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!

Wednesday, December 20, 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 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.

Monday, December 11, 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.

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.

Wednesday, December 06, 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.