Archive for March 2010

Some common and internet scams

March 26, 2010

With anything on the market and available to a wide audience, there are going to be scams. It happens. With anything. Cars, Home buying, Donations, etc.

For people who are new to computers and the wide world of the internet, mass produced scams can be a new thing. They are not used to people knowing their email addresses or IP addresses, or pop-ups that alarm them about virus warnings and the like.

All of us, myself included when we first started out with computers were new to the “scam per second” world of email spam. So if you are new to computers and someone makes fun of you for not seeing what they consider an obvious scam because they pretty much live on the internet, remember, no one was born with an ethernet cable hooked to their viens. We all had to learn by doing.

That being said, I’d like to quickly go over some of the more common mistakes I’ve seen people make regarding scams on the internet. There are many scams on the internet, and I’d have to have a blog dedicated to just that if I was going to go into great detail on every single scam the internet has ever pulled.

But, I don’t like writing that much and I’d have to do a lot of unnecessary research. So I’m just going to give you some of the ones I’ve seen that maybe people aren’t aware of.

Scam #1: The outdated Microsoft Windows scam:

You’re on the internet and a pop up appears that your copy of Microsoft Windows has expired and you either need to buy a new one or renew it via said pop up.

Fact: Microsoft Windows doesn’t have an expiration date. It never expires. It gets outdated, needing windows updates now and again, but those are completely FREE and available 24/7 on the microsoft website. But your OS never runs out.

Scam #2: Virus alerts

You are alerted by a popup that you have a virus on your computer and to scan your computer via said pop up.

How to tell that this is a scam is to look at the pop up. If it is NOT the anti virus anti spy ware brands name you have installed on your computer, then it is a scam. Usually these virus warning pop ups don’t have company names like Norton or McAfee or ZoneAlarm or the like. They may have a red dot or red sheild or some generic symbol to that effect, but they definitly won’t have a brand name in the pop up.

Anti Virus and Anti Spyware software will pop up windows to alert you that they found a virus. However, if it’s legitimate, then when you close your internet browser the pop up should still be there and linked to your virus software on your computer. Close the pop up and open your virus software. It will tell you upon launch there is something it caught. If not, then it’s a false alarm.

Thing to remember here is, NEVER REPLY TO THESE THINGS. the worst thing you can do is confirm to the pop up that you acknowledge it. This actually is designed to send a message to the virus servers about your computer. Same goes with email scammers. Never reply back. It’s confirmation that the email account is valid, then the real scamming begins.

Scam #3: Email Scams.

These come in all shapes and sizes. From dating scams to donation scams. Some of the more popular ones are emails about helping people in foreign countries and children asking for money. It usually involves money. And people have been taken on these.

Normally the rule is, don’t answer or reply to anyone you don’t know. Most scammers are pretty obvious in that they leave a lot of links in the email, or the email addresses are the opposite of what they are claiming to be. For example if someone is asking for money to move out of their country, and they need you wire them money, and the email came from somewhere other than the country they are referring to. Someone in Haiti, yet the email is from the UK or Berlin or China or something. Obvious scam.

Scam #4: Email Prize Scam

This one is an old and obvious one. You’ve just won a large sum of money due to being automatically enrolled in our contest. They need your personal information to confirm that you are who you say you are and so that they can personally deliver said sum of money directly to your door. It’s your lucky day. Or is it?

Same old scam, different technology.

Rule of thumb, NEVER give personal information over the internet. But NEVER EVER give it to people you don’t personally know. That’s how identity Theft happens.

Scam #5: Internet Hottie Wants To Talk To You:

This scam is designed to get your personal information and being signing you up for all kinds of stupid websites. They get a picture of some young attractive female and email her picture with a tag line of, I’m bored let’s talk. Or some other provacative statement. She may want to go to a bar, or show you her very personal side quickly because she just broke up with her boyfriend, etc etc.

When you reply back, they email you a form to fill out saying that they don’t know you and need to be safe because they’ve been hurt in the past, etc etc.

The form is usually a fake questionaire that they photoshop their IM or email service too. For example AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Craigslist, etc. Whatever looks official. The questionaire has a blank for your email address and your address where you reside. They will claim it is detailed so they can look you up and make sure your not a sex offender or something.

It’s detailed so that they start signing you up for websites or get your account number or sell your information to mail a thons and the like.

The thing to remember here is that there is no company authority to check you out without a company paying them. In other words, no one has the right to go into your bank account, social security or other personal information without authorized permission by you. When you fill out an application and sign the background check section, you are giving that company your personal go ahead to check that information out. Which is why they make you sign it. But for free services like Gmail, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, etc, there is no authority other than the police or government that has the right to see your personal information. So it’s a scam.

Those are just some general scams that I’ve seen in my time on the internet.

Just remember to use common sense, be careful who you converse with and never give out personal information to just anyone.

Be safe out there, Identity Theft is a real pain to have to deal with.

How To : install new fonts so that Microsoft applications can use them.

March 21, 2010

Installing fonts onto your Windows computer so that Microsoft applications such as the Office suite (Word, Powerpoint, etc.) can use them is actually very easy.

You can get virus and cost free fonts from http://www.urbanfonts.com/.

Other websites that I’ve run into all have fonts for cost. This was a website that has many different fonts for free.

So download the font of your choice onto your computer. It will be zipped so you need to either have a zip utility installed on your computer or use Windows zip program, which comes as default anyways. They all pretty much work the same if you’re just using them to unzip.

Once you’ve unzipped the font, it should be a paper size icon with two T’s. One light and one dark. The T’s represent TEXT. Because it’s text that you just downloaded.

Alright, let’s put that font in the appropriate folder so we can use it on our programs.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA010947421033.aspx?pid=CL100636481033

1. Close any open Windows applications, such as Word or Outlook.
2. In Control Panel, click Appearance and Themes.

Note:  If you are using Control Panel Classic view or Microsoft Windows 2000, double-click Fonts, and then go to step 4.

3. In the task pane, under See Also, click Fonts.

Note  If a folder tree appears instead of the task pane, click Folders on the toolbar, and then under See Also, click Fonts.

4. On the File menu, click Install New Font.
5. In the Drives list, click the drive you want.
6. In the Folders list, double-click the folder that contains the fonts you want to add.
7. Under List of fonts, click the font you want to add, and then click OK.

Notes:

* To select more than one font to add, in step 6, hold down the CTRL key, and then click each of the fonts you want to add.
* You can also drag OpenType, TrueType, Type 1, and raster fonts from another location to add them to the Fonts folder. This works only if the font is not already in the Fonts folder.
* To add fonts from a network drive without using disk space on your computer, clear the Copy fonts to Fonts folder check box in the Add Fonts dialog box. This is available only when you install OpenType, TrueType, or raster fonts using the Install New Font option on the File menu.

When you install new fonts, remember that each font will only work with the computer you’ve installed it on. If you share Office documents with other people or plan to use or view your document on a different computer, the new fonts you’ve installed on your computer might not be displayed the same way on the other computer. Text that is formatted in a font that is not installed on a computer will be displayed in Times New Roman or the default font.

To make sure that you can see the fonts on different computers, you can either install the new font on the other computers you plan to use, or, if you are using a TrueType font in Word or Microsoft PowerPoint®, you can embed the font to save the characters with your document. Embedding fonts can increase your document’s file size and may not work for some commercially restricted fonts, but it is a good way to make sure that your document with new fonts will look the same on other computers.

How To : Find a wireless network when it won’t show up automatically in Windows

March 18, 2010

Today’s computers are built for easy access. Everything out of the box should work without being setup or configured or anything.

Shouldn’t be a problem. That’s just to make sure things work of course. You’re going to want to setup and configure security and protocols and things for your network, whether it’s wireless or wired.

But since today’s society is used to plug it and use it ease, some routers and access points may be difficult to configure
because they’ve been setup differently. For security.

How do i go about finding networks that the SSID doesn’t get broadcasted? How do i manually input security keys into
my wireless properties for my laptop so I can authenticate with my other equipment?

If you have wireless routers, wireless access points, and other wireless intersections of virtual traffic in your home
that allows you to connect with everything, here’s some steps to follow to manually configure your wireless
devices out of the package pretty quickly.

Windows Vista:

1. right click on network icon on your desktop. if it’s not on your desktop, click on the start menu. choose properties.

2. when the box pops up, on the top left pane will be options for network configuration. to manually set yourself up, choose Manage Network Connections.

3. choose the first option of the three that will show up.

You must know your SSID, keyphrase and type of authentication that your equipment is assigned to use. if you don’t have this information, i suggest contacting your network administrator, the person who configured your equipment and have them walk you through this.

How To : stop unnecessary services from running everytime you boot up.

March 18, 2010

Have you ever installed something on your computer, yet you don’t need it every time windows starts up?

You can choose what services start up with Windows every time you boot up the computer.

You can do it through System Configuration, which is a utility that comes with Windows. It’s for configuring the start up process, boot configurations, etc. However you must be an administrator with full rights to your computer in order to edit these settings.

Simply open up Control Panel and go to Administrative Tools. It will be listed as System Configuration.

In here, you can stop services running during boot up, if they are not necessary to the boot up process. A lot of the stuff in here is a lot like Safe Mode (F8) except that you can choose it while inside Windows GUI.

If you can’t get into your GUI and need those options, you need to log into Safe Mode (with it’s varying options). When the computer restarts continually press F8. You’ll probably hear a few beeps if you do it too much, but it won’t hurt the computer.

How To : kill processes in Windows Task Manager

March 18, 2010

For all those Windows users out there that use Task Manager to kill processes and applications that refuse to close down themselves.

When you go into Task Manager, whether it’s XP or Vista, there’s a lot of options. But basically I’m assuming most people are using it to kill applications and processes that refuse to close down themselves.

So, if you must kill a process or close an application down, go into Task Manager and find the process that is associated with the applications. It will be under the PROCESSES tab.

If you can remember the name of the process you can call the process back up right after you kill it. This is when applications bottleneck in the system or for some reason the application ran into memory error faults or something.

For example, on my computer I have a process called photosle.exe. It’s the process that runs Photoshop Limited Edition on my computer. If I right click on the process in the PROCESSES tab and kill the process, I will kill or terminate the active running process, thereby ending or closing the application.

Now, if you go to File and Choose New Task and type in the box: photosle.exe, it will relaunch the application.

You can also relaunch applications from the desktop or their shortcuts, wherever they may be.

But if it’s a driver or specific process, then you can’t just launch an application and it re appears.

For example:
On my computer, I have PDVDserv.exe. This is my DVD decoding drivers. It’s Power DVD software.
It’s always running as soon as I start up windows because it’s a driver. So if I were to kill the process, I couldn’t watch DVDs on my computer, because the driver would not be loaded.

That’s where manually running the driver again comes in.

Go to File, New Task. Type in PDVDserv.exe. If it was just a minor fault, the driver will be run again. Therefore you can use the drivers abilities (DVD watching). However, if the driver fails to re run through task manager, try rebooting or restarting the computer. This knocks out half of the easy problems associated with computers today.

Failing a re run through task manager, and a restart, you may have to uninstall the application or driver and reinstall them onto computer again. Things get corrupted sometimes. It happens.

Failing even that, I would have a check at the drive that software is sitting on. It may have a bad sector or something. A bad sector is physical. It’s the physical condition of the media itself. Whether solid state (flash drives) or platter based (spin hard drives), the parts inside could become damaged or compromised.

So that’s how to kill processes if they begin to bottleneck or become a problem somehow.

How To : Installing Intel Processors into LGA sockets

March 12, 2010

Over the years, microprocessors have been installed onto common motherboards in basically two ways. Sockets and slots. Even if they’ve been soldered onto the board, it was still soldered onto a socket or slot.

Intel has recently made a lot of changes to its socket design for its processors to fit in. While AMD still uses the Zero Insertion Force Pin Grid Array style of socket for its processors to sit in, Intel has made some changes.

Normally in a PGA (Pin Grid Array),  the bottom of the processor has pins that stick out (male connection) that fit in the holes in the socket (female connection). The grid and the processor are arranged in such a way that the processor can only fit one specific way, so you can’t install it backwards or anything.

This actually caused problems because sometimes the pins would bent or even break and then you couldn’t get it on anyways. The slot method was more preferred because of this. However slots have their own issues, or they would have replaced sockets altogether.

Well, Intel decided to get rid of the pins underneath the processor and have contacts instead. You can see these contacts with Core 1xx series. These processors must fit on a socket designed for them. The Land Grid Array socket style.

Intel has made installation of its processors fairly more simple since the PGA style of the clamp down heat sink and fan. Which required the user to use his own tool, a screwdriver to pull the latch down so that the heat sink and fan component were securely fastened to the motherboard.

I must give Intel credit. Any company to improve the design of their hardware, making it easier, or cheaper, or more convenient gets points from me.

So the LGA style socket is pretty much as easy as it comes to install. Simply open up the lid on the socket on the motherboard and slide the processor inside and close the lid and push the ZIF latch down. That easy.

They make the stock heat sink and fan easy as well. Decide how you’re going to plug it into the power connection on the motherboard and line up the four screws to the mounting bracket on the motherboard and simply twist them to secure them.

If you’ve ever installed other style socket processors you’ll know what a pain they can be sometimes.

PGA for example with the screwdriver latch. Though is not such a big deal, I must admit, the LGA sockets are much easier by comparison.

Here’s a video example:

How To : Clean LCD screens

March 12, 2010

LCD screens are pretty much standard today. CRT is out.

Yet many people don’t realize that the cleaning technique has also changed.

Used to be, you could take simple window cleaner and a wash cloth or alternative fabric and clean the screen as if it were a window. No problem.

Times have changed my friends. Now LCD screens are the norm and they are not like CRT screens. They don’t have glass screens anymore.

What you clean them with could harm them instead of care for them.

So, I’ve gotten some questions from people on what to use and how to properly care for your LCD screens.

First off, before cleaning your LCD monitor (laptop monitor, desktop monitor, etc) a good thing to do would be to get an electronic duster canister from any electronic store and just spray off any grit or dust that may be on the screen first. If you begin to wash it before you do this, you may get the grit in the cloth and it may scratch the screen instead of clean it.

I’d recommend a microfiber fabric. A lint free one microfiber fabric for the cloth. They are very soft and will not damage or scratch the screen. You should be able to pick these up in fabric stores or in stores that sell electronics. Microfiber clothes will be different from the wipes and you can reuse them, therefore saving you money.

You can also get wipes called Electronic Wipes, they are usually disposable. Some come pre-soaked in the correct solution to clean the monitor and all.

If not, if you are going to have to make a kit for yourself, then a microfiber lint free cloth.

You’re definitely going to want to stay away from products that contain ammonia or ethanol. It could possibly damage the screen in the long run, causing discoloration and things like that.

Make sure that the commercial cleaner that you buy specifically states that it’s used as a screen cleaner.

Or if you’re like me, you’ll just do the DIY thing and make some yourself.

Here’s how:
Use 50% Isopropyl Alcohol and 50% Distilled Water. Tap water could leave mineral spots.

Spray the cloth, not the monitor. When cleaning LCDs, laptops, computers or televisions, make sure they are unplugged. Do not place or spray the liquid directly onto your notebook or TV. Instead, dampen the special cloth slightly with the cleanser and then gently wipe your screen in a consistent motion, such as counter clockwise, rather than haphazard motions. Use the cleaner sparingly to avoid the leakage of excess fluid into the keypad.

All these suggestions apply equally to laptop displays as well as your other LCD monitors.

Don’t poke or press or be violent with the screen. It’s fragile and will break without extreme care. They’re not CRTs.