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7/7/24 - Bank account wiped out after fake call from their bank

7/2/24 - Good video wasting a scammers time

6/11/24 - Wife gets a fake text message

The other day my wife received the following text message on her phone:

TruStone:

Did you approve a $1278.69 TJ Maxx charge in Kellar with phone ending **1522?

If not, replay No to cancel.

Before responding I did some research on Google.  I found out TruStone is a legitimate bank, but nothing we deal with and nothing in our area.  I don't know what "Kellar" is.  I did find one webpage (link below) that talked about fake text messages.  They said if you respond with either Yes or No the scammer will followup with another text or a phone call to try to get you to do something that will let them access your bank account, like verifying a security code.  The correct thing to do is just delete the text message.  If the bank listed is in fact your bank, then call the bank with their real phone number and confirm everything is ok.  Never follow any instructions in a text or phone call you received out of the blue and did not initiate yourself.

Clear here for a webpage with more information

5/20/24 - Lost $34,000 to new phone scam

4/26/24 - Outlook.com email is full

4/20/24 - Don't open that box !

If you buy a new computer or printer and you are having me or someone else set it up for you, it's important not to open the box until that person is onsite and had a chance to look over your old equipment.  I've had two case where I was able to get the old equipment working so the client could return what they bought.  One case was with a new computer years ago, and the other case was with a new printer just the other day.  In each situation it seemed the client's equipment was dead in the water and would not start up, no lights, no sound, nothing.  I found the electrical outlets the equipment was plugged into was not receiving any power.  I confirmed this by plugging in a small light bulb I carry with me.

4/11/24 - T-Mobile pricing

Today I call the local T-Mobile store for an estimate on internet and cell phone service for a client.  Here's what I found out.

1001 1st Ave E, Suite 135
Cambridge, MN 55008
763-689-6600
M-S  10am - 8pm  Sunday 11am - 6pm

  • $110 per month including all taxes and fees.
  • Price does not change for life unless you change the service.
  • Includes senior discount if you are over 55.
  • Includes internet and one cell phone,  galaxy S24.
  • Download speed is 200-300 mbps.
  • Unlimited minutes and text in US Canada & Mexico.
  • Current phone number can be transferred over.
  • 2nd cell is $30 more.
  • I confirmed your physical landline phones go away.

My current cost with Midco for comparison = $117

4/11/24 - More fake emails

2/15/24 - Single wrong digit sees couple's $230,000 disappear

12/14/23 - Fake PayPal email invoice scam

12/2/23 - Tech support scam found on Microsoft webpage

11/17/23 - Google is about to delete old accounts

Google issued a warning that old Gmail accounts that have not been used within the last two years will soon be deleted.  If you are concerned about this just sign into your account and send an email to someone or even back to yourself.  This is true for any old email account from other companies as well like Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, Juno, and AOL.

11/17/23 - Update to my story about YouTube and popup blockers

If you are getting those warnings from YouTube about your current popup blocker like I was, I have a solution that is working at least for now.  My son found an alternative popup blocker that does a good job and is not noticed by YouTube.  I've been using this myself for a few weeks and it works just fine.  It's called "uBlock Origin".  I'm using it with the Firefox browser, but I believe it will also works in Chrome and Edge.  You need to go into your browser extension settings.  Remove your old popup blocker, then search for "uBlock Origin" and install it thru your browser extensions page, not thru a Google search.  If you have no idea what I just said give me a call and I can help you with that.  We can set an appointment, or we might be able to do it remotely thru the internet.  I do charge for this of course, but it's an easy procedure.

10/15/23 - YouTube has started banning popup blockers

Yesterday I started seeing the message below when I tried to watch a few YouTube videos.  Fortunately I was able to close the box down with the "X" in the corner and the video played just fine.  This happened because I use popup blocker called AdBlock Plus and have been for many years.  There's a link for it on this webpage.  What is does is block most of the popups on any webpage including most of the advertising you see when watching YouTube videos.  It looks like YouTube may finally be cracking down on this.  According to the web this has been going on for a couple of months now but the timing varies from person to person.  Funny thing is last night and so far today I have not seen any messages from YouTube.  If I had to watch ads with each video it would just ruin it since I mostly watch videos and very little TV.  I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

10/06/23 - Outlook vs Outlook.com

10/06/23 - New political scam over your phone

10/06/23 - Bill Gates explains the Internet in 1995

9/13/23 - More fake emails

08/13/23 - Big news that will change anything with a battery

According to this video laws in Europe have changed which will force manufacturers to have easily replaceable batteries in devices like cell phones and laptops.  Also the devices will have to be more repairable.  These laws are expected to affect the world and should start showing up in a year or two.

08/10/23 - How much ink is inside a printer cartridge

07/21/23  Walmart will dim store lights weekly for those with sensory disabilities
 

This is a quote from an article in USA Today online:


Those sensitive to bright lights will have their own time and day to shop starting Saturday, July 22.  Walmart announced most of its stores will offer "sensory-friendly shopping hours" every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 am through August.

In a Back-to-School press release, the retail company said it will dim its lights to better serve sensory-sensitive shoppers. During the two-hour period, most stores will turn off their radios and display static images on TV sets.

The accommodations are meant to improve shopping experience for autistic people, those with sensory processing discover and other sensory differences, the release said.

"We are striving every day to create a culture where everyone feels they belong," the company stated. "This year, Walmart is taking steps toward creating a quieter shopping environment that's more enjoyable for customers who live with sensory disabilities."  The release did not clarify whether the accommodations will continue for these communities after August.

07/04/23 - What Microsoft doesn't want you to know

07/04/23 - Quickbooks warning

When you install Quickbooks on your computer you are given a license number and a product number.  Write these down somewhere because if you ever need to reinstall the program or if you ever need help from Quickbooks support, you will need these numbers.  The other day I got a call from a client that was using Quickbooks.  Everything was fine but one day he said the program just refused to start up.  Somehow he was able to call Quickbooks support but they refused to help him without those numbers.  He told Quickbooks his email address but they said they could not find it on file.  Fortunately I had written down the Quickbooks numbers in my notes about the job when I installed Quickbooks in the past.  I have not heard back from the client so that must have been enough to get him the help he needed.

Click here for the Quickbooks support webpage

According to Quickbooks there are several ways to find out these numbers.

• Start the Quickbooks program and press F2 on the keyboard.

• Quickbooks webpage if you know the email address you used  Clear here

• If bought online from Quickbooks search for their confirmation email in your inbox.

• If purchased from a store look at the box.

• For Quickbooks online accounts:
  "QuickBooks Online accounts don't have a license
  number, they have a Company ID (CoID). You’ll find
  your CoID on your Billing & Subscription page.
  1.  Click the Gear icon.
  2.  Choose Account & Settings.
  3.  Select Billing & Subscription on the left.  The Company ID will show at the top.

06/23/23 - Woman loses $160,000 in simple texting scam

​​

06/17/23 - New look for AOL email

I use AOL for my email mostly.  The other day I started it up and the screen coloring had changed.  I was using the "Basic" version before because the screen was simpler but AOL had automatically upgraded me to their new version.  The good news is that it's not much different than what I had before.  There is still some advertising along the right and at the top of the inbox, but that's normal for all email webpages.  There is an option in the settings menu to go back to the basic version, but that only takes some of the coloring away and isn't necessary.

 

One plus of this new look is the themes setting where you can change the coloring and pictures along the top.  To get into that just click the gear button in the upper right of the AOL screen.  A menu will show along the right side with the theme choices.  If you click on "+13" even more choices will show.  I like the very last one which is named "Sunset" if you mouse over it.  Give it a try :)

06-16-23  New AOL look.jpg

05/14/23 - Function keys are going away

I worked on a new Dell laptop model XPS 9320 the other day and there was a couple of unusual things about it.  First off there were no function keys across the top of the keyboard, just buttons to control things like screen brightness and speaker volume.  Now to be fair most people do not use the function keys anyway, and it's confusing to have function keys with two means that are controlled by the Fn key in the lower left of the keyboard.  So this is likely a good move.  The second thing I noticed is there were no normal USB ports on the sides of the laptop.  Instead there were two much smaller "type C" ports that you might see on a cell phone.  Included was a small adapter I was able to plug in so I could use my flash drive.  I can see I'm going to have to buy a couple of these adapters to keep in my repair kit.  The power cord for the laptop plugged into one of the ports so that only left one for a person to use.  However you can buy adapter that expand one port into several if you need more.

04/05/23 - Don't search for webpage addresses

If you have a webpage address such as "IRS.GOV" you need to type that in at the very top of your browser on the address bar that normally shows webpage addresses.  Just click up there and backspace or delete to remove the current address, then type in the address you want to bring up and press Enter on the keyboard.

Do not do a google search for a webpage address because there are fake webpages out there just hoping you'll click on them in the search results.  Search is great if you don't know the company's webpage address and you want to find them.  Even then be careful about fakes.  The webpage you search for should look correct and the address it shows at the top should as well.  If the address contains unusual words that don't seem to match the company, then close that down right away.

2/21/23 - Save webpage pictures as JPG

One of the problems with Windows 10 and 11 is losing the ability to save browser webpage pictures as JPG.  It seems most of the pictures shown in Google and Bing want to save in a new format called WebP.  They use this because supposedly it's a bit smaller and loads faster on webpages.

I like JPG better because it's more compatible with older computers and photo editors.  To work around this you can right click and COPY the pictures, then paste them into the Windows Paint program.  From there you can save it in whatever format you like.

However, I just tested a browser extension called "Save image as Type".  When you right click on a picture you'll see a new option at the bottom of the menu called "Save image as Type", which offers saving the picture in the JPG, PNG, or WebP formats.  This extension works great and is available for both the Chrome and Edge browsers.  I could not find it for Firefox however.  Note - when installing on Edge you still click the "Add to  Chrome" button even though you have the Edge browser opened.

2/9/23 - What is the most secure browser

This YouTube video shows a person testing the three most common browsers against 300 webpages that are known to download virus files.  All three browsers did a good job either blocked the webpage outright or at least warned against it.  Here are the results:

Edge detected  100%
Chrome detected  96%
Firefox detected  93%
 

2/9/23 - Favorites and Bookmarks

These are shortcuts to your favorite webpages to make them easier to get back to.

Searching for webpages every time you want them can be a source of viruses.

Edge

  1. Bring up the webpage you want to save.

  2. Click the 1st star button in the far upper right.(not the star with 3 lines)

  3. Change the webpage name if you like.(1 or 2 words is best)

  4. Choose the target location either "Favorites Bar" or "Other favorites"

  5. Click the Done button.

  6. To open your favorites in the future click the star button with the 3 lines.

​   If the Favorites bar does not show:
  3 dots button,Settings,Appearance,scroll down right side,set "Show favorites bar" to "Always"

Firefox

  1. Bring up the webpage you want to save.

  2. Click the star button in the upper right.

  3. Change the webpage name if you like.(1 or 2 words is best)

  4. Choose the target location either "Bookmarks Toolbar" or "Other Bookmarks"

  5. Click the Save button.

  6. To open your bookmarks in the future depends on the buttons you see.
    If you see a star button with an underline, click that then move down to "Other Bookmarks"
    If you see a button with 4 vertical lines, click that to see a list of recently bookmarked webpages.

   ​If the Bookmarks bar does not show:  3 lines button,  Bookmarks,  "Show bookmarks toolbar"

Chrome

  1. Bring up the webpage you want to save.

  2. Click the star button in the upper right.

  3. Change the webpage name if you like.(1 or 2 words is best)

  4. Choose the target location either "Bookmarks bar" or "Other bookmarks"

  5. Click the Done button.

​   If the Bookmarks bar does not show:  3 lines button,  Bookmarks,  "Show bookmarks bar"

​​

Moving and deleting favorites

   To move your favorites around just left click and drag them.

   To remove your favorites just right click on a favorite and choose "Delete"

1/23/23 - How to get infected by Ransom Ware

This YouTube video shows a person intentionally trying to get a virus infection on a testing computer.  Eventually he does.  It shows us what to avoid to keep our computer's safe.

1/18/23 - Another fake email

1/18/23 - Problem with a new HP printer

The other day I setup a new HP laptop and laser printer for a client.  The laptop went fine but the printer was a different story.  The model of the printer was HP LaserJet M140we.  HP printers nowadays want to use a program called HP Smart to download and install the drivers.  In the past creating an HP account was optional, but with this printer it was very insistent and would not complete the setup until I did, at least with the wireless setup.  The reason for this is because HP wants to sell you ink thru their "Instant Ink" program.  Fortunately this can be declined at some point.

The printer was working fine for a couple of hours but then it refused to print and a yellow caution light continually blinked on the printer.  For the next hour I tried all sorts of troubleshooting including reinstalling the driver but nothing worked.  The HP Smart program continually said "Printer Setup Incomplete", even though I did finish the setup and it said it was complete on other screens.

In the end I boxed up the printer so the client could return it.  I suggested buying a brother printer just to avoid another HP problem.  Brother is not as common as HP, but I have yet to have any problems setting one up over the years.  They bought a Brother Laser DCP-L2550DW which installed fine, even though there were a number of screens with options to step thru, but no problems getting it to work.

HP has been the go to printer for many years, but with this insistence on creating an account, and this surprising problem with this laser printer, I doubt I can recommend them again.  This may be a trend with HP I don't want to continually run into with a client.  Brother or Epson seems to be better choices for now.  Canon is ok too but they install a lot of extra software.

Back at home I did some research and found a number of people had the exact same problem with the HP laser printer as I did, and none of them seemed to have a fix.  This YouTube video describes the problem.

1/7/23 - Another fake email

Your Invoice #BSH-85504 -Payment Processed Fri, Jan 6, 2023 8:04 am

Intuit E-Commerce Service (quickbooks@notification.intuit.com)

To: you (Bcc) + 1 more Details

Payment Processed to GEEK~SQUAD

Dear Customer,

Your GEEK~SQUAD subscription Plan for Anti-Virus Security Has Been Successfully Renewed And Updated today!  We have attached the invoice BSH-85504 for your subscription paid on 01/06/2023 with this email.  The amount has been debited from your Bank Account and it will reflect in your account statement within 24 hours.  Customer Service for the USA & Canada +1 802 755 5645

Thank you for your business - we appreciate it very much.

Sincerely,
GEEK~SQUAD
+1 802 755 5645

12/14/22 - First desktop computer without a DVD drive

I set up a lot of new computers but the other day I ran into my first desktop that did not include a DVD drive, at least since they starting coming out about a thousand years ago.  It was the popular $299 computer they sell at Walmart.  It is usually in stock or you can get it online, see the link below.  I like this computer because it includes a 256gb SSD hard drive which makes it very fast.  It does not include a monitor but usually there is a SVGA port on the back to connect your old one.  If not you can buy an adapter.  Another thing that was different is there were more USB ports in the front of the computer.  If I remember right 4 in the front and 2 in the back.

Click here to see the $299 computer at Walmart

12/14/22 - Don't use Microsoft's installed Outlook program

Setting up a new computer takes a long time mostly depending on what programs we have to install and what data we have to get off your old computer.  The client the other day was using Microsoft's Outlook that is included with some versions of Microsoft Office.  Now I'm not talking about the webpage Outlook.com, that's not a problem, it's the installed version of Outlook that is the concern.  You see your emails and contacts are stored on your computer not on the web like the email webpages most of us use.  That means if your computer dies and you don't have a backup or printout you'll be in trouble.  That is exactly what happened with my client the other day.  He had about 300 contacts in his address book and his old computer no longer started.  Fortunately I was able to get it to boot, export the contacts to a file, and import them into a new Gmail account we made for him.  There is only one advantage to the installed version of Outlook but the risks are too great.  We should also avoid the "Mail" app included with Windows and company specific email services like CenturyLink and Midco.  Better to use a generic service like Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL.  Gmail is the most popular but I like AOL because there are settings you can turn off to reduce advertising and junk mail.

11/12/22 - See all the computers accessing your Facebook

I was helping a client with a Facebook problem the other day.  Her friends were telling here they were receiving messages not sent by my client.  She was sure someone had broken into her account.  The first step with any problem like this is to try to change your password, preferably on a different computer just in case there is a virus monitoring your keystrokes.  That's not common but still a good idea.  Next I would run several virus scans.  While helping the client I ran across a neat Facebook feature that lets you see all the computers that have accessed your account.  You can also force them to sign out (log off) .  This would be a good idea to check even if you are not having problems.

How to see computers accessing the account:

1.  Sign into Facebook.
2.  Click round "Account" button in the upper right.
3.  "Settings & privacy"
4.  "Settings"
5.  Security & login section
6.  Scroll down to "Where you're logged in".  This will list all the computers and locations.  Click "See more" for the complete list.  Click the 3 dots to the right to sign out  of the computers one by one.  Click "Not you? Log out"

9/27/22 - Don't reuse paper in your printer

A lot of people try to save a very small amount of money by printing on the back side of paper.  And I know some people get away with it for a long time.  However once paper goes thru the printer it does not have the same flexibility as new and can cause paper jams.  This is especially true with laser printers which heat the paper.  I ran into this just yesterday with a client's brand new laser printer which had a rather bad paper jam.  When I got the paper out and looked thru the stack there were several sheets already printed on the back side.  Had I not been able to get the paper jam fixed it would have meant buying another brand new printer.  A better use of old paper is for scraps to make notes on.  I have a stack in my office and whenever someone calls I take out a sheet just for this purpose.

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