Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - September 2010Dear Friends,
This is my customer newsletter, containing information that I hope will help you use your computer more enjoyably, safely, and efficiently. This month's topics are
Saving Money on Computer Use
More About the "I Was Mugged" E-mail Fraud.
Previous newsletters are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site.
If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one. If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me
know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list.
If you have questions or comments or want to schedule an appointment, please call me at 303-444-8247.
Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for
Over 25 Years
Saving Money on Computer Use
Here are some easy ways to save money when you buy computer equipment:
To save money on computer software:
- Buy computers and computer accessories on sale at local stores. Computer and office supply stores like
Office Depot, and
usually have weekly sales. Look at their Sunday newspaper ads, or check the weekly ads on their web sites.
- Buy online. You can often get lower prices, even after paying for shipping, at online retailers like
- Buy cables at an electronics supply store. Did you just buy a printer, and now you need a USB cable to connect it to your computer? It's convenient to buy the cable at the same time that you buy the printer, but computer and office supply stores often charge
outrageously high prices for cables. You can get much
better prices at an electronics supply store, like
J.B. Saunders at 4700 Sterling Drive in Boulder.
To save money on electricity:
- Use a free antivirus program. New computers often come with a limited trial version of a paid antivirus program from a big company like Norton or McAfee. Un-install that program and install a good, free one like
Microsoft Security Essentials or
avast! Free Antivirus. If you have Comcast's Internet service, you can get the
Norton Security Suite for free.
- Don't buy programs that claim that they can improve your computer's performance. I've never seen a program that can make a noticeable difference. In particular, avoid programs that say that they can speed up your computer by cleaning the registry.
Registry cleaners are worthless at best, and they can damage your computer and make it unusable.
- Use free alternatives to Microsoft Office. People often send E-mail attachments containing files written by Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. If you need to read those attachments but don't need to edit or create them, you don't have to buy Microsoft Office. You can install Microsoft's free
Excel Viewer, and
PowerPoint Viewer programs. If you occasionally need to create very simple Office documents, you can use Microsoft's free
Office Web Apps.
- Configure the computer's power settings to turn off the monitor when you haven't used the computer for a few minutes and to put the computer to sleep after a longer period of inactivity. Note that using a
screen saver doesn't turn the monitor off and doesn't save any money.
More About the "I Was Mugged" E-mail Fraud
Here's more information about the
"I Was Mugged" E-Mail fraud
that I wrote about in my June newsletter,
If you get such a message, don't reply to it by E-mail, because your friend won't see the reply. The criminals who broke into your friend's E-mail account will see it, and
they'll intensify their efforts to trick you into sending them money. Call your friend on the phone.