Helpful tips for January 2013

Hello there and welcome to our weekly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our weekly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at


Helpful tips for January 2013

In this issue:

General tips
Tech tips
Security tips for home computer users

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

What’s this about those green coffee beans?
Well, before they are roasted nice and brown, they are green!
Yes, coffee beans are usually green before they are processed.

Can you use your dish washer for washing other things other than your
The answer is a big yes and here are just a few things that you can wash in
your dish washer.
Plastic hair brushes and combs, dust mops, dust brooms and dust pans, and in
general, anything that is plastic in material.

When it comes to which to put on first?
Well, first you put on the sun tan lotion.
Next, you put on the insect repillant.

What’s this about licking one’s lips?
Normally, one does this either when in thought or when one is scared.

What’s this about having a dry mouth?
Usually when in a state of anxiety before having to give a speech or just
before a lie is told.

Can you freeze cooked rice?
Answer; most definitely!
Placed in a freezer bg, seal well, and presto!
You can freeze for as long as you want.
Just remember to steam when you remove for use.

Which is the most popular date for conception of babies?
December 11 and when is the most popular date for birth?
Ah yes! September 16!

What’s this about kettles?
Water boiled in a stainless steel kettle keeps hot more affectively than
water boiled in a plastic kettle.

If you have a pair of white gloves and want to turn them into a lighter
shade of beige then what do you do?
This is simpler than you may think!
Soak them in a bowl of cold tea!
Boil your water, then pour over a tea bag in a bowl.
Let the gloves soak until you see them turning beige.

Which type of sugar dissolves the quickest?
Why, the winner is! Confectioner’s sugar also known as icing sugar.
This is a very sweet sugar.

What’s this about level of tolerance to alcohol?
Women have a lower tolerance to alcohol than men because they are often
smaller and lighter, their bodies contain less water and their metabolisms
are different.


Tech tips
Taken from Melanie Mama’s corner
With a huge bouquet of thanks to Dan Thompson at

Hotel Key Cards – do not give them back
for recycling!

Ever thought about key cards containing anything other than an access code
for the room?

Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?
a. Customer’s name
B. Customer’s partial home address
c. Hotel room number
d. Check-in date and out dates
e. Customer’s credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there
for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner.
An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device,
access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an
employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new
guest’s information is electronically “overwritten” on the card and the
previous guest’s information is erased in the overwriting process.

But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a
drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy
them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER
turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not
charge you for the card (its illegal) and you’ll be sure you are not leaving
a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off
with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still
have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket.
Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the
electronic information strip!

If you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several
times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on
the card.

Information courtesy of: Queensland Police Service

How to Connect to Hidden Wireless Networks

I must admit I have not tried this but thought there those network wizards
out there who might find this useful.

From Gizmo Daily Tech Treets

Here is a direct link to the page whith the article.

The article is also below. It is not very long.

Hidden wireless networks are those networks which do not broadcast their
Network ID, SSID. While not that many people use such networks, it
definitely ads a bit more security to have your home wireless network hidden
from unwanted guests. In this guide I will share with you what details you
need to know in order to connect to such networks and what are the steps for
making a successful connection.

Step 1: Get the Details of the Hidden Wireless Network

First and foremost, you need to know all the identification and connection
details of the hidden wireless network you want to connect to. Therefore,
open your router’s configuration page and go to the Wireless configuration
menu. Write down the values for the Network ID (SSID)

and Security fields. Depending on what type of security your wireless
network has, you will need to write down the value of another important
field, as following:

For WEP security – note the value of the WEP Key field.

For WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK(AES) security – note the value of the Preshare Key


If your wireless network has no security enabled, then you need to know only
the value of the Network ID (SSID) field.

802.1X, WPA and WPA2(AES) security is generally used in enterprise networks
and most likely your laptop will be pre-configured to connect to your
corporate wireless network. Therefore this guide won’t apply to corporate

Once you have all these three details, you can go ahead with step 2.

Step 2: Start the “Set Up a Connection or Network” Wizard

To do this, you need to open the Network and Sharing Center

: go to

Start Menu -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing
Center. In the Network and Sharing Center window you will see lots of
shortcuts. Click on the one that says “Set up a new connection or network”

Wireless Networks

The “Set Up a Connection or Network” wizard will now start. From the list of
available options, select “Manually connect to a wireless network” and click
on Next.

Wireless Networks

Step 3: Complete the Details of the Wireless Network

Now you will have to complete all the fields shown in this window. The first
one is called Network name. In it, type the name of the wireless network you
want to connect to, which is the equivalent of the Network ID (SSID) field
from your router’s wireless configuration menus.

Wireless Networks

The next field that needs to be completed is the Security type used by your
wireless network. Depending on the type of security used, make the following

For WEP security – select WEP.

For WPA-PSK security – select WPA-Personal.

For WPA2-PSK(AES) security – select WPA2-Personal.

NOTE: If your wireless network has no security enabled, then select No
authentication (Open)

Wireless Networks

Now it is time to select the appropriate type of encryption. If you are
using WPA2-PSK(AES) security, make sure you select AES. Otherwise, leave the
default value Windows 7 gives you.

Wireless Networks

For WEP, WPA2 Personal and WPA Personal you will have to enter the security

For WEP security – the value of the WEP Key field.

For WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK(AES) security – the value of the Preshare Key field.

Wireless Networks

If you are in a public environment, then it is a good idea to check the Hide
characters box. Also, don’t forget to check the other two boxes:

“Start this connection automatically” and “Connect even if the network is
not broadcasting”

These two allow you to connect automatically to the hidden wireless network.
Once all data is completed, click on Next.

When done, you will see a message which says that you have successfully
added the wireless network to your computer. If you are unsure on any of the
settings, you can click on “Change connection settings” and review them all.

Wireless Networks

This will open a window where you can change all your settings.

It can be opened at any time by going to Control Panel -> Network and
Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Manage Wireless Networks and
double clicking on the wireless network.

Wireless Networks

When done, Windows 7 will automatically connect to the hidden wireless
network. Also, the wireless network icon from the taskbar will change.

Wireless Networks


As you can see from this guide, connecting to hidden wireless networks
requires a bit more work than connecting to public ones. However, if you pay
a bit of attention and don’t skip any of these steps, it can be done in just
a few minutes.


How To Deal With Flash Cookies

In the first six sections of this article you will find lots of information
how and why cookies are used.
In section seven are several links to use related articles.
I will be covering each of these topics show in section seven in future
This very useful article was found from Gizmo.
However, I had to go to each section and copy/paste in the information as
well as
visit each site in section seven so the links could be included for you
Flash cookies aren’t normal cookies – here’s how to deal with them.
Little known flash cookies track and store your activities, but aren’t
deleted from
your browser in the usual way. Also known as LSOs (local shared objects),
Flash cookies
can store more unique information about your internet activities than normal
Normal cookies are easily deleted through your browser, but Flash cookies
different handling to get rid of.
Normally I don’t bother with the cookies that collect in the browsers I use.
are, after all, just small pieces of text. Flash cookies are different. They
data surreptitiously – they can’t be controlled or deleted with normal
browser settings.
They are hard to find and delete and most people don’t know they exist.
This article at ghacks outlines four ways to deal with flash cookies. If you
more than one browser then changing the Flash player settings is probably
your best
bet. If you want to know more about normal cookies, have a look at this
article from
How Stuff Works
When arriving at the site, press the letter h twice if using a screenreader
to land
on the correct heading.
March 26 2010
Most Internet cookies are incredibly simple, but they are one of those
things that
have taken on a life of their own. Cookies started receiving tremendous
media attention
back in 2000 because of Internet privacy concerns, and the debate still
On the other hand, cookies provide capabilities that make the Web much
easier to
navigate. The designers of almost every major site use them because they
a better user experience and make it much easier to gather accurate
information about
the site’s visitors.
In this article, we will take a look at the basic technology behind cookies,
as well
as some of the features they enable.
Cookie Basics
In April of 2000 I read an in-depth article on Internet privacy in a large
and that article contained a definition of cookies. Paraphrasing, the
went like this:
Cookies are programs that Web sites put on your hard disk. They sit on your
gathering information about you and everything you do on the Internet, and
the Web site wants to it can download all of the information the cookie has
Definitions like that are fairly common in the press. The problem is, none
of that
information is correct. Cookies are not programs and they cannot run like
do. Therefore, they cannot gather any information on their own. Nor can they
any personal information about you from your machine.
Here is a valid definition of a cookie:
A cookie is a piece of text that a web server can store on a user’s hard
Cookies allow a Web site to store information on a user’s machine and later
it. The pieces of information are stored as name-value pairs.
For example, a Web site might generate a unique ID number for each visitor
and store
the ID number on each user’s machine using a cookie file.
internet explorer logo
Internet Explorer and other browsers store cookies on your computer.
If you use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to browse the Web, you can see all
of the
cookies that are stored on your machine. The most common place for them to
is in a directory called c:\windows\cookies. When I look in that directory
on my
machine, I find 165 files. Each file is a text file that contains name-value
and there is one file for each Web site that has placed cookies on my
You can see in the directory that each of these files is a simple, normal
text file.
You can see which Web site placed the file on your machine by looking at the
name (the information is also stored inside the file). You can open each
file by
clicking on it.
For example, I have visited, and the site has placed a cookie on my
The cookie file for contains the following information:
UserID A9A3BECE0563982D has stored on my machine a single name-value pair. The name of the
is UserID, and the value is A9A3BECE0563982D. The first time I visited,
the site assigned me a unique ID value and stored it on my machine.
(Note that there probably are several other values stored in the file after
the three
shown above. That is housekeeping information for the browser.) stores a bit more information on my machine. When I look at the
file Amazon has created on my machine, it contains the following:
session-id-time 954242000
session-id 002-4135256-7625846
x-main eKQIfwnxuF7qtmX52x6VWAXh@Ih6Uo5H
ubid-main 077-9263437-9645324
It appears that Amazon stores a main user ID, an ID for each session, and
the time
the session started on my machine (as well as an x-main value, which could
be anything).
The vast majority of sites store just one piece of information, a user ID,
on your
machine. But a site can store many name-value pairs if it wants to.
A name-value pair is simply a named piece of data. It is not a program, and
it cannot
“do” anything. A Web site can retrieve only the information that it has
placed on
your machine. It cannot retrieve information from other cookie files, nor
any other
information from your machine.
How does cookie data move?
As you saw in the previous section, cookie data is simply name-value pairs
on your hard disk by a Web site. That is all cookie data is. The Web site
the data, and later it receives it back. A Web site can only receive the
data it
has stored on your machine. It cannot look at any other cookie, nor anything
on your machine.
When you type a URL into a web browser, a web server might look in your
cookie file.
The data moves in the following manner:
If you type the URL of a Web site into your browser, your browser sends a
to the Web site for the page (see How Web Servers Work for a discussion).
For example, if you type the URL
into your browser, your browser will contact Amazon’s server and request its
When the browser does this, it will look on your machine for a cookie file
that Amazon
has set. If it finds an Amazon cookie file, your browser will send all of
the name-value
pairs in the file to Amazon’s server along with the URL. If it finds no
cookie file,
it will send no cookie data.
Amazon’s Web server receives the cookie data and the request for a page. If
pairs are received, Amazon can use them.
If no name-value pairs are received, Amazon knows that you have not visited
The server creates a new ID for you in Amazon’s database and then sends
pairs to your machine in the header for the Web page it sends. Your machine
the name-value pairs on your hard disk.
The Web server can change name-value pairs or add new pairs whenever you
visit the
site and request a page.
There are other pieces of information that the server can send with the
pair. One of these is an expiration date. Another is a path (so that the
site can
associate different cookie values with different parts of the site).
You have control over this process.
You can set an option in your browser so that the browser informs you every
a site sends name-value pairs to you. You can then accept or deny the
How do Web sites use cookies?
Cookies evolved because they solve a big problem for the people who
implement Web
sites. In the broadest sense, a cookie allows a site to store state
information on
your machine. This information lets a Web site remember what state your
browser is
in. An ID is one simple piece of state information, if an ID exists on your
the site knows that you have visited before. The state is, “Your browser has
the site at least one time,” and the site knows your ID from that visit.
Web sites use cookies in many different ways. Here are some of the most
common examples:
Sites can accurately determine how many people actually visit the site.
It turns out that because of proxy servers, caching, concentrators and so
on, the
only way for a site to accurately count visitors is to set a cookie with a
ID for each visitor. Using cookies, sites can determine:
How many visitors arrive
How many are new versus repeat visitors
How often a visitor has visited
The way the site does this is by using a database.
The first time a visitor arrives, the site creates a new ID in the database
and sends
the ID as a cookie. The next time the user comes back, the site can
increment a counter
associated with that ID in the database and know how many times that visitor
Sites can store user preferences so that the site can look different for
each visitor
(often referred to as customization). For example, if you visit, it
you the ability to “change content/layout/color.” It also allows you to
enter your
zip code and get customized weather information. When you enter your zip
code, the
following name-value pair gets added to MSN’s cookie file:
WEAT CC=NC%5FRaleigh%2DDurham&REGION=
Since I live in Raleigh, N.C., this makes sense.
Most sites seem to store preferences like this in the site’s database and
store nothing
but an ID as a cookie, but storing the actual values in name-value pairs is
way to do it (we’ll discuss later why this approach has lost favor).
E-commerce sites can implement things like shopping carts and “quick
checkout” options.
The cookie contains an ID and lets the site keep track of you as you add
things to your cart. Each item you add to your shopping cart is stored in
the site’s
database along with your ID value. When you check out, the site knows what
is in
your cart by retrieving all of your selections from the database. It would
be impossible
to implement a convenient shopping mechanism without cookies or something
like them.
In all of these examples, note that what the database is able to store is
you have selected from the site, pages you have viewed from the site,
you have given to the site in online forms, etc. All of the information is
in the site’s database, and in most cases, a cookie containing your unique
ID is
all that is stored on your computer.
Problems with Cookies
Cookies are not a perfect state mechanism, but they certainly make a lot of
possible that would be impossible otherwise. Here are several of the things
make cookies imperfect.
People often share machines, Any machine that is used in a public area, and
machines used in an office environment or at home, are shared by multiple
Let’s say that you use a public machine (in a library, for example) to
purchase something
from an online store. The store will leave a cookie on the machine, and
someone could
later try to purchase something from the store using your account. Stores
post large warnings about this problem, and that is why. Even so, mistakes
can happen.
For example, I had once used my wife’s machine to purchase something from
Later, she visited Amazon and clicked the “one-click” button, not realizing
it really does allow the purchase of a book in exactly one click.
On something like a Windows NT machine or a UNIX machine that uses accounts
this is not a problem. The accounts separate all of the users’ cookies.
Accounts are much more relaxed in other operating systems, and it is a
If you try the example above on a public machine, and if other people using
the machine
have visited HowStuffWorks, then the history URL may show a very long list
of files.
Cookies get erased
If you have a problem with your browser and call tech support, probably the
thing that tech support will ask you to do is to erase all of the temporary
files on your machine. When you do that, you lose all of your cookie files.
Now when
you visit a site again, that site will think you are a new user and assign
you a
new cookie. This tends to skew the site’s record of new versus return
visitors, and
it also can make it hard for you to recover previously stored preferences.
This is
why sites ask you to register in some cases, if you register with a user
name and
a password, you can log in, even if you lose your cookie file, and restore
your preferences.
If preference values are stored directly on the machine (as in the MSN
weather example
above), then recovery is impossible. That is why many sites now store all
user information
in a central database and store only an ID value on the user’s machine.
If you erase your cookie file for HowStuffWorks and then revisit the history
in the previous section, you will find that HowStuffWorks has no history for
The site has to create a new ID and cookie file for you, and that new ID has
no data
stored against it in the database. (Also note that the HowStuffWorks
System allows you to reset your history list whenever you like.)
Multiple machines
People often use more than one machine during the day. For example,
I have a machine in the office, a machine at home and a laptop.
Unless the site is specifically engineered to solve the problem, I will have
unique cookie files on all three machines. Any site that I visit from all
three machines
will track me as three separate users. It can be annoying to set preferences
times. Again, a site that allows registration and stores preferences
centrally may
make it easy for me to have the same account on three machines, but the site
must plan for this when designing the site.
If you visit the history URL demonstrated in the previous section from one
and then try it again from another, you will find that your history lists
are different.
This is because the server created two IDs for you, one on each machine.
There are probably not any easy solutions to these problems, except asking
to register and storing everything in a central database.
When you register with the HowStuffWorks registration system, the problem is
in the following way: The site remembers your cookie value and stores it
with your
registration information. If you take the time to log in from any other
machine (or
a machine that has lost its cookie files), then the server will modify the
file on that machine to contain the ID associated with your registration
You can therefore have multiple machines with the same ID value.
Cookies on the Internet: Privacy Issues
If you have read the article to this point, you may be wondering why there
has been
such an uproar in the media about cookies and Internet privacy. You have
seen in
this article that cookies are benign text files, and you have also seen that
provide lots of useful capabilities on the Web.
There are two things that have caused the strong reaction around cookies:
The first is something that has plagued consumers for decades. Let’s say
that you
purchase something from a traditional mail order catalog. The catalog
company has
your name, address and phone number from your order, and it also knows what
you have purchased. It can sell your information to others who might want to
similar products to you. That is the fuel that makes telemarketing and junk
On a Web site, the site can track not only your purchases, but also the
pages that
you read, the ads that you click on, etc. If you then purchase something and
your name and address, the site potentially knows much more about you than a
mail order company does. This makes targeting much more precise, and that
makes a
lot of people uncomfortable.
Different sites have different policies. HowStuffWorks has a strict Privacy
and does not sell or share any personal information about our readers with
any third
party except in cases where you specifically tell us to do so (for example,
in an
opt-in e-mail program). We do aggregate information together and distribute
it. For
example, if a reporter asks me how many visitors HowStuffWorks has or which
on the site is the most popular, we create those aggregate statistics from
data in
the database.
The second is unique to the Internet. There are certain infrastructure
that can actually create cookies that are visible on multiple sites.
DoubleClick is the most famous example of this. Many companies use
DoubleClick to
serve banner ads on their sites. DoubleClick can place small (1×1 pixels)
GIF files
on the site that allow DoubleClick to load cookies on your machine.
DoubleClick can
then track your movements across multiple sites. It can potentially see the
strings that you type into search engines (due more to the way some search
implement their systems, not because anything sinister is intended). Because
it can
gather so much information about you from multiple sites, DoubleClick can
form very
rich profiles. These are still anonymous, but they are rich.
DoubleClick then went one step further. By acquiring a company, DoubleClick
to link these rich anonymous profiles back to name and address information,
it threatened
to personalize them, and then sell the data. That began to look very much
like spying
to most people, and that is what caused the uproar.
DoubleClick and companies like it are in a unique position to do this sort
of thing,
because they serve ads on so many sites.
Cross-site profiling is not a capability available to individual sites,
because cookies
are site specific.
For more information on Internet cookies and related topics, check out the
in the next section.
Lots More Information
How Web Servers Work
How Internet Infrastructure Works
How Caching Works
How Operating Systems Work
How Hard Disks Work
How Affiliate Programs Work
How E-commerce Works
How Amazon Works
How Spyware Works
How Trojan Horses Work


Security tips for home and small business computer users
By the business desk team

For the month of January 2013
Security tips for home computer users and small businesses

One of the most intimidating things for any home computer user these days is
being able to stay one step ahead of those hackers and cyber pirates. It is
simply no longer enough to be able to just install the necessary software.
You need to know where to get it, why you need to do so, and how to install
This could all be very time consuming at the best of times! It could also
be very daunting and frightening and after a long hard day, you really don’t
want to spend time looking for information on the Internet. You would
rather just have someone supply you with what you need to know.
Impossible you say? Not really! Here at, our
research team can provide you with all kinds of information that will help
you to stay one step ahead. You request it and we provide it! Research
is our business.
Here is some free research info for you.

Business finances | Protect your finances
Brisbane Times
Proper data security procedures are important to ensure you are protected
against hackers and other malicious data attacks. If you use the … For a
list of common small business scams and tips on protecting your business,
see our Small business scams …
Read more at:–protect-your-finances-20121031-28idj.html

5 tips for firms providing free Wi-Fi
5 tips for firms providing free Wi-Fi. Summary: Providing free wireless
access as a value-added service for customers can be costly for smaller
businesses to set up and maintain. Industry players offer up tips on how to
do so … network can be costly …
Read more at:

Majority of US Small Businesses Say Digital Literacy Essential Skillset
for …
MarketWatch (press release)
The survey – which also shows 87 percent of small businesses have one or
more employees who use the Internet for daily operations – has been
released in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In
addition to the month-long awareness …
Read more at:

Cyber Security for Your Small Business
The Valley Business Journal
When we think about cyber security we usually think about big businesses or
government agencies, but securing your computers and information is
important in your small business too. Hackers and thieves have a number of
reasons to break into your …
Read more at:

So what do you think? How long do you think it would have taken you to find
these pieces of info?

So the next time you are stuck on how to do your research, no matter how big
or small it is, drop us an email at and we would
be delighted to help.

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