Tech Talk #6 – Aug 15, 2015
Maybe you’ll sleep better not knowing… but if you want to be restless tonight, the New York Times has put together a site where you can see a list of companies from which criminals have stolen data. You don’t have to give the site any of your personal information, just push the buttons appropriate to where you might have an account, or have health insurance, or shop. Once you’re on the site, the list on the left shows you the number of times each type of information was exposed. It doesn’t mean your particular data was stolen, but it does mean somebody stole from these folks and if you’ve done business with them your information might be in unfriendly hands. Here’s the URL for the site: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/29/technology/personaltech/what-parts-of-your-information-have-been-exposed-to-hackers-quiz.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1
Playing DVDs on Windows
If you bought your computer from a major manufacturer, they’ve probably installed software on your PC that will let you play DVDs. CyberLink PowerDVD is a popular Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) DVD player. But what if you built your own PC, or had a disaster and had to reinstall windows, or upgraded to a different version? Microsoft hasn’t included any DVD-playing software since Windows XP, so what can you do? You could always buy a copy of PowerDVD for $85, but you come to me for the free stuff, right? Get yourself a copy of VLC media player. VLC’s icon looks a lot like a traffic cone, which is kind of dumb, but it’s a champ at playing media files; video and audio. And it’s free. ‘Nuff said.
The tech press is having a field day because although Microsoft finally is offering a DVD player for Windows 10, they’re charging $15 for it. Imagine the outrage! At least Microsoft is offering a DVD player – that’s more than they’ve done for the last 15-20 years.
But even so, stick with getting the free VLC for all your DVD-playing adventures.
Forgot your WiFi password?
If you’ve forgotten a WiFi password that you’ve successfully been connected to before, you can ask your computer what the password was the last time you connected to this particular WiFi network. Open a command prompt in Administrator Mode (in the search box, type CMD and then press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER) and then type:
netsh wlan show profile name=yourwifinamehere key=clear
If you’ve never connected to this particular WiFi network before, you’ll have to get down off your high horse and ask somebody for the password.
Does what it says on the label If you have some free time and an Internet connection, you might head over to http://www.randomusefulwebsites.com/ which, unsurprisingly, takes you to a random useful website. The first three I got were a math problem-solving site, a web page screen capture site, and a site that calculates how much time you spend watching TV.
The Internet is too short
One of my clients called in distress complaining that his “Internet was too short.” I assured him I could fix the problem, even though I had never heard of the Internet being too short, and set an appointment for the next day. Once I got to his house and saw his computer, I could see the problem: he had about 20 toolbars running on Internet Explorer and some of them I’d never even heard of. The toolbars took up so much space on his old CRT monitor’s screen that the area he had for searches or emails was only about two inches high. I removed all the toolbars (Internet Options > Programs > Manage Add-ons or right click next to the last tab and uncheck the toolbars you don’t want) and he was happy to ‘have his Internet taller again.’
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at email@example.com.