Homefront Reporter | October 2005

Link to Offering advanced technology with a personal touch

Surfer Beware
Hurricane Katrina Internet Scams Abound


Ask The Help Desk
Can Airport Security Scans Harm My Laptop Computer?

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

Short Tutorial
Add A Sound Alert When Hitting The "Caps Lock" Key


Welcome to the Homefront Reporter

Welcome to our October 2005 eNewsletter. The Gulf Coast continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina and we encourage everyone to do their part in helping the victims. Unfortunately, Internet scammers are out to steal money from well-meaning people who are trying to assist the victims of this disaster. Learn how to protect yourself by reading the information within this month's eNewsletter.

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

Surfer Beware - Hurricane Katrina Internet Scams Abound

We've united to help the Gulf Coast begin to recover from Hurricane Katrina. But sadly, when disasters occur, scammers looking for a quick buck inevitably follow. The FBI has reported that, as of mid-September, about 4,000 websites were claiming to offer help to victims and that about 60 percent of them were probably scams.

Besides fraudulent websites, the most common Hurricane Katrina Internet-related scams are e-mail solicitations, a practice called "phishing," asking for money for Katrina's victims. The message asks for a donation and, when an unsuspecting donor provides a credit card number or makes an electronic payment, the money is pocketed by the scammer and identity theft is a possibility. Rip-off attempts based upon the notorious "Nigerian fee scams" are also making the rounds.

Other e-mail scams don't even require a reply. Messages with Katrina-related subject lines and file attachments carrying Trojans or viruses can infect your computer if you open the files. Plus, chain letters (such as "victims receive $1 every time you forward this message") and messages that use interest in the disaster to sell unrelated and often bogus products are circulating.

Common sense is your biggest ally in protecting yourself against these scams. Here are several tips to help protect yourself against scammers:

  1. Never respond to unsolicited e-mail messages asking for a donation.
  2. Be leery of relief websites run by unfamiliar organizations.
  3. Report rip-off schemes to our state's Attorney General Office, the Better Business Bureau, or the FBI. The FBI's Hurricane Katrina scam tip line is (800) 225-5324.
  4. Learn more about avoiding Hurricane Katrina charitable-giving rip-offs at the Better Business Bureau's BBB Wise Giving Alliance website: www.give.org.

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3 Rivers Communications is now offering NetXL+, a new and improved dial-up or broadband accelerator service. Click here to learn more. NetXL+ offers:

  • Accelerates dial-up up to 6 times faster
  • Ad and pop-up blocker
  • Spyware protection
  • Parental controls
  • Privacy protection
  • System tools
  • Great image quality and speed
  • Only $4.95 per month
  1. Click here to visit our registration/downloads site.
  2. Enter your name, state, and email address and click Submit.
  3. Once you click Submit, an email will be sent to you containing a link to our downloads page as well as an access code. You will need to enter this access code during the installation process.
  4. Download the Accelerator and follow the prompts to install.


Need Assistance?

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Ask The Help Desk - Can Airport Security Scans Harm My Laptop Computer?

Question: I plan to take my laptop computer with me when I travel during the upcoming holidays. Why does airport security scan laptops separately from other carry-on luggage? Can the x-ray system that airports use harm my computer?

Answer: Laptop computers are inspected separately because it's a better way to determine if an explosive device has been hidden within the computer. With all of the electronic components built into a laptop, it's difficult for a security worker to look at an x-ray image and determine if there's a bomb. Chemistry kits called "sniffers" are also used on suspect laptops to determine if residue from bomb-making chemicals is present. Additionally, airport security may ask you to turn your computer on as a further precaution to make sure that your computer is not a bomb in disguise.

It's a misperception that airport x-ray machines will damage laptop computers and other electronic devices, such as cell phones and PDAs. The concentration of the x-ray beam is not strong enough to penetrate the casings of electronics. However, there has been a new development regarding photographic film and airport security x-ray machines. X-ray scanners of recent years do not damage film. But as a part of anti-terrorism airport security upgrades, a new type of x-ray machine, called a CTX-5000SP, is being installed in many airports in North America.

The CTX-5000SP is designed to better detect explosives, but tests have shown that x-rays from these machines will damage unprocessed film if the film receives a direct hit from the beam. Processed film and electronic devices are not affected.

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Great Sites To Check Out This Month

How To Find The Lowest Gasoline Prices
http://gasbuddy.com -  With gas prices the way they are, we need all the help we can get. This site runs 170+ local websites across the U.S. and Canada that help consumers find area gas stations that are selling fuel at lower prices. A network of local volunteer gas price spotters submits updates for their specific area. The site also includes a link comparing our state's tax rate on gasoline compared to other states. It's interesting information.

The Legend of Zorro Released This Month
http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thelegendofzorro/ -  Multiple Golden Globe Award nominee Antonio Banderas and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones team up again in follow-up to their internationally popular motion picture, The Mask of Zorro. The first film grossed over $200 million and the sequel promises to be just as adventurous and action-packed. The official site for The Legend of Zorro includes production notes, lots of photos, bios, and a thrilling movie trailer. The film opens October 28, 2005 and is rated PG.

Dress Your Dog Up As A Bee For Halloween
http://beedogs.com -  Have you been wondering what costume your dog will wear for Halloween? Me neither. But for those of you who are, why not dress him/her up as a bee? The person who runs this site collects pictures of dogs that are dressed up in bee costumes and posts them for the world to see. Come on. You're not doing anything really important right now anyway — and you are very curious. Go take a look!

The Amazing Race: Family Edition
http://www.cbs.com/primetime/amazing_race8 -  Last month's Emmy Award winning television show, The Great Race, is back for another season only this time with a new spin. Instead of two-person teams, the teams are now four-person teams comprised exclusively of related family members — including children as young as eight years old. The Amazing Race: Family Edition is the eighth competition for this popular series. Check out the site to learn more about the family team members in this season's contest.

Solve Your Midnight Gourmet Coffee Craving
http://www.gourmetsleuth.com -  Have you ever had a 2 a.m. craving for a java chip frappe from your favorite local coffee shop which happened to close hours ago? This site can help as it takes a shot at trying to recreate some popular drink and baked good recipes. It may not taste exactly the same nor have the same ambiance as your cozy coffee shop, but at least you can wear your pajamas as you sip.

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Short Tutorial - Add A Sound Alert When Hitting The "Caps Lock" Key

Accidentally hitting the "Caps Lock" key when typing an e-mail message is a common keyboarding error. When you are in a hurry, your left pinky finger sometimes just doesn't reach either the "tab" key or the "shift" key but instead hits right in between on the "Caps Lock" key. Before you know it, you've got a whole line of text in all capital letters.

If it's rare that you intentionally use the "Caps Lock" key — it's used when making a series of letters all capitalized — you can set your computer to sound an alert when hitting this key. Here's how to set your sound alert when using Windows XP:

  1. Click your cursor arrow on the "Start" menu in the lower left corner of your screen.

  2. Click on the "Control Panel" icon. This will open the "Control Panel" window.

  3. Click on "Accessibility Options" (either on the icon or on the link next to it). The "Accessibility Options" window will open.

  4. Click on "Accessibility Options" again in the window. A smaller "Accessibility Options" window will open.

  5. Click on the "Keyboard" tab.

  6. Look for the item labeled "ToggleKeys" and click in the check box labeled "Use ToggleKeys."

  7. Click on the "Apply" button. Depress the "Caps Lock" key on your keyboard and you'll hear the alert sound for that item. You will also hear alert sounds when you depress "Num Lock" and "Scroll Lock" if your keyboard has these keys.

  8. Click the "OK" button in the small "Accessibility Options" window.

  9. Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the large "Accessibility Options" window to close it. Now, when you accidentally hit the "Caps Lock" key, you'll hear about it!

For Mac users, there is no sound alert setting for the "Caps Lock" key. However, if your "Caps Lock" is turned on when using the Safari browser and going to a site that requests a password, you'll see a symbol in the right corner of the password field advising you that your "Caps Lock" key is on. Give it a try.

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We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings at our shop. 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.)

©2005 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.