Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year

Originally uploaded by mdacre
In every attempt to be politically correct in what to say at this time of year...

Wishing you and yours all the best!

From me and Bud!

(about the picture)
When is the last time you felt the wind upon your face? It's time to enjoy some of life's simple pleasures!

Remember I am a key click away if you require any technical assistance!

Most of all, Thank-you!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Signs everywhere, you just need to know which ones you read are important.

No matter what we are doing through our normal day to day routines, we are always 'deciding' on something. You prioritize everything by examining what you did at the end of the day and compare it to what you set out to do.

With spyware/malware issues on your computer, it isn't necessarily how often you run the scans, it is sometimes where you have been that leads to all sorts of problems, but with 'automatic' anything on your computer, this means, without you actually starting the task yourself, you are unaware if everything is going to work as it is supposed to. So in software programs you will have indicators and prompts stating the obvious "you are out of date and should update" with a button you press to start the update.  Depending on the software, it will then either automatically install, or allow you to complete the process. Again, depending on the automatic settings built in to the program. The most recent release of Ad Aware takes advantage of a 'service' which is basically a program that runs in the background that will monitor such things as updates that are available and automatically download and install to your computer. This means it is always listening to the internet and catches only what it is supposed to. But if this should get 'hacked' by some other malicious software script, then it could do more damage then good. Therefore when you do start Ad Aware and choose to update, you may get an error but that may also be because the website (server) is busy with too many other people also getting updates or simply automatically updating. Remember this is a free service with the ability to purchase the professional version and if you do, this 'service' that is running on your computer, you actually are paying for in more ways then one!   So is it safer to have this service running and protecting, essentially slowing down your computer, all-be-it a small amount, but this could become a source of problems, should attempts to update be blocked and when you get errors, once or twice, (I typically suggest noting the time of day you are performing the update as it may reflect to busier times of updating?? you never know... but it could also some form of malware attempting to hide itself on your system by eliminating or blocking a service that is supposed to be running either 'all the time' or when prompted in the case of the updating of definitions.  

In short, what should you do if you get an error when trying to update Ad Aware.  Click cancel and, if you still want to perform a scan, continue on, but note you are doing a scan on older definitions, not that it can't help, but then that will be determined on just how old the definitions are and how long it has been since the last scan.  Try again later, but if it persists (which I would say is for over a week or 7-10 times of attempting to update at various times of the day.  Since this is not the only line of defense, it should not necessarily be a very high priority in the maintenance and cleaning and optimizing of your computer, but should be a simple note to watch. And, if you are an existing client of mine, you would be probably emailing me with the comments that it has been about a week without success, as this, in my opinion, would deem the need to have your computer checked over/scanned by a technician or someone that knows what to look for when it comes to malware and other nasties.

Since Ad Aware is only one of a number of anti-spyware programs I recommend running on a daily basis, it is good to keep track of this sort of maintenance unless you are paying for someone to do it for you and this is something more and more people are finding they are doing as they use their computer more and more as a tool in your every day and every minute of the day lifestyle. 

Friday, December 21, 2007

Windows XP SP3 Beta Released

Windows XP SP3 (service pack) Beta Release Candidate has been released publicly and available here.

Note this is still BETA so if you not sure, then don't install it however I have been using SP3 (previous beta) and only notice nothing but good things and an improvement in performance by 10% (minimum).

Friday, December 14, 2007


With digital cameras getting more hi-res and storage cards getting so cheap, it is easy to snap off 100 shots and transferring 2gb or more at a time.  It makes the internet a perfect place to store while showing off your work. There are many choices to choose from and photography bay does a great job of presenting a fewFlickr is my current pro-storage site of choice.

The Death of the Pay Phone-Valuable Property Space

It seems to me with the death of the pay phone, which will be happening in the US by the end of 2008, doesn't have to be the death of communication at that point. The wiring is already in place and the real-estate is still the property of the phone company, it would seem logical that a wireless hotspot "access point" be created. Currently with "unlimited national hotspot" wireless costing about $25/month, this rate could drop substantially if it were to be accessed by more people as well.

Searching-for people-online

When it comes to online searching Google is probably king these days, but when you want to get in to more in depth searching, especially for a person, you might want to read this link from lifehacker to get some more ideas.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Missing TV shows and sharing

In general, I am not a strong advocate of file sharing and not because of legality issues, although I do have an opinion on this as well, I do find myself turning to places like Youtube to watch snippets of various news articles that have been reported on by the professional broadcasters such as CNN and the other networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, CBC, CTV, GLOBAL, BBC, I could go on but I believe you get the idea.. for that matter, the fact that these are now broadcasting their own streams in many case, direct from their own website, whether I choose to record it to watch on my computer at a later time should be my choice. Now, the fact that I forgot to record or even knew that it was playing means I should be able to turn to tv listings and plan a scheduled recording and now we have PVR's for that (TIVO for those of you in the know). So the fact that your computer is online the internet through a high-speed connection and is on all the time, means you should be able to share with those that you choose, such as family and friends. This is an 'opt-in' situation however, as you would be setting up the connection between the two computers.  Along comes some program that allows you to search the internet for the tv program and what I will just call 'bit torrent" as there are many other means to connect computers, this appears to have been the most accurate way to send large batches of files through the internet, but even this causes problems for network administrators such as your Telco/Broadband provider) as they obviously want to give the best of bandwidth and speed to those that are paying the most for it because that is how they stay in business, the more we saw the times when you could place an antennae on your roof of your home and pick up distant television signals that were being broadcast, you can now walk down your street and pick up numerous internet signals that are most likely secure, but not always and you may find a hotspot in which you can quickly check your email, or quite possibly send one. But what if someone were to park outside your home and start to download large sized files and ultimately steal your signal strength then you would be upset about this, but what about the times when you are not at your computer and you are not using that bandwidth?  I turn to a 'bit torrent' styled program such as U-Torrent to retrieve that missing tv program. Is this wrong?  So I am over at your home and I am telling you about my problem of not recording last weeks episode of Survivor and you say to be, " no problem, I have it right here" and proceed to  hand me the DVD that from your DVD recorder.. is that allowed?  What is the difference?  Well some would say it is the way in which you received the file and others would say there is nothing wrong.  So lets make a law and you have enough people with claims of why it should be a law and it either becomes one or gets tossed out for being crazy thinking.   

So as I try to stay on top of the tech news, I find more and more 'issues' that could all be considered so controversial.  Programs pop up and get promoted as the next great thing and "Web 2.0" applications and websites start coming on to the scene.  Sites like Facebook which show a very steady growth in 'subscribers' and yet still less then what MySpace has, yet everyone I talk to says MySpace is dead. Now with the recent outbreak of privacy issues with Facebook and Beacon and the entire advertising gimmick (again only my opinion)... personally, I have a facebook account and at this point in time I find it nothing more then a waste of my time.. Yes sure, I like to stay in touch with friends and family but the problem I see is how much time I find myself applying new applications that simply want to run off of the facebook list of people, creating things like 'your vote on the movies you have seen and can then compare it to your facebook friends'.. being able to post to their wall, much like sticking a note on their fridge door for when they happen to walk by it.. in this case the draw to the website has been on steady climb, that is until people recognize just how quickly their privacy can be taken for granted but in the end only because they 'opted in' to something without your true knowledge of what you have done.  This is where the laws are (slowly) being created and entire companies are being destroyed.  The thing about the internet is no matter what goes on, things move at a much more rapid speed then what it may be like without such a huge 'communication source'. After all, that is what the internet was initially designed for wasn't it?  For communication purposes.

Along comes a new website, much in a way like tvlinks.uk (has been taken down so no point in linking)  that was taken down due to it being unlawful?  Still not sure exactly what for, other then the fact that some of the website links were to known to be illegal websites that have quite possibly since been taken down as well, but this time, people can input whether or not the site is good or not, inevitably making the site prosper or not. The more 'hits' a website gets, if the site has enough sponsorship advertising, could essentially make the website owner a very wealthy individual, depending on just how many people visit the site and stay at the site, tell two friends about the site, etc, etc.

So by me blogging about a site that I happened to visit and find very useful, may also help you find something useful, but when we later find out that it was against the law, where does that leave us? Accessories to the fact?  It is this type of thinking that must stop as it only creates mass pandemonium within.  I know I hadn't blogged about Facebook on this blog much before, and most recently how I stated I was planning on posting something more to the fact that in my opinion, I saw Facebook as nothing more then a virus (waiting to happen maybe), and this is pretty much what has happened. Because you are essentially always 'accepting or refusing' the installation of various plug-ins or web-apps to work from within the website 'facebook' you would eventually be clicking to accept something you were unaware of that would eventually lead to the broadcasting of whatever you purchased through a specific website.  I personally found quite the shock when I was at a friends place and had mentioned amazon to them, pulling up the website and entering my email address I learned what I had purchased before and what they were recommending for me.   Sure, maybe when I am considering buying something, to place other items that 'others that have purchased this product also found of interest' these sort of things can lead to some very good finds when shopping for specific items.

The most recent website I have found that could be of some use, but feel it too may be found to be contributing to the "wrong side of the internet" which many would say is the illegal use of your personal well-being.   If it is doing nothing but allow others to place their thoughts of specific programs and/or websites you have visited, then surely the law makers must also feel this way?  No, unfortunately as much as we all would love to live in harmony, there are always going to be those that want to upset the apple cart whether it be through the greed of making money or the need to be noticed through 'website hits' which essentially lead right back to not only revenue for the website but money for the site owner. So where does this money end up? To go back in to further research and programming or?  I would like to think so!  

Funny thing about this blog entry is by the time I have completed it and have gone back through inserting the various links the 'pickypirate' website has either been taken down or has been flooded by too many people visiting the site all at the same time!

How to keep your photos safe

There are many different approaches that can (and should) be taken when it comes to data in general, however when you are a photography nut or happened to be doing this for a living, these suckers are a little more important..not that I believe any photograph isn't important since you look at the one main thing about these.. if you happened to lose the photograph, it is likely you can never get it back because you can't simply re-create it or 'buy a new one'.  What I am referring to of course, is the loss of all data that is stored on your computer, or external hard drive, or burned cd/dvd drives.  This can happen quite easily if you look at the major disasters such as a house fire, flood or other 'natural disaster' whereas everything is lost. Yes sure, you may have been insured so you can get that new computer, but all of your data is gone, and all of your pictures.   So I find it interesting to read how many people from this website have posted what they do to back up their photos.

Some of these people have mentioned online storage but not the majority.  With online storage becoming a very inexpensive way of saving things, I believe this one method will be certain to be utilized more in the near future. A good reason may be the latest invention of wifi on an SD-memory card making it that much easier to get your photos from your camera directly to your online account.

For me, the actual transfer from my camera to my computer is the first step. Then, because ALL OF MY COMPUTERS are using CARBONITE, I know that this will also backup my photos.  But since I typically do not want to fill up my hard drive with photos, and I will want to share some of them with my friends, family and the public, I will then publish my photos to my FLICKR account, using the RAW image mode for archiving purposes. Subscribing to a 'pro account' gives you unlimited uploading and storage of your photos so this is a no-brainer for the $24/year fee.  Remember if you are planning on using external hard drive and/or cd/dvd discs to back things up, you need to be able to place the media in to a fire-proof safe (or your bank's safe deposit box), but whatever you do, it must placed somewhere that you can retrieve them easily enough and is still safe enough from the natural disasters in life.

Friday, December 07, 2007

8 ways to fight off memory loss

The computing I do, the more A.D.D I seem to witness so when there are tips on fighting off memory loss, I'll take all the help I can get!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Facebook a Virus

I plan on a much more elaborate and in-depth reasoning to my stating that Facebook is a virus but for now, let's just say it is high on my list of things to rant about!

The Story of Stuff

This is a good piece of video, it is long, but worth it in my opinion.. it does make you think..doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Transferring large files

Are there times when you send an attachment only to have it returned to you with the error message your file(s) were too large to be sent? This after you have waited a number of minutes for the email to go out?  There are a number of programs on the web, both free and through an annual subscription that you should be aware of. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are we living to work or working to live?

If there is one thing great about the internet, it is the ability to share and now with such social networking sites like facebook and youtube and new readers to be able to capture vast quantities of news articles and blog posts like what I recently read from Amber Mac's blog.
This amazing video gives some statistics of how the world is in perspective of only 100 people. Where do you fall within these statistics?  Are you doing your part?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

How to Never Lose Contact with your friends again!

There is a new website/service available which has a very good concept. The only problem is when they say "never" that is a long time and of course it would depend on how long this service is in business. I personally believe you would be better off having a web based email account (which is yours for life.. or life of that web service) such as Google's GMAIL or MSN Hotmail or Yahoo's email as these will most likely be around for some time.  I personally have all three that I use for different reasons, such as subscribing to regular mailings of tech sites or other mailings, I'll quite often use my yahoo account.  With GMAIL's most recent upgrade to include the use of IMAP which I blogged about earlier, and their very accurate spam filtering, I have moved my main mail to be forwarded through this service.  If for no other reason, it would be a good idea to keep all of your contacts in one of these email services so that you can always get to it wherever you are at any computer that has an internet connection. Just make sure you keep your contacts updated regularly.