Home Page
This Week's Edition
Archives
Search the Archives
Subscribe
Upcoming Classes
Computer Disposal
Contact Info
Legal

Like Us on Facebook

Take one of our computer classes at a library or community center. Click here for a list of upcoming classes

Hands-On Computer Classes right at your location. We can present any of our basic, intermediate, advanced or customized hands-on computer training classes for your business, group or organization, right at your location. Click here for more information.

 

To subscribe, enter your email address in the box below and click the Join Now button

Click here to print this page

Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, March 3, 2013


In this Issue: 
Special Feature:  The Malware War: How to Clean Out the Enemy
Special Series:  Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: A Browser Madrigal
Featured Computer Term:  Cookies
This Week's Topic:  Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Indexing Services
Special Feature:  iPad Basics - Productivity Apps for the iPad
Websites of Interest:  Hotels Combines; Places of USA; Q1Medicare; Late Winter Gardening Tips

**********************************

Special Feature:   The Malware War: How to Clean Out the Enemy
Detect and Wipe Them Out

The following article is by Paul Gil of About.com

 

How Do I Protect Myself from this 2010 Epidemic of Spyware/Malware?

Answer: Avoiding and destroying spyware is not instant, and it is not a one-time event like an inoculation. Instead, stopping spyware/malware is a long-term game that is exactly like cleaning dirt out of your home. You need constant vigilance, and a regular habit of cleaning malware out of your computer every week.

Note: Additionally, as an educated user, you must also adopt a "buyer beware" attitude whenever you install new software from the Net or even from CD...you need to read every end user license agreement on your screen before you click "accept".

 

Here is the checklist for detecting and destroying malware

1. Install two or three different anti-spyware programs ("spyware cleaners") on your computer, and update their definition lists regularly. Because every anti-spyware cleaner is imperfect, it is necessary to use combinations of these programs to catch the greatest breadth of malware. Also, the anti-spyware manufacturers regularly add new entries to their "definition" lists, just like anti-virus software. Make sure to keep your spyware cleaners updated with these lists!

2. Build a weekly habit of "scan and detect". Like cleaning house, this should be done every few days. At the very least, this should be done whenever you install new software. Many anti-spyware programs can be set to automatically perform scan-and-detect nightly.

3. Carefully read every EULA (end user license agreement) before clicking "accept". If you see the phrase "3rd-party software may be installed", make sure to follow the software install with a spyware cleaning.

4. Educate yourself on the latest strains of malware. In particular, start visiting these recommended anti-spyware sites, and update yourself on the latest malicious programs.

Antivirus/Antispyware at About
http://antivirus.about.com/

Network Security at About
http://netsecurity.about.com/

http://pestpatrol.com/
http://www.spywareguide.com/
http://spywarewarrior.com/
http://surferbeware.com/
http://cexx.org/

5. Save your data, and backup often! As much as it sounds like broken-record preaching, backing-up is how an intelligent user prepares for the worst. Backing up means: keep your original software CDs in a safe accessible place, constantly save copies of your important work files on CD or separate drives, and presume you will actually need them one day. This way, if you ever experience the extreme spyware circumstance of having to reformat your hard drive, you can at least recover your important work.

 

There you go, fellow Internet users. Your lives now have an extra complexity as you add one more cleaning habit to your weekly routine. The good news is: once you build a regular scan-and-detect habit, then spyware and malware will be reduced to a mere annoyance, and you can get back to business of enjoying the Internet! Personally, I think of it as having one more room in my house to dust and vacuum.

 

In our next edition: Top 6 Spyware-Malware Defense Programs

**********************************

Special Series:  Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: A Browser Madrigal

 

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
http://www.20thingsilearned.com
http://www.google.com/chrome

 

A Browser Madrigal

Most of us don’t realize how much an old and out-of-date web browser can negatively impact our online lives, particularly our online safety. You wouldn’t drive an old car with bald tires, bad brakes, and an unreliable engine for years on end. It’s a bad idea to take the same chances with the web browser that you use daily to navigate to every page and application on the web.

Upgrading to a modern browser — like the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, or Google Chrome — is important for three reasons:

First, old browsers are vulnerable to attacks, because they typically aren’t updated with the latest security fixes and features. Browser vulnerabilities can lead to stolen passwords, malicious software snuck secretly onto your computer, or worse. An up-to-date browser helps guard against security threats like phishing and malware.

Second, the web evolves quickly. Many of the latest features on today’s websites and web applications won't work with old browsers. Only up-to-date browsers have the speed improvements that let you run web pages and applications quickly, along with support for modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and fast JavaScript.

Third and last, old browsers slow down innovation on the web. If lots of Internet users cling to old browsers, web developers are forced to design websites that work with both old and new technologies. Facing limited time and resources, they end up developing for the lowest common denominator — and not building the next generation of useful, groundbreaking web applications. (Imagine if today’s highway engineers were required to design high-speed freeways that would still be perfectly safe for a Model T.) That’s why outdated browsers are bad for users overall and bad for innovation on the web.

Not that anyone blames you personally for staying loyal to your aging browser. In some cases, you may be unable to upgrade your browser. If you find that you’re blocked from upgrading your browser on your corporate computer, have a chat with your IT administrator. If you can’t upgrade an old version of Internet Explorer, the Google Chrome Frame plug-in can give you the benefits of some modern web app functionality by bringing in Google Chrome’s capabilities into Internet Explorer.

Old, outdated browsers are bad for us as users, and they hold back innovation all over the web. So take a moment to make sure that you’ve upgraded to the latest version of your favorite modern browser.

 

Editor’s note: At the time of publication, the latest stable versions of the major modern browsers are Firefox 3.6, Safari 5, Google Chrome 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Opera 10.63. To check which browser you’re using, visit www.whatbrowser.org.

 

In our next edition:  Plug-Ins

**********************************

Featured Computer Term:  Cookies

Question:  Can you explain "cookies"? What is their use?

 

Answer:
A cookie is a piece of information unique to you that your browser saves and sends back to a Web server when you revisit a Web site (the Web server is the computer that hosts a Web site that your browser downloads or sees). The server tells your browser where to put the cookie on the server. Cookies contain information such as log-in or registration information, online shopping cart information (your online buying patterns in a certain retail site), user preferences, what site you came from last, etc.

The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages for them. When you enter a Web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing such information as your name and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your Web browser, which stores it for later use. The next time you go to the same Web site, your browser will send the cookie to the Web server. The server can use this information to present you with custom Web pages. So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name on it. This can be very convenient if you shop frequently at a particular website; the cookie remembers your information such as name, address, credit card number, and you won’t have to input that information each time you purchase something.

The name cookie derives from UNIX objects called magic cookies. These are tokens that are attached to a user or program and change depending on the areas entered by the user or program. Cookies are also sometimes called persistent cookies because they typically stay in the browser for long periods of time.

 


Is there a computer term or phrase that you'd like to see an explanation of?  Email it to info@computerkindergarten.com and we'll put the term and its definition in an upcoming newsletter.

**********************************

Today's Topic:   Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Indexing 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:
http://computerkindergarten.com/021311.html

 

Disable Indexing Services

Indexing Services is a small program that uses a lot of memory and can significantly slow your computer down. This program lists and indexes all of the files that are on your computer. When you search for a file, the computer looks through the indexed list to find what you want. If you do not search for files very often, or even if you do search often, this system service is unnecessary and really does not speed up the search process all that much.

To disable Indexing Services, follow these steps:

Windows XP

Click Start
Open Control Panel
Open Add/Remove Programs
Click Add/Remove Window Components
Click to Uncheck Indexing services
Click Next and follow the prompts to complete.

Windows Vista / 7

Click Start
Open Control Panel
Open System and Maintenance
Open Administrative Tools
Open Services. If User Account Control asks for permission, click Continue.
In the name column, scroll down to Windows Search. Right click on Windows Search, and then click Properties on menu that appears.
The Windows Search Properties window will now appear. Look for the Startup type section. To the right of Automatic is a small down arrow. Click on it. Click Disabled.
Click the OK button and close all windows.

After the computer is restarted, Indexing Services will no longer be running. If you wish to enable this program in the future, follow the above steps to do so.

 

In our next edition, Optimize Display Settings

**********************************

Read Past Issues of this Newsletter Online

You can now read past issues of this newsletter at our website:
http://www.computerkindergarten.com/

Click on the This Week's Edition link on the left.

**********************************

Special Feature:  iPad Basics - Productivity Apps for the iPad

From gcflearnfree.org

 

The Apple iPad has several built in apps for productivity, but there are a lot of other free and paid apps that are popular with iPad users. Check out this list of excellent productivity apps and see if there are a few you might like.

 

Cloud Calendar ($2.99)

You can sync your Google Calendar to the iPad with Cloud Calendar. This app has a nice user interface that will match the color-coding of your Google Calendars. It includes multiple views, reminders, search and reliable syncing. (A free Google Account is required for set up.)

ToDo for iPad ($4.99)

The ToDo app is great for people who have a lot of lists and projects going on. Create lists, add sub-tasks, star tasks, set reminders, and more. The interface is easy to use and gives you a choice of theme styles.  You can also sync your ToDos with other services like ToDo Online, Dropbox, iCal and Outlook.

 

Dropbox (Free)

Dropbox is a free service that allows you to upload files, photos and videos from your computer. Once uploaded, you can access them from anywhere, including your iPad with this free app. Dropbox’s simple, convenient files storage allows you to view important documents and share favorite photos whenever you want.

Instapaper ($4.99)

With Instapaper you can save webpages and articles to read later offline. This app is great for bookmarking interesting pages or for saving an article to read when you do not have a WiFi connection. It converts most webpages into text only, so you will have a clean view without distractions. You can also adjust the font, text size, spacing and brightness for easier reading.

 

imo instant messenger for iPad (Free)

The imo app allows you to communicate with friends instantly on your iPad using your existing IM accounts. It is compatible with Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Skype, MSN, AIM, Yahoo, and more. Its features include the ability to use voice IM, host group chats, send pictures and post video clips.

 

Hootsuite for Twitter (Free)

Hootsuite allows you to integrate your Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare accounts into one interface. It is especially useful for viewing multiple Twitter lists and for scheduling tweets. You can post to both Twitter and Facebook at the same time, so if you are a social media junkie, this app is for you.

 

Simplenote (Free)

Simplenote allows you to record notes, ideas, lists and more on your iPad. You can then sync your notes with your computer or other mobile devices.

 

This is just a small sample of how you can communicate and get things done on the iPad. If you would like to explore more productivity apps, visit the Apple App Store.

 

In our next edition:
8 Free iPad Apps for News and Media

**********************************

Websites of Interest: 

Hotels Combines
Find the best deal - enter your destination for a list of hotels and their prices. 
http://www.hotelscombined.com/

Places of USA
Filled with good info, maps, statistics, and photos.
http://www.placesofusa.com/

Q1Medicare
Education and decision support tools for the Medicare community. 
http://q1medicare.com/

Late Winter Gardening Tips
http://tinyurl.com/avyxpw4