An Introduction to Skype

You may be asking yourself, What is Skype?  Skype is a free online service that allows you to talk and see family or friends anywhere in the world or send instant messages through the internet so long as they are also connected to Skype.  For those not familiar with it, this article is for you.

How do I set it up?  You will need a computer, headset with microphone, and internet connection.  Once you have these in place follow the steps below:

  1. Download Skype.  Get on the internet and download Skype here.  It will install on your computer and guide you through the process with step-by-step instructions.  Follow them carefully.
  2. Sign up / Join Skype.  Once downloaded you will need to sign up and Join Skype here.  This allows you to create an account. You will enter a username and password which is needed in order to “login” and gain access to Skype’s features.  The username will become your “Skype Name” so make sure it is one you are happy with to be seen in the “skype community”.  Be sure to store your password in a safe place.  Roboform is a good password management tool.  Read our article Computer Tip on how to Secure Passwords for more information.
  3. Find Family and Friends.  If the person you want to talk to is already signed up with Skype, then you will need to exchange skype names (username) to find each other and connect.  Skype will automatically store people you connect with under the Contacts section (left-hand side).  Only give your username to people you know and never accept invitations from someone you do not know or recognize.
  4. Make the First Call.  Go to your Contacts and select the person you want to speak with.  You will see a picture (maybe?) and small bubble next to their name indicating if they are online or offline.  Hover over it to check, but usually it is shaded green if they are online or white if they are not.  If they are online put your headsets on and start away!  If you want to test it feel free to call me first.  My skype name is: patient.computer.tutor
  5. No computer?  If you do not own a computer you can still use Skype.  Go to an internet cafe, ask if they have Skype, and follow steps 2-4.  Most of these internet cafes already have Skype downloaded on their computers.  If who you want to talk to is not on Skype or does not have a computer, you can still make Skype calls easily and affordably.

We hope we scratched the surface enough for you to give it a try.  If the instructions above do not make sense and or you would like to learn more, then Contact Us for some PC Training.  

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in MIS with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, website design and internet marketing.

 

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Secure Your Facebook Account

A year ago our good friend, Seth, circulated instructions on how to keep your Facebook (FB) account secure.  Since then FB has made many changes to their user interface and is continuously updating its information.

We re-tested some of these instructions and are passing them on to you.  If you are interested in securing your FB account and keeping some privacy, then follow these step-by-step instructions.

1.  YOUR FRIENDS LIST

You cannot prevent your friends from seeing your friends list, but you can prevent non-friends from seeing your friends list.

On the top right click on your name to go to your Wall page.  On your Wall page at the center left you will see a pencil icon next to Edit Profile, select this and you will see a list on the left side.  Select Friends and Family and select “Friends” from the drop-down menu.  Save Changes once done.

2.  YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

In the same way you secured your Friends List, select Contact Information from Edit Profile.  I recommend you set all fields to “Only Friends” or “Only Me” depending on the information, unless you want some information to be open to “Public”.  Save Changes once done.

3.  REMOVE ANY BAD APPS AND ADJUST PRIVACY

If you have added some FB apps, you may want to undo that.  You may not have known this, but FB apps require access to all of your data and in some instances to your friends and family data.  You want to secure all data and apps-related activity from being publicly available.  You don’t know who wrote some of these apps or what they are doing with your information.  Some of the apps could actually be viruses.

To change this, on the top right select Account Settings from the drop-down menu next to Home.  On the list to the left, select Apps to see all applications authorized for your FB account.  First, if you see any apps you don’t want to have access to your profile, select X next to Edit in order to remove it.  Next go through each app one by one by selecting Edit next to each one and set App activity privacy to “Friends” or “Only Me.”  Under This app can, determine which ones you want to keep…for example, you may want to “Remove” ones that publish information as “You” directly to your wall, or access your data any time telling everyone each thing you are doing.  Can you believe it!!

4.  PASSWORDS

FB accounts get hacked into frequently.  One of the reasons any account gets hacked into is because weak passwords are used.  A secure password should be at least six digits long and composed of numbers and letters.  Read our Computer Tip on how to Secure Passwords for guidance, which includes two recommended password management tools.

FB changes their user interface often so don’t be surprised if these steps change over time.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or Email.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in MIS with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, website design, and internet marketing.

 

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Fixing the “XP Internet Security 2010″ Warning

There are many different types of malicious software that at first glance appear harmless. And it seems they appear at the same time that a problem is occurring on your PC. This is no coincidence, but a well-thought trick to get people to separate themselves from their money.

XP Internet Security 2010 is that type of situation and it is very tricky. Here’s what happens: A pop-up window shows up appearing to scan your computer and detecting viruses along the way. After the scan is complete it quotes a price to pay to rid yourself of all the viruses it discovered.

It is important to note XP Internet Security 2010 is a cover-up for many Trojan viruses in itself. It can make it impossible to work when having pop-ups show all over your monitor until you throw your hands in the air and begin to scream.

In trying to remove this malicious software it will sink its teeth into the desktop and not permit you to open up any program or file you have a link to.

This is not for the faint of heart. To fix this problem it is important to have more than one computer to crack this puzzle. Also, it helps to have someone that has some fair amount of computer debugging skills. If you feel you are able, then click here to try these steps and safely remove it.

The battle begins and we will always stand victorious when it comes to this nonsense. Do not fall for the “XP Internet Security 2010″ trickster.

Please call us if you are having this problem or something similar to it. I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Driver Software – Do I really need it?

It sounds like a good idea: Having the latest and greatest software drivers on a PC to run all the hardware devices that make up the PC. It made a lot of sense to me until I sat back and thought about it.

Do I really need driver software? The answer is No.

Windows and your PC manufacturer do a pretty good job driving you crazy with all the updates that are critical and necessary.  Why would you need anything else?

This is the best routine at selling snow to Eskimos that I have seen, and to think that I almost bought into it.

My grandfather used to say, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.   If some device is broke or has a fault in it, you will get an error of some sort.

A way to check this is to do the following:

1. Go to the Device Manager in your control panel and see if there are any red, yellow fault or warning signals next to any device. 
2. If there are, then double-click on the device.
3. Then go to Properties and check to see if there is an updated driver for that device.
4. If there is no updated driver found in the Device Manager, then check with your manufacturer’s website for that specific device.

Also, it is important to keep your Windows Operating Systems up to date. 

If none of the above works or you did not understand the instructions, feel free to give us a call. I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Computer Tip: How to Google internationally

I recently took a trip to Spain and brought my laptop with me. When I used Google search, my results came up in Spanish and automatically changed the url address to “www.google.es” (instead of .com at the end). How do you prevent this from happening?

This can be quite a pain in the neck, especially when you would like to continue searching in your own language even though you are in another country. This is one of those Google features that supports those living in that country by redirecting you to the site in that country’s language.

There is an easy way to fix this. All that you need to do is type “www.google.com/ncr” in the url address box. I think the “ncr” stands for “no country redirecting.” If it doesn’t, then it should!

Nevertheless, this easy fix works for any language that you wish to search in regardless of the country you are in at the moment.

Carry on and enjoy browsing with the internet again. I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Safety Tips for Online Banking

A lot of people use online banking to save time, or for convenience. It is one less thing to do on the list. There are security precautions to take, however, if this is your permanent banking method. Try the following four (4) tips below to check the authenticity of the bank’s site.

1. Minimize the page with a virtual keyboard if your bank provides one.  If the virtual keyboard minimizes with the page, this is correct and the website is authentic. If the virtual keyboard does not minimize with the page, then the site has been pirated. This means that it is a bogus website. Do not attempt to click or enter any information on the site.  It is recommended that you report it to your banking representative.

2. Enter an incorrect password the first time.  In other words, do not enter your correct password at login. This is done to determine the authenticity of the website. If you see an error message after entering the incorrect password, then you can be sure the website is not a bogus one because most bank systems try to verify the password entered.  At this point, it is safe to enter your correct password. If you do not see an error message after entering the incorrect password, then this is a bad sign.  Pirated websites have no way of checking the information you enter, and their aim is only to capture the password.

3. Make sure the bottom of the page has a padlock icon if your bank provides one. Try to click twice on the icon.  A small message window with information about the authenticity of the site should appear.  In some pirate sites an image of a padlock icon may appear, but it is just an image and clicking twice on it does nothing.

4. The last tip is to check the bank’s site address in your internet browser.  The bank site should begin with “https” versus the normal “http”.  The “s” indicates that you are accessing a secure site. See my computer tip on HTTP.

These four small tips are simple steps to take, and can help to ensure that you do not fall victim to online banking fraud.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation. His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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Beware of Internet Security Essentials

Internet Security Essentials…sounds like a necessary thing to have for your computer.  It also sounds very familiar with another program called Microsoft Security Essentials which is a pretty good and free, legitimate anti-virus program.

However, Internet Security Essentials is quite different. Unlike Microsoft Security Essentials, it is a rouge program which you might notice at first as an annoying pop-up claiming to identify and clean your computer.  But what it really does is creep into your system to try and get you to purchase it by pretending to scan your system and identify different viruses.  Then it presents itself as the solution to all the problems it has identified.

This can be very convincing when you are trying to keep your records clean, and the small cost to purchase may seem logical.  However, since you did not permit this application to be loaded on your system, this should be the first sign that something doesn’t smell right.

If you try to ignore these pop-ups, chances are they will pop up again and again.  And with time it will prevent you from using the internet even though you have a good internet connection.  As time proceeds it will plant some real viruses in your system and make it harder to work with.  The quicker you deal with this pest, the better.

  1. Step one is to uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs section in your Control Panel.
  2. Then go to Internet Explorer and choose Tools from menu, then Internet Options, then the Connections tab.
  3. From there click on the “LAN settings” button, then uncheck the box under “Proxy Server”, and make sure there is a check in the box above called “Automatically detect settings”.
  4. Click Ok to exit LAN settings, and Ok again to exit Internet Options.
  5. Restart your computer.  Things should work normal again.

MalwareBytes is a good scanner to run when this happens to clean out any other gremlins.  The quick scan in this program should do the trick.

As far as Microsoft Security Essentials, I recommend it for anyone with a faster and newer computer.

Hope this article was helpful.  I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

Best of luck and good computing to all of you.

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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How to Keep your PC Castle Clean and Secure

Okay, you have your security guard (Anti-virus program) for your PC Castle for your PC Castle, and now you would like to employ a cleaning lady and handyman to keep your castle in Ship-shape in Bristol fashion.  How much is this going to cost, and how am I going to handle all this?

There is no need to worry.  You pay them what you can and refer them to others to make it worth their time.  That’s it.  Consider the following recommendations:

  1. Perform periodic internal cleaning and scanning of your computer. There are various inexpensive online programs that you can download to do the job yourself, and save money.  See my article A Clean Computer for more information.
  2. Reduce your chances of being a high risk target. This means not downloading suspicious programs, opening strange or unfamiliar email attachments, or responding to email from unknown contacts.
  3. Help your friends and warn them. There are tricky instances where you may receive emails from a known contact or friend, but their email does not look right and appears to be something they are unlikely to send in the first place.  They are not sending you this email intentionally, but rather their computer has been infected by a virus. Learn how to solve this problem, and notify them about this so they can fix the problem immediately.  See my article Email Hackers for more information.

Keep in mind there is no such thing as 100% protection.  Your common sense will guide you if you come across potential viruses.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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A Clean Computer

If using a computer is part of your daily routine, then it makes sense to internally clean your computer for any potential viruses.  There are two simple software programs that can do a basic cleaning of the computer.  They are free to download, however, a donation is appreciated.

  • Spybot – Search & Destroy: Spybot is a program that eliminates spyware and malware that resides in your computer.  The benefits are fewer errors, faster start-ups, and a cleaner system.
  • CCleaner: CCleaner is a good cleaning tool specifically for privacy purposes.  It removes traces of online activity, such as your Internet history (not to be confused with bookmarks), unused files, temporary files, and cookies from your system.  The benefits are optimization of your computer, more hard disk space available, and faster Windows start-up.

I am available for any questions on Skype: patient.computer.tutor or email: [email protected]

David Goes has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and computer industry.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with cum laude designation.  His expertise is in providing computer solutions that deliver business value and personal efficiency through database management, computer optimization, and online marketing.

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