Navigate

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Back to Basics

Sometimes it is helpful to just learn a few tricks to make working with your computer just a little bit simpler.

Watching my husband try and highlight a word to copy and paste can be a little frustrating (for a geek). Here is a little known secret: double click on the word, in a document, email or on the web it will highlight the word. You can now copy (CTR + c) or cut (CTR + x) and paste (CTR + v).

You can enlarge the text on any web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the Command key and plus or minus.

What are your favorite basics that you thought everyone knew?  Post your comments below.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great American Smoke Out


Seven years ago on 10/10/2004 at 8:00:00 PM , I had my last smoke, my last puff and a determination to, finally, break the habit after 27 years. I used lozenges, a quiet weekend and a great website called http://quitnet.com. QuitNet is a free online support group of current, and past smokers sharing and encouraging each other to celebrate being smoke free for just one more day.  

I am proud of my stats: 

2588 days, 43 minutes and 16 seconds smoke free.
51761 cigarettes not smoked.
 
$9,058.00 not spent on cigarettes.
13 months, 5 days, 9 hours of my life saved. 

Thursday, November 17th is the 36th Annual Great American Smokeout. I encourage smokers to use the date to join QuitNet, and prepare a QUIT plan. There is an incredible amount of valuable information and encouragement at QuitNet.  

Don't let cigarettes control your life but take control of yourself and your health. Do it for yourself and no one else but let others help you be successful. The value is priceless.
Beat the Nicodemon at his own game.
Plan on quitting Nov. 17th!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Welcome to the Holidays!

You might think this is premature but Black Friday is just around the corner!  $200 laptops and free photo paper from Staples, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and a $25 credit for Xbox Live from Amazon for $51.99, and special discounts from Sears, JC Penney and more are just waiting for bargain hunters.

Happy Holidays!
Most of my shopping is completed before the holidays but that doesn't mean I don't watch the great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Two years ago, my computer monitor quit working that Friday morning. Knowing the bargains, I was able to find a great replacement a few hours later! Every year, just in time for the sales, one website seems to collect an incredible amount of ads and hints of deals to come:



So, if it is toys, electronics or clothes, you can hit the stores on Black Friday or surf the internet on Cyber Monday. Either way, the discounts will be there for customers this year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Google Docs



Don't have a word processing program? How about spreadsheets? Don't have time to download the free software OpenOffice?  Well there is another option.  Google has this available online for free. http://docs.google.com/

You will need to create a free Google account.  It will give you access to word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more.  There are even templates available for writing resumes, keeping budgets and calendars. Another feature is to collaborate with others.  For example, you and your husband create a budget online. Now both of you can access this information from home or the office, just be signing in.  Or if you want to send out a  fundraising letter, you can set share it with the public. 

You can create flow charts, tables, forms (with the results going to a spreadsheet) and even create credit card payoff calculator.

When you download the file, you can even create a PDF of the document, great for emailing, such as a resume.  This is one freebie worth considering.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tricksters, Charlatans and Deceivers.

A recent news article described how a concerned grandmother was scammed into wiring $4600 to Canada, believing she was helping her granddaughter. They had enough information to convince her but the reality is that they were savvy enough to gather facts from Facebook accounts. You can read the article here. Similar scams have been accomplished under the guise of a stranded traveler needing money to get back home or pay a hotel bill. We want to help and we don't want to appear hesitant or doubting.  Unfortunately, we can become pawns if we aren't just a little bit cynical.

There are many emails that try and spoof you into giving out critical information by 'imitating' your bank, the IRS or eBay., Another 'phishing' fraud with a new twist is to call your home stating they are from your ISP (such as AT&T or Comcast for example) and inform you that your account has been compromised.  If you will verify your access password or username, they will fix the problem.  I assure you, your ISP has all the access they need to fix the problem.  They have your username on file and they don't need any passwords.

Here are some steps that can help you avoid getting getting scammed.  

Always verify the information. If you receive an email or message, supposedly from someone you know, verify the source. If they can text you, they can call you. Call a family member, hotel, bank or your ISP if you are ever in doubt.  

Don't click on links.  If you receive an email asking for information or showing something strange (such as a transaction you didn't make) type the url into your web browser or use your bookmark. Don't click on the link in the email as it can be masked to make you think you are going to the correct site, but you are redirected elsewhere.   

Make sure you are protected. Make sure your computer is current (with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features. ) Always make sure that when working with financial transcations, the browser URL shows HTTPS instead of HTTP. You can also look for the closed padlock in the status bar of your browser. You can double click on that padlock to be sure the security certificate matches the website.

Read your bank, phone and credit card statements. Make sure you made all the transactions and there is no conflict over those transactions.  Be sure to do this in a timely manner so any problem transaction can be caught and reported immediately!

There have been tricksters, charlatans and deceivers since the dawn of man. To avoid the sharks, I encourage you to take a few moments to educate yourself about cyber-crimes by visiting http://www.antiphishing.org/

Monday, November 7, 2011

Urban Legends, Hoaxes and Myths


A little boy needs surgery, sign an email petition and forward it around the world, urgent cell phone directories becoming public, outraged political news or urgent warnings about someone stealing your kidneys. We, in concern, pass these on to our friends and family perpetuating the tale from fiction to fact.  Sometimes these tales are just misinformation, rumors, fallacies and strange news.

So how do we know if it is true or a hoax? Most urban legends are too general, don't give enough information for verification or just don't have the capability to be true.

For example, the picture (right) was shared via facebook and email (source)

The story goes on to insist it is absolutely true.
This is a true story of Mother’s Sacrifice during the Japan Earthquake.

After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supporting by an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.


With so many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman’s body. He was hoping that this woman could be still alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.

He and the rest of the team left this house and were going to search the next collapsed building. For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his had through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement,” A child! There is a child! “


The whole team worked together; carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up.


The medical doctor came quickly to exam the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said,” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passing around from one hand to another. Every body that read the message wept. ” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” Such is the mother’s love for her child!! — with clodd yvonne montero.


Dont forget to click the share button...

Now, some facts.
  • If you look closer to the picture, you will see that it is a very large three month old child! 
  • The orange and black uniforms are actually Chinese, not Japanese.
  • Doing a quick search online showed the same photo of the China Earthquake.
  • Is it possible to text when a building is falling on you and you are trying to protect a baby?
  • An image search shows that it actually is an award winning photograph from the  "Mother Love in Earthquake" Wins Photo Contest.  The photograph was captioned, "The photo "Mother Love in Earthquake" and the photography, Zou Sen won the gold prize in War & Disaster News Singles in the 5th China International Press Photo (CHIPP) Contest held in Shanghai, China, from March 20 to 25, 2009." 
Other hoaxes might include email and online petitions (that are not usually legally valid due to lack of verification), lost children that don't have a link to National Center for Missing & Exploited Children or other legitimate source and more.

If you cannot verify the information, it is often worth a check on many of the urban legend research sites. Although not perfect, they do the groundwork for you by doing research to check, verify and legitimize.

http://www.truthorfiction.com/
http://snopes.com

Coming tomorrow: Nigerian emails about sad billionaire widows needing your help will never make you rich but will steal you blind faster than you can say, "SCAM". The world is full of tricksters, charlatans and deceivers.