How to Restore Internet
A few simple steps

When you lose internet, the world stops. Well, not really, but your access to it might.  Here's what you can do to recover.

  1. Unplug your modem and your router (if you have one).  Modems and routers can be out of sync with each other and the internet. 
  2. Restore power to the modem.  The allows it to sync with the internet.  When the lights are on and steady (a couple of minutes) then you can. . .
  3. Restore power to the router.  This allows it to get settings and give information to the router.  If you still don't have internet after this,
  4. Open Internet Explorer 8.  (This will work only in IE8).  Let it try to access the internet.  If it cannot, it will give you the option to Diagnose and Repair.  This often succeeds and restores your internet.
  5. If these steps fail, call 614-329-6671 and we will figure out your problem.  Sometimes security is configured improperly, a windows file is missing, or some other configuration has changed.  We can diagnose and restore internet so you can again connect with the world.

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Windows 7 Revealed
What you should know

The biggest complaint about Windows 7 is that you cannot install it as an upgrade to Windows XP.  Some Windows XP computers can run Windows 7 if it is installed as a clean install, but the truth is that many do not meet Windows 7 hardware requirements, such as a discrete video card. So, if Windows XP is working for you, stay with it.  If it's not working.  Then you may be able to install Windows 7, but not without backing up your personal data and reinstalling all sofware you might use.

Another problem with moving to Windows 7 is that your printer or scanner may not be able to come along.  Many printer manufacturers had to change their software to work with Vista, and now, with the economic downturn, they may not have the resources to do the same for Windows 7.  They might prefer just to sell you a new printer.  Major manufacturers will list on their website whether your printer or scanner is supported.  If it is not, then it is highly unlikely that it will ever work with Windows 7.

But what's the good news?  The good news is that old program that would not work in Vista, just might work in Windows 7.  Also, also if you tend to misplace files (don't we all?)  Windows 7 makes them easy to find.  

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Passwords, passwords, passwords

Here’s what you can do to make it simple. 

Where you are giving out personal information, credit card information, birth date, and the like, use a complex password of 8 or more letters and numbers and other characters. Pick a line you have memorized and use the first letters of each word.  For example:  Whose woods these are I think I know.   This password would be WwtaItIk.  Then to make it complex, exchange 1 or more letters with numbers.  I will make the a into 5.  Now it is Wwt5ItIk.  Finally add a non-numerical character (something above the number keys on you keyboard.  I will change the 2nd W to a %.  My final password is W%t5ItIk.  This will work well for secure sites where you give out personal information.  (Note: This is not my password for any site.)

For sites that are not important but you need a password to login, use a simple word that you can easily remember, such as “elephant” or “garbage” or raucous or anything like that.  It can be a noun, adjective, or adverb, or even a verb.  Just make it something you can easily remember.  And never use consecutive strings of numbers or letters for any password.

Now these will not be the most secure way for you to work, but for those of you who have trouble remembering, this is an easier way to use passwords:  1 complex password for secure sites; 1 simple password for sites you don’t care about.

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Update Your Norton 360

Symantec recently released a major update for Norton 360.  If you haven’t done so already, click on this link to upgrade.  Then click on Start Download.  Follow the instructions, the computer will need to shut down and restart to finish the update.  This sometimes takes longer than expected so be patient.  And don’t worry, all of your settings are saved and it works so much better than version 3!

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Educate You

We all need to know more.  Here is a listing for a class my friend is teaching at the Vineyard Community Center, 6000 Cooper Rd., Westervile, OH  43081.  Other classes are also available, at this website.


Basic Computer Understanding

This program is the first place to start to learn about computers. This course pre-supposes NO computer knowledge. You will learn the basic pieces of the computer, what each part does and where all those wires go! We will spend some time discussing basic computer techniques such as “select”, “copy to clipboard”, and pasting. We will briefly discuss word processing, spreadsheets and email. You may purchase a textbook (optional) for the class, “Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics”, (4th Edition), by Michael Miller (paperback) before the class begins. Please pre-register as class size is limited. For more information about this class, contact Dave Holland.

Instructor: Dave Holland
Email: class@sparrowhawkcon...
Ages: 18 & Up
Activity #: SP-6489
Date(s): 4/10/2010 - 5/29/2010
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Days: Saturdays
Fee: None
Location: CC.204B
Max: 18

And if you are interested, I am leading a monthly Creative Writing Workshop.  Here are the details:

Creative Writing Workshop

3rd Saturdays

For adults, ages 18 and up.  This is a monthly workshop for the beginning writer as well as long-time writers.  To encourage creative writers and build creative writing skills.  We will meet in room CC.203A in the Vineyard Community Center on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except holiday weekends) from 9-11am to share what we have learned about writing that might help others in the group.  We will start by using the book, "Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies", by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, discussing one chapter each month.  In addition, each participant will bring a written paragraph, essay, short story, or poem (not to exceed 3 pages or 750 words) to be shared with and critiqued by the group.  There is no cost for this program.  There is an approximate $12 cost for the book which should be purchased before the first class begins.  No need to pre-register.  Just come!

Instructor: Diana Harkness
Email: diana@helpwithmycomp...
Date(s): 4/17/2010 - 8/21/2010
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Days: 3rd Saturdays of each month
Fee: None
Location: CC.203A
Phone #: 614.329.6671

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Free Music and Videos?

Every month we have to reload computers with all of their software (a time consuming and expensive operation) due to viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs (“malware”) that have infected computers through "free music" and “free videos” which often come through programs called peer-to-peer file sharing programs.  "Limewire" is one of the most popular.  Even if you have a good anti-virus program, loading a file sharing program on your computer is like locking your front door and then leaving your back door wide open.  if you find that someone in your household has more music or videos than their budget would allow, check for file-sharing software like Limewire, Bearshare, Bittorrent, Azureus, The Pirate Bay, Frostfire, and others.

Music belongs to all who are responsible for creating it:  lyricists, composers, publishers, arrangers, musicians, etc.  They hold the right to make copies of the music and violating their copyright may subject you to as much as a $5,000 judgment per song.  The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has further information on its website which I highly recommend reading. 

In addition, to the legal problem, the “free” songs acquired this way may contain viruses and other malware that will require reloading your computer.  One study showed that approximately 30% of randomly downloaded songs from Limewire contained malware.  Some of this malware can copy your files and send them to an unknown location.  Do you really want to take that chance?

So what should you do?  If art and honesty are important to you, use legitimate pay-for-use websites to acquire music and videos.  Some of these are Amazon, Lala, Itunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Emusic.  All of these except Itunes allow you to legally download songs which will play on any music player.  Lala lets you listen to an entire song or album once for free so you can determine if you like it.  I use Amazon and Lala.  You can check out any of these websites without paying a cent.  Most songs will be in the $1 range, some higher, most lower.  If you are paying pennies per song, you are not using a legitimate website and the artists are receiving no money. 

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Wifi Do’s and Don’ts


  1. When using public Wi-Fi (McDonalds, Panera, Easton, airports, etc.) do not sit with your back to other people.  They can look over your shoulder and watch what you enter on your computer.  Sit with your back to the wall or in an area with a lot of open space around you and always be aware of movement around you.
  2. Always have a good firewall on your computer and, if asked by a program on your computer, keep the computer in the Public or Internet Zone.  Also, make sure that your internet security product is up-to-date, and yes I still recommend Norton 360.
  3. Use a different browser on your computer for public areas. This can keep any malicious software from accessing information stored by your normal browser.  For example if you usually use Internet Explorer, use Firefox.  If you usually use Firefox, use Google Chrome.
  4. Shut down your computer completely when leaving.  This keeps some malicious software from infecting home or work networks when you connect again.
  5. And for your home Wi-Fi, I recommend Linksys products because even if you install them yourself, they step you through what needs to be done for a secure home network.  I have found other brands to be unsecure after a user install. 

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Amazon Kindle Review

I took the plunge and am using a Kindle.  Why the Kindle over other ebook readers?  Because I don’t always read mainstream books and Kindle booksAmazon has the greatest number of books in ebook format.  I chose the DX model rather than the smaller less-expensive version.  Why?  Because I anticipate using it frequently and it means less space used by keyboard and more by the reading material and size was not an issue to me since I rarely use a purse.  Using it for about two weeks, I know that battery life is about 2 weeks as claimed, with wireless turned off.  I have found that I am underlining and marking pages more than I ever did in a paper book.  (Maybe because I know I’m not going to pass the book on to someone else.)  The Kindle is easy to use.  Even the non-geek among us can use it to read.  I like that it saves where I left off reading and lets me switch from book to book.  I don’t like that some diagrams don’t display properly—either something’s missing or they are too difficult to read.  Admittedly the one I sampled (yes, you can sample books before buying) have been from older books.  Perhaps they will be updated to allow the diagram to be enlarged.  Some in newer books can be enlarged.  I like how easy it is to delete books.  I thought it was heavy to hold in bed until I started reading a paper book. The paper book with light was weighing too heavily on my hand also.  The light I am using is the Mighty Bright and it lights well and evenly both on books and the Kindle.  My main reason for getting the Kindle?  I have clients using it and I needed to know it inside and out so I could answer questions.  Of course, I also find it reducing the plethora of paperbacks that end up all around the house!

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Common Problems and Solutions

  1. Your CD or DVD doesn’t work.  Check My Computer to see if it shows up there.  If it doesn’t, there are several possible reasons.  It may have failed, it may have become disconnected, or Windows may not recognize it.  Failure is not uncommon.  All electronics fail from time to time.  It is extremely rare for a cable to become disconnected.  The most common problem I have seen in Windows XP and now in Vista is a Windows registry setting that has become corrupt.  This requires a registry fix which is like operating on the brains of Windows.  So if this happens to you, please contact us for the fix.  
  2. Your wireless connection is no longer connecting.  This can happen for a number of reasons.  A motor (in a refrigerator or furnace) can run on a different frequency and disrupt the wireless signal.  Fix the refrigerator, furnace, change the location of your computer, or upgrade your router to one that operates on a different frequency.  A neighbor’s wireless signal may be operating on the same frequency and overpowering yours.  You may need to change your frequency or upgrade your router.  On some occasions, the router’s firmware (the program inside the router) needs to be updated to fix the problem, and sometimes the computer software needs to be updated.
  3. Your printer is not working.  Sometimes a document will not be able to print, but the printer does not know what to do, so too many documents build up in the print queue and nothing prints.  If this is the problem, you can click on the printer icon on the right side of your taskbar and delete all items waiting to be printed.  If there is a long list, it could take some time and it would be wise to reboot your computer afterward.  If this is not the problem, go to Control Panel, Printers, and see if your printer is listed.  If it is, make sure it is the default printer.  If you have more than one instance of your printer listed, there is a problem.  One of those printers will work and the other(s) will not.  Call us and we’ll be able to find the working one and delete any others. For some printers, updated software may need to be installed.  This is especially true if it has been several years since the printer was installed.  And there are other printer problems too numerous to mention which cannot be dealt with in this space.

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Thinking about Heat?

  1. What temperature is best for your computer?  Most people have an idea of what temperature suits them and that is a good temperature for your computer also. 
  2. What happens if your computer is too cold? If the temperature falls below 50 degrees, the mechanical items (like your hard drive) will have difficulty moving and your computer will seem sluggish.
  3. What happens if your computer gets too hot?  This won’t happen in Ohio (or Florida) unless you keep it in a small enclosed space without good airflow.  Your computer’
  4. s electronics are made to operate at high temperatures and the fans in the case provide adequate airflow.  If your processor gets too hot, that is if it loses connection to its heatsink or fan or if the fan stops working, the processor will shut down the computer within a minute or 2, maybe more quickly.  That is built-in protection to keep the processor from overheating.  It is not always easy to replace a fan and heatsink.  It depends on how the manufacturer attached it to the computer and the type of processor you have.  But if your computer starts and then almost immediately turns off, that overheated processor is likely the problem.

And just a note:  A client ordered a new computer from Dell and now finds she doesn’t need it.  So if you’re in the market for a new basic computer with a 3-year warranty, contact me.

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Remote Support

Did you know the we offer remote support?  This is a win-win solution in most cases.  It allows us to work remotely on your computer, saving us travel time, fuel, and wear on our vehicles.  In return, we charge in 15 minute increments, often saving you money.  My remote support program is called TeamViewer QuickSupport.  It creates a temporary secure connection between your computer and ours.  When we have finished our work, the connection ends and cannot be reconnected by anyone.  You can access the link from the website or here is the direct link to the program:  Teamviewer.  You might want to download it in advance and save it on your desktop so you already have it when you call us for help.  Then you will just need to click on it to run it.

In some cases we may, with your permission, install the Teamviewer Host program on your computer.  This allows us to connect remotely to your computer without any action on your part so we can work on your computer when you are not available.  If you would like this installed, you need to ask us when we are present with your computer.

Some have asked about the Pay Now button on the website.  This is for new clients.  If you are an existing client, we will email you a bill that you can pay by check or credit card covering the actual time (in 15-minute increments)  Please note, however, that both of these internet support programs work through the internet and will not work unless you have internet access.

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Discussing things that matter

I would like a way to easily post things that matter to me.  Facebook and is good for a sound bite, a linked video or website or pictures; a blog is good for paragraphs.  I think in paragraphs.  So where do you put things that really matter?  Facebook postings disappear quickly.  Blog postings stick around forever.  Facebook is really, really easy.  Blogging takes time and energy.  Most of the stuff on Facebook is trivial; some posts less than trivial. What’s a good place to discuss what really matters? 

A SIDE NOTE: Why can’t adults just grow up and stop playing games? And if they can’t, why do they have to clutter my Facebook page with games?) 

Time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it on the trivial.  I try to read books that matter.  I try to think about things that matter.  I want to discuss what matters and not waste my time on other things.  What do you think?  Do you have a good forum for what matters? 

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2 Things I like

  1. From the note on Rev. 3:15 in the Net Bible:  Laodicea was near 2 other towns, each of which had a unique water source.  To the north was Hierapolis which had a natural hot spring, often used for medicinal purposes.  To the east was Colossae which had cold, pure waters.  In contrast to these towns, Laodicea had no permanent supply of good water.  Efforts to pipe water to the city from nearby springs were successful, but it would arrive lukewarm.  The metaphor in the text is not meant to relate spiritual fervor to temperature.  This would mean that Laodicea would be commended for being spiritually cold, but it is unlikely that Jesus would commend this.  Instead, the metaphor condemns Laodicea for not providing spiritual healing (being hot) or spiritual refreshment (being cold) to those around them. It is a condemnation of their lack of works and lack of witness.
  2. From Luther’s commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians.  Chapter 1, verse 3.  The greeting of the Apostle is refreshing.  Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience.  Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. 

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