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Tip: Allow Outlook 2003 to show images in email automatically

  • By default, Outlook 2003 blocks the download of email message images. To change this behavior, open an email that should contain images and right-click on a picture holder area. Then, select Download Pictures to change behavior for just this message.
  • You can also select Change Automatic Download Settings to change behavior for all messages, but we don't recommend you do so. Outlook contacts an outside server to get those images, and in doing so, the server can plant a cookie on your computer to track your use, long after the email is gone. Download images only for trusted emails.

Tip: Privacy policies may not cover all cookies

  • A website's privacy policy doesn't always address the use of the information taken by foreign cookies and stored on outside servers. Foreign cookies are cookies planted by third-party advertisers that show ad graphics on other pages.
  • A web portal's privacy policy may discuss the use of your information by that portal, but neglect to discuss the use of your information by its advertisers. Keep third parties in mind when reading any site's policy.

Tip: See your site through another person's eyes

  • If you know anyone with color blindness, you probably know a little bit about red-green color deficiency, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. There are several different types of color blindness and each could affect the way visitors see your website.
  • To see whether your site's color combinations and contrast are readable to a person with color blindness, go to www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php and enter your page's URL. Visicheck renders your site to show you what a color deficient person might see.

Tip: Is your website accessible? Find out with online tests

  • Federal legislation states that government websites must be accessible to disabled users, but anyone with a website would do well to make his site accessible too. If you provide goods, services, or information and your site isn't readable by a text reader, you're losing out on potential customers.
  • To determine whether a page in your site is accessible, visit webxact.watchfire.com and enter your page's URL. You'll see a report with items you could improve to make your site more accessible.

Tip: Grab that domain name before someone else does

  • Within the past few years, domain name registration services have dropped their prices to an all-time low. Now, there's no excuse not to register your domain name. Even if you don't plan to add a website immediately, it's a good idea to register your desired domain name before someone else grabs it.
  • Low price registrars include sites such as Go Daddy.com (www.godaddy.com) at $8.95/year, Yahoo! Domains (http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains) at $9.95/year, and Domain Direct (www.domaindirect.com) at $14.95/year. For even more choices, search on the keywords "domain name registration." Most companies provide the same basic services regardless of price, but be sure to read all the fine print for each site before you commit to using one.

Tip: Who owns that domain name?

  • When visiting a website, you may wonder who it belongs to, especially if there's little contact information available at the site. To find out who owns a domain name, investigate using a whois tool. A whois tool searches domain registry databases for information about a domain name's availability and ownership information.
  • Most domain name registrars provide a whois tool on their site's front page, or you can do a keyword search on "whois" in your favorite search engine.

Tip: Customize IE by managing multiple languages (IE 6)

  • If you view web pages that use languages other than English, you can easily add language support to Internet Explorer so these pages display using the correct characters.
  • Select Tools | Internet Options and click the Languages button on the General tab of the Internet Options dialog box. Click the Add button in the Language Preference dialog box that appears and locate your target language in the Add Language dialog box. Click the OK button, and IE adds the character set for this language.
  • Since this language support takes up processor time, having too many languages loaded can slow down Microsoft Internet Explorer, so only load the languages you know you'll use. You can always load a seldom-used language on demand, and then remove it from the list by selecting it and clicking Remove.

Tip: Search for useful Adobe PDF files online with Google

  • To quickly find PDF files on the web, use Google (www.google.com) to search specifically for the PDF file format. In the search text box, just type your search term followed by filetype:pdf.
  • For example, if you want to search for PDF files about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), type "VoIP filetype:pdf" without the quotes. Google locates all available PDF files with VoIP in the text.

Tip: Decrease your liability with email disclaimers

  • Law firms and businesses often use disclaimers to protect themselves against liability for incidents like a breach in confidentiality, a virus transmission, or faulty advice or advertising. Email disclaimers can't guarantee limitless protection against related liability, but they can deter some people from seeking legal compensation from your company and provide your message recipients with a reason to treat the contents of your message with due respect.
  • If you'd like to learn more about email disclaimers, check out Emaildisclaimers.com at www.emaildisclaimers.com. In addition to information about the benefits and pitfalls of email disclaimers, this site provides sample disclaimers you can use in your own messages, as well as links to third-party resources.

Tip: Store your passwords with an online password protection service

  • We all know we shouldn't use the same password with different applications, and writing passwords down or storing them on your PC introduces another set of problems. Needless to say, remembering all your passwords can be a mental strain. We've found a few free services that store all your password information, in addition to offering other features, such as PIN numbers, web login information, and software keys, depending on the service. Check them out and decide which is best for your needs:
    • http://www.moonsoftware.com/pwagent.asp
    • http://www.passwordsafe.com
    • http://www.accountlogon.com
    • http://www.roboform.com

Tip: Find a huge glossary of internet terms online

  • If you're confused by internet jargon, such as Backbone, Extranet, MIME, and Proxies, there are many places you can go for descriptions, but one of the best is Matisse Enzer's Glossary Of Internet Terms. Found at http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary, this site has a huge number of terms that dwarfs Webopedia's collection, all with concise descriptions that are sure to help you better understand the changing technology we use.

Tip: Join the VOIP Security Alliance to combat security threats

  • As Voice Over IP (VOIP) gains momentum, security is a growing concern. The VOIP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) was created as a collaborative organization of VOIP providers, security providers, vendors, and experts in the field. The organization sponsors VOIP security projects, tools, and disseminates documentation and resources to the public. VOIPSA is an open organization that welcomes the contributions, participation, and support of anyone for whom VOIP security is a concern. To learn more or join, point your browser to http://www.voipsa.org.

Tip: Check to see if a website is up to date (IE 6, Firefox 1)

  • Have you ever been on a site and felt the content was long out of date? Sometimes you can tell by scrolling to the bottom of the page and viewing the Copyright or "Last Updated" information, but this information isn't always accurate. If you want to know for sure when the page was last touched, open the page in your web browser and the type "javascript:alert(document.lastModified)" in the address bar.
  • A dialog box displays the date and time the page was last updated.

Tip: Check out these high quality science sites

  • Looking to get a science fix? If you're a fan of the How Stuff Works printed series, check out http://www.howstuffworks.com to find informative articles about what makes things work online. The Exploratorium, found at htp://www.exploratorium.edu, is an online museum featuring exhibits and lots of hands-on activities about science, art, and human perception. Last, you might link to the BBC's science and Nature page (http://bbc.co.uk/sn) for interesting articles about any variety of subjects sure to broaden your science perspective.

Tip: Five tips to secure your PC

  • In this day of hacker onslaught and private user threats, security may seem impossible. But you can take few extra steps (in addition to a virus scan, firewall, and sensible download practices) to give yourself an edge.
    • 1. Use a password on your machine. Sure, you'll need to enter it every time you boot up, but so will a hacker.
    • 2. Use more than one anti-spyware or antivirus program. An internal system scanner may not catch every security issue, which is why it's wise to use different scan applications concurrently. (Note: Although you can run more than one virus scan on your PC, you should only ever have one firewall enabled at a time.)
    • 3. When Microsoft comes out with a new security patch, make sure you install it.
    • 4. Back up your data or store it in an encrypted location separate from your computer.
    • 5. If you're not using it at night, turn off your computer. This closes your internet connection and may help you get a better night's rest.
Tip: Understand online trends with the Google zeitgeist
  • Google offers an interesting service for those of us who like to keep pace with what people around the world are searching for. You can see breakdowns of the top ten most popular search terms by month or year on the Google Zeitgeist page, at http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html. Queries are broken down by categories such as news, male/female celebrities, sports, music, and of course general search terms. You can also see what people from other countries are interested in, and perhaps draw your own conclusions as to audience interest (or taste).

Tip: Find a web page you forgot using the History pane (Internet Explorer 6)

  • You probably look at dozens of pages every day, and may sometimes forgot to bookmark a crucial page. Microsoft Internet Explorer gives you a way to recover the page using its History feature. To enable and use it:
    • 1. Click the History button (or View | Explorer Bar | History) in IE 6. This pane appears in the left side of the Internet Explorer window and contains shortcuts to every page you visited to up to three weeks ago. By default, the links are organized by date.
    • 2. Click on the link corresponding to the week in which you believe you last viewed the site. Links in each week's groupings are listed alphabetically.
  • You can change the number of days pages are saved in the History pane. To do so:
    • 1. Choose Tools | Internet Options in Internet Explorer.
    • 2. On the General property sheet, change the number in the Days To Keep Pages In History spin box.
    • 3. Click OK.

Tip: Safe and educational sites for your pre-schooler

  • Today it's important to raise your kids, especially pre-schoolers, with an awareness of the internet. Although you can find thousands of sites aimed at kids featuring games and learning activities, many of these sites also feature embedded advertisements for food and toys. Below we've listed five sites featuring games and educational activities that aren't flooded with ads. As always, you should spend time with your child when he is online and set up an internet agreement stating the rules with which your kids need to comply when they're surfing the web.
    • http://news.kids.us
    • httP://www.noggin.com/index.php
    • http://www.nickjr.com
    • http://www.kidscomjr.com
    • http://pbskids.org

Tip: Manage your photos with free software on the Web

  • Just back from vacation and wondering what to do with your digital pictures?  There are a ot of free resources for image modification, presentation, and storage available on the Web.  If you'd like to touch up your photos or need a straightforward paint program, check out the following sites:
    • Ultimate Paint--www.ultimatepaint.com
    • ImageForge--www.cursorats.com/ca_imffw.html
    • i.Mage--www.www.memecode.com/image.php
  • If you're ready to store your pictures, try out these free applications:
    • Portmix LGallery Maker--www.portmix.com/gallery/
    • FreeByte's Photonizer--www.freebyte.com/photonizer/

Tip: Using Yahoo! shortcuts

  • Shortcuts are special features designed to get answers quickly, without all the searching.  Answer-based queries commonly focus on subjects such as definitions or facts, but as Yahoo! shows us, the direct answers don't stop there.  traffic reports for your town, local gas prices, maps, and hotels, in addition to traditional answers such as synonyms and definitions, are all just a click away if you know the right search shortcut.  Check out the list below to find out how Yahoo! can make life easier for you with shortcuts.  We used New York in our examples; just substitute your own city or keyword and imitate the form shown below (without quotations), and you'll be all set!
    • --"weather New York" provides your local forecast
    • --"pizza hut New York" provides a Yellow Pages listing
    • --"zip code New York" provides ZIP codes for the city specified
    • --"traffic New York" provides current road traffic conditions
    • --"synonym pejoritive" provides a synonym for the given word
    • --"yankees scores" provides the score for real-time or recently played sports by team
    • --"fedex Tracking#" provides status on packages shipped in the US via Federal Express
    • --"usps Tracking#" provides status on packages shipped in the US via the US Postal Service
    • --"New York hotels" provides a listing of hotels in the specified area
    • --"area code New York" lists which area codes belong to a given city

Tip: Share your Internet connection over FireWire (Panther)

  • Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) includes native support for IP over FireWire.  This technology allows you to not only create a peer-to-peer FireWire network, but also to share your Internet connection with your FireWire-equipped Macs.  To do so, you'll need to first open the Networking system preference on each client computer and create a FireWire port.  Next, open the Sharing system preference on the computer hosting the Internet connection and specify that you want to share your Ethernet connection with computer using FireWire.

Tip: Use the Flu Shot Locator to keep healthy

  • Worried about the wintertime bug?  The American Lung Association has just released a flu shot locator mechanism on their site, located at www.lungusa.org.  Using the locater tool, you can find the closest clinics or drug stores in your area that provide this service.  Just enter your zip code in the Enter Your Zip Code Below text box and click Go.  You'll find a list of facilities where you can obtain the shots or nasal spray vaccines.

Tip: Download the Universal Mail-in Voter Registration Form

  • If you aren't registeded to vote, it isn't too late to do so.  Just go to www.fec.gov/votregis/pdf/nvra.pdf to obtain a registration form.  Download and print the Voter Registration Application and fill out the instructions as indicated.  Scroll down the form to locate your home state to check whether there are specific application details applicable to your area, and be sure to hurry if you plan on voting and haven't registered.

Tip: Give your browser security features an update

  • As new vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and discovered and patched on a regular basis the unsuspecting Internet user can easily jeopardize their computer's security if the most current patches aren't installed regularaly.  To check whether your IE is up to date, go to Internet Explorer Critical Updates at one of the following URLs, depending on your operating system:
    • Windows: www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/critical/default.mspx
    • Macintosh: www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx#IE

Tip: Keeping an eye on Linux distributions

  • If your company is thinking about saving money by switching to an open source Linux kernel that you can use with you current Windows OS environment, visit www.distrowatch.com.  This site provides users with a frame of reference as to the number of Linux distributions available, monitoring nearly 200 different Linux distributions and enabling you to research which distribution might be right for your needs.

Tip: Setting up Automatic Updates to prepare for Service Pack 2 (Windows XP)

  • The easiest way to obtain SP2 is to set up Windows' Automatic Updates and have Microsoft download the sizable SP2 in stages to your machine.  This saves you bandwidth and time, since SP2 can be quite large.  Staging this download over multiple updates is your best bet.
  • To configure your computer to receive Automatic Updates, choose Start | Control Panel, click on Performance and maintenance (or simply double-click on System in Classic View), and then click on System.  Choose the automatic Updates tab and select the Keep My Computer Up To Date check box.  This activates the Settings area below.  Select the last option button, Automatically Download The Updates, And Install Them on The Schedule That I Specify.  Choose a duration and time when you know your computer will be turned on and connected to the internet, and then click OK.  If you miss an update, Windows notifies you the next time you boot up by a Windows Update icon in your taskbar.

Tip: Microsoft releases Service pack 2 for XP (Windows XP)

  • Designed primarily as a security upgrade, SP2 for Windows XP is supposed to tie up several security holes exploited recently by Mydoom, Sasser, and other nasty worms and viruses.  Here are a few of the enhancements found in the update:
    • Enables Window Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) automatically, which closes ports unless they're in use.  Also said to improve the firewall configuration interface.
    • Recompiles Core components to make the Windows OS more resilient to malware-induced buffer overruns.
    • Makes Outlook Express and Windows Messenger more secure by toggling various default settings.
    • Improves IE 6 interface, enabling users to block malicious ActiveX controls and spyware.
  • As there was great concern and delay over this release, many people are treating this update with caution, since there's the possibility that it may impact current applications.  This can be said of most updates, however, and anyone relying on the ICF or worried about ActiveX may consider installing it sooner than later.  You can download SP2 at www.microsoft.com/downloads.  For an easier way to get SP2, you can set up Automatic Updates on XP.  A future tip will show you how.

Tip: Create desktop shortcuts for programs, files, and Web sites

  • If you frequently work from your desktop, you can easily access documents or programs that you often use with a desktop shortcut.  To add a shortcut for a program, choose Start | All Programs (Programs in Windows 98) and right-click on a program name.  Choose Create Shortcut from the shortcut menu.  To add a shortcut for a document, right-click on the Start button and choose Windows Explorer (Explore in Windows 98).  Using Explorer, navigate to the document you often use, right-click on the document and choose Create Shortcut.  The shortcut appears in the Windows Explorer window, but you can click and drag it wherever you wish.  To make a desktop shortcut from a Favorite, open your Favorites pane in IE 5 or 6 and right-click on a link.  Click Sent To | Desktop (Create Shortcut) and a new shortcut for the site appears on your desktop.

Tip: Review video games before you buy them

  • Okay, so your kids are driving you crazy about a new video game that they just can't live without.  As a concerned parent, you may be wondering what kind of content the game contains and whether it's suitable for your children.  You can get helpful game reviews and demos at www.gamesport.com, www.videogamereview.com/pcdemoscrx.aspx, and www.Happypuppy.com.  You can also find game rankings from a parental perspective at www.gradingthemovies.com/html/games.shtml and www.esrb.org/esrbratings _search.asp.  By the way, if you're just into video games, these are great sites to demo games and read reviews before going out and purchasing th

Tip: Backing up your Favorites list

  • If you're like many people, you probably have a few knockout sites bookmarked to your Favorites list that, no matter what route you took, you'd never be able to find again.  To keep these gems protected, it's a good idea to back up your Favorites list to a disk,  To do this, insert a disk into your floppy drive or any removable disk drive.  Next, double-click on My Computer and select your C: drive.  Double-click on the Windows folder or navigate to the folder containing your Favorites, and then right-click on your Favorites folder.  Select Send To from the shortcut menu and choose the drive you want to copy to (usually your A: drive for a floppy disk).  A copy of your Favorites is then saved to that location.

Tip: Search for hidden easter eggs in your DVDs

  • By now most of us have switched from VHS to DVD.  For those of us who haven't here's another reason to consider retiring the old video recorder--DVD Easter eggs!  Easter eggs are hidden clips and features included on DVDs that aren't listed on the main menu, thus causing diligent views to hunt for them.  Deleted scenes, games, additional interviews, and things the general audience wasn't meant to see may all be hidden within your innocent www.eeggs.com, www.dvdeastereggs.com, and www.dvdtown.com/eastereggs.  Give them a visit and see what may be lurking in your collection.

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