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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, September 8, 2013

Today is National Grandparents Day! We wish all of the Grandmas and Grandpas a wonderful day.

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Tips to Avoid Debit/Credit Card Skimming
Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Don't Use Your Primary Email Address to Sign Up for Anything
Special Series: Personalize the Windows 8 Start Screen
This Week's Topic: How to Save Printer Ink
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Getting to Know Messages
Websites of Interest: National Grandparents Day; Yom Kippur; Top 10 Tricks to Get Discounts on Almost Anything; How to Sell Your Stuff; LongIsland.com's 2013 September Guide

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Special Feature: Tips to Avoid Debit/Credit Card Skimming

By Michael Kassner of techrepublic.com

Debit/credit card skimming is on the rise, and not just via ATMs, either. Criminals are creatively subverting other self-service devices. Find out what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

Of all the ways to get a person's banking credentials, the simplest is to copy the digital information on the card's magnetic stripe and visually or digitally obtain the PIN when a debit card is used. Why is that? There are a few reasons.

First, there is minimal contact with the victim. No phishing or social engineering is required. Second, debit and credit cards have what's called the Card Verification Value (CVV) or the Card Verification Data (CVD). CVV/CVD is a security code generated by the issuing bank and stored on the magnetic stripe. This means the card owner has no idea what the code is. So the only way to obtain that information is to copy all the data on the magnetic stripe. To do that, criminals initially focused on ATMs. As they gained expertise, the bad guys branched out into other self-service devices, like self-service gas pumps.

To get an understanding of how skimming works, refer to this Snopes.com article - http://www.snopes.com/fraud/atm/atmcamera.asp .It does a great job explaining what we're up against. Thankfully, there are things we can do to protect ourselves. Here are the top five suggestions from the experts.

1: Be familiar with the ATM's physical construction
I use the same ATM unless it's absolutely necessary to use another one. That way, I'm familiar with how it looks and I will be able to tell if something is out of place.

2: Make sure security cameras are trained on the ATM
Many ATMs have a low-resolution camera built in. Typically, it can't record an ATM skimmer being set up. Look for CCTV cameras trained on the ATM. That way, any motion-sensing activation can be coordinated with the ATM's camera to see if the person had a legitimate reason for being there.

3: Opt for inside ATMs
It sounds obvious, but inside ATMs are less likely to have installed skimmers. It takes some work to set up an ATM for skimming. Employees and customers would notice. Since inside ATMs may be less convenient -- and because many people are unaware of ATM skimmers -- this tip is often overlooked.

4: When it comes to self-service, look for operations that are always open
Surprisingly, installing skimmers in gas pumps is not that difficult. That said, having people and or employees around all the time is still a huge deterrent. That's why criminals would rather install skimmers in gas pumps of closed service stations.

5: Keep an eye on your debit/credit card when others have it
It may be hard to do, but try to keep an eye on your debit/credit card when the clerk or waiter takes it.

Extra tip: If you use debit cards, know your liability constraints
With credit cards, liability is limited to $50 US. Debit cards are different, so find out what your bank subscribes to. Normally, liability depends on when the theft is reported. It can vary from $50 US if reported within two days to the full amount if not reported within 60 days after receiving a statement.

Final thoughts
Now that most banks are checking for their security code on the card's magnetic stripe, skimming is the only viable way to get all the required information. So when using your debit/credit card, be cautious about anything out of the ordinary.

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Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Don't Use Your Primary Email Address to Sign Up for Anything

Spam, spam and spam. How to avoid spam, how to filter spam, and how to complain about spam are the items on this menu of junk mail fighting tips. With the help of Heinz Tschabitscher of about.com, we are presenting an ongoing series of tips and tricks that you can use to minimize the amount of junk mail that you will receive in your email inbox.

Many web sites require you to sign up to access their services. Often, you need to provide a valid email address (to which your password will be sent, for example) during the sign-up process.

There is nothing wrong with that. But you never know what will happen to the email address you give to the site.

* Hackers may break into the network and steal the email address,
* it may leak to the web due to some mishap, or
* it might even get sold to spammers.

This is why it's a good idea not to use your primary email address when you sign up at a web site.

Use

* a disposable email address instead,
* an account at one of the free web-based email services, or
* another secondary email address that is not critical.

Disposable Email Address Services:

http://www.spamex.com/
http://spamgourmet.com/
http://www.gishpuppy.com/
http://www.mailinator.com/

In our next edition: How to Know the Email Address for Spam Complaints

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Special Series: Personalize the Windows 8 Start Screen

From microsoft.com

Start is the heart of your PC, and you can customize it so it’s just the way you want it. You can pin your most used and loved apps, websites, friends, files, and folders to your Start screen, so you can get to them quickly. If you’ve used previous versions of Windows, think of the Start screen like your old Start menu, but the Start screen shows you a lot more.

Some of the tiles on your Start screen will update automatically, so you can see things like the weather and status updates from your friends at a glance. You don't have to open the apps to get the information you're looking for.

Move Tiles Around

You can arrange the tiles on your Start screen in whatever way makes the most sense to you—put similar tiles together, group all your favorites, or create a "work" group for the apps you use for work. To move a tile, drag it up or down, and then drag it wherever you want.

Create a New Group of Tiles

You can create a new group of tiles by dragging one tile to an open space. When a gray bar appears, release the tile—this will create a new group, and you can drag more tiles to it.

After you’ve grouped your tiles together, you can name the group. Here's how:

Touch the Start screen with two or more fingers, and then pinch them toward each other to zoom out. (Or, if you’re using a mouse, click zoom in the lower-right corner of your screen.)
Swipe down on or right-click a group of tiles to select it, and then tap or click Name group.

Resize a Tile

You can make tiles larger or smaller. To do this, swipe down on or right-click the tile to select it, and then tap or click Larger or Smaller. (Note that some tiles can’t be resized.)

Remove a Tile

To remove a tile from the Start screen, swipe down on or right-click the tile to select it, and then tap or click Unpin from Start. (The app will still be available when you search, and you can re-pin it later if you decide you want it back on your Start screen.)

To uninstall an app and remove it from your PC, select the tile, and then tap or click Uninstall. It will no longer be available when you search, and you’ll have to reinstall the app if you want to get it back. Some apps can't be uninstalled.

Change the Start Screen Colors

You can change the background and color of your Start screen. The background only appears on Start, but the color you pick appears in a few other places, too—like the charms and the sign-in screen.

Here's how:

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
Tap or click Personalize, and then tap or click Start screen.
Choose the color and background combination you like best.

You can see the changes immediately, so you can play around with backgrounds and colors as much as you want before settling on one.

 

In our next edition: How to Find Things in Windows 8

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Today's Topic: How to Save Printer Ink

By Ionut Nedelcu of techpp.com

We’re back to the old problem regarding printers: ink cartridges. While picking a printer isn’t all that hard once you’ve decided on what you need, maintaining that printer can be more than you’ve bargained for. Just like me, many of you have a bunch of printers around the house, which are unusable due to their ink cartridges.

With prices on printers going down, in many cases, it’s cheaper just to buy a new printer than to get new cartridges for the old one. Nevertheless, there are ways around this issue, which will allow you to save some money on printer ink and printer cartridges. So, until prices go down on printer consumables, your best bet is to try these methods and see how much money you can save up.

Do Your Research before Buying a Printer

If you plan on saving on the long run, check the prices for printer consumables before you buy it. Sometimes, you might find the ink cartridges to be more expensive than the printer itself. There are lots of websites and store that carry these products, so be sure to check them out before you spend any money.

Also, some printers and shops show you the cost per page, which is very important if you plan on saving money later on. Some printer models will come at a lower price, but with a higher price per page. These ink guzzlers will set you back a small fortune over time, so it would be in your best interest to spend a few more bucks for a better printer that has a lower cost per page.

Print Only When You Have To and Use Print Preview

Either in the office or at home, printing is required. But before you hit that “Print” button, take a moment to figure out if you actually need a hard copy of that document. With all these handy devices that we have today, like eBook readers and smartphones or tablets, you might just not need to print a document. Reading it in electronic format will save up ink and paper for other, more important documents.

If indeed you need to print a document, then you should take advantage of the “Print Preview” feature that everyone has. This allows you to see an electronic version of how the printed sheet will look. Proof reading and doing all the adjustments now will save up ink on the long run, especially if you print lots of documents usually. This method is also very useful when printing from the web. Keep in mind that web pages usually have ads and comments, and printing those is simply a waste of ink. A better way to do this is to copy the content that you want to print in a separate document and print that instead.

Tweak the Printer Settings

Printing in Draft Mode will allow you to save money on ink, as the nozzle will only do one pass for each line, rather than the multiple passes it usually does. This means that it uses less ink for the same text than in normal mode. Of course, in some cases, you might see a slightly lower quality print, but on the flip side, it saves money. This method will also improve the printing speed of your device.

Note: Laser printers might not have a “Draft” mode, but they will have a “Resolution” setting, which can be lowered to achieve the same result.

Duplexing is another way you can save up money. While this isn’t an ink saving trick, it will save lots of paper (half of all your paper to be more exact). Duplexing means that the printer will print on both sides of the sheet of paper, which is both more economical and eco-friendly.

Scale documents to size if you don’t necessarily need them to be large. This option is pretty useful if you are printing personal documents that only you will need, or other materials that do not have legal requirements. Scaling a document to letter-size means that you will have a smaller font, therefore, less ink will be needed to print it.

Use Gray Scale or Black and White to save color ink when possible. This feature can be found in the printer’s settings and will allow you to print color documents in black and gray. As you know by now, color ink is more expensive than black ink, so when it’s not a requirement, don’t use color ink, but use black instead.

Reduce the Print Density when possible. Some printers have this option, and it allows you to print documents that don’t use the same amount of ink as usually. As you might know, the letters on a printed sheet of paper are made up of very small points. By reducing the print density, the printer will output fewer points of ink. The result might be a lighter shade of black or color, but it will save you ink in the long run.

Print With Ink-Saving Fonts

Even if you don’t believe this to be true, using a font that will save ink on the long run is possible. For starters, stay away from bold and thick fonts, as these have larger surfaces that need to be covered. Instead, look in your fonts menu for thin, smaller fonts. While this method might not seem as a major ink saver, it will add up over time. In addition, when possible, decrease the actual size of the font. Even 2-4 points will make a difference if you want to save printer ink.

Buy Ink Cartridges in Bulk

Like many other things, ink cartridges can be bought in bulk, at lower prices. While you still pay a lot for them, you do get some discount over buying them individually. This method is best for those that want to buy original cartridges for their printers. Also, keep in mind that ink cartridges have a shelf life, so be careful and don’t buy more than you need, or else risk ending up with expired cartridges that don’t work.

Ignore the Low Ink Warning

I was surprised to see that many users toss their ink cartridges when they see that warning that says the ink is running low. This is a common misconception, as these warnings appear at certain ink levels. For instance, you might find that clicking “Cancel” when the warning appears will let you print many more pages. The actual level of the ink is anyone’s guess, as each manufacturer has his own system, but in some cases, these warnings start appearing when the ink level goes lower than 45-50%, so you can imagine how much ink you could waste if you toss it when you see this message.

Save Ink by Repairing your Cartridges

If you find your printer having problems transferring the ink to the paper, it might just be that the nozzle has been clogged and ink cannot get to the paper. Instead of admitting defeat and buying a new ink cartridge, try your best to fix it by gently wiping it with a wet towel. I also found that gently dragging the print nozzle over wet toilet paper can work. Many times, ink dries in the cartridge nozzle and only a few drops of water can fix it. If the problem persists, there are some shops that have ultrasound “baths” for ink cartridges, and they can sometimes breathe new life in them.

For laser printers that use toners, the same problems occur with the toner dust. It clumps together and it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the cartridge. Gently shake it and it might just save you from buying new consumables for your printer. To avoid toner and ink cartridges from getting clogged, try to use them once every 7-10 days.

Recycle Those Empty Cartridges and Reuse them

If you have bought many ink cartridges in the past and you still have them lying around, then gather them and go to stores that have collecting bins for recycling ink cartridges and toners. They usually give you a discount at new cartridges, and while it’s not a big sum of money, every buck saved is a buck in your pocket.

These empty cartridges are many times refurbished by specialists and sold at lower prices. If you’re planning on making savings, then buying refurbished ink cartridges will definitely save you a good deal on the long run.

Generic Cartridges can be a Life Saver

All printer manufacturers make their own ink cartridges, but there are other third party companies that create generic cartridges which are compatible with various models of printers. They are usually cheaper than their brand counterparts, and they work just as well. Be sure to look closely at the compatible models of printers.

Buy a Printer That Has Single Color Cartridges

While some printers come with only two cartridges, one with black ink and one with the other three colors (cyan, magenta, yellow), there are others that have a different cartridge for each color. These are a better solution for those that print lots of color documents, as they can replace only the cartridge that runs out, instead of having to replace all three colors if one of them runs out.

Refill Your Own Cartridges

Probably the best way to save printer ink is to buy a cartridge refill kit and get your hands dirty. This DIY solution is the best money saver of all, as these refill kits are not too expensive (depending on brand and compatibility), and they allow users to refill their cartridges multiple times. Reusing the same cartridges will have a big impact on your wallet, and it’s a great idea to try it out. Keep in mind that refilling cartridges can damage them, so be extra careful when you are doing it.

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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:

National Grandparents Day
Read the Presidential Proclamation declaring September 8, 2013 National Grandparents Day.
http://tinyurl.com/lcrh6s9

Yom Kippur
This week is Yom Kippur. Learn more at this website:
http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday4.htm

Top 10 Tricks to Get Discounts on Almost Anything
http://tinyurl.com/mnujn5e

How to Sell Your Stuff
eBay, Craigslist or a yard sale? Get some good tips at this site.
http://tinyurl.com/k9nmhne

LongIsland.com's 2013 September Guide
http://tinyurl.com/kk8cnv6