eCurrents | October 2009


Link to Advanced Technology, Personal Touch





Inside This Issue

Burglars Can Target Homes Via Social Networking Sites

Gaming Or Assignment?

Ask The Help Desk
How Can I Hide Objectionable Posts On Facebook?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In October

Short Tutorial
Manually Clearing Your Browser History

Your Guide To Understanding The Internet



Welcome to eCurrents

There's a theme in this October issue and it's socializing, both online and in person. We start with a warning about social networking sites, and the potential for burglars to use information you post about vacation plans and belongings to target your home. Also on the topic of social networking sites, you'll learn how to hide objectionable posts from certain users on your Facebook page. In Great Sites, get help with social events including tailgating recipes and Halloween costume resources. Finally, there's a tutorial on clearing your browser history. Granted, it's not a social activity, but just an important part of routine computer maintenance.

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, please see the links at the bottom of this e-mail to manage your preferences.

To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!

- The eCurrents Team


Warning! - Burglars Can Target Homes Via Social Networking Sites

BurglarUsers of social networking sites such as Facebook are giving away vital information that is potentially being used by professional burglars to establish a list of targets. This is according to a recent report from UK insurer, Legal and General, which revealed that nearly 40% of Facebook users posted details of their vacation plans and by doing so, announced when their homes would be empty.

The research also found that users are putting their security at risk by being willing to be friends with people that they don't really know. Nearly half of those surveyed will accept a friend invitation from complete strangers because the person has a nice picture. Other trouble spots concern the posting of addresses (Over 15% of users reported seeing others' residential addresses posted on pages that are accessible to strangers.) and revealing the contents of your home (Almost 70% of users think that social media sites are a great place to share photos of their cool new purchases and presents.).

Burglars can use social networking sites to develop relationships with people, learn what they may own, and find out when they are likely to be away from home. To reduce your odds of becoming a victim, experts suggest the following:

  • Be particularly careful if you are a new user of Facebook and want to quickly build up your network. Don't let this goal get in the way of good judgment when it comes to friend requests.
  • When you get a friend request, check to make sure the person is actually a friend of someone you know personally.
  • Think twice about posting dates of your upcoming trips.
  • Consider the contents of photos that you post. Do they show valuables in your home?
  • Be sure to activate the site's privacy features.

We're not trying to steal the fun from social networking sites—keep enjoying the positive connections you're making with old and new friends. Just be careful what information you post and remain mindful of who will see it.

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Ask The Help Desk - How Can I Hide Objectionable Posts On Facebook?

Question: I have some relatives that are Facebook friends, and they occasionally post messages that contain objectionable language. I don't want to unfriend them since they're family, but I'd like to hide their posts. How can I do that?

Answer: There's an easy way to handle this situation. Go to the post in question and hover over it with your cursor arrow. You'll see the word "Hide" with a triangle to the right of your friend's name. Click on the triangle and it will give you options—either to hide the user or hide a Facebook application. In this case, you'd choose to hide the user. This will prevent you from seeing news feed posts by this friend, and he/she will not know that you hid them.

If this friend comments on one of your posts, the comment will still show up. If they post something offensive, you can delete the post. Just click the "Delete" link under the post, and then click the "Delete" button when the Delete Comment window appears. Even though your friend will not be notified of the deleted post, he/she will probably notice that their comment was deleted.

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Sites Of The Month - Great Sites To Check Out In October

FluTracker - If you are curious about the progress of H1N1 (swine) flu, check out this site. It provides global and national maps and charts that reflect the current status of the virus, including the total number of cases reported to date. You can click on the maps for detailed statistics, use the chat function to interact with others on the site in real time, or read comments from users about what's happening with the flu in their areas.

Critical Contact - Critical illness brings stress and challenges, and contacting family and friends with updates can be a time-consuming challenge in itself. CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization that helps those with critical illnesses easily stay in touch with others through free websites that include areas for background stories, journal entries, photos, resources, and visitor comments. Use the CaringBridge site to offer support, make a donation, or create a site of your own.

The Low Down On Low Rates - is the leading consumer resource for credit card information. Whether you have good credit or bad, this site can help you determine which card makes the most sense for you. They analyze over 1,000 different credit cards and write objective opinions for consumers.

Big Game, Big Food, Big Fun - Keep it simple, fun, and delicious with tailgating tips from the Food Network's Guy Fieri. Watch videos of Guy in action as he cooks up tantalizing tailgating appetizers, main dishes, drinks, and desserts. Guy's step-by-step instructions, prep tips, and the site's recipes will make your next tailgating party a victory, no matter who wins the game.

Homemade Halloween - Ladybugs, pirates, and bears, oh my! From animals and insects to superheroes and favorite movie characters, this site has dozens of costume ideas to buy (inexpensively) or make. Homemade costume ideas feature easy instructions that you and your kids can follow together. Don't forget to find a costume for yourself in the adult costume section.

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Short Tutorial - Manually Clearing Your Browser History

Your browser's ability to keep a record of the webpages you've visited recently can be a valuable tool when you want to quickly return to one of these pages later. But your browser history can also become a privacy issue, which is why browsers provide the option of deleting it. In addition, deleting your browser history is a good thing to do regularly because cookies and offline webpages can add up and slow down your Internet and computer speeds. Simply follow the steps below for your browser and operating system.

Manually Clearing Your Browser History Using ...
- Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 7
- Computer Operating System: Windows XP

    1.   With Internet Explorer open, click your cursor arrow on the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options" from the resulting drop-down menu.

    2.   The Internet Options window will open. In the "Browsing history" section, click on the "Delete..." button.

    3.   The Delete Browsing History window will open. Select the "Delete history..." button.

    4.   The "Delete History" pop-up box will appear asking if you are sure you want to delete your history of visited websites. Click on the "Yes" button. 5.  Click the red X in the upper right corner to close the Delete Browsing History window and again to close the Internet Options window.

Manually Clearing Your Browser History Using ...
- Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 8
- Computer Operating System: Windows Vista

    1.   With Internet Explorer open, click your cursor arrow on the "Safety" menu and select "Delete Browsing History..." from the resulting drop-down menu.

    2.  The Delete Browsing History window will open. The box next to "History" should be checked.

    3.  Click on the "Delete" button. The "Delete Browsing History" pop-up box will appear showing you the progress of deleting your history and will close automaticall