Pop-Ups and Spam

Pop-ups are ads that may appear on your screen anytime your computer can access the Internet, whether or not you’re logged on to it. If you use a high-speed connection, it’s likely that your system is accessing the Internet anytime it’s turned on...and that can mean lots of bothersome pop-ups.

The good news is that pop-ups can be blocked. Most Internet Service Providers include this service for their customers. If yours doesn’t, call My Favorite Tech and we’ll walk you through the procedure.

Spam is an unwanted message that comes through your email system. Sometimes, if you’ve visited a web site, it retains information about your email address and system. Others can pick-up this information, and voila! – you’re on their distribution list. Spam is more than a nuisance; too many spam messages can overload your email system’s storage capacity and prevent you from receiving messages you want.

Stopping spam depends on the kind of email system you use:

  • If your email is web-based (such as GMAIL, MSN Mail, or Hotmail), your provider includes a spam filter.
  • If you use a software program to receive email (such as Outlook), spam filters are usually provided in the software itself.

If you’re still experiencing problems, you can add specialized spam-prevention software.

Some providers automatically route email they suspect is spam to a spam folder. It’s a good idea to check the folder regularly, as what the provider thinks is spam may be a legitimate message. Providers may also offer spam blocking, which allows you to tell the system to block future messages from that sender, and spam reporting, allowing you to block future messages and report the sender to your provider. The provider reviews these messages and may take action against the senders if they’re misusing the email system.

Although pop-ups and spam won’t always harm your system, they’re usually annoying and can interfere with Internet access. It’s best to ensure that your system is protected to prevent any of these complications. My Favorite Tech can determine the best and most economical way for you.

Instant Messenger

Entering a chat is like gathering in an old-fashioned town square, except these town squares are online. They let people with a common interest post messages and read those posted by others. It’s a great place to exchange ideas and get information. You can read what others submit and comment whenever you like – the pace is a quick as your typing skills.

A WORD TO PARENTS: On line Chatting can be a danger to children and teens, so it is strongly advised that you monitor these activities.

Instant messenger is similar to a chat room but is open only to those invited to join. It’s the online version of a telephone conference call, in that instant messenger conversations usually have just a few participants. But, like that conference call, you can expand the number by inviting others. Instant messenger systems are available through AOL, MSN, Yahoo, IRC, and others

Search Engines

A search engine is a great research tool. By inputting a simple word or phrase, you’ll get a list of Internet sites devoted to (or including a reference to) your topic. Each listed site has a link so you can access it directly from the search engine.

The most popular search engines are,,,,, & To use a search engine, type in the key word for your topic. If you’re looking for an exact phrase, put quotation marks ( “ ” ) around it. If you’re seeking certain words but in no particular order, use a plus sign (+) between each of them. Here are some examples:

  • If you want to find general references to Shakespeare, type Shakespeare
  • If you want to find any reference to the Los Angeles Dodgers, type “Los Angeles Dodgers”
  • If you want a recipe for a pie made with chocolate and peppermint, type chocolate+peppermint+pie

When using a search engine, keep your request specific and simple. Omit words like the, it, of, and to. The more concise your phrase, the more hits you’ll get.