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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, March 15, 2015

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Stop Telemarketers
Special Feature: Your Mac Computer - Getting Started with OS X - Moving and Deleting Files
Special Feature: iPad Basics: Charging the Battery and Care and Protection
Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Optimize Display Settings
Websites of Interest: March is Women's History Month; St. Patrick’s Day; Irish Recipes; Friday, March 20, is the First Day of Spring

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Special Feature: Stop Telemarketers

From the Huffington Post

If your phone is ringing off the hook from telemarketers, you're not alone. The Federal Trade Commission receives as many as 200,000 complaints per month from consumers who are tired of receiving "robocalls" from businesses. There are steps you can take to give telemarketers the boot. Here's how to keep overeager businesses off of your phone line.

Know the Rules

Even if you've signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry, there are still exemptions that allow certain organizations to call you anyway. According to the Federal Communication Commission, the national registry:

* only covers personal and home phone lines—business lines don't count
* doesn't include marketing calls from nonprofit organizations, including political campaigns.
* allows companies you've done or inquired about doing business with to contact you for up to three months after your last inquiry or 18 months after your last transaction. This is called the EBR exemption.

"A lot of consumers don't realize when they are applying for a loan or they're putting their information on a website or entering a sweepstakes that, if they don't read carefully what they're signing, they may have given written permission for certain companies to call them," says Eric Allen, an attorney with Allen Legal Services in Salt Lake City who specializes in telemarketing compliance and litigation. "That consent is indefinite until they opt out or make a do not call request directly with the company."

Two more important telemarketing rules: The federal government prohibits marketing calls to be made before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and requires marketers to identify the organization they're calling from and state, whether it's a sales or fundraising call.

Taking Action

Step 1: Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov.

Step 2: Ask any companies that are calling to stop. If a company is continually calling you, simply ask to be placed on their internal do not call list, says Donna Reed, a Do Not Call Specialist with Oklahoma Attorney General's Public Protection Unit.

A handful of states also maintain their own state registries which can be helpful to those who need swift action against aggressive local marketing companies.

Step 3: Reed advises consumers to carefully screen calls. "If they will watch their caller ID and only answer if it's a number they recognize as someone they know, then eventually these calls will drop drastically," she says. "The more you answer, the more calls you're going to receive."

If you still receive calls 30 days after making that request, file a complaint with your local attorney general's office or consumer protection bureau, as well as with the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Better Business Bureau.

Beware of Telemarketing Scams

A bigger problem than telemarketers is con artists who trick consumers into giving money over the phone, says Reed.

A popular scenario is "the grandparent scam": Scammers target senior citizens and pretend to be officials from another country who have the target's grandchild in custody. Another scammer gets on the phone, pretending to be the grandchild, and begs for money for bail or a plane ticket home. Grandparents are then requested to purchase a prepaid debit card and verbally give the numbers over the phone.

"As soon as consumers have sent them those numbers they realize that it's a scam," Reed says, "but there's no way to get that money back."

Another common scamming tactic: informing consumers that they've won a large sum of money, then requesting a "fee" in order to access it.

How to Fight Back

If you have been the victim of a scam, Allen recommends filing a fraud complaint with the FTC and notifying your bank and state attorney general's office of the problem. Be sure to document what happened.

"Consumers should keep a log of when they were called or contacted, the name the person gave, not just the name of the individual phone agent, but the name they gave out as the business they're calling on behalf," Allen says. "They should document the times of the calls. They should save their phone records to prove the call took place. They should save any e-mails or things they receive in the mail also."

Avoid Future Problems

The fastest way to end telemarketing woes is to prevent them before they start. Before signing up for an online service or entering a contest, do your homework, advises Allen.

"Really look at the website. Look at disclosures and disclaimers. Read the fine print. Read the website's terms of service or privacy policy. Find out what you are really agreeing to," he says.

You can also avoid scams by thinking twice about phone offers that sound too good to be true, staying wary of organizations that request sensitive information like your birth date or Social Security number and questioning how and why a strange caller who does have private info on you received that intel.

"If someone calls you up on the phone and already has sensitive information, you should be very concerned and you should ask questions about where they got that," Allen says. "...Treat it as a red flag."

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Special Feature: Your Mac Computer - Getting Started with OS X - Moving and Deleting Files

From gcflearnfree.org

Whether you're new to computers or just new to OS X, it's important to learn the basics of using your computer. If it all seems a little overwhelming right now, don't worry! We'll take you through it step by step and show you some of the most fundamental things you'll need to know.

Moving and Deleting Files

As you begin using your computer, you will start to collect more and more files, which can make it more difficult to find the files you need. Fortunately, OS X allows you to move files to different folders and delete files you longer use.

Use this link to learn about Moving and Deleting Files:
http://www.gcflearnfree.org/osxbasics/3.2

In our next newsletter: Selecting Multiple Files

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Special Feature: iPad Basics: Charging the Battery and Care and Protection

From gcflearnfree.org

The battery on your device should last for about 10 hours of normal use. When it's low, you'll need to charge it.

A good case or cover will go a long way toward protecting your device so you can enjoy it for years to come.

Use this link to learn to learn more:
http://www.gcflearnfree.org/ipadbasics/3.2

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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/restorepoints.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.

Windows 8

Although Microsoft claims – and with justification too – that Windows 8 is the most optimized and fastest OS provided by them, there will always be tweak enthusiasts and power users who want to squeeze out the last drop of performance to make Windows run faster. Windows 8 offers some visual effects and features that can be disabled to improve its performance – similar to what was being offered in Windows 7. See the steps here:
http://tinyurl.com/mercydj

 

In our next edition, The Performance Troubleshooter

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Websites of Interest:

March is Women's History Month
http://womenshistorymonth.gov/

St. Patrick’s Day
Although not much of it is actually substantiated, much Irish folklore surrounds St. Patrick’s Day. Learn about traditions, customs and history at this website:
http://wilstar.com/holidays/patrick.htm

Irish Recipes
Want to learn how to make a great Irish stew or potato soup or, better yet, Irish coffee? Visit this website:
http://www.christmascarnivals.com/stpatrick/recipes/

Friday, March 20, is the First Day of Spring
From about.com, fun facts about the Vernal Equinox.
http://tinyurl.com/mo9w86h