Internet Computer Tips
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Tip: Allow Outlook 2003 to show images
in email automatically
- By default, Outlook 2003 blocks the download
of email message images. To change this behavior, open an email that should
contain images and right-click on a picture holder area. Then, select Download
Pictures to change behavior for just this message.
- You can also select Change Automatic
Download Settings to change behavior for all messages, but we don't recommend
you do so. Outlook contacts an outside server to get those images, and in
doing so, the server can plant a cookie on your computer to track your use,
long after the email is gone. Download images only for trusted emails.
Tip: Privacy policies may not cover all
address the use of the information taken by foreign cookies and stored on
outside servers. Foreign cookies are cookies planted by third-party
advertisers that show ad graphics on other pages.
the use of your information by that portal, but neglect to discuss the use of
your information by its advertisers. Keep third parties in mind when reading
any site's policy.
Tip: See your site through another
- If you know anyone with color blindness, you
probably know a little bit about red-green color deficiency, but there's a
whole lot more to it than that. There are several different types of color
blindness and each could affect the way visitors see your website.
- To see whether your site's color
combinations and contrast are readable to a person with color blindness, go to
www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php and enter your page's URL. Visicheck
renders your site to show you what a color deficient person might see.
Tip: Is your website accessible? Find
out with online tests
- Federal legislation states that government
websites must be accessible to disabled users, but anyone with a website would
do well to make his site accessible too. If you provide goods, services, or
information and your site isn't readable by a text reader, you're losing out
on potential customers.
- To determine whether a page in your site is
accessible, visit webxact.watchfire.com and enter your page's URL. You'll see
a report with items you could improve to make your site more accessible.
Tip: Grab that domain name before
someone else does
- Within the past few years, domain name
registration services have dropped their prices to an all-time low. Now,
there's no excuse not to register your domain name. Even if you don't plan to
add a website immediately, it's a good idea to register your desired domain
name before someone else grabs it.
- Low price registrars include sites such as
Go Daddy.com (www.godaddy.com) at $8.95/year, Yahoo! Domains (http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains)
at $9.95/year, and Domain Direct (www.domaindirect.com) at $14.95/year. For
even more choices, search on the keywords "domain name registration." Most
companies provide the same basic services regardless of price, but be sure to
read all the fine print for each site before you commit to using one.
Tip: Who owns that domain name?
- When visiting a website, you may wonder who
it belongs to, especially if there's little contact information available at
the site. To find out who owns a domain name, investigate using a whois tool.
A whois tool searches domain registry databases for information about a domain
name's availability and ownership information.
- Most domain name registrars provide a whois
tool on their site's front page, or you can do a keyword search on "whois" in
your favorite search engine.
Tip: Customize IE by managing multiple
languages (IE 6)
- If you view web pages that use languages
other than English, you can easily add language support to Internet Explorer
so these pages display using the correct characters.
- Select Tools | Internet Options and click
the Languages button on the General tab of the Internet Options dialog box.
Click the Add button in the Language Preference dialog box that appears and
locate your target language in the Add Language dialog box. Click the OK
button, and IE adds the character set for this language.
- Since this language support takes up
processor time, having too many languages loaded can slow down Microsoft
Internet Explorer, so only load the languages you know you'll use. You can
always load a seldom-used language on demand, and then remove it from the list
by selecting it and clicking Remove.
Tip: Search for useful Adobe PDF files
online with Google
- To quickly find PDF files on the web, use
Google (www.google.com) to search specifically for the PDF file format. In the
search text box, just type your search term followed by filetype:pdf.
- For example, if you want to search for PDF
files about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), type "VoIP filetype:pdf"
without the quotes. Google locates all available PDF files with VoIP in the
Tip: Decrease your liability with email
- Law firms and businesses often use
disclaimers to protect themselves against liability for incidents like a
breach in confidentiality, a virus transmission, or faulty advice or
advertising. Email disclaimers can't guarantee limitless protection against
related liability, but they can deter some people from seeking legal
compensation from your company and provide your message recipients with a
reason to treat the contents of your message with due respect.
- If you'd like to learn more about email
disclaimers, check out Emaildisclaimers.com at www.emaildisclaimers.com. In
addition to information about the benefits and pitfalls of email disclaimers,
this site provides sample disclaimers you can use in your own messages, as
well as links to third-party resources.
Tip: Store your passwords with an
online password protection service
- We all know we shouldn't use the same
password with different applications, and writing passwords down or storing
them on your PC introduces another set of problems. Needless to say,
remembering all your passwords can be a mental strain. We've found a few free
services that store all your password information, in addition to offering
other features, such as PIN numbers, web login information, and software keys,
depending on the service. Check them out and decide which is best for your
Tip: Find a huge glossary of internet
- If you're confused by internet jargon, such
as Backbone, Extranet, MIME, and Proxies, there are many places you can go for
descriptions, but one of the best is Matisse Enzer's Glossary Of Internet
Terms. Found at http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary, this site has a huge
number of terms that dwarfs Webopedia's collection, all with concise
descriptions that are sure to help you better understand the changing
technology we use.
Tip: Join the VOIP Security Alliance to
combat security threats
- As Voice Over IP (VOIP) gains momentum,
security is a growing concern. The VOIP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) was created
as a collaborative organization of VOIP providers, security providers,
vendors, and experts in the field. The organization sponsors VOIP security
projects, tools, and disseminates documentation and resources to the public.
VOIPSA is an open organization that welcomes the contributions, participation,
and support of anyone for whom VOIP security is a concern. To learn more or
join, point your browser to http://www.voipsa.org.
Tip: Check to see if a website is up to
date (IE 6, Firefox 1)
- Have you ever been on a site and felt the
content was long out of date? Sometimes you can tell by scrolling to the
bottom of the page and viewing the Copyright or "Last Updated" information,
but this information isn't always accurate. If you want to know for sure when
in the address bar.
- A dialog box displays the date and time the
page was last updated.
Tip: Check out these high quality
- Looking to get a science fix? If you're a
fan of the How Stuff Works printed series, check out http://www.howstuffworks.com
to find informative articles about what makes things work online. The
Exploratorium, found at htp://www.exploratorium.edu, is an online museum
featuring exhibits and lots of hands-on activities about science, art, and
human perception. Last, you might link to the BBC's science and Nature page
(http://bbc.co.uk/sn) for interesting articles about any variety of subjects
sure to broaden your science perspective.
Tip: Five tips to secure your PC
Tip: Understand online trends with the Google zeitgeist
- In this day of hacker onslaught and private
user threats, security may seem impossible. But you can take few extra steps
(in addition to a virus scan, firewall, and sensible download practices) to
give yourself an edge.
- 1. Use a password on your machine. Sure,
you'll need to enter it every time you boot up, but so will a hacker.
- 2. Use more than one anti-spyware or
antivirus program. An internal system scanner may not catch every security
issue, which is why it's wise to use different scan applications
concurrently. (Note: Although you can run more than one virus scan on your
PC, you should only ever have one firewall enabled at a time.)
- 3. When Microsoft comes out with a new
security patch, make sure you install it.
- 4. Back up your data or store it in an
encrypted location separate from your computer.
- 5. If you're not using it at night, turn
off your computer. This closes your internet connection and may help you get
a better night's rest.
- Google offers an interesting service for those of us who like to
keep pace with what people around the world are searching for.
You can see breakdowns of the top ten most popular search terms
by month or year on the Google Zeitgeist page, at http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html.
Queries are broken down by categories such as news, male/female
celebrities, sports, music, and of course general search terms.
You can also see what people from other countries are interested
in, and perhaps draw your own conclusions as to audience interest
Tip: Find a web page you forgot using the History pane (Internet
- You probably look at dozens of pages every
day, and may sometimes forgot to bookmark a crucial page. Microsoft Internet
Explorer gives you a way to recover the page using its History feature. To
enable and use it:
- 1. Click the History button (or View |
Explorer Bar | History) in IE 6. This pane appears in the left side of the
Internet Explorer window and contains shortcuts to every page you visited to
up to three weeks ago. By default, the links are organized by date.
- 2. Click on the link corresponding to the
week in which you believe you last viewed the site. Links in each week's
groupings are listed alphabetically.
- You can change the number of days pages are
saved in the History pane. To do so:
- 1. Choose Tools | Internet Options in
- 2. On the General property sheet, change
the number in the Days To Keep Pages In History spin box.
- 3. Click OK.
Tip: Safe and educational sites for your pre-schooler
- Today it's important to raise your kids, especially
pre-schoolers, with an awareness of the internet. Although you
can find thousands of sites aimed at kids featuring games and
learning activities, many of these sites also feature embedded
advertisements for food and toys. Below we've listed five sites
featuring games and educational activities that aren't flooded
with ads. As always, you should spend time with your child when
he is online and set up an internet agreement stating the rules
with which your kids need to comply when they're surfing the web.
Tip: Manage your photos with free software on
- Just back from vacation and wondering what
to do with your digital pictures? There are a ot of free resources for
image modification, presentation, and storage available on the Web. If
you'd like to touch up your photos or need a straightforward paint program,
check out the following sites:
- Ultimate Paint--www.ultimatepaint.com
- If you're ready to store your pictures,
try out these free applications:
- Portmix LGallery Maker--www.portmix.com/gallery/
- FreeByte's Photonizer--www.freebyte.com/photonizer/
Tip: Using Yahoo! shortcuts
- Shortcuts are special features designed to
get answers quickly, without all the searching. Answer-based queries
commonly focus on subjects such as definitions or facts, but as Yahoo! shows
us, the direct answers don't stop there. traffic reports for your
town, local gas prices, maps, and hotels, in addition to traditional answers
such as synonyms and definitions, are all just a click away if you know the
right search shortcut. Check out the list below to find out how Yahoo!
can make life easier for you with shortcuts. We used New York in our
examples; just substitute your own city or keyword and imitate the form
shown below (without quotations), and you'll be all set!
- --"weather New York" provides your local
- --"pizza hut New York" provides a Yellow
- --"zip code New York" provides ZIP codes
for the city specified
- --"traffic New York" provides current
road traffic conditions
- --"synonym pejoritive" provides a
synonym for the given word
- --"yankees scores" provides the score
for real-time or recently played sports by team
- --"fedex Tracking#" provides status on
packages shipped in the US via Federal Express
- --"usps Tracking#" provides status on
packages shipped in the US via the US Postal Service
- --"New York hotels" provides a listing
of hotels in the specified area
- --"area code New York" lists which area
codes belong to a given city
Tip: Share your Internet connection over
- Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) includes native
support for IP over FireWire. This technology allows you to not only
create a peer-to-peer FireWire network, but also to share your Internet
connection with your FireWire-equipped Macs. To do so, you'll need to
first open the Networking system preference on each client computer and
create a FireWire port. Next, open the Sharing system preference on
the computer hosting the Internet connection and specify that you want to
share your Ethernet connection with computer using FireWire.
Tip: Use the Flu Shot Locator to keep healthy
- Worried about the wintertime bug?
The American Lung Association has just released a flu shot locator mechanism
on their site, located at www.lungusa.org. Using the locater tool, you
can find the closest clinics or drug stores in your area that provide this
service. Just enter your zip code in the Enter Your Zip Code Below
text box and click Go. You'll find a list of facilities where you can
obtain the shots or nasal spray vaccines.
Tip: Download the Universal Mail-in Voter
- If you aren't registeded to vote, it isn't
too late to do so. Just go to www.fec.gov/votregis/pdf/nvra.pdf to
obtain a registration form. Download and print the Voter Registration
Application and fill out the instructions as indicated. Scroll down
the form to locate your home state to check whether there are specific
application details applicable to your area, and be sure to hurry if you
plan on voting and haven't registered.
Tip: Give your browser security features an
- As new vulnerabilities in Internet
Explorer and discovered and patched on a regular basis the unsuspecting
Internet user can easily jeopardize their computer's security if the most
current patches aren't installed regularaly. To check whether your IE
is up to date, go to Internet Explorer Critical Updates at one of the
following URLs, depending on your operating system:
- Macintosh: www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx#IE
Tip: Keeping an eye on Linux distributions
- If your company is thinking about saving
money by switching to an open source Linux kernel that you can use with you
current Windows OS environment, visit www.distrowatch.com. This site
provides users with a frame of reference as to the number of Linux
distributions available, monitoring nearly 200 different Linux distributions
and enabling you to research which distribution might be right for your
Tip: Setting up Automatic Updates to prepare
for Service Pack 2 (Windows XP)
- The easiest way to obtain SP2 is to set up
Windows' Automatic Updates and have Microsoft download the sizable SP2 in
stages to your machine. This saves you bandwidth and time, since SP2
can be quite large. Staging this download over multiple updates is
your best bet.
- To configure your computer to receive
Automatic Updates, choose Start | Control Panel, click on Performance and
maintenance (or simply double-click on System in Classic View), and then
click on System. Choose the automatic Updates tab and select the Keep
My Computer Up To Date check box. This activates the Settings area
below. Select the last option button, Automatically Download The
Updates, And Install Them on The Schedule That I Specify. Choose a
duration and time when you know your computer will be turned on and
connected to the internet, and then click OK. If you miss an update,
Windows notifies you the next time you boot up by a Windows Update icon in
Tip: Microsoft releases Service pack 2 for XP
- Designed primarily as a security upgrade,
SP2 for Windows XP is supposed to tie up several security holes exploited
recently by Mydoom, Sasser, and other nasty worms and viruses. Here
are a few of the enhancements found in the update:
- Enables Window Internet Connection
Firewall (ICF) automatically, which closes ports unless they're in use.
Also said to improve the firewall configuration interface.
- Recompiles Core components to make the
Windows OS more resilient to malware-induced buffer overruns.
- Makes Outlook Express and Windows
Messenger more secure by toggling various default settings.
- Improves IE 6 interface, enabling users
to block malicious ActiveX controls and spyware.
- As there was great concern and delay over
this release, many people are treating this update with caution, since
there's the possibility that it may impact current applications. This
can be said of most updates, however, and anyone relying on the ICF or
worried about ActiveX may consider installing it sooner than later.
You can download SP2 at www.microsoft.com/downloads. For an easier way
to get SP2, you can set up Automatic Updates on XP. A future tip will
show you how.
Tip: Create desktop shortcuts for programs,
files, and Web sites
- If you frequently work from your desktop,
you can easily access documents or programs that you often use with a
desktop shortcut. To add a shortcut for a program, choose Start | All
Programs (Programs in Windows 98) and right-click on a program name.
Choose Create Shortcut from the shortcut menu. To add a shortcut for a
document, right-click on the Start button and choose Windows Explorer
(Explore in Windows 98). Using Explorer, navigate to the document you
often use, right-click on the document and choose Create Shortcut. The
shortcut appears in the Windows Explorer window, but you can click and drag
it wherever you wish. To make a desktop shortcut from a Favorite, open
your Favorites pane in IE 5 or 6 and right-click on a link. Click Sent
To | Desktop (Create Shortcut) and a new shortcut for the site appears on
Tip: Review video games before you buy them
- Okay, so your kids are driving you crazy
about a new video game that they just can't live without. As a
concerned parent, you may be wondering what kind of content the game
contains and whether it's suitable for your children. You can get
helpful game reviews and demos at www.gamesport.com,
www.videogamereview.com/pcdemoscrx.aspx, and www.Happypuppy.com. You
can also find game rankings from a parental perspective at
www.gradingthemovies.com/html/games.shtml and www.esrb.org/esrbratings _search.asp.
By the way, if you're just into video games, these are great sites to demo
games and read reviews before going out and purchasing th
Tip: Backing up your Favorites list
- If you're like many people, you probably
have a few knockout sites bookmarked to your Favorites list that, no matter
what route you took, you'd never be able to find again. To keep these
gems protected, it's a good idea to back up your Favorites list to a disk,
To do this, insert a disk into your floppy drive or any removable disk
drive. Next, double-click on My Computer and select your C: drive.
Double-click on the Windows folder or navigate to the folder containing your
Favorites, and then right-click on your Favorites folder. Select Send
To from the shortcut menu and choose the drive you want to copy to (usually
your A: drive for a floppy disk). A copy of your Favorites is then
saved to that location.
Tip: Search for hidden easter eggs in your
- By now most of us have switched from VHS
to DVD. For those of us who haven't here's another reason to consider
retiring the old video recorder--DVD Easter eggs! Easter eggs are
hidden clips and features included on DVDs that aren't listed on the main
menu, thus causing diligent views to hunt for them. Deleted scenes,
games, additional interviews, and things the general audience wasn't meant
to see may all be hidden within your innocent www.eeggs.com,
www.dvdeastereggs.com, and www.dvdtown.com/eastereggs. Give them a
visit and see what may be lurking in your collection.
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