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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, November 3, 2013

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

This Tuesday, November 5, is Election Day. Don’t forget to vote!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: Protecting Your PC While Browsing Online
Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Mail with "ADV" in the Subject is Spam
Special Series: Windows 8 - The Charms Bar
This Week's Topic: Computing Advice That Stands the Test of Time
Special Feature: iPad Basics - Apps for Everyday Tasks – Reminders
Websites of Interest: Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?; Still have not decided who to vote for? Check out these websites for help; The Best Time to Buy Anything During the Year

We’re on Facebook! Please like us at
www.facebook.com/sharpertraining
We’ll be doing gift card raffles. Like us to automatically enter.

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Special Feature: Protecting Your PC While Browsing Online

By Chad Stetson of worldstart.com

Is it possible for a web site that you’re viewing to obtain your email address from your PC in order to send you spam or for another malicious purpose?

While there are a few ways that hackers could obtain your e-mail address while you’re viewing a specific page, the circumstances involved make this a very rare occurrence. Typically, it is impossible for anyone to get your e-mail address if you’re simply browsing a Web page. If, however, you enter your e-mail address anywhere on the site, such as during login or to be added to a mailing list, there is a possibility that a hacker could obtain this information.

Another way hackers steal e-mail addresses and account information, which is more harmful, is by phishing. They send e-mails that look like they’re from legitimate companies, including Facebook, Ebay and banks. These e-mails contain a link to a login page that looks like the real login page, but is actually a fake designed to steal your login information. Although you cannot prevent every attempt that is made to steal your e-mail address or access your e-mail account, there are several things you can do to eliminate the occurrences.

Choose a Browser with Built-in Security

Most of the more commonly used Web browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox have built-in security features to help users cut down on malicious attempts to gather data. Take a look at the browser you’re currently using and find out if one of the other browsers offers more or better security features. Nearly all Web browsers are free these days, so if you find one with better features, give it a try. If you don’t like it, you’re not losing anything.

Browsers will often alert you when something’s not right with a Web page. While there’s a possibility there is nothing malicious about the page or the site, it may be best to steer clear of these pages just to be safe.

Install Anti-Virus and Malware Protection Software

If your computer is connected to the Internet, anti-virus software is a must. Viruses are capable of a wide range of malicious activities, including spamming everyone in your e-mail address book or destroying all the data on your hard drive. Your computer can only be infected by a virus if you open a file that has the virus inside. This is why you should only open e-mail attachments from people you know. If you must open an attachment from an unknown source, run it through a virus scan first.

Spyware and malware are additional pieces of software that you may find on your computer. You do not want these programs on your computer either. If your anti-virus software does not scan and remove spyware or malware, look for a program that will hunt these little buggers down and get rid of them for you.

Think Before You Click

Hackers will try just about anything to gain access to your information, so make sure to surf the Web and click on links, both there and in your e-mail, wisely. If you get a suspicious looking e-mail from your bank or any other company you deal with regularly, it’s best to go to the company’s Web site directly and enter your login information, rather than clicking the link provided in the e-mail. Also, if you get a notification about a package or a listing on EBay that you have no knowledge of, it may be best to ignore the e-mail or contact the company directly to see if it’s legitimate.

I hope these tips help you stay safe online.

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Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Mail with "ADV" in the Subject 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.

Based on some legislative attempts to control spam, spammers sometimes include "ADV:" at the begging of the subject line to make their unsolicited message appear legitimate.

You can safely assume that

* any message that carries "ADV" in it subject is spam

and set up a filter that either deletes it or puts it in your "Possible Spam" folder.

 

In our next edition: Don't Use "This is Spam" to Unsubscribe

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Special Series: Windows 8 - The Charms Bar

From gcflearnfree.org

Windows 8 can be confusing at first, since the interface has changed so much. You'll need to know how to navigate the Start screen as well as the Desktop. Although the Desktop looks very similar to previous versions of Windows, it has one major change: The Start menu has been removed.

In this lesson, we'll show you how to work with the Charms Bar.

The Charms Bar

The Charms bar is a toolbar that lets you access your computer's settings, along with other options. You can access the Charms bar by hovering the mouse in the top-right or bottom-right corner.

Charms

The Charms bar contains several icons, which are called charms, and each one contains different options:

Search: The Search charm lets you find apps, files, or settings on your computer. However, a simpler way to search is to go to the Start screen and type the name of the file or app that you're looking for.

Share: The Share charm is basically a copy and paste feature that is designed to be as convenient as possible. It allows you to "copy" information (such as a photo or web address) and "paste" it into another app. For example, if you're viewing a photo in the Photos app, you can share it with the SkyDrive app, which will upload the photo to your SkyDrive. If you're reading an article online, you can share the address with the Email app, which lets you email the article to a friend.

Start: This switches to the Start screen. If you're already on the Start screen, it will open the most recent app.

Devices: This shows any hardware devices that are connected to your computer, such as printers or monitors.

Settings: This lets you access general settings for your computer, as well as settings for the app you're currently viewing. For example, if you're in Internet Explorer, you can go to the Settings charm to access your Internet Options.

 

In our next newsletter: Coping Without the Start Menu

You can review all of our previous Windows 8 articles on our website.
http://computerkindergarten.com/windows8articles.html

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.
info@computerkindergarten.com

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Today's Topic: Computing Advice That Stands the Test of Time

By Mark Sullivan of pcworld.com
Technology never stops moving forward. Hardware gets faster, and operating systems gain new features and (we hope) finesse. This is natural computing law.

But just because computers are one big exercise in evolutionary progress, that doesn't mean certain computing maxims ever go out of style. Take, for example, the nuggets of wisdom in the following list. All of these things are as true today as they were 2, 5, and in some cases even 10 or 20 years ago.

Below, we give you the best pieces of computing advice we've ever heard.
When In Doubt, Punch Out

If something isn’t working on your PC, don’t wring your hands and yell at the screen. Just restart the system. That simple act alone will fix many of the problems you may be experiencing. When your PC restarts, it clears out all the temporary files in the RAM and relaunches the operating system. This wipes away any files that may have been giving your PC fits—and the operating system starts fresh and unfettered by whatever was affecting it.
Expect Your Battery to Let You Down

It's simply Murphy's Law: Your laptop or tablet will poop out the moment you need it most. That is life. Always bring your power cables with you on the road, and if possible invest in backup and secondary battery options.
Crowd Source Your Troubleshooting

Chances are, the help resources at your device manufacturer’s website won’t address your exact headache, but if you type an error message or problem you're having into Google, you'll inevitably find helpful information from poor souls who have encountered the very same issue.
Back Everything Up

Never get caught with just one copy of anything that you want to keep. Always back up your data, and then back up your backups. Consider backing up both to an external drive and to a cloud storage service. It’s a good idea to keep separate system and data partitions—back up your data partition daily, and back up your system partition (Windows as well as your installed programs) at least quarterly.
Remember That Thumb Drives Are Your Friends

It’s very easy to lose track of the recovery discs that come with a new PC, so keep a USB drive with recovery software on it in case something goes wrong. Store it away in a safe, easy-to-remember place. And in that same safe place, keep both electronic and print copies of all your software keys.
Look to Last Year’s Model for a Better Value

Tech manufacturers always charge a premium for the latest and greatest hardware—and typically you don't really need the world's fastest processor, graphics card, or I/O technology. So do yourself a favor and consider buying hardware that was best-in-class during a previous manufacturing cycle. It will likely be heavily marked down, but still wholly capable and packed with performance.
Skip the Extended Warranty

Extended warranties are designed to prey on your fear that the hardware you just purchased is already on its death bed. From a return-on-investment perspective, extended warranties almost never pay off—except for the companies that sell them.
Read the Manual

You might be surprised at what you can learn by reading user manuals. It’s natural to just jump right in and begin doing the things you expect a device or application to do, but I've found that by reading the manual I can learn about features and functions I didn't know existed. Reading the manual can increase the benefit you derive from your device, and make you feel a whole lot better about buying it.
Consider the Total Cost of Ownership

This maxim mostly applies to purchases of printers and subsidized phones. If you intend to do a lot of printing, pay close attention to the cost and efficiency of consumables, namely the ink or toner. And if you're investing in a new smartphone plan, consider what you'll be paying month to month...to month...to month...
Resist the Urge to Impulse-Shop

A tech geek is never more dangerous than when perusing the aisles of a brick-and-mortar hardware store. If you absolutely must purchase a new toy in person, make sure to do your research beforehand. Don't be swayed by the razzle-dazzle of salespeople, and arm yourself with deep product knowledge before you enter a store. Also, always ask the retailer to match lower Internet pricing, if you can find it. (You'll want to bring your smartphone with you.)
Keyboard Shortcuts: Use Them, Love Them, Live Them

You can work far faster (and look way cooler) by mastering keyboard shortcuts for the programs, services, and operating systems you use every day.
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date

The message windows reminding you to update your software can get annoying, but it’s a good idea to stop what you’re doing and click the 'Update now' button. You'll get all the functionality the software has to offer, and you'll also obtain vital security patches that can protect your system from software crashes and data loss.
Use an Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse Tray

You might not realize how much time you spend at your desk. Hours can fly by when you’re “in the zone,” and those hours of typing and mousing add up. Carpal-tunnel syndrome and other repetitive-stress injuries are a real risk for the information workers of today, and they can cost you dearly in pain and missed work. A small investment in adjustable, ergonomic keyboard and mouse combos, coupled with some research on correct positioning, can save you a lot of trouble.
Label Your Power Bricks

Every time you buy a new device, you wind up with a new power adapter. They collect under desks, behind PCs, and in boxes in the closet. It's almost as if they're breeding. It’s easy to lose track of which one goes to which device, and it’s possible to harm your gear by using the wrong power cable. So the first thing you should do after buying new gear is to label the power brick, permanently pairing it with the right device.
Hide Those Cables

The tangled mess of cables and wires under your desk will only get worse and worse—and you won’t realize how much it bugs you until you finally clean it all up. You can bundle groups of wires by running them through toilet paper tubes, or binding them with pipe cleaners or small bands of Velcro, and then use binder clips to tie the bundled wires to the underside of your desk, or any place where they’re out of sight.
Stay Wired When You Want To Connect

Wired Ethernet will always be faster and more reliable than wireless networking. If you regularly do something (for work or play) on your home computer that relies on a constant Web connection, you may be better off using a wired Internet connection. Wired connections are capable of far faster data speeds and are simply not subject to the many factors that can disrupt a wireless connection.
Put Your Router in the Middle

Position your wireless router as close as you can to the center of your home. This action can help ensure that all the wireless devices in your home are within range of the access point. You’ll also find that the signals coming from your router are more likely to reach their destination if the antenna is elevated off the floor a few feet.
Stop Thieves

People store gigabytes of vital information on their portable devices, yet they rarely think about protecting their devices from theft. One of the best things you can do is to install a GPS-enabled antitheft program on your laptop, tablet, or phone. If your device goes missing, the software will lock the OS, report the device's location to you via GPS, and in some cases even capture and send some photos of the thief.
Investigate Crashes

If your PC seems to crash frequently, the Windows Reliability Monitor (Control Panel > System and Security > Action Center > Reliability Monitor) can help isolate the cause. The utility keeps track of all hardware and software crashes and warnings, organizing them by date. By clicking on one, you can see the full details of what happened.
For Gamers: Update Your Drivers

Confirm whether you have the latest drivers for your PC's graphics and sound hardware. Game developers create their titles using the latest features and functionality in graphics cards. If you’re using older drivers, your graphics card might not be up to the task of rendering the game properly on screen.
Take a Screenshot

Save a screenshot (or snap a photo and save it to Evernote) of every weird problem or crash you see. Having an image can help immensely if the problem becomes chronic and you need assistance in fixing it.
Change Your Router's Default SSID

The easiest thing you can do to improve the security of your wireless network is to change both the login and the password for your router to unique alphanumeric phrases that only you know. Since finding the default login and password for almost every router on the market is child's play online, leaving your router at the defaults allows anyone to gain access to the wireless network in your home or small business.
Shun Free Public Wi-Fi

The Free Public Wi-Fi network you might see listed on your Windows laptop when you're in various public places is the result of an old Windows XP bug that causes the OS to set up an ad hoc data-sharing network for connected PCs if it can't connect to a trusted wireless network automatically.

Connecting to this type of device-to-device ad hoc network rarely poses any immediate danger, but it won't get you onto the Web, either. And malicious users could spy on the connection and steal valuable information from you.
Say No to Cookies

Enable the Do Not Track feature on your browser. This feature will send a message to the websites you visit that it is not okay for them to install cookies in your browser that will record your movements around the Web. Unless you want that to happen, of course.
The Best Tip of All: Take a Break

Every so often, take an electronic sabbatical. Go 24 hours without looking at a screen. It's good for your eyes, and it reduces the chance of burnout. It also reminds you of how powerful personal computers of all shapes and sizes have become—and that thought alone might make everyone a little more tolerant and patient when problems arise.

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Special Feature: iPad Basics - Apps for Everyday Tasks – Reminders

From gcflearnfree.org and padgadget.com

Note: please visit our newsletter’s website
For instructions on how to upgrade to iOS 7:
http://computerkindergarten.com/092213.html

Reminders

Reminders is a simple but effective app for managing your to-do list. One of its most useful features is the fact that it can notify you exactly when certain items are due, using a small, unobtrusive pop-up window. That makes it easy to address the reminder, or dismiss it if you don't have time.

You can also use the app to create other types of checklists; for example, a shopping list, packing list, or a list of family chores. Sync the app with your other devices, and you'll be able to check things off anytime.

Open the Reminders App.

To start a new list, tap “Add List” from the bottom left corner of the screen. Begin typing the name of your new list. This is for creating main categories, projects, or events to which you will want to add a reminder. You can then color code the list to help separate it from other categories. For example, you may have multiple projects relating to work that you could code with blue.

After you have titled your list, tap “Done” in the upper right corner near the list’s name. Then, start adding items. Tap the screen under the list’s name to call up the keyboard. When you have entered an item, you can set the priority, add a note, and set an alert. To call up the additional features, tap the info (i) icon next to the item.

To set a reminder, toggle the switch to the “On” position next to “Remind me on a day.” This will bring up a few new options. You can set the specific day and time to be reminded and add an occurrence. Select whether it repeats every day, week, two weeks, month, or year.

In this Details window, you can also change the priority of importance, add a note to the reminder, and move the item to a different list. Under your main lists, you will also note a new category called “Scheduled.” In this section, you will see a list of items that have a reminder date and time set.

In iOS 7, Siri can also add reminders for you. When you call up the personal assistant, simple say what you want to be reminded to do. For example, “Remind me to pick up chairs for the party tomorrow at 2 O’clock.” It will automatically be added to your Reminders app.

That’s all there is to it!

 

In our next newsletter: iPad Basics – Notes

You can review all of our previous iPad articles on our website.
http://computerkindergarten.com/ipadarticles.html

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.
info@computerkindergarten.com

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Websites of Interest:

Why do we have Daylight Saving 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

The Best Time to Buy Anything During the Year
http://tinyurl.com/bjmdm3p