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Don't be fooled: Editor's Notes #205
February 29, 2016
Hello,

Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present.

--Bil Kean


In this issue:

1. Don't be fooled
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Don't be fooled
Emails that warn us of impending cyber doom can throw us into a tizzy. Some of us might even be tricked into doing something foolish like clicking on a link in the email, and that link could lead to serious cyber trouble. Even if the worst thing that happens is worry, these emails sap our energy, divert us from our real tasks, and waste our time.

Here are a few tips that may give you more peace of mind when the bogey man spends spam.

Do NOT click on any link in any email unless you know exactly what you are getting. If it is from someone you trust, contact that person, preferably through other means (telephone, Facebook, or some other method) to check that the email and link are genuine. If you do not know the source, take a moment to check out the message.

If the email itself is poorly written and uses capital letters for emphasis and adds many exclamation marks, it is likely a scam of some sort.

If the email urges you to take immediate action, it is quite possibly bogus.

If you still think the warning may be credible, go beyond the message itself.

Investigate whether reliable news sources mention the threat. If they do not mention the threat, it may not be real.

Do an online search using the main information in the email plus the word "hoax". This will often turn up several reputable sites that will let you know whether what you have is legitimate.

I own a Mac, and when I used all the above steps and still didn't feel easy, I called Apple and asked about the email. I was told that it was, in fact, a hoax designed to get me to introduce a threat to my computer.

Cyber threats do happen. When they do, news agencies usually announce them before the general public becomes aware. So use your spidy senses wisely, and then trash what you do not need to care about.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

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3. Interesting Web site
Macafee lists some virus hoaxes.

http://home.mcafee.com/virusinfo/virus-hoaxes

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4. Writing prompt
Set yourself a time limit for this prompt and then set a timer. The time limit is up to you. I suggest ten to fifteen minutes, but you can choose three minutes or three hours.

Write about time. With that timer hovering nearby, you should have plenty of motivation and material.

In this case, the aim is not necessarily to have a coherent piece when you are done. What you may find is a treasure trove of ideas to use in a variety of ways.

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