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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, January 31, 2016

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Top Scams of 2016 - Counterfeit Merchandise Scams
Special Feature: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: How Long, Complicated Email Addresses Beat Spammers
Special Feature: Apple iPad and iPhone iOS 9 – Changes and Hidden Features: Keyboard and Text Control
Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn Off Auto Start Programs - MSCONFIG
Websites of Interest: February 2 is Groundhog Day; Winter Bird Feeding; Start an Indoor Winter Garden

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Special Feature: Top Scams of 2016 - Counterfeit Merchandise Scams

From scamguard.com

With so many online stores available, it's sometimes very difficult to know the difference between a legitimate e-commerce site and a fake one set up to steal money or a person's identity.

Operating predominantly out of China, scammers set up generic online stores that sell name brand items or mimic the websites of big name brand companies. On these sites, scammers sell fake or counterfeit products at significantly reduced prices designed to attract buyers looking for big deals on name brand merchandise. The over-reaching goal of these scammers is to gain access to the credit card numbers of their victims and then use the numbers to fraudulently make purchases, or make a buck with the information on the black market. In some cases, the criminals even go so far as to send fake or counterfeit products to victims. As the merchandise ships from international locations, victims often remain unaware of any wrong-doing against them until weeks have passed. Although many brand companies discover these sites and shut them down, it's usually too late.

As scammers usually ask for payment via credit card, victims have also reported identity theft at a later time. To verify the identity of a website in question, always contact the brand company using the phone number on the company’s official Contact Us or similar page.

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Special Feature: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: How Long, Complicated Email Addresses Beat Spammers

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.

If you post your email address to the net, chances are it will fall in the hands of spammers. But even if you never expose your address to a place where spammers may collect it, you will probably get spam.

That's because spammers apply another technique to find email addresses, too. They simply guess. Given a domain name, spamware will send mails to all kinds of (likely) user names at that address, from aaaronb@ to zzziddyw@.

You can escape this attack of brute force like you can (try to) escape somebody guessing for your password. Try to make your address as difficult to guess as possible when selecting your user name.

Long, Complicated Email Addresses Beat Spammers

To beat spammers, use a

* long email address
* consisting of more than one word
* and, preferably, word segments as well as
* numbers and
* an underscore.

In our next edition: How to Use Disposable Email Addresses at Your Web Site

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Special Feature: Apple iPad and iPhone iOS 9 – Changes and Hidden Features: Keyboard and Text Control

iOS 9 for the iPad and iPhone is available for download. You can access the software update via Settings > General> Software Update > Download and Install.

We’ve had some time to play around with iOS 9 for a bit. We’re looking at a more proactive OS and fun upgrades all around. Here are some changes:

 

Select Text Easily – Finally, a smarter, more intuitive way to select text on a. With iOS 9, two fingers are all we need to control the position of the cursor on the iPad.

Within Apple’s built-in apps that will let you type in information (such as Mail, Notes, and Messages, for example), you can place two fingers anywhere on the screen to invoke a new way to select text and move your cursor around.

As you can see, if you’re touching the on-screen keyboard with two fingers, it’ll helpfully fade out to show you that you’re ready to do some fancy text-selection stuff.

This has two important functions. First, if you don’t have any text selected, it’ll let you move your cursor within your text. If text is selected, though, dragging your two fingers up and down the screen will expand and contract your selection. This is so, so much easier than trying to grab those two little blue handles to select text!

Format with Built-in Shortcut Bar – Another feature that’s been a long time coming. We can now format those emails the way we need them to be. A Shortcut Bar (above the keyboard) lets us bold, italicize, underline, copy and paste text in a breeze.

When you have text selected, note a small, white bar right above the keyboard in the center. Press and pull that up. A bar will appear with commands such as cut, copy, and paste, and formatting changes that can be made.

New Emoji – Now you can add more than just a smiley face to your emails. With iOS 9, 150 new emoji have been added to the collection.

Open an app like Messages and tap in the text field. Now tap on the smiley face on your keyboard. Some users may not see the smile face next to the space bar. If you use multiple languages you may see a globe. If you don’t see a smiley or a globe, you may have to turn emoji on in Settings. Tap on Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards – > Add New Keyboard -> Emoji.

Tap on any of the new emoji that you see. You can swipe left and right to see more emoji.

 

In our next edition: Maps and Notes

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Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn Off Auto Start Programs - MSCONFIG

As your Windows computer ages, its speed can decrease. You will notice an increase in response time when you give commands to open programs, files or folders, use the Internet and other tasks. There are several things you can do to speed up your computer.

In our ongoing series, Speed Up a Slow Computer, we will present articles discussing some of the steps you can take to sp

Important: Before eed up your slow computer.making any changes to your system, always create a Restore Point. If anything goes wrong with the changes you make, this will allow you to revert back to a point when the computer was operating correctly. Please visit our Newsletter Archives to read our article, All About Restore Points:
http://computerkindergarten.com/restorepoints.html

Turn Off Auto Start Programs - MSCONFIG

Every program that is open and running slows the computer down. The more programs that are running, the slower the computer will go. When you turn your computer on, many hidden programs start up and run in the background. Some of these programs are essential, but most are not. Turning off some of these hidden programs can significantly increase your computer's performance and reliability.

Windows has a special tool called the Microsoft System Configuration Utility or MSCONFIG. It is designed to help troubleshoot computer problems but can also be used to find and turn off some of the hidden programs that are not needed.

To open MSCONFIG:

In XP, click the Start button and click Run. Type msconfig in the Open box. Click the OK button.

In Vista / 7, click the Start Orb. Click in the Start Search box and type msconfig. MSCONFIG will appear in the search results, at the top of the menu. Click to open it. Vista will ask for permission to continue; click to agree.

This will open the Microsoft System Configuration Utility. Click the Startup tab at the top of the window.

The items in the list you now see are programs that open every time you turn on your computer. Some startup programs are essential; many are not. The nonessential programs can be turned off by clicking the box to the left of the item name. Once clicked, the checkmark will be removed.

To determine which items can be turned off and which must be left on, visit this website:
http://www.pacs-portal.co.uk/startup_search.php

At this site, most items in the startup list can be researched.

In the System Configuration window, note the Command column to the right of the item name column. The entry in this column will be used to research whether that item can be turned off or should be left on.

Increase the size of the Command column. To do so, point to the vertical line between the Command and the Location column headings. The mouse pointer will change into a plus sign. When you see the plus sign, hold down the left mouse button and drag the line to the right. This will increase the size of the column. Increase the size of the column so that each entry is completely displayed.

A typical entry in that column will look something like this:
C:\Windows\system32\igfxtray.exe

igfxtray.exe is the filename and the part that will be researched at the pacs-portal website.

In your System Configuration window, write down the filename of one of the items you would like to research. Make sure you write it down exactly as it appears. Go to the sysinfo.org website. Scroll down to the Search box, click in it and then type the filename you wrote down. Click the Search button.

If the website has information about the startup item, a description will be displayed. The status column will display one of these codes:

Y - Normally leave to run at start-up
N - Not required or not recommended - typically infrequently used tasks that can be started manually if necessary
U - User's choice - depends whether a user deems it necessary
X - Definitely not required - typically viruses, spyware, adware and "resource hogs"
? - Unknown

If a Y is displayed next to your item, leave it as is. If any of the other codes are noted, the item can be turned off. In the System Configuration window, click the box to the left of the item to remove the check mark.

This process can be done for each item in the System Configuration window. After you have finished, click the OK button and then click Restart to restart the computer. When the computer restarts, a window will open where you will confirm selective startup. Click to not show the window in the future.

In Windows 8/8.1, go to the Desktop. Right click to open the Power User Tasks Menu (Windows logo, bottom left). Click Run. Type msconfig in the Open box. Click the OK button. This will open the System Configuration window. Click the Startup tab and then click Open Task Manager.

Items can be researched as described above. To disable an item, right click on it and then left click on Disable from the resulting menu.

Note: It is highly recommended to turn off only one or two items at a time, and note what items you turned off. Then use the computer to make sure everything is working fine. If problems do occur, the items that were turned off can simply be turned on again. To do so, open the System Configuration window and click to turn on the item.

 

In our next edition, learn how to speed up your computer by disabling unnecessary services.

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Websites of Interest:

February 2 is Groundhog Day
Will we have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring?

Punxsutawney Phil
http://www.groundhog.org/

Malverne Mel
http://tinyurl.com/hteg4gl

Holtsville Hal
http://www.holtsvillehal.org/

Winter Bird Feeding

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding
http://tinyurl.com/hmwgrs7

Attracting Birds in Winter
http://tinyurl.com/a5vq5j

Ten Simple Tips for Successful Winter Bird Feeding
http://tinyurl.com/je88j2f

Start an Indoor Winter Garden

Indoor Gardening 101
http://www.planetnatural.com/growing-indoors/

Winter Growing Abilities: Winter Gardening
http://www.gardenforever.com/pages/winter-gardening.html