Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, January 06, 2013
In this Issue:
Special Feature: Five Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet
Special Feature: Mac Basics: The Essentials
This Week's Topic: Change Text Size in Internet Explorer
Question: Rearranging Photos in Their Folders
Websites of Interest: New Year's Resolutions; Check Your Local Weather
Special Feature: Five Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet
By Martin Brinkmann of ghacks.net
Why is it that many computer users do not take better care of their systems security-wise? I think the main reason for that is that security does not matter for as long as you are not attacked or encounter situations where you need better security. When that happens, it is often too late and while many Internet users learn from this, it is still fair to say that security is something that many users ignore for the most part.
Many may have an antivirus solution installed because all the magazines and sites tell them that this is important, but it usually does not get farther than this.
Here are five tips that help you stay safe on the Internet.
I’m not telling you to install antivirus solution A or B, or that you need a bi-directional firewall, or need to scan your system from time to time with a rootkit scanner. No, the most important tip is to keep your system up to date. This includes Windows Updates that get released on the second Tuesday of every month. Make sure you install them when they are released, and not days, weeks or months later.
But updating does not end there. You also need to make sure that your programs are up to date, especially those that you use to connect to the Internet, web browsers for instance, but also programs that may embed plugins into those browsers, like Adobe with its Flash Player.
Some programs come with options to install updates automatically, while others require you to download and install updates by yourself.
2. Know Internet Addresses
Sounds easy but is something that most users do not pay attention to. The Internet address, or website address or url, determines the site you are connected to. What you need to understand is that https is better than http, and that finance related sites, like your bank’s website, payment processors and the payment section of shopping sites, need to display https in front. You also need to make it a habit to check the web address.
You can also click on the icon in front to get additional information in your browser.
Link checking is important. This is done by hovering your mouse cursor over a link to read the web address it links to. Browsers and other programs usually display link destinations then, which you should make use of to make sure a link leads to the correct destination and not a phishing or fake site.
3. Pick Secure Unique Passwords
A password like Dallas or 123456 is easy to remember, but what you need to consider is that it is also easily guessable. You need to select secure unique passwords whenever you sign up for a service.
Secure means that it needs to have a decent length. Twelve to 16 characters is a good start, that it is diverse, meaning that you need to mix letters, numbers and special characters if allowed by the site.
Unique means that you should not use the same password on more than one sites. The only exemption that I’d make here is if the account is not personal, e.g. you have signed up for a site to watch videos there but have not entered any personally identifiable information.
Do not write those passwords down physically, save them in unencrypted form on the computer, or tell them to anyone you know or do not know.
4. Use Disposable Mail or a Second Mail Account
You do not and should not sign up for all services with your main account. One option that often makes sense is to create a second email account and use that account exclusively for sign ups on sites that are not overly important to you. While you might want to sign up with your real email address on your University’s student site, you should use a secondary address for social networking sites, news sites, blogs, gaming sites and more or less all other sites on the Internet.
Why? This is more of a “we sell your email address and profile information” kind of thing that it is a potential security hazard. Still, if you do not want to be swarmed by spam, use a secondary address or disposable email.
Disposable email addresses basically let you create email addresses on the fly that have a limited lifespan. The idea is to sign up using one, get the confirmation email, click on the link, and never use that email address again. Pretty handy huh?
5. Use Common Sense
A Nigerian prince wants to give you 10% of his 10 billion dollar stash but requests that you send him money first so that he can make the transfer. An Iraqi war veteran stumbled upon a ton of Gold and needs logistics to transport it out of the country.
Those email messages are common. Spammers try a lot to get you. Even if you would not fall for those examples, there are others that you may.
A rule of thumb is that you should not open attachments of emails where the sender is not known to you. Do not open emails from businesses that you do not have a relationship with.
But common sense is also important when you are browsing the web. Congratulations, you are the 1,000 visitor, you have won an Apple iPad. Bogus messages are all around you, and it is best to ignore them all instead of falling pray to people who just want your data so that they can sell it to the highest bidder.
Special Feature: Mac Basics: The Essentials
The six basic elements of your Mac are the desktop, Finder, Dock, menu bar, Spotlight, and Notification Center
The desktop is a place where you can put files and folders. At the top of the desktop is the menu bar, and at the bottom is the Dock. To learn more about the desktop, please see this article: http://computerkindergarten.com/101412.html
The Finder shows you your files and folder in windows, and can be used to find anything on your Mac. Each Finder window has a sidebar to help you navigate. You can choose to view windows as icons, lists, or columns. To get a closer look, use Quick Look. You can rename, create, and organize folders. For much more information about using the Finder, please see this article: http://computerkindergarten.com/100712.html
At the bottom of your desktop is the Dock. You'll find icons on the Dock for the Finder, Launchpad, Mission Control, Safari, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Messages, FaceTime, Photo Booth, iPhoto for importing and managing your photos, iTunes, Mac App Store (see below) and System Preferences to tweak your system.
You can create stacks to the right of the line in the Dock. Your Mac comes with a built-in stack for Documents. Click a stack to see what's in it, and then click any file in the stack to open it. To learn more, please see this article: http://computerkindergarten.com/110412.html
The right-most item in the Dock is the Trash, which you can use to delete files and eject mounted volumes. You can move the Dock and tweak its settings. See these articles for more information:
The Dock http://computerkindergarten.com/102112.html
Customize the Dock http://computerkindergarten.com/102812.html
The Menu Bar
Along the top of the screen is the menu bar. Its choices change based on which application you're using, or if you're in the Finder.
Use status menus on the right side of the menu bar for things like sound, data and time, Wi-Fi connection, Spotlight, and your online chat status.
Open Spotlight from the menu bar. Use Spotlight to search for files such as documents, emails, dates in Calendar, and webpages that you've visited. Spotlight also does math equations!
Notification Center (OS X Mountain Lion)
Open Notification Center from the menu bar. Use Notification Center to view notifications from Messages, Calendar, Mail, Reminders, Twitter, Facebook, and other third-party apps.
Pointing, Clicking, and Getting Around
When you move your mouse or finger on a track pad, you control a pointer (also known as a cursor) that moves across your screen. The pointer allows you to select and interact with the various items on your screen, including selecting files, clicking buttons, dragging sliders, and so on.
Depending on what you're doing and what application you're using, your pointer may change appearance. Sometimes the pointer may look like a hand, a crosshair, an I-beam, or another icon.
For example, if you're using Safari to view a webpage and move the pointer across it, notice that it turns into an I-beam when you move it over text or a text field. When you see this, you can usually interact with the text or field below it. When you move the pointer over a button or link, the pointer turns into a hand, letting you know that you can click on the item.
Clicking your mouse button or track pad button once allows you to select the item that your pointer is on. In other words, if your pointer is on a file's icon, clicking once will select it. If the pointer is on a button or link, clicking once will activate it. If your pointer is on a text field, clicking once highlights the field and allows you to start typing text in it.
If you want to open a file, folder, or application, click your mouse button or track pad twice. This is known as double-clicking. In general, you'll need to double-click items if you want to open them from a Finder window or the desktop. The exception to this is opening stuff from the Dock—just click once on an icon in the Dock to open it.
Close, Minimize, and Zoom Windows
Every Finder, application, and document window has three colored buttons (red, yellow, and green) in the upper left corner.
The red close button closes the window. You can also use the Command-W keyboard shortcut.
The yellow minimize button (or Command-M keyboard shortcut) shrinks the window into the Dock. Click the window icon in the Dock to restore it.
The green zoom button will enlarge the window's size to show as much content as possible without a scroll bar. Click it again to return the previous window size.
Launch Your Apps
Your Mac comes with many applications already installed. In OS X Lion and later, you can see all your apps by clicking the Launchpad icon in the Dock.
You can also open apps via the Dock, from the Applications folder, with an alias, or by opening a file associated with the app.
Mac App Store
You can find much more software for your Mac online with the Mac App Store. Simply click its icon in the Dock to visit the App Store. After purchasing and downloading, applications are automatically installed in your Applications folder, and added to the Launchpad. To get updates for Mac App Store applications and OS X Mountain Lion, simply open App Store and click the Updates tab
Update Your Software
Software Update automatically checks for available updates from Apple when your computer is connected to the Internet. It takes into account the software you have installed on your computer, and new updates released by Apple so that it only shows you relevant updates. You can either wait for Software Update to make its scheduled check for updates (every week by default), or check for updates at any time by choosing Software Update from the Apple menu.
In OS X Mountain Lion, Mac App Store provides software updates via the Updates tab, as mentioned above. Updates for software that was purchased from the Mac App Store are also obtained via the Mac App Store's Update button.
You can also manually download updates from Apple Downloads to install the software yourself. To install software, just double-click the installer file and follow the onscreen instructions.
Today's Topic: Change Text Size in Internet Explorer
By David Kirk of tech-recipes.com
With screens becoming larger and larger, many users have been asking us how to adjust the text size in Internet Explorer. Using these steps, you can change the size of your text for easier viewing. These directions work for all versions of Internet. The zoom function is also described.
Many web sites do not specify what size of font the user must use. On these sites, one can easily change the font size to improve viewer comfort.
This method has been tested in all versions of IE including IE9.
Change the Text Size
1. Click on View in the IE menu. You may need to press the alt key if the menu is not visible.
2. Go to Text Size
3. Select the font size desired
Typically people are increasing the font size to make the text easier to read on today’s larger screens. Increasing the size from just Medium to Larger can make a huge visual difference.
Text Size versus Zoom
The Zoom option is found on the same menu. Increasing zoom will usually increase the size of all elements on the web page including images. Adjusting zoom is frequently accomplished as a shortcut by holding down the CTRL key and scrolling the mouse wheel up and down. Zoom is also be adjusted by holding down the CTRL key and pressing the + or - keys.
I find that only adjusting the text size gives me the best experience. This makes the text more readable without distorting the layout. Other people like the zoom function better. The one advantage of zoom is that it will increase the text size even on sites that do not allow the text size to be adjustable.
Question: Rearranging Photos in Their Folders
By Randal Schaffer of worldstart.com
Windows 7 won’t let me re-arrange photos in their folders. Once they are uploaded, you cannot drag a photo to a different place in the same folder. Is there a way to make this rearranging possible?
As far as I’ve ever discovered, there is no way to rearrange photos inside a folder “freestyle”. If I were to venture a guess as to why, then it would be because “remembering” what to the computer would look like a random arrangement would be too much of a burden on the file memory. Computers are basically logical creatures, and it is just impossible to tame some of that logic out of them. So whereas the arrangement that you want may be logical to you, it is not logical in the grand scheme of things.
Having said that, there are several ways that Windows will allow you to rearrange your photos. The first, and one that I rely heavily on, is the creation of sub-folders.
If you are using a full window, then the “New Folder” option will appear at the top of the pane. If you are using a compact window, then simply click on the double-arrows at the right of the top to see it.
You can really create as many of these as you want, name them whatever you want, and then move the photos that you want into that sub-folder. So, say that you want to get all of the photos of your cousin’s wedding together. You could just create a sub-folder called “Cousin’s wedding” and drag them all in there.
Once you’ve got all of the photos in the correct sub-folders, Windows does offer several logical ways to arrange your photos, both off of a right-click in your folder. When you click, make sure that you click into an empty space in your folder; between, above or below the photos, otherwise you’ll get options for the photo rather than options for the folder.
The first of these is called “Arrange By.”
Here you can arrange the photos by the month or day that they were taken, or by rating or tags. Rating and tags are added by right-clicking on the file that you want to add these things to, right-clicking, clicking on “properties” all the way at the bottom of this menu, and then clicking on the “details” tab.
You add a rating by simply clicking on the highest star that you’d like to rate the photo. Tags are added by clicking in the empty space under the stars, which will open a dialog box for tags. So you can simply tag all of the photos of cousin ‘s wedding and then, once you’ve tagged them all, arrange by tags.
The second of these is called “Sort By.”
Here you can sort by date, tag, size, name or rating. If you click on the option “more” at the bottom, then you can set many other variables.
Websites of Interest:
Tips for Making Good New Year's Resolutions
From the Huffington Post, this site may help you keep your resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions Fun Facts & Figures
Check Your Local Weather
You can get your weather forecast quickly on the Web, without waiting through the news report and endless commercials. There are plenty of great weather sites that you can use to find your local weather reports; here are just a few favorites:
The Weather Channel: get local weather, world weather, and lots of other fun meteorological information.
National Weather Service: An extremely detailed site; this is the place to go if you're looking for hurricane or tornado information as well.
Weather Underground: Find local weather; also offers code that you can use to place the weather on your blog or web site.
BBC Weather: Find worldwide weather with BBC Weather reports.
Yahoo Weather: Fast and easy.