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

In this Issue:
Special Feature: LIPA Warns Customers of Latest Payment Scam
Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Don't Delete Spam Automatically
Special Series: Using SkyDrive with Windows 8
This Week's Topic: How to Clean Your Computer
Question: iPad Basics
Websites of Interest: 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

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Special Feature: LIPA Warns Customers of Latest Payment Scam

Uniondale, NY – The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is warning its customers of a new utility bill scam. Over the past several days hundreds of customers have reported receiving calls from someone instructing them to buy a Green Dot Money Pak in order to pay their utility bill and avoid termination of their service. LIPA does not accept payments through Green Dot Money Pak or pre-paid cards, and customers should not give any confidential information to any such callers.

In some cases the caller also tells the customer that they may have a faulty meter that is dangerous and in need of replacing for a substantial fee. Customers should be aware that the electric meter is the property of LIPA and is not customer-owned equipment.

LIPA does contact customers with past due balances by phone to offer payment options, but never demands direct payment over the telephone. LIPA currently does not accept credit or debit card payments. Customers who have received calls demanding immediate payment through a pre-paid card or who have billing questions should call the Customer Contact Center at 1-800-490-0025 or 631-755-6000.

LIPA Encourages Customers to Use The Following Tips from the Better Business Bureau to Avoid Falling for this Scam:

Never provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking.

If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem.

Always ask utility employees for proper identification.

Always think safety first. Do not give in to high pressure tactics over the phone for information or in person to get into your home.


Tips & Tricks: Top 25 Most Popular Anti-Spam Tips, Tricks and Secrets: Don't Delete Spam Automatically

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.

Filtering spam is a tricky matter. While many clever strategies exist that can significantly cut down on the amount of unsolicited mail in your Inbox, no filter can be 100% accurate.

There will be spam that slips through the filter or — worse — legitimate mail that is caught by the anti-spam filter.

That is why it is a good idea to build a safety net into your filters.

Do not delete mail immediately with an anti-spam filter; do not even put it in the trash. It is usually better to have a special "Possibly Spam" folder where filters put the suspected spam. Every few days you can have a look at the contents of this folder and, if it does not contain any legit email, empty it.


In our next edition: Watch Out for Those Checkboxes


Special Series: Using SkyDrive with Windows 8

From gcflearnfree.org

One of the biggest changes in Windows 8 is that it is closely integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft's online storage service. If you have files stored in your SkyDrive, you'll be able to access them easily with Windows 8. In this lesson, we'll show you how to manage your SkyDrive files, and also how to install the SkyDrive Desktop app.

Why Use SkyDrive?

If you've used previous versions of Windows, you're probably used to working with folders and files on your computer. But people are now more mobile than ever, and it's nice to have your files with you wherever you go. The cloud is generally the most convenient way to do this. If you store your files online, then all you need is an internet connection, and you'll be able to access your files — whether you're at work, at home, or at a friend's house.

SkyDrive gives you 7 gigabytes of online storage space for free, and you can purchase more space if you need it. You can decide whether you want to store all of your files online, or just the most important ones. When you log in to Windows with your Microsoft account, it automatically connects to your SkyDrive, allowing you to access your files from the built-in SkyDrive app or the Photos app.

To Upload Files to SkyDrive:

Some apps, such as Microsoft Office 2013, save files to SkyDrive by default. However, you may already have files on your computer that you would like to add to your SkyDrive.

1. Click the SkyDrive app in the Start screen.
2. Right-click anywhere on the screen. A menu will appear at the bottom of the screen.
3. Click the Upload button.
4. You will see a list of the folders and files in your Documents library.
5. To view your other files, click the Files drop-down arrow and select a different location (for example, Desktop).
6. When you've found the file you want to upload, select it and then click Add to SkyDrive. If you want, you can select multiple files.
7. The file(s) will be added to your SkyDrive.

To Access SkyDrive in a Web Browser:

Now that you have files in your SkyDrive, you can access them from any computer that has an internet connection — even if the computer doesn't have Windows 8.

1. Go to www.skydrive.com and sign in with your Microsoft account.
2. All of your folders and files will appear. Click on the desired folder or file to open it.
3. If you are viewing an Office document (such as a Word document or Excel spreadsheet), you can click Edit Document and then select Edit in Web App to edit it.

Some types of files cannot be edited in SkyDrive. Instead, you can download a file by right-clicking it and selecting Download. You can then open the downloaded file to edit it.

Installing the SkyDrive Desktop App

If you prefer working in the Desktop, you can download the SkyDrive Desktop app. This will add a SkyDrive folder to your File Explorer. When you move files into this folder, they will automatically be uploaded to SkyDrive, and you can access them anywhere you go. You'll even be able to access any files stored on your computer remotely, even if you haven't uploaded the files to SkyDrive.

To Install the SkyDrive Desktop App:

1. Navigate to the Download SkyDrive page. Locate and select Download SkyDrive for Windows.
2. Once the file is downloaded, click Run to open the SkyDrive Installer.
3. The SkyDrive Installer will open. Click Get Started to continue.
4. The SkyDrive Folder window will appear, which explains how the SkyDrive folder works with your computer. Click Next to continue.
5. Click Done to complete the installation. If you want to be able to access files on this computer remotely, leave the checkbox checked.
6. The SkyDrive Desktop app is now installed on your computer. A SkyDrive folder will be added to your File Explorer, and any files you add to this folder will be uploaded to your SkyDrive.


In our next newsletter: Using the Windows 8 Search Feature

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 Clean Your Computer

How to Clean Your Laptop or Desktop Screen

Question: My computer screen has become pretty dirty. Can I use regular window cleaner on it?

By Rick Broida of pcworld.com
It is NOT okay to spray Windex on a monitor. In fact, when it comes to cleaning an LCD screen, there's a right way and a wrong way. Let's focus on the right way.

For starters, turn your monitor off. In fact, if you want to eliminate any risk of shock or other electrical damage, unplug it altogether. (I really don't think this is necessary, but better safe than sorry.) There will be some moisture involved in this cleaning, and the last thing you want is for liquid to come into contact with anything powered.

Next, find a clean, soft cloth (paper towel will do, but it's far from the best choice), then dampen it with water. Don't soak it--there should be no dripping to speak of--just get it moist. And don't use anything other than water. Ammonia- and alcohol-based cleaners can ruin an LCD. If your screen is seriously gunked up, and plain water doesn't get the job done, here's a homemade option: create a 50/50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar.

If you decide to use a spray bottle, make sure you don't spray it directly on the screen. Drops can seep in around the bezel (and/or land in the keyboard), and, again, moisture and electronics don't mix. What you can do is spray your water or solution onto the cloth, then wipe the screen. Use a circular motion, which is best for eliminating streaks, and apply only light pressure.

Finally, let the screen air-dry for a few minutes, or gently wipe it dry with a fresh cloth. Only when you're absolutely certain it's 100 percent dry, plug it back in and turn it on. And there you go: good as new!

How to Clean Your Keyboard

From howtogeek.com

Your keyboard is one of your most important peripherals, but it’s bound to get clogged with dirt and grime over time. Dust off, scrub down, and clean up your number one input device safely with these tips.

There are plenty of ways to clean depending on what afflicts your workspace. We’ll break it down by type, but first things first: unplug your keyboard! Some of these cleaning methods can theoretically do some damage to your keyboard if there’s power going to it, so be sure it’s unplugged and the batteries are taken out.


A common problem in offices, dust can really make typing unpleasant. It’s an easy fix, however. For daily maintenance, you can use a small soft-bristled dusting brush. A can of compressed air will work well.


Daily use can breed a whole different kind of filth on your precious keys. Be wary of disinfectant sprays; many are strong enough that you wouldn’t want to keep your hands in contact with them for very long. Try to find ones that are electronics-friendly. Personally, my favorite option is to use an isopropyl alcohol solution.

Be sure to use isopropyl and NOT ethyl, as the harsher ethyl alcohol can take the lettering off of the keys. Anything about 60% alcohol or more is fine; higher concentrations don’t really help kill more germs, but it also won’t hurt.

Take a little alcohol solution and moisten an old rag or a paper towel with it. Do NOT pour it into the keyboard; a wet napkin is enough. Scrub it over the tops of the keys, and use a wet cotton swab to go down in between them.


What’s worse than accidentally turning on Sticky Keys? Spilling your soda and getting real sticky keys. First, unplug your keyboard. Dump out any excess liquid and mop up as best you can with paper towels. While it’s best to clean while the keyboard is still wet to minimize the stickiness, the process is much the same whether you spilled your soda 30 seconds ago or 30 days ago.

To get rid of sticky keys, we’ll need to pop off the keys and clean the keyboard more thoroughly. If you have a standard keyboard, you’ll be able to find references to where all the keys should go if you don’t already have the layout memorized. For custom keyboard, it might be helpful to draw a quick map or take a picture with your digital camera so you know where everything belongs when you go to put things back together.

For desktop keyboards, take a butter knife or a screwdriver and try to pry up one corner of the keys. You don’t need to use a lot of force; you should feel a pop and the key will come right off.

For laptop keyboards, your fingernail should be enough to pull the plastic up. Start with one corner and move to an adjacent one. Be extra careful, since the mechanism is made of plastic and you don’t want to break it.

Once the keys are off, you can better use a paper towel and maybe some alcohol solution to clean the keyboard base. Careful with those metal bars!

To clean the keys you can wash them in warm water and/or use some cotton swabs. To put the keys back on, just place them over their correct position and press them until you hear a snap. They shouldn’t feel mushy or sticky anymore, and if they do it’s probably because they either didn’t set properly in the base or it’s in the wrong place. With keys that have metal bars, make sure the bars are properly attached to the keys and that the ends line up in the slots on the keyboard.

Food Particles and Grime

As with liquid cleanup, pop off the keys as best you can. Take a can of compressed air to really flush out everything underneath.

For really grimy spots, try using a pencil eraser. You might be surprised as how well the rubber will peel off dirt. Just be careful that the eraser-dust doesn’t fall back in the keyboard.

If you’ve tried everything to cut the dirt and grease, then I’ve got one last method for you. Take a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s wet with a bit of alcohol to your keyboard. You can clean the removed keys with a toothbrush and some water. Your keys will be looking brand-new in no time!

A dirty keyboard hinders typing, is riddled with disease-inducing germs, and just doesn’t go well with the decor. Show your keyboard some love by cleaning it. These methods also work well with all different kinds of mice, especially the alcohol and cotton swabs.

Cleaning Your Computer

Question: I have a couple of cans of compressed air to clean out my computer. I used a vacuum once and did some harm to the computer. Can you tell me how I should clean out the dust and how often should I be doing it?

It is a good idea to clean out the inside of your computer every six months or so.

Open the computer case, and use short bursts of air to blow out the dust. Make sure you hold the can upright, and only use short bursts of air. A vacuum cleaner is not good to use because it can generate static electricity and cause damage to your computer.

If you have a laptop, look for the fan. It should be on one of the sides. Use the compressed air to clean out the fan.

Clean the mouse with a damp cloth. If it’s an older style with a ball, you should remove the cover, take the ball out, and use a qtip to clean the gears inside.

For cleaning the case, use a nonabrasive cleaner, or better yet, just a little water. You can’t go wrong with water and a little scrubbing!


Question: iPad Basics

Please visit our newsletter website to review all of the iPad articles we’ve done this year:


Websites of Interest:

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




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