Archive for June, 2009

At Computer Tutor we have a passion for helping people use their computer to get stuff done, to keep in touch with people, and to learn or be entertained. Even for beginners.

Start by identifying your goals. Be more specific than “I need to
learn how to use a computer.” I hear this a lot, and my next question is always “why?” Are you trying to get a job? Is some one telling you to get computer training? Do you want to be able to email family and friends? Shop online? Sell on eBay? Run a business? Maybe you just need to feel less frustrated when using your computer.

Here is what we suggest:

1. Have specific training goals.
2. Use your time wisely by focusing on those immediate goals.
3. Take it a day at a time – and practice practice practice!

You could spend years learning about computers, but you don’t have
to. It is an ongoing process, and you only need to know what you need to know. I have been teaching Windows, Email, Microsoft Office, and QuickBooks for many years, and I am still learning new stuff every day myself.

So don’t stress if it seems like a lot to learn – have fun!

If you are in Southern California and would like personalized training, click on the link on the right side of this page to the Computer Tutor Schedule of Classes.

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Note from Melissa: I wanted to share this article about ID thieves and social networking.

By Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin June 2009

When Bryan Rutberg first appeared on Facebook last December, he joined millions of other boomers, who are the fastest-growing users of social networking websites.

A month later, the 47-year-old tech industry executive became a victim of a scam that is increasingly occurring on websites like Facebook, MySpace and class reunion sites.

On Jan. 21, Rutberg discovered his Facebook page had been hacked with this alarming message: BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP! He tried to access his page to remove the warning, but his password had been changed. When he tried to alert his friends from his wife’s Facebook account that he was OK, he says, the scammer had “de-friended” her, blocking any messages he sent. Meanwhile, Rutberg’s Facebook friends who had posted “what’s wrong?” messages were getting replies from the hacker, who posed as Rutberg and claimed that he had been robbed in London and needed money to get home.

One concerned friend, Beny Rubinstein, wired $1,200 overseas, which the trickster quickly collected. In e-mail exchanges, the hacker had provided enough personal details to convince Rubinstein he was Rutberg. “If you’re looking to impersonate someone, Facebook is a good place to start,” Rutberg says. “My page has the names and photographs of my wife, kids, parents, friends, where I went to high school and college—all kinds of personal information.”

With such details readily posted, identity thieves “are clearly investing time and resources on social networks,” says Ryan Naraine of Kaspersky Lab, an online security firm.

A common ruse: tricking users into downloading a program that records their keystrokes. It’s likely that Rutberg inadvertently downloaded one such program, providing his Facebook e-mail and password to the identity thief.

One common virus on social networks is called Koobface (from the word “Facebook”), which infects computers when a “video” link is clicked. It can steal personal data and also prompt users to download an updated version of Adobe Flash. “By clicking on that link, it attempts to trick you into buying fake antivirus software for $30,” Naraine says.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt says that in five years, less than 1 percent of 200 million users had “security issues.” He says his company has bolstered its efforts to respond quickly to such problems. However, Facebook provides no phone contact number for members, and Rutberg says e-mails to Facebook reporting his hacking went unanswered for several days.

To avoid problems on social networks—or anywhere else online:

• Don’t click on links provided in messages—even from friends—unless you check them with a phone call or off-website e-mail.

• Get program updates by going to the company’s website, not through a provided link.

• Make your Facebook account private so that only friends can see your details.

• Scan your computer regularly with an updated antivirus program

• Be suspicious of anyone—even a “friend”—who asks for money over the Internet.

Report suspicious activity on social networks to that website and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).

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For those of you who previously had a computer with Windows XP, and
you have purchased a new computer with Windows Vista, there is
always an adjustment to learning a new environment.

And, if you received training from The Computer Tutor, you learned
about the Up One Level button for navigating through your Windows
XP file system. 

Where has it gone in Windows Vista?   No worries – you can still
easily navigate “Up One Level” with Vista’s “breadcrumb”
navigation.  Simply click on a folder on the address bar where you
can see the “path” that you have taken to get to where you are. OR
there is a drop-down arrow next to each folder name for a list of
other locations to jump to.

Use Vista's "Previous Locations" bar to go back up the path
Even Hansel and Gretel could find their way home again!


Have you ever struggled to find just the right word(s) in your
PowerPoint presentation or Word document – and then wondered where
that dusty old thesaurus is?

You can bring up a thesaurus on-the-spot in Word and PowerPoint.
Simply right-click on your existing word and select synonyms> for a
submenu of similar words you can choose from to replace what you have.

Cool beans! (Or chilly legumes, as my thesaurus would say).

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I receive a lot of questions from students with new computers complaining that when they send document attachments, the recipient is unable to open it.  What is going on?

Simple.  The sender has Microsoft Office 2007, while the recipient is on version 2003. But it doesn’t have to be a problem.

2007’s default document format is not readable in 2003. Even file exensions are different.

App                  File Extensions
                          2003               2007

Word                 .doc                 .docx
Excel                 .xls                   .xlsx
PowerPoint         .ppt                 .pptx

To save a file in a format readable in both versions, you have two options: Saving indiviual files in the older format as needed or you can change the SAVE settings to save all files in the older format by default.

To save in the older format on a file-by-file basis:

  1. Office button > Save As…
  2. Select the Word 97-2003 format.
  3. Name the file as you normally would.

To save ALL files by default in the 2003 format:

  1. Office button > Word Options…
  2. Click the Save category (at left).
    Under Save documents, click on the drop-down box for Save Files in this Format:
  3. Select Word 97-2003 Document .doc
  4. Click [OK].

All future documents will automatically save in a format that both versions can read.

NOTE:  Saving documents in the older version makes the newer formatting features unavailable in the document.

When you have groups of people you email on a regular basis, you can create a distribution list for easy email addressing.

To create a group distribution list, you are in the Inbox:
1. Open the Address Book. If you don’t see the Address Book button on your toolbar, go to Tools > Address Book…
2. Click File >  New Entry in the Address Contacts window.
3. Click New Distribution List
4. Name the List (we’ll call ours “Managers”
5. If you want to add members from your existing address book, click [Select Members…] and double-click on the names to be included in the list. 
  Click Add New to add email addresses not in your address book

To send a message to your Distribution list, choose the list like you would any individual from the list after clicking on [To:] in your message compose window.

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Computer User Training in Small Doses

Welcome to Computer Tutor News!  We’ll have tips and chats about everyday computer user stuff – to help make you be a better daily computer user.

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