Houston We Have a Problem 10

  

 

Houston We Have A Problem 112, 10/07/10

 

Padlock Puzzle

For the last few weeks, when I use Firefox to access my bank account on line the secure padlock symbol in the bottom right corner of the screen becomes partly obscured by an exclamation mark as soon as my balances appear. Hovering the mouse over it displays a message that says: 'Warning: Contains unauthenticated Content '.

 

I am concerned about the safety of my account information. An email to the bank's Internet Security Department has not been answered after a week. How serious is this situation, and is there is a simple fix?

Brian Ashford, by email

 

This normally means that the web page you are looking at contains a mixture of secure and unsecure items. Most of the time it’s due to an advert or pop-up, and it suggests that whoever is responsible for maintaining the page didn’t check it properly on Firefox. I doubt very much that there are any security issues but you shouldn’t take any chances; keep pestering the bank for an official verdict, and if you still can’t get a reply you might want to consider switching to a bank with a more responsive and responsible security department.

 

In the meantime you should be able to put your mind at rest by visiting the site using the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE8), which is pretty good at highlighting security problems. Another possibility that you are using an older version of Firefox, which suffered from a glitch in its security filter settings. If you haven’t upgraded Firefox recently now would be a good time to do so.

 

 

A Date with Islam

My wife is doing some work for a company in Saudi Arabia and requires entering events onto a calendar. Do you know of one that will display both the Islamic and Gregorian dates together?

Rod Deavall, by email

 

For occasional use there is a number of web sites with online Hijri-to-Gregorian calendars and converters try: http://tinyurl.com/yj9qz5p and http://tinyurl.com/2ukz6xo. Otherwise download and install a small freeware program called Hijri-Cal (http://tinyurl.com/39tw9f3). When you want to use it just click on the System Tray icon and enter the date to be converted

 

 

Assault on a Battery

Recently my Sony laptop was inadvertently left running on battery power and it closed down automatically when it ran out of power. Afterwards the computer wouldn’t start until the battery was removed. This battery is a replacement and only 3 months old. It has worked faultlessly until now and has been allowed to run down on several other occasions without incident. The old battery, which retains a little charge, works satisfactorily but each time I put the replacement battery in the computer it refuses to start. I have left the new battery on charge for at least 30 minutes but the result is the same. Could I have somehow corrupted the battery and if so is there anything I can do?

Graham McMellin, by email

 

As your old battery still holds a charge and doesn’t stop your PC booting I think we can be reasonably certain that the new battery is faulty. Aside from causing it physical damage I am not aware of anything that you, your PC or the mains charger could have done to make it fail. There’s plenty that can go wrong, though, and laptop battery packs contain a variety of chips and sensors that can cause all sorts of problems. Battery packs are sealed tight and there’s nothing you can do to fix it but since it is only a few months old it should still be under warranty, so get it replaced.

 

 

Vintage Valuation

I have an old portable, or rather luggable Toshiba T3200 laptop. It is in good condition with DOS, 1Mb of RAM, manuals discs and case. I am loath to bin it but nobody seems to want it, not even our local museum. Have you any ideas where I might find a quiet resting place for it?

Robin Temple, by email

 

I would love to give you an Antiques Roadshow moment and say it is rare, of historic importance and worth a small fortune but alas you’ll have to wait 50 years to hear anything like that. Hundreds of thousands of them were sold when after was introduced in 1987 and although most ended their days in skips and landfill quite a few survived, probably because they cost a small fortune when new and owners like you were reluctant to throw them away. It may be of interest to collectors of vintage computers, though, and ebay is the best place for it. On a good day a couple of eager enthusiasts could easily bid it up to £100 or more.

 

 

Relatively Secure

I have a Google Mail account and mistakenly set up automatic login on one of our computers. My wife and I share the computer so I am not too bothered that she can see my messages, but her brother and his family are coming to stay with us and they have asked to have access to a computer. I certainly do not want them to be able to read my emails. What do I do to undo the automatic login? I don't really want to change the password and name.

Roy Robertson, by email

 

You can disable this facility in Google Mail by switching off AutoComplete in Internet Explorer (Tools > Internet Options > Content). In Firefox go to Tools > Options > Security > Saved Passwords.  But why not leave it as it? Instead, set up a new User account with administrator rights for you and your wife and a ‘Limited’ or ‘Guest’ account for your brother-in-law and his family? This will secure all of the information contained in your account, including access to Google Mail but more importantly it can help to protect the system if a careless relative downloads malware, tries to install software or fiddles with your settings. Setting up password-protected accounts is very straightforward, just go to User Accounts in Control Panel, click Manage Accounts and follow the prompts.

 

 

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© R. Maybury 2010 1406

 

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