Tag Archive for Internet Explorer

News Stories I Passed On This Week


How’s that for a headline?  There were a few stories that popped up the past few days that I could have written about, but, ultimately, I decided not to write about them …. until now.

Two stories were Apple related:

Mac Sales Slow (Tuesday, Dec. 16)

macThe Wall Street Journal and various other news sources reported a drop in sales of Mac computers in November 2008.  According to the NPD Group, computer sales overall increased by 2 to 7% over the previous year, but Mac sales dropped by 1%. Though they did note that it desktop Mac sales dropped by 35% its sales of laptops compensated for it.
Other companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard saw a growth in sales due to the rising popularity of the ultra-portable, ultra-mobile netbooks. Mac, on the other hand, did not have a comparable product on the market.

Apple Announces Its Last Year at Macworld (Tuesday, Dec. 16)

Steve Jobs, "not to be", at MacWorld

Steve Jobs, "not to be", at MacWorld

macworld-logoApple announced that 2009 is the last year the company will exhibit at the Macworld Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show. In the past the big speaker has been Steve Jobs, but he has cancelled his appearance at the Jan. 5-9, 2009 event. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote instead.
Apple is scaling back appearances at trade shows overall, but they plan on hosting their own events instead. This isn’t so surprising as other Apple products have greater popularity these days than their computers. Most notable are the iPhone and the iPod.

One was about a favorite monkey…

Monkey Tales Plagiarism Exposed

Monkey Fables and Tales

Monkey Fables and Tales

Charlie Hatton

Charlie Hatton

Well, this isn’t really news, but you may recall I reviewed a blog entitled Monkey Fables and Tales back in Sept. 2008. I hadn’t looked at this blog in a few weeks recently, and when I went to read it earlier this week, I found it was gone without a trace. It turns out that the blog had been copied almost word for word from Bosten stand-up comic Charlie Hatton’s web site “Where the Hell Was I?” Charlie’s little known site had been idle for some time as he was involved in other projects. Meanwhile, Monkey Tales had become a favorite of the Entrecard link circuit which was the site of a conversation on just what became of the monkey.  Charlie Hatton was a participant in the conversation.
I often wondered about Monkey Tales silence amidst so much commentary from fans. The charade may explain it all.  Bloggers are now wondering if Charlie Hatton will write again. For now, you can read Charlie’s retelling of how he found out about Monkey Tales. Other stories can be found at My Dear Hard Drive, and at Lainy’s Musings and there are others. Bad, monkey, bad!

Internet Explorer Emergency Patch Released (Wed., Dec. 17)

Okay, I did write about this one. If you didn’t read it, here’s your chance to read about the Internet explorer patch and why you should get it now. And check up on your antivirus software while you’re at it.


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Emergency IE Patch Released Today


Microsoft typically releases its updates on Tuesday evenings, but today they will be issuing a special patch specifically for Internet Explorer. The patch will be released at 1:00 PM EST. Windows XP users can get the patch downloaded and installed by going to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/. Windows Vista users can get the patch by either by going to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ or by clicking “Windows Update” on their Start menu.

What’s the patch for?

The patch fixes a flaw which allows thieves to remotely take over a computer and steal passwords and — potentially — financial information.  The scam works by secretly planting malicious code on hacked Web sites.  The code causes Explorer to crash briefly, then allows thieves to take over the infected computer. Microsoft said one in every 500 computers that use Internet Explorer — up to 2 million computers worldwide — may be infected.

Initially the problem was though to be unique to the current IE7 browser, but it has since been discovered to exist in versions as old as IE5, and even in the upcoming IE8 browser.

Is this a virus?

No, this isn’t a virus. This is an “exploit”.  There is a flaw in the programming of a specific area of the Internet Explorer’s code. It is connected with a HTML web site programming tag called “span”.   The flawed code mishandles the span code, and there are programmers out there exploiting this flaw. The patch fixes the flawed code.

Also, Symantec, the makers of Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus released antivirus signature “Bloodhound.Exploit.219” and “IPS signature 23241 – HTTP MSIE Malformed XML BO” to protect users against this exploit. These updates were released on Decmber 10, 2008. Yet another reason to keep your anti-virus software and subscription up-to-date.

How Do I Update My AntiVirus?

Norton updates can be found here.
McAfee users can use the Virtual Technician here.

Be aware, if you renew your antivirus subscriptions every year, then your computer is likely to be protected already. Modern antivirus programs update automatically at least 4 times per day so long as your computer is connected to the Internet.

My AntiVirus Is Fine, Do I Need The Patch?

I strongly encourage you to download the patch. Multiple layers of protection work better that single layers.


Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

Is Google sending you to foreign countries?

Update (12/3/08): The “let us know” link in this article has been repaired.

In my earlier post, “Why is Google sending me to France?”, I discussed a problem many people are experiencing at Google: Being redirected to another country domain. In my case, France or www.google.fr. Skylarking reader, Lulu, has also been experiencing this problem, as well as a few readers over at Martin Brinkman’s Google Hacks blog.

Though many people have suspected spyware or viral activity, I had suggested a misread or misdirected IP address. Yes, spyware could cause such a problem, but Google’s computers read your IP (Internet Protocol) address, and attempt to detect your geographic location based upon that numeric address.

Today, I found to some people over at Google Groups who were commenting on this same problem. The “Google Guide” responded by directing them to the Google Web Search Help article “Connecting to Google: Redirecting to another country domain”.  Here’s what the article had to say:

General information

We normally redirect users in countries other than the United States from http://www.google.com to one of our country-specific sites (e.g. http://www.google.co.uk for Google UK) to provide easy access to country-specific search features. We use your computer’s IP address, which is frequently the Internet address of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), to determine your location and the corresponding Google domain.

If you’d prefer to visit Google.com instead, click the Google.com link on the bottom right-hand side of the Google homepage.

If you have cookies enabled, your browser will connect directly to Google.com on all subsequent visits. For more information on cookies, please visit http://www.google.com/cookies.html and http://www.google.com/privacy.html

Tips to prevent the redirect

If cookies are disabled, you’ll experience the same redirect each time you visit Google. Try these methods to prevent the redirect:

Report incorrect IP detection

Finally, if you feel that we’re detecting your IP address incorrectly, please let us know and we’ll investigate.

Using the “let us know” link will take you to a form where you can report a misdirected IP address to Google. The form asks for your Name, email address, your geographic location (City, State, Country), your IP address, and the Google domain you are being redirected to. I filled in the form this afternoon. I’ll see what happens. It will take time, of course.

If you don’t know your IP address, you can find it by going to http://whatsmyip.org/.

Now I just have to find a way to keep my PC here in New York now that it’s seen France. Oh, Google?


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Question for Verizon Internet Users

Update (2/25/09): Some potential solutions for the Google redirect problem can be found here in a post from 12/02/08.

Dear Skylarking Readers: If you use Verizon for your Internet access, I’d like you to go to www.google.com and search for anything, and see if your search results are redirected to www.google.fr.

Here’s why:

In my earlier post, “Why is Google sending me to France?”, I discussed how my Google searches were being redirected to www.google.fr, Google’s French subsidiary. I, not as clearly as I had hoped, suggested that the problem appears to be related to Google’s computers misreading my IP (Internet Protocol) address as originating in France.

To clarify, my ISP (Internet Service Provider) is Verizon FIOS. So Verizon assigns my computers an IP address whenever I connect to the Internet.

Prior to my Google.fr woes, I had received a phone call from my bank stating they believed someone in France had tried to access my bank account. As I worked with their security expert, he looked further and saw it was a Verizon IP address, and further investigation revealed that the IP address originated in New York, and not in France. The bank computers had misread my New York USA IP address as being a French IP address.

It is my opinion that Google is also misreading the IP addresses. It is my opinion that this problem is specific to Verizon users. Perhaps just FIOS users. Perhaps just users in the metro NY area.

So go to google.com and conduct a search. Let me know if the address bar shows you’ve been redirected to google.fr.

If you have a Google account, make sure you aren’t logged in. If your Google account includes your zip code. That information may be used by Google to track you correctly. Those of you who are being redirected from google.com to google.fr might try signing up for a Google account (www.google.com/accounts). You can edit your personal information to include your zip code.

I’d like to point out that I have checked my computer thoroughly for spyware and viruses. I used both Lavasoft’s Ad-aware and PC Spyware Doctor to scan my system.

Update (2/25/09): Some potential solutions for the Google redirect problem can be found here in a post from 12/02/08.




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Why is Google sending me to France?

No, I’m not getting a free trip or vacation from Google, but wouldn’t that be nice? I’d like to visit Nice.

Over the weekend I was performing searches with Internet Explorer 7‘s search tool. If you don’t know, the search tool is a small box in the upper right hand corner of the Internet Explorer window. (See picture at right) If you’ve never used it, it probably says “Live Search” in the box. Live Search is one of Microsoft’s search engines, but you can set the search tool to use almost any search engine provider —  such as Google.

If you upgraded from an prior version of Internet Explorer, or switched from another web browser, then your computer may have set the search tool to whatever provider you were using previously, and the name of that provider will appear in the box where it says Live Search.

Adding and Setting IE7’s Search Provider(s)

The search tool allows you to add and select other search engine providers to the interface. To do so you can click the dropdown button on the right hand side of the tool. I’ve outlined the dropdown button in red in the picture at right. (The picture is a screenshot from my computer). When you click this button its reveals a menu or list of other search engine providers you can use.

You’ll see that Google says “(Default)” which indicates that is the search provider I normally use. There is a checkmark next to Live Search, which indicates that I have set the search tool to use Live Search. That is also the name that appears in the search box at the top. You can also see that I can perform searches with Amazon.com, Wikipedia, and Facebook. If I wanted to run a search on one of those sites, I would click on the provider name I want to use, then I could type my search terms or keywords into the box, and hit the Enter key or click the tool’s magnifying glass button to execute my search.

There’s also an option on the menu to “Find More Providers…”. Clicking this option would transfer me to the “Add Search Providers to Internet Explorer” page on the Microsoft Windows web site. (Shown in miniature at left. Click the picture to enlarge the view).

On this page I can click on any of the search providers on the list. Search providers include eBay, Yahoo, Amamzon.com, Facebook, AOL Search, Lycos, MySpace, ESPN, Wal-Mart, Target, and others. To add a new provider to the search tool’s list, just click on any provider’s name, and an “Add Search Provider” dialog box will pop-up asking “Do you want to add the following search provider to Internet Explorer?”. I have an example, at right, for USATODAY.com. There is also an option to “Make this my default provider”. I would select this option if this is the search provider I use most often. Finally, I would click the “Add Provider” button to add the provider to my list for future use.

The search provider page also has an option for adding providers not shown on the list. If you’re interested in learning more about that option, just send me an email or post a comment below.

You may also find some web sites you visit may actually cause a dialog or alert to dropdown from the search tool if their site can be added to the search provider list. One such site is the Internet address registry service at GoDaddy.com.

Anyhow, back to Google and France

So I was using the search tool this weekend to conduct some searches at Google, and every time I conducted a search, or even if I tried to go directly to www.google.com, I’d end up at www.google.frwhich is Google’s French subsidiary. Of course, all the results were in French. My French isn’t very good. (My English is a bit better).

I’d try going directly to google.com, and the address would switch to google.fr again. I clicked “Preferences” and chose to display my results in English, which required me to remember that in French “English” is “Anglais”. I could read the results now, but I was still on the Google France web site. This wasn’t good enough for me.  I wanted to be on the google.com site, plain and simple.

It turns out all I had to do was click a link on the lower right of the page that said “Go to Google.com”. It wasn’t very prominent positioned, so I wasn’t able to find the link until I went to Yahoo and searched for “why is google redirecting me to France”. I found a page that told me about the Google.com link.

Why Did This Happen?

It turns out that Google is using a system called “GeoID” or “GeoIP”, depending who you ask, which determines your geographic location according to your computer’s IP (Internet Protocol) address. Every computer on the Internet is assigned an “IP Address”. Some of them are static (unchanging) and some are dynamic (changing). Most web sites are static, while many home computers and small businesses may be dynamic. The IP address is registered to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and their remote locations and their geographical locations.

Now this Google France problem only happened in the last two days, and I haven’t been to France lately, and neither has my computer. We’ve both been sitting here in New York.  What happened?

I remembered a phone call I got from my bank a few weeks ago. They told me someone in France was trying to login to my bank account, and they wanted to know if I had been to France recently.  I told them what I told you. So they investigated further. It turns out their computers had misread my New York IP address as a French IP address.  Google’s computers must have misread the address, too.

Can It Happen Again?

Yes, it can.

For the time being there is a “cookie” in my hard drive that tells Google I want to use Google.com, but if and when I clear my Internet cache (Tools > Internet Options) then Google’s computers might misread my address again. In which case I just have to click the “Go to Google.com” link again. That will restore the cookie.

So here’s hoping Google doesn’t misread my address again any time soon, and if they do, they can send me to France, too. Nice, preferably.


Update: Please read the follow-up article: “Is Google sending you to foreign countries?” for suggested solutions.


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Internet Printing Tricks

Thanks to friends who believe in me.

I was trying to decide what to write about for today’s post. It had come down to “Microsoft’s Decides to end the Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld ads” (Too bad) and the “Sarah Palin Runs State Business on Yahoo Mail” (What’s She Thinking?). Each kind of, sort of, interesting in so many ways, but really not fitting for this blog.  Or are they?  Comments?

What I did decided to write about was a question I received by email on Wednesday:

Very recently the font size in printing email messages has been reduced. I need help in perhaps doubling the present small size. Can you help me?  —Thanks, Sarah

Turns out they get their email through Google mail at www.gmail.com using Internet Explorer. So I could give them two different solutions. One “That’s so easy, thanks!”, and one “Cool! I didn’t know you could do that!”

I emailed them the “That’s so easy, thanks” solution, but I’ll share with you the “Cool! I didn’t know you could do that” answer, and, finally, I’ll give you a bonus.  Leave a comment and I’ll tell you how to print photos from the web nice and easy.

The “That’s So Easy” Answer using Internet Explorer

If you get you email through a whatever.com web site using your “Internet Explorer” web browser, you can use the “View” menu to increase the “text size” before printing.

  1. Click the “View” menu
  2. Click the “Text Size” listing
  3. Click “Medium”, “Larger”, or “Largest”
  4. Then use you normal method of printing. (I like to use CTRL + P)

FYI, Medium is the default setting.  You might notice a ‘dot’ or ‘checkmark’ on the “Text Size” list.  The mark indicates which size your browser is currently using, so just choose a size or two larger than what you’re currently using.

The “That’s Not So Easy” Firefox Answer

Firefox options

Firefox options

Firefox, at least not version 3, doesn’t have a text size option on the View menu.  They have a Zoom option, which enlarges text onscreen, but doesn’t affect the print outs. But you can still change the text size for printing with this longer series of clicks.

  1. Click the “View” menu
  2. Click “Page Style”
  3. Click “No Style” (What a difference in looks this makes)
  4. Click the “Tools” menu
  5. Click “Options”
  6. Click the “Content” tab
  7. Under “Fonts & Colors” change the “Size” to a larger number
  8. Click “OK” and print as you normally would (Again, CTRL +P works great)

After you print, go back to View >> Page Style and this time choose “Basic Page Style” to make you web look nice again.

The “Cool! I didn’t know you could do that” Word Processor Answer

Okay, so I didn’t prepare you for the Firefox answer, but so many of you use Firefox I couldn’t ignore it.

Anyhoo…

You can do Internet printing with your word processor.  Either with Word or WordPerfect, or any other word processor for that matter.

  1. Highlight the text you want to print
  2. Click the “Edit” menu and choose “Copy”
  3. Start your word processor
  4. Click the “Edit” menu and choose “Paste”
  5. Use CTRL + A to highlight everything, and then change the font size
  6. Now go ahead and print

You can even save it if you think you’ll need it later, and you can delete or erase the portions you don’t need. There are a few more things you could do, but I kept it simple.  If you have any questions on this method, feel free to contact me, or better yet, leave a comment below.

Hey, kids, if you decide to use this method when working on your school reports, don’t forget to put it in quotation marks and footnote it.  You wouldn’t want to be accused of plagiarism, would you?  That goes for you college kids, too, they can kick you out for that. For your own personal use though there’s no need to worry about plagiarism.

Bonus Answer: Printing Select Text Online

Print dialog box

Print dialog box

Ever print something from the web and said to yourself, “I didn’t want to print all of that.” Well, you don’t have to print everything. You could use the method I outlined above for your word processor, and erase the parts you don’t want before printing, but if you just want a few continuous sentences or paragraphs there’s an easy way to do it.

  1. Highlight the text you want to print out. (If you highlight too much, just try again.
  2. Click the “File” menu and choose “Print” (Or use CTRL + P as an alternative)
  3. In the “Print Range” section choose “Selection”
  4. Click OK

That’s a great technique, all you’ve got to do is remember it. You could always try using it on this article, then you’ll have a copy for future use.

Okay, now for that picture printing trick —Oops! I said I wanted to see some comments posted first. So please post your comments and I’ll show you the picture printing trick. Or you can share you own printing tips in the comments, too.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Internet Explorer 8 Coming Up!

Back in October 2006, IE7 was released. Chances are your reading this page with it right now. (Maybe, maybe not, you know who you are). It had been 5 years since IE6 was released in August 2001 just two months prior to Windows XP’s release in October of that year.

It won’t be long before IE8 becomes available. Just yesterday, August 27, 2008, Microsoft made the second test version (Beta 2) available to the public. Please note this is still a test version. The purpose for releasing it is to get it out of the lab so people can try it in the real world and help Microsoft “shake out the bugs”. This is common practice in the computer and software industry. These test or non-final versions are called “Beta” versions. For example, Google Mail (Gmail) has been in Beta for over 4 years now, and still is today. See for yourself.

IE8's Accelerator Features

IE8s Accelerators

IE8 looks pretty much the same as IE7, but they smoothed its looks a bit, and put some new items under the hood.  My favorite tool, the right-click.  And if you ever wondered what that key is just to the right of the spacebar and ALT, you know, the one that looks like a tower with an arrow on it?  That’s the right-click key.  It does the same thing as the right mouse button. It brings up a shortcut menu.

Here’s a list of some of the new features in IE8.

Accelerators: Common everyday tasks can be performed faster and hassle free with the new Accelerators feature. For example, you’re looking at the address of a restaurant you’d like to go to, and you want to see a map of the location, just highlight the address and an arrow will popup over the highlighting. Click the arrow and choose the “Map” option to see a map of the location. Or you could choose the “Email” option to send it to a friend. Choose “Search the NY Times” to see if they’ve reviewed the restaurant. You’ll even be able to use accelerators with social networking sites such as Facebook.  More accelerators will become available after IE8’s release. Visit the Accelerator’s Gallery for more information.

Instant Search

Instant Search

Instant Search: IE8 is linking with top search sites such as Live Search, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Amazon, Google, The NY Times and others. With Instant Search a list of suggested or similar searches will appear as you type. If a search suggestion matches what you were going to type, you can click on that suggestion to execute the search without having to finish typing. The results come from your chosen search provider and are influenced by your browsing history. Images will appear along with your search results, too.

Favorites, The Links Bar, and Web Slices: The Favorites and the Links bar has been a common feature on Internet Explorer for many years now. This is the row of buttons just under the address bar that list the names of web sites. Currently you can click “grab” the icon to the left of an address in the address bar and drab and drop it to the links bar. A little arrow will appear on the Links bar wherever you can drop it.  That enables you to click the name associated with that web site to quickly jump to that site.

Web Slice

Web Slice

IE8 adds a new quick use feature to the Links bar.  It’s called the “Web Slice”. If the page associated with that Link bar button gets updated, the button will become highlighted. Now you can click the button and a drop down window will appear revealing the “slice” of the page that has been updated. See the picture at right. (Read more about web slices at the IE8 Beta site.)

InPrivate Browsing: Ever wanted to erase your browsing history or cookies? With InPrivate browsing in IE8 all traces of your browsing activity can be erased just by closing the Internet Explorer window. Or you can set the Internet options (under Tools) to determine what information you’d like InPrivate browsing to control or conceal for you. I suppose parents will be able to disable this feature when their kids use the computer so you can keep tabs on how your children use the Internet.

Smart Screen

Smart Screen

SmartScreen filters: Fake or spoofed web sites, phishing schemes, and other attempts to trick the unwary will continue on the web, but IE8 has added features to protect you and make your browsing experience safer. One feature is called “Domain Highlighting”. This feature will apply boldface or highlighting to the main address (also known as an URL or domain name) of the site in the address bar. So if you think you’re looking at a Yahoo site, you can check the address bar to see if that’s true.  The page might look like Yahoo, but does the address bar say Yahoo?  (After all, my living room may be covered in copies of the Wall Street Journal, but that doesn’t mean I live in one of their offices.)

Other safety features include phishing and malware filters that block documented scams or infected sites. Microsoft’s update service will automatically update your browsers list of danger sites. This isn’t a substitute for antivirus software, and it’s not meant to be.

Compatibility mode: The internet is changing fast, and not even the web designers can keep up with it. SOme web sites might not work well with IE* as a result. With compatibility mode you can switch to IE7 mode to see the site as it would appear in the earlier version of Internet Explorer.

Video Demos

Microsoft has a series of video demonstrating the new features of IE8. Here’s a list of some of the avaiable videos you can view online.

Read more about IE8 at the IE8 Beta Home page from Microsoft.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.