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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, February 10, 2013

We will not be publishing a newsletter next week in observance of President’s Day. See you in two weeks!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Start Reducing the Spam Messages You Receive
Special Series: Windows 8 Tips, Tricks and Secrets
Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: HTML5
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Unnecessary Windows Services
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Operating Your Device
Websites of Interest: Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling; Presidents Day; George Washington; February 12 is the birthday of Abraham Lincoln; February 14 is Valentine’s Day; February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day


Special Feature: Start Reducing the Spam Messages You Receive

Do you ever dread opening your inbox, knowing that 90% of what’s there is probably junk mail? You’re not alone. Billions of spam messages were sent last year. Yes, billions.

Why do people send this electronic nonsense? Do they just like tormenting us?

Some may simply do it for kicks, but basically it’s a numbers game to spammers. If one spammer sends 10 million spam messages, and only 1% answers, that’s 100,000 responses in his hands. Those are fantastic returns in his eyes, but plenty annoying to the rest of us, especially when you have to sift through this junk mail every day.

So how can you get rid of your spam? Reducing the amount isn’t easy, but it can be done. Here are some tips to help:

Create an address reserved for potential email harvesters

You know how it goes: Once one spammer has your email address today, 100 of his kind will have it tomorrow. Consider creating an address solely reserved for entering contests, job offers, and purchases, anything beyond dealing with trusted companies or your family and friends.

Politely ask people not to forward you chain emails, free Web cards, or anything beyond their own personal messages to your “true” email address. And if they simply must share that video of the dog playing the piano, have them use your spam-ready address.
This way, if your new address starts overflowing with spam, you can always drop it for another Web email address. Then, rinse and repeat as needed.

Don’t recognize the sender? Don’t open the email

Subject lines like, “You won’t believe the pictures someone has of you!” sent from a stranger reveal the message’s true intent: The only thing awaiting you in that email is a pocketful of spam and a trigger to send you even more tomorrow.

Spammers know they aren’t welcome, but they want to force their way into your inbox anyway. As companies and governments put up more spam road blocks, spammers think of new ways around them.

This is one reason why you receive some nonsensical emails with gibberish subject lines. They simply want to see what they can sneak through the barriers. Keep your curiosity in check. Just delete suspicious messages and move on.


Special Series: Windows 8 Tips, Tricks and Secrets

By Mike Williams and Matt Hanson of techradar.com and bleepingcomputer.com

Windows 8 is here, and if you're used to previous versions of Windows then you're going to notice that quite a bit has changed. In fact, Windows has seen the biggest changes since the jump from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

Out goes the Start menu, in comes the new touch-oriented Start screen, new apps, new interface conventions - even experienced PC users may be left feeling a little lost.

Don't despair, though, help is at hand with our Windows 8 tutorial. We've been investigating every part of Windows 8, uncovering many of its most important tips and tricks, so read our guide and you'll soon be equipped to get the most out of Microsoft's latest release.

Windows 8: Basic Navigation

Windows 8 launches with its new interface, the Start Screen, with colorful tiles and touch-friendly apps. The Start Screen is a very simple interface to navigate. It is comprised of various Apps as well as programs that you can launch. Each of these programs or Apps are represented as a tile.

If you're using a tablet then it'll all be very straightforward: just swipe left or right to scroll the screen, and tap any tile of interest.

On a regular desktop, though, you can spin the mouse wheel to scroll backwards and forwards and point and click on the app you want to open.

And you can also use the keyboard. Press the Home or End keys to jump from one end of your Start screen to the other, for instance, then use the cursor keys to select a particular tile, tapping Enter to select it. Press the Windows key to return to the Start screen; right-click (or swipe down on) apps you don't need and select Unpin to remove them; and drag and drop the other tiles around to organize them as you like.

The Start screen also has numerous pages, where each page contain different tiles. Therefore if you run out of room on one page, then you can simply start adding tiles to other pages. To organize your tiles based on how often you use them, or by a particular category, you can move the tiles between groups or pages and even create brand new groups of tiles.

In our next edition: App Groups


Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: HTML5

Many of us these days depend on the World Wide Web to bring the world’s information to our fingertips, and put us in touch with people and events across the globe instantaneously.

These powerful online experiences are possible thanks to an open web that can be accessed by anyone through a web browser, on any Internet-connected device in the world.

But how do our browsers and the web actually work? How has the World Wide Web evolved into what we know and love today? And what do we need to know to navigate the web safely and efficiently?

“20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” is a short guide for anyone who’s curious about the basics of browsers and the web. Here’s what you’ll find here:

First we’ll look at the Internet, the very backbone that allows the web to exist. We’ll also take a look at how the web is used today, through cloud computing and web apps.

Then, we’ll introduce the building blocks of web pages like HTML and JavaScript, and review how their invention and evolution have changed the websites you visit every day. We’ll also take a look at the modern browser and how it helps users browse the web more safely and securely.

Finally, we’ll look ahead to the exciting innovations in browsers and web technologies that we believe will give us all even faster and more immersive online experiences in the future.

Life as citizens of the web can be liberating and empowering, but also deserves some self-education. Just as we’d want to know various basic facts as citizens of our physical neighborhoods -- water safety, key services, local businesses -- it’s increasingly important to understand a similar set of information about our online lives. That’s the spirit in which we wrote this guide. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features and functionality of the browser often refer back to Chrome, the open-source browser that we know well. We hope you find this guide as enjoyable to read as we did to create.
Happy browsing!
The Google Chrome Team


More than two decades after HTML was introduced, we’re still asking questions about what the web is, and what it might become. What kinds of features and applications would we, as users, find fun, useful or even indispensable? What tools do developers need in order to create these great sites and apps? And finally, how can all this goodness be delivered inside a web browser?

These questions led to the evolution of the latest version of HTML known as HTML5, a set of capabilities that gives web designers and developers the ability to create the next generation of great online applications. Take the HTML5 <video> tag, for example. Video wasn’t a major (or, really, any) part of the early web; instead, internet users installed additional software called plug-ins, in order to watch videos inside their web browsers. Soon it became apparent that easy access to video was a much-wanted feature on the web. The introduction of the <video> tag in HTML5 allows videos to be easily embedded and played in web pages without additional software.

Other cool HTML5 features include offline capabilities that let users interact with web apps even when they don’t have an internet connection, as well as drag-and-drop capabilities. In Gmail, for instance, easy drag-and-drop allows users to instantly attach a file to an email message by simply dragging the file from the user’s desktop computer into the browser window.

HTML5, like the web itself, is in perpetual evolution, based on users’ needs and developers’ imaginations. As an open standard, HTML5 embodies some of the best aspects of the web: it works everywhere, and on any device with a modern browser. But just as you can only watch HDTV broadcasts on an HD-compatible television, you need to use an up-to-date, HTML5-compatible browser in order to enjoy sites and apps that take advantage of HTML5’s features. Thankfully, as an Internet user, you have lots of choice when it comes to web browsers — and unlike TVs, web browsers can be downloaded for free.

In our next edition: 3D in the Browser


Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Unnecessary Windows Services

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 speed up your slow computer.

Important: Before 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:

Note: It is recommended to turn off only one or two items at a time, write down the changes you made, and then use the computer for several days or a week to make sure everything is working fine. If problems do occur, the items that were changed can simply be changed back again.

Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Unnecessary Windows Services

A Windows service is a program that performs specific functions and is designed not to require user intervention. This means that the program starts up automatically when the computer is turned on and runs behind the scenes. The computer user does not have to do anything to start or work with the program and, most of the time, does not even see the program running.

Some of these services are for networked computers, ex. computers in an office that are connected to each other. They are unnecessary for the home user. Turning off these unnecessary services can improve the performance and speed of the computer.

To access Services in Windows XP, click on the Start button and open Control Panel. In Control Panel, open Administrative Tools (If you do not see Administrative Tools, click Classic view on the left). Open Services.

To access Services in Windows Vista, click on the Start orb (bottom left) and open Control Panel. In Control Panel, open Administrative Tools (If you do not see Administrative Tools, click Classic view on the left). Open Services.

To access Services in Windows 7, click on the Start orb (bottom left) and open Control Panel. In Control Panel, open System and Security, and then open Administrative Tools. Open Services.

To see more information about a particular service, click on it. A description of that service will appear to the left of the Name column. The Startup Type column displays Automatic, Manual or Disabled. Services marked Automatic start up when the computer is turned on and remain on and running while the computer remains on. These are the services that can be slowing the computer down.

To stop a service from automatically starting, right click on the service name. Left click on Properties. The Properties window for that service will open. To the right of Startup Type, a drop down box will display Automatic. Click the down arrow to the right and then click Disabled. Click the OK button.

To determine which services are unnecessary for your computer, visit some of the websites listed below. These lists are compiled by Windows experts who have tested computers with and without these services running.

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Important: It is strongly advised to disable only two services at a time. Note the services you disable and then use your computer for several days or a week. If there are no adverse effects after full usage of your computer, go back into Services and disable two more. If you do experience an adverse effect, go back into Services and change the services you disabled back to Automatic.

In our next edition, Defragment Your Hard Drive


Special Feature: iPad Basics - Operating Your Device

From gcflearnfree.org

To interact with your device, you'll need to understand the basics of iOS, the operating system for the iPad (and also the iPhone). You'll catch your first glimpse of it when you turn on your iPad for the first time. iOS is what powers the iPad's hands-on features, including the multi-touch screen, easy-to-use interface, and built-in apps. In short, it's what makes the iPad work the way that it does.

Getting to Know the Interface

The status bar at the top of the screen displays current information about your iPad. This includes (from left to right) the status of your internet connection, the time, and your remaining battery life.

To view your notifications, pull or swipe down anywhere on the status bar. A window will show you reminders, unread emails, and other activity on your iPad. To go to the source of the notification, just tap the one you want.

The screen you see is called the Home screen; however, it may help to think of it as similar to your computer desktop. It's where all of your apps are kept, and it's the first thing you see when you turn on your device. You can have multiple Home screens, to make room for more apps, and to organize the icons. To navigate between screens, swipe left or right.

The icons you see are shortcuts to your apps. There are icons for the 20 built-in apps that came with iOS. If you choose to download more apps, the icons will appear here too. To open an app, simply tap the one you want.

The dock at the bottom of the screen is designed for your most frequently used apps. By default, it includes Safari, Mail, Photos, and Music. You can customize your dock by adding or removing icons, so you always have access to your favorites.

Multi-Touch Gestures

Gestures, sometimes called multi-touch gestures, are what you'll use to interact with the touchscreen on your device. Because there's nothing between you and the screen, all it takes is the touch of a finger to power your favorite apps, navigate the web, and access all the things you love.

Tap to "click" or select something on the screen; for example, an app, a link—even a song you want to download. You can also tap and hold to occasionally access other options (think of this as "right-clicking").

Drag to scroll up and down, left or right, or any other direction on the screen.

Swipe left or right to flip through photos, pages in an e-book, pages on the Home screen, and more.

Swipe left or right with 4 or 5 fingers to switch between open apps.

Double tap to zoom in or out on photos, webpages, and certain apps.

Pinch to zoom in or out almost anywhere.

Pinch 4 or 5 fingers together to jump to the Home screen, no matter where you are.

Swipe up with 4 or 5 fingers to pull up the multitasking bar.


In our next edition:
Introduction to Apps


Websites of Interest:

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

From the Colorado Spine Institute, this site will explain ways to reduce the stress and strain when shoveling.

Presidents Day

Next Monday is Presidents Day. Visit this site for biographies of all presidents of the United States of America.

George Washington
Learn more about the first president and his life at Mount Vernon.

February 12 is the birthday of Abraham Lincoln

For historical materials, including his writings and speeches

Learn about the Emancipation Proclamation at the Library of Congress website:

Visit the National Park Services website for a virtual tour of the Lincoln home in Springfield Illinois, a timeline of Lincoln’s life, information on his family and more.

February 14 is Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! How did Cupid become the symbol of Valentine’s Day? This website explains:

Valentine’s History, resources, information and much more

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day
Inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others.