Lynn English High - Class of 1953 Reunion Site

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Manager's Mix

 

Internet links last checked in April, 2015.  Some information dated...think of it as our website's knick knack shelf.

 
 

From 1950 on Western Avenue, your family car perhaps...not the Site Manager's family since the car is bigger than his family home.

   

Click on the highlighted titles to jump to that section of this page

 
How to Forward Email        Unwanted Postal Mail       Gift Cards
General Consumer Tips     Mass. Consumer News     Odds and Ends

Having Problems Playing DVDs on an old PC    Tips To Ripoff Lines

 

Changing the size of a display on your screen:  A handy shortcut from our webmaster, Sean Donovan...hold down the CTRL key and click on the + key to increase display size; on the - key to decrease display size and on the 0 (zero not the letter o) to go back to the original display size.

You can use the numbers row of the regular key board or the same characters on the numeric key pad.  Should work on most systems.

Increasing Page and Text Size:  For classmates using Windows Internet Explorer there should be a tool bar above the the top of our website pages that has the word "Page" or "View".

If you do not see either of these options, tap the ALT key once to bring up a tool bar.  You should see options similar to the ones shown below:

Clicking on either Page or View will give you options to increase the size of the whole page or just increase the size of the text.  If you are happy with the changes, you can leave the tool bar in place or tap the ALT key  to remove the tool bar.

All Internet explorers and operating systems should have similar functions.  Check your operating systems Help file or do a internet search on the phrase "increasing page and text size for" and add the name of your operating system. 

How To Forward Email:  Art Caldwell received this from a friend a while back and thought it might be helpful to those in our class who are relatively new to computers and email. 

"Do you really know how to forward emails? 50% of us do; 50% DO NOT.  Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail?  Do you hate it?  Every time you forward an email there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their email addresses and names.

As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every email address that has come across his computer.  Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel!  How do you stop it? Well, there are several easy steps. 

Try the following if you haven't done it before:

(1)  When you are on the page you want to forward, click the Forward button.  This puts you inside the message where you can take a minute to delete all the addresses listed.  If you know how to highlight the addresses and cut them out of the email, go to it.

If you don't know that technique, then bring your cursor down to the end of the last address in the email.  Click on that spot and then hold down the backspace key until all the addresses disappear.  First though, you MUST click the "Forward" button and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message.  If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to edit the message at all. 

(2)  Whenever you send an email to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for the list of email addresses.  Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing ALL the email addresses you want to send to.  This is the way the people you send to will only see their own email address.  If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address book list will appear. Highlight the addresses you want  and choose BCC:.  The names you have selected are listed in the BCC column; click OK you will be back to the forwarded email and ready to send it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: that message will automatically say "Undisclosed Recipients in the "TO:" field of the people who receive it.

(3)  Remove any "FW:" in the subject line. You can re-name the
subject if you wish or even fix the spelling. 

(4)  ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual email you are reading . Ever get those emails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it?  By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many emails just to see what you sent.

(5)  Have you ever gotten an email that is a petition?  It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses.

 A FACT:  The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein.  DO NOT put your email address on any petition. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient.  Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email addresses on a petition. (And don't believe the ones that say that the email is being traced; it just ain't so!)

ACTUAL FACT:  Most e-mail petitions are worthless because they do not
fully identify the signer by street address, etc. nor does it prove that the signer really signed it.  Don't forward them.

Some of the other emails to delete and not forward are: 

( a.) The one that says something like, "Send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen."  Or sometimes they'll just tease you by saying 'something really cute will happen.' IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! I repeat.... IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! (No matter how many you send it to or how long you wait.... IT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!! We are still seeing some of the same emails that we waited on 10 years ago!)

( b.)  I don't let the bad luck ones scare me either, they should get trashed.

( c.)  Before you forward an 'Amber Alert', or a 'Virus Alert', or some of the other emails floating around nowadays, check them out before you forward them.  Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for YEARS!  Just about everything you receive in an email that is in question can be checked out at Snopes.  Just go to www.snopes.com .  It's really easy to find out if it's real or not.  If it's not, please don't pass it on. 
(Editor's Note:  Snopes now provides a free weekly update email service.)

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

Also get rid of the advertisements at the bottom of your emails!  You
pay for your internet why advertise free for them?  If they want
advertisement, let them pay you to use your space!!!!"

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How To Spot Spam  (Forwarded by a classmate from an article on FactCheck.org)

The author is anonymous. Practically all e-mails we see fall into this category, and anytime an author is unnamed, the public should be skeptical. If the story were true, why would the author not put his or her name on it? 

The author is supposedly a famous person. Of course, e-mails that are attributed to legitimate people turn out to be false as well. Those popular messages about a Jay Leno essay and Andy Rooney’s political views are both baloney. And we found that some oft-quoted words attributed to Abraham Lincoln were not his words at all.

There’s a reference to a legitimate source that completely contradicts the information in the e-mail. Some e-mails will implore readers to check out the claims, even providing a link to a respected source. We’re not sure why some people don’t click on the link, but we implore you to do so. Go ahead, take the challenge.

See if the information you find actually backs up the e-mail. We’ve examined mail in which the back-up material clearly debunks the e-mail itself. One message provided a link to the Tax Foundation, but anyone who followed it would have found an article saying the e-mail’s figures were all wrong. Another boasted that Snopes.com had verified the e-mail, but Snopes actually said it was false

The message is riddled with spelling errors.  Ask yourself why you should trust an author who is not only anonymous but partially illiterate?

The author just loves using exclamation points!!!!  If the author had a truthful point to make, why are they needed? There's a growing theory that the more exclamation points are used, the more untruthful it is and ditto for capital letters.  

The message argues that it is NOT false.  This tip comes from Emery who advises skepticism for any message that says This is NOT a hoax!

There is math involved.  One message that falsely claimed more soldiers died during Bill Clinton's term than George Bush's urged, "You do the math."  We did and it was wrong.

Tips To Ripoff Lines

If you hear these or similar lines, just say "no thanks" and hang up:

"You've been specially selected to hear this offer."

"You'll get a wonderful free bonus if you buy our product."

"You've won one of five valuable prizes."

"You've won big money is a foreign lottery."

"You must send money right away." 

"This investment is low risk and provides a high return than you can get anywhere else."

"You have to make up your mind right away."

"You don't need to check our company with anyone," including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau or consumer protection agency.

"We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card."

"You don't need any written information about our company or references."

In Doubt:  Call the FBI scam hot line:  858-715-1648 

Gift Cards:  You know you are old...when the cost of children's winter boots gives you sticker shock.  The site manager recently spent Christmas in Maryland with his bright and energetic grand-nieces ages 5 and 7 and needed January to recover.  This year they got their birthday and Christmas gift cards at the same time, and he scored many points as they were able to combine their cards to purchase their own UGG boots.

Because he can't find his glasses but remembers when the owner of Musinsky's Shoe Store came to the house to collect our small monthly installment payment, he searched the Internet for some prices: highest adult UGG prices were in the $120s; kids up to $99 (circa 2007-8).

Being a widower whose wife was a great gift buyer and wrapper, he has taken advantage of relatives' lowered expectations and become a fan of the Visa Gift 2 Go card. One-stop shopping with easy wrapping...his are delivered inside what he hopes is a funny Christmas card.  Recipients can register the card for online purchases which goes over well with a teenage grandchild in the wilds of northern Maine and a four-hour drive from major clothing stores. 

Another good use is to give yourself one to make small online Internet purchases in place of your regular credit cards.  Registering a card for online shopping is not a requirement but the user may run into merchants who will not accept the card without it.  The manager did register his card and has made multiple purchases to date without a problem.

These cards are short-term.  Currently in 2012, it is 5 years nationally and 7 years in MA.  They are not reloadable but you can roll the balance into a new card.  The October, 2012 service charge at Walgreen was $4.95 for a $50 card.

Please Note:  Mass. gift card regulations differ from Federal regulations. For the latest information on both, click on  http://www.mass.gov/consumer and search under "gift card fees" for the latest federal regulations and under "gift card laws" for the MA regulations.  The latest set of federal regulations were completed in August, 2010.  Fees must be clearly marked on the card or on the casing in which it is sold.

Under MA law, your gift card is forever if the company has not given you a starting date and an expiration date.  They can do it in several ways so if you don't see these dates, check the rules using the above link.

For your next bar bet:  the first company to introduce electronic gift cards was Blockbuster in 1996.  And in case you are wondering, these companies do get a piece of the action from the national banks for each use of their card.  A recent article about consumer discontent with these cards was entitled "The Gift That Just Stops Giving."

You can buy a Gift 2 Go card by clicking on: www.gift2go.net.  This will take you to Visa's Awards 2 go site.  Find the Gift 2 go section on the right hand side of the page and click on the "Learn More" button.  This card does come with an inactivity fee of $2.50 a month after any  period of 12 inactive months...best to use your cards up within 12 months or gift them to your in-laws and let them worry about the monthly charges.

If you prefer prepaid reloadable cards, be sure to read the fine print.  They come with a higher minimum monthly maintenance charge and can have additional fees for other options that may apply.

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Unwanted Postal Mail 

Fighting Junk Mail:  When it's too cold for the daily hike, the site manager has been looking on the internet for help in reducing the amount of junk mail that comes to his house.  Two promising sites are the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business

Click on http://www.privacyrights.org to get to the Clearinghouse's main page. Select "Junk Mail/Faxes/Email" from the column on the left.

The Office of Consumer Affairs has a help category on Privacy that includes a large section on Junk Mail.  Click here to see how to access this information.

Unwanted Mail Catalogs:  If you are currently receiving catalogs in the mail that you no longer want, you might be interested in clicking on Catalog Choice.  A recent email from the company indicated they now have over 200 catalog companies that have agreed to honor requests from them to remove customer names from their files.  You can see the list of their participating companies at Catalog Choice Vendors.  However, you cannot use this site for catalog companies not on their list.

Direct Mail Advertising:  At the present time, companies are not legally obligated to remove your name from their lists.  Someday perhaps, our great-great grandchildren will have a sign up list similar to the telemarketing one.  In the meantime, the direct mail industry has a web site that you can use to try and opt out, the  Direct Marketing Association.  The DMA makes no guarantees,  but If you are successful using this site, you will need to reapply every five years. 

General Consumer Tips

Airline Changes:  Starting January 24, 2012, airlines will no longer be able to hide taxes and fees.  They must now include those in the advertised fee and this includes disclosure of baggage fees when passengers book a flight.  Airlines will be fined if they do not include baggage cost on the e-ticket confirmation. 

If you make a reservation at least one week before the flight's departure, you have up to 24 hours after you make the reservation to cancel without penalty as long as the purchase was made through the airline website or through a travel website.  Airlines must promptly notify travelers about delays that are going to be over thirty minutes.  No longer will airlines be able to bump up the price of your ticket once you have purchased it.

(Reprinted from the Massachusetts Retirees United news letter "Matters" of February, 2012 edited by Marie Ardito.)

Evaluating Charitable Organizations:  The Boston Globe Magazine of November 20, 2011 suggested these online resources if you want to check out an organization before donating:

For MA residents, the Attorney General's office has several tools available.  Reports of financial charities doing business in the state can be found at  www.charities.ago.state.ma.us

You can call the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division at 617-727-2200 ext. 2010 or email them at charities@state.ma.us

www.irs.gov/charities (maintained by the IRS)

www.charitynavigator.org (evaluates and ranks charities on how much goes to a cause versus how much goes to administrative costs)

www.guidestar.org (offers extensive information including IRS reporting forms and executive salaries...does not charge for basic financial data reports)

Debit/Credit Cards:  There are a variety of legal actions going on between merchants and the Visa and MasterCard companies concerning the monopoly these companies hold over the merchants.  The Massachusetts Consumer site ( www.mass.gov/consumer ) had a recent online article that mentioned what businesses cannot do when you buy with a credit card.

Specifically, merchants cannot add a surcharge to your bill if you use a credit card but they can offer customers a discount to use cash.  American Express, Visa and MasterCard prohibit merchants from asking you to provide a phone number, home address or other personal information.  Visa and MasterCard also prohibit merchants from requiring minimum charge amounts. 

You can file complaints at the following addresses:  Visa USA, Consumer Relations, PO Box 8999, San Francisco, CA 94128;  MasterCard International, Public Relations, 2000 Purchase St., Purchase, NY 10577; American Express Customer Service, PO Box 297812, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33329-7812.

Avoiding Online Internet Pharmacy Fraud:  NABP, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, maintains a list of verified internet pharmacy practice site (VIPPS) which allows you to search by state for all of their certified sites that will process requests from your state.

Click on www.nabp.net to reach their site; click on "CONSUMERS" near the top right of the page; click on Verified Internet Practice Sites; click on the "Find a VIPPS-accredited pharmacy today" line and the program will give you a list of all qualified internet pharmacies for your state.

On the Consumers page, you can also click "Buying Medicine Online" to learn about the possible hazards of internet purchases.

FBI Suggestions On Internet Pharmacies:  Legitimate pharmacies should:  1) Require a prescription from a licensed doctor, usually by mail (if they accept a fax copy, they will always call your doctor to verify the prescription).  2) Make you submit a detailed medical history.  3) Clearly state their payment, privacy and shipping fees on their site.  4) Use secure or encrypted website connections for transactions.

IRS Scams:  The MA Consumer Affairs Office recently sent an email advisory warning of an increase in tax refund and scams.  The IRS does not use email to contact residents about tax refunds but uses postal mail instead. 

Locally, a Beverly, MA non-profit group funded a program for two police officers to develop and present seminars to educate residents.  The funding came about after a Beverly senior paid $50,000 for the "taxes" on her winnings of $4,000,000 in a mythical Canadian lottery.

Money Scam:  A classmate recently found that the classmate's friends email addresses had been stolen and used to solicit emergency funds to bail the classmate out of a difficult situation.  A common source of email addresses for scammers are emails that people are encouraged to forward to their friends.  Many if not most of these emails and petitions are likely to be fraudulent and a rich source of addresses for scammers or those people who collect them to sell to scammers.

If you want to forward an email and you are sending it to more than one person, you can protect your friends' email addresses by forwarding or sending email from your address book as a blind carbon copy (BCC:).  To protect everyone's email address, you can delete them from the body of your email before sending.  To learn how, click on How To Forward Email

Tire Safety:  Another news clip that Ed forwarded a while back is an ABC news story on the dangers of tires being sold as "brand new" that have been sitting on dealers' shelves for years.  Their research shows that aged tires driven at highway speeds are more prone to tread separation that can lead to dangerous or fatal accidents.  The manufacturing date of the tires you buy are part of the sidewall information.  Have the dealer show you the dates or do some research on the web under "determining the age of a tire."

Restocking Fees:  The email tale of woe about Best Buy's restocking fee of 15% apparently is true and a good argument for getting something in writing at any store about its restocking fees and return policies before you make a significant purchase by cash, debit card or check.  Purchases over $250 by these methods at Best Buy means that you will have to wait for ten days (in theory) to get a refund check from the corporate office.  See the arguments for and against this practice at www.snopes.com (search on "many unhappy returns" when you get to the site).

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Massachusetts Consumer News

Mass. Resident/Consumer Web Sites:  The main state government site has grown considerably in the past few years.  To access it, click on http://www.mass.gov to see the home page.  You can click on the tab "For Residents" for some 14 major groups of topics that may be of value to you.

For a major source of consumer information, you can click on http://www.mass.gov/consumer then click on the tab "Consumer Affairs" to see the major consumer help categories and a host of subtopics.

Mass. Consumer News Emails:  The Office of Consumer Affairs now issues periodic advisory emails. You can subscribe to this service on their home page (http://www.mass.gov/consumer).  Look for Online Services on the upper left of their home page and click on "Subscribe to the Consumer Insider."

Consumer Hot Lines:  The Mass. consumer site has added two toll-free hot lines (sorry, toll-free for residents only).  They are:  (888) 283-3751 and   (617) 973-8787.  The state's consumer agency covers the following six major groups:  Division of Banks, Division of Insurance, Division of Professional Licensure, Division of Standards, State Racing Commission and the Department of Telecommunications and Cable.

Odds and Ends

For those who have pleasant memories of prop airplanes and getting dressed up to fly even if it was only from Boston to New York, Ed Cummiskey has sent us a collection of pictures from FunStufftoSee.com about former passenger planes and airlines.

Speaking of dressed up and no puns intended in the heading, that's Mrs. Site Manager boarding for a short flight to New York and then on to our honeymoon in Bermuda.  It took so long to take the picture that I turned around to apologize to those waiting behind me.  There were about 25 to 30 passengers, mostly smiling and all waiting patiently...not sure I would get the same reaction today.

Best Air Purifier Site:  Due to an increasing reaction to dust (and vacuuming), the site manager followed his doctor's advice and allergy-proofed his bedroom according to the steps outlined on the Internet medical sites.  He then started looking for an air purifier.  Fortunately for sufferers, there is a great site to start at:  www.air-purifier-power.com

If you are looking for your first air purifier, this is the best place he has found so far.   Even if you know what you want, he would urge you to run your choice against the recommendations at this site.  Given that some of the best and worst air purifiers on the market today sell for about the same price, an investment of time at this site is worth it...especially if you are looking for extra justification to defend your choice to others who live with you.

In addition to a top-ten list with lots of detail about how the ratings were earned, there is a goldmine of information on indoor air quality, airborne disease, purifier technologies and an impressive education section called "Buyer Beware."

For seniors who want to hook up a DVD player to an older computer system:  having trouble playing a DVD on your PC with Windows Media Player?  Our webmaster suggests trying it on another DVD player that is not connected to a PC.  If it plays successfully on the other DVD player, go back to your PC, click the Start button and then click on My Computer.  Make sure your player is listed as a DVD and not just a CD player. 

If your PC does say DVD, you may need to get a newer version of the Windows Media Player.  If you have an older PC however, chances are that your PC may not have the power and speed to handle the disc properly.  In those cases, the webmaster usually encourages his customers to forget the PC and buy an inexpensive DVD for their TV set.

Before buying that DVD, you may want to try a software program called VLC Media Player by VideoLAN.  With this program, the site manager has had good success in playing DVDs that had not worked with Windows Media Player on his Windows XP system.  A free version of this media player is available on the net.  A knowledgeable friend (or someone who owes you a favor) can do the download.

There are several sites to download from.  The site manager used the one from the parent company VideoLAN ( www.videolan.org ).  The download was pretty straightforward as he recalls and you can exercise an option to make it your default media player.

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