Tuesday, November 15, 2005

All Browsers Are Not Created Equal

I recently had a client email me with questions to why she could not move a window view to the bottom of the screen or see other parts of a window while visiting her online banking website. This place as well as pogo.com play site. I immediately figured it was a java thing and updated this to the latest version. This is something that everyone should check on periodically as it never hurts, especially with all the new security issues website are attempting to install due to the ever increasing phishing that is going on. When continued problems occurred, I suggested to try using Internet Explorer. You see, I have pretty much persuaded most of the clients to "try a different web browser" and my choice being Avant Browser, for more reasons then I care to mention in this blog but you can feel free to download it and enjoy, however be aware that not all websites may function correctly. Whether it is directly due to the browser not being compatible from the way the webmaster had created the site (note that most websites will aim to be Internet Explorer friendly due to the statistics that show IE is still number one, even if those numbers are dropping. Avant may very well be okay for these sites that were giving my client troubles but without actually viewing her online banking site to see exactly what she was referring to, I knew to try IE and if there were still problems then I would focus on the problem. Knowing that this fixed the problem for her, that was enough, but for me, I want to know why Avant didn't cut it. So I start to dive in to the options.. Unfortunately in most cases of R & D work, you must retrace the problems in order to see where things go wrong and therefore I still must say you have to either just use the other browser for the pages that you know you have troubles with, or figure out what settings must be changed in order for it to work in Avant. And, if no solution can be found, a simple email to the programmers should make them aware in which case you will see the fix in a new version soon to be released. This is the best part of open source software, the fact that the programmers are more then willing to take in any and all information about problems you might have while using their product. If you ever find yourself truly enjoying the program you are using, never feel you can't send your praise their way either. With most programs, you will have a 'help' option at the top menu and from there you will find "about" and this is where you can find the website information as well as the programmer or contact information and email in most cases.

With the power behind the Avant Browser, knowing that the options menu is full of great features that I have yet to completely explore, I am not going to knock this little browser at all because it failed the viewing of a few websites. As I see it, just be thankful you are not limited to only one choice!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ok, I'll Bite--But Not McDonalds!

I must admit I am quite disturbed when I get the email chain letter stating that if we all boycott the specific gas station for a specific day, it will get the message across to the oil company, knowing full well this will not be the case, since they are just too darned big to try this. On the other hand, this little boycott for McDonalds for one day in Canada may actually make a difference, but the truth will be told come December 4th, the day after this supposed boycott is to take place. Count me in.. Then again, it has probably been close to a year since I have eaten anything McDonalds sells.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Latest Microsoft Security flaws, just one more reason to switch browsers!

Even though your computer should receive automatically, the latest in what has become a pretty typical day of downloads from Microsoft, I seriously suggest changing your browser habits and that starts by using a different web browser.

I have talked about this before, but now, even more so does it appear evident that the long awaited for Internet Explorer 7.0 is going to arrive a little too late. This latest article from zdnet explains.

If you haven't already visited my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page, I suggest doing so. While you are there you can install the latest AVANT BROWSER which is full of great features not yet available through the Internet Explorer. One great feature is the fact that you are pretty safe, since one of the features with the Avant Browser is the ability to check for updates whenever you open the browser, and by clicking "ok" when there is a new version available will ensure you have the latest in security built right in. Unlike the Internet Explorer which depends heavily on the rest of the windows 'updates' to be completely safe and secure.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

14 questions answered in just over an hour

As a volunteer at allexperts.com I frequently get asked questions as to why a program doesn't install the way it was intended to. Others will ask a question and state 'I know I don't have a virus, but... What could it be?".. When in fact they probably do have a virus, just not a virus that their antivirus states as a virus, but more like spyware! Spyware has become, in my opinion a virus, simply because of what it does to your computer. Any program or file that causes another program or operating system to not function the way it was meant should be considered a virus since this is something that should not be there.

So here I found myself having to answer a slew of questions that rolled in over the past 2 days that I simply didn't have time to answer, but of the 14 questions, I found myself answering to over half of them with almost the same answer, and that is to "read my TIPS" and then visit the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page and install the programs that I make available.

Since I try to give each question that I answer a personal touch but also keep it simple enough so that I am not spending all of my time answering 'free' questions when I have my own client computers to fix on my bench, I find myself creating more and more TIPS and adding them to my site which allows me to direct the person to the specific tip that deals with answering their question. It seems to be working as I have found it took just over an hour to complete what I would say is a somewhat lengthy answer for each question, since each question usually required more input, this will allow the person asking the question to do a little more research in to the problem and in most cases, solve the problem after understanding what caused the initial upset with regards to the fault they are now faced with.

One of the main reasons I volunteered with allexperts years ago, was so that I could do some research in to the problem that I was being faced with in the question. Unfortunately however, it seems that three quarters of my answers are very redundant by explaining the importance of installing, running, and remembering to continue to use the spyware software on a daily basis. Preventative maintenance is the key, but when you haven't been preventing it, you must first remove and clean the computer from the problems before you can truly say that you 'don't have a virus'.