Leo’s Answers #271 – February 22, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

What happens to my IP address if I cancel my Internet service?

If I cancel my internet service completely, does my IP address then become null and void? And will the websites and search providers that I've visited and used still keep record of my visits?

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Null and void? Certainly not. It's still quite a valid internet IP address. It just might be given to someone else.

As for the records of your visits... Well, let's just say that you haven't erased any of the tracks that might have been left.

Continue reading: What happens to my IP address if I cancel my Internet service?
http://ask-leo.com/C4746

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Where do all these cookies come from?

I have cookies on my computer from websites that no one in my household said they had visited. Is this possible? Is there a way to tell if a cookie was an actual site visited or a third-party cookie?

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Yes, it's very possible. Likely, even.

But I can't think of a way of telling third-party cookies apart from those sites you actually visited.

It gets surprisingly complex.

Let's look at where cookies come from.

Continue reading: Where do all these cookies come from?
http://ask-leo.com/C4745

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Will computers ever be malware and bug free?

My question is perhaps more of an industry one than a personal computing question. Because malware, viruses, spam and the similar user-beware problems affect just about everyone who uses the'net for their daily informational needs, why hasn't the technology industry tackled these issues head on? These are the problems that ultimately affect the non-computer savvy general user the most devastatingly.

Perhaps the question can be simplified: On the foreseeable horizon, will there be a time when users will not have to worry about viruses and malware? And why can't computer developers simply make one that is virus-free now?

Are there existing machines, platforms, etc, which can affordably take the risk out of using the internet? It just seems that no matter how careful one is or what virus software they use, the "bug" eventually gets them and huge problems ensue. You would think that the profit potential would be so significant that the developers out there would be jumping all over this opportunity - the bug-free system.

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You're actually asking two separate questions:

Is it possible to create or write bug-free software?

Is it possible to create a computer system that is impervious to malware?

The practical answer to both is, unfortunately, no.

Continue reading: Will computers ever be malware and bug free?
http://ask-leo.com/C4744

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What computer should I get? - Part II

In a previous article, What computer should I get?, I avoided answering the question directly because there is no single answer. Instead, I began to walk down the list of decisions that I found myself making as I had to answer that question for myself. This article continues down that path.

Continue reading: What computer should I get? - Part II
http://ask-leo.com/C2232

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What computer should I get?

It's nearly new computer time at the old bunkhouse. What to do? What to do? Laptop? Desktop? Mac? PC? Dell? HP? How many gigabytes? CD? DVD? It's been eight years for me.

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This is an extremely common question and I get it frequently. In fact, I'll bet anyone who's the tech in the family or neighborhood gets asked this same question more often than they would perhaps want.

The problem, of course, is that there's no single answer. It depends on your needs and your budget. And as technology is ever-changing, it even matters when you ask the question.

I typically ask myself this question about every two years as one computer or another needs replacing or simply comes to the end of its usable lifespan.

Let me walk you through some of the things worth considering when it's time to get a new computer.

Continue reading: What computer should I get?
http://ask-leo.com/C2231

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*** Comments

Is copyright still an issue if something's not available anywhere?

Dennis writes:

I've been in printing for nearly fifty years and copyrights have always been a source of confusion to many. As the printer, we can be sued right along with the author when copyrights are infringed. Thus we take extra measures to inform our customers of the issues involved and if we have any doubt at all about the status of material we are being asked to produce, we respectfully decline to print the job.

As far as what is found on the internet, it must be assumed that ALL content is covered by copyright unless there is a specific attached notice that the material has been placed in the public domain or may be reproduced under specific conditions. Any work that is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" on or after January 1, 1978 is covered for the life of the author + 70 years -- you are not going to outlive it! Technically, that even makes forwarding an email from you mother on to your siblings illegal unless you have her written permission to do so!

Anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. Between then and 1978 it can be a nightmare figuring out if a work was originally copyrighted and by whom, and if so was it renewed. Then the next obstacle is trying to find and contact the copyright holder. In many cases, due to lack of factual information, it is best to just assume that it was copyrighted and the copyrights were renewed.

Privately, as a researcher and author I have been dismayed when my material and photos are copied and redistributed without my permission. Never mind that every printed copy has a notice and every web page has a copyright notice at both the top and bottom and most pictures also carry my individual copyright notice or a notice of my permission to publish the pictures provided by others. In most cases, if I am not selling the information in book or CD form, I am happy to give permission to use my information if credit is given to the source and the use is not for profit.

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How can I prove that a photo was stolen from my original?

PChem writes:

I would consider using a steganography tool to embed a personal watermark, perhaps even an encrypted one, into the image itself. Image degradation should be minimal, and if you found a suspect copy, extracting the hidden data and decrypting it should provide the "trail of breadcrumbs" needed for further action on your part to pursue the perpetrator. It would remove their "plausible deniability" argument. Good Luck.

I agree that's one way to protect the original, but my concern is that it sounds like the alleged thief in this case resized or otherwise manipulated the image - I'd be surprised if the hidden data would survive that.

Leo

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Will computers ever be malware and bug free?

Bob writes:

A step towards a 'malware-free' environment would be if manufacturers made computer products that were so limited in their scope, that taking over the device was simply not worth it - or in the best cases, not even possible. You could have a 'FacePad', that only wirelessly connected to the Facebook servers. Similar idea - the BankPad, issued from your own bank. If everything important was hard-wired and solid state, it would focus the criminals away from the general internet and make surfing safer.

Yep, but after a while you'd have how many devices for how many different services? I expect people would still opt for a single device that they can use for multiple purposes.

Leo

*** Leo Recommends

SnagIt - Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation

One of the more surprising questions I get fairly often has nothing at all to do with computer problems, Windows configuration or general computing. It's very simple:

"How'd you get that cool tear-off look to your screen captures?"

I use SnagIt.

By the way, this is what they're talking about:

Upper Left corner of a Command Prompt Window

As with any utility like this, I'm certain that there are many alternatives, but I've been using SnagIt for several years now and have been exceptionally pleased with how quick and easy it is to use.

But I had to be convinced.

Continue reading...

SnagIt - Quick and Easy Screen Capture and Annotation
http://ask-leo.com/C3457

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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

People keep throwing ideas at me: "wouldn't this [convoluted scheme] guarantee that a keylogger can't capture my sensitive information?" The answer is always no.

Is there a way to bypass keyloggers?

Is there a way to bypass keyloggers? Suppose you go offline (file, work offline) to type in the password and go back online to submit the web page? Or suppose you use the on screen keyboard to enter the password or copy and paste the password?

Yes, no and maybe.

It all depends on the specific keylogger, but the answer is mostly no.

In fact, that's the only answer you can really depend on.

Let's look at your suggested work-arounds and why for the most part they might not work.

Continue reading...
Is there a way to bypass keyloggers?
http://ask-leo.com/C3294

*** Thoughts and Comments

Wow.

If this had been a printed book I'd be back at the printer, pleading for them to make more copies as fast as they possibly can.

Sales for Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Approach have definitely exceeded my expectations.

IMPORTANT (FINAL) REMINDER

The sale ends in one week. If you're on the fence, remember it's got a 100% money back guarantee (that so far no one has taken me up on Smile).

But if you want the discounted price you'll need to act soon.

And remember, if you're reading the emailed version of this newsletter there's a discount code down below that you can use for even more savings.

(And for those wondering, the 2010 Archive is on deck. Needs just a little cleanup and polish - look for it to be available and on sale next month.)

And a big welcome to Connie and Mark who've joined "team Leo". Together they're helping me manage the incoming stream of comments and questions, and have already started brainstorming how we'll get some of my long languishing ideas off the ground.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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