Friday, July 10, 2009


Every once in awhile you just gotta get away from the old political grind. It seems that the folks over at the online magazine Straight Goods feel that way too. The following item comes Molly's way via SG. Its original source is a commercial site called Support.Com. Here, for your entertainment and education is one selection of the ten stupidest things you can do with your computer.
Top 10 dumbest things PC users do with their computers:
Don't blame the technology if you click on that pop-up that promises to "protect" your PC.
Who hasn't received that frantic call from their retired father or kid who's away at college, when their computer suddenly goes on the blink, due in part to something they've done? In the spirit of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,"®, the remote technology service company that makes owning and maintaining technology pain-free, offers its list of the Top 10 Dumbest Things people do with their home PCs.

"We know first hand how frustrating it is when a PC owner finds that his or her computer has been compromised by viruses, malware or some other insidious infection that can leave their computer totally useless," comments Anthony Rodio, COO of "Yet so many of the problems our customers bring to us are avoidable with just some common sense practices."

Top 10 misconceptions users have about computers.
To keep your computer running smoothly, when you need it most, offers its Top 10 misconceptions users have about computers:
Misconception #1.
Pop-up warnings while you browse the web are all telling the truth.
Fact: More than likely the pop-up you've received that's warning you of an imminent threat to your computer is rogue anti-virus or anti-malware software. At its worst, it's a delivery system for even more viruses and malware. If you install it, whether for free or paid for, try to uninstall it right away. But if that proves difficult, you may require professional assistance in having it removed. The best advice: Ignore those pop-up warnings, and, if necessary set your browser's pop-up blocker to limit or completely refuse pop-ups.
Misconception #2.
Recommendations to install Windows Updates don't apply to you.
Fact: They do, and ignoring them or putting them off is leaving the door open to more problems. These important Windows updates address security holes that have been discovered that allow viruses and malware to get into your system. If you refuse these updates or disable the whole Windows Update system, your system will be vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. Windows Update makes it easy to update your computer automatically in the middle of the night. The best advice: Don't disable the Windows Update feature or ignore when Windows is trying to alert you to something important. If you choose to leave your system un-patched, you could be turning your computer into an open book to hackers.
Misconception #3.
Email attachments are all safe because I have an antivirus program.
Fact: Antivirus programs are only as good as their last update and only if that update contains detection for the thing that just arrived in your email box. Most of the time, antivirus updates lag one to three days behind the release of new viruses. If you don't have the update for a virus, you're not protected from it. When it comes to email attachments, it's better to be safe than sorry. As a general rule, if you were not expecting something to come from someone, don't open it. And don't fall for scary email subjects, such as "is this really a naked picture of you?" If you open it, you won't be exposed, but your computer will be.
Misconception #4.
But that email attachment from my BFF is definitely safe, right?
Fact: Even if you recognize the name of a sender, be wary. Many viruses send themselves out automatically without your friend's knowledge. Viruses will infect your friend's system, go through their address book and send out an email to each of those addresses. In fact, you're MORE likely to get a virus from someone you know. Again, if you were not expecting an attachment to an email, don't open it.
Misconception #5.
Backups are only for big companies.
Fact: Think of backups like this — how important are the files on your computer and how long will it take to replace them? Enough said. You don't need to back up the entire hard drive every time you do a backup. But find a good backup program that backs up only the data that you create. Once you start backing up your data, you'll never again worry that your library of family pictures is gone forever or the novel you've been writing for three years is no longer there.
Misconception 6.
All peripherals work with all computers.
Fact: In a perfect world, all printers, scanners, video cameras, webcams, monitors, etc. would work with all computers. Unfortunately, the computing world just doesn't work that way. Not every version of Windows will handle all new hardware, even though Microsoft does its best to make sure your old hardware will work with their new version of windows. The bottom line is, as you upgrade your operating system, you just might have to upgrade some, if not all, of your peripherals.
Misconception #7.
Microsoft takes care of all my updates.
Fact: As nice as this thought is, it's just not true. There are many other technologies in your computer apart from Microsoft's, including Sun's Java and Adobe Flash, to name a couple. Just like with those Microsoft updates, don't ignore the update requests you receive from other important technologies and software.
Misconception #8.
You can put your faith and belief in everything you read in forwarded emails.
Fact: According to Dughael McLean, the "Godfather of Technology" at, "99.999 percent of stuff that you get forwarded from someone else are bald-faced, dyed in the wool, 100% un-authentic, complete and utter lies." But to be sure, McLean suggests checking the authenticity of forwarded emails at
Misconception #9.
You can always believe that an email that appears to come from a company, actually came from them.
Fact: That email from what appears to be a legitimate company, banking institution, or government agency is likely to be the work of a Phishing scammer. Phishing is a process of sending out thousands (sometimes millions) of emails that look very legitimate and that ask you to visit their website and enter your personal data, including your password. If you've followed the instructions, you've just given the scammers the key to your identity. The easiest way to thwart a Phishing scam is to avoid it. But if you're not sure, you can click on the link. Then before you type anything into the webpage, go to the "address bar" at the top of the page which contains the address of the website you're currently at. If, for instance, you expect to be at, the address bar will read If you're not there, you're somewhere else and you're about to reveal your personal information and password to someone else. Identity theft through Phishing is almost always caused by someone getting fooled like this. Be wary of those emails and you'll keep your information safe.
Misconception #10.
Thinking that computers don't need maintenance by a human.
Fact: You take your car in for service every 5,000 miles. So why wouldn't you do that with your personal computer. It too is complex machinery. To be safe, every once in a while have your computer looked at by a professional, human technician, who has years of experience and the tools needed to properly assess and address any problems your computer may be experiencing.
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