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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, May 11, 2014

To all the Moms, we wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: New Travel Scam Alerts for the Upcoming Vacation Season
Special Series: How to Find Things in Windows 8
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Registry Cleaner
Special Feature: iPad Basics - iCloud Features
Websites of Interest: Mother’s Day

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Special Feature: New Travel Scam Alerts for the Upcoming Vacation Season

The following article is by Audri Lanford of scambusters.org

You are not the only person looking forward to your upcoming vacation. The travel scam artists share your eager anticipation. They have dreamed up some new tricks they hope you do not know about, and put a new spin on some of the old favorites. Here are some travel scams to be on the lookout for this summer:

Fake Car Park Attendants

Previously prevalent in Italy, this travel scam now pops up in many big European cities, where parking can be notoriously difficult.

The trick can take many forms. You may just drive onto a piece of wasteland where other cars are parked or you may enter a big, official parking lot. Either way, a "parking attendant" approaches you and hands you an official looking ticket, usually demanding a fairly exorbitant fee. You are tired, frustrated and there is a language problem, so you just hand over the cash.

Later, you discover you're either parked illegally or there's another fee to pay -- this time, the real one.

Action: You put yourself at risk if you do not know who owns the place where you are parking or what the real arrangements are for payment. Check them out the best you can. You can ask the attendant to show credentials -- but avoid confrontation.

Phony Travel Guides

At a famous venue, a local offers to show you around for a fee. This may be a fairly obvious and transparent ruse, where he is just trying to make a quick buck. But some scammers pose as agents for official guides, taking your money and telling you to wait at a particular spot. Of course, they never return and there is no official guide.

Action: Guidebooks and online sites will tell you the arrangements for official, paid tours.
Free Holiday Awards

Although a well known travel scam, we can't miss out mentioning the "you've-won-a-free-vacation" scratch card trick because it's probably the number one scam on many European and Caribbean beaches this year.

There are numerous angles but the scam boils down to two things -- you'll either have to pay a "processing fee" to get your otherwise free vacation, which is really non-existent, or you'll be asked to attend a tedious presentation where they try to sell you timeshares or expensive vacation add-ons with high pressure sales tactics.

Action: Every one of these cards is a winner -- that ought to be enough to tell you what to do, but we will say it anyway: Treat these the same way you would an email that says you have won a lottery -- trash them.

Credit Card Problems

This is our catch-all for numerous tricks you need to be on the lookout for this year. These are the key ones:

- Try not to let your credit card out of your sight when you're using it in an unfamiliar place. Out of sight, the number and the crucial security code printed on the reverse could be written down.

- Don't be taken in by a trader in a foreign country who offers to bill your card in dollars, thereby saving you a foreign exchange fee from your card issuer. The trader will almost certainly use an extortionate exchange rate and you will end up out of pocket.

- Check how much your credit card issuer charges for foreign transactions. Some charge nothing, others as much as 3% of the value of the transaction.
Paying for Paper Tickets

When you book a flight online, you usually have the option of just using an "e-ticket" (basically a printout of your booking confirmation that you take to the check-in desk) or having an old-fashioned paper ticket mailed to you for an additional fee.

Usually, this is $10, which is what the International Air Transport Association says it costs.

But some unscrupulous travel agents and organizers are charging up to $40 or $50 for this questionable privilege.

Action: Do not take paper. But if you do, make sure you know what the fee is before committing yourself to buy. If the fee is too high, consider taking your business elsewhere.

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Special Series: How to Find Things in Windows 8

By Sean Hollister of theverge.com

So now that you know how to navigate the OS, how do you find what you want? Well, you could try Windows 8's Search charm, which is quite powerful. Simply type anywhere on the Start screen to begin searching, and then simply change the type of search to get different types of results.

For instance, if you want to hear a particular song, you could first search your local files, and if it doesn't turn up, click on Music to search Xbox Music, and if that fails, click on Internet Explorer to begin a web search, all without ever leaving the search bar. In fact, you can search in just about any app from this same box, from locations in the Maps and Weather apps, to stock results in the Finance app, to the names of new apps in the Windows Store.

Each new app you download can potentially add a new search category, if it supports the charm, so you may end up with quite a few. To promote your favorite searches higher in the ranking, press and hold (or right-click) on them and pin them higher, or hide the ones you don't want.

For quick access to your favorite apps and desktop programs, pin them to your Start screen by right-clicking them, or press and hold on a touchscreen.

If you prefer Google Chrome and Google Search rather than Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Bing, you can easily install both from http://www.google.com/homepage/windows8/ and set them as your defaults.

To determine which app or desktop program a particular type of file gets launched with, right-click on them in File Explorer and select "Choose default program."

Common Tasks

Between the familiar desktop interface and the Search charm, you shouldn't have much trouble finding most things, but others are more obscure. How do you shut down the computer, for instance? It took us a few minutes to figure that one out. Here are some things you might be looking for, and others that you might like to know about.

First off, you'll find a number of answers in the Settings charm. You can easily connect to a wireless network, change the volume or screen brightness, adjust the keyboard layout, and yes, power down your computer. Additionally, if you invoke the Settings charm from within an app, you'll be able to adjust that app's specific settings.

The Settings charm also lets you access the familiar desktop Control Panel for a variety of settings... but before you get lost in Control Panel minutiae, go back to the Settings charm and check out Change PC settings at the very bottom. This touchscreen-friendly menu lets you change your lock screen and start screen backgrounds, set up user accounts and passwords, manage desktop notifications and privacy settings, add devices like printers, and check for updates to your computer. Be aware that both the left and right sides of the PC Settings menu can scroll up and down, even if it doesn't look like it.

Charms are also good for sending things from one place to another without requiring drag and drop or copy and paste. For instance, if you're looking at a photo, document, or a webpage, you can pull up the Share charm to send it to any app that supports sharing, like an email or social networking client. If you've got a connected device, like a printer or a smart screen, you could also send that photo or document to be printed or displayed with the Devices charm.

To get a list of all the apps on your computer, go to the Start screen, then hit right-click (or drag up / down, or press Windows + Z), and select All apps. Or just press Ctrl + Tab anywhere on the Start screen to get there even faster.

Where do you go if you want to update your apps? Go to the Windows Store app: all available updates will appear in the upper right hand corner.

 

In our next edition: Organize Apps and Create Groups on the Windows 8 Start Screen

Do you have a question about Windows 8 that we haven’t covered yet? Please email your question and we’ll cover it in a future newsletter article.
info@computerkindergarten.com

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Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders

From gcflearnfree.org

Now that you know how to use Finder (see below for links to our previous newsletter articles), you can learn how to create new folders, add shortcuts to the desktop, delete files, tag files and folders, and unmount drives that are connected to your computer.

Creating and Modifying Folders

As you organize your files, you'll need to create new folders from time to time. Most of the time, you'll be creating folders within other folders, but you can also put them directly on the desktop. Once you've created a folder, you can change its name or tag it.

To Create a New Folder

Navigate to the location where you want to create the new folder.
Right-click and select New Folder.
Type the desired name for your folder.

You can also create a folder by clicking File in the menu bar and selecting New Folder.

To Rename a Folder

Click on the folder once to select it (do not double-click), and then press the Return or Enter key. The folder name should now be highlighted.
Type the desired name for the folder.

 

To review Mac OS X Mavericks Finder, please see these articles from previous newsletters:

Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Finder
http://computerkindergarten.com/042714.html

Mac OS X Mavericks - Finder Tabs
http://computerkindergarten.com/050414.html

 

In our next newsletter: Mac OS X Mavericks - Tags

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Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Registry Cleaner

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

Registry Cleaner

A registry cleaner is a program designed for the Microsoft Windows operating system whose purpose is to remove redundant or unwanted items from the Windows registry. The registry stores configuration settings and options for the computer, so excess files and items in there can significantly slow the computer down.

CCleaner is a free program for computers running Windows. It removes unnecessary items that accumulate over time, slow down your computer and can cause problems. It deletes excess files, removes programs that you no longer need, and cleans junk entries in the Windows registry.

What is CCleaner?

The following article is by Kefa Olang, eHow Contributing Writer

A computer's performance diminishes over time if steps are not taken to maintain it. As programs and files are downloaded and installed, they can cause system errors. CCleaner is a simple software program that manages and improves a computer's performance.

Benefits

CCleaner is an system optimization program designed to improve the registry and system folders. It scans the computer for unnecessary files that use system resources with no added benefit. It also allows you to uninstall programs and is especially beneficial if you are having trouble uninstalling from the Control Panel. CCleaner also allows you to clean browser cache and history to not only remove clutter which causes browser problems but also protect personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

How Much?

CCleaner, unlike other reputable registry cleaning software, is 100 percent free. While the company asks you to make a donation of about $20 if you can, it is not mandatory and does not restrict you from downloading the program. Whether you donate or not, you can still download a full version without any restrictions. If you decide to donate, you can do so using PayPal. CCleaner developers come up with new updates frequently; therefore, donators get access to the latest downloads before others receive them.

Installation

Before installing Ccleaner, make sure that your computer has the necessary requirements needed to run it. For example, CCleaner can only be installed on Windows operating systems. Currently there isn't a Macintosh and Linux version. Your computer also requires a minimum of 64MB RAM to handle its processes. To install it, your computer also has to be logged on the administrative account. If your computer meets the requirements, simply download and run the installation file to install CCleaner on your computer.

Usage

CCleaner is very easy to use even for novice computer user because its controls are easy to navigate through. When you launch CCleaner, all the controls are on the left panel. You can select from many different tools, such as registry cleaner, disk cleanup and program uninstall. The wizards guide you on on using the tool you select. As for registry cleaning, CCleaner scans the registry automatically for missing DLL and ActiveX files as well as left over entries for uninstalled programs and allows you to delete them.

Expert Insight

Run CCleaner frequently, especially if you download files from the Internet. Cleaning the registry and removing useless files will not only free hard disk space, but also improve your computer's ability to manage resources. Because CCleaner cleans the system safely, you should not try to do it manually because you risk deleting vital system files and folders necessary on the computer

How to Install CCleaner

This website provides graphical instruction on downloading and installing CCleaner:
http://tinyurl.com/n8gxeb4

How to Use CCleaner

Please visit this site for graphical instruction on using CCleaner:
http://opcug.ca/public/Reviews/ccleaner.htm

 

In our next edition, Speed Up a Slow Computer – Windows Prefetch

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Read Past Issues of this Newsletter Online

You can now read past issues of this newsletter at our website:
http://www.computerkindergarten.com/

Click on the This Week's Edition link on the left.

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - iCloud Features

From gcflearnfree.org

When you sync with iCloud, you gain access to several different features for a wide variety of tasks, including Photo Stream, Backup and Restore, Documents in the Cloud, and much more. You can take advantage of these features on your iPad, and also your other devices.

Most of iCloud's features are designed to work with a specific app. For example, Photo Stream works with the Photos app on your device (or iPhoto on your computer). Documents in the Cloud works with the iWork suite, including Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.

Photo Stream

Photo Stream is a great feature that gives you access to your most recent photos on every device you own—even your Mac or PC. That means you can take a photo on your iPhone, then view it instantly on your iPad or home computer.

Photo Stream will sync your photos automatically anytime you're connected to Wi-Fi, so there's no need to transfer files back and forth. It will also store your photos in the cloud. It's not intended to be permanent storage; it only stores the photos for 30 days. However, you can save the photos you want to keep onto any of your devices.

To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings. You'll also need to set up the app on your computer if you have a Mac or PC.

Music, TV Shows, Apps, and iBooks

One of the best features of iCloud is iTunes in the Cloud. When you purchase music on your iPad, it'll be pushed to all of your other devices automatically (and vice versa). It'll also be stored in the cloud, so you can download it again if you need to.

You can even download your purchased TV shows and movies to any device.

iCloud also stores your purchased mobile apps and e-books, and pushes them to your other devices. To read your e-books, you'll have to download the free iBooks app from the App Store.

To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings. You'll also need to set up automatic downloads, so your media syncs automatically.

Productivity

iCloud can also store and sync your Calendar, Contacts, Mail, and more. That means all of your important information will be with you when you need it, no matter what device you're using. You can even view and edit your information at iCloud.com if you don't have your device with you (as in the example below).

To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings.

Find My Device

If your iPad, iPhone, or Mac is ever lost or stolen, Find My Device can help you find it. All you have to do is sign into your account at iCloud.com. There, you'll be able to pull up a map that shows you where your device is. Or, if you've simply misplaced it in your home or office, you can tell the device to play a sound that will help you find it.

To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings. You'll also need to make sure you have Wi-Fi turned on (that's what Apple will use to locate your device).

Backup and Restore

In addition to your files and apps, iCloud backs up all of the settings on your iPad and other iOS devices, and stores them in the cloud. This also includes your text messages, ringtones, the layout of your home screen, and more.

It's important to note that this doesn't happen automatically. To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings.

Documents in the Cloud

If you edit a document with Pages, Keynote, or Numbers, Documents in the Cloud will immediately update it on all of your other devices. You can also access your documents from any computer that has an internet connection by going to iCloud.com, and signing into your account.

To use this feature, you'll need to enable it in your device's iCloud settings. You'll also need to buy at least one of these apps for one of your devices.

Apple TV

If you have Apple TV, you can stream your purchased music and TV shows, view your Photo Stream, and more, right on your TV. You can also buy TV shows from your Apple TV (or any device), and they will be pushed to all of your other devices.

In our next edition:
Syncing with iCloud - Hardware and Software Requirements

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Websites of Interest:

Mother’s Day

Visit this website to read a very nice tribute to Mothers and Grandmothers and learn the origins of Mother’s Day.
http://www.entourages.com/barbs/Mother.htm

Here is a nice website with Mother’s Day projects for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school children.
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/mothersday/

10 Tips for Delighting Your Wife on Mother's Day
http://www.thefamilycorner.com/parenting/moms/10_tips.shtml