Articles for Optimizing and Troubleshooting Your Computer

Scammers at Your Secure Order Sites

What's Wrong With My Computer?

Don't Upgrade Operating Systems!

Optimize Computer Performance With System Tools

Are You a Candidate for Carpal Tunnel or Other Problems?

Are You Saving Money With a Computer Support Plan?

Any article written by P. Roe may be reprinted as long as the resource box and the article are kept intact. Formatting changes are allowed - other changes must be approved - Email to discuss.

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Scammers at Your Secure Order Sites

By Pauliina Roe,
http://www.doubleii.com/WiseLittleTidbitsNewsletter.htm

Getting a lot of orders or submissions from scammers who have no intention of paying? I have a secure order site (also run the same way as an email contact form) - and the scammers have begun an automated procedure that submits the orders all day long. All they do is place their scamming ads and links on the forms - with no payment information, of course - primarily to make me see their offers. I have been deleting them as they come in, not even opening them (I know if a real order came in I would also get a payment notice from PayPal - and then I could find the email that was deleted again).

Is there a better way to handle this? I figured out a way to throw off their automated efforts. The contact form link now goes to a re-directed site that sends the visitor to yet another site, where the submission order form is. Since I did this, not even one of the fake submissions have come in. No more time wasted in sorting through spam emails. Thing is - when someone wants to make a real order, they will wait for the re-direct to load the correct page. The automated process will try to fill out the information right away and is not going to make it to the point of the redirect page. I know I have thwarted their efforts - my statistics show a lot of activity on my order page site, but none of it has come though to me!

What if the automated process begins again? I would just rename my submission site and redirect to that, plus take down the earlier site, since the scammer probably has it bookmarked directly at this point. They'll have to work pretty hard at keeping up with my changes to get the automated process to keep filling out all the information, time after time. The good thing about this is that the original site name at your order page need not change - only the link on your redirect page.

The redirect page code is like this:

< HTML >
< HEAD >
< meta HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" CONTENT="8; URL=http://www.yourdomain.com/redirectsitename.html" >
< /HEAD >
< /BODY >
< /HTML >

~~~~~~~~~~

Pauliina Roe is webmaster and funding agent. She's worked on the Internet since 1997, and has written many informative articles. See many of them at http://www.doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm

What's Wrong With My Computer?

Whether you have a new computer, with all the latest features, or just got your computer repaired, or everyone says your computer is top of the line, watch out for false security - computers can always go wrong!

Some programs can always get corrupted - even on a new computer (and sometimes you won't even know until sometime in the future when you try to use the application).

Some operating systems aren't installed correctly. You'll find out as you try to use certain features (perhaps you'll be unable to connect to the Internet, or can't open a file or program, etc.).

Sometimes a computer won't even start up - and you need to start it in "safe mode" - if possible. You may not have time to figure any of this out on your own, and will have to resort to a warranty call or take it into a shop.

Perhaps your clock or power source on the computer has burned out - there may be things totally out of your control that happen.

Sometimes everything seems ok, but then you notice that something is wrong - perhaps it seems too slow, or your files won't save, or they saved as muck, or you can't open up a file, or some other annoying thing just happens.

Well, welcome to the world of man-made computers - they are not fool-proof! Computers fail as easily as any other man-made item.

To deal with this, take some time to get over the stress, don't throw anything at the computer or try to throw it our the window. Calmly make a call to a technician and see if you can be talked through a "fix" - or call your warranty phone number. If you haven't any time to deal with it, call about taking it in to a shop (perhaps CompUSA) for a fix.

To keep your sanity in case of a computer problem, make sure to back up your files that you work on. Make sure to make copies of all your work, and save often. That way your files don't die along with your computer, and you can use your files on another computer. Save on CDs so you can just transfer to another computer. It is advisable to have a laptop as well as a personal computer - you can work between the two if needed.

~~~~~~~~~~

P. Roe writes "Wise Little Tidbits" - with tips on optimizing your websites and your computer. Free to Subscribe: http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html.
Optimize Your Site http://doubleii.com/optimizesite.htm
More articles http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm

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Optimize Computer Performance With System Tools

Is your computer sluggish? Is it having difficulty opening multiple windows at once? Does it refuse to open some programs? If so, you certainly might need more RAM or ROM memory, but first you should run your system tools to see if you can reclaim available space that is on your computer.

Before running system tools - delete old files you no longer need (or transfer them onto disks so you still have them if needed in the future). Then go into your email program and delete emails you no longer need. Once you do this, compact the files. Then go to your Internet browser and get into "Internet Options" - in Internet Explorer it is under "tools" on the top menu bar, then "Internet options" on the drop down menu. Select "delete files" in "temporary Internet files" and "delete all offline content" as well - this includes many files and cookies.

Now you are ready to run system tools. Go to "START" - "programs" - "accessories" - "system tools" and first run "scandisk". Run it using a thorough test and have it automatically correct errors. If you have a lot of files that are corrupted, or if you have closed down Windows without closing each window separately, you will find that you need to run "scandisk" several times over and over until it runs through clean. It will probably restart itself several times when it hits a rough area. If you get nowhere after many attempts - un-select the automatic error corrections and have it alert you when it finds an error - you might be able to figure out where the error is and take care of it yourself (delete the file if necessary).

Once ScanDisk is running fine, you will need to run DeFrag - DeFrag will not run properly until ScanDisk is running well. You may have to DeFrag 6 or so times until it runs through fast with no sluggish areas. It won't catch everything the first time or two.

After you get through the system tools - see if your computer behaves better - it should. You might have saved yourself money in not having to invest in more memory - because you had it all the time - it just wasn't available. And remember to run the system tools every 2-4 weeks to keep your computer in shape.

~~~~~~~~~~

P. Roe writes "Wise Little Tidbits", http://doubleii.com/WiseLittleTidbitsNewsletter.htm - with tips on optimizing your websites and your computer. Free to Subscribe: http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html.
Optimize Your Site http://doubleii.com/optimizesite.htm
More articles http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm

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Are You a Candidate for Carpal Tunnel or Other Problems?

Do you realize how many people have health problems due to working on their computers, with a less than optimal set-up? Ergonomics is a big concern, but America is still behind in appreciating the concept. We have better back stores and such, but people usually do not take the entire computer set-up into consideration. There are definite orientations of the equipment which should be made - and can make a big difference in avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back strain, and other problems.

Your Seat should be adjustable - in height, in swivel, in the armrest. You need to be able to change your position a bit throughout your day. Your legs should rest so the bottom of your foot rests on the floor or a footrest, with the back of the knee slightly higher than the height of the chair seat. The armrest should support the forearms comfortably, and not interfere with movement.

Your Monitor should be directly in front of you, at a height so the top line of the monitor screen is at your eye level. You should be viewing it from at least 18-24 inches away.

Your Keyboard should be directly in front of you. The height should be so the elbow is at the side of the body and comfortable, with relaxed shoulders, and the wrist flat. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor with the elbows to the side. You might want to try using the new hilly keyboards with the keys placed in optimal positions for better typing - it seems to relieve stress for many people - the fingers align better with the keys so there is less stretching.

Your Mouse should be directly to the side with your arm close to your body, with no reaching. Your arm should have a straight line from your hand to your forearm. The wrist should not be elevated. There is a great mouse positioner and even a cordless mouse that can help the situation - at http://track.ezinetactics.com/?id=sisugal-4547

Laptops are a poor design for comfort. Ergonomically speaking - they are awful. It is tough to position it to a comfortable or ergonomically ideal position, not to mention getting the heat off! To adjust the laptop in as comfortable, and as ergonomically correct position as is possible, you should look into the LapGenie laptop desk. It takes the heat off your lap and puts the laptop in a good working position. See the LapGenie at http://doubleii.com/LapGenie.html

Using all the above suggestions, you should be able to avoid many problems that result from improper ergonomic conditions. Adjust your office settings for optimal ergonomic conditions. If only Americans would get into the ergonomic mindset like the Canadians do - we'd have less problems!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Pauliina Roe shows people how to better orient their computer set-ups for ergonomic benefit. She gives total computer related support, both online and offline (in the Denver area). You can find out more computer related support and get more ergonomic information updates at http://doubleii.com/computercomfort.htm

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Are You Saving Money With a Computer Support Plan?

As a computer troubleshooter and repair person, I see all kinds of problems and possibilities. From the quick fix or answer to the complicated repair, from the problem computer to the occasional tweak another computer needs - it pays to know a good and reliable technician to help you.

Lately there have been programs in which online support is offered. This can be good or bad. The good is there are various programs you can choose from, and the bad is you might choose poorly and get stuck with a worthless plan - which in the long run will cost you more in time and money. Sometimes online support is a much more economical choice in getting help and support - because you can avoid an up-front service charge from a hands-on repair shop and often get enough information to fix something yourself. It won't work in all cases, but perhaps it will save you some money in many cases.

I question the concept of monthly fees for support - because there are normally many months in which no support is needed. Yes, some will use their accounts to ask frivolous questions they would never pay to ask, but only to use up their monthly credits. Still others will just let the monthly credits go to waste - like so many other plans that get forgotten but are still paid into monthly.

If you have a truly problem computer that acts up on a regular basis, then a monthly paid plan might be effective - depending on the type of problem and whether the monthly allotment will be enough. If you are still paying for extra support, it might make more sense to purchase an account that has credits you can use at any time, and can add funds to at anytime.

This is a similar concept to service plans on appliances - do you really get your money's worth on those plans? If the appliance isn't well made, you are better off with a service plan. If it is well made, a service plan isn't necessary. A little assurance by having some funds in a service account for when needed makes more sense.

Figure out how reliable or unreliable your computer is, and you will figure out the best plan you should have. Don't jump on the bandwagon of anything which, with hype, promises you riches and gives you services and such that you really don't need. If you have to pay for something you don't need, rethink your game plan. There are other options out there. A monthly outlay of money may very well just be going to waste. Would you rather spend $30/month or more for a plan that gives you the same service as a $30 account you can use anytime you want, and fund into it for extra services if needed? Think about it - concerning your computer - which plan makes more sense?

~~~~~~~~~~

P. Roe writes "Wise Little Tidbits" - with tips on optimizing your websites and your computer. Free to Subscribe: http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html.
Optimize Your Site http://doubleii.com/optimizesite.htm
More articles http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm

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Don't Upgrade Operating Systems!

If you want to upgrade to a higher level of operating system, as in, if you have Windows 98 but want Windows ME - it is highly recommended that you buy a full version of the system you want. The version of 98 you have now may have errors on it, for whatever reason (perhaps too many "hard" shutdowns where you didn't close out your windows first, or a corrupted file, etc.), and these will not be fixed up or go away with an upgrade. Instead, some things could get worse.

When you only install an upgrade, it's typically called a "dirty install" - that is because the previous errors remain in the system. Even if you just installed Windows 98 new and then immediately upgraded, you will still find that there are probably errors that will come up. The only way to definitely get rid of the errors is to format the hard drive and install the full operating system. This leaves you susceptible to losing a lot of data, even if you fully back up.

Your best bet is to use the operating system you have. If you are really wanting to upgrade, first back up all your data, and get your disks for all software, drivers and such (your drivers for modem, printer, plug & play - everything), and be ready to deal with some hassle. When you back up - back up the registry files too - you can lose a lot of information and operating needs if you don't take all this into account.

If you want to take a chance on keeping your errors, then install over the first operating system. It won't fix errors, but it won't in all likelihood destroy all your data, either. The only way to get all the errors off is to format your hard drive and reinstall. By formatting, you WILL lose ALL your files on that drive. Neither choice is very appealing, to tell the truth.

I opt for a clean slate - back everything up and reinstall the full operating system plus all your drivers and software. I have been working on a SICK laptop for 2 weeks - because of a dirty upgrade. I had to format and reinstall everything. Once I did that, we didn't have a driver, so my partner upgraded the Windows 98 - but there was NO WAY to get it to work correctly again. So I re-formatted and reinstalled everything again. Now that I won't let him touch it anymore, it works like a charm, and we turn it back to its owner repaired. (Oh yes - and still able to get support from the company because it has its original operating system in it - they will not support it if we upgrade!)

~~~~~~~~~~

P. Roe writes "Wise Little Tidbits" - with tips on optimizing your websites and your computer. Free to Subscribe: http://www.doubleii.com/subscriptioninfo.html.
Optimize Your Site http://doubleii.com/optimizesite.htm
More articles http://doubleii.com/articlesreports.htm

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Question & Answer

Q. What contact information do I need on my site?

A.Ideally, your site needs to show all the ways that people can contact you - this includes phone number, toll free number, email, postal address, website URL, fax number, etc. Use any or all that apply. Make sure to reply to any contact that is made to you.

Your site should also have a privacy page that tells people that information is secure if they deal with you, as well as how information would be used.

Build an "About Us" page that tells about your business and all contact information again.

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