Friday, February 17, 2012

Stay Secure: Swap Passwords

I have discussed creating strong passwords in the past, now it's time to clarify a few other things...

For critical websites such as email, banking and credit cards accounts you should change your password every three months. Put it on your calendar to remind yourself.  You might also consider changing the password on sites that have a lot of personal information, such as Facebook.

A good password should contain at least eight characters or more.

Your password  should be a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

Don't use personal information such as your birthday, driver's license, passport number, or your name.

Password hacking software automatically checks for common letter-to-symbol conversions, such as changing "and" to "&" or "to" to "2" so don't think you are fooling anyone.
Don't use dictionary words or typical phrases, words spelled backwards, sequential, or repeated characters (1234 or 2222).

Now, check your password. Is it strong?  Microsoft has a place to check your password strength.  ☺

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Search Your Computer Programs

I know on my computer there are a ton of programs. When the programs are installed, they put icons on the desktop, in the start menu under a folder, sometimes on the taskbar, sometimes at the top of the start menu.. Sometimes it can't be located!  So instead of actually trying to browse the start menu, clicking various folders such as accessories, it is easier to actually Search (click on the image below for a larger view of the start menu). Hit the start button, and type in the name of the program, "Calculator" for example and it will find the calculator program for you. Click on it and the program starts.  How simple is that?

Want to have the program a little handier, in Windows 7, you can "pin" the program to the top of the start menu or "pin" the program to the taskbar, on the bottom left next to the start button.  Search or find your program in the start menu, right click on the name and select "Pin to Taskbar" or "Pin to Start Menu".  You can always unpin items by reversing the process. Right-click on the taskbar item and select "Unpin this program from the taskbar". Similarly you can clean up the top of your start menu by right-clicking on the item and selecting "Unpin from Start Menu". It will still be in the "All Programs Start Menu" directory.

With Vista, it is a little different. Instead of "Pin to Taskbar", you have the "Quick Launch" menu (the little icons by the start button are the Quick Launch menu). It works much the same way as Windows 7. Right click and select “Add to Quick Launch”  (if it is not there you can hold down the Shift key while right-clicking on it to make the option show up.) You can also select  "Pin to Start Menu" and it will be shown at the top of the start menu.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Securing the Facebook Timeline

Ok, it happened.. I wished it wouldn't but it did. Facebook changed my profile to the dreaded timeline. People don't like change and unfortunately, Facebook has decided it is better to change, so make the best of it, right? Well, I found there are a lot of things that showed up publicly that I didn't want out there! You can make some changes to make it safer. So today I am sending you to Computer World Magazine to check out this article on securing your Facebook Timeline. Something that is at the top of my list of tasks for today. Click on the title below. ☺

5 ways to secure your Facebook profile in a post-Timeline world

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Perfect Vision: Monitor Adjustments

Ever wonder if your monitor is set for the right colors? Although there is expensive software to calibrate the color  for professional graphic designer and photographers, sometimes it just takes a few minor adjustments for the average user to see that picture as it should be viewed.  You can tweak your monitor settings for tone and color so they are fully optimized. Usually your monitor has various buttons on the side or bottom to adjust the brightness and contrast.
It only takes a few minutes to modify your display settings through Windows 7 by 'calibrating' your software. This will help improve your monitor's view and optimize it. 

  1. Open Color Management by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box (top right), type color management, and then click Color Management.
  2. Click the Advanced tab,and  if not already checked, use the Windows Display Calibration. Then click "Calibrate Display" and  follow the instructions through each screen and save your settings.  
 Don't have Windows 7?  Click here for Vista 

Using both of these adjustments will greatly improve your photographs, games, movies and online viewing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hint: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day

No more procrastination. Now is the time to make plans for that special someone in your life. Remember? Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The day you take your sweetheart out to dinner, movie, dancing, jewelry, chocolates... What! You don't have a lot of money?  Well, turn to the Internet today.. and make your life sweet tomorrow.

Print a card!
Send an E-card!
 Change their desktop background
Need some Craft Ideas for the kids?
  • Check out for some fun ideas including pencil toppers and fingerprint hearts!
  • How about some coloring pages for the kids to help the babysitter while you're eating out?
How about a free cookie for your sweetheart.
For those Homeschoolers
  Print out a coupon book for your love!