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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, April 14, 2013


In this Issue: 
Special Feature:  Is Your Computer Infected?
Tips & Tricks:  Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts
Special Series:  Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web:  Browsers and Privacy
This Week's Topic:  Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn off Remote Assistance
Special Feature:  iPad Basics - Sharing
Websites of Interest:  The CIA World Factbook; Income Tax Day; Mapquest; Daily Crossword

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Special Feature:   Is Your Computer Infected?
Know the warning signs of malware, then act quickly to remove it

By Sid Kirchheimer of aarp.org

 

At any given time, roughly half of all computers are infected with "malware" — programs that can steal files and passwords, hold your machine hostage for purchase of bogus security software, or enlist it into a "botnet," a network that makes it secretly send out spam.

Is yours among them? You can't always depend on your antivirus software to tell you.

Each minute, some four dozen new strains of malware are created, many of them designed to elude antivirus programs.

And each day, about 8,600 new malware-containing websites are launched.

It typically takes two days for security software to be updated to block a new malicious website. So watch for these symptoms that may signal your computer's been infected.

Slowness. Your computer suddenly takes much longer than before to run programs, access files or the Internet, or even shut down.

Unexpected beeps or sounds. Or your computer's fan may suddenly kick into overdrive.
Frequent pop-up messages. Be especially vigilant if these are warnings that you need to purchase software to remedy a security threat. (The software is generally fake.)

Unwelcome images. Sometimes they're pornographic, sometimes they replace benign images such as photos on news sites.

Disappearing files, folders or icons.

Lost protections. Your antivirus software vanishes, your firewall becomes disabled, or you cannot download operating system or antivirus software updates.

Mysterious messages. Your friends and family receive email messages from your account, but you didn't send them.

Automatic start-ups. Familiar programs on your computer (or ones you didn't know were there) start unexpectedly, or you're randomly connected to unknown websites.

Freezes. Your computer frequently seizes up or you can't leave websites or close your Web browser.

 

In our next edition:  Do You Think Your Computer Has Malware?

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Tips & Tricks:  Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are a few Internet Explorer shortcuts that you may find useful.

 

- To search for a particular word or phrase on a web page just press CTRL + F to open the Find dialog.

- Hold down the shift key when you click a link to have it open in a new window. If you plan on returning to that page, a new window is faster to open and close than backing up through pages.

- Press the Backspace key on your keyboard to go back a page, or press ALT + the Left Arrow. ALT + the Right Arrow goes forward a page, and ALT + Home take you to your home page.

- Press the Spacebar to move  down the page one screen length. Hold the shift key down as you press the Spacebar to jump UP the page. Use the Up and Down Arrows to scroll slower.

- In IE 5.5 and above, in most cases you can just type "domain_Name.com" instead of typing the "www" first. IE knows to search for it on the web. Works for most sites, but a few can't be found without the www – that’s a problem with that site and not Internet Explorer.

- Press the F11 key to open your browser into full screen mode. This hides all the other stuff that can get in your way of viewing things. Press it again to leave full screen mode.

- CTRL + O opens the dialog to type in a web address. Useful for full screen mode surfers.

- Right-click the tool bar and select Auto-hide. This hides the tool bar for true full screen surfing. To use the hidden tool bar, just move your mouse to the top edge of the screen. Move your mouse away and it disappears again.  (Note:  You can do this with your taskbar too, by clicking the Start button, pointing to settings, and clicking Taskbar & Start Menu. Then place a check by the Autohide feature and click Apply.)

- Press the F5 key to reload the page. Press F4 & F5 at the same time to have the page reloaded at the page top instead of wherever you had scrolled to.

- Press the Esc key to stop the current page from loading.

- Press CTRL + N to open the current page in a new window.

- All the usual shortcuts work as well. CTRL + P opens the print dialog, CTRL + A highlights everything on the page, CTRL + C copies what you have highlighted.

- To get a drop-down list of recently-visited pages, click F4.

- To highlight (select) the address, click F6.  Then just type in the address of the web page you want to go to. 

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

 

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

 

Browsers and Privacy

Security and privacy are closely related, but not identical.

Consider the security and privacy of your home: door locks and alarms help protect you from burglars, but curtains and blinds keep your home life private from passersby.

In the same way, browser security helps protect you from malware, phishing, and other online attacks, while privacy features help keep your browsing private on your computer.

Let’s look more closely at privacy. Here’s an analogy: Say you’re an avid runner who jogs a few miles every day. If you carry a GPS device to help you track your daily runs, you create a diary of running data on your device — a historical record of where you run, how far you run, your average speed, and the calories you burn.

As you browse the web, you generate a similar diary of browser data that is stored locally on your computer: a history of the sites you visit, the cookies sent to your browser, and any files you download. If you’ve asked your browser to remember your passwords or form data, that’s stored on your computer too.

Some of us may not realize that we can clear all this browser data from our computers at any time. It’s easy to do through a browser’s Options or Preferences menu. (The menu differs from browser to browser.) In fact, the latest versions of most modern browsers also offer a “private” or “incognito” mode. For example, in Chrome’s incognito mode, any web page that you view won’t appear in your browsing history. In addition, all new cookies are deleted after you close all the incognito windows that you’ve opened. This mode is especially handy if you share your computer with other people, or if you work on a public computer in your local library or cybercafé.

All these privacy features in the browser give you control over the browsing data locally on your computer or specific data that are sent by your browser to websites. Your browser’s privacy settings do not control other data that these websites may have about you, such as information you previously submitted on the website.

There are ways to limit some of the information that websites receive when you visit them. Many browsers let you control your privacy preferences on a site-by-site basis and make your own choices about specific data such as cookies, JavaScript, and plugins. For instance, you can set up rules to allow cookies only for a specified list of sites that you trust, and instruct the browser to block cookies for all other sites.

There’s always a bit of tension between privacy and efficiency. Collecting real-world aggregate data and feedback from users can really help improve products and the user experience. The key is finding a good balance between the two while upholding strong privacy standards.

Here’s an example from the real world: browser cookies. On one hand, with cookies, a website you frequently visit is able to remember contents of your shopping cart, keep you logged in, and deliver a more useful, personalized experience based on your previous visits. On the other hand, allowing browser cookies means that the website is collecting and remembering information about these previous visits. If you wish, you can choose to block cookies at any time. So the next time you’re curious about fine-tuning your browser privacy settings, check out the privacy settings in your browser’s Options or Preferences menu.

 

In our next edition:  Malware, Phishing, And Security Risks

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

Today's Topic:   Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn off Remote Assistance

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

 
Turn off Remote Assistance

Turning off unnecessary services in Windows can greatly reduce your exploit risk while improving system performance. And, unnecessary services do not just subject you to security risk, they also slow down the operation of your computer.

Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop are Windows services that let you open a direct connection between two machines over the Internet for the purpose of getting help from someone who is not right in front of your computer.

Windows Remote Assistance is a convenient way for someone you trust, such as a friend or technical support person, to connect to your computer over the internet and walk you through a solution—even if that person isn’t nearby.

While this is a very useful and powerful tool when you need it, in the wrong hands, it is also potentially dangerous. Because it can allow a remote user to install software and tamper with a system configuration, someone could trick an unsuspecting novice into allowing access to his or her machine, and then plant malicious software used to gain access to sensitive information.

Turning off the Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop services will add a little speed to your computer while helping to keep you safe online. If you need remote computer help in the future, simply follow the steps below to temporarily turn Remote Assistance back on.

 

To disable Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop, follow these steps:

 

Windows XP

Right-click on My Computer
Click Properties from the menu
Click on the Remote tab at the top
To disable, or turn off, Remote Assistance, click to uncheck the box next to Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer
To disable, or turn off, Remote Desktop, simply uncheck the box next to Allow users to connect remotely to this computer.
Click OK

(Note: Some users may not see Remote Desktop as an option on the Remote tab of their My Computer Properties. Remote Desktop is a feature of Windows XP Professional and Media Center Edition and is not available on Windows XP Home.

 

Windows Vista

Click the Start Orb and type System in the search box at the bottom.
Click System in the search results under Programs.
Click Remote settings on the left.
If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue
In the Systems Properties dialog box that you now see, click to remove the check mark next to allow Remote Assistance connection to this computer. In the Remote Desktop area, click to select Don’t allow connections to this computer.
Click OK.

 

Windows 7

Click on the Start Orb.
Click Control Panel.
Click on System and Security.
If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue
Click on Allow Remote Access.
Click to remove the checkmark in the box next to allow remote assistance to this computer.
Click OK.

 

In our next edition, Speed Up a Slow Computer – Additional Features than can be Disabled

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Special Feature:  iPad Basics - Sharing

 

From gcflearnfree.org

 

Sharing is also a big part of using the iPad. In fact, to help you stay connected, Apple has created a feature called the Share button (look for a clockwise arrow) that can be found in many different apps.

Just tap the Share button any time you see it, and you'll gain access to a wide range of options. You can share photos, videos, and much more across a variety of networks—including email, instant messaging, Twitter, and Facebook. You can even print photos or documents if you have a wireless printer in your home or office.

 

In our next edition:
Wi-Fi, Security, and General Settings

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Websites of Interest: 

The CIA World Factbook
Whatever you want to know about any country in the world, you can find it here.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

 

Income Tax Day
For forms, information, last minute help and more, visit the IRS website.
http://www.irs.gov/

This website provides information on the history of U.S. taxation, including a collection of presidential tax returns.
http://www.taxhistory.org/

The Tax Museum;
A very interesting website giving information on American history dating back to 1660 and how the taxation process evolved.
http://www.tax.org/Museum

 

Mapquest
Need a good map?  Mapquest.com does a fine job of printing graphics and giving driving directions.
http://www.mapquest.com/

 

Daily Crossword
See if you can solve today's puzzle. and, if you are crunched for time, you can save your work in progress
http://dictionary.reference.com/fun/crossword/