Posted by: xlrintblog | June 21, 2013

Hate Windows restarting after updates?

To protect your computer and keep your software operating smoothly, Microsoft Windows routinely downloads updates. These updates are necessary, but they also come with some irritation: Mainly, Windows will automatically reboot your machine after finishing the updates, often giving you 15 minutes to shut down your machine and start over before an automatic reboot takes place. Fortunately, your machine doesn’t have to do this.

No more automatic restarts

Tech Web site Lifehacker recently detailed the steps you’ll want to take to disable Window’s automatic reboot feature. It’s not the easiest – you’ll have to edit your computer’s registry – but if automatic reboots irritate you, the added work may well be worth it.

The steps

To do this in Windows 8, first click on the “Start” menu. Type regedit. Start the Registry Editor when it comes up. Next, find this line in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU. Next, click on the AU key and, when you see it in the right pane, right-click on the empty space and select New >DWORD (32-bit) Value. Then, name the new DWORD: “NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers” Finally, double-click on the new DWORD and assign it a value of 1.

Protecting yourself

When you reboot your computer, Windows will not force you to reboot after it installs updates. Don’t forget, though, to eventually reboot your computer. It is the only way your updates will take effect.

Posted by: xlrintblog | June 19, 2013

The risks of Bitcoin payments

Should your small business accept Bitcoin payments? A recent Entrepreneur Magazine story listed the pros and possible hazards of accepting these virtual payments. You’d be wise to consider the rewards and possible pitfalls of accepting these payments that are growing ever more popular on the web.

What are they?

As Entrepreneur explains, Bitcoins are virtual currency. Individuals purchase them with real money and then exchange them online to purchase products and services from a number of vendors – some reputable, some illegitimate – in the virtual world. According to Entrepreneur, an increasing number of reputable vendors – such as Reddit and WordPress – are accepting these virtual coins.

Safety issues

Businesses do accept a safety risk whenever they decide to accept Bitcoins. But it’s the very same risk they take with all online financial transactions. There’s no guarantee that a cybercriminal won’t hack their Bitcoin transactions. These transactions are encrypted. But that’s not enough to deter the savviest of cybercriminals.

Why take them?

Along with risk, there are certain benefits associated with Bitcoins. For starters, it’s a developing trend. Your small business might need to accept Bitcoins to do business with certain online vendors. Secondly, Bitcoins don’t come with any fees or charges from banks or other financial institutions. Additionally they aren’t taxed.

Posted by: xlrintblog | June 13, 2013

Stay in power with these external battery packs

What’s more aggravating than seeing your smartphone or laptop slowly but steadily run out of power as you travel? Thank goodness, you don’t have to endure this. That’s because external battery packs let you plug virtually any tablet, smartphone or laptop computer into them. The battery packs energize your dying devices. But which external battery pack to pick? The Lifehacker Web site asked its readers to rank their preferred battery packs. Here’s what the readers had to say.

Anker Astro

The Anker Astro tops Lifehacker’s list because of the immense power it holds, with each of the 3E, E4 and Pro versions each providing some serious oomph. Lifehacker readers pointed to these models’ portability, small size and reasonable prices.

New Trent

The iCarrier and iGeek battery packs from manufacturer New Trent also score points for their portability as well as the powerful charges they provide. These units, too, are priced reasonably. One special feature? The indicator light that quickly tells you just how much charge your New Trent unit still holds. This way, you’ll never be surprised as you travel.

Energizer XP

Want an adaptable external battery pack? Try any battery in the Energizer XP line. These external battery packs come packaged with a huge selection of cables and tips. These accessories let you quickly connect to pretty much any gizmo, even smartphones or laptops that are several years old.

Posted by: xlrintblog | June 13, 2013

Upgraded to Word 2013 yet? Why not?

Microsoft has released its latest version of its popular word-processing program, Word 2013. The question is, is an upgrade to this particular version of Word necessary? The editors at PC World magazine in a recent feature story answered with a definitive YES. The fresh new version of Word comes packed with new and powerful features. Users who rely on word processing will improve their productivity by upgrading to Word 2013, according to PC World.

A better design tab

The first reason to upgrade to Word 2013? PC World points to the program’s new and improved design tab. Word 2013 lets users select from a wide range of themes, colors and fonts. And if you discover a certain combination that you’d like to use all the time, it is easy to click the “Set as Default” option to return these themes every time you create a new document. Microsoft Word 2013 also permits users to preview a document style before they apply it to the whole document.

Making Reading Easier

Do you spend considerable time reading Word documents? Maybe you even spend more time reading than creating documents? Then Word 2013 is definitely for you. As PC World says, the 2013 version of this program now offers a Read option. This feature makes reading Word documents a far more pleasant experience. If you choose Read, your Word document will automatically resize itself so that it fits perfectly on your screen. Read also provides navigation arrows that enable you to easily scroll through a document or flip pages.

Eliminating PDF Frustration

It is often frustrating to read or edit PDF files in previous versions of Word. This is no longer the case. Word 2013 enables users to open PDF files quickly. And, even better, it lets them edit them, too, without forcing them to employ a third-party application. Users can also use Word 2013 to move images around a PDF file or to modify or edit the numbers or text contained in charts or tables. It’s an exceptional feature for users who frequently work on PDF files.

Posted by: xlrintblog | June 7, 2013

Forget the bad press; Windows still the best OS

Quick: Name the best desktop operating system available today. Did you say Windows 8? If not, PC World writer Brad Chacos would like to debate you. He just recently wrote that Windows 8, regardless of its well-publicized problems, ranks as the best desktop OS today. This goes against the trend, of course, with a long line of critics slamming Windows 8 frequently in the tech press. Is Chacos right? Is Windows 8 unfairly belittled? Take a look at several positive Windows 8 features that Chacos highlights.


Chacos’  most powerful argument in support of Windows 8? The sheer number of software and programs that accompany the operating system. As Chacos writes, no other operating system delivers the depth and breadth of programs that Windows 8 operates. In reality, the operating system offers such a selection of programs you probably won’t even use many, if not most, of them.

Syncing Matters

Apple’s iCloud service has received excellent reviews. But Chacos writes that Microsoft warrants more praise for the syncing abilities built into Windows 8. As Chacos writes, all you need is a Microsoft online account to immediately sync files, videos, photos and reports to any other computer running Windows 8. You can also quickly synch everything from browser specifications to desktop preferences. This syncing ability easily outpaces iCloud and the syncing capabilities of any other operating system, Chacos writes.

Internet Explorer

It’s nearly as much fun to grumble about Internet Explorer as it is to bash Windows 8. But Chacos suggests that Explorer has actually become a nifty browser in recent times, spurred on, perhaps, by Firefox. Today, the browser is both simple to use and customize. Additionally, Internet Explorer actually ranks as one of the most secure browsers according to computer-security company Symantec, one more reason why Explorer doesn’t deserve its bad rap.

Quick: Name the best desktop operating system currently available. Did you say Windows 8? If not, PC World writer Brad Chacos would like to debate you. He recently wrote that Windows 8, despite having its well-publicized problems, ranks as the best desktop OS today. This goes against the trend, of course, with a long line of critics slamming Windows 8 frequently in the tech press. Is Chacos right? Is Windows 8 unfairly criticized? Examine several positive Windows 8 features that Chacos highlights.

More Software

Windows 8 blows away every other operating system with regards to the programs and software that it delivers, Chacos writes. No other desktop operating system can come close to the variety of programs that Windows 8 gives its users. Rare will be the user who will ever use all of these programs. Looking for something? If you have Windows 8, the chances are good that it’s already provided by your Windows 8 operating system.


As Chacos writes, Apple’s iCloud receives a lot of adoration. But Window 8’s syncing capabilities are actually more powerful. According to PC World, you need only an online Microsoft account to sync a host of items to any Windows 8 computer. This includes files, photos, videos, browser settings, desktop preferences and app settings. Chacos writes that no other operating system has syncing capabilities that can even rival what Windows 8 offers.

The Browser Difference

It’s nearly as enjoyable to complain about Internet Explorer as it is to bash Windows 8. But Chacos points out that Explorer has actually become a nifty browser in recent times, spurred on, perhaps, by Firefox. Today, the browser is both easy to use and customize. Additionally, Internet Explorer actually ranks as one of the most secure browsers according to computer-security company Symantec, one more reason why Explorer doesn’t merit its bad rap.

Posted by: xlrintblog | June 4, 2013

How to protect your small business from cyber criminals

Here’s a statistic that will frighten the owners of small businesses. As outlined by a recent story by Entrepreneur Magazine – the magazine cited data from tech security company Symantec – companies with one to 250 employees were the unwilling recipient of 30 percent of all cyber crimes in 2012. Why is this statistic important? It provides proof that small businesses who don’t enact a cybersecurity plan are placing themselves at risk of suffering their very own cyber attacks.


The Entrepreneur story states that the first thing in any cybersecurity plan is anti-virus software. This software is critical for small business owners. Anti-virus software isn’t perfect, and particularly clever viruses can slip past it, but companies that don’t have any anti-virus protection are setting themselves up for a massive hack.

E-mail Mistakes

You should also teach your employees e-mail skills. Specifically, you should teach them which e-mail messages that they need to delete. All of us receive lots of suspicious e-mail messages, and a lot of of them now come from senders whom we actually recognize. The trick is to avoid the ones that somehow don’t look right. Staff members must also understand that if they open an e-mail that ends up being suspicious they should immediately delete it, and they should never click on any links.

Protect Yourself

Entrepreneur recommends, too, that you employ firewalls at your business. These can prevent hackers from being able to access your inbound and outbound traffic. Just as important, firewalls can protect your company from your employees, walling off their access to potentially dodgy Web sites.

Posted by: xlrintblog | May 28, 2013

Microsoft’s new logos: Too simple?

It is said that everyone is a critic. You can see this firsthand at the Quora knowledge-sharing Web site. Just recently, a Quora user took Microsoft to task. This user wasn’t irritated that Windows 8 was clunky and counter-intuitive. The user wasn’t upset, either, that Internet Explorer didn’t return the best search results. No, this user took Microsoft to task for its lack of artistic ambition. Yes, you heard right.
Lazy Logos?
This user argues that Microsoft isn’t putting time into designing artistic, appealing logos. Instead, the user writes, Microsoft is dashing off simplistic, minimalist logos. These logos, the assertion goes, look like graphics pros dashed them off in a few minutes. The user adds that Microsoft is dumbing down their logos since introducing Windows 8 and Office 2013.
Not Everyone Agrees
Of course, not everybody agreed. Many Quora users – a long line of them, actually – logged on to defend Microsoft’s logos. Many asserted they preferred the starker, more simplified look of the new logos, proclaiming that the “less is more” aesthetic comes into play with Microsoft’s new logos.
The Trend
Many Quora users took the “less is more” approach, reasoning that the simpler a logo design is, the more effective it is. It’s tough to argue with this particular approach. No one likes a logo that appears cluttered or overly complex. Today’s users, especially, want logos that tell them what to click. They don’t care much about artistic flourishes. In this way, at least, Microsoft is a leader.
Posted by: xlrintblog | May 23, 2013

What the Living Social password breach means to you

It’s a mistake too many of us make. We get lazy, and we rely on just one single password to gain access to several different Web sites. This, though, is a dangerous strategy. A recent story by ars technica on a serious password breach at daily deals site points out just why this is.
A breach
According to the story, — which offers users daily bargains on everything from restaurants and spas to amusement parks and museums — recently suffered a significant security breach. The breach exposed the names, e-mail addresses and password information for up to 50 million LivingSocial users, according to ars technica.
According to ars technica, Tim O’Shaugnessy, the chief executive officer of LivingSocial, quickly responded by advising users to change their LivingSocial passwords. O’Shaugnessy took the additional step of advising the site’s users to change any other passwords that are similar to or the identical to those they use at LivingSocial. That’s good advice. It remains to be seen, though, just how many LivingSocial users will take this step.
A Hassle, But Important
It can be difficult to remember dozens of passwords. And there are times when you simply want to log onto a site with a password that you’ve used dozens of times before because it’s easier than creating, and documenting, a brand-new access code. Don’t fall prey to this urge. If a hacker cracks your password at one site, it’s not overly hard for this cyber criminal to use the same one to gain access to your other Web sites, too, if you’re too lazy to make unique passwords at different sites. Yes, passwords are imperfect. But the more creative you are with them — and this includes creating separate passwords for every site you visit — the better off you’ll be.
Posted by: xlrintblog | May 17, 2013

Would the AP phishing scam have tricked you?

You would never open a phishing e-mail that asks you to deposit $1,000 to acquire $1 million, would you? And you would certainly never open anything from a Nigerian prince needing the dollars he needs to flee to the United States, right? But how about the most sophisticated of today’s phishing e-mails? Think you would never fall for one of these? Think again. A recent phishing e-mail snared the Associated Press, the nation’s top provider of wire-service news. If the AP could fall prey to phishing, so could you.

Syrian Electronic Army

Recently, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Twitter account of the AP and posted a message saying that President Obama was seriously injured in an explosion at the White House. This Tweet was false, needless to say. But that didn’t prevent the stock market from taking a big plunge. It shows, too, that even the savviest of us have to be on guard from state-of-the-art phishing attacks.

A real news story?

As Slate reports, hackers sent AP staffers what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate e-mail message containing a supposed link to a real news story in the Washington Post. Problem was, this e-mail was a scam. And when AP staffers clicked on it, the members of the electronic army group could nab the passwords that let them take over the AP’s Twitter account.

Your lesson

It’s very easy to poke fun at the AP for getting hacked. Nonetheless, nobody is safe from the more sophisticated con artists behind the latest phishing attacks. These scammers no longer send phishing e-mails about Nigerian princes. Instead, they send out messages that look like they’re from people we know. The lesson here? You need to be continuously vigilant if you want to safeguard yourself from today’s trickiest online scammers.

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