Category: Internet (Page 1 of 6)

Sharing a URL

Everyone needs to be familiar with sharing a URL. Let’s go over the basics of this process, plus a extra tactic that makes sharing a URL even better.

What Is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. But before you nod off on me, let’s just agree that you can also call it web address. If you are at a website and you want someone else to see what you’re looking at, they need that URL.

A lot of URLs are lengthy and they can contain so much gobbledy-gook, that you wouldn’t want to try dictating it over the phone to someone. Also, don’t try writing it down. One typo or miscommunication, and you’re done. A single out-of-place character in a web address is just as bad as misspelling someone’s email address. It just won’t work.

Copy & Paste

Copy & Paste is your best tool for sharing a URL. Go to the website that you want to share, and click on its web address at the top of your browser. The entire address should highlight, and that means you are ready to copy that URL. There are lots of ways to copy something:

  • Right-click the highlighted URL and then left-click Copy.
  • Press Control + C on your keyboard (Command + C for Mac users).
  • The Chrome browser lets you click the 3-dots button to find a Copy option.
  • The Firefox browser lets you click Edit -> Copy, if you can get to those menus.

You won’t see anything happen when you Copy the web address. But it is saved to a temporary, invisible clipboard, and you’ll see it again soon.

Next, you need to paste that URL somewhere, often into an email. Compose a new email or open a Word document. Once there, click to position your cursor in the body of the message/doc and trigger the Paste function. For this, you can:

  • Right-click and choose Paste
  • Press Control + V (Command + V for Mac users).
  • The Chrome browser lets you click the 3-dots button to find a Paste option.
  • The Firefox browser lets you click Edit -> Paste, if you can get to those menus.

You should see the full web address where you triggered the Paste function, and now you can send or share that with others. That URL will take people to the same page you copied it from, as long as it is a public website.

But Wait, There’s More!

There’s an extra feature to this process that can help with lengthy or complex websites. Let’s say you want to share a URL, but you know that you want the recipient to pay attention to one specific sentence or paragraph at that site. And the webpage is difficult to peruse, due to its immense content. You can share a URL that goes to that website AND highlights a specific wodge of text.

Note: This bonus tip works in Chrome and Edge, but may not be available in other browsers.

First, go to the website you want, and find the passage you want to draw attention to.

Click and drag your cursor over that specific text to highlight it. Then, right-click on that highlighted item (Mac users, use Control + Click).

On the contextual menu that appears, click “Copy link to highlight”.

After that, paste the web address and send it on to others. When they click it, they will arrive at the website you gave them, with the chosen text as the focus.

Here’s an example where I’ve highlighted one sentence in a very long website:

Xfinity Scam – “50% Discount”

There’s a scam going around right now, promising a 50% discount on your Comcast/Xfinity bill. You might see this scam in your email, Facebook feed or even get a phone call! In any case, please know that it is not a legitimate offer.

It is too good to be true. Anyone duped into calling the offered number will reach a scammer, not an Xfinity rep. And the crook will press you to pay some advance money to qualify for the fictional discount. Once you send them any kind of payment, they’ll disappear.

Xfinity doesn’t offer any deep discounts like this, but you are always welcome to reach out to them to verify other offers you might hear about. You can report this scam to them when you receive it, if you like, but rest assured they already know all about it.

Dish Network’s 2023 Outage

If you’re having trouble with Dish Network lately, you’re not alone. On 2/23/23, Dish was hit with a ransomware attack, and they’ve been struggling to recover from it for over a week now. You may notice troubles or outages pertaining to:

  • Dish TV channels
  • the website
  • Sling TV
  • Dish Anywhere app
  • Boost Mobile cellular service
  • using your Dish login credentials/paying your bill
  • reaching Dish customer service

Ransomware attacks can take significant time and effort to bounce back from. Last year’s attack on Mail2World laid low their email services for a solid week, but recovery timeframes can vary widely. Dish is being tight-lipped, so far, about the gory details, so I couldn’t begin to predict when their service levels will return to normal.

For now, what I can recommend is keeping your eye on their website and the Dish statement for upcoming details. Also, it is possible that the attackers have stolen customer data, so you may want to proactively change passwords on Dish-related accounts and pay attention to financial accounts you’ve shared or linked to Dish.

For more reading on this, please consider:




Will I Have to Pay for Facebook?

No. Facebook is going to remain free for all to use. This is clearly stated on Facebook’s Help Center. If you read somewhere that Facebook is going to begin charging everyone for access, that’s just an old hoax that gets passed around every few years. Don’t spread that nonsense, please!

But Meta is starting a paid service for Facebook and Instagram accounts, called Meta Verified. This new offering is purely optional. Starting at $12/month, this service is intended for famous people and content creators, and will offer them a special badge of authenticity and access to human tech support.

Meta Verified is not meant for regular people like you and me. It’s meant for celebrities and people who are more often targeted by criminals and impostors. Most of my readers can forgo this expense, and keep using Facebook as they always have.

I do see people grumping about this change, specifically where Meta Verified users get access to real live help at Facebook. Regular users get almost no assistance, if they are ever locked out of their accounts. It may seem unfair that, to get proper support, you have to pay up to the Almighty Zuck.

But the harsh counterpoint to that is: If you use Facebook for free, you are not a customer. You are the product. Facebook makes most of its money from their true customers (advertisers), selling access to their resource, a vast, semi-captive audience. While this point of view doesn’t make it feel any better, it may help explain why Meta does so little for us regular Facebook users.

Shentel/Mail2World’s 2023 Email Outage

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since the worldwide Mail2World 2022 email outage? Also: Can you believe it’s only been a year and Mail2World has brought us another email outage?

OK, so far, it looks like it’s only affecting Shentel email. I am checking in with other Mail2World clients, and they report no issues at this time. But if you use Shentel email, you may not be able to access your messages, nor will you be able to send or receive anything.

This outage seems to extend to Shentel Webmail, mail clients, and the mobile app. Wherever you go, Shentel email is kicking up some scary security warnings:

If you’re suffering from these errors, there little that you or I can do. It’s on Mail2World to fix this. They may have forgotten to renew a security certificate on the server that makes your email work. For now, I see your options as:

  1. Call Shentel at 1-800-SHENTEL and inquire politely for an ETR.
  2. Sit tight and check your email occasionally.

I will update this page if I encounter new information!

UPDATE@9:30PM: Shentel Webmail is starting to open up again for people. M2W may have bought a quick 1-month security certificate to tide things over.

If you’re still getting errors from your email client (Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird), reboot your computer and see if things start working again!

UPDATE@7:30AM, 2/10/2023: Looks like everything is back to normal and functional again. But now we get to wait a month and see if this recurs on 3/13/2023. Mail2World, we’ll be watching you.

Website Listing Offers

If you’ve ever registered a domain name, you’ve probably come across some postal mail, offering to list your website in an online directory. Here’s an example I received recently:

Now, I’m not going to outright call this a scam. You may if you want to. But I imagine that if I paid them their money, they truly would list me somewhere on the internet. I bet they have a “directory” on their website that anyone can visit and view.

But this sort of offer is, of course, specious and suspect. Most people will spend $300 of their advertising budget in better ways than this. This company is engaging in a curious form of marketing, where they simply see who they can get to pay their bills. It’s not quite phishing and not quite panhandling, but smacks of both.

It reminds me of Evaldas Rimasauskas, a gentleman who started sending truthy-looking bills to Google and Facebook, to see if they would pay them. When they did, he sent more and more bills, and collected over $100M before he was caught and indicted.

I’m sure you’re considering the above invoice and thinking, “I would never fall for this nonsense.” That’s good. But this is more about the weakest link in your business. Consider your staff, especially those that open your mail and pay your bills for you. Would any of them rubber-stamp this and pay it without a second thought? If this gives you pause, then perhaps it’s time to have a kind meeting about this topic. Frank conversation and education will defeat this scheme.

Coping with a Dysfunctional ISP

I field a lot of service calls and requests for advice that center around a person’s ISP. Internet Service Providers are essential to most households, and yet, many of us have a dysfunctional relationship with our ISPs. I’m sorry to say that it may always be complicated to deal with them. Instead of going on a rant (I’ve rewritten this post a dozen times now), let me organize some tools and advice and Too Many Words™ that may help you cope with your ISP.

Most ISPs Are Tricksy

Well, the smaller, hometown ISPs may be straightforward and easy to deal with. But the big companies? Once they go corporate and expand across the country, something changes. Please read over this Washington Post article about ISPs across the country. It goes over a lot of their pricing tactics and other questionable practices. It’s not just your ISP that plays games.

Not only are they tricksy, but they frequently upsell to their customers. Many customers don’t know much about internet speed needs, and are led to pay for a premium product they don’t need. Your ISP is not your friend. You might want to get advice from other sources on what internet you should choose. More food for thought on this here.

Pricing Games

Right now, ISPs often make it hard for you to make an informed decision on your internet speed/price. Their website may be hard to use, or may employ dark patterns to hide the lowest prices. Their sales reps may steer you to choose a pricey package, and they may outright lie to you. How can you protect yourself and your wallet?

In general, you want to do research as best you can, before you talk to the ISP. Pore over the ISP’s website for pricing info. If that doesn’t work, perhaps compare bills with your neighbors or other people using the same service. And while you’re at it, you may want to take notes on competing services in your area.

With some basic info already on hand, you can query your ISP: What are my internet options? What are the prices? If the answers are confusing or if they change the subject, you’ll have to be persistent. And you may have to ask them to simply Put It In Writing. ISPs should be able to email or postal mail you a rate card or Pricing List, when requested.

Be wary of promotional pricing. Ask what the price will be, once the intro-price has expired. If they won’t reveal that, think twice about accepting. Tell them you can’t balance a household budget on unknown prices, and that you can’t agree to a contract where you don’t know the money figures therein. Most ISPs offer no-term plans with dependable monthly rates, but they may not offer them to you at first.

Promo rates aside, ask about any other discounts that are available. You could save money if you also buy their TV service, or their landline phone service. You could knock a few more dollars off by agreeing to automatic billing each month. Going paperless might save you a bit more.

If there’s any good news about ISP prices, it’s that our government is slowly bringing improvement to the table. ISP “Nutrition Labels” will soon be mandated, and those will cut down on the confusion with your internet service.

Bad at Communication

These ISPs are often bad at communication. Which is kind of ironic, since they’re communications companies. But once you know this, you can accept it, and you can pick up the slack. It’s on you to be the superior communicator in this relationship.

This means: You have to ask the questions. It’s your responsibility to check in and ask: Am I getting the best price on my internet service? Have you changed your prices lately? Are there any new discounts?

These answers may or may not be on their website. But you might take it upon yourself to check in with your ISP once a year. Pose these questions to them. Let them know that you’re not interested in any additional service, but that you just want to make sure you didn’t miss the boat on anything.

Your ISP should confirm what speed of internet you’re signed up for. Trust, but verify. It costs you nothing to run a speed test once in a while. And it may help you catch any discrepancies or mistakes. Also go over your bill and check your charges. ISPs make billing errors all the time, but they will only correct them if you catch them!

My ISP Has a Monopoly in My Region! Don’t They?

Sometimes, this is the case, but don’t be too quick to believe that. If you desire a change of ISP, do some research to make sure you aren’t ignoring quality companies in your region. To figure out what ISPs service your region:

Check out the National Broadband Map website. It can give you some idea of the big ISPs that service your address. It is by no means complete or accurate, though, so this is merely a starting point. Smaller ISPs are probably not going to show here. And there are a lot of quality Wireless companies out there!

You can do a quick search on WISPA for Wireless Internet Service Providers in your region. But again, that is another incomplete tool. It will give you some leads, but not all WISPs are in their database.

There’s a wealth of information to be found, when you talk to people in your community. Ask around on your region’s Facebook groups, or join up with Nextdoor. See if any of the locals have good things to say about a hometown provider just up the road.

With a little bit of research and legwork, you may find that “monopoly” doesn’t quite exist!

Irreconcilable Differences

Despite the best efforts, not all problems can be worked out. Some ISPs will do things that seem downright criminal, and getting them to make it right is not in the cards. If you feel you’ve exhausted all of your good options, then it’s time to see if the government can help you.

This article at BroadbandNow discusses how you can file a complaint about your ISP. It details the methods of reaching out to both the FCC and the FTC with your issues. Do read their advice and other minutiae carefully, as your situation may be appropriate to report to one agency but not another.

Your state or county government may also want to hear from you. You can find your locality’s Consumer Protection Office through this government site. You should consider using this tool in the case of any kind of fraudulent dealings.

Dissection of a Facebook Scam

The internet is a hotbed for crime, Facebook especially so. It’s simply too big to police. But since we can’t give up using the internet or Facebook, our other options are to prepare, learn and adapt. I encourage you to maintain a rampant skepticism as you use the web.

Come with me and consider the following scam post from Facebook:

This post popped up in a local Facebook group and triggered my Spidey-Sense. But even I had to pause and doubt myself. C’mon, Jesse, it’s just some eggs, people are always selling off their excess henfruit. But as I dissected this post, I knew my gut was right.

The Clues

The first clue here was plainly visible: the poster turned off commenting for their post. Surely, there are good reasons to turn off comments on group posts. But if you are selling something, comments usually aren’t that big of a deal. The next clue is the few comments that occurred before they were turned off:

Notice that the poster is trying to get the commenters to PM her immediately, using identical comments. And the poster commented on her own post, first thing. These do not constitute a smoking gun, but they are suspicious to me, and I see this on many spammy posts.

Going further, I click on the poster’s name and noticed the following:

A new member in that Facebook group? Oh, really? Again, it’s not proof of a scam, but it looks more and more sus, as I go. Next, I clicked further to visit her Main Profile page:

There’s nothing here except for two photos. As I click through every menu, there is no other info to be gleaned. No Details, no Friends, no other Posts, etc. And that’s OK, I recommend that you hide most of your info from public view. But still, most of the locals would have a little something here to make them look authentic.

Next, I went to her two public photos. Those photos had one Like on each of them:

Two very nice looking people… from Kenya. I don’t have anything against the people of Kenya, but what are the odds that this poster in rural Virginia has two friends in Kenya (and no one else!), liking her photos?

The Final Clue

By now, you’re looking this over and nodding your head and thinking, “Yup, sure is fishy.” But thinking like a scientist or lawyer: All of these clues so far suggest something is off, but there is still a non-zero chance that maybe this character is really selling eggs in my community. So let’s go further.

I highlighted and copied the first sentence of her post, and then pasted it into Facebook search field in the left corner. And I turned up another FB post by the same poster:

Different photo, but the same exact text, posted at the same time as her other post. But wait, she posted in a Virginia group, and Nacogdoches is in Texas. And she’s ready to deliver in both states? To quote a Tarantino film, “Now I am calling you a liar, Señor Bob.”


After recognizing the scam on Facebook, I reported the content as best I could, to both Facebook and the group admins. And that’s all you can do, too, when you recognize something shifty on Facebook. Report it, and move on.

Unless you notice someone you know, commenting on or sharing the scam post. Then you might go the extra mile and reach out to them, tell them what they’ve stepped in.

What was the scam, anyhow? It’s probably an advance payment sort of scam, where they try to collect your cash through Zelle or Cash App. If I can message with these scammers and get proof, I’ll update these details.

Stay safe out there, folks!

Reporting Content on Facebook

If you see something inappropriate, illegal, or just plain wrong on Facebook, please report it. This includes spam and scam posts, comments that are beyond the pale, and any content that has you concerned of threat or harm to someone.

Reporting Posts and Comments

Most of the time, you can report Facebook content using the 3-dots button to the upper-right of the post or comment:

After clicking the 3-dots button, you’ll have a menu with options. Click Report Post and select the best category for why you are reporting the content.

If you are reporting content from a Facebook Group, you should also send a report to the group admins. They are much more likely to act on your report.

Reporting People

You can also report people (accounts) on Facebook. If you think a person is not real (a bot), or misrepresenting who they are (a faker from some faraway land), go to their main profile FB page and look for the 3-dots button to the right, below their masthead photo:

You should also report a friend’s account, if you think they’ve been hacked.

Reporting Private Messages

Yes, it’s even necessary sometimes to report the PMs you receive. Harassment messages are a no-brainer, but you should also report anyone slipping into your PMs with shady offers of crypto or government tax refunds.

On a computer, it can be tricky finding the options to report FB messages. If you do not see the 3-dots button, go to to view your PMs. If you float over a person on the left-hand column, you may find the 3-dots button, and that should give you the chance to report.

Also at, look to the right-hand side for “Privacy & Support”. Click that to reveal an extra option to Report something.

On mobile devices, you can usually report a message by long-pressing on it. Then, look below for a 3-dots button labeled More, and that should reveal a Report option. You might also tap the ‘i’ button at the top-right, if you see it, and that will get you many options for the person who has contacted you. At the bottom of that menu, you should find Restrict, Block and Report.

What Good Does Reporting Do?

First, I can say that reporting posts to Group Admins, when possible, offers the best chance for positive change. Group Admins are people like you and me, and they often respond promptly. They usually don’t want junk or unpleasant material in the group that they volunteer to maintain.

But when you are reporting to Facebook themselves, I must say the results are likely to be disappointing. Your report will probably not reach a living human, at first. Facebook has a lot of bots and software to go over most of the reported material. And those things do not do a good job.

For example, I reported something objectionable to Facebook recently. After 3 days, they got back to me, and said they couldn’t review my report. I resubmitted it, using their options to tell them they got it wrong. After another 3 days, they got back to me to say: We removed the bad content you reported.

Hey, thanks, Facebook, but this means it was up for an extra 6 days, for all of your users to encounter. And your users are as young as 13…

Criticisms aside, Facebook supposedly responds better when many people all report the same content. So you should click that Report tool whenever you care to. Also, Facebook should respond in a more timely manner when life and limb are on the line. If you are worried about someone harming themselves or doing something unsafe, definitely report that ASAP to Facebook. And consult with your local authorities, too, if appropriate.

Reuse Your SSID and Wi-Fi Password

When you get a new router, I recommend you use the exact same SSID (network name) and Wi-Fi password as you did in your old equipment. Now, this may sound like a no-brainer to many of you, but please hear me out and let me qualify this simple advice.

Not everyone is savvy with setting up their Wi-Fi equipment, and plenty of people have their ISP do it for them. But if your internet equipment has to change, the ISP’s installer may do a fast job of it. S/he’ll slap that thing into place, write down a generic/default network name and password and get out the door quick like a bunny. I understand why they do this. Many of these techs are contractors, paid by the job, not by the hour.

But when they do this, it causes disruption with all of your household Wi-Fi devices. Everything in your house was set to connect to ILoveMyWiFi using the password funkybeans135, but the new router is emitting Arris-L33T_5G with a password of JohnDoe540. You’ll soon be faced with an onerous task. You’ll have to touch on every device in the house and enter in those new credentials. That can be a lot of work, if you have a printer, a thermostat, a tablet, a smartTV, a video game console, and on and on….

It’s much easier if you stick with the same old network name and Wi-Fi password. You can ask your installer or technician for this! If the new equipment is programmed with the same old ILoveMyWiFi (or whatever your old network name was) and JohnDoe540, all of your devices will likely reconnect to your Wi-Fi automagically. The installer will quit the building and everything will be working just as it was before they came.

Important Details

  • Tell your installer that you want to reuse your SSID and Wi-Fi password at the beginning of the appointment, while the old equipment is still in place. Once they decommission the old router, it may become harder for them to determine your network name and password (unless you have this written down ahead of time for them).
  • Network names and passwords must be kept exactly the same. These things are case-sensitive and even one different character will cause problems. MuellerWireless is different than Mueller Wireless is different from muellerwireless. Devices that connected to one of those will not connect automagically to the others.
  • It is possible to reuse your SSID and password when one piece of equipment replaces two. For example, let’s say you have a Comtrend DSL modem connected to a Netgear wireless router. Your ISP arrives and sets up a combo wireless modem that supplants both of your old boxes. You can ask the tech to program the new all-in-one box with NETGEAR35 and its password zestynoodle123. It doesn’t matter that the modem is a different brand; it can still broadcast a Netgear-style name.
  • It is possible that this tactic won’t work for you, if your existing router is extremely old. A 10-year-old Linksys router may be using an older type of Wi-Fi security (WEP) that doesn’t translate well to the new equipment’s security (WPA2). But most routers made in the last five years should work well with SSID and password reuse.
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