Category Archives: Computer Technology

The True Value of Readers

If you’ve been following my blog, you know one of my current challenges is getting Windows 8 to play nice with me so I can upgrade to Windows 8.1 then on to my ultimate goal: Windows 10.

Because of this, I’m not able to actually test drive a Windows 10 OpenGL fix so I asked my readers who had Windows 10, and had used my OpenGL fix successfully, to assist a fellow reader.

I’m not sure the trouble is resolved, but I need to send a heartfelt thank you for assisting with the problem to Brian.

thank you

Besides a huge thank you to Brian, I’m forewarning the rest of you that if I’ve helped you in the past and you were so gracious to thank me because it worked, don’t be surprised if I request your expertise in the future, 😉

Have a super week-end, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀

Windows 10 Free Download

On July 29 2015, Microsoft unveiled Windows 10. No, I don’t have my copy because I’m still struggling with the dreaded 0x.80070002 error. But just in case you aren’t, but don’t see the free update icon, here’s a helpful article from Microsoft.microsoft logo round

Some Info on the New Windows 10:

Windows 10 download is free to “qualifying users of Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Phone.

“What?” you ask, “Windows 7 gets a free Windows 10 upgrade?” Yep. Here’s what I’d do if it were me with Windows 7…

I’d wait. I have a netbook with Windows 7. I’ll download my free Windows 10 upgrade for my netbook then wait. I have one year after the rollout date of Windows 10 to install it.

Within that year, two things are going to happen. 1) I have Windows 8 on my laptop so I’ll upgrade on it first and test Windows 10 for myself. 2) Enough time and enough people will have tested Windows 10 in eight months or so that I can make an educated decision if I wish to permanently rid myself of Windows 7 (the last stable Windows OS).

Remember, I still have to resolve a Windows 8 error code or two before I can download Windows 10. When I said Windows 7 was the last stable version of Windows, I wasn’t kidding.

I’ll let you know later what I think of the new OS.

Have a great week-end, and thanks for following Patti’s Pathways.:-D

 

 

Securing Your Online Persona

I had coffee recently with a super fun group of ladies. The topic came up about personal information available on the internet when one mentioned she’d received an email from Facebook asking for her phone number. She ID’d it as a scam and deleted it. I believe it was probably a legit email, but it never hurts to be careful.

That discussion, and a request from a dear friend, warranted a blog about securing your online persona (a.k.a. choosing what people can see about you on the internet).

There are a loComputer Identity2t of articles dedicated to getting off the grid or becoming invisible on the internet. We’re not interested in going that far. People can know we’re on the internet, but if you’re like me, you want to control how much personal information leaks out. Me? I like to keep my public personal information to a minimum. My friends and family know how to contact me and that’s what’s important.


In case you were wondering, here’s why websites ask for our phone numbers.

Reason One: New website security these days includes what they call “two-step” verification. Step 1: you log in with your normal user ID and password, Step 2: a security program sends a code to your phone via text, voice, or mobile app. You enter the newly sent code to log on.

Do you have to do this every time? No. There is a box to check or a question telling the security program to stop flagging the computer where you just logged on and to allow logging on from that computer without the code in the future.

Reason Two: Websites, such as Twitter, are allowing log ins with only a telephone number. There’s no user ID or password. You get a security code texted to that phone number and use it to enter the website.

cell phoneReason Three: The website is using marketing apps. Advertising texts, including coupons, and voice mail marketing are part of this.

Reason Four: Websites where you transact business will ask for your phone number as well as your address. These websites usually have your info on a secure page (denoted by https:// at the beginning of the URL address).

Bank, broker, auction, and other financial or sales websites are different than social media websites like Facebook or Twitter. I don’t put my phone number on social websites; I don’t want to be that social. Facebook would like to be the next Amazon, and does offer advertising packages. But for the majority of Facebook users it’s still just another social media site. No hate mail please, Facebook lovers.

Whether you give out your phone number or not is up to you. I do on financial and sales sites because I want them knowing they can call me if there’s a problem. On social media sites, I do not. They have my email address; they can email me.

There is also the fact that typing my landline number into any search engine (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc)  will pull up my address. If you know my cell phone number, my name and address can be requested for a fee.


 Securing Your Online Information

Let’s talk about securing what personal information is floating out in cyberspace. The one we’ll tackle today is social media.

social mediaWe all love social media. There are so many wonderful things about it. It keeps us in touch with distant friends and relatives, and lets us know in real time what’s happening in people’s lives. We can view photos of loved ones we don’t see regularly, and follow businesses and events.

In my opinion, the best of all worlds is to be able to utilize social media while keeping my personal information safe.

I’ve included a few the largest social media sites in the U.S. below. Believe it or not, there are dozens of others in almost every country around the planet. If your favorite isn’t listed, I bet you’ll see a trend in the below examples and be able to find your way through your site.

Facebook Privacy

Not long ago, Facebook redesigned its site to make it very easy to tighten up your personal information and security.

Find the padlock in the top right corner of your Facebook page. 1) Left-click on padlock, and select 2) Privacy Checkup.
Facebook privacy checkup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The screens to update your information look like example screens, but they’re actually interactive so you can click and adjust your information.

First Step is “Your Posts”. Remember, Facebook Terms of Service allow that your intellectual property rights (pictures, videos, etc.) are “subject to your privacy and application settings”. So if you set your privacy to “public”, Facebook assumes you mean anyone and everyone.
fb checkup options

Second Step is setting “Your Apps”. These are sites you’ve logged onto with Facebook. Remember being asked by a website if you want to use Facebook to log on? This is where the sites you said yes to are listed.
Connect with FB

FYI: Being a paranoid individual, I rarely sign on with Facebook. Exceptions would be benign website like National Geographic, Washington Post, Fox News, etc. I’m okay with these sites knowing as much about me as Facebook.

Third Step is “Your Profile”. You can make this as secure or as public as you wish. I bet you didn’t know you had an individual Facebook email address, did you? Now you do.

Twitter Privacy

Adjusting Twitter privacy settings are pretty much like any standard website. You can tell people as much or as little as you’d like by what’s in your profile.

1) Go to the Me tab, 2) left-click the Account gear, then 3) Settings. Under Settings you will see how your information is presented on Twitter. 4) Edit profile will allow you to edit your information.
Twitter Settings

 

Pinterest Privacy

PInterest’s privacy settings are accessed in the upper right corner under your name. 1) Left-click the gear, then 2) left-click Account Settings. You don’t need to click “Edit Profile” because you can adjust that under Account Settings.

PInterest account settings

Youtube Privacy

Settings are in the top right corner by your picture. See a pattern here? Many, if not all, setting options are in the upper right corner of your browser window very close to where your picture is or would be if you uploaded one.

1) Left-click your picture, 2) left-click the Settings gear icon,
Youtube

 

 

 

 

3) The left margin contains areas you might wish to adjust.
Yourtube privacy

 

Google+ Privacy

If you don’t know what Google+ is you might not have an accounGoogle+t. But, if you have Gmail for your email provider, you might have an account and don’t know it. To find it, in the top right of your email main page you’ll see your name with a + behind it. Left-click on that to get into Google+.

Google+ Privacy settings are…you guessed it, upper right corner by your picture.
1) Left-click the menu arrow beside the picture area, 2) click Privacy.
Google plus

 

If you hover over the Home area to the left, you’ll get more options. You can edit your profile here and access Settings at the bottom of the list.
Google plus Home

Don’t forget to update the Audence tab (1). This lets you determine who can see your Google+ stuff.  It’s under Settings.
Google plus privacy

 


I hope you now know a bit more about how much of yourpersonal information is accessable through websites.

There is  great government website that addresses these issues also: Guide to Keeping Your Social Media Accounts Secure 2015 .

Rest easy with your new social media piece of mind, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


Other security articles you might find interesting:

Facebook: LIttle Known Tips and Tricks Tip Six three-fourths of the way down the page also talks about public posts on Facebook.

Giving Out Credit Card Numbers

Microsoft Won’t Call You…EVER!

Creating the Safest Passwords

Spotting Hoax Emails


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Tax Time 2015

scrabble taxI’m recycling a past blog as the timing is right for it.

Remember there are a lot of telephone scams that sound legit. Be safe everyone.

Click this link to read all about it.

Scammers Posing as the IRS

Have a fantastic rest of the week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways.

Facebook: More Cool Features

After reviewing items for a previous Facebook blog, I realized there are more Facebook features people might appreciate. Today our feature presentation will be the Save option. Grab a bag of popcorn, dim the lights, sit back, and enjoy.

Patti's Pathways presents
Facebook’s Save Feature:

Did you know you can save posts on Facebook similar to bookmarking pages in an internet browser?

Here’s how.

First, a post has to have a direct link if you wish to save it.

Don’t all posts? Nope. Posts without a direct link don’t offer a Save option. Facebook says you can track down the original post and save from a different Facebook page. We’ll talk about this later.

How to Save A Facebook Post:

1) Click the dropdown menu in the right top of the post you wish to Save.

Using my last blog topic as an example, we’ll save “Setting Default Programs”.
Save post dropdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy, right? Now you’re probably asking yourself, How do I find my new saved Facebook posts.

Retrieving Saved Posts

On your Facebook’s Home page, you have a left margin item named Saved. Here’s where all your favorite posts have been saved to view later.
saved

 

 

 

 

When you click Saved, your saved posts will open in a new window. Facebook is nice and categorizes them for you.
Retrieve saves

 

When you don’t want a post any longer, you can delete it from your saved posts.

Deleting Saved Posts

1). Archive the post you wish to delete by clicking the ‘x’ in the upper right of the post on your saved posts list.
To archive Saved

 

2) Go to Archive
go to archive

 

3) Find the link you wish to delete, 4) Click the “…” .., 5) Delete.
Delete saved post

 

Finding an Original Facebook Post Link:

Remember earlier in the post I told you that you can only use the Save option if the link is in the post? Here’s how to find the original post link:

1) Right-click the time stamp and 2) left-click Copy Link Location.
Copy Link Location

3) Paste into your browser’s address bar, and go.

Earlier in this post I said “Facebook says” you can copy a link location because I followed one and never found any save options. I’m not certain if I could’ve followed the link farther back or if a Facebook user is just out of luck. Play around with it and see what you find. If you figure it out let me know in the comment section, I’d appreciate it.


While we’re discussing Facebook, did you know…

  • cell gpsFacebook mobile apps can be used like a GPS to track users.

This is bad if strangers wish to track your kids, but great if you do. For their sake, help them disable their Facebook mobile tracking: Settings>Messenger Location Services>Disable.

  • There’s at least one, possibly more, websites where you enter a Facebook user name and it will try to hack that Facebook account for you.

Horrible, isn’t it? I’m not going to post a name or link because these criminals don’t need the publicity.

Just be aware that idiots abound in this world. Don’t be scared to use Facebook, just do everything in your power to keep your passwords safe. If you’d like help, read my post Creating the Safest Passwords.

Facebook EULA statements you may or may not know.

According to Facebook’s EULA,

  • “You will not create more than one personal account.”

No clue what happens if they find out you have. I suppose they delete one.

  • “For content that is covered by intellectual property riFB logoghts, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

I’ve updated this section as originally I neglected to mention the usage of your information by Facebook is subject to your privacy settings. Facebook won’t use your items publically if you have your privacy settings restricted. And yes, if you have your settings as public, they can use them for advertising since they are a for-profit corporate entity.

  • “When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).”

Your name and profile picture (as well as your cover photo, I believe), have always been public information regardless of your privacy settings.

And don’t forget the ever inclusive:

  • “We reserve all rights not expressly granted to you.”

For more information on EULA’s, read my post Making Sense of Terms of Service.)


Now that you’ve found another tool offered by Facebook, go ahead and save your favorite posts. Thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.


Setting Default Programs

Finally, we’re talking about setting default programs. Thanks for being so patient.

Every computer application has a designated program that opens it. Most of these are set to a default when you load or download the program.


What’s a computer application? A computer application is software that lets you perform a basic task (or sometimes not so basic).

Examples of computer applications are word processors, spread sheets, music players, PC e-book readers, calendars, even your web browser.


Setting Browser Defaults:

You’ve probably gotten a message at some time in your computing life like this:
default browser check

No, you won’t have pretty pink boxes. They’re where your browser name will appear.

We get this message because when we download/load new programs many times we also download commands to change our current default settings. We usually don’t know we’ve done this. Annoying, yes; malicious virus-ware, no.


FYI: your default browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) is different from your default search engine. For example, my browser is Firefox, but Google is my default search engine.


You want to reset your browser default? Great. Here’s how.

1) At the top-right of your browser window, click the menu bars  menu bars   in Chrome or Firefox, or the tools icon gear iconin Internet Explorer.

2) Select Options/Internet Options/Settings depending on your browser choice.

Here’s what you’ll see:

Firefox:

Under the General tab at the very top is where you make changes in Firefox. Click OK when you’re done.
Firefox default check

 

 

 

 

And no, I didn’t realize Firefox was not my default browser. That’s just how fast other programs can change your settings.

Chrome:

Chrome’s default browser update is at the very bottom of the Settings page.
Chrome browser default

 

 

 

 

Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer’s default settings are located under the Programs tab in Internet Options.
IE default browser set

 

 

 

 

 

3) If your browser isn’t your default browser, click where it says Make this my default.

You’re welcome to check the box in front of Always check to see…, but the notifications can get annoying fast. I checked the box and am about ready to uncheck it. I open Firefox when I want to surf the net so it’s my default browser by habit.


 

Now that we’ve warmed up on setting our default browser, we’ll advance to setting programs for your applications.

Setting Default Applications

Every application has a set default inside your OS.

FYI: Remember what an OS is? No? Check out last week’s blog: Finding and Setting Browser Downloads

In Windows 7 or 8, you’ll find your Default Program directory within your Control Panel.

FYI: Access your Control Panel from the Start menu in the lower-left corner of Windows 7, or by hovering over the top or bottom right of the Windows 8 screen to enable the Charms Bar, then choose Settings.

TIP: If you don’t like the new fangled look of the Control Panel, you can go back to the trusty alphabetically ordered list by changing the View by: details. I have mine set to Large icons.

In the Control Panel, click Default Programs.Control panel- default programs

 

Just look at all the choices you have to change default programs in your Windows OS. Remember, I have Windows 8 so your screen may look a bit different if you’re running Windows 7 or earlier.
default program screen

Here, you can not only set your default programs, but you can change associated file types, and set computer defaults. Go ahead. Open any one of these to look around.

Oh. You’re scared to? It’s okay. I’ll give you a tour first.

This is what you get when you click on Set your default programs.
Set your default Programs screen

 

If I click on a program listed, I’m shown the current defaults. Let’s use Paint as an example.

When I click Paint, I see this.
Paint default settings program screen

Notice under Paint’s description box it says “This program has 4 out of 14 defaults”?

If I want to know which defaults Paint is set to, I click Choose defaults for this program. This screen actually tells me how the other 10 defaults are set.
Paint Choose defaults

 


FYI: If I click Set this program as default instead of Choose defaults for this program (under the Set Default Programs window), everything will be reset to Paint as a default. In other words, all those boxes that aren’t checked will be checked.


WhaQuestiont? You looked back and don’t see a word processor program or spread sheet program listed in the Set Default Programs window? You’re right! That’s because they aren’t there.

To find these, we need to go to the list of all file associations. And when I say all, I mean ALL.

Here’s how.

Open (or Cancel back to) our Default Programs screen from the Control Panel.

This one:default program screen

Then click Set program access and computer defaults to find our file extensions or associations.

I’ve scrolled down to my .doc files so you can see they’re set to open with Word, and that’s what I want.
Set file associations

 

If I wanted to change which program a file extension/association uses to open, I would 1) click the extension to highlight it, 2) click Change program…, 3) Choose the program to set as default, then 4) Close.
Change file association screen

 


Congratulations! You’ve learned a lot today. How do I know? I can see the words and graphics floating out your ears. Now take a break, grab a cup of tea, and relax. You’re earned it.

Have a super rest of the week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.