About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 18, 2017

Schemes, Part 4

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:09 am

There is another scam that you may have heard of floating around the internet.  It is not a joke and is not to be ignored if it happens to you.

You may be working on your computer and get a phone call.  The caller may tell you they are from Microsoft, or some other tech entity, and see that you have a virus infecting your computer.  This virus could cause you the loss of all of your important information.  This scheme may not only come to you in the form of a phone call but also via email or a popup on a website. 

They will say they can send you a link so they can run the "fix" on your computer and you will not have any problems.  They may instead ask that you give them permission to log onto your computer to fix the problem.  It is free of charge and guaranteed to work providing you and your files with needed security.  They will sound so sincere that it is hard to believe later when the trap is sprung. 

It is not true.  Neither Microsoft nor any other big company watches your computer for viruses or problems of any sort.  Hang up immediately!  If not, you will be granting them permission to log into your computer from some other country (most likely) and install their "fix." 

The fix will actually install a virus that will activate days or weeks later.  It will infect your files and lock them down so that you cannot open them.  Think of it, your financial data, tax returns, photographs, etc. all no longer useable.  It could do more than this but that is the standard operation.  You will be informed to call the original "Microsoft" company back to have this corrected.  This time it is still not the reputable company you expect.  It will not be free either.  It will cost you several hundred dollars to gain back control of your own files.  Be careful.    

Next, one that really is not tech related but I feel I should mention. (CBS did as well, a month or so ago.)  You get a call from an unknown number.  You answer it and they say something to you that provides them with you saying, "Yes."  You think you are not that silly.  How about this?  You answer your phone and someone says, "Can you hear me?"  You reply, "Yes."  Then they have you.  They will use that as you agreeing to sign up for magazines, a loan, or a five-year supply of whatever. 

Watch out for phone scams

When you shop at real stores by phone they will many times tell you they will record your approval of what they offer as a legally binding agreement.  This is what the scammers do too; however, you have no idea what you said, “yes” to – until you get the bill. 

Next week we will look at some scams which are not always committed by technology or in normal ways.  However, they are always directed at only one specific part of the population.

October 15, 2013

Get Help, Problem Steps Recorder

I have had people tell me many times that sometimes their computer will give them a problem.  No surprise there. But then when they talk to a geek or go to have it fixed they either cannot explain it to the geek clearly enough, they may forget exactly what happened or they cannot get the problem to duplicate itself at that time.  They then feel hopelessly lost.

Never fear, Microsoft thought of you with Windows 7 and continued it in Windows 8 (if you are one of the unfortunates using it) and hopefully from that point on.  The application is called, "Problem Steps Recorder" and is really a miracle of the technology age.

It is very simple to use and will give your computer geek more than enough, maybe even too much information regarding what is going on with your computer.

To get to PSR you can either click on your Start Orb and type Problem Steps Recorder and click the link that reads, "Record steps to reproduce a problem" or just type "PSR", see "psr.exe" and click it to start.  

PSR Start ScreenA rectangular window will pop up on your monitor that is label in-kind.  At that point you have only three options.  First you could close it with the "X" on the upper right.  Next, you can get help by clicking the question mark SNAGHTML3c02deunder the close "X."  Lastly, click on "Start Record."  With the last one you will be recording your screenshots anytime you click your mouse or type.  Each thing you do is recorded along with exactly what page you were on, the X and Y coordinates of the mouse location, exactly what you enter into areas, etc.

While recording, you can also add a comment by clicking the appropriate button on the controller for PSR.  It will open a text box in the recording area and you can type notes or thoughts with regard to the process. They will appear when you play the file back later.

Once you have finished stepping through your process click the "Stop Recording" button and you may then save it.  It will automatically create a "zipped" file to make it easier to email or take to another person for help.  If you would like to experiment try it now.  Save the file, (best to your desktop) and once it completes unzip the file and run the video to be amazed.

This is an excellent help tool and really easy to use.

February 21, 2011

2011-02-21 Show Notes

Here are the links we talked about this morning on the show.  Try them out, enjoy them and let me know what you think.

I promised not to get too crazy the next time I talk about Google, well OK, I will at least try to remain calm.

Trying something new this time, listen to the podcast in it’s full glory here.


Radio Time
Add the Radio Time app to your Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile or even Palm phones to listen to radio. I installed it and listened to WSVA live yesterday afternoon, while working in my home office (I never put a radio in there before…duh!) Runs on phones and computers allowing you to listen to most any radio station.

If you were signed up as a WSVA Loyal Listener you would have known about this earlier in the day, go ahead make our day!

Time and Dates
Most anything you want to find out about time and dates are here. Create calendars, check time zones, check on Daylight Saving changes, countdowns to any event, etc.
Thanks to Tom from Harrisonburg for the site tip.

More Time info
Check the exact atomic time, history of time, time zones, what’s in your quartz watch.
And yes, NIST does stand for “National Institute of Standards and Technology”.

Do Nothing for 2 Minutes
Sort of boring but can you take the online challenge and do nothing on your computer for 2 minutes? If you do it you get "nothing" but the chance(?) to share the site with your friends…yippee.

Health Map
If you are interested in global health outbreaks this is the place to go. Hover the "pins" in the map and see what infectious disease is running amok.

Google Voice, links to feature videos
If you already have a home, work and/or cell phone get one number to rule them all – and many additional features. Ron has been using it for several years.

  • Make any or all of your phones ring at once or any combination.
  • Screen callers, listen as they leave a voice mail message and then interrupt if you want to or let them just go to voice mail.
  • Individually Block callers, they receive the, "You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service" announcement.
  • Stop calls at night or whenever your wish.
  • You automatically get text transcripts in your Gmail account.
  • Number never has to change if you move or change providers, etc.
  • Did I mention so far it is free, other than international calls?

That is it for today.  I hope you tune in next month, Monday, March 15, 2011, on WSVA, 550 AM – hey, now you can put it on your phone or computer.  Look at the first link above.

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