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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, January 19, 2014

In this Issue: 
Special Feature:  Scams to Avoid in 2014
Tips & Tricks:  Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Mail Not Addressed to You is Likely Spam
Special Feature:   Mac Computers:  OS X Mavericks - Frequently Asked Questions
This Week's Topic:  Windows 7 - Personalize Your Desktop's Background and Themes
Special Feature: iPad Basics: Buying an iPad - When You're Ready to Buy
Websites of Interest:  Martin Luther King, Jr.


Special Feature:  Scams to Avoid in 2014

From aarp.org


Did you know that certain scams are more likely to occur during certain times of the year? Here's your month-by-month guide to scams.


January: Diets
Losing weight is the most popular New Year's resolution. But it is also the most likely to get you ripped off: The Federal Trade Commission says that more people are defrauded through weight-loss scams such as "miracle" supplements, "easy" exercising gizmos and "breakthrough" diets than any other product category it monitors.

February: Repairs
Traveling crooks target retiree-rich communities in warm-weather states like Florida and Arizona. Among the most common cons: self-described utility workers or contractors who show up unannounced and ask to enter your home, claiming "the condo association sent me."

March: Ribbon Rip-Offs
Breast cancer charities raise $6 billion each year on research for a cure. Unfortunately, anyone — scammers included — can use that familiar pink ribbon to brand merchandise or solicit contributions. And some "breast cancer" organizations devote only pennies of every dollar they collect to the cause; four, in fact, were among 50 recently deemed "America's worst charities." So before you give, check such websites as Give.org or CharityNavigator.org.

April: Subscriptions
Take a close look at those subscription invoices in your mailbox. Hit with phony renewal notices, consumers nationwide are paying for newspapers and magazines they'll never receive. The tip-off to the rip-off: an offer to start or renew a subscription at a hard-to-believe rate. If you're asked to send a payment to a company you don't recognize, call the publisher to verify the offer is legit.

May: Condos
Looking for a choice vacation rental at below-market rates? Beware: Some of those best-deal condos, mountain retreats or beachfront places may not really exist. Stick with bona fide real estate websites or listing agents. And never, ever make any kind of payment via a wire transfer.

June: Security
Summer means open windows, vacations and more home burglaries. It's also prime season for door-to-door scammers whose offer of a "free security inspection" is their way of casing your home for a possible later burglary. Bottom line: Unless you initiate a sales call, don't let anyone into your house. Scammers may produce forged identification. Many certified installers are listed at alarm.org.

July: Free Money
Surprised by an unexpected check? If the windfall comes with a string attached — you have to forward some portion of the money elsewhere, typically by wire transfer — it's almost certainly bogus. Be especially suspicious of amounts just shy of $5,000; scammers know that deposits above that amount are subject to longer bank holding periods.

August: Puppies
National Dog Day is Aug. 26, and if you're among those who love man's best friend, scammers may be out to get you. Amid the legitimate ads for puppies in newspapers and online websites are plenty of solicitations for stolen animals, or for ones that don't exist. The rule: Make sure the seller is legitimate before you agree to buy (or put down a deposit). Otherwise you could find yourself dealing with a dognapper.

September: Home Repair
Beware of the "woodchuck." This home improvement huckster usually starts with an offer to trim trees. Soon the woodchuck points out additional problems, returning day after day to take care of never-ending (and often needless) repairs. These fly-by-day fraudsters sometimes request payment in advance to buy materials for such jobs as roof repair or driveway sealing — but then, with your cash in hand, never return. Remember: Most reputable contractors are too busy to seek business by knocking on your door.

October: Taxes
You're looking for year-end tax breaks. And fraud-minded financial "advisers" are looking for you. Beware of unsolicited offers and invitations that aim to steer you into high-commission investment products (be especially suspicious, for example, of the "free lunch" seminar). Assume a scam when investments are touted as "guaranteed," "risk-free" or "secret." To make sure that you're dealing with a legitimate investment adviser, visit FINRA's BrokerCheck, at www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck.

November: Veterans
Scammers target both active-duty personnel (for their steady paychecks) and veterans (for their benefits and nest eggs). Remember: If an unsolicited pitch plays on patriotism or military service, it usually comes with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees. And veterans should steer clear of any offers that promise lump-sum cash advances or settlements in exchange for their future pension payments.

December: Gift Cards
'Tis the season to give — and receive — gift cards. But scams abound, from substitution schemes to sophisticated scan-and-clone techniques in which stolen cards are scanned by a magnetic reader, which can render other cards in the same set useless. Always make sure that a card's packaging hasn't been tampered with and that any peel-off sticker over a code is firmly in place — and get a receipt for the recipient.


Tips & Tricks:  Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Mail Not Addressed to You is Likely Spam


Spam, spam and spam. How to avoid spam, how to filter spam, and how to complain about spam are the items on this menu of junk mail fighting tips. With the help of Heinz Tschabitscher of about.com, we are presenting an ongoing series of tips and tricks that you can use to minimize the amount of junk mail that you will receive in your email inbox.


There is hardly an unsolicited mass email message that has your email address in the To: or the Cc: field.

This is why you can set up a filter that moves all incoming messages that do not carry any of your email addresses in either the To: or Cc: field to the "Probably Spam" folder.

Of course, you should have filters that catch all mail from mailing lists before the not-addressed-to-me filter triggers.


In our next edition: Do Not Threaten Spammers


Special Feature:   Mac Computers:  OS X Mavericks - Frequently Asked Questions

From gcflearnfree.org


On October 22, 2013, Apple launched OS X Mavericks. We'd like to offer you a brief overview of OS X Mavericks and try to answer some questions you may have at this time.


What is OS X Mavericks?

OS X Mavericks is the newest version of the desktop operating system for Apple computers. It contains a number of new features and improvements that will make your computer more efficient and easier to use.


How Much Does it Cost?

Nothing—OS X Mavericks is a free upgrade.


Who Can Get OS X Mavericks?

Anyone with an Apple computer using Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion can upgrade to OS X Mavericks. If you have an earlier version of OS X (such as Leopard), you cannot upgrade to OS X Mavericks.


How Do I Get OS X Mavericks?

If you buy a new Apple computer, OS X Mavericks will come pre-installed. You won't need to do anything to install it.

If you want to upgrade an existing computer, you can download and install OS X Mavericks by going to the Mac App Store and clicking Updates.

OS X Mavericks is only available as an online download—you cannot purchase a physical copy at a retail store.


What's New in OS X Mavericks?

Each new version of OS X usually includes a lot of new features, and OS X Mavericks is no exception. Below are some of the most important changes and features:

New and Updated Apps: OS X Mavericks comes with two new apps: iBooks and Maps. These apps were previously only available on iOS devices (such as the iPhone and iPad). Some of the pre-installed apps from Apple, such as Safari, Calendar, and Contacts, also have an updated interface and several new features.

Finder Features: Some of the biggest changes in OS X Mavericks can be found in Finder. If you need to browse through different folders, you can now open tabs in a single Finder window, instead of opening multiple windows. You can also tag important files and folders so they're easy to find.

Multiple Display Support: Many users complained that previous versions of OS X did not work well with multiple monitors. OS X Mavericks addresses this issue, making it much easier to use multiple monitors at the same time, even when using full-screen apps.

Energy Efficiency: OS X Mavericks includes several changes that will make your computer more energy efficient, which can help to improve the battery life for laptops. This can also help to reduce energy costs for desktops.


Will My Apps Still Be There After I Upgrade?

Any apps you previously had installed on your computer will still be there once you upgrade. Some Apple apps, like Safari and Calendar, will be updated automatically when you upgrade.


Will My Apps Still Work After I Upgrade?

Almost all apps installed on your computer should work correctly in OS X Mavericks. However, as with any new operating system, some software may not be totally compatible. A simple Google search will often be enough to tell if an app will be compatible with OS X Mavericks.


This Week's Topic:  Windows 7 Personalize Your Desktop's Background and Themes

From 7tutorials.com


Windows 7 has some amazing themes and backgrounds to choose from. They include vivid photography, digital artwork and Aero themes that use color and glass effects in an appealing way.

Microsoft puts together collections of backgrounds, window colors, sounds and screen savers into what they've called themes. Choosing one of those is a great way to get started with customizing your Desktop. Each theme has a selection of wallpapers to choose from. You can keep just one, or let them play like a slideshow.

Right click anywhere on the Desktop to begin. The Personalization window will open. 

Click on a theme that appeals to you, and Windows will change your wallpapers, the screen colors, sounds and the screensaver to those included in that theme.

Play around with the available choices as much as you like. If none of the built-in themes pleases you, Microsoft has an outstanding collection here.


How to Use Your Own Wallpapers for the Desktop Background

But what if none of the pre-made themes appeals to you? You can easily choose an image on your hard drive as your wallpaper.

Use Windows Explorer to navigate to the image you'd like to use as wallpaper. Right-click on your image, and choose Set as desktop background and you're done.

But what if you don't want just one image? What if you want to have your own slideshow with multiple images from a folder?

In the Personalize window, click Desktop background. This will take you to the Desktop background window, showing your current background.  There's a drop-down menu named Picture location that shows you the standard Windows locations for appropriate images.  If none of those have what you want, click Browse and navigate to another folder of your choice

NOTE: you can only use one folder. If no folder on your computer has the images you want, you'll need to create a folder with selected images just for this purpose.

Select the images you want for your slideshow by clicking in the upper left corner of each thumbnail.

Click the Save Changes button, and let your slideshow play through to check the position of your images. Chances are good that one or more of them won't look quite right on your screen.


Wallpapers - How to Customize their Position & Change Interval

Right-click and go back to Personalize, and then click Desktop Background again. Then click on the Picture Position drop-down list, which will show you your options: Fill, Fit, Stretch, Tile, and Center.

Experimentation is the best way to decide which of those options works best. Here's what happens:

Fill will enlarge or reduce your images so that your Desktop space is filled. The images will be stretched or cropped to make this happen.

- Fit will make your images as large as possible to fit in the space. They won't be distorted or cropped.
-Stretch will stretch or squash your image to the same dimensions as your screen. If your monitor size doesn't match the size of the image well, this can look really ugly.
-Tile will put your image on the screen multiple times, filling up the space, but it may or may not fit the images into the space.
-Center will put your image in the center of the screen. You may have one small image in the center of a big blank space, or you may have just the center part of a big image.

If it turns out that your image doesn't fill the screen properly, you can click on Change background color, and find a color that coordinates with your image to fill up the rest of the screen.

By default, the images you've chosen will become a slideshow that will change at whatever time interval you wish. Use the Change picture every list and choose the time span you want. If you want the images to play in random order click the box marked Shuffle.

When done making your changes, don't forget to click Save changes.

NOTE: If you have not selected any images in the folder or you selected just one image, the time interval dropdown and the Shuffle box will be greyed out.


In our next newsletter:  Personalize Font Settings


Special Feature: iPad Basics: Buying an iPad - When You're Ready to Buy

From gcflearnfree.org


When you're ready to make your purchase, you have several different options. Depending on your preferences, you can:

Buy an iPad directly from Apple—online or at your local Apple Store
Choose a third-party retailer like Target, Walmart, or Best Buy
Go through AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless if you plan to buy one of the Wi-Fi + Cellular models

Your decision will probably come down to whoever has the iPad you want in stock—and which store is most convenient—rather than who's offering the best deal. The truth is, you'll almost never find an iPad for significantly less than the suggested retail price.

Beware of any sales, promotions, or contest giveaways that sound too good to be true. Because the iPad is in high demand, there will always be scammers and other disreputable sellers—especially online—who will try to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. When in doubt, purchase your device from a well-known retailer.


iPad 2 vs. The New iPad

The iPad 2 (the previous version of the iPad) is still being sold online and in select stores. It's available in two different lower-cost models:

16GB Wi-Fi starting at $399
16GB Wi-Fi + 3G starting at $529

The iPad 2 lacks the hardware advancements of the current version—and it doesn't support Siri. However, the savings may be worth it to you depending on your budget and individual needs. To learn more, visit the links below.

Compare iPad Models at Apple.com to compare the iPad 2, the new iPad, and the iPad Mini side by side

Select an iPad 2 at Apple.com to view current availability


In our next edition:
Getting to Know the iPad


Websites of Interest: 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take a look at the Seattle Times website for stories, photo, some audio clips and a very interesting Civil Rights timeline.

The Stanford University website provides a biography and some of his speeches and letters.

From Louisiana State University, this website provides a biographical sketch and much more information.

From Time Magazine, profile, photo, and timeline of the civil rights leader.

Listen to King's I Have a Dream speech given on August 28, 1963.

For the Kids: