Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year 2007

Ok so typically this is getting out after Christmas so I guess I should just be saying "Happy New Year"... thing is I didn't plan on being away from the internet and my 'life' at this point. Yes, it is quite easy to say that without 'the internet' things just don't flow properly in my life and that is because it is about 90% driven by the internet... so it is no wonder that I am going to want to make sure those that utilize my services will hopefully be taking advantage of whatever knowledge I beleive is important for those of you that care. I guess because I am one that appreciates sitting down at a computer and using it for whatever the mission was that time. Possibly surfing the web searching Google or whatever. Possibly Copernic. Whatever the mission was it is hopefully done quickly by clicking on the application icon and getting to where I want to go. You don't really care how it finds what you are looking for, so long as it works! Hopefully that is where some of my intervention has helped, whether it be by actually looking at your computer, giving you advice over the phone, through email, or by reading my tips and blogs.

I hope that I have helped at least one person find an 'easier way' to do something that might have taken 3 clicks now is done in 2 ... I just know that I am currently sitting at a ski hill mountain with a complete village below me and what is now 'hotspots' that require fundage.... well no problem on that, since I am up here for a week, but when it doesn't work and you realize that it is like a ma & paw operation that you are what seems to be, connecting to their small router and hopefully you will get a connection. Well so far that is how it has been and I must appologize for those computers that have still not had me connect to them. As I have paid for a week and have managed to get through about 40 emails from the 23rd of Dec.. believe me when I say that I am backed up and I appologize.. I am now connected and it is 7:50pm Wed 27th of Dec.. hopefully by the time I am through this week I will be sipping on mai tais waiting for people to call me... (yeah right.. I don't even know how to spell mai tias ! ).

In any case I hope you will bear with me. I might add that since none of you have phoned me, I am either going to assume you figure that I need the holiday through Christmas or you feel it can wait until after Christmas... either way it is fine with me,I am just glad to see such a high turnout of people utilizing email and my blog... not to mention this great ability to connect remotely!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Updating and Optimizing-tip

You are probably quite familiar with pop up windows. Some are built in as part of the operating system and others are just there to annoy you. Unfortunately now a days, more and more 'bad' pop ups are looking like the real thing 'windows' pop ups and as a result you typically do the wrong thing as that is what the intention of the pop up was all about.

I am bringing this point up because with most of the software you currently use to 'surf the web' is constantly being tested for bugs, and security problems. There are many people that love to find problems with software and report on it. Most software companies will have forums where they look forward to user input. This is why when you purchase software, you will notice a version number. This is important because there are always updates and patches being made available for your software. Some of this is done automatically, depending on how you installed the software (whether or not you had the option to choose custom installation and decide on what features would be installed), you will probably end up with an update feature that either runs from your 'start up' folder, or has been given a registry 'okay' when the install was done, to sit on your system tray upon you restarting your computer. This should reflect back to the original OPTIMIZING TIP if you haven't already read that, at this point you should.

So things like Adobe Acrobat Reader for a good example, now that version 8.0 has just been released, will have you visiting their website, clicking on the install feature and it takes you to a new page that, if you do nothing but click on it, you will also end up with the Google toolbar, as well as other such items whether you wanted it or not. This is why it is important to not always do what is 'recommended' to you since you have to remember who is doing the recommendation (the software companies installation program or you?) So once you have managed to NOT allow such other items like the Google toolbar install and you do manage to get the adobe acrobat reader installed, you will notice that it installs the 'adobe download manager' first. After this you will also find that at least one more new task has been added to your start up folder which I suggest removing. Finally, maybe a week or even a month later, you will see that there is an update available, thanks to this newly installed adobe download manager. So as this example I suggest doing what I do, and that is to go to the add/remove programs after you have the adobe acrobat reader installed, and choose to remove the download manager. Clean out the start up folder for anything you do not want in there (personally erunt and spyware guard are the only programs I have in my start up). Of course any time you want to check to see if there is an update you can always do this by clicking on the HELP from wthin the program and choosing the CHECK FOR UPDATES. Or simply visit the website and you will see for yourself. Again, this is a personal opinion with something like the adobe acrobat reader, but I use it to read manuals, ebooks, etc and really don't care if it is using an older version, so long as it functions correctly. If there is an update due to some security problem they sure, I would like to make sure I am up to date, however this in my opinion is a very low security risk. Of course any program that you use a lot it makes sense to always have it using the latest technology and updates. This may be one of those areas where 'if it ain't broke then don't fix it' applies. When it does come time to get the latest updates, of course the adobe download manager will automatically be reinstalled so no problem.

I would have to say on an average day for me, if I am working on, say 6 computers, that I will have wasted an entire hour in un-installing 'crap' that simply got installed due to the initial program being brought up to date. Since I try to keep most 'tweaker and cleaner' programs up to date, you should always be able to get this for download directly from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Microsoft Patches Windows XP Wireless, Tells No One

As read from Yahoo.

This is one issue where I must say I am tied between a rock and a hard spot. As a consultant, looking out for my clients best interest is number one, and that typically means "security" and for that reason, any computer that has ever been across my work bench has been what I should be able to say is "professionally tweaked and optimized". This being said, it doesn't take a computer long (in some cases) to become quite compromised and that is not always because of the operator not being a whiz on the computer either. This article basically makes it sound like "oh great, Microsoft found a security problem and fixed it and not only that, but pushed this and installed it on all the computers that had their 'automatic updates' set. This is where, depending on usually the client's current computer configuration when I am optimizing the computer, it may or may not be set up to completely allow all updates...possibly just 'critical' updates, since many other updates can cause the computer to become unreliable, such as in the case of a video display driver patch. There are just so many reasons why one will ad a spam filter type program to their computer however is that also causing performance loss due to this new process running all the time? This is the case with Google as I am quite quickly learning by the different program choices I have been making to different computer configurations (on my own systems). Google as a service is wonderful and I am finding more and more ways I can run my own life through the use of the Google tools. But without going too far off course to the original issue of Microsoft's recent update, this places me at a spot where I must decide on how I envision my clients use of the computer. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you want to install on your computer, it is me however, that will be more then happy to give reasons as to why I may have uninstalled a certain 'spyware' type program. This is because I have probably done the tests on using it, and know the outcome is not good. This doesn't mean however, that such things like the Google Toolbar shouldn't be downloaded and installed, but what else are you installing? If you don't choose any options and just go with the clicking as you install this Google toolbar, you will probably also be installing the Google desktop search and that isn't a problem, if you know what it is. But once you start using it, if you do that is, you may find that you can't live without it. That is all fine and good, so long as you also know the repercussions of using this if you were a gamer (lets say). You don't want a lot of 'stuff' running all the time in the background if they are using a lot of system resources. As for desktop search I still think the Copernic Agent series is best as it uses way less resources. Thing is, now that Google is integrating so many of their tools together, so long as you are on the Internet that is good. This is where once again, a program like Copernic shines. Yes, you can have your computer working in 'offline' status but that just isn't the same thing since many other programs recognize the loss of Internet and/or working in offline mode.

Leaving your computer on becomes quite aparently necessary if you wish to take advantage of Microsofts automatic features, as well as your antivirus updates, and if your computer as been across my bench, then it would have other programs that perform maintenance typically around 3 or 4 am, as well, if you do have an issue where you wish for me to look at it, this will also usually be after you have finished using the computer for the day. So for all these reasons, it makes sense to leave your computer turned on.. If you don't have a good power source however, then you should be purchasing a good power bar and look no further then that APC UPS (for example) although Belkin also makes a good one, regardless a UPS is required.I will blog about this, if I haven't already, in the near future.

So to wrap this up (since Christmas is coming) Should you be allowing windows to install such patches? Yes, and no, best if you were to read my TIPS on many of these questions, or contact me if you aren't sure of something. If you cancel an update, don't worry, I am sure if it is microsoft related, it will be bugging you again soon enough. But with any sort of prompt that you are unsure of, never just agree to it because you see it is from "microsoft" which is windows.. that just doesn't fly!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Windows Media Player 11 Released--but hold on!

If you are a client of mine and have recently tried to install version 11, you may have had some further WGA issues. Yes, this is something I am working on, so for now, please let me know and send me your current ip address and you will be added to the list. While in the meantime, you want to learn more about WGA you can click on this link to what I have previously posted.
Blog attempt made by using google doc & spreadsheets. Since you can Visit my home page I'll do that as well.
Since this is a document, I'll also change the font style and size.
I guess not, just the basics?
Maybe not. Let us see what happens when we add colour.

Now this is what I call healing technology that will help accellerate it!

Nano technology is not just something you hear about watching Star Trek, it has been here for some time, but not yet has it gone mainstream, that is, until now!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to login to an expired Windows

What happens when you don't activate your copy of windows within the allotted time? You get locked out--not any longer! This is how to login to an expired windows account.
I came across this through Digg as I had recently been asked about this through allexeperts.com and didn't have an answer, especially since the person did have a legit copy of windows but had not activated it as this blog states how to get around this and get your system up and running at least far enough to access your personal files.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Red Fridays

As much as I am not a big fan of chain letters/email, when this one came to me, I immediately thought of nothing more then to post it to my blog! As I am a Canadian and very proud to be one, I have never been a strong believer in war of any kind but do understand the rights to our freedom and what must be done in order for you and me to have the freedoms we do have. Therefore I will be wearing red on fridays!

What about you?


Last week, while traveling in Canada on business, I noticed a soldier traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the soldier, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

No, he responded. Heading out I asked? No. I'm escorting a soldier home. Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I'm taking him home to his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honour for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.

Upon landing in Canada the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honour of having Sergeant Steeley of the Canadian Armed Forces join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an Canadian.

So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do. Red Fridays, very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Canadians who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing. Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Canada supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that ... every Canadian who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Canada on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before Canada is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is .."We need your support and your prayers."

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something red every Friday.

Monday, December 11, 2006

New Avant Browser Available

Version 11.35 has just been released of the Avant Browser. If you haven't already downloaded/installed the latest version, be sure and do so. You can always get the latest version safely and easiest by clicking on it from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page (or click here) where you can choose RUN and this will automatically install the latest version over top of the old.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Are the words too small to read within your Browser?-Tip

I have noticed a few little issues when connecting to various client computers lately and that is that the TEXT SIZE has been changed to "Large" or "largest" which is fine in theory however realize that by doing this, it also changes the layout of most websites. Instead, try placing this back to 'MEDIUM' and change the ZOOM to a larger number other then 100 percent (since you can either use the variable zoom feature on AVANT BROWSER, you can get this to the perfect size for your monitor and your eyesight!) On all other browsers, you will have the ability to a basic percentage increase but by doing this, it is like getting closer to the image by zooming in on it therefore increasing the size of the font as well, WITHOUT changing the layout of the website. Note that from within the Avant Browser, any changes in the zoom size will remain that way until you change it therefore once you do find your best zoom size, you won't have to continue to do this. Personally, I like to pick a zoom size that works for all websites. When I come across a website where I am forced to scroll from left to right then I know I have gone a little TOO LARGE and will back off my zoom a little. This will all depend on the size of your monitor and your current screen resolution, but I would think in most cases you can get away with a 10 percent (110%) increase without the need to worry about the left/right scroll.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ATM Fraud to be aware of

Even though you would probably not give someone your pin number on purpose, in the heat of the moment when you think your card has just been lost, you may find yourself being helped out with a very friendly person that truly does seem to know what they are doing... be aware.

The following power point presentation is an actual ATM Fraud to make you aware!

Click on this link to download/open the power point presentation.

Monday, November 27, 2006

IE7 Do you really want to install it?

If you are reading this then odds are you already have, and are currently using the AVANT Browser... why? Because I have blogged about the AVANT BROWSER to death! IE 7 on the other hand, is a relatively new program and one that is becoming more and more of a problem then a solution to Microsoft's current security issues. So the question is, do you really want to install this program? With your windows updates happening automatically, if you allow them to, this program will eventually get installed on your computer. This is because you are allowing it to install through the automatic updates since Microsoft figured they would throw it in with all the other crap that clutters up your computer! I say this because I am typically the one that ends up either rolling back some failed security update or dealing with a number of problems as a direct result of those of you that continue to use the Internet Explorer. Yes, even though the newer version (IE7) is touted as being a much more secure browser, it seems inevitable that your computer will end up having it installed and in theory this is not a bad thing, since many of the built in Internet applications of the windows operating system utilize the 'explorer' which is the graphical user interface of windows. Since the latest version of IE includes an anti-phishing filter, this can be considered a good investment, to go ahead and install. The problem is, this 'filter' I have found, will make adjustments to the global settings of your Internet connectivity resulting in potential problems with other browsers and/or connecting to the Internet, depending a lot on what your current home page is. On this note, many of my existing clients will probably have a little application called spyware gaurd that will block the change of the current home page as in previous versions of the Internet explorer, this could be 'hijacked' without your knowledge, resulting in you clicking on your web browser only to find it opening to some pornographic or other damaging web site that essentially makes your computer an Internet zombie, unable to do anything at all. I have seen it happen and it is not something I enjoy cleaning up so this is why I donate so much of my time to helping those with computer related problems and hope to help my existing clients from falling in to these sort of traps.

Do yourself a favor, the next time you get that gold shield icon on your system tray telling you that there are available windows updates, DON'T just automatically click OK to install since you see the "recommended" in brackets... DO click on the CUSTOM choice so that you get to see just what exactly is going to be installed when you do click OK. Then, if you are unsure of this, DO NOT continue with this download/installation and DO EMAIL ME with the question of what should you do next. In the end, it can save you a lot of time (and that relates to money)!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Web Browsers are your choice!

As much as I like to promote and push the AVANT BROWSER on everyone that reads my blogs and for all of my existing clients, I do realize as with anything on the Internet and your computer, it is completely up to you to decide what you want to use as your web browser while surfing the web. The main reason I have found the AVANT BROWSER as my choice and what I believe should be yours as well, is the simple fact that it is NOT the number one browser being used and for this reason alone, it means you are going to run a lot lower risk of hacking issues which directly result in security problems. As I write this, it is quite apparent that the number two browser in the world is Mozilla's Firefox which I am happy to report, has a new "version 2.0" available. If you are wanting to live on the edge and actually give yourself a new workout in computer know-how, then go ahead and download it and give it a try! My opinion hasn't changed however and I still feel the Avant Browser is the better choice. For my clients especially, since I see many of them struggling with spyware issues, the nice feature of FireFox is the simplicity of the toolbar, however in my opinion it is too simple.. to the point that you are going to end up adding many things. The next thing are the 'plug-ins' that are required to have it function properly. Again, this could be seen as a good feature since you may or may not require certain things and therefore if it isn't installed, then it can't be running, further helping the problems of security issues. But unfortunately it isn't quite that simple, since most people want things to simply work and be able to see everything, it then becomes an issue with the tabbed windows. To this point I still haven't found the option to have it so that when I do open a new tab, that it will open to a web page of my choice. It is for this type of issue that I remain true to my browser of choice, the Avant Browser. Simple is sometimes better and in this case I will agree with that statement! Regardless of what I may say here, I hope you will at least believe me when I say that the Internet Explorer is Bad, Bad, Bad and you should stop using it completely. By doing this, I can almost guarantee you will have less spyware problems, less malware problems and less chance of potential windows disasters, since this remains the worlds number one choice of web browsing mostly due to the simple fact that it comes included with your windows operating system and most people are just too lazy to go and install something else when as far as they are concerned, it gets them to the website and that is what they are after in the first place. That my friend, is the attitude I hope to be able to change with this blog!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Maximize your windows-TIP

I've discovered that many of you are having troubles with windows simply because you aren't reading the entire screen information. This is because when you do click on something and a new window pops up, you attempt to read what is on this new window WITHOUT MAXIMIZING! Do yourself a favour.. a big favour and that would be to click on the MAXIMIZE button and read what information is there for you the way it was intended to be read.

I don't know how many times I see my Mother opening a new window and then trying to read the information and when I tell her to maximize the window, she does and almost immediately knows where to click next. Unfortunately within only a few minutes I see once again, a new window pops open and immediately she is trying to read it, again, without maximizing.

Consider this another TIP to improve your knowledge and efficiency while surfing the web and playing with your windows computer. Many more TIPS from my TIPS page as well.

Blogging from Google Docs & Spreadsheets

As I posted my last blog about GMAIL and how wonderful it is, I notice that I can now also post a new blog directly from the Google Docs & Spreadsheets.. So I thought I would give it a try!

Now about the title-subject line where does that go?


OK well after creating and posting the blog, I see that yes, although in a pinch it will work, it just doesn't quite have what it takes (yet) to make me want to start using that method for posting, especially since Google (Blogger) has already made it so simple. (this was edited and re posted all in one easy step).

Experimenting with Email options

Owning a Gmail account has been a wonderful thing and it seems it is only getting better. What is GMAIL? Google Mail and having it has most definitely increased my productivity. The more I play around with the settings, the more I am finding ways to make my life a little bit easier. Currently I have had a number of email messages go -- somewhere within my Small Business Server (SBS) system which basically uses Microsoft Exchange. Yes although it may be true that no messages have been actually lost, it seems quite apparent though, that they will not surface any time soon. I have therefore been left with a few alternative methods of handling my email when I use multiple computers, from multiple locations and also require immediate access to other files/documents. This is where Google is really starting to shine in my opinion! Now with the ability to use the online documents/forms I have been able to access many useful tools that I have posted to my own account. This includes the google calendar and of course the email. The great part about the email is not only that I can use the P.O.P features, but I can utilize mail forwarding and still have it appear that my email is coming from the appropriate email account.

Unfortunately however, for the first few email messages I have received from some clients, I have responded to but using my 'gmail' account and in the past, quite possibly a 'yahoo' account. I should at this point out that my email address is and always will be mike@tpsconsulting.com one email address always! This is my own domain (tpsconsulting.com) and therefore will always be my email address. It is at this time that I ask you to check your address books and make sure you have removed any and all other email addresses. I say this because as much as I am trying to centralize my email, I want to confirm that when I receive a phone call from someone stating that their email message got returned or that I had never responded to it, that I have something to fall back on and that would be my own fault if my domain should not be working but other then that, there should be no excuse from the Microsoft small business server eating up the email messages. I have had enough of this exchange bull&*^T!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arlene Kynnersley please contact me

With hopes that you manage to get back online and can read this. I got your phone message but deleted it before getting the phone number. I have attempted to email you using what I thought was your Snowbird email address but it came back. Or if anyone happens to know the current email address or snowbird phone number, please contact me.

As much as I try to help my clients remotely, even when they are south of the border, it is rather impossible to do it without an ip address, let alone not having the phone number or email to contact you back. Boy do I feel blind! Hope to hear from you!

Google Reader Rocks!

My verdict is in, Google Reader has become my RSS reader of choice. By far, the ease of scrolling through the entries makes it a time saver if nothing else. And, since I tend to have a subscription list that is continually growing, it is nice to be able to 'star' the ones that I have found to be more relevant to what I am wanting to read. At that point I can easily add them to my favorites or simply move them to an order that makes sense to me. I must admit that I have been giving it a pretty fair trial, right next to the Newsgator online reader that I had been using. For those of you that haven't found RSS in your current computer niche as of yet, give it time but I suggest using Google Reader as your news aggregator as it does seem to be winning the hearts of the true blogging community and when guys like Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, and Chris Pirillo just to name a few, are avid fans, you know you are doing something right when it comes to RSS feeds! Consider this a friendly TIP just like the others you may find of some interest available at my website.

Reading English is hard work!

Currently helping a friend by reading the rough draft proposal of a Ph.D dissertation can take a lot out of you. Reading and reading and reading, looking for any errors, and this because I am a 'native speaker of the English language' that I can be of some help on a paper about Englisht as a second language! Problem is, it makes for tired eyes and as a result my own time helping those in need of some computer assistance remotely must be put on hold for the night. Yes, even though the computer is a machine, I am not! I realize how important health is and working for myself, I must always take those early warning signs (in this case, the inability to keep my eyes open), as time to stop what I am currently doing and get some rest! As with all of my work, I do have to prioritize with the work on my bench which always comes first, and then those computers I will connect to remotely for checking up on things, and doing whatever is necessary to keep the computer performing at its peak performance. I do apologize if that may seem like your computer is not getting the attention it deserves and remind you that I do have service loaners for those that would rather work on a computer that isn't sick, which would then allow me to go full tilt on the repairs on the bench! As I do try and attempt to make most of my remote connections later in the evening, after most have finished using it for the day, it just so happens that I am not always capable of staying up and performing all-nighters all the time! And don't go telling me to get a life either, cause I enjoy the one I have.. helping those that can't help themselves fix their little babies (computers).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Receiving email from one account on more then one computer

It is not that uncommon today to have a home network in your house whereas you are sharing the Internet with your desktop computer and a laptop as well. If you haven't already set it up so that you can receive email from each computer, you can! This is actually a simple click of a few check boxes within the account options (if using outlook express or outlook).. However the key to remember here is to also include the rules of when to delete. Depending on how often you check your mail and just how much mail you receive on a daily basis may have you changing these options, especially if you start receiving notices from your Internet provider that your mailbox is full!

Since there is also so many unwanted emails (spam) that will arrive in your inbox, it isn't a bad idea to log in to the 'webmail' access which almost all Internet providers now provide (for shaw customers it is http://webmail.shaw.ca/) (for telus customers it is http://webmail.telus.net/).. I think you get the idea.

Once you log in to your webmail you are connected directly to the mailbox, which means anything you delete here will be gone! This means when you connect using Outlook/Outlook express it will find nothing. This is a good thing, especially if you have had troubles receiving some or all of your mail. In fact, many people actually find using the web-based email faster and easier since no email is actually being downloaded to your computer (other then any attachments you may decide to save), so for that reason it is actually a lot more safe as you run less chance of downloading a virus.

The key to having this 'multiple email account access' work properly is to make sure you use the same rules on each computer that you plan to receive email from. To walk you through it:

Open outlook express and click on TOOLS then on ACCOUNTS now click to highlight your email account and choose PROPERTIES. Now click on the ADVANCED tab and now place a check mark in the DELIVERY check box "leave a copy on the server". Now directly below this are the rules I was referring to earlier. Here is where you will want to first choose how many days before they are deleted. Note that this timer starts the first time the email account accesses that particular email message so if computer 1 connects on Monday and it is set to 5 days, then on Saturday it would be removed. If you are using this rule, which of course you should be otherwise your inbox on your web server will just fill up, you should probably use the other rule as well, since this works as an 'and/or' statement. If the message is 5 days old "or" it is deleted from the deleted items. This means you may have 20 new messages that computer 1 picks up on Monday. Computer 2 connects on Thursday and will also receive all 20 messages (plus anything new of course). But if computer 2 were to have connected Saturday instead of before that, those messages would be gone. But if computer1 had deleted, say 5 messages from those initial 20, and then computer 2 connected, there would only be 15 messages downloaded.

Now, the final point to get across here is this deleting rule takes place when your email program first connects to the mail server, therefore in order for the mail server to know that you have just deleted those 5 messages, you would have to perform a new 'send/receive' at which point the server recognizes that you have removed those 5 (before the 5 day time frame or whatever you had set for rule number 1),then they would be removed. I think this is the part most people do not realize since they will connect from computer 1, receive the 20 messages and then go and receive them on computer 2 as well. Now, they would delete 5 messages from computer 1 and perform a send/receive but realize they are still on computer 2.. that is because they have been DOWNLOADED to that computer. The only way computer 2 would not get those 5 messages is if it had not yet connected (before computer 1 had deleted and performed a send/receive).

Now for those of you using Outlook, in the advanced options of your email, you have the option to 'perform a send/receive upon exiting' which would solve this problem of forgetting to do the send/receive to remove the mail you just deleted (before computer 2 connected).

Again, this is where using webmail can eliminate this, by simply using the webmail log in on all computers since you can delete it and it is gone, no matter who connects to it.

One final trick that I suggest you use if you do plan on setting up this multi-computer access to your email account, using outlook/outlook express, is to go in to the MAINTENANCE option and turn on the option to EMPTY MAIL FROM DELETED ITEMS WHEN EXITING. This will also help eliminate mail from hanging around that you have been planning on deleting. When I say this is a good thing, I actually have people tell me that they don't want that because they might actually need that mail. This is where I explain that if I delete something, then it goes to the deleted items.. I can still get it back .. SO LONG AS I DON'T CLOSE THE EMAIL PROGRAM! This shouldn't be too much to remember, if you aren't in the habit of doing a glance in your deleted items before you close your program then you obviously don't care what is deleted. For me, I am SURE when I delete that I don't want it.. on the other hand I have been known to 'double click' or drag the file to the wrong place and it ends up going to the deleted items folder, but no problem since I just made the 'oops' I would retrieve it from the deleted items folder. For no unforsaken reason should you be using the deleted items folder as a 'temporary folder'.. CREATE A NEW FOLDER if that is what you are wanting to accomplish! Worst case scenario I say is, hey if you accidentally deleted a friends email they sent to you, you can probably email them back and get them to re-send it.. because every email program also comes equipped with the SENT ITEMS folder which is where all of your mail will go (unless you are playing with the options in which case you may choose not to save a copy but that if you are at that point, then you probably don't need to be reading this tip in the first place).

Be sure to read my TIPS page on the CORRECT WAY TO SEND AND FORWARD email if you haven't already since that one tip alone may eventually save the world from SPAM.. if only everyone that we know would follow that rule we may actually win the war on spam, or at least have a fighting chance!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spyware Scanning--the how and when to run them

I figure it was about time to do a little updating to my TIPS page regarding the act of performing the spyware scans. As you will find, from the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page, you can download and install any of the programs I make mention of. In this case, Spybot Search and Destroy, AVG Antispyware and Ad-Aware. As well, CCleaner and SpywareBlaster which are not spyware scanners but spyware gaurds and removal tools. First of all, on any typical computer I am setting up, I will place these 5 program icons in a row from left to right as "ccleaner", "spyware blaster", spybot s & d, AVG antispyware, and finally Ad-aware. I do this because this is the order in which I suggest you run the programs and note that this entire process will take less then 3 minutes and possibly less then 1 minute, depending on the speed of your computer. Note that this will START the process of scanning but the actual job will take much longer, more like 2 to 3 hours in most cases. This is why I suggest performing this task at the end of your computing day. Personally, on my way to bed I'll start them up. So, to start with CCleaner. This program will scan and remove all the temporary Internet files, cookies and history that we are always so worried about. Quite simply you click on the icon to start the program, then you click on RUN CLEANER button on the bottom right corner. Note the first time you do this you will get a prompt asking if you are sure you want to remove whatever it finds. You can click on the small check box to 'not ask me this in the future'. As well, if there was an updated version available, this will typically remind you when you first start the program. Also note if this does happen, you will be prompted "do you want to get this new version now?" Of course you do want it, but to say yes will take you to their website which you will then be directed to another download site, where you will wait for their sponsorship to kick in before spitting the file at you. You can avoid this by getting the latest version from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page by simply clicking on the file and choosing RUN and it will install over top of the old version. Once the scan is done you are done.. there are two other levels but for the most part that is all you have to do.. If you want to do a more thorough cleaning read on, otherwise skip down to the next program "SPYWAREBLASTER"; The second level of cleaning using CCLeaner is to clean the Applications. Typically this will either find nothing or very few files as this is where it removes any temporary files from other installs such as adobe acrobat reader or java updates. So all you do is click on the APPLICATION tab and then run the CLEANER button again. Finally the last step and this one I would recommend only for ADVANCED USERS: This is cleaning out registry entries that are of no use anymore. To run this you click on the ISSUES button on the left hand menu, then click on the ANALYZE button. This will scan your system and will leave you with some sort of results. Of course no results is perfect but anything else you will want to clean. So clicking on FIX SELECTED ISSUES button will now prompt you if you want to create a backup of your registry in which case you will most definitely want to say YES to this. I suggest creating a 'registry backups' folder within MY DOCUMENTS. Once you have done this, simply save it and it will save as a file name that includes the date and time.. no need to change the file name here. Now you can click on FIX ALL SELECTED ISSUES and say yes to the prompt are "are you sure". Click on Close when you are done. Then run it again by clicking on ANALYZE. Complete the entire step again only this time when you choose to save the file, if you are prompted to overwrite the file, simply add the letter a to the end of the file name (this way you are saving it as a new file name and not overwriting the first registry clean). I suggest running this until you have removed all of the problems. If you find that there are still one or two remaining after a few scans, leave it at that and move on.. it may be something more serious that will hopefully be removed with one of the other program scanners.Now you are ready for SPYWAREBLASTER. (final note on CCLEANER is that there are other tools that you can use however I highly suggest you leave these for your computer technician or get direct instruction as in step by step on removing anything else to prevent deleting system files required to run windows) SPYWARE BLASTER. Clicking on this, you will notice 0 items have been disabled. If you see any number other then 0 here then click on ENABLE ALL PROTECTION button near the bottom. Note the first time you install and run this, you will need to enable all and complete an update. Now click on DOWNLOAD LATEST PROTECTION UPDATES button at the bottom and follow the steps. If there are updates, it will automatically download and end by stating how many new definitions are not protected and by clicking on the blue link line will complete the task. That's it. Note if you forget to click on this link and you go back to the beginning of this program (by either closing it or clicking on STATUS) you will see the number is not 0 in which case you can click on ENABLE ALL PROTECTION. SPYBOT Search & Destroy. Note if you have never run Spybot before, then you will want to go through a setup to make scanning very easy. Do this by using the following settings. Start the program and when prompted about legal issues, click on the check box to not show you this again. Now once the program opens choose the MODE button and change it to ADVANCED. You will be prompted about this but say OK and move on. In advanced mode you can now click on the SETTINGS button and then you will see the SETTINGS in the list and click on this. Now in the body of the program you will see all the settings that can be adjusted. This is where you can select and de-select whatever you choose. Personally I have it set to the following: Advanced mode desktop icon no icon quick launch advanced mode start menu item main settings first item unchecked and the rest checked except 'display confirmation and display compatibility' leaving the rest, move down to AUTOMATION and PROGRAM START Select the first two 'run check on program start' and 'fix all programs on program start' rerun is NOT checked IMMUNIZED on programs is checked DON'T ASK for fixing confirmation is checked. Move down to WEB UPDATE and select the first two only. Now move down to EXPERT SETTINGS (leaving everything in between as is) De-select the first two "use shredders" Select the last two "show expert buttons" and now close the program and click on the spybot icon to start it.. it should now completely do everything from download and install the updates to starting the scan, to removing whatever it finds and finally leaving it at a results log whereas all you will be doing is closing it (or making note if you see the same items that it is removing or having troubles with) One final note on this program. Once you have made these settings changes, if you need to get back in to the settings, simply CANCEL the scan and wait until it completes and now you can click on SETTINGS and make the necessary changes. At this point, you can read my original TIP on using spybot and adaware which may be a little redundant but hey-you have read this much so what's a little more reading right? :-) AVG Antispyware I put in between Spybot S & D and Adaware simply because I am suggesting you start Spybot as this will first go and check for updates and download whatever is available. ONCE SPYBOT S & D HAS STARTED SCANNING you can then start both AVG and AdAware and 'check for updates'.. Note that since Spybot is now scanning your system may be a little sluggish. Once you have updated the definitions (for both AVG and AdAware) you can click on SCANNER and do a full scan. AdAware you can start and click on CHECK FOR UPDATES and perform all updates while AVG is also getting updates. Note Adaware once you click on Start to start the scan, be sure the selection is set to PERFORM FULL SYSTEM SCAN and have BOTH check boxes checked at the bottom "Search for negligible... " and "Search for low-risk" are checked. Now click NEXT and the scan will start. At this point I am usually on my way to bed as everything is scanning and will continue until it is completed.. whenever that is... so when I get back to the computer in the morning I will complete the tasks which will be to remove (delete) any items found. So I know this was a lot of reading, but believe me, if you perform this DAILY, you are almost sure to keep yourself free and clear of the spyware/malware that causes slowdowns and freezing. Happy surfing!

Getting ME connected to YOU-what is involved?

This is directly related to any and all clients that have at one time, had me take a look at their computer:

There are many way in which connection from computer to computer can be made over the Internet and typically I install two methods. What I require however, is your current IP address as we are all on a 'dynamic ip address' which means your Internet provider provides your Internet modem with an address which can change at the servers will.

I have made this VERY SIMPLE to provide for me. From my HOMEPAGE located at http://tpsconsulting.com you click on the link reads "Get your current ip address" This link will then open a new window which will have the number that I require.

Now some of you will simply write this number down on a piece of paper, open a new email message and then type it in--nice idea, but please don't do this. As I am quite dyslexic, it appears that many of you are as well and as a result I get the numbers backwards.

Another way is to copy and paste this number in to a new email message. Although this way is better, it still can be wrong, in the fact that when you copy, you may add too much of the line (and incur spaces where there shouldn't be) as well, not all the information that I may require is provided as you will notice when you do click on the link, besides the ip address is other information such as browser type, time, etc. This can be very useful in helping me determine what may be wrong with your computer.

So, what is the best method, the method that I hope you will all do now after reading this?

When you click on that link and you get that new window, from within your AVANT BROWSER (not using AVANT? Well whatever browser you are using should also have the email icon on the toolbar) this email icon on the toolbar will have a 'send page' option. By choosing this option, it will take the page you are currently viewing and place it in to a new composed email, complete with the subject header and all you have to do is ADDRESS IT TO ME.

Note that this email icon on the toolbar may not be there and if you don't see it, simply RIGHT CLICK on a blank space next to the other icons on the toolbar and choose CUSTOMIZE. This will now allow you to add the EMAIL icon. For those of you not using Outlook Express (as this is typically the default email program of windows), you will have to go in to the AVANT (or other browser) options and change the EMAIL CLIENT option to whatever it is you are using.

For example if you are using Outlook and you are using AVANT as your browser, then you would click on TOOLS then AVANT BROWSER OPTIONS. Now from the menu on the left, click on EMAIL CLIENT and on the right, choose the 'OTHER PROGRAM' check box and now browse to the .exe (executable file)..in the case of outlook it may be found in c:\program files\Microsoft office\office 11\outlook.exe (this is if you are using office 2003) Office 10 is what office XP is so that would be where the outlook.exe file is locate. If this sounds too difficult to find the file, you can always do a search for the file. Again, this is only necessary if you ARE NOT using the Outlook Express email program.

Because I have created this simple method, (yes, believe me once you have tried it you will see just how easy it is) to send me your current ip address. I suggest you start using it each and every time you send me an email regarding some computer related question as in most cases I find it much easier to connect to your computer, take a look at just what it is you are having issues with and either correct it on the fly, or at least be able to respond with a little knowledge of what problems you are having and can then give you some idea as to how I will go about fixing it. As I am strictly dealing with a time management issue here, I have found that by responding to each and every email I receive with a lengthy "try this and go here and do that" sort of answer, may take anywhere from 5 to 35 minutes to compose, then as a result of this lengthy answer (much like this blog entry), people will then have this glazed over look in their eye, realizing that it just looks a little bit too complicated for them to do on their own and respond back to my answer with "could you please take a look at it for me?"... now, as you can see, that is a complete waste of my time when I could have simply connected, fixed the problem(s) and then responded to the email by saying "it's fixed"... I have found that about 70percent of the time, this entire process is done in less then 15 minutes.... best part is for you--you aren't going to get charged for that! Yes, you heard it right... I have basically found that as important as time is money, quality time is by far more important. This is why if I can find a method to fixing not only your problem, but two or three other client problems, all by connecting remotely AT THE SAME TIME, then what is 10 minutes here and there? I have learned that my time spent fixing some problem on a computer must be billed by the actual amount of time spent looking at that particular monitor feed. Therefore if I were to connect and spend 4 hours one evening, updating and cleaning your computer, odds are that I spent no more then 1 full hour of time actually looking at the computer screen connected to your computer since the computer was off running tasks (spyware/virus scanning or updating for example). So why wait until your computer is completely crashed or running like a slug! Contact me on any little problem.. why not, all the people that ask me a question at allexperts.com do and to date I have that total number of questions answered is 1655 ! (all voluntary I might add)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another IE 7 pop-up problem discovered

Okay I promise I won't blog about the problems using Internet Explorer anymore.. after this one... unless it is something of direct consequence to those using it. Once again ZDNET reports yet another problem with IE... are you ready to start using AVANT BROWSER yet? Get it and many other SOFTWARE/SUPPORT related items through my website!

Friday, October 27, 2006

IE 7 bug already-let the fun begin!

For those determined to install IE 7 'just for kicks' may seriously want to hold off. But then I already blogged about this in my previous entry. It appears, courtesy of ZDNet that the spoofing/security problems have already begun!

Internet Explorer 7 is now available-should you care? No!

As anyone that knows me or has read any of my previous blogs about the AVANT BROWSER then you will have no need to care nor wonder what IE7 is all about. Why? Because you can be better off not being another one of those statistics that get struck with every spyware/spam issue known to mankind. Oh okay so maybe I am being a little harsh about this. But seriously, think about the fact that every windows computer system comes with the Internet Explorer already installed so think about just how many people that means have to be 'trained' to NOT use this program! I have started to get many calls and emails regarding the fact that there is a new IE available and wondered if they should be worrying about it... to the point that even their Internet providers are sending out in there newsletters that it is available.

Let me make it perfectly clear.. the fact that everyone is mentioning this is because yes, if you are using the Internet Explorer then yes you will want to upgrade, but NO, by no means should you even worry about it if you aren't using it in the first place. Why? Because when you install this new version it does a number on the windows security, as in many ways, it sets everything back to "windows defaults' where the Internet Explorer becomes the default browser. Yes, of course you are given this option after you install it, just as you are given the option if you want to use the new phising filter which of course you should, but wait a minute, just what is this doing to the rest of the computer? Well folks, that is yet to be determined and as I mentioned initially in this blog.. why not wait and see, since you should be more then happy with the latest changes made in the Avant Browser which already has no issues with these security problems!

As always, you can get the latest version of the Avant Browser from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Flu Bug--Taking No Chances

So it appears as I make my journey from computer to computer, that it is cold and flu season once again. I must say when I found myself feeling a little under the weather today, I decided to take no chances as I see what is going around!

I think about how fortunate I have been with my health and (knock on wood), require no emergency visits to the health clinic, considering just how many computer keyboards and mice that I see in a typical week! As much as I don't find myself being a health nut/clean freak, I have found myself washing down with disinfectant wash more often. That stuff is truly a great invention.. waterless wash.. I keep a bottle in my car, one on my computer desk.. and a mini one in my computer bag (although that has to be removed when flying now unfortunately).

The worst part about being under the weather is your time/schedule, bumping everything on the calender truly sucks! So off I go, to take my vitamin C, drink my chicken soup, pour a hot bath, and slide under the down quilt!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The only way to truly know the speed and performance of your computer

If you really want to know just how fast your computer is capable of performing I highly suggest performing a full reformat/reinstallation. That is of course, if you truly find your system lagging. As much as the anti-spyware programs and cleaner-type programs can help scan and remove many things, as well, performing a 'windows repair' installation can make a difference, but if you truly want to see what speed is, you need to start fresh! Personally I find that if I haven't performed a full reformat/reinstall within a one year period then I know I am due. Typically I am performing a windows repair installation (which essentially replaces the windows system files at which point I then perform all windows updates and patches) at about the 6-8 month mode, but when I find that this just doesn't seem to be cutting it, I'll do the full reformat. As I just did with my server as you may have read from previous blogs, I had no idea just how much of a dog/pig it had become! Wow, what a difference... no if only I can get the exchange server and stuff to function through my router correctly... but that's another topic altogether!

Since performing a full reformat/reinstall means wiping the drive clean, you will have to make sure you have everything backed up. For me, I do it in a number of ways. First, I'll use Norton's Ghost program to do a full drive image backup. I then backup 'my account', in my case, to another drive/partition/networked server and to top it off, I have utilized Carbonite's backup system which is something I would truly suggest any and all to go for... think about it.. for $5 dollars a month, I know each and every file on my system is completely backed up.. If I wanted to, after I had done my drive wipe, I could have simply reinstalled windows and run the restore program and everything would be back just the way it was. Although I didn't do this, it may have made things quick again, however in my opinion that would have simply restored everything exactly how it was, which is fine from a data point of view, but I was after reclaiming speed/performance therefore the data backup was done locally, but regardless I always have Carbonite to fall back on! I don't need an entirely new operating system such as windows vista at this point, not when I figure I have reclaimed about 30% of my performance of my machine! Remember my TIPS on OPTIMIZING may help you out and the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page is full of tweaker tools and anti-removal/cleaner software to download and use!

Monday, October 23, 2006

More server problems?

I got a most disconcerting phone call today from a client with regards to a few email messages they had apparently sent to me that I never received. After reading a previous blog about the spam filter, they decided to call.

Now firstly, I am at a loss as to where their email messages went since I did check this spam filter pretty thoroughly to make sure I was not deleting known email messages, but then again, there were almost 400 emails to get through so my own 'human error' may be at fault, and in this case I am hoping that is what had happened. But regardless, I have decided to make yet another thorough cleaning and scan of my own Small Business Server which houses my normal email accounts and email as it does have a pretty healthy spam filtering system, but fortunately this email that is filtered is not actually lost until I say so and that is where I am still at a loss since this results in still no email messages from said client. Of course it should go without saying that if you don't receive a response in a reasonable amount of time (that could be anywhere from an hour to a few days I would guess, depending on the urgency of the message), but picking up the phone would be my next likely option I would think. I guess what bugs me the most is that I am in the communication business and spend hundreds of dollars a month to the utility companies to provide cellular, phone, and internet coverage and to hear that mail from over a month ago has not been responded to is just not acceptable in my opinion. I do hope this will be solved shortly as I have once again put all other work aside to clean up the problems that have obviously caused a road block in communication.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My "quick" opinion of Windows Vista

I just answered a question on AllExperts.com where I volunteer my services. This person was asking about all the changes and upgrades of software and drivers since the current scan they did recognized many incompatibilities and they wondered if this was normal and what to expect.

My response:

First of all, IF it comes out by January.... yes, you are going to have to perform many software upgrades. I highly suggest NOT doing any change of operating system unless you are ready and willing to deal with many headaches for some time! Even though they have released the beta versions for the general public to try out, I see the biggest problem going to be with the memory itself. This thing is a pig and with less then 1gb of RAM forget about it! Not to mention the many software clients out there that are already scrambling to provide device drivers, etc. Take a look at Windows 64bit edition for example.... now that the processor manufacturers (AMD and Intel) are producing 64 bit cpu's with dual core technology and quad core right around the corner, Microsoft has pretty much ditched their windows x64 for Vista.. as with this, many software vendors STILL have not produced 64 bit device drivers for that, therefore it is quite safe to say those that will be using windows vista will be far and few... I would say the only people to use it will be those buying a new computer with which it will come delivered inside. I think the 'upgrade' rate will be rather slow.. especially since a well maintained windows xp with lots of memory and a fast processor is very fast already, not to mention the software that is currently available, comparable to vista. do yourself a favour, for now, sure go ahead and read up on this new O/S and see just what things you will be looking at having to do.. in my opinion, the best thing you will do is simply go out and buy a new/cheap computer with Vista on it.. since you can already buy a bare bones computer for under $300 (that includes the operating system), doling out $150 or more for a new o/s seems pointless.

Obviously as time draws near to the supposed release of this, I am sure I will be answering many more questions on this topic. Hopefully with the public release and all the technical reports so far, people will NOT be in such a hurry for a change of O/S just because they are currently bored with XP! But I am sure my TIPS page will soon be filled with solutions!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Updated Software Downloads

As there happens to be a new CCleaner version available, you can save yourself a lot of time by getting it directly from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page. Just click on the link and install. This will automatically replace the older version.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spam blocking some email

It appears that my Internet domain host which basically hosts my email as well, has introduced a new spam filter and as I was a little curious why my normal amount of email that I see had seemed to be reduced substantially, I figured I would check the source and sure enough, I had found 215 emails that were NOT spam! This filter has since been turned off and hopefully I will be able to answer all emails that were not getting through. I do apologize if your happened to be one of them. As always I try to be available first and foremost via the web and email since this is by far the best way to be able to get the information across, in the case of sending you links to various websites, etc to help answer or solve a computer question/problem you may have.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Computer Tip-Hard drives never get defraged enough

As much as many techs out there may dislike Norton's products for whatever reasons, the one tool that I still live by is the Utilities. Speed Disk in particular, I have found to be a very useful way of keeping your hard drive alive and well. Personally I do not believe you can have your hard drive defragmented enough and with speed disk, it will optimize it only as much as it needs therefore it is never a problem to run it at the end of each day if you so choose. The built in Disk Defragmenter on the other hand, works in a much different way then speed disk and from my own personal experience, not very well. This doesn't mean however, that you shouldn't do it. On the contrary.. in fact you still should be optimizing your drive by using the built in defragger if you don't have Norton's speed disk. Doing a quick search on this topic kept bringing me to Diskeeper which is yet another program that specifically deals with the fragmentation and in this case, the defragmenting of your hard drive. If you do not feel purchasing software for the simple case of keeping your hard drive 'optimized' then at least use what is already built in to your operating system-- more often then you have been! There will always be debates out there from those that either believe or disbelieve in one product or another, but regardless of which is better, there is no doubt that defragging more often then not is the best medicine!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

All I can ask of you is to ask me first--or at least before you buy!

When it comes time to buy that accessory for your computer, this would probably be a good time shoot me an email as in most cases I will be able to, if nothing else, point you in the right direction and in most cases, will be pointing you to the best product that money can buy. As well, in most cases, the best price. This may be something that I can get through my suppliers even, and save you more, not to mention the installation that goes with it. In many cases your "neighbors kid" may be the person that knows how to do the installation and not that I frown on this, other then that fact that I was not even aware of the potential disaster. Yes, I am referring to when things start to go wrong with that supposed 'simple accessory' you purchased that was supposed to just plug right in! Or in a most recent issue, a new (second) hard drive that was installed by 'a friend'. Problems seemed unapparent--for the first week or so, but then things started to go wrong, as in, the computer wouldn't boot! Now I get the call and find many issues, the simplest being the fact that they had spent too much for too little! Bottom line folks, is when you are in the market for "anything technically related" you should be turning to someone that is technically apt! Hello!

Yes, that would be me... someone (hopefully you call a friend), that can walk you through the steps easily and without the headaches of dealing with all the problems after things don't work the way they should have when you bought it!

The example I am referring to is with regards to that 'second hard drive' .. First of all, if your main drive is running out of room and with high speed Internet and any teenager in the house, there will be a good chance you are a likely candidate for the new 'larger' hard drive! Thing is, you could just purchase a second hard drive and install it yourself as a slave drive to the first one, but odds are, the first one is quite old and is probably a lot slower then the new one you just bought and since your operating system is on the old one, wouldn't it make sense to have it running "as fast as possible"? Yes, what I typically find is when it is time for a new hard drive because yours is getting full, it is best to just remove the old one for the newer, faster and much larger drive. At this point, if you really want to, you can partition the drive in to smaller sections therefore making it appear as though you have more then one hard drive. This can be useful, but I don't really recommend it, other then creating a 'backup partition' where I would be keeping the 'ghost image' of the main system drive. This becomes very useful for ongoing backups. Since windows (xp and vista) can handle very large drive partitions, it is best to actually keep your drive as large as possible. The old theory of placing important data on one drive and your 'movies and music', for example, on a second partition is probably not the best theory anymore. Not to mention the headache in having to remember drive letters and what happens when you do install that second hard drive, creating a nightmare in some cases, if a program like "drive mapper" is not run. This is pretty much the problems I was faced with when I began my diagnosis of this clients computer. In the end, I yanked the old drive, backed up the newer one and cloned the system drive to the newer drive and then restored the data that had already been installed to the new drive.

To note, this entire job would not have been necessary if I had done the job in the first place, as well, the size of the hard drive that was installed could have been twice what was actually installed... but then sometimes I guess, you do get what you pay for! I just wish my ability to get my message across was more successful BEFORE you go out and buy these things.

All I can do at this point is ask you to please remember to ask me first... if for no other reason, I should be able to point you in the right direction and most likely will save you some money or get you a better product then what you would have ended up with! If you haven't been reading this blog regularly, please add it to your favorites (or better yet, subscribe to it--if you understand RSS). Yes, RSS is something that I have been trying to 'teach' my existing clients since 2004 but when dealing with ages 10-95 it sometimes seems the impossible task. As well, my TIPS page and SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page should be of some assistance if you haven't visited them lately for updates.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The New Avant Browser settings

As with any 'new' program, there are typically some settings that you will want to adjust. This is why each and every program has an 'options'. Avant Browser is no different and therefore once you have installed it, or in this case, immediately after you have installed it, it will prompt you to whether or not you want to utilize the online storage (which I highly suggest as this will then keep your settings for each and every new version of browser that comes out). Initially however, you will have to set up the online account therefore you will need to click on that appropriate button and choose your email address then password and confirm it. Once you have done this. Close the browser completely and then restart it and enter your user information. Note the check box that displays "auto log in" which you should select as you are at your own computer. Once this is done your settings will be saved and you can then utilize the auto fill features whereas you save your password information and it can then be automatically retrieved. Is this safe? Of course, because you are logging in using a user name and password just like you would using your email online or any other web-based program that requires a user name and password, which you can of course change whenever you want!

The next big question I have seen is why the 'links' or in this case 'bookmarks' are not working. Well this would be because you are not using the Internet Explorer bookmarks, but can by once again going to the AVANT BROWSER OPTIONS and from the MISCELLANEOUS section, at the bottom of the list, make sure you check the 'USE IE FAVORITES AS BOOKMARKS".

A few other areas that I have found should be tweaked in the options are the 'exiting' features. Since you will want to be able to click on the big X in the top right corner to close your browser completely, unless you have this set up as the case, it will most likely simply minimize to the system tray where you will still see the Avnat Browser "A" icon. This feature is found in the EXITING options, where I suggest changing this to 'exit avant browser immediately' and turn off (de-select) the option for confirmation before exiting.

I also highly suggest going through each one of the available settings from with the TOOLS/Avant Browser options as you will find many useful options to enhance the way you use your browser while surfing the web.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Advantages of NOT using Internet Explorer

I have had a few people recently ask me why they should "switch" to Avant Browser and not continue just using the Internet Explorer. Since there are nothing but choices out there for each individual to use many different web browsers or for that matter, they can use more then one at a time if necessary. It means the answer should be more like why SHOULDN'T you use Avant Browser--since it is quite apparent by all the news on 'vulnerabilities' within the INTERNET EXPLORER

If you wish to learn more about the new features of the Avant Browser, you can from this link which you will quickly learn just how 'on top of it' these people are in fixing small issues, especially since the latest version 11 release. Unlike the Internet Explorer which will typically wait for the weekly windows updates that may be available, unless they deemed this problem to be severe in which case it will be placed as a 'critical update' and will begin the download/installation to your computer immediately upon recognizing your automatic update features. Now since Avant Browser is not a Microsoft product, it will not have this automatic feature but it does have the ability to notify you that there is a newer version available, but as I have found, this doesn't always notify you of the absolute latest version (I was using 11 build 8 and when I checked by clicking on the 'check for new version' , I was told there was a new version 'build 11' in which I immediately clicked YES that I wanted it and within 30 seconds, was up to date).. yes, it is that simple and well worth it as you can see the many updated and new features that this browser has for you. If you want to keep things simple you can, but I highly suggest checking the OPTIONS of this browser and then setting it up to your liking. The latest capabilities of saving your data online I find to be a wonderful feature as I am working at many different computers whereas I can simply log in and viola--all my bookmarks and settings are there!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Avant Browser Update Available

As I had recently reported that there was a new version of the Avant Browser (version 11) available, typically there will be many 'updates' to this. Currently as I write this, we are at version 11.8 therefore if you want to stay current, it doesn't take anything more then to click on the HELP and then CHECK FOR NEW VERSION at which point you will be prompted that there is or isn't one available. If there is, by clicking Yes, it will go and retrieve it for you where you will simply click on the install and it will update your current version. When I reported about this earlier, I noted that if you were using version 10.x then you should go to the add/remove programs from the control panel and remove it before installing the new version (which you can always get from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT site here). Once you have completed the update from version 10.x to 11.x you will want to go through the AVANT BROWSER OPTIONS and set these to your liking. Note that version updates from this point will not change your settings in the options but when the change from ver 10 to 11, you would have to go and re-set things the way you want.

This is not uncommon to any program where a 'major update' takes place. A major update is any time the version number changes (10 to 11 for example), but any 'new build' as in version 11.3 to 11.4 should not cause for major option changes.

Should you upgrade each and every time is a new build available? Yes, when it comes to your web surfing program, you should always stay current to prevent possible security attacks and problems that cause spyware and malware to infect your system.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

WGA still got you down?

As this little problem doesn't appear to be going away any time soon, I couldn't resist passing on yet one more report on this WGA issue, since this is not the first time I have discussed this.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Remote Baby!

For the next two weeks, anyone wishing to utilize in my services will have to depend on the remote capabilities that are now built in to your computer! I have decided it is time to put the tweaker down and walk away from the bench.. more like RUN away! Yes, as of Tuesday I will be heading down the highway (I-5) to points beyond with no real destination. The drive is something I truly enjoy as it gets my mind occupied on other things besides computers! Many think I am crazy to take the time to sit in a car and drive, but not for me. Not with all the electronic gadgets that I usually have with me such as dual gps systems (one for keeping me in the right direction) while the other is mapping out the geocache sites that I may stop at. I then turn to my pocket pc for information on that geocache. My laptop is usually tracking my journey using MS Streets therefore I can always know where I am and where I want to be. I am never too far out of range as with any real problems I can always shuttle a service loaner over to you so no worries matey....I am never that far from cellular range (sometimes I wish that wasn't the case but unless I go in to the deep woods of the USA, there is typically some sort of cellular coverage)!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

New Avant Browser available

There have been some substantial changes in the new Avant Browser including the ability to save your favorites and password information to a secure online server which allows you the ability to fill in forms, passwords and handle your favorites no matter what computer you are at! Version 11.x (I believe build 5 as I write this) which is always available through my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page link here or if you are using AvantBrowser currently, simply click on the HELP and then CHECK FOR NEW VERSION. Note that this will then take you to their download page where I suggest using the Alternate download site as this is direct from Avant and you will not be shuffled off to their sponsor site, which I have found quite confusing since the download starts only after you click on DOWNLOAD NOW, that is, if you click on the correct page! Unfortunately with many sponsored websites, there are many flashing banners and other links that make it sometimes confusing to know you are getting the correct file. This is the main reason I have made it always simple to get this and many other software files through my website directly.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Data Backup has become very important

Now that we are using digital cameras and taking a lot more pictures then we used to since cost is not an issue and all you need to do is plug it in to your computer and viola, you have an instant screen saver or the ability to email or print the pictures yourself. What we must realize however, is that this data is still very susceptible to errors such as a catastrophic hard drive crash, or even worse, you have a house fire and lose your computer. Think about it for a minute. If you did have such a fire, your normal photographs would be gone. This is probably one of the only things that you can't replace through insurance. Now that we are using our computers to house these photographs, extra care must be taken to make sure you have them safe and sound.

This can be done rather simply now with DVD Burners creating backups of our data at 4.7 gb per disc (or over 8gb on a dual layer dvd). This is just one of the services that I do provide to any and all computers that hit my work bench as I will typically not only create a backup 'image' of the entire hard drive, but will back that up to DVDs so that you have a copy that you can place in a safe deposit box (or even at a friends home since you don't want to just leave those disks lying around your home--in the case of that house fire!). Don't be shy, feel free to contact me on this or any other technical matter!

If you aren't already taking advantage of your cd/dvd burner and backing up your important data, such as "my documents", which if you are doing this, will also include the "my pictures" and "my music" folders... something windows has thought of and does well. So the old saying to "not keep all your eggs in one basket" in this instance does not apply since having 'my documents' actually housing your most important data makes creating backup cd/dvds that much easier. The key is what you do with that backup after you have created it!

As for online storage and backup, I highly suggest anyone that is in to photography to take advantage of the webshots online program. For about $25 per year you can feel confident in knowing your pictures are safe in cyberspace, not to mention the ease of viewing for you and for those that you offer permission to (public or private folders can be created).

Complete and constant data backup is now a reality with high speed Internet and Carbonite backup. At $5 per month, isn't it worth some piece of mind? I currently have it running on my server and my laptop and feel quite comfortable knowing I will always have access to those so-called "lost files". If you are interested in either of these, be sure to click on the links provided here as the prestige of signing on through me makes me rich (not really.. about $2 per sign up I believe).

Friday, September 15, 2006

It appears IE is still having many security issues

Not that any of those reading my blog actually still use Internet Explorer (or do you?), it appears by this ZDNet article that more security problems are on their way. Just one more reason to (continue) to use Avant Browser which you can always download directly through my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page as well as many other useful security and system tweaking programs.

Got a comment or suggestion? You can always contact me through my website directly!

Catch-up time! Server is working--sort of

I managed to get my SBS server up and running, somewhat okay. At least enough to finally retrieve email and my documents normally. However it does appear that there is more to it then that. Technically speaking, the DHCP server service is not started and will stop if I manually start it and it appears this is due to my Cisco RV082 router which is acting as the DHCP server for the network. Other then making everything a manual ip address I am pretty much at a loss as I simply haven't got the time to pick away at it with my services being required elsewhere. As much as I like a challenge, this is one that has been going on too long and even after performing a server 'repair install' it appears that I will be starting from scratch. That is, when I decide that the time is right to pull the plug as there never seems to be a good time to do this, I have been working on a redundancy plan of action on my bench to help with the server down time... wish me luck! It appears this weekend and probably well in to next week I'll have my hands full with my own computer issues. I am also taking this opportunity to tweak my bench which should also help streamline things in the future.

Now that it appears Autumn is knocking on the door (yesterday was my first day without wearing shorts since May), I am hopeful that my services will be even more efficient in the future...again, wish me luck!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Server issues (once again) causing slow-downs

I have pretty much had enough of not being able to connect to my server (where it holds my email, documents, etc) and having to connect directly to it to answer a simple email is crazy. Therefore I started the process of backing it up and starting from scratch. Since it has been almost two full years with virtually no real maintenance other then fixing the odd connection problems due to my router not connecting I would have to say it was time, however, I just can't seem to justify the time spent on it whereas I must stop all other activities to concentrate on this one task... this is something I am just not accustomed to since multi-tasking is something you just have to do when dealing with computer and their problems. In any case if you find your email has not been answered, please be a little patient as I haven't lost the email, it just isn't available until the server is back up and running which I hope will be by the end of the day (Monday Sept 11).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's Technology not just Computers

It seems like I am once again having to sell myself with regards to what I do. I am a consultant of technology, not just computers. For pretty much my entire life I have had an interest in anything new, with flashing lights, that require you plug in keys or push buttons (when I was very small I had loved playing with keys). For those that know me best, they will turn to me when they are thinking of making a purchase of a new microwave (since they realize there is a digital clock and many buttons and programs that they may or may not be able to figure out). Refrigerators now come with processors built in as well as LCD monitors on the door so why wouldn't you turn to someone that has more knowledge about this sort of thing? I do it all the time as I will always be the first to admit when I don't know about something. That is probably the one thing that I love most about my job is discovering the answers to technical problems! If I don't have the answer, I can typically find it for you or point you in the direction of someone that does know the answer.

I guess I am saying this because most recently, I have come in contact with existing clients that have simply gone out and purchased a new TV, or as I mentioned, a new microwave in which they were quite frustrated in the fact that to simply boil water required opening up the directions to figure out how to set the power. Consumers magazines have been publishing for years with results of testing different products and directly comparing them. Now with the use of the Internet, you can find out many things for yourself. Just ask any sales person that has been selling before there was something called the Internet and they will tell you just how much more educated the general public are when they come in to buy that new product! The fact that we live in a society full of technical products and issues that require knowledge of technical things doesn't mean you have to go back to school, simply put, ask! I blog here so that I can hopefully share answers to others questions to the masses as well, it allows me the ability to have a constantly stocked library of responses that I have made in the past that I can recall for whomever asks.

So the next time you are thinking about upgrading your television, stereo system, microwave or robotic toy for your child I hope you will think of me BEFORE you are disappointed with your purchase! My TIPS page has many common computer problems found on it, but the answers to the thousands of questions I have answered through allexperts.com can be recalled--no problem, just ask by contacting me directly!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Time for new ink for your printer, or maybe just a new printer?

I have blogged about this before, the fat that it is actually cheaper to just buy a new ink jet then to get the new ink cartridges, but now it appears it may be time to take that plunge and purchase a colour laser printer!

Yes, this is what I decided to do once my inkjet all-in-one stopped printing. Even though I still have a full set of cartridges, which will never get used I guess, since they stopped making that printer type and the fact that I opened them in hopes that all it was, was a dried up print cartridge. Not the case, and so I have basically wasted money...something nobody likes to do. For that reason alone, it is probably not your best idea to purchase ink from places such as Costco where you get two colour cartridges (or in my case 2 sets of magenta, cyan, and yellow). Unless you do go through a lot of ink or you know the printer is going to last. Quite simply, it is cheaper to just buy a new printer. As well, you won't just be getting a printer, but a copier and scanner as well as a multi-card reader!

But what about colour laser printers? Currently you can get an HP at Staples I notice, for under $300 however I have heard a few bad things about this one, not to mention it is HP and personally I stay away from HP printers since they started making the multi-function devices. I have found there are just too many printer driver issues to deal with that you are better off with an Epson. I have always been an Epson person but not so with laser printers.
I bought a Brother B/W laser over two years ago and I am now getting the toner refill notice. I paid $129 with a $40 rebate back then and thought I was stealing it, however that same unit sells for $89 now so things haven't changed that much with the B/W Laser printers. Thing is, the colour ones are dropping (finally).

Personally I opted for the Samsung 510 which is not on sale locally where I live but they do have the next model(at Staples as I noted the first place I looked since Staples is pretty much in every small town). London Drugs will usually follow suit and match any sale price, as will Future Shop.

Check them out though, for less then $400 and knowing you won't be replacing the ink as often, you will end up with a much better cost per page! If you are an existing client of mine, contact me for some deals that I might be able to swing your way!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Updates to Google Earth

They have had the beta version 4 out for a while but to stay current.
Google Earth download link is where you will want to go in order to stay current with this.
Since most of the computers I see either have google earth on it, be sure to stay current as this will eliminate the many questions I get as to "my computer is not working", when in fact it is the program that isn't working correctly.

As with many programs, when you have it running, click on the HELP which is usually found at the top of the window. Within this HELP menu, quite often you will find "check for new versions" or "check for updates". If this isn't there, then there will usually be a link to the product home page where you can find out about any updates or newer versions.

My horoscope for the day-like I needed this!

When as irresistible force meets an immovable object, a lot of stimulating friction can be the result. Welcome a little conflict into your life. Frankly, too much peace and quiet will just bore you to tears.

And so what do I find when I wake up this morning? My server has decided to stop communicating with the rest of the network and it has swallowed up all of my email! Add to that, I appear to have been struck with a flu bug that a client I saw the other day was mentioning she had. I won't mention (her) name, but when they say everything happens for a reason, I guess this is a good a day as any to not go anywhere and deal with Server issues!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What to do when your antivirus catches something in the email

It is getting to be quite common for your antivirus program to catch things while scanning incoming email. Quite often you will end up with a warning that 'suspicious script' or a 'url' has been detected. As I have just received this question from a client, I figured it was something all should be aware of what actions you can take, which essentially as part of my service to you, is to provide you with solutions. This is the response I sent to this particular client in which case this may apply to you as well:


First of all when your antivirus catches something, it is usually true, in which case it will most likely 'place a cookie' at the least, if you were to open it. This cookie would be a tracking cookie meaning it will probably start sending you spam (junk mail) therefore you should take the error message seriously. Now, you mention that it is on a topic you are interested in, and that is typically why the tracking cookie or worse, the message was fine initially but your daughters computer has somehow been infected by possibly the same tracking cookie and has attached it to the file. If you get a message like this, instead of opening it, you should if you are unsure as you have done in notifying me, you could FORWARD AS AN ATTACHMENT (to me-if you wish for me to see if it is actually safe to open). Now the trick here is that you don't' want to open the message in order to forward it to me, therefore you need to RIGHT CLICK on the message and from the pop up menu, choose FORWARD AS AN ATTACHMENT . This will then open a new email and add the suspicious email to this new message as an attachment, which you can then address (to me if you wanted me to examine it) and I will see just what it is. If nothing else quite possibly remove the active script (tracking cookie) and send it back clean to you.

This is a warning from your antivirus and in a lot of cases, it may appear more serious then it is. On the other hand, one of the most asked questions I have had lately is "I seem to be getting a lot more junk mail then usual, why is this?".. and that my friend, is why you are getting more junk mail... due to that sort of email message .

I am not saying that is what this issue is but typically that is what I have found.

One final thing to remember, is that it is from someone you know and the fact that you got a suspicious message means you could simply do nothing at first. Open a new email message back to that person stating that the last message had some sort of suspicious script that you didn't want to open and simply get them to resend the file in a new email message, but first, get them to simply send a normal email to you that way you can see if it is to do with the attachment they were trying to send or if it is all the messages from that person. If you find the new email has the same problem then for sure, I would be notifying the person that was sending you the mail which is now showing up with viruses that they are the one that has problems. Also remember that it is only email and just how important can that message be if it has viruses? Obviously there are other ways of communicating and one way would be to direct you to the specific web page that may represent what the email message was about. They can send you a url link for example such as
http://tpsconsulting.com that is a link in which you can click on and it would take you to that particular page, instead of including the web page in the email message which was causing the action from your antivirus. If you would rather not send me the email message (forwarded as an attachment), please send along your current ip address of your computer and I will connect and take a look, but you have done the right thing so far by not opening it.


As always, my websites TIPS page has many other such tips including the CORRECT WAY TO SEND AND FORWARD MAIL TO MULTIPLE PERSONS.