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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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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Secure Online Passwords

Most hackers can break into your computer without using any impressive programming skills.  A lot of people use their name, pet name, home phone number, or simple words like “password.”

If you have a very simple password, then a hacker can hack your computer very easily by trying to guess your password.  To safe guard your personal computer from these guys there is a very simple way to create a tricky password.

Below are some steps to make your passwords difficult to guess:

  • Try to use the max number of characters allowed in your password

This is the simplest method because the longer the password the more difficult it is to guess.  Or make an effort to exceed the minimum required.

  • Combine lower-case and upper-case letters in your password

Most PC users apply only lower-case letters to their passwords, but it is best to use the combination of both upper and lower-case.  Doing so will make it much more difficult to crack.

  • Combine letters and numbers in your password

When you mix both letters and numbers it makes your password incomprehensible, and places the odds in your favor because most just use letters or just numbers.

  • Try not to use the name of any family member in your password

The name of your child, spouse, pet, city, or country are easy to guess if anybody knows you and your family.

  • Password management and encrypting software

If coming up with your own password is too time-consuming, there are many software tools that help you generate and manage your passwords.  Some of them are free and most are inexpensive for the security and peace of mind they provide.

  1. PC Tools Password Generator is a password generator that you can download for free.
  2. Roboform is an inexpensive way to manage and/or encrypt your passwords, with excellent features such as the ability to automatically fill forms for you when you apply to a certain membership website or online purchases.  It is a great time saver.  Look for programs such as these to rid yourself of the headache of remembering and maintaining passwords.

If you would like more information on how to secure your passwords, I am always available on skype for any questions or technical assistance.  My skype name is: patient.computer.tutor

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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