Monday, November 22, 2010

Adobe X - The Next Generation of Adobe Software

Adobe X is the latest version of Adobe Acrobat and Reader software.  If you still have Adobe 9 (or earlier versions) on your computer, your software is now outdated.   You can get the newest version of Adobe Reader X by clicking here.

Many of the new features available in Adobe Acrobat and Reader don't apply to the average consumer.  But  those who work frequently with the feature in Adobe Acrobat,  may find some of the new features nice.  You can view a complete list of new features available in Adobe X by clicking here.

Acrobat X Standard - License
Acrobat X Standard - License
Reliably create and share PDF documents and forms.

Acrobat X Pro - License
Acrobat X Pro - License
Prepare, protect, and deliver professional PDF communications.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can't Open Attachments in Outlook Express

Not being able to open attachments in Outlook Express is a common problem after updating Internet Explorer.  That's because Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are tied together and by default, a security setting is configured to prevent you from opening potentially harmful attachments. Only problem is that this setting prevents you from opening ALL attachments. 

To fix  the problem, follow the steps below:
  1. Open Outlook Express
  2. On the menu, select TOOLS and then OPTIONS (a small window till open)
  3. Click the SECURITY tab on the newly opened window
  4. Uncheck the box that reads, "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus".
  5. Click the OK button to save the changes and close the window.

That should fix the problem.  Try opening your attachment again.  
If this didn't fix the problem ... there may be another security setting somewhere else that needs to be reconfigured.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to Create Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a great way to keep up to date on specific topics.  For example, if you're interested in "pet care services", you can create a Google alert for that topic. Anytime a new blog post or article is written on "pet care services", Google will send you an email sharing the information and link to the source.  .

From an ordinary consumer view, this is a great way to keep up on your favorite hobbies and interests. Google alerts will save you time scouring the Internet looking for information related to your hobby and interests.

From a business view, this Google Alerts are a valuable tool that help you stay on top of what is happening in your industry (as well as what information your competition is publishing).   Again, this is a huge time saver in keeping up to date on the latest info and industry trends.

Setting up Google Alerts is easy.  You just need to have a Google Account first (which is free). If you have a Google Account, you can add another email address (or alternate) to your account.  Doing so, will allow you chose which email you want the Google Alert to go to (i.e., personal or business). 

To set up a Google Alert, follow the steps below:
  1. Go to the Google Alert site

  2. In the "Search Term" field, type the keyword that you're interested in (pet care services in this example)

  3. Under "Type", you can specify if you want EVERYTHING that's published for that keyword or just specific info (like video or blog updates).

  4. The "How Often" field lets you configure how often you want Google to email you an alert (once a day, as it happens, or weekly).

  5. The "Volume" field lets you specify if you want to see every alert, or just the best.  Stick with "just the best" here.

  6. The "Deliver to" option lets you specify which email address to the alerts to (if you have more than email address setup in your Google Account). 

Even with "just the best" option selected in step 5, you will get a good amount of alerts from Google.  I have most of my alerts configured for "everything" (step 3), "once a day" (step 4), and "only the best" (step 5). These settings help me manage the emails better.

Most of my Google Alerts end up on my spam (or junk) box ... which is fine with me.  I just go through it once a day and look for Google Alerts.  While there are loads of them, they are pretty easy to check out fairly quickly.  When you open each Google Alert email, you will see a summary of results along with headlines and links.  If a headline catches my eye, I will click the link to read more .... otherwise I just ignore the info.  I can get through these emails pretty quickly this way.

The really nice thing is that if a headline does catch my eye and look like information I should be aware of, I can click the link to read more. Then if the info looks like something I think my readers will be interested in. I will do a little more research and write my own blog post on the topic to share with them.  I usually try and make my blog posts more complete than the info shared in the Google Alert. 

You can create as many Google Alerts as you like.  For example, you might create one for "pet nutrition", "pet certification", "pet care legislation", etc.

You can also manage your Google Alerts. So if you find that you're getting too many emails, you can reconfigure your settings or even delete an alert if you decide it's not helpful.

If you look to the right of the Google Alert settings, you will see a bunch of text.  Below it will be a link that reads, "You can also click here to manage your Google Alerts".  Click that link to delete or make changes to your Google alerts.

To Delete a Google Alert .... place a check mark in the box next to the alert you want to delete, and click the delete button.

To make changes to an alert, click the EDIT link on the right side of the Google Alert.

That's all there is to it.   Since deleting Google Alerts is easy, set a few up and give it a try. You might have to create alerts for different keywords until you find the ones that work best for or your business.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Watch for Windows Antivirus in Emails

    It appears that the rogue program, Windows Antivirus is now spreading via emails. Previously, the only way to get it was to click an internet link which took you to an infected site.

    But the other day, one of my single clients received an email that appeared to be from a friend with a picture of a girl attached that he wanted him to see. He clicked the link to open the picture and was immediately hit with messages from Windows Antivirus telling him his computer was infected.

    This is the first time I've seen an attack via email by the rogue program (though I suppose it was just a matter of time).  

    Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and if you haven't already, be sure to download and install Malwarebytes AntiMalware (one of the few programs that can successfully remove Windows Antivirus).  In addition to these things, be careful not to open emails from people you don't know (especially if they contain links or attachments).

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Support Ending For WinXP & Vista

    Now that Windows 7 is is the newest operating system,  lot of folks have been wondering when support for WinXp and Vista will end.   Good question!  But unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. It all depends on which version of windows you're running and which service packs are installed.

    First thing you want to do is make sure you have the latest Service Pack installed on your computer. This means that if you're running Windows XP, you want to make sure Service Pack 3 (SP3) is installed.  If you're running Vista, you want to make sure Service Pack 2 (SP2) is installed.  When in doubt, run Windows Update until all important (or critical) updates are downloaded and installed.

    What Service Pack Is Installed On Your Computer?

    If you're running WinXP, you can check to see what service pack is installed by clicking the START button, then RIGHT CLICKING on MY COMPUTER and selecting PROPERTIES.  A gray window will pop up on and you will see the service pack listed under the "system".  The latest one is SP3.

    If you're running Vista, you can check to see what service pack you're running by clicking the START button, then RIGHT CLICKING on COMPUTER and selecting PROPERTIES.  If you look near the top of the window that pops up (under Windows Edition), you'll see which service pack is installed.  The latest one released is SP2.  

    If you are not running SP3 on WinXP or SP2 on Vista, you need to run Windows Update to get them.  Having these service packs are critical to getting continued to support from Microsoft for a little while longer.

    Microsoft will eventually end support for WinXP and Vista ... which means that you won't be able to get Windows Updates that help protect the system.  But there is no need to run out and buy Windows 7 yet.  

    Here's what we know:
    • Vista will continue to be supported until April 2012 (2017 for Vista Business users)

    • WinXP will continue to be supported until April 2014

    For more information about WinXP Support, click here

    For more information about Vista Support, click here.

    Should you Upgrade or Buy a New Computer?

    Several factors are involved in deciding to upgrade versus buy a new computer.  One of the first things you have to ask yourself is, are you happy with your current computer?  If no, then you'd be better off buying a new computer.

    If the answer is yes, then you have to determine if your current computer is compatible with Windows 7.  You can download and run the Windows 7 Compatibility Advisor for help in determining if your computer is compatible with Win7.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    How to Delete Posts on Facebook

    Every time you do something on Facebook, your activity is logged on your profile page.  For example, if you make changes to your profile settings, Facebooks shares this with the world on your profile page.  If you comment on another person's status or photo, it gets logged on your profile page so folks know what you're up to.

    This may or may not bother you, especially if you're using Facebook for personal reasons.  But if you're a business owner, you might not want to share your "housekeeping" activity with others. Here's an example of the kind of activity posts I'm talking about.
    As you can see, these kind of posts really have no value and on a business page, can stick out a like a sore thumb. Deleting them is easy.  Just follow the steps below:
    1. Move your mouse to the top right corner of a post, and you will see an X appear (like the one circled in red below). 
    1.  Click the X and a window will pop-up asking if you want to remove the post.
      Click REMOVE POST

    You'll have to repeat these steps for every post you want to remove.  But you'll notice that your facebook page looks a lot cleaner with these types of posts removed from it. 

    For information on removing game posts from Facebook, click here.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Be Cautious of Windows Security Alerts

    I've shared a lot of information in the past about the dreaded Windows Antivirus program.  It's a malware program that has been infecting many of my client's computers over the last couple of years.  While the characteristics are the same, the rogue program keeps changing names and getting better at evading removal.

    We know that it get's on people's computer while they're surfing the internet. All they have to do is click a link to an infected page and suddenly they find themselves confronted with several pop-up windows telling them their computer is infected. 

    The problem is that it's impossible to narrow down the web site that is infected, because .... well, countless web pages are infected.  Today, I was doing research for my genealogy web site and was searching for genealogical societies in Pennsylvania when I stumbled across an infected site.  I thought I would share exactly what happens next so that you can take proper steps to remove the rogue program before it infects the rest of the computer.

    So as I mentioned earlier, I was searching Google for "genealogical societies in Pennsylvania" when I stumbled across the search result below.

    Now if I had been paying better attention, I never would have clicked on the link because several things stood out as red flags just looking at it. But I was in my 4th hour of research by that point, hungry, and blurry eyed, so I just clicked away!  Big mistake!

    Looking at the image above, two things stand out (circled in red) that I should have paid closer attention to before clicking the link.  The first one is the yellow exclamation point (top right).  This was Norton warning me that this site is not safe.   The second red flag is the actual link of the site (also circled).  I'm searching genealogical societies and the link starts out:  That should have been a huge flag if I had been paying better attention.

    None the less, I missed the red flags and clicked the link.  Next I was confronted with the following warning message.

    Having seen the Windows Antivirus more times than I can count, I recognized this warning message immediately and tried to Cancel it.  As expected, that caused several more pop-up messages warning me my computer was infected and that I should click OK to fix the problem.  Every time I canceled the prompts, I was hit with more and stuck in an endless loop of warning messages.

    After several cancellations, I eventually got to the Windows Security Alert window shown below (confirming my hunch that this was indeed the dreaded Windows Antivirus).

    At this point, there was only one way to get out of the endless loop of warning messages.  I had to close my internet browser.  But of course, the only way to do this now, was to open the Windows Task Manager, find my browser in the list of processes, highlight it and click END PROCESS.

    If you're not familiar with the Windows Task Manager., hit CNTRL - ALT - DEL on your keyboard (holding all 3 keys down together) to call it up.  Then click the PROCESSES tab and find your browser in the list (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.).  Single left-click it to highlight it, then click the END PROCESS button.  If done correctly, your internet browser should close. 

    After my browser was closed, I wanted to make sure the rogue program was off my computer.  So I opened my favorite malware program (Malwarebytes Antimalware), updated it and then ran the quick scan.  Sure enough it found 3 infections listed as "Rogue.Security Toolbar".  I click the appropriate prompts to let Malwarebytes remove the program and then rebooted the computer when prompted.  Then I ran Malwarebytes again just to verify the rouge program was gone from my computer (and it was). 

    You might be wondering why Norton didn't remove it.  Well, the quick answer is that I didn't ask Norton to.  I let Malwarebytes remove it instead since I knew it could handle it from previous experience.  If you recall, Norton did try and warn me when I was looking at the search listing in Google and I ignored it.  

    This particular rogue program isn't a true virus in the way other viruses work.  This program is very malicious and tries to extort money from you by scaring you into believing your computer is so infected with Trojan viruses that you must let this rogue program remove them now (for a fee of course).

    Malwarebytes Antimalware specializes in these types of programs so I trust and use it to remove them.  None the less, the problem is solved and hopefully you'll be better equipped to handle the attack yourself if ever you're ever confronted with it.