Archive | December, 2012

Avoid being “Phished”

30 Dec

Hi Folks,

     Kristin here, writing from the desk of Holland America’s elegant explorer the MS Prisendam on the beautiful island of Barbados.  Today I would like to discuss the term “phishing” and how to spot these fraudulent emails, phone calls and website. 

     How many of us have recieved emails from our friends saying that they’ve been mugged in London and they need us to wire them $5,000 to get a new passport, plane ticket etc.  Or that Nigerian prince who needs investors for his oil firm.  Or even an email from the Red Cross, Delta Airlines, American Express and other widely known brands that say they need our personal information to continue on with providing service.  Many of have experienced these “phishing” emails before.  These emails are trying to “hook” our information to use for nefarious purposes. 

   Here are some things to look out for when you recieve emails.

1.) Bad Grammar – A lot of these scam emails originate from outside of the United States so check for incorrect sentence structure and spelling. 

2.) Links in the email – Beware of them! If you see a link in an email that you are suspicious of….don’t click on it.

3.) Fake Alerts – Be very wary of recieving alerts through your email that you security has been compromised.  Phishers usually use this style of threatening end the hopes that you will follow their directions to input your information. 

4.) Phony Graphics – Its very easy to take graphics from accredited companies and make you think that when you click on that graphic that it will take you to that companies website, but it doesn’t.

5.) Strange attachements – If you have recieved an email from a contact that has never sent you an email with an attachement in their lives or the title of the attachement is strange, email your contact back to inquire about the attachement before opening it.

6.) Check the from field – Phishers can easily spoof authentic email addresses, making it appear that an email is coming from an authentic, trusted sender, but checking the “from” field can at least help you identify unsophisticated phishers. If the “from” email contains excessive characters, has spelling mistakes, or does not share the same domain as the company (e.g. “” (illegitimate)  vs. “” (legitimate)) you might have found a phish.

7.) Go with you Gut – Its usually correct, if you gut is telling you that something seems a little fishing…its probably because it is “phishy”

Hope this helps 🙂


Cheers from the Prinsendam,


Fun with Windows 8!

23 Dec

Greetings from the ms Nieuw Amsterdam!

Well it has been a couple weeks since I joined the ship and began teaching some of the new Windows 8 workshops, and boy have I been having fun! I will admit at first I was a little shy to explore all the new features, referring often to the Classic Desktop of which I was more familiar. But after a few days I started to get more comfortable with the new Start Screen and importantly with some of the amazing apps, like the People App, Mail App, and the Photo App – to name a few.

People App – As someone who like to stay connected with friends and family around the world, the People app has simplified my life immensely. I have been able to link my contacts from my email accounts and my Facebook account, so now if I want to connect with anyone, anywhere I can just go into my People App and find everyone in one place.

People App

Mail App – Wow, managing my email account has never been easier! The Mail App allows me to add multiple email accounts to create and send emails, and even organize them into folders without having to log into and out of each account. I am even able to create messages offline if I need to which is great while travelling, especially if internet isn’t always available, or I’m paying by the minute!

Mail App

Photo App – Imagine access to all your photo’s in one location! Your picture library, your Facebook photos, even photos you’ve placed on your SkyDrive or Flickr. Well, that’s what the Photo App does for you. All your photos at a glance, organized by where they are stored and when it’s time to show off some of your photos you can select a folder and with one swipe (or click) you even can display them as a slideshow.

Photo App

Now this is just a brief introduction of some of the great features of Windows 8, but I encourage everyone out there not to be shy and embrace the fun & fluidity of Microsoft’s newest OS Windows 8 – you’ll be glad you did!

Patti Smith
Techspert – ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Microsoft Holiday Look Book

10 Dec


Take a look at Microsoft’s 2012 Holiday Look Book. Here you’ll find some of the coolest and newly released products. You can quickly scroll through pages, find out more about a product and purchase online! 


Visit the Holiday Look Book at this Website:
and check out all the great stuff like . . .



Also, don’t forget about the Holiday stores!

Click here for a Microsoft Holiday store near you!Holiday_CLE_Banner