Friday, June 30, 2006

Once again time seems to be (not) on my side

When it comes to listening at Gnomedex, to all the ideas that come to mind while I do, it seems I need to try to find a time management device (or person) to allow me the freedom to explore some of these ideas. At this point I will not mention my ideas, since I will hopefully put some of these ideas in to some form of notes that one may find interest in reading. As I listen at Gnomedex to all of the speakers and the suggestions they make to all of us (gnomedexers at the conference), it seems like these people have more time then I do, to go forward and create. As much as I have so many ideas, it seems that time becomes my biggest enemy since the first thing that has to happen is to put food on the table. The concept of blogging and advertising and advertising in general, on the internet and on your personal websites, to make money, maybe not enough to make your own living, but enough to give you the freedom to have a hobby that may actually become the way we do things in the future.

I know right now, when it comes to blogging, it seems there is a following but only once your blog gets known by those that stumble across it in one way or another. On this blog, I created it to be an information portal for me to keep my existing clients up to date on the news that deals with computing and technology, and I guess, what I am doing with regards to all of this. Currently listening to Susan Mernit speak about personal blogging and the sexual issues.. It certainly makes you realize just how great the internet can be, by allowing an open channel for anyone to speak their minds...

So for me, I hope to find more time to create some sort of framework of what I would like to accomplish with what I am currently doing with the technology I use and how I could be using it to further benefit more and more people. For now, my website and this blog appear to be the method of communicating to those that want to know what I might be thinking. Now to link my thoughts with others that have similar thoughts and/or a means to adding to the end result which hopefully is to have a more clear path to what everyone wants out of the technology they have available to them. One thing I see at this conference when speaking to different people is a common goal of creating some sort of tool to help everyone communicate better and yet that actual goal seems to be no closer then it was last year. One comment I read about Gnomedex was "what's the point in gnomedex?, it seems like a place for bloggers and nothing more". True, the word blog is everywhere, and it has been since I heard about it at my first Gnomedex (#3) where blogging was very new and even then I didn't start one until the following Gnomedex #4 when I recognized I was one of the last remaining people in the room that didn't have a blog. Does this mean everyone should have a blog? Yes, I truly believe that everyone should have a blog, whether you actually write a lot on it would be completely up to you, but if nothing else, it would give you the ability to go back and search for whatever it is you happened to be commenting about, years later. As well, it would allow those that know you and possibly care about you, just what you happened to be feeling at that time. By simply creating a profile helps too.

Closer to me, personally dealing with my Niece who has a daughter born with, virtually unknown problems,.. this has been going on for some time, and of course the family all want to know what is going on. It was truly amazing to see them create a blog which would allow those that were wanting to know, just how things are going, whenever they want. To me, this is an example of just how powerful a very simple thing such as a blog can be in the tools of communicating.

Bandwidth Sucks at Gnomedex

It appears that having a room full of geeks still can't solve the problem with providing speed on the internet. Ironically we are talking about Net Neutrality and yet the two T-1 lines we are supposedly dealing with here at the conference center won't allow me to surf to a website without waiting close to a minute per page refresh.. what gives?

So, when I say it Sucks at Gnomedex, I mean that literally as well... obviously having a room full of geeks with computers and even knowing you are going to have this problem (same venue as last year), nothing seems to have been addressed. Maybe it has, but obviously not enough, since I know I didn't have this much troubles last year.

Gnomedex Begins

For the next few days I hope to have many links to such sites regarding the views and comments that I learn about while sitting through Gnomedex.
If you happen to be reading this now while the conference is going on, you can listen in on the live audio stream.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm off to Gnomedex

I'll be in Seattle as of Thursday for Gnomedex, the one conference that I truly look forward to each year. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Microsoft's Kill Switch? Certainly is getting blogged about.

It appears this has become a very hot topic in the tech community.

When is it a good time to update manually or is automatic still okay?

This my friends is the very question to what ends up being controversial unfortunately, thanks in part to Microsoft themselves. You see, it all starts when you place a lock on something; people are curious and want to try and break in--get past the lock. If it weren't locked in the first place, then the curiosity tends to go away. This is only one theory of course, and one that I have found to be more true as internet security becomes even more of a concern. Where do I stand on this question? When you are dealing with hundreds of clients as I do on a day to day basis, I would like it if I could set all the computers that I manage to 'automatic' however, this is where Norton/Symantec and Microsoft got us all in to hot water with the one security fighting the other. Now within Microsoft's own supposed WGA (windows genuine notification) which keeps all things 'legal' has become its own worst nightmare when it comes to the usage of such programs as the Microsoft Defender.

I generally like to have the windows operating system get all the available updates automatically and have found this to be the best policy, since after all, it is the operating system and it should be the most important thing to worry about--not the spyware and antivirus issues, they come a close second and third. Obviously you need to have antivirus protection just as you should be running routine (if not daily then at least every other day) scans of the spyware issues (using such programs as Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy) which you can always get the latest copy of from the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page. The programs like Adobe Acrobat reader, on the other hand, doesn't require 'automatic' updates but because we will quite often choose the 'typical' installation, the automatic update feature is installed as well, the windows start folder will now gain an adobe quick start file which is not required as well. Thing is, because the automatic feature is on, even though you may remove this from the windows start folder once, it will be placed back in there the next time an update happens. When does this update occur? When you start the adobe reader. Therefore you should be aware that you can turn off these automatic update notification features from within the programs options (which I would typically be doing if I was to tweak your computer), This is because I feel this sort of program is fine so long as you can read the .pdf file-who cares if you are not completely up to date. As for any security risk that may happen because you haven't got the latest adobe acrobat reader, I highly doubt this to be a problem, at least for now. Maybe if a certain virus or other spyware alert is released regarding a flaw in the adobe security then it might be time to update, either that or when you are actually having troubles with the program (freezing or not closing properly for example), this would be a good time to open the program, click on the HELP and then CHECK FOR UPDATES. (note that this is where most software programs will have a link to check for any updates available. If not, there may be a link to the software makers website where you can then check what is available. Using the rule "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies to this sort of program. So if you use the theory that the automatic windows updates is a good thing, also realize that windows messenger (msn messenger, yahoo messenger, skype, AOL, etc) will also have some sort of built in updates (note that the msn messenger will happen as part of the microsoft updates if a critical alert is issued), but because these are meseenger programs, programs that are set up to run when windows starts (something that I also recommend turning off in the options for those on a dedicated internet line), it is one thing to use the messenger program but it should not simply start when you restart windows. You should still be able to have the option to log in to the internet using that program if you so choose, just as I also suggest you log off when you are done using the computer for the day. If you read my OPTIMIZING TIP then you will see that I recommend leaving your computer turned on all the time, but set up all your maintenance tasks to happen throughout the night/day, depending on when your computer will be idle for the longest period of time in the 24 hour span. Also realize that after said update has been completed, if you have already changed the 'automatic' status to manual updating, but have just completed an update, you will want to check the settings again since a typical messenger will automatically reset itself to "start with windows start up". Following the OPTIMIZING tip should be checked routinely, especially if you notice your computer taking longer to restart.

I also make it a point to do two full virus scans a week, the spyware scans run daily and any other program updates are done only when security issues are released or if the program stops functioning correctly. That is always a good time to check to see if there is an update for that program available.

Best thing you can do if you are unsure, is ASK SOMEONE THAT KNOWS THE ANSWER, since going ahead with any update from a window that pops up on your screen may end up saving you a lot of time (and money) by not installing something that appears to be legitimate simply because it looks like a 'windows' window.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Communication is the key so why am I not blogging about it?

Okay so I have been quite bad in the fact that I haven't posted anything since I was in Chicago and that was a few weeks ago now! So what have I been doing besides trying to catch up? Actually I have been trying to catch up, always it seems, and once again time management skills are needed, that, and the ability to forecast how long it will take to fix the computer problem that hasn't yet occurred. It seems sometimes it is best if you can work on that preventative maintenance to provide just the right amount of time to be ready for when tragedy occurs, and for some reason you know it will happen sooner or later!

It seems as I continue my servicing and return of the computers to their rightful owners, explaining security issues and the likes as I am in the process of reconnecting things, many questions are asked and I have found myself saying "yes, I should blog about that and explain it in greater details", as I find many questions are asked that are very much related in one way or another to something some other client has asked. Most of the time it all begins with the ROUTINE maintenance which should be happening DAILY! Yes, DAILY! I don't know how many times I have gone through that spiel and get cut off as I am stating the daily part, and am questioned, "daily, oh I have been doing mine every other week is that not good enough?"... Well lets see, I am here fixing spyware issues and one of the main reasons of the spyware is because the spyware scanners/cleaners are not being used... So yes, if you aren't sure, run the check again, and if you have a question, just ask... It seems like if I don't email myself some of these questions, a blog will not happen regarding these issues. My time management is dependent on my synchronizing the pocket pc with my home server and therefore the emailing of tasks becomes very important, but then that is like someone that works at a desk all day will use yellow stickies and stick them all over the place where they work.. no difference really.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Segway Tours

While in Chicago, I had to take advantage of the latest technology in travel... The Segway
It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anyone visiting Chicago or for that matter, any major city that boasts this sort of tour.
The only thing I wish I would have done is to have made this tour at or near the beginning of my time here since you learn so much about things to do and places to go. Now if only the price of these things would become more reasonable so that we can all own one!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Worried about losing files and want a simple backup sollution?

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Carbonite works wonderfully and best of all it's only $5/month regardless of how much data you are saving!

New CCleaner available

If you have not run CCleaner for some time, then now would be a good time to do so. When you do, you probably should be notified of an update available and the prompt to go and download it. I highly suggest getting this file from my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page as with any new updates when it comes to the spyware scanner/cleaner programs as I do make an effort to keep these up to date, it makes it like one stop updating and no worries of wondering if you have downloaded and installed the correct file as with many websites promoting certain programs to help deal with the spam and spyware issues, there are a lot of links to sites that will only have you installing the wrong programs and the results could be quite disturbing.... from installing actual spyware programs to being sent to pornographic websites! Having a trustworthy website is important, one where you can count on not being tricked in to installing something altogether different from what you were intending to install.