Saturday, 6 December 2014

Happy Hometown Christmas week!

4 Dec 2014 Magrath AB: Many thanks to all who made our 10th annual Hometown Christmas so fun again this year. I will attempt a list of some of the helpers .. and forgive me in advance if I missed you or yours:

  • The Magrath Chamber of Commerce
    • Duane Thomson, President (Keyline Publishing) organized and responsible for posters and printing
    • Arlen Bennett, Vice-President (Magrath Pharmacy) for helping organize, permitting his staff time off to organize, and keeping his store open late for the event
    • Roger Davies, Secretary ( for maintaining the website, booking tables and overseeing set up and take down of same.
    • Jay Mackenzie, Past-President (Roosters) for the Gingerbread Contest fundraiser and keeping Roosters open extra late that night, and his staff
    • Ross/Julia Moore, Treasurer (Canadian Security Systems) for keeping track of all our monies
    • Chamber members who help support this event
    • Shannon Sabey, Tannis Beazer and helpers promoting the upcoming Gala Event 
    • Our main street merchants who hosted tables: ATB, Keyline, Coop, Magrath Dental, 1st Choice and SASH and all the main street businesses and organizations who stayed open late for this event - and thanks for all the treats!
    • All our table vendors who helped fill all the venues 
  • The Town of Magrath
    • Council, Admin and Staff - for preparing the giant kiddie treat bags and getting Santa and the Mayor there .. 
    • Mayor Barnett for attending and leading us through the Tree Lighting ceremonies - keep hold of that big red button ..
    • Santa (you've lost weight) for spending all night meeting and greeting our kidlings
    • Fire Dept staff for the bonfire and hot chocolate
    • Wayne Quinton for getting us access to the ice arena tables  
    • Town Crew for putting up the lights and blocking off the roads for us that night
  • Magrathites
    • Sam Yamamoto and the Magrath Band for performing and leading Mayor Barnett and Santa into the tree lighting ceremonies.
    • The Magrath Library, Museum, Seniors, SASH, Susan's Place and Winks all stayed open late or had their own special events running this night as well
    • Westwind News for covering our event in their 4 Dec issue.
    • Kudos to all the gingerbread makers who made entries into Roosters contest for judging and auction -with proceeds raised going toward Pals of the Pool. I understand in commercial division the 1st Place went to Leisel Quinton and 2nd Place awarded to Magrath Pharmacy .. but how do you judge all those beautiful entries?
    • Everyone who braved the cold and made the event fun and exciting!
  • Any else I missed

Wallpaper 101

Recently asked to review how to customize some Windows 8 laptops with pretty and cool background pictures also known as 'wallpaper' as part of some home school training. We found two methods, each with their own advantages.

Method 1: Right+click > Set as Wallpaper. Pretty much any image you can view on the internet or from your own photo collection can be set to be your personal wallpaper. Image search on Google or try a webpage like to find and view an image you like. Then you can Right+click > Save Image to get it somewhere onto your computer, for example saved into your Pictures folder. Final step is to find and open the picture, where you can Right+click > Set as Desktop Background!
this was a favorite choice Dec 2014
For extra credit .. you can create a small library of favorite pictures, say of cats with horses or horses with cats and make a wallpaper slide show from those favorites .. Right+click on empty part of desktop and select Personalize > Desktop Background to get a screen like this:
use screen like this to select images for a wallpaper slide show ..
Check the images you like and then click the Save changes  button and .. Voila! The main advantage here is complete control over what and when.

Method 2: Use a customized Windows Theme .. click or you can .. Right+click on empty part of desktop and select Personalize > Get More Themes Online. If you like one of the prepared themes, click the Download button, once downloaded click on the .themepack file to install and use it .. Easy Peasy, The advantage here is that all the think work is done for you, with the only disadvantage in not being able to pick and choose what pictures you want to use or see ..

Monday, 3 November 2014

Malware Popup Virus Removal


For some strange reason, many very annoying and questionable programs are getting by your antivirus program and infecting your windows computer. Programs are running in the background, slowing you down, possibly spying on your personal and financial activity, tracking what you look at and buy on the internet, popping up warnings or attempting downloads, tricking you into phoning Dave aka Apu in some far away computer compound to fix you computer woes for you, for such a reasonable fee. Hmm
With all the recent news coverage for this kind of thing, you would think these scenarios would be decreasing, but you would be wrong. I get calls weekly from trusting duped computer users, often seniors, who have let some official sounding 'microsoft' or other external user into their computer and let them mess with their innards, or who have purchased some random security program online to fix whatever is slowing their trusty old computer to a standstill. Some program pops up and stops them from doing what they normally do on their computer and then another program (often the same one messing with them) promises to fix it all for a small fee. They receive random phishing calls from Mr Internet that their computer needs immediate attention They pay the crooks by credit card or even send cash by Western Union, exposing themselves to further damage financially. Who can you trust? Probably not them ..

Is your anti-virus program installed and up to date? Sometimes not, but even if so, many threats still manage to get installed onto your system anyway. How? They trick you into clicking OK via sneaky popups, official looking upgrade offers, extra value added downloads along with other programs or games, or sometime by other malware programs. The reset your search engines, make themselves the internet start or search pages, install themselves as toolbars. Why aren't they blocked by those Anti-virus programs? Good question! Why indeed? If I was a conspiracy theorist ..

Don't pay Apu to do this for you. Hire me! or do it yourself. Not all annoying intrusive headache causing programs on your computer are considered to be viruses - and that is all most anti-virus programs look for (self-replicating programs). You also need anti-malware (both not one or the other) programs to get you computer and sanity back.

Stay tuned .. this is what I use. <but first I have to run to my day job - I'm late>

OK - I'm back!
  1. Step 1 - Update your antivirus program. Do you have one installed? Is it running at startup? Is is updating itself? You would be surprised the number of computers I am given to work with that have non-functioning or no antivirus protection at all. On the other hand, some seem to think, if one antivirus program is good then three or four must be better .. wrong. Choose just one. Otherwise, they fight with each other and will cause you grief. I like to use free antivirus options for home computers and commercial versions for work computers. AVG is my current choice for home user, the paid version is a reasonable yearly amount for several stations - we have used this program at my day job for the past decade and have experienced no problems with it. You may have your own preference for free or paid antivirus. OK, just make sure it is installed and working. And remember, even with a functional antivirus program, you may still be afflicted with annoying malware programs spying on you in the background or popping up scary messages.
  2. Step 2 - Let's get rid of some of those annoying pop-up malware running in the background or installed as add-on toolbars. Aside: you may need to do this step first to permit you to get your antivirus program running properly. I have found the free adwcleaner to be quite effective in shutting down most of those annoying 'helper' programs. If necessary, download it on a working computer to a USB drive and run it on your sad broken internet computer. Click the Scan button first and then when that is done click the Clean button and when that is finished your system will reboot and voila, you should be exorcized of many of those malware demons.
  3. Step 3 - MBAM! I like to install and run Malwarebytes Anti-malware program (MBAM) next. It excels at finding and removing harder to find unwanted programs from your system. There is a paid version of MBAM in addition to the free one. I have found the free version to work well for this purpose. The install defaults to a trial version of the paid program and eventually will start to pop up helpful nag messages asking you to pay for the full version - what? OK, if you want. I tend to click the 'end free trial' link in bottom right and switch to the free version.
  4. Step 4 - CCleaner. Now that all those extra services that have been slowing you down have been removed, I like to finish with a current copy of CCleaner from This program also has a free and paid version available. While it does not detect or remove viruses, spyware, or malware, this utility offers several useful functions I like to run monthly or when the spirit moves me. a) The first finds and removes unneeded temporary windows/internet files from your system. b) The second detects and corrects problems with your windows registry, and c) the third lets you safely uninstall and remove programs from your system, including unexpected toolbars and other 'helper' programs that hijack your search settings and start pages when accessing the internet. 

There, that should feel much better now. /rdd

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Magrath Lions No Cost Clothing Event Setup Fri 29 Aug 2014 and Open to Public Sat 30 Aug 2014


Community: No Cost Clothing Event (Aug 2014) clothes collection

Town of Magrath/Lions Club No Cost Clothing Event (note change of date) at Ice Arena. The annual (2014) Community No Cost Clothing event, sponsored by the Magrath Lions and headed by Lion Shauna and Lion Tracie, will be held Fri 29 Aug 2014 (for collections and sorting at Magrath Ice Arena) and on Sat 30 Aug 9-2pm open to public (for free distribution).


  • Clothing donations drop offs week ending Thu 28 Aug 2014 at Roosters/Pharmacy (*new* look for white van parked out front)
  • Tables setup - Fri 29 Aug 2014 morning at Ice Arena
  • Sorting - Fri 29 Aug 2014 (calling all volunteers)
  • Open to seniors Fri 3pm-6pm
  • Open to to public Sat 9am-2pm
  • Cleanup and Table take down Sat afternoon.

Volunteers Needed!  If you are available for setup/cleanup and/or to work on day of event let us know! (Davies 388-4332)