Leo's Answers #180 – May 26, 2009

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


You are awesome! Thanks a bunch!
- Jennifer

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*** Contents

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

What alternatives are there to FrontPage?

Any ideas about a program to build a personal site that might be somewhat easier to use than FrontPage (and perhaps cheaper, as well; the 2003 ver. seems to be going for about $150 or so)?

Easy and cheaper? Unfortunately, probably not.

It's been while since I looked at the current crop of HTML and Web Page Design tools. There are many.

Continue reading: "What alternatives are there to FrontPage?"

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How do I block people from finding information about me on the internet?

How do I block people from finding me and information about me on the internet? I want to erase myself from the internet. How do I stop my name and my information from showing when people google me or search for me on the internet?

This is, sadly, an extremely common question. I say sadly, because the answer is both disappointingly complex, and ultimately unattainable.

The short answer is very, very simple: you don't.

The longer answer involves understanding how little control you have, what steps you can try, and how effective they may or may not be.

Continue reading: "How do I block people from finding information about me on the internet?"

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How can an anti-malware program possibly scan all my files in a reasonable amount of time?

How in the world can my antivirus/antispyware/antimalware program possibly scan all of my files for the thousands of trojans/signatures out there without taking an eon to do so? Don't they have to scan every file on your computer (or at the very least the exes, zips, dlls and registry) sequentially for a trojan-name and/or each signature? I can only presume they must do this one trojan-name/signature at a time, and then repeat. I can't fathom how it can be done so quickly, relatively speaking, given the task at hand. Heck - just a manual search for one or two obscure files on my computer can take me almost as long to find them - if I even do!

And here I was thinking that the virus scans take forever, and you're wondering how they can be so fast! It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

The short answer is that sometimes it does take a really long time. But there are techniques that scanners use to dramatically speed up the process, or at least make it look that way.

In addition not everything is, in fact, a scanner.

Time for some explanation of how anti-malware software typically works.

Continue reading: "How can an anti-malware program possibly scan all my files in a reasonable amount of time?"

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Do new browser features offering privacy really work?

Google Chrome promises Incognito mode. Is it true that no record of your web browsing is kept and in the future can not be recovered? I thought windows kept a log of everything you did as a matter of course. Scenario: could the law enforcement agencies find the web sites you have visited if you were using incognito mode?

Ah yes, "Incognito" in Chrome, and "InPrivate Browsing" in Internet Explorer 8.

Also known as "Porn mode" to the rest of us.

Let's review what these features do, and just how paranoid you should be when using them to surf porn whatever it is you want kept private.

Continue reading: "Do new browser features offering privacy really work?"

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What does "mailbox unavailable" mean?

What does "smtp; 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable mean?" I can no longer send emails to my friend at *****@live.com ... the mail comes back with this message.

Well, on one hand it means exactly what it says: your friend's mailbox isn't available, and your message could not be delivered.

In fact, that's exactly, and the only thing it's saying.

But we can make some guesses as to what it might mean.

Continue reading: "What does "mailbox unavailable" mean?"

* * *

Why am I getting warnings from your newsletter and site links?

In response to a recent newsletter I got a couple of different questions:

When I click some of the "continue reading" links in today's newsletter McAfee SiteAdvisor warns me that:

mm.chitika.net/minimall?w=300 may cause a breach of browser security. Why were you redirected to this page? When we tested, this site attempted to make unauthorized changes to our test PC by exploiting a browser security vulnerability. This is a serious security threat which could lead to an infection of your PC.

What is going on with this?

And:

AVAST POTENTIAL VIRUS ALERT was received when your newsletter was coming into my mailbox. Here is what the alert said:

"Sender: "Leo Notenboom - Ask Leo!" <leo@ask-leo.com>
Recipient: *****
Subject: Leo's Answers #179 - May 19, 2009

***
Target of remote iframe:
(You can permit them using "Permitted URLs" button)
rcm.amazon.com

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Has someone put a virus in your stuff and you don't know it?

First, there is no malicious code involved at all. Period. I want to be very clear on that. My site's not been hacked and my newsletter's as safe as always. In fact, there's actually nothing wrong.

But in making two changes this week, we expose one of the frustrating side effects of some security software: the dreaded "false positive".

Let me explain what I did, why some security software might be alerting on it, why this can happen to any site or provider, and finally ... what you should do about it.

Continue reading: "Why am I getting warnings from your newsletter and site links?"

*** A Word from our Sponsor

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*** Featured Comments

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

* * *

How do I block Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from being automatically installed?

Duane writes:

How are we ever going to know when IE8 is acceptable. Microsoft must think it is acceptable now. Does that mean that they have gone on to work on IE9? (or whatever they call it) Is there a cadre of geeks out there that will give us the "go ahead" to start using IE8?

That's a good question. It's too bad that we can't really rely on the product being in better shape when released.
What I can tell you is that I'm certain there's a team of people at Microsoft who continue to work on IE8 - if for no other reason than to fix bugs and prepare updates. Unfortunately the lead time for all that work is often long, and we may not see the results for some time. (They're also probably focussed first on Windows 7 issues.)
I think it makes sense to keep an eye on sites like mine or others who are a) experimenting some with IE8 themselves, b) paying attention to what's being said around the next, and c) have a stream of incoming questions about IE8 related issues to get a gauge on the current state of the product.
As others have suggested, switching to FireFox is also an option, as is staying with IE7.

-Leo

*** This Week's Most Popular

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

  1. I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?
  2. How do I change my MSN Hotmail password?
  3. Can I send text messages between a computer and a cell phone?
  4. How do I delete my Hotmail account?
  5. How do I make a new MSN Hotmail account?
  6. My desktop Recycle Bin has disappeared - why, and how do I get it back?
  7. How do I delete history items from my Google tool bar?
  8. How do I uninstall Windows Messenger?
  9. Why is my Task Manager disabled, and how do I fix it?
  10. Why are there duplicate entries in Task Manager, and how do I clean it out?

*** Leo Recommends

AutoHotkey - Mouse and Keyboard Remapping, Macros and Hotkeys

How do I create a hotkey for entering my email address? I seem to do this dozens of times a day and it seems to be a chore!

Have I got a recommendation for you. The only caveat is that it's a tad geeky to set up, but it's incredibly powerful. I run it on both my Windows XP desktop and Vista laptop.

AutoHotkey is a free, small program that remains running in your notification area. It intercepts keystrokes (and mouse activity, if you like), and allows you to configure anything from simple remapping of one key to another, to simple text insertion, as you've described, to complex actions that are nearly little programs in and of themselves.

Continue reading...
AutoHotkey - Mouse and Keyboard Remapping, Macros and Hotkeys

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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

A common question as people access the net, and their email, from multiple locations.

How can I read my email on more than one machine?

I just bought laptop so I can work downstairs as well as on my desktop. Is there a way I can use Outlook on both machines in such a way that they are synchronized? Right now if I open email on one it doesn't appear on the other, and vice versa. Any way around this?

This is a problem I've dealt with for years. Being the geek that I am, I have several computers, and often will want to use one, or the other or another still to read email.

I've settled on one solution, but there are many, many approaches to this problem. Naturally each has both pros and cons.

Continue reading...
How can I read my email on more than one machine?

*** Sites of Interest

Another reader site:

Productive U Podcast

This is a site my company recently launched. We have been doing a private list software tips newsletter for about 9 years. This site is beginning to share accumulated knowledge and new information in a fun fashion. We consider it "A digital dose of productivity tips to get more value from software and mobile devices." While our site is new the knowledge behind it is deep.

(A recent post there says something about "Let go of that CrackBerry" - not sure I could live like that. Smile But definitely an interesting site.)

Another site that I recently rediscovered myself:

The Daily Wav

Every day a short, funny, audio clip from popular media such as movies, TV shows and more. The Daily Wav has been around for 14 years now, and has a vast archive of clips from recent years, organized by date as well as show name. There aren't many sites that I make a proactive effort to visit every day, but this is definitely one of them.

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Sites of Interest are just that: sites I find interesting and just want to share. (Not an endorsement or guarantee.) If you have a suggestion or a website of your own that you think might be interesting use the regular ask a question form to suggest it. (Of course I can't guarantee I'll use your suggestion, I simply get too many.)

*** Thoughts and Comments

OK, ok ... so last week's issue had a couple of "issues", so to speak. Without rehashing it all, a) you'll notice the Amazon box to the right has changed a little, and b) all the details are in this weeks article Why am I getting warnings from your newsletter and site links?

There was never anything malicious, but my apologies to any of you who were affected the false positives.

Last week I mentioned that if I tried Windows 7 I'd do so in a Parallels virtual machine. Well, one evening I fired up the Windows 7 download, and the next morning (after a few bangs of my head against a virtual wall) I had Windows 7 running in a virtual machine on my Windows XP desktop.

I haven't played with it a ton yet, but so far my impressions are actually quite good. I can see why some folks are recommending skipping Vista for Windows 7; it does feel slightly - smoother - for lack of a better term.

I certainly don't recommend that you install it for day to day use - it is pre-release software, after all. But it does look promising.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

What I'm Reading

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum

A timeless classic. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Fulghum in person, and it prompted me to revisit to this book I'd read so many years ago.

More in
Leo's Reading List

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