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SENIOR  TIPS - COMPUTERS

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"Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy." Joseph Campbell

       

 No longer need that old computer? Give it away !!

See: Latest Computer Virus Reported To Us.          Email us if you wish to report another.

General Statement on Scams  Don't update ANYTHING you are asked for in an email; that is, Social Security, banks, credit cards,-- any accounts-- anywhere. If you have gone to a company independently, to a site you KNOW is legit, then you may be asked for some updating. That may be ok. But never respond to a request made to you by email for updating anything. The same applies to phone calls. If you called them, at a number you know is accurate, you may be asked for some personal information to access something. If you GET, rather than MAKE the call, hang up, then call the company from the phone book to tell them about the earlier call you received. Thieves get more clever every day. Don't be fooled. 

I Haven't Lost My Mind, It's Backed Up On A Disk Somewhere

most recent tips listed last

Pre 1. Do you NEED a computer? Or could you use a MORE UPDATED one? You would be amazed how many folks out there buy a new computer every year or so to keep on the cutting edge, and the old one goes into the closet to collect dust. But it might be much newer than the one you are now using. Put a small ad in your local paper or penny saver saying that a senior citizen needs a computer in order to get online. You may be pleased at the response. Or join www.freecycle.org, an organization that probably is active in YOUR community. Rather than throw away useful things you no longer need, they are offered online free to anyone who will pick them up. I once got a decent computer this way.

1. Beware an online scam called phishing.  (pronounced fishing). You may get an email that appears to come from a business where you have an account. They tell you that you either need to update your records right now, or something terrible will happen, like your account will be cancelled. If you click on their link they may ask you for your social security number, credit card numbers, or other personal information. Don't fall for it. These emails look very convincing. They copy real company logos that look very real. If you ever get a request that resembles this, get on the phone and call the company to see if they are REALLY requesting this info. And get the phone number from a source other than the email. Never give out personal information online or on the phone unless YOU initiate a transaction or activity---and even then be VERY cautious. FTC Consumer Alert on avoiding PHISHING scams.  Very important for you to read

Also, ebay has presented a "Spoof Email Tutorial" website to help you identify fake and dangerous email.

2. Hewlett Packard Computer Tune Up Site

3. Hewlett Packard personal computing security center

4. Give Your Old Computer to a Senior   Are you getting a new computer?  Consider giving your old computer and components to a senior who could use one. So how do you do that. There is probably a senior center in your community. Go there, or call there, and place a notice on the bulletin board, or speak with the director. You will want to be sure to remove all of your information before doing this. This article might be helpful in that regard. Giving Your Computer Away

5. http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/    Test your computer's download and upload speeds.

6. Solve Computer Problems This is a forum where other computer users respond to your question or problem with anything involving a computer. Excellent!

7. Look for high speed connections at prices lower than some dialups. I use Verizon DSL at $17.99 per month plus those pesky taxes. And this is not just an introductory rate. The first month is even free. I am sure this will be duplicated by others soon if not already. It is fast, but they offer even faster at higher rates. I have used their service at both rates, and find NO difference in actual performance. The $17.99 service is more than enough for most users. No matter how fast your service, you only get information as fast as it will go from and through other pipelines.

8. It is EASY and FREE to build and have your own website hosted online. FREE!  I have built several personal sites with this service, and have really enjoyed it. (If you want to see one that I have built go to  http://houseforsalepa.tripod.com . I made this site when I was selling my home. It is now sold, and the site aided me in that process. I have left the site online so I can go in to look at a home we enjoyed very much.)        If you want to give it a try, go to this Carnegie Mellon University Site at Tripod. Click on the little white "sign up" button after the word "LYCOS" at the top of the open page. This will take you to another page, where you want to go to the box marked "free". CLICK ON "SIGN UP" AND GET GOING ON YOUR ADVENTURE.

9. Seniors more likely to be connected to the Internet  Seniors are increasingly more likely to be connected to the Internet, and those that aren't connected would probably like to be. I've found the following data to be very interesting, which has been collected from various studies.

10. Senior Citizens Who Master Computer Have Less Depression     

Senior citizens who become adept at using a computer appear to have fewer depressive symptoms than those older adults who aren’t so technologically connected.

That’s the finding of a research study, Depression and Social Support Among Older Adult Computer Users, presented August 18 at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. One must be careful, however, not to substitute the internet for social interaction in the flesh with others. But it is a great way to find entertainment (for fun), travel the world, learn new things, and make new friends. A physically challenged Senior will find a whole new world open to them online. Careful use of chat rooms can bring real new friend to the Senior.

11. Another scam says something like, "you have won", or "we need a representative in your country to accept a large amount of cash, and we will pay you well."  What they will do is gradually get more and more information from you, and then clean out your bank account. Report them to your internet service provider. I was getting a series of a couple of these a day. Finally, I sent them a massive number of disgusting LARGE photos depicting someone being very ill in a toilet, and a few others that I cannot describe here. My emails from them stopped THAT day, and have not resumed. They can't afford to have their scam congested with large disgusting clutter.

12. Another popular computer scam. You get an email that tells you you have been referred because you are honest or something like that. The person has a lot of money from an inheritance, a business deal, life insurance, or some semi-illegal source. It is usually millions of $$$. All you have to do in order to get a nice percentage of this money is to give them your bank account and they will send the whole sum to you. When they come to the country they will expect you to give them the balance, less your rich commission. FAKE, RUSE, SCAM, THIEVES.  They are trying to clean out your bank account ,not fill it. Report computer scams to your internet provider so they can track them.

13. And then there is the scam about winning a contest. My mother got a call from someone who was quite excited about her winning a camera in some kind of drawing. Could come to you as an email. It was described in glowing detail. All she had to do was send $49.95 to them for some kind of special handling and insurance or some damned thing. They sent the camera! THE KIND YOU COULD BUY IN SOME THIRD RATE DISCOUNT STORE FOR ABOUT $9.95 ---or less. My mother sent them the money. She felt ashamed that she sent enough from her $800 social security check to more than pay for her electric bill. Shame on some sleaze for preying on the elderly and trusting senior who thinks they are getting something great for her grandchild. If it sounds too good to be true----it is too good to be true. Call an agency in your local government, or in the Federal government and ask about it before sending anyone a penny. ( Fraud Against Seniors )

14. The best deals I have found on computers and other electronic products is at www.TigerDirect.com  and www.globalcomputer.com . I think the two companies are related, but seem to feature different products. I also check out Circuit City for great package deals. But at Christmas 2006 I just bought my new HP system and an Acer 19" flat monitor at sears.com. They had exactly what I wanted at a good price, free shipping. I have a lot of confidence in the Sears customer service. But remember, I have a history with Sears. And even so, I am a believer. Editor

15. You can get a tremendous amount of FREE computer help online. I have found a site called  http://www.thetechguys.com/  to be very useful. There are articles to help with questions and problems. The message boards are places for you to ask detailed questions of other experienced computer users who want to help you. I have solved several problems with the help of other members of this site.

16. When I search for a word, term, or phrase, I generally use Google. ( www.google.com ) But don't limit yourself to just one "search engine" like Google. Try Yahoo ( www.yahoo.com ), or one of my favorites, MSN (Microsoft) ( www.msn.com ). Don't ask me how, but one of them often finds something the others COMPLETELY missed.

17. Have you ever searched for something online,  but when you go to the result it is near impossible to find the word(s) you searched for? The page may be so long that it would take many minutes to locate the object of your search. If you search on Google or Yahoo, look at your search result, and at the bottom of the little blurb about what the search engine found,  you will see a word in blue "cached". Click on that word. This will take you to a copy of the page when that search engine "crawled" it for insertion into its information. Look at the page now. The word(s) you searched for are now highlighted in a bright color. WOW!  It does not appear that MSN or AOL do this, even though AOL says the search is enhanced by Google. They need to enhance it a little more. I use Explorer 7. If you are searching for a word you searched, and the results come up in an Explorer 7 window, left-click "edit" at the top, then click "find on this page". Enter the word or words----and a miracle occurs. This also works with explorer 6. Try this on earlier versions, but I am not sure.

18. Free online computer basics for seniors. "Internet Basics for Seniors"   And another helpful tutorial site: Seniors and Computers

19. If you get an email that appears to be hysterical (i.e., people spraying you with perfume in parking lots but really making you unconscious and then ripping you off), consult www.snopes.com. This is THE source for the verification (or, more commonly, debunking) of these email "urban myths". I can't tell you how many emails I get (from people who SHOULD KNOW BETTER) forwarded in sincere fear of their contents, and how many are just baloney!  If nothing else, reading the entries at this site is entertaining. Remember: just 'cause you read it in email (or the paper, or anywhere else) DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE. Keep in mind, too, that pictures are not always worth a thousand words: there is a wonderful program called Adobe PhotoShop that allows users to alter pictures so as to fool you into believing... well, just about anything. Remember, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.  Rivahcat - Virginia

20. If you have CDs that you've burned with treasured pictures on them, be sure to store them in a safe. But be sure that the safe can withstand fire temperatures that can melt CD plastic! Many safes sold are fireproof for PAPER. Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Plastic will melt at much lower temperatures. Be sure that the safe you get to preserve your digital/computer information will protect the plastic of your data storage device! Rivahcat - Virginia

21. Beware of emails that claim to be from the IRS, wanting to refund you some piddly (under $100) amount by crediting your bank/credit card account and requesting the account number. The IRS DOES NOT refund money this way!! They always send a check. These emails are scams. Don't fall for them! In fact, if you get one, forward it to phishing@irs.gov, so they can nail the scammers. Remember.. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!   Rivahcat,  Virginia

22.   8 Helpful links for Seniors and Computers:   Why should I learn how to use the computer and the Internet? | Are there computer training programs designed for seniors? | What deters seniors from becoming computer literate? | Can seniors with disabilities of aging become computer literate? | What are some computer training tips and tools? | Having fun online | References and resources | Related Helpguide articles

23. For free computer lessons try your local library, they usually have beginners computer classes. My local library has an excellent program for novices. Another place where lessons are given are, local computer clubs. Check them out, they are a good place to meet other computer students. Senior Citizens Clubs are another source for computer lessons. Believe me, there are many places out there that will help you with computer lessons.

24. Is the print on your computer keyboard too small? Here are 3 possible solutions SeniorArk found in a search. There are others out there as well.

Click picture to enlarge.           Fentec   White Keys with Black Legends                    $68.95

          Amazon  Keys-U-See Keyboard - Yellow Keys with Black Print  $39.95

         My Board III Keyboard  $99, sale $69  

25. In western society we have gotten so used to all out electrical gadgets and do-dads that we seldom stop to think about the cost of these devices. Yet, a modern computer for example can cost several hundred dollars per year in electricity alone! And when you are done using your computer for this session, you WILL turn it off - right?!

26. My cyber-story: My helpmate died in May of '98. Sometime that fall, my cousin in NC sent me a newspaper article about WebTV. I guess I was halfway intrigued. In Jan.99, I happened to spot a USED WebTV receiver for sale for $79 at Sears. I bought it and started the adventure. Since then I've managed to just about fill up 4 of the 6 addresses or stations(?) offered. The other 2 are used by my son & daughter. I've not changed to a computer as this seems to fill most of our needs and there are no virus worries.
 Besides the usual uses like ordering medicine, e-mailing, card-making, etc., I've published two dozen web pages covering such things as my grandfather's books, family history, poetry, my autobio & military stories, etc. Lots of fun!
 BUT, like you, I seem to find it very hard to convince certain older folks (my brother included) about the advantages of joining the WWW and the relative ease of doing so. Good luck to us! Bob,  Mercer, PA

27. Tools MSNTV and WEBTV users need to manipulate images, validate HTML, source-view web pages and files, transload or upload files, grab image colors, extract and crop images, find MIDI files, optimize and transparentize images, clear recents, and check browser data, IP numbers and connection rates.

28. Do you "burn" information onto removable CD's or CD-R's? (R= rewritable over and over) Be very cautious if you are relying on them to store irreplaceable photos, music, or other data. They can deteriorate, sometimes over a very short time period--even months.  Factory-pressed CDs are totally different from recordable (burnable) CDs. In a pressed CD, the data is literally "molded into" (actually pressed into) the media and will not disappear unless the CD is physically damaged. Recordable CDs use a dye that changes color or reflectivity when heated. There are different dye types commonly used in recordable CDs, and they do not all have the same life expectancy and stability.

Read a C-net forum discussion on the matter.  Be careful not to store them in hot areas, or to scratch them. Store them independently. Their life will also be affected by the quality of your burner, and the manufacturer's quality of the disk. TDK claims a life of 100 years, obviously unproven by time. Others have reported that their disks have become unreadable in months (brand unknown).

Another note: CD-R's should never be used to store material except for an extremely short period. The degrade very easily. The contributor at C-net at the link above says he will not even buy a CD-R because of this problem. One-time recording disks are cheap enough to discard when no longer needed.

29. Seniors Are On Their Computers.  Using the Internet has become the favourite pastime for pensioners, according to a survey. Traditional hobbies such as gardening and DIY have been relegated as 'silver surfers' spend an average of six hours a week online. E-mailing and chatting to friends and family are their most popular online activities. They also enjoy researching, booking holidays and shopping, the survey by insurance company AXA found. Spokesman Alison Green said: 'The report highlights how pensioners are using the Internet to support a less stressful approach to life. 'The potentially arduous task of struggling with the shopping is becoming less of an issue as retired people can simply log on to their computers and select groceries at their leisure. The survey found that 41 per cent of retired people voted the Internet as one of their favourite pastimes. DIY and gardening were named by 39 per cent, hobbies by 36 per cent and travel and walking by 28 per cent. Four in ten said they were regular Internet shoppers. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news

30. A survey conducted by Home Electronics Journal (HEJ) in the U.S. has revealed that 93.3% of affluent Americans research their upcoming consumer electronics purchases on the Internet, before making the trip to a nearby Best Buy or Circuit City to actually buy the items. Despite doing their research on the web, consumer electronics purchasers still prefer to shop in person.

31. Xerox Corporation scientists say they have invented a way to make copies whose images last only a day, so that the paper can be used again and again. The company has filed for patents on the technology, which it calls “erasable paper.” SeniorARK hopes our creditors use this paper for our debts!

32. Very interesting Canadian tech site. Lots of news on new and interesting products and technology. A lot of focus on the US. http://www.digitalhome.ca/blog/
  33.

  <<<(a) This gives new meaning to the phrase "multitasking".

                     ***click pictures to enlarge***

       (b) When you know that your computer has become an obsession.>>>

34. Very useful site for Senior computer fans: http://www.csuchico.edu/~csu/seniors/computing2.html Discussion on using the internet, advice on getting online computer training, important terms, and search tips.

35. CD, CD-R, CD-RW ???? Great article explaining the differences, with a link to many other valuable computer subjects.

35A. What is the difference between a DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW?

36. Avery Bowron, a computer-savvy 19-year-old, readily acknowledges that he learned something valuable about technology from senior citizens: good software can be obtained at no cost. Read the complete article on SeniorARK.

37. Enlarge type size.  If you are using internet explorer and view a web page where the type is too small, the solution is very easy. Left-click "view" at the top of the page. Move your arrow down to "text size". A little menu should appear that enables you to change the text size. Be aware that web pages may change their appearances and not appear as intended--but you may be able to read text better. Don't forget to return the size to a comfortable level when finished with the page.
38. Don Nitkin teaches other seniors all about computers at a senior center. He has put together a very useful site to aid us in understanding and learning computer use. Valuable links are included. http://barkerrd.googlepages.com/home
39.Bits?  Bytes? (ouch) MP3s?   RAM?  Internet?  Email?  Windows?  CPU? CD-Rs? DVD-Rs?
Do any of the above terms seem confusing?
Does looking at them give you a dull pain between your ears?
Does sending an email seem like a major accomplishment?                                                       Try  Senior's Guide to Computers  ( http://www.seniorsguidetocomputers.com ) for information on these terms and a lot more information on using your computer. We like this site so much that we have asked site creator, Jeff Mayer to write computer articles from time-to-time for SeniorARK.
40. Article, 11 Tips For Safe Surfing, Written for SeniorARK by Jeffrey Mayer
41. Only a few years ago I thought a cookie, when discussed on line, was going to be a good old fashioned cookie recipe. Well there are indeed some of them out there, but this COOKIE has to do with snooping into what you are viewing while on your computer. I have learned through experience that when I start my system (boot it up) each morning I do a complete diagnostic analysis via at least 6 programs that I run. In addition I go to start, click on run and type in  COOKIES in the rectangular box. For those that have not done this in a while or may have never done it don't be surprised to see a lot of cookies. There are a lot of snoopy type companies that are interested in seeing what your buying habits are. My policy is too clean them all off. Every day days/365 days a year. Leave no tracks and you will not hear from anyone. There is a lot more one can do but hope this COOKIE recipe is of help to someone.  Thanks to Jim C, Westchester, PA

42. For those of us that use Mozilla Firefox as our primary browser there is now A FREE download to block pop up ads and banners that are now so pervasive on our e-mail screens and just about anywhere you go on the net.  If using Mozilla Firefox go to their web site and locate their substantial number of free software packages. Thanks to Jim C, Westchester, PA

43. SAY WHAT?  Nine years old?  Only nine years? Seems like it's been around forever! If you can't believe Google hasn't been around forever, read: You Say What?
44. Free Download   Picasa is software that makes it easy and fun to view, organize, edit and share the digital photos on your PC. This is totally free, and owned and provided by Google. It has long been the favorite of many digital photo enthusiasts. Read pcmag.com review first.
45. DEAR SARA: Have you tried Disc Doctor or similar CD/DVD repair kits, or do you have a frugal way to repair a fairly scratched disc? — Denise, Colorado. DEAR DENISE: I have tried repair kits and have had success with them, if the scratches are minor. Avoid using toothpaste, alcohol and ammonia because they can cause worse damage. Instead of buying a repair kit, call your local video store or game store and see whether they do repairs. They often offer a repair service that costs less than $5. (Frugal Village)
46. How to Get a Computer Cheap, Rather than Getting a Cheap Computer. A computer can often be one of the largest purchases you make, aside from home and auto, running well over $1,500 if you get a top model. However, if your budget doesn't allow for a purchase this large, don't  fret . There are ways to buy a computer for a bargain and keep your budget intact

47. I receive lots of ‘scam’ emails, anywhere from 6 to 12 daily.  The examples in your article fit the patterns I see, but I have also noticed some things that I rarely see mentioned in articles on this subject.

     1)      I am usually not the person the email is addressed to.  It is most often addressed to ‘undisclosed recipients’.  If I was truly the beneficiary, etc., it would be addressed to me personally.  My solution was to add the ‘To’ column to my email inbox.  This helps to isolate the scams from my actual email.

2)       Beware of one of these emails with an attachment.  Delete it.  Some file extensions can turn themselves into execution types of files upon opening.

3)       Never answer one of these emails that are not sent to your specific email address.  Scammers do not know which of the undisclosed recipients belong to live email addresses until you answer.

4)       Turn off the receipt function so that you will not inadvertently authorize a receipt when requested by the sender, or your system will not automatically send one.

5)       Look at the contact address or phone number in the ‘From’ address or in the body of the email.  The phone number may include a non-US country code such as +234 or +229 (Nigeria, Benin).  The email address may end with .hk or .ru or .cz.

6)       Check the spelling, sentence structure, and use of singular vs. plural when the email looks official.  If it is coming from another area of the world where English is not the primary language, there most likely will be flaws.

 These are some of the patterns I see, in the order of their importance.  I retired from a company that controlled this type of email traffic through its front end servers.  I got spoiled I guess, because now I have to watch out for this stuff myself.

I apply an email rule which separates out any incoming mail which is not addressed to me or contains certain words such as ‘lottery’, ‘Nigeria’, ‘000,000’, ‘beneficiary’, etc., and puts the above types into a separate scam folder where I can give a final check before deleting.

Thanks to Brenda McQ______

 

48. If your computer is running well today, there's no reason it shouldn't stay that way for several more years to come. Like a car, a computer needs regular maintenance and care to keep it operating smoothly. There are easy steps anyone can take to help extend a computer's useful life, saving money and the environmental impacts of throwing a computer away. Read Article

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