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"
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"
5/16/22 - Can you use the new 88 gas
My wife wanted me to lookup the new 88 gas to see if she can use it in her 2010 Honda car. It's supposed to be cheaper. Below is a web link that explains all the details. The short version is yes you can use it if your car is 2001 or newer. But don't use it with old cars or other types of equipment like boats and lawn mowers.
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.
11/3/22 - Fake Apple invoice
Today I received an email pretending to be an invoice from Apple. It looked very convincing. As always NEVER click on anything inside an email you are concerned about even in the white spaces. Instead I signed into my real PayPal account and checked the activity. As expected there was nothing unusual and certainly no invoice from Apple. If there had been I would have scrolled to the bottom of the PayPal webpage and clicked on "Contact" to see what options I had to get in touch with PayPal customer service. As for the email I just deleted it. Another option is you can always call me for an opinion. Have the email up on the screen so you can read it off to me. There is no charge for me to do that :)
PS: Classes are scheduled for Winter, click the link in the upper right to see them.
The health class is turning out to be popular, maybe see you there !
4/8/22 - Fake email from QuickBooks
I received this email in my inbox the other day, not even my spam folder. It's pretending to be a bill from QuickBooks and Best Buy's Geek Squad. There was a PDF link to click plus a phone number to call. This of course is all fake. There are several clues that makes me think this:
First off I've never owned QuickBooks
I've never used the Geek Squad at Best Buy.
Auto renew subscriptions don't expire, the the whole idea of auto renew.
In the message they spelled "GEEK_SQUAD" with an underscore, which is not normal.
So what should you do if you got an email like this? Call QuickBooks or Best Buy using a real phone number from their official website, or stop into Best Buy in person. The important thing is to never click anywhere inside an email you were not expecting or call any phone numbers. Even clicking an "Unsubscribe" link would be bad. Best thing to do is move the email to your spam folder so it's flagged, or just delete it. You can also call me if you want a free 2nd opinion 763-689-5912.
3/13/22 - Great YouTube video showing the most popular websites
3/7/22 - Turn off YouTube's new mouse over feature
Recently I've noticed when I move the mouse over a YouTube video in the search list, the small preview picture of the video gets a bit larger and starts playing. Problem is there is some animation while this happens and that often gets in the way of me click or dragging the video. Basically I have to wait for the animation to stop. Fortunately I found an easy way to turn this feature off.
1. Sign into YouTube with your Google account so your setting change will be remembered. A Google account is just your Gmail account.
2. Click on your account picture in the upper right. A menu will show.
3. Click on "Settings"
4. Along the left click "Playback and performance"
5. On the right scroll down to the very bottom.
6. Find "Inline Playback" and click on the On/Off button so it turns from blue to black. Black means it's turned off. The change is saved automatically.
7. Now search for some videos by typing something in the search box at the top. If you mouse over a video it should now work like it did before.
2/27/22 - Do you need a backup computer ?
If you are like me I'm on my computer (or someone else's) every day. I'm continually researching something, changing my programs, writing webpage tips like this, or testing some program talked about on the web. My main office computer is over 10 years old and still running Windows 7. Sure I could upgrade it to Windows 10 or 11, but then some of my most used programs would no longer work, like Microsoft's Photo Gallery or Office Start 2010.
My computer could die at any time without warning, and if it did I'd be out of commission for some time. I do a good job of backing up my important data files every other day, but what about all the programs I'd have to go without until I got another computer up and running?
So for the last week I've been preparing an old Windows 7 desktop to replace my main office computer just in case it dies suddenly. I didn't realize how many small programs, icons, browser bookmarks, and the many adjustments I'd made to my old computer. I finally finished today, so if my computer died tomorrow all I have to do is swap the computer out and restore my most recent data files, and I'd be off and running.
But what about you? If you are a business I would strongly suggest having a backup plan in case your computer dies, and it could, maybe 5 years from now or maybe the next time you turn it on. Even if you're not a business, if you rely on your computer as much as I do, you should have a plan. AT THE VERY LEAST everyone needs to backup their important data files regularly, once a month, once a week, or maybe every day, depending on how important it is.
This backup computer does not have to be something brand new. In fact it could be the last computer you used that you still have in the closet. Maybe it's on the slow side, but at least if it has most of your programs installed and your printer setup, that's a big time saver.
2/23/22 - Some useful free webpages
This webpage allows you to convert files from one format to another free of charge. There's nothing to install, it's all done online. You can convert up to 25 files per day. After that there's small fee, like $9 for 500. I tested going from a DOC to PDF and PDF to DOC. They looked great and opened without problems. The buttons are a bit hard to figure out at first but really weren't too big of problem.
This webpage lets you type in a product name or model number and look up the old manual available for it.
For example I brought up the PDF manual for my old HP Windows 7 desktop, Acer Aspire x3400g
This webpage adjusts the Amazon review score for a product by taking out reviews it thinks are "unnatural". Just paste in the Amazon product's web address. I tried this on some safety glasses my wife orders. It did not find any bad reviews and left the score the same at 3.8.
2/11 22 - Make the Gmail compose screen larger automatically
1. Click the Compose button.
2. Click the 3 dots in the lower right corner of the small compose screen.
3. Click "Default to full screen"
4. Close the compose screen with the "X"
2/8/22 - Virus popup in the lower right of Chrome
I had a job last night and a job this morning that involved the same kind of virus popup. The information displayed changes each time but to the right is an example. This popup is 100% fake and is only trying to get you to click the buttons. The popup does not hurt anything other than to display the messages. It's caused by a setting in the chrome browser and something that got installed that takes advantage of that. Until you get it fix just ignore it and don't click inside that popup. If you would like me to remove it and check for other viruses, give me a call to set an appointment. We can likely remove it remotely if you have Windows 10 and nothing else you need done. 763-689-5912
2/8/22 - Minnco hours
I had to lookup the Minnco Credit Union hours today for the wife. Here they are in case you need them also.
1/24/22 - How to clean up the look of Gmail
I was helping a client with Gmail the other day and found the webpage so cluttered with confusing features and buttons it was hard use the email program and to see the folders along the left side. The client had all her webpages enlarged a bit to 110% due to eyesight problems which made it even worse. The biggest problem was a feature called "Meet " which took up half the left column and got in the way. Below are some settings in Gmail you can change to make things more usable.
Making the folders list show or not
Along the left side of the screen you should see a list of folders with words like "Inbox". If you see only pictures, then just click the 3 horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your Gmail screen. It's a button to the left of "M Gmail". Click it a couple times and you'll see it toggles between showing or hiding your folder list.
Removing Meet on the left side
This will remove the "Meet" and other related lines from the left side of the screen.
It's a free online video conferencing service like Zoom and Skype. If you don't use this feature there's no reason to see it along the left.
Click the Settings gear button in the upper right, then click "See all settings"
Click on "Chat and Meet", which is a tab along the top of the settings screen.
Now choose "Hide the Meet section in the main menu".
Click the "Save Changes" button below.The Gmail screen will refresh.
Changing what folders show along the left side
Along the left in the folder list you may not see all the folders you expect, like "Trash" and "Spam". Gmail likes to hide folders under the word "More" at the bottom of the folders list. If you click on "More" you'll be able to scroll down and see the rest. If you want to control what folders show right away and what folders show under "More", then use these steps.
Click the Settings gear button in the upper right, then click "See all settings"
Click on "Labels", which is a tab along the top of the settings screen.
A list will show of all the possible folders you could see along the left side.
Choose either "show" or "hide" for each folder.Some have a "Remove" button as well.
"Show" means it shows right away, and "Hide" means it's hidden under the word "More".
Your changes are saved automatically.For me I choose "Hide" for everything except these folders:Inbox, Sent, Drafts, Spam, Trash
When done click your "Inbox" along the left to get out.
1/12/22 - How to test your internet
When I'm working on a client's computer with internet trouble,
there are some simple tests I can do to give a good picture of what's going on.
#1 - Ping test
Frist you need to open a command prompt. This takes us back to the good old DOS days. You remember those when computers were simple and Windows did not exist ;) You can get to a DOS prompt in Windows 10 by searching for "cmd" in the white search box in the lower left corner of your desktop screen. Click on CMD and a small black box should come up with a blinking cursor. You can maximize that box to make it bigger.
Now type in this command and press Enter on the keyboard: ping -t google.com
You should see a list go down the screen something like this, the numbers will vary:
Reply from 22.214.171.124: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=53
Reply from 126.96.36.199: bytes=32 time=131ms TTL=53
Reply from 188.8.131.52: bytes=32 time=72ms TTL=53
Request timed out
Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=53
Let it run it run for 30 seconds or so. If you see no interruptions that's good. That means you have a reliable internet connection. However if you see 2 or more lines saying "Request timed out" that's bad. It means your internet is disconnecting and that causes webpages not to load or at least be very slow. The more disconnects you see the worse the problem is. A common fix for this is to unplug the power to your modem, wait a minute, plug the modem back in, wait 5 minutes, then run the ping test again. If the problem is consistent day after day, you may want to have me or someone look at it. You can also call your internet company. In the end you may need a new modem.
#2 - Speed test
Open your browser and type in any of the following webpages. You can try them all:
On each webpage click the GO button to start the test. This will measure your internet's download and upload speed. That is to say how fast stuff comes into your computer from the internet and how fast stuff goes out. The download speed should be in the range from 3 to 150. Anything over 7 is good. The upload speed is usually much lower and can even be less than 1, but that's usually not a concern, it's the download speed that's important. If your download speed is less than 3 that's a problem. You should check with your internet company and see if the numbers are close to what you are paying for. Typically your results are about 90% of what the company will advertise. See if you can pay more and increase your speed.
#3 - Try another computer
Bring in a 2nd computer and connect to your internet, then try both the tests again. If you get the same results, then you know any problems you are having are not the fault of your computer, but rather something outside it like a bad modem, bad wiring, or even a temporary problem with your internet service. A while back I had internet trouble for a couple of weeks and it turned out to be a problem at a Midco junction box a block from my house. If your internet problems do not show on the 2nd computer, then your computer is the cause. That could be background programs, browser settings, or viruses. In that case have me or someone knowledgeable clean up your computer.
If you need help you can call me anytime to set an appointment and we'll figure out what's going on 763-689-5912 ;)
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