The Computer Tutor

A Technology and Software How-To podcast
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The Computer Tutor podcast is a weekly show that offers all kinds of cool things that help you use your computer more easily and effectively. You'll say, "Wow, that's cool - I never knew I could do that!" Show notes for each episode are at

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The OTHER big reason you need a local backup
The OTHER big reason you need a local backup
Many times on my blog and podcast I’ve encouraged everyone to make sure they have a backup of anything important on their computer. For most people, the big reason for having a backup is to make sure you don’t lose anything important, like documents and pictures, if your hard drive fails. But there’s another really important reason!   Of course you don’t want to lose all your important pictures, and your Outlook emails, and your whole Documents folder, and your music collection or anything else. It’s a sick feeling when you DO lose all of that, and it’s also an amazing feeling when your drive crashes but you know that you WON’T lose anything – and I can tell you I’ve experienced both of those situations personally. But sometimes I come across a client who says this: I don’t really save anything on my computer that’s actually critical. I do depend on my laptop because I use it every day for work, and it has programs on it that I use all the time, but I don’t save things like pictures or documents on there. Do I really need to do a backup? And the answer to that is a definite YES. You still need a backup. To understand why you still need to do a backup, let’s look at it kind of in reverse. Let’s say you don’t have anything important stored on your computer, but your hard drive fails so the computer won’t boot up. If you DON’T have a local backup, here’s what you have to do: install the replacement hard drive install Windows 10 enable System Restore (disabled by default on Windows 10) install Windows 10 updates install your antivirus install web browsers (such as Chrome and Firefox) and configure them log in to your Microsoft account to download and install MS Office go to Adobe and get Adobe Reader so you can open PDF files properly disable the Windows 10 privacy invasion “features” configure Windows 10 settings In other words, it’s like starting with a new, blank computer. Doing all of this can take hours (I know, because I do all of these things and more, each time I set up a new computer). If you DO have a local backup, here’s what you have to do: install the replacement hard drive restore the last backup And with that, everything is back to the way it was – your software, your files, your desktop icons, EVERYTHING. It’s as if nothing happened. And that means your computer is back up and usable within an hour or two. So even if you don’t store any important pictures or documents on your computer, the question is – when your computer goes down and needs a new hard drive, how fast do you want it to be back up so you can use it again? A local backup is what enables that. And by “local” I mean a full system image backup to a portable USB drive that sits next to your computer. Once the software is set up, all you have to do is plug in that drive at night and unplug it in the morning. And I have to put out this warning: when you buy a portable drive such as this one (affiliate link), it will come with it’s own backup software. I don’t recommend using that software. The software I use is Macrium Reflect, and it’s free for personal use, and I’m very familiar with how it works. I can set it up for you remotely, so you don’t even have to bring your computer anywhere.
The Verification Code scam
The Verification Code scam
Today we’re talking about a scam that’s making the rounds but a lot of people aren’t aware of how it works, or even the fact that it IS a scam. But it can cause you some headaches if you fall for it.   We’ve all become pretty accustomed to verification codes. If a company or website needs to verify your identity, they will commonly send a text message with a 6-digit verification code, which you then need to enter on the website to prove that you are the person you say you are. (Really, it just proves that you have access to that person’s phone, but usually that’s good enough). But now, the scammers are using the verification code process for their own nefarious purposes. Specifically, they want to create new online accounts, such as a Craigslist account, using YOUR phone number. When a scammer does this, there are basically two main steps to the process. Step One – start creating the Craigslist account The scammer will go in to the Craigslist site and start the process of creating a new account. Of course, he only wants to use this account to scam people. Craigslist knows that this is very common, so they require any new account to have a phone number, and they have to VERIFY that phone number. So the scammer gets most of the way in to the process of creating the new account, right up to where Craigslist is asking for the phone number. That’s where they pause for a minute. Step Two – hijacking your phone number The most common victim for this scam is someone who is selling something on Craigslist, and includes their phone number in the contact info. The scammer sends you a text message saying, “Hey I want to buy your ____ ” (whatever you’re selling). You respond, but then he comes back and says “There’s a lot of scammers on Craigslist these days. I’d like to verify you first. I just sent a code on your phone. Reply to this text and tell me the code, to prove you’re a real person!” But of course, the code that got sent didn’t really come from him. It came from Craigslist, because he used YOUR phone number to verify his new account. When you send him the code, he enters it on his Craigslist application and this “confirms” to Craigslist that he owns that phone number. Even though he doesn’t own it – you own it. At this point, your phone number is associated with the scammer’s new account. This means that he can now post ads on Craigslist for the next 90 days without any further verification. Any spam or illegal activities done on that account will be connected to your phone number. And that also means if you try to register for your OWN account on Craigslist, you probably won’t be able to do so, since your phone number has a bad history. This process can also be used with Google, and that means the scammer can use your phone number to get their own Google Voice number, so they can make phone calls and send text messages to scam other people. In the worst cases, illegal activity done on these fake/scam accounts might involve law enforcement investigating who is responsible. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to explain why your phone number is the “verified” number on a scammer’s account. Bottom line: don’t give any verification code to anyone.
How to create a personal website using Google Sites
How to create a personal website using Google Sites
What if I told you that five minutes from now you could have your own website? It’s true. If you have a Google account (a Gmail email account is a Google account), creating and publishing your own website is as easy as creating a Word document.   Want to see what’s possible with Google Sites? Here’s a collection of websites that were created with the service: You’ll see lots of thumbnail images for websites – just click on each one to view the site itself.   For this example, I’ll make a website about my two little Yorkie dogs, Lilly and Fenway. The first thing you’ll need to do is go to the Google Sites website: If you haven’t already signed in to your Google account, it will ask you to sign in (or create an account if you don’t already have one). The opening page looks like this:   When you click on “Header type” you’ll see you have four options: Cover Large banner Banner Title only You can click on each of them to get an idea of what each one means. For this example, I’ll choose “Large banner” (you can change it later if you want). And when you click in the “Your page title” area, you can type the title of this web page. You can also click on “Change image”, and upload a picture from your computer as a background image. And “Enter site name” is where you would put the overall name of the website. So here’s our site so far:   Over on the right side, you see 3 tabs: Insert – this is where you would decide what content goes on this page that we’re working on Pages – this is where you add more pages to this website Themes – you will see several options for the design of the site So I went to Themes and chose the “Aristotle” option. Then I went back to Insert, and chose to insert a text box. This gives you a place to type whatever written content you want to put on this page. I typed a couple of sentences, which now appear under the main header image (you can type as much text as you want):   Now I’ll go back to Insert, and choose to insert a picture. You can upload an image from your hard drive, or you can choose from your albums on Google Photos. Then, I’ll write a little about that picture and drag that text to be right next to the image.   So you can see, just about anything you would want to add to your web page is available in that tool section on the right side. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see lots more options: The best way to get a feel for these things is to just click on each one and see what it does. You can create a button that links to some other website. You can put in a divider line to separate groups of content. You can embed a YouTube video. You can put in a form, where you can ask questions and people can fill out the form and submit it to you. You can insert documents, spreadsheets, all kinds of stuff. At the top of the page you also have some other controls. In the middle is an icon of an eyeball.   You can click the eyeball to get a preview of your site at any point. So you can try adding something, preview it, then go back to editing until you get it exactly how you want it to look. And when you’re done, click the big “Publish” button to take your site live for the world to see. That will give you some options. The primary one is to determine the actual address (URL) for your site. Since I typed lillyandfenway that means the address for my site is: (that link takes you to the actual site I created) You could also get a domain name so that it looks more personal or professional. Such as, “” or something similar, depending on what domain names are available. That just makes it easier to tell people the website and have them remember it. You can also set a limit on who can view the website. In most cases “Anyone” is fine since that makes it public for anyone to be able to see it.   So there you have it – creating your own website with Google Sites. Keep this in mind: a website that looks really great and has lots of content and features means that whoever created that site put in the time and effort to make it that way. Google Sites just gives you the technology and the tools to create a great website. It’s kind of like writing. If you have a computer and Microsoft Word, you have the opportunity to write a NY Times best-selling book. But most of that depends on you, not your computer.

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Podcast Details
Aug 16th, 2012
Latest Episode
Jan 21st, 2019
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Avg. Episode Length
10 minutes

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