Computer Resolutions for 2021

We all make ‘em. (Or at least the most optimistic of us do). Resolutions for the New Year. Let’s face, it they’re hard to keep. Here’s some that are not so hard to keep and that will make your computing lives a bit better.

1. Always back up the data on your hard drive and learn how to restore it, in case of an emergency. Please read my “Back it up, Buddy” blog for more detail.

2. Change your passwords in any banking or financial site at least once a month and never keep them written down next to your computer, or worse yet, stored on your computer. Please listen to the Computer Corner Pod Cast from October 23rd, 2019 about safe passwords (it’s an oldie, but a goodie) . http://compcorner.com/radio-shows/.

3. Keep your anti-virus, spyware and malware software up-to-date and set it to perform updates automatically. Please read my blog on the Tremendous Trio of software products (Kaspersky, Hit-Man Pro and Malwarebytes) that I we recommend. These are great products to have, but unlike your anti-virus, you will need to initiate and run Hit-Man Pro and Malwarebytes or set them to run periodically. Use them frequently to scan your hard drive(s). I scan daily and if my computer starts acting strangely after I’ve been browsing, I scan then, too.

4. No matter how enticing the supposed “news article” about what stars looked like “then and now” is, or how this one little trick will fix all your wrinkles, don’t click on the links. This is where a great deal of your malware will come from.

5. Don’t click on any links or “pop-ups” from the supposed “Windows Corporation” (or Microsoft or ANY company) that tells you your computer has been infected. Even the links from trusted news sites may be full of tracking cookies and malware. We no longer support the belief of President Ronald Reagan that you should, “Trust, but verify”. We prefer this quote from Fox Mulder of the X-Files, “Trust No One”. FYI, there is no computer company called the Windows Corporation…. Unless they are selling the double-paned type.

6. Be sure your computer, monitor and printer are plugged in to a GOOD surge protector. The kind that costs $9 is probably not going to do the trick. Over time damage can occur from fluctuating power, as well as from full power outages and lightning strikes. Don’t take the risk. APC and Tripp Lite are good brands to purchase.

Happy Computing!
Carole

We’ll Miss You, Adobe Flash Player!

After 24 years, Adobe laid Flash Player to rest the last week of December.  The program that fueled the Internet’s transformation from text-only based content to multi-media is heading off into the sunset.

The last Flash update was also the last week of December and the application itself will not launch in several web browsers, like Google Chrome, after January 12th.

This news is not unexpected, it was announced several years ago, and probably no surprise either because earlier in this century Flash had endless security patches resulting from endless security vulnerabilities.

Different web browsers, like Edge, IE, Firefox and Safari are dealing with the end of Flash differently but suffice it to say, none of them will support Flash soon.

However….

If you are addicted to Flash – don’t despair, Adobe has partnered with Harman, the Connecticut company probably best known for the Harman Kardon and JBL audio equipment, to provide post-retirement support for Flash.

Harman’s website spells it out. “Harman will offer support and security updates to Adobe Flash Player and can provide solutions until the end of 2023 and beyond,” the company said. A contact form is available there to reach out for more information about what Harman offers.

Carole Petranovich, Owner & President of Computer Corner

I appreciate Computer Corner

I just thought I would take a moment to let you know how much I appreciate Computer Corner. I became acquainted with your business in 2014. I purchased an HP ZBook computer at that time. It is still working fine and the only changes necessary (upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and replacement of the HDD with an SSD drive) have been done by your service department. Both of these modifications were seamless.

I recently decided to acquire a new laptop and since I had such good performance from the previous ZBook I decided that I wanted another ZBook.  I talked to (your sales rep) and found him to be pleasant and informative. He was very helpful. He answered all my questions and helped determine the specifications needed.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for all the information you provide with your podcasts. They are very informative and I look forward to each and everyone.

Larry P.

Your employees give that extra touch

I am NOT a techie at all, and everyone at CC always helps if I have a quick question or if I need service. We always buy our computers at CC. In short, I am grateful that I can call when little things come up and I’m not sure what to do. Your employees give that extra touch when needed. That is definitely good service and is much appreciated.

Thank you, Carole. It’s no wonder CC is the only place we’d go for a computer!

D. F. K.

Search Engine Secrets

By: Phil Shortell

Just about everyone who takes an internet class here at Computer Corner sooner or later gets around to making the statement/asking the question “What good is a search engine if it comes back giving me too many sites for me to wade through?” This leads me to ask them what they are looking for and how they enter their query. I usually find that there being buried by the hits because they have never been told about the way ALL search engines work. Within a few short minutes, they get the answer and now you get it too.

The example I use in class came right from one of my students. Her son needed to do a paper on Daniel Boone, but when she typed in Daniel Boone they got 378,090 hits (That is the actual number, you may get something different depending on which search engine you use) the problem is that a search for Daniel Boone scores a match with sites for Daniel Boone, Daniel Defoe, Daniel in the lion’s den. Pat Boone, Debbie Boone, and Kim Kardashian! OK I just threw Kim in to see if you were paying attention. But all the others are absolutely true. When you want an exact phrase such as “indian jewelry” or “daniel boone” or “cuban black bean soup” you should enclose the phrase in “quotes” AND yes, all lower case is best.

Now, if you want more than one argument in your search, the plot thickens. As an example, if you want to find a biography of Daniel Boone, it would seem logical to type in “daniel boone” biography. Doing this may actually result in over one million matches because it’s now going to find the Daniel Boone Motel in Paducah Kentucky AND the biographies of Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Kim Kardashian (and yes, there are multiple web sites having a biography of Ms. Kardashian.) What you need to do here is tell the search engine that BOTH arguments MUST be present to score a hit. You do that simply by placing a + (plus sign) in front of each word/phrase. i.e. +”daniel boone” +biography.

Now, sometimes you might want to say to the search engine that you do NOT want sites containing certain words or phrases. You accomplish this by preceding the abjured phrase with a – (minus sign). In attempting to avoid certain sites that shall not be discussed here, you might want to construct your search like this +”daniel boone” +biography -“XXX”.

I am the principal cook in our household and as such, from time to time I find the need to search the web for a recipe or two.  My chef life here is complicated by the fact that my wife is an especially picky eater.  She hates the taste of ham, is a teetotaler and she would sooner volunteer as a knife throwers assistant than eat any food that wasn’t fat free. That brings me to what may be the ultimate demonstration of giving a search engine the information it needs to fulfill a request.  A while back, I wanted to get a recipe for (as mentioned above) Cuban Black Bean soup. You give this a try and see what happens.  Type in Cuban Black Bean soup recipe (Yes I know I just ranted on above about NOT doing things that way, but you need a starting point to make a valid comparison don’t you?)  Note the number of hits you get. Now type in exactly what follows:

 +”cuban black bean soup” +recipe –ham –bacon –rum +”fat free”

Note the difference.

It might also be a good idea “just in case” to end your search argument with -“kim kardashian”.

Happy searching!