A Few More DogGone Neat “Table” Tricks…

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If you read the recent Post, (When Things Just Don’t Line Up), you know that Browsing Bowser found a very easy way to organize and track his prized bones collection by using the Tables function in his word processing program. He found that by inserting a simple table into a word processing document , typing the necessary data into the table, then making all the table lines/borders invisible, he had the clean looking list he wanted. All his information was neatly lined up and his inventory list was easy to edit and maintain!

“How much better can it get?” he wondered to himself.  Then without a paws, Browsing Bowser answered his own question….

“My list could be even better if I tracked costs and totals”, he yipped!   Dog tired as he was, BB went back to his list to see if he could actually track totals in his Buried Bones Inventory table.   Sure enough, he found it was not only possible, it was pretty easy to do as well. “Probably easy enough even for a cat to do”, he secretly snarled…

Here’s what he did to enhance his Buried Bones Inventory:

First, BB made the borders and lines of his table visible again to make his edits easier to do.

Then he added another column at the end of his table.

• In most word processing programs, this can be done by right clicking in the column to which you want to add another column;

• Select “Insert”;

• Select where to add the column, in this case “Insert column to the right”.



Now for the fun part – BB made the Table calculate total quantities and costs for him, since he was never good counting past 4 paws.

NOTE: This is done using the SUM function. Although it is easy to use, accessing it varies with the different word processing programs and versions. You may have to search help for “SUM” to find out how your program handles this function.

BB uses Microsoft Word 2010 so here is how it worked for him.

• Place the cursor in the last cell of the QTY column

• On the Menu Bar under “Table Tools” > Select “Layout” > Select “fx Formula” icon

• A dialogue box opens. At the = Sign type SUM(ABOVE) (see below)


• Click on OK

• After you click OK, the QTY column total appears in that cell.

To Total the COSTS column, place the cursor in the last cell of the COSTS Column and repeat the above process.

Word of caution: If you are familiar with spreadsheet calculations, you may expect the word processing table to update formula calculations automatically as well.    Bummer, but it doesn’t.  It’s more like a cat that has to be prodded a little. But it’s an easy “prod”.

To update all the totals:

o Press the Ctrl + A keys (this is a “Select All” shortcut)

o Press F9 Key

If you forget to update your totals, but save your data, you’ll find that the totals will be updated the next time you open your table.

And to prove old dogs CAN learn new tricks, here are a few more tips/tricks Browsing Bowser learned while he was putting finishing touches on his new table.

• The Bold, Underline, and Italics, colors, etc. functions can be used within his table

• He can create lines and borders by choosing which lines/borders he wants to make visible or invisible.

o First BB chose to make all lines/borders invisible to get back his clean list look.

o Then BB wanted lines to appear above his totals so he chose to put a top border line of the total cell

o BB wanted a line under each column title so he chose to put a bottom line on each cell of the column titles.

This is what his new Buried Bones Inventory List looks like:


“DogGone It”, Browsing Bowser said to himself as he circled his doggie bed before plopping down for the night.  “I worked like a dog today, but, you know, I really do lead a dog’s life!”   And with that, he fell securely asleep.


When Things Just Don’t Line Up…


BB2At the top of Browsing Bowser’s To-Do List is the task to create an inventory to track his prized chew-bone collection. Although it is currently small, BB has grandiose plans to greatly increase his bone collection. As a savvy and “safe” collector, BB has diversified the locations of his assets — he has buried them in various places across his “estate”.

To manage his growing collection, BB has decided to devise a simple List of his assets including relevant information. He wants this List to be clean looking; simple to use; easy to edit and maintain. Being a bit of a computer canine, BB has chosen to create a digital List using his word processing program.

Good choice, BB.  Keep it Simple.  A spreadsheet might be overkill for this small project.  All the Inventory List needs is a title on one line; column titles on the next line; then inventory information under each column title.  Hmmm – Columns…  BB had trouble using columns before.  He feels it is easier to herd mice than deal with those things!  So he decides to just use tabs to setup the order of his Inventory List. Tabs sound simple enough – until BB starts to type and uses those Tab keys!

Grrrrrr… Information is shifting and jumping with each tab stroke!  Nothing is lining up! Information is in the wrong place! Each effort to correct the last Tab jump makes the List even more incorrect!  More Grrrrrrr….   It’s like expecting a pen full of puppies to line up at the food bowl for dinner… No Control. No Order. And little hope for it!

What to do? What to do??? Well…

A spreadsheet is still a possible solution. But it looks so, so “spreadsheet”… BB wanted a simple, clean looking List.

Here’s another solution — using a word processing program, create and insert a TABLE into a document; enter necessary data into each cell in the Table; then remove the lines/borders from the Table, resulting in a clean looking and very orderly List.

BB tried it and liked it! If you like his idea, here’s how he created his simple List:

In the Word Processing Program,

• Find the menu item to Insert a “Table

• Define the table. BB needed 5 Columns across; he wanted room for growth of his collection so he defined it to have 15 Rows down.

• He entered appropriate headings and data into the Table cells.

Here is what BB’s resulting Table looked like:


But BB wanted a “clean” looking List. The lines and borders make it look like a Table.  Not clean and simple looking…

To achieve the Clean List Look BB found the Table’s menu tool that controlled the borders and chose to remove ALL borders.

Voila! Borders become invisible!

boneinv2Now the Inventory List has the Clean Look that BB desired. All information is correct and lined up – perfectly!

Borders can be turned on and off at will – turning them on to edit or maintain the table; then turning them off for that Clean List Look……

Simplify….  BB liked it…

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hofmann

Top 10 Scams of 2012

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ScamsOne of the mysteries of the con-man is why he bothers (I say he, but of course there are plenty of con-women who are just as unscrupulous). He is often energetic, imaginative and ambitious, so why doesn’t he build up a decent, respectable business instead of robbing hard-working people? I suppose it’s because con-men (and I’ve met many over my years in consumer protection) all regard the people they deceive simply as walking wallets, to be ruthlessly squeezed, emptied, and then thrown away.

So the con-men will shamelessly lie to us, try to tempt us with ‘something for nothing’, ‘too good to be true’ offers – like the ‘show house’ discount for double glazing or central heating, or the ‘million pound lottery’ he pretends you have won and so on. And he gambles on the fact that when we discover that we’ve fallen for his blatant swindle, we will be too ashamed to report him to the police…

Excerpted from the Introduction to the “Little Book of Big Scams”. Source: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/the-little-book-of-big-scams.pdf

Internet scams are updated, worldwide versions of age-old tactics and schemes to cheat and defraud a victim. What the internet has added to con-artistry is an extreme ease of distributing fraudulent schemes to millions of people!

The Better Business Bureau listed the following schemes as the Top 10 Scams in 2012. These scams continue to be headliners so far in 2013:

Source: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2012/03/can-you-name-the-ten-most-common-scams/

Be Aware and Beware…

1. Bogus Health Products – This scam is the modern version of snake oils and elixirs that claim cures for everything that ails you.

2. Advance Fee Loans – These are bogus offers with fraudulent websites that promise to provide easy credit and/or loans. Required upfront payments are a sign the site/offer is a scam.

3. The Nigerian Scam – This is an old scam with several variations that amazingly doesn’t die. It appeals to the sympathy and generosity of the victim. An email or hard copy letter or even fax arrives asking for help to get money out of war ravaged countries to help the poor subject named in the request. The FBI reports the author requests upfront money to help complete the emotional request but the willing victim will always be out money.

4. The Grandma Scam – Aimed at seniors, the “victims receive a call from a ‘grandchild’ in distress in a foreign country. Grandparents are told to wire money to ‘the police.’” It is suggested that “the best defense is to remain calm. Make them give you their name. Insist on calling your son or daughter. Chances are, you’ll find your grandchild safe at home.”

5. Foreign lotteries or sweepstakes – “A check comes in the mail–to cover ‘taxes, fees or insurance.’ You’re supposed to cash the check and wire back funds to claim your prize, but the check is no good. Remember, it’s illegal for U.S. citizens to enter foreign sweepstakes or lotteries. If you have to send money, even if they send you a check, you haven’t won anything.”

6. Overpayment Scams – “Your classified or Craigslist ad receives an email expressing interest in the item. The mystery buyer’s English is poor. They want the item delivered through a shipper. They offer to overpay for the item and want you to wire the excess funds after the check is deposited. Never accept a check for more than the selling price and never agree to wire back funds to a buyer.”

7. Charity Scams – “Fraudulent solicitations come over the phone with scammers pretending to be affiliated with legitimate charities. Other scams involve bogus websites created to fool people into providing credit cards. If you want to donate to a charity, use the charity’s own websites directly. You can investigate unfamiliar charities online at http://www.bbb.org/us/charity.”

8. Employment/Mystery Shopping Scams – If you are applying online for employment, “regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, you should never give out…Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.”

Mystery Shopping Scams operate just like lottery scams and overpayment scams—here is a check; do a job, wire money back to your ‘employer.’ The checks are no good and you’re out any money you send away.”

9. Phishing – “Scammers, masquerading as legitimate organizations send official-seeming email to get you to reveal sensitive data. If you get an email or pop-up asking for personal or financial information, don’t reply. Don’t click any links. Contact the organization mentioned using a phone number you know is genuine, or open a new window and type the company’s correct web address to verify it.”

10. Smishing – “Cell phone text messages deliver the “bait” to get people to divulge their personal information. They claim there’s a problem with your debit or credit card or bank account, and that it’s been frozen. Never provide personal or financial information to unknown parties, and never click on any embedded Internet links in unsolicited text messages.”

DisHonorable Mention: Online Dating Scams

Although not listed on the Better Bureau’s site, Online Dating Scams deserve mention. There are many legitimate online dating services, but there are also many fraudsters who use the services to bilk a victim out of money and emotions. Here are some alerts that your potential amour is really looking for your money…

• The potential “date” quickly wants to use personal email or messaging rather than the dating site format

• They profess love quickly

• They claim to be from the U.S. but are working or traveling overseas

• They cancel a planned visit to you because of some unexpected but traumatic event and request money to help cover some of those traumatic event issues.

• Send NO Money. Report them immediately to the dating site and FBI.

Unfortunately, this is not a comprehensive list of scams and schemes. It is only a compilation of 2012’s TOP 10!   May none of these be your experience!

The cautious seldom err  –  Confucius


Tell-Tail Signs of a Scam

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Tell-tail signs that you are about to be scammed with an email or internet offer:

  • The organization making the “offer” has no website and cannot be located with an online search
  • The email or site has no “contact” information
  • The email or site asks for bank account information, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, social security, mother’s maiden name or other personal information.
  • The return email address is a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, ymail, excite.com or another free email accounts. Legitimate companies can afford to buy a company domain name which creates their brand, legitimacy and trust.
  • The offer asks you to follow a link to another site and log on to or create an account.
  • You are advised that you have won a prize but you don’t recall entering any contest affiliated with the prize promoters.
  • The email claims you won a lottery.  The catch here is that legal lotteries don’t notify winners by email.
  • Although the email is addressed to your email address, it winds up in your junk mail.  It is usually a bulk mailer that many people worldwide probably also received.
  • The email or site asks for “upfront” money to cover processing and administrative fees.
  • Bait prizes are offered.  However, if these are real prizes, they are often inferior in quality or falsely represented.
  • You are required to travel at your own cost to receive your prize.
  • The offer seems to be filled with hype and exaggerations but offers few details about how the offer works.
  • The offer promises you money, jobs, prizes, lucrative business deals.
  • If the offer seems too good to be true – it is!

Good resources to check out the legitimacy of your “offer” or where to report fraud:

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm

Internet Crime Complaint Center (http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx)

Complaints against foreign companies http://www.econsumer.gov/english/

FBI http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud/internet_fraud


whois.com (whois lookup)


If It Is On the Internet It Must Be True

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If it is on the Internet, it must be true — Because:

  • You Can Trust History…


  • It is a Great Haven for the Terminally Naive…


  • Where the Early Bird Gets Caught by the Worm…


  • And Blind Dates turn out to be French Models…

  • Bonjour

  • Bon Jour, Everyone!

    Microsoft Tuesday, Exploit Wednesday and Why You Need to Do Updates

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    patchMicrosoft Tuesday?

    Oh you savvy dog, you! You already know that it is the first Tuesday of every month when Microsoft (MS) releases all those security patches and other fixes… Microsoft wants to make your operating system and other MS products more secure and more functional.  Monthly and Free? More secure and more functional? Yep. That sounds pretty good of Microsoft, don’t you think?

    What’s that you ask? All those fixes every month? Uh – Why can’t Microsoft make their products strong and secure right from the start? Hmmm. You weren’t supposed to go in that direction. But you know, those are really good questions! So, let’s see what we can dig up on them. Let me caution you though, to not get your hopes up too high for satisfying answers. Remember, this is the company that made you go to their Start Button to Shut Down your computer… Oh, and speaking about satisfying, wait till you hear about Exploit Wednesday

    OK – why are there so many patches that last the lifetime of the software product? Why can’t software be created correctly before it is sold? Let’s oversimplify this answer just to keep it under 100 pages – and blame it on business rules and competition.

    Consider the old Vista Operating System as an example. It is estimated Vista has around 50 million lines of code! That’s a bunch of code. Ideally it would be sold with no errors in those 50,000,000 lines of code. Now let’s pretend that quality control parameters allow only .5% margin of error in the code. That seems like a very tight margin of error – until you do the math. At even that small margin, a still very usable Vista Operating System could go to market with some glitches – theoretically, a possible 250,000 lines of code with error, according to that business rule!  Whoa, that’s a lot of fleas left on the dog!

    And consider the notion that Microsoft, with a penchant for being the first to get to market with all their products, allows the post-beta testing phase of their products to be done by us, the consumer public. In other words, the company allows the product’s users to find those “possible” errors. The public then reports the errors back to Microsoft so that MS can, in turn, release patches and fixes to correct those errors.   Actually, pretttty clever… Think of the savings in time and costs for the company by letting the using public discover those errors/glitches that reached the post-beta testing phase.

    Another “Hmmmm” you muse… “Could some of those users actually be cyber bad guys?” you ask.   Bingo again, you savvy dog, you.  It is usually the exploit from the cyber bad guys rather than the software errors reported by the using public that generate the required patches and fixes.

    “But that kind of turns around my concept of releasing patches” you muse again. “I mean, the patches seem more reactive than pro-active”, you pant out loud! “That’s a really scary thought to think through. My computer is vulnerable all the time, it seems! I have to hope the next exploit won’t hit my computer while I have to wait for the patch/fix to be released so I can be safe from the last exploit but not the next one. And looking at the fact that the releases are monthly for the last 10 years…” Yeah, Browsing Bowser.  Makes the hair on my neck stand up, too…

     But are you starting to understand why immediately applying patches and fixes is essential not only to your security but also to slowing down the damage done by exploiters?  

    Which takes me to Exploit Wednesdays

    I’ll bet you already have a notion about this day, too! You are right if you think it is the Wednesday following Microsoft Tuesday! Cyber bad guys have talented code developers, too, who wait for the MS patches to be released on Microsoft Tuesday so that they can analyze the newly released patches and find ways to create new exploits. So the next day, Wednesday, or soon thereafter more exploits show up in the cyber world. And not to waste any opportunity, these exploiters use the monthly release schedule to their advantage – they know it will be at least a month before any patch will be released against them if they release their exploit on or near Exploit Wednesday

    Software Exploits.

    Exploited Users.

    Microsoft Tuesday.

    Exploit Wednesday.

    Patch as Fast as Possible Thursday.

    DogGoneComputers Rule Friday!

    PS. All software manufacturers release patches and fixes as well, including Apple. So let’s be fair to Microsoft and include them all in this scenario…

    Please Don’t Ignore These Updates

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    Update Now!

    As your computer and personal identity security are a major concern for DogGoneComputers, we are highlighting this month’s Microsoft Updates.  Microsoft released several CRITICAL and IMPORTANT patches Tuesday, October 8, 2013, that should be applied as soon as possible.  The most important ones that you, as a responsible cyber citizen should understand are listed below.   Whether you want to read and “understand” the patches or not, please apply them ASAP!

    Internet Explorer – Critical – Zero Day Patch

    One of the patches is a Critical patch to correct a “zero day” vulnerability in Internet Explorer.   A “vulnerability” or bug, is called “zero day” because the software maker (in this case, Microsoft) has “zero days” notice to address/fix the bug that is exploited as soon as it is discovered by hackers/exploiters.  The Microsoft Website provides the following description for this Critical patch.  This patch will require a restart of your computer.

    • Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2879017)

      This security update resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and nine privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited the most severe of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

     Microsoft Office-Important – Remote Code Execution

    Microsoft Office patches are included in this month’s updates.    Microsoft Word and Excel are the targeted products.  These updates should be applied as soon as possible.  The Microsoft Website provides the following description for these Important patches:

    • Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel, Word, Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2885080, 2885084)

      This security update resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Office file with an affected version of Microsoft Excel, Word or other affected Microsoft Office software. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

    Microsoft Silverlight – Important – Information Disclosure

    Silverlight, as defined by Microsoft, is “a powerful development tool for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web and mobile applications. Silverlight is a free plug-in, powered by the .NET framework and compatible with multiple browsers, devices and operating systems, bringing a new level of interactivity wherever the Web works.”  It is a competitor to Adobe Flash Player.  The Microsoft Website provides the following description for this Important patch:

    • Vulnerability in Silverlight Could Allow Information Disclosure (2890788)

      This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Silverlight. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if an attacker hosts a website that contains a specially crafted Silverlight application that could exploit this vulnerability and then convinces a user to view the website. The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements. Such websites could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit a website. Instead, an attacker would have to convince users to visit a website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message or in an Instant Messenger message that takes them to the attacker’s website. It could also be possible to display specially crafted web content by using banner advertisements or by using other methods to deliver web content to affected systems.

    Make NO BONES about it… These updates are critical for you to apply as soon as possible.  If your computer is set to “Automatic Updates”, then you just have to apply/install the updates.  One of the updates requires a restart of your computer.  Please note that after the restart, you will probably have to install the remaining updates.   An Update Reminder will not let you forget…

    If your Windows computer is not set for “Automatic Updates” or you’re not sure if it is, or you want to know how to setup it up, this Microsoft support site provides directions for the various Windows Operating Systems on setting up Automatic Updates:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306525

    If you have questions about Automatic Updates for your Apple Computer, please visit this site:  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1338






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