Leo's Answers #245 – August 24, 2010

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Can I have more than one email account with the same ID?

Is it possible to set up an e-mail that has two separate accounts under the same ID and make some emails go into one account and some into the other?

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This question actually reflects a confusion I see all the time, so I want to clear that up once and for all.

And of course as with any topic like this I also need to clarify the exceptions to the rule.

And finally, while I don’t know exactly what it is you want to accomplish, I can suggest a few ideas to perhaps mimic in some way some of the things that might solve your problem.

Continue reading: Can I have more than one email account with the same ID?
http://ask-leo.com/C4411

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Are celebrities dying at an alarming rate?

In recent days there’s been a flurry of emails with the subject “[some celebrity name] died”.

Each message has a different celebrity name, and each includes an attachment to find out more information.

Right.

Sadly people believe or want to believe this stuff.

And therein lies the problem.

Continue reading: Are celebrities dying at an alarming rate?
http://ask-leo.com/C4410

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What happens when my anti-malware tool quarantines something?

How does the Quarantine function by an anti-malware software works? Specifically, when a malware is placed in quarantine, how is that malware rendered impotent? Is the quarantine escape-proof? Other than an accidental restoration by the user, is there any risk to leaving a malware in quarantine indefinitely? Can a malware be released back into the PC system if the anti-malware software somehow malfunctions? Bottom line, should we delete a malware from quarantine as soon as we are sure it’s not a false positive?

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Even though “quarantine” is a common term among anti-malware tools, there’s actually not a consistent definition of exactly what it means. As a result I can’t tell you specifically what your tool – or any tool for that matter – does when it places something in quarantine.

However, knowing a little about how malware works, and a lot about how Windows works, I can certainly cover the concepts that probably apply in most cases.

Continue reading: What happens when my anti-malware tool quarantines something?
http://ask-leo.com/C4409

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Is my FTP program secure?

With all this talk about security on your site, I was wondering if the FTP program I use (FileZilla) is secure. I use it to upload (locally developed) websites to servers and it always worked fine, but now I’m thinking that a FTP program may be more secure if you need to log in before you can use it. Also, FileZilla has a function to export all the data of your various ftp accounts to an xml file, but that’s unencrypted. I’m assuming it stores all the passwords unencrypted as well.

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Well, we have good news, and bad news. Sadly, it’s mostly bad news.

The good news is that FileZilla’s a great, free FTP program. I’ve used it and have a copy of it as one of the tools I carry with me – ya just never know when you might need to ftp Smile.

The bad news is that while FileZilla does have one security issue I’ll get to, it’s not FileZilla – or any ftp program for that matter – that’s the weak link here.

FTP itself is fundamentally insecure.

Continue reading: Is my FTP program secure?
http://ask-leo.com/C4407

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What for-pay email providers do you recommend?

I get that you strongly recommend against using free email accounts for important stuff. But that, then, begs the question: which paid email providers with full features do you recommend?

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A fair question. There are many approaches that I do recommend, depending on your specific situation.

I need to explain what I’m looking for, first. Then it’s just possible we’ll find that you already have what you need.

Continue reading: What for-pay email providers do you recommend?
http://ask-leo.com/C2824

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How do I stop Firefox from opening with two tabs?

Every time I launch Firefox, in addition to opening my home page it also displays a second tab entitled “Help for Skype – user Guides” How can I permanently delete this tab?

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This seems to be catching several people by surprise lately.

Firefox has a feature for this and I’m not sure if some software installs are now starting to take advantage of it or what.

The good news, though, is that it’s very, very easy to correct.

Continue reading: How do I stop Firefox from opening with two tabs?
http://ask-leo.com/C4404

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*** Comments

Should I Leave Windows 98 behind?

Tony M. writes:

I can definitely sympathize with the person who posed this Ask Leo question. He/she seems content with the operation of his system, that is, he can do all the things he needs to do. So if “the car” (i.e., his PC) still works well enough, it’s indeed a disappointment that he might not be able to use it much longer because “maintenance” for it is no longer readily available.

I’m also sympathetic for another important reason: the need to get accustomed to doing things in substantially different ways is not a trivial change. Furthermore, in my opinion, I feel a FULL HALF of all the changes we see in each new release of Windows is either completely cosmetic or the result of a tool/function being moved or accessed in a substantially different way.

Now, hear me carefully, please. I’m not demeaning Microsoft or Windows, but I DO feel considerable frustration when it appears to me that Microsoft has switched the positions of the accelerator pedal and the brake, but for no good reason. They might call “musical dialogs” an improvement; I call it a major annoyance.

Unfortunately, this person who’s been content with using the same system for more than ten years now will find his entire PC-using experience being turned on its head. Yes, I’m very sympathetic because change for the sake of change is very counter-productive; as I said above, I feel half of the changes in each release are near-pointless moves.

If Microsoft wants to move things for no good reason and/or incorporate eye candy and cosmetic changes as I’ve described, I think the least they could do is a better job of having the arrangement of controls preserved as much as possible. Yes, I realize Windows offers the opportunity to preserve the look/feel of some parts of their interfaces, but I feel they could do a much, much better job of it. Many of us like their Windows “gas and brake pedals” right where they are.

As this many of the other comments on this article show, there’s a wide variety of opinion on the topic, and that’s great. There is one theme to this comment that I want to address:

Microsoft does not make changes just for the fun of it.

I know that’s difficult for many people to believe, but any change Microsoft makes to something as important as Windows has a reason. In fact, a tremendous amount of research goes into exactly how things work. Typically changes will be made in an honest effort to improve user experience and make a better product. They don’t just guess at what to change, but rather do a lot of research and testing of various sorts to confirm that proposed changes meet those goals.

In general when a change is made it’s because more people found it easier or more intuitive to use.

That’s not saying that everyone found it easier, just that more people did.

If you’re in the minority, the change will seem completely bogus – that’s bound to happen to some folks as there is quite literally no pleasing everyone.

You can disagree with the change, you can disagree with the testing methodology if you like, but know that changes were most certainly not made frivolously.

They don’t “leave well enough alone” because to many people it was never “well enough” to begin with. That’s what product improvement and evolution is all about.

-Leo

*** Leo Recommends

Process Explorer – A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager

OK, I admit it, I’m a geek. And part of the reason I say that is because I actually have Process Explorer as an auto-start entry on my two primary machines. It runs automatically whenever I boot up. Not only do I find that I refer to it that often, but I’m just the kind of person who likes to know what’s going on inside his computer. You know, a geek.

Now, you may not need or even want to know what’s going on under the hood. Let’s face it, for most computer users you shouldn’t have to. Computers are supposed to “just work”, and you should never need to be bothered with things like processes or resource utilization or what not.

And we all know how well that’s working. Smile

This is where process explorer comes in. Process Explorer – or frequently just “procexp” – provides a window into the world of all the programs running on your computer, and offers up a level of detailed information that Task Manager could never hope to approach.

Continue reading: Process Explorer – A Free Powerful Replacement for Windows Task Manager
http://ask-leo.com/C3480

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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

This question keeps coming and coming and coming … there’s no end in sight.

How do I find out who’s at a particular IP address?

… from emails can I find their IP address, and then maybe their actual address so then I can find their phone number?

I’ve been getting abused over the internet and was wondering if I could find out where they live through their IP address…

I was wondering whether a person could be tracked after posting on a forum. After all, most sites record the visitors IP address.

I need someone to track down this IP address…

As you can see, this is a question I get a lot. It’s a very serious issue for some people.

Unfortunately, though I’ve answered this question a few times in a few ways, I keep getting various versions of the same question almost daily: “Can I find out who’s at a particular IP address?”

No, you cannot.

Here’s why and what it really takes …

Continue reading…
How do I find out who’s at a particular IP address?
http://ask-leo.com/C3125

*** Thoughts and Comments

Don’t forget! My “anniversary sale” ends tomorrow. Use code LUCKY7 to get 60% off anything in my store.

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If all goes to plan, as you read this I’ll be relaxing at one of Washington’s lovely state parks. We’re packing up the dogs and taking our new travel trailer out on its maiden voyage.

Connectivity? No idea. I’ve tested my Verizon Wireless dongle and my Cradlepoint portable hotspot here at home (it’s been a while since I fired up either of them), but if there’s no signal neither of those will do me much good. Who knows, for a couple of days I may have to live without!

I’m bringing my Kindle as well. Smile

’till next week…

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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