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Ask Leo! #322 – Watching what your network is up to, making photos smaller on disk, SSIDs and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** New Articles

Does changing or disabling the broadcast of my wireless SSID make me more secure?

I always hear “CHANGE THE SSID” on your home router. There are two parts to the SSID, correct? The network name and the network password to connect. I realize that the password needs to be changed from the default of admin or whatever, but are people still suggesting that the SSID network name be changed as well? I can see changing the network name to something other than “Linksys” so that you know that it's yours, but why does it matter if others can see this name? All that matters is changing the SSID password, correct?

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Well, to begin with, a couple of concepts have gotten confused in your question.

There's no such thing as an "SSID password". The SSID is simply the identifier that a Wifi access point can broadcast to let you know that it exists.

The SSID can be changed, and there are good reasons to do so. Broadcasting the SSID can also be disabled, but whether that actually helps anything is debatable.

And finally, this isn't really a router thing because there are routers that have no wireless capabilities and thus, they have no SSID to worry about. This is really a wireless access point thing - whether that access point is a separate device or combined with a router in a single package.

Continue reading: Does changing or disabling the broadcast of my wireless SSID make me more secure?
http://ask-leo.com/C5049

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How do I make a photo's file smaller and take up less space on disk?

With the high resolutions of many of today's digital cameras and phones, the files that contain our photographs can end up being quite large. So large, in fact, that it can be a problem - either to store or share with others.

In this video from an Ask Leo! webinar on Photo Manipulation, I'll show a couple of techniques to make large images physically smaller - including one that even keeps it the same visual size.

Continue reading: How do I make a photo's file smaller and take up less space on disk?
http://ask-leo.com/C5048

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How do I monitor network activity on my Windows 7 machine?

When my laptop is turned on, it starts downloading from the Internet - BUT - nothing is supposed to be downloading! How do I figure out what's happening?

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My normal response for this type of problem is to turn to Process Monitor, a free SysInternals utility from Microsoft. The problem is that it's a pretty geeky tool and it requires a little patience and understanding to get useful results.

Of late, I've found myself firing up a completely different utility included in Windows 7 that quickly displays a lot of information about what's going on. It actually can monitor several areas of your computer's activity, but I'll focus here on networking.

Continue reading: How do I monitor network activity on my Windows 7 machine?
http://ask-leo.com/C5047

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

wifi

Wifi, or more correctly “Wi-Fi“, is a wireless radio signaling protocol that defines a way for data – typically ethernet data packets – to be transmitted wirelessly between devices.

We tend to think of Wi-Fi as primarily a means for connecting a computer with a Wi-Fi adapter to a network by means of a Wi-Fi access point, often included as part of a wireless router, connected to the internet.

Wi-Fi refers to specific standards, typically a variation of 802.11 a, b, g or n.

Most consumer grade Wi-Fi equipment has a range of a few hundred feet, and thus Wi-Fi is considered a short-distance signaling protocol.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Leo Recommends

FastStone Image Viewer - An easy to use tool to view, organize and manipulate images

After the demise of Firehand Ember, my previous favorite image viewing program, I began searching for a suitable replacement. Window's built in "Picture and Fax Viewer" just doesn't cut it for me.

After much experimentation with various products in this class, I've settled on FastStone Image Viewer.

FastStone includes not only basic display and print ability, but also a number of simple modification tools, a slideshow creator, a contact sheet creator and more.

At it's heart, FastStone, like many similar products, is much like a Windows Explorer tailored for viewing photos. Fire it up and you'll get the familiar navigation tree on the left, and images on the right:

Continue reading: FastStone Image Viewer - An easy to use tool to view, organize and manipulate images
http://ask-leo.com/C3486

Each week I recommend a specific product or resource that I've found valuable and that I think you may as well. What does my recommendation mean?

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