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Bytes and Beyond

You're about to be scammed

Online criminals are targeting hospitals, government agencies and companies with cruel extortion schemes. The attackers stealthily encrypt the files of their victims and demand large sums of money for returning a decryption key to recover the data.

Most of these schemes start with a scam e-mail. Current targeted spam e-mails can be fiendishly clever, inserting themselves into legitimate conversations and business transactions to cause maximum damage. To protect yourself against such scams, you have to stay one step ahead of the attackers' game.

Bytes and Beyond

Helping from home: Handling remote support

"Hey, sorry to bother you, but you know so much about computers. I have this problem ..." If this is the start of a phone call by a friend or family member, it usually means they are in real trouble. Good thing there are such things as remote support tools – they save you the hassle of a half-hour drive to fix what may be a trivial problem.

There are about a dozen remote access tools for Windows on the market. Among the free choices, the best choices are TeamViewer, AnyDesk and miscellaneous Virtual Network Computing (VNC) clients, UltraVNC being the most popular among the latter.

If you are already used to a particular remote access tool, it's probably best to stick with it. VNC software can be a problem to set up with less-experienced users because of NAT issues with routers between the two computers.

Bytes and Beyond

Mastering TextMaker templates, part 2


After learning the basics of TextMaker templates and the mysteries of master pages in part 1 of this tutorial, it's now time to take things a bit further.

To illustrate the possibilities, we will create a letter template with a second column which contains a logo, page numbers and a fixed background image (a watermark).

To follow this tutorial closely, you can click here to download all the images used in this project.

Bytes and Beyond

Mastering TextMaker templates, part 1


When you create documents with a word processor, you will quickly notice that many of them are quite similar. Letters tend to have the same layout, so do invoices, meeting notices, etc.

Some TextMaker users start every letter from scratch, others use the predefined templates. Adventurous users open an old document, delete the text and enter new text, then save the new document under a new file name. This is risky: All too often, they forget to pick a new name and accidentally overwrite an old document.

A better approach is to set up a custom document layout and save it as a re-usable document template. This is not as scary as it may sound – let's work through the process one step at a time.

Bytes and Beyond

Why I prefer SoftMaker Office


Due to company policy, I have recently become a Microsoft Office user at work. At home, I continue to use SoftMaker Office. Switching back and forth has proven to be less of an issue than expected. Quite the opposite: Writing in TextMaker and editing spreadsheets in PlanMaker emphasizes the feeling of being home.

At work, I have to make do with the tools I am issued. At home, I choose my own toolset and that continues to be the software that makes me the most efficient.


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