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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, April 28, 2013

In this Issue:
Special Feature: One Antivirus Program Is Better Than Two
Tips & Tricks: How Do You Share an IPhone Photo on Facebook?
Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: How Modern Browsers Help Protect You from Malware and Phishing
This Week's Topic: How to Test Your PC for Failing Hardware
Special Feature: iPad Basics - General Settings
Websites of Interest: May Day; How to Start a Flower Bed; The Lighthouse Directory; May is Older Americans Month

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Special Feature: One Antivirus Program Is Better Than Two

By Lincoln Spector of pcworld.com

Running two antivirus programs simultaneously is a bit like mixing a fine, vintage Cabernet with breakfast cereal. Each is good on its own right, but the combination may have unpleasant effects.

Before I explain why, let's get some definitions out of the way. The term antivirus has come to mean a program that launches when you boot your PC and stays running in memory, protecting you in real time not just from viruses (which are, technically speaking, passé), but Trojans, rootkits, and all other forms of malware.

Two antivirus programs, both loaded and running simultaneously, will be, at the very least, redundant. And it in this case, you don't want redundancy.

Keep in mind that every program running uses RAM and clock cycles, potentially slowing down every other running program. A well-made antivirus program has a very small footprint, and doesn't slow things down significantly. But two such programs running together will slow it down twice as much.

And it could be worse. The two programs may conflict with each other--remember that every time you download a file, both will try to scan it. Conflicts could result in other programs failing to work and Windows becoming less stable.

If you're worried that one antivirus program isn't enough, you can augment it with an on-demand malware scanner. Unlike antivirus programs, they don't hang around. You load one, update its database, scan your hard drive with it, and close it when you're done.

I use two of these programs--the free versions of SuperAntiSpyware (http://www.superantispyware.com/) and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free/). Once a week, I scan my hard drive with one or the other.

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Tips & Tricks: How Do You Share an IPhone Photo on Facebook?

By Dave Taylor of askdavetaylor.com

That's a surprisingly common question because I think a lot of people look for a "share photos" button within the Facebook app on the Apple iPhone, but it's not so obvious. You can tap on the tiny "Photo" button along the top of the app, but it turns out that there's a much easier way to share your candid on-the-spot iPhone photographs with your Facebook friends and colleagues using the Photos app itself.

To start, you'll need to make sure that you've added your Facebook account information to your iPhone settings. Go into "Settings", scroll down to "Facebook", then tap on it to ensure it's configured properly.

Now go into the "Photos" app. It's easy to find. Just look for the cheery sunflower!

Find the particular photo you want to share and tap on it. Look on the lower left corner. See that square icon with the arrow bursting out of it? Tap on it.

Tons of sharing options (and you can even set your photo as iPhone wallpaper if you're so inclined). For this just tap on the Facebook "f" icon, and you'll be able to add a comment, tag the location and even change the visibility of the image:

Everything look perfect? Simply tap on "Post" on the top right and you're done. The iPhone will issue a chime sound when it's successfully uploaded the image to Facebook.

Go on Facebook and you'll see how it ended up.

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Special Series: Twenty Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web: How Modern Browsers Help Protect You from Malware and Phishing

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

How Modern Browsers Help Protect You from Malware and Phishing

An up-to-date browser guards you from phishing and malware attacks when you’re browsing the web. It does so by limiting three types of security risk when you’re online:

Risk 1: How often you come into contact with an attacker

You can be exposed to attackers through a malicious fake website, or even through a familiar website that has been hacked. Most modern browsers pre-check each web page you visit and alert you if one is suspected of being malicious. This lets you make an informed judgment about whether you really want to visit that page.

For example, Google Chrome uses Safe Browsing technology, which is also used in several other modern browsers. As you browse the web, each page is checked quickly against a list of suspected phishing and malware websites. This list is stored and maintained locally on your computer to help protect your browsing privacy. If a match against the local list is found, the browser then sends a request to Google for more information. (This request is completely obscured and the browser does not send it in plain text.) If Google verifies the match, Chrome shows a red warning page to alert you that the page you're trying to visit may be dangerous.

Risk 2: How vulnerable your browser is if it’s attacked

Old browsers that haven’t been upgraded are likely to have security vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. All outdated software, irrespective of whether it’s your operating system, browser, or plug-ins, has the same problem. That’s why it’s important to use the very latest version of your browser and promptly install security patches on your operating system and all plug-ins, so that they’re always up-to-date with the latest security fixes.

Some browsers check for updates automatically and install updates when initiated by the user. Chrome and some other browsers go one step further: they’re built with auto-update. The browser runs an update check periodically, and automatically updates to the latest version without disrupting your browsing flow. Furthermore, Chrome has integrated Adobe Flash Player and a PDF viewer into the browser, so that both these popular plug-ins are also auto-updated.

Risk 3: How much damage is done if an attacker finds vulnerabilities in your browser

Some modern browsers like Chrome and Internet Explorer are built with an added layer of protection known as a “sandbox.” Just as a real-life sandbox has walls to keep sand from spilling out, a browser sandbox builds a contained environment to keep malware and other security threats from infecting your computer. If you open a malicious web page, the browser’s sandbox prevents that malicious code from leaving the browser and installing itself to your hard drive. The malicious code therefore cannot read, alter, or further damage the data on your computer.

In summary, a modern browser can protect you against online security threats by first, checking websites you’re about to visit for suspected malware and phishing; second, providing update notifications or auto-updating when a newer, more secure version of the browser is available, and third, using the browser sandbox to curb malicious code from causing further damage to your computer.

In the next few chapters, we’ll take a look at how a basic understanding of web addresses can help you make informed decisions about the websites you visit.

In our next edition: Using Web Addresses to Stay Safe

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Today's Topic: How to Test Your PC for Failing Hardware

By Guy McDowell of makeuseof.com

Good PC ownership is a lot like good car ownership. You do more than just use it, you learn something about how it works. You don’t need to be a PC technician or a mechanic, but you should be able to identify certain signs of trouble so you can get your rig in for maintenance. Unfortunately, testing your PC for failing hardware isn’t quite as hands-on and easy to do as checking your car for worn tires or dirty oil. Fortunately, you have access to a wide web of free tools to test for failing hardware. Or, more appropriately, to check on the health of your hardware.

If you’ve ever opened up your computer, you know there is a lot of hardware in there, a lot of potential points of failure. That’s how pessimists and engineers talk. However, there are certain points which are more prime for failure than others. Those pieces of hardware that either generate heat or have moving parts tend to be the ones that fail most often.

Now that you’re thinking along those lines, you’re probably thinking of fans, hard disk drives, and CPU’s or GPU’s. You’d be correct that those are probably the most common points of failure in a system. RAM also tends to fail too, since it is constantly being written and re-written to, or flashed as they say in the electronics world. Solid-state memory can only handle so many flashes before it begins to fail, and this also applies to solid-state hard drives.

Windows 7 & 8

Windows 7 and 8 have some great utilities already built into them. In fact, there is so much in Windows that most of us don’t even know about, that we go and buy software that already does what Windows does. Even so-called power users can get caught in this trap. It’s almost like having a Swiss Army knife with so many blades, that we just go out and buy a normal pocket knife.

Resource & Performance Monitor
Both of these operating systems have a built-in diagnostic tool you might not have ever known about. To access the Resource and Performance Monitor, simply hold down your Windows key and press the letter R. A new window will open and you can type in the command perfmon /report, then click on OK.

A new window will open and will begin collecting data. This process takes a minute.

Then you’ll get a report with more information than you or I will probably ever know what to do with. The main report that you want to look at though is the Diagnostic Results – Warnings and the Resource Overview. The Diagnostic Results Warning only comes up if there are some warnings.

What’s nice about this is that there are links to more information about the situation and how to remedy it.

The Resource Overview is going to give you the red-yellow-green light overview of the major parts of your system. This gives you an instant overview of the health of these major components. Apparently my computer could use some more RAM, as I have a red light on my Memory. Or I could close a few applications I don’t need running right now.

There are several other reports available from the Performance Monitor, but most of those are advanced information. If you want to take the time to read up on them and understand them better, then good for you! You will become more intimate and proficient with your Windows system than you ever thought possible. Go for it!

Test Your RAM - Windows Memory Diagnostic

Another Windows feature is the ability to test your RAM, or memory, and see how that’s working. What you’re looking for is the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. You can find that on your Start Menu > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Windows Memory Diagnostic.

Once you click on that, you’ll be given the option to either restart the computer and test the memory now, or to test the memory on the next system restart. Unless you’re in a rush right now to find out, go ahead and choose the restart option.

Now, when you restart your computer you are going to see a text-based screen telling you that the memory test is being performed. There are things about the test that you can change, but it will run a Standard Test by default. That will be good enough for our purposes. Once the test is done, if there are errors, Windows Memory Diagnostic will try to figure out what memory module is causing the problem and tell you. That’s a good time to replace that bit of RAM.

What Else Can I Do To Check My Hardware?

Here’s a trio of awesome freeware to get you started:

PC Wizard – CPUID
http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/pc-wizard.html

Great software, just be a little bit careful on the installation or you’re going to end up with the Ask.com toolbar installed and have your homepage changed to Ask.com. Minor annoyances really, when you look at the value of the software package. It will tell you everything you’d ever want to know about your hardware, system configuration, resources, and help you set benchmarks for testing your hardware. That way, you can have a historical view of how your hardware is performing and identify any decline over time.

Speccy – Piriform
http://www.piriform.com/speccy/download

Since I first started using CCleaner and Defraggler back before 2009, I’ve liked the way they design their software and user interfaces. Unobtrusive, instinctive, and they just plain work. Speccy, like PC Wizard, will tell you all about your hardware and then some. The Summary page gives you a great overview of where things are at, at a glance.

Sandra Lite – SiSoftware
http://www.sisoftware.net

SiSoftware is another long time player in the bench marking software world. I recall getting a trial version of this on a CD that came with a PC magazine back when I was in college. Yes that was last century. I was excited!! I have no idea what system I ran it on or what it told me, but I knew that it was industry standard software. There wasn’t a whole lot of freeware or even trials back in those days.

Sandra is still an industry standard and you can get a Lite version of her for free. If you’re looking for more details on this version, it’s worth the time to read Matt’s article, Benchmark & Explore Your PC With SiSoft Sandra 2011 Lite. (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/benchmark-explore-pc-sisoft-sandra-2011-lite/ )

All of the benchmarks are still in the newest version, whether it be your GPU, CPU, RAM, or HDD, Sandra will tell you where you are at.

The Take Away

What you should get from this article is that with just a little work and planning, you really should be able to avoid hardware failure surprises. Much like checking your tire pressure weekly, and changing the oil every 3000 miles, computer maintenance by you should be habit and require the simplest of tools. You’ve already got them at your disposal, so why not make them part of your routine? You might save yourself a few bucks and you’ll definitely save yourself a LOT of heartaches.

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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:

May Day
Learn about the history of this day.
http://www.theholidayspot.com/mayday/history.htm

How to Start a Flower Bed
http://tinyurl.com/43evx33

The Lighthouse Directory
This website has information on more than 16,000 lighthouses all over the world.
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/

May is Older Americans Month
Visit the Unleash the Power of Age website.
http://www.olderamericansmonth.acl.gov/