Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, December 7, 2014
In this Issue:
Special Feature: Ten Ways to Get Scammed Online
Special Feature: Windows 8.1 – Apps
Today's Topic: Windows 7: Drag around Maximized Windows without Resizing Them First
Special Feature: iPhone: How to Take Care of Your Smartphone Battery the Right Way
Websites of Interest: TED; ShoutCast; National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day; How to Choose a Christmas Tree; Decoration Ideas & Tips; The Best Apps and Sites for Tracking Holiday Shopping Deals; This Guide to Holiday Shipping Cutoffs Ensures Your Gifts Are on Time
Special Feature: Ten Ways to Get Scammed Online
By Sid Kirchheimer of aarp.org
1. Falling for emotional bait. Online and otherwise, scammers line their pockets on your emotions — greed, fear, curiosity — and often fuel each with “Act Now!” urgency. Offers of easy money and threats of negative consequences phish for your money and/or personal information. Promises of forbidden photos or links, especially with terse “Check this out!” messages, are used to install information-stealing malware.
2. Accessing your financial accounts from email links. No matter how official an email looks, don’t access bank, credit card or other sensitive accounts from links or attachments in emails — and never act on a “Dear Customer” message asking for log-in credentials or account numbers. It’s best to check accounts by typing (or bookmarking) the website address yourself. And be sure to read through your account confirmations, since that’s likely where you’ll see the first sign of trouble if anyone has tampered with your information.
3. Having weak passwords and not changing them. Longer is stronger, so aim for at least 12 (ideally, 15 or more) characters, mixing letters, numbers and symbols. Use different passwords on different accounts, changing them within three months, or a password manager that issues and stores them in an encrypted database. Don’t click “remember me” options on cellphones or computers that others can access.
4. Not “really” reading messages. Does the sender’s address differ from his or her name, like egy5boo@yahoo for Mike Jones? Are tone, spelling and grammar off the mark? Are signature titles overly generic or flat-out weird? Do emails from businesses end with a Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo address, rather than companyname.com or .org? All scams. And how can you check whether a website is authentic? Without clicking, place your cursor over links; if the pop-up address doesn’t match, assume the worst.
5. Believing a caller who detects a computer virus. If your computer is infected, you won’t be telephoned by legitimate vendors of computers, of operating systems like Windows, or of antivirus protection; this is the tactic of scammers trying to sell phony protection or get remote access to your device. When new viruses are circulated, expect updates sent en masse over the Internet to users of that software. But check for regular updates anyway, and do a weekly “full scan.”
6. Oversharing on social media. Friend and Tweet away, but don’t post details about upcoming vacations, photos identifying family members, even your address, birthdate, hometown, high school or other snippets that could be pieced together for identity theft. Even with privacy settings, the more information you share online, the easier it is for the wrong people to get it. Be cautious about “likes” from others, and know the sneakiest Facebook scams.
7. Overtrusting emails. Neither the government nor banks or credible merchants will ask for personal or account information by email. Be suspicious of messages from friends asking for money. (Wouldn’t they call?) As Mom advised decades ago, don’t trust strangers.
8. Trusting a “free download.” It’s the most malware-laden search term of all. Get apps from trusted sources, such as Google and Apple app stores, and updated versions of programs like Adobe Flash Player from manufacturer websites, not from pop-ups or links offered in pages. Don’t trust free screen savers (malware can lurk amid those swimming fish) or “free trials.”
9. Thinking your Mac protects you. There once was a time when the Mac didn’t warrant attention from cybercrooks because phishing was better with more widely used PCs. But Mac attacks have grown with their popularity, exposing similar vulnerabilities and gotcha rates.
10. Shopping online as you do in stores. Don’t use debit cards for online purchases; credit cards offer better protections. Never enter card data on any page without “https” in the website’s address. Type retailer web addresses yourself, rather than relying on links from search results. To get coupons and purchase confirmations, use a dedicated email address that’s different from your primary account.
Special Feature: Windows 8.1 – Apps
A World of Apps in the Windows Store
Apps make using your PC easier by opening up new ways for you to get things done and have some fun. Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 come with built-in apps that help you socialize, stay in touch, share and view documents, organize photos, listen to music, and watch movies, but you can find even more apps in the Windows Store.
Note: You need to have Windows 8.1 to see and install apps from the Windows Store. To learn how to update, please see http://computerkindergarten.com/041314.html
To find apps to install from the Windows Store, tap or click Store on the Start screen or your desktop taskbar. You need to be connected to the Internet to open the Store and you’ll need to sign in using a Microsoft account.
Once you're in the Windows Store, there are a few different ways to look for apps:
Browse featured apps and lists. If you're not sure what kind of app you want, a good place to start is the featured apps in the Store. Start scrolling to the right to view lists of popular apps, new releases, top paid or free apps. (To see all the apps in a specific list, tap or click the name of the list.) You'll also see personalized app recommendations in Picks for you, based on apps you own and apps you've rated.
Explore categories. If you’re looking for a certain type of app (like an entertainment app or a game), you can explore the different categories in the Store. Tap or click Categories, and then tap or click the category you want.
Search for an app. If you know the name of the app you want or are looking for apps by a specific publisher, enter the name into the search box in the upper-right corner of the Store. You'll see results for apps that match your search.
When you find an app you want, tap or click Buy or Try (free trial) if it’s a paid app, or Install if it’s free.
Tip - Use the menu at the top of the Windows Store to view lists of apps, categories, your account info, or back Home to the main page of the Store.
After an app is installed from the Store, you'll find it listed in the Apps view with all the other apps on your PC. You can pin the app to your Start screen or your desktop taskbar, so it’s easier for you to find and use later.
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 button near the lower-left corner of the screen.)
Press and hold or right-click to select the apps you want to pin.
Tap or click Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar. The apps you pinned will appear at the end of your Start screen or desktop taskbar.
Then you can rearrange the pinned apps. On the Start screen, you can resize tiles, and group related apps together. To learn how, see Start screen.
Using Your Apps
To start using an app, tap or click the app on the Start screen or your desktop taskbar (if you've pinned it there), or from the Apps view. What you can do with an app depends on the app you've installed, but here are some basic tips.
See the app commands
App commands help you do different things in apps. For example, in a weather app, one app command might be to change the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius. To see what commands are available in an app, swipe down from the top edge of the screen or swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen, and then tap the command you want. (If you’re using a mouse, right-click within the app, and then click the command you want.)
Use charms in an app
In many apps you can use the charms to search, share content, send files to printers or other devices, and change settings. To use charms in an app, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap the charm you want. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click the charm you want.)
Use apps together
When you’re using more than one app, you can quickly switch between apps, and have up to four apps on the screen at the same time (depending on the resolution of your display).
Close an app
Apps in the Windows Store are built so they don’t slow down your PC when you're not using them. When you stop using an app, Windows leaves it running in the background and then, after a while, closes it for you. But if you want to close an app using touch, drag it from the top of the screen to the very bottom. If you’re using a mouse, move your mouse pointer to the top of the app and then click the Close button in the title bar.
In our next newsletter: Windows 8.1 – Apps on the Taskbar
Today's Topic: Windows 7: Drag around Maximized Windows without Resizing Them First
In Windows 7, Microsoft finally fixed a recent pet peeve of some Windows users: the need to first resize a maximized window before it could be dragged around. This was a speed bump encountered often by users of multiple monitors, who are often in the habit of dragging windows from one display to another.
In older versions of Windows, if a window was maximized, you needed to hit the resize button in the upper right corner of the window (the box between the minimize and close buttons) to “downsize” it before dragging. In Windows 7, it’s possible to simply grab the title bar of a maximized window, and drag it around right away, no fuss.
It’s a subtle thing, but a welcome revision and one that you might not notice is possible for some time, because habit would keep most of us from even bothering to try. The ability to drag windows around more freely also relates to our next tip: Aero Snap, which also provides new window behaviors (auto-resizing, in its case) when dragging a window around.
Special Feature: iPhone: How To Take Care of Your Smartphone Battery the Right Way
By Eric Limer of gizmodo.com
Your smartphone is a minor miracle, a pocket-sized computer that can fulfill almost every whim. But none of its superpowers matter a bit if it runs out of juice. With removable batteries becoming more and more rare, you've got to take good care of the one you got. Fortunately, it's not too hard keep the lithium-ion powering your everything-machine happy if you follow a few simple rules.
Obviously, the first rule for extending your battery life is not using up all your battery life playing Candy Crush and walking around with Wi-Fi and GPS enabled when you're not using either and really, really need your phone to last that extra hour. But aside from that, there are some basic rules for care and charging, and they're the simplest baseline for a healthy battery.
Top It Off
You may vaguely recall hearing something about rechargeable batteries and the "memory effect." You know, that if you don't "teach" your rechargeable batteries their full potential by taking them from totally full to totally empty, they'll "forget" part of their capacity. Well forget all that. Right now. It does not apply to your phone.
Battery memory is a real thing, but it applies to nickel-based batteries; your trusty sidekick (literal Sidekick or otherwise) doubtlessly has a lithium-ion battery, and it needs to be treated a little differently. Specifically, it should be topped off whenever you get the chance.
To get the most out of a lithium-ion battery, you should try to keep it north of 50 percent as much as possible. For the most part, going from all the way full to all the way empty won't help; in fact, it'll do a little damage if you do it too often. That said, it's smart to do one full discharge about once a month for "calibration," but don't do it all the time. Running the whole gamut on a regular basis won't make your battery explode or anything, but it will shorten its lifespan.
But! You don't want to have battery charging constantly either; lithium-ion batteries can get overheated. Luckily for you, your charger is smart enough to help with this, and will cut your phone off for a spell once it's full. And to complicate matters even further, your battery doesn't particularly like being all the way full either. In fact, your battery will behave the best if you take it off the charge before it hits 100 percent, and leaving it plugged when it's already full is going to cause a little degradation.
So if you're really particular about optimizing your battery's life, you should try to go from around 40 percent to around 80 percent in one go, and then back down whenever possible. A bunch of tiny charges throughout the day is your second best bet, and going from zero to 100 and then 100 to zero on a regular basis will put the most strain on your lithium-ion battery.
Keep It Cool
It's easy to worry about bad charging habits thanks to the training we've had from old rechargeable batteries, but lithium-ion batteries have a worse enemy than sub-optimal charging: Heat. Your smartphone's battery will degrade much, much faster when it's hot, regardless of whether it's being used or just sitting around doing nothing.
At an average temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a lithium-ion battery will lose six percent of its maximum capacity per year. At 77 degrees, that number jumps to 20 percent, and at 104 degrees it's a whopping 35. Sure, it's not exactly practical (or sane) to keep your phone in the fridge, but it's worth going out of your way to prevent long stays in hot cars and the like.
Avoid Wireless Charging
Wireless charging can be incredibly convenient if your phone can do it, but it's not without its disadvantages. The inductive, wireless chargers out there today have this nasty habit of generating a fair bit of waste heat. And while wasted energy is just a bummer in general, that heat will also toast your battery in the process. It's a little less convenient, but standard plug-in charging is going to keep your battery in better shape, especially if you're some place warm to begin with.
Never Go To Zero
If you're going to be shelving any lithium-ion battery for a long time, try to leave it with at least 40 percent battery power to tide it over. Lithium-ion batteries don't hemorrhage power when they’re not in use, but they'll lose maybe five to ten percent of their charge each month.
And when lithium-ion batteries get too low—like, literally zero percent—they get seriously unstable, and dangerous to charge. To prevent explosion-type disasters when you go to charge one that's been sitting around for a month or two, lithium-ion batteries have built-in self-destruct circuits that will disable (read: destroy) the battery for good, if it reaches rock bottom. And sure, that'll save you from a face full of battery-acid, but it'll also leave you short one battery.
Don't Sweat It Too Much
It's easy to get protective of your battery, but it's also easy to get lazy. Typically, a lithium-ion battery lasts for three to five years, and chances are you're going to want to swap out your gadgets sometime in that window anyway. The slight damage of a technically bad idea like leaving your phone plugged in all night every night, or using wireless charging, might be worth the convenience.
Still, it's pretty easy to keep your battery reasonably healthy just by avoiding particularly egregious torture like letting your phone discharge from full to zero every single day, or leaving it in a hot car all the time. And the next time you make it back home with power to spare, you'll thank yourself for it.
To review our article, iPhone: Tips to Keep iOS 8 From Destroying Your Battery Life, please visit our website at http://computerkindergarten.com/111614.html
Websites of Interest:
TED is a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading. Interesting articles on everything.
Listen to radio stations from all over the world and all genres of music and interests.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
is observed annually on December 7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Pearl_Harbor_Remembrance_Day
How to Choose a Christmas Tree
Tips for choosing the perfect Christmas tree
Decoration Ideas & Tips
From christmas.com, here are some great suggestions
The Best Apps and Sites for Tracking Holiday Shopping Deals
This Guide to Holiday Shipping Cutoffs Ensures Your Gifts Are on Time