Sunday, September 25, 2011

High Speed Internet But Its Still Slow?

I got a question here a while back from a person who upgraded to high speed cable broadband (20+ Mb) and was wondering why the internet did not seem any faster?  Probably one of the most commonly claimed reason for this is a slow computer, or it is undoubtedly caused by using a slow browser (Internet Explorer); registry errors; and viruses and spyware.

Now there may be some truth to some of these claims but there may be other reasons behind the slow connections as well.

  • First make sure that your system is virus free!  Viruses can definitely cause a slow connection or appear to be slow.
  • If you have any older computer, your computer simply may not be able to handle the faster speeds.
  • Test your internet connection and see how fast your internet connection actually is; you can test your connection at: http://www.speedtest.net/.
  • I have mentioned this in a previous post, as far as upgrading to a faster browser is concerned, this is pure nonsense.  Use whatever browser you feel comfortable using.
  • As for the registry errors, like the browser upgrade, this is a waste of time.  Cleaning the registry will not provide any noticeable benefits.  I actually saw an article in PCWorld where they tested this and there was either no change or the systems where actually slower!
  • One reason that may cause your connection to seem slow is the fact that the other side may be slow.  For example if you are trying to view a webpage from webserver that is either overloaded or simply has slow connection your content will load slowly.  In other words, your connection is only as fast as the connection on the other end!  In my experience this usually the most common reason for a connection appearing to be slow.
  • A second similar reason to the one above is the fact that all users share the same bandwidth (amount of Mb’s) and most ISP’s do not have enough bandwidth to service all their customers at the same time, so during busy times your connection speed may be slow, which should be reflected if you preform a speed test.
  • If you are on a Laptop (or a desktop) using a Wi-Fi connection that is poor, your Wi-Fi connection will be slow which can cause your internet connection to appear slow.

Below are a few screen shots of Speed Test.  Like a lot of speed test places, they have ads for registry scanning and upgrading to a faster web browser.

speed-test-start

speed-test-finish

Monday, September 19, 2011

Example Junk Email

I do not get much junk email, but I always like it when I get the type of email below – really got to feel sorry for these poor people!  Do NOT ever reply to these types of email.  This sample points out one good way to determine if the email is a fake, and that is all the misspells and grammar errors.

Hi
From Mrs Melinda Marquez;
Attention,
 
Please i want you to have patience and read my e-mail because i strongly believe you will help me and allso help yourself.I will tell you more about myself as soon as i hear from you.
 
I need someone who have police exprience for the protection of this $30m in your country because this money is all i have now in my life.
 
My name is Mrs.MELINDA  MARQUEZ, I am a Filipino citizen and allso a deaf woman,My husband died on 07 May 2007, He was a wealthy heir and businessman at the head of a large holding.
 
My husband fell seriously ill and was taken to USA for intensive care, but he later died of his illness. So I inherited from my late husband the sum of U.S. $30,000,000.00 USD. (Thirty Million U.S. dollars).
 
This money have hidden in a metal Briefcase and deposited in a security company in west africa and i am seriously worried about the money because the found was deposited in Abidjan Cote d'ivoire.I am worried because cote d'ivoire having serious political crises but i really thank GOD that the metallic trunk box is save overthere according to the security company director.
 
This deposit was coded under a secret arrangement that my Briefcase contains only family property. This means that the company itself does not know the exact contents of the box because it was deposited by my husband and declared as containing family property as africa is far from Philippines here and i dont want the money to deposited here because of Philippines goverment.Also, the main reason why I send you this letter is that, having more confidence in my surroundings here in the Philippines , I find myself at an impasse and I would like you to help me quietly to take my Briefcase money to a place much more discreet and stable in your country where I can start investing and treat my cancer.
 
PLEASE THIS IS WHY I WANT THIS TRANSACTION TO CONCLUDE URGENTLY PLEASE,Please excuse this humble email if it offends your sensibilities, but I have
no other means to contact you. I cannot talk on the telephone, so I did a
search for your email address, which I found on the international business
directorate email data search.My real name is Mrs Melinda Marquez and was born on 3rd july 1972, A Deaf and 39 years old woman, A Christian widow who is dying of oesophageal cancers and i want everything to conclude urgent so that i will come overthere to treat myself.
 
Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the period of one year more due to cancer problem but i want to be in position of this money so that i can use it as GOD directed me to do.
The family of my late husband is not aware of the existence of the deposit that made by my husband in a security company and they will never know. However, I'm always afraid of my husband's brothers as they continue to spy on me and even listen to my conversations. That is why I decided to find someone to trust outside the Philippines that will help me to withdraw the briefcase from the finance company and discreetly place the money in your account abroad for future investment.
 
I ask you to consider my situation as that of a widow and come to my aid because today from this case, I have no more money and my financial situation is more difficult (my financial situation is to zero)because my cancer illness.
 
If my cry touch your mind, I will send you in my next email, the particulars of the security company so that you can contact them for the immediate dispatch of this box for you to secure it.
 
If you sincerely want to help, we will discuss in advance the percentage that I give you of the total amount.
 
Thank you very much for your cooperation and I look forward to hearing from you for the conclusion of this case.I will tell you more about myself when i hear from you urgently and may God be with you.
 
Yours
Mrs Melinda Marquez

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Internet Safety–Some Additional Tips and Examples

You can find my first set of internet safety tips here: http://www.computer-skills.info/2011/09/internet-safety-101.html.

  • Brower Settings – Make sure you browser is either using default security or high security settings.  In Internet Explorer this is under Tools >> Internet Options >> Security tab and Privacy tab.  The Default and Reset all Zones should be greyed out, if they are not then click on the Reset all zones to reset Internet Explorer to default security levels.
    internet-explorer-security-settings-tab
    Under the Privacy tab make sure the default button is greyed out; also make sure that Turn on Pop-up Blocker is checked.
    internet-explorer-privacy-options
  • Shortened URL’s – While shortened URL’s are great, they have one major drawback, you do not know where they lead.  A malicious person can use this to his/her advantage.

Next I have an example of 2 ads that I happened to come across, I tried finding some even more questionable sites/content but surprisingly its hard to find when you want it!  The first ad is possibly the most tricky in the fact that it is designed to look like a Facebook plugin on a website.  The second ad is attempting to get you to install a plugin in order to play some media – more than likely the missing plugin is a virus or some other type of similar nasty software.  The plugin it is claiming to need by the way is actually a valid plugin for playing video.  Both of these ads where displayed prominently on a page to make them look like they where supposed to be part of the content.

tricky-ad-for-facebook     ad-trying-to-get-you-to-download-plugin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Changing the Desktop Background (Alternative Method)

One of the best things I like about Windows is the fact that there are multiple ways of accomplishing something.  I’ve already mentioned one way of changing the desktop background, which can be found here: http://www.computer-skills.info/2011/07/windows-desktophow-to-change-background.html.  This second method is an extremely easy way to change the Desktop background.

1.  Right click on an image on your computer and on the drop down select Set as Desktop Background.

right-click-set-image-as-desktop-background

This method also works if you are browsing the web and happen to see an image you want as your desktop background.  Simply right click on the image and Set as background.

right-click-web-image-set-as-desktop-background

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Internet Safety 101

Internet safety has more to do with your computer’s security; however, there are a few things to keep in mind when browsing the web as well as a few security tips.  I am not going to cover web etiquette, cyber bulling, or online predators or any of that other “nonsense."

  • First, a note about web browsers myths – I have seen a large number of ads about web browsers.  For example, for a more secure web browsing experience you should upgrade to Mozilla Firefox.  Or you should use Internet Explorer for browsing the web and use a more secure browser (Firefox or Google Chrome) for financial transactions.  For the most part this all pure nonsense, your web browser is only as safe as you make it or as safely as you use it.  Just make sure you are using the latest, most up-to-date version of your browser.
  • Security tip – make sure you have Windows Update on.  In Windows XP, visit: www.update.microsoft.com.  For Windows Vista and 7 users, Windows Update is located in the Start Menu under All Programs >> Windows Update.  Having the latest security patches will prevent threats from getting in.
  • Stay away from questionable websites!  If you do not want malicious software on your computer, then do not visit sites that often host this content (I do not believe I have to say what types of sites host this crap?).
  • Be extremely careful of websites that want to run add-ons; trusted sites such as your bank, email provider, ect. should be ok.
  • When downloading files, do not run the files save the files to the hard drive first.  Most websites I see always tell you when you see the popup for the download to run the file, do not listen to this, instead save!
  • Be careful of files that you download online, especially from free sites (backgrounds, music, programs, ect.)!  Files from free sites such as a free animated desktop background, for example, will often contain viruses or at the very least will attempt to install unwanted software.
  • Downloading torrents – if you are attempting to steal a program such as Microsoft Windows (or maybe Adobe software) this way – well lets just say you deserve what you will get!  Again, torrents from trusted sources such as the program’s maker should be ok.
  • I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again – most viruses require some action on your part to be installed.  If you see something suspicious – close the browser and DO NOT click on anything!  If you have to pull the plug!  For an example of this, check out an earlier blog post: http://www.computer-skills.info/2011/04/how-to-spot-fake-anti-virus-virus.html.