Leo's Answers #254 – October 26, 2010

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Leo Notenboom


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*** New Articles

Why does my streaming radio station stop after several hours?

I stream a radio station all day. I use Internet Explorer 8. I have an E-Machine that is 1 year old. Everything works fine for about 8-9 hours, then without warning it stops streaming. Any idea what causes this?



I do the same from time to time - stream a radio station on one of my computers, sometimes for days at a time.

And yes, it used to stop after some amount of time.

I'll describe what was going on, what I did to fix my situation, and the kinds of things you should be looking at for yours.

Continue reading: Why does my streaming radio station stop after several hours?

* * *

Will deleting cookies slow down my computer?

I keep reading that its a good thing to delete cookies to protect privacy. But if I delete cookies, wont it make my computer slower when it try to access those websites again?


Yes and no.

It won't slow down your computer in the way that you're probably thinking.

However in general it will slow something else down.


Continue reading: Will deleting cookies slow down my computer?

* * *

How did I get all these viruses if I have anti-virus software?

I have Windows XP 2007. Recently,my system crashed. I took it to my wife's ex who built it and he said it was trashed. It had 29 viruses. I run Norton Antivirus ,AdAware, Spybot, and Malware. How do you get all these viruses after running these programs weekly? Am I wasting my $$ on Norton? Please tell me a good way to back up my info since I am using my step daughters 'puter and we think we are going to lose everything in ours.


I'll admit to a little confusion, as there is no such thing as "Windows XP 2007". There's Windows XP, and it may or may not have service pack 1, 2 or 3 applied, but there's never been a year designator on XP.

Fortunately that doesn't really matter in this case.

I won't say you're wasting your money, but I do think there are a couple of things you'll want to change.

A lot can happen in a week.

Continue reading: How did I get all these viruses if I have anti-virus software?

* * *

Why does my email program keep prompting for my password?

I have and use, on occasion, Microsoft Outlook as a default mail program. When I go to use the program, the login menu comes up asking me for my password. In my settings, I checked, remember password. I click "OK" and the damned thing keeps coming back and back and back each time I click OK. How can one stop this? After about a dozen or so clicking on "OK" and it will leave me alone for a short while.


That's Outlook's way of saying something's wrong.

I kid you not.

In fact, it's a very common technique - many email programs will keep asking you for your password even if you've specified it and specified that it should be remembered.

They just do a really, really bad job at telling you why they keep asking.

Continue reading: Why does my email program keep prompting for my password?

* * *

9 ways your account can be compromised, even with a super-strong password.

I sometimes play a game online to pass the time. It's a simulation type of game but I like it. One day I logged into my account and realized that someone had changed the password and taken all my stuff. How is it possible that they've hacked my account? My password has plenty of characters, is almost impossible to guess because it sounds like random gibberish to everyone else except myself, and there are plenty of numbers and secret characters in it. Is it true that they used a hacking device or program of some sort to hack my account?


I can't say what could have happened in your case, specifically.


I can think of a number of ways your account could have been compromised.

Continue reading: 9 ways your account can be compromised, even with a super-strong password.

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*** Comments

What free anti-phishing scam program do you recommend?

David Hutchins writes:

Can't help but notice that some of the phishing attempts are looking more and more genuine. I almost fell for one recently, as the e-mail I got looked so authentic. I thought about it and realized that what they were asking for didn't quite make sense. The scammers are getting adept at copying actual screens from trusted sites, so you have to be ever vigilant.

My biggest fear is that phishers and scammers will learn proper English. 90% of the scams out there can be readily identified by that alone.



I got burned by Windows Update, should I just avoid it?

TC writes:

To share experience with discretion of Leos posting it for the less experienced to know. I have many years of suprises then learning lessons out of working with email internet ,software hardware. The golden rule applies to everything "IF AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT!!" microsoft can keep their silver this and live this and that. Hotmail refuses to open or partially displayed because the stupid ad on the page ro just simply wont load. Updates are more space more demands for memory and more demands for processor power. Where does that lead? You get frustrated because your machine becoming slow and you buy another more expensive one. internet explorer ,yahoo messenger ,even hotmail is deeply screwed up!! Does not work well anymore. but used to ! geezopete my pentium I (166 mhz ) machine was faster then these big fancy pentium 4, 5 6, 7 whatever machines with 1 gig 2 gig 5 gig whatever gig memory. Microsoft implying the false sense of security with all these really destructive updates , silver this live that its worthless now barely works and I continue removing viruses spyware off of unsuspected clients that paid good money for vista and win 7 ! I want my 3.5 yahoo messenger and the old hotmail back !! of course no body cares

While I can certainly understand your frustration, down the path you advocate lies only more problems that you could avoid.

Windows Updates are important because among other things they patch vulnerabilities that would otherwise allow hackers and purveyors of malware to gain access to your machine. Put it in your terminology it's broke. If you don't take the updates to fix what's broken then you are vulnerable. Sooner or later your machine will be compromised.

Like I said, I know it's frustrating, but it's the reality of the situation. I also have to say that, for the record, for the vast majority of Windows users everything just works. Honest.

I don't want people to read horror stories such as yours (and it is a horror story) and decide not to take updates - that will result in the computer being compromised sooner or later.

Given the scenarios that you outline I'd be really tempted to backup, reinstall Windows from scratch, apply all available updates immediately, reinstall all software and so on. It's a pain, but typically when people are having the kinds of problems you describe there's just something fundamentally "messed up" about their installation and a reinstall is faster and much less crazy-making than trying to limp along.

(Preemptive snark: I know several people will say "get a Mac". That's not an option for everyone, but sometimes it's a practical solution if only to lay to rest the frustration.)



MUST I upgrade MSN Messenger to Windows Live Messenger?

Jasmine writes:

Hi Leo,

You state that MS has addressed a serious vulnerability with the upgrade. Further you note that you use Trillian, which I think has awesome capabilities. My question is regarding whether or not Trillian has been safeguarded against the same vulnerabilities that MS 'fixed'. Thanks in advance and have a great day.

This is a fairly old article, so I'm sure that all have moved on past the vulnerabilities of the time. However it's important to note that in general just because one IM client has a vulnerability does not imply that the others do as well. Since they are completely separate programs they will in general have completely separate bugs, issues and vulnerabilities not related to one another.



From where should I get driver updates?

Dave Markley writes:

Having been in the computer repair business for several years now I've found that 99% of these 'driver update' programs are either total scams or want a lot of money for something that YOU can do for free, usually in minutes.

First, I highly recommend only getting updates, whenever possible, from your computer's manufacturer's website (usually on the 'Support' page). If they don't have current updates (and believe me - some don't) I usually use C/Net's Download.com site or Softpedia. They often still have drivers for older computers that the manufacturers have deleted from their servers long ago.

You can also try Intel and Nvidia (providing your computer uses contains these components - many do). They can usually, with your permission, scan your PC to see if they have available updates.

When you use the 'Search Automatically' option in Device Manager Windows is only searching in Microsoft Updates archive, not the entire internet as it sounds!

As Leo said - If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

*** Leo Recommends

Ask Bob Rankin - More Helpful Online Tech Support

Yes, I'm recommending my competition again.

The internet's a big place - as I've said before I can't answer every question I get, so I'm not afraid to endorse other resources that you might find useful.

It also helps that I'm known Bob for several years and consider him a friend.

Bob's a technology writer and computer programmer who, like me, enjoys technology and the Internet and sharing what he finds. He's publisher of the Internet TOURBUS, author of several computer books, operator of Flowers Fast! and creator of the Lowfat Linux tutorial.

Continue reading: Ask Bob Rankin - More Helpful Online Tech Support


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

I'm asked variations on this fairly often.

How hard is it to learn programming?

Although I have been in the IT industry for 6 years, I have never touched programming in my life. The reason is that I always thought I'd end up in the network administration, in fact, the AS degree I was pursuing had an emphasis of network administration. I've started my major preparation and I am currently taking my math requirements, which I enjoy but leads me to my first question.

How much math is used in programming and how? So far, I've managed A's in my mid level classes and have managed a 3.88 GPA so far in 60+ units of college, but it only gets harder from here. I will be taking Calculus, Physics and three entry level computer science classes in the next semesters before I can transfer to a 4 year University.

My other question is, how hard is it to learn programming? Is is something where either you get it or you don't? Can someone with my lack of experience in programming just learn it in school?

Lastly, when you get hired as an entry level programmer/software engineer, what is your job like? Any suggestions are welcomed.

OK, one more :-) should I learn a language before transferring and which one?

Lots of questions, but lots of good questions that I do get asked fairly regularly. In fact I'm guessing software engineers at successful companies like Microsoft and Google probably get asked something of this flavor quite often.

It's a difficult question to answer because there are several components to being a successful programmer. One is "what you know" - that's the stuff you can learn.

The other is "how you think". That's more difficult.

Continue reading...
How hard is it to learn programming?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I hope you know that I do not, and will not, sell your subscribed email address to anyone. Period. I use it only for the newsletter. (The only exception might be if the day comes that I sell Ask Leo! in its entirety - but that's not happening any time soon.)

I do not sell or rent your email addresses to anyone. It's part of the trust I know you place in me when you sign up for my newsletters.

Unfortunately spammers and organized crime don't care about trust, and don't play by the same rules. They will do anything illegal, immoral or unethical they can in order to fill your email inbox with spam.

Over the weekend of October 16 & 17, 2010 they did just that.

Read more about what happened and what, if anything, can be done: Ask Leo! List Break-in (http://ask-leo.com/C4504)

'till next week...

Leo A. Notenboom

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Posted: October 26, 2010 in: 2010
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/4505
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