Leo's Answers #46 – October 6, 2006

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


*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

My computers keep dying. It it me?

Being absolutely serious here, do you know if certain people have something (possibly just static) in or around them that can cause computers to crash? I used to joke that I was so "electromagnetic" that I caused computers to crash. Not so funny actually, because I have had several new computers each crash in turn. This happened as early as two days new, to 6 months new. I've had a motherboard die, a monitor die, a notebook that had a fatal crash and never turned on again and another notebook that had critical errors causing running problems 36 days in use. Most recently, my beloved HP pavilion's hard drive went bad after only 4 months!

As I wait for a new hard drive to be shipped, I am very discouraged. I do not believe it's computer error causing these problems. I keep everything up to date, virus protection, anti spyware, firewall running, router has a WEP, and I planned to change it to WPA as I heard that was safer. Have you ever heard of anyone else with such bad luck? All of this happened within the last 1-2 years. I can't afford to have another one die.

Wow. You certainly have had a string of bad luck, to be sure.

I know there are days I feel positively cursed; days when it feels like everything I touch turns to garbage. But, thankfully, those tend to pass.

While I'm not aware of anything biological related to you, there are some things I would look into...

Continue reading: "My computers keep dying. It it me?"

* * *

Why do I need an ISP?

I connect to the www through a hosting company (www provider) through my router; I have a fixed IP address. Question how does this hosting company connect to the www and why can't we mortals do that directly from home IP to IP.

Well, you can, if your wallet is big enough.

But the real problem here is that there's a misunderstanding of just what the internet is. For example, "www", or World Wide Web, is just a part of the internet.

Continue reading: "Why do I need an ISP?"

* * *

A duplicate name exists on the network - what does that mean? How do I fix it?

Windows System Error, A duplicate name exists on the network. I get this when I sign on, this message comes up in a little nag box. It doesn't come up every time, so has someone hacked in to my computer?

It's unlikely that you've been hacked.

It's more likely that the error message is exactly right: A duplicate name exists on the network. The question you're probably asking is, "what name?".

Your computer's name.

Continue reading: "A duplicate name exists on the network - what does that mean? How do I fix it?"

* * *

How do I keep my web access safe from sniffing?

I read your article How can I keep my email safe from sniffing? about keeping your email and most importantly email passwords safe whenever you use a public WiFi hotspot. My problem is that I also have websites on my own server that I need to visit which require a user name and password. Unfortunately, they are not https encrypted which implies that those user names and passwords could be sniffed and stolen. Is there a similar solution to keep this type of web access safe?

Yes, indeed.

I'll warn you, though, this gets pretty geeky.

Continue reading: "How do I keep my web access safe from sniffing?"

* * *

What's a good password?

I told my friend my password, and she said it was a really bad one. What does it mean to have a "bad" password? And what's a "good" one, then?

You told someone else your password? Yikes! I've seen more accounts get stolen by that one simple act than by any other single cause. I sure hope you know what you're doing - most people that have told a friend their password have come to regret it.

So what's a bad password? One that someone could easily guess.

A good password? One that's hard to guess, of course.

The problem is that people are way better guessers than you think. And it gets worse if the guesser starts using a computer to do the "guessing" for them.

Continue reading: "What's a good password?"

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

I get a lot of questions on this topic:

How do I hide the email addresses I'm sending to on a message?

Have you ever gotten a piece of email where you weren't listed as a recipient? Your email address wasn't present on either the "To:" line or the "Cc:" (Carbon Copy) line, but somehow you got it anyway. What you didn't see was what's called the "Blind Carbon Copy" line, or "Bcc:", which allows the sender to specify a list of people to get the message, without their name appearing on it.

Why "carbon", and what's this about it being "blind"?

Read more... How do I hide the email addresses I'm sending to on a message?

*** Thoughts and Comments

You are the weakest link.

OK, well, not you, since you're reading this newsletter you're more than likely not a part of the problem. What problem?

I heard on earlier this week that security experts now indicate that home PC users are the weakest link in computer security. They quoted figures of something like 25% of all home users still have no firewall, anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed or up to date.

My reaction is "how can they live like that?"

But all those spambots and viruses are propagating from somewhere, and unprotected home users are, apparently, a large part of the problem. (I won't get into the debate of whether users "should" need to be aware of the issues - the pragmatic fact is that they do.)

As I said, you're probably up to date and on top of things.

But you might consider telling a friend or family member.

If you recall, when you signed up for the newsletter, the acknowledgement message pointed you at what I consider to be my most important article: Internet Safety: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?. Feel free to pass that link on to anyone you think could benefit. In the long run, we all will. http://ask-leo.com/internet_safety_how_do_i_keep_my_computer_safe_on_the_internet.html

(For the record, Future Tense is a podcast I listen to regularly, and the source of that news item. I highly recommend Future Tense.)

Until next week...


* * *

The Latest:
Forwarded Funnies: "The Halloween Disguise"
Taming Email: "Don't Ask for Spam"
Leo's MovableType Tips: "Get creative with Templates"

*** Newsletter Administration

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I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I just can't answer everyone. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2006, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: October 6, 2006 in: 2006
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/2804
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2 comments on “Leo&apos;s Answers #46 – October 6, 2006”

  1. My friend asked me if it was possible to send an email to a person without disclosing where it was coming from. Is this possible?

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