Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks

HtTTPS Isn’t Enough: What You Didn’t Know About Staying Safe Online Today by Kelly Lynn

  With Internet hacker attacks becoming more common by the day, Internet users are often warned to check the legitimacy of the websites they visit. When you visit your bank's website to perform online banking transactions, for instance, you're supposed to look at the address bar on the web page to see if the bank's URL is preceded by an https:// rather than simply an https:// . On websites equipped with https:// security, you get a secure looking lock icon in the address bar that tells you that your connection to them is genuine and encrypted so that hackers can't listen in. In truth, though, such websites aren't really a guarantee of security. At least, they aren't anymore. How exactly is https supposed to be safer? In the beginning, years … Continue reading

Solutions to a Skype Volume Issue and a Problematic USB Drive Issue by Kelly Lynn

  Windows is a complex operating system. You can come up against a number of head-scratchers over the course of the typical day. Here are two such possibilities, along with explanations. Skype lowers the volume on your computer If you like to use Skype to keep a communications channel open when you play online video games, Skype has a feature that may annoy you: it lowers the volume of all other audio, including audio on your game. Skype has no settings available to help turn the feature off. Its creators simply seem to assume that when you have a Skype conversation going, you won't want to hear anything else. Many Skype users try to get around the problem by accessing the Windows Volume Mixer and turning all the sliders up … Continue reading

Make Sure That Viruses Never Get on a Family Member’s Computer by Kelly Lynn

  If the computers in your home are used by people who aren't comfortable with technology, you could often find yourself having to deal with malware. Users could visit a bad website or accept software suggestions from bad email, and have a situation on their hands when you come home. You can't depend on antivirus to stop all such installations. It's certainly possible to keep computers at home safe by making sure that everyone uses a Limited or Standard user account (and not an Administrator account). No new software installations are allowed on these accounts. Still, some programs can work poorly when Administrator privileges are not available. Luckily, there's another way to keep computers safe: you can create a whitelist of apps that are safe. Turning on Windows Family Safety … Continue reading

Can You Get a Virus Simply by Opening an Email? by Kelly Lynn

  Up until a few years ago, you needed to be careful about what email you chose to even open to look at. You didn't need to go as far as to try downloading an attachment. Fortunately, email programs are much smarter and safer now. Today, you can open most malicious email without fear of catching a virus. What was it about email that made it unsafe? Email has been around for a long time, since when it carried nothing more than plain text. Over time, improvements made to the protocol allowed email, among other things, to carry executable code. The developers behind this feature, though, failed to foresee the dangers present in such abilities. The ability of email to carry executable code meant that hackers were easily able to send … Continue reading

Questions About Google+ Auto Backup and Password Protection Answered by Kelly Lynn

  Here are two common questions answered about staying safe when using your computer on the Internet. Google+ Auto Backup: What is it and why is it on your computer? Nearly everyone sees an application or two on their computers from time to time that they simply can't remember installing. Sometimes, these uninvited applications aren't a big deal: they remain quiet and unused. Once in a while, though, you get a program that is a nonstop nuisance. Google+ Auto Backup is one of these programs. Even uninstalling doesn't help: it always finds its way back on your computer. Many people are mystified by Google+ Auto Backup and its malware-like behavior. Would a tech major really stoop to such behavior? With Google+ Auto Backup, Google proves that large companies can try … Continue reading

Five Expert-Level Tips for Microsoft Word by Kelly Lynn

  Microsoft Word comes with a number of advanced features to help in nearly every kind of situation that calls for writing. The five tips below can be useful additions to your bag of Word tricks. Use Kerning While many word processing software packages usually only offers fixed character spacing, professional-level desktop publishing software always comes with an expert-level feature called kerning. It allows customizable character spacing for a visually pleasing effect. Microsoft Word offers kerning, too -- even if it doesn't come activated out-of-the-box. Clicking on the little pop-out button on the Fonts section on the Home tab  turns brings up the Fonts Properties dialog. Under the Advanced tab on the  box, clicking in the checkbox named Kerning for fonts turns the feature on. Insert Excel charts from within Word You … Continue reading

What If You Could Turn Your Handwriting into a Font? by Kelly Lynn

  As any kid in school has probably noticed, summer vacation has a terrible effect on one's handwriting. After weeks of no schoolwork, often, one's ability to hold a pen and form good, legible letters disappears. It takes days of training to bring it all back. Today, practically everyone is at this level: with computers and smartphones replacing nearly every area in which one may need to hold a pen and write on paper, good penmanship is all but gone. If you're someone who has naturally beautiful handwriting, you may mourn the loss. After all, unlike the fonts on a computer, your handwriting is unique to you. A way out Certainly, if you love your handwriting, you can practice a little each day to keep your hand in. This may … Continue reading

Five Outlook Tips for Better Productivity and Workflow by Kelly Lynn

  If Outlook in Microsoft Office is your primary email tool, every tip or trick that you learn will help you become more productive. Try the five tips on this list. Be ready with canned passages with Quick Parts If you often use set passages of text in your emails, Outlook comes with a feature called Quick Parts that gives you a way to save them for repeated use. To save a passage of text, highlight it, go to the Insert tab on the Ribbon and look on the drop-down menu for Quick Parts . Pick Save selection to Quick Parts gallery . The next time you need to use that passage, you'll see the full canned passage pop up when you type the first few words of the passage … Continue reading

Keeping an Eye on Your Kids' Computer Access by Kelly Lynn

  What goes on with the family computer when you're away? If you're a parent who would like to keep a close eye on the time your children spend on the computer, an up-to-date logon list each daycan be a useful tracking tool. Windows has just the feature for such monitoring: it's called Audit logon events . What does Audit logon events do? Windows keeps full account of every time that someone logs on -- both attempts made locally and ones made over a network. Each logon event recorded comes complete with user account information and the times involved. Here's how you get the feature to work In Windows, Audit logon events comes turned off by default. To start the feature, you need to change settings on the Local Group Policy … Continue reading

God Mode and Other Great Hidden Features on Windows 7 and 8 by Kelly Lynn

  Windows comes with a great many hidden possibilities. Here are five that everyone should know about. God Mode Many people have heard of God Mode in Windows, and imagine it to be some kind of mystical experience. Rather than mystical, though, it is simply convenient. It puts nearly every kind of Windows setting, adjustment and tweak that you may need to access, all in one place. Firing up God Mode isn't a very intuitive process. You need to type in code to get it going. To begin, you need to create a new folder on your desktop. The folder should be named with a specific string of code: God.ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C (the God. part is only something that helps you name the feature; you can just as easily use any other … Continue reading