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Maximize Your Public Computer Security in Five Easy Steps!

05 May

A computer is no longer a luxury. Odds are, you have your own personal computer, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or a good old desktop. Even then, from time to time you may have to use computers that are public. Whether it’s for work or school, you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you and as such the risks multiply.

We all know the dangers of public Wi-Fi, but computers may be even more dangerous. If you have to use a system that the public can see, you need to take some precautions in order to get the most security.

Do Not Save Login Information

We all know that browsers and websites allow you to stay signed in even after you close your browser. It public computer safetymakes it easy, and if you have a personal computer, it’s okay to use. But if you’re on someone else’s computer, it’s common sense that you should make sure you’re logged out of everything before you stop using it.

If you’re logged into a site, manually log out. Do not think that the browser will do it for you. Do not keep your email and password saved, either. Even if it’s not for long, it can cause some woes if someone manages to find it.

If you accidentally do save your information, clear it as soon as you can. This brings us to the next step:

Clean Your History

We all know that your browsing history can reveal a lot about you, so obviously you don’t want that lying around when you’re on a computer that doesn’t belong to you. Clear all your browsing history when you’re finished, and do not leave any traces behind. Kill the cache, filled forms, and cookies. This will restart it all, and no one will be able to find your email or passwords.

A better way to browse that doesn’t require all this deleting is to simply use incognito mode. Your browser should have one, and it allows you to browser privately and log in a site using multiple accounts. It does not save anything, and it allows you to be safe.

Others Can Spy on Your Actions

Here’s a common sense rule that you need to apply. If you’re using a computer that hasn’t been customized by you, you need to assume that someone’s always watching. Don’t use PayPal or your bank accounts, and try avoiding passwords.

The public computer may have a Keylogger on it, which is a malicious program that records all your keystrokes and then sends them to a third party.

Is the device being monitored by spy software apps? Check out Reflex Software Guides here to find out just how intrusive apps such as FlexiSpy and mSpy are – and how easy they are to download and install.

They can be avoided, but on a public computer this is a fruitless effort. Instead, you need to make sure that you don’t post anything too personal. Things can wait until you’re on a private computer.

Look at Other Ways to Boot

The public computer you use probably runs Windows, so unless their BIOS is locked down, you can boot another OS on the computer, such as Linux. Carrying around your own OS to use on any computer is great, not only for familiarity, but for security, and you can bypass malware designed for Windows. Of course, the Internet may not be secure, so it isn’t foolproof. Just make sure that your USB is good to boot from.

Remember That Others Are Watching

If you’re using a public computer, you need to use your noggin. Odds are, there are lots of people around you, and it’s not smart to leave your computer open and walk away, since someone can grab it when you’re not looking.

In addition, you should make sure you know what you’re opening beforehand. If you open up an important document, make sure no one’s looking. And it would be embarrassing to open up an X-rated website in a public library. Using tools such as VariablySFW can help you look at websites before you open them to make sure that they’re appropriate for your setting.

Overall

Just remember, you cannot tell how safe a computer that’s not yours is. Most likely, it’s safe, but there’s always that chance that it has a horrifying virus that can steal all your personal info. But if you take these precautions before you use them, you’ll probably be fine. Also, make sure that your own computer is secure. Private computers can be tampered too!

3 Awesome Time-Saving Tips for Windows

23 Apr

Given the popularity of Windows, in all of its incarnations, there is a reasonable number of people who consider themselves experts on the OS. While that may be true, there are always some hidden features, small tweaks, tips and tricks that slip through the cracks. I’ll do my best to avoid the most obvious ones, and present some which you might not have been aware of, even if you consider yourself a Windows experts. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Windows Mobility Center

When I found about this little gem, I was over the moon. If you prefer laptops over desktops, this shortcut is the best thing since sliced bread. The combination of Windows and X buttons opens up the Windows Mobility Center. The window wasn’t something I have seen before, but it combined so many familiar and useful features into a single window for easy access. The features you will find there include your battery status, and choice of battery profile, your wireless connection status, which you can turn on and off, the brightness of the screen, and volume. If you use an external display, or hold presentations, you can access those settings, too.windows_tips_98

Windows Mobility Center doesn’t offer much else, but it doesn’t need too, because it does what it needs to do, and that’s to provide you with lightning-quick access to some of the basic settings with the use of a single shortcut. Otherwise, you would have to rummage through several different menus in order access each of them. Short and sweet, Windows Mobility Center is one of my favorite hidden Windows features. I have to point out that this only works on Windows Vista and 7. On Windows 8, Win-X combo gives a list of shortcut which you can use to access similar Windows features.

Capturing and Managing Screenshots

Capturing a screenshot on your Windows PC has always been a pain in the butt in my opinion. You would have to press the PrtScr button on your keyboard, and then go and paste the image for the clipboard into Photoshop, or Paint, and then save it. There has been some improvement, with the appearance of Snipping Tool on Windows 7, and starting with Windows 8, you can even do a little bit more. Instead of pressing PrtSc like you usually would, press Win-PrtSc. Not only will it take a screenshot, but it will save the captured image to your Pictures folder.

Right-click the File to Send It Anywhere

For those of you who still choose to stick with an offline email client, you can easily send your files to someone else, without having to scavenge for the exact folder they’re located in through your email client. Right-click on the file, then go to Send to, after which you will be presented with a number of options, like emailing the file, sending it to your USB drive, or to a different directory on your computer. In case you want more options, hold down the Shift key while you right-click the file. You can send the file to Dropbox, Skype, and even more directories on your computer.

Top 3 Photoshop Alternatives

23 Apr

Adobe Photoshop has become synonymous with image editing so much, it has become a verb. Honestly, how many times a day do you hear the words that something has been photoshopped? In an era of selfies and celebrities which are only known for being celebrities, a few times too many. But, regardless of that, Photoshop is the premiere tool if you are a photographer, illustrator, or if you simply like to manipulate digital images. The list of things it can do is extremely impressive, but we’ve decided to take a look at some of its alternatives, and see what they have to offer.

GIMP

The most well-known alternative to Photoshop is GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The best thing about it is that it comes as freeware, but with some Photoshop-grade editing capabilities. Of course, Photoshop still has the edge, but GIMP is not far behind in terms of what it can do. It may have a feature or two less than PS, but it’s far from being a speck in its rearview mirror.photoshop_alternative_11

For those who are considering using GIMP, but are somewhat concerned if they are going to be able to wrap their heads around, don’t worry, because GIMP is not that difficult. Most of the things you do in PS, like filtering, masking, image stitching, using various brushes, you will be able to do here, as well. GIMP is available on all three major OS platforms: OS X, Windows and Linux distributions.

Pixlr

Pixlr is an image-editing software that is perfect for this day and age where everything that used to be on your desktop is migrating online. People rely more and more on cloud storage, instead of buying hard drives, or optical discs. Pixlr adopts the same approach, offering considerable image-editing power, without the need to install it. You just access it via your browser for free.

Photoshop users will feel right at home with it, because its interface borrows a lot from it. You can either point to the image on your computer, or online, and apply some of the most common tools, like dodging, burning, clone stamping, as well as various brushes and effects. As far as online-based image editors go, this one is the best.

Paint.NET

For those who prefer the familiarity of Paint, but would like more features and tools, Paint.NET is a dream come true. In terms of features, it is not up there with GIMP or Photoshop, but it doesn’t need to be, since its purpose is different. Still, it does let you work with some advanced stuff, like layers, and you can expand its functionality with plug-ins, and support for more file types. On top of it all, it is probably the most user-friendly image-editing application you can come across.

Try some of these out yourself and have some fun.

Useful Skype Tips and Tricks

23 Apr

While Skype may seem dead-simple to use, which it is, if you bother to take a look underneath its hood, you will find that it can do some advanced stuff you might not have expected from it. The thing about Skype is that these extra features are usually very well hidden and it takes some digging if you want to be able to use them. In order to save you hours of research on the subject, we have compiled a short list of hidden Skype features which allow you to make the most out of this powerful piece of software.

Use Text-Based Commands in Skype

Long before the days of Skype, IRC was the bomb, and the number one option for people to chat with one another. If you were an IRC user, you may remember that a lot of the actions had to be carried out via text commands. You can also do this on Skype, in a very similar way.skype_hints_33 For example, if you would like to add another one of your contacts to the chat, type in /add to invite them. You can also type in /topic to set up a topic, /set password to set up a password-protected chat room, /setrole to assign permissions to chatters, /kick to kick a user from the chat room, and /kickban to ban them from joining the chat again.

Send Files to Multiple Users

If you are chatting with two or more people at the same time, and you want to send a file to each of them, you don’t have to send it to each user individually. Instead, simply drag the file in the chat room window, and each contact present in the chat room will receive a copy of the file. This will save you a lot time, plus you don’t have to rely of email, Dropbox or other means of file sharing. Another way of going about it would be creating a group which has those selected contacts in it, and sending the file to that particular group of contacts.

Customize Notifications

Skype allows for some flexibility when it comes to notifications you receive. If you don’t like receiving a notification for pretty much anything, or if you would like to choose which notifications you would like to receive, you can do that by customizing your notifications. Simply go to Tools > Options > Notifications and click on Notification settings, and check the notifications you would like to receive.

Call Recording

Although Skype doesn’t have the ability to record calls, you can use a third-party program to do that for you. This can come in handy when discussing a business deal to make sure that all sides adhere to the agreement. You can record for personal reasons, as well, but we are not going to get into that one. MP3 Skype Recorder would be our recorder of choice for recording Skype calls.

Tips and Tricks that Make YouTube Better

23 Apr

I don’t think there is anyone out there with an active internet connection that doesn’t spend some time every day, whether it’s at work or at home, or both on YouTube watching music videos, short or animated movies, documentaries, various how-to clips or even full-length feature films.

YouTube has become a household name, and one of the most-visited websites on the internet. Now granted most of it is down to an insane number of cat videos, which seem to have become a universal form of communication, but there is also a great deal of useful, informative and educational content out there. Digging for it is the hard part, and can often lead to frustration. But, we have some tips and tricks we would like to share with you that will unlock YouTube’s full potential, so keep on reading.

Edit Your Videos with YouTube Editor

If editing videos for YouTube is not one of your strong suites, don’t despair, because with the help of YouTube Editor , you will be able to do basic video editing, and apply techniques such as trimming, rotating and combining videos, as well as inserting transitions and various effects.youtube_tips_22 What we like best about it, though, is that it helps you find royalty-free music. This way, your video will have a cool soundtrack, and it won’t be taken down because of copyright issues.

Blocked in Your Country? No Problem

Everybody hates getting that stupid message, but there is a way around that as well. Usually, the URL of the video that is unavailable for viewing in your country looks something like this: youtube.com/watch?v={video-id}. Now, you can watch it by changing the URL to look like this: youtube.com/v/{video-id}. Not only will you be able to watch the video, but it will fill up the entire browser window.

Watch Full-Length Features and TV Shows

As we mentioned a bit earlier, you can even watch full-length movies and TV shows on YouTube, by accessing their dedicated movies and TV shows . Furthermore, they are neatly divided into genres and available in Full HD quality, so it’s just like watching your favorite shows on TV. We say exactly, because these videos feature ads, as they are uploaded by the creators, who receive a portion of advertising revenue from YouTube. Of course, you can always add attributes like long, or HD, separated by a coma, when you type what you are looking in the search box, and YouTube will only return full-length or HD videos as a result.

Turn YouTube into a TV Set

Since most of us here are true couch potatoes, we like the convenience television provides us with. You just sit back, relax, and enjoy. The only problem is, you don’t always get to choose what you are going to watch. You can do that with YouTube, but sitting for hours behind the desk is not exactly our idea of comfort. Now, you can have the best of both worlds, thanks to YouTube TV , which lets you play high-quality videos of your choice. YouTube TV will even suggest stuff you might like if you are signed into your Google account, based on your likes, favorites and browsing history. The only thing left to do is to hook up your big-screen TV to your desktop or laptop, and work on becoming one with the sofa.

These are just some of the tips and tricks out there which can enhance your YouTube experience. We hope you have fun trying these out. Peace!

Top 3 Browser Alternatives for Your PC

10 Sep

Currently, the most popular browsers on the market are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. If you were to sit down in front of anyone’s computer, you’d most likely find one of these, or even all three if they are computer nerds.

Some advanced users would also want me to include Opera, which while not quite as popular as the aforementioned trio, is still an awesome browser in its own right. But, are they necessarily the best? We know that they are the most popular, but that doesn’t always go hand in hand with being the best.

Just think of your time back in high school. The most popular kids in school were hardly the best. In fact, they were far from it, but that’s high school for you. I’m not suggesting that Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer are bad browsers, but simply wondering: are there alternatives out there that are better? Or, if not better, at least some which offer something unique? Let’s find out.

Maxthonmaxthon web browser alternative

Although I expected Maxthon to be a stripped-down take on the same old idea, it is actually a browser that is crammed full of features. However, its main selling point is speed, seeing as the developer claims that is displays webpages about 20% faster than Google Chrome. It would be impressive even if it was just as fast as Chrome. But, I mentioned that it is full of useful trinkets and toys. For instance, you get a button which mutes all the sound notifications played by the browser. Also, much like Firefox, it allows you to install extensions if you want to expand its basic functionality.

Midori

Midori, unlike Maxthon, is actually a stripped-down browser. If you find all the other standard browsers too big, too clunky, and too bloated, and would prefer something more lean and streamlined, Midori is what you are looking for. Since it is so basic and minimalistic, it only has the bare essentials, which is a welcome approach if you have a computer that has slower or outdated hardware.

Still, Midori offers you the possibility of installing additional extension, although there aren’t many, since Midori is pretty much a niche-oriented browser, and it’s unlikely that it will a gather a massive following. Still, I liked it, since it’s lightning-fast, and I use it often when my computer resources are used by some other mammoth-sized pieces of software.

SlimBoat

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor Slimboat, Slimbrowser is an improvement in my opinion, and fits in nicely between the more feature-rich browsers like Chrome, Opera and Firefox, and the more basic Midori. Like Midori, it’s fast, but it comes equipped with stuff like an ad blocker, pop-up blocker, private browsing and so on. On the other hand, there is no possibility of adding extensions. Personally, I like this, because I rarely install extensions, and I like to have a browser that is complete straight out of the box.

So, there you go. Three alternatives to the most popular browsers. Give them a try, and maybe one of them will stick.