Leo's Answers #131 – June 10, 2008

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

*** This Week's New Articles on Ask Leo!

What is bandwidth?

Can you explain bandwidth to me in layman's terms? I have looked it up on the internet, but I get the standard mathematical explanation. My brain doesn't really work mathematically so I need something a little more tangible, or some examples of what is FAST and what is SLOW. For example, according to bandwidth.com, my download speed is 17237 kbps and my upload speed is 1615 kbps. I understand that means 17.237 mbps and 1.615 mbps respectively. But what does that mean? Is that fast? Slow? What do I compare it to?

That's fast. Compared to me, anyway, that's fast. Given your ISP (from your email address) and the speeds you're seeing I'd guess you probably have cable internet.

I'm going to bring out the oldest metaphor I have to try and put a handle on how fast is fast. No math, but first just a teeny, tiny bit of computerese.

That part's inevitable.

Continue reading: "What is bandwidth?"
http://ask-leo.com/what_is_bandwidth.html

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Sometimes the only solution is to have someone look at your machine.

I got a question from a friend this morning that boiled down to something like this:

My machine froze up with some kind of 'insufficient resources available' message. All I could do was turn the machine off. When I turned it back on it said it couldn't find my primary drive. Tried again, and it said "keyboard failure". 3rd time was a charm, and everything seems fine.

Should I be panicking and perhaps shopping for a new computer?

I told my friend that it was questions like this that are the hardest for me, and the most frustrating. I really, honestly want to help - but...

Well, here's my (slightly edited) response, and you'll see what I mean.

Continue reading: "Sometimes the only solution is to have someone look at your machine."
http://ask-leo.com/sometimes_the_only_solution_is_to_have_someone_look_at_your_machine.html

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How do I print pictures from websites so that they actually look good?

I would like to know the simplest way to print a small to medium image from a web page and have it print out as a crisp picture to fit an 8-1/2" by 11" sheet.

This is a simple question that, once we dig in, turns out to have both a very simple answer, and a fairly complex one.

The simple answer: you can't. Not most of the time, and not with what you're asking for.

The complex answer, of course is: it depends.

Continue reading: "How do I print pictures from websites so that they actually look good?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_print_pictures_from_websites_so_that_they_actually_look_good.html

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How do I send periodic email to a large number of people?

I have been working on figuring out how to send emails to a large group of people at a time for a few weeks. I have an organization, and would like to send weekly emails out to them. Right now I have 1500 people, but am actively signing people up and expect to have several times more over the next couple months.

In Hotmail today, I was able to send around 200 emails before a message that said I could send no more emails for 24 hours. I also have come to find out that some of them may have been spammed, one source said that sending over 100 leads to emails being identified as spam, which defeats the purpose of sending them out.

I also found an email service that provides for 5000 emails a month for $300 dollars, I do not have the funds for this service, but they mention they have some advanced features that would allow me to track the emails.

I am thinking about setting up 3 to five free accounts and sending about 90 a day from each account, to prevent them from being spammed. But of course, this would only allow me to send 3 to 5 hundred emails a day, and in a tedious way.

A personal email account is the wrong solution for this problem, particularly if it's Hotmail, and particularly if you actually want your messages to be delivered.

There are several approaches to the general problem of sending large numbers of emails periodically.

Continue reading: "How do I send periodic email to a large number of people?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_send_periodic_email_to_a_large_number_of_people.html

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How can I protect my email from being read by others using my computer?

How can I protect my email from being read by others using my computer? I use Outlook Express. I would like a password protection program. Is their any free or inexpensive programs available (and simple to use)?

Yes, but not really.

I know, that's self contradictory, but while we'll look at a technique for you to use, you're actually violating a fundamental principal that could render anything we do moot.

Continue reading: "How can I protect my email from being read by others using my computer?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_can_i_protect_my_email_from_being_read_by_others_using_my_computer.html

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What's this spam-fighting technique called?

A few years ago I came in contact - but unfortunately lost the contact - with a mail-application that blocked arriving mails and returned them to the sender with a request to include a certain "password" as the first word of the subject and resend the message. The second time the mail sent with that word in the subject line it would be delivered, as would all mails with that "password" as the first subject word. (Naturally, any password could be chosen.)

I think this was the most genius spam eliminator I have met - if I do not remember wrongly there was an option to keep a list of ALL arriving mails, 'legitimate' as well as 'unwanted' ones.

Do you know the name of this product?

I do not know the name of the product that provided that functionality.

However, I do know the terminology for that general class of spam fighting technique.

You may find it "genius", but I gotta say ... I find it one of the most annoying techniques on the market, and would never use it myself. Among other things, you'll end up missing a lot of email you really, honestly, wanted - and probably pissing off a few of your friends.

Continue reading: "What's this spam-fighting technique called?"
http://ask-leo.com/whats_this_spamfighting_technique_called.html

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*** Featured Comments

A sampling of some of the comments that have been posted recently on Ask Leo!

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On Kids, Parents and the Internet

JohnE writes:

Children should NEVER be allowed to be online, unsupervised. Computers should always be located in the family room, never in a child's bedroom. It's not just bullies that are out there, there are plenty of predators who target children, grooming them for sexual abuse, and every child is a potential victim. Remember, these people are as skilled at entrapping kids as double glazing salesmen are at selling their wares, and if you are a parent and you don't supervise your kids online activity, you may never know that they are being set up. Cyberbullying is just the tip of a very unpleasant iceberg.

While I agree with your position ("Computers should always be located in the family room...") I think that the media has overblown the real risk of things like predators and child abduction. I'm not saying that they don't happen - they do - I'm just skeptical that they're as great a risk as believing the media might lead us to believe.

Bullying, on the other hand, is a real, common and constant threat. In my opinion it's the majority of that iceberg because it affects more children on a daily and ongoing basis.

Leo

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How can I protect my email from being read by others using my computer?

Rahul writes:

How 'bout keeping the emails on a USB drive (key or other portable), duly true-crypted?

Ken B responds:

While a USB drive would allow you to physically remove the data when you're not using the computer, nothing prevents spyware from reading the data off the USB drive while it's plugged in.

As Leo said: "If it's not physically secure, it's not secure."

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How should I erase my hard drive before I give it away?

Mobius writes:

Look for DBAN... by far the best nuke program I've ever seen. I don't know anyone that's been able to recover data off a DBAN'd drive. And trust me, I know "social engineering" people who do it all the time on weak reformats.

DBAN is Darik's Boot and Nuke available at http://dban.sourceforge.net/ - and yes, it's another good solution.

Leo

*** This Week's Most Popular

The ten most popular articles in the last 7 days on Ask Leo!

  1. How do I resolve my MSN Hotmail sign in problems?
  2. How do I put a picture in a comment on myspace.com?
  3. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  4. Svchost and Svchost.exe - Crashs, CPU maximization, viruses, exploits and more.
  5. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  6. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  7. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  8. What are the POP3 and SMTP settings for Hotmail?
  9. How do I hack into someone's account?
  10. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?

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Continue reading my recommendation: "AWeber Email Service Provider for email newsletters and more"
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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?

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Here's a podcast (with transcript) from three years ago that covers a topic most of fail to ever consider, until it's too late.

Are you ready for your house to burn down?

In a recent podcast entitled "Are you ready for your computer to be stolen" I discussed the needs for not only backing up, but encrypting your sensitive data. Losing it is one thing, but having sensitive personal data in the hands of thief is just as scary if not more so.

So by now you're all backing up regularly, and keeping those backups in a safe place, right?

A safe place ... in your house? In the same structure as your computer?

Continue reading...
Are you ready for your house to burn down?
http://ask-leo.com/are_you_ready_for_your_house_to_burn_down.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

One of the neat things that I truly appreciate on Ask Leo! is the fact that folks will often answer comments before I do. As you can see in the featured comments, above, reader Rahul commented on How can I protect my email from being read by others using my computer? asking about keeping email safe on a removable drive. Before I could even get to it, Ken B responded with exactly what I was about to say.

So cool when that happens.

And it happens quite often.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you're not reading the comments you're missing half the meat. Readers like Ken often chime in with additional information, answers, information - and yes, occasionally even disagreeing with me. It's all very valuable.

So thanks, Ken, and all the readers who take the time to leave helpful comments. I appreciate it, as I'm sure the visitors that follow do as well.

And in case you haven't noticed, if you find an article that is of particular interest to you, you can now subscribe to the comments for that article using RSS. It's a great way to keep notified as new comments are posted.

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As always, thanks for subscribing, reading, and for your feedback.

As always, if you appreciate this newsletter or the site, one of the best ways you can say "Thank You!" is to link to Ask Leo! or simply to tell a friend or colleague. Just send folks to askleo.net.

'till next time...

Leo

* * *

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