Make Things Easy!

Think About IT

You only need to know, what you need to use!

Like many people born before 1970, I came into computing a little late in life. In 1998 I realised it was time to study computing seriously, in order to be able to manage and maintain computers both for myself and others. Like many other people at the time, I was becoming ever more reliant upon computers and printers. Windows 95 had been unleashed, Microsoft became huge, and the internet was fast becoming one of the great technological advances of our time.

Since that time (during 2003 to 2008), I have completed 3 years of full time IT studies at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) and a Graduate Diploma in Information Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Now I work from home doing websites and try to keep up with the rapid advancements taking place.

I would like to share some of my knowledge and experience with anyone who is interested, of course!

I am grateful to the Sunshine Coast Computer Club for its constant warnings and advice to its members regarding frauds, scams and security threats which are ever increasing in number and sophistication.

We need to be in control of the following for safe enjoyable computing and use of the internet:

  • IT Security
  • Hardware and software maintenance
  • Health issues regarding computer use

Security

We all know it is important to update software, especially when security updates are available. Recently also we have been advised to turn off Java applets in whatever web browser we are using because of known vulnerabilities within applets. Furthermore, we need to run some sort of malware protection software to help protect us from viruses, trojans, spyware, spookware and scumware (especially if we are using Windows).

Of course we also need a good password management policy and adhere to the guidelines regarding choice of usernames and passwords. Additionally we need to make backups of important data by either using a cloud storage service (such as Google Drive) or an external hard drive (preferably both).

For a more detailed explanation of these points, read this article from Techlicious: 5-essential-steps-to-keep-your-computer-safe

The Australian Government provides a number of different websites for helping people to avoid scams and other online dangers. Such as the following:


Concerned about Crapware?

Without going into a long story, we all need to be aware of the danger of software downloads these days. Unfortunately several large and reputable software download websites have succumbed to the lure of bundling third part software with popular downloads. Without naming those companies, I would like to mention the ones that continue to provide a service devoid of ‘foistware’ (unwanted software foisted upon the end user). Two of the more trustworthy sites are:

Major Geeks

File Hippo

This information has been gleaned form the following webpage:

Downloading? Watch Out For These Danger Signs

Also, for the purpose of avoiding ‘crapware’ bundled with software downloads, the following service reportedly continues to be safe and reputable:

Ninite‎

This information has been gleaned form the following webpage:

More Ways To Avoid Unwanted Crapware

As always, think before you click!


Cloud Storage and Security

For users of cloud storage, such as Google Drive or Windows OneDrive, the following points neeed to be considered:

  • Two factor authentication
  • Different passwords for different accounts
  • Password protect documents that contain specific data
  • Encrypt sensitive data for added security

For a more details read this article from Kaspersky Lab:
A Guide to Cloud File Storage


Health problems related to computer use

Whether it be eye strain, postural problems or repetitive strain injury, these need to be addressed in order for computing to be an enjoyable experience. Apart from the obvious physical problems there is also the problem of mental stress and strain that may occur (I like to call it 'chronic information fatigue').

Lack of exercise and poor diet resulting from excessive computer use can also have long term consequences. The sooner these kinds of problems can be addressed the better.

The following article from The Windows Club offers some useful advice:

5-health-issues-every-over-40-computer-user-should-be-aware-of!


Vision Impairment

Tips from Microsoft at Home on how to see text and images clearly

  • Enlarge your text
  • Customize your display
  • Increase icon size
  • Use the Magnifier
  • Enlarge your mouse pointer
  • Improve your screen resolution
  • Magnify your computer screen

Adapted from the following excellent resource Setup and Maintenance: Microsoft at Home - Resources

I will add to this web page over time, however I don't want to provide lengthy help on topics where there is already an abundance of useful websites and forums. Usually when i want the answer to a technical problem, I use Google, as most people do. If you provide the right terminology, you will usually find a relevant answer. The key is in using the correct terms and using clear concise language.

Good luck, stay safe, and happy computing!

Rodney