be different.. say, iTunes.) Click on it to turn it blue (aka “select” it.)


Then click the big Set this program as default button. Then OK.

That’s it. iTunes (or, in my case Media Player Classic) will now be the player your computer thinks of when it sees music (media) files. Should you change your mind, or decide on another media player at some future date, you can simply repeat this process and choose Windows Media Player (or.. whatever one) again.

Note: This method is how you change other “Opens with” defaults as well — such as changing back to Internet Explorer as your default web browser after you’ve tried some other “alternative” browser.

Today’s quote:Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” ~ Oscar Wilde

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. <<


February 20, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, digital music, how to, tech, Vista, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virus In My E-mail?

“A friend told me my e-mail had infected their computer.”

It is never any fun to take the blame for something you didn’t do. But that’s what happened to a recent client of mine. The call started out easy enough. When I asked “how can I help you today?”, they told me they wanted me to “remove the virus from (their) computer.”

I asked a few more questions; such as, were they running an antivirus, and what was causing them to think they were infected? (You might think it unlikely that there are people — in this day and age — who are not running an antivirus program.. but, sadly, there still are. If that be you, or you have let the “subscription” expire, please, click here!)

The client informed me that not only did they have an up-to-date antivirus but the scan was coming up clean, and that they had used the online scanner, Housecall, and it had come up clean as well.
Hmmm…
Bizarre behavior? Machine slow? Missing files? Garbled files? Odd Error messages? None.
Hmmm…

So what made this person think their machine had a virus?
Their reply, “A friend told me my e-mail had infected their computer.”

My client was very relieved to learn that not only was their machine free from viruses [Yes, I did some further checking] but that they had not even sent the infected e-mail in the first place!

What had happened was that their e-mail address had been “spoofed“. The infected e-mail in the friend’s Inbox only looked like it came from my caller, but had actually come from somewhere else.
Address spoofing is a hacker’s method of changing the code in the header of the e-mail so that it displays a (legitimate) e-mail address, but one different from the actual sender… very much as if you wrote a make-believe return address on an envelope you mailed.

Spammers and Phishers use this technique to hide the real origin (to make it seem as if the e-mail really did come from BofA, for example), and some types of malware use it to propagate and spread themselves. It was this latter use of spoofing which triggered my client’s call.
Someone (a friend or relative, most likely) – who had my client’s e-mail address in their address book — has been infected with a worm. This worm scanned the infected computer for anything resembling an e-mail address, collected them, and then mailed itself to those addresses. The recipient, thinking the poisoned e-mail came from a trusted Sender, opened the e-mail (and probably clicked on the attachment, or link). In short, my client was not infected, but someone they know is.
If you find yourself in a situation like my client, or if you get “Delivery Failure” notices for e-mails you did not send, your address may be being spoofed.

Tip of the day: Sadly, there is not a lot you can do to stop ’spoofed’ e-mails from appearing in your Inbox, but you can take preventative steps to keep from being victimized by them. (And, tell all your friends and relations they should check their antivirus…)
First of all, simply understand that what appears in the Sender box may not be the true point of origin, and exercise the appropriate caution. I have mentioned before, and repeat here, that you should not click on links you receive in e-mail. and spoofing is why. Instead, Copy the URL (the link) and Paste it into address bar of your web browser.
And if you are not expecting Uncle Joe to send you an e-mail with an attachment, ask him if he did, in fact, send you such an e-mail before you open it. And do the same for institutions, like BofA or Pay Pal: if you suspect an email reporting to come from your bank, call them and ask about it.
And, of course, have a up-to-date antivirus installed and have it set to scan your e-mail. Do not rely only on the antivirus which your ISP or e-mail service provides. Again, I refer you to the link to my prior article (I mentioned above) if you need some help or advice in this area, or need to download a free antivirus program.

Today’s free link: If you are in the market for a car, selling a car, or simply need to know the value of your vehicle, the Kelley Blue Book is the definitive place to look and is the industry standard. KBB online will give you real prices/values for new and used vehicles, offers advice for buying and selling, and has a Perfect Car Finder search engine.

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

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December 9, 2009 Posted by | antivirus, computers, e-mail | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments