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

Don’t forget to change your clocks today. “Spring springs ahead and Fall falls back.”

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Top Six Standalone Spyware Scanners
Tips & Tricks: Attaching a File to an Email
Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: Plug-Ins
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Optimize Display Settings
Special Feature: iPad Basics - 8 Free iPad Apps for News and Media
Websites of Interest: Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?; How Come?; The Crossword Network; 2BSeeds

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Special Feature: Top Six Standalone Spyware Scanners

The following article is by Mary Landesman of About.com

It's not just viruses that plague today's Internet users. Spyware surreptitiously monitors your computer and Internet use, while adware can bombard your PC with unwanted advertising. Both pose a drain on your bandwidth and can lead to loss of security. Following are a selection of the best dedicated adware and spyware scanning tools to ferret out these often hidden menaces. If you go the standalone route, make sure you back it up with antivirus software and a firewall.

1. McAfee VirusScan
McAfee AntiSpyware 2006 is no longer sold as a standalone product, but don't despair. McAfee VirusScan (2006) includes the same stellar protection. In our tests, both products nabbed 98% of running processes associated with adware and spyware, effectively neutering the infestation.
http://www.mcafee.com/us/

2. Webroot Spy Sweeper
Spy Sweeper removed 100% of the miscreant BHOs and Toolbars in our tests and stopped 84% of the active processes associated with adware and spyware. Spy Sweeper is a standalone spyware scanner and not a full-fledged Internet security suite, thus it is best used in conjunction with antivirus and firewall software.
http://www.webroot.com

3. Sunbelt CounterSpy
Sunbelt's CounterSpy removed 90% of the miscreant Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) in our tests. Sporting above average detection for only $19.99, CounterSpy offers inexpensive protection, an easy-to-use interface and US-based tech support.
http://www.sunbeltsoftware.com

4. Windows Defender
Windows Defender is offered free and, like CounterSpy, sports above average detection rates. The product is still considered beta and tech support is not provided. Despite these setbacks, it can provide a good second opinion. However, Microsoft AntiSpyware and CounterSpy should not be installed on the same system, as they both share common components.
http://tinyurl.com/dyvaw

5. Spybot Search & Destroy
Free for personal use, Spybot doesn't have stellar removal rates. It does, however, provide TeaTimer and SDHelper which are extremely effective at preventing adware and spyware from gaining a foothold on your computer. So while you may not want to rely on it for detection and removal, you may want to install and activate it alongside other protection to help keep your system spyware-free.
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

6. Hijack This
Another free utility, Hijack This isn't a traditional spyware scanner. It will, however, provide a full report of what's active on your system. Experienced users can peruse the report, identify the miscreants, and use Hijack This to disable the unwanted loading (or do so manually). Less experienced users can save the Hijack This log and send it to a more savvy friend for advice.
http://free.antivirus.com/hijackthis/

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Tips & Tricks: Attaching a File to an Email

Question: I would like to know how I get a letter that I write or a picture I scan so I can e-mail it.

Answer:
To begin with, save your document in an easy to find location. Let's use a letter that you typed as an example (although the same steps apply to a picture you've taken, scanned or created, or any other kind of file). You have typed your document and you're ready to send it. First you must save it; to do so. Go to Save as you usually do in the program.

In the Save As dialog box, click the arrow to the right of the Save in section; a list will drop down, click on the folder named My Documents. This will place your document in the My Documents folder.

Type a name for your document where it says File Name. Let's name it Letter for our example. Click the button in the lower right hand corner that says Save.

Close that program and open your e-mail program. Since you don't say which e-mail program you are using, this part of the directions will be a little more general.

Open a new e-mail the way you usually do. Fill out the e-mail address and subject section of the e-mail, and then look for an icon, button or blue underlined text that says Attach, Attachments, Insert, Browse or has a picture of a paperclip.

Click on that and you will see the same type of dialog box that you used when saving your file. Click on the list of folders (which probably says Look In), and select My Documents. You should see Letter listed in the area in the middle of the dialog box. Click on it and then on a button that will say either Open or Attach. That will do it!

Complete and send your email as usual.

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Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: Plug-Ins

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

Plug-Ins

In the early days of the World Wide Web, the first versions of HTML couldn’t deliver fancy content like videos. Text, images, and links were pretty much the limit.

Plug-ins were invented to work around the limitations of early HTML and deliver more interactive content. A plug-in is an additional piece of software that specializes in processing particular types of content. For example, users may download and install a plug-in like Adobe Flash Player to view a web page which contains a video or an interactive game.

How much does a plug-in interface with a browser? Curiously, hardly at all. The plug-in model is a lot like picture-in-a-picture on TV: the browser defines a distinct space on the web page for the plug-in, then steps aside. The plug-in is free to operate inside that space, independent of the browser.

This independence means that a particular plug-in can work across many different browsers. However, that ubiquity also makes plug-ins prime targets for browser security attacks. Your computer is even more vulnerable to security attacks if you’re running plug-ins that aren't up to date, because out-of-date plug-ins don’t contain the latest security fixes.

The plug-in model we use today is largely the one inherited from the web’s early days. But the web community is now looking at new ways to modernize plug-ins — like clever ways to integrate plug-ins more seamlessly so that their content is searchable, linkable, and can interact with the rest of the web page. More importantly, some browser vendors and plug-in providers now collaborate to protect users from security risks. For example, the Google Chrome and Adobe Flash Player teams have worked together to integrate Flash Player into the browser. Chrome’s auto-update mechanism helps ensure that the Flash Player plug-in is never out-of-date and always receives the latest security fixes and patches.

In our next edition: Browser Extensions

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Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Optimize Display Settings

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

 

Optimize Display Settings

Windows uses many resources to show visual items. You can disable some of these effects. Your display may not look as good, but you should to get more speed out of your computer.

Windows XP:

Click the Start button and open Control Panel
Open System and click the Advanced tab at the top.
Click the Performance tab at the top and then click Settings.
If it is not already selected, click the circle to the left of Custom. This will allow you to enable or disable any of the settings listed below. To disable, click the checkbox to the left of the setting. If a box does not have a checkmark in it, it is already disabled.

All items except the following, can be disabled:

- Show shadows under menus
- Show shadows under mouse pointer
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons

Click the OK button and close any open windows.

It is recommended that you disable one or two of these features and then use your computer for a while. With only one or two disabled, you may not see an increase in speed, but you will be able to tell whether you like the look of the display or not.

Windows Vista / 7:

Click the Start Orb (the circle with the Windows logo, bottom left).
Open Control Panel.
Click Classic View on the left.
Open System.
Click Advanced system settings on the left.
The System Properties window will open. Click the Advanced tab at the top.
In the Performance area, click the Settings button.
If it is not already selected, click the circle to the left of Custom. This will allow you to enable or disable any of the settings listed below. To disable, click the checkbox to the left of the setting. If a box does not have a checkmark in it, it is already disabled.

All items except the following, can be disabled:

- Show shadows under menus
- Show shadows under mouse pointer
- Show translucent selection rectangle
- Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons

Click the OK button and close any open windows.

It is recommended that you disable one or two of these features and then use your computer for a while. With only one or two disabled, you may not see an increase in speed, but you will be able to tell whether you like the look of the display or not.

 

In our next edition, Detect and Repair Disk Errors

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - 8 Free iPad Apps for News and Media

From gcflearnfree.org

The iPad is great for consuming media, including books, magazines, news, radio, TV shows and more. There are a lot of news and entertainment apps available for the iPad and one of the best things about these apps is their ability to be customized. You can choose content based on your likes and interests, thus creating your own personal radio station, magazine and more.

Here is a list of some of the most popular apps that can truly enhance your iPad news and entertainment experience.

iBooks (Free)

iBooks allows you to purchase and download books from the iBookstore and read them on your iPad. It has a pleasant interface that allows you to adjust brightness, font-size, color and type-face for easier reading. Other features include a built-in search, and the ability to bookmark, highlight and take notes on the text.

Kindle (Free)

With the Kindle app, you will have access to over 1 million books, newspapers and magazines from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It has a minimal interface for reading books and full-color images for reading articles. The Whispersync feature allows you to sync the last page you read, along with bookmarks, notes and highlights across all your mobile devices. Most books are $9.99 or less.

Flipboard (Free)

Flipboard is a customizable magazine, with a nicely designed format, that allows you to flip through and read stories from news outlets, popular magazines and your social media services. It shows you news, photos, videos, and updates from Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Flickr, National Geographic, Oprah, Rolling Stone and more. You can also like, comment, favorite and share your stories directly from Flipboard.

Pulse News for iPad (Free)

Pulse is a customizable news reader that features an interactive mosaic interface of colorfully-displayed articles from your favorite websites. When you scroll through and tap on an article, it will be displayed in a clean and simple format. If you like an article you can share it across your social media or bookmark it to read later.

Zite Personalized Magazine (Free)

Zite lets you customize the articles in your magazine based on category sections like World News, Film & TV, Personal Finance, Sports, etc. Every time you choose and read an article, Zite learns more about what you like. It has a beautiful design and clean reading interface. You also have the options to share, bookmark and email the things you like.

Netflix (Free)

If you subscribe to Netflix, you can watch TV shows and movies that are available through Netflix’s instant streaming service. It allows you to resume watching movies from where you previously left off on your TV or computer. You also have the ability to browse movies and update your instant queue. (Netflix subscription required.)

Pandora Radio (Free)

Pandora is a personalized radio that only plays the music that you like. It will customize your station based on your favorite artists, songs or classical composers. The free subscription includes ads and interruptions, but you can also subscribe to Pandora One ($3.99 a month) for music-only.

Remote (Free)

The Remote app allows you to control iTunes and Apple TV from any of your devices over your wireless network. If you have Apple TV, it is much easier to manage the TV interface using gestures on your devices. You can also access and changes songs on your iTunes from anywhere in your home.

Download a few of these apps and have fun customizing your iPad for news, media and entertainment. To explore more apps, visit the Apple App Store.

 

In our next edition:
Notifications

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Websites of Interest:

Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?
History from Benjamin Franklin to the present.
http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/

How Come?
Answers to science questions for the whole family.
http://www.how-come.net/

The Crossword Network
Free crossword puzzles online.
http://www.dowedo.net/

2BSeeds
Follow the zone chart for the right time to plant.
http://www.2bseeds.com/plantingschedule.shtml