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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, March 23, 2014

In this Issue:
Special Feature: How Do Spammers Get My Email Address?
Special Series: Windows 8: How to Navigate Microsoft's New Operating System
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Getting Started with OS X Mavericks - Opening Files, Folders, and Apps
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn Off Auto Start Programs - MSCONFIG
Special Feature: iPad Basics – Syncing
Websites of Interest: March 25 is The Feast of the Annunciation; Good News; Office Web Apps; KidRex


Special Feature: How Do Spammers Get My Email Address?

The following is from Paul Gil of about.com

There are four ways that spam senders get people's email addresses:

1. Spammers will illegally buy lists of real people's email addresses.
2. Spammers will use "harvesting" programs that scour the Internet like Google, and copy any text that contains the "@" character.
3. Spammers will use "dictionary" (brute force) programs like hackers.
4. You will unwittingly volunteer your email address to dishonest subscribe/unsubscribe online services.

Buying illegal lists of real people's email is surprisingly commonplace. Dishonest employees of ISPs will sometimes sell information that they take from their work servers. This can happen on eBay or on the black market. From outside the ISP, hackers can also break in and steal ISP customer lists and then sell those addresses to spammers.

Harvesting programs, aka "crawl and scrape" programs, are also commonplace. Any text on a web page that contains "@" character is fair game for these programs, and lists of thousands of addresses can be harvested within an hour via these robotic harvesting tools.

Dictionary programs (brute force programs) are the third means to get spam target addresses. Just like hacker programs, these products will generate alphabetic/numeric combinations of addresses in sequence. While many of the results are incorrect, these dictionary programs can create hundreds of thousands of addresses per hour, guaranteeing that at least some will work as targets for spam.

Lastly, dishonest subscribe/unsubscribe services will also sell your email address for a commission. A very common unsubscribe tactic is to blast millions of people with a false "reply to remove your address from our mailing list" email. When users click on the "unsubscribe" link, they are actually confirming that a real person exists at their email address.


Special Series: Windows 8: How to Navigate Microsoft's New Operating System

By Sean Hollister of theverge.com

The gestures, keyboard shortcuts, and tips you need to get your bearings in Windows 8.
Congratulations, you've gotten Windows 8. Now what? Now, you have to figure out how to actually use Microsoft's new operating system before your boss, friends, or family expect you to do something productive. That's just what this guide is for. We'll show you how to find your desktop again, how to change Windows settings, and what those fancy new touchscreen gestures are all about. We'll explain how to do the same things with a mouse and keyboard, in the rather likely event that you aren't using touchscreen hardware.

In other words, we'll show you how to get where you're going in Windows 8, so that you can get back to work.


Windows 8's primary user interface looks like something you'd see on a smartphone, and it can be controlled like one too. It even has a lock screen, a nice colorful picture with no obvious button to get to where you're going. To dismiss the screen, swipe up. It's the first of many basic gestures you'll learn. Mouse or touchpad: press any key, or click once.

When you make it to the Start Screen, you'll be greeted by a field of Live Tiles, each one corresponding to a software app. Tap any one of them to launch that program, or press and hold to drag the tile anywhere you want. Pretty easy so far, right? If you've already had enough of the new Windows 8 UI and want to get to your familiar Desktop, that's a tile you can click as well. Mouse or touchpad: click to launch, or click and drag to move tiles around. Keyboard: Windows + D gets you to the desktop immediately, no matter where you are.

Swipe down gently on any tile on the Start screen to select it, and open a menu: you can unpin apps, uninstall them, and make some Live Tiles larger or smaller, in addition to a variety of other possible options. You can select multiple tiles at a time this way, to unpin a whole bunch of apps at once. Mouse or touchpad: right-click on any tile.

On the Start Screen, or inside apps, you can also drag across the screen with a single finger to scroll, or get a zoomed out view of all your Start screen apps by pinching two fingers together. Swipe with two fingers on a touchpad or use a mouse scroll wheel to scroll, and hold down Ctrl and use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

Once you're in a program — let's say Internet Explorer — swipe down from the top or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up a menu of app-specific commands. In Internet Explorer, you'll see your open website tabs up top, and on the bottom you'll see Back, Forward and Refresh controls flanking the URL bar. With mouse or touchpad, right-click anywhere where it wouldn't activate a different function. With keyboard, Windows + Z.

Drag from the very top to the very bottom of the screen to close an app. Mouse or touchpad: Click and drag instead. Keyboard: Alt + F4.

Swipe from the right side of the screen to activate the Charms menu, where you can quickly search or share, send documents to devices (like printers) or access computer settings. Mouse or touchpad: you'll use a hot corner instead: put your cursor in the upper-right or lower-right hand corner for Charms to appear. Keyboard: Windows + C.

Tap the Start charm, or press the Windows button on your computer or keyboard, to go back to the Start screen again. Mouse or touchpad: put your cursor in the lower-left hand corner and click.


If you have a few apps open, swipe from the left edge of the screen to cycle through your previously used apps one at a time. You can swipe repeatedly. Mouse and touchpad: put your cursor in the upper-left hand corner of the screen and tap on the little image that appears. Keyboard: Windows + Tab.

Swipe away from the left edge, and then towards it again, to pull up the app switcher. Mouse or touchpad: place your cursor in the upper-left corner, then drag it down along the left edge.

If you've got multiple apps open, why not view two side by side? Drag an app from the left edge and hold it over the left or right side of the screen to snap a smaller version alongside. Or, drag down from the top of the screen, as if you were going to close an app, then snap it to the left or right. Mouse or touchpad: click and drag from the top-left corner, or right-click on an item in the app switcher.

Drag the three-dot divider to make the smaller of two visible apps larger, or the larger one smaller. Keyboard: Windows + period key.

Where it gets a little tricky is when you're using multiple apps and multiple desktop programs at the same time. The desktop apps won't appear in the app switcher, but if you've got a keyboard handy you can multitask with them, too. Hit Alt-Tab to cycle through both Windows 8 apps and traditional programs.

More Handy Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows + H = Opens the Share charm
Windows + I = Opens the Settings charm
Windows + K = Opens the Devices charm
Windows + Q = Search for apps
Windows + F = Search for files
Windows + W = Search for Windows settings
Windows + X = Access common admin tools (you can right-click on the lower-left hand hot corner, too)
Windows + E = Launches File Explorer in the desktop environment
Windows + O = lock screen orientation
Windows + R = Opens a Run dialog
Windows + L = Lock the computer
Windows + Print Screen = Saves a screenshot to your Pictures > Screenshots folder
Windows + any of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 = Launches the corresponding program pinned to the taskbar
Ctrl + Shift + Esc = Open Task Manager


In our next edition: The Start Screen


Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Getting Started with OS X Mavericks - Opening Files, Folders, and Apps

From gcflearnfree.org

When you use any operating system, you'll need to know how to open files, folders, and apps. In OS X, you can open something by clicking it in the Dock or Launchpad, or by double-clicking it if it's on the desktop or inside a folder.

If you're new to OS X, you may want to practice by doing the following steps:

Open Finder by clicking the Finder icon on the left side of the Dock. You'll use Finder any time you want to navigate to a file or folder.

Close Finder by clicking the button in the top-left corner of the Finder window. Later on, we'll talk more about how to use Finder.

Open Launchpad by clicking the Launchpad icon on the Dock.

While Launchpad is open, click on any app to open it.

Quit the app you just opened by clicking the app name in the top-left corner of the screen and selecting Quit.

If you have any icons on your desktop, double-click one of them to open it, and then close or quit it.

When an app is open, the icon on the Dock will have a light under it. You may notice that the Finder icon always has a light under it—that's because it's always running, even if there are no Finder windows open.

Full-Screen Apps

Some apps in OS X have a full-screen mode that lets you just focus on one app, with no distractions. These apps have a double-arrow icon in the top-right corner. When you click the icon, the app will zoom to fill the entire screen, and everything else will be hidden. You can then use the keyboard shortcut Control+Command+F to return to the normal view. Not all apps currently support this feature. However, it is used by many of the pre-installed apps such as Calendar, Safari, and iPhoto.


In our next newsletter: The Menu Bar


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 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:

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.


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:

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:

igfxtray.exe is the filename and the part that will be researched at the sysinfo.org 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.

Note: It is recommended to turn off only one or two items at a time, and 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.


Special Feature: iPad Basics – Syncing

From gcflearnfree.org

Did you know you can sync your iPad with other devices, like your computer, laptop, iPhone, or iPod Touch?

If you've never heard of syncing before, that's okay. It's designed specifically so you don't have to think about it once you set it up (or do anything special to maintain it). It just happens in the background.

Syncing is what links your iPad to your other devices—and your other devices to each other—so you can access the same content anytime, anywhere. For instance, you could take a photo on your iPad, then view it instantly on your laptop. You could create a to-do list on your work computer, then keep up with it on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Are you starting to see how useful syncing can be? It's a big part of using the iPad, so it's important that you understand what it means (even if you're not sure how it works yet!). Some content syncs automatically once you set up the apps on your device. Other types of content will need to be enabled in iCloud.

What is iCloud?

iCloud is a free service from Apple that does many different things. It allows you to store your content "in the cloud" instead of on your device (which can save you a ton of storage space). But some of its most popular features have to do with syncing.

Imagine being able to start something on your iPad, then pick it back up immediately on a different device. That's the benefit of syncing with iCloud. It aims to connect all your files, information, and other types of content, so you never lose access to the things you love. And it's not just for the iPad; it's for your other devices too.

In our next edition:


Websites of Interest:

March 25 is The Feast of the Annunciation
Learn more at this website.

Good News
News from all over presented in a clear, concise format.

Office Web Apps
Free, online editions of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more.

A family-friendly search engine. Parents don’t have to worry that non-kid-friendly search results will show up.