If you're getting SSL certificate errors when visiting Ask Leo!, or even viewing this email message, please read this article: Why am I getting certificate errors when I click on links in your newsletter?
Yes, if you're experiencing the problem then that link may also generate the same error. I assure you, it's safe.
The problem is simply due to old, unsupported software unable to deal with modern https protocols.
Why are pictures not showing in email?
This is, unfortunately, an extremely common question.
In fact, it happens to me from time to time as well. Someone forwards me an email with some humorous pictures (or better yet, pictures of Corgis), and some or all of them simply don't display. It's both frustrating and puzzling when it happens.
Email has evolved over the years, and as a result things aren't always as compatible as we'd like them to be.
Let's look at where the incompatibilities are most common, some of the ways that pictures can get lost, and one or two work-arounds that might help you view those all-important Corgi pictures that someone just sent you.
Continue Reading: Why are pictures not showing in email?
How do I find out when a web page was written?
In an absolute sense: you don't. Surprising as it might seem, that kind of information actually doesn't exist. There's no place, no standard, no way to absolutely, positively say that this web page was written on this or that date.
The date that much of the information on the internet was written often doesn't factor in to its value. But there are also times when knowing whether a page is a month, a year or a decade old can have a dramatic impact on its relevance.
While not absolute, and not 100% reliable, there are often clues we can use to determine just how old a page might be.
Let's look at what some of those are.
Continue Reading: How do I find out when a web page was written?
Do I need everything installed by Microsoft Update?
Unless you have some reason to believe that they're causing a problem, I would not.
The issue, like the software involved, is complex.
Continue Reading: Do I need everything installed by Microsoft Update?
Saved! Backing Up with Macrium Reflect
- Ask Leo! #525 - Machines full of malware, Cloud danger, blocking contact, SSL, and more...
- How can I keep someone from contacting me in email?
- Is the Cloud dangerous?
- My machine's full of malware; should I get a new computer?
- Why SSL?
A vulnerability is a bug or design flaw in software that allows that software to be used in some malicious and unintended way.
All software has bugs, which are nothing more than mistakes made in the design or implementation of the software. Bugs can take many forms from simply displaying something improperly to crashing the application or entire machine.
When a bug can be intentionally triggered and in turn exploited for malicious purposes that bug is termed a vulnerability.
The results of exploiting a vulnerability may have nothing to do with the software's primary purpose. All that matters is that the vulnerability can somehow be used by malware, typically to infect the machine on which the software is running.
Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.
Is the Cloud dangerous?
Bernie Cosell writes:
I'm skeptical of the cloud. First, I have a slightly different definition of 'the cloud' than Leo does: I consider 'the cloud' to be online storage providers. I use other terms for sites that provide online services and such [and so, for me, my email does *not* go through "the cloud" -- it traverses the internet and lands on a local server. Yes, if you use gmail or Yahoo mail, they store your email in their "clouds", so *those* emails are in the cloud; mine aren't.
My view is that you shouldn't leave anything in the cloud that you wouldn't put on thumb drives and give to random people on the street. So for me, that means that I'll only put two kinds of things in the cloud: really public things and well-encrypted [by me!] things. One thing that has changed that I don't think Leo mentions was the NSLs -- basically the law enforcement folk can take *ANYTHING* you store in "the cloud". Keep all your email in the cloud? and a college roommate from 20 yrs ago does something nasty.... and you'll have law enforcement poring over ALL of your emails [and everything else you've stored in "the cloud"... and you won't know until they decide they see something suspicious and come knocking on your door. You trade the convenience of multi-platform email access for a HUGE amount of security/privacy exposure. I keep all of my email stored on my PC at home where it will take an actual warrant [involving probable cause and a judge and such] to get it looked at, rather than the whim of the FBI. I'm not paranoid, I just think that they have WAY too much power to surveil us as it is and storing your life's story in "the cloud" only makes it lots easier for them.
Another consideration is to abandon the 'free' services -- read the terms of service for the free services and you'll see that you're not promised very much. Your data could disappear tomorrow and you'd have no recourse. If you 'delete' files, they're under no actual/contractual obligation to delete them. [and so if you're carrying on a hot extramarital affair using your gmail account, note that when the subpoena appears LOTS more than you thought might show up in court].. I'd rather pay a [surprisingly] small amount for email service and online-storage sevice to get an actual *contractual* relationship that spells out, and is enforceable, as to what services you're getting.
My machine's full of malware; should I get a new computer?
Robin Clay, Dorset, England writes:
"What if" (like me) your computer came with Windows pre-installed, and you have no other copy?
Also, IF one does have "the original" which you re-install after re-formatting, won't the computer spend the next fortnight downloading (again) all those upgrades ? Is there a way to avoid that, for those of us who only have a limited download budget?
Image backups solve both of these scenarios.
a) take an image backup of your new machine. Save that. REstore to that in case you ever need to restore to factory settings.
b) Take periodic image backups. Restore to the most recent and appropriate, depending on the reason for needing to do something. Updates pick up where that left of.
When you restore - to a factory install, or to a backup image - updates do indeed pick up where that image or backup left off. Still, it's WAY better than not being able to reinstall at all, and STILL doesn't require buying a new machine.
'tis the season ... to unsubscribe!
The biggest problem with unsubscribing is with institutions that ask you to reply to unsubscribe, rather than provide a link. I use different email aliases for each institution (including AskLeo) that are receive-only which are forwarded to my primary email account. Therefore if I I reply to unsubscribe it comes from my primary account, not the original alias, which is pointless!
I've not run into many of these any more. The ones that annoy me are the ones where you click a link and then you have to type your email address in again to confirm. Not only is that annoying (they know who they sent the email to, and thus they know who clicked the link), but I think it's also against the CAN-SPAM legislation.
'tis the season ... to unsubscribe!
With the Christmas holidays in full swing, it's a busy, busy time of year.
And nowhere is that more apparent than in our email inboxes. Companies are reaching out to us with a constant stream of last-minute gift ideas, online specials, and more.
The kicker is that these are all legitimate emails from companies we've done business with in the past, and that we will, in all probability, continue to do business with in the future.
Just not at this breakneck holiday pace.
It's the perfect time for a little email pruning.
Continue Reading: 'tis the season ... to unsubscribe!
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