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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, August 17, 2014

The editors of this newsletter will be taking vacation for the next several weeks. We wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: The Top 10 Online Scams and Internet Con Games
Special Feature: The Windows 8.1 Desktop
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Desktop Spaces
Today's Topic: Windows 7: Miss Your Old Taskbar Buttons? Revert Them
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Getting to Know Messages
Websites of Interest: Labor Day; August 26 is Women's Equality Day; 21 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone Could Do; Elder Treks

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Special Feature: The Top 10 Online Scams and Internet Con Games

By Paul Gil of about.com

10) "Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!"

Although not a full blown scam, this scheme works as follows: You send someone money for instructions on where to go and what to download and install on your computer to turn it into a money-making machine… for spammers.

At sign-up, you get a unique ID and you have to give them your PayPal account information for the “big money” deposits you’ll “soon” be receiving. The program that you are supposed to run, sometimes 24/7, opens multiple ad windows, repeatedly, thus generating per-click revenue for spammers.

In other scenario, your ID is limited to a certain number of page clicks per day. In order to make any money whatsoever from this scheme, you are pretty much forced to scam the spammers by hiding your real IP address with Internet proxy services such as “findnot”, so you can make more page clicks.

I won’t even go into the discussion about what this program will do to your computer’s performance... it is a true tragedy if you get conned into this scam.

9) “Make Money Fast” chain emails

A classic pyramid scheme: you get an email with a list of names, you are asked to send 5 dollars (or so) by mail to the person whose name is at the top of the list, add your own name to the bottom, and forward the updated list to a number of other people.

The author of this scam letter painstakingly explains that, if more and more people join this chain, when it’s your turn to receive the money, you might even become a millionaire!

Bear in mind that, most times, the list of names is manipulated to keep the top name (the creator of the scam, or his friends) on top, permanently.

As with the previously circulating snail-mail version of this chain, the email edition is just as illegal. Should you choose to participate, you risk being charged with fraud – definitely not something you want on your record, or resume.

8) Travel scams

These scams are most active during the summer months. You receive an email with the offer to get amazingly low fares to some exotic destination but you must book it today or the offer expires that evening. If you call, you’ll find out the travel is free but the hotel rates are highly overpriced.

Some can offer you rock-bottom prices but hide certain high fees until you “sign on the dotted line”. Others, in order to give you the “free” something, will make you sit through a timeshare pitch at the destination. Still others can just take your money and deliver nothing.

Also, getting your refund, should you decide to cancel, is usually a lost cause, often called a nightmare or mission-impossible.

Your best strategy is to book your trip in person, through a reputable travel agency or proven legitimate online service like Travelocity or Expedia.

7) Disaster relief scams

What do 9-11, Tsunami and Katrina have in common? These are all disasters, tragic events where people die, lose their loved ones, or everything they have. In times like these, good people pull together to help the survivors in any way they can, including online donations. Scammers set up fake charity websites and steal the money donated to the victims of disasters.

If your request for donation came via email, there is a chance of it being a phishing attempt. Do not click on the link in the email and volunteer your bank account or credit card information.

Your best bet is to contact the recognized charitable organization directly by phone or their website.

6) Employment search overpayment scam

You have posted your resume, with at least some personal data accessible by potential employers, on a legitimate employment site. You receive a job offer to become a "financial representative" of an overseas company you have never even heard of before. The reason they want to hire you is that this company has problems accepting money from US customers and they need you to handle those payments. You will be paid 5 to 15 percent commission per transaction.

If you apply, you will provide the scammer with your personal data, such as bank account information, so you can “get paid”. Instead, you will experience some, or all, of the following:
identity theft,
money stolen from your account, or
may receive fake checks or money orders for payments which you deposit into your account but must send 85 – 95 percent of that to your “employer”.

 

In our next newsletter: The Top 5 Online Scams and Internet Con Games

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Special Feature: The Windows 8.1 Desktop

By Rob Margel of msdn.com

Using the Familiar Desktop

In the desktop, you can use all kinds of apps and programs—from specialized software to any of the apps from the Windows Store. You can pin your favorite apps and programs to your taskbar so you can get to them quickly, and you can also personalize the desktop with different shortcuts, backgrounds, colors, and themes.

No matter how you want to use your PC, you can switch quickly between apps, windows, and Start screen right from the desktop.

Getting Back To the Desktop

There are a few ways to get back to the desktop from anywhere on your PC. You can do any of the following:

- Open Start and then tap or click the desktop tile on the Start screen.
- Press Windows logo key + D on your keyboard.
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, then click Search.) Enter desktop in the search box, and then tap or click Desktop in the results.

Apps on the Taskbar

The taskbar is where you can switch between apps you have open and can pin apps you use often so you can open them right from the desktop.

You can typically find the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop, but you can get to it from anywhere on your PC by moving your mouse pointer below the bottom edge of the screen.

Pinning Apps to Your Taskbar

Whether you're using touch or a mouse, you can pin any app to your taskbar so it's easy to open when you're in the desktop.

Step 1
On the Start screen, slide up from the middle of the screen to see the Apps view. (If you’re using a mouse, click the arrow near the lower-left corner of the screen.)

Step 2
Press and hold or right-click to select the apps you want to pin. (To select multiple apps with a mouse, press and hold Ctrl and then right-click each app.)

Step 3
Tap or click Pin to taskbar.

Pinning Apps You Have Open

If you're already using an app, you can pin it to the taskbar without going to the Start screen.

Step 1
Press and hold the app's taskbar button and slide your finger up until a menu appears. (If you're using a mouse, right-click the app button on the taskbar.)

Step 2
Tap or click Pin this program to taskbar. The app you pinned will stay on your taskbar even after you close the app.

Switching Between Apps on the Taskbar

When you're using an app, you can bring up the taskbar to quickly switch back to a different app or to go back to Start.

To see the taskbar when you're using an app that takes up the whole screen, move your mouse pointer below the bottom edge of the screen. Then, click the Start button to go back to Start, or click another app button to switch to a different app.

Using Apps in a Familiar Way

You can minimize or close an app with a mouse by clicking the Minimize or Close button in the upper-right corner. (If you don't see these buttons, move your mouse to the top edge of the screen.)

You can also minimize, close, or split an app to the left or right side of the screen by right-clicking the app icon in the upper-left corner of the title bar.

 

In our next newsletter: Customizing the Windows 8.1 Desktop

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Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Desktop Spaces

From gcflearnfree.org

OS X Mavericks has a feature that helps you keep open files and apps organized: Desktop Spaces. Desktop spaces are virtual desktops you can use to organize your open files and apps. Instead of keeping everything open on the same desktop, you can move some of your work to another desktop space to get it out of the way.

To Create a New Desktop Space:

From Mission Control, hover the mouse in the top-right corner of the screen, and a tab with a plus sign (+) will appear.

Click the tab to create a new desktop space. You can create up to 16 desktop spaces.

To Delete a Desktop Space:

From Mission Control, hover the mouse over the desktop space you want to delete, and an "x" will appear in the corner.

Click the "x" to delete the desktop space.

To Switch to a Different Desktop Space:

For convenience, there are a few different ways to switch between desktop spaces:

From Mission Control, select the desired desktop space at the top of the screen.
-or-
While holding down the Control key, use the left and right arrow keys to switch to a different space.
-or-
If you have a Magic Trackpad or a laptop with a trackpad, you can use a three-finger swipe to the left or right.
-or-
If you have a Magic Mouse, you can use a two-finger swipe to the left or right.

To Change the Desktop Background:

It may be helpful to have a different desktop background for each desktop space so you'll always know at a glance which one you're in.

From Mission Control, switch to the desktop space you want to change.

Right-click the desktop, then select Change Desktop Background.

Select the desired image. It will become the background for the current desktop space. If desired, repeat these steps with all of the other desktop spaces to give each one a unique image.

To Move an Open Window to a Different Desktop Space:

Sometimes you may want to move an open window to a different desktop space to get it out of the way. Then you can switch to that desktop space whenever you want to use the window.

From Mission Control, drag a window to the desired desktop space.

Now, when you want to use the window again, you can simply switch to the desktop space where it is located.

If you want an app to always open in a specific desktop space, right-click the app in the Dock, then select This Desktop under Options.

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Today's Topic: Windows 7: Miss Your Old Taskbar Buttons? Revert Them

From computershopper.com

For the first few weeks we spent with Windows 7, we stumbled around the new default taskbar like we were lost in a corn maze. Don’t get us wrong—we like most of the changes to it. But the big graphical icons signifying programs, as opposed to the horizontal-tiles-with-text that we were used to from Windows XP and Vista, made us think twice every time we approached the taskbar region. Was the app launched, or merely pinned to the taskbar?

We’re sure we’ll get the hang of the new taskbar yet, but in the meantime, we poked around and discovered that you can revert things to the way they used to be.

Right-click on the taskbar, and choose Properties. This launches the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box. On the Taskbar tab, you’ll see a drop-down menu called Taskbar buttons.

Windows 7’s default installation has this menu set at Always combine, hide labels. Change the setting to Combine when taskbar is full or Never combine, as you see fit. (Never combine prevents the taskbar from grouping a given program’s multiple windows together when the taskbar gets crowded.) Voila: You’ll see the familiar taskbar buttons of old, replete with text labels.

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - Getting to Know Messages

From gcflearnfree.org

As you already know, the Messages app is different on each device—but there are many similarities when it comes to basic tools and features.

To Send a Message:

Tap the compose button to create a new message. That’s the button in the top right corner.

To select a contact, start typing their first or last name in the To field, and the app will pull them up automatically. If the person has an Apple device with iMessage enabled, they'll have a special blue icon next to their name. (Alternatively, you can use the + button button to select a contact manually.)

Type your message in the message box.

Optional: Tap the camera icon to send a photo or video. You can choose from the files on your device, or capture something on the spot using your built-in camera. (This option is only available in the mobile version of the app.)

When you're ready, tap Send.

Your message and/or photo or video will be sent.

You can also send group messages using the Messages app. Just type additional names in the To field, or use + button to manually select more than one contact. Keep in mind: if you have an iPhone, and you include anyone who doesn't have an Apple device, this will change the message to a regular text.

Insider Tips

Once you know your way around the app, consider these tips for getting the most out of Messages.

Message Notifications

If you receive a new message, and you don't currently have the app open, your device can notify you several different ways depending on your settings. By default, you should receive an alert, the badge app icon, and an item in the Notification Center. Visit the app's settings to change your notifications, or customize the way they behave.

Read Receipts

If you want, you can enable read receipts on your device, so your contacts can tell when you've read their messages. Read receipts may be difficult to understand at first, because they don't appear on your device at all (in fact, it can be hard to tell if they're enabled). They appear on your friend's device instead, so they can tell exactly when you've read their texts.

Read receipts can be convenient, but some people aren't comfortable with this level of transparency. To enable or disable read receipts on your device, go to the app's settings. Read receipts should be disabled by default, unless you chose to enable them when prompted by a pop-up (this sometimes happens during setup, or after you've used the Messages app a few times).

Siri and Voice Dictation

If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch with Siri enabled, you can use voice dictation to compose texts instead of relying on the keyboard. This can be especially useful if you're in a hurry and you need to send a quick message to a friend.

To use voice dictation in the Messages app, tap the microphone icon on your keyboard. Then say your message out loud, and Siri will try to transcribe it for you. You can repeat this technique over and over, throughout the conversation.

Alternatively, you can ask Siri to perform the whole task for you, from start to finish. For example, you could say, "Text Julia. Sorry I'm running late, I'll be right there." Siri will not only transcribe your text; it will also use the Messages app to send it—all without any extra effort from you.

In our next edition: More Communication Apps

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Websites of Interest:

Labor Day
For the history of this holiday, how it came about and what it means, take a look at the Department of Labor’s website:
http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm

August 26: Women's Equality Day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Equality_Day

21 Things You Didn't Know Your iPhone Could Do
http://aplus.com/a/iphone-tricks-you-didnt-know

Elder Treks
For the adventurous older adult, this site specializes in exotic destination travel.
http://www.eldertreks.com/