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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, November 2, 2014

Daylight Savings Time ends today. Don’t forget to change your clocks. “Spring springs a head and Fall falls back.”

This Tuesday, November 4, is Election Day. Don’t forget to vote!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: The Services That Prey on Us When We're Most Vulnerable
Special Feature: Windows 8.1 – Charms Search
Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders - Deleting Files and Folders
Today's Topic: Let Windows 7 Tune Your Monitor for Better Legibility
Special Feature: How to Delete iPad Apps
Websites of Interest: Join the Freecycle Network; Why do we have Daylight Savings Time?; Still have not decided who to vote for? Check out these websites for help.; Today is All Soul’s Day

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Special Feature: The Services That Prey on Us When We're Most Vulnerable

By Melanie Pinola of lifehacker.com

Not all companies are out to get us, but not all have our best interests at heart either. Some industries are particularly happy to take advantage of our misfortunes to make a profit. To be clear, not every company working in these industries is a money-grubbing, heartless one, but due to loose regulations and/or lack of widespread information on these topics, it's all too easy for some companies to take advantage of us. These are just some of the ones that we should look out for.

Here's how to fight back.

Funeral Services

A funeral doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars, and yet the average one costs over $7,000—and costs could go well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Funeral directors take advantage of our heightened emotional state and lack of knowledge about funeral details to manipulate us into spending our life savings on what is essentially a big scam.

The Funeral Consumer Alliance says that funeral purchases are "unlike any in their potential to harm the consumer." Unnecessary funeral expenses cost thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars, not just an extra $5 on a $20 item. You thought car salespeople were bad? How about those who subtly guilt you into spending more on your mother's casket because you didn't love her "enough"?

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Get objective advice about funeral planning and know your legal rights

Don't sign any pre-printed, vague form contracts but instead only agree to specific itemized charges

Bring someone along who is not grief-stricken and can be more skeptical while choosing funeral services

Credit Repair and Debt Consolidation/Collection

Funerals are usually rare occasions in which people get fleeced. Debt, however, is more constant and common for many of us. Being behind in payments or owing large amounts of money can open you up to abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices, as debt collectors prey on your financial instability fears.

Debt collection companies can be very aggressive in their calls or letters—even when the debts are wrongly attributed to you. The New Republic reports that one in seven Americans is being pursued by a debt collector, but for tens of thousands of us, these debts aren't even ours.

If you do owe money—even a miniscule amount—debt collection agencies can make your life a living hell far unworthy of the "crime." According to the FTC, debt collectors generate more complaints than any other industry.

Even if you're not behind in payments, scammers can still try to trick you with offers that promise to lower your interest rate, improve your credit score, or consolidate your debt to quickly pay it off. After the last financial crisis, mortgage refinancing scams (or "loan modification scams") ramped up. Crooks duped desperate homeowners who were underwater on their home loans to pay for false loan modification programs, or worse, transfer ownership of their homes over to the thieves.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Be on the alert for scam artists posing as debt collectors—those that try to seek payment for a debt you don't recognize, ask you for sensitive information, or use threat tactics. Contact your creditor directly and/or report the call to the FTC.

Respond to a debt collector as soon as possible (within 30 days) and keep copies of every piece of communication. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides sample letters for different situations. If the debt collection goes to arbitration proceedings, know your rights before you get involved.

Try to settle the debts directly with your creditor.

View all mortgage and debt reduction offers with lots of healthy skepticism. Never pay any upfront fees to modify a loan or reduce debt and avoid any company that cold calls you or uses high pressure tactics. You're probably best off avoiding debt reduction services altogether and managing your debt yourself.

Healthcare and Health Insurance

Most healthcare providers run honest practices, but the medical industry is still fraught with scams, from bogus health "cures" to unnecessary procedures pushed on patients.

There's so much confusion over health and nutrition that it's easy for charlatans to sell supplements and cures that don't work—like green coffee extract for weight loss and "miracle cures" that treat diabetes. NPR notes that fake cures are typically targeted to people who are overweight or have a serious disease without a cure like cancer or HIV/AIDS. Cybercriminals will also pounce on health scares like Ebola to spread malware.

Medical professionals can also scam us. For example, some unethical dentists recommend unnecessary, expensive treatments that insurance doesn't cover—such as deep cleaning quadrant scaling—to make a profit. Some doctor's offices, likewise, participate in Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Medical discount cards are another example of health fraud. These cards promise to be a substitute for health insurance, with discounts on everything from eye exams to dental work. Individual health insurance is very expensive, as you know, and these cards are often targeted to poor communities.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Find medical practitioners you can really trust.

Get a second opinion before agreeing to an expensive treatment.

Know the procedures that might not be necessary. Vox notes some dental procedures you should be wary of: replacing old fillings, veneers, fluoride toothpaste and treatment, night guards, and sealants. (http://tinyurl.com/lt3z3n9) Choosing Wisely lists the medical procedures you should question. (http://www.choosingwisely.org/doctor-patient-lists/)

Scrutinize your insurance explanation of benefits and your medical bills

Research any discount cards for complaints, hidden fees, or high costs

These are just three of the industries where fraud happens regularly. In general, anything that's monitored or regulated by the FTC is something we all need to be wary about. (http://www.ftc.gov/)

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Special Feature: Windows 8.1 – Charms Search

From microsoft.com

Using the Charms for Things You Do Often

The five charms—Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings—are quick ways to get to actions you do often, like search the web and your PC, print documents, and email photos and links. They’re always available on the right side of your screen, no matter where you are in Windows.

Swipe in from the right edge of your screen. Then tap or click Search, Share, Start, Devices, or Settings. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper or lower right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search, Share, Start, Devices, or Settings.)

You can also press the Windows logo key +C to open the charms.

Search

The Search charm uses Bing Smart Search so you can search your PC, the web, and OneDrive, plus some apps and the Windows Store. You can search once to get results from everywhere, and you can go back to your search results without having to search again.

To search your PC, the web, and OneDrive using Bing Smart Search

1. 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.) You can also press the Windows logo key +S, or press the Windows logo key and start typing to open Search. And if you're on the Start screen, you can tap or click the Search button, or just start typing. (If you don't see the Search button on your Start screen, you don't have the latest update for Windows 8.1. For more info, see http://computerkindergarten.com/041314.html)

2. Enter your search term. As you type, you'll see a list of search results and suggestions.

3. If you see the app, file, or setting you're looking for in the list, tap or click it to open it. To see all of the results for your search term, including all the web results from Bing, tap or click the Search button The Search button to go to the search results page. You can also tap or click one of the search suggestions.

4. On the search results page, tap or click a search result to open it.

The Search Results Page

Your results are grouped by category and by where they’re from. For example, the photos on your PC will be grouped together, and so will the photos from the web. The results from your personal files on your PC and OneDrive will be listed first, and then results from apps and the web. Thumbnails give you an idea of what you’re getting before you tap or click. To see all the search results for a specific category, tap or click the See all link for that category.

To Go Back To the Search Results Page

If you open a search result and find it’s not what you're looking for, you can go back to the search results page without having to search all over again. With touch, swipe in from the left edge of your screen. (With a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-left corner of your screen and click.)

To Narrow Your Search Results

The Search charm automatically searches the apps, files, and settings on your PC and OneDrive, plus the web. But you can search for only one type of result, like settings or images on the web. And in some apps, you can choose to search only that app.

1. 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.)

2. Tap or click the arrow The arrow in Search above the search box, and then tap or click the category you want.

To Change Settings for Search

You can clear your search history, choose how your search info is shared with Bing, and change SafeSearch options that filter adult content from your search results. And if you want, you can turn off web search so that you see results only from your PC and OneDrive (you might want to do this if you’re using a metered Internet connection).

1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.)

2. Tap or click Search and apps, and then tap or click Search.

3. Change the settings you want.

 

In our next newsletter: Windows 8.1 – More Charms

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Special Feature: Intro to the Mac - Mac OS X Mavericks - Working with Files and Folders - Deleting Files and Folders
From gcflearnfree.org
Deleting Files and Folders
If you want to remove some of the clutter from your computer, you can delete files and folders that you don't need. This will move them to the Trash (which is just like the Recycle Bin in Windows). Then, if you're sure you want to permanently delete them, you can empty the Trash.
To Delete a File or Folder
Click and drag the file or folder onto the Trash icon on the Dock. Alternatively, you can select the file and then press Command-Delete.
To empty the trash, right-click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash. All files in the Trash will be permanently deleted.
On some Macs, right-clicking may be disabled by default. If you're unable to right-click, you can just click and hold the Trash icon until you see the Empty Trash option.

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Today's Topic: Let Windows 7 Tune Your Monitor for Better Legibility

From computershopper.com

Windows 7 is the first Windows OS for which, at its introduction, LCD monitors have truly been the overwhelming display standard. The Windows 7 OS includes a dedicated LCD-tweaking wizard that lets you improve the look of text on your screen. It’s called the ClearType Text Tuner (CTTT).

You access CTTT from the Windows Control Panel; click on the Display item, and, in the resulting dialog, click on Adjust ClearType text. That will launch the wizard. Make sure on the first screen that the box next to Turn on ClearType is checked, and follow the prompts. Windows 7 will first check that your monitor or monitors are running at their native resolutions. (Native resolution generally delivers the best possible text legibility.) Then, it will take you through some comparisons reminiscent of a vision test at the eye doctor. The wizard then runs a series of visual tests, asking you which block of text looks clearer to you.

When you’re done, chances are you’ll see a noticeable difference in text quality. After you’ve run CTTT, you may wish to return to the Display Control Panel and tweak the size of default Windows text. Under the subhead Make it easier to read what’s on your screen, try tweaking the setting from Smaller to Medium or Larger if that’s more comfortable for you. If you do indeed decide to change the default text size, however, we recommend running CTTT again so your screen is optimized for the new size.

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Special Feature: How to Delete iPad Apps

By Daniel Nations of about.com

You can delete an iPad app similar to how you would move the icon for an iPad app. First, tap and hold the icon until all of the icons on the screen are jiggling. This is the "move state." When in this state, some of the icons will have a circle at the top with an "x" in the middle.

Simply tap the "x" button to delete an app. Don't worry about accidentally deleting an app. The iPad will confirm your choice before the app is actually deleted.

What about Apps That Do Not Have an "X" Button?

You are not allowed to delete the default applications that came installed on your iPad. These include the Calender, Contacts, iTunes, App Store, Game Center, etc.

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Websites of Interest:

Join the Freecycle Network
Members to give away items they no longer need, as well as search for things they can use that someone else might want to get rid of. And it’s all free, including membership.
https://www.freecycle.org/

Why do we have Daylight Savings Time?
History from Benjamin Franklin to the present.
http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/

Still have not decided who to vote for? Check out these websites for help.

Factcheck
This is a nonpartisan website that monitors the factual accuracy of what the major political players are saying in their ads, speeches and interviews.
http://factcheck.org/

Votesmart
This website bills itself as the "voter's self-defense system." It is staffed almost entirely by volunteers to present unbiased information.
http://votesmart.org/index.htm

Today is All Soul’s Day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Souls'_Day