BITS 'N TIDBITS October 2001

(C) Joan-Marie Moss October 2001

BASIC HOUSEKEEPING

All contact information (subscribing, unsubscribing, contacting the editor, submitting articles and more) are located at the end of this newsletter.

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CONTENTS

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Ross Carnes 
Simple Internet and PC Security
from MyPcCrashed.Com

FROM AND ABOUT OUR READERS:
Squirrelly Matters -- Gregg Bassett

Turbo-Charge Your Productivity

A Reminder - Mini-Vacations

Christmas Is Coming -- Give Yourself and Your Loved Ones A Truly Special Gift This Year

OnLine Shopping Can Be Fun and Cost Effective

Announcements

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SIMPLE INTERNET AND PC SECURITY

by Ross Carnes, MyPcCrashed.Com

All of us on the net think about computer and Internet security from time to time, especially when we hear of a hacking incident on the news that affects some, supposedly "secure" Internet Corporation. You would think that with all that money and technology they should be secure.

But, security is not about who you are or how much you spend, but it is about how exposed you are by what you do on the Internet. Now, there are a few simple things we "normal" folks can do to reduce our "Exposure" to help make our private information more safe and secure.

First, you need to think about what you want to keep your computer safe from. It could be Internet attack, it could be your neighbor's kids or it could be a co-worker. 

Whether your computer is at home or work, here are a couple of things you can do to make your computer safer.

First, use a "screen saver" password. It is easy to do and it will keep the "Honest" passers-by from looking at your screen and your private information.

Many computers have the ability to require a password on boot up. This is easy to do set up also, but each computer has different directions on how to do this. Using these both will prevent someone from rebooting your screensaver pass-worded computer to gain access. If this happens, when you return, you will find a partially rebooted computer, securely waiting for a password from you.

For more information on these and directions, look here:

http://www.mypccrashed.com/passworded.htm 

You can ensure that you are as safe as possible from Internet attack by taking the following simple steps:

1. Use a software firewall. There are several that are free for "home users". They are easy to set up and they will stop almost all unwanted Internet traffic.

2. Don't have any "shared" directories or files on your computer; a share is when you allow someone else to have access to your computer's files, from the outside. The settings for this are easy to find and to correct.

3. There is another setting that allows users access to your files and printer. It is on your main network settings, called "File and Print Sharing". Un-check the boxes that allow access to your files and printer. 

4. If you use the Internet you have network settings in your computer. These settings are points of "easy" attack for hackers. The only one you need is "TCP/IP" you should turn off all of the others to reduce the risk of an outsider entering through the open "Port" that a protocol creates. If you are an AOL user you will need to have a few additional settings.

5. Turn your computer off when you are not using it. The best security available has always been the "Off" switch.

For more information on these and directions; look here:

http://www.mypccrashed.com/internet_security.htm 

Taking these steps will greatly increase your security while at work, home or while on the Internet.

Ross Carnes is head of technology at MyPcCrashed.com, who provides on-line PC and Software repair, maintenance and support, over the Internet to business and home users. He can be reached at wrc@mypccrashed.com  or at http://www.mypccrashed.com 

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We are always getting ready to live, but never living.

                                                Ralph Waldo Emerson

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SQUIRREL-LY MATTERS

October 7 - 13 is Squirrel Awareness Week, a perfect time to get acquainted with your backyard neighbors that, perhaps, you've taken for granted far too long. And, this is a terrific time to get acquainted with Gregg Bassett, too. 

Gregg Bassett, founder of the Squirrel Lovers Club, is probably one of the most dynamic, inspirational entrepreneurs you'll run across. Like most successful entrepreneurs, he has enthusiasm that just won't quit and he has fun with his business. 

When he started his Cats 'N' Such in 1991, he envisioned a business as a small distributor of unique pet supplies. He never dreamed that he would become an international celebrity with publicity as far reaching as Australia and Russia, appearances on Wild Chicago, Animal Planet, and To Tell the Truth, and newspaper articles in major newspapers.

"When I was growing up in school, I would panic every time I had to give a talk in front of 20-30 of my friends - kids I knew well and played with every day," Gregg said. It's taking some considerable practice and adjusting to get where his is today, but now, he's not the least surprised when he picks up the phone and find a reporter or program director on the other end calling him for interviews and appearances.

Gregg didn't know, when he started a new division of Cats 'N' Such, the Squirrel Lovers Club, devoted to promoting his furry friends that he was onto something big. He didn't suspect that the squirrels would take over his business edging out the cats 99 to 1. He just knew that he had fallen in love with those pesky critters in his back yard -- and they had apparently fallen in love with him. 

"Squirrels are not bad guys or terrorists. They have their faults -- don't we all? They can cause some damage if they get stuck in your attic and they can do some serious damage with those sharp teeth of theirs. But, they aren't malicious and they don't carry rabies," said Gregg.

And, Gregg will attest to the fun that squirrels can bring into your life. He knows all the squirrels in his neighborhood by name and delights in their constant antics. They know him so well that they drop in for a visit, sometimes several times a day -- and, even on occasion, scamper up to sit on his shoulder when they want some real close attention. And by all accounts, Gregg is not alone -- hundreds of others world-wide share his passion for squirrels.

Gregg's Squirrel Lovers Club has experienced some slowdown this year -- the economy has hit everyone. He hasn't seen any dramatic change in his business resulting from September's devastating upheaval.

But then, he does take his business seriously and he's ready to take the next step in the development of his business. He sells squirrel feeders and other delightful squirrel-oriented products. He produces and distributes a bi-monthly newsletter and coordinates events for members of the Squirrel Lovers Club. He and his squirrels are welcomed guests in schools. He makes himself available to media. Still he and his wife, Cathy, handle all the administrative work themselves.

The internet is just one of the tools Gregg uses. He does business, of course, via email (along with mail, telephone and fax). He enjoys the contribution of one of his members who developed his current website. And he is beginning work toward a much more extensive website. He has his domain names: squirrellovers.com and thesquirrellovers.com in place. So we can look forward to bigger and better things in that area before long.

He still has time to coordinate projects -- like the October 13th trip to Olney IL. He and 15 members of his club will be working with the City of Olney and Olney Central College students to take a census of the area's White Squirrel population.

Gregg is serious about his business. Growth is a deliberate aspect of his activities. He works with business consultant and has been participating in the Purdue Entrepreneurs Club (affectionately called the E-Club). The two-year Purdue program is, according to Gregg, one of the best possible things he could do for his business. It affords him access to business professors and successful entrepreneurs, carefully structured networking opportunities and hands-on business building activities.

Admittedly, Gregg hasn't done much advertising. But he has learned that word of mouth and publicity take on a life of their own. He's been able to track his exposure from appearances in small local newspapers and radio appearances through exposure in major newspapers. He's seen how a telephone interview from his home in a Chicago suburb can lead to appearances in New York and within days more appearances on the West Coast. Part of his success in this area can be attributed to the uniqueness of Gregg's activities but you can't overlook Gregg's contagious enthusiasm.

Through it all, wonderment, excitement and fun play a big part in Gregg's success. Gregg has learned never to say "never". He's also learned that when you do what you love to do with enthusiasm anything is possible.

You can learn more at http://members.aol.com/sqrllovers/index.htm  which is the work of Fran Wilkerson.

Or you can email Gregg Bassett directly at:

sqrlman@home.com 

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TURBO-CHARGE YOUR LIFE

We've all lived through a most stressful month. Every indication is that we have more to come. I won't even try to expound on the incidents of September 11th or those that follow. We've been inundated with information about these. And frankly, I feel that words will never suffice to convey what you and I have experienced.

My deepest sympathies and prayers are with each and every one of you for your losses, both personal and psychological.

At times like these we all seek to find meaning and direction. We look for ways to manage our emotions and feelings...and to help us get back on track.

There's lots of help and information out there. Franklin Covey, Earl Nightingale and other motivational gurus have been giving advice for years that certainly could be applied to present circumstances. Psychologists stand ready to help when needed.

But I'd propose that we all take a step back and thank God / Jehovah / Allah / our Higher Power for the gifts that have been given us.

We are alive...and.... we have been through experiences that have challenged us to look deep within ourselves for answers....

What IS life all about?

Why am I here?

What could/should I be doing with this precious life that's

been given to me?

Where am I going?

What REALLY is important?

Once we have found these answers we can take the next step to a fuller, richer life by remembering to ask ourselves:

What is the most productive way I can spend each and every minute of my life -- not what can I do tomorrow (or someday) but what is the best thing I can do with this minute.

This is what the motivational gurus have been leading us toward all these years (they call it Success) -- this is what all the great religions of the world have been teaching us since time began. This is what has been haunting us through our years of prosperity and the years of trials that we've experienced both as a nation and as individuals. And this is what has grabbed us up by the scruff of the neck and shaken us this last month.

While the events that have weighed heavily on us are indeed have indeed impacted us deeply, the real question is...what are we as individuals going to do about it -- not in terms of war and punishment but in terms of getting in touch with the real meaning and purpose of our lives.

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When I grow up I want to be a child. -- Dick H.

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A REMINDER -- MINI VACATIONS

Fall is here -- can you believe it!?!? 

By all accounts the normal vacation time of year here in the US has come and gone. But changes in seasons are a natural occasion for celebration. Here in the Midwest, the leaves have started to turn. And it promises to be a uniquely brilliant Indian Summer. Whether you're in the north where seasonal changes are dramatic or in the south, where they may be considerably more subtle, don't forget to enjoy! 

A late year picnic or a walk in the "wild" or a weekend spent camping out can do wonders for your psyche.

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING -- 
GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES
A TRULY SPECIAL GIFT THIS YEAR

If you're beginning to prepare for Christmas, it's not too early to start getting ready for this year's gift-giving.

Handmade gifts can't be beat for making the Holidays truly unique. Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Franks and other hobby stores in your neighborhood hold treasures and ideas.  

Treat yourself to an afternoon browsing .... several weeks creating ... and the delight of seeing the wonderment when someone you love is gifted with your creation.

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ONLINE SHOPPING CAN BE FUN AND COST EFFECTIVE

Buying on the internet is definitely an alternative for people who really don't enjoy shopping that much and those who dread crowded malls. Merchants have gotten their systems down pretty well. And if you don't wait until the last minute, you're sure to find the buying experience on the internet, satisfactory. With a little effort you can find pert near anything you might want on the internet -- frequently at a truly reasonable price and often with free shipping to boot. If you're still not convinced, that online shopping is for you, you can still get come terrific ideas and can locate merchants who will be happy to help you locally.

While I don't condone in-your-face marketing, I can attest to the fact that you can find some very good deals online and the internet is an outstanding resource for those products that you just can't find anyplace else. Here are two examples:

I shopped for months trying to find a particular size and style in an article of clothing to no avail. All the local merchants told me they didn't carry what I was looking for -- even Sears and Penny's and Target and their bigger competitors in Chicago. I finally found exactly what I was looking for on the internet.

Another instance, I'd bought some yarn to crochet some scarves and discovered to my dismay that I was short a skein. When I went back to the store where I'd originally purchased the yarn, I was told that they didn't carry that yarn anymore -- it was a one-time promotion and there would be no way to get me any more. Well, I got on the internet and found the manufacturer who very graciously delivered the yarn directly to me.

Here's one resource to get you started if you're looking for products: http://www.gate8.com/online-shopping-links.htm  This site has all kinds of links for your shopping pleasure. And, don't forget to take a look at eBay. I've never shopped there but know several who have and found it to be a great place to go for a "deal" especially if you enjoy buying at auction. You'll find them at (yup, you guessed it) http://www.ebay.com 

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EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

We've added another division to our offerings at http://www.CreativeOptions.com  At the eBooks, Classes & Tools hyperlink on the Navigation Bar you'll be able to access a library of information you may wish to explore. Some are free, some are purchases, all are helpful.

We're somewhat behind the curve, but would like to invite anyone who might have an interest in marketing their books to consider getting in touch with us. So, if you know any terrific writers who would like to promote their books online, please let them know we can help. We'll even set up their work in pdf format or in an ebook format, if they need help.

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HOUSEKEEPING

(NOTE: All Addresses have Changed effective immediately)

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Copyright (c) 2001 Joan-Marie 
j-m@creativeoptions.com

http://www.CreativeOptions.com/ 

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