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Misc. Tech Tips:
Safeguard Your Equipment with a Surge Protector
Spring has sprung and along with the flowers and trees blooming we also have thunderstorms blooming! Thunderstorms bring rain, wind, thunder, and lightning. Lightning is a formidable foe
of electronic devices. A quick jolt from a power surge can render your most prized electronics useless boxes of spare parts!

Surge Protectors are a definite must for all of your electronic devices.When shopping for surge protectors, you really need to read the label (or the side of the box). That's where you'll find the information you need to make your choice.

Here are four things to look for when buying surge protectors:

* First, the clamping voltage. This is the voltage at which the varistor will kick in. Common clamping voltages are 500 volts, 400 volts, and 330 volts. A surge protector with a clamping voltage of 400 volts or 330 volts will give you the best protection.

* Second, consider the response time (also called the clamping response time). This is how quickly the varistor will kick in. Obviously, you want the fastest response time that you can get. Most surge protectors have a response time of a few nanoseconds (billionths of a second). That's pretty fast. But if you want better protection, go with a surge protector that has a response time of a few picoseconds (trillionths of a second).

* Third, look at the energy absorption and dissipation rating of the surge protector. This is the amount of energy, measured in joules, that the surge protector can handle before it's overloaded. Look for a protector with a minimum rating of 300 to 400 joules. A rating of 600 joules or higher will give you better protection.

* Finally, remember the warranty. Things happen, and even really good surge protectors fail. Look for a surge protector with a lifetime warranty and which offers replacements for damaged or destroyed equipment.

One final note. Surge Protectors are not fool-proof. No matter how good it is, a surge protector won't do its job at the exact moment a power surge hits. There's a short delay while the surge
protector kicks in. During that interval, some excess electricity may hit your devices. With any
luck the damage will be minimal, but you never can tell.


Staying Safe on Social Network Sites (Facebook, MySpace,etc)
•Limit the amount of personal information you post - Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing. Also be considerate when posting information, including photos, about your connections.
•Remember that the internet is a public resource - Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can't retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people's machines
•Be wary of strangers - The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.
•Be skeptical - Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent; it could be unintentional, an exaggeration, or a joke. Take appropriate precautions, though, and try to verify the authenticity of any information before taking any action.
•Evaluate your settings - Take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile. You can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people. However, there is a risk that even this private information could be exposed, so don't post anything that you wouldn't want the public to see. Also, be cautious when deciding which applications to enable, and check your settings to see what information the applications will be able to access.
•Use strong passwords - Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed. If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.
•Check privacy policies - Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam. Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.
•Use and maintain anti-virus software - Anti-virus software recognizes most known viruses and protects your computer against them, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage. Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.


Using Your Mouse to Type?
Do you have trouble using your keyboard because one of the key buttons got loose or is missing or got jammed? The solution is to type with your mouse (yes, your mouse). How is this possible? Just click on Start, then click on Run, type osk and press Enter. After this, start typing by clicking with your mouse on the visual keyboard that is on your screen!

Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder
There are times when you are having a problem with your computer and it would help to be able to show technical support how it is happening. Windows 7 has a new feature called the Problem Steps Recorder that does just that.. To launch this program click on Windows Start button and click in the "Search program and files" box at the bottom of the Windows Start menu. Type in "Problem Steps Recorder" and click on the result "Record steps to reproduce a problem". This will launch the Problem Steps Recorder. Click on the Start recording button. Repeats the steps that caused the error or issue that you are having. When finished click on the Stop recording button.
You will be prompted to save the file to you computer. You will have to select where to save the file and give it a name. Once you save the file you can then email the file to technical support. We can open the file and see what you clicked on to get to the problem and what error message you are getting and what program you were running when it happened.