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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, April 21, 2013

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Is Your Computer Infected?
Tips & Tricks: Dropped an iPhone in Water? Here’s How to Save It, Or Any Phone, from Water Damage
Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: Malware, Phishing, And Security Risks
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Additional Features than can be Disabled
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Wi-Fi and Security
Websites of Interest: Earth Day; Tree People; How to Recycle Anything; Gardening Support

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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

If you think you've got malware, follow these steps:

1. Disconnect your computer from the Internet and its power source, then reconnect the wires and restart in safe mode. On a Windows PC, hold down F8 as soon as the reboot begins, then choose "safe mode" from the menu that appears. On a Mac, hold down the shift key while restarting.

Check for updates to your antivirus software, then perform a complete scan.

2. If your antivirus software is acting strangely or is missing, start your computer with a rescue CD — a special disc that contains your computer's operating system and allows you to start your machine even if your hard disk is corrupted.

Sometimes a rescue disk is supplied with your computer. Or use someone else's computer to create one from free downloads at any of these sites: AVG, Avira, BitDefender or F-Secure. (You should do this before you have problems.)

3. Check the website of your antivirus software vendor for additional information or software patches that will remove a particular malicious program.

If no malware is found, but problems continue, it's best to have your computer examined by a technician.

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Tips & Tricks: Dropped an iPhone in Water?
Here’s How to Save It, Or Any Phone, from Water Damage

By Paul Horowitz of osxdaily.com

Dunking a $650 electronic device into water is a pretty terrible feeling. The standard advice is to dry it off and stuff it into some rice, then cross your fingers and wait. But does that actually work? After accidentally dropping my iPhone for a swim into a pool of water where it was fully submerged, I had the unfortunate opportunity to test out the iPhone-in-a-rice-bag hypothesis, and I have good news; it actually works!

Here is exactly what I did, and what I learned from the process of saving an iPhone from extensive water exposure with the good old rice bag trick. The result is a completely functioning iPhone with zero water damage.

6 Things To-Do Immediately if iPhone has Water Contact

Want to save your iPhone? Drop everything and do this first, before putting it in rice:

Remove from water as soon as humanly possible (obvious, right? But seriously, seconds can matter here so move quick)
Turn the iPhone off immediately by holding down the power button until it shuts off
Remove any case or enclosure right away since they can trap in moisture, screen protectors are fine to leave on unless there’s an obvious water bubble
Dry out the iPhone as best as you can using cloth (t-shirt, socks, whatever is readably available) or an absorbent material. Wipe down the screen, sides, and back. Pay special attention to the power button, volume buttons, mute switch, speakers and microphones, and the audio output jack, try and get all visible moisture soaked up
Use a Q-Tip if possible to try and soak up extra water from the audio output jack and in small crevices. If you’re out and about or have no q-tips handy, a little stick or sharp pencil poking through a t-shirt or cotton material can work too
Disconnect any headphones, ports, chargers, USB cables, or accessories immediately

Now with all visible water removed, you’re ready to stuff the iPhone into a rice bag.

Put the iPhone Into a Sealed Bag Full of Rice

Here are the basic requirements:

A zip-lock bag or similar that is air tight
Rice, any generic type, ideally not “enriched” (more on that in a second)
Patience for at least 36 hours

Fill a zipper locked bag fairly full of rice so that the entire iPhone will be covered, then place the iPhone into the bag and seal it shut with some air in the bag.

Any type of rice works, but try to avoid enriched rice, the reason being that whatever enriches it leaves a lot of white residual powder in the bag and it will also get into the ports and buttons on the iPhone. Enriched rice does still work (it’s actually what I learned), but knowing now that it leaves a lot of mystery white powder gunked up in places, I’ll probably go buy a bag of normal rice for any potential future water-meets-iPhone encounters.

The patience part is the hardest, and generally the longer you wait the better the likely outcome because you want all water inside the device to be completely absorbed by the rice before trying to power it on again. I left my iPhone in the air-tight rice bag for around 36 hours, but there’s no harm in leaving it in for 48 hours. Any less may work but it also could be inadequate, so therefore longer is better.

Success! Saved from Water Damage

Once you’ve waited at least 36 hours, open the rice bag and check out the iPhone. If you suspect the iPhone has any residual moisture left in it at all, do not power it on. If all seems well, go ahead and turn it on as usual. If all goes well, it’ll power on as usual, and your iPhone will have survived the water encounter!

This should work for almost every instance of severe water contact with an iPhone, though obviously for situations where an iPhone is soaking in water while turned on for 15 minutes or longer your likelihood of recovery is going to diminish dramatically. Likewise, you’ll have much better recovery odds with fresh water than you would with salt water, simply because salt water is more corrosive. Soft drinks and sticky beverages will be more challenging as well since they leave more residue around, but as long as it dries out it will probably survive even if you dump a coke or coffee onto an iPhone.

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Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: Malware, Phishing, And Security Risks

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

Malware, Phishing, And Security Risks

When you use an ATM downtown, you probably glance over your shoulder to make sure nobody is lurking around to steal your PIN number (or your cash). In fact, you probably first check to make sure that you’re not using a fake ATM machine. When you browse the web and perform transactions online, two security risks to be aware of are malware and phishing. These attacks are perpetrated by individuals or organizations who hope to steal your personal information or hijack your computer.

What exactly are phishing and malware attacks?

Phishing takes place when someone masquerades as someone else, often with a fake website, to trick you into sharing personal information. (It’s called “phishing” because the bad guys throw out electronic bait and wait for someone to bite.) In a typical phishing scam, the attacker sends an email that looks like it’s from a bank or familiar web service you use. The subject line might say, “Please update your information at your bank!” The email contains phishing links that look like they go to your bank’s website, but really take you to an impostor website. There you’re asked to log in, and inadvertently reveal your bank account number, credit card numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information to the bad guys.

Malware, on the other hand, is malicious software installed on your machine, usually without your knowledge. You may be asked to download an anti-virus software that is actually a virus itself. Or you may visit a page that installs software on your computer without even asking. The software is really designed to steal credit card numbers or passwords from your computer, or in some cases, harm your computer. Once the malware is on your computer, it’s not only difficult to remove, but it’s also free to access all the data and files it finds, send that information elsewhere, and generally wreak havoc on your computer.

An up-to-date, modern web browser is the first line of defense against phishing and malware attacks. Most modern browsers, for instance, can help analyze web pages to look for signs of lurking malware, and alert you when they find it.

At the same time, an attacker may not always use sophisticated technical wizardry to hijack your computer, but could instead find clever ways to trick you into making a bad decision. In the next few chapters, we’ll look at how you can make wiser decisions to protect yourself when you’re online -- and how browsers and other web technologies can help.

In our next edition: How Modern Browsers Help Protect You From Malware And Phishing

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Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Additional Features than can be Disabled

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

Additional Features than can be Disabled

Note: Some of these features may not be found in all versions of Windows.
By Lincoln Spector of pcworld.com

Windows Error Reporting Service

Every time Windows experiences an error--either with its own processes or with a third-party program--it offers to report the problem to Microsoft. In theory, doing so can help the company locate problems with its OS (and heaven knows that would be a good thing). But more than likely, your report will either go unresolved or just end up in a big ol' pile of other people's reports on the same problem. Either way, you're wasting your system's precious resources on a feature that isn't doing you any good.

To disable this unhelpful service, open the Services window: Click Start, type services, and press Enter. Find and double-click Windows Error Reporting Service. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled, and then click OK.

Sidebar (Windows Vista and 7)

Give Windows Sidebar the axe by deselecting the 'Start Sidebar when Windows starts' check box.

You pay a heavy performance price for the analog clock, thumbnail slide-show viewer, and Microsoft-centric RSS news feed that dock in the Windows Sidebar. Turning the whole thing off gives you a big speed boost, especially at boot time.

To remove the Sidebar, right-click anywhere on the Sidebar and select Close Sidebar. Uncheck Start Sidebar when Windows starts, and then click OK.

Internet Printing Client

Do you ever print documents over the Internet? Chances are, you won't miss out on anything by disabling Window’s Internet Printing Client.

Click on Start. Type Programs and Features in the search box. Click Programs and Features at the top of the menu.

Click the Turn Windows features on or off link on the left; you'll get the Windows Features dialog box. Expand the Print Services section and uncheck Internet Printing Client.

Click OK. The computer may ask you to restart; allow it to do so.

Tablet PC

If you don't have a tablet PC, you don't need Tablet PC Optional Components running and taking up your computer’s resources.

Turning off Window’s tablet features is a two-step process: Start in the Windows Features dialog box. If you're not already there, see the tip above for instructions on getting to it. Once there, simply uncheck Tablet PC Optional Components.
You complete the job in the Services window, which you open by clicking Start, typing services, and pressing Enter. Find and double-click Tablet PC Input Services. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled, and then click OK.

Search Indexing

If you don't use the Search field often, turning off indexing can give your PC a small performance boost.

This one is a real trade-off. Turning off Window’s indexing will slow searches to a crawl. But ditching this convenient feature could very likely speed up your general PC use significantly.

In other words, turning off indexing will help your PC's performance only if you seldom search by file content, or if you use a third-party search tool such as Copernic Desktop or Google Desktop (in which case you probably have two indexing routines running at the same time, which is an even bigger waste).

If you match either of those descriptions, turn off indexing by clicking Start, typing services, and pressing Enter. Find and double-click Windows Search. In the 'Startup type' drop-down menu, select Disabled, and then click OK.

This concludes our series Speed Up a Slow Computer. We hope you enjoyed it!

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - Wi-Fi and Security

From gcflearnfree.org

Once you're more familiar with the iPad, you may want to take a minute to review and/or customize your device's settings. Settings control everything from the way your iPad works, to the data it shares with apps and other devices. You can open Settings by tapping the icon on your Home screen.

Settings gives you easy access to many different things, including settings for your apps, email accounts, iCloud, and more. To view or edit your options, tap an item in the left pane. Right now, we will focus on Wi-Fi for controlling your internet access.

Wi-Fi

Under Wi-Fi, you can turn your iPad's wireless connection on or off, and easily join nearby networks so you can access the internet. Once you join a network, your device will connect to it automatically whenever it's in range. If there are no networks in range, it will connect via 3G or 4G instead, but only if you have a 3G- or 4G-enabled device (and a contract with AT&T or Verizon).

To Turn Wi-Fi On or Off:

Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen.
Tap Wi-Fi in the left pane.
Next to Wi-Fi, tap the control to turn it ON or OFF.

Joining Networks

To join a network that's in range (for example, your home's Wi-Fi, or a nearby public hotspot), look for it under Choose a Network. Then tap the network you want to use. If the network is secure, you'll need to enter a password in order to connect to it.

If the network isn't secure, you can connect to it without a password, but you should think carefully before you do (especially if it's a public hotspot; for example, Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop). Anything you view or share over an unsecured network is not necessarily safe from prying eyes.

If the network doesn't appear on the list, it may be out of range, or it may be closed (in other words, hidden). To join a closed network, tap Other, then follow the steps to connect to it. You'll need to know the name of the network, the security setting, and also the password.

 

In our next edition:
General Settings

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Websites of Interest:

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/