How to prepare your gadgets and electronic lifelines, for the next hurricane
The internet is a vital part of our lives. Just like your car, body, and robot underlings, your internet connection can be fine-tuned and made to work more efficiently. With just a little bit of effort, your surfing experience can be noticeably improved.
The quickest and easiest way to improve your internet surfing is to change your Domain Name System (DNS) service to OpenDNS
Not only are you very likely to see faster DNS resolution than your ISP’s DNS service, but it comes with a whole host of features. Anti-phishing, usage reports, and parental controls are built right in, and it’s as simple as changing a few numbers in your router or computer’s settings.
If there is a specific server or two that is always slowing down your page loads, you can simply keep your computer from reaching them by editing your hosts file.
Hosts is a simple text file that can override your DNS service’s resolution to specific IP addresses. If you’re tired of an ad server or third-party service like Twitter wasting your resources, just set their domains to hit your localhost (127.0.0.1). Now when your favorite website tries to load that Twitter iframe, it will appear as if that server is offline
If you’re running OS X, there is a very neat preference pane called Hosts that allows you to change your hosts file within System Preferences. Everyone else just needs to find the file, and customize it in your text editor of choice.
On heavy-traffic networks, sometimes the best you can do is triage. Many routers, especially those designed for businesses, have Quality of Service (QoS) settings.
This allows specific types of traffic to have priority over others. For example, if your peers are flooding the router with BitTorrent traffic, you can configure the router to prioritize web traffic so you’ll be less inconvenienced.
This is also extremely important if you’re planning on using VoIP. You don’t want that HD video downloading on iTunes to take priority over your important business call, so QoS will certainly come in handy.
Speeding up DSL
If you’re a DSL user, you might have heard about interleaving and FastPath. Interleaving is an error correction mechanism that makes sure you get all of your packets in an uncorrupted form. If your connection is bad, it can make a big difference when left on.
However, people with good DSL connections might want to consider asking their ISP to turn this setting off, thus enabling FastPath.
For example, you might want it off if you’re a big gamer because it can lower your ping time, and it’s not vitally important that every packet is received properly.
The pros and cons vary heavily depending on your situation, so don’t assume turning it off will make your connection better.
DSL users may also have the option of changing their profile to more aggressive settings. If you are close to the local telephone exchange, there is less line noise, and thus higher connection speeds are possible if your ISP and router are correctly configured.
To change your line profile you will generally need to contact your ISP (and you may need to speak to an engineer, rather than a customer service rep).
Not all of us can have FiOS or Xfinity. Some people are stuck with slow DSL, satellite, or even dial-up internet connections. For these poor souls, there is a way to dramatically decrease your load times: compression.
While there are a few services that offer this, the simplest way to get dynamic image compression is with Opera Turbo. Install Opera, turn on the Turbo feature, and it will automatically detect when you’re on a slow internet connection.
It will then start passing every website you visit through their servers, and squashing the elements on the page. The quality of the images will suffer, but at least your bad connection will be usable.
Extend your wireless network
If your internet connection is fine, but you lose WiFi connection in certain parts of your house, this can be fixed too.
What you need is a wireless bridge. Using the Wireless Distribution System (WDS), you can use a second wireless router to extend your WiFi range.
When you’re shopping for a bridge device, look for terms like “Wireless Bridge” or “WDS” in the product description.
If you have a router laying around, and the official firmware doesn’t support what you want, you can consider a third party firmware to make your life easier. Something like the Tomato firmware can make locked-down consumer routers easier to configure and use for just such purposes.
Bear in mind that simply plugging your computer into a physical, wired connection can also significantly reduce latency and increase throughput.
If your surfing is slow, these tweaks and services can make a big difference.
However, these won’t solve every problem under the sun. Try these out, and hopefully it will cure what ails you. If not, your best bet will be calling your ISP, and asking for help. Even the nerdiest among us can’t get around that sometimes, so don’t feel bad.
After last week’s post describing two apps that keep your iPhone and iPad data privatetwo apps that keep your iPhone and iPad data private ,a reader posed this question:
Is there any app that allows you to use it like the ‘mail’ app on an iPhone etc., but has a password lock facility? Else children will be reading all my mail.
You probably got to this page by clicking a link.
Links are the ties that bind the Web. But each click is also a leap of faith. How do you know you’re going to the page you think you’re going to?
Google search results let you preview pages before you follow the link, but elsewhere the best you can do is hover over the link to see at the bottom of the browser the URL…READ MORE>>>>
How To Take Photos of Fireworks With Your Phone
It just wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without the climactic boom of fireworks. If you want to keep that memory all year—or at least share it with all of your friends on Instagram—these tips will help you get lovely photos with your phone, even if you’re not a pro.
Some people roll up to the fireworks with a tripod and a fancy DSLR.
5 killer features on the Kindle Fire that you won’t find on the iPad
Amazon’s new tablet has more than a few tricks up its sleeve
1. Unbeatable price
- If Apple knows how to build a gadget to make it irresistible, Amazon knows how to price one.
The iPad’s universal appeal is no secret, but its starting price of $499 still leaves budget-minded buyers in the lurch.
Streaming Media Guide: Everything you need to know about watching movies and TV over the internet
Streaming technology lets you watch what you want on the couch and on the go
7 things to start in the next 10 minutes to protect your online privacy
The simple steps you should take right now to ensure your online privacy and security
12 Tips to Cut Your Cell Phone Bill
Why pay more than you have to every month?
These tips, tricks, and services can help you save plenty of dough on that monster cell phone bill.
See that cell phone next to you? Unfortunately, you’re paying too much money for it–every month. If overpaying for what you need sounds like a bad idea to you, stop doing it. We’ve assembled 12 simple actions that you can take to reduce your cell phone bill, so that some of the cash you now spend for service–maybe even half of it–remains in your possession. So check out our tips, and use one or more of them to save big bucks on your bill.
Back Up Your Data on a Windows PC
Nothing you do with a computer will ever be as important as making a solid backup. Hard drives crash, and when yours does, unless you have a backup, you’ll find yourself facing expensive data recovery services or worse: lost data.
Now that Windows 7 has been released, many Windows users will be looking to back up their documents and media before upgrading — an absolutely critical step. Luckily, Windows users have many options, including a very nice built-in back up program that ships with both Windows XP and Vista. Regrettably, the program is somewhat buried, so many users aren’t familiar with it.
Depending on your needs, the built-in option may be sufficient. If you’d like an option with some bells and whistles not found in Microsoft’s program, numerous third-party apps have got you covered.
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Back Up Your Data on a Mac
What You’ll Need
1) A Hard Drive. You should have a secondary hard drive of equal or greater capacity to the hard drive you want to back up.
2) Software. Some back up software from one of the third party vendors listed below. Or, if you’re Unix savvy, you can get by with rsync and cron, which are built in to Mac OS X. In this how to, we’ll just be looking at easy-to-use GUI solutions.
List of Backup Software
EMC (formerly Dantz) Retrospect (or Retrospect Express): Retrospect is a well-known Mac backup solution. A single-user desktop license is about $95, and it supports just about any type of storage, from high-end tape drives to optical media.
SuperDuper: SuperDuper is a relatively inexpensive piece of software designed to make it easy to clone a drive or back up folders. The full version of Super Duper costs $28, but it also has a free mode.
In the free mode, Super Duper can create complete and/or partial backup clones to a hard disk or disk image image file (.dmg). The full (paid) version allows you to schedule periodic back ups, and also allows for more fine-grained control over which files get backed up.
Carbon Copy Cloner: CCC is a very popular, free program that will allow you to either clone your harddisk (useful if you want a bootable external disk in case of HD failure
How to Avoid ID Theft
Guard your financial information.Only provide your credit card or bank account number when you are actually paying for something with it.
Keep your social security number confidential.
It’s the key that unlocks your identity.
Don’t give it to anyone unless you’re sure who it is and why it’s necessary to provide it.
Ask your health insurer and other companies that may use your social security number as your ID number to give you a substitute number.
If your state department of motor vehicles uses it as your driver’s license number, ask if you can get an alternate number.
Beware of imposters. Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information.
Be especially suspicious if someone contacts you and asks you to provide information they should already have.
Before responding, contact the company directly to confirm the call or email is from them.
Keep your mail safe.
Your mail contains account numbers and other personal information….
And don’t give out any personal information in response to an email, even if it appears to come from your bank or favorite store.
Another major hacker attack last week exposed the names and emails of millions of consumers to cyber criminals — and you might be on the list. As a practical matter, you can’t get out of all of the massive data banks that hold your personal data. Even the names of people who opted out might be retained. But you can do your best to minimize your risk.
How To Avoid Credit Card Fraud
A one-time victim of identity theft, I’m all too familiar with the residual headaches of losing control of your critical personal information.
So I pay particular attention anytime a new scam surfaces — like the recent debit-card skimming scheme at Michael’s Stores, a national chain of specialty shops.
OK. Skimming isn’t actually new. It’s been around for a few years. But until now it’s mostly been practiced at gas stations and remote ATMs. Today, it’s everywhere and growing.
How to avoid malicious apps on your phone
“Stay safe in the world of smartphones that let you do nearly everything”
Threats to your phone
- This Trojan virus that affects Android devices presents itself as a free version of a real app like Angry Birds.
- When it is run, it asks for permission to send text messages.
- Once granted, it begins sending premium rate text messages that cost $5 each, which get charged to your wireless account.
- You won’t even know you’re being charged until you review your bill.
Droid Dream Light
Here’s a malicious virus that modifies Android apps, then distributes the modified versions to
Secure Microsoft Windows XP Professional?
Securing Microsoft Windows XP Professional is a must no matter whether the personal computer involved is in a massive enterprise or your home office.
This How do I… tutorial walks you through 14 steps that will go a long way toward protecting your Windows XP system from outside attack.
However, XP users will not be able to take advantage of some of Vista’s new security features, such as user access control.
There are dozens of steps you can take to secure your Windows XP system; these
Listed Here Are 14 reasonable steps are designed to give you the most bang for your security buck.
Step 1: Give yourself a password
A new Windows XP installation is password-less.
That is, when you create the initial account, no password is assigned, but the account has full rights to the machine.
Obviously, this is not acceptable in most environments. Even though they can be cracked or stolen, passwords are still the most commonly used security mechanism.
Make sure you provide every account with a strong password — seven or more characters with a combination of upper/lower case, symbols and numbers.
Domain-joined XP clients can change passwords by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete and selecting Change Password from the menu.
This will change your domain password, which is also your local login password.
To assign a password on a machine that is not joined to a domain:
1. Go to Start | Control Panel.
2. Choose the User Accounts option.
Go To The Windows XP User Accounts screen.
3. From this screen, choose the user for whom you would like to establish or create a password
4. From the resulting screen, choose Create a password.
If you already have a password, this option will read Change my password.
5. On the create password window:
Type the password you wish to assign to the selected user. Optionally, you can also provide a password hint.
However, for maximum security, this is inadvisable.
If you already have a password assigned to your own user account and you try to change the password, Windows XP will ask that you verify your current password as well.
6. Click Create Password button.
(or Change Password if you are just changing an existing password)
Type the password and password hint.
7. Windows XP next asks if you want to make your files private.
Windows XP supports administrative and limited access accounts to be created locally.
If you would like your files accessible only by those that hold administrative accounts, choose the “Yes, Make Private” button.
Do you want to make your files inaccessible to limited accounts?
Step 2: Don’t run with an administrative account unless necessary
Administrative accounts are the keys to the city, as it were.
Mistakes made when logged in as an account with administrative rights can have negative ramifications.
For example, as you’re browsing various Web sites, if you’re running with administrative credentials, spyware can very easily be installed onto your system since there is no barrier between the site and your system.
To prevent, or at least reduce, “drive by” spyware installation and limit damage from viruses, perform your daily tasks as a non-administrative user and only log in as an administrator when you need to install software or perform some administrators-only operation.
Step 3: Apply updates on a regular basis, or use Automatic Update
Patches are a way of life these days.
From correcting program crashes to shutting down zero-day exploits, the patch cycle has become integral to staying safe in the online computing world.
There are a number of ways that you can go about keeping your system patches current.
The easiest method is to make sure that the Automatic Updates feature is enabled.
Follow these steps to check your Automatic Updates status:
1. Go to Start | Control Panel.
2. Choose Security Center.
3. Make sure that the Automatic Updates option is set to On READ MORE>>>>
How to Change Startup Programs in Windows 7
Right-click the “Startup” folder in the menu and select “Open All Users.”
This option opens the folder controls startup programs for all users on the computer.
Choose “Explore” and navigate to the folder for the currently logged-in user to have the program start for only a particular user.
Right-click the folder or file you want to start when the computer boots.
Select “Copy” from the context menu.
Run a free scan & fix Reg errors Download Now!
Right-click any white space in the Startup folder you opened in Step 1. Select “Paste” from the context menu.
Windows Movie Maker is a video editing application provided with several versions of the Windows Operating System.
Frequently, users of the software add music files to serve as the soundtrack to pictures, sideshows or movies.
You can easily add a track from your iTunes library into your own movie by importing the songs directly into the player.
Learn the proper process and enjoy home videos infused with your favorite tracks.
1. Launch the Window Movie Maker application. Click the “File” menu at
the top left side of the window and select “Import Into Collections.
2. Use the drop-down menu to choose the location of a particular song from
your iTunes collection.
Often these tracks are saved under “My Music.”
3. Click “OK” once you have selected a song. The song will be shown
under the “Collections” menu in the center of the application.
4. Add the track to your video or picture slide show by dragging and
dropping it into the “Audio/Music” bar on the bottom of the screen.
How to Import Songs From iTunes Into Windows Movie Maker
- How to Import Songs From iTunes Into Windows Movie Maker
- Open iTunes. Copy the song you want to import and paste it to the desktop.
- Window’s Movie Maker does not allow the files to be directly imported from iTunes, so you have to copy the file and move it to a different location.
How To Use Kinect for Windows version 1.5
1-Seat yourself closer to the television and Kinect sensor than you would if you were playing a game standing up.
The Xbox 360 Kinect needs to register your gestures only from your torso up. If you sit closer, you’ll benefit from more accurate gesture detection.
2-Sit straight up and make sure that the Kinect accessory correctly senses your upper body, arms and head.
3-Face your palms toward Kinect sensor when completing gestures. this will ensure that the kinect accessory properly detects your moves and actions
The Xbox 360 Kinect is a motion-activated accessory for yourXbox 360 game console that allows you to use gestures to play games, use menus and interact during game play with other players.
How to Sync iTunes to Android
Android is a software that is installed on a smart phone and allows you to use various applications on the cell phone.
Just as you sync an iPhone with iTunes to manage your videos, pictures and other forms of media, you can sync your Android phone with iTunes.
While the Android-loaded smart phones do not come automatically equipped to sync with iTunes, you can download a free app that permits you to do so.
Things You’ll Need
Android smart phone
iTunes account with username and password
iTunes installed on your computer
1- Open an Internet browser on your computer.
2- Download the free AirSync app from doubleTwist (see Resources ).
Save the app to the desktop of your computer so you can
easily locate it when you need to open it.
3-Double-click on the AirSync icon on your desktop. Click the “Install”
button to finish.
Five add-ins that make Outlook easier to use
If you can’t do something in Outlook, chances are there’s an add-in that can.
Outlook is a winner in the add-in department, with so many good ones available.
Of course, not all add-ins deliver on their promises.
Some slow down an already performance-challenged program.
But there are plenty of Outlook add-ins that expand functionality or enhance existing features.
Outlook is a great management tool, but it’s prone to corruption errors.
- Usually, a corrupt PST file is the culprit, and the result is lost information.
If you’re lucky, Microsoft’s pst repair tool can recover everything.
But in my experience, it doesn’t.
RecoverMyEmail can repair a broken PST”(Personal Storage Table”)(and DBX) fileand recover emails the process can take a while.
It’s easy to implement and use.
Unfortunately, it won’t recover or undelete anything but email items. You’ll have to look elsewhere for help recovering contacts and calendar items.
10 ways to speed up a slow PC
by ZDNet Australia
- Clear out the dust
Is your computer moving at a crawl?
- Don’t give up.
- There are some things you can do about it.
Craig Simms of ZDNet Australia takes a look at some of the possible ways to motivate a PC that runs like a turtle and bring it back up to speed.
Dust build-up over time can impede airflow, and airflow is vital for keeping system temperatures down. If your system overheats, it’ll likely throttle its performance down to cope.
Cleaning out the dust is easier if you’ve got a desktop rather than a laptop — you can still clear the dust away from vents in the laptop, but be wary about opening it up to do a thorough clean, as depending on the vendor this may invalidate your warranty.
- If you’re out of warranty, and you’re confident of navigating the maze in most laptops, go for it.
The first step is to remove general dust from around the system.
You could use a moist paper towel and cotton buds to get into harder-to-reach areas, but one of the best tools you can employ is a can of compressed air.
- Make sure to avoid vacuum cleaners — or at least getting overzealous with them. We’ve known people to have sucked capacitors right off the board. There are other issues with using a vacuum cleaner, too, as Brian Cooley of CNET tells us:
“.You might be tempted to stick a vacuum-cleaner hose inside and suck out the dust. Don’t. Vacuums create static electricity, which is deadly to sensitive electronic components.”
- Next, you’ll want to get your fans and heatsinks clean. Cooley has some tips here, too:
Start by powering down your PC, removing the case lid and locating the various fans.
Starting with the power supply, blow through the internal slits from inside the chassis, aiming so dust will exit the back
By: Zach Epstein
It was recently revealed that Google and a number of advertisers had found a way to bypass some privacy features in modern web browsers, allowing them to forgo third-party cookie policies and serve targeted ads regardless of a user’s privacy settings.
The report caused a stir among privacy advocates and consumers alike, and it prompted Google and other companies to agree to honor browsers’ do-not-track policy by the end of the year. Some users may not want to wait up to nine months to know they’re not being tracked, however, and Google has a solution for privacy-conscious web users who don’t want to be followed. Read on for more.
Google has an extension called “Keep My Opt-Outs” available for Chrome browser users that will block all cookies related to personalized ads. The cookies in question track a user’s path across various websites and then use that history to serve relevant advertisement…More
How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls
Phishing email messages, websites, and phone calls are designed to steal money.
Cybercriminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off of your computer.
Cybercriminals also use social engineering to convince you to install malicious software or hand over your personal information under false pretenses.
They might email you, call you on the phone, or convince you to download something off of a website.
What does a phishing email message look like?
Here is an example of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.
What Is Phishing Websites & Emails
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a type of online identity theft.
It uses email and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.
Con artists might send millions of fraudulent email messages with links to fraudulent websites that appear to come from websites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information.
Criminals can use this information for many different types of fraud, such as to steal money from your account, to open new accounts in your name, or to obtain official documents using your identity.
If you think you’re a target of a phishing scam or other fraud in an email, Xbox instant message, or on a website, you can report it. Most Microsoft products have built-in tools that make this easier.
Hotmail. If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click the check box next to the message in your Hotmail inbox. Click Mark as and then point to Phishing scam.
Protect yourself from online tracking
by Eve Blakemore
Third-party websites have the ability to track your online behavior and share this information without your knowledge or consent. Tracking Protection, a new feature in Internet Explorer 9, lets you choose which third-party sites can receive your information and track you online. When you add a Tracking Protection List, Internet Explorer will prevent your information from being sent by limiting data requests to websites in the list. For more information on tracking, see this recent IE blog post: Browse Without Being Browsed.
To turn on Tracking Protection
- Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button . In the search box, type Internet Explorer, and then, in the list of results, click Internet Explorer.
- In the Manage Add-on dialog box, click a Tracking Protection list, and then click Enable.
How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC
Build up your malware defenses
Install antivirus and antispyware programs from a trusted source
- Never download anything in response to a warning from a program you didn’t install or don’t recognize that claims to protect your PC or offers to remove viruses. It is highly likely to do the opposite.
- Get reputable anti-malware programs from a vendor you trust.
- Microsoft Security Essentials offers free real-time protection against malicious software for your PC.
Or, choose from a list of Microsoft partners who provide anti-malware software.
Update software regularly
Cybercriminals are endlessly inventive in their efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in software, and many software companies work tirelessly to combat these threats.
That is why you should: More>>>
Share files between Windows Vista and Windows 7
If you’ve recently added a Windows 7 PC to your home network, you don’t have to worry about it not being able to communicate and share files with PCs running Windows Vista on the same network. Windows Vista brought simple-to-use file and folder sharing that made accessing your documents on one PC from another easier than ever.
Windows 7 builds upon this file sharing with the introduction of HomeGroups. Although some of these new file sharing features have been designed to work best between Windows 7 computers, you can still take advantage of most of them when using different versions of Windows. In only a short time you’ll be able to get Windows 7 and Windows Vista sharing files, folders, printers and more.
How to Get Netflix on Android
By Jonah Quant
Netflix rents DVDs and streams copyrighted video, such as movies and television shows, to subscribers over the Internet. After a long wait, Netflix has started allowing Android devices to play streaming video from Netflix servers. If you have a Netflix account, you can play its videos on your Android device by downloading the free app.
- 1 Launch the “Market” app by tapping its icon on the Android device.
- 2 Search for “Netflix” in the “Market” app. The app will display a list of apps that match the search term.
- 3 Tap the Netflix icon, then tap “Install.” Android will automatically download and install the Netflix media client app.
- 4 Press the “Home” button on the Android device, then tap the “Netflix” icon. Type your Netflix login credentials to log in. You will be ready to select content from the Netflix library; the video of your choice will immediately start playing on your Android device
How to Get Rid of a Computer Virus
Visit your virus-scan software manufacturer’s Web site and install any virus updates that are available. Then run the software. The software may not be able to delete the virus, but it may be able to identify it.