About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 21, 2017

2017-08-21 Show Notes @ WSVA

Filed under: WSVA Show Notes — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 10:30 am

Safe Eclipse Glasses

I hope you will use, have used or did use your Eclipse Glasses today!

It seems the last one of these I saw was in March, 1970…which means I most likely won’t see another, but who knows.

Enjoy listening to the shenanigans on the show today and read through the list below.


Tech News
August 21, 2017
The Eclipse in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

Local Eclipse Info

Local Eclipse Info

Details of the weather, times and animations.

Top five worst superstitions about solar eclipses

  1. It is unclear where this wive’s tale (pardon the pun) originates, but it persists. In the cultures where this myth is believed, women and small children are advised to stay indoors during an eclipse.
  2. According to, some cultures also believed that children born during an eclipse would turn into mice.
  3. In India, some cultures opt to fast during an eclipse. This is done because it is believed that any food cooked during an eclipse is impure, or worse, poisonous.
  4. Italians have long believed that if flowers are planted during an eclipse, they will be more colorful when it’s time to bloom.
  5. The Batammaliba of Togo and Benin believe an eclipse happens because the Sun and Moon are fighting one another. In order to get the Sun back, people on Earth are advised to settle their differences and make peace.

CNN — Amazon issues refunds for potentially phony eclipse glasses

Amazon says it is taking action against potentially counterfeit solar eclipse glasses.

The company said Sunday (8/13) that it contacted and issued refunds to some customers who purchased glasses on Amazon that “may not comply with industry standards.”

Amazon has also removed a few listings for glasses on its website “out of an abundance of caution.” It did not name any of those listings in its statement.

Newsweek — Total Solar Eclipse 2017: What Happens To Your Eyes If You Look Directly At The Sun?

Hundreds of millions of people will be in range to observe the Aug. 21 event as either a total or partial eclipse, and if they don’t use safe viewing methods, the results can be literally blinding. Light from the sun can burn your eyeballs, resulting in permanent damage. So if you want to look directly at the sun, it’s critical to use glasses with proper ISO certification, like those from vendors on the AAS list , Ramsden said.
Here’s how to make a solar eclipse viewer 5 easy steps:

  • Cut a small hole (about 1 inch across) in one end of the shoe box, near an edge.
  • Tape a piece of tinfoil over the hole.
  • Using a pin or needle, punch a hole in the center of the foil.
  • Tape a small piece of white paper to the inside of the box, at the opposite end from the foil-covered hole. The paper should be positioned so that light entering the box through the pin hole will hit it. This is where you’ll look for the sun.
  • Cut a 1-inch-diameter hole in the box near the image screen (the white piece of paper), but on a different side of the box — the side adjacent to the screen. This is your viewing hole; it must be positioned such that you can look through it at an angle and see the image screen.

When the time comes for the eclipse, hold the shoe box so that it lines up with its own shadow, demonstrating that it is aligned with light from the sun. Stand so that when you look through the viewing hole, you can see a tiny bead of light on the image screen; that’s the sun. During the eclipse, you’ll see the shadow of the moon pass in front of the sun.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)

SpeedTest – Ookla

This FREE app that will check your internet connection speeds; ping, download and upload speeds. It also gives real-time graphs show connection consistency, helps you troubleshoot or verify the speed you were promised vs. what you are getting, and track past tests with detailed reporting.

Ookla is one of the main speed comopanies around used by businesses around the world. You can also get to it on your computer at

Thanks for the visit and I will see you here in September with Frank Wilt.

December 13, 2016

Several Words of Warning

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:53 pm

I have noticed a lot of scam emails coming to my inbox lately and thought I should mention a few to you.  Since they could very easily hurt your credit, finances, reputation, etc. you should be aware and very careful.

I have received many that were easy to spot.  They were text only, looked very simple, unlike an email you would expect from a big retailer and sometimes sounded if they were written by someone whose native language is not English.  One other very obvious tell with scam emails… there were several spelling errors. 

For instance, I received one this morning which said, "we incorrectly specified your information in the recent invocie #8858345." It went on to say, "please see the revisions, is in the attachment and make corecctions."  This one was text only.  Notice the spelling errors, they addressed it to lowercase "ron" and also notice they attached a file for me to review.

Red Alert! Especially regarding the attached file.  I am pretty sure I have expressed it a million times before and maybe I should again.  NEVER EVER open an attachment from someone you are not expecting an attachment from.  Even a friend or relative.  It could be totally innocent and it could be horrible.  The attachment I received was a zipped file which is even worse as it could contain anything. 

I say again open no attachments unless you know the person was sending it to you. 

Next, during the Christmas season I have received multiple emails from eBay, Amazon and one or two others.  They sadly inform me that my orders cannot be shipped due to some sort of problem.  In reality once a company has your money, especially Amazon, the product is good to go and I do not believe anything could pop up to create a problem. To solve the "problem" I will usually be requested to click a link and fill out some much-needed information.  This is also a scam as the first things they will ask you for on the site is your username, password and possibly your secret question.  The site can look exactly like a real business page so do not let that fool you.  As a matter of fact, I got a scam email from a PayPal look alike one time that had links to the PayPal security information page, home page and all other sorts of actual PayPal affiliated pages.  They can put a link to anything in a professional looking email. 

And the last thing for me, which I suggest for you:  I only transact purchases online with one email account.  That is all I use it for.  You know, presents, items we need at home…you know just stuff.  That way when I get an email concerning a purchase at any other email address but that one I know it is a scam since I have never purchased anything from that address.  Email accounts are free so get one for online purchases only to add one more step to your security path. 

You can report an email scam, hoax, or phishing scheme to several places like the Federal Trade Commission but I imagine they have more than enough to keep them overworked.  However, I do suggest you contact the company who supposedly sent it to you.  I have been successful once or twice but unfortunately most times they seem very nice but do not care.

Stay safe, be careful online.  They are out to get you and they make those fake emails look very good!

July 23, 2014

Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray You

(from TechNewsWorld,

By Richard Adhikari

Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray YouThat phone you so callously turned over to another may be harboring some of your secrets — and it may be all too willing to spill its guts. An examination of 20 used phones purchased on eBay turned up more than 1,500 family photos of kids, 750 photos of women in various stages of undress, and more than 250 selfies of men’s nether regions, according to Avast.

Doing a factory reset to wipe the data off smartphones does not work, and the data can be recovered, warned Avast .

The company recovered tons of data, including more than 40,000 stored photographs, from 20 used Android phones purchased from eBay.

Device owners need to overwrite their files to make them irretrievable, Avast said, touting one of the applications it offers.

Get more information here and see how to prevent this from happening to you.

September 24, 2013

Online Buying Safety Tips

Over the years I have received many emails from readers in regard to making online purchases.  They often ask if I make any online purchases, and if so has it worked well?  How about returns? But the number one is, "How do I shop securely online?"

Today we will look at a few thoughts I have about online shopping and how I do it securely.  I say securely only because I have not had any problems.  That does not mean it will be that way forever. 

My first piece of advice is to shop with reputable, well-known online retailers.  They are trusted, tried and true.  Do not shop at a site you have never heard of or where you do not have a friend or two who has successfully shopped there before.  In addition, read ALL of the information concerning your purchase in each screen.  Next, print the "receipt" page that is shown at the end of every online transaction, you may need it for returns later.

Secure Browser ComparisonAnother very important item to check for is a little lock-like icon somewhere in your browser’s window when shopping.  The small lock indicates that you are shopping on a secure site.  NEVER enter your charge card or any other personal data regarding your finances on a site without that lock.  The lock indicates that your information can only be seen by you and the retailer with which you are dealing.  You can also check for the URL of the site.  It should start with, "https:" since the letter "s" at the end stands for secure.  They both indicate that your information is encoded when you submit it and is not readable until it reaches the seller – so no one can read your info in between. 

Next here is one of the most important rules!  NEVER EVER click a link in an e-mail to order something.  I don’t care how proper the e-mail looks, no matter whom it is from, don’t do it.  Always type in the address (URL) of the site you wish to purchase from.

Now for "Ron’s Steps to (Hopefully) Safe Online Buying."

Get an email address to use only for online purchases and nothing else.  Do not give it to friends or relatives, do not sign up for anything else with it, do not post it online in Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard or anywhere else.  Other than online purchases you only use it with your account.  If you are ever notified on one of your other email accounts about a purchase you KNOW it is a scam and can delete it. I have never gotten spam on my "purchase only" email account; at least up to this point.  

Whenever possible use PayPal to purchase online items.  PayPal is in the business of making safe and secure online transactions and they are good at it.  They have built in security you cannot get on your own.  Google, "PayPal security" and click one of the PayPal links for more details.

Now for my number one tip.  Open a new account at your current local bank.  Open it with the full intention of never putting more in it than whatever you may spend on an impulse online purchase.  I usually keep about $25-$50 in mine.  It is the one that I connect to my PayPal account.  I only use the debit card connected to that account for any non-PayPal online purchases.  That way if someone hacks it they can never get more than that amount. The bank usually has built in limits, too.

If I am going to purchase something for more than the amount I have in there I transfer it in from my "real" checking/savings account. 

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