John’s Background Switcher (revisited)…

October 31, 2008

I recently featured “John’s Background Switcher” on the blog on September 6, 2008 [ Click Here ].  Since that post, the author John Conners, has made additional changes and improvements to the software that makes it sound choice to post it a second time.  This is one piece of software that I encourage you to follow.  The author, John Conners, is dedicated in making this right.

“John’s Background Switcher” is “FREEware” software that will automatically and periodically change the background (wallpaper) image on your computer (like every hour or every day) to images that you preselect. There are numerous wallpaper changers out there, but this one is different in that there are numerous configuration options packaged in the software for you to choose to get the results that you want. If you are like me, and have numerous digital pictures on your computer, this is a great piece of software to show off and make use of those pictures…  

Pictures can be acquired from any of the below sources:

  • Individual pictures on your computer.
  • Folders containing pictures on your computer such as ‘My Pictures’.
  • Flickr photo sharing – selecting pictures by person, tags, sets or just plain random. You never know what you’re going to get next!
  • Phanfare web albums – keep up to date with your friends and family.
  • smugmug photo galleries – yours, your friends, anybody’s!
  • Picasa Web Albums – choose from specific albums or any search text.
  • Facebook – your friends photos on your desktop!
  • Yahoo! image search – the internet is your oyster!
  • Any Media RSS feed – choose pictures from sites like DeviantArt, Photobucket, LOLCats and Zooomr amongst many others!

The screen shot below is an idea of what types of layouts you can select to display your pics (from a single background, to thumbnail mosaics, to scrapbook montages).  I currently have my background switcher configured to show a montage of approximately 20 pictures (on a 19″ widescreen), every 10 minutes. 

After you install the program, an icon for the “John’s Background Switcher” will appear in the tray at the bottom of your screen.  To get to the programs setting, “right” mouse click on the icon and select “Settings”.  You can also, double click the icon in the tray to manually change the background once you have everything setup.  My wife enjoys that feature and spends alot of time looking at batches of pictures we have taken.  

For your convenience I have reflected below a screenshot of what the program looks like once you bring up the initial settings; plus you will see an arrow pointing to the “More Settings” button.

After you click on the “More Settings” button, you will be taken to the “More Settings” dialogue box that provides various selections to customize the program to meet your needs. 

 

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Should I shut “OFF” my PC or leave it “ON”?

October 29, 2008

There has been a lot of debate over the years whether you should power down your computer daily or just leave it “on” all of the time. I’ve always been a firm believer of powering the computer”off” when finished using it at the end of the day. When I was managing a computer network, the standard I had in place required all users to power down their PC’s prior to going home. If I found a PC “on”, then I remotely powered it “off”. I still use this same practice at home. During the day, I turn the computer “on”, and all peripheral components (i.e. drives, router, etc…), via a power strip (surge protector); then, I power the computer “off” at the end of the day (prior to going to bed) or if I leave the house for an extended period of time. My theories and reasonings for this practice are as follows:

 

  1. A computer that is left “on” all the time, is a potential security risk and is an open invitation internally (by other people) and externally (by hackers and such). (Especially when your network is connected to the outside world AND due to the fact the majority of people, and businesses, do not keep their security software up to date.)
  2. Extends the life of the computer. (A common debate is that turning the PC “on” and “off” promotes a negative impact on the “service life” of the computer. I personally can attest that most computers, with today’s advanced technology, will reach the end of their “useful life” prior to their actual “service life”, even if you turn them “on” and “off” multiple times.);
  3. Could be a potential fire hazard. (I’ve seen computers and monitors go up in smoke.);
  4. Can save electricity. (See U.S. Department of Energy – “When To Turn Off Personal Computers“);
  5. Refreshes the memory and the memory resident programs and services in the computer when you completely do a “cold restart” of the computer. (Many people let their PC’s go into a “sleep/standy mode” or “hibernate” mode. I still prefer what is called a “cold” restart.);
  6. Will keep the internal components of the computer cleaner. (When a computer is “on”, the fans are pushing and pulling air to keep components cool; however, this air flow is a dust magnet.); AND FINALLY,
  7. Your icons on the computer screen, over the life of the computer, will start to war with each other. (Watch what actually can happen – click on the graphic, “Icon’s Story” for a demo. The demo is in Adobe Flash.)

 

DEMO – Watch What Happens to Your Icons At Night If You Leave Your Computer “ON”
(click on the logo, then wait for it to load)

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BLOG UPDATE (new additions)…

October 28, 2008

Welcome to the “What’s On My PC…” blog. The following has been added to the blog:  

  1. A “Welcome” introduction to the right side of the blog that gives a brief summary of what the blog is about.
  2. A “Category” listing to the right side of the blog which categorizes articles posted up to this date.  As the blog continues to grow, the “Category” listing will enhance your ability to navigate the site.  

Thank you!

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Microsoft Office Templates…

October 26, 2008

The Microsoft Office suite has established itself as the benchmark standard for office (software) suites that is used in businesses, government entities, educational institutions and homes around the world.  If you are someone who uses Microsoft Office, then you have to know about the wide array of “Free” templates that is available for download from Microsoft.  If not, you do not know what you are missing. I have been following the template’s list, for years, and it continues to grow and improve.  I have personally used some of these templates and have found that they can save you a considerable amount of time, depending on what you are looking for. All of templates can be edited, meaning once you download a template, you can change whatever you desire, to meet your project needs. Reflected below is a sampling of the template categories that are currently available at Microsoft Online. Click on any of the categories below and you will be delivered to that category at the Microsoft Online website.

Main Categories

Agendas Award certificates Brochures

Budgets Business cards Calendars

Content slides Contracts Databases

Design slides Diagrams Envelopes

Expense reports Faxes Flyers

Forms Gift certificates Greeting cards

Inventories Invitations Invoices

Labels Letters Lists

Memos Minutes Newsletters

Plans Planners Postcards

Presentations Purchase orders Receipts

Reports Resumes and CVs Schedules

Statements Stationery Time sheets

More categories

Address books Advertisements Analysis worksheets

Announcements Applications Balance sheets

Ballots Banners Bills of sale

Binder inserts Bookmarks Books

Bylaws, policies, and rules Calculators

Case inserts Catalogs Charts

Coupons Dividers E-mails

Estimates Evaluations Flash cards

Forecasts Games Identification cards

Instructions Itineraries Job descriptions

Journals Ledgers Logs

Maps Math and science tables Menus

Name and place cards Note cards

Notes Office document themes

OneNote notebooks OneNote pages

OneNote sections Outlines

Paper folding projects Papers

Petitions Photo albums Posters

Press releases Programs Proposals

Quizzes and tests Quotes

Recipes Records Reply cards

Scorecards Sign-in and sign-up sheets

Signs SmartArt Graphics Stickers

Surveys Tags Tickets

Tournament brackets Trackers

Web pages Wills With compliments cards

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Burn Baby Burn…

October 26, 2008

If you are looking to replace the CD/DVD burning software that shipped with your PC or you are looking for something with less bloat, than the commercial paid versions, then give CDBurnerXP a try. I recently found myself in a mode where I was testing a variety of the free burners out there and I finally decided on CDBurnerXP. It is a good program for people just learning to burn CDs/DVDs; AND is also great for those who are seasoned users. The program just plain gets the job done and does it very well. The program is under constant development and improvement AND is totally FREE, even for commercial use. CDBurnerXP will burn CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD’s and includes a feature to create and burn ISO files. CDBurnerXP has met my needs and is now “What’s On My PC”.  There is also a portable version available, that can be run from your flash drive.  You can get the portable version from [ HERE ].

Key Features (as indicated on the CDBurnerXP site):

  • burn all kinds of discs
  • audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
  • burn and create ISO files
  • data verification after burning process
  • create bootable discs
  • multi-language interface
  • bin/nrg ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!
  • Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista
  • Startup Screen

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    What’s On My PC… BLOG UPDATES!

    October 25, 2008

    The following sites or blogs have been added to the “What’s On My PC… LAUNCH PAD” (located on the right side of the blog posts).

    Shell Extension City

    DonationCoder.com

    Raymond.cc

    Smashing Magazine

    The Launch Pad can be used to visit the numerous quality web sites and blogs that are listed. It is conveniently setup so that if you click on a link it will open in a new separate window. That way you can click on a link, a separate window will open, which will allow you to conveniently return to the “Launch Pad” when you are finished visiting the site. The Sites and Blogs reflected in the listing are all maintained and updated on a regular basis. If you are someone who is into open source software, freeware applications and technology information, I encourage you to use the “Launch Pad”.

    I am slowly adding to the “Portable Apps” tab located at the top of the blog. The applications I have listed are applications that I personally use on my portable USB flash drives. Also, under the “Freebies” tab, I added a couple more goodies.  You will also notice at the top of each page there is a search box that will allow you to search the blog for specific information that has been posted.  This is a nice “add-on” provided by WordPress to enhance the efficiency of the blog.  A big “THANK YOU” to WordPress for this enhancement (widget).

    Thank you for visiting and I hope you continue to come back.

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    Clickjacking – Something to be concerned about…

    October 25, 2008

    (From TechRepublic – 10/19/2008) – “Clickjacking – Potentially harmful web browser exploitClickjacking has the potential to redirect unknowing users to malicious Web sites or even spy on them. We all need to be aware of clickjacking and how to avoid its trappings.”

    I am encouraging my “techie friends” to read the TechRepublic blog post about clickjacking and learn more by “Googling Clickjacking“. There is a whole lot of buzz and concern about this potential problem which ultimately could call for a complete redesign in all browsers. Currently if this exploit takes off, there is no effective solution known at this time. Basically in a nutshell, what you think you may be clicking on in a web page, may in fact end up being malicious code that is transparent to the naked eye, that carries out a malicious operation without your knowledge (i.e. stealing an account number, turning “on” your web camera or microphone).

    What is clickjacking? (From Wikipedia) – Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking web users into revealing confidential information or taking control of their computer while clicking on seemingly innocuous web pages. A vulnerability across a variety of browsers and platforms, a clickjacking takes the form of embedded code or script that can execute without the user’s knowledge, such as clicking on a button that appears to perform another function.

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    Disk Imaging – Acronis True Image Home 2009

    October 24, 2008

    If you are not a computer tech there is a very good chance you do not know what a disk image is. The best description I could find was at Wikipedia: “A disk image is a single file containing the complete contents and structure representing a data storage medium or device, such as a hard drive, CD, or DVD. A disk image file is usually created by creating a sector-by-sector copy of the source media, ignoring its file system, and thereby perfectly replicating the structure and contents of a storage device. An ordinary backup program only backs up the files it can access; boot information and files locked by the operating system (such as those in use at the time of the backup) may not be saved. A full disk image contains all these, faithfully replicating all data. For this reason, it is commonly used for backing up disks with operating systems, or bootable CDs and DVDs.”

    None of the above may have not made any sense to you and you’re probably wondering, why is this important. I mentioned in a previous post about new computers and performing a disk image after you have removed all of the pre-installed software. It is an opportune time to get a good clean image of your system, in the event you have to use the image to do a complete rebuild of your system. I actually prefer imaging over using the factory install methods which are available when you buy a new computer. You can perform a disk image anytime, but you want to be absolutely sure your system is clean. There are quite a few commercial and freeware options available to perform disk images. I try to normally stick with freeware and open source applications on the blog, but I’m going to make an exception this time. What’s on my PC? I currently favor the disk imaging software that is developed by a company named Acronis. I have used Acronis many times and it never has let me down. Acronis recently released their next generation imaging software for home users called “Acronis True Image Home 2009“. As with any software of this type, there is a learning curve; but, Acronis has tried to make it understandable for everyone.

    How do I use Acronis? I currently have an image of my system in a state when I first purchased the computer and a 2nd image of my system in its current state. In the 2nd image the Acronis software has the ability to incrementally build upon the previous image so that I have an image of the computer in its current state. I try to perform the incremental image at least monthly. I store my images on external USB drives, which the Acronis software will recognize. I still perform my regular backups of my documents, photos, and multimedia files using my regular backup software. Once you learn to use imaging software, you will never go back to those factory install CDs/DVDs.


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    A Three Step Guide To Email Ethics…

    October 21, 2008

    I guess it is the bogus “chain emails” about our Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates that have been forwarded to my email inbox everyday that has driven me to write a blog post about email ethics. I have come to the conclusion two things about these emails.  One, this is the sender’s way (through propaganda) to try and influence my decision on who I should vote for, whether the content is true or not; OR Two, the sender actually believes that the content of what they are sending is truth.  Either way it is not ethical to broadcast emails that plant a seed of mistrust, which at this time in our nation, we do not need.  I’m especially noticing that the majority of these emails are slanted toward one direction in general and it has me questioning whether some of these emails have been supplanted by the campaigning party in an effort to prey on our ignorance.  I really hope this is not true.

    I’ve had an interest in information technology prior to the general population knowing what the internet was, let alone email. Actually the concept of email predates the actual creation of the internet. Email was originally designed to be an electronic medium to communicate and share information (usually important and factual information). Today it is still an important communications medium; however, spam email, fraudulent email, viral laden email and chain letter email have pretty much made email an unreliable method of communications.

    Probably the most offensive of the four I just mentioned is the “chain letter emails” which 99.9 percent of the time contain false information (urban legends or outward lies), bogus virus warnings, offers of easy cash, prayer requests, crime scenarios to watch for, political untruths, etc… Also my friend Tech Paul, over at “Tech-for Everyone” added (10/25/2008) “that these chain letters usually contain an image (or other little ‘flag’) that allows a cyber-criminal to harvest the valid e-mail addresses when recipients open the e-mail. Which, of course leads to more spam.”

    The chain letter emails, especially the political ones, really has plucked a nerve with me and I find them quite offensive. I am proud to be a citizen of the United State of America (one nation under God, indivisible) and my voting decisions are private and personal. I don’t need someone sending me an email that is obviously constructed in such a way to create division, hate, and mistrust. It is an insult to one’s intelligence. If all we have left is to base our beliefs and decisions on what we read in our email, then we are in trouble. To show you how extensive this problem is, if you visit “Snopes.com“, which is a site dedicated to validating what they call urban legends (I call them lies), you will see that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are in their top fifteen list for urban legends. In my effort, to maybe reach some of my friends, family and others out there in the world, I came up with some email ethics guidelines that are really simple to follow.

    Email Ethics Guidelines:

    1. Learn to spot the lie. If you see that an email has been forwarded numerous times, or instructs you in the email to forward it on, or reflects a personal attack against another person; then help break the chain by deleting it. Chain letter emails do nothing but clog the email servers, cause anxiety, offends people and takes our time. They literally can remain out there in cyberspace for an indefinite time period. Real simple; DELETE IT!
    2. Don’t be part of the lie. “Believe Nothing and Verify Everything”. If it is that important to you, verify and reflect the source of the information prior to forwarding it to your family and friends. You are being part of the lie by forwarding those types of emails. Real Simple: DELETE IT!
    3. Don’t start the lie. If you desire to take a stance on an issue or you desire to broadcast information, point your readers to your credible sources. Just because someone says it is true, does not make it true.
    Interesting web sites to help you validate bogus emails:

    Snopes.com

    BreakTheChain.org

    Hoaxbusters.org

    HoaxBuster.net

    Factcheck.org

    Politifact.com

    Symantec

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    Jigs@w Puzzle Promo Creator

    October 21, 2008

    If you enjoy the challenge of jigsaw puzzles, then you will enjoy the electronic version(s) developed by Tibo Software. Tibo offers a paid commercial version of their jigsaw puzzle software, which is really good; BUT, they also offer a “FREE” puzzle creator called “Jigs@w Puzzle Promo Creator“. The promo creator was developed by Tibo to promote their commercial package of the software with the intention you could create a jigsaw puzzle, package it, and place it on a website for visitor’s to download. If you want to create a jigsaw puzzle, from a photo on your computer, for your personal use or to send to a friend, start up the promo creator software and the wizard will walk you through the steps. As you are going through the steps, don’t worry about filling out website information, banners, alternative text, etc… unless you want to; otherwise just keep clicking “Next”. You will get to a point in the wizard where you have to enter a title and another point where you will have to select a picture or photo on your computer. You will eventually will get to a point where you can click “Save As”, where you give the puzzle a name, and the software will automatically compile the puzzle and save it as an executable file (*.exe). To start up the new puzzle, browse for the puzzle name in the folder which you saved it, click on the name of the puzzle and the jigsaw puzzle will come up ready for you to piece together. To pick up a puzzle piece, left mouse click on the piece; and, to turn the piece, right mouse click the piece. Who knows, you may like this enough to purchase it. I did!

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    It’s Time to Shop…

    October 20, 2008

    Here are four web sites that will give you an edge on your Holiday shopping… To visit any of these sites, click on the logo.

    Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when major retailers around the country discount products to help kick off the Christmas shopping season. This Black Friday ads are usually kept secret until you receive the circulars in your Thanksgiving Day newspaper. However at Black-Friday.net, we give you the advantage by showing you all of the Black Friday 2008 ads before anyone else. We also offer direct links to each product so you can purchase the items online on Black Friday without having to stand in line at the store! This is the first I heard about this site and I have not had the opportunity to actually confirm the deals that they have in place.

    Every Sunday in the newspaper we receive the sales circulars from the local retail stores reflecting items that are on sale. I’m usually in the hunt for electronics. SalesCircular. Com and SundaySaver.com are sites dedicated to bringing you the circulars so that you can make comparisons and shop for the best bargain. When you visit SalesCircular.com, you will select your State, then you will be redirected to a page where you can select your item(s) of interest, and then you will be directed to a page which will reflect the results for comparison. When you visit SundaySaver.com, you will see logos representing the stores. If you click on a logo you will be redirected to that stores website where you can browse their circulars and deals for the week.

    FreeAfterRebate.info is a site dedicated to bringing you those deals out there where there are rebate offers. Often, with these offers, you end up getting the item for free. The only thing expended on your part is your time in completing the rebate forms, mailing them and waiting 6 – 8 weeks for the rebate check.

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    Mini-Netbook (Acer Aspire One)…

    October 18, 2008

    My wife and myself are frequent visitors of WalMart. When we get there, we park in the same area, we go in the same entrance, and then we always separate in the store and cruise our circuits in the store. The circuit she travels takes a considerable amount of time and I’ve learned to navigate my circuit like a sloth. My circuit consists of tools, automotive and the grand finale of electronics (tvs, computers, cameras, peripherals, etc…). Like a sloth I slowly navigate the circuit hoping I will see something really different, especially in the electronics section; however, nothing really changes. I think it is really neat that they sell PC’s and PC peripherals, but going there for that sort of thing is like going to the convenience store for bread. Today, it was different… As I sluggishly clawed my way (like a sloth) past the aisle that displayed some notebook computers, my inner electronics instincts, told me to stop. What caught my eye was a very, very small notebook computer. My inner electronics instinct, now became an inner voice, that yelled “buy me, buy me, I’m different, buy me”. There before me was a mini-notebook (or netbook), with an 8.9″ screen, that was manufactured by ACER for $348.00. For some reason, I have always envisioned owning a small computer that I could easily tote around and here it was right before me. Well, now that I’m 50 and grown up, I passed up the urge and went into my usual “planning stages”:

    1. Review the specs on the internet
    2. Check out customer reviews on the internet
    3. Check for best pricing
    4. Convince Wife (which will be easy since my birthday is coming up)

    The specs and description of this computer, as posted on WalMart site, is reflected below. Customer reviews for this PC, on their site, was very good; however, I have not checked out additional reviews on the internet at the time of this posting. Their pricing, from what I’ve found, is unbeatable… I sowed the seed with the wife; however will have to slowly nurture it. If anyone out there has any comments on this “netbook”, please feel free to comment below. You can see this PC on the WalMart site by clicking on the “Acer Computer” graphic below.

    Acer 8.9″ Aspire One with Intel Atom Processor N270, Blue

    This ultra-portable laptop is the ideal traveling companion that lets you take the Internet on the road without the heavy load. The Intel Atom Processor combines performance, power and efficiency to explore the Internet and stay connected while on-the go. Windows XP Home Edition lets you surf the Internet, edit documents and photos and read email.

    Key Features & Benefits:

    Intel Atom processor N270

    1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache

    8.9″ WSVGA high-brightness Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD

    Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950

    1024MB DDR 533MHz Dual Channel Memory

    Use multiple applications without a decrease in performance

    120GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

    Store large video files, music, photos, documents and more on this expansive drive

    Additional Features:

    Windows XP Home

    Acer Crystal Eye Webcam 3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery

    3 – USB 2.0 Ports AC Power Adapter

    Multi-in-1 Card Reader AC Power Cord

    Acer InviLink 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Modem Cable

    3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery

    2.19 lbs. 995 g (system unit only)

     

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    UPDATE(10/21/2008)

    Completed all of the planning stages, as previously indicated, and now have the Acer Aspire One in my possession.  The “convince my wife” stage was not as bad as I had anticipated.  So far, I have found the physical and operating qualities of this product to be awesome, especially for the price ($348.00).  Really, the only downfall I could find was that the case is so glassy, that it is a magnet for fingerprints.  It is pretty much designed with the concept that you will use it for portability and internet access; however, I wirelessly remote into it, via VNC software, to test software downloads, etc…  The LCD Screen on this is absolutely great for a small LCD (8.9″) and when I remote into it with my main PC, the remote screen image is unbelievably clear.   The Aspire One, from what I can tell, has a hidden partition with the factory install image in place in the event you have to completely restore the system back to factory defaults. The factory default restoration process appears to be quite easy and can be accessed either during bootup or by the restoration software installed on the operating system (Windows XP Home).  The Aspire One can be booted from a USB flash drive; AND, as a result, I installed Acronis Disk Imaging on the computer, created a bootable USB disk, and created an image of the PC on another USB flash drive.  Following that process, I archived the “boot image” and the “disk image” on my main PC’s backup drives.  For the money, really nice product.  Specs for the Acer Aspire One, that I purchased, is reflected below (PDF file):

    Specs – Acer Aspire One

    UPDATE(11/08/2008)

    Amazon.com Customer Reviews of the Acer Aspire One…

    Amazon.com - Acer Aspire One Reviews


    Circle Dock – The Open Source Circular and Spiral Dock for Windows

    October 17, 2008

    The one thing I love doing on my computer is organizing menus and using third-party program launchers (menu docks) instead of the Windows Start Menu. I currently use a dock called Stardock Objectdock as my primary launcher of programs, shortcuts and running tasks; but, recently I came across a new open source launcher, called “Circle Dock“, that has piqued my interest. The really neat thing about this software is that the very first version of Circle Dock was coded by the author (Eric Wong) in under 2 weeks for a programming competition at Donationcoder.com. Following the competition, the author continued the development of the software and has gained a popular following ever since. Circle Dock is currently in the “Alpha” (initial debugging) stage of development; however, I have found it to be very stable (at least on my PC) for software at the Alpha level. Most third party docks or menu’s are usually horizontal or vertical in appearance; however, Circle dock is different in the aspect that it is circular in nature and the circle can be rotated with the mouse wheel. If you want to have some fun experimenting with Circle Dock, as it is being developed, I encourage you to visit the website to review the system requirements and all the current features.

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    The Underbelly of the Internet – Antivirus 2009 (removal help)…

    October 16, 2008

    I am getting sporadic reports from friends of getting the uninvited rogue “Antivirus 2009” anti-spyware program on their computers. From what I can find, the “Antivirus 2009” is usually spread via a ZLOB/MediaAccess Codec installer usually found on adult sites, in shady torrent downloads, and from what I call the underbelly of the internet. If you are one to cruise the underbelly, you better be prepared for the consequences. It is not to say there is the possibility infection can occur from what appears to be legitimate means; but the underbelly of the internet is usually the carrier and promoter of these rogue packages. These forms of infection carry what is called a “Trojan” that is basically installed on your computer and disguised as system notifications that lead to websites with rogue anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. If you are seeing random pop-ups prompting you to do system scans and showing results that your system is infected with spyware, etc., then you’ve been had. Do not let desperation get the best of you where you end up using your credit card to purchase of the “rogue” software. Again, it goes back to the old premise, “believe nothing and verify everything”; including the removal sources for these type of malware applications. I strongly advise that if you get infected, do not make any online purchases where you are typing in personal information, such as credit card numbers, etc… The “Trojan”, as I mentioned earlier can or could contain a keylogger which could record and send out every keystroke you make. I do not put anything past these rogue packages. If you do get infected, research the problem, preferably on a clean machine AND, if possible, get someone to help you… These infections are difficult to remove and are usually bundled with so much other malware, that traditional antispyware or antivirus programs have difficulty with completely cleaning these infections. Even a seasoned tech person will tell you these packages are a nightmare and it is not uncommon to do a complete rebuild on the computer.

    Research information and Removal Assistance (click on links below):

    SmitFraudFix – A tool created to remove rogue anti-spyware applications that utilize Trojans to issue fake taskbar security alerts or that change your background in order to scare you into purchasing the full commercial version of their software..  This is a specialized tool was created in order to help a user clean their system of these infections.

    Bill Mullin’s Weblog – Tech Thoughts – Bill, a seasoned blogger and information technology expert, recently posted an article on (VirusResponse Lab 2009) – Removal Solutions which describes a similar circumstance as the Antivirus 2009. Further down in Bill’s blog post you will find additional removal sources.

    Tech – for Everyone – Another blogging site that is an excellent resource, with numerous posts, which describes and teaches you what to expect from the underbelly of the internet.

    Spyware Techie – A techie’s take on spyware. The site specializes in identifying and providing removal solutions for numerous of these rogue carriers.

     

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    Keeping yourself organized…

    October 15, 2008

    When it comes down to it, I gauge myself as a person of organization. Sometimes I am over organized; which can be as bad as being disorganized. I have always had an interest in keeping my personal information, notes and calendars in one place so that it was readily available at a moments notice. I have tried every form of personal information manager that is available, from hand kept calendar books to PDA’s, Pocket PC’s, Palms, online calendars, etc… Really it is a matter of personal preference and determining what works best in your current home and work situation. The one solution that I ended up with that currently works for me is a program called EssentialPIM.

    EssentialPIM is a “personal information manager” that allows you to keep all your information in an electronic form. It is a available in a “free” version and a “commercial” version. I have been using the “free” portable version, which is flash drive ready, which allows my information to travel with me. EssentialPIM is loaded with features (calendar, notes, to do list, contacts) comparable to Microsoft Outlook and other personal information managers. It has a nice clean interface, easy navigation controls, loads very quickly, and is constantly being fine-tuned. Every feature in EssentialPIM is based on customer feedback. If you’re looking to get some organization in your life, EssentialPIM may be a solution!

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