What’s this new anti-spam policy about, and how will it affect me?

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Hi, Leo. AOL and Yahoo have recently been said to adopt a harsh DMARC policy to stem the problems of spam and phishing. From the outlook I think it’s a welcomed change despite causing some genuine emails to bounce back. Would you please explain what the implications to the users of these severs and any actions to be taken on the user’s part?

I’m all too familiar with this policy of late. I’m one of the moderators on a corgi related email list. We’ve been impacted by this change, and not in a good way.

Read moreWhat’s this new anti-spam policy about, and how will it affect me?

Are Offers for Continued XP Support and Security Legitimate or Worthwhile?

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I saw an ad on TV last night about someone offering security for Windows XP for $50 a year and it would cover 5 computers. Are you aware of this? Any comments?

I’m not aware of this one specifically, but it’s hard to judge the class of service that they might be offering. Some might well be legitimate in that they’re honestly attempting to provide a real service. Others not so much.

But even for the legitimate, the real question is: can they really deliver on what they promise?

Read moreAre Offers for Continued XP Support and Security Legitimate or Worthwhile?

Does downloading use the same amount of bandwidth as just watching a Youtube video?

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Hi, Leo. So I need to understand something. We’ve done the “illegal” thing as we homeschool our children and I downloaded a tool to be able to download Youtube clips so that we can replay them for our kids during the times that we school them. There actually are some good things out on Youtube. My question relates to this. If I download and save a file of say, six minutes, it’s sometimes 130 MG of data. If I watch the file normally through YouTube, does it also eat up a 130 MB of data? So what’s cheaper? Viewing it normally or downloading it to have it to view plenty of times again?

For many other services including the videos that I host myself, the answer is pretty simple. However, Youtube and other services get very sophisticated, and that makes this actually a little bit hard to explain.

Read moreDoes downloading use the same amount of bandwidth as just watching a Youtube video?

What Repair Discs Do I Need?

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Another computer advice newsletter I subscribe to just had a big piece on emergency repair discs and it got me wondering whether I need a Windows 7 repair disc and a Macrium emergency disc. Do they do the same things or are they different?

This gets really confusing very quickly. The problem is that there are several different types of discs that do several types of things, and yet they can all be called emergency repair discs or rescue discs.

Let’s see how many I can think of.

Read moreWhat Repair Discs Do I Need?

Is there Any Reason to Use a VPN at Home?

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Hi, Leo. I’m wondering if a VPN service might be useful at home on my personal Wi-Fi? I use a desktop and my Android smartphone there. I know it’s useful elsewhere.

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is typically offered by a service that then encrypts all of your internet activity between your computer and their service.

Normally, a VPN isn’t particularly useful at home, but there are a few scenarios where it might make sense.

Read moreIs there Any Reason to Use a VPN at Home?

Should I backup to an SD Card?

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Now that you can buy a 256 GB SD card for about $100, would that be a good way to back up a laptop? I always hate plugging in an external drive to backup my laptop. This way I can schedule automatic backup and not worry about the media. The 256 GB card has a lifetime warranty and so if fails you can, in theory, get a replacement. Any idea about the expected failure time for reading or writing the SD card daily?

You know, my gut tells me that this is a bad idea. There are a few things that make me uncomfortable.

Read moreShould I backup to an SD Card?