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Links to Helpful Resources

  • At some point in time every com­put­er user has looked at the files on his hard dri­ve and said “where the heck did that come from, and what made it?” Some­times the file in ques­tion is some­thing some­one emailed you, or some­thing that was attached to a usenet post. You don’t have to stay igno­rant, though, because here’s a list of file types.
  • If you need to look up any tech­nol­o­gy-relat­ed term, WhatIs?com prob­a­bly has it list­ed. They also have great lists of emoti­cons and acronyms com­mon­ly used on the net. And here’s a list of emo­ji.
  • Prac­ti­cal­ly Net­worked is a great source of infor­ma­tion on net­work­ing for the home or small office user.
  • The Wire­cut­ter is a good place to find fair­ly unbi­ased reviews of prod­ucts. I like theirs much bet­ter than the reviews found on the big media-relat­ed sites, as those reviews seem too tied to who­ev­er buys the most adver­tis­ing.
  • Kasper­sky is my cur­rent go-to antivirus pro­gram, but any of the top con­tenders on the AV-Com­par­a­tives Reviews reg­u­lar tests will do. I tend to stay away from Nor­ton and McAfee, because I’ve seen too many com­put­ers infect­ed while sup­pos­ed­ly “pro­tect­ed” by them. No, I don’t put antivirus soft­ware on Macs. I’ve yet to see a gen­uine virus on a Mac. (Adware, yes. No virii.) That’s not to say that it can’t hap­pen. If you make a habit of down­load­ing things from places oth­er than the App Store, or worse, hang­ing out on tor­rent­ing sites and the like, you’d best install one of the top-rat­ed Mac AV pro­grams.
  • Mal­ware­bytes is one of the very first things I install on any com­put­er, Mac or PC. (Yes, there’s a Mac ver­sion now!) If you do get any of that nasty adware, it will take care of it. The paid ver­sion will stay mem­o­ry-res­i­dent and pre­vent adware. The free ver­sion will get rid of it if you get infect­ed, but won’t pre­vent it. (The free ver­sion is all that’s avail­able for Macs so far, unfor­tu­nate­ly.)
  • How-to Geek has lots of gen­er­al help arti­cles for Win­dows, Macs, and mobile devices, writ­ten in very acces­si­ble lan­guage.
  • Can’t find a phone num­ber for that com­pa­ny? Con­tac­tHelp’s got your back.
  • If you can’t reach a site and you’re not sure if the prob­lem is on your end or theirs, check here: Is It Down Right Now?.
  • Roar­ing Apps is a great list of what appli­ca­tions are com­pat­i­ble with which ver­sions of var­i­ous oper­at­ing sys­tems.
  • Zamzar oper­ates a free online file con­ver­sion ser­vice. They will con­vert almost any file for­mat to almost any oth­er, includ­ing some that I know of no oth­er way free way to con­vert. I believe there’s a paid ver­sion of their ser­vice, as well, but I’ve only used the free one.
  • Are you get­ting the inter­net speed you’re pay­ing for? SpeedOf.Me will help you find out, and you don’t need Flash or Java to use it.
  • Try­ing to fig­ure out how to delete your­self from a web ser­vice, and com­ing up blank? JustDelete.Me will help.