About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 28, 2017

Schemes, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:27 am

There are a lot of cyber-schemes going around today.  And yes, they have been going around for years.  However, it seems to me that they have become more abundant over the last several months.

You know the emails with strange attachments, the links from companies asking you to log in and check your account.  Then the deposed politicians in foreign countries who need your help getting money, etcetera.

Scheming Computer 

I am getting multiple emails a week…sometimes daily which is a bit disturbing.  It really bothers me in that I pretty much feel confident that I avoid most of them but some of you may not.  I will never say that I will avoid them all because sooner or later I may mess up.

So first, perform the standards of keeping your operating system, antivirus, and anti-malware software up-to-date.  That is a significant help to you.

I took a class on security recently and thought I should share a few tips with you.  Some you may not have ever considered.  

One is, what should be done if you find a thumb drive laying on the ground somewhere?  DO NOT put it in your computer to see if there is any secret "stuff" on it.  Yes, it may have financial data, account numbers, legal documents, pictures or who knows what on it.  However, it is possible that it could have a virus on it.  You put it in your system and, "boom," you could have a very big problem with your computer.  You should give it to someone in "charge" at the location.  If it is in the middle of nowhere, toss it in the trash. 

How about your passwords?  Yes, I know that everyone has a different password for every single site they visit…not.  But you probably have multiple passwords you use from time-to-time.  How ever you deal with passwords they should be secure.  A secure password has at least eight characters and includes a minimum of one upper case letter, one lower case, a number and a symbol.   "12345678" is not a good password, but "Row3Urbt!" is.  So how do you remember it if it is that difficult?  Take a look at that one, how about, "Row, row, row, your boat?"  Make up those that are easy for you to remember, like the first letter of each word of your favorite song, followed by the year you graduated with an exclamation point-at the beginning.  Play with it and if you can do 12 characters it is much better.

Click the graphic below and use the password checker below
to find out how secure your passwords are. 

(Do not enter you actual PW but something close.)

Check the security of your password here.

Next, what about your computer when you leave the house?  Make sure of several things.  First, do not leave it unlocked.  On your windows PC press the Windows key and the "L" keys at the same time and it is locked/secured.  Make sure that you have not left a piece of paper lying around or under your keyboard with your password(s) on it.  Do not leave your thumb drive lying there as they are easy to walk off with.  Take your cell phone with you.  And this is old school but do not leave your tax returns lying on the desk before you leave for a movie.

More next week.

January 5, 2016

2015 Sites in Review, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 10:54 am

Welcome to the 15th year of "Double Click."  It has been a pleasure giving you computer and tech information each week since January, 2002.

Each January I review the sites I wrote about during the previous year.  If the site addresses are too long for print I have shortened them using a branded short domain from Bitly.  Read more about it from the following link if you are interested. The links will be preceded by "" followed by various letters and numbers.  Copy them, then paste them in your browser’s address bar to visit the sites.  They are case sensitive so be careful.

Here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

  • Secunia, – an application updater similar to Windows Update but this is for your individual applications.
  • FileHippo App Manager, – similar to Secunia but much easier to use.
  • Chrome 54% (, Firefox 15% (, Microsoft Internet Explorer 15% (included with all versions of Windows) – these are the three most popular web browsers.
  •, no explanation needed.
  •, an easy way to build a new computer and get many programs set up with one download and one installation.
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center, – here is where to go when you need to notify the government about "bad" sites and scams.
  • YouTube for Kids at the Google Play Store, – where you get all of your Android applications.
  • – my favorite antivirus for the current time.
  • – a vital add-on app to go with your antivirus.
  • – you probably are already using this site, if not, do not so you can keep your life.
  •, – two programs that add background noise on your computer which may (or may not) help you concentrate on what you are doing.  I like a real coffee shop myself. 
  • – probably one of the most overlooked but most informative sites on the web for computer questions and answers.  
  • – you know this one but for Christmas alone the Seattle-based company added 3 million new Amazon Prime subscribers only in the third week of December. (A gross income of almost $300 million.)
  • and (MOOC – Massive Open Online Course
  • Game Oldies, – you may be able to find your old favorites here whether, GameBoy, Nintendo NES, Atari, etc. Arkanoid was my favorite.
  • Flux, – this uses your computer’s location and system time to adapt the colors to warmer colors at night and sunlight-like colors during the day (the normal setting). Supposedly better for your brain and eyes.  
  • Kaspersky Software Updater ( SUMo ( Update Notifier ( – all good software "updaters" like FileHippo mentioned at the beginning however, I believe FileHippo is the easiest to use and finds many apps.
  • Google Chrome Browser Extensions, – this is where you can find many good extensions for the Chrome Browser so it can do more for you.  I listed many in the article from June, 2015.
  • PCDecrapifier,– this standalone app removes junk programs and PUPs from your system.

This gets us through June of 2015, next week the last six months of 2015 links. Thanks for reading the column and emailing me with your great questions.  I love writing it and hearing from you! 

May 4, 2010

Just a Little Bit

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 4:49 am

Thanks for the many questions this week that all dealt with the same thing.  Many readers wanted to know about all the references I have given out over the past several weeks.  Most everyone wanted to know what the ‘’ links were since they accessed different sites.

First, allow me to give a short explanation about top-level county code domains.  You are familiar with the “.com” (commercial), “.info” (information, like and “.gov” (for the US government) top-level codes.  The code is not necessarily indicative of what the site is used for. For instance, I could sell items on an “.info” site that provides absolutely no information.  However, “.gov” is only to be used by the US government.

A few years back a new domain level started, “Country Code” top-level domains.  This allows some countries to have their own top-levels.  The first I remember seeing was “.to” which represents the very small island of Tonga in the South Pacific.   Do not ask me why they get one and others do not.  If you are interested in a site with more detail, including a country list, try

If you notice the link above it is a “.ly” top-level domain which is the country code for Libya.  This does not mean that the site has anything to do with Libya other than the “.ly” at the end.  As a matter of fact I checked the owner of and it appears to be someone in New York.

imageOK, now to and what it does.  This designer had a great idea.  Sometimes you have a site address that is very long and cumbersome. allows you to shorten a long URL address into a much shorter address.  For instance the one I typed two paragraphs up is actually the shortened code for, “”.  See the difference in the amount of space they take up.  In case you didn’t count that is 20 characters compared to 54…no question about which is easier to use.

If you go to and enter a site address it will convert it to the short one. You can then give it out to others.  This makes a large address much easier to deal with.

One final interesting feature offered by the “” site, is that it lets you know how many people use your link.  For instance, the link I gave last week for a account was clicked on by 35 people the first day it was printed and 12 actually signed up.

I made a link that has received 1,876 views (my largest) since I posted it on, January, 2010.  It is which concerns the defunct TV show, “Firefly” (yeah, my favorite too).

There are other sites which provide similar services but is the one I prefer.

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