Volume II Issue 5
March 1, 2005
"We followed our dreams, for dreams were all we had. In the process our lives became magical."
-Sigfried & Roy
Published the second and fourth Sunday of each month
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Welcome all our wonderful subscribers. Here we go with another edition of How2-4newbies eZine chock full of good stuff you can use to make your everyday use of the computer safe and happy.
Editors Comments - Easy Computer Maintenance
This has been a fun couple of weeks in our house. Chris has been busy
repairing computers for friends. In his experiences, he has run across
lots of problems for new computer owners. Many of them simply
frustrating because of a need to know some basics.
It kind of brought home the way I have been neglecting those little clean
up and maintenance jobs on my computer. Thus we are creating this
issue and perhaps the next, if you find this one helpful, to helping you
understand how to use and keep your computer in good working order.
Read on and enjoy!
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In This Issue
Editor's Comments - Easy Computer Maintenance
Top Ad - Newbie Club - Highly recommended
Tips to Help
- Blocking Remote Images In OE
Ski's Security Stinger - Let's talk about
Middle Ad - Cyber Security - Highly Recommended
Article - Intro To OS (Operating Systems)Part I of III
Legal Stuff - Subscription and un~subscribe Information
Tips & Tricks - Blocking potentially dangerous remote images in OE (Outlook Express)
To block potentially dangerous remote images in Outlook Express:
* Select Tools | Options... from the menu.
* Go to the Security tab.
* Make sure Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail is checked.
* Click OK.
Now why would you do that?
Just like you shut off the preview pane to prevent hackers, spammers, and attacks on your computer, you might just want to prevent the sender from seeing where and when you opened the message.
Telling OE to block remote images, not only protects your privacy, it also prevents OE from trying to establish an internet connection when you are working your e-Mail offline.
Let's talk about Using Firewalls
What is A Firewall?
Well a firewall is a barrier to keep out those that would do harm to your computer. But it is only one part of a security system and should not be considered a stand alone item of security.
A poorly setup firewall is not of any use at all.
It is a must have! Especially if you have cable modem or DSL and you are constantly online. You are more subject to attack, then if you just have a dial-up modem. Also if you have a home network.
A Firewall is like a firewall in a building, as it keeps a fire from spreading, so does a computer firewall.
What It Does Do
A Firewall is either a physical hardware device or a piece of software that filters incoming packets of information.
Information moves though the net in bundles of information called packets.
Without a firewall your computer is completely open for any hacker or cracker to easily mess thing up in your computer.
Firewalls use one or more methods to accomplish the job they are designed to do.
One of them is called Packet Filtering - Packets are small bundled chunks of data, which are run though a set of filters - either software or hardware. And any pass on into your computer only if they pass the requirements. All other packets are trashed.
A second method is called Proxy Service - Whatever you asked for from the net is retrieved by the firewall and passed into your computer and back out again.
A third method is called Stateful Inspection - This is a newer method of inspection. Instead of the whole packet being looked at, only key areas are. Information inside the firewall is compared to information coming into it, if it matches it is allowed thru, if something matches it is not let though, and is trashed.
What a Firewall Will Protect You From
The following are things that you are protect from in using a firewall, but that depends of the security level that you are using.
Remote Login - This is where someone from the outside of your computer logs into it and rummages though your files causing havoc.
Application Backdoors - Some programs have special features that allow for remote access.Other programs and some very well know operating systems are full of holes and bugs that allow for back door access.
SMTP Session Hijacking - SMTP is the most common form of sending email over the net. By using various underhanded methods of harvesting email addresses, someone can send out massive amounts of junk email that is more commonly called SPAM.
E-Mail Bombs - Your computer gets hit with so many e-mails that it cannot accept anything more.
Spam - This usually just annoying emails, but sometimes they come in by the 100's, but are usually not dangerous. Some do have links that either capture your computer or infect with all sorts of things that can do damage. So please be careful of what you click on.
Now there is a good list of terms to run through google.
Happy learning - secure computing
Editor's Comment: Use our Feedback link and send in your questions and concerns.
Got a burning question? Send it in to:
email@example.com with Question in the subject line.
We will answer it in the next issue.
Hope this helps.
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Intro To OS (Operating Systems) Part I of III
Not everyone can afford a new computer. Not everyone feels so confident in owning one that they will know what to do with it.
As a result, you spend your time looking for help, and we come into loads of computer repair needs from desperate new owners with simple needs.
** They wish to experience the net
** Everyone they know has a computer,
** They feel the need to join the Internet crowd.
** They want to be able to exchange email with friends
** They want to chat with new friends found online
** They are seriously thinking of starting their own online
The lists goes on, and the problems abound whether the computer is new or second hand.
Problem number one
Computers are funny little pieces of metal full of application software that can turn a full head of hair white in minutes.
In more frustrating moments, it can cause you extreme baldness.
The major reason for this overwhelming frustration is that most people come into a second hand computer or buy one from the pawn shop or from a business that is upgrading.
In all cases, the computer is already full of information that is totally useless to the new owner. Outdated 'Operating Systems' and business or game applications that no longer work, or internal conflicts that raise their ugly heads. The kind of internal conflicts that ...
** computer freezes every time you try an action
** in extreme cases computer crash
** refuse to work because of lack of memory
** outdated security systems that invite virus problems
** are suddenly slower than molasses
Solution Number One
Scrub the Hard Drive. Begin fresh. I cannot repeat this solution enough times. Why do you need someone else's headaches? Why do you need to worry about the conflicts of whatever software applications they were using for their needs, interferring in what you want your new prize computer to work for your needs?
Reformatting a drive is not sufficient to remove hidden files from the hard drive. Scrub it!
Operating systems are the biggest headache for the new user. There is the problem of support for operating systems no longer considered viable like Winows 95 and pretty soon Windows 98 and win 98SE.
If either of these systems are on your computer now, then you better find yourself a good local technician with experience in dealing with the problems of using either of these operating systems. Plan on spending a lot of money and time with no computer to use while the tech shop tries to keep your computer operational.
I currently use Windows XP Pro and I really like it best of all the Windows systems I have tested. I was using, and still like Windows 98SE - NOT the windows 98. Many people have ME [millennium edition] on their computers, or like Windows 2000 if they operate a business online. Choice is always personal.
Each of these operating systems have holes in them big enough to float the world when the problems come home to us, but if you OWN your copy of the Operating system you are using, then keeping them updated with Microsoft patches can help.
If you do not own a copy of your Operating System, Bill Gates is planning a very unpleasant surprise for you and the headaches will only get bigger.
Chatting, email and games
These three items are the most common reason you bought that first computer. These three items will soon educate you in just how limited your new computer really is.
RAM or random access memory will play a huge role in being able to play games on the Internet. Nothing freezes or slows down a computer faster than not having enough RAM on board; and of course, a motherboard wth low MHz - gamers need 3.2 plus MHz.
Whatever your motherboard speed, the RAM limitations go from a minimum of 512 MB to as much or more than 2Gig Plus RAM.
Hard Drive Capacity
The size of your Hard Drive is a personal choice but the bigger the better. You need to plan for tomorrow as well as today in what you will ask your computer to do. Compare prices of Hard drives and you will often find larger 120 Gig HD's are comparable to a 40Gig and a better dollar value choice. It will be a long time before a regular user would need to update hard drive capacity.
Aspiring webmasters should be looking at a motherboard processor of 2.8MHz with a minimum of 1 Gigabyte of RAM, and a mininmum 80Gig Hard drive.
Your motherboard will decide for you just how much memory your computer will hold. I strongly recommend you install as much as it can hold.
If you are interested in high tech games and your computer just will not allow you to play them, then sorry, your only solutions is a newer, RAM packed computer designed to handle the games that interest you.
Do shop carefully for your first new computer. Know what you plan on using it for now, and what you might like to use it for in the future. Prices are coming down every day so that is one good plus for your consideration.
Chat lines are another RAM hog. The more chats you have on board and the more you keep open to talk with friends who use them, the more apt your computer will freeze up or slow down considerably.
Do be careful with chat rooms and apparent good new 'friends,' The news is not so good on the dangers of chat rooms. Also, top of the list, is to make sure you use a good combination of anti-virus and firewall if you live on chat lines. They are infamous for passing on trojans and dangerous virus.
Email is a whole story in itself. Preventing spAm and virus emails and lots of bugaboos designed to destroy your comfort using it is a must to be on top of.
ALL protection in all areas of computer use begin with the best anti-virus and firewall protection you can afford to buy. Do NOT skimp on this need.
Do see our RESOURCE section in our main site for recommendations to search out. If we have not used it or tested it first hand we will not recommend it.
Part II next issue ... The clean machine syndrome
Copyright © 2005, Fran Klasinski All Rights Reserved
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