Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Exaggerating a problem that's happening to some doesn't help. Be aware, protect yourself, but don't become an alarmist!

From the smart people at That's Nonsense. 


Monday, November 28, 2016


Don't condemn an entire community for lack of understanding. Most infections acquired by Facebook users are self-inflicted and it's good to inform yourself. 

That's Nonsense lays it out for us: 


Monday, November 7, 2016


Electronics disposal has become a bigger challenge and hassle than it should. Finding a convenient local collection spot or event is next-to-impossible. So I'm doing something about it, while hoping to regain the use of my garage for the winter.
If you're a client of mine and have electronics you no longer need, you can drop them off at my lab this week - and this week only. That's today, November 7 through Saturday, November 12.
Here are the details:
1. You'll do the lifting - I'm still on restriction.
2. I'm not wiping any computers of your personal data, unless you insist and then I have to charge you for the time it takes. However, EWASTE+ assures me they must wipe or shred "any data bearing device" to attain this standard.
3. Computer towers, laptops, printers, speakers, cables, keyboards, mice, routers are accepted free. "Microwaves accepted at $5 each, flat screen TV’s are no cost as well as Sony CRT’s. Any non-Sony CRT’s are at the 35 cents per pound rate." Since I don't have a scale and will not be weighing anything, if you want to drop off a CRT monitor or TV (non-flat-screen), I'll take them at $10 each.
4. If you have questions, let's discuss. If you need directions, please ask privately. I'm not interested in publishing the lab location on the Internet.
5. If you'd like to pick up a calendar at the same time, I have a few left. Always available here: www.cathycontant.com
6. Please let me know when you'd like to drop off so I can open the garage, making it easier for you to offload.

Friday, September 30, 2016



If you're having trouble with Time Warner's email through Windows Live Mail, you're not alone. It's NOT YOUR COMPUTER, please stop messing with things.
There are several things going on, none of which have anything to do with you or your computer. And no, you have no control.
  1. Windows Live Mail (WLM) is no longer supported by Microsoft, which gives email providers a great excuse to push you to web mail. Web mail is far easier for them to support, though most of us hate it. For now, you can call Time Warner for help, you can wait for your email to work (and it probably will, eventually), or you can go to the web mail portal to use your Time Warner (RoadRunner) email. There are many ways to get to Time Warner's web mail. You can use this link: https://webmail.roadrunner.com/or you can get there from Time Warner's Home Page (click Mail).
  2. Time Warner is in the middle of a big changeover to Spectrum. The network is glitchy right now. Sometimes email works and web pages don't; sometimes searches won't work but Facebook sort of does. This too, shall pass. Go outside and enjoy the Fall while you can. The Internet will be back soon.
  3. Eventually you're going to have to find another way to manage your email. You can continue to use the web portal (see #1 above), or use Thunderbird, or Microsoft Office's Outlook, or you can pull your TWC email through Gmail - which works for me.

More news as it develops - stay tuned.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


So you're happily scrolling through your email or Facebook and suddenly flashing lights, loud sirens and maybe some talking heads start coming out of your computer. Then a message pops up telling you of the devastation that's befallen your computer and instructing you to contact some official-looking support company for immediate help. What now?
Shut off your computer. Hold the power button in for about 10 seconds and it will go off, I promise you. DO NOT CALL ANY NUMBER THAT POPS UP ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN. It's a scam - it's a scam - it's a scam, all day - every day.
Many of us are tripping across the scam triggers lately, and some call the number because:
  1. We're scared
  2. We want to believe someone wants to help us
  3. We want instant gratification, and calling someone we trust would take too long.
  4. We think we'll get it fixed cheaper 

If this happens to you, don't panic. Shut off the computer, then contact someone you trust. I have talked with at least a dozen people about this already this week and have charged none of them to tell them how to handle it. If I need to connect to your computer to clean it out, that's a different matter.
If you want to clean it out yourself, go to Nick Francesco's excellent step-by-step instructions here: http://securitytango.com/windows.php. Or, at least update and run CCleaner, AdwCleaner, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes, removing anything they find.
Or contact me and I'll help you. Cathy Contant 315-573-4905
Please help your friends and family - tell them not to call numbers that pop up on their computer screens and not to give out any personal information to unknown callers. You'll be helping all of us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Microsoft has a new way to force us into Windows 10. Well, it's not exactly new; they've been doing it for about a year already - it's just getting worse. And it has to do with updating and installing patches on your computer.
Windows 7 and Vista allow us to control how and when we install updates. Windows 8/8.1 and 10 do the thinking and make the decisions for us. It seems this is one of the biggest reasons Microsoft has been pushing their users to Windows 10 - more control for them, less for us.
Should your Windows 7 computer need a hard drive replacement or an operating system reinstallation or even a System Restore, getting Windows Update working again will be a monumental task, if it works at all. Waiting for Windows Update to check for updates has been taking 8 to 12, even 24 hours just to check for updates. Downloading and installing the updates takes almost as long.
There's no official Microsoft fix for the issue, though there's a lot of advice online. Suffice to say it's taking two or three times as long to do the job as it used to before the *change*. Microsoft barely acknowledges it's a problem. The solution, for them, is for you to go to Windows 10 or buy a new computer with Windows 10.
What to do if it happens to you? Each case is different, but it might be time to look for a new computer. The labor alone to reinstall a Windows Vista or 7 computer has doubled.
Maybe you think now would be a good time to ditch Microsoft and head over to the Apple Store. If so, I bid you farewell and good luck. Or, maybe you just don't think you need a computer anymore, since you mainly use your phone or tablet to play games on Facebook and maybe look at your email once in a while. Let's be realistic - portable devices are the future. But for anyone who still wishes to create anything (documents, photos, projects) or do real research or store much of anything (music, photos, genealogy info, invoices and receipts) it's more manageable to do so on an actual computer.
If it's time for you to change to a new computer (do NOT buy the Windows 10 upgrade for your existing computer - the cost plus installation and data transfer will go a long way towards a new computer), let's talk. I've been buying a decent Dell Windows 10 laptop for under $600, and a nice, new all-in-one Canon printer that does everything anyone could want for under $100.
Times change, technology changes, our needs change. Change is the only thing on which we can rely.
Cathy Contant
315-573-4905 (texts welcome - please identify!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016



In addition to the usual patches and updates released by Microsoft on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, these are also important updates to install.
1. JAVA - Version 8, update 102 was just released. You may see a prompt to install the update, and you can follow that prompt, but be sure to UNCHECK any boxes offering 3rd-party software such as security scans or toolbars. Easier: run the Ninite update if it's installed on your computer. No decisions to make, no additional Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).
2. ADOBE FLASH - Current version is This one can't be updated via Ninite, but should update itself if auto update is enabled. If you want to check your current version go to the Adobe web site, then click Flash Player in the lower right corner and follow the prompts UNCHECK any box offering anything other than Flash.
3. ADOBE AIR - Easily updated using Ninite, or install when prompted, or install from the Adobe web site as above.
4. ITUNES - Just updated to version Install when prompted, run Ninite, or go to the iTunes web site.
5. MOZILLA FIREFOX - Now version 47.0.1. Updates easily from within Firefox, or run Ninite.
Restart your computer after installing updates, and if you leave it on all the time, restarting it several times each week will help it run better. Restarting finishes installing and uninstalling apps and updates and empties temporary files.
Questions? Contact me here, or via text, phone or email.

Cathy Contant 315-573-4905 http://cathycom.blogspot.com/