About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

January 19, 2016

Temporary Email Address

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:44 am

Have there been times when you want to sign up for something on the internet but knew once you did you would get "IT?"  You know what "IT" is.  It is tons of spam from some stupid site that looks like it has something you want or need.

Sometimes even very reputable sites will start spamming you with lots of email.  They may get some small amount of money for sending your email address to their business partners.  There are many reasons you may be spammed when signing up for things online.

In order to avoid this there are several temporary email address sites out there you may use.  However, one that I currently use is called "Instance Mail."  You can use it to sign up for sites to whom you do not want to reveal your real email address.  You can find it online at

InstanceMail main screenIt is quite simple to use.  Once at their site, you enter your real email address and press the "Get new address" button.   You will then see the new temporary address.  When I used it recently it gave me as my address (no longer functioning).  I know, now you are thinking, "If I give them my real address won’t I get spam from them?"  The answer is no, you will not.  They are clean.  At least they were the last many times I have used Instance Mail.  I believe you are quite safe using their site.  They do need your email address to verify it as real and give you a little information on how to proceed.  

You may also want to take a look at the Options link.  There you will see that the expiration for this new email is 120 days.  You can make that a shorter time in various increments down to 30 minutes.

Another nice feature is that you can also get the site to send you an email reminder when your address expires.  Also, you may add a comment to your address which is actually just a short note letting you know what you used that address for in case you forget.

I find it very interesting as a "web guy" that all of the information you need is found on the one page of their site.  You go to that one link to get to everything you need to use at Very convenient and easy to use. There are links there to reuse the email which allows you to extend it another 120 days as many times as you wish.

To sign up at another site use it just as you would your regular email address.  For instance, I signed up at a site with the instance email address and the site sent a verification email to the "fake" address.  However, it was received in my regular mail’s inbox.  That way I could verify it and then use the site.  After I was finished with that address I went back to the Instance Mail site and shut my recently used email address down. 

If you use this or any of the other temporary email sites let me know what they are and how you like them.  This can help you stay safe and more private online.

July 21, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 1

Today I will look at a few questions I have recently received starting with one regarding last week’s Chromebook article.

I have always thought it funny when you write one thing and get totally different responses.  From the Chromebook discussion last week I received the following two statements.

First is, “[on] your assertion of Chromebooks from $129, implying they are inexpensive – I went to eBay and the 2015 model sells there … and found them at $1,500.00 … a far cry from $129 to $199.”

I went to eBay and the most expensive Chromebook I found there was $1,820, even better.  The same model, the “Google Chromebook Pixel 64GB” was on Amazon for $1,610.  It has a street price of a little less.

Ron's Samsung Chromebook

Ron’s Samsung Notebook,
paid $169 over 18 months ago.

The latest version now sells for $179.
Great notebook and well worth the price.

I did not say that the range of $129 to $199 was the upper or lower limit but in that range you could find a decent computer.  I also found a Windows Notebook far exceeding $1,500.  I found one for over one million but that one comes with a handmade wooden case, encrusted with diamonds and other bling.  (Before anyone gets upset I also found a Chromebook at the same price similarly decorated.) You can find them for whatever you are willing to pay, but I still stand by my original range.

The other was someone who bought a student/relative of theirs a “Chromebook and printer for right around $250.00.”  Congratulations to them on finding a great deal on a computer and printer for that young person.  (Also, proving my point.)

Sometimes I get many questions on how to perform a particular process on my computer.  I get questions asking me what is your favorite program or website you use to do _________.    I will give you a few over the next week or so if your emails show interest in the topic.  If you have questions do not forget to email me.

I may not always have the best plan; however, they work successfully for me.  Remember also that I really like the word, “free” so you may be able to do these things other ways for a cost.

Avast! splat logoOne of the more popular emails I receive is, “What antivirus software do you recommend?”  I currently use Avast! Antivirus ( on all of my computers, with the exception of work.  Work is controlled by others.  To be honest they are all similar but every year or two I review evaluations of all of the free antivirus software.  I then choose the one that scores the best and appears to have a good “ease of use” factor to me.  You can pay for others as well as Avast! if you wish.  In my opinion some of the “big boys” out there are bloated and slow a machine down too much for me.

Next week we will look at a few more questions and answers

March 10, 2015

June 24, 2014

Do Not Do These Things, Part 3

I was not planning on having a "Part 3" to this series; however, Marion recently sent an interesting email. This situation does not have anything to do with the web, email or any other things I usually write about.  Nevertheless, it is a real personal security concern.

Marion emailed about a "Social Engineering" scam which is becoming more of a concern most every day for everyone.  These can hit you even if you do not participate on the internet, email, or any other tech areas.  This one is known as vishing, or voice phishing. 

She said they received a suspicious phone call on the home land line. However, this could also hit your cell phone.  A man with an accent was telling her that their computer was "leaking out information."  This is common line.  Then they ask you questions about your computer, maybe the version of Windows you use, your computer name, or your username and password.  They may ask you anything about your computer, your bank account or any other personal information.  They usually (but not always) have a heavy almost unintelligible accent which will get worse as they go along. 

Marion said, "We gave him no information whatsoever."  That is the absolute best thing you can do.  If you have not contacted any company for help just hang up on them.  They are trying to get info out of you and use it for disreputable reasons.

spam via phone and web ( would be surprised at how many people go along with this "official" inquiry.  People have given away bank account information and then proceeded to loose thousands of dollars.

Never give anything out to an incoming caller.  If you get a call from any company asking you any information or giving you a website to log on to about your information or accounts, hang up immediately and call the company directly.  Ask them about it and you will get a definite, "Don’t do it!" response from the real people.  Banks and any other reputable company will never contact you to ask for information. 

Microsoft has even put out messages reporting support scams that are supposedly coming from them.  Like all of these scams the scammer may not have a lot of technical information, but rather a smooth talking trickster which plays on the general public’s fear.  They will tell you things like they just received a warning that your computer has been hacked or invaded.

We used to call these folks, "flimflam artists."  In today’s vernacular they would be called scammers.

There is even one for corporate environments called, "tailgating."  Many companies have very strict rules regarding tailgating which can end an employee’s career if they allow it.  This usually involves companies with an electronic keyless entry system; however, it can be used with regular keyed locks too.  You, being regular employee, come to work and use your key to get in.  An honest looking "employee" whom you do not know walks up along behind you and you let them enter the building with you.  You have just been tailgated into the building by someone who should not be there.

Being careful should be everyone’s number one priority today.

December 7, 2011

Think you can outsmart Internet scammers?

Filed under: Tech Info — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:53 pm

Take a look at the Spam Test provided by OpenDNS.  See if you can pass by identify real websites compared to spammed sites.

I missed one and I have excuses but see how well you can do and post it here.

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