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How to Test and Optimize Your Internet Speed

Clients frequently call me complaining their Internet is running slow.

Web sites take longer than they should to load. Streaming videos start, stop, start, and stop – making it impossible to enjoy entertainment on their PC or smart TV.

I’d like to provide you some tips on how you can test and optimize your Internet speed.

Know Your Numbers

First, it’s important to know what Internet speed you’re paying for from your Internet Service Provider.

Unfortunately, many providers don’t clearly identify this on your monthly bill, disguising it with fancy names like “Extreme Internet” or “Ultra Internet.” You may have to search their website to get determine the exact speed (such as 100Mbps) you’re subscribed to.

Test … And Test Again

After you know what speeds you’re paying for, you should run several Internet speed tests. I recommend using www.speakeasy.net/speedtest and www.speedtest.net.

Keep in mind these tips when testing your connection:
• Only run a speed test when you’re not doing anything else on the Internet. Otherwise, your results won’t be accurate.
• Run speed tests at different times of the day. Network congestion can cause slow Internet speeds.
• If possible, run at least one test with your computer connected directly to your cable modem instead of through your router. This will help you determine if your router may be causing problems.
• Use multiple computers to run the speed tests – but not at the time same. This can pinpoint a problem with your computer or Internet browser instead of with your Internet connection.
Reboot

If your speed test results are significantly lower than what you’re paying for, you should reboot both your cable modem and router. Unplug the power cord from both devices, wait about two minutes, then plug them back in – cable modem first.

This often clears up any “junk” clogging up your Internet pipeline.

After about five minutes, you can run another speed test to see if your connection has improved.

Change Browsers

The program you use to surf the Internet can make all the difference in the world.

I recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead of Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer.

Chrome and Firefox typically load websites much faster, are significantly safer, and encounter fewer problems than other browsers.

Regularly Tune-Up Your PC

Junk builds up on your computer with regular use. Cookies and other files can cause your computer to run slower, especially on the Internet.

It’s important to perform regular maintenance on your computer, including clearing out junk and temporary files, running virus scans, and defragmenting your hard drive.

Visit https://www.calibreforhome.com/2013/05/9-tips-to-keep-your-computer-running-smoothly-2/ for 9 tips to keep your computer running smoothly.

Make A Call

If you’ve taken all of these steps and your Internet still is slower than a snail, you’ll most likely need to call either your Internet Service Provider or a computer professional or both.

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How Not To Get Locked Out Of Facebook And Other Online Accounts

“Hi, Scott.  I need your help,” the voice on the other end of the line greets.

“I’m locked out of my Facebook account and can’t get back in because I don’t remember my password.  Can you help me?”

While I happily try to assist, I know the chances for success are extremely low.

Facebook, Google and most other online services do not have a phone number you can call, speak to a live person, and have them reset your password.

Instead, your only option is to rummage through their web-based help documentation, submit an online form, and hope the requested information you provided is sufficient for someone to eventually send you instructions on how to get back into your account.

The majority of the time, this fails.

Why Account Recovery Fails

All online services provide you an easy way to recover lost passwords or regain access to your account.  The account recovery process typically involves sending an email to your email address or a text message to your cell phone.

So what’s the problem?

Most people never set up their recovery information in Facebook, Gmail, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, and other commonly used websites.

Those who did when they first created their account seldom update their recovery information when their email address or phone numbers change.

How To Set Up Recovery Information

Each platform differs slightly in how to set up your account recovery information.  Here are links to instructions on how to do so on some of the most common websites:

Don’t Wait!

Avoid the frustration of forever losing access to your online accounts.  Invest a few minutes right now to take these important steps:

  • If you don’t already have a second email address, set up an alternate email address with Gmail (www.gmail.com).
  • Log in to each of your online accounts (Facebook, Gmail, Pinterest, eBay, etc.).  Configure your recovery options in each of them.
  • Associate your cell phone number, if you have one, with the account.
  • Set periodic reminders to make sure your account recover information is kept current.

 

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Cryptocurrencies: Not Just For the Black Market

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin.  Cryptocurrency.

You may recognize those terms being associated with cybercriminals holding your personal information hostage.  Often you’re instructed to pay the ransom using Bitcoin, if you want your files decrypted.

Despite the negative connotation, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are becoming a popular alternative form of payment and potentially profitable investment vehicles.

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies basically are digital assets designed to work as a medium of exchange, according to Wikipedia. 

Even though many of them have the term “coin” in their name, they usually don’t come in physical form.

The website blockgeeks.com provides a great summary:

 “Cryptocurrencies are digital gold.  Sound money that is secure from political influence.  Cryptocurrencies are a fast and comfortable means of payment with a worldwide scope, and they are private and anonymous.”

They also highlight five attractive qualities of using cryptocurrency either as a method of payment or investment vehicle:

“1.) Irreversible: After confirmation, a transaction can‘t be reversed. By nobody. And nobody means nobody. Not you, not your bank, not the president of the United States, not Satoshi, not your miner. Nobody. If you send money, you send it. Period. No one can help you, if you sent your funds to a scammer or if a hacker stole them from your computer. There is no safety net.

“2.) Pseudonymous: Neither transactions nor accounts are connected to real world identities. You receive Bitcoins on so-called addresses, which are randomly seeming chains of around 30 characters. While it is usually possible to analyze the transaction flow, it is not necessarily possible to connect the real world identity of users with those addresses.

“3.) Fast and global: Transaction are propagated nearly instantly in the network and are confirmed in a couple of minutes. Since they happen in a global network of computers they are completely indifferent of your physical location. It doesn‘t matter if I send Bitcoin to my neighbor or to someone on the other side of the world.

“4.) Secure: Cryptocurrency funds are locked in a public key cryptography system. Only the owner of the private key can send cryptocurrency. Strong cryptography and the magic of big numbers makes it impossible to break this scheme. A Bitcoin address is more secure than Fort Knox.

“5.) Permissionless: You don‘t have to ask anybody to use cryptocurrency. It‘s just a software that everybody can download for free. After you installed it, you can receive and send Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. No one can prevent you. There is no gatekeeper.”

Big-name stores accept it

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency developed in 2009, is accepted as a valid form of payment by a growing number of retailers.

Overstock.com, Expedia.com, Target, Subway, Whole Foods, Dell, Dish Network, and dozens of others will allow you to buy products or services and pay with Bitcoin.

Better returns than the stock market

Teeka Tiwari, editor of the Palm Beach Letter, encourages his investors to purchase Bitcoin and other select cryptocurrencies for investing.

His research shows investing in cryptocurrencies outperforms the stock market by huge percentages.  He admits, of course, it is more volatile and risky and no one should put their entire nest egg into it.

How do you get it

The easiest way to obtain Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is by buying them through an exchange service.  Coinbase is one of the most popular and easiest to use.

For more details on cryptocurrencies and step-by-step instructions on how to obtain them, visit http://bit.ly/cryptocurrencyguide.

NOTE:  Information provided in this column is not intended to provide any form of financial or investment advice or counseling.  Seek assistance from a qualified investment advisor before purchasing or investing in any cryptocurrencies.

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You Can Avoid Becoming A Victim

Fraud

“Hi, Scott. I need to give you my new credit card information. My old card got hacked, so the bank sent me a new one.”

I receive calls like this almost every week from clients who have recurring transactions set up with us.

Scams, fraud and identity theft are on the rise. A sad reality of the 21st century.

Did you know …

  • 13.1 million U.S. consumers lost almost $15 billion because of identity theft in 2015, according to a Javelin Strategy and Research study conducted last year?
  • credit card fraud could jump from $4 billion to $10 billion by 2020, according to a February 2016 CNBC report?

All this is despite the advances in new security features, like the EMV chips in debit and credit cards.

If you haven’t been the victim of a computer scam, fraudulent bank or credit card use, or identity theft, you probably know someone who has. The negative effects cause incredible frustration, cost hours of lost time, and results in the loss of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Becoming aware of how scammers, cybercriminals, and identity thieves work and knowing how you can protect yourself is critical in this age.

In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, March 5 through 11, I’d like to provide you with this information. But I would need considerably more space than what I’m graciously given here in this column.

So I’ve created a new three-part video series where I share practical and little-known consumer safety tips.

These tips provide you the knowledge you need to be a smart consumer, even when scammers catch you off guard. Armed with this information, you’ll avoid falling victim to scams, identity theft, and fraud.

Common Computer Scams
In the first video, I’ll teach you how to quickly and easily identify the three most common computer scams. Some are blatantly obvious, yet many people fall hook-line-and-sinker for them. After watching this video, you won’t be one of those people.

How Identity Thieves Work
In the second video, I’ll describe some of the sneaky ways identity thieves steal your personal information. It’s not just through your computer, either. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is for these criminals to go undetected and how at-risk your privacy is.

How to Protect Yourself
In the final video, I’ll give you 10 specific actions you must take to protect yourself – in both the physical and digital worlds. You’ll be given the steps, resources, and tools necessary to keep your personal and financial information as secure as possible.

You can sign up to view the videos for free at on the home page of this website – www.calibreforhome.com.

I promise I’m not going to try to sell you anything, and I won’t be filling your email inbox with useless junk messages.

I simply want to help combat the growing trend of fraud and identity theft. The best way for me to do that is by sharing with you what I’ve learned as I deal with it on a daily basis.

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What’s Your Password?

Forgot Password

“I changed all my passwords to ‘incorrect.’  So whenever I forget, it will tell me: ‘Your password is incorrect.’”

Memes like this provide much-needed laughter about passwords.  Otherwise, trying to create and remember complex passwords for nearly every website you visit causes you to cry in frustration.

Have you ever forgotten your password for Facebook or your email account?

You’re not alone if you have.  Over the past month, an increasing number of clients solicited my help to recover or reset forgotten passwords.

The Mistake Most People Make

Web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer offer to remember your passwords for all your websites.  You let them and you never have to type in your password again for that website.  It conveniently fills in your username and password each time you visit the page.

The problem occurs when your web browser must be reset.  Resetting your web browser can cause Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer to forget your saved passwords.

Then when you visit a site like Facebook, you must enter your username and password.

But because the only place your password was stored was in the web browser, you can’t log in. 

Thus begins the arduous and sometimes impossible task of resetting your password by answering security questions or replying to recovery emails.

Keep Your Accounts Up-To-Date

Resetting your forgotten password is much easier if you keep your email address and/or cell phone number up-to-date on various websites. 

Facebook, for example, allows you the option to have a code texted to your cell phone or a recovery email sent to your email address should you lose your password.  Within five minutes, you can create a new password and be on your merry way.

But some people I’ve assisted had an old email address or cell phone number configured in Facebook.  They also couldn’t remember their answers to their security questions.

The result:  forever locked out of that Facebook account.  Forced to create a new one, re-add all their friends, and start anew.

ACTION STEP:  Make sure your current email address and cell phone number are correctly configured as recovery options for all of your online accounts – Facebook, email, banking, credit cards, etc.

The Best Place to Store Your Passwords

Trying to remember zillions of different, complex passwords for different websites is mind-boggling.  Keeping an up-to-date written list is practically impossible.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to use a free password management program called LastPass (www.lastpass.com).

LastPass gives you:

  • Unlimited and secure storage for passwords and notes
  • Automatic backup of passwords
  • Automatic completion of login fields and forms

By installing a simple add-on to your web browser, you’ll have quick access to all of your passwords.  You can also store credit card numbers, license numbers, insurance information, and more.

You only have to remember one master password – the one you use to log in to LastPass.

LastPass will even detect when you change your password for a website and offer to automatically update it in the program.

For a measly $1 a month, you can upgrade to LastPass Premium and have access to your passwords on all your computers and mobile devices.

Please … if you don’t take any other advice I give, at least write down your passwords in a notebook.  Better yet, put them in LastPass.

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Move Over Craigslist, There’s A New Buy/Sell App in Town

Yard Sale

When I was a kid, I enjoyed everything about yard sales.

Getting up early on a Saturday morning, carefully setting up our “treasures” on the tables, and making change for every sale excited me. I’d be content sitting there for hours as people flocked to find a bargain.

But as I celebrate another birthday today (nope … not revealing my age!), I detest even the thought of holding a yard sale!

You can probably relate.

  • You agree it’s a lot of hard work to make only a few bucks – maybe break $100 if you’re lucky! You have to:
  • Sift through all your “stuff” and decide if you want to part with it
  • Figure out how much you want to sell it for (compared to what you can realistically get for it)
  • Write and place price tags on each individual thing
  • Get up early to set up tables, unbox everything, and display it in some sort of organized fashion
  • Wait (not-so-)patiently for shoppers
  • Haggle over price – including the thing you have marked for 50 cents that someone only wants to pay a quarter for
  • Pack up all the leftovers (probably 90% of what you had for sale) in the trunk of your car to take to Goodwill.

The Internet, though, has made buying and selling your unwanted possessions significantly easier than having an old-fashioned yard sale.

The birth of eBay in 1995, followed by Craigslist in 2000, and now dozens of online yard sale Facebook groups allow you to part with your undesirable stuff from the comfort of your own home. It also makes it A LOT easier to make someone else’s junk your treasure.

Craigslist is probably the most notorious for deals gone wrong. Writer Chrissy Stockton shares some horror stories in her article “50 Craigslist Meet Ups You’re Really Glad You Weren’t A Part Of,” which can be found at http://bit.ly/craigsliststories.

As with all technology, something better always comes along.

OfferUp (https://offerupnow.com) takes the best of eBay and Craiglist and combines it into one easy-to-use mobile app and website.
In less than three minutes, you can create your account either on their website or on the mobile app downloaded to your smartphone.

After that, it’s as easy as walking around your house, using your phone to snap photos of the items you want to see, and then posting a short description and an asking price.

OfferUp makes your goods available on its platform and connects you with buyers in your local area.

When you receive an offer, you’ll get an alert on your phone. Buyers can even “chat” with you right in the application. Once someone says they want to buy your item, you agree on a place to meet and make the exchange.

How is this different from Craigslist?

The user rating system.

Both buyers and sellers can rate each other on how well the other person held up their end of the deal. If you’re a “no show” on a sale, you’ll get a bad rating. Likewise, if you misrepresent the product you’re selling, a buyer can give you a bad rating.

As with anytime you’re meeting a stranger, use caution and common sense.
· Check the buyer/seller ratings.
· Meet in a public place.
· Take someone with you.

Isn’t it time you stopped reading and started selling?!?

***
Thinking about buying a new computer? Already buy a Windows 10 computer?

You need to read my new report “7 Frighteningly Dark Secrets Microsoft Desperately Doesn’t Want You To Know About Windows 10.”

It can be downloaded for free at www.calibreforhome.com/windows10secrets.

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How to Make the Best Web Browser Even Better

Google Chrome

Once again, Internet Explorer created frustration for one of my clients.

Only a few days after having her laptop cleaned up and optimized with our biannual PC Tune-Up Service, Janetta called to report Internet Explorer kept closing every time she tried to check her email or visit Facebook.

She isn’t alone.  I field numerous calls every month from clients suffering grief because Internet Explorer quits working unexpectedly or encounters some sort of problem.

Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge in Windows 10, are the built-in programs in Microsoft Windows giving you access to the Internet.

Like most software developed by Microsoft, Internet Explorer is increasingly becoming a very unstable program.  It breaks easily even under normal usage.

In Janetta’s case, the problem started after she unknowingly installed a program that “hooked” itself into Internet Explorer.

I recommend you install and use Google Chrome as your primary web browser.  It functions in much the same way as Internet Explorer, but with many added benefits, including:

  • You will view websites faster.
  • You will experience fewer problems.
  • Your computer will be safer from hackers and viruses.

Google Chrome can download for free at: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/index.html.

You can add programs – called extensions – to Google Chrome.  These add-ons provide more functionality and ease of use to an already great web browser.

Unlike Internet Explorer, reliable and trustworthy add-ons for Google Chrome don’t create problems and frustration.  It makes surfing the Internet more fun.

Here are several reputable extensions I use or recommend:

Save money with coupons

Getting deals rewards our shopping efforts.  But few of us have time to dedicate to searching for, clipping, and organizing coupons like the people on the TLC hit show Extreme Couponing.

Nothing is sweeter than the Chrome add-on Honey.

Honey (http://bit.ly/honey-chrome) automatically searches for coupons and sales as you check out at various online retailers.  All you have to do is click the Honey button in the menu bar of Chrome.

Of course, not all the coupon codes it finds will work.  But as Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Safely store & remember your passwords

Remembering passwords for dozens of websites is probably one of the worst things about the Internet.

Some sites, especially banking and medical ones, force you to create complex passwords and then make you change them every 90 days.  Even stipulating that you can’t use your previous passwords.

LastPass (http://bit.ly/lastpass-chrome) is the best program I’ve discovered that keeps all your passwords and personal information in one easy-to-access, secure place.

It’s free if you just want to use it on your computer.  It’s only $12 a year to add access to your passwords on your smartphone or tablet.

Block annoying pop-ups

Visit any major website often enough and it will infect your computer with a nasty virus.  That includes MSN.com, Yahoo.com, FoxNews.com, TWC.com, ESPN.com, and others.

The newest method virus writers and hackers use to spread their handiwork is via advertisements that appear on various websites.

AdBlock Plus (http://bit.ly/adblockplus4chrome) adds an extra layer of security to your PC by removing banner ads and pop-ups as you visit websites.

It also helps your favorite websites load faster.

Easily check Gmail

Gmail ranks as the world’s most used and best free email service.  It’s way better than the free email account offered by your Internet Service Provider.  I prefer it above a Yahoo or Hotmail account.

With the Google Mail Checker extension (http://bit.ly/gmail-chrome), a quick glance at the icon in your menu bar tells you how many unread messages reside in your inbox.  It also lets you quickly open your inbox with one click of your mouse.

Force yourself to stay off Facebook

As I’m writing this column, the temptation is oh so strong to slip over to Facebook and see the latest statuses posted by my friends.

If your willpower needs a little help to keep you focused on completing other computer-based tasks rather than mindlessly surfing the Internet, you should install the Simple Blocker add-on for Chrome (http://bit.ly/simpleblocker-chrome).

The app’s developers note it was primarily designed for students, “but can be beneficial to anyone who has a lot to do and seems to get distracted too easily.”

Simple Blocker lets you block certain websites for set periods of time so you can get necessary things accomplished.

And if you have the urge to just turn Simple Blocker off, you can even configure it to prevent you from doing so!

Make your emails and social media posts look like you’re an English major

Not sure how to spell a word?  Fingers type faster than your computer can keep up, resulting in misspelled words on Facebook or in your email messages?

Grammarly (http://bit.ly/grammarly-chrome) can make you look like a spelling bee champion and English major.  This extension “makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective and mistake-free.”

I know a few friends who should be using this add-on!

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Should You Be Concerned Using Your Credit Card Online?

Credit Cards

Long holiday weekends – something I look forward to every year.

It’s an opportunity for me to completely unwind and not have to really do anything but relax.

Black Friday morning shortly after 11, I was relaxing comfortably in my La-Z-Boy rocking chair watching TV. 

I glanced over when I saw my iPhone screen light up with a message.  My phone didn’t beep, so I knew it wasn’t a text or Facebook message or someone sending me a Snapchat.

Rather, it was notification from Capital One informing me my business credit card had just been authorized for a $149.79 purchase at FinishLine.com.  Considering I hadn’t been using my computer yet that morning and that my credit card was tucked safely in my wallet, I knew something was amiss.  (Plus, I don’t use the business card for personal purchases. 

So much for only relaxing the entire weekend!

I quickly called Capital One customer service to report the fraudulent activity.  I also explained to them the need to have a replacement card issued ASAP since this is the card used for nearly all my business purchases – including recurring bill payments, many of which would be attempted in three days .

Luckily, the phone call only took about 30 minutes of my time.  Now I could resume my important activity for the day – doing nothing!

When I’m assisting clients with their computers, the topic of the safety of conducting financial transactions online frequently comes up.

Some clients, like myself, never give a second thought to purchasing items from retailers’ websites, paying bills online, or transacting business on the bank’s website.

We consider the security protocols, the encryption settings, and other features to be sufficient to protect us the majority of the time 

Other clients, though, are either more hesitant or adamantly refuse to even consider the option of doing anything financially on the Internet – even when it’s with companies they trust.

For example, a client recently wanted to upgrade his computer’s antivirus protection to our Advanced Protection plan, which dramatically reduces the risk for a PC to become infected with viruses or malware by preventing you from going to websites known to harm your computer.

When I explained to him the process of doing so, and that it involved monthly billing to his credit card, he sternly said, “I’m not giving ANYONE access to my credit card or bank accounts.”

I understand the concerns of those who wonder if it’s safe to use credit cards online or do online banking with their financial institution.

Bottom line, yes there are risks involved.  But no different than other risks you and I take every day.

Think of how many times you expose yourself to risks in these scenarios:

  • You dine at a sit-down restaurant where the server brings your check and you pay him or her.  Do you think twice about handing your credit card to the server, who then walks away from your table out of sight to process your payment?

It would be extremely easy for a less than honest server to copy your credit card number, expiration date, and CVV code without you knowing – and then use it to make online purchases.

  • Do you have any funds direct deposited into your bank account?  Paychecks.  Pension checks.  Social Security payments.

Do you have any payments automatically deducted from your bank account?  Utility bills.  Insurance payments.  Car payments.  House payments.

If those institutions’ computer networks got hacked, the thieves could potentially get access to your bank account numbers.

I agree you and I must make wise choices and take safety precautions with our online financial activities. 

But you can’t live in fear – and totally avoid the conveniences technology offers you.

It would be akin to saying that because foreign or domestic terrorists might be plotting a sinister attack in a public place you or I frequent, we’re going to just stay home all the time.

Having made thousands of online purchases and countless other online transactions, this is only the second time one of my credit cards has had been compromised.

I encourage you – be smart, be vigilant, be proactive – but don’t live in fear.

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What To Do When Your Web Browser Gives You Trouble

Web Browsers

 

Can you guess what the most common activity is people do on their computers?

Give yourself a pat on the back if you correctly guessed getting on the Internet.

Whether it’s checking email, reading the latest news or sports updates, watching videos on YouTube, or mingling with friends on Facebook, the Internet is the primary destination of most computer users.

You use a program called a web browser to access the Internet.  The most popular web browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Sometimes you’ll experience problems while visiting different websites.  A particular site may not load completely or at all.  An error message may appear.  Websites may take a seemingly long time to display on your screen.

Although there could be many possible causes of such problems, a gunked up web browser could be the culprit.  Resetting your browser can correct some of the problems you may experience.

Here’s how to reset the three most popular web browsers.

To reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Internet Options.
  4. Click the Advanced tab.
  5. Click the Reset… button at the bottom of the window.
  6. Click Reset on the next window that opens.
  7. Click OK on the next window that opens.
  8. Close Internet Explorer to fully apply the changes.

To reset Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click the Chrome settings icon in the upper right corner (3 horizontal bars).
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Show Advanced Settings.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  6. Click on the Reset Browser Settings button.
  7. Close Google Chrome to fully apply the changes.

To reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Press the ALT key on your keyboard one time. The menu bar will appear in the top left corner of the web browser.
  3. Click on Help.
  4. Click on Troubleshooting Information. A new page will open.
  5. Click on the Refresh Firefox button.
  6. Click on the Refresh Firefox button in the small dialog window that appears in the middle of your screen.
  7. Close Firefox to fully apply the changes.

Resetting your web browser, especially Internet Explorer, corrects many problems you may experience viewing websites.  If after resetting your browser, you still experience problems, you will want to contact your trusted computer professional to further diagnose the issue.

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Control Your Facebook News Feed With The New “See First” Feature

Facebook

 

Have you ever gotten frustrated scrolling through your Facebook news feed because it’s cluttered with pictures and posts from people you hardly know or talk to?

And you can’t easily find the recipe Aunt Sally posted that the rest of your family is talking about?

Wouldn’t it be nice to always see weather alerts, sports updates, and community updates from pages like Gibson County Communique, Wabash Valley Weather Alerts, and the South Gibson Star-Times?

Over the years, Facebook has tried to understand who and what you prefer to see when you log in.  But their best efforts using complex algorithms have fallen short.

But now, Mark Zuckerberg’s development team may have finally created a feature that truly works.  It makes sense too because it lets YOU decide what you want to see – to a degree.

The new feature is called “See First.”  It allows you to identify the people and pages whose status updates you determine are of higher priority than everyone else in your Facebook world.

For example, you may always want to see updates from your family members.  Maybe you want to stay abreast of the latest news or financial information shared by certain media outlets.

“See First” allows you to select those individuals and pages whose posts you want to never miss.

Of course, you’ll still see pictures and updates from other people on your friends list, but you may not see everything.  (Facebook hasn’t fully revealed how this new feature works.)

How do you set up the “See First” feature on your Facebook account?  It’s simple!

  • Log in to Facebook on your desktop or laptop computer.
  • Click on the blue down arrow located at the far right of the blue bar across the top of your Facebook page. You will see a drop-down menu of options.
  • Click on “News Feed Preferences.” A new window will open.
  • Click on “Prioritize who to see first.” You will see all of the Facebook pages you have liked, people you have followed, and people who are your Facebook friends.  They appear in no particular order.
  • Click on the picture of the friend or page whose posts you always want to see at the top of your news feed. A white star in a blue circle indicates you have selected them.

    If you ever wish to remove a person or page from your priority list, simply click the picture on this screen to remove the white star in the blue circle.

  • Click the Done button after you have finished making your selections.