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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, October 6, 2013

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please have a mammogram or take someone you love to have one.

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Hang Up Immediately When You Get a Robocall
Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Assume Mail from Unknown Senders is Spam
Special Series: Remove Your Password in Windows 8
This Week's Topic: How to Choose, Buy, and Safely Use a Good Surge Protector
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Apps for Everyday Tasks – Bookmarking in Safari
Websites of Interest: Columbus Day; The Best Things to Buy in October; National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Avon Walk for Breast Cancer; Halloween Costume Ideas

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Special Feature: Hang Up Immediately When You Get a Robocall

By Alan Henry of lifehacker.com

In the past, you could press pound to escape a Robocall, but that's not so much the case anymore. These days robocalls are like spam: If you press anything, even the number they say you should press to be removed from the list, you'll get more calls. The solution? Hang up immediately.

If you're like me, you probably just don't answer the phone at all unless you recognize the number (if it's important, they'll leave a message, right?) but if you're hoping for a call back from a potential employer or a company you've recently called, you may be more likely to pick up the phone anyway. Well, The Consumerist reports that even robocalls that pretend to give you an opt-out ("Press 1 to speak to a customer service rep, press 2 to be removed from our list") may sound nice, but it's not a good idea.

Pressing “2″ may work, but more than likely it does nothing more than end the call; and you’ll probably continue receiving calls. In some cases, it may actually put you on additional scam-bait lists, because the caller at least knows that it reached an active line owned by someone willing to pick up when an unfamiliar number calls.

Some exasperated readers have told us they pressed “1″ because they knew they could at least then yell at a real person. Problem is, the simple act of pressing that “1″ puts you on a so-called “hot” list of consumers. This list will be sold and resold and resold and you will now continue to get calls from additional scammers.

At the end of the day, your best bet is to hang up immediately and file a complaint with the FTC at DoNotCall.gov. It's also worth noting that even if you're on the Do Not Call list, companies that robocall you or try to scam you over the phone aren't likely to obey the law or the Do Not Call list, so those reports are necessary to help track them down and prosecute them.


Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Assume Mail from Unknown Senders is Spam

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.

People who know you do not spam you. They may terrorize you, but they never spam you. Usually, these people are in your email client's address book.

If they are not there yet, you should probably add them, because such an address book of everyone you know can be a helpful tool to identify spam.

If you do not usually receive mail from strangers, you can assume that

* every message not from somebody in your address book is spam and
* filter such messages to the Junk Mail folder.

Now and then, you should check this folder for important messages you may have missed, maybe because somebody's email address has changed.

Building on this idea of only allowing known senders, challenge/response spam filters render your email virtually spam free with very little to no maintenance.


In our next edition: Domain Owners: Set up Throwaway Addresses to Fight Spam


Special Series: Remove Your Password in Windows 8

Question: I would like to get rid of having to type in a long password every time I open Windows 8. I am the only user on this computer so I have no need for a secret password. Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

On your start screen, select Settings below the search box and type Users in the search box.
Users should come up to the left. Touch or click on it, depending on if you are using a mouse or touchscreen.
PC settings will open and you’ll need to select Users.
Under Sign-in options to the right, you’ll see “Any user who has a password must enter it when waking this PC.” SelectChange.
You’ll get a warning that changing this setting can allow anyone to wake up your PC. If you’re sure you want to change the function, click OK.

If you do end up taking your computer somewhere it’s possible others might log on, or maybe you have visitors you don’t know very well in the house, you can always switch it back to requiring a password by following these same steps.


You can review all of our previous Windows 8 articles on our website.

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.


Today's Topic: How to Choose, Buy, and Safely Use a Good Surge Protector

By Alan Henry of lifehacker.com

Most of us have more devices than we have plugs in the wall, which is why you'll likely find a surge protector behind most people's televisions and under our desks. However, not all surge protectors are alike, and some even put your gadgets at risk. We talked to an electrician to sort out how to tell the good ones from the bad ones, and how to use them safely.

Charles Ravenscraft is a licensed union electrician, and sat down with me to talk about how to choose the best surge protectors for your gadgets, and how to avoid accidents, electrical fires, and other dangerous situations when using them. Here's what you need to know.

Understand the Difference between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector

First of all, not every power strip is a surge protector. It may sound basic, but it's a fundamental piece of knowledge you'll need. While a power strip just splits your outlet into multiple ports, a surge protector is designed to protect your computer, TV, and other electronics against power surges and any interference or noise on your power line. Power surges may not be an everyday event, but they're common enough that they can damage your equipment. Charles notes:

The main thing for people to pay attention to is that they are in fact buying a "surge protector" and not a power strip. A consumer should look for the words surge protection, fused strip, or interrupter switch. If it says power strip on it, it most likely does not offer surge protection, so pay attention.

You'll almost certainly pay more for a surge protector than a power strip, but it's worth it. If you're the type to head over to Amazon and just buy whatever's cheapest, keep this in mind. Don't assume that because it's in the same category as surge protectors, or even in the department store hanging next to the surge protectors, that it is one.

Choose the Right Surge Protector for Your Needs

There are five major points to consider when buying a surge protector. They are:

Buy the right number of ports. Don't just assume that every surge protector is six or eight ports. Some of them, like one of my favorites, sport 12 ports, well spaced so you can use them all. Buying the right number of ports will make sure you don't have to daisy chain surge protectors—something we'll get to in a moment.

Consider the gear you'll plug into the surge protector. Think about the things you're going to plug into the surge protector you're buying. You can just go all out and buy the best you can afford, but you'll save some money by buying a surge protector appropriate for the equipment you'll use it with. Your TV and home entertainment center will call for a more robust surge protector than the lamp and phone charger on your nightstand, for example.

Check for the UL seal, and make sure it's a "transient voltage surge suppressor." Making sure that the surge protector you're planning to buy is both certified by Underwriter's Laboratories, and at least meets their UL 1449 standards (required for the label "transient voltage surge suppressor,") will make sure the surge protector you take home will actually protect the equipment you plug into it.

Check the surge protector's energy absorption rating, and its "clamping voltage." The absorption rating is, as the name implies, how much energy it can absorb before it fails. You'll want something at least 6-700 joules or higher. (Higher is better here.) The clamping voltage is the voltage that will trigger the surge protector—or essentially when the surge protector wakes up and starts absorbing energy. Look for something around 400 V or less. Lower is better here. Finally, see if response time is listed in the product details—it's good to know, and lower is better.

Check the warranty. Some surge protectors warranty the devices connected to it for some amount of damages if a power surge does get through. Check to see what's covered (and what isn't), and how you can file a warranty claim if the surge protector fails.

Bottom line: Make sure you're informed before you buy, and read the back of the box or the product details before you buy anything. You don't want to invest in a surge protector only to find out that it's far too weak to protect your devices, or it's a surge protector in name only.

Charles notes that price shouldn't guide your decision, either:

As far as cost, the most expensive is not always the best. The best thing to do is figure out what you need to protect and buy accordingly.

Don't Daisy Chain Multiple Surge Protectors

Odds are you've daisy chained, or plugged a power strip into another power strip or surge protector, when you were desperate for more outlets. It's tempting, and it's easy, but it's also dangerous. Charles explains:

As far as daisy chaining surge protectors, it doesn't work. The first strip will trip if a second is plugged into it and used. In theory power strips can be daisy chained since they lack surge protection, however I would severely advise against it. Overloading the circuit can create the source of ignition for an electrical fire.

So resist the urge to daisy chain your power strips, or plug a bunch of power strips into a surge protector. It may be tempting, and you may look at it from a "eh, it can't hurt if I just do it once" perspective, but whenever you do it you're taking a risk that you need to be clear-headed about when you do it. Frankly, we think it's not worth it when you can buy a surge protector with more ports—or another surge protector you can put next to your existing one—for a couple of dollars.

For more reading, check out this Home Depot guide to surge protectors, which includes not just surge protector strips like we've discussed, but also whole-home surge protectors you can have installed and more details on UL certifications for surge protectors.

Similarly, this guide from Tripplite will help you pick a good surge protector for your needs (although remember Tripplite sells them, so they have a vested interest).

A little forethought, research, and safe practices will go a long way towards making sure your gadgets are safe from harm—and that you're not fumbling around behind your gear looking for spare outlets.


Special Feature: iPad Basics - Apps for Everyday Tasks – Bookmarking in Safari

By Jeff Benjamin of idownloadblog.com

Note: please visit our newsletter’s website

For instructions on how to upgrade to iOS 7:

To review our article on Safari:


iOS 7 has ushered in a lot of new improvements to the bookmarks interface for Safari.

To bookmark a page, tap the symbol to the immediate left of the address bar (square with an up arrow). Tap the Bookmark symbol.

Add Bookmark will open. In here, you can edit the bookmark name and change the location (folder) where you would like to save the bookmark. Tap Save when you’re done.

The bookmarks bar (aka Favorites), are now displayed whenever a new tab is opened. There’s also a new tabbed interface when perusing the bookmarks section of the app (tap the book symbol to the immediate right of the address bar). Instead of the old way of displaying iCloud, Tabs, and Reading List as mere folders within the Bookmarks section of the app, things have been rearranged in a more cohesive and concise manner.

At the top of the new bookmarks page you’ll see three tabs: Bookmarks (the book symbol), Reading List (glasses), and a new feature for iOS 7 — Shared Links (@).

Bookmarks Tab

The Bookmarks tab contains a list of all of your bookmarks, including folders and individual bookmarks, Bookmarks Bar, which has been rebranded as Favorites, and browsing history. The result is a look that appears a lot less cluttered and confusing than the one it replaces.


Subtle changes continue to be the theme, and History is not exempt from the changes. The History is again, like many other facets of iOS 7′s Safari revamp, improved. The changes are slight, but they’re just enough to make a difference.

For starters, the history is no longer relegated to boring folders organized by date. Instead, we’re greeted with a running list of history items, sorted by day, and for more recent history items, sorted by time of day. For example, you’ll see headings like This Evening, This Morning, Monday Afternoon, etc. Again, it’s a subtle change, but it lends more context to history items.

History now includes the URL of the associated page. When trying to located a website in your history in an efficient manner, it’s all about context, and again, having URLs available for you to view, along with the page’s title, lends quick context to the search.

You can clear out the history, but it’s either all or nothing.

Reading List

In iOS 7, Reading List has its own section in the Bookmarks Tab, instead of being relegated to a folder like in iOS 6. The functionality of Reading List on iOS 7 remains unchanged for the most part.

Shared Links

A new feature found exclusively in iOS 7, Shared Links brings all the links posted by the folks you follow on Twitter in one convenient place. It’s basically a way to extract all of the links posted on Twitter for easy review on the web.

In our next newsletter: Safari Settings

You can review all of our previous iPad articles on our website.

Do you have a question about your iPad that we haven’t covered yet? Please email your question and we’ll cover it in a future newsletter article.


Websites of Interest:

Columbus Day
Visit this website to learn the history of the voyage, the ships, the crew, navigation, and more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus

The Best Things to Buy in October
This site lists the things that usually go on sale in October.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Read more about it at this site

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
“The more of us who walk, the more of us survive”

Halloween Costume Ideas
Want to start working on your Halloween costume? Here are some ideas for you.