Tips & Tricks

Transferring large files

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Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

Computer files today are huge. Ever put a video together and try to send it to family and friends? Often these large files aren’t even allowed to be sent by your email provider (most email providers don’t allow attachments larger than 10MB). Or if they do go through it gets bounced back because it exceeds the recipient’s mailbox size.

Trying to send these large files can be a real headache. While the recipient may have the ability for you to send your file via FTP, this is probably not very likely. Even so, using an FTP application is not always very easy for most people. Sure, you could burn the files to a DVD, but this is time consuming and may not work within the time constraints you are under.

As an alternative there are services that make it easy to transfer files up to their servers and allows your recipients to download the files. One company that offers this service that is recommend is called YouSendIt. There are a number of reasons why sending large files this way is beneficial.

The primary reason of course is file size. You can send and receive files that are up to 2GB with YouSendIt.

There is tracking capabilities. Once you have uploaded a file, you can track when the files have been downloaded.

Set expiration dates or limit how many times the files can be downloaded.

You can even password protect your files and get return receipts.

There are a number of applications and plug-ins you can use. For example, there is a desktop application that allows you to quickly drag and drop your files onto for easy sending. There are also plug-ins that allow you to send your files right from PhotoShop, Outlook, Acrobat, and more.

YouSendIt has a free service available if you don’t need to send regular files. The free version has some limitations though including a 100MB file size maximum. It you plan on sending files regularly they have plans that start at $9.95 a month. If you need to send a larger than 100MB, but don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription, they have a pay per use option too.


Microsoft Outlook

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Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

Microsoft Outlook is a popular email application. There are many shortcuts to make using Outlook easier. Here are some examples:

  • Press CTRL+D to delete the current e-mail message.

  • Press CTRL+R to reply to the current e-mail message.

  • Press CTRL+F to forward the current e-mail message.

  • Press CTRL+P to print the current e-mail message.

  • Press CTRL+N to create a new e-mail message.

To really be efficient using Outlook, consider creating "rules" to automate many of the functions you may do manually. A rule is something you can setup to manage your incoming mail.

For example, at work if you order something regularly from a vendor, but then have to forward that email to accounting, you could create a rule to automatically do this every time. Or let's say you get a regular email that you always open it, print it, and then delete it. You can create a rule to do all these automatically for you.

To set up a rule (instruction may vary depending on your version of Outlook):

  • On the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.

  • Click New.

  • Click an action in the upper list.

  • Customize the action in the lower list.

  • Click Next.

  • Provide any additional information based on the action that you selected.

  • Click Finish.



File sharing programs

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Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

What is file sharing?

Peer-to-peer or file-sharing programs allow you to share your files with others on the Internet -- and vice versa. File-sharing programs allow you to obtain and distribute public and copyrighted media files that are stored on users hard drives, such as photos, music, movies, program applications and documents.

File sharing sites?

Names people may be aware of are LimeWire, eMule, uTorrent.

Security Issues

The use of file sharing increases the risks of viruses and spyware. People are posting music, videos, and photos and you have no idea what you are downloading. Even with the proper anti-virus, you don't know the person at the other end and whether the files are clean. A greater danger is when you share a portion of your hard drive to others, there is risk of people inadvertently sharing confidential information and for hackers to gain access to your computer.

Access to pornography

File sharing sites are filled with inappropriate material that kids can easily find. Even if kids aren't seeking it out and innocently searching for music they could pull up pornography because of keywords being used.

Copyright laws

Many think that downloading free music and videos is harmless, but it is illegal. Even though this violates laws, use of file sharing sites continues to grow. Often, the kids install the file sharing programs, but the parents are too familiar with them or the ramifications. The potential of a lawsuit is real.

In June 2009, the Recording Industry Association of America won a lawsuit against a woman in Minnesota.  Her fine was $2 million dollars, but was later reduced to $54k. What did she do? She downloaded 24 songs from a file sharing site.




Wireless internet security

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Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

Not securing your wireless network is like leaving your front door open for the world to come in. Allowing others to connect to your wireless network becomes a liability should these users use your internet connection for illegal activity. Additionally, you become at risk of hackers accessing your personally information which could lead to identity theft. Properly securing your wireless network is a must. Here are a few things to consider when securing your wireless network:

  • Enable encryption on your router

  • Change the default password on the router

  • Change the SSID

  • Disable SSID broadcasting

  • Use MAC address filtering

A Computer House Calls technology specialist can properly configure your wireless router with the appropriate security settings.