Thursday, February 28, 2008

Warning, Forward to ALL Your Friends (Not Really!)

Have you ever received an email message about the following?
  • The postcard/greeting card virus or
  • Cell phone directory’s being made available to telemarketers or
  • An email plea to help find Ashley Flores a missing child or
  • A warning about bacteria on lemon wedges in restaurant water or
  • The 809 Area Code Scam or
  • The “Slow Dance” poem message (forward and the American Cancer Society will receive a donation) or
  • The Microsoft/Bill Gates/AOL Giveaway or
  • The ATM reverse PIN (summons police).
Only one is true and another partially true. You can check out or, but your options for verifying whether an email message is a hoax or a scam are not limited to those two sites. Take a look at which lists other Hoax/scam verifying sites...and have fun reading.

Remember, the most prolific SPAM generators are folks who forward untrue email messages warning their friends of impending dangers!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Have an Account with Them?

If you receive email from a firm whose name you recognize (such as Smith Barney, PayPal, First Bank) but you've never done business with them, don't open it, don't be curious, just delete the message--especially if the message is part of a barrage of email messages purportedly from the company.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Disabling AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word 2004 - Mac Version

You can control how AutoCorrect affects you documents from the AutoCorrect dialog box. This is found under Tools, Autocorrect. (Fig. 1).

There are four tabs at the top of this dialog box, AutoCorrect, AutoFormat As You Type, Auto Text, and AutoFormat (Fig. 2). Selecting a tab reveals the available options in the form of check boxes. Check or uncheck a selection to enable or disable it . These changes will remain effective until the next time you change them.

For those who have found the AutoCorrect feature of Word frustrating, it is tempting to just turn everything off. You, of course, may do this, but you run the risk of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. It is worth taking the time to examine each of these choices to see which options may actually increase productivity for the way you use Word.

It is important that you examine the options under each of the tabs as several are repeated under more than one tab. Disabling one of the many AutoCorrect features may require that you uncheck its box under more than one tab. For example, automatic bulleted lists is an option under both the AutoFormat As You Type and the AutoFormat tabs. If you want this feature disabled, you must uncheck it under both these tabs.

Thanks to Bob Epp for this tip.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mini-definitions - Spyware, Adware, and Browser-Hijacking

Language can clarify or confuse. If you don't know the terminology, you're at a disadvantage. Over the past couple of years, there's been a lot of discussion of unwanted, intrusive software. Three terms commonly used are spyware, adware, and browser-hijacking software. Do you know the difference?

Here are mini-definitions of these three aggressive types of software.
  • Adware displays (typically) pop-up ads while you're online. The software tracks and reports your Internet habits ostensibly to tailor ads to your personal needs based on your Internet browsing.
  • Spyware reports information to a third party about your computer system without your knowledge.
  • Browser-hijacking software literally hijacks your computer, slows down your Internet connection (because it is using the bandwidth and your computer's processing for its own purposes), redirects you to advertisers or specific web sites, and changes your browser settings, without your permission or knowledge.

Programs like Symantec Anti-virus, Ad-Aware, Spybot, and Spy Sweeper are designed to try to protect your system from these types of threats.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Right Click What?

Want to open up Windows Explorer quickly? Right-click on Start Menu and select Explore.

Typing a letter in Microsoft Word and want to change the font for a word or phrase? Select the text, right-click on the text and select the Font option on the pop-up menu. Try a right-click here and there in any Windows application and explore the context sensitive pop-up menu that appears. You’ll have lots of options without moving your mouse to the Menu or Button Bar.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Expand Your Contacts

Are you getting email from someone you want to add to your Outlook Contacts (so you can find their email address easily)? Just do the following:
  1. Open an email address from the person in Outlook.
  2. Right click (not a left click) the From: field information in the message.
  3. When a pop-up menu appears click Add to Outlook Contacts.
  4. A New Contact form appears with the information derived from the email address. You can enter additional information.
  5. Click the Save and Close button when finished. If you already have a contact form created for this person/business, Outlook will alert you and let you choose which data to save or enable you to update the old record.

This means that next time you want to email to that person, their contact information will be available in your Contacts.

Multiple Windows, Multiple Options

Unwanted pop-up windows can be a pest but you can use this capability (having multiple windows open) to your advantage too. In any version of Windows, you can open multiple occurrences of the same application or have multiple applications running simultaneously. I often see computer users close one application to open another and it's rarely necessary.

Just be aware that you can use the Alt+Tab key combination to jump easily from one open application or window to the next. If you have multiple applications open, hold down the Alt key and press Tab to cycle through those open applications. You'll see a little window appear in the middle of your screen with icons representing each open application. As each is highlighted (by pressing Tab again), you'll see a description of that application (such as "Memo.doc -Microsoft Word" or "Inbox - Microsoft Outlook"). Release the Alt and Tab keys when you highlight the application or window to which you want to jump.

You can also click on one of the tabs on the Task Bar (bottom of the screen) to jump quickly between applications. The tabs are labeled with the name (or an abbreviation) representing the "process" running in that window.

When would you want to run multiple occurrences of the same application? How about if you want to copy files from one location to another without scrolling upon and down a long list of folders? Simply open two occurrences of Microsoft Explorer--one pointed at the source folder and the other at the target folder.

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