How Do I Remove Myself from the Search Engines?

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It was unwise of me to put in my name in some guestbooks. I’d like to remove my information from the search results of the major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and so forth. I tried in vain to contact the webmasters of those sites. I’m becoming fussier about that and it’s getting more awkward as far as my profession is concerned. Would you please assist me in dealing with this problem?

Search engines are amazing. They’ve collected and indexed billions and billions of pages of information out on the internet, making them available for any of us to find, review, and use.

Getting into search engines is not terribly difficult. Getting out? The news is not good.

In fact, in my opinion, it’s a lost cause.

Read moreHow Do I Remove Myself from the Search Engines?

How do I get the old msn.com homepage back?

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The msn.com page has changed again and there seems to be no way to revert back to the original. Why does Microsoft impose this on people without giving a choice? Everyone just HATES the new version of msn.com. Is there a way to revert to the page as it was before?

As I update this article for the latest round of changes, I’ll show you what’s happening. I’ll also make some guesses as to why the changes were made, and what your options might be. The answer might very well be “not many”.

Read moreHow do I get the old msn.com homepage back?

What’s the Technology Behind Ask Leo!?

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I was just curious about your site and news letter. What type of hosting do you use? Did you “hand craft” your site or use a CMS like WordPress or SquareSpace? How do you create your news letter, such as what application do you use?

Can you give us some background information on “What goes on in Leo-ville?”

Keep up the good work. Always look forward to the Friday Facebooks and news letters.

Well, we have to start with being careful when you say “Leo-ville”. “leoville.com” is actually the website of the “other” Leo, Leo Laporte of twit.tv and other netcasting fame. We’re both in tech, we both try to help people with technology and we’re both named Leo, but we’re definitely not the same person.

With that out of the way, sure, let me give you a peek behind the curtains of Ask Leo! world headquarters.

Read moreWhat’s the Technology Behind Ask Leo!?

Does visiting a search-engine cached page prevent the original site from noting my visit?

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There are times when one might choose to search a company’s web page as cached by Google or Bing in the hope of not broadcasting one’s IP address to the company by searching its active web page. Does visiting the cached version of a page provide anonymity at least from the company being searched? If not, is there a way to modify the search to achieve this anonymity short of using a proxy address?

The answer depends a lot on the specific sites that you’re actually looking at. In many cases, yes: the original site will never know that you were looking at its content that was cached somewhere else. However, in many other cases, – perhaps even most – the answer might be very different.

Read moreDoes visiting a search-engine cached page prevent the original site from noting my visit?

My webmaster left. What do I do?

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My webmaster has gone AWOL and my site is having problems. I don’t know who to talk to or how to retrieve my site’s back up. What can I do?

This was the case for the website for an organization to which I belong. In fact, it happened twice, and we got very lucky each time.

I’ll review what happened to us, how I recovered, and what every website owner should do to prepare for exactly this scenario.

Read moreMy webmaster left. What do I do?

How Do I Bypass this Web Blocking?

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I’m using Asus laptop running Vista 32-bit version. When I attempt to access any number of different themed websites, I get a message on the resulting page telling me that “Juniper web blocking has made this page unavailable.” I don’t remember ever seeing this software much less installing it, so I’m going to assume that this one slipped by me. It’s becoming a royal pain. When checking it out, I found that it’s commercial software aimed at the corporate sector. What I’m trying to find out is if you can help me delete it without formatting my computer?

I don’t think I can tell you how to get Juniper Networks web blocking software off your computer… simply because I don’t believe it’s on your computer.

Read moreHow Do I Bypass this Web Blocking?

Is There a Way to Determine which Browser Tab is Playing Sound?

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When I load several tabs, I have no audio sounds at all at first. Then, I suddenly get strange music. How can I trace this audio’s source (short of shutting off tabs one at a time to locate it)? I tried using Task Manager, but I find nothing there. Can you throw any light on this dilemma for me?

If you go to a web page and it starts playing audio without you pushing the Play button, that’s auto play1. It plays audio or video automatically, without you requesting it.

In my opinion, this type of auto play is evil. There are so many reasons why it shouldn’t be used, from startling the user to waking up the baby in the next room. It’s simply bad user design and downright rude. Web pages should not make sound until the user requests it. If you’re a website designer and you use auto play sound, stop it.

Unfortunately, if you’re not the web designer, there’s not a lot you can do.

Read moreIs There a Way to Determine which Browser Tab is Playing Sound?

How do I get rid of this annoying Facebook share pop-up?

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Each time I move my mouse over a link, this Facebook “share thing” jumps up. I hate it. If I wanted to share with the world or another person, I’d send them an email. I want to turn it off. How do I do that?

For what I can tell, this doesn’t sound like a feature that you can turn on or off. I suspect that the website that you’re visiting is displaying the pop-up on purpose.

So let’s talk about that.

Read moreHow do I get rid of this annoying Facebook share pop-up?

How do I check a website for malware without infecting my own machine?

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Can I check a site for viruses without infecting my own machine? Can that really be done for totally free? Yes, some sites do say “McAfee/Norton or some other brand trusted and tested” but that’s their word against mine.

You’re right to be suspicious about those seals that say a site has been tested and is secure. There’s absolutely nothing that prevents a malicious site from simply putting that little graphic on their page.

That said, what you’re looking for isn’t available. There’s no 100% certain way to test a site before you visit it to determine if it is malicious or contains malware that will infect your machine. That’s one of the reasons why I recommend sticking with trusted sites and making sure that your anti-malware tools are in place and up-to-date.

So, let me throw out some ideas that, while not guaranteed, can at least help protect you even if you’re visiting a potentially questionable site.

Read moreHow do I check a website for malware without infecting my own machine?

Why Did this Site Go Away? And How Do I Contact the Owner?

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I used to freely access a blog simply by using the web address [redacted]. This web address now takes me to a Google blog site, which does not appear to allow me to access the original website. As the original site was purely cookery based, I don’t understand why this restriction has been imposed.

There are many reasons why a site may suddenly change. Let’s look at why sites disappear and some ways to track down more information.

Read moreWhy Did this Site Go Away? And How Do I Contact the Owner?

What if the forwarding service goes away?

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Some years ago, I subscribed to an email forwarding system by the name of forevermail.com. This allowed me to change the ISP without changing my address. However, forevermail itself appears to have gone out of business. It has obviously left the forwarding addresses functioning on a server somewhere because the few users’ emails from users that have not changed to my address still arrive in my Outlook system. Do you know how I can remove this old address? I’ve tried mailing the domain owner, but I get no reply. With your advice, I have  purchased my own domain and therefore, I control of my own address now.

In your scenario, there’s practically nothing that can be done. If a service that you rely on goes away, you’re basically out of luck. There really isn’t any protocol or particular leverage that you or I might have to do something with a company, website, or service that disappeared.

But I do have some suggestions on what you could do.

Read moreWhat if the forwarding service goes away?

Can I Use More than One Browser?

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Hi, Leo. I’m thinking about installing Google Chrome. I currently use IE8. Will Chrome just install over it and then become the default browser leaving IE as a used program in the background?

Let’s begin by clearing up a few misconceptions here.

First, you can have more than one browser on your machine. Many people do. I do.

Once you install Google Chrome, you still have Internet Explorer available to you. The icon should still be in your Programs menu and when you click it, Internet Explorer 8 opens. And you can then click the Google icon to use Google Chrome. Installing one browser does not automatically replace any browsers already installed. They are completely separate programs that can actually live together in something approaching harmony.

However, when you download an additional browser you do have the option of making it the default browser. And much like Highlander, there can be only one.

Read moreCan I Use More than One Browser?

How do I remove myself from a website I didn’t ask to be on?

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I’ve been included on a website designed to assist job searchers to find employment, a fine purpose. However, I’m not a farmer looking for people to pick my apples, yet that is what the website tells the world. The website is obviously successful in spreading the word as I get about 10 calls a day from job searchers to the extent I have to filter all calls through an answering machine. Not the best solution particularly for family and friends who want to contact me. The originators of the website do not answer any of my calls for action. What can I do either on my own or via some authority with power to justify or correct unwanted entries of this sort?

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of some authority who corrects these kinds of situations.

If somebody puts your information on their website, even if it’s incorrect or wrong, there’s really no way to force them to remove the information. That is as long as it’s not libelous or slanderous (but those are legal terms and I’m no lawyer, so I can’t advise you on that).

In your case, you are in Australia and the website is in the Netherlands. Because the legal system is different in different countries, that makes it even more difficult.

So what can you do in this case?

Read moreHow do I remove myself from a website I didn’t ask to be on?

How can I find a good web host?

You’re looking for a place to put your website. Maybe it’s just a single page describing what your business is. Maybe it’s a blog. Maybe you’ve got the next best solution to ecommerce that you’re ready to build out.

There are so many web hosts and hosting alternatives that it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other, much less understand if they’ll be what you need.

There are a number of different types of web hosting and I’ll look at a few of them along with some specific recommendations. Each will have their pros and cons, and each will be suitable for different types of solutions.

Read moreHow can I find a good web host?

Why won’t Flash work, even though it’s installed?

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How to I turn on Flash Player? When I go to the download site for Adobe the banner says that I have flash installed. Then I go to a website that I know has flash and it says “This site requires that you have flash player.” I have already tried re-formatting to no help.

Wow. Reformatting sure seems like overkill for a problem like this. Reformatting’s a pretty major step, and not something I’d recommend without investigating things deeply.

I’m not sure what might be the problem in your specific case, but I can tell you this: there’s at least one excruciatingly simple reason that Flash might not show up on many web sites, even though you’ve installed it.

In a word: JavaScript.

Read moreWhy won’t Flash work, even though it’s installed?

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?