CTPC User Group


  1. Preview of the Next CTPC Meeting
  2. The Tip Corner - Bill Sheff
  3. Two Factor Authentication — Proof of Identity - Phil Sorrentino
  4. Microsoft Releases Its Largest Collection of Free E-books - Ira Wilsker
  5. Twitter for Seniors - Larry McJunkin
  6. Better Ways to Store Your Files than On the Desktop - Joel Lee
  7. Interesting Internet Finds – Steve Costello
  8. Creating a Safe Online Environment for Kids (and Grandkids) - Free E-Book from TrendMicro - Ira Wilsker

Preview of the Next CTPC Meeting - Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion

The roundtable format is working well for us in between programs.

Members have been weighing in on possible topics and the primary one seems to be: Photos - what you use to take them, how you manage them, how you share them. A secondary topic might be: Automotive trends - in-car tech, hybrids and electrics and self-driving cars (do you want one in your neighborhood?).

There will assuredly be lots to talk about. So, please come and weigh in on these or other topics. Richard Frisch will host Random Access as well.

Don’t forget our new location: the United Congregational Church of Norwalk on Richards Avenue (directions here). If it’s a very warm night we can take the folding chairs outside and have an outdoor meeting – again! Pizza and refreshments at Uncle Joe’s will follow. CLICK HERE for directions from the church to Uncle Joe’s.

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Bill Sheff, Lehigh Valley Computer Group, Pennsylvania, March 2014 issue, The LVCG Journal, www.lvcg.org, nsheff (at) aol.com

The Tip Corner

Google Tips
Many of us use Google as a search engine. Others use it for mail and many other neat programs, so here are a few tips you might not know about.

Type define followed by the word you want the definition for. For example, typing: define mountain would display the definition of that word.

Local search
Go to Google Local and enter the area you want to search and the keyword of the place you want to find. For example, typing: shoe stores would display shoe stores in the area.

Phone number lookup
Enter the area code and the other seven numbers to display the name and address associated with that phone number.

Find weather and movies
Type "weather" or "movies" followed by a zip code or city and state to display current weather conditions or movie theaters in your area. You will get the weather for the next four days. When you type movies followed by the zip code will give you a link for show times for movies in that area.

Track airline flight and packages
Enter the airline and flight number to display the status of an airline flight and its arrival time. For example, typing United 2344 will display the flight information if available.

Google can also give a direct link to package tracking information if you enter a UPS, FedEx or USPS tracking number.

You can translate text that you type in as well as a web page. I have used this a few times to let renters in my condo know about a meeting. Use the Google Language Tools.

Pages linked to you
Type “link” followed by your URL to see what other web pages are linking to your website or blog.

Find PDF results only
Add fileType: to your search to display results that only match a certain file type. For example, if you wanted to display RTF results you would type for example “Windows short cuts” file type: RTF would show files that were in RTF. Searching for manuals? File Type: PDF would help you along.

Use the Google Search engine as a calculator by typing a math problem in the search. For example, typing: 100 + 200 would display results as 300.

Just type a stock symbol and get a stock quote.

OK! On to some other tips. This one comes up quite often, so here goes:

Speeding Up Your PC
We all experience times when the computer starts slowing down. Usually, the biggest culprits are the things that sneak into your computer such as spyware, adware and other computer threats that are unwittingly downloaded along with other content while online. It happens to us all.

A good place to start is to clean Your Computer’s Windows Registry. Don’t try and do it manually.

Use a program that is set up for that. One that many of us use is CCleaner. There is a free version and does a lot more than just the register. Errors, spyware and orphan file pointers build up over time. Some like to clean the registry daily, but I personally only use it about every other week. Go through the settings. For example, you can clean out your cookies, but before you do you can list the ones you want to keep such as cookies to special sites – you won’t believe the difference that it makes.

CCleaner will also remove temporary files and other files that get added on and slowly clog your system. This program will also empty your Recycle Bin.

I don’t know about you, but I collect programs like rocks rolling down the mountain side. It is very easy to download a program that sounds like the answer to a maiden’s prayer, but after a month and you still don’t use it, scrap it. Another way is to keep the install file on a separate external drive that you can then plug in to install a program you want to use, delete it after a while, but still have the install program.

Another tip. Reduce the number of icons on the windows screen. They do take up resources and can slow the machine down. Rather than just deleting them, you can segregate by type; such as audo/video, utilities, etc, and then put each category in its own folder. I don’t know how much this will speed up your computer, but it certainly will clear a lot of clutter.

Defragging your hard drive is another speeder upper, however most newer machines automatically defrag on a periodic basis. But perhaps a couple of times a year go into Applications and do a defrag while you drink a cup of coffee.

Finally, Get rid of a virus
As stated above, not only viruses but Trojans, worms, and other malicious programs can also slow down a computer. Even if you uninstall a program or delete a malicious program sometimes something can remain in the registry, which can also affect the speed. Sometimes malicious software can install itself again after deletion. So:

  1. Install a good registry cleaner or maintainer and run it. (CCleaner as mentioned above)
  2. Install a good antivirus and perform a full scan. (Install AVG free or AVAST free and Malwarebytes)
  3. Install a good fire wall.
Since the way a virus infects a computer is through subterfuge, as the virus is usually hidden in seemingly harmless files, documents or programs, it is imperative for you to remove the virus as soon as you discover that your computer is infected. If the virus is not quickly removed, it can cause incredible damage to your system. Microsoft has a tool (Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool) free for Windows users to remove virus threats and to disinfect the computer system.
To find some other possible software that you can use Google Virus removal, or malicious file removal and do some research.


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Phil Sorrentino, Staff Writer, The Computer Club, Inc., Sun City Center, FL, March 2014 issue, The Journal, www.scccomputerclub.org/, philsorr (at) yahoo.com

Two Factor Authentication — Proof of Identity

When you walk up to a teller in a bank and request information about your bank account, the teller may ask you to authenticate yourself by providing a picture form of identification. But if you have been going to this bank for many years and she is familiar with you, she may just give you the information. In truth, your face and her knowledge of you have provided the necessary authentication for her to respond to your requests. Authentication is much easier in the real world than it is in the software and computer-network world.

Authentication is the act of proving one is really who one says he or she is. In the computer world, we all experience this every time we sign on to one of our accounts or websites. Typically we are asked for a User Name and a Password. The correct User Name and Password combination proves, to the software requesting these items, that we are who we say we are. Of course, we could give our User Name and Password to a friend, something we rarely want to do because then he would be able to authenticate himself as the owner of our account. “Hacking” occurs when someone or some software program attempts to guess your Password after acquiring your User Name: maybe from some public information source. (Remember, User Names are available all over the internet.) This is a form of brute force “hacking” of an account. And unfortunately, there are many other, more sophisticated, ways of hacking into an account.

So, more formally, “Authentication is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a datum or entity, which might involve confirming the identity of a person or software program, or ensuring that a product is what it’s packaging and labeling claims to be.”

In other words, Authentication involves verifying the validity of at least one form of identification. As it turns out, practically, there can be three forms of authentication, called factors. Now, two-factor authentication requires the use of two of the three authentication factors. These factors are:

(These factors are so important for authentication that they are identified in government documents in the standards and regulations for access to U.S. Federal Government systems.) Some security procedures now require three-factor authentication, which involves possession of a password, and a physical token, used in conjunction with biometric data, such as a fingerprint, or a voiceprint, or a retina scan.

Two-factor authentication is not a new concept. When a bank customer visits a local automated teller machine (ATM), one authentication factor is the physical ATM card that the customer slides into the machine (“something the user has”). The second factor is the PIN the customer enters through the keypad (“something the user knows”). Without the corroborating verification of both of these factors, authentication does not succeed. Another example is when you use your credit card for a gasoline purchase and you have to enter your ZIP code to confirm the charge. You must provide a physical factor (something you own), the card, and a knowledge factor (something you know), the ZIP code. These examples show the basic concept of a two-factor authentication system: the combination of something the user knows and something the user has.

“Something only the user knows” is termed a Knowledge factor and is the most common form of authentication used. In this form, the user is required to prove knowledge of a secret in order to authenticate, typically, a password, PIN, or a Pattern. All of us are familiar with the password which is a secret word or string of characters. This is the most commonly used mechanism for authentication. Many two-factor authentication techniques rely on a password as one factor of authentication. A PIN (personal identification number), is a secret series of numbers and is typically used in ATMs. A Pattern is a sequence of things, like lines connecting the dots on the login screen of a cell phone or tablet.

“Something only the user has” is termed a Possession factor. A key to a lock is a good example. With today’s computer systems your email account or your phone or a swipe-card is used as a possession factor.

“Something only the user is” is termed an Inheritance factor. Historically, fingerprints, a biometric method, have been used as the most authoritative method of authentication. Other biometric methods such as retinal scans are possible, but have shown themselves to be easily fooled (spoofed) in practice.

Two-factor authentication is sometimes confused with “strong authentication”, but these are fundamentally different processes. Soliciting multiple answers to challenge questions may be considered strong authentication, but, unless the process also retrieves “something the user has” or “something the user is”, it would not be considered two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication seeks to decrease the probability that the requester is presenting false evidence of its identity. The more factors used, the higher the probability that the bearer of the identity evidence is truly that identity. These systems ask for more than just your password. They require both “something you know” (like a password) and “something you have” (like your phone or email account). After you enter your password, you’ll get a second code sent to your phone or email, and only after you enter it will you get into your account. It is a lot more secure than a password only, and helps keep unwanted snoopers out of your accounts.

Many well-known systems employ two-factor authentication. Some of these are: Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Facebook, Google Accounts, Microsoft/Hotmail, Paypal/eBay, Twitter, and Evernote. The two factor authentication will typically be employed when you are using a different computer, or a computer from a different location, when trying to access one of your accounts.

Most of these two-factor implementations send you a 6 digit code via a text message for you to input when you receive it. This 6 digit code becomes the second factor to be used with the original password. This definitely adds an extra step to your log-in process, and depending on how the account vendor has implemented it, it can be a minor inconvenience or a major annoyance. (And it also depends on your patience and your willingness to spend the extra time to ensure the higher level of security.) But in the long run the use of a two-factor authentication improves the security of your private information, no doubt something we all want.

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Ira Wilsker - Ira hosts “My Computer Show” a call-in tech support show on KLVI radio, 560AM, from 4-5 p.m. Mondays, Pacific time. The show streams live over the net at KLVI.com and on the free iHeartRadio app. His call-in number is 800-330-5584.

Microsoft Releases Its Largest Collection of Free E-books

http://tinyurl.com/NEW-Microsoft-E-Books  (same link as above)

In early July, Microsoft released its "Largest collection of FREE Microsoft eBooks ever, including: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server, and much more". This announcement was posted in an official blog by Microsoft's Eric Ligman, who is their Senior Sales Excellence Manager. I have compressed the very long URL (web address) of the blog into tinyurl.com/NEW-Microsoft-E-Books. This collection of approximately 150 e-books on contemporary Microsoft products has taken the computing world by storm, as over a million of these e-books were downloaded in the first two days following the announcement. It should be noted that while many of these e-books are new releases, other titles listed are prior releases, but still contain valuable content.

Each of these free e-books is available in one or more of the popular formats, including PDF, EPUB, MOBI, XPS, DOC, and DOCX, making them accessible to computers regardless of operating system, dedicated readers, mobile devices (tablets and smart phones). Many of these e-books can also be opened and displayed on almost all of the popular word processors as most third party word processors can open Microsoft DOC and DOCX files.

I am typing this column on my three year old Windows 7 PC, using Office 2010; included in this recent release of e-books are several titles that cover Windows 7 and Office 2010. Some of the e-books specifically for Windows 7 users include Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts, Windows 7 Power Users Guide (free download from a third-party link), Deploying Windows 7 Essential Guidance, Welcome to Windows 7, and What You Can Do Before You Call Tech Support (Windows 7); these e-books are all available in PDF format.

One of my favorites on the list of Windows 7 e-books is "Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts" which provides 12 pages of keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are typically key combinations that implement Windows commands without the use of a menu or a mouse; most users are aware that CTRL-C (simultaneous pressing the "Control" key and the letter "C") is the shortcut to copy something, while CTRL-V (simultaneous pressing the "Control" key and the letter "V") will paste whatever was copied. CTRL-C and CTRL-V are but two of the hundreds of keyboard shortcuts listed. Many users are unaware that the "Windows Logo" key common on most PC and laptop keyboards (typically on the bottom-left row) controls about three dozen Windows and display functions; utilization of these "Windows logo" shortcuts can increase the usability and functionality of Windows computers. Windows Explorer, the file manager included in Windows 7, has its own list of about two dozen keyboard shortcuts, many of which I was unaware of. I found that CTRL-PERIOD (CTRL-.) will rotate an image clockwise, and CTRL-COMMA (CTRL-,) will rotate an image counter-clockwise. There are also keyboard shortcuts for those who use the Windows magnifier function, shortcuts for those items displayed in the taskbar, as well as shortcuts for Microsoft Paint, WordPad, Calculator, Windows Journal, and Windows Help. A user may learn a great deal about Windows 7 functionality by simply reviewing the list of shortcuts. Users of Windows 8 may find "Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts" and "Work Smart: Windows 8 Shortcut Keys" (a DOCX file) invaluable in increasing personal productivity. Other e-books provide specific lists of keyboard shortcuts for various Microsoft products, including Word, Excel, Access, InfoPath, Publisher, SharePoint, Visio, SmartArt, OneNote, Project 2013, and PowerPoint.

On this computer I am using Office 2010, and this directory is rich with Office 2010 content and guides. Some of the available Office 2010 titles include Office 2010 User Resources, Getting started with Microsoft Office 2010 – For IT Professionals, Security and Privacy for Microsoft Office 2010 Users, Planning guide for Microsoft Office 2010 - For IT professionals, and Microsoft Office 2010 First Look. Admittedly my Office 2010 is several years old, users of newer versions of Office will not be disappointed with the wealth of offerings covering Office 2013 and Office 365. Among the titles available are Getting To Know Office 365, Deployment Guide for Office 2013, Office 365 Midsize Business Quick Deployment Guide, Quick Start to Office 365 for Small to Medium Businesses, Deployment Guide for Office 2013, Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses: Help and How To, Office 365 – Connect and Collaborate virtually anywhere, anytime, Office 365 Guides for professionals and small businesses, and Microsoft Office in the Classroom.

I am not too ashamed to admit that I have been guilty in the past of having closed Office without properly saving what I had been working on; while it no longer happens to me (very much), it seems to be a common faux pas among some of my coworkers. For those of us unfortunate enough to have ever committed such an act, Microsoft has a free e-book which might help alleviate the frustration, "How To Recover That Un-Saved Office Document". Simple illustrated instructions are provide to remedy many of these errors, as well as tips to minimize the likelihood of it happening again in the future. When helping others with Office, I almost universally turn on the "Auto Save and Auto Recover" function integrated into Office. I recommend that from any Office component, that the user clicks on FILE or the "Microsoft Orb" in the top-left corner, scroll to OPTIONS, and then to SAVE. I have Office auto-save whatever I am doing every 10 minutes, so that in the event of some kind of problem or lockup (that obnoxious "Not Responding" notification), the most that I can lose is my last 10 minutes of work. While I choose the 10 minute auto-save function, users who are more concerned about performance than safety can choose a high number, such as 20 minutes, and worrywarts might want to choose a smaller number, such as 5 minutes. There is a slight performance degradation in Office as it auto-saves more frequently, and less degradation (slightly better performance) with more infrequent saves (higher number of minutes between auto-saves), but one must also consider the aggravation of losing a document or other project due to a program crash or other malady. Really smart Office users will frequently use the sneaky keyboard shortcut CTRL-S to save the latest iteration of their work. I just did precisely that (CTRL-S).

Many of the E-books posted by Microsoft are very technical in nature, covering such topics as SQL, Active Directory Migration Tools, Windows Server, Lync Server, CRM, Windows Azure, "Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition", and other interesting titles. For those into programming, there is also a wealth of free programming E-books, including Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition; Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; and Programming Windows Phone 7.

For users who have recently started using Office 2013, there is an entire series of "Quick Start Guides" for Office 2013 products including Excel, Word, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Visio, PowerPoint, Project, and Publisher. These Quick Start Guides are heavily illustrated, and clearly "show and tell" how to utilize the major features of each of these products. Quick Start Guides are also available for some other Microsoft products, including the highly promoted Office 365. The Office 365 Quick Start Guide file is one of the largest E-book compilations on the list, downloadable as a 99.4 MB ZIP (compressed) file.

Users of any Microsoft Office product, 2010 or later, as well as most other contemporary Microsoft products, will likely find a wealth of useful information among these free E-books. I strongly encourage users to browse the listings, and download any E-books of interest; for free, they are one of the best deals available.

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Larry McJunkin - The Retired Geek Technical Tips for the Non-Technical “Over 50” Crowd, http://retiredgeek.net/, http://retiredgeek.net/contact-me/

Twitter for Seniors

You’ve never used Twitter. You say you’re too old for Twitter…it’s only for kids, and you could care less about reading what Lady Gaga had for lunch today. So obviously, Twitter is not for you. Wrong! If these are your thoughts about Twitter, I can say with authority that Twitter is not what you think.

Twitter does not exist to tell you what a celebrity had for lunch, or what the thoughts are of the singer who was just voted this year’s American Idol (though they might tweet this information). Twitter is a handy way to break news, share knowledge, and refer people to longer forms of communication.

Here’s some great examples of how I use Twitter. Where we live, in Tellico Village (a golfing and boating community in East Tennessee), the demographic is very much retired and very much over the age of 60, and some of the most important information we receive each day comes via Twitter. Updates from our three golf courses regarding whether carts are on the path or not; what the flag positions are; are any holes under repair; status of last night’s storm damage…and the list goes on. The golf course superintendents post these tweets very early in the morning so the hundreds of golfers here know what to expect as they start their day on the links.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the followers. That’s why information on Twitter is short, to the point and effective.

More than half the people I talk to about Twitter think they have to have a smartphone to use it. Not so! You can access Twitter via Web, Desktop Applications and smartphones. It costs nothing to use and it’s just one more social media source, like Facebook, that you won’t know how much you needed it until you try it.

Twitter also has a built-in function for you to befriend and track the messages of other users. This is a simple way for you connect with like-minded people outside of your usual circle. A Twitter association can be developed into a long term acquaintance (if you desire).

If you do happen to have some famous folks you like (singers, actors, golfers, etc.), Twitter is a wonderful way to unobtrusively follow what they’re up to. One of my personal favorites is Brandt Snedeker, the professional golfer from Nashville. His life is comedy of tweets that make me laugh almost every day. Recently, he’s been trying to figure out how to win a war with raccoons and his garbage can…and so far the raccoons are winning!

As an individual, you have a variety of interests that a single newspaper or magazine can’t cover. With Twitter you create your own personal newsfeed. You can get small bites information on local events, celebrities, politicians, hobbies or interests, your favorite news sites, etc. Much like you read a newspaper by scanning the headlines, on Twitter you can see short headlines describing an article and you can decide if you want to click on the link to read the rest of the story.

News is published on Twitter the instant it happens and if something big happens you’ll likely find out when someone you follow tweets about it. In fact, Twitter became more widely known after a user tweeted a link to a picture of the US Airways plane that successfully landed in the Hudson River.

Unlike traditional media where it is a one-way medium, you can be involved in Twitter. You can re-broadcast (re-tweet) the information you find valuable. You can comment on issues and share your own views (within the 140-character constraint, of course).

You can quickly and directly contact local politicians, celebrities and other people you don’t know. You don’t have to find out their address and compose a lengthy message, you can instantly let them know your opinion. These are people you will probably never meet in real life but now you can get daily updates on their lives and their interests.

Public figures tend to have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers and they may not respond to a tweet, but they often do read their (most important) messages because a 140 character tweet is easier to read quickly than a lengthy e-mail. Celebrities usually have an aide sift through tweets and pass on only the ones they think are worth reading.

You can also use Twitter to quickly inform friends and family about your daily life. You can tweet about things that aren’t important enough for an e-mail but something you would mention to your friends if you bumped into them. You can also keep track of what they are up to by following them (if they’re on Twitter, of course). You may also connect with other people with similar interests and strike-up an online friendship.

In any event, much like Facebook or Skype, don’t be afraid to give Twitter a try. It’s free, nothing tracks you or your actions, and you might just find that it’s fun! If it isn’t for you…that’s what the DELETE key is for.

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Joel Lee, MakeUseOfCom.com, May 5, 2014, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-better-ways-store-files-desktop/, http://bit.ly/1iiLU2u

3 Better Ways to Store Your Files than On the Desktop

Did you know that storing files directly on your desktop can harm your productivity? I used to be one of “those” people who downloaded files straight to the desktop. If you can identify with that, then I have good news for you: you can do better. Desktop storage is simple, sure, but it comes with hidden drawbacks you may not know about.

Kick the bad habit with these alternative file storage methods. They may not be as convenient but I promise that you’ll learn to love them in the long run.

The urge to save files to the desktop is understandable. It provides immediate access with a single click, which means that it’s tempting to turn the desktop into a de facto headquarters for storage. But unless you are strict with maintenance, you’ll eventually succumb to these issues:

Separate Drive Partitions
One bit of computer wisdom that you should learn is this: “Never save data on the same partition as your operating system.” In Windows, the location of the desktop on the file system does reside on the same partition as the operating system itself.

Why is this important advice? Because you want to avoid putting all of your eggs in the same basket.

Let’s say that you happen to contract a mild virus or malware that attacks your operating system. It might wipe all files related to the operating system itself OR it may affect the entire partition that holds the operating system. By losing the operating system, you lose all of your saved data as well.

But if you installed Windows to the C: partition and stored all of your files on the D: partition, your files on D: would be safe even if C: were wiped clean. The only way D: would be affected is if the physical hard drive itself was wiped or damaged.

One additional benefit of having separate partitions is that you can reinstall Windows without losing your saved data. Tina has written on the subject of resizing Windows partitions, so check it out if you want to take advantage of this feature. http://bit.ly/1lfBCDe 

Use Windows Libraries
Every installation of Windows comes with a directory called My Documents. In Windows 7, it was renamed to Documents and came with a couple of buddies: Music, Pictures, and Videos. They’re called libraries and you’ve probably seen them before, but never really used them, right? Well, you should reconsider.

In truth, these four libraries are special. They aren’t just directories; they’re collections of multiple directories. In each library, you can specify different directories to be included and that library will show the content from all included directories. It sounds more complicated than it is.

Think of it like this: You can save your videos to many different locations and link those directories to the Videos library. Then, whenever you access the Videos library, you’ll see all of those files in one place.

It’s just as convenient as storing everything on the desktop, yet infinitely more flexible and organized. For more details on how to take advantage of this feature, check out Chris’s writeup on how to use Windows Libraries. http://bit.ly/1iMkORF

Store Files in the Cloud
Cloud storage has been a big buzz term over the past few years and for good reason. While cloud-related solutions like Dropbox, G+ Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive come with privacy concerns , they also offer many benefits and I think people are too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Here’s how it works: You set aside one or more directories that automatically sync with whatever service you’re using (comparison of cloud storage services). These files can be accessed from anywhere and they can be set to private or public.

Why is this better than storing straight on the desktop? One Drive (aka SkyDrive) comes integrated with Windows 8 and can help you keep your files synced.

Need Quick Access to Files?
Sometimes convenience wins out over practicality and reason. The desktop is great because it allows for immediate access, right? With one small compromise, you can maintain that convenience. The answer is to use shortcuts.

Creating a shortcut is as simple as dragging a file using the right mouse button to where you want the shortcut to appear, then selecting Create shortcut here from the menu. Even if a shortcut gets wiped, the actual file will still be safe.

But instead of putting the shortcuts on the desktop, why not take it one step further?

Right click on any file shortcut and select either Pin to taskbar or Pin to start menu. It’s a self-explanatory feature that works just as well as, if not better than, traditional desktop shortcuts. I use it day in and day out and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ultimately, personal preference will always win. For those of you who have been “desktopping” for years, you’ll probably find it near impossible to break the habit. I still do it from time to time, though I try my best to clean up after myself when I realize what I’m doing. It just doesn’t make sense to store everything on the desktop anymore.

Do you clutter up your desktop with files and folders galore? If so, are you convinced enough to try a safer method of file storage? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-better-ways-store-files-desktop/ 

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Steve Costello, President/Editor, Boca Raton Computer Society, FL, Editor (at) brcs.org, http://ctublog.sefcug.com/

Interesting Internet Finds

In the course of going through the more than 200 RSS feeds, I often run across things that I think might be of interest to other user group members.

The following are some items I found interesting during the month of January 2014.

Hashtags Today Are Everywhere – Learn How to Use Them to Get Results
Hashtags are not only for Twitter, this post shows other social media that use them, and how to use them effectively there.

How to Move Apps to SD Card on Your Android Device
This question was asked at a SIG (Special Interest Group) earlier, but no one had an Android device with an SD card, so could not answer the question. This post refers to an app to do that.

Google Plus Login, Sign Up and Sign In Security Tips
Thinking of signing up for Google Plus? If so, and I think you really should check it out, read this post from the Windows Club for how to do it.

You can find me on Google Plus at: https://plus.google.com/111470516433780358624/

How to Read a Kindle Book on a Computer
This post explains how to read Kindle books without a Kindle device, or smartphone, by reading it on your computer via two different methods.

Remove Personal Information from Your Digital Photos
Concerned about personal information showing on your online photos? If so, check out this post for how to remove the information before posting with Windows Explorer.

If External Hard Drives Can Fail, Should I Bother With One?
Leo answers with a definitive YES, and explains why.


Most Fridays, more interesting finds will be posted on the Computers, Technology, and User Groups Blog: http://ctublog.sefcug.com/tag/interesting-internet-finds/

The posts are under Creative Commons licensing.

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Ira Wilsker - Ira hosts “My Computer Show” a call-in tech support show on KLVI radio, 560AM, from 4-5 p.m. Mondays, Pacific time. The show streams live over the net at KLVI.com and on the free iHeartRadio app. His call-in number is 800-330-5584.

Creating a Safe Online Environment for Kids (and Grandkids) - Free E-Book from TrendMicro


This past week, I spoke to another group about online child safety. While many parents are all too well aware of the risks that our children are constantly facing online and with internet connected smart devices (smart phones, iPads, tablets, etc.), our children are still being victimized at an alarming rate. Last spring, I spoke to a group of high school students about online safety, and while some showed sincere interest, many other were blasé; I asked those unconcerned children to explain to me what made them believe that they were immune to online predators, cyber thieves, and other miscreants constantly searching for young victims. The general consensus of these kids was that they were too smart to be victimized, while many others simply (but erroneously) felt that they were immortal and immune to any forms of online risks, as " ... nothing bad will happen to me - it might happen to other kids, but it won't happen to me!" Others said that they could tell if someone they were chatting with online or meeting "FTF" (face-to-face) was a "real" person or was a threat. It is attitudes like these that create victims, as many of these kids were gullible, and could easily be taken advantage of - or worse.

In order to help parents and their children be aware of and deal with these online threats to child safety, the security software publisher TrendMicro recently published a free e-book "Creating a Safe Online Environment for Kids" (about-threats.trendmicro.com/ebooks/creating-a-safe-online-environment-for-kids), available for online reading and for free download as a PDF file. While only 10 pages in length, this e-book contains adequate but simple information that parents and their children need to know in order to be safer while using the internet.

While recently visiting with one of my granddaughters, aged 3, I was impressed that she could use her mom's iPhone to play online games, take pictures, watch streaming videos, play streaming music, and perform other simple tasks. Another granddaughter, at age 2, had her own 7" Android Wi-Fi enabled tablet; she could play games, and knew how to tap the icon for "Netflix for Kids". She was very adept at swiping the screen, scrolling through the child-safe videos and cartoons, selecting one, and playing it. This corroborates the opening statement in the TrendMicro e-book, which states, "The Internet has become the new playground for kids everywhere. Hours are spent playing online games, using social networking sites, streaming music, and researching for homework." The next paragraph warns the parents of the basic risks, and details the primary duty of the parents, "Without your guidance, your kids may end up visiting bad sites and encountering the wrong kind of people. It’s important to know the possible online risks in order to create a safe and nurturing online environment for your kids."

One of the first steps that a parent should accomplish is "Preventing Unwanted Access". Parents need to be well aware that there is an enormous amount of inappropriate content online, which may be harmful to our children. Utilizing the "Parental Controls" incorporated into most of the modern operating systems, included with most of the major internet security suites, and available as separate (often free) apps or utilities for all platforms, may allow child safe internet access. The community of geeks at Gizmo's TechSupportAlert.com (techsupportalert.com/best-free-parental-Filter.htm) have tested and evaluated several of the third party parental control utilities from a variety of sources, and found them of some value. The simple change of the Domain Name Server (DNS) used by the computer to connect to websites can easily be changed from the default settings to free DNS services that offer filtered internet access, such as Open DNS (opendns.com/home-internet-security/parental-controls/) or Google's Public DNS (developers.google.com/speed/public-dns). By implementing one or more of the parental controls that are available, parents can restrict their children's access to inappropriate content (as defined by the parent or by default) that includes pornography, unsuitable images, hate content, violent videos and images, and other undesirable content. Parents also need to control access to games and other content that may create a financial responsibility; one of my granddaughters had a game on her tablet which she frequently played, but the game also tried to entice her to click on a button to purchase more virtual game tokens, and another button to open (for a fee) additional levels of that game. Wisely, my daughter had previously blocked the ability of her young daughter to make online purchases.

Parents may also want to implement features on the major search engines that block most search results that are not child safe. Google offers a "Safe Search" setting (support.google.com/websearch/topic/3037065?hl=en&ref_topic=3036131) that will block most, but not all, search results that contain inappropriate material or content. Microsoft's Bing search engine also offers a "SafeSearch" function, similar to Google's, and can be set at onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/bing/ff808441.aspx. For users of Yahoo!, setting its Safe Search preferences is a very simple process; from the Yahoo! search page, on the top-right corner, click on "Options - Preferences" and then the Safe Search selection (pull down) will be displayed. The user can then select "Strict" which "Filters out mature content in both Image Search and Web Search", "Moderate", which "Filters out mature content in Image Search only", or "Off". The user can also password protect or lock the Safe Search function in order to be sure that all Yahoo! search results are filtered.

One of the greatest fears that many parents have while their children are online is "Unwanted Contact", which is explained in this e-book. Young children are often active on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of chat and social networking. Two of the major contemporary risks faced by our children while socializing online is "Cyberbullying" and "Online Grooming". According to TrendMicro, "Cyberbullying refers to the act of harassing someone through information technology. Often times, this translates to bullying via the Internet. Cyberbullying can be difficult to address as bullies may hide behind fake personas, making them harder to trace and stop." Pedophiles often use the internet for what law enforcement calls "victim acquisition", using a well known and documented process known as "Online grooming". TrendMicro warns that, "Online grooming is a way for online predators to victimize unsuspecting children. Sexual predators may attempt to befriend children online through flattery, sympathy, or gifts." These predators, mostly adults, often pretend to be of the same age as the targeted child, and will try to personally meet with the child, which is a very serious threat to the child and his safety. Often bait is used to entice the child, such as offerings of fresh baked cookies, newborn puppies or kittens, ice cream, candy, jewelry, and other gifts. Many of the pedophiles are very effective at taking advantage of the innocence and gullibility of our children, and will often attempt a variety of means to meet "FTF" (face-to-face).

TrendMicro recommends that parents instruct their children on "How to Keep It Friendly", and " ... nurture their friendships with their peers." The "Golden Rule" applies as much online as it does elsewhere, with the e-book providing some behavioral recommendations. "Play nice. Tell your kids to treat people online the way they would want to be treated. Encourage them to only befriend people they know in real life." Anyone experienced on Facebook and other social media may be very aware that large numbers of people will submit "Friend Requests", and many kids use the number of online friends as a form of status symbol; this may be a dangerous assumption, as this is one of the popular methods of victim acquisition, the spreading of malware, financial scams, privacy threats, and identity theft. Our kids must report any forms or incidents of harassment, or any other online contact that makes them feel uncomfortable; parents need to act on these, possibly reporting to the administrators of the website where the incident occurred. Parents need to show a sincere and genuine interest on who the kids are interacting with, and get information on these "friends", and find out who they are, always being cognizant that the information provided by these "friends" is often untruthful.

Privacy is another issue presented by TrendMicro in this e-book. Our children need to be absolutely aware that anything that they post digitally, whether on a social networking website such as Facebook or Twitter, as well as in an email or SMS text message, can never be totally deleted or otherwise removed. Media reports are rife with stories of youngsters sending a private "SEXT" (sexually explicit text message), or pornographic "selfie" photos to a friend, along with a promise to never share that content with anyone else. It is almost inevitable that such highly personal and private content will be widely shared with others, despite admonitions of the original recipient to the contrary. Not just do these embarrassing posts spread quickly to others, but they may also show up unexpectedly in the future, found during routine searches by potential employers, scholarship committees, and family members.

This TrendMicro e-book closes with the statement, "The Internet can be a wonderful place for kids—but only if you make it so." I wholeheartedly concur with that premise.

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