VLC – Screen Capture

VLC is the program I use to play video content, but it also has other capabilities. This tutorial shows how you can capture your screen as you work on the computer. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to work on a chromebook.

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My PC is Infected with Malware!

I got a call yesterday from a friend who had a popup which said that he had malware on his computer. It instructed him to not turn his computer off, but instead to call a 1-800 number. He asked, “Is this real or a scam?”

The answer is that it’s a scam that many people can see just by visiting websites which have malvertising. Malvertising are advertisements that are deliberately infected with malware. Usually the main website has no idea that it’s ads are infected since the ads are run by another entity.

One of the ways to protect yourself is to run an ad-blocker like Ublock Origin. In Chrome, it is an extension that is easy to add. The experts recommend you run it at all times.

Here’s a security video which talks about ad-blockers and in particular ublock origin.

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Amazon – Caveat Emptor

Buyer Beware, Caveat Emptor,  is a good motto to remember when purchasing items on Amazon. It used to be that just about everything you bought on Amazon came from Amazon, but these days it seems like many items are being sold by 3rd parties.

In fact, there are stories of how 3rd parties will buy up a hot item at a low price and then resell them on Amazon at a large profit.

What that means for consumers is that you need to closely look at everything you buy on Amazon and see who is actually selling the item and if the price is reasonable.
I recently needed some cactus potting soil. As I looked on Amazon, the price for Miracle Gro potting mix was $14.99.
cactus-potting-mix-800

I knew the price was crazy high so I did some investigating. Here are some tips to check on an Amazon price.

  1. Is the item being sold by Amazon or a 3rd party? If you look closely in the small type above, it says, ” Sold by Great Household and Fulfilled by Amazon. “

2. If you scroll down on the Amazon page, it will show you a comparison of similar items. If you look closely, none of the items are being sold by Amazon.
cactus-compare-800

3. I also use the extension, The Camelizer. It shows that Amazon never sold this item and that 3rd parties have always sold it. One of the great things about this extension is that you can enter your desired price and it will notify you when the price gets to your level.

camel

4. I also compare the Amazon price to either the Walmart or Home Depot price.
In this case, I checked with Home Depot and they had a price of $3.97.

cactus-soil-homedepot-800

In summary, don’t assume that they price you initially see on Amazon is the best price you can get. Do your homework and hopefully you can save quite a bit of money. I bought two bags at Home Depot and saved $22.00.

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Turn Off Audio in Automatic Videos

sound-mutedOne of my irritations using Chrome on web sites is when you click on a link. It takes you to a site where the video and audio start playing automatically. I then have to go to the video and turn it off. I and then read the article in peace.

Chrome has a partial fix for this behavior. You can now mute certain websites under the Sound controls.

The easiest way to do this when a site starts and automatically starts playing a video, follow these steps.

site-information

  • Click on the green Site Information. This is right next to the padlock near the top of the page.
  • It then shows the basic information.
  • Click on Site Settings
  • Scroll down to Sounds
  • You can now Block the site from automatically playing the audio.

You can also do this under Settings – search for Sound.
It’s not quite as simple as the above setup.

 

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Acer Spin 5 Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop

spin5-600I decided to buy this laptop as a replacement for my aging HTPC that struggled to use Skype.

Here are some of the Positive Features.

  • LOTS of ports for  connections – Standard SD card slot, 1-USB-2, headphone jack, 2 USB-3, 1-USB-C, 1 standard HDMI.
  • 256 gb SSD
  • 8 gm ram
  • 1080p screen – which I can read! For some reason the browser tabs are larger and easier to read – even at this higher resolution.
  • Backlit screen
  • 4 year warranty with Costco.
  • Intel i5 processor.
  • 13.3 inch touch display
  • Folds back for tablet mode.
  • It has a stylus
  • It also has a fingerprint reader.
  • Price – $600

CONS

  • In sleep mode, you have to touch the power button to start it up.
  • No Ethernet Connection.
  • This has a standard power connector – you cannot charge via USB-C. Don’t lose this power adapter
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Battery Management

Here are some guidelines to keep your batteries in tip top shape.

Other Battery Articles

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How to Update Your Netgear Router

router-login

Do you have five minutes? That’s literally all the time it takes to update your router.

If you are concerned with security on your computer, you need to keep your router updated on a regular basis.

What I like about the Netgear R6400 router is that it sends me an email when there is a new update available. This is probably not true of cheaper $25 routers. While you can buy cheaper routers, this particular router has GREAT wifi coverage in my house and it also sends me firmware updates via email. It’s worth the extra money.

If you haven’t got any emails from your router manufacturers or it doesn’t have any updates, then it’s time to get a better router. Even though your old router might work, it is still a security risk.

Here are the basic steps.

  • You need to use a computer which is plugged into your network via an ethernet connection.
  • In the browser bar, type in routerlogin.net
  • Enter your user name and password. Hopefully you have changed the default password. 
  • You will see a tab which says, “A router firmware upgrade is available.”
  • Click on the tab and follow the instructions.
  • Literally – 4 minutes later, your router will be finished updating.

Below is a video which shows you the process.

 

 

router-login-2

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