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IT Hints, tips, tricks, and ramblings.

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Posted by on in Tech tips and thoughts
In this day and age, we are surrounded by passwords. Passwords are a security necessity in the digital age we live in. Email accounts, bank accounts and electronic tax lodging are just a few examples of services you'll need a password for. Now let's introduce the concept of... passwords to access passwords - Password Managers. This may seem like an odd idea at first, but in this post I will touch on what a Password Manager is, and why you should consider using one. What is a Password Manager? A password manager is a program designed to store all of your passwords in a database. This database will of course have its own password so that it can be accessed. The database will also be encrypted with this password, so that it is secure. The password manager I'll touch on in this article is KeePass. Why use a Password Manager? In...
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The malware/spyware/virus/adware landscape is constantly changing, and it is safe to say that there is no single all-singing, all-dancing product that is going to successfully detect every threat traversing across the internet at any given moment. Undesirable software is constantly being spread around, whether this is via spam emails, questionable websites, or bundled into (often legitimate and harmless) software via an optional tickbox that less savvy users will breeze past without a second thought. It is certainly not enough to simply rely on your anti-virus software to catch all of these nasties. Sufficient knowledge in regards to prevention is very highly recommended, however that is a topic that deserves an entire post of its own. What I will cover here are some steps you can try if you believe your PC may be infected with malicious software - which your currently installed anti-virus suite does not appear to be detecting or...
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Securing your USB drive data using Truecrypt. USB drives can be a great portable data storage solution. Small enough to go onto a key-ring, or even inside a wallet. They grant the ability to access particular files or applications, wherever you happen to be, without having to put your data into someone else’s possession or storing it “in the cloud”. As handy as USB drives are, they also tend to have a knack for being fairly easy to lose (Or perhaps even stolen). Let’s say you happen to have important and/or sensitive data stored on yours. This could be any variety of data you wouldn't want falling into the wrong hands – financial documents, travel itineraries, projects/assignments you’re working on, private personally identifiable information, the list is endless. You might be thinking this scenario could easily be prevented by not storing such data on a USB drive. Sure, that’s true, however...
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We've all been there, searching high and low for that assignment that is due tomorrow, or looking for some photos you captured, only to find they've been deleted, accidentally moved to the recycle bin somehow, and emptied. Fret not! Just because you've emptied the recycle bin in Windows, or because a memory card appears to have no files on it, does not mean the files are actually completely gone. This depends on a few factors, such as how long ago the file was "deleted", and how much data has been written to that drive or device since that point. Recuva is a free application for Windows, designed for file recovery, or to "undelete" files. Recuva is very simple to use, with a wizard to guide you through the recovery process. It's as simple as choosing the drive/device you wish to recover data from, and the specific file types you're looking for...
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"God Mode" is a nice trick that can be used in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. (Issues have been reported when trying this on Vista 64-bit) "God Mode" essentially creates a folder where you can access a ton of useful system controls in the one spot - From creating and formatting hard-disk partitions, to changing the mouse pointer speed. To access this feature, simply create a new folder with the following name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} You'll notice that the folder's icon will change. Open it, and you're there! Problem Steps Recorder is a handy tool that has been available since Windows 7. It is a basic tool that will record all of the steps you're performing on your computer, including descriptions of where you have clicked, as well as screenshots. When you're finished recording, a zip file is created, which contains your recording presented in HTML format. This tool can be...
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Firstly, what is HTTPS? When you are performing general internet browsing, you're usually going to be using HTTP. "" for example. HTTP is not secure, as all data is sent in plain text. This makes eavesdropping and "man-in-the-middle" attacks a piece of cake. HTTPS is a secure alternative to HTTP (Yes, the S stands for Secure). You've probably noticed when logging into services such as internet banking, the link in the address bar tends to start with "https://". If you happen to use free/public WiFi hotspots, HTTPS usage is something you should be concerned about, as without it, all of your data such as usernames, passwords, search terms etc, are being sent out in plain text. A piece of info that you may not know, is that lots of websites do actually support HTTPS as an option, but your browser will not use HTTPS by default. This is where HTTPS Everywhere...
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It is likely that at some stage you've encountered the problem of email attachment size limits. Perhaps you wanted to send a very large home video to a relative, or a large collection of uncompressed photos from your last trip? Let's say your file is well over 500MB in size, at which point your email provider as well as the recipient's is unlikely to let the email through. There are exceptions - If you use Gmail, files up to 10GB in size are stored on their Google Drive service, and the download link is sent to your recipient. It's not quite an "attachment", but rather a download link included in the email. So, what if you're not using Gmail? Well, you can essentially perform the same task by signing up to any number of free services such as, however this blog post is to plug a nicer and easier method...
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