Thursday, February 17, 2005

Don't forget spyware guard and spyware blaster

When I set up a computer, it will have 5 icons on the desktop that I suggest running DAILY. These would be Spyware guard Live Update, Spyware Blaster (Update), Live Update (Symantec products), Spybot Search & Destroy, and finally, Ad-aware. I have made a tip regarding how to use the two spyware scanners, however I have not created a tip for spyware guard and spyware blaster, simply because I didn't think it was important. It appears that I was wrong. These two programs have been out for a while and should be a part of everyone's efforts to battle the spyware. Since they are running all the time in the background, what is needed is a simple check for any available updates. The order that I mentioned above is also the order in which I run them, this way the two spyware scanners are running while I am on my way to bed!

To use Spyware guard Live Update correctly, you simply click on the icon, click NEXT and it will automatically download and install anything available, which is not that often, but important whenever there is something available. Considering it takes about 5 seconds to run, I would be doing this daily.

Spyware Blaster also runs all the time in the background therefore all you need to do is check for available updates. To do this, first click on the icon. Next, you will want to click on ENABLE ALL PROTECTION from the quick link near the bottom of the window. Also, if it detects your Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox browsers security settings are too low, it will prompt you in which case you simply click on the link and choose what they suggest (for best security). Next you simply click on DOWNLOAD LATEST PROTECTION UPDATES which brings up a new window where you click on CHECK FOR UPDATES. Any available updates will automatically be downloaded and all you need to do is click on the link afterwards to implement them. That's it! Along with the antivirus "live update" and spyware scans each day, your computer spyware problems should be contained.. That is, so long as you follow other internet edicate.

For more TIPS and Software and Support visit my website.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

If it Ain't Broke-Don't Fix it. If it broke, what is it worth to fix it?

I am constantly (thankfully) asked many different technical questions when certain software does not perform quite right, such as a case most recently with a clients editing of a NERO DVD. He noted that the video was somewhat "jerky" when inserting chapters and on the preview of this and I had pretty much said that it was normal. Of course it wasn't long before this person disagreed with my analysis, which was, I admit, sounding like I was saying that it wasn't worth investigating further, and by no means is this the case. Infact I would love to investigate it further and want to know if it is something "simple" to fix as I have noticed this as well on various machines. I had pretty much chalked it up to a resource problem, and in most cases, I will be disabling the nero filter check, etc as well as any spyware related issues as to certain software that will automatically an update checker which is essentially a part of this program that is now running all the time. This is what becomes not only a resource issue on the memory but also a potential conflict with other programs and files quite often shared (or in the case of windows XP-copied). Which then brings up the issue of updating drivers and software for security and other issues... Should you be doing this automatically first of all? Second: if you do decide to disable the auto update features and want to do this manually, do you necessarily install the update? Many will not because they go by the rule of "it is working fine..So why mess with it?" of course they are right, and in the case of ATI video device drivers for example, I would be staying away from doing any updating. However, other programs that are using this device, such as a PVR for recording, or editing, in the case of "sound blaster" software for the Dolby mixer and Digital sound, it might be necessary to have the latest stuff installed.

It all really boils down to "how much time do you want to spend updating, and "tweaking" to make your system run just right? And what programs must you use to keep it that way? And what programs are absolutely necessary to be running all the time?

As for spyware and antivirus programs, I update mine daily. Previously mentioned, ATI video drivers (or any video device driver), I will not usually update unless I see problems related to the video. Sound, same thing, I don't usually update, however because you may have sound blaster software and hardware, and for that matter, most digital receivers now, all have their own special mixer and other editing features within their bundle. These quite often will have automatic driver updates installed which I usually disable.

I have no choice but to call myself a geek since I do spend virtually all of my time around something electronic or gadget related and therefore always like a challenge to find the answers to these problems and believe me, I am doing this whenever I have the chance.

Finally, now a days, with the cost of computer parts dropping to the point that almost everything is now assembled on the motherboard, it is only gamers and high end enthusiasts that are custom tweaking their system for the purposes of editing high end graphics. Microsoft has introduced Windows Media Center Edition which incorporates a few editing features as well as a newer media player integration aimed at PVR and multi-media editing. Since this is currently the latest operating system, many manufacturers are finding new drivers are required.. this means Audio and Video are affected.. in the case of hardware, sometimes it is simply the software that needs to be changed. On the other hand, when you can swap a motherboard and have built in digital 5.1 and even higher *7.1, why the need for a separate sound card? Same goes for video, now that USB 2.0 units are available.

Getting back to the Nero "jerky video" problem. One solution was mentioned that a newer upgrade to video editing software was available, but at $1000 which is quite expensive, considering that would buy a lot of hardware that has many things such as audio/video included in the operating system and motherboard combination. Obviously another solution would be to start with a fresh install and slowly installing programs and devices as you need them. This way, when a problem occurs, you can then usually start the process of elimination until the solution is solved. Knowing that you have multiple programs for doing the same job, such as image viewers that get installed as you install your scanner, then your digital camera, and then photo printer.. How many programs do you need? Many are better then others, but some of the "free" ones (that came with the device) are good enough to get the job done.

If you are going to be doing a lot of this sort of thing; ie: video editing; you are probably going to be willing to look at the more professional editors. However, now that this is a going thing with DVD Burners at a very affordable price when it comes to backing data up and making home movies from your latest vacation simply by dragging and dropping the file to the drive letter and waiting a few minutes. This used to be a big process.

Now that we can create images of complete hard drives in a short amount of time, it makes it more effective (both by cost and by quality) to simply back up the drive, reformat and reinstall and at that point, only install as necessary. This goes for device drivers and additional software as well. Once this software is installed, a spyware scan and "tweak" (using things such as regcleaner, xp-antispy, hijack this as well as X-setup and others) to remove such automatic updating devices. This is all done much quicker then diagnosing and removing bad items or quite often, updating device drivers only to find that rolling back the driver didn't work and you have to start with the original device disk and update sequentially (as in the case of many ATI boards) It can get to the point where even the manufacturers themselves, have uninstaller and "driver cleaner" software that is supposed to remove all known drivers from that manufacturer. Of course, be ready to be reinstalling your HP printer if you happened to be using an HP scanner that you were having troubles with. That goes for your HP camera as well.. Basically you can find yourself repairing the computer from the inside out and even after you "think" you have everything, some file lying dormant comes alive in the form of a Trojan horse script. Obviously reformatting is the solution, so long as you are willing to take the time and reinstall your programs (as you need them). I find it is a great way to do "spring cleaning" on your computer.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Big White truly is WIFI

I was quite shocked and amazed that not only is there WIFI at Big White but over at Snow Pines it is rocking with grand signal..and free.. thanks to Telus. Way to go Big White! This is going to go places, I can gaurantee it! I know where I'll be spending my next few days, and thanks to the speedy WIFI I am not far from helping.. those in need.!