RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

The Internet and You: The Perils of Unwanted Software

April 15, 2016 1:33 am

Unwanted software—downloaded unknowingly—affects tens of millions of computers at any given moment. Some users can have as much as four unwanted software installs with one action!

“When you download free software, it might come with an unexpected addition: hidden programs that can cause problems on your computer, ranging from the merely annoying to truly dangerous,” says John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications, and fraud for the National Consumers League (NCL) (Fraud.org).

Unwanted software imposes a range of costs on users affected by it: it can slow computers to a crawl, prompt users to spend money on expensive computer support services, and raise the risk of identity fraud, jeopardizing credit and employment opportunities for users.

“While unwanted software can appear to simply be an annoyance that detracts from the experience of using a browser, these dangerous downloads pose a significant security risk to consumers’ personal information,” says Breyault. “Some software will disable security protections and settings in order to take control of a consumer’s computer, leaving that computer vulnerable to hackers and data thieves.”

To avoid the consequences of unwanted software, Breyault and the NCL advise users to:

• Obtain software directly from the source. When you’re looking for a new program, look on the publisher’s website first. Software download repositories may bundle in unwanted software with legitimate downloads.

• Avoid clicking on pop-ups or banner ads that warn you of slow performance on your computer. This is often a ruse to lead you to websites that host unwanted software.

• Make sure everything is up-to-date. To best protect yourself, repeatedly update your browser and operating systems; older systems are more susceptible to being infected by malware. Be sure to check for computer and browser updates in computer settings. Ads claiming that your computer software is out-of-date will likely lead to more unwanted software.

• Routinely scan your computer. Use antivirus software to regularly scan your computer for programs that you don’t recognize.

• Pay attention when installing new software. When downloading programs and extensions, pay attention to the fine print. Be on the look-out for pre-checked boxes that offer to install toolbars or other software in addition to the software you wanted.

• Heed your browser’s warnings. Most major Web browsers now have functionality built-in that will warn you when you are about to enter an unsafe website. Chances are that if your browser is telling you not to visit a certain website or download a particular program, you’re better off steering clear.

For more guidance, visit www.fraud.org/unwanted_software.

Source: NCL

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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6 Kitchen Splurges Worth the Price

April 15, 2016 1:33 am

A kitchen remodel can be expensive, and homeowners are justifiably careful about staying within budget. However, there are certain areas in every kitchen where a splurge may be worth the price in terms of efficiency, looks, and durability.

HGTV suggests six areas where a few lavish touches are worth the extra expense:

1. Commercial-Grade Range Hood - Investing in a commercial-style range hood means never having to deal with cooking odors—and keeping a busy kitchen cooler.

2. High-Quality Hardware – Look for quality cabinet knobs, hinges and pulls in brushed nickel, bronze or stainless steel. They add class to any kitchen and will last longer than those made of plastic or wood. For the ultimate in opulence, spring for hand-blown glass.

3. Soft-Close Doors and Drawers – You can’t slam these quiet drawers or doors, which makes for a more serene kitchen. They are also great for young families because they close slowly, so little hands and fingers won't get caught or pinched in them. 

4. Solid Surface Countertop – Laminate is cheap, but it doesn’t stand up and looks tired long before its time. Splurge on granite or sealed concrete, which will look beautiful and last for many years. (Bonus: It’s a great selling feature!)

5. Stainless Steel Appliances – These are worth the added expense because they are stylish, sophisticated and efficient. The newest models offer greater versatility than more traditional models.

6. Warming Drawer – Look for an oven that comes with a warming drawer, or have one custom-built into your kitchen. They are ideal for entertaining, keeping food at just the right temperature for late guests.

Lastly—and most importantly—invest in a professional. An experienced kitchen designer can help ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams without the guesswork or stress.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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