Sunday, March 20, 2011

Removing Facebook Scam Apps

There's another new scam making the rounds on Facebook tonight. This one is a new "Teacher from Behind"
 video.   These types of scams entice you with provocative messages to click on their links and then gain access to your profile information. Other similar Facebook scams include:
  1. See Who's stalking you on Facebook 
  2. Valentine's Day Scam
  3. Japanese Tsunami video 
  4. Guy that Lives on my street killed his girlfriend today
And there's loads more!   These scams are spread on Facebook by folks clicking on the links.  So the first defense against them ... is DON'T CLICK ON THE LINKS!   And then tell your kids not to click on the links.  The next step is to educate your Facebook friends by posting messages about the latest scams and warning them not to click on the links.

If however, you find that you or one of your friends have clicked a scam link on Facebook, here's what you need to do:
  1. Log into your Facebook account
  2. In the blue navigation bar, click ACCOUNT and then PRIVACY SETTINGS
  3. Next to "Apps You Use" is a button that reads, EDIT SETTINGS (click this button)
  4. Scroll down the list and find the scam application and click the "X" to remove it.  Feel free to remove any other applications you may no longer be using.
Here's another article you may be interested in, called "5 Facebook Scams You Should Protect Yourself From". 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Opting Out of Facebook Advertising

Once again, Facebook has made a change to their which affects every user.   Free sites (like Facebook) often depend on Advertising for income.  While most of us understand and accept this, the problem is that Facebook can use your photos and information in their ads.  I wrote a post a while back when Facebook announced changes to their advertising.  At the time, it appeared that there would be no way for users to opt out of having their photos used in the ads.  Now there does appear to be some control for users.  Some of your friends may have posted the status message below:
Today, Facebook will start using your photos in ads that will appear on the profile page of your contacts. It's legal and is mentioned in the fine print when you create your account. TO stop this do the following: Account, Account Settings, Then click on Facebook Ads ( tab...), choose "No one" on the drop-down menu and save changes. Copy this and use in a status update

This message tells you how to opt out of Facebook's new advertising feature.  Here's the steps again:
  1. Log into Facebook
  2. On the blue menu bar click ACCOUNT and then ACCOUNT SETTINGS
  3. Click the tab on the far right that reads, FACEBOOK ADS
  4. Close the Pop-up window that appears. 
  5. Use the drop-down menu to select NO ONE and then save the changes. 
That should take care of things for now ... but who knows what the next Facebook change will bring.
For more information about Facebook Privacy, click here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Setting Up a New Computer

Whenever you get a new computer, there are some things you should do to it before you really start using it.  Below is a list of the things I do on every new computer I set up.  I do all of these these things before I transfer back up and transfer data from an old computer to the new computer. 

First things first, get yourself  3 or 4 blank DVD-R’s or DVD+R’s and use the built in program to create the emergency recovery disks.  This takes about a half hour to do, but should be done before you do anything else on the computer.  These disks will put a copy of your operating system on it and should be saved in cases for emergency purposes (i.e, your computer crashes and won’t start).

Once that’s done, you’ll want to download the following free software and install it.
  1. All Windows updates (there will be a link in your All programs menu)
  2. Adobe Reader (be sure to uncheck any toolbars that it wants to install)
  3. Java (uncheck toolbars)
  4. Quicktime
  5. Malwarebytes AntiMalware
  6. Flash player (you’ll have to open Internet explorer and search google to do this, then follow prompts)
  7. I would also download and install Firefox – and then install flash player in it by opening Firefox, searching google for flash player and following prompts)
  8. If you want iTunes on it, you’ll have to make sure and download the 64-bit version of it
  9. If the computer comes with McAfee, I would uninstall it in the control panel and install Norton or AVG

One more thing I would do (especially if you have a laptop), is create a document to save your important product keys and other info in.  And if your laptop has a Windows 7 sticker on the bottom of  it (as well as service tag or express code), you’ll want to be sure to include the Win7 product key, and any express or service codes in this docs.  These labels then to wear off, so I like to get them written down as soon as possible.

This may seem like a lot to do, but they will  help with the overall health of your new computer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Changes to Qwest Internet

If you use Qwest internet, you have received an email from them recently stating that they were ending their partnership with MSN email and that you needed to make some changes before June 30, 2011.  The email is a bit confusing, so I thought I'd help explain it here.

If your bundled your TV, Phone, and internet with Qwest, then MSN was probably installed in your computer during the setup process.  That's because Qwest had an agreement with MSN where Qwest provided the internet service, and MSN could provide the email service.  Although you never needed to use MSN email if you didn't want to, many folks did because the setup process made it look like you did.

However, now that Qwest and MSN are going their separate ways, folks will have to make some changes to their email in order to ensure they keep getting email after June 30, 2011.  And the changes depend on your current email address.

If you were using MSN for email, your email address is something like "".   If your email address looks like this, then you'll have to make a choice.
  1. If you want to keep your existing email address, you'll have to sign up (and pay) for a Premium MSN account.  So you'll not only be paying for Qwest internet, but also MSN email.
  2. You could switch to a "" email address and use the new Qwest internet system. 
  3. You could sign up for a free Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail email account and use it instead (the advantage of doing this is that your email address will stay the same if you ever change your internet provider in the future).
If you  were using Qwest for your email, your email address was something like, "".  If your email address looks like this, then you will need to switch to Qwest's new system (

For more information about the Qwest changes, click here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Microsoft Office 365 - Sharing in the Cloud

Microsoft and Google are in a battle to be king of "the cloud".  Both offer users a way to create, edit and share office docs online, but features vary a bit.

Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft's online "cloud" services.  It's not another version of Microsoft Office software, but rather a way for users of Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 to share documents with co-workers online.  Microsoft Office 365 was developed for business users (not home users).

Folks with Office 2003 and 2007 will have limited capability in the cloud ...  businesses are encouraged to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010 Professional for a better cloud experience.

For more information about Office 365, there's a book on that you can purchase called, Microsoft Office 365: Connect and Collaborate Anywhere, Anytime

For more information about Microsoft and Google's battle over the cloud, click here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sharing Photos in the Cloud

After seeing the commercials on TV, several folks have asked me for more information about "the cloud" ... specifically, what is it and can it help them?

The "cloud" is it is commonly called, is the internet.  The goal of "the cloud" is to make it easier for people (mainly businesses) to work on and share files.  From a business perspective, multiple users can access the same file (because it's stored on a server) through the internet.  They can work on it and share it with co-workers because they too have access to "the cloud". 

Google Docs can be considered in the cloud because Google offers a central location where people can create various documents (comparable to Microsoft office documents) online and share them with others.  These documents can be private, shared with people you choose, or made public (for web sharing).   Folks just need a Google account (which is free) to use Google Docs.

I use Google's Calendar on one of my websites as a means of sharing trout fishing events around the world.  The calendar is public so anybody can see it.  The cool thing is that I add events to my calendar (through my Google account) and the changes automatically appear on my web site.  If I wanted to, I could make the calendar private and grant access to a few people so only we could see and edit it. 

So while the benefits of using the cloud for businesses may seem clear, many wonder if the cloud can help the average home computer user ,,, which is a good question.

Microsoft touts that Windows 7 gives home users access to "the cloud" as a means of sharing photos, movies, and office docs.  For most home users, sharing office docs may not be the top priority.  But sharing photos and movies can be useful.

Windows 7 comes with a program called, Windows Live Gallery. This program is a tool to view and arrange photo... and it has built in social sharing buttons.  To learn more about Windows Live Gallery and sharing photos, click here.

Windows Vista users can download Windows Live Essential to accomplish the same thing.   If you'd like to give Microsoft's cloud a try, click here