Homefront Reporter | December 2006

Link to Offering advanced technology with a personal touch



Inside This Issue

Beware Of Fake E-cards This Season

Introducing 3 Rivers'
New And Improved DSL High Speed Internet!

Ask The Help Desk
Seeing Holiday Graphics Within E-mail Message Pane?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In December!

Short Tutorial
How To See Graphics Within Incoming Holiday E-mail



Welcome to the Homefront Reporter

Our best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday! In keeping with the season, December's eNewsletter contains gifts for you. There's the gift of information about potentially damaging fake e-cards. There's the gift of learning with the tutorial on getting images to appear within incoming e-mail messages. And finally, there's the gift of fresh ideas. Look around the Great Sites for inspiration on what to do (and see) this month for fun, how to save money by regifting, and where to get free clipart for holiday projects.

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. To meet this goal, each monthly newsletter will usually contain information related to:

  1. Warnings on a recent virus, e-mail hoax or security issue that may affect you
  2. An update on new services and other local interests
  3. An answer to a frequently asked Internet related question
  4. Some fun, seasonal websites to check out
  5. A short, step-by-step tutorial on an e-mail or browser related task

We think you'll find the information contained in this newsletter to be a valuable tool for enhancing your Internet experience. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

To see what's inside this issue, take a look at the index to the left and thanks for reading!

- The Homefront Reporter Team

Warning! - Beware Of Fake E-cards This Season

Although most e-cards are from legitimate sources, the holidays create a prime opportunity for hackers and spammers to take advantage of your festive spirit. 'Tis the season to be especially vigilant for fraudulent and potentially damaging e-cards. A wholesome-looking holiday greeting, once clicked or downloaded, might actually be:

  • Spam or a spyware installer that displays pornography or other unwanted images on your desktop, or barrages you with pop-up ads.
  • A computer virus that scans your e-mail addresses and then sends a bogus e-card to your personal and professional contacts without your knowledge.

The fake e-card and virus may even appear to be from you.

You don't have to let fake e-cards turn you into a Scrooge, however. To help avoid troubles, just apply the same caution you would use with any e-mail you receive:

  • Never download or click on anything from any unknown source.
  • Use and frequently update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  • Use a firewall.
  • Don't accept an end-user agreement without reading the fine print first; you might inadvertently agree to install spyware or something else you don't want.

If you're sending e-cards, you may want to stick to well-known and reputable sites such as bluemountain.com, hallmark.com, egreetings.com, and americangreetings.com.

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Introducing 3 Rivers' - New And Improved DSL High Speed Internet!

3 Rivers has recently made some changes to its DSL High Speed Internet service. In the October issue of this newsletter, we informed you that we now offer download speeds of up to 1Mb download (where available). Additional improvements include waiving the activation fee when you install the DSL on your computer yourself using a disc provided by 3 Rivers (a savings of $29.95). Plus, we now include SecureIT Plus Internet security software for free to all DSL subscribers.

SecureIT Plus provides:

  • Fully automated protection and removal of viruses, spyware and adware
  • Automated hard drive maintenance and optimization
  • Automated installation of tested Microsoft patches
  • Monthly e-mail reporting
  • Free professional installation
  • Free technical support
  • Guaranteed protection

SecureIT Plus is free for one computer per DSL subscriber. Software for additional computers is available for purchase. Call a 3 Rivers Customer Service Representative or visit www.3rivers.net for more details.

Important Notice
3 Rivers recently experienced a congestion issue related to a single piece of equipment in its broadband network that was causing unusually slow connection speeds for Internet customers in our northern region. This situation has been rectified and should not be an issue moving forward. 3 Rivers apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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Ask The Help Desk - Seeing Holiday Graphics Within E-mail Message Pane?

Question: Why can't I see graphics on incoming holiday e-mail messages like I could last year? I get holiday cards from friends and relatives that include family photos and holiday graphics but I am unable to view them this year. I have not changed my computer or updated my e-mail software since last year. I use Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition and I use Outlook Express for my e-mail software.

Answer: Microsoft Corp. developed and released something called Service Pack 2 (SP2) in the fall of 2004 for Windows XP users. The purpose was to "patch holes" in some of Microsoft's software programs to help reduce the threat of e-mail viruses, e-mail worms, and hacker attacks. SP2 most specifically eliminated many of the vulnerabilities within its Internet Explorer browser and Outlook Express/Outlook software programs. Most Windows XP users have since downloaded SP2 onto their computers — sometimes whether they have really realized it or not.

One of SP2's protective measures for Outlook Express and Outlook is to block images from being displayed within incoming e-mail messages as a default setting. Microsoft had discovered that some virus/worm threats arose from malicious code within the graphics of e-mail messages. Microsoft's solution was to prevent users from seeing any graphics within e-mail messages. This is probably the reason you are no longer able to see graphics within your e-mail messages.

Luckily, Microsoft provides an easy option to allow images to appear within messages, either on a per e-mail basis or for all e-mail messages. For more information on how to see images and graphics within the message pane of incoming e-mail messages when using Outlook Express or Outlook, see the Tutorial Section toward the bottom of our newsletter below.

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Great Sites To Check Out This Month

Charlotte's Web On The Web
http://www.charlotteswebmovie.com/ -  When E.B. White spun his tale called Charlotte's Web, families everywhere fell in love with the book about loyalty, trust, and sacrifice at Zuckerman Farm. This month, a live-action adaptation from Paramount opens in theaters. The all-star cast features Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte and Dakota Fanning as Fern, and also includes Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, and Beau Bridges. Children will especially love the movie's site where they can meet the animals in the barn and be called by name! You can also download games, iron-ons, and bookmarks, or send a Charlotte's Web e-card to a friend.

Goodbye To Stains When The Party's Over
http://fabriclink.com/Stains/Holidaystain.cfm -  A friend spills coffee on your beige carpet. Your 3-year-old smears chocolate on your new sofa. Let's face it — stains often show up uninvited at holiday parties. When it happens, go quickly to this site for professional tips on stain removal from carpets, upholstery, and clothing. You'll find step-by-step advice for getting rid of everything on the stain "menu" from eggnog to salad dressing. That way, the only thing left after your parties are over will be the memories.

Christmas In New York City
http://www.nyctourist.com/xmas_in_nyc.htm -  There's something magical about Christmas in New York that draws scores of visitors each year. If you can't be there in person, enjoy the next best thing by visiting this site. Take an online stroll down Fifth Avenue and see the hustle and bustle of shopper-filled streets. Peek into the holiday window displays at Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and Saks. Gaze at the giant tree at Rockefeller Center. The Big Apple is bursting with holiday spirit and you can get a taste of it here.

Holiday Help For Any Elf
http://xmasfun.com -  Are you scurrying around trying to finish last-minute holiday projects? This site is as stuffed as a Christmas stocking with helpful resources including lyrics to carols, festive recipes, and lots of fun games. We particularly liked the collection of free holiday clipart images you can download and use for e-greetings, gift tags, or invitations. To download an image, simply right click on it and select "Save Picture."

Reviewing Regifting
http://regiftable.com -  Regifting (giving as a gift something one previously received as a gift) has gained in popularity since comedian Jerry Seinfeld first coined the term a decade ago. In fact, more than half of adults in a recent survey found regifting acceptable. After all, it does save time and money. If you're new to the concept, learn when and how to properly regift in the section called Regifting 101. You can also chuckle through real-life regifting stories, like the woman who received a fondue set with chocolate and marshmallows packages enclosed that had expired two years ago. Oops!

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Short Tutorial - How To See Graphics Within Incoming Holiday E-mail

One of the scam-protection features of Outlook Express for those Windows XP users who have installed Service Pack 2 (SP2) is the ability to block the display of images within incoming e-mail. However, what's the fun of receiving e-mail messages from friends or sources you trust unless you can look at the photos and graphics?

To see the images within selected e-mail in Outlook Express, do the following with your Preview Pane open:

(Please note before you follow the steps below to make sure you've downloaded the latest security patches from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.mspx. Also, your anti-virus and anti-spyware software should be up-to-date. Remember to frequently update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.)

  1. Click your cursor arrow on the gray bar located just below the subject line of the message. It will say, "Some pictures have been blocked to help prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures." If you click anywhere on that gray bar, the pictures for that particular e-mail will appear for as long as you have that e-mail open.
  2. If you go to a different e-mail and then come back to this message, you will need to click on that bar again to see the images within the message.

Note: If you don't see the gray bar, open the message in it's own window and follow steps one and two above. Otherwise, click your cursor arrow on the "View" menu and drop down to "Layout." When the "Window Layout Properties" window appears, make sure "Show preview pane header" is checked.

If you want to be able to see all pictures on all incoming e-mail messages that contain images in Outlook Express, you can disable this blocking feature. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Outlook Express "Tools" menu and drop down to "Options."
  2. When the "Options" window appears, click on the "Security" tab. About half way down the window, you'll see an item titled "Download images." You will see a checkbox next to the words "Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail." If you uncheck this box, it will allow images to be viewed again just like you could prior to your SP2 update.
  3. Click "Apply" and then "OK" to save your new settings and close the window.

To disable the graphics-blocking feature in Outlook 2003 so you can see pictures and graphics within all incoming e-mail messages, follow these steps:

(Please note before you follow the steps below to make sure you've downloaded the latest security patches from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.mspx. Also, your anti-virus and anti-spyware software should be up-to-date. Remember to frequently update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.)

  1. Go to the Outlook "Tools" menu and drop down to "Options."
  2. When the "Options" window appears, click on the "Security" tab. About half way down the window you'll see an item titled "Download Pictures." Click on the button that says "Change Automatic Download Settings." The "Automatic Picture Download Settings" window will appear.
  3. Uncheck the box next to "Don't download pictures or other content automatically in HMTL e-mail."
  4. If you don't want a warning every time you open HTML e-mail, uncheck the box next to "Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying to e-mail."
  5. Click "OK."
  6. Click "OK" again to close the "Options" window.

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We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings here. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

Thanks for your business!

Best regards,

The Homefront Reporter Team
3 Rivers Communications
Offering advanced technology with a personal touch

3 Rivers Communications
202 5th St S
PO Box 429
Fairfield, MT 59436

1-800-796-4567 406-467-2535

(We have used our best efforts in collecting and preparing the information published herein. However, we do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any and all liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions resulted from negligence, accident, or other causes.)

©2006 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this eNewsletter are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.