Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Previewing email, flooring your computer, sharing Netflix

Tech Talk

Previewing your email

If you've been using email for a while, you probably remember hearing about how dangerous it was to preview your email. Maybe even being told to turn off the preview pane entirely. Today though, previewing your email before you open it is completely safe and encouraged. So, what changed?

A couple of things.

All the major email client developers, Microsoft, Pegasus (remember them?), Eudora (remember them, too?), Mozilla, and Apple, rewrote their email clients so they couldn't run malicious code hidden in an email.

But wait, what about Google? There wasn't any Gmail back then, and when Google got around to inventing Gmail, they followed the rule about not letting an email client run any code in an email. All the major email vendors like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Yahoo! also run antivirus and anti-malware programs on your email before you even see it.

Of course, this doesn't mean all email is safe. It would be best if you still were very careful when opening email attachments, especially from people or companies you don't know. Scammers can use familiar company names like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS to send attachments claiming to be one thing but are malware instead.

Previewing email? Fine. But, opening email attachments? Be very careful.

Is it OK to keep your computer on the floor?

Your computer case has feet to keep it off the floor a bit. Those feet help the airflow around your computer, and it's the airflow that helps keep it cool. Placing your computer on thick carpeting could block some airflows, and heat could build up on the bottom of your case. However, short carpets or hardwood floors probably won't be a problem.

But dust might be.

Ventilation and dust are two main reasons people don't recommend keeping your computer on the floor.

The fans on your computer pull air through to cool it off while it's running. Those fans also suck the dust, hair, and dirt around from wherever your computer is sitting and deposit it inside your computer.

If you keep the area around your computer clean, whether on the floor or on your desk, your computer will breathe easier and run cooler.

Sharing Netflix

About 100 million people access the Netflix service through account sharing, and it seems Netflix is ready to do something about it. Netflix has rolled out paid account sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain. And, at least according to Netflix, the paid sharing option works well.

Here's how paid account sharing works.

Netflix uses things like your home internet's IP address to determine whether you're at home or using your account elsewhere.

If you're at a friend's house or trying to watch Netflix at a hotel while on vacation, Netflix sends a verification code to the primary account holder's phone. Kind of like the two-factor authentication many websites use. When you and the primary account holder are the same people, enter the code onto the screen wherever you're trying to use your Netflix account.

If it's a shared account and the primary account holder isn't present, it's easy, if annoying, to text that code to someone else. But you didn't hear that from me.

Netflix hasn't yet rolled out paid account sharing or pricing in the US. But it's coming soon.

That's how they get us.

Netflix: Do you want to watch a 10-hour movie?

Me: What? I don't have that kind of time right now.

Netflix: How about I break up the movie into ten 1-hour episodes, and you watch them all in one sitting?

Me: Now you're talking.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at [email protected].