Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mail Rebellion

A lot of our clients attempt to use their email folders to store correspondence, pictures, online billing receipts or whatever they may deem important. They create folders and organize their email so that it can be easily obtainable in case there is need for reference. Many use Outlook Express, Outlook, Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird and they expect the email to reside there forever.
That’s simply not the case. Your email program was not designed to be a storage solution. It is not a good idea to treat it as such. Your email program is like your friendly neighborhood mailman. It brings you your new mail and it sends out your outgoing correspondence.
 Imagine storing all your postal mail – letters, bills, tax forms, receipts and junk mail in your mailbox instead of filing everything safely inside your house for subsequent retrieval, or throwing it out when you no longer have a need for it. You may keep receiving new mail, as long as your mailman can fit it in the box. He may even try to organize it for you. That mailbox would become inundated pretty quickly. Your trusty mailman would keep organizing it for you, filing it in the order in which you like to sort thru it. Each time you opened your mailbox, you’d see that the mailman tried to put your new mail on top and the older stuff underneath. He’d separate the junk mail from all your other mail.
It would be impossible for the mailman to know what mail you consider important and what you may want to take a look at. He may know that all the retail store flyers, for instance, are junk and may move them to a separate place in your mailbox, or that the letters you received a year ago are probably not as important as the ones you’re currently receiving, but it’s simply not his job to figure out what to toss out and what to keep. Also imagine tossing out the old mail yourself, but leaving the space it took up open, so your mailman could never put another piece of mail in that same spot. He’d try, but would become very confused. He’d attempt to put stuff just where you like it, but after awhile he wouldn’t be able to do it. He’d throw up his hands and surrender to the shear enormity of the task, and either quit bringing your mail, quit trying to organize it, or he may still try but simply not be able to open the door.
Even if your mailman was able to continue organizing your mail because your mailbox was an infinite size, what if someone came along one night and stole your mailbox? Or put a big padlock on it so you couldn’t access the contents anymore? Even if you’re using a webmail system like AOL, Hotmail, or gmail, your mail isn’t 100% secure if you are not proactive in keeping it safe from identity thieves. You should be changing the padlock yourself periodically. We all have too many passwords to keep track of. You’re tempted to make your password easy, and you’d like to use the same password forever so you can remember it.  Spammers count on that and can hijack your email account, change the password so you can no longer access your mail, and generate tons of spam from your account to your address book contacts, many times alarming the recipients with tales of woe that appears to have come from you. If one of your contacts opens the spam mail, they are liable to be exposing their email account to these thieves, perhaps unwittingly downloading viruses  to their computer.
Attachments that you want to keep or correspondence that you’d like to hold onto should be saved on your computer in a proper place, and your email folders should be cleaned periodically and compacted to recover those empty spots that otherwise makes organizing your email even harder for the email program. Really important stuff should not only be saved locally on your computer, but you should have a copy of it elsewhere in case of disaster.
You should be changing your email password periodically, using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even special characters in order to create a strong password that is not easily cracked.
If you are concerned about your email vulnerability, please call Mobile PC Solutions today. Let us help you organize and back up your email before your postman rebels.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spam or just Junk?

Spam. The word alone makes us cringe at the thought of spending our precious time clearing our inboxes of unwelcome, unsolicited, and annoying junk mail. But is it all genuinely spam? Today’s topic covers the difference between true spam and other emails received as a result of an established relationship with online retailers.
Below is an example of what a piece of spam generally looks like, and the tell-tale signs that let us know that it is spam. It is obvious that this is not a real ‘company’. Our email is part of a list of many unfamiliar email addresses, usually not even the first in the list.  This spam may really be selling a valid product, but more than likely it is an invitation to download a nasty virus. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Spam can have malevolent intentions, such as loading viruses or other malicious software onto your machine. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest simply marking any emails from people or retailers that you do not know as spam. There is no need to open the email, click on any links, or open any attachments, and doing so can lead to an infected computer or identity theft.
If you visit a website belonging to a valid company, this can generate unwanted, but not necessarily unsolicited, emails. Most likely, you were asked for an email address as part of the checkout procedure after doing some well deserved shopping online. Perhaps you didn’t notice that you were agreeing to receive newsletters and special offers. Emails from bonifide companies can flood your inbox, becoming increasingly annoying, although they are benign.
This is a valid online retailer. We previously purchased something from them.

While not spam in the true sense of the word, ads from legitimate retailers can become intrusive and tedious to delete. Some retailers send multiple emails daily, and can inundate your inbox.
You can safely un-subscribe from these incessant emails, freeing up your inbox for more important information.
Scroll to the bottom of the valid company’s email to find the unsubscribe link.

You will be directed to the company's website to unsubscribe.

If you are unsure or uneasy about distinguishing annoying ads from vicious spam, please contact Mobile PC Solutions so we can help you clean up that email.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Archiving in Microsoft Outlook 2003 & 2007

Your Microsoft Outlook mailbox grows as items are created in the same way that papers pile up on your desk. In the paper-based world, you can occasionally shuffle through your documents and store those that are important but that are rarely used. You can discard documents that are less important, such as newspapers and magazines, based on their age.

You can quickly complete the same process in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003. You can manually transfer old items to a storage file by clicking Archive on the File menu, or you can have old items automatically transferred by using the AutoArchive feature. Items are considered old when they reach the age that you specify. With the AutoArchive feature, you can either delete or move old items. Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003 can archive all kinds of items, but it can only locate files that are stored in an e-mail folder, such as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a Microsoft Word document, that is attached to an e-mail message. A file that is not stored in an e-mail folder cannot be archived.

The AutoArchive feature has a two-step process. First, you turn on the AutoArchive feature. Second, you set the properties for the AutoArchive feature for each folder that you want archived.

At the folder level, you can determine the items that are to be archived and how frequently they are archived. You can automatically archive individual folders, or you can configure a default AutoArchive setting for all folders and then configure AutoArchive settings for individual folders that you do not want to use the default AutoArchive settings. The AutoArchive feature runs automatically whenever you start Outlook. Outlook checks the AutoArchive properties of each folder by date and moves old items to your archive file. Items that are moved to the Deleted Items folder are deleted.
By default, several Outlook folders are set up with the AutoArchive feature turned on. The following is a list of the folders that have the AutoArchive feature turned on and of each folder's default aging period:
  • The Calendar folder (6 months)
  • The Tasks folder (6 months)
  • The Journal folder (6 months)
  • The Sent Items folder (2 months)
  • The Deleted Items folder (2 months)
The Inbox, the Notes, the Contacts, and the Drafts folders do not have the AutoArchive feature turned on automatically. You cannot use the AutoArchive feature with the Contacts folder, and the Contacts folder does not have an archive property.
Contact Mobile PC Solutions for more information on manually archiving or on Outlook's AutoArchive feature.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Burn Pictures to A DVD

Windows 7 makes it easy to save your pictures from your hard drive to a DVD. You can back up and store hundreds of your precious memories on 1 DVD. The resolution, or size and quality of your pictures will determine how many will fit on the DVD.

Insert a blank DVD into the drive. You can use DVD -R, DVD +R, or, if you want to erase the contents later and re-use the DVD, you can use RW.

Close the dialog that pops up when you insert the DVD unless you are comforable with Drag-and-Drop.

Open your Pictures library.

Locate your pictures.

Select the pictures you want to burn. Use <CTRL>>Click>' to select more than one at a time.
Use '<CTRL>>A>' to Select All. Use <<SHIFT>>Click> to select a range.

Once you've selected your photos, click on 'Burn' at the top of the page to begin the burn process.

Files will be copied to the DVD staging area, ready to be burned when you're ready.

Files will remain in the temporary staging area as long as you haven't completed the process. 

You will be reminded that you have files waiting to be burned until the files are removed from this staging area by deleting or burning them.

Closing the Session will complete the burn and eject the DVD.

For more information about DVD burning, please contact Mobile PC Solutions.

Sprechen Sie Spam?

We've all gotten the typical spam emails with the pleadings to help out the poor displaced king who will in turn grace you with millions of dollars, the free offers for iPads, computers, automobiles, miracle weight loss offers, libido enhancers, phishing emails from non-existent financial institutions or imposters of real banks prodding you to enter all your personal data in order to avoid having your accounts frozen.

Here's one we hadn't seen before, but the tactic has been around for a long time. We received an email in German. The attachment is what looks to be an ordinary Adobe Reader PDF document, but, since none of us at Mobile PC Solutions have entered any sweepstakes, German or otherwise, we were suspicious.

Gosh, this guy's a doctor so this must be important!

Dr. Alfredo De La Paz? Really? These guys could have at least chosen a more German-sounding name.

We used Google Translator to see the body of the email in English.

Google Translate can roughly convert one language to another. It does it's best.

Wow! We've won something!

We're pretty sure that these guys don't have any better grip on Deutsch than they do on English.

While we had a little fun using the Google language translator, we didn't open the attachment.
Trojan viruses are distributed in these fake PDFs and if opened, will automatically install a virus worm, a rootkit, and lots of ugly software that will render your computer useless, or will greatly compromise the security. If you receive suspicious emails, don't open them. Mark them as junk and move on. Even if it comes from someone important, like a doctor!

If you've already been infected, please contact Mobile PC Solutions for help.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Understanding Files, Folders and Libraries

Windows 7

Computer hard drives hold an enormous amount of data or information. It is very important that all of the data is well organized. That way it is easy for the computer to find what it is looking for. Knowing how a computer's organization system works will help you to find what you are looking for. Computers use files and folders to organize data.
A file is an item that contains information—for example, text or images or music. When opened, a file can look very much like a text document or a picture that you might find on someone's desk or in a filing cabinet. On your computer, files are represented with icons; this makes it easy to recognize a type of file by looking at its icon.

A folder is a container you can use to store files in. If you had thousands of paper files on your desk, it would be nearly impossible to find any particular file when you needed it. That's why people often store paper files in folders inside a filing cabinet. On your computer, folders work the same way. Folders can also store other folders. A folder within a folder is usually called a subfolder. You can create any number of subfolders, and each can hold any number of files and additional subfolders.

To better understand the concept of Libraries in Windows 7, we need to look back to the time before Windows 7. Earlier version of Windows like Windows Vista and XP, included sets of special folders for storing user’s content such as “My Documents” and “My Pictures.” Many users, me included, store their files, music, and pictures all over the PC in various folders which often sends the user on a small quest to try to find their content.
In Windows 7, users will go to Libraries in order to manage their documents, music, pictures, and other files.  In many ways, a Library is similar to a folder. When users open a Library, they can see one or more files or folders. However, unlike a folder, a Library can display files that are stored in several folders at the same time. This is a subtle, but important, difference. Libraries don't actually store items. The libraries feature in Windows 7 provides a central place to manage files that are located in multiple locations throughout your computer. Libraries promote a user’s data and let the file system fade into the background.

Windows 7 allows users to define which folders to include in the Documents Library. This is true for any Library. Therefore, we can say that Libraries are user-defined collections of content. By including folders in Libraries, the user is telling Windows where his important data is located. The system will index folders, to enable fast searching and stacking based on file properties.

The Windows 7 default Libraries setting has one main Library called “Libraries” that contains four predefined default Libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. Users can save and copy files directly to a library, even if we said that libraries are not file system folders, since every library has a default save location to send these files to.

Documents library. Use this library to organize and arrange word-processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other text-related files.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Documents library are stored in the My Documents folder.

Pictures library. Use this library to organize and arrange your digital pictures, whether you get them from your camera, scanner, or in e mail from other people.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Pictures library are stored in the My Pictures folder.

Music library. Use this library to organize and arrange your digital music, such as songs that you rip from an audio CD or that you download from the Internet.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Music library are stored in the My Music folder.

Videos library. Use this library to organize and arrange your videos, such as clips from your digital camera or camcorder, or video files that you download from the Internet.
By default, files that you move, copy, or save to the Videos library are stored in the My Videos folder.

To open the Documents, Pictures, or Music libraries, click the Start button , and then click Documents, Pictures, or Music.

Using Libraries to Access Your Files and Folders
When it comes to getting organized, you don't need to start from scratch. You can use libraries, a feature new to this version of Windows, to access your files and folders, and arrange them in different ways. Here's a list of the four default libraries and what they're typically used for:
Understanding the relationship between files and folders, and how they are addressed and located within your computer system is a very important part of using a computer. Beginners should make it a priority to learn about this early in their computer education. Never delete, move or rename a file unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing! A computer relies on many files to keep itself running correctly, so changing or deleting those files can cause major computer malfunctions! The safest way to learn about using files and folders is to ask for help in setting up your own personal folder, then creating new folders and files within it. When in doubt, ask an expert for assistance. For help in organizing files and folders on your computer, contact Mobile PC Solutions.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Movie Created using Windows Movie Maker

This is a simple sample of what you can create using Windows Live Movie Maker.
Please contact Mobile PC Solutions for more information.