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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, April 20, 2014

We wish all of our readers a Happy Easter!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: How to Spot the Web’s Top 3 Biggest Scams
Special Series: The Windows 8 Charms Bar
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Getting Started with OS X Mavericks - Natural Scrolling
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Disable Indexing Services
Special Feature: iPad Basics - General Settings
Websites of Interest: Easter; Earth Day; Tree People; How to Recycle Anything; Gardening Support

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Special Feature: How to Spot the Web’s Top 3 Biggest Scams

By Jessica Citizen of news.yahoo.com/

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and it's forced the current generation of scammers to get just a little more creative when they're trying to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash or valuable personal information. As people continue to move away from email, these criminals have shifted their focus to social networking services. Twitter, Facebook, and other online communities are plagued with spambots and other nasties ranging from annoying to downright dangerous. We've rounded up the worst offenders to show you how to stay safe online.

The Facebook Flim-Flam

This scam has cost well-wishing friends millions of dollars around the world and is often spread via Facebook, although it's made the rounds on Gmail as well. This one assumes the friends in your address book care enough about you to help you out after a mugging or other catastrophe while traveling.

This trick is simple in its execution. Someone gains access to your Facebook account and then sends messages to everybody in your friends list. The message is a variation on a simple theme: "Help! I've been mugged in London! They took all my passport and all of my money!"

The sting comes when the scammer asks one of your friends if they could possibly spare a few hundred bucks to fund your emergency passport application, help with accommodations, purchase return airfare or food, or handle other things necessary for survival. Rather than using a bank transfer or other secure method, the scammer offers some excuse why the money would be better sent by Western Union or another untraceable method.

If you're on the receiving end of a plea for help like this, try another way of getting in touch with your friend. Call his cell phone, send an email, or text him. Even contact his friends or family to find out if he really is in trouble in London. If he's home, safe and sound, suggest that he contact Facebook to reclaim his hacked account and change the passwords on other online services.

The Twitter Trap

One particularly new scam that has swarmed Twitter just last month preys on humanity's innate desire to know more about themselves. Sent as a direct message from someone you follow, it seems innocent enough: "Someone said this real bad thing about you in a blog..." The message arrives with a link attached, presumably to the offensive content.

At first glance, this is a friend or colleague looking out for you, bringing something unpleasant to your attention so you can deal with it accordingly. In reality, though, it's a program that will hijack your Twitter account, post to your stream, and send the same Direct Message to your followers. The link won't take you to a blog post (ego-crushing or otherwise) but instead goes to an online survey or page full of advertising designed to earn money for the scammers at a few cents per click.

While many scams and hoaxes are obvious, it can be difficult to resist finding out if that's really you getting bad mouthed on the internet. Really though, ignoring and deleting them is the only way to treat messages like this. If you're feeling friendly, contact the friend whose account sent the message to let them know their account's been hijacked; they should delete all of the compromised messages and change their online passwords.

The Reverse Nigerian Prince

We're all familiar with the Nigerian Prince scam that's spammed our email inboxes. In the scam, an emotional plea from Western Africa promises you gold and riches if you'll just help out with a little money first. Even though this is one of the most played-out email swindles in the history of the internet, it's still going on today. Now, however, a new variation has popped up.

An email arrives supposedly from Citibank Nigeria offering to help victims of the Nigerian Prince scam. Those responding with their full name and address are "eligible" for $50,000 in compensation. It won't take long for "Citibank" to reply, explaining that their names cannot be found in the database after a cursory search. There's still hope, however, by sending in a nominal fee ($50? $100? $500?), which will of course be refunded in full once their name has been found and the payment process started.

A closer look at the email reveals that it is hosted on a domain ending in .cn, which the email goes to great lengths to point out stands for Citibank Nigeria. Unfortunately, that's not true. The .cn extension actually indicates that the domain is based out of China — a fair distance away from Africa, wouldn't you say? Adding insult to injury, the addresses included in this email are sent from 9.cn, which is a Chinese version of Windows Live Mail; yes, the scammers are again using a free webmail provider.

The Nigerian government does not keep track of everybody who is tricked into sending money via the scam bearing the name of its country (many "Nigerian" scams come from all over the world, including the United States and Europe). There is no fund chock-full of compensation. While Citibank does have a branch in Nigeria, the company is not involved in getting you any money back and does not have email addresses ending in the .cn extension.

If this one pops up in your email, have a laugh over the latest spin on this age-old scam and its feeble attempt to hook you in, and then hit delete. It's safest.

As the internet offers us new and interesting ways to connect, there will always be scammers trying to use those services to swindle you. But a little common sense goes a long way no matter what form the scam takes. Messages offering easy money, a plea for help, or any kind of emotional response from you need to be ignored. If you feel compelled to look further, make sure you verify the source to make sure it's not coming from a friend's account that has been hijacked.

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Special Series: The Windows 8 Charms Bar

By Ron Schenone of lockergnome.com

Charms is what Microsoft calls the method that it has chosen to handle the traditional features that were once handled by the Start menu. To access them, you place your mouse in the upper or lower left corner of the screen. This, in turn, will display the available Charms — a feature that I found quite easy to learn.

Below is a listing of the Charms and what each Charm does, courtesy of Microsoft.

Here’s what you can do with them:

Search. Search for anything. You can search just the app you’re in (like finding a specific message in Mail), search another app (look up something on the Internet), or you can search your entire PC (for an app, setting, or file).

Share. Share files and info with people you know or send info to another app, without leaving the app you’re in. You can email photos to your mom, update your Facebook status, or send a link to your note-taking app.

Start. Get to your Start screen. Or if you’re already on Start, you can use this charm to go back to the last app you were in.

Devices. Use all of the devices that are connected to your PC, both wired and wireless. You can print from an app, sync with your phone, or stream your latest home movie to your TV.

Settings. Change settings for apps and your PC. You’ll find settings, help, and info for the app you’re in, plus common PC settings — network connection, volume, brightness, notifications, power, and keyboard. These PC settings are the same no matter where you are in Windows, but the app settings are different in every app. You can also change settings for your PC when you select Change PC settings. It’s where you change your lock screen picture, manage notifications, and more.

 

In our next edition: Using the Windows Start screen

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Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Getting Started with OS X Mavericks - Natural Scrolling

From gcflearnfree.org

By default, Mavericks uses natural scrolling, which means that things move in the opposite direction from "traditional" scrolling. To understand this, let's compare traditional and natural scrolling:

Traditional scrolling: When you're viewing a web page, you can scroll down by using a downward swipe on your trackpad (using two fingers), Magic Mouse, or the scroll wheel on a more traditional mouse. Your web browser's scroll bar moves down, but the content on the page moves up. This is the way that most computers handle scrolling.

Natural scrolling: With natural scrolling, you will use an upward swipe, and the content on the page moves up, almost like you are pushing the content up. This is the way that scrolling usually works on touchscreen devices like the iPad and iPhone, and it's the default option in Mavericks.

To Change the Scrolling Type

If you've never used natural scrolling before, natural scrolling may seem awkward at first. However, since it mimics the way that mobile devices work, it may not take long to get used to it. You can switch between natural and traditional scrolling in your mouse or trackpad settings, to see which one you prefer.

Click the Apple icon and select System Preferences.

Select the Mouse icon to go to your mouse settings, or select Trackpad to go to your trackpad settings.

Next to Scroll direction, uncheck the check box to use traditional scrolling, or check it to use natural scrolling.

 

In our next newsletter: Working with Finder

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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

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - General Settings

From gcflearnfree.org

Under General, you can customize many different settings that have to do with your device's security, accessibility, and overall preferences. You can even adjust settings like keyboard shortcuts, and certain multitasking gestures.

To Set a Passcode

By default, iPad doesn't require a passcode to unlock it, but you can set one to help protect your device.

Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen.
Tap General in the left pane.
Next to Passcode Lock, tap the control to view your options.
Tap Turn Passcode On.
Use the keypad to enter your 4-digit passcode. (You'll be asked to enter it twice to confirm.)
Passcode Lock will be enabled. You'll need to enter it the next time you turn on your iPad, or wake it up from sleep mode.

To Set Restrictions:

Restrictions are, in short, parental controls. Use this setting to set a passcode that will restrict access to certain content. For example, parents can restrict explicit music from being seen on playlists, or turn off access to YouTube videos.

While in General Settings, tap the control next to Restrictions to view your options.
Tap Enable Restrictions.
Use the keypad to enter a 4-digit Restrictions passcode. (You'll be asked to enter it twice to confirm.)
Restrictions will be enabled. From now on, anyone who uses your iPad will need the passcode to access restricted content.
Use the ON or OFF controls to enable or disable certain content. Scroll down to access more nuanced restrictions, such as ratings for music, movies, apps, and more.

Updating Your Software

Software Update is where you can check for - and download - iOS updates from Apple. Updates frequently include bug fixes and other improvements designed to enhance your experience with the iPad. To view updates, tap Software Update while in General Settings. Then tap Download and Install if an update is available.

In our next edition:
Privacy

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Websites of Interest:

Easter
Visit this website for information about the religious traditions and history of Easter.
wilstar.com/holidays/easter.htm

Earth Day
April 22 is Earth Day. Learn more about it at this site.
http://www.earthday.org/

Tree People
How to plant a tree.
http://www.treepeople.org/how-plant-tree

How to Recycle Anything
http://tinyurl.com/bu9b6f

Gardening Support
From Cornell Cooperative Extension, get answers to any gardening questions or problems.
http://ccesuffolk.org/gardening/