Tech – for Everyone

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

Hey! Some Good News

Here’s some items of interest for your thoughtful consideration:

* Password Protection Act of 2012 filed

“A new bill is filed to prevent employers from asking employees and job candidates for their passwords to social networking sites.” Read more..

I was beginning to think there wasn’t one good thing I could say about our “leadership” in Washington.. yet, here we finally have something almost good. Though, the fact that we even need to enact something like this is pretty sad .. and scary.

Next up: oops.

* Facebook under fire, under water: Investor lawsuits, investigations slam FB

“Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock closed at $32 today, but that’s the least of its problems. It’s now besieged with lawsuits and investigations around allegations that it did not disclose negative information about future earnings to investors before it went public on May 18.” Read more..

Oh, well. What’s a little lawsuit or two between Friends?

Related? A bad week for launches

“You’d be wrong to expect that internet giants Yahoo and Spotify would be able to launch new services without incident. Read more..

(Also: Yahoo launches Axis ‘browser’ and fumbles it disastrously {good read: I highly reco}

Yahoo, in a bid to outstep the controversy left by former chief executive Scott Thompson, launches a brand new browser. But in doing so, it fouls it up horribly and causes another stir.Read more..

( “Axis”? Seriously? And .. these are the professionals. ) ( Hmm.. “Outstep”? )

Idjits:

Actually useful?

* What is the best font to use in a resume?

“Could the font you use in your resume really be that important? You bet it can. Read more..

Not such good news…

* Comcast phishing site contains valid TRUSTe seal

“Security researchers from Sophos are reporting on an intercepted Comcast-themed phishing email, which contains a valid TRUSTe seal. Read more

Did you know? Everything you type online, picture you send, webpage you look at — everything you do and say online is recorded by somebody somewhere. And you cannot erase it. Ever. Maybe.. think twice before you click?

Also: The curse of free cloud services: a cautionary tale

“Cloud services have their failings, and I’m not talking about the usual crashes and cyberattacks. No, sometimes the service just goes away.” Read more..

Your reward for reading this far:

Today’s quotable quote:Yahoo could probably trip over a chain in the street and unwittingly pull the plug on the Great Lakes — it’s that unlucky.” ~ seen on Between the Lines

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 24, 2012 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Set An Automatic Webmail ‘I’m Away’ Response

You have probably seen one of these: you send someone an e-mail, and later, in your Inbox you see their reply. So you open it and it says, “I’m on vacation. Quit bugging me!”

Okay. Maybe not those words. Exactly. But you know what I am describing. Right? It’s an e-mail feature called ‘vacation responder‘ (aka “I’m out of the office”).

If you go on vacation (or otherwise won’t have Internet access for a while) and you have a vacation responder turned on, an automatic reply – with a message you’ve pre-typed (you do not have to say “Quit bugging me!”) – will be sent automatically to the Sender letting them know you will get back to them, just not right away. When you get back online again, you simply turn it off again.

Find the Webmail you use from the list below.

* Gmail
Here’s how to let people know you can’t respond right away:

  1. Sign in to Gmail.
  2. Click Settings along the top of any Gmail page.
  3. From the General tab, select Vacation responder on in the Vacation responder: section.
  4. Enter the subject and body of your message in the Subject: and Message: fields.
    • If you’ve enabled a personalized signature in your settings, Gmail will automatically append it to the bottom of your vacation response.
  5. Check the box next to Only send a response to people in my Contacts if you don’t want everyone who emails you to know that you’re away from your mail.
  6. Click Save Changes.

* Hotmail
To make Windows Live Hotmail reply to incoming emails in your absence:

  • Select Options | More options… from the Windows Live Hotmail toolbar.
  • Follow the Sending automated vacation replies link under Managing your account.
  • Make sure Send vacation replies to people who email me is selected.
  • Type your desired out-of-office message under Enter the message you’d like to send while you’re away:.
    • Possibly include approximate info on when you will be able to reply personally.
    • Who to contact in the meantime or an alternative way of reaching you might also be appropriate.
    • In general, keep the message simple. Something like “I’m currently unable to read my mail, sorry! Come February, I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, you can…” shall do.
    • The subject Windows Live Hotmail uses for automatic replies is “Vacation reply”, by the way.
  • If you frequently get mail from people not yet in your Windows Live Hotmail address book, make sure Only reply to your contacts is not checked.
  • Click Save.

* Yahoo! Mail/Earthlink/Mindspring
To set a vacation response:

  1. Click Options in the upper-right corner of your Mail page. Then select Mail Options…
  2. From the list on the left, click Vacation Response.
  3. Check the box that says Enable auto-response during your vacation.
  4. Select start and end dates for your trip.
  5. Enter the day your vacation will start in the “”Auto-respond from”” field and the day it will end in the “”up until (and including)”” field.
  6. Enter a Generic Response. It can be up to ten lines.
  7. When you are finished writing your Generic Response, click Save Changes located near the upper-left corner of the page.

* AOL
AOL WebMail allows you to setup an away message, that will auto-reply with a custom message or a pre-set message that you choose, when you are away. This is extremely useful if you are on vacation and need to reply to someone who might email you.

1. Click the Settings link, located at the upper right of your AOL WebMail inbox.
2. Click the General link, located in the left panel.
3. In the Mail Away Message section, click the drop-down menu and select an appropriate away message. If you select Custom type your own personal away message in the text box provided.
4. Click Save.

[Note: if your webmail service is not listed here, don’t worry. The method is the same. Look for a “settings”, “options”, or “preferences” menu (those are all the same things, btw.).]

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


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November 16, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, how to, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Remove Your Name From Search Engines and Social Networking Sites

Your Private Information Made Public

Folks, sometimes it is best to not reinvent the wheel; so today I am going to refer you to three excellent resources for the methods you need to know about if you are concerned about your personal information, and how websites (and the Gov’t) are collecting – and posting – it on the Internet.

If you are serious about protecting your identity and personal security, you should take actions now to block your personal information from public viewing.

Remove Your information from People Search Databases, Social Networks, and Search Engine ResultsJessicaM

Do you know what kind of personal information about you can be found from Internet? Do you know how to remove your name, address, phone number, pictures, bad comments and negative reviews from Google and other search engine results? Do you know how to delete your personal information from online people search database records?

I am putting this one first as it is comprehensive and well researched. It is four pages long, and packed with good info.


How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites — Cameron Chapman

What we often don’t realize when signing up for all these accounts, though, is how difficult it can be to permanently delete our accounts when we’ve had enough. Some require complicated, multi-step processes that can stretch over the course of days (or weeks). Others take less time, but still require multiple steps by the user.

This article outlines the steps for removing your account/profile on:
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google, Ebay, Wikipedia, Flickr/Yahoo!, Windows Live, StumbleUpon, WordPress, Amazon, YouTube, and PayPal.


If you want to stay inconspicuous while online, here are some products, services, and best practices to put to use.
How to Stay Anonymous Online — Erik Griffith

Some might say that the Internet was built on anonymity. Without it, the Internet might not have become what it is today—a place where free speech reigns supreme (maybe to a fault). However, as social networks prevail—and über-companies like Google do all they can to market to you more effectively—your privacy on the Web comes into question. The good news is that you can take back control of what others see and know of you online. Here’s how.

Subtopics: Safe Surfing, Anonymous E-mail, Social (Network) Security

The article contains links to programs and tools you may be interested in.. if your privacy is a concern to you.


Update: Here is another resource, brought to my attention by Rick Robinette:

I came across a really cool site that, if anything, is a real education about online accounts and profiling. The site is called AccountKiller.

AccountKiller – Do you care about your personal data? We provide instructions to remove your account or public profile on most popular websites, including Skype, Facebook, Windows Live, Hotmail / Live, Twitter, MSN / Messenger, Google and many more. Want to create an account somewhere? Check our Blacklist first to see if it’s even possible to remove your profile!

What AccountKiller specializes in is collecting direct links and deleting instructions to make account termination an easier process.Read more..

*     *     *

Bonus: additional recommended reading: Does a Blogger’s Opinion Really Matter?

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


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June 15, 2010 Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Competing With Google Search

Neither Microsoft (with MSN or Bing) nor Yahoo! can compete with Google in the arena of Tech that matters most — showing you advertisements. So…

“A powerful new choice in search is coming”

Microsoft® and Yahoo! have now received regulatory clearance to form the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance in the United States and European Union. This milestone is an exciting step in our effort to give your business a time-saving and cost-efficient way to connect with show ads to a larger combined audience of potential customers.

After the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance is implemented, you can:

  • Reach more potential customers: Search ad inventory from both the Yahoo! and Microsoft networks will be joined in a new, unified search marketplace powered by Bing™, with a combined audience of over 150 million searchers in the U.S and nearly 577 million searchers worldwide.
  • Save valuable time and effort: You’ll use a single platform—Microsoft adCenter—to manage your campaigns easier and faster. With just one buy, your search ads will reach users on Bing, Yahoo!, and other premium partner sites and networks, such as The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, msnbc.com, FoxSports.com, Facebook, and Buy.com.
web page filled with ads

Just a few helpful results

Related: This “alliance” between Microsoft and Yahoo is interesting.. because I seem to remember Yahoo! selling ad space to Google a while back.. see Google-hoo — a world run by ad revenue

And for those of you who feel as I do, How to block ads (updated)

Note: I am a big fan of healthy marketplace competition, and not a big fan of monopolies, so I have set the “default” search engine to a different provider on each of my different machines.. to “spread the love” (IE users, to do that yourself, click here). Which ones? Well, basically any one but Ask.com.. but I will say I am a fan of Dogpile.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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February 19, 2010 Posted by | computers, Internet | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Google’s Dominance Is Your Reward

If you have been paying attention to Tech news you will have noticed that the #1 and #2 Search players have been been making bids to buy the #3 player, Yahoo!

Essentially, Microsoft “Live” Search tried to buy up Yahoo! to better compete with Google’s undisputed #1 (and get advertisers back onboard).

That plan didn’t work. And now Microsoft is offering a rewards program to get more people to use MSN as their search engine (thus, today’s title).

“Sign up to start earning great perks just for searching!

Sign up for SearchPerks! and start earning tickets towards exciting prizes whenever you search the Web – up to 25 tickets per day. It’s free, easy tCaptureo use, and your tickets accumulate as fast as you can search.*

And because SearchPerks! is brought to you by Microsoft Live Search, you know you won’t compromise quality while earning rewards.

Be sure to sign up before the registration deadline on December 31, 2008—the sooner you sign up, the more opportunity you have to earn tickets!”

I saw the ad for SearchPerks on my Hotmail page, and it includes a link, or you can click here to sign up.
Sign up and get 500 “bonus tickets”.

It smacks of desperation to me.

[note: to earn tickets, you must use Internet Explorer when you search, and download a small data collecting app.]

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

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October 26, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, News, searching, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Simple E-mail Encryption

Who’s reading your e-mail? Are you sure it is only the person you sent it to? Could it hurt you, or your business, (or, your election campaign?) if someone else was reading it? Wouldn’t it be great if you could ensure that only the intended recipient could read it?

In prior articles, I have explained (in my limited way) that the encrypting of files, and sending them to someone else, where they then need to decode them, is best done by the exchanging of “keys” in what is called “Public-key encryption” (for Wikipedia’s explanation on that, click here). I will not be lecturing on that today.. though, I invite you to click the link if you’re interested in (or curious about) cryptography.

It is not hard to understand how encrypting your writing — so that it can travel across the Internet in an unreadable format — is a “good thing”.. a desirable thing.. and would have serious benefits.
The encrypting of e-mails is often required by businesses, and they install cool (and expen$ive) machines on their networks that automatically encrypts all company e-mail. But what about us? Here at home? How do we do it? Can it happen automatically.. like it does at our job? Well, yes and no. The first step is to get yourself a “key”.

I mentioned in a previous article that I had started using a new (to me) e-mail client (Windows Live Mail) to access my webmail accounts. Live Mail, and all other e-mail clients (Outlook, OE, Thunderbird, etc.) natively support the use of “keys”, and allow you so “sign” and/or encrypt your e-mail with a single click… assuming you have taken a couple of steps first.
You may have noted that I have been putting the word key inside quotes; that’s because when I’m speaking at the level of how crypto works, I am actually speaking about algorithms and when I talk about using those keys, I am talking about “Certificates”. To encrypt your e-mail you need to get a Certificate… which is really a key (pair). Confusing, I know.

Tip of the day: Get a Certificate for your e-mail account(s). There are several Certificate Authorities that offer free Certificates for the personal use in e-mail, but I have found that if you are using any Microsoft products.. or you suspect that your recipient(s) may be using Windows and/or Outlook (which is a fairly good bet), you want to get your e-mail certificate here:
Today’s free link: Comodo Free Email Certificate

image

Fill in the form, and use the e-mail address that you want to protect with encryption (If you use more than one e-mail address regularly, repeat this process for each one: each account needs its own Cert), and click on the “Advanced Private Key Options” link, and place a check in the “User protected?” checkbox, and enter a “Revocation password (twice). Click “Agree & C ontinue”.

A window will open telling you that a Certificate isimage being “requested on your behalf”.. agree. Now you will see the screen (pictured). Click “OK”.

If all goes as it should, the Comodo webpage will change to a “Congratulations!” page, and instructs you to check the Inbox of the account you created the Cert for. Do so. There will be an e-mail from Comodo containing a link. You will need to click it to complete the process (Copy>Paste links into the address bar of your browser, remember?!).

 

image

Your e-mail will look like this. When you’ve copy>pasted the e-mail’s link into your browser’s address bar, and requested the Cert download, Windows will then automatically try to install it for you, but needs your permission..

image

Click “Yes” to give it.

image

This tells you you’re done, and now you can digitally “sign” your e-mail.. which is the first real step to exchanging encrypted email.. which I will describe tomorrow.
Now, e-mail a link to this article to the person(s) you want private conversations with, and tell them to click the link and follow the Comodo wizard and get their key.. you’re going to need it. Once you and they do this, encryption is a click away.

The conclusion of this How To is now available here.

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

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September 18, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, encrypting files, how to, Internet, security, software, tech | , , , , , | 3 Comments