When Vista will not boot…

December 30, 2008

Today, it happened; Vista would not boot…

Many Vista users experiencing this type of issue are often left to performing a “complete” and “time-consuming” system recovery using the recovery software allocated on a disk partition by the manufacturer or on recovery discs that you may have created. Most manufacturers do not provide a “real” physical copy (retail version) of Windows Vista on DVD…  The problem with this is that the “real” Windows Vista DVD has a “recovery environment” that you can boot into that attempts to “fix” your system, when it will not startup properly.  The “recovery environment” does not reinstall Vista; it is merely a tool designed to try and fix Vista.  If you are a Vista user, and do not have an original Windows Vista DVD, there is a solution to this problem. “The NeoSmart Files” web site has been hosting a downloadable version of the Windows Vista Recovery Disc, since January ‘08, which you can burn to a CD (approximately 120 MB in the ISO format). You can visit the site by clicking on the logo.

The NeoSmart Files

This CD actually saved me a whole lot of headaches today… 

My Vista box would not boot and I suspected corrupted startup files. One of my first troubleshooting options was to boot into the “recovery environment” using the CD that I created (earlier in the year) from “The NeoSmart Files” website.  After booting from the CD, I was eventually presented with various recovery options; one being “startup repair”. After selecting that option, the utility corrected the issue(s) I was experiencing and my system startup returned to normal. If I did not have this CD, as a diagnostic option, I most likely would have resintalled the operating system via an image I had made OR performed a recovery via the computer manufacturer’s option. Either way, there was risk of possibly losing file data. 

Instructions for creating and using the CD…

If terms like “ISO format” and “Creating a CD” are hindering you, I encourage you to visit “TechRepublic – Creating a Windows Vista Recovery CD”  for “step-by-step” instructions, on the entire process from downloading/creating the recovery CD to actual screenshots of the recovery process. You can visit the site by clicking on the logo.

TechRepublic

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)…

For FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) about Windows’s Vista startup repair, click on the Microsoft Windows Logo below.

Windows Vista Recovery - FAQ's

Additional Note…

If you do not have the original Windows Vista DVD, I highly recommend that you get this download from “The NeoSmart Files”. During the writeup of this article, I learned that when Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) was in beta, Microsoft actually included the option to make the recovery environment CD.  After Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) came out of beta, Microsoft pulled the option from the operating system… 

 

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The Malware Evolution…

December 29, 2008

While conducting research on computer malware, I happened across an article at ‘howstuffworks -10 Worst Computer Viruses of All Time” (by Jonathan Strickland).  I was very impressed with the article and decided to summarize, in a table format (see below), the ten worst computer viruses of all time (based on the information from that article), in an effort to demonstrate how malware is evolving. You can read the full article on the “10 Worst Computer Viruses of All Time”, by clicking on the “howstuffworks” logo at the bottom of the page.

Another source of information that blends in well with this topic, is an article posted at Tech-for Everyone, “A Brief History – Holiday Edition”, that provides a short history on who wrote the first true virus, the evolution of viruses; and how virus and malware protection has led to a $38 billion industry.  I recently communicated with the author (known as TechPaul) and he made the following “real world” statement, that demonstrates how the malware evolution is affecting people on a personal level.

“As a Help and Support tech, I see (and repair) the damage done by malware everyday, and it is no joke. I have talked with folks who were forced to buy new machines due to rootkit and firmware infections. I have talked with people who have spent time rebuilding their credit after their “identity” was stolen.” –TechPaul

In conclusion, the objective of this article is to display the timeline and evolution of viruses (aka: malware) and to impress upon my readers the importance of keeping your security and system software up to date.  Malware has evolved from what you are seeing in this table to include thousands of variations of computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, crimeware and other malicious and unwanted software.   The motivation in the past was more idealistic; whereas, today the motivation is money.

10

Melissa

1999

MS-Word Macro; Propagated via email attachment; When opened: sent itself out to the top 50 people in the recipient’s e-mail address book.

9

ILOVEYOU

2000

Standalone Program; Worm; Propagated via email attachment; Subj:  Love Letter from a Secret Admirer, Attachment: LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs; When opened: wide range of attacks.

8

Klez

2001

Propagated via Email message; Spoofing; Replicated itself; Sent itself to people in recipient’s address book; Some variations rendered a persons computer inoperable.

7

Code Red

2001

Worm; Propagated via Internet; Exploited vulnerability in operating system (buffer overflow); distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the White House.

6

Nimda

2001

Nimda is “Admin” backwards; Worm; Propagated via the Internet & Email (very quickly); Primary target: Internet Servers; Purpose: To bring the internet to a crawl.

5

SQL Slammer / Sapphire

2003

Propagated via Internet; Attacked Web Servers; Took down unprepared infrastructure systems; Caused $1 Billion plus in damage; Victims infected within seconds after initial launch.

4

MyDoom

2004

Propagated via email; Created backdoor in victim’s computer; Had two triggers: Caused Denial of Service Attack and second trigger commanded the virus to stop distributing itself on Feb. 12, 2004; Replicated via email addresses on victim’s PC; Second outbreak caused search engines to come to a crawl.

3

Sasser and Netsky

2004

Worm; Propagated via internet; Attacked computer through a Microsoft vulnerability; Scanned random IP’s for victim computers; Virus created by 17 year old German programmer.

2

Leap-A/Oompa-A

2006

Infected Apple Mac’s PC’s; Propagated via instant messaging (iChat); Caused little harm; Demonstrated that Mac PC’s can be vulnerable as well.

1

Storm Worm

2006

Progated via email and fake links; Trojan Horse; Original had email subj line: “230 dead as storm batters Europe”; Can turn PC into “zombies” or “bots”; Vulnerable to remote control by attacker.

 

clipped from computer.howstuffworks.com

HowStuffWorks


10 Worst Computer Viruses of All Time


by Jonathan Strickland

 


Computer viruses can be a nightmare. Some can wipe out the information on a hard drive, tie up traffic on a computer network for hours, turn an innocent machine into a zombie and replicate and send themselves to other computers. If you’ve never had a machine fall victim to a computer virus, you may wonder what the fuss is about. But the concern is understandable — according to Consumer Reports, computer viruses helped contribute to $8.5 billion in consumer losses in 2008 [source: MarketWatch]. Computer viruses are just one kind of online threat, but they’re arguably the best known of the bunch.


Computer virus

 

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An “Adobe PDF Reader” Replacement…

December 28, 2008

When with think of “PDF” files, we think “Adobe” …  Adobe created the PDF file format (Portable Document Format), in 1993, which became a standard format for document exchange.  In order to view PDF files you need a PDF reader.  The Adobe PDF Reader is the software most people have installed on their computers.  Since the inception of the Adobe PDF Reader it has grown into a large application that has become burdensome to the user and to the computer. 

There is another option and it is called “Foxit Reader” …  It is “FREE”, small in file size, super fast, and it is continually being improved upon.  According to their web site there are 50 million users all around the world.  Another nice option with this reader is that there is a “portable” version (zip file) that can be installed on your flash drive.  I have been using Foxit for approximately 2.5 years and it has never let me down.

clipped from www.foxitsoftware.com

Foxit Software


Foxit Reader 3.0 for Windows


An exclusive small and fast PDF Reader!


As a small and fast PDF viewer, Foxit Reader currently has over 50 million users all around the world. After keeping users waiting for almost two months, Foxit Reader 3.0 has been released and introduces many fascinating new features such as multimedia design and Foxit OnDemand Content Management. To learn more about this new release, please click here


 

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A Windows “Paint” Replacement…

December 27, 2008

I never could figure out why Microsoft would build an operating system, that is the premier operating system of the world, then include in that operating system some really poor programs (such as notepad, wordpad, paint, calculator). The freeware and open source authors have put those programs to shame… 

One replacement program that I use to replace “Paint”, is a program called “Paint.net”. Paint.net is a FREE program that originally started out as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft (years ago).  Some of the former students (alumni) who originally worked on the development of the software, continue to maintain it today. I can remember trying this program when it first was available on the internet and shrugged it off.  I recently went back to it and found it has grown into one powerful, yet easy to use, image and photo editing program. I surely hope that the development cycle of Paint.net continues, as it is at a stage where it is rivaling other photo editing and paint programs.

Paint.net - Main Window

Features
(as stated on the web site)

Simple, intuitive user interface

Layers

Unlimited History

Support for many popular file formats

Effects and Adjustments

Full Support for Dual- and Quad-Core CPU’s, and 64-bit

Tablet PC Support

Extensibility

Free

Features planned for version 4.0 include an improved install and update experience, lower memory requirements, increased performance,  a totally revamped “brush” system, layer masks, and adjustment layers. The improvements to the data model and rendering engine will also enable features such as text layers, effect layers, composite layers, and soft selections.

Get It from Download.com

GET IT HERE - Paint.net

 

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Extensive List of “FREE” Privacy, Security and Recovery Software…

December 26, 2008

I periodically visit the Wilder’s Security Forum to see what other people are saying about the various security software products that are available.  Forums are managed discussion sites where interest groups of people are formed to openly discuss a specific topic.  When I preview software, I always look to see if there is a forum on the site.  Forums are excellent information resources and can give you a good overview on the credibility of a matter or subject.

Wilder's Security Forum

Recently while visiting the Wilder’s Security Forum, I was reviewing a topic titled “Probably the best Security List in the World : )”…  The title caught my attention and as a result I came away with, what I feel, are (2)-two credible lists of “FREE” Security Software that I would like to share.

The first list is maintained at another forum located at a Finnish Antivirus Portal (called Virustorjunta.net).  The category titles are in Finnish; however, the sub-titles of the software are in English.  You can preview this list by clicking on the logo below.

Virustorjunta

The second list is located at another forum called Respawned.  This forum appears to be maintained in the United Kingdom and it appears that the forum topic “Freeware Privacy, Security and Recovery Software”  has been updated on regular basis since April ‘04.  You can preview this list by clinking on the logo below.

Respawned

Both of these lists provide an excellent overview of the various “FREE” products that are available AND provide a great opportunity to explore and research security software in a “side-by-side” manner.  The people who contributed to compiling this information has done a great service to those who are unfamiliar with security software products.  The forums which they have made these postings is an excellent way to get feedback, criticism and praise.  

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Capture.net – The Swiss Army Knife of PC Tools!

December 25, 2008

If you are a software (utility) fanatic, as I am, then you will appreciate “Capture.Net – The Swiss Army Knife of PC Tools!” This utility is what I call a “software gadget” and is geared toward users who like having a multitude of useable tools, all in one package. You have to be a “software geek” to appreciate this utility. It is unique in the aspect that it is small in file size (688KB) and is a standalone application (download and run). It does however require the .Net Framework. There is a “FREE” version (which I used for this review) and a “PAID” version available.  Upon running Capture.Net, I felt like I was on an Easter egg hunt.  The more I looked, the more I found.  I still do not think I found everything packaged into this utility; but, reflected is a list of built in apps that I did find:

Capture.net

Capture Screen // Image Editor // Screen Calendar // Post-It Notes // Screen Clock // Alarm Clock // Synchronize Time // World Clock // Timer// Quick Launch (Run) //Screen Ruler // Capture Color // Degree measure // Privacy Eraser (Custom) // System Info // System Tweak / IE Tweak // Font Viewer // Windows Spy // Converter: CHM->HTM // Convert Image // Text Format // Backup Expert

Capture.Net

GET IT HERE - Capture.net

 

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The World’s Best Selling Book…

December 24, 2008

Did you know that the Bible is the best-selling single volume book (every year)? It is estimated that approximate sales of the Bible has been in the range of 2.5 billion to 6 billion. The Bible consists of 66 books that is divided into (2)-two sections: Old Testament (39 books) and New Testament (27 books). The basis of the Old Testament is an account of God’s creation of and direct relationship with mankind, prior to the life of Jesus. The basis of the New Testament is an account of the life and teachings of Jesus and his disciples and the book of revelation. 

If you are someone that is interested in reading and studying the Bible, there are many “FREE” options available through the use of software and the internet. You can click on any of the logos below to learn about the options that I use and recommend.
 

In The Beginning Was The Word

In The Beginning Was The Word

Multiple Bible translations in many languages with full support & handling for Greek texts 

Unique Parallel view of multiple translations at once

Personal notes for each verse, chapter, book and subject accompanied with an easy way to categorize them hierarchically

Verse lists with full drag & drop support for their creation

Really fast searching with filters and a full “regular expressions” engine

Formatting and colouring directly on Bible texts

Easiest navigation of the Bible ever: 3 different ways to go to the verse you want (Bible tree, clever menu, free text)

Multiple Bible windows (even multiple parallel ones) freely arrangeable by simple drag & dock!

Unique “Clipboard monitor” function (monitors your clipboard for verse references and displays them as tool-tips in ALL programs)

Keyboard shortcuts for every function

Copy verses in many formats, fully customizable

Really fast in loading, displaying texts, searching and in every click of the mouse

There is also a beta version available.  I currently have the beta installed and have found it to be very functional.

 

e-Sword

e-Sword

“e-Sword is a fast and effective way to study the Bible. e-Sword is feature rich and user friendly with more capabilities than you would expect in a free software package.”

 

BibleGateway.com

BibleGateway.com

Free “online” service for reading and researching Scripture online–all in the language or translation of your choice! Advanced tools are provided that you can use to search the Bible by keywords or verse, as well as other tools to enhance your study of the Bible.

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Use the Internet to Send/Receive Faxes…

December 23, 2008

Here is a clip from “PCWorld – Rick Broida” on how to take advantage of 2-(two) commonly known web based fax services to send/receive a fax (for FREE). In summary, the trick is to use “eFax Free” to receive a fax and “FaxZero” to send a fax. If you are someone who may have an occasional need to send/receive a fax, then these services will meet that requirement, without the expense of a fax machine. If you are someone who sends/receives faxes on a regular basis, then you may want to explore subscribing to one of these services. 

Fax Machine clipped from www.pcworld.com

Technology Advice You Can Trust


Ditch Your Fax Machine


Rick Broida

 

Dec 22, 2008 6:05 pm


It’s rare these days that I need to send or receive a fax, but it does happen. However, you won’t find a fax machine on my desk–I rely on Web tools for all my faxing needs. Here’s how you can do likewise:


  • eFax Free I’ve had the same free eFax number for as long as I can remember. Seriously, it’s probably been 10 years. When you sign up for one of your own, you get a randomly selected fax number. Inbound faxes arrive in your e-mail inbox; eFax’s software lets you open, view, save, and print them.

  • FaxZero Need to send a fax? eFax charges for the privilege (you need a Plus or Pro account), but FaxZero lets you send faxes for, well, zero. Just enter the recipient’s name and fax number, then browse your hard drive for any Word document or PDF. (Use your scanner’s scan-to-PDF option if your document is still in analog form.) Documents must be no longer than three pages, and the recipient will find an ad on the cover page–but the price is right. For $1.99, you can fax an ad-free document of up to 15 pages.

  • There are other freebie fax services out there, but I’ve had great luck with these two. Mostly, of course, I just e-mail everything. What about you? Still using a fax machine, or have you consigned it to the scrap heap?

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    The Haunting Memory of the “Email Trail”…

    December 21, 2008

    Email TrailDid you ever send an email that you regretted sending? The second you click that “SEND” button, it vaporizes into never never land, you cannot get it back and it can remain there indefinitely. Yes, indefinitely!  Always remember what you write (or put your name to) another person reads and interprets. There is no inflection or tone in email. The interpretation can be misconstrued and can be damaging to your reputation. It can come back to haunt you! Email may feel private; but it is anything but. Email leaves a trail and can remain on servers and people’s computers for a lifetime. To help prevent from being haunted by your email, here are some tips to follow…

    1. Setup 2-(two) separate email accounts at home. Use your main email account given to you by your ISP for your personal and private (important) use only. Set up a second email account with a web based service (such as Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo).  Use the second web based account for online ordering, the joke circuit with friends, or researching a personal subject. The junk mail that inevitably arrives, as result of these activities, won’t clutter your main ISP email account.  By creating these (2)-two accounts, you are separating what is important from what is not important. 
    2. Avoid placing the recipient’s email address in the “TO” field until you have completed the content of your email. This will eliminate the possibility of accidentally sending the email, prior to completion.
    3. Avoid lengthy emails… Keep email content short and to the point. Shape the content of your email so that it easily understood. Most people do not have the time or desire to read lengthy emails; plus composing lengthy emails increases the risk for grammar and spelling errors. Believe it or not, your credibility will be judged by the way to write, spell, etc… Always read back the content of your email, prior to sending. 
    4. Avoid composing emails in uppercase. Uppercase is taken to mean that you are yelling.  GET IT!
    5. Avoid sending personal and private identity information (e.g. credit card, account passwords, etc.). This information can be intercepted.
    6. Avoid sending emails that contain attachments that are large in file size (i.e. videos, numerous photos, etc.). Remember the recipient has to download those attachments; and if the recipient is on dial-up, this can be a nightmare.
    7. Avoid sending/forwarding chain letter emails… Each time you forward that chain letter your email address goes with it (everywhere, even around the world). Chain emails are a form of spam and can even cause spam to be generated.
    8. Avoid emails that contain any sexual, racial, or political overtones. All I can say is you better know your reader(s); because people can be easily offended by these emails. They also can cause credibility issues, as well as, embarrassment.  I have seen people print out these types of emails, with the email addresses still intact.
    9. Avoid sending inappropriate emails from work… Just because you are using your personal web based email at work (e.g. Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo, etc.) to send that joke or video you can still get caught (and lose your job). 
    10. Avoid email sniping wars… Do not use email to express anger. If you receive an email that is offensive, I suggest closing the email and seeking another method of communication to deal with the issue.  Emails of this type can be used against you in matters of litigation.
    11. Avoid using email for sensitive communication (e.g. employee performance, gossiping, medical conditions, handling problems etc.). I highly recommend that you seek an alternative method of communication (e.g. face-to-face, telephone).  If you find a need to deliver an email that is sensitive in nature, I suggest you wait a day before sending.  This gives you time to think about the matter.  We often change our minds when dealing with matters that are sensitive in nature. 
    12. ADDED on 12/21/2008 – A reader of the blog pointed out that when sending emails (especially to multiple recipients), to use the BCC (blind carbon copy field) to insert the email addresses. BCC, which stands for blind carbon copy, allows you to hide recipients in email messages. Unlike addresses in the To: field or the CC: (carbon copy) field, addresses in the BCC: field cannot be seen by other users.

    “Remember, Email Leaves A Trail”

    ADDENDUM (January 9, 2009):  Following this post, Mike at Carputer’s News and Computer Tips  submitted the following links from the Virginia Family Law Blog on security and email (and the web in general) from a legal perspective. This is very good information and reaffirms points in this article how “The Haunting Memory of the Email Trail” and other types of computer usage can come back around to haunt you!

    Maintaining your privacy: Eliot Spitzer knew all this and more

    The evidence people assemble against themselves

    Improving Confidentiality (Family Law News article)

     

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    Great Tech Tool – “a-squared HijackFree”!

    December 19, 2008

    Just when I think I have found every tech security tool out there, I am introduced to another one.  In this case, during a visit to the site “Tech Thoughts”, I was introduced to a system analysis utility, called “a-squared HiJackFree” that is geared toward assisting advanced users in the detection and removal of all types of HiJackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans and Worms (see clip below).  I downloaded the program and performed an analysis of my system as a test drive.  I found the program very easy to navigate and understand. The analysis showed the autorun entries (which can be disabled for troubleshooting); services installed and running processes; local ports that are open; and even Explorer and browser plugins. The a-squared HiJackFree also has an “Online Analysis” function built-in that will help you identify which autoruns, processes, addons or open ports are harmful.

    HiJackFree

     

     

    I tip my “Tech Hat” to Bill Mullins for introducing me and my readers to this great utility.

    Visit Bill’s site (Tech Thoughts), at “billmullins.worpress.com”

     

     

     

    clipped from billmullins.wordpress.com

    Maximize Layered Malware Defenses – A-squared HijackFree


    There are plenty of good anti-malware products, but experienced computer user’s realize that to ensure maximum safety, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware.

    a-squared-hijackfree

    If you are an experienced/advanced computer user (sometimes known as a geek), and you’re looking for a program to strengthen your anti-malware resources, then A-squared HiJackFree is one that’s worth taking a look at. This free application, from EMSI Software, offers a potent layer of additional protection to add to your major anti-malware programs.

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    GET IT HERE - HiJackFree

     

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    SlickDeals.net… Great bargain hunting site!

    December 19, 2008

    Slickdeals.net is a great site to look for bargains, coupons, freebies, contests & sweepstakes, drugstore & grocery deals, product reviews and more!  I have added Slickdeals.net to the “Freebies” section of the blog for future reference….  You can visit the site by clicking on the clip below. 

    Slickdeals.net

    clipped from slickdeals.net

    Welcome to Slickdeals.net


    The most frequently updated and complete deal site on the web! We provide you with the day’s hottest deals every day. We also have over 800 coupons for all your favorite online stores. Browse around and you’re bound to save more than a few bucks!

     

    To get you started, check out our hot deals below, or visit our forums to find other great deals.

     

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    AppRemover… Antivirus and Antispyware Uninstaller!

    December 19, 2008

    Recently I posted an article about “Uninstalling and Installing AntiVirus Software…” and how difficult it can be to totally remove (uninstall) all remnants of antivirus software from your computer in circumstances such as switching to a different software brand. Antivirus software, and any security software for that matter, hooks into many areas on a computer (i.e. registry, file system, processes, resident memory, etc…). I know personally I’ve experienced occasions where I had to boot into safe mode to eliminate debris that was left over from the uninstall process. My opinion; in instances where you are uninstalling “Security” software in order to replace it with an alternate brand, it is especially important to ensure that all remnants are completely removed,so as not to cause a conflict or potential breach with the “Security” software you are intending to install.  In other words you do not want to compromise the security of your computer due to a software conflict.

    AppRemover

    Today I came across an application, called “AppRemover” that is in “BETA” (still being publicly tested), that is designed, at this time, to specifically remove Antivirus and AntiSpyware Software. I did not get to fully test the software to see if it actually did what it said; but I did download it (no installation required) and performed a scan of my system. The software picked up my Antivirus software and another Security application I was running on my system. The AppRemover site reflected that once it removes the “Security” product you desire to remove, it will then remove the “AppRemover” application from your computer as well.  PC Magazine recently published an article on AppRemover (12/17/2008 – “AppRemover Makes Switching A/V Programs a Snap”) and gave it a good writeup. It also appears that developer of AppRemover,  OPSWAT, Inc., is a company of good standing.

     

    GET IT HERE - AppRemover

     

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    Skipping Intimacy for the Internet…

    December 18, 2008

    “46 per cent of women queried about the importance of the Internet versus “hanky-panky” replied that they would be more willing to engage in abstinence than lose their web access”.

    I found the clip below at infopackets.com where a survey was conducted on how far Americans will go for web access….  I know from my personal experiences, from the angle of helping others when their PC’s go down; it becomes borderline crisis due to the fact that they can not get their daily dose of “net”.  

    Visit infopackets.com to read more about this enlightening article… And, yes honey, our internet access is still down!

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    clipped from www.infopackets.com
         

    Given that you’re reading this right now, it’s a fair bet that the web, or Internet access, is important to you. But, how important is it? In a recent survey, Harris Interactive found that women would rather give up “relations” for two weeks than access to the information superhighway.
      blog it

    No Kangaroos were harmed in the making of this game…

    December 18, 2008

    HangarooIf you love word games and really like playing games like hangman where you have to try to guess the word or phrase before you get hanged; then you will love the game of “Hangaroo”.  Hangaroo, consists of one “animated, loud and obnoxious” kangaroo who tells it like it is. This game has been around since 2003, can be downloaded to your computer, is addictive to say the least, offers more than 8,500 words and phrases, and is recommended for people 12 years of age and up… If you really get hooked, you can create your own external data files to make more words and phrases.

    Hangaroo

    FEATURES

    • There are now more than 8,500 terms and phrases and 120 categories!
    • Many of the phrases now have interesting Did You Know? facts.
    • New volume controls and surprise endings.
    • Players and 3rd-party developers can create customized word lists and levels.
    • Improved setup and uninstall routines.
    • Enhanced eFlash update system.

    GET IT HERE - Hangaroo

     

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    Critical Security Update for Internet Explorer…

    December 18, 2008

    Normally Microsoft releases updates on the 2nd Tuesday of each month; however, to counter an escalating wave of malware attacks targeting a zero-day vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer it is very important that you update your computer immediately. If you have your computer configured to autoupdate then you will automatically receive the update. A clear sign that you have received the update, and it has been installed, is that you will be prompted to reboot your computer. If you want to manually scan for and make sure you received the update –  [CLICK HERE]

     

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    clipped from www.computerworld.com
                 

    Microsoft patches critical IE bug with emergency update
    December 17, 2008 (Computerworld)
    As it promised yesterday, Microsoft Corp. today issued an emergency patch to plug a critical hole in Internet Explorer (IE) that attackers have been increasingly exploiting from hacked Web sites.
    According to both Microsoft and numerous security firms, attacks have been mounting, particularly since last weekend, when hackers began hijacking legitimate Web sites and launching exploits against unwary visitors. In fact, Microsoft said it monitored a “huge increase” in attacks last Saturday.
      blog it