Combined Social Media & Internet SIG
Answers by Toby Scott & Jessica Scott
Because the Boys & Girls Club had to set up for an event later in the day, we had to use the auditorium as a single room, so we the Social media and Internet and connectivity SIGS were combined this month. Unless otherwise noted, Toby Scott answered questions and Jessica Scott ran the computer. - Editor
Passwords in Firefox
Q: I have an incorrect password in Firefox. How can I change it?
A: Go to Tools > Options > Passwords > Security > Saved Passwords, where you can remove the incorrect password or all passwords if you decide you don't want any of them saved. Then go to the site in question, use the correct password and ask Firefox to save it.
Windows Live preferences
Q: In Windows Live mail, messages keep downloading if we mess something up. How can I change that?
A: Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Live Mail > Options > Mail Accounts > Properties > Advanced, and check the box to remove from server when deleted from deleted items. (TOBY: I have the program but no account so I can't trace the route on this. Can you check what I have above to be sure it's right, especially since it was a problem to find during the session?
Passwords not remembered in Firefox
Q: My password for my ISP's spam filter isn't being remembered in Firefox.
A: I haven't had that problem, but go to Firefox > Tools > Options > Security and check the saved passwords to see if it's there. You can't add a password manually. Also check exceptions to be sure the site isn't listed as one that's supposed to forget the passwords.
From the audience: I've had the same problem in Firefox and ended up switching to Chrome, which I didn't really want to do. So far I haven't had problems with it.
Jessica Scott: Could it be a cache or cookies setting?
Q: The automatic completion feature doesn't always work on my browser. Why not?
A: It's a result of the HTML coding on the site, not the browser. Autofill will recognize field names like First name, Name, Address and so on, but it can't perform autofill for names like Field1 and Field2. Sometimes, but not always, the browser will remember what goes in such fields on your second visit.
Q: I got an email with some pictures attached and when I clicked on it, it said it needed Java Script to run it. How do I enable it?
A: The best thing to do is save the file to a folder and view it there. A lot of the programs that automatically open attachments are turning the feature off because of fears of viruses. People say it's inconvenient, but how inconvenient is a virus? If some security expert has decided there's enough danger in the feature to turn it off, it's a good idea not to try to bypass it. Moving the file to a folder and then opening it lets your anti-virus program scan it. If you just run it out of email the anti-virus doesn't have a chance to scan it..
In addition to attachments, be especially careful about clicking on links in email. We're all aware of the websites that appear to belong to banks or other financial institutions but are really scams to collect your login names and passwords so they can empty your accounts. The link itself is not the virus, but when you go to the site, it can install viruses or grab your information as you type it in.
From the audience: And no bank will ever send you email asking for your personal information.
Toby: But banks will sometimes send you email with links to click on, and the scammers are depending on people to carelessly click on those links.
Q: Is it safe to go to such sites and leave nasty messages because you know they're phony?
A: I wouldn't because you're leaving traces, and the owners of the sites might be able to track you down and possibly launch denial of service attacks on your machine.
From the audience: Some email programs let you hover your mouse over a link in an email and show the full URL.
A: That's true. But the basic rule is to go to any financial site the way you normally do - by typing in the URL or using the one in your bookmarks or favorites. You can be sure that if there's really a problem with your account, it will show up when you go to the page this way. And I'm willing to wager that 99.999 percent of the time, there's not going to be any security problem.
Q: Can you tell me why anyone should buy an iPad or any other tablet?
A: It's a matter of how you want to - or need to - access the Internet. Some people need a desktop, some a laptop, some a smartphone, some a tablet and some a combination of one or more of the above. There's no one solution that fits everyone.
For example, my laptop has a battery life of about 2½ hours. The Thrive tablet I bought from Staples after last month's program has a battery life of about 11 hours. That would have gotten me all the way to Beijing when we went to China; my laptop couldn't get me to Hawaii.. The tablet will fit in a woman's purse, whereas I had to have a separate carry-on bag for the laptop. Some tablets have phone access, and if you travel a lot, that can be helpful. It isn't that anybody ought to have anything. You have to decide what you need based on you lifestyle, physical transactions and what works best for you. There's no universal solution for all people.
The decision is similar to picking a vehicle. Do you need a van, an SUV, a limousine, or a sports car? I can tell you what a pickup does, but I can't tell you that it's the right vehicle for you. That's determined by your needs.
3G, 4G, Wi-Fi
Q: Can you describe the differences between 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi?
A: 3G and 4G are phone connections. They're automatically encrypted and can be used for GPS devices and are extremely portable. They can be hacked, but it's very difficult. They can be used while driving down the freeway - if you're a passenger. They're very handy and very portable.
Wi-Fi is a broadcasted signal you can pick up and use. We create a Wi-Fi spot here for our meetings by putting in a router that's connected to the Internet and connecting to it. If you want it in, just ask us for the code. You can also find Wi-Fi spots at Barnes & Noble and Starbucks, among many other places. You can't use it while driving down the freeway because of its limited range. The 3G and 4G cover wide areas.
The differences between 3G and 4G are speed, along with some advanced security features in 4G. Generally, Wi-Fi is much faster than either 3G or 4G, but this won't be the case if you have extremely slow DSL service. Basically, you can't get unlimited data download contracts anymore, although some people are grandfathered in. Providers will slow you down and at some point will raise the cost considerably if you go over the data limit in the contract. Wi-Fi downloads are not being limited by anyone I know of. If you get a message that you're asking for a very large file and offered the chance to wait for a Wi-Fi connection, it's a good idea. In some hillside areas of the county you can get only a slow speed DSL.
Q: How can I find my downloads? I have several newsletters that I get by email. I save them and I see a list of downloads, but I don't know how to get to them.
A: Hold down the Windows key and the e key to open Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer; the two programs are entirely different despite the similarity in names) to search for the Downloads folder. Later versions of Windows create one automatically, but if you don't have one you can create it and then set up your browsers to put downloads there.
If you want to create a shortcut to your Downloads folder in XP, Vista or Windows 7, right click on the folder and then click on Send to, select Desktop (create shortcut) which will create a shortcut on your desktop. You can then drag it to your taskbar if you prefer it there. In Vista and Windows 7, you can also place the current location in your list of Favorites in Windows Explorer by opening the folder you want to add, right-clicking on Favorites and select Add current location to Favorites. You can pin anything you want to there.
You can do the same thing with libraries, which are collections of shortcuts to data. Right click documents and you can put any folder you want in a documents library. The Favorites list is a one-click wonder to a single folder. The libraries are for the total hierarchy; i.e., if you put My Photos in the library, it shows all the subfolders.
Q: If you foolishly set up your computer with users, do you get a Downloads folder for each user?
A: First, let's address "foolishly." If you eliminate all the users on your computer, you make it unbootable. Windows operates with users and user permissions to determine who can do such things as install or uninstall programs.
Lots of information is stored in each user's folder. Microsoft doesn't want you to mess around in the Users folders. It wants you to use the libraries. For security and other reasons, it's encouraging the use of shortcuts in libraries.
Shortcuts can be put on the desktop or the taskbar. When computers had little memory, users were discouraged from having lots of desktop shortcuts because they used up memory, but with today's computers, the amount of memory used is minimal. Put the shortcuts where they're most useful for you.
Q: I'm using indexing in Windows 7 to speed up searches. If you have a USB drive can it be indexed?
A: It can, but it's not a good idea because if you remove it and conduct a search, you'll get unexpected results because the search won't know that the USB drive is no longer connected.
Music folder lists
Q: When I open My Music folder, the column headings aren't what I want them to be. Can I change them? And can I make changes apply to all folders?
A: In theory, you can make changes universal, but it doesn't always work. Windows is Windows. Sometimes it has a mind of its open. Open a folder and use Alt+T to open the Tools menu. Open Folder Options, click or unclick the listed options and then click on Apply to Folders. To change the column headings, open a folder, right click on the bar of column names and select what you want to show. You can adjust the order of the columns by left clicking on a column name and dragging it where you want it. There is no way to create a new column name on the list.
Removing update files
Q: I tried to update .NET, but it wouldn't install. I have several versions of this. Do I need them all? And can I delete the installation files after the updates are up and running?
A: Technically, you probably don't need all the versions of .NET (1, 1.1, 2, 3, 3.5 and 4), but in actuality, if you remove the earlier ones, you'll probably end up breaking something.
The .NET package lets programs, especially installers, use libraries of files they need. Generally, a program that needs the files installs the .NET package. If you ever need to uninstall or reinstall one of the programs that installed the .NET software and you've removed the installation files, you won't be able to uninstall the program, which also means you won't be able to reinstall it to fix the problem. Hackers figured out how to get into version 1.1, so it was revised, but some older programs still use. The same thing applies to each of the other versions. When you have installation problems, you should normally get an error message with a code indicating why it failed. Search for the code number, .NETx (where x is the version number) failed and you can usually find a fix-it tool to repair the problem.