Contrary to what many believe, it isn’t necessary to bring your computer to a technician every time something goes wrong. There are many computer issues that you can troubleshoot and fix at home.
Your Computer Is Slow
If you find that your system has become slower of late, a cleaning of your hard drive may do the trick. Unused files and leftovers from programs long since deleted can cause a lot of unnecessary space to be taken up. You can either download a program that will clean unwanted files for you, or go through and delete them manually. But caution if you’re going it alone is best, as deleting some files may cause some programs to behave erratically or not at all.
Your Computer Is Not Responding When On
If you find your computer isn’t responding to commands sent from your keyboard or software you are using, it may have become ‘frozen’. Try hitting CTRL+ALT+Delete simultaneously. This will bring up the Task Manager, and clicking on the ‘Processes’ tab will show you which programs are currently running on your computer. Try highlighting the ones using the most memory, and then clicking “End Process” at the bottom of the window. If this doesn’t help, hold down your computer’s power button until your computer shuts down, and then start it as usual.
Apple, along with two other major book publishers is planning to fight back against an April 11 suit filed by The Justice Department and several states. The suit alleges that Apple and the publishers worked together as part of a conspiracy to increase electronic book prices by up to five dollars. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, high-level execs at the companies were focused on the goal of eliminating competition among e-book sellers and wanted to convince Amazon.com to raise its price point of $9.99 as it was well below their hardcover prices. The core of the debate is the model being used to sell books. In the wholesale model, publishers sell titles to retailers, which the retailers can then price as they please. The agency model involves the publisher selling directly to readers and paying a commission to the agent.
The speed at which mobile phone technology is progressing is truly amazing. But that also means that you could have more than one of your old phones lying around. These older devices can be hard to get any money out of, as most people may be interested in the latest and greatest technology. But just because you can’t sell your old phone, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still make it useful.
An Alternative MP3 Player
The hard drive space on your old phone can be used for extra mobile music storage when you travel to places where your shiny new iPhone may get damaged. Think camping or mountain biking. That old phone getting damaged will hurt a lot less than the price of a new Android or iOS phone.
For Emergency Only
Another good use for an old smart phone is to put it in your vehicle emergency kit. Even if deactivated, the FCC says that most cell phones will still be able to contact 911. This can also be a good safety net for your kids, but remember that you will have to make sure the phone is always charged.
The Mini E-Reader
Even though your smart phone’s screen may be much smaller than a Kindle’s, you can still use it to read e-books. Connect your phone to your computer, and download a free e-reader app, and then find some of those titles you always wanted to read and store them on your device.
Hacker collective Anonymous and the People’s Liberation Front have banded together to create AnonPaste, a Pastebin-like site for the hosting of non-moderated, non-censored code and messages. The two groups created the site using a free address and 256 AES encryption. Code-sharing site Pastebin has gotten a bad reputation as of late due to a large number of sensitive information such as malicious code and stolen data being shared by some users. In addition, the site has seen more frequent DDOS attacks along with its high rate of traffic growth. It has also admitted to filtering out some information that’s been pasted by users, which was the main inspiration for AnonPaste. However, the software on which AnonPaste is based, ZeroBin, has not been tested for the types of DDOS attacks that can threaten its operation.
Whether you have a friend or family member who is technologically-inclined, or need to contact your internet provider’s staff, there is a right way and a wrong way to tell them what’s happening. Asking for help in the correct way will ensure that any tech support person can get your computer up and running for you more quickly.
Speak Their Language
One of the best ways to ensure that you get the help you need is to know the lingo they speak. For example, calling your computer’s desktop the ‘main menu’ is enough to completely confuse any support person. Conducting a search for common computer or internet terms can be enough to give you the information you need to communicate effectively.
Mind The Details
In order to solve your problem, tech support needs as much detail as possible about your issue. You will likely need to know the version of Windows you are running, know what steps you’ve already taken to try to fix the issue, and what actions seem to trigger the problem, such as opening a program or loading a certain web page. But take care not to make your email too long. Keep it as concise and to the point as possible, and include a subject line that will be useful, such as ‘slow loading of Photoshop in Windows Vista’.
Currently, there is no stolen cell phone database in Canada. But Toronto police hope that is going to change soon. Citing twice as many cell phone robberies today as there were in 2009, law enforcement says something needs to be done. There is more to cell phone theft than simply stealing a device; once obtained, thieves can activate the phone for use on other cell networks, and then sell the phone to eager buyers. This is already occurring in the United States, with black market operations seeing many phones being sent overseas for quick sale. Police are calling for the creation of a system which allows cell phone companies to completely disable a stolen phone, rendering it unusable. Such a system was announced last week in the United States by the FCC and cell phone carriers, with several systems ready to launch in the next few months. Toronto police are, for now, urging cell phone owners to visit the station in order to have their phone’s identification numbers recorded.
We all wonder if the grass is greener from time to time. And if you’re considering changing your current internet provider, you may be wondering the same thing. There could actually be a number of providers in your area that meet your needs, but the most value for the money could be with ATT Uverse. This company offers a cutting-edge internet connection in the form of fiber optic, which is the fastest and cleanest connection available. This dedicated connection uses pulses of light to transmit data over hair-thin glass fiber lines, which means your access to streaming video, high-action online games and big downloads is much faster than other internet connection methods. And the special promotions happening right now will actually give you money back, free receivers and waived installation fees. But the only way to claim most of them is to go online, as many of these offers are not available to offline subscribers.
Last week’s security breach of several Chinese government web sites by Anonymous is just the beginning, said a member of the hacker collective today. The goal of further attacks, according to Anonymous, will be to speak out for human rights as well as reveal corruption. The collective’s Twitter account is what was used to publicize last week’s attacks, in which links to data files containing sensitive information were posted. But the group hinted at more serious future attacks which, according to an Anonymous member would occur ‘a few at a time’. The group’s target is the takedown of what is known as The Great Firewall Of China, which blocks user access to popular social media sites as well as YouTube. The group says access to these sites is needed in order to maintain social stability.
There are many people who shy away from using Facebook to send messages. For first-time users, the site can be an overwhelming mix of confusion and frustration. But if you’re ready to jump on the social media bandwagon and want to get in touch with those you know, it’s actually much simpler than you may suspect. There are three ways to submit messages on Facebook.
The ‘status’ on your page allows you to announce something on your Facebook wall. So for instance, you may post something like “Happy birthday to my daughter, who turns 8 today!” This is the section which keeps your friends updated about what you’re doing.
If one of your friends posts something on their wall, or uploads a photo you like, you can send them a quick message by commenting on what they’ve just written or posted. This can be done by clicking ‘Comment’, and then typing your message.
You can also send private messages to your friends on Facebook. To do this, Just click the “Message” button at the top right of your friend’s page. There, things will look more familiar, as the message will appear just like a regular email message, complete with Subject line.
Third-party payment processor Global Payments said today that a security breach uncovered almost three weeks ago has now been contained. The significant breach, affecting possibly over 1 million accounts, has yet to produce any fraudulent transactions as far as staff are aware, said the company. The breach, thought to have occurred between the end of January and February’s end was instantly reported to both law enforcement and MasterCard and Visa, both of whom deal with the company. The credit card giants then sent non-public alerts to banks to warn them that a breach had occurred. While credit card numbers did appear to be downloaded, no other personal information, such as customer addresses or social security numbers were pilfered. Visa has removed Global Payments from its approved service provider list until the company has been able to submit evidence that it complies with the credit card company’s standards.
If you’re the owner of an Android phone, you are part of a group that consumes the most data, according to several studies. And wireless companies are cashing in on this fact by eliminating unlimited data and offering customers tiered data service.
And while you may be getting tired of looking over your digital shoulder to ensure you don’t go over your data cap and have to pay more, it doesn’t appear that this practice is going to go away any time soon. But there are ways you can use less data and avoid those extra charges.
Online Map Access
Do you often view maps online with your phone when you need directions? If so, you should know that doing this can consume much more data than you realize. A better option is to get your maps and then store them on your phone so that you can access them offline. And it can also be safer in the event you become lost and end up in an area with no internet access. Several apps are available for Android phones which allow you to view maps offline.
Stay Out Of The Stream
Streaming content online with your Android phone is another way to eat up your data. Even watching as little as ten minutes of video each day can result in you using over 1 GB. Listening to streaming radio can eat up almost two GB monthly. The solution? If you can’t quit your video watching habit, you can download an app which allows you watch video offline. And most streaming online radio stations offer the opportunity to listen offline, although this could require a monthly subscription.
Recent reports indicated that some employers were requesting access to the Facebook accounts of potential employees, even going so far as to request the login information of applicants. But on Friday, Facebook placed a statement on its web site, saying that the practice is an invasion of privacy that not only opens companies to liabilities, but compromises the privacy of those friends on an applicant’s contact list. In its web site statement, the company elaborated on the hard work accomplished to give users maximum control over who sees their information, and stated that it will take action, legal or otherwise, against companies who continue to violate the privacy of Facebook users by requesting their login information. While no legal action has yet been threatened, it appears that discussions between the social networking service and policymakers may occur sooner than later.
Believe it or not, the efficiency of your email communication can contribute directly to downtime, both at work and at home. And while no one can avoid the inevitable email gaffe, there are others who commit these crimes on a regular basis.
The Invisible Attachment
This is probably one of the most common mistakes made. You’re tired in a hurry, and somewhere between typing a quick message and hitting the ‘send’ button, you forgot to attach the file you refer to in the body of your message. But if it’s something that your boss needs first thing the next morning, and you’ve sent the email right before you’ve gone to bed or gone out, you could leave them high and dry. If you find this is a common issue with your email communications, consider attaching your file before you write your email. If that doesn’t work, you can switch to Gmail, which offers what they call a “Forgotten Attachment Detector”.
When something’s really weighing on your mind, you may go straight for your email program and start typing exactly what you think of someone or something. This may seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment, but considering the potential fallout of your emotional missive before you send it can help you avoid a lot of apologies later.
The Never-ending Thread
If you receive a lot of work or personal emails that have been forwarded to many addresses before yours and you plan to pass it on, check below the original message. If you have to scroll endlessly through hundreds of previous email addresses and replies, trimming them down to the last two or three messages will not only make the message look much cleaner, but will also remove the addresses of previous recipients, protecting them from prying eyes.
A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism was released today, and offers some interesting insight into how Americans get their news. The study revealed that 27% of Americans get their news from smartphones or tablets. And the study also showed that those who use these devices to get their news also absorb it more efficiently, as those owning tablets tend to read longer articles and spend more time on news sites than they would if they were on their home computers or on their phones. But these users also access news via traditional methods such as newspapers and television, which has created a growth trend in the demand for news. News companies, while not poised to take as much advantage of ad revenue as technology companies, are working with tech giants on new ventures, such as the deal between Yahoo and ABC news whereby the former will stream news reports. While this is good news, it’s unclear how receiving news digitally will be affected by current net neutrality debates.
Reporters Without Borders, an organization which fights censorship and laws that undermine press freedom, released a report this week which reveals countries around the globe which limit access to internet content and thereby undermine freedom of expression. The report, entitled “Enemies of the Internet”, contains the names of nations involved in filtering content, shutting down social media access and black out news reports, in addition to using the internet as a propaganda tool. Names of the involved nations were updated to include Bahrain and Belarus. Other countries are Syria, China, Iran, Cuba, Russia and Thailand. However, some countries like Venezuela are becoming less repressive and so were removed from this year’s list. In addition to keeping reporters abreast of current internet regulations in foreign countries, the report can also aid tourists in understanding the risks of visiting certain sites and posting information through social media while abroad.
Imagine if it cost one dollar to send an email, or ten dollars every time you watched a television show online. The concept may seem crazy, but that’s exactly what could happen in the future if internet companies are given free rein to charge what they like for internet access. The popularity of online video has grown exponentially in the last few years, so much so that internet companies claim that their customers actually pose a burden to the service they provide, and these companies wish to be compensated for that extra load by being able to charge by bandwidth amount. But the problem lies with customers who believe everyone should have fair access to all internet content, and not the privileged access that some ISPs want to start charging for. Those in the pro net neutrality camp fear that ISPs, once given that level of control over customer access, won’t stop at restrictions to online video sites, but may begin charging for other previously-free content, such as local news broadcasts.
At the end of last week, it was decided by a federal appellate court that the lawsuit which challenged new net neutrality regulations would not be delayed. As a result, a ruling could come by the Court of Appeals this year to vacate the open internet order issued by the FCC, which bars ISPs from internet traffic discrimination in the form of blocking sites and applications. Some ISPs challenged this order, saying that the FCC has no jurisdiction in broadband regulation. The FCC responded with a request to place the order on hold so that possible clarifications could be considered, but this request was rejected by the appellate court last week. The prognosis of the bill could be bleak, due to a separate case ruling that deemed the FCC had no authority over regulations as far as net neutrality was concerned due to how the organization classified broadband – as an information, and not a telecommunications service.
A publication of a new study by Market Publishers Ltd. is shedding light on suggestions to business model changes, the level of net neutrality all over the world, and how companies are handling the current demand for internet traffic, among many other issues surrounding the topic of net neutrality. The report totals one hundred and sixty pages, and is being offered for purchase on the publisher site. The report covers a wide range of subject matter to facilitate thought and discussion about how all players in the internet ecosystem can make the transition to newer technologies, higher data usage and new ways to offer their services. In addition, cost-control measures are examined via new business models and how thirteen countries, including Sweden, France and Germany are faring in the face of changes due to net neutrality.
Plusnet, a broadband company in the U.K., published a report predicting the impact the internet will have on peoples’ lives fifteen years from now. The report was commissioned by the company as it celebrated 15 years in business, and includes input from some of the world’s most influential futurist thinkers. The report details greatly beneficial technology, such as cars which won’t crash and clothes that monitor health, and alludes to a future where the internet goes beyond its current main use as a sharing and communication tool, and enters the home in the form of smart devices which allow the appliances and other daily tools we use to communicate with each other. But the report reveals that the benefits will not reach all, simply because there are still millions of adults who don’t currently use the internet. Because future technologies will impact our lives on such an intrinsic level, the report says that affordable internet offerings will become even more important. But the effects of smart technology on the issue of net neutrality remain a mystery.
Those with an iPhone or an Android device will soon see a couple of new options from Twitter. The company hopes to increase revenue by offering users its promoted tweets and accounts, previously only visible as results on a search page when mobile customers accessed Twitter with their phones. This move is one of many which companies are taking in order to get their advertising in front of a rapidly-growing number of mobile users, fifty-five percent of which account for Twitters total users. Promoted tweets, previously only available to large businesses, have recently been made available to smaller companies. Promoted accounts are already being displayed for Twitter and iPhone clients, with the publication of promoted tweets to follow soon. Twitter has said that initially, the promoted tweets will only be visible to a small number of people.
While many believe that the issue of net neutrality involves internet companies fighting over the right to allow access of internet content to their subscribers, the issue does affect anyone who uses the internet. The net neutrality principle is that all information should be allowed to flow freely on the internet with no interruption or modification by the companies who provide us with a connection. Without it, internet providers will be able to control much more than the sites you are able to access; it may also open the door to those very same providers to start charging users or charge them more for previously free apps and other tools they currently access for free. With the bigger companies charging customers more, it will become much more difficult for small companies to compete, which could leave little choice for the user who wants an internet connection at a reasonable price.
Searching for a different or less expensive connection? A company like Qwest DSL can bring the internet to your home without having to even set foot in it. That’s because DSL uses your existing phone line to connect. The signal that brings you phone service can actually be split into two different signals; one for phone (voice), and one for internet (data). DSL service usually involves the self-installation of a splitter that includes two jacks so that you can plug your phone and internet lines into it. DSL can give you more than enough speed to complete all of your online tasks. It may also allow you to play games online or watch online video without interruption, depending on how close you live to the servers. The closer you are, the faster your connection will be.
FCC head Julius Genachowski stated on Wednesday of this week that internet service providers in my area aren’t working hard enough to prevent various types of cyber crime. In addition to searching for practical solutions to internet fraud, Genachowski addressed the issue of data theft, saying that the number of credit card numbers stolen online each year are most likely in the 8 million-plus range. Genachowski warned that online commerce, along with broadband adoption could be compromised if consumers lose trust in the internet as a result of the inactions of internet companies. He suggested that internet providers adopt a system called DNSSEC which would allow internet traffic to travel efficiently without the threat of being hijacked. In addition, he stated that everyone involved in the internet ecosystem has a role to play, indicating that ISPs should be helping those who have been unknowingly pulled into botnets to clean up their computers.
2012 will see hundreds of thousands of homes being able to access their favorite programming with a new product: Comcast cloud-based TV. The service, initially tested in Georgia in residential homes, is being called X1 and contains both HD DVR and OTT (over-the-top television) features. Not only will customers be able to manage their programs with the DVR, but they will also be able to receive IP video, get suggestions on the best programming from friends on social media with MyTV, and enjoy interactive apps. But the X1 platform will also benefit the company, as new products, services and repairs can be made via the set-top box, eliminating the need for technicians to visit homes that are having technical issues. The platform will be advertised as a premium subscription, although no definite monthly charges have been released.
A statement claiming that a Verizon internet service competitor’s internet was the fastest in the nation has been removed from the Verizon web site. According to a spokesperson for the company, the language was removed because the statement was not accurate and therefore could cause the public to be misled. In addition, the language has been removed from all of the promotional material provided by the competitor. The joint marketing deal between Verizon and its competitors will allow each to market to the customers of the other, and cause development of new products that offer ways for mobile internet users to access landline internet and television content and vice-versa. But there are bumps in the road like the web site language above, in addition to a word war between companies as to whom is the fastest, to be worked out before any progress can be made, say some experts.