Online Shopping – Just How Safe Is It?

As you might expect, I get many questions from computer users concerned about their security. With regular news of identity theft, credit card fraud, and database hacking, many people are understandably concerned about the security of their own information online, particularly when it comes to online shopping …

… so much so, that some actively avoid online shopping for fear of having their payment information stolen.

In my opinion, they should be more concerned about the security of their information off-line.

Read moreOnline Shopping – Just How Safe Is It?

Is the internet directly responsible for our economic problems?

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I was going to ask you this but I posted on Yahoo Answers and got a stupid response. Brick and mortar stores and restaurants are dropping like flies. I was actually referring to Radio Shack at first. Well, today, Quiznos just filed for bankruptcy. The only one near me was turned into a Little Caesar’s. So I’m asking you anyway if this depression is caused by the internet with the web and people buying things online instead of real stores with real workers and across the country instead of a central location called Amazon?

You’re basically asking  “Is the internet directly responsible for our economic problems?”

In my opinion: absolutely not! Things are certainly changing, but that’s nothing new. Things have been changing well before the internet came along.

I’m no economist, but as you can tell, I do have a few opinions and I can go on about this for quite some time. I’ll try and control myself.

Read moreIs the internet directly responsible for our economic problems?

What’s an open port?

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Leo, a PC security measure that I’ve come across recently is one where we should scan our router for open ports. What’s an open port and how are they created? How do we scan our routers for these open ports and how do we close them when we find them? I have a combination modem/router and I’m running Windows XP, SP3.

Open ports, particularly on routers, aren’t really something that I worry about. To be blunt, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to track them down and close them.

That being said, the concept is kind of interesting and opens up a bit of a window into just how the internet works.

Read moreWhat’s an open port?

How do I get wireless internet?

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We have dial-up at our house and I’m sick of it. I can get on the internet from my iPod at the edge of my property, but I want internet on my desktop IN my house. What do I need to connect up?

I want to use this question to clear up a misconception that appears to be surprisingly common.

Wireless internet is not just “out there” to connect to. You need to take steps, whether it’s setting something up, paying for something, or at a minimum, asking for permission.

It’s definitely not the case that you can just grab a wireless card and suddenly be connected anywhere you want. The wireless capabilities of your computer are only half of what’s needed.

There are several approaches to getting a wireless internet connection.

Read moreHow do I get wireless internet?

I can’t access some websites … why?

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I can visit a lot of web sites on the internet without a problem. But a few simply don’t work. The strange thing is that they work for other people, or from other machines. What’s going on?

I touched on several possibilities for this in a previous article: Why can I not access certain web sites?. I’d certainly recommend that as a starting point.

However, since that article was written, an additional reason for some web sites not being accessible has surfaced that’s worth looking into in a little more detail.

It’s very obscure, but the good news is that it might also resolve some other problems, most commonly problems with instant messaging.

Read moreI can’t access some websites … why?

What is Javascript and why do i need it?

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I can’t access my HotMail account and it says on my log on page that i need Javascript to go any further. Just what is Javascript and why do i need it?

Well, the short answer is that Javascript is a programming language, and you need it because HotMail says you do.

I know, that’s not very helpful. Let’s see if I can explain in a little more detail.

Read moreWhat is Javascript and why do i need it?

Why Do some Website Addresses have “www” and some Don’t? And Why Do some Work with or without the “www”?

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Why do some website addresses have “www”, and some don’t? And why do some work with or without the “www”?

Most of the time, it’s an oversight. Occasionally, it’s on purpose, but to be honest, I haven’t run across an “on purpose” in years.

It’s common practice now that “www” is optional; mostly because it’s redundant and URLs are long enough without adding redundant information.

But once upon a time, there was a reason.

Read moreWhy Do some Website Addresses have “www” and some Don’t? And Why Do some Work with or without the “www”?