Leo's Answers #160 – January 6, 2009

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


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
-John

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*** Contents

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

Why shouldn't I include my email address in a Twitter post or 'tweet'?

I included my email address in a 'tweet' on Twitter, and someone told me I shouldn't. Why?

I made that question up, because I noticed today that masses of people are doing exactly that: including their email addresses within posts they make on Twitter.

You really, really, really don't want to do that.

The reason is an old answer: spam.

Continue reading: "Why shouldn't I include my email address in a Twitter post or 'tweet'?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_shouldnt_i_include_my_email_address_in_a_twitter_post_or_tweet.html

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I spilled water into my laptop, how do I get it working again?

While I was asleep, my cat must have tipped over a part full cup of water on my new laptop computer. The computer lid was closed and the AC power cord was connected when my daughter tried to turn it on in the morning. It did not turn on (and it hasn't ever since, even after leaving it to dry out for a couple of weeks). There was also a small pool of water under the computer (about 5cm in diameter) and drips of water come from the keyboard when tipped over. What should I do to maximize my chances of getting it working?

I'm going to recommend an obscure long shot as something to try.

I'm also going to ask for help.

Continue reading: "I spilled water into my laptop, how do I get it working again?"
http://ask-leo.com/i_spilled_water_into_my_laptop_how_do_i_get_it_working_again.html

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What's the risk of connecting to the internet without protection?

I remember reading not too long ago about virus programs that are computer generated and that conduct a random search for unprotected IP address' to download to. I was recently talking to some friends who also shut off their PC when not in use but leave the cable modem running and connected to speed up the startup process.

The question is are there such virus programs and if they exist what is the risk factor of being connected for even a brief period of time without operational protection?

I vaguely recall the worst case scenario that you're referring to: an unpatched and unprotected version of either Windows 2000 or an early version of Windows XP lasted about 30 seconds after connecting to the internet before it was infected with a virus.

30 seconds.

Things are better today, but you still want protection. And turning your machine off isn't really helping.

Continue reading: "What's the risk of connecting to the internet without protection?"
http://ask-leo.com/whats_the_risk_of_connecting_to_the_internet_without_protection.html

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How do I get Windows Explorer to show folder names in its taskbar buttons?

I just got a new computer.

On the old one, the taskbar shows open folders correctly: "Folder Name". It makes it easy to see which one you want to click on to get the desired folder up front.

On the new computer, the tab on the taskbar shows the folder name as "C:Documents and SettingsUser NameDesktopFolder Name" -- and since all that doesn't FIT on the little tab, they ALL read "C:Docume...", which means they're quite useless labels. How do I get it to just show the end folder name?

It's actually another of Windows buried and somewhat obscure settings.

In fact, I didn't even connect what this setting was for until I got this question.

Continue reading: "How do I get Windows Explorer to show folder names in its taskbar buttons?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_get_windows_explorer_to_show_folder_names_in_its_taskbar_buttons.html

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Why does my anti-malware software say a link is suspected phishing?

My AT&T web mail says this is a suspected phishing site in regards to your newsletter. I still open and read it. Why would they suspect a forged address?

Unfortunately, there's a very legitimate way to craft links that also happens to be easily confused with a technique used by phishing attempts.

It's a difficult position for both the publisher, such as myself, who wants to gather information, and the anti-malware software that doesn't want to inadvertently miss an actual phishing attempt. By erring on the side of paranoia, the anti-malware software often reports "false positives" - links that are "suspected" of being phishing attempts, but really aren't.

Let's look at this in more detail, and how you can tell the difference.

Continue reading: "Why does my anti-malware software say a link is suspected phishing?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_does_my_antimalware_software_say_a_link_is_suspected_phishing.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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Why don't PDF's print at the same size as the original?

Mary Ann writes:

Thanks for the answer to,"Why Don't PDF's Print At Same Size As Original?" It's a real aggravation to print from A PDF and the print comes out so small you can barely read it. I just rescaled my page to "none" and it worked beautifully. We struggle with these little things and it doesn't occur to us sometimes to just "Ask Leo!" Mary Ann

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How do I connect my desktop to the nearby wireless internet WiFi hotspot?

Ken writes:

This for those who use others "wi-fi" hotspots. Here where I live in Florida it is totally ILLEGAL to use someone else's hot spot. I personally do not have WiFi myself, but my laptop tries to connect ( and sometimes does ) to my neighbors. Recently they arrested a number of people who were doing this. It can be traced, and at least here. It can land you in the pokey!

Wow. I'd not heard of arrests (or jail time, for that matter) before, but I suppose it was only a matter of time. Illegal or not, depending on where you are, it's at least unethical.

-Leo

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My anti-virus performed a virus removal but I still have a symptom, how do I get rid of it?

Narc writes:

There is one further point to make, and it is this: even if you have been backing up and have a complete image of the system that you can roll back to, you cannot be sure it was made prior to the infection unless it was made immediately after installing the operating system, and before connecting the computer to a network (local network or the Internet). So, for truly paranoid people like myself, reformatting and reinstalling is still required. The backup therefore just gives you the ability to selectively restore data you've created, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Furthermore, there are any number of possible infections that are not obvious, or even apparent to even the most technical users (I'm thinking spambot trojans, which survive longer if they can hide from the computer operator). It's a truly terrifying world out there for us paranoid people.

*** This Week's Most Popular

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

  1. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  2. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  3. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  4. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  5. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  6. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  7. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  8. How do I put a picture into the caption of a picture on myspace.com?
  9. What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?
  10. How do I move my Outlook Express folders to my new machine?

*** Leo Recommends

ImgBurn
Free CD/DVD Burning Tool

There are many CD burning tools out there, including several popular free ones as well as several commercial. In fact, there's a good chance you might have a trial version of on of the commercial products on your machine right now - they're often included in the pre-installed software.

I use ImgBurn: it's free, it's lightweight, it does more than I'd ever need, and it's relatively easy to use.

I say that it's "relatively" easy to use, because its interface can be just a tad intimidating to the first time user. To overcome that, let me show you how to do a few common operations using ImgBurn.

Continue reading: "ImgBurn - Free CD/DVD Burning Tool"
http://ask-leo.com/imgburn_free_cddvd_burning_tool.html

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

I just want support that works, I don't care where it comes from:

Outsourcing Tech Support - Good, or Evil?

Over here, or overseas, incompetence knows no boundaries.

If you call the tech support lines for many major companies these days, you can't really be sure that the person you're talking to isn't a few miles away or on the other side of the planet. We've all heard of technical supporting being outsourced to overseas companies, often in India, to reduce costs. The current state of technology allows us to communicate anywhere on the planet cheaply and instantaneously, so it does make a certain amount of sense that, all else being equal, companies would be foolish not to consider it.

But is it evil? Many think so.

I don't.

Continue reading...
Outsourcing Tech Support - Good, or Evil?
http://ask-leo.com/outsourcing_tech_support_good_or_evil.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

As many of you may, or may not know I post on Twitter a few times pretty much very day these days. You can follow me on LeoOnTwitter.com - you'll get occasional comments, pointers to particularly relevant articles I've stumbled on, notifications when I upload a new photo to Flickr, and so on. I also "tweet" (post) when I post most new articles, so it's also a quick way to stay on top of what's happening out here at Ask Leo! as well.

This weekend Twitter suffered from a major phishing attack that apparently caught a lot of people, and tricked them into providing their Twitter account information to a third party. In discussing it with some friends, I was pointed at this great video: Phishing in Plain English. If you've never quite understood what phishing is, or even if you do, have a look. It's very nicely done.

Another Twitter-related topic that came up resulted from a search I did on search.twitter.com, which searches all the public posts across all of Twitter's users. I searched for "hotmail", and what did I get? Tweet after tweet with bare-naked email addresses that spammers can just harvest and know that they're good. That's the reason I wrote "Why shouldn't I include my email address in a Twitter post or 'tweet'?", but it really applies to any publicly visible site or social media service. If anyone can see the email address you just posted, then spammers can see the email address you just posted. Expect more spam as a result.

Unless you want more spam, don't do that.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

* * *

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