Leo's Answers #216 – February 2, 2010

A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom


Do you have a question for me? Don't hit reply! Head instead for the Ask Leo! home page and search the site first - seriously, around half the questions people ask are already answered there. You can also browse the archives, past newsletters and more. (The "ask a question" page is temporarily disabled while I'm on vacation.)

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*** New Articles

Down Under Version!

No new articles this week - I'm still on vacation! See the Thoughts and Comments section, below, for more.

*** Comments

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

* * *

How do I keep using a program past its free trial period?

Ken B writes:

Leo, you keep asking "how is (stealing software versus stealing a car) any different?"

I'll tell you what I've found from many people who do steal software... They feel the price should be based on the fact that they can buy a blank CD-R for under 50 cents. "Why does this program cost $700 when the CD only costs 50 cents" is a not-uncommon question asked by many people. (And this is made an even bigger issue by these people when you can download the trial version for free, and "all you need" to make it a full version is enter a license key. Check out Yahoo Answers to see how many people are asking "where can I get a key for X".)

And yet, you never hear people saying "why do I have to pay $20 for this book, the paper and ink only costs a few cents at most?"



Someone's created an account in my name, what are my options to stop them?

Greg Bulmash writes:

Probably the most important thing you need to do (and which Leo neglected to mention) is make sure that when you contact the mail provider, you provide the full headers of the e-mails being sent so they can track down the sender.

If I know your e-mail address, I can easily put it in the "From" line of my e-mail, so it looks like it's from you, even if I'm sending it to you. Or I can make one up. I can send e-mail that looks like it comes from fribblegrotz@yahoo.com, even though there may be no such address.

You'd have to check the mail headers to see that it actually got sent from a Comcast customer via Comcast's mail servers, and didn't go through Yahoo at all.

Now, that's not to say that mail headers cannot be faked. But that takes a much higher level of sophistication.

If you're not providing Yahoo copies of the mail with full headers, then they won't do anything. At most, they'll tell you they need copies with full headers.

I'm sure Leo has posted bits about how to read headers (and how to view them so you can read them) previously. Check them out.


How long does Hotmail keep email?

Ken B writes:

If you're concerned about having to change e-mail addresses if you change Internet providers, there's a simple solution... Get your own domain name, and create an e-mail address with that domain. You are now in control of your e-mail address. Don't like your e-mail/web provider? Change providers, and the domain name (along with e-mail addresses) comes with you.

It's amazing nowadays that I still see business cards with a their own domain name web address and a free yahoo/gmail/hotmail/whatever e-mail address.


Is changing my password enough?

Tony M. writes:

This may be the most valuable information regarding personal cyber security that I have ever seen. All the anti-virus programs and firewalls in the world will do little good if you're blabbing your "secret" information to the world via social networking sites.

This is precisely how Sarah Palin's e-mail account was hacked. A malicious individual, seeing publicly-available details about her, was successfully able to provide the correct answers to the security questions Mrs. Palin used for one of her e-mail accounts. Through this vulnerability, the hacker obtained access to the governor's personal e-mail.

Thank you, Leo, for such thorough coverage of this personal security problem.

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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

A lot of people get wrapped worrying about browser cookies. One reason is that many anti-spyware tools report the same cookies as reappearing over and over. The problem is that the cookies are very probably completely benign:

Why does my anti-spyware program keep reporting the same cookies?

Why, when I run my anti-spyware programs, do I get the same results week after week? It's always the same tracking cookies and I quarantine them but they never go away. Why bother running these programs if they only find the same junk over and over?


The short answer is because you probably visit the same web sites regularly, and they put those cookies back the next time you visit. Run your anti-spyware program again, and it sees that they've returned, and dutifully reports them.

Some cookies can be identified as "tracking" cookies - cookies that could be used to track your movement around the internet. Personally my reaction is "So?", but some people do care.

But you raise a good point. All these reports are so much noise to many people, and get in the way of real issues when they pop up.

Continue reading...
Why does my anti-spyware program keep reporting the same cookies?


People are sometimes startled when looking at a picture they've received in an email a number of other pictures show up as well.

What are all these other pictures that appear when I view a picture from email?

When I open a picture attachment from an e-mail it opens the Windows picture and fax viewer. It shows the attachment fine, but when I click the navigation arrows within the viewer, there are always endless images that it will scroll through. Some images are from web sites and some appear to be other pictures, but ones that I do not recognize. Can you tell me if these are images on my machine, or if they somehow came embedded in the original e-mail that I received?

They are images on your machine.

Understanding why they're there and how they got there requires a short explanation of how your email program handles that request to view a picture, and how that interacts with other programs on your machine.

Continue reading...
What are all these other pictures that appear when I view a picture from email?

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*** Thoughts and Comments

Happy Groundhog Day.

But much more importantly: Happy Anniversary to my wife of 30 years. Yes, she's put up with me for over 3 decades now. I'm a lucky, lucky guy.

In honor of that, as you read this (and, as always, if things are going to plan), we're now in Queenstown, New Zealand, roughly half way through our three week "down under" vacation. (Given time zones and date lines it's also possible that we're on a plane flying to Christchurch, but that means we'll have celebrated yesterday for most of you. I think. Time zones and international date lines make my head hurt. Smile)

What that means is that this newsletter has no new content; instead I've pulled some of the more interesting and provocative comments and "best of" content to keep things rolling while I'm on the road. It was actually assembled before we left and scheduled to be published today. As I said last week, sending you something every week on schedule seemed like the least disturbing approach to my absence. I hope you'll understand.

At this point I expect to resume regular newsletters on February 23rd, issue #219.

If you're interested at all in following the trip, check out Travels with Leo. Once again, if things are going as planned, and time and technology are cooperating, I'm planning to keep that updated as we travel. Our trip to Australia is done, and we'll have been in Queenstown for a couple of days.

In advance, and from down-under,

Leo A. Notenboom

*** Administration

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2010,
Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: February 2, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/3964
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