Volume II Issue 6
March 15, 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 - Understanding Terminology
Sometimes the terminology in our articles may leave you feeling a bit lost. Don't be. Part of smart computing is to learn something new every time you read How2-4Newbies eZine.
You can do that very easily, by going to your favorite search engine and simply typing in the term that is confusing you. Many times, I clear the 100's of entries by getting right to the chase and entering a search term such as Shah1 definition.
Do you recall cofusing terms in previous issues? You might also do the same idea re firewalls definition, and see what that brings up.
Software applications dealing with all these issues hit the net faster than speed of light sometimes. Many of these applications are a real help and many are a real hinderance to your operating system.
Learning to use a search engine to empower you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision can only be thought of as a very wise first move.
Here's to empowering you ..
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In This Issue
Editor's Comments - Understanding Terminology
Top Ad - The Newbie Club - It's Awesome
Tips to Help
- Making an Informed Decision
Ski's Security Stinger - Security Issues that Affect Encryption
Middle Ad - Your Own Business - How to begin
Article - The clean machine syndrome Part II of III
Legal Stuff - Subscription and un~subscribe Information
Tips & Tricks - Making an Informed Decision
When giving a presentation, your prospect simply wants to know the answer to three simple questions.
Can you imagine making your elevvator speech in under a minute? Well if you are on the ball, and know your stuff about your business you can.
All you have to do is provide an answer to these three simple questions:
1. What kind of business are you in?
2. How much money can I make?
3. What do I have to do to earn this money?
Be sure to really work your Unique Selling Position into a quick one minute presentation that answers each of the above. You stand a better chance of a prospect joining you if you do.
Security Issues that Affect Encryption
While we at How2-4Newbies are investigating encryption methods for our work, we run across the latest threat to security. While it may not as the powers that be claim, an immediate concern, it sure does make you wonder what is coming next.
Here is the gist:
Chinese crack internet security standard "SHA-1, the Internet security standard used for all kinds of secure online transactions, has been cracked." Means nada to you yes? Well dig this bit of information.
" The news does not spell disaster, but it does put an best-before date on the nine-year-old hash function, used in everything from SSL connections to VPNs and file encryption software."
Now the way you relate to that statement, is based on how secure you feel when using your credit card online. The one thing that makes it as safe as it can be for you, is to look for that yellow triangle on the bottom of the page that says you are using a 'protected' site - https:// and not the usual http://.
Which simply means hackers are now working on ways to beat the encryption methods you currently use to protect shopping carts, any financial information, banking security, all of which involve those touchy SSL connections and bring up the yellow triangle with the lock in it that says you are on a secure site.
SHA-1 is a "hashing algorithm." Feed it a long string of digits -- like an MP3 -- and it will produce a supposedly unique "hash" of those digits that's much shorter. This hash can be used to determine, for example, whether a message has been tampered with: append a hash to an email message that's generated in combination with a PGP key and your recipients can repeat the operation and determine whether the message has been tampered with in transit. Or distribute a hash of the latest security update and your download manager can compare the hash with the value it gets when it hashes update and make sure you've got the real goods.
The algorithm is used in the Digital Signature Standard to produce a 160-bit hash value. With the introduction of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) which offers three key sizes: 128, 192 and 256 bits, there has been a need for a companion hash algorithm with a similar level of security. The newer SHA-256, SHA-284 and SHA-512 hash algorithms, proposed by NIST in 2001, comply with these enhanced requirements..
Sure sounds like a whole mess of gobbledy gook to me but the bottom line is, do not store legal, financial or valuable private information on your computer, and if you must then make sure you understand encryption and the best methods you can use to protect your valuable computer based information.
If encryption is a serious matter for you to consider then go to google and do a search on it. Educate yourself on the best and safest methods available and do not rely on a host or other company providing security encryption that may not do the job you need.
Happy surfing - keep safe.
Editor's Comment: Use our Feedback link and send in your questions and concerns.
Got a burning question that needs an immediate answer?
Send it to us via support@how2-4newbies,com with Question in the subject line.
We will do our best to answer it in the following issue, or my email if you enclose a return address.
Hope this helps.
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The Clean Machine Syndrome Part II of III
If your computer seems to be running slower these days, than it used to be, it probably is. Your first warning that danger abounds is a slow to start computer when you first turn it on.
If it takes forvever to boot, if it does not seem to bring up your anti-virus and firewall programs right away, you need to take this seriously and begin to look for the problem or problems causing it.
How many do you use? The list of browsers grows daily. We no longer have to accept Microsoft Internet explorer as our default browser. For many of us, this is a major plus.
Mozilla has brought out firefox and this new browser is slowly growing day by day as a leading contender replacement browser for Internet Explorer users.
It has less bugs and needs lesser fixes and patches to make it work for you than Internet Explorer can ever hope to create.
It's best feature is the ability to run several tabs at once rather than having to open many windows that can slow down or even freeze your computer.
If you are a surfer, then firefox can answer a real need to have multiple windows open at one time. Along with using Crazy Broswer your surfing days can be made so much simpler.
No matter what browser you use, there is an options button under tools that allows you to clean out unwanted cookies, temp files and history. Each of the actions you take online create a backlog of these little goodies and not keeping them cleaned out EVERY day, will soon turn your lean machine into a putting slowpoke.
How about the recylce bin? I have seen experienced users forget to empty that little icon and wonder why they suddenly run out of cache to burn or back up files.
Over time, computers get slower for a variety of easily fixable reasons.
** files become disorganized
** software no longer needed consumes resources
** unused network drives slow startup
** too many programs set to automatically run at start up
** failure to run spyware cleaners often enough
And worse, you may have a ton of virus problems your security did not catch for a variety of reasons.
As I use XP Pro, most of the cleaning work will refer to the system tools I use to keep my machine clean, but in most cases whatever Operating system you are currently using,you will find similiar tools available to use already installed on your computer.
If you cannot find them, then contact me using:
firstname.lastname@example.org with Help Me Clean in the subject line. I will be happy to help you find the answer to your need.
Back Up Your work
Before you begin any cleaning or repairs or work to your computer, you should create a back up file.
XP Pro allows for a RESTORE point that can go back as many as five previous RESTORE points IF you bothered to create them.
For other Operating systems you may need a series of floppy disks to do this. If your system lets you choose the method of back up and what you want files you want to back up then that is great. If you are high tech and like to use CD disks or DVD disks then go for it. Just read the wizard and make sure it allows this action on your machine.
Why back up those files?
It's a little late to consider backing up your files after your system crashes or freezes so badly you have to start all over again, reformat and scrub that drive.
If more than one user gets to play on your machine and you do not do regular backups, you could really be in for a data disaster.
Are you ready to lose your address books? How about those fine photos you were collecting? Got a back up of your tax information? What about all that saved so important email?
XP Pro allows for multiple user accounts. That means on the average, each person has their own set of My documents that includes My Pictures, My Music, and My videos, along with created folders for whatever else you decide to save.
If you do not have the luxury of this set up, then I will presume that for multiple users, you give everyone a partitioned section or just what you hope will be a master folder set up that they will faithfully use.
No matter what set up you use, no one seems to follow the value of keeping all their files within My documents. Instead files for this and that will be scattered alll over the desktop.
For some people, their desktop looks like a football field with players from 10 teams competing for space.
When you first start up, all those files on your desktop, all those applications in your task bar and in all programs take up the memory to start your computer and that can really slow booting up procedures.
If you keep a master folder with your shortcuts to the programs you use daily on your desktop, then there is no reason to keep a start up icon on your taskbar too. ALL programs on your computer are already in the START, ALL PROGAMS list on your computer. Why duplicate and often triplicate the icons to access them all over your desktop and left hand side of your task bar?
All that needs to appear on the taskbar, is a clock, your anti-virus and firewall and maybe your volume control.
ALL your files on your hard disk can create a wicked mess if you do not defrag them at least weekly. Considering the number of files I have on my Hard Drive, it is necessary to do a defragment at least once a day.
When you create a file, it is sort of 'fitted in' where there is space on your hard drvie. Now that means ONE file let's say approximately 1MB can be scattered all over the hard drive in lttile text avalable spaces. That means the file is not contiguous thus scattered. This will slow your computer down considerably when you call it up. When you do a defrag, your files are put in order and each file is complete in its length and space allotted and is thus said to be contiguous. Your computer can find and read the file much fastrer.
At the end of your day, make sure all your cleaners have been updated, run them and then, If you have an active day, be sure to end it with a defrag.
Part III next issue ... The Clean Machine Organizer
Part I can be read in Vol II Issue 5
Copyright © 2005, Fran Klasinski All Rights Reserved
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