Don’t get scammed: friends edition

This is an urgent message for all: beware of this email scam. I’ve taken calls from multiple people this week about this.

Here’s how it plays out:

  1. Person A (a friend of yours; not you, hopefully) gets their email account hacked (possibly by clicking a link in another spam message that looks like it’s coming from Verizon support or something).
  2. Once the hacker is in their account, he can harvest all of the email contacts, or use messages in the mailboxes to mine for addresses. They may set up filters to redirect incoming mail, so Person A won’t initially notice the hack.
  3. You then get a message like this:
Hi, Hope you're good. May I ask a favor, Do you shop on Amazon. Thanks
[Person A's name]
  1. Don’t reply! It’s a scam! Call/text your friend, Person A, and let them know they’ve been hacked. For you, that’s the end of it. Delete the email. If you reply—whether you say yes or no—you may get a reply like this:
I've been trying to purchase a $300 Amazon E-Gift by email, but it says they are having issues charging my card. I contacted my bank and they told me it would take a couple of days to get it sorted. I intend to buy it for my Niece whose birthday is today. Can you purchase it from your end for me or maybe you can get it for me in any store around you, I'll refund it to you once my bank sorts the issue out. Thanks [Person A's name]
  1.  Don’t reply! It’s a scam! And now the hacker has your address, maybe on a list of people to target in the future.

Stop at step 4. Don’t get scammed!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Tip: how not to email a change of address

So it’s time to change your email address and let everyone know you’ve moved. Here are a few things to avoid when you’re sending out that notice


Case in point: bad email change

Sending from your old address: Sending the message from your old address is a bad idea because it reinforces your presence at the old address. If someone replies to your message, their reply goes to the old address. It also tends to make it harder for your recipients to add your new address to their contacts. Some people do this because they haven’t imported their contacts to their new account yet. Continue reading

Free/open Apple Classes at BestBuy

Apple classes at BestBuyDo you have a Mac or an iPad and struggle with the basics? I’m always happy to help, but you might think about checking out these free classes. The BestBuy store on Independence Blvd. in Virginia Beach has an Apple rep regularly in the store offering free classes in things like “Mac Basics” and “iPad Basics.” Help build your foundation of knowledge—for free! If there’s another BestBuy closer to you, you might ask if they offer something similar. But if you live in Hampton Roads and the Independence store is not too far from you, this might be just the thing for you!

Tip: Look before you leap


Canon support? Mostly not.

Here’s my big tip of the day: When you do Internet searches, look before you leap!
Look the picture here, taken from Google search results for Canon Support.
The blue underlined “links” are what you click to go to any of the results.
The green parts are how you look before you leap; they show the URL, or the web address, of each search result.
All of these may look like Canon Support, but only one of them is! Continue reading

Read it, or write it down, or take your chances

outlook dot comThe classic line: “Something came on, and I pushed it, and I didn’t read it, and now I don’t know what’s going on.”

What was going on in this case was a user dealing with Microsoft changing Hotmail to He may have been a little less thrown if he’d read the message about the change.

When you see a message appear on your screen, read it. Think about writing it down, since you may not understand it, and after you click a button, you probably won’t remember what it said.

Whether you either (or neither) of these things, if you find yourself stuck, I’m happy to help get you unstuck.

Nip it in the bud

errorA word of advice, folks: when you have a problem with your computer, nip it in the bud! Don’t let it fester and get worse and worse, because the worse it gets, the harder the problem is to solve. Promise me, okay? I love helping you, and I like to spare you the unnecessary heartbreak of a fouled-up system that can’t get fixed.  –Eileen

Add Lexmark to the “avoid” list

printersMany of you have heard my disclaimer for HP printers. It goes like this: If need my help for trouble with your HP printer, understand that it can take several hours (or more) to troubleshoot the problem, which may not result in a solution. I will be charging for all of that time, as I have given away too much time in the past, feeling like it shouldn’t take that long to solve a problem with a printer. HP’s printer software seems to get bigger and buggier every year. You couldn’t pay me to have one. Continue reading

The mailer daemon is not out to get you

mailer-daemonWe all have to deal with them at times: the “mailer daemon” (or “mail administrator” or “mail delivery subsystem”) messages that show up in our inbox to let us know an email message we sent did not make it to its destination. Sometimes the reason is obvious—we spot a typo in the email address we used for the recipient—but often we can’t see what the message is trying to tell us. I hope this helps demystify things a bit.

Continue reading

How would it feel to lose it all?

Not-Bangalore's backup drivesIf calamity struck today—
a lightning strike,
a hard drive failure,
a computer crash—
how would you feel?

You talkin’ to me?

Some people don’t keep anything precious on their computer. They use a web-based email system (Gmail, Hotmail, AOL mail, Yahoo mail), they don’t use Bookmarks (Favorites), and they don’t use their computer for much more than email, web browsing, or playing games. They don’t really have anything to lose. (They might, with the email, but we’ll talk about that another time). If this describes you, you have nothing to fear, and you need to make no contingency plans.

If, however, you keep anything precious on your computer (documents, pictures, music, email messages/addresses, etc.), or you have anything that would bring you grief to lose, you need to take steps to keep your data safe and back up your files.

Continue reading

Unfortunate to-do list

notbangalore-software-boxesI recently had to wipe my hard drive after a buggy USB device trashed my Windows 7 installation. This list started as a to-do list of things that would need to be done in the process of migrating my life from an old Windows XP machine (which I did only three months ago). This process is painful enough one time, but thanks to the list, I was able to sail through it the second time. I know some folks are curious about the list, so I figured I would post it here. Continue reading