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Ask Leo! #450 – Make Windows 8 Less Annoying, What to do if your Facebook is Hacked, and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

Three tips to make Windows 8 less annoying

Windows 8 gets a bad rap.

Admittedly, Microsoft could have done more to ease the transition. They made some significant changes to the user interface – changes that are both jarring visually (i.e. the tiled Start screen), and confusing to use (the “removal” of the Start menu). Throw in a couple of design decisions that can at best be considered questionable and I can certainly understand people’s confusion.

Recently, I was helping a friend who works at a library and is faced with trying to answer Windows 8-related questions without actually having any Windows 8 computers at the library.

I asked myself, “What are the top three things that I would tell people to make using Windows 8 a little easier?”

Continue Reading: Three tips to make Windows 8 less annoying
http://askleo.com/?p=7649

Facebook hacked? What you need to do NOW

I’m seeing Facebook hacked more often. It’s not an alarming increase, but you should be aware of and prepared for it.

Much like email, it’s not that uncommon for someone, somewhere to gain access to a Facebook account and use it to post spam or worse. Sometimes, the account password is changed. Sometimes not. Sometimes, traces are left. Sometimes not.

Sometimes, the entire account is destroyed.

If you think that’s happened to you, here’s what you need to do next…

Continue Reading: Facebook hacked? What you need to do NOW
http://askleo.com/?p=7708

*** Answercast

Answercast 113 - Lost applications, malicious software, switching to Linux, stupid humans and more...

Do you wonder if humans are getting more stupid, or why formatting your computer erased everything? Want to get Flash to work on a TV, or make your battery last longer? Are you thinking of putting Linux on an old computer, needing to use a wireless range extender? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen
Listen Now!
(Includes the raw transcript on which the articles below were based.)

Why did I lose applications after my machine was formatted?
Reformatting a hard drive, by definition, erases everything. The big question is why did the technician NOT tell you that!

Continue reading: Why did I lose applications after my machine was formatted?
http://askleo.com?p=7595

Is it better to use incremental or differential backups?
Incremental and differential backups store your data changes differently. Ultimately, the difference is one of granularity and managing disk space. But the biggest thing is that you are backing up regularly and happy with the results.

Continue reading: Is it better to use incremental or differential backups?
http://askleo.com?p=7599

Does a wireless range extender compromise my security?
The fact that your extender isn't giving you access to set up security concerns me. I don't believe it's common and I'm really surprised it's not there.

Continue reading: Does a wireless range extender compromise my security?
http://askleo.com?p=7602

How do I get Flash to work on my TV?
Unfortunately, whatever you are trying to watch really depends on how that particular service has configured their ability to provide video for you. What I do is simply connect up a computer and then I can watch whatever I want.

Continue reading: How do I get Flash to work on my TV?
http://askleo.com?p=7604

Do I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?
Malicious Software Removal Tool is something that's downloaded and run by automatic updates, regardless of the anti-malware tools that you may already use, to provide a base level protection to the operating system.

Continue reading: Do I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?
http://askleo.com?p=7608

Should I update to the latest Internet Explorer?
It's important to keep Internet Explorer up-to-date, even if you are using another browser. Take IE version updates whenever you are comfortable with them.

Continue reading: Should I update to the latest Internet Explorer?
http://askleo.com?p=7611

Should I remove the battery if I leave my laptop plugged in?
Battery technology, while not increasing all that well in terms of capacity, is increasing in lifespan. But there are other advantages, regardless of battery life, to leaving the battery in your laptop.

Continue reading: Should I remove the battery if I leave my laptop plugged in?
http://askleo.com?p=7613

I can't upgrade to the latest Windows. Should I switch to Linux?
Switching to a Linux product depends on how you use your computer. The good news is that you can try it out for free, without making any changes, to see if you like it.

Continue reading: I can't upgrade to the latest Windows. Should I switch to Linux?
http://askleo.com?p=7631

Are humans getting more stupid because of computers?

Computers make many things easier. Personally, I can do and be more than ever before. It’s because I allow the technology to help with many of the things that I used to have to remember or know... freeing up my time for other things.

Continue reading: Are humans getting more stupid because of computers?
http://askleo.com?p=7634

Why might WiFi be faster than wired Ethernet?
It does sound strange that the wireless connection would be faster. We'll start by looking at the obvious... the cable connection itself.

Continue reading: Why might WiFi be faster than wired Ethernet?
http://askleo.com?p=7637

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

hack

Hack has two distinct, and as it turns out, opposite meanings.

A hack was originally a clever or unique way of solving a particularly complex computer problem. Typically, a hack is an inelegant shortcut that might elicit the comment, “It’s not pretty, but it works”.

Hack has, more recently, come to be seen as a general term for breaking into protected computing resources via technical means.

It makes some small amount of sense that the second definition might follow from the first because break-in attempts are often inelegant and crafty shortcuts – hacks – that bypass or compromise the target’s design.

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.

*** Featured Reader Comments

Why does legitimate email from PayPal instruct me to click a link?

Ken B writes:

I know plenty of people who wouldn't know an "address bar" if they were serving free drinks. (Sorry, it's the best I could come up with on such short notice.) I was continually amazed that they would bring up Google (their home page), type the URL into Google's search box, and then click the first link shown which was (hopefully) the website they wanted.

I was finally able to convince them to let me change their home page to their "most favorite" website (or, more recently, have the browser open with their favorite sites in separate tabs), and have them type the URL into the actual address bar when they wanted something else.

How do I extract and identify the music in a Powerpoint presentation?

Mark Jacobs writes:

If a Power Point file is set to read only, it can be easily changed to editable this article from MS Office help explains how:

Remove Read-only protection from a PowerPoint presentation

There may be ways to really lock the file from editing, but I think this should work in most cases.

Many times, it's simply enough to change the extension of the PowerPoint file from .pps or .ppsx to .ppt or .pptx to cause it to open in editable form providing you have MS Office with PowerPoint installed on your machine. .pps(x) usually defaults to opening the file in read only mode where .ppt(x) defaults to opening the file in the edit mode.

Gordon writes:

If the Powerpoint presentation is a .pptx file (that is, one of the "new" formats from Powerpoint 2007 or later), it can be extracted using any standard unzipping program (like 7-zip). The extracted files will have everything that was contained in the original Powerpoint. For the audio files, go to ppt->media. This works whether the file was marked "read only" or not, or if it is a .ppsx file. However, it won't work for older .ppt files, or .pptx files that have been password protected.

If it is a .ppt file, you can record audio directly from the sound card using something like Audacity, which isn't difficult at all and the quality will be excellent (as long as the original audio is good quality).

*** Thoughts and Comments

For those in the Unites States, a very happy Independence Day on Thursday! (And for those in my country of birth, neighbor to the north, I hope you had a good Canada Day on the 1st.)

This year I'm doing something I've not done before on the 4th of July: I'll be in a parade.

No, not as a clown (though some would argue), or a band member, performer or anything like that.

I'll be manning my amateur radio and, along with a couple of dozen other ham radio operators, providing communications support for the parade. As I write this my assignment is to "shadow" one of the parade marshalls along the route, so that means I'll be "in" the parade.

If you're in Everett, Washington - keep an eye out. You might see a computer geek in a parade. Smile.

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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