rocket-d US relinquishes control of internet naming system Oct. 1

The US is finally ready to relinquish control of the internet’s domain name system.


If all goes according to plan, the US Commerce Department will give up oversight of the DNS and hand it over to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Oct. 1.

The DNS converts alphabetic names into numeric IP addresses, so you can type URLs like “” or “” instead of a series of numbers and dots. Since 1998, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has partnered with ICANN, a California nonprofit, to keep things running.

As NTIA chief Lawrence Strickland said this week, “NTIA’s current stewardship role was intended to be temporary.” Two years ago, the agency started the process of transferring control, which required ICANN to carry out a series of technical tasks. The plan had to have broad community support, and address specific principles, including a promise to maintain the openness of the Internet and the security of the DNS.

ICANN met the criteria needed for a transition in June, though NTIA requested a few more things before it would give the final sign-off. That happened this week.

“The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) stewardship transition represents the final step in the US government’s long-standing commitment, supported by three Administrations, to privatize the Internet’s domain name system,” Strickling said this week.

“For the last 18 years, the United States has been working … to establish a stable and secure multistakeholder model of Internet governance that ensures that the private sector, not governments, take the lead in setting the future direction of the Internet’s domain name system,” he added.

The move, however, has become a somewhat partisan issue. In 2014, Republicans drafted the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2014, which would have required the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of the US giving up its oversight role of the DNS before it becomes official. The GOP was concerned that the US would hand over control of the DNS to an entity that might manipulate it for political purposes.

The DOTCOM Act did not pass, but the Republican party platform approved at this summer’s convention calls the transition “America’s abandonment of the international Internet.”

President Obama “threw the Internet to the wolves, and they — Russia, China, Iran, and others — are ready to devour it,” the GOP claims. – By Stephanie Mlot
Published August 21, 2016

rocket-d 5 reasons why your Wi-Fi is slow (and how to fix it)


5 reasons why your Wi-Fi is slowFor the two decades that the internet has been in our lives, despite all the changes and technology improvements, one constant has remained: pokey connections. Frustration quickly sets in when pages won’t load, videos buffer, or email crawls to a halt. Here are five common problems and solutions to try.

1. Internet thieves

One of the best things about Wi-Fi is the easy access it provides to the internet. But, if your network password is too simple, there could be more people tapping into it than you originally bargained for.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want. Networks with weak passwords or no passwords can be accessed by almost anyone. Use a free program called Wi-Fi History View to review each device that has connected to your network, and look for IP addresses you don’t recognize.

Prevent this by first changing the password for your router. If you don’t know where to find it, a site called RouterPasswords can help you locate the manufacturer’s default password. From there, create a password that is complex and difficult to guess.

2. Congestion

This is a problem in crowded neighborhoods or apartments. When too many people try to connect at the same time on the same Wi-Fi channel, connection speed is significantly impacted.

When your connection slows during peak hours, usually in the evening when everyone gets off work, that’s a sure sign of congestion.

Fix this by selecting a different channel for your router. If you have a 2.4 gigahertz frequency router, there are usually 11 channels to choose from. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are recommended, but try other channels to find a faster connection. Or buy a new 5 gigahertz router.

3. Outdated equipment

Wi-Fi routers are not all created equal. “AC” routers are a step up from the older “B” and “G” models and even “N” models. They have more features and offer better performance. If you’re shopping for a new router, that’s what you want to look for.

AC routers have a maximum spectral bandwidth of around 8 x 160MHz, compared to the 4 x 40MHz standard of N routers. In other words, the increased bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted without slowing down.

4. Your router’s security settings

Aside from protecting your network from unauthorized bandwidth usage, which could slow down your network without your knowledge, did you know that the type of wireless security you use could impact your overall speeds too?

If your network is Open (no security) or is using WEP, change the security setting immediately! Obviously, an open network will make it easy for someone to steal your Wi-Fi, and the older WEP security is easily hacked, so avoid it at all costs.

This leaves you with WPA, WPA2 with TKIP, or WPA2 with AES.

WPA and TKIP are what you want to avoid. Not only are these protocols older and insecure, they can actually slow down your network.

The best option is WPA2 with AES. AES is a newer and more secure setting that lets you achieve higher speeds.

5. You’re too far out of range

Sometimes the easiest fixes are right there under our noses. Routers are not designed to transmit signals over long distances, so there may be hot spots and dead zones in your home.

To map out your network, use a tool called HeatMapper. It helps you see where Wi-Fi signals are strongest in your home or office. HeatMapper is a free download for Windows users. NetSpot is a good alternative for Mac users.

Once you’ve identified the problem areas in your home, you have a few options available. One option is to purchase a Wi-Fi extender that can boost the range of your router’s transmission. Wi-Fi extenders range in price from around $20 to $120, depending on the features included in the model. However, a mid-range extender should work just fine. Click here for a full breakdown of Wi-Fi extender options.

The second option is to purchase a mesh system. The $500 Eero Home Wi-Fi system promises “no more dead zones” in their product description. A mesh system consists of a series of smaller routers that sync with one another to boost the coverage area of your network. Spread these mini routers here and there throughout your home, and you’ll have a strong connection no matter what room you’re in.

rocket-d Blocking Creepers on Your Phone and Desktop

There comes a point in some relationships where you just have to cut ties with another person. Maybe it was a terrible breakup, and the other person just won’t leave you alone. Perhaps you never even had a relationship with a person but in their mind you did, or maybe this person is a straight up scammer and you have just had it with their repeated calls and harassment.

Whatever the case may be, you have decided that it’s time to block this person. 

This may seem like a trivial step for some, but others may have a harder time with it. Perhaps you tried to Safely Unfriend a Creeper, but your strategy just didn’t work or maybe you tried other methods first and now it’s come to this.

Regardless of why you ended up at this point, always be safe. Consider telling a trusted third party that you have reached a point where you feel the need to block a specific person and tell the trusted person why. 

Here are some methods of blocking people on various devices and Internet services:

Blocking Someone From Calling or Texting Your Phone:

Blocking on an Android Phone:

  1. Open your Phone app from the home screen
  2. From the call log screen, choose the number of the person you want to block.
  3. Tap the 3 dot menu icon from the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. Select “Add to Auto Reject List”

Blocking on an iPhone:

  1. Open your Phone calling app from the home screen.
  2. Choose the “Recent”icon  from the bottom of the screen.
  3. Find the number you want to reject from the “All” or “Missed” call logs and tap the “i” (information) icon on the right side of the screen by the number.
  4. After the call info screen opens, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select “Block This Caller”
  5. Confirm “Block Contact” from the pop-up screen that opens.

On Facebook:

Facebook features the ability to block someone to where they cant see anything you post or see your profile in search results.  It won’t stop them from using a mutual friend’s account to see what your up to, so I wouldn’t recommend using a block and then expect something you say to not get back to that person because they probably will still here about it via a mutual friend.

To Block Someone on Facebook:

  1. Click the padlock icon at the top-right hand corner of any page on Facebook.
  2. Select “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”
  3. Enter a name or email address of the person you want blocked.
  4. Select the person you want to block from the search list.

On Twitter:

If you have someone harassing you on Twitter you can remove them as a follower, but they could set up another account and still harass you. That is going to require a little more effort on their part, and you can just block that account as well.

To Block Someone on Twitter:

  1. Open the Twitter profile page of the account you want to block.
  2. Click on the gear (settings icon) on the person’s profile page.
  3. Choose “Block” from the menu that appears.
  4. Select “Block” to confirm that you want to block them.

On Instagram:

Instagram will let you change your mode from public to private where you can better control who sees your pictures. You might not be as popular, but it should cut down on the amount of harassment you receive. 

To Block Someone on Instagram:

  1. Select the username of the person you want to block to open their profile.
  2. Choose (iPhone/iPad), (Android), or (Windows).
  3. Select “Block User”.

On Dating Sites

Most dating sites such as POF, OKCupid, etc, feature fairly straightforward blocking mechanisms and normally you just have to click on either “hide this user”, “block messages from a user”, or if things get really ugly you can report them to the moderators or administrators.

rocket-d Why Bother Trying to Stay Private Online?

It’s so difficult to keep your privacy anymore.  In fact, 59% of American web users have given up trying to be completely anonymous online, according to a Pew Research Study. And unless you are running for public office, then why not let Google and Bing and Facebook track your online web habits? The intent is to tailor and target web advertisements, which is pretty benign, right? And your social media presence is safely set to ‘friends only’ viewing, right?

Well, truth be told: targeted advertising is not a life-changing benefit for anyone other than the advertisers. And there are negative social and legal consequences to online tracking which most people are unaware of. And social media is NEVER private, even if you set your Facebook to be ‘friends-only’ viewing.

We strongly suggest that you should cloak at least some of your online habits. We have 10 reasons why we suggest this, and we’re pretty sure that reason #10 applies to everyone.

1.  Avoiding Awkwardness When People See Your Computing Device:
You don’t want to leave a web trail when you search for treatments for your sensitive medical condition or your illicit hobby. It will be awkward if you lend your smartphone or computer to someone, and targeted ads for ‘depression’, ‘herpes’, and ‘how to have an affair’ appear on your screen.

If you are using Google or Bing or Facebook to search for sensitive topics, definitely make some effort to cloak your habits with an incognito window, at the very least!

2.  Avoiding Potential Revenge in Your Social Circles:
Your social media friend might one day become an enemy, and seek to exact revenge on you by revealing your web habits to the world. Yes, people can be that petty and passive-aggressive. And yes, this really happens.

What would the vindictive person use to publicly shame you?  Well, in addition to any personal photos you’ve shared with that person, look at reason #1 above.

3.  Avoiding Legal Incrimination:
One day, you may be accused of a crime, and law enforcement will trace your web travels to build a case against you.  While this is low probability for most of you, the day that you get accused of a crime is the day that you’ll be glad you took measures in advance.  There’s no need to give the prosecutor any more ammunition, regardless if you are guilty or not.

4.  Avoiding Being Profiled by Authorities:
If you have controversial interests, it is smart to keep your tastes and interests private;  there are private corporations and government institutions who assemble profiles based on how you surf the Web.

Maybe you are a gun collector, a user of medical marijuana, or someone who advocates for a side in a religiously-charged debate.  Or perhaps you vigorously disagree with the current government, a particular senator, or some local business, and vocalizing your thoughts will get you unwanted attention.  In any case, cloaking your web habits is a smart thing to do  (see #3 above).

5.  Risking Your Job Because You Were Identifiable Online:
Maybe you have a high-profile professional job in the government, public service, or legal/medical/engineering world where it is imperative that you never be accused of impropriety in your personal life. If you participate in controversial hobbies, or have strong opinions that are politically-charged, it could be a career-limiting move to have such information documented.

6.  Possibly Getting Your Credit Cards Hacked:
If you regularly publish your online purchasing tastes and personal life habits through social media, you are very attractive to cyber-savvy crooks.  These criminals will sniff out your information by following your posts about your pets and children, your Amazon and eBay buying habits, and where you like to shop and eat.  And then as soon as you publish that you’re on vacation to Hawaii, then these online crooks get really excited about the possibilities you present!

7.  Protecting Your Family from Predators:
If you have young children, definitely curtail how much of your personal life you broadcast on the Web. Cyber-savvy predators love to know what your favorite grocery store and favorite park is.

8.  You Like to Make Controversial Purchases Online:
Maybe you like to buy products online that could draw unwanted attention: fetish clothing and paraphernalia, ammunition, self-defense devices, anti-surveillance devices, books about weapons, and so on. 

While your hobby tastes are not necessarily illegal, they can get you unwanted attention, social judgment, and possibly threaten your credibility and job security at the office.

9.  You Enjoy Controversial Discussion Forums:
If you like to talk politics or religion or other controversial topics online, you definitely want to sheild yourself from reprisals in your real life.  When it comes to heated topics about abortion, labor laws, immigration, and other hot-button topics, people can get very emotional. Some people will actually wish you physical harm. They may even want to exact real-life revenge through vandalism, stalking, or even physical threats.  Definitely not a good idea to broadcast your personal details online in the event that you clash with a cyber-savvy hater.

10.  Privacy Is Something You Consider a Basic Human Right:
In a democratic and free world, this is the biggest reason of all to cloak yourself against digital tracking.

If you share the growing concern that authorities and corporations have more insight into your online tastes and spending habits than they should, then you should consider implementing privacy measures to cloak your online habits. Whether or not you participate in illicit activities or questionable hobbies, your privacy is a basic human right.  And until an enlightened government enforces that on your behalf, you need to take personal responsibility for your privacy.

11.  So, What Do I Do to Cloak My Online Habits?
Here’s the bad news:  there is no single easy way to cloak your web usage.
Here’s the good news:  if you make even some effort to cloak yourself, you dramatically reduce the chances of grief with each step you take.

Here are 4 privacy resources to get you started:
1. What Google Tracks About You (and How to Prevent It)
2. The Best VPN Services to Cloak Your Connection
3. Blocking Creepers on Your Phone and Desktop
4. 10 Ways to Cloak Yourself Online 

rocket-d Internet 101: Beginners Quick Reference Guide

A ‘Cheat Sheet’ for Online Beginners

The Internet and World Wide Web, in combination, are a worldwide free-broadcast medium for the general public. Using your PC, Mac, smartphone, Xbox, movie player, and GPS, you can access a vast world of messaging and useful content through the Net.

The Net has subnetworks.  The biggest subnetwork is the World Wide Web, comprised of HTML pages and hyperlinks. Other subnetworks are emailinstant messaging, P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing, and FTP downloading.

Below is a quick reference to help fill in your knowledge gaps, and get you participating in the Net and the Web quickly.

1.  How Is the ‘Internet’ Different from the ‘Web’?

The Internet, or ‘Net’, stands for Interconnection of Computer Networks.  It is a massive conglomeration of millions of computers and smartphone devices, all connected by wires and wireless signals. Although it started in the 1960’s as a military experiment in communication, the Net evolved into a public free broadcast forum in the 70’s and 80’s. No single authority owns or controls the Internet.  No single set of laws governs its content.  You connect to the Internet through a private Internet service provider, a public Wi-Fi network, or through your office’s network.

In 1989, a large subset of the Internet was launched: the World Wide Web.  The ‘Web’ is a massive collection of HTML pages that transmits through the Internet’s hardware.  You will hear the expressions ‘Web 1.0’, ‘Web 2.0’, and ‘the Invisible Web’ to describe these billions of web pages.

The expressions ‘Web’ and ‘Internet’ are used interchangeably by the layperson. This is technically incorrect, as the Web is contained by the Internet. In practice, however, most people don’t bother with the distinction.

2.  What Is ‘Web 1.0’, ‘Web 2.0’, and ‘the Invisible Web’?

Web 1.0: When the World Wide Web was launched in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, it was comprised of just text and simple graphics.  Effectively a collection of electronic brochures, the Web was organized as a simple broadcast-receive format.  We call this simple static format ‘Web 1.0’.  Today, millions of web pages are still quite static, and the term Web 1.0 still applies.

Web 2.0: In the late 1990’s, the Web started to go beyond static content, and began offering interactive services.  Instead of just web pages as brochures, the Web began to offer online software where people could perform tasks and receive consumer-type services.  Online banking, video gaming, dating services, stocks tracking, financial planning, graphics editing, home videos, webmail… all of these became regular online Web offerings before the year 2000.  These online services are now referred to as ‘Web 2.0’.  Names like Facebook, Flickr, Lavalife, eBay, Digg, and Gmail helped to make Web 2.0 a part of our daily lives.

The Invisible Web is a third part of World Wide Web.  Technically a subset of Web 2.0,the Invisible Web describes those billions of web pages that are purposely hidden from regular search engines.  These invisible web pages are private-confidential pages  (e.g. personal email, personal banking statements), and web pages generated by specialized databases (e.g. job postings in Cleveland or Seville).   Invisible Web pages are either hidden completely from your casual eyes, or require special search engines to locate.

3.  Internet Terms that Beginners Should Learn

There are some technical terms that beginners should learn.  While some Internet technology can be very complex and intimidating, the fundamentals of understanding the Net are quite doable. Some of the basic terms to learn include:

  • HTML and http/https
  • Browser
  • URL
  • ISP
  • Downloading
  • Malware
  • Router
  • E-commerce
  • Bookmark

4.  Web Browsers: the Software of Reading Web Pages

Your browser is your primary tool for reading web pages and exploring the larger Internet.Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox, Chrome, Safari… these are the big names in browser software, and each of them offers good features.

5.  What Is the ‘Dark Web’?

The Dark Web is a growing collection of private websites that can only be accessed through complex technology.  These ‘dark websites’ are designed to scramble the identities of everyone reading or publishing there.  The purpose is two-fold:  to provide safe haven for people seeking to avoid reprisal from law enforcement,  oppressive government, or dishonest corporations; and to provide a private place to trade in black market goods.

6.  Mobile Internet: Smartphones and Laptops

Laptops, netbooks, and smartphones are the devices we use to surf the Net as we travel. Riding on the bus, sitting in a coffee shop, at the library, in an airport… mobile Internet is a revolutionary convenience. But becoming mobile Internet-enabled does require some basic knowledge of hardware and networking.

7.  Email: How It Works

Email is a massive subnetwork inside the Internet.  We trade written messages, along with file attachments, through email. While it can suck away your time, email does provide the business value of maintaining a paper trail for conversations.

8.  Instant Messaging: Faster than Email

Instant messaging, or “IM”, is a combination of chat and email. Although often considered a distraction at corporate offices, IM can be a very useful communication tool for both business and social purposes.  For those people that use IM, it can be an excellent communication tool.

9.  Social Networking

Social Networking” is about starting and maintaining friendship communications through websites. It is the modern digital form of socializing, done through web pages. Users will choose one or more online services that specialize in groupwide-communications, and then gather their friends there to exchange daily greetings and regular messages. Although not the same as face-to-face communications, social networking is immensely popular because it is easy, playful, and quite motivating. Social networking sites can be general, or focused on hobby interests like movies and music.

10.  The Strange Language and Acronyms of Internet Messaging

The world of Internet culture, and Internet messaging, is truly confusing at first. In part influenced by gamers and hobby hackers, conduct expectations do exist on the Net. Also: language and jargon are prevalent.

11.  The Best Search Engines for Beginners

With thousands of web pages and files added everyday, the internet and the web are daunting to search. While catalogs like Google and Yahoo! help, what’s even more important is the user mindset… how to approach sifting through billions of possible choices to find what you need.

rocket-d How to Create a Facebook Business Page

Creating a Facebook page for your business is easier than you might think. And it can be a very effective way to improve your business social media marketing.

If you have a personal Facebook page already, a business page is fairly simple to make – and it’s free. If you don’t have a personal Facebook page, set this up. You need to have a Facebook account to set up your Business page.

Tip: Do not use your personal Facebook page for your business page. This looks unprofessional, and your personal Facebook page does not have the same features as a business page.

13 Really Easy Steps to Make your Facebook Page:

1. Sign in to your Facebook account and go to “ Create a Page

Choose from one of the following six classifications:

  • Local business or place

  • Company, organization, or institution

  • Brand or product

  • Artist, band, or public figure

  • Entertainment

  • Cause or community

2. Choose your category from the drop box menu.

3. Type in your business name, agree to the Facebook Page Terms, and click “get started”.

You will then be asked to upload your Profile photo, About and Facebook address.

Tip: If you have your Profile photo ready, and have an About section prepared, and want to claim your Facebook URL address right away fill these in now. If you do not, you can skip this, and complete this later in the process.

4. Upload your Profile Picture

Your profile picture has dimensions of 180 pixels x 180 pixels. It is also what will show up in your fans’ newsfeed. Preferably, make your profile photo your logo.

5. Complete your About section.

Your ‘About’ information is 1-3 short sentences to describe your company. Be succinct. You are selling the benefits of your company. This will show up on your Facebook homepage. Also, include a link to your company website. You can change your ‘About’ section at any time.

6. Claim a Facebook Web Address.

Try to get your business name as your Facebook web address. If this is already in use (as many Facebook URL’s are), try to make a similar URL, or a URL which is easy to remember with your brand.

Tip: You will use this web address in your other marketing efforts, so be smart when you are choosing your URL. You cannot change this once you have set it up.

Voila! you have made your Facebook business page! Yes, it is actually that easy!

Facebook will then take you through the next basic steps:

7. “Like” your Page. (that was easy, right?!)

8. Invite Email Contacts.  

Skip this step. You will want to invite your contacts to Like your Page, but make a more personal email for this, and distribute through your regular email channels. (Facebook tends to hound your friends and contacts, and you do not want this for your business)

9. Share something.

You can write your first business post! Or skip this until you have a few more steps completed. It’s up to you!

10. Take a look at your Admin Panel.

Your admin panel is the main source for managing your business page. It has your drop box to edit your page, your notifications, and in the future, your analytics, and many other features to monitor and optimize your page.

11. Upload a Cover Photo.

Your cover photo is what viewers will first see when they click on your business page. Include your logo, something related to your brand, and something visually appealing. 

The current dimension for a cover photo is 851 pixels  wide x 315 pixels tall.

12. Build Your Audience.

Now that your page is set-up, you will need to promote it. Here are a few basic ways to start building your Facebook following:

To start:

  • Email your customers
  • Tell your (personal) Facebook friends

Once you have a small following and are creating great content:

  • Put a link to your Facebook Page from your website
  • Place Facebook ads

Once you have started to develop fans of your Page:

 13. Monitor Your Page.

Keep checking your page. Respond to comments on your page.

Keep track of your analytics to measure your reach. You can change your content strategy, or try new types of posts. Photos have a great impact on Facebook. 

Your Facebook business page is different than your personal Facebook page.

Here are a few business page Features:


Your Facebook business page has options for adding tabs. You can, for example, add a:

  • photo album

  • twitter feed

  • newsletter sign-up

  • videos

  • locations

  • pinterest tab

  • etc.


Facebook’s Timeline (as is it as of this writing!) allows you to start your business in any year. Create your page starting when you started your business, if this helps your brand. You can add photos and milestones from your business history.

Scheduling posts:

You can schedule your Facebook posts in advance, or even backdate a post.

rocket-d How To Create Your Custom LinkedIn Profile URL And How To Use It

If you have a LinkedIn profile — and I certainly hope you do — you’re going to want to let people know about it. You can do that easily by sharing the website address (URL) of your LinkedIn profile. The only problem is that the URL LinkedIn assigns to your profile will not be a pretty one.

Until you create your customized LinkedIn profile URL, your LinkedIn profile is going to have a gnarly URL attached to it, full of numbers and letters.

You have to create your own customized LinkedIn profile URL in order to use your LinkedIn profile in your branding.

Luckily it’s easy to create your own LinkedIn profile URL. If you have a common name, you might have to modify your  name in the URL. Here’s how your customized LinkedIn profile URL will look:

The image below shows you where to look in your Edit Profile page to create your customized profile URL. Look in the top right area on the screenshot below to see the link marked “Your Public Profile URL.”

If you have a LinkedIn profile — and I certainly hope you do — you’re going to want to let people know about it. You can do that easily by sharing the website address (URL) of your LinkedIn profile. The only problem is that the URL LinkedIn assigns to your profile will not be a pretty one.

Until you create your customized LinkedIn profile URL, your LinkedIn profile is going to have a gnarly URL attached to it, full of numbers and letters.

You have to create your own customized LinkedIn profile URL in order to use your LinkedIn profile in your branding.

Luckily it’s easy to create your own LinkedIn profile URL. If you have a common name, you might have to modify your  name in the URL. Here’s how your customized LinkedIn profile URL will look:

The image below shows you where to look in your Edit Profile page to create your customized profile URL. Look in the top right area on the screenshot below to see the link marked “Your Public Profile URL.”

 To navigate to this page, start at your LinkedIn homepage. Look for the Profile tab at the top of the page; click on that and choose the first link in the drop-down menu, Edit Profile.

Once you are on the Edit Profile page, look for the URL for your LinkedIn profile page, which appears just below your photo. Click on the little “wheel” or “sun” icon next to your LinkedIn profile URL highlighted in yellow below.

That will take you to the page shown in the screenshot below. Once you’ve got your customized LinkedIn profile URL looking great, here are three cool things to do with it:

  • Include the URL to your LinkedIn profile on your Human-Voiced Resume, up at the top with your name, email address and phone number.
  • Include your LinkedIn profile URL in your email signature.
  • Add your LinkedIn profile URL to your consulting business cards. You don’t have those yet? Now is a great time to order them! 

rocket-d What to do when your PC freezes or locks up

My-Computer-Keeps-FreezingIt happens to everyone at some point. Without any warning, whether you’re working on an important project, browsing aimlessly or trying to beat your high score on Solitaire, your computer suddenly freezes. You wiggle the mouse, click the buttons a few times, tap some keys on your keyboard – and get nothing. Your 21st century piece of technology is as useless as a pet rock. What do you do next?


OK, this step is obvious. But don’t pull the power plug or flip the switch on the power strip. Instead, press and hold the computer’s power button for 5 to 10 seconds. This will restart it with less disruption than a power loss.

There are a few things that can happen next. Let’s look at the three most typical ones and what you should do next.

1. Computer starts fine

If the computer starts up fine, back up your important information immediately in case a serious problem is on the way. If you don’t, you might find yourself scrambling through more complicated ways to get files off a dead computer.

Then use the computer as you normally do, because it may not freeze again.Find out why a restart often makes problems disappear. But if the computer does freeze again, keep reading for more steps to take.

2. Computer asks you how to boot

While restarting, the computer might say there was an error with Windows and ask if you want to start normally or in Safe Mode. The first time, choose to start Windows normally. Then back up your data and keep using the computer.

If it freezes again, choose to boot in “Safe Mode with Networking.” Then use the computer and, if it doesn’t freeze again, the problem is probably software. If it does freeze again, it could be software or hardware. Keep reading for tips to investigate both.

3. Computer freezes again immediately

If the computer freezes again immediately after you reboot, whether in normal mode or Safe Mode, then the problem could be software, but it’s probably hardware.

Now we’re going to look at some ways to find the cause and fix it.

Basic software troubleshooting

An occasional or consistent computer freeze could be the result of a program acting up. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open Windows’ Task Manager, then select the “Performance” tab. In Windows 8.1 and 10, you might need to click the “More details” link at the bottom of the Task Manager to see it.

Start using your computer as you normally do, but keep an eye on the CPU, memory and disk categories. If the computer freezes, and one of these is really high, then that could be your answer. Make a note of which area was really high, then restart the computer and open Task Manager again. But this time, choose the “Processes” tab. Sort the list by CPU, memory or disk, whichever was really high the last time the computer froze, and see what process pops up to the top of the list as the computer freezes. This should tell you what software is acting up, so you can uninstall or update it. Learn how to unravel what processes tell you about your programs.

You might also have hidden software, such as a virus, that’s causing problems. Be sure to run a scan with your security software to see if there’s something that shouldn’t be there.

In cases where your computer freezes during startup in normal mode but boots OK in Safe Mode, the problem could be a program that’s loading during the boot sequence. Use a program like Autoruns to selectively disable the programs that begin at startup and see which one is causing the problem.

If your computer is freezing during startup no matter what, and it’s at the same point, then the problem could be corruption in Windows, or a hardware problem. A quick way to tell is to grab a Live CD for another operating system, such as Linux Mint or Tails, and boot with that.

If the other operating system boots OK, then you’re probably looking at a problem with Windows, and you may need to reinstall. For those using Windows 10 (and 8), it has a Refresh/Reset feature that’s supposed to return Windows to a factory state. It’s under Settings>>Update and recovery>>Recovery. If Windows is having trouble starting, it should pop up a Recovery option during boot that includes this, or you might have to use a disc.

If the non-Windows operating system has trouble, too, it’s time to look at your hardware.

Basic hardware troubleshooting

A computer that freezes both in normal mode and Safe Mode or with another operating system often indicates a problem with your computer’s hardware. It could be your hard drive, an overheating CPU, bad memory or a failing power supply. It also might be your motherboard, but that’s rare.

Usually with hardware problems, the freezing will be sporadic at the start and increase as time goes on. Or it will trigger when the computer is working hard but not when you’re doing more basic things. Fortunately, you can run some checks to see if that’s the case.

Use a program like CrystalDiskInfo to check your hard drive’s S.M.A.R.T. data for signs of impending failure. A program like SpeedFan can tell you if your computer processor is overheating or if the voltages are fluctuating, which might indicate a problematic power supply.

If you want to go more in-depth, you can grab a diagnostic CD like FalconFour’s Ultimate Boot CD. It has plenty of other tools for checking out your computer, including MemTest, which puts strain on your computer’s RAM to see if it’s working OK.

Learn about more signs that your computer could be close to dying. If your computer is still under warranty, you’ll want to contact the manufacturer or seller. But if it’s an older computer, you’ll need to decide if it’s less expensive to repair or replace it.

rocket-d Protect Yourself From Phishing

PhishingTrustedBankWhat is Phishing? “Phishing” is when criminals use email, phone and online scams to purposefully and maliciously trick people into sharing information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, account and credit card details and even your mother’s maiden name! Phishing is Fraud and it is a crime.

Defend Yourself:

  • Educate yourself, your family, and if applicable, your co-workers, clients and business partners on what Information Theft is, and what you can do to protect yourself.
  • No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, DON’T RESPOND.

    Quick Facts:

    • According to a Federal Trade Commission report, Information Theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It occurs once every 79 seconds on average. In 2005, the cost to consumers was in excess of $5,000,000,000, while the cost to businesses was in excess of $47,000,000,000. The average consumer loss from a phishing attack is $1200.
    • According to a Symantec presentation, 1 out of every 125 emails sent is a phishing attack. In 2005, phishing attacks rose by 90%.
    • The Anti-Phishing Working Group reports that 5.7 billion phishing emails are sent each month, and that over 150,000 unique phishing attacks and 3,000 phishing websites are reported per month.
     What information are Phishers after?  Phishers are interested in gathering information which, by nature, is private and/or confidential, especially if this information can help them steal your identity. Information Theft targets a wide array of information, including, but not limited to:
        • Social Security Numbers.
        • Driver’s License Numbers.
        • Date and Place of Birth.
        • Mother’s Maiden Name.
        • Account Numbers.
        • PINs.
        • Usernames.
        • Passwords.
        • Personal Information.
        • Any confidential information that criminals can either directly use or resell.

    Defend Yourself:

        • Do not disclose any personal information unless the requester has a valid need for the information.
        • Don’t hesitate to ask how your information is going to be protected.
        • Never agree to have your information shared or sold.
        • Remember: No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, DON’T RESPOND!
     How NOT to become a Victim. Phishing may appear to be an anonymous crime, but it is not a victimless crime. However, we have good news: simple techniques exist to NOT become a Phishing Victim. Simple Techniques:
        • Never provide confidential information unless you started the conversation. Never answer an email, pop-up, phone call, letter, etc. that asks for personal information. Legitimate companies do NOT ask for this information, ever!
        • Be suspicious! Because something is written down in an email or in a pop-up does not mean that it is true and legitimate.
        • Do not click on a link provided in an email or enter information in a pop-up window. Go to the website yourself and from there navigate to the area of interest.
        • Use anti-malware solutions that are updated. This will stop the installation of crimeware on your computer that could harvest your information.
        • Do not use public computers or wireless networks to conduct confidential activities. This includes wi-fi hot spots, kiosk computers, cybercafés.
        • Shred all documents that contain personal, sensitive or confidential information.
     What to do if you have been phished?  If you are a phishing victim, it is important for you to follow these simple instructions to minimize the damage caused by the criminals who stole your information. Report it!
    • Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report.
    • Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
    • File a police report.
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims’ complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.
    • Monitor your bank accounts, credit card accounts and credit report.

    Spotlight on Reporting Action Plan:

    • Write down the name of everyone you talk to, what he or she tells you, and the date the conversation occurred.
    • Follow up in writing with all contacts you’ve made on the phone or in person. Use certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company or organization received and when.
    • Keep copies of all correspondence or forms you send.
    • Keep the originals of supporting documents, like police reports and letters to and from creditors; send copies only.


    • If you are a victim of phishing, others in your community will be, too. The sooner you report it, the sooner you can help protect your community against these criminals!

    rocket-d Password’s Do’s and Don’ts

    Should you change your password?

    If you have a poor password your website is at risk!
    adl-change-passwordSpammers and Phishers constantly try to break into websites that have poor passwords, once in they use your website to host fake websites intended to deceive people into proving private information, or they use your website’s send mail service to send spam from YOUR email address. The #1 way to protect yourself is YOUR PASSWORD. We encourage all users to choose a difficult password using the following tips listed below.

    Passwords aren’t suppose to be easy, they are intended to protect you, so don’t make it easy!

    Some Password Examples:

    • Bad Password: charlie
    • Better Password: charl!e
    • Bad Password: password
    • Better Password: PaSsW0Rd!2

    Password Do’s

    • At least eight characters long – 16432794
    • A combination of upper and lower case letters- IE: PaSwoRDexAmPLE
    • Use interspersed numbers – IE: use 0 instead of o (zero instead of the letter o)
    • Use characters such as !@#$%& – IE: use ! instead of i etc…
    • Passwords aren’t suppose to be easy, they are intended to protect you, so don’t make it easy.

    Password Dont’s

    • Your first name, last name, or login name, in any form
    • Consecutive or repetitive numbers or letters
    • Adjacent keyboard letters such as qwerty or asdfghjk
    • Common and obvious letter-number replacements (e.g. replace the letter O with number 0)
    • Easily guessed personal information such as names and dates of yourself, family members, pets and close acquaintances
    • Easily obtained information, such as:
      • address
      • license plate numbers
      • telephone numbers
      • credit card or ATM numbers
      • Social Security or Social Insurance numbers
      • email addresses
    • Dictionary words, in any language, forward and backward
    • Popular book titles, movie titles, or phrases
    • Short passwords

    Additional Tips

    • Never share your password with anyone. Protect all passwords as you would protect your bank PIN.
    • Never store passwords unencrypted on your computer. Password management software is great for managing many passwords, but take great care to protect access to your password database with a strong password, access card or USB key! (Or better, a combination of these).
    • Never type your password when anyone is standing nearby.
    • Beware of phishing scams.
    • Change your password frequently.
    • Never use the same password in many places, especially online!