Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Symantec Norton Antibot The Latest In Norton Computer Protection Software

by: Lisa Carey

It seems like every other month a new “program” comes along to make our lives that much easier. For example, first we could bookmark favorites, and then RSS feed them, and then came widgets and now “bots” which are robots that do a lot of our computer work for us in the background. Examples of friendly bots are weather bots, game playing bots, instant messaging and my favorites are those on AOL Instant Messenger which do all kinds of functions for me like shop, find movie times and even give updates on the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately not all bots were created “equal.” Some are friendly and some are not. The ones that are not friendly can be a form of malware that allows control of your computer to be released, providing hackers with the opportunity to access your information and spread harmful bots to others. This type of computer virus can then be used to spread spam and commit various types of identity theft and other online fraud.

So with new threats to our computers and information, new methods of protection are required. One of the oldest and most well known software protection designers has recently released a new protection program, Symantec Norton AntiBot. This is a software product designed to prevent the hijacking of one’s personal computer by bots and uses the bots on design programs against them, to located and destroy them.

Many people already employ some form of protection on their personal computer, such as increasing the protection level from internet information to “high.” But these cannot detect some of the most recent bot programs and may not be the most efficient means of information protection, especially with the Internet being used more and more frequently for online shopping, ticket purchases, travel and other “high risk” activities.

A more effective method of detecting and eliminating threats caused by bots is to install software designed specifically to detect, destroy and prevent bots from having access to your computer. With Symantec Norton AntiBot software, protection against bots is enhanced several times and the threat of bot attack is greatly diminished. It’s program protects against bots by blocking bots from entering your computer through downloads and e-mail attachments (two of the common ways bots enter a personal computer), checking for any unusual behavior on your personal computer and eliminating it, and detecting malicious bot software at all levels; keeping your personal, financial and credit card information safe and stopping identify theft before it can occur.

Because bots operate in the background and are not detectable by antivirus or antispyware programs, many computer users are completely unaware that their personal computer has become infected. Many problems caused by bots go undetected until it is too late. Warning signs that your computer may have been accessed include: slowness of computer speed and unusual or irrelevant error messages. However, many times com these symptoms are sporadic and computer users will take little notice. Many people will continue to use their personal computer, unaware that bots have hijacked their personal computer and are slowly at work; looking for credit card numbers, passwords, and logon information which can be used for identity theft and in committing other types of online crime. This program scans your personal computer on a continuous basis, closing the gaps that could allow bots to infect your personal computer and better ensuring that bots do not invade and gain control.

The use of Symantec Norton AntiBot to determine what a harmful or useful bot and allows you to continue using those bots you love and have come to depend on for information and services. It can be used in addition to several other antivirus and antispyware programs. Its compatibility is not limited to only Norton products.

The cost of this software is $29.95 for one year of service. It was awarded PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award (2007) and underwent rigorous testing which included using AntiBot on computers with existing threats as well as allowing threats to try to access the computer after installation.

With the growing threat of identity theft and credit card fraud Symantec Norton AntiBot offers an additional level of protection needed to combat the threat of bots and prevent them from turning one’s personal computer into a robotic that turns into an instrument of destruction to both your personal and financial well-being.

Record Your Products: Reap The Rewards of Recording And Getting Your Product Done Faster And Easier.

by: Patsy Bellah

Some of you will remember when we had to type on typewriters. Some of you, present company included, may even remember when we had to type on “standard” or manual typewriters. For those who aren’t in the know, that’s a typewriter without electricity

Then we got electric typewriters. That was something new to learn, but all our work could be done faster, easier and with less mess.

Then came computers. There was more to learn but with this technology life was made even easier for secretaries, writers, or anyone having to convey information with the written word.

With each of these advances there were those who said they couldn’t do it. They didn’t like it, they didn’t like change. They could get along just fine, thank you very much, with a manual typewriter, or an electric one. They didn’t need computers. There was too much to learn. It was too different.

Don’t let that attitude keep you from learning the latest time saver for transferring words to paper and that is the digital recorder. As the manual typewriter has given way to more sophisticated electric typewriters, which have given way to the computer, so, too, has the digital recorder made it faster and easier to transfer the spoken word to the written word.

On the average a one-hour recording will yield about 20-30 typewritten pages. That means that with a one hour “conversation,” speaking your story or information into a recording device, then getting it transcribed, you can transfer your spoken word to a document in about 25% of the time it would take you to type it yourself.

It may take a bit of practice to learn to dictate into a recorder, but once you have, you will find that you can save yourself a ton of time. Statistics prove that the longer it takes to complete a project, the less likely it is that you will finish it. Embrace this new technology.

Here are some guidelines you should consider when purchasing a digital recorder:

1. You must be able to download your recording to your computer. Some of the less expensive recorders are not “downloadable.” You need to be able to transfer your recording through the Internet in order to send it to a transcription service or even if you want to transcribe it yourself.

2. Although most recorders come with internal microphones, it is best to have the capability to attach an external microphone. External microphones work better to record presentations or to record from a distance. Additionally, you can elect to use a lavaliere microphone for yourself and not be hampered with holding the recorder. Or, if you are recording more than one person, such as if you are interviewing someone, you can get an attachment which allows you to hook up two microphones.

3. The recorder should have at least four hours of available recording time using the high quality recording setting. You want to make sure the recorder has enough time to record a full presentation before having to be downloaded to the computer.

The capabilities of recorders change all the time, and in my recent research I found that the prices, like anything else, are coming down drastically and we are getting more and more recording time.

I checked out the Olympus recorder on the Internet and found a very good quality recorder for around $100.00. I also found that you could buy this at Best Buy in the Los Angeles area at the same price. Other locations such as Samy’s Cameras for those in the Los Angeles area, Circuit City, Radio Shack and Frys may also have them.

For those of you who live in the Los Angeles area, I found an Olympus and a Marantz at Samy’s Cameras which uses a flash card and can get you as much as 4G-8G of storage space. Both of these sell for just under $400.00. The Sony or the Edirol are also good recorders, and have similar capabilities and prices.

Buying a recorder is much like buying a blender or a computer. Although it’s wise to buy as much as your pocketbook allows, at the same time, you don’t need to buy more than you will use. Why spend the extra money.

A digital recorder is small and easy to use. On it you can record all of your information products, plus your presentations, blogs or articles.

Embrace this new technology. Using a digital recorder to record your information product, presentations or teleseminars, will allow you to finish your product in less than 25% of the time it would take you to type it yourself. If you get your audio transcribed, once you get it back, all you have to do is edit it and you can have your product completed in less than a week.

Internet And Business Online – The Act Of Interdependence

by: Scott Lindsay

The best role of business online is that of interdependency. We’ve all heard the old saying, “No man is an island.” When it comes to online business this is especially true.

If a business owner who takes their business into the online world determines they will be self reliant and never accept the help of anyone then that individual will not be in business long enough to change their minds.

It is accepted fact that the greatest tool for long-term exposure to your website is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without it potential customers can’t find you. It is unreasonable to expect that you can adequately develop a website without optimizing your website for the best possible search engine ranking.

Search engines also place a high value on sites that have links placed on existing sites. These ‘backlinks’ demonstrate to search engines that others trust your site. By placing your link on their website these other businesses indicate a trust and recommendation for your site.

In effect the two strategies listed above rely exclusively on what others can do for you when it comes to your online business.

Shirley Temple once proclaimed in her movie Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, “I’m very self-reliant.” American westerns are filled with lines dealing with pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and holding down the fort. Many of us have grown up to believe if we want something done right we have to do it ourselves.

This thinking is in opposition to the rules associated with an online business.

The online world can only exist because people share. Individuals share technology, but the also share links, reviews, blogs, forums and a wide range of other marketing strategies that find a commingling of interdependency.

In online business you are as dependent on others as they may be on you. Unlike the word ‘dependent’, the term interdependent indicates a mutual dependency. In other words you are depending on others to help provide links back to your site while they are equally dependent on you (or others) for the success of their business.

Have you really taken a proactive approach to networking? It’s possible you are reading this today and you’ve never considered asking someone else to place a link to your site on his or her online business site.

It can feel awkward depending on others to achieve online success especially if you’ve been lead to believe reliance on others is also a sign of imposing on their otherwise brilliant generosity.

I suppose it could be a deep-seated sense of pride that makes it hard to consider the need to ask others for help. However, the truth is depending on others is really what has made the Internet possible. The growth of this online world is comprised of a link of computers, networks and servers that are connected in a way that provides the maximum benefit for all.

Building an online business can feel a bit like trying to build a house of cards. Without the ability to rely on the other ‘cards’ around you it is virtually impossible to build.

Interdependence. This is the essence of online business.

Web Development And The Big Time Out

by: Scott Lindsay

One of the great debilitators in online business is simply the perceived (or real) lack of time. Business owners are used to moving forward. An online web presence can make them feel tied to an office chair learning skills they aren’t sure they want to know.

It’s not uncommon for those who deal in full time web design to have individuals contact them for a site design, but have absolutely no idea what they want. Furthermore when the designer questions them the response might be, “I don’t know, just make it look nice.”

Let’s not forget the core values or mission of the business. Many business owners have no idea how to answer those kinds of questions. They may stare blankly for a moment or two and there’s no more time for further deep thought so they go back to action – without answers.

In many cases it is possible to answer some of the questions needed, but it may require taking time away from a familiar setting. It may also require more time than you think you want to give.

If you can get to a place of concentrated contemplation you are likely to find yourself stripping ideas to their core to find out what your business is trying to accomplish and what your ultimate goals might be.

As with almost any project you can turn frustration around if you will just take the time to come to terms with your vision.

Sometimes we spend so much time ‘doing’ we never stop to ask the question, “Why?”

This process can be a bit like taking a bus that drives around the park. You keep looking at the flowers and the park bench and long to sit in the quiet shade of a tree and just absorb the calming atmosphere. You know they will have a positive effect on you, but for some reason you just can’t seem to find the energy to get off the bus.

It seems to me there are some sites that are misguided or rarely guided that could benefit from the process of self-evaluation. These sites may look nice, but there is a sense of disconnection that may not be easy to identify, but it’s fairly obvious to visitors.

Creative energy is at a minimum while business owners simply tackle what seem to be the most urgent details.

As more people gravitate to online business there needs to be a shift in the thinking of how one goes about doing business online. In many ways it can’t be approached in the same way a traditional business is developed, yet that is typically the way many new web commerce ventures choose to tackle the subject.

You may discover your business will be more successful if you take some time for rigorous reflection. The time set aside can be a bit like an architect that takes the time to develop plans for a new building. You wouldn’t expect the architect to simply tell a construction crew to, “Go out there and build – something.”

Work at ‘building’ your online business in a comprehensive way. Your effort can develop a firm foundation for long-term success.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How to Clean a Printer

by: Ray Geide

Does your printer have frequent paper jams? Does it put ink where ink shouldn't be? Is the outside of your printer dirty or covered with smudges? If so, it is time to clean your printer.

First, there are some general rules that apply to cleaning just about any electrical device. It is best to turn off the printer before cleaning it. Do not spray water or cleaner on or in the printer. Instead wet the rag with it and clean the printer with the rag.

Different types of printers require different cleaning methods. So if you can get your hands on cleaning instructions for your make and model of printer, do so and follow them. Unfortunately, many manufacturers only make that kind of information available to their licensed technicians. In that case, you are stuck with these instructions, so read on.

Open up your printer and take a look.

If you have an ink jet printer and there is an ink mess inside, clean it up with wet paper towels.

If you have a printer that uses toner either vacuum or blow it out. Some toner, especially color toner, can be harmful to you, so only use a vacuum with a micro-toner filter or blow and run. Figure out where the drum is (it is shiny and larger in diameter than the rollers) and do not touch or scratch it. If you do, the scratches will turn up as marks on every paper that you print and will require that you replace the drum (not a cheap option) to fix it.

Examine the path that the paper takes through the printer. Clean all of the rollers (but on a toner printer, not the drum or rollers near the drum and watch out for the rollers after the drum because they may be hot). It may take some disassembly and/or contorting of your arm to get to some of the rollers. Access is not always easy. The most important rollers to clean are the ones which pick up the paper from the paper bin and transfer it into the printer. If these rollers are dirty or bad, they will cause consistent paper jams.

The rollers are made of either hard plastic or rubber. All of the rollers can be cleaned with water or rubbing alcohol. If the rubber rollers have deposits that you can't get off, you can use harsher cleaners but be careful because those cleaners can damage the plastic rollers and parts.

To clean a roller, wipe across the roller with a wet rag, rotate the roller, and wipe again. Do this until you have worked your way all the way around the roller. Look at the rag. If it has been blackened by the roller, move to a clean part of the rag and clean the roller again.

Once everything is clean on the inside, close it up and clean the outside. Wipe off the case and each of the buttons or knobs. If there are staples or paper clips sitting on it or wedged in the cracks, remove them and throw them away.

Other areas of the printer can be cleaned but to do so, you will have to either get training and special tools or leave it to a trained professional.

How to clean your Mother Board

by: Ray Geide

If you have not done the inspection mentioned in the previous article - How to Clean your Case, now is the time to do so. Look at the blades of the fan in the back of the computer. Also look at any vents. Is there clusters of dust there? Is there grime caked on to it? If so, the inside needs to be cleaned. If the fan blades are clean but it has been several years since you have cleaned the motherboard or if the computer is around cigarette smoke, it probably should be cleaned anyway. Dust and particles in the air (like cigarette smoke) can build up on the circuitry of the motherboard and cause it to heat up and/or corrode.

The first thing that you need to do is unplug your computer. Then open up the case to get access to the motherboard. Cases open differently. If you don't know how to open your case, look on the back of your computer along the edge for some screws. These screws may hold on side panels or an upside down U shaped panel that covers the sides and top. Removing the screws will allow you to take off the cover. Other cases have the screws on the front of the computer. To get access to these screws, you must first remove the front panel by pressing a hidden latch. The cover is there to give easy access to the inside of your computer, so if you look hard enough, you should be able to figure out how to remove it.

Remember that if you touch anything on the motherboard, you should be grounded by either touching the metal frame of the computer with your other hand or by wearing a special grounding device.

The goal of cleaning the motherboard is to remove all dust and debris from the motherboard and all components inside of the case. This can be done using one of three methods.

The preferred method is to use a can of compressed air to blow it out. Always hold the can in an up-right position to prevent the propellent chemicals which can damage or corrode components from coming out. Dust and dirt should be blown away from the motherboard and out of the case.

Another way to remove dust is to use a vacuum. The common advice is to only use a battery operated vacuum because an AC powered vacuum causes static and static can ruin the motherboard. I have used an AC powered vacuum (before I knew that it was not recommended) to clean my motherboard many times and it has never caused any problems, but I may have just been lucky. When using the vacuum, keep the nozzle a couple of inches away from the motherboard or any other components so that it does not come in contact with them and so that any small parts are not sucked into the vacuum.

If you do not have a can of compressed air or a vacuum, you can use a dry cloth and brush to clean the motherboard. Be careful not to dislodge or break anything using this method.

While cleaning the motherboard, be careful not to unplug any cables or connections or to dislodge any loose components, such as, jumpers.

Methodically clean the whole inside of the case going over all of the motherboard from one end to the other and all other components. Don't forget to clean the fans and heat sinks. Do not open up the power supply box or stick anything in it beyond the fan. If you do, you could get a shocking surprise and ruin your computer.

If your computer does not work when you put it back together, something was obviously dislodged during the cleaning. Open the case back up and push all connections and cards into their slots. Look for anything that may have become disconnected.

Cleaning the motherboard is probably the most dangerous form of cleaning but it is necessary to prevent an early death of your computer.

How To clean your Case

by: Ray Geide

There is nothing wrong with leaving spills, dirt, and stains on your computer case. After all isn't that what the case is for, to protect the electronic components inside from spills and dirt? This is true, but there are still parts of the case that need to be cleaned and checked if you want your computer to live a long and prosperous life.

Unless you like looking at dirt everytime you look at your computer, you should go ahead and clean those spills, stains, and dust off of the case. You can do this with just about any cloth and cleaner. Do not use highly abrasive cleaners that might ruin or mar the surface and do not use solvents on plastic. A wet sponge will even work. Just make sure that the cleaner or any liquid does not seep into the inside through cracks and vents. If there is any possibility that you are going to get that messy, turn off and unplug the computer first and wait to turn it back on until any liquid has had a chance to fully dry.

After you have wiped off the outside, it is time for a little inspection. Look at the blades of the fan in the back of the computer. Also look at any vents. Is there dust there? Is there a lot of dust and grime caked on to it? If so, that is an indicator that the inside also needs to be cleaned (I will tell you how to do that in next week's article - How to Clean your Motherboard).

Some clean environments never have to have the inside cleaned. Some need it cleaned monthly. When I lived in Russia, even though I didn't notice it, the air was not clean. The fan on the computer would cake up with dirt and grime after about a month of use. And so I would have to clean the fan, vents, and inside monthly. If I had let it go for several months without cleaning, the fan would have stopped working and the computer would have overheated. Where I now live in the US, the air is clean and I have gone years without having to clean it. Again, the indicator of this is the blades of the fan and the vents. If they are dirty, they need to be cleaned.

You can do some of the cleaning from the outside. First, turn off the computer. Then get out the vacuum sweeper and using the hose, vacuum out the vents and the fan(s). If you have compressed air (you can purchase compressed air from your computer store), you may want to blow air in through the vents (or intake fan if you have one) to loosen the dust and suck it out using the vacuum. If there is still dust or dirt in the vents or on the blades of the fan, you can use a Q-tip to clean them.

If you do not have a vaccum, you can use compressed air alone. Always use short bursts to avoid moisture buildup. Start with the computer off and blow into every hole and vent. Then turn the computer on and blow everything except for the exhaust fan once again.

With the case clean, your computer will look nicer and with the fan and vents cleaned out it will breathe easier and run cooler.

How to Clean your Keyboard-Part 2

by: Ray Geide

When it comes to cleaning your keyboard there are many methods that can be used, some harder and more effective than others.

The easiest method is the Shake Method. It is so easy that you can do it right now. Pick up your keyboard, turn it over being careful not to press any keys, and shake it. See all of that stuff fall out? It is dirtier than you thought, isn't it? You can use one of the following methods to clean it further.

The Blow Method - You can buy cans of pressurized air at the computer department or computer store which are made especially for cleaning your computer. They usually have either a hose and nozzle or a tube extending from the nozzle. Hold the keyboard up vertically (that means that end of the keyboard is up and the other end is down), aim towards the keys and press the button. Keep blowing until all of the debris is blown out. Be sure to get around and in between all of the keys. This can be done with the computer on, but it is better if it is off so that you do not have to worry about pressing the keys and coming up with a page of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa's.

The Vacuum Method - This is just like the Blow Method except that a vacuum is used instead of a can of pressurized air. It is quite simple. Just turn the vacuum on, pull out the hose, and run the nozzle over the keys. Before doing this make sure your keyboard does not have any loose pop off keys that could be sucked into the vacuum.

The Cotton Ball Method - This can be done in addition to the above methods and in lieu of the following methods. Take a cotton ball or cloth and wet it with rubbing alcohol. It should not be so wet that the alcohol runs down into the cracks of the keyboard. Wipe the tops and sides of the keys.

The Dishwasher Method - I hesitate to tell about this method because there is the possibility that it could fry your keyboard. When I had less experience with computers, I dunked my keyboard in a sink full of water to clean it. It did work afterwards, so I don't doubt those who say this method will not mess up your keyboard, but if it does, don't complain to me. I warned you. If your keyboard is not the standard membrane type of keyboard or if it is on a laptop, do not even think of trying this.

This is how you do it. Unplug the keyboard and place it face down in an empty dishwasher. Do not disassemble the keyboard and do not put it in a dishwasher that has dirty dishes in it. Some say to add soap, some say not to. Run the dishwasher through a regular cycle. Take the keyboard out, shake the water out, and stand it on end until it is completely dry (this may take several days). If it does not work after doing this, it may not be dry. Let it stand another week and try it again. If it still does not work, I warned you.

The Disassembly Method - This is the most thorough method, but it should not be done on laptop keyboards or non-standard non-membrane keyboards.

Turn off the computer and unplug the keyboard. Turn the keyboard upside down. You may want to get two books or short boards to place the keyboard on. Position them so that they hold up the keyboard on the edges when it is turned over. This should leave the keys dangling and not touching the books or the floor. This is especially needed when the keyboard's back is off; otherwise the keys will be lifted out of their position by the floor (or whatever surface it is laying on).

Get a screwdriver and remove all of the screws from the back of the keyboard. Lay the keyboard down on the books and carefully remove the back.

Take everything apart and clean thoroughly. It is better to take the keys out one at a time and clean them so that you do not put them back in the wrong place. Wipe each one down with a wet cloth and then with a dry cloth. Any keys that may be hard to put back in, can be cleaned in place without removing them. Wipe around the keys as they sit in place and blow any debris out with your lungs (using compressed air or a vacuum may upset the keys). If you are really brave, you can remove all of the keys at once and give the frame a good wipe down too.

Do a once over and make sure that you have cleaned everything. Then reassemble it all.

Don't forget the keyboard's cable. Wrap a wet cloth around it and wipe it down. It may have an accumulation of grime that needs to be scrubbed off. Also if any of the letters on the keys have rubbed off, you can use a fine point permanent marker to draw the letter back on the key.

Use these cleaning methods and your keyboard will last a long time and be something you can be proud of.

How to Clean your Keyboard- Part 1

by: Ray Geide

I know most of you will not heed this advice, but KEYBOARDS CAN MAKE YOU SICK (how's that for tactfulness?). Germs live on your hands and fingers. When you type, many of them jump on to the keyboard. When someone else types on your keyboard, those germs transfer to their fingers. Or when you later type on the same keyboard, those germs reconquer your fingers. Regularly disinfecting the keyboard can prevent this.

To disinfect the keyboard, turn off the computer. Then spray disinfectant on a cloth. Be sure to use disinfectant and not just any type of cleaner because not all cleaners disinfect. Also do not spray the disinfectent directly on the keys. Spray it on the cloth. Wipe down the top and sides of the keys. Give the keys a few minutes to dry off before turning the computer back on.

Now that you know how to do it, you should make it a regular practice to disinfect the keyboard. It's one step towards a healthier you.

So you have your keyboard disinfected and life is great. Then your child spills koolaide all over it. What do you do? There are certain steps that you should take when something, like pop, beer, wine, coffee, milk, or kool-aide, is spilled on the keyboard.

The first thing to do is immediately unplug the keyboard from the back of the computer and turn the keyboard over so that its keys are down. This will allow the liquid to drain out. You will probably want to put a cloth under the keyboard or at least make sure that the surface you have put it on is washable.

Then use the mouse to shut down Windows and turn off the computer (this is important because later you will have to plug the keyboard back into the computer and you should never plug any device into a computer while it is on).

While the keyboard is upside down use a cloth to dry as much of the liquid off as you can. If you have a can of compressed air or a vacuum, while the keyboard is upside down blow or vacuum it out. Then let the keyboard set upside down for at least a night so that it can adequately dry out.

If the liquid that spilled on it was sticky, you may want to follow the extensive cleaning procedure explained in the next article, How to Clean your Keyboard - Part 2.

Liquid spilled on a laptop keyboard can easily reach the hard drive, so turn it over immediately and leave it in that position until it dries.

Keyboards are quite resilient and so it should work when you turn it on again. But if not, another attribute of keyboards is that they are cheap and so it won't cost too much to buy another one.

With these pointers in mind and a quick reaction, you just may save your keyboard from total destruction the next time it gets coated with coffee.

Web 2.0 And Why You Shouldn't Fake Reviews

by: Simon Dance

The latest offering from Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares aired on Channel 4 last night, followed the somewhat disastrous adventures of ex-boxer Mike and his wife Caron Ciminera as they struggled to run the Fish & Anchor, a restaurant in Lampeter, West Wales. Whilst the couple's arguing appeared to better the food they were originally sending out (a mix of jarred sauces and home cook book trophy dishes) they did let slip on a fantastically poor bit of black hat optimisation, which I hope made all white hat SEOs laugh out loud.

If there was one lesson to take away from the show, it would be - Don't fake reviews!

In order to gauged the feeling of the local community for the failing restaurant come sports bar, Ramsay conducted a search on Google for the Fish & Anchor, to which he was presented with a range of reviews, two of which were rather suspiciously from a character calling himself Michael or Mike Burns.

On the Wales portal of the BBC website Burns had posted "Well i don't get excited about food too often, and having dined in Rick Stein's, and Gordon Ramsay's,I think i have found a better restaurant in West Wales". On the SugarVine website he also posted "what a fantastic restaurant for couples, and families. it seems to have everything, the food has to be the best i have eaten (home or abroad) this place will go far". Other online reviews echoed what has already been said, but with the dire state of the restaurant, its food, its reputation and its perception from both the local community and Ramsay itself, would it not be right to question who was telling the truth?

The restaurateur confessed to posting the reviews, his rational pointing to stimulating custom, however with any reactive strategy it requires a degree of foresight - and I am not sure he really thought through the wider ramification of posting these "inaccurate" reviews.

Firstly, a warning must be expressed. For example, if someone finds your restaurant or hotel via a positive (fake) review and they have a bad experience, there is a chance that they will post a true review to assist fellow users and generally have a rant. The initial seeding of this true review has the potential to lead to an onslaught of further reviews from other visitors who might not have otherwise posted. Don't forget the saying "people don't lead... they follow".

But how can you manage your reviews and ultimately what your customers are saying about you? Well first and foremost, address the problem(s)!

You wouldn't put a sticking plaster on a gun shot wound, so why think that a positive review about the quality of your food or the softest of your sheets is going to counteract the adversities of your customer service?

The customer is king, a point stressed by Ramsay, and one that should ring true for any business, after all, without them, where would we be?

By rectifying or at least making plans to manage any failings within your business, regardless of its size, will be the first step in managing your online reputation, but this is an area I will not going into comprehensive detail for this post. Instead, I will offer some simply pointers as to how to harness online reviews for good.

Sites like Trip Advisor, which boasts over 10,000,000 user generated reviews of various hotels, holidays and restaurants is gaining increasing weighting as an resource for honest and unbiased review and via its system of community recommendation it really has the power to drive custom, and in many instances, divert customer - the key factor being positive, and consistent reviews.

But if you do run a successful hotel or restaurant and wish to harness these social spaces, but wish to do so in a more ethical way than that demonstrated in Kitchen Nightmares than why not encourage your diners of hotel guests to post a review after their stay.

When the customer is paying their bill or even booking their hotel room why not take their email address, or even ask them to submit their business card in return for entry into a monthly prize draw for a free meal in the restaurant?

In addition to building up a client database by collecting this data - for use in promotional mailings including notifying customers of events, promotional and the launch of a new menu - you can also harness it to stimulate online reviews by dropping your customers a short email after their stay / meal, which might look something like the following example...

"Good afternoon Simon, and thank you very much for your booking at the Leapfrogg Restaurant, we hope you had an enjoyable meal.

We pride ourselves on the quality of our food and our attentive staff however we're always striving to enhance and improve what we do, and as such we would appreciate you taking two minutes of your time to write a review for us at Trip Advisor (, a free travel guide and research website that allows users to post review and ratings.

Your comments are important to us, and will be used to improve the Leapfrogg restaurant.

Thank you very much for your time and we look forward to welcoming you again to the Leapfrogg restaurant in the near future.


A Restaurateur
Leapfrogg restaurant
Tel: 01273 669 450"

Of course, many of your requests will be ignored, but providing you are personal in your emails (a point we at Leapfrogg have mentioned previously in this blog) then you are more likely to get a response, and even if you only have a 5% success rate, this is still 5% of valuable customer feedback.

A point to which I will conclude this article is one which has stuck with me from London's SMX, and one that I will most certainly be repeating from here on out is that "Yesterday's news no longer wraps today's fish and chips". Online news and online content, including user generated reviews do not simply get binned like a newspaper at the end of the day, but they remain live, and can even appear within the search results for a brand keyword search... so isn't it worth paying attention to what your customers are saying?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Delete index.dat Files

by: Mil Incorporated

What are Index.dat files?
Index.dat files are used by Internet Explorer and Windows to store history, Internet cache, cookies, UserData records and other information about what you have done in Internet or in your PC. Although some of their functions are useful, they are dangerous privacy threat - any person with even little knowledge about index.dat files locations and structure can see history of almost all of your computer activities. Index.dat files are not the only privacy threat but they are the most obscure and dangerous one because they are hard to find and even harder to delete. In fact, in most cases it is impossible to delete Index.dat files manually because Internet Explorer and Windows use them all the time.

Where are located Index.dat files?
Location of index.dat files depends on the version of Windows and whether or not you are using user profiles. Regardless of Windows version in many cases you can't see or find index.dat file using Windows Explorer. There is a little file called desktop.ini in each directory where index.dat file is located. This desktop.ini file forces Windows Explorer to hide index.dat files and to show the contents of Internet cache or history instead. However you can use some other file utility and binary (hex) editor to find the files and read their content. If you have Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows NT or Windows 95 then index.dat files are in these locations:

C:\Windows\History\MSHistXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX\index.dat (XXXX are some digits)

What is in Index.dat files?
As already mentioned, index.dat files are binary files. Their content can be seen only with binary (hex) editor. We will examine an index.dat file from the Internet cache(Temporary Internet Files).

Actually the index.dat header is much larger but this is the most important part of it. The first thing is the version of the index.dat file (Client UrlCache MMF Ver 4.7) - this particular file is from Internet Explorer version 4 but the index.dat file format is very similar in Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.

How to erase or clean Index.dat files?
Erasing or cleaning of the index.dat files is not an easy task because they are opened by Internet Explorer and Windows all the time. If you are using Windows Me, Windows 98 or Windows 95 you can restart in DOS mode and then you can delete index.dat files one by one (look in the folders that are mentioned above). However if you are using Windows XP, Windows 2000 or Windows NT this won't work.

Mil Shield is a powerful privacy protection program that was designed specifically to clean and shred the index.dat files content. Unlike the other methods of dealing with index.dat file content, shredding is the best because it doesn't destroy the entire structure of the index.dat file which can cause Internet Explorer or Windows to crash but instead cleans and shreds only the privacy threatening URL, LEAK and REDR records.

Ecommerce: Have Cart - Will Shop

by: Scott Lindsay

In order for you to sell products or services online you will need a shopping cart application to facilitate ecommerce. While your customers simply want a way to make a purchase if they are interested in your product you will have already considered tough choices.

For Instance...

If you want a full solution for invoicing, statements, receipts and company financial history there are solutions that cover all of this with an application for a shopping cart that is tied to company financial data. One such company is COREsense based in New York. This service requires less redundant work because data entry on sales to a separate accounting software application is not required due to the full integration of financial data. For most companies this solution will fall outside normal budget constraints.

If you have no budget for a shopping cart, you have a couple of solutions that might work depending on your technical expertise. OSCommerce is available at no cost. This product is a fully customizable solution for a shopping cart, but it does require personal programming. In many cases netrepreneurs will hire a programmer to set this shopping cart up for them.

If you have no up front budget for a shopping cart PayPal makes one available at no cost, but they do retain a fee as well as a small commission on each sale. The power of PayPal may make this a trusted source for online transactions for your customers.

Yahoo and eBay provide shopping cart services at $30-40 per month and offers a few features unavailable with the low cost or no-cost checkout solutions.

There are other online solutions for cyber transactions with the tipping point based entirely on the size and needs of your online business. If you are a large company with thousands of online transactions, it may ultimately be less expensive to purchase a shopping cart system that requires a monthly fee. In the end, the fees and commissions associated with no cost carts could outpace a standard monthly fee from other ecommerce transaction solutions.

Your customers have a choice in where they shop online and you have a choice in how you manage online transactions. Spend some time checking out the services offered and how the fees will affect your bottom line both now and as your company grows.

As with all ecommerce sites, your business will not do well if it is difficult to checkout. Make sure the transaction solution you choose allow your clients to make a purchase easily. If the process if too difficult the prospect may bow out before the sale is complete.

Digital Signature

by: Wale Wahab

A digital signature is a data item, which accompanies a digitally encoded message, and which can be used to ascertain both the originator of the message and the fact that the message has not been modified since it left the originator. It is a form of authentication method which is used to authenticate the identity of the sender by convincing the recipient of a document that the person to whom the signature belongs actually signed it. An electronic document in other words can be described as any instrument that is created or stored on a computer. These include electronic mail (e-mail), letters, memos, contracts and images.

Digital signatures are mathematically tied to the document they are intended to authenticate. The most widely used type of digital signature relies on public/private key encryption. A public / private key encryption system involves two mathematically related keys that are like large passwords for each user. The private key, known only by the “signer”, can encrypt a message that only their public key can decrypt. Once the private/public keys are generated using a valid certificate authority, they remain associated with the person who generates the two keys.

The certificate authority is a trusted entity that issues certificates to end entities and other Certificate Authorities. Another important thing that Certificate Authority does is to issue Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs) periodically and post certificates and CRLs to a database or repository.

The overall process is illustrated in the figure below:

Note: The text editor refused to accept the diagram. To view the diagram, click the website link in the resource box of the author and click on the recent articles.

System A performs a sign operation that uses A’s private key to generate the signature. System B performs a verify operation that uses system A’s public key and that allows system B to be sure that a received message originated from system A and that the contents were not modified since it left system A.

In some respects, a digital signature is similar to an integrity check value (check digit). However, there is one major difference. A digital signature must be able to support non-repudiation, that is, a recipient of a message must be able to use the digital signature to convince a third party as to the identity of the originator. A digital signature may need to be used as the basis for resolving a dispute between the originator and recipient of a message, such as a check (cheque), or business document.

RSA Digital Signature

This is a simplistic digital signature technique (named after its creators – Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Len Adleman). It is one of the most popular public – key algorithms. It can be used for both encryption and digital signature. The originator of a message generates an encrypted version of the message, using RSA in authentication mode (that is, the encryption key is the private key of the originator). This encrypted version of the message is sent attached to a copy of the plaintext message. The recipient’s system, (which needs to know the corresponding decryption key - the public key of the originator), decrypts the encrypted version of the message content and compares it with the plaintext version. If the two are the same, the recipient can be assured that the originating system possessed the encryption key, and that the message contents were not changed en route.

The above scheme has some problems in terms of processing and communications overhead costs. Encryption and decryption have to be applied to the entire message contents and the volume of data sent is at least double the original message size. To overcome this problem, a hash function, which is a one-way function that maps values from a large domain into a comparatively small range, is used to generate from the content of the message to be signed, a fixed – length data item known as a message digest. The digest has the property that, in general, any change to the message will result in a different digest.

With this scheme, the originating system applies the hash function to obtain the digest, then RSA encrypts the digest to give the signature which is transmitted with the message, upon receiving the message, the recipient’s system re-computes the digest, and also RSA decrypts the signature. It then compares these two values. If they match, the recipient is assured that the originator knew the encryption key and that the message contents were not changed en route. There are several other techniques for providing digital signature

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Operating Systems: File Systems

by: Sam Harnett

File systems are an integral part of any operating systems with the capacity for long term storage. There are two distinct parts of a file system, the mechanism for storing files and the directory structure into which they are organised. In mordern operating systems where it is possibe for several user to access the same files simultaneously it has also become necessary for such features as access control and different forms of file protection to be implemented.

A file is a collection of binary data. A file could represent a program, a document or in some cases part of the file system itself. In modern computing it is quite common for their to be several different storage devices attached to the same computer. A common data structure such as a file system allows the computer to access many different storage devices in the same way, for example, when you look at the contents of a hard drive or a cd you view it through the same interface even though they are completely different mediums with data mapped on them in completely different ways. Files can have very different data structures within them but can all be accessed by the same methods built into the file system. The arrangment of data within the file is then decided by the program creating it. The file systems also stores a number of attributes for the files within it.

All files have a name by which they can be accessed by the user. In most modern file systems the name consists of of three parts, its unique name, a period and an extension. For example the file 'bob.jpg' is uniquely identified by the first word 'bob', the extension jpg indicates that it is a jpeg image file. The file extension allows the operating system to decide what to do with the file if someone tries to open it. The operating system maintains a list of file extension associations. Should a user try to access 'bob.jpg' then it would most likely be opened in whatever the systems default image viewer is.

The system also stores the location of a file. In some file systems files can only be stored as one contigious block. This has simplifies storage and access to the file as the system then only needs to know where the file begins on the disk and how large it is. It does however lead to complications if the file is to be extended or removed as there may not be enough space available to fit the larger version of the file. Most modern file systems overcome this problem by using linked file allocation. This allows the file to be stored in any number of segments. The file system then has to store where every block of the file is and how large they are. This greatly simplifies file space allocation but is slower than contigious allocation as it is possible for the file to be spread out all over the disk. Modern oparating systems overome this flaw by providing a disk defragmenter. This is a utility that rearranges all the files on the disk so that thay are all in contigious blocks.

Information about the files protection is also integrated into the file system. Protection can range from the simple systems implemented in the FAT system of early windows where files could be marked as read-only or hidden to the more secure systems implemented in NTFS where the file system administrator can set up separate read and write access rights for different users or user groups. Although file protection adds a great deal of complexity and potential difficulties it is essential in an enviroment where many different computers or user can have access to the same drives via a network or time shared system such as raptor.

Some file systems also store data about which user created a file and at what time they created it. Although this is not essential to the running of the file system it is useful to the users of the system.

In order for a file system to function properly they need a number of defined operations for creating, opening and editing a file. Almost all file systems provide the same basic set of methods for manipulating files.

A file system must be able to create a file. To do this there must be enough space left on the drive to fit the file. There must also be no other file in the directory it is to be placed with the same name. Once the file is created the system will make a record of all the attributes noted above.

Once a file has been created we may need to edit it. This may be simply appending some data to the end of it or removing or replacing data already stored within it. When doing this the system keeps a write pointer marking where the next write oparation to the file should take place.

In order for a file to be useful it must of course be readable. To do this all you need to know the name and path of the file. From this the file system can ascertain where on the drive the file is stored. While reading a file the system keeps a read pointer. This stores which part of the drive is to be read next.

In some cases it is not possible to simply read all of the file into memory. File systems also allow you to reposition the read pointer within a file. To perform this operation the system needs to know how far into the file you want the read pointer to jump. An example of where this would be useful is a database system. When a query is made on the database it is obviously ineficient to read the whole file up to the point where the reuired data is, instead the application managing the database would determine where in the file the required bit of data is and jump to it. This operation is often known as a file seek.

File systems also allow you to delete files. To do this it needs to know the name and path of the file. To delete a file the systems simply removes its entry from the directory structure and adds all the space it previously occupied to the free space list (or whatever other free space management system it uses).

These are the most basic operations required by a file system to function properly. They are present in all modern computer file systems but the way they function may vary. For example, to perform the delete file operation in a modern file system like NTFS that has file protection built into it would be more complicated than the same operation in an older file system like FAT. Both systems would first check to see whether the file was in use before continuing, NTFS would then have to check whether the user currently deleting the file has permission to do so. Some file systems also allow multiple people to open the same file simultaneously and have to decide whether users have permission to write a file back to the disk if other users currently have it open. If two users have read and write permission to file should one be allowed to overwrite it while the other still has it open? Or if one user has read-write permission and another only has read permission on a file should the user with write permission be allowed to overwrite it if theres no chance of the other user also trying to do so?

Different file systems also support different access methods. The simplest method of accessing information in a file is sequential access. This is where the information in a file is accessed from the beginning one record at a time. To change the position in a file it can be rewound or forwarded a number of records or reset to the beginning of the file. This access method is based on file storage systems for tape drive but works as well on sequential access devices (like mordern DAT tape drives) as it does on random-access ones (like hard drives). Although this method is very simple in its operation and ideally suited for certain tasks such as playing media it is very inneficient for more complex tasks such as database management. A more modern approach that better facilitates reading tasks that arent likely to be sequential is direct access. direct access allows records to be read or written over in any order the application requires. This method of allowing any part of the file to be read in any order is better suited to modern hard drives as they too allow any part of the drive to be read in any order with little reduction in transfer rate. Direct access is better suited to to most applications than sequential access as it is designed around the most common storage medium in use today as opposed to one that isnt used very much anymore except for large offline back-ups. Given the way direct access works it is also possible to build other access methods on top of direct access such as sequential access or creating an index of all the records of the file speeding to speed up finding data in a file.

On top of storing and managing files on a drive the file system also maintains a system of directories in which the files are referenced. Modern hard drives store hundreds of gigabytes. The file system helps organise this data by dividing it up into directories. A directory can contain files or more directories. Like files there are several basic operation that a file system needs to a be able to perform on its directory structure to function properly.

It needs to be able to create a file. This is also covered by the overview of peration on a file but as well as creating the file it needs to be added to the directory structure.

When a file is deleted the space taken up by the file needs to be marked as free space. The file itself also needs to be removed from the directory structure.

Files may need to be renamed. This requires an alteration to the directory structure but the file itself remains un-changed.

List a directory. In order to use the disk properly the user will require to know whats in all the diretories stored on it. On top of this the user needs to be able to browse through the directories on the hard drive.

Since the first directory structures were designed they have gone through several large evolutions. Before directory structures were applied to file systems all files were stored on the same level. This is basically a system with one directory in which all the files are kept. The next advancement on this which would be considered the first directory structure is the two level directory. In this There is a singe list of directories which are all on the same level. The files are then stored in these directories. This allows different users and applications to store there files separately. After this came the first directory structures as we know them today, directory trees. Tree structure directories improves on two level directories by allowing directories as well as files to be stored in directories. All modern file systems use tree structore directories, but many have additional features such as security built on top of them.

Protection can be implemented in many ways. Some file systems allow you to have password protected directories. In this system. The file system wont allow you to access a directory before it is given a username and password for it. Others extend this system by given different users or groups access permissions. The operating system requires the user to log in before using the computer and then restrict their access to areas they dont have permission for. The system used by the computer science department for storage space and coursework submission on raptor is a good example of this. In a file system like NTFS all type of storage space, network access and use of device such as printers can be controlled in this way. Other types of access control can also be implemented outside of the file system. For example applications such as win zip allow you to password protect files.

There are many different file systems currently available to us on many different platforms and depending on the type of application and size of drive different situations suit different file system. If you were to design a file system for a tape backup system then a sequential access method would be better suited than a direct access method given the constraints of the hardware. Also if you had a small hard drive on a home computer then there would be no real advantage of using a more complex file system with features such as protection as it isn't likely to be needed. If i were to design a file system for a 10 gigabyte drive i would use linked allocation over contigious to make the most efficient use the drive space and limit the time needed to maintain the drive. I would also design a direct access method over a sequential access one to make the most use of the strengths of the hardware. The directory structure would be tree based to allow better organisation of information on the drive and would allow for acyclic directories to make it easier for several users to work on the same project. It would also have a file protection system that allowed for different access rights for different groups of users and password protection on directories and individual files.Several file systems that already implement the features ive decribed above as ideal for a 10gig hard drive are currently available, these include NTFS for the Windows NT and XP operating systems and ext2 which is used in linux.

Creating A Software Library

by: Jane Smith

Every business uses computer software. But not every business realises the importance of having a user friendly software library for cataloging all their software.

While sharing software and using it on more than one computer is against the law, making a copy to keep in your software library in case it is ever needed is not only allowed, it is strongly advised.

In this sense a company’s software library is the computer equivalent of the box that says ‘break glass in emergency’; it grants you access to the vital software your company uses to run its day to day business. If anything goes wrong or the original software is corrupted in any way, you have the back up you need to get you out of trouble.

It’s obvious then that the library needs to be properly catalogued and kept fully up to date, to ensure that everything is where it should be in the event that it’s ever needed. Consider it as a fire extinguisher to help put out the flames caused by malfunctioning computer equipment. If you don’t know where that extinguisher is – or even worse, you haven’t got one at all – the flames could spread out and affect your whole business. Use the fire extinguisher however and everything is back to normal in no time.

The process of creating a software library can ironically be made much easier by purchasing software that is designed to make the task easy to perform and control. The companies that specialise in this kind of software also offer support services to help you get your own library up and running.

The most important aspect is to consider your needs and the best way of organising your own business software library. It needs to be easy to access and update, while remaining secure at all times.

For this reason it’s advisable to make sure that only a few key members of staff can access the software library. It’s not necessary for everyone to have access to it, and the more people are able to do so, the more likely it is that it will be compromised.

Once the library has been created it will be necessary to update it every time a new piece of software is integrated into the current computer system. Making a particular person responsible for seeing that this is done will ensure the integrity of the software library remains secure.

A History Into Microsoft Products

by: Mehmet Onatli

Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of software operating systems by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). The most recent client version of Windows is Windows Vista. The current server version of Windows is Windows Server 2008.

Windows 1.0 (1985)
The first version of Windows provided a new software environment for developing and running applications that use bitmap displays and mouse pointing devices. Before Windows, PC users relied on the MS-DOS® method of typing commands at the C prompt (C:\). With Windows, users moved a mouse to point and click their way through tasks, such as starting applications.

In addition, Windows users could switch among several concurrently running applications. The product included a set of desktop applications, including the MS-DOS file management program, a calendar, card file, notepad, calculator, clock, and telecommunications programs, which helped users, manage day-to-day activities.

Windows 2.0 (1987)
Windows 2.0 took advantage of the improved processing speed of the Intel 286 processor, expanded memory, and inter-application communication capabilities made possible through Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). With improved graphics support, users could now overlap windows, control screen layout, and use keyboard combinations to move rapidly through Windows operations. Many developers wrote their first Windows–based applications for this release.

Windows 3.0 (1990)
The third major release of the Windows platform from Microsoft offered improved performance, advanced graphics with 16 colors, and full support of the more powerful Intel 386 processor. A new wave of 386 PCs helped drive the popularity of Windows 3.0, which offered a wide range of useful features and capabilities, including:

Program Manager, File Manager, and Print Manager.

A completely rewritten application development environment.

An improved set of Windows icons.

Windows NT 3.1 (1993)
When Microsoft Windows NT® was released to manufacturing on July 27, 1993, Microsoft met an important milestone: the completion of a project begun in the late 1980s to build an advanced new operating system from scratch.

Windows NT was the first Windows operating system to combine support for high-end, client/server business applications with the industry's leading personal productivity applications.

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (1993)
A superset of Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 added peer-to-peer workgroup and domain networking support. For the first time, Windows–based PCs were network-aware and became an integral part of the emerging client/server computing evolution.

Windows for Workgroups was used in local area networks (LANs) and on standalone PCs and laptop computers. It added features of special interest to corporate users, such as centralized configuration and security, significantly improved support for Novell NetWare networks, and remote access service (RAS)

Windows NT Workstation 3.5 (1994)
The Windows NT Workstation 3.5 release provided the highest degree of protection yet for critical business applications and data. With support for the OpenGL graphics standard, this operating system helped power high-end applications for software development, engineering, financial analysis, scientific, and business-critical tasks.

Windows 95 (1995)
Windows 95 was the successor to the three existing general-purpose desktop operating systems from Microsoft—Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, and MS-DOS. Windows 95 integrated a 32-bit TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) stack for built-in Internet support, dial-up networking, and new Plug and Play capabilities that made it easy for users to install hardware and software.

The 32-bit operating system also offered enhanced multimedia capabilities, more powerful features for mobile computing, and integrated networking.

Windows NT Workstation 4.0 (1996)
This upgrade to the Microsoft business desktop operating system brought increased ease of use and simplified management, higher network throughput, and tools for developing and managing intranets. Windows NT Workstation 4.0 included the popular Windows 95 user interface yet provided improved networking support for easier and more secure access to the Internet and corporate intranets.

Windows 98 (1998)
Windows 98 was the upgrade from Windows 95. Described as an operating system that "Works Better, Plays Better," Windows 98 was the first version of Windows designed specifically for consumers.

With Windows 98, users could find information more easily on their PCs as well as the Internet. Other ease-of-use improvements included the ability to open and close applications more quickly, support for reading DVD discs, and support for universal serial bus (USB) devices

Windows 98 Second Edition (1999)
Windows 98 SE, as it was often abbreviated, was an incremental update to Windows 98. It offered consumers a variety of new and enhanced hardware compatibility and Internet-related features.

Windows 98 SE helped improve users' online experience with the Internet Explorer 5.0 browser technology and Microsoft Windows NetMeeting® 3.0 conferencing software. It also included Microsoft DirectX® API 6.1, which provided improved support for Windows multimedia, and offered home networking capabilities through Internet connection sharing (ICS)

Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) (2000)
Designed for home computer users, Windows Me offered consumers numerous music, video, and home networking enhancements and reliability improvements.

Windows Me was the last Microsoft operating system to be based on the Windows 95 code base. Microsoft announced that all future operating system products would be based on the Windows NT and Windows 2000 kernel.

Windows 2000 Professional (2000)
Windows 2000 added major improvements in reliability, ease of use, Internet compatibility, and support for mobile computing.

Among other improvements, Windows 2000 Professional simplified hardware installation by adding support for a wide variety of new Plug and Play hardware, including advanced networking and wireless products, USB devices, IEEE 1394 devices, and infrared devices.

Windows XP (2001)
With the release of Windows XP in October 2001, Microsoft merged its two Windows operating system lines for consumers and businesses, uniting them around the Windows 2000 code base.

With Windows XP, home users can work with and enjoy music, movies, messaging, and photos with their computer, while business users can work smarter and faster, thanks to new technical-support technology, a fresh user interface, and many other improvements that make it easier to use for a wide range of tasks

Windows VISTA
Windows Vista is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, Tablet PCs, and media centers.

Windows Vista contains many changes and new features, including an updated graphical user interface and visual style dubbed Windows Aero, improved searching features, new multimedia creation tools such as Windows DVD Maker, and redesigned networking, audio, print, and display sub-systems

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Online Security Begins At Home

by: Scott Lindsay

It is important to make sure the computer you use to access your online ecommerce site is secure. Too often a site owner takes great care to ensure the security of the site itself and may fail to take precautions to protect his or her own computer.

If your website is not secure you may have difficulty accessing information, processing orders and securely accessing your own website.

Most netrepreneurs will place password protections on their ecommerce site to deter hackers, but interestingly a hacker might gain access to your information by another means altogether.

Personal Computer Security

Anti-virus software – There are thousands of viruses and mutations throughout the web. Some are implemented by visiting a website while others are downloaded through email. The use of anti-virus software is a good first step to securing your own personal computer. Make sure you set options that will allow you to gain updates at least once a day and be sure to scan your computer daily. In most cases this can be done automatically. Millions of files are corrupted and destroyed each year because of unprotected computers.

Automatic Updates – Your web browser will likely have a site for updates and security fixes applicable for your computer. Automatic notices can be requested when new updates are available. DO NOT ignore notices that inform you of needed downloads. Most of these updates address discovered weaknesses in a portion of the software. By maintaining the security of your website you improve the chances that your computer is free of present and future predators.

Spyware – This security risk is more personal than damaging. Spyware sets data miners in place that extract information about the locations you visit. They often access your email address information and can send emails to you based on the sites you have visited. Because the Spyware can uncover some personal data it should be eradicated regularly. Some anti-virus software includes spyware eliminators, but there are also several free versions of spyware eliminating software online. You should know that many freeware or shareware programs include spyware in the free-to use program (there’s always a catch). It is mentioned in some of the fine print of the site, but most users do not take the time to read all of the legalese.

By protecting your own computer you can also make it possible to protect the data of your customers by doing everything you can to ensure backdoor admission to the data is prohibited.

The Different Between One Registry Cleaner Software And Another

by: Mehmet Onatli

Here’s a fact: 92% of computers run on Windows, and every 32-bit edition of Windows has a storage sector where options and settings are saved. This sector is called the registry, and it is one of the busiest databases in a computer. As such, it is one of the databases that are most susceptible to corruption and breakage. This is why the demand for an efficient registry fix is consistently high.

But there are many options on the internet when it comes to a quick registry fix.

Which is the best one? Which registry fix is worth the download? Which registry fix will provide the best results?

In this article, we will review five of the most popular registry cleaners available on the World Wide Web today. It is hoped that you, the reader, will be guided properly on how to choose the best registry fix for your needs.

Registry Fix No. 1: Stompsoft Registry Repair

Stomp is known as the most thorough and most aggressive registry fix in the market today. Where other registry fixers can only diagnose 50 to 70 registry-related errors, Stomp can pinpoint more than 700.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Some say that Stomp merely counts errors in the registry that Windows will auto-correct eventually. Some say that Stomp merely looks for errors in places where files don’t really have a bearing on the processes conducted by the system.

Regardless, Stomp’s aggressiveness wouldn’t hurt, and at the end of the day, it’s still about how well the registry is fixed, and on this, Stomp has a pretty good record.

Registry Fix No. 2: CCleaner

Being a free registry cleaner, CCleaner has built a huge and solid following, with most of its patrons claiming that they have been using this registry fix as soon as it was released almost 5 years ago, and they have never looked for any other reg cleaner since then.

For a free registry fix, CCleaner’s features are simply amazing. CCleaner does things right. It erases the useless and redundant files in the registry, and it never meddles with files that may affect the performance of Windows.

And it is constantly updated! This is something that free registry fixes can seldom afford.

Registry Fix No. 3: Registry Mechanic

Registry Mechanic is likewise a stable registry fix. With the newest update, Version 6.0, Registry Mechanic is now capable of recognizing previously unrecognizable errors, and correcting the same, resulting in a cleaner, better performance for your Windows-based PC.

Many online authorities attest to the integrity of Registry Mechanic, mainly because of the aforementioned stability and consistency of this registry fix. This has created a wave of acclaim for the program, which has been translated to many downloads for the same.

Registry Fix No. 4: Registry First Aid

Speaking of acclaims, if the number of awards is to be used as gauge, then Registry First Aid should top this list.

Registry First Aid is a registry fix that boasts of a seamless cleaning process for your Windows operating system. It promises a stable program that will provide the registry fix you need fast and easy.

Registry Fix No. 5: Registry Medic

Registry Medic’s claim to fame, on the other hand, lies in three things: its amazing user-friendly interface, its powerful scan engine, and its ability to remove and immunize your system from spyware and malware infestation.

Registry medic is indeed more than just a mere registry fix. It aims to be a spyware cure and prevention solution as well, making it one of the top downloads of people who wish to speed up and protect the integrity of their PCs.

How to Clean Disc Drives

by: Ray Geide

When your CD or DVD (disc) drive starts giving you problems, your first thought may be to replace it or take it to the repair shop, but a good cleaning may be all it needs.

Below are three methods to clean the disc drive. The easiest method is the least effective. The hardest method is the most effective. Since the hardest method takes some time to do, I recommend that you start with the easiest method. If it solves your problems, congratulations. If not, try the next method.

The Cleaner Disc method - this, the easiest method, uses a special cleaner disc which can be purchased in computer stores. The disc usually comes with a little bottle of cleaner solution. Apply a few drops of the solution to the disc and insert it in the disc drawer (be sure to read and follow the instructions that come with the cleaner disc). The drive will turn the disc and clean the lens. Unfortunately, this only works adequately about half the time.

The Cleaning Stick method - this is what I do in desperation when the cleaner disc does not work and I don't want to disassemble the drive. Since all that is needed (at least in my mind this is true) is a little more pressure applied to the lens, I start out in search of a thin, flexible stick of some type which is at least six inches long. It should not have sharp or rough edges that would scratch the lens. Next, get a soft, thin cloth and put water or rubbing alcohol in the middle of it. Place one end of the stick under the wet part of the cloth and slide it into the opened disc drawer. The goal is to rub the wet cloth on the lens to clean it. Do not apply so much pressure that you will scratch and ruin the lens. Also try blowing into the disc drive to remove any dirt that may have accommulated in it. If you do not succeed at this, proceed to the next method.

The Disassembly method - this method should work but it requires you to disassemble the drive. So if you are not comfortable with taking the drive apart, please take it to a computer repair shop and let them do it.

Take the cover off your computer, unplug the cords from the back of the disc drive, remove any screws holding it in, and slide it out (you may need to remove the face plate on the end of the drawer to get the drive out). Remove the screws in the drive housing and take the cover off. The bottom side of the drive is a circuit board, so if that is what you see when you take the cover off, figure out how to access the other side. On the correct side, you should see a lens that runs on a track (there is no harm in moving the lens along the track but do not touch the lens itself). Use a wet, soft cloth to clean the lens.

Sometimes a disc drive malfunctions because there is too much dust or debris in it, so be sure to clean out the inside with either compressed air, a soft cloth, or a cotton swab. Reassemble the disc drive, put it back in the computer case, and cross your fingers. Hopefully, it will work when you turn on the computer.

If these methods work, you just saved yourself some money. If not, you needed a better disc drive anyway.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Viewing an IP Network Camera over the Internet

by: Wes Fernley

IP Network Cameras are designed to work in a Local Area Network (LAN) and over the Internet. Within a LAN, IP Network Cameras allow for motoring local to the computer network to which the cameras are attached to. With additional configuration of your computer network you have the ability to allow for your IP Network Camera to be monitored not only locally but remotely as well using the Internet.

For advice on how to configure your network to allow for your camera to work over the Internet please follow this guide. Additional information can be found on

Configuration - Local Access Before you are able to configure your camera to work over the Internet we suggest configuring the camera for local access first. Please refer to the technical documentation that came with your camera for proper instructions on initial configuration of your camera. Once the camera has been configured for local access you are then ready to start configuration for remote access to the camera over the Internet.

Configuration - Remote Access Before you proceed to configure your local network to allow your camera to be monitored from a remote location, we suggest that you contact your network administrator to ensure you have the proper authority to configure remote access to the camera. Once you have consulted with your network administrator you may proceed to configure remote access to the camera.

In order to configure your camera to work over the Internet you will need to configure what is called Port Forwarding. Port Forwarding allows for you to access the camera from a remote location by forwarding the network ports used by the camera onto the Internet. These ports are usually forwarded by accessing your network's router and configuring the router to forward the ports used by the camera.

For details as to what ports will be required for forwarding for your IP Network Camera, please consult the manufacturer of your camera. For additional information beyond this guide regarding Port Forwarding, please visit where you will be able to find step by step guides on Port Forwarding specific to different models of routers.

Step 1 - Obtain IP Address Information In order to access your network's router for configuration of port forwarding you will require the IP Address of the router to which the camera is connected to. You can obtain this IP Address information by consulting with the network administrator of your network or by opening up a Command Prompt within Windows and entering in the "ipconfig /all" command. To open a command prompt window you will need to click on the Window's Start button and then proceed to click on Run. Now you will enter in "cmd" and click on "Ok" to proceed.

Once you have displayed the IP Configuration for your computer using the "ipconfig /all" command, you will then be able to record the IP Address for your router. You will need this IP Address in order to access your router for configuring Port Forwarding. Your network router's IP Address will be displayed as the Default Gateway.

Step 2 - Accessing your Network's Router Now that you have obtained the IP Address for your network's router you will then need to proceed to access your router by typing in the router's IP Address in a web browser.

Step 3 - Configuring Port Forwarding on your Router Now that you have access to the network router you will then need to proceed to browse to the configuration section on the router where port forwarding is to take place. Please consult with the manufacturer of your router for details as to where this section is. You may also review the website where you will find detailed forum posts on port forwarding with various routers.

The Private IP Address for the camera (local IP Address of camera) has been entered in as well as a unique name that will be associated with this particular port that is to be forwarded. In this example port 80 will be forwarded for the camera. Please consult with the manufacturer of your camera for details on what port(s) will be forwarded. Some IP Network Cameras require more then one port to be forwarded in order for you to obtain all the features the camera has to offer. You will also be presented with an option to select a Protocol to be to be used. Common options found are UDP, TCP or Both. Your router may have additional options. In most cases you will need to select the protocol option "Both". This will associate both UDP and TCP protocols to the port(s) being forwarded. In this example we with click on the Apply button once all required information has been entered.

After the settings have been saved within the router's configuration you should be able to see this information displayed in a list. There may be other entries in this list already by default.

Step 4 - Accessing your IP Network Camera over the Internet Now that you have configured port forwarding on your network's router to allow the camera to be accessed over the Internet, you are now ready to attempt to access the camera. We suggest attempting to access the camera from a remote location and not within the local network for confirmation that port forwarding was configured properly. At a remote location you will need to type in the Public IP Address that is provided by you Internet Service Provider (ISP) in order for you to be able to access your camera.

Please contact your ISP if you are not sure what your Public IP Address is. You will not be able to access the camera by it's Private IP Address (Example: because the camera's Private IP Address cannot be seen on the Internet and can only be seen within the local network to which the camera is attached to.

In most applications port 80 will be forwarded and because of this no port information will be required in the Address Bar when attempting to access the camera. However, there are cases where an IP Network Camera will not use port 80. These cases are usually related to security concerns with using port 80.

We suggest contacting your network administrator or the manufacturer of you router to inquire upon the possible security concerns with forwarding port 80. If port 80 is not the port being used you will be required to enter in the full IP Address followed by a colon and the port number used.

You should now be able to fully access your IP Network Camera from a remote location using the Internet. If you require any additional support for configuring your camera for remote access, we strongly suggest that you contact the manufacturer of your camera, the manufacturer of your network's router or review the detailed guides found on

Blogging For Internet Newbies

by: Alex J. Newell

Blogs means different things to different people: to journalists they are unofficial sources of information, to the ordinary Joe they are an Online diary or forum, to repressive governments they are subversive and a threat and to the Internet marketer they are a marketing tool!

Starting as humble “Web Logs” kept by Internet Geeks, blogs have moved fast to occupy center ground. A good example of what a professional quality blog can look like is Jim Edward’s blog

This is not a diary entry this is entertainment!

Jim Edwards is an experienced journalist and user of multi media. But Newbies can learn some great lessons from this site. The obvious thing is that Jim Edwards character jumps off the page! You can do this. You have a character too! You have interests, passions, obsessions even!

And why would Jim Edwards provide first class information and entertainment at no cost? Because you will keep going to his blog and you will learn about the books Jim has written. Maybe you would even buy one! Very nice “un-pushy” advertising.

The importance of Blogs to the Newbie will take a while to become clear. For now I just want to say that a blog is a website. You can enter whatever text you desire, pictures too! You can allow other people to contribute if you want (I’d recommend against that unless you review and moderate the content!)

For anyone who is nervous about building a website or about getting content for a Newsletter or eZine, having a blog is a perfect practise tool to build up confidence and material

How to get started

Internet Newbies who wish to start Blogging must first find Blogging software.

The three main varieties of blog software are

1. Blogger, free and very easy technically
2. Wordpress, free ( and priceless as Wordpress fans remark ! )
3. Typepad, monthly charge
4. Squarespace, monthly charge

We will use the free one – Blogger. which is very “Newbie friendly”

First visit Blogger

You find yourself at what I call the front page of Blogger and what Blogger calls “The Dashboard”.

Now use the “Create a Blog” button. You are then asked for a Title or name for the blog and then a web name. The name should reflect the desired subject matter of your blog and the web name is probably going to be shorter and conform to the usual rules – no spaces etc.

Mostly people Blog either by going to and entering their password and username clicking on New Post and just typing straight in or by downloading the Google Tool Bar with the little orange Blogger button. To get this, go to and click on the “more” link on the right. You will find the little orange Blogger button and can download it and install it.

You may have the Google Toolbar already. In Internet Explorer, click on View and then on Toolbars, if you see Google there tick it and use it, otherwise you need to download it. The exact details may depend on the version of Windows you have etc.

After opening an account at Blogger jot down a few notes, Remember this is a website, the whole world will be able to read it so don’t put anything in it that you might regret!

Happy Blogging!

If you want to build a business on the Web Blogging is a good place to start. You get used to writing and when you click the little orange “Blogger” button your words will be “live on the internet”.

Before we end this “Newbie Guide To Blogging” lets just comment on Adsense.

When you sign up for a Blogger blog you will be able to add “Adsense” to the blog. This is a clever form of advertising and in principle can earn you money when a reader clicks on one of the Ads”. If you have a high traffic blog with thousand of visitors per month it is true that income from such advertising can be substantial – earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For the Newbie Adsense is just a distraction in my view and is not likely to earn a substantial income.

If you can use a blog and add to it regularly and build an archive of content you may soon be ready to think of putting a website together and that for most people is much more lucrative.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Computer Security Against Data Loss And Identity Theft

by: Chris Kaminski

This week I was going to write about upgrading system RAM but while watching the news I saw the story about and their data theft. Last weeks big story was the data lose at the Veterans Administration. NOW .. to be clear, these were not computer security breeches but people actually carrying the data out on disk. But the point is data is valuable and this leads to computer security

This past week alone we had 5 machines that were so loaded with spyware the machines literally stalled and were unusable. Now, knowing how low the response is when we run spyware ads I know many of you are not listening. Then, when you head to the repair shop it is already too late. Add to this the cost of the repair /clean out which usually costs many times is more then the actual machine is worth.

If ever there was a case for the fabled "ounce of prevention" this is it. Anyway identity theft is the fastest growing, most damaging and expensive crime we have today. It can take up to a year to detect and by then the damage can be extensive, but with a few simple steps you can avoid it. The problem is getting you to take those steps so I'll go over them again.

Before you go near the Internet your computer needs three types of software, first, a good anti-virus program. We recommend products like Norton Anti-virus, Trend Micro and if you are looking for a good freebie, get AVG. Now if one is good two should be better right ... wrong. This not true with virus software. Very often they will conflict and cause system performance issues.

Next you need a firewall, if nothing else use the built in Windows firewall that comes with XP Sp2, if you have an earlier version then you seriously need to run Windows updates. This is not just for the firewall but you are missing a large collection of security updates. Finally, you need a spyware scanner and you need two of these, one pro-active (scanning threats as they come in) and one that is reactive (scans for threats that are let in by hiding in something else). This is especially true if you use Yahoo, MSN, or Google search bars.

Also AOL is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to collecting and selling info on their subscribers. But they hide it well by keeping you focused on the competitors spyware they are removing. You also need two spyware scanners because neither will get all the threats and one will get what the other missed. We recommend Pest Patrol and Ad Aware. Avoid Spybot at all costs. This is just a spyware suite disguised as a scanner. Well there you have it, again. The Internet is a safe place if you take the proper precautions.