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Columns : Computer Korner Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Your Weekly Computer Tips by WorldStart
Dec 30, 2009 - 7:28:53 AM

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The Bahamas Weekly is pleased to present weekly computer tips by WorldStart.com

Get the latest Technology news, helpful computer and software tips, discounts on new gizmos and gadgets that make life easier.

Quick Tips

Missing Recycle Bin

I had yet another distressed Worldstart reader contact me yesterday to tell me that their recycle bin had pulled a Harry Houdini and escaped from their desktop. This is worrisome, to say the least, but, as always, there is a solution. Actually, there are a couple of solutions depending on your Operating System, so let's get to them!

In Windows Vista and 7, Right- Click on your Desktop to bring up the Personalize Appearance and Sounds window.

Click “ Change Desktop Icons”


From here, you'll see a list of check boxes, one of which being the Recycle Bin. If it's not checked, then do so and hit Apply.


You should now have your Recycle Bin icon back of your desktop!

If you happen to be a Windows XP user, click here. That tip should help you get your XP Recycle Bin back where it belongs.


MS Office

Picking a Date in a Different Format

Did you give yesterday's Date Picker feature for MS Word 2007 a try?

I know that I really love the idea… especially for templates.

Anyway, as I was working with the Date Picker I noticed, as I'm sure so did you, that the date is formatted in a way that I would rarely use...


This leads me to wonder how I can change that.

So, as expected, I went searching for an answer.

And… after many failed attempts with right-clicks and whatnot I finally took a good look at the Controls section of the Developer tab of the Ribbon.

Guess what?

There's a Properties button that becomes active when I have the Date Picker selected.

Clicking the Properties button gave me just what I was looking to find… Imagine that?

As you can see in the center area you do have a choice as to how the date is formatted.

Pick one and click OK.

Yeah! I mean I thought that this little gem had a lot of potential to begin with but now I find it even more useful that I did before.


Today's Feature

Security Terms

I remember when I first started wrestling with my pc and hearing the tidal wave of jargon I had to sift thought and interpret in order to figure out what's going on. It's like learning a new language filled with everything from extremely technical terms, to almost silly terms, and some very far-reaching acronyms.

Today my focus is going to be on security terms that are used regularly when discussing security issues. We can benefit greatly by being familiar with them. You may already be familiar with some of these terms from past articles or personal experience, but when it comes to security repetition is key.

Anti-virus : Software that scans your pc for viruses, worms, and trojans using up-to-date virus signatures. Once found, the program can remove, or quarantine the virus and (ideally) keep it from performing whatever malicious duties is was sent to do.

Attack: An attempt by an unauthorized individual or program to gain control over aspects of your pc for various purposes.

Backdoor: This is sometimes referred to as a trapdoor, and is a feature in programs that the original programmer puts into the code in order to fix bugs or make other changes that need to be made. However, if this information becomes known to anyone else it poses a potential security risk.

Firewall: A firewall refers to either a software or hardware device that basically protects your internal network from any outside threat or any unauthorized Internet access from the inside.

Hijacking: An attack whereby an active, established, session is intercepted and used by the attacker. Hijacking can occur locally if, for example, a legitimate user leaves a computer unprotected. Remote hijacking can occur via the Internet.

Hole: A known flaw in code that can compromise the security of your system by allowing unauthorized access.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure): This is a version of http that is far more secure and is used (or should be used) in areas of the web where sensitive information is being used or exchanged.

Key: These are the names of Windows Registry components that are responsible for keeping the settings in Windows. Every time a program gets added to or uninstalled from a pc the Registry gets changed. If a virus gets into your system and makes changes to your registry keys it can cause serious performance changes.

Key loggers: These are used in legitimate programs but have been a favorite of hackers for years. Basically, what a key logger does is log your keystrokes for however long it is configured for. Hackers use these types of programs to find important information like usernames and passwords for sensitive accounts or highly secure areas.

@mm: This is usually seen at the end of a virus name i.e. W32netsky@mm and signifies that this virus is a mass mailer. A mass mailer is the term for a virus that upon infection can mail itself out to email addresses that it harvests from various areas of your hard drive—especially your address book. Sometimes you will see the designation with only one "m" at the end of the virus name this stands for mailer and this kind of virus can only ride along with email messages you send.

Here are some more security terms that you should become familiar with. There'll be a quiz next week—just kidding!

Macro virus: Code written to take advantage of 'Hotkey" abilities to deliver it's payload or replicate. Macros are hotkeys—key combinations that you can record and link to a single or fewer keystrokes.

Payload: This is the portion of the virus that is released into your system, it isn't always destructive but is always unwanted.

Port: The protocol stack TCP/IP which is the protocol of the Internet (for the most part). There are several small parts to an Internet address, or IP address. While the IP address is your logical location on the web, the port number is an identifier for the service you would like to use on the system you're connecting to.
*A port has always been a tough concept to grab but is a very important component in fighting off hackers, Firewalls are so important because they deny any accesses to or from ports that you haven't granted access to. A firewall is an absolute necessity for broadband users.

Protocol: A set of rules and standards to govern the exchange of data between computers and related devices. There are protocols in almost every aspect of computers from web design to programming to network administration.

Replication: After a virus successfully infects a PC it usually starts to copy itself. Then it tries to infect either different parts of your system, or other systems, usually through address books or shared network files. This is usually one of the chief missions of a virus and by means of replication viruses can grow and infect new systems at an exponential rate.

Security response: The process of research, creation, delivery, and notification of responses to viral and malicious code threats, as well as operating system, application, and network infrastructure vulnerabilities.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transport Protocol. This is an email protocol that is responsible for moving mail from mail server to mail server.

Variant: A modification to the original virus code in an attempt to either throw antivirus software companies off, or create a different effect from the virus.

Virus definitions file: These are data files used by antivirus programs to help them identify and deal with viral attempts to infect your system.

Stay safe out there,


Quick Tips

Where'd that Download Go?

In Mozilla Firefox we have the handy-dandy download screen which displays our recent downloads, but what if you need to find the folder where it downloaded to?


In Firefox, just click Tools>Downloads, and then Right-Click the download in question.

Select “ Open Containing Folder” and you'll be taken to where your download resides!


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Computers 101

How can I print what appears on the screen completely? Many times it will cut off some of the right side of the material.

Ever go to print a web page or email only to have the right side chopped off? Many web designers are conscious of the fact that some people will want hard copies of their web pages. For these sites, you can just print in regular "portrait" mode. At other sites, however, part of the text gets chopped off in regular page orientation. Before you print anything it is a good idea to preview the page first. With Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox just go to File / Print Preview.

There you can make sure that everything will print correctly. If you see that part of the page will be cut off, just click the " Page Setup" button.

You can then change your page layout to landscape. Your browser is, after all, in landscape format, so why not go with the flow. Go down to where it says "Orientation" of "Format" and click the radio button next to "Landscape".

Click OK.

Print Preview will change to show the new layout. Is everything there now? If for some strange reason there is still stuff being cut off, you could go back to Page Setup and change the paper size to legal, then send a nasty email to the webmaster of that site telling them to re-take Web Design 101.


Today's Feature

Photoshop Actions

As intuitive as the Photoshop interface is, it can be quite cumbersome for some. This is especially true when you need to do a certain task or even worse, a group of different tasks repeatedly. For instance, let’s say you have a group of 40 images and you need to resize them to a smaller size and then convert them to grayscale for your online photo album. Now, this isn’t really a complex task, but 40 images?! No matter how fast your fingers move, it’s going to take quite a bit of time and a few cups of coffee to get that done. The people over at Adobe knew this would happen and that’s why they packed a nifty little feature in Photoshop that unfortunately many of us don’t know about or simply overlook. I am talking about Photoshop Actions.

Go to Window, Actions to show the Action window. What is an action? An action is a series of recorded steps. You can record an action anytime while you are carrying out a series of operations in Photoshop. Why would you want to record your steps? Let’s take the above hypothetical example of converting 40 images to grayscale. Now, in scenario one, you could convert all 40 images manually by using the Image Mode, Grayscale choice and then resizing it. Or you could manually do this to the first image, record your actions and replay the action on all the other images. Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn’t it?!

Alright, so let’s get started. To create an action, click on the Create New Action button at the bottom of the actions palette. In the little window that pops up, give the action a name and save it in the specified set. By default, Photoshop will save all new actions into the Default actions set. It’s preferable that you create a new set and save your custom actions there. (Just in case you're wondering, a set is nothing but a folder). To create a new set, click on the Create New Set button at the bottom of the actions palette.

Now, in this action, we are going to make the size of the image smaller and convert it to grayscale. Create a new action and give it a name. I named my new action "Grayscale Resize" so that later on, I'll remember the purpose for which I recorded it. Now, open the image and perform the steps manually after switching the action recorder on. Click on the little circular Record button at the bottom of the palette. It will turn to a bright red color to indicate that recording has started. No performance anxiety yet? Good! Then let's keep going!

Next, go to Image, Image Size and change the size of your image to a smaller size. Then, by using the desaturate feature, convert it to grayscale. This is where you'll press the little square button to stop the recording of the action and bada bing! You're done! All the steps we went through have been recorded in the action that we created.

Now, if you want to apply the same setting to another image or 39 others, all you have to do is open the images, go to the actions palette, highlight the grayscale resize action and press Play. It's as simple as that! Now, you can sit back and watch as Photoshop executes all the steps of the action at turbo speed. This sure will save you quite a bit of time.

Here I have demonstrated a rather simple example, but as you incorporate more and more complex operations into actions, you will see the real magic of this. Now, if only we could have something like this in our real lives. I am scared to think what chaos that would entail! : )

~Yogesh Bakshi

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Your Weekly Computer Tips by WorldStart