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!

Monday, October 23, 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!

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 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!

Wednesday, October 11, 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.