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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, May 18, 2014

To observe the unofficial Beginning of Summer, we will not be publishing this newsletter next week. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Month-by-Month Guide to Scams and Cons You Should Avoid
Special Series: Organize Apps and Create Groups on the Windows 8 Start Screen
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders - Tags
This Week's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Windows Prefetch
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Syncing with iCloud - Hardware and Software Requirements
Websites of Interest: Memorial Day


Special Feature: Month-by-Month Guide to Scams and Cons You Should Avoid

From aarp.org

Scams to Avoid

Check out our month-by-month guide to popular scams and cons

January: Diets

Losing weight is the most popular New Year's resolution. But it is also the most likely to get you ripped off: The Federal Trade Commission says that more people are defrauded through weight-loss scams such as "miracle" supplements, "easy" exercising gizmos and "breakthrough" diets than any other product category it monitors.

February: Repairs

Traveling crooks target retiree-rich communities in warm-weather states like Florida and Arizona. Among the most common cons: self-described utility workers or contractors who show up unannounced and ask to enter your home, claiming "the condo association sent me."

March: Ribbon Rip-Offs

Breast cancer charities raise $6 billion each year on research for a cure. Unfortunately, anyone — scammers included — can use that familiar pink ribbon to brand merchandise or solicit contributions. And some "breast cancer" organizations devote only pennies of every dollar they collect to the cause; four, in fact, were among 50 recently deemed "America's worst charities." So before you give, check such websites as Give.org or CharityNavigator.org.

April: Subscriptions

Take a close look at those subscription invoices in your mailbox. Hit with phony renewal notices, consumers nationwide are paying for newspapers and magazines they'll never receive. The tip-off to the rip-off: an offer to start or renew a subscription at a hard-to-believe rate. If you're asked to send a payment to a company you don't recognize, call the publisher to verify the offer is legit.

May: Condos

Looking for a choice vacation rental at below-market rates? Beware: Some of those best-deal condos, mountain retreats or beachfront places may not really exist. Stick with bona fide real estate websites or listing agents. And never, ever make any kind of payment via a wire transfer.

June: Security

Summer means open windows, vacations and more home burglaries. It's also prime season for door-to-door scammers whose offer of a "free security inspection" is their way of casing your home for a possible later burglary. Bottom line: Unless you initiate a sales call, don't let anyone into your house. Scammers may produce forged identification. Many certified installers are listed at alarm.org.

July: Free Money

Surprised by an unexpected check? If the windfall comes with a string attached — you have to forward some portion of the money elsewhere, typically by wire transfer — it's almost certainly bogus. Be especially suspicious of amounts just shy of $5,000; scammers know that deposits above that amount are subject to longer bank holding periods.

August: Puppies

National Dog Day is Aug. 26, and if you're among those who love man's best friend, scammers may be out to get you. Amid the legitimate ads for puppies in newspapers and online websites are plenty of solicitations for stolen animals, or for ones that don't exist. The rule: Make sure the seller is legitimate before you agree to buy (or put down a deposit). Otherwise you could find yourself dealing with a dognapper.

September: Home Repair
Beware of the "woodchuck." This home improvement huckster usually starts with an offer to trim trees. Soon the woodchuck points out additional problems, returning day after day to take care of never-ending (and often needless) repairs. These fly-by-day fraudsters sometimes request payment in advance to buy materials for such jobs as roof repair or driveway sealing — but then, with your cash in hand, never return. Remember: Most reputable contractors are too busy to seek business by knocking on your door.

October: Taxes

You're looking for year-end tax breaks. And fraud-minded financial "advisers" are looking for you. Beware of unsolicited offers and invitations that aim to steer you into high-commission investment products (be especially suspicious, for example, of the "free lunch" seminar). Assume a scam when investments are touted as "guaranteed," "risk-free" or "secret." To make sure that you're dealing with a legitimate investment adviser, visit FINRA's BrokerCheck, at www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck.

November: Veterans

Scammers target both active-duty personnel (for their steady paychecks) and veterans (for their benefits and nest eggs). Remember: If an unsolicited pitch plays on patriotism or military service, it usually comes with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees. And veterans should steer clear of any offers that promise lump-sum cash advances or settlements in exchange for their future pension payments.

December: Gift Cards

'Tis the season to give — and receive — gift cards. But scams abound, from substitution schemes to sophisticated scan-and-clone techniques in which stolen cards are scanned by a magnetic reader, which can render other cards in the same set useless. Always make sure that a card's packaging hasn't been tampered with and that any peel-off sticker over a code is firmly in place — and get a receipt for the recipient.


Special Series: Organize Apps and Create Groups on the Windows 8 Start Screen

By Steve Sinchak of tweaks.com

The new start screen in Windows 8 can easily look cluttered as more apps are installed. Finding what you need becomes difficult unless you have a keyboard and type in the name of the app which will bypass the start screen tiles. Your best option for both touch and keyboard users is to organize your apps into groups and name them. Groups will allow you to quickly jump to the apps you want by using the start screen zoom features.

First, it is important to understand how to organize the app tiles. If you are on a desktop or laptop, just use your mouse by dragging the tiles around the screen where you want them and into groups. If you are on a tablet just touch and drag down on the tile until it breaks free and you can drag it wherever you want.

Create a new group by dragging the tile to an area between groups or to the very end and then release it when you see the divider appear.

After you have your apps organized in groups it is helpful to put labels on them. In order to do that you need to use the smart screen zoom feature. On tablets it is very easy to zoom in and out on the start menu. Just use the universal pinch in and pinch out gesture. Pinch out to zoom out and you will see all of the apps on the start screen.

On desktops zooming out is not as intuitive. You need to click the zoom out icon located in the lower right corner next to the scroll bar.

Once you are in the zoomed out view you will be able to drag around your groups and also name them. While zoomed out on a desktop or laptop right click on the group and select Name Group to set a name. If you are on a tablet drag down slightly on the group and then select Name group.

After you have all of you apps organized into named groups your start screen will look much better. As your start screen continues to grow, you can also use the start screen zoom feature to quickly jump between groups.

In our next edition: Where did the Classic Games go in Windows 8?

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.


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

From gcflearnfree.org


OS X Mavericks introduces a new feature called tags, which are similar to labels in earlier versions of OS X. Tags make it easy to organize your files and folders into different categories, so you can find them quickly. Unlike labels, you can apply multiple tags to a file or folder.

To Tag Files and Folders

Right-click the file or folder, then select the desired tag. You can also apply multiple tags, if desired.
The tag will be applied.
To quickly view tagged items, select the desired tag in the Finder sidebar. Any items with that tag will appear.

You can also tag multiple items at the same time. To do this, press and hold the Command button while selecting the desired items, click the Tag button, then select the desired tag(s).

Customizing Tags

OS X Mavericks makes it easy to customize your tags. For example, you can rename the default tags, choose a new tag color, or even create your own tags. Simply open the Finder Preferences, then click Tags. From here, you can customize your tags as desired.


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

Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Finder

Mac OS X Mavericks - Finder Tabs

Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders


In our next newsletter: Mac OS X Mavericks - Creating a Shortcut to a Folder


Today's Topic: Speed Up a Slow Computer – Windows Prefetch

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:

Windows Prefetch

Windows has a feature that loads commonly used programs when you start the computer.

Here’s what happens: Yesterday you used Microsoft Word, went into your online banking and played a couple of computer games. Today you want to check your email. Parts of the programs you used yesterday will be in prefetch and the computer will open them when you start it up. The benefit is faster application launch times; if you wanted to use Word, it would open quickly. The downside is all the prefetch files that you do not really need are open and using up part of memory.

The prefetch folder can be cleared out. The files in there can be deleted. To do so, open Windows Explorer, click on the Windows folder and then click on prefetch. Very Important: make sure the path on top shows c: Windows Prefetch. (In Windows Vista and 7, you may be asked to give permission; click to do so)

Click on one file on the right, hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and then press the a key. All the files will be selected.

Press the delete key on the keyboard. You will be asked if you want to move all the items to the Recycle Bin. Click to do so.

You should see a good increase in your computer’s speed. The next reboot will be slow but once it is started, response time will be better. However, prefetch will fill up again, so this is one of the tasks that should be added to your regular maintenance schedule along with virus and spyware scans.


In our next edition, Speed Up a Slow Computer – Turn Off Remote Assistance


Special Feature: iPad Basics - Syncing with iCloud - Hardware and Software Requirements

From gcflearnfree.org

Before you set up iCloud on your iPad, make sure it meets the hardware and software requirements below. You should make sure your other devices are compatible too, so you can get the most out of iCloud's powerful syncing features.

iPad / iPad Mini

To set up iCloud on an iPad and/or iPad Mini, you'll need to confirm you're running one of the most recent versions of the operating system—either iOS 5 or iOS 6. If you're currently using an earlier version, you can update your software under Settings.

iPhone / iPod Touch

Older versions of these devices aren't compatible with iCloud. You'll need at least an iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch 3rd generation. The rest of the requirements are the same as above.

Mac Computers

To set up iCloud on a Mac, you'll need to have the latest version of Mac OS X Lion or Mac OS X Mountain Lion. You'll also need to make sure you're using iTunes 10.5 or higher. If you want to use Photo Stream with your computer, you'll need either iPhoto 9.2 or Aperture 3.2 (which you can purchase from the Mac App Store).

Windows PCs

To set up iCloud on a PC, you'll need to have Windows 7 or Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (Windows 8 is currently incompatible). You'll need to download the iCloud Control Panel for Windows from the Apple website. You'll also need to download iTunes 10.5 or higher. Note: In order to set up iCloud on your PC, you'll need to set up your other Apple devices first. At this time, you can't create an account from a Windows computer.

In our next edition:
Setting Up iCloud


Websites of Interest:

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. Learn more about the history of the holiday and Americas wars at the History Channel website.

Visit this website to take a look at the history of Memorial Day and the changes over the years.

National World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during the Second World War.

A collection of Memorial Day recipes.