Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is There Spyware And Adware On Your Computer??

by: Malcolm Moorhouse

The Shocking Facts are that 85% to 90% of computers that are connected to the internet today are infected by some type of adware and spyware!- Source CNN

These malicious software programs Invade your privacy and send personal and private data to third parties and also take up hard drive space and slow down your PC.

Spyware tracks your on line internet browsing and surfing habits. It moniters each location you visit and what you have looked up on that site. Spyware programs can even track every keystroke you make on your keyboard and record every bit of data you add to a online form, such as name, location and credit card data when you make a purchase. This can lead to identity hijacking and theft of personal and private credit card information. Your PC surfing habits and personal and private information is then sold to third parties.

Adware is another kind of spyware. It doesn't work by tracking your information as spyware does, but what it can do is literally switch your browser settings without your permission. It can cause pop up ads to appear on your PC. A toolbar can also be installed on your computer without your knowledge. Most of us are unaware of the presence of adware programs installed on our computer untill it starts to slow down, crash, blue screen or programs stop working properly.

The spyware business is a billion dollar a year industry with people getting very rich selling the information they steal about you.

Downloading and installing anti-spyware software will remove and protect your computer from spyware, adware, keyloggers, pop ups, trojans and worms.

You can if you wish go to http://www.adwareremoval4you.com and download an excellent anti-spyware program that will scan, remove and protect your computer from all these hidden parasites.

The Internet, To Infinity And Beyond

by: Graeme Notega

The Internet has come to embody the wide spectrum of interests, faiths, beliefs, ideas, and knowledge for human beings across the globe. First an experiment by techno wizards and computer geeks, the Internet has grown so enormously in the last two decades, with email addresses and web urls increasingly mentioned in daily conversation. The Internet in its incubation and formative years, was loudly touted as the first 'free medium' of communication, free of the censures, dictates, conformities, and restrictions of other mediums of expression, that have become entrenched in tradition.

One of the greatest assets of the web is its multimedia presentation capabilities where information once solely relegated to separate modes of expression, via print, artwork, movie, video, and face-to-face conversations, are all readily available and accessible through one medium: the Internet. With such versatility, it is no wonder that the Internet has grown in popularity in leaps and bounds, with even famous multimedia giants in the entertainment industry such as the famous Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg being quoted as saying: "I think that the Internet is going to effect the most profound change on the entertainment industries combined. And we're all gonna be tuning into the most popular Internet show in the world, which will be coming from some place in Des Moines.

We're all going to lose our jobs. We're all gonna be on the Internet trying to find an audience." A question frequently posed by both visitors and web hosts alike, is has the internet simplified our lives? The answer is more complex than it would appear.

Shopping or browsing for more information on virtually any topic, has becoming incredibly convenient via the Internet. Whole libraries and books of information, once only accessible via print copies, are now readily available on the Internet, and downloadable to the desktop of your computer.

Internet technology has spawned a whole new generation of technology, hardware, and software with PDAs,MP3 players, streaming audio and video files, gaming software, eBay auctions, and so much more, now accessible via the click of a mouse. With information available on any topic now via the Internet, the potential for human communication, connection, and development has far surpassed any other form of media.

A child growing up in this era of change, is more likely to know the name of the website of his or her favorite singer than the name of classic children's story tales. This and other "free accessibility" features are of concern to many parents who fear that the high prevalence of pornography, scams, and advertising on the Internet, will unduly affect the moral character of their children. The Internet is thus being 'reamed in' or questioned for parental controls and creation of 'restricted site access' to prevent such accessibility and its after-effects upon children.

Getting the Best Deal on Printer Ink

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Not so long ago, hardly any home had a printer. But things have changed rapidly and today, high quality printers are available in most homes. You can now print documents, pictures and photographs in your home without any problem.

It is possible that you had a harrowing time when you had to replace the cartridge of your printer the last time. It might have been expensive, time-consuming, confusing and full of hassles. Such an experience would definitely have left you unwilling to face the tension of buying a cartridge in the future. If you are looking for alternative solutions, the following options will be helpful.

An easy and cheap alternative is to buy a kit from a department or office supply store and fill the printer ink yourself. Just remove the cartridge from the computer and inject the ink into the cartridge with the help of a syringe. You can then put the cartridge back into place. Besides being a bit messy you stand the chance of losing the manufacturer’s warranty if you use an off-brand printer ink cartridge.

If you want to prolong the life of your printer ink cartridge you should take care of the following:

• Set your printer option to draft print till such time as you are ready to print your final document.

• If the document that you want to print does not contain any colors, you should set the black and white print option always till you need to print a color document.

In spite of the above tips, you would still have to change the cartridge at some time or the other. Given below are a few more tips to help you save money while buying replacement ink cartridges.

• A non-branded compatible inkjet printer cartridge would be cheaper and would still serve the purpose as most reputable manufacturers make printer ink cartridges and sell them at very low prices as compared to the prices of the printer manufacturers’ own ink. There is also not much difference in quality.

• Refilled cartridges can also be used, as there are many manufacturers who collect used ink cartridges, refill them and then test them. These cartridges will be much cheaper and of good quality.

• Avail of discounts from online vendors if you buy in bulk.

The cheapest and the best option, however is to buy ink refill kits from any store. You can use these kits to refill your own printer cartridge. You can refill one ink cartridge about ten times. It is not difficult to refill a cartridge but you should take care that the refilling process is done before the ink cartridge dries out fully. Besides being the cheapest option, it is also environment friendly, as refilling existing ink cartridges will mean that less number of cartridges will be made and dumped in landfill sites.

It is always best to shop around for the best deals before buying any product. You should check the prices in the local stores and compare them with those available online. You can then take the help of the above tips and decide the best course of action.

You must see what is best for you and then decide. However, you will have to take into consideration all the factors such as the life of your printer. You might be tempted to save money by refilling the cartridges and/or using low quality replacements but the damage to your printer can prove to be more costly. Weigh your options and then make up your mind.

A Concise Guide To MICR And Associated Technologies

by: Charles Katz

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) was developed to utilize the benefits of computer technology in the banking industry. Prior to the use of a MICR line, check sorting by account number was a manual process. Two systems were previously used to handle the large numbers of checks processed in the banking industry: Sort-A-Matic and Top Tab Key Sort.

The Sort-A-Matic system included 100 metal or leather dividers numbered 00 through 99. Each check was placed in the corresponding divider by the first two numbers of the account. The sorting process was then repeated for the next two digits of the account number, and so on. When the process was complete, the checks were grouped by account number.

Under the Top Tab Key Sort system, small holes punched at the top of the checks indicated the digits. For instance, the first hole indicated the value of the first digits (0, 1, 2, 3...) A metal "key" was inserted through the holes to separate all of the checks with the same value in the first digit, and this step was repeated for each digit until all the checks were sorted.

Both of these systems worked, but they were time-consuming. With the advent of the computer and its movement from the laboratory into the business world, a sorting and matching task seemed ideal. Stanford University and Bank of America were the first to successfully use computers to sort and match checks. They developed what is now known as MICR.

The Development of the MICR Font

The MICR font was developed by Stanford University in conjunction with Bank of America and approved by the American Banking Association. The font is known as the E-13B font. E-13B has a total of 14 characters: ten specially designed numbers (0 through 9) and four special symbols (Transit, Amount, On-Us, and Dash).

The letter E indicates the fifth version considered. The letter B indicates the second revision of that version. The number 13 is derived from the 0.013-inch module construction used for stroke and character width. This means that all character widths, both horizontal and vertical, are in multiples of 0.013 inches ranging from 0.052 to 0.091. The significance of this will be explained more thoroughly later in this article.

MICR Readers

Three types of machines are used to read MICR characters. The two that read the characters magnetically are referred to as MICR readers. The third machine is an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) reader.

E-13B characters are printed with toner containing iron oxide, which is capable of being magnetized. MICR readers transport the checks containing the E-13B magnetic characters past a magnet, thereby magnetizing the iron oxide particles. The magnetized characters then pass under a magnetic read head. The magnetic field (flux pattern) caused by the magnetized characters generates a current in the read head. The strength and timing of this current allows the reader to decipher the characters.

Magnetic readers come in two types: single track (single gap or split scan) and multiple track (matrix or pattern) readers.

Single-Track Reader Characteristics

Single track uses a read head with one gap to detect the magnetic flux pattern generated by the MICR character. When a magnetized E-13B printed character moves across the narrow gap of the read head, the electric voltage caused by the magnetic flux from the character generates a waveform unique to each character.

Multi-Track Reader Characteristics

The multiple track reader employs a matrix of tiny, vertically aligned read heads to detect the presence of the magnetic flux pattern. The small individual read heads slice across the character to detect the presence of magnetic flux. This sensing of magnetic flux over time produces a unique matrix pattern for each character.

An OCR reader does not use magnetic properties to detect the E-13B characters. Instead, it uses a scanner to detect the amount of light reflected from the character and the amount of light reflected from the background. A photocell column detects the presence of the dark area of a character.

Waveform Theory

The readers move and read documents from right to left. The right-hand edge of the character, as a result, is the first to cross the read head. Analysis of the signal level created by reading the character 0 will help explain this in greater detail.

As the character moves from right to left under the read head, the gap detects the magnetism of the first right-hand edge (edge 1). This results in the increase in magnetism and a positive peak is created (peak 1). As soon as the right-hand edge moves beyond the read head gap, no new magnetism is found, and thus the wave form returns to the zero signal level.

At the second edge, the vertical read head detects a drop in magnetism, which results in a -110 signal level at peak 2. Again the waveform returns to zero until the next portion of the inner ring of the character is detected. At this point (peak 3), an increase in magnetism (+110) is indicated. Finally, the outer portion of the character is read, resulting in a negative peak (peak 4) of -130.

The placement of the vertical edges must occur in increments of 0.013 inches from the first right-hand edge. There are five characters that have two positive and two negative peaks similar to the character 0 and also appear in a positive-negative-positive-negative format. They are 0, 2, 4, 5, and the transit character, which are differentiated from one another by the horizontal location of the peaks in the waveforms. The peaks do require different amplitudes, but ANSI standards allow them to vary from 50% to 200% of the nominal amplitudes (Canadian standards allow them to vary from 80% to 200% of the nominal amplitudes). This is why the placement of the waveform is so important and why the characters are shaped unusually.

What Affects the Signal Level?

Signal level can vary based on a number of factors. The amount of iron oxide (concentration) that is present in the character will affect the signal level. This is a function not only of the toner itself, but also of how it is laid on the paper and the pile height, which can be controlled by numerous other cartridge components (i.e., "hot" OPCs).

The taller the vertical edge of the character, the taller the peak (either positive or negative). A vertical edge that is not regular and/or not vertical will result in a reduction in the amplitude of the peak and will flatten the peak out.

Keys to proper waveform detection are:

* All peaks in a character's waveform must be detected. The reader sorter must know that the peak is there.

* The peak must be located at or near its anticipated location.

* No significant "extra" peaks can be present.

* There cannot be wide variations in the signal levels of peaks within a character.

What to Look for in MICR Printers and Consumables

Printers that are used for MICR printing must have a unique MICR font that is modified to suit the unique printer engine, and it must be modified to the pixel level to match the magnetic toner provided for that printer. This is essential to ensure the correct waveform, dimension, and signal strength when a check is printed with the correct MICR characters. In addition, the MICR font must meet ABA-X9 standards to ensure acceptance of your checks by banking institutions.

The magnetic MICR toner that you choose must be specifically designed for the particular print engine in the printer. Ensure the toner has been thoroughly tested for consistent signal readings, image permanence and uniformity, and excellent edge acuity. Toner coverage must be solid with no extraneous toner lay down.

OEM cartridges are always a safe (but more expensive) bet. If you buy a "compatible" brand, ensure it has a new OPC drum, new primary charge rollers (PCRs), a new black velvet magnetic sleeve, and new image wiper blades. The hopper system must be filled with high-quality, low-abrasion MICR toner.

The vendor you choose should use the latest and most advance MICR test equipment, such as a Verifier and Golden Qualifier to conform to ANSI X9 Standards. It is also recommended that the systems exceed U.S. and Canadian check printing standards.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Malware, Spyware and Virus’s All Things Developed To Harm Your PC

by: Paul Cottam

How many people do you know that bought a PC that came with a limited virus package that have never paid for updates or have not even bothered to install and Anti Virus software on there PC,s at all

With all the Spyware and malicious Malware out the on the net now, especaily as most people now how broadband access and as a result most PC's are left connected to the internet for long periods or indefinitely the chances of a security threat is now very common

There are literally millions of computors out there connected to the internet with no antivirus sotware installed, many people simply cant afford to pay for the ever increasing cost of such software. Some even call for windows to come as standard with antivirus software built in, fortunatley there is an alternative that is FREE

When ever I am asked to help sort out a friend's PC, be it a simple windows problem or a complete reformat and reinstall of Windows. I always take along a CD with a few useful programs stored on disc. One is AV Antivirus from Grisoft, the next is Microsoft Antispyware now called Defender and the last is Swait a Anti Trojan and Bot Scanner/Remover all programs are FREE and so there is no excuse for not being protected at home

This is especially important if like me you have a home network that has several PC,s connected to it, one infected PC will infect all others on the network very quickly. Often malicious code can be downloaded very easily from the internet with even knowing, one of the main areas for infecting your PC with Spyware is by the use of file sharing software (P2P peer to peer networking) and some freeware which can often come bundled with Spyware that installs without informing you

This is especially important if you share your PC with other members of the household, or have other PC’s linked into your network as not everyone is as security concesious as yourself and guests etc often download and install stuff without thinking.

That new tool bar that they installed because it gave them more emoticons to use in there instant messenger or shopping helper starts to hijack your browser settings. Suddenly your home page changes and despite having a pop up blocker you get regular timed pop up windows, some Spyware like this can be so difficult to remover and occiosionall leads to a reinstallation of the operating software

One other necessity has to be a pop up blocker and my personal favourite has to be the Google tool bar as it allows you to use the full search facilities and block pop ups very effectively. Also effective in this area is the Yahoo tool bar which comes with some Antispyware features although I have never tested this function

Windows XP has some good security features in the Service Pack 2 download (SP2) and includes a Firewall that is simple but effective to use , I keep SP2 on a CD for any reformats that I have to do, as Microsoft is removing some of the downloads like this as it rolls back its support for older versions of windows

There is a great online tool from Norton that you can use to scan your PC for and security threats including virus's from Symantec Security Check page simply press the go button and let Symantec scan your PC for FREE

All in all theres really no excuse for not protecting your PC security and if we don’t the net will continue to drown in email virus’s and spam untill one day the whole internet will become clogged and ultimatley it will grind to a halt

Management Mass Data Storage Options

by: Matt Garrett

Management mass data storage uses different electronic devices that are used for storing a large amount of data. Due to advances in technology, management mass date storage has become fairly easy.

Mass storage is a way for individuals or businesses to store sucessfully a large amount of data. The most common form of mass data storage is on computer drives. The most popular storage devices are:

• Floppy disks
• Hard disks
• CD-Roms
• USB ports

According to Webopedia, mass storage devices still hold information even when the computer or operating system is not powered on.

A common device for organizing management mass data storage is the CD-ROM Disc. Although CD-style discs come in a wide variety brands, all kinds resemble a music CD or DVD in their appearance. There are some discs that only record data once. Many times, these discs are referred to as "read only" discs. "CDRWs" is a common name for discs that can have data erased and re-entered on the disc over and over again. CD-ROM Discs are popular because they are portable, which means they can be removed from the CD-ROM drive that reads and stores data on them. CD-ROM drives are generally tagged with a speed number; for example, 4x. Many CD discs are also associated with a speed number. Technology has allowed these speeds to increase, and are making storing and retrieving data from a CD disc much easier and faster.

Floppy disks were, and still are, a popular way to store and transfer important data. Although management mass data storage is generally used for large businesses, many individuals or families use floppy disks as a way to store their important personal information. Floppy disks work specifically with disk drives that can be found on most standard computer operating systems. A floppy disk is convenient, because it is portable and can be removed from the floppy drive and stored someplace safe. Handling the management mass data storage is easy for companies and individuals with a floppy disk.

Hard disk are another common and secure way to manage and store mass amounts of data. The majority of computers sold today have hard disks. Many larger businesses or computer networks have at least one, and at times, multiple hard disks drives. a hard disk is often compared to a traditional cassette tape, because both use special magnetic recording. This magnetic recording process allows for the data to be stored, copied, or even erased.

USB ports is another management mass data storage device. The USB port allows external devices to be connected to many standard operating systems. This allows data to be retrieved, copied, or stored from a source outside the computer. Various kinds of media equipment use the USB ports on a computer. For instance, many MP3 players, iPods, video cameras, and digital cameras can be connected to a computer by a USB cable. It is possible to purchase external CD drivers or external hard drives. These items are often used when an operating system may not have a hard drive installed, or if additional space is needed.

Windows, Mac, and other electronic operating systems generally have one at least one kind of management mass data storage, and some have a combination of different storage options. operating and maintaining of management mass data storage is a safe and efficien way to eliminate paper filing systems or and the overuse of traditional, handwritten materials.

Renting or Buying: Deciding Your Next Laptop

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Finding the cash to upgrade or buy equipment is perhaps one of the greatest hurdles for businessmen on the verge of expanding their businesses. And it isn’t always a good idea to purchase computer hardware using up cash flow since it often stifles the growth of potential businesses. For such situations there is an ideal solution: rent a laptop.

The reason a company rents laptop or notebook computers is the small capital investment and the tax benefits involved.

Let’s look at the advantages, with accompanying reasons on why to rent a laptop computer:

• Upfront costs are minimal: There is a major benefit for businesses that can't afford big sum expenditure as one has little upfront costs. While using a typical laptop rental, little cost is incurred as compared to an outright purchase. All you need to pay is a monthly fee for the life of the rental.

• Predictable expenses: Predictable monthly costs like a monthly rental payment are preferred by many companies since it helps with cash flow management and budgeting.

• Replacement upon equipment failure: Upon failure of the equipment most rental companies provide full-replacement of laptops .You are therefore guaranteed to have a working equipment, for every day that you are renting .The long wait for days or weeks to be back in business is over. Even if your laptop fails the hard drive would still be working and you can take the new laptop given by the rental company and switch your hard drive into it. That way you don't lose any data and can keep your business going. The laptop rental company is also responsible for maintenance and servicing, should you encounter any difficulty while using it.

• Short-term Laptop requirements: It is best to rent a laptop if your usage is on a short-term basis or when needed in bulk for training sessions.

Laptop is also rented for temporary offices, traveling executives and temporary employees by business houses.

Cost effectivity of rentals for businesses

Using the laptop on a short-term basis? You might as well rent it. It’s advisable to try out the laptops before investing money in them. With most reliable dealers you have the flexibility of choosing specific requirements within your chosen period of usage. If your dealer does not allow such an option you better watch out as the dealer might not co-operate after the lease period is over if you face any difficulty.

Next important issue is the rent. Take the following factors into consideration while paying:

• How fast does whatever you are renting depreciate in value?
• Price of the item purchased
• Duration of your stay in business
• The rental source and credit rating

Rental companies often offer better terms and rates than the manufacturers themselves. However retailers and manufacturers offer special promotions like lower-interest financing etc. To know whether you get a better deal at any point of time, compare the terms.

Inquire about the amount and check if you can return the laptops within their rental period without penalty. Flexibility in renting is important. For example if you have a six-month contract and after 3 months of using a laptop, find out if it is possible to rent a newer model if you wish to. Always choose a plan wherein you can avail of newer technologies.

Finally, make sure you clearly understand all the terms & conditions of the contract and whom to contact for repairs or troubleshooting.

Maximizing the Use of Your Ink Cartridges

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Printing forms an important part of any business. Whether it’s a menial job of taking out annual bills or a glossy printout of a high profile business brochure, printing is an essential part of business. Even at home, children frequently take out colorful printouts. In the beginning we tend to use the printer indiscriminately, not realizing the expense incurred. Later, realization of how expensive the printing costs are dawns when the cartridges have to be replaced. So now the question arises, how to save ink without compromising on quality? To know which measures can lead to optimum results read on...

Use your printer software supplied or Windows printer software to maximize the number of pages by selecting draft mode whenever possible. This is the simplest way to reduce ink usage per page printed. Economy modes are specially designed in modern printers that can also be used except when you need high-quality outputs.

More effective ways to save ink are given below:

• Avoid using color cartridges for black and white prints: Printing black and white with a color ink cartridge finishes it sooner as numerous colors are mixed to create the black ink. This results in your color cartridge getting depleted. Keep an exclusive black and white cartridge for printing out common tasks.

• Color management: Change the printer settings from best quality to draft while printing rough drafts. The draft mode is the lowest resolution setting you can use. This will use up ink cartridge much slower than a higher quality setting. You can switch back to high quality mode when you're ready to print the final version.

• Print “current page”: If you need to print only one page out of a multiple page document, check the “Print Current Page” option before clicking “OK”. Printing the whole document each time you need a page is sure way to deplete your cartridge soon. Also skipping the images will make your ink cartridges will last longer!

• Print “Selection”: If you need to print only a portion of a page, e.g., only one paragraph, highlight the said paragraph, and choose “print selection”.

• Black only pleases! Do you really need those beautiful colors when printing a fact sheet from the Internet? Print in colors only when you absolutely need to. Color cartridges are invariably more expensive than black ones.

Some more useful tips for saving on ink cartridges:

• Taking printout of a document for archival purposes such as an online bill? In such cases use the lowest possible resolution, which is just clear enough for you to read.

• Printer manufacturers usually tell that refilling ink cartridges damages printers. However it is not so most of the time. It’s worth trying if you have an inexpensive printer (ranging between $50 and $75). Damage, if any, rarely occurs.

Look at it this way: The new cartridges cost $30 while the refilled one is $15 refilled. After refill of three ink cartridges you have saved enough money to replace your expensive $50 printer cartridge with a brand new one.

• Next time bear in mind the price of the cartridges while shopping?? Prefer the ones with a lower cost of cartridges. The one in front might be requiring $30 cartridge but the one right beside it might use ink cartridges costing $17 only!

The printer surely is a one-time investment but the ink cartridges make it expensive to maintain. The above tips hopefully can help you sustain your cartridges for a longer time and lessen the holes in your pocket. Using your cartridges judiciously can save you a lot of money and help you derive maximum benefit from your printer.

The Ipod Family

by: Dana Goldberg

Apple is easily the most well known name in MP3 players or personal music players. The iPod has taken the music world by storm and each time a new one is released it seems to break all previous barriers. Initially, they were slightly larger than their counterparts but they were hard drive based and so held thousands and thousands of songs but with the introduction of the iPod Nano this soon became a thing of the past. The iPod Nano uses Flash based memory and so it is infinitely smaller. In fact, it is as thin as a pencil.

The iPod is popular for a reason though. As well as being durable and very advanced it features access to iTunes. ITunes is the Internet’s largest music store and allows iPod users to download tracks to their computer or to their MP3 player. ITunes has also become huge in terms of popularity.

The 2GB Nano allows the storage of up to around 500 songs, the 4GB Nano 1,000 songs. They are both available in either black or white and despite their miniature size they are hardy and resistant to general wear and tear. With predictions that the next iPod to be released will be the video iPod, Apple once again look certain to take the portable media device to yet another level.

Buying an iPod now also requires buying into an iPod. Those who own them love them, but there are some that are skeptical due to its price being quite high compared to other MP3 players and the fact that they feel they are paying for the Apple brand. However, the iPod is an excellent personal audio player and you will have to go a long way to find one that is as good and offers a service similar to iTunes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Solution To Finding Your Lost Files - Data Recovery Companies

by: Jeff Smith

When the worst happens to your computer and all your files disappear, never worry! There are a number of quality data recovery companies that are able to restore your critical files quickly and easily.

Instead of tearing out your hair over a stubborn computer that is holding that essential file hostage, let the worries slide away and send off your hard drive to a data recovery company. These companies work their magic and recover files of all sizes in a remarkably quick turn around time. This service is essential for any individual or business that has fallen onto hard times with their computer.

Most data recovery companies operate over the internet and occupy cyberspace as they would a store front. If you find yourself in need of a quality company to find your files, look no further than the World Wide Web.

A simple search of search engines will produce hundreds of quality companies eager to solve your every problem. Before you send off your hard drive, carefully evaluate the chosen company to ensure it is legitimate and reputable. Using an incorrect company may result in further headaches and a loss of money for services not rendered.

Upon your search for a data recovery company, investigate their capabilities and services. Choosing a company that will best serve your needs will ensure the greater success in the end. You may need to compare services versus charges for these data recovery companies.

The old adage, “you get what you pay for” could not be truer when it comes to regaining your lost files. If you are taking the trouble to send off your hard drive in an attempt to reclaim critical files for business or personal reasons, then you should be prepared to spend the appropriate amount of money to get the job done. However, just because one data recovery is more expensive than another one does not mean the pricier company is more successful.

When choosing a data recovery company to reclaim your files, consider contacting individuals who has used their services in the past. This recommendation to use or to avoid the company may be an excellent method to choosing a company.

Also, contact the company directly and explain your specific situation. A representative for the company will be able to discuss the possibility of the recovery of your files and the estimated cost of their services. You should be sure to inquire the expense if the company is unable to recover the lost files. Many companies offer to return your hard drive without charging for their services if they are unable to deliver your compromised files.

Whichever data recovery company you entrust to regain your lost files, be sure to keep the company’s contact information if you are pleased with the services rendered. Having this resource can be invaluable if a similar fate befalls your files in the future and you need a reputable source to recover these files as quickly as possible. If you are pleased with the data recovery company, be sure to tell other individuals in your predicament.

Scanning Images Made Simple In 5 Steps

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Have you just bought a scanner and is now in a fix because you don’t know how to use it? As long as you keep these basic things in mind, scanning pictures should be as easy as baking a cake or washing the car. The first thing to ensure is that the scanner glass is clean. When cleaning the scanner glass, which should be done regularly, avoid using commercial glass cleaners since they contain abrasives that could scratch the surface. Though it’s all right to wax your furniture, when it comes to the scanner glass, wax is a big no-no since it can leave smudges and smears behind. Instead you should use professional-quality lens cleaner. They’re expensive but worth it.

For maximum quality pictures, be sure to remove all superfluous items, such as staples and paperclips as all these can result in damage to your scanner. Also, always remember to first fan the paper to ensure that there are no papers sticking together, especially if you’re scanning multiple documents. And don’t forget to take extra care with odd-sized items. Odd sized items should be scanned separately, especially if they’re of different widths. And all small items like paycheck stubs should be photocopied before scanning or you should attach it to a standard-sized sheet of paper and then scan. The actual scanning can be done in five easy steps:

First Step: The first step to scanning an image is placing it on the scanner. Lift the lid and place the photo on the glass bed, image-side down. To scan your prints on a scanner, usually there are arrows on the scanning bed to indicate exactly where to place the photo. If possible, anchor the picture on a corner so it will be less likely to move. Now comes the part where you decide scanning resolution.

Second Step: Before you give the command to scan the image you need to select the scanning resolution required from the options given. To determine the best scanning resolution, you need to consider the resolution of the final output device and the type of artwork you are scanning. All artwork falls into two basic categories, black-and-white line art and continuous-tone images. So, set the resolution accordingly.

Step Three: Verify the basic settings for the scanner controls. For this, select the resolution of the scan based on the content of the image. For example, for Web or 150-300dpi you should set the resolution to 72 dpi for print. And the option should be set to "pixel."

Step Four: This is when you decide if you need to make any adjustments to the quality of the image. You can also make adjustments to the photo like, sharpening or cropping, or adjusting the brightness, contrast, and color balance. This facility is available in most scanning software or you could use an image-editing program.

Step Five: The next step is to save your scanned image. The photo can be saved in a folder on your hard drive or on to a CD or Zip disk, commonly in JPEG format. You can also save in a TIFF file which will give you a better quality, since there is less color compression. However the TIFF file will take up a lot more memory space than the other options.

Don't be scared to play with the different scan settings. If you don't like the results of a scan, you can always discard it and try again. A few trial-and-error exercises will give you the feel of the best settings.

How To Create A Mirror Image Of Your Hard Drive

by: Michael Cottier

The computer that you use has a hard drive in it, which stores everything that you put on it, plus all the settings that you prefer. You can then imagine how difficult it would be if you were to lose all of your data and have to set everything back up again. That is why a full hard drive backup is the preferred method of data backup, because every last bit of data is stored and not even your daylight savings time preference will be forgotten. There are many ways to make a perfect mirror image of your hard drive, and some are better then others. Let’s talk about the various strategies and find out what will best suit you.

The first way to make a perfect copy of your hard drive, quickly and seamlessly, is to use good hard drive image software. A great example of this type of software is True Image from Acronis, which is complete imaging software that helps anyone make a perfect image of their hard drive and save it anywhere, even the hard drive if they want to. Of course there are also many other types of software on the market, and all are just as unique too. Just be sure to choose a good one, because if you don’t, it could end up being the biggest mistake you ever made on your computer.

If you are a little more technically inclined, and have some knowledge of installing computer parts, then you could always use the RAID method. RAID, which stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, requires you to install another new hard drive and can be used to make a perfect mirror image of your current hard drive, which will always be up to date by the second. There are many different levels to RAID, but if you were using it for hard drive backup purposes, you would use level 1. Level one is called disk mirroring or duplexing, and this level will write data to both hard drives simultaneously, so when something happens to one there will always be the other one to fall back on.

The final way to make a copy of your hard drive is to backup everything individually yourself. This is of course the hardest and most time consuming strategy, but is preferred by some experts, because you can choose what to save. If you do use this method, you need to make sure you back up your registry files, system files and other important files and folders that you have. You might also want to save your entire software program folders, as they might contain important data related to the program that you want to definitely save. If you are using Windows XP, there is a backup utility that you can use for free, located in your “System tools” folder. Go there by clicking “Start” on your bottom toolbar, then go to “All Programs”, and then “Accessories”. You should now see a folder labeled “System tools” and once that is open, click on the “Backup” program.

Now that you have gotten some ideas on how to create a perfect backup of your hard drive, you should know where to save that backup. There is always the option to save your hard drive image backup on the hard drive itself, but most likely this will not work for everyone because of space limitations. Also, if the hard drive should be literally destroyed by a fire, tornado or some other act of nature, then the backup would be destroyed with it. That is why I recommend backups, especially hard drive images, be stored on a DVD-R, external hard drive or a device like a Zip drive. Then just be sure to backup once every week, or month, and store the backup in a secure location. Now you have a perfect copy of ALL of your data, and it is secure from this dangerous world.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Printers: What Really Happens When You Hit “Print”

by: Bill Smith

You just poured hours upon hours into a lengthy research paper. All that’s left to do is print it out. And that’s the easy part, right? Sure looks easy from the user perspective, but it’s actually quite complicated. A series of critical processes kick off as soon as you kit the OK button.

The first thing that happens is your software application (MS Word, Excel, etc) sends the data you want to print to your printer driver. The printer driver is nothing more than some software that translates data into a format that your specific printer can understand. When you buy a new printer, it generally comes with a CD. On that CD is the printer driver software you need to enable your specific printer to talk to your computer.

The printer driver takes the translated data and physically sends it along to your printer. It’s able to connect to the printer via the USM connection interface. Much of the data received by the printer goes directly into the printer buffer, where it is stored. By storing the data within the printer itself you’re able to finish the print job quickly.

If you just turned your printer on for the first time in a while or if the printer has been standing idle for a while, the printer will run through a series of diagnostic tests. Some of these tests check he availability of ink, while others clean the print heads.

Once this preprinting step completes, your printer brain sends a message to the paper stepper motor telling it to engage the rollers and feed paper into the printer body. As the paper is being fed into the machine, the belt pulls the print head into “ready” position. When the paper is perfectly positioned, the print head goes to town, firing droplets of ink at the paper. With incredible speed and accuracy, the print head travels back and forth across the page spewing colors. When it reaches the end of the page, the stepper is quickly engaged, advancing the paper forward. This process continues until the print job is complete.

10 Steps To A Safe, Smooth Running PC

by: Michael A Silva

These ten steps will help you increase your computer's security. From discovering viruses to learning how to avoid them, this article is a must read!

Windows password This is the easiest way to make sure you know who is using your pc. Choose a lengthy password that contains capital and lower case letters. Including a number or two will greatly increase your security. Having a Windows password means that the only people that can log onto a Windows session are people that you have granted access to.

Password manager You should never write your passwords down. Using the same password all the time will also make it very easy for hackers to reach your personal information. So if you can’t write it down and you’re not supposed to use the same one – how are you supposed to keep track of all of your passwords? The easiest way to do this is to use a password manager. We prefer to use Roboform. Roboform is an easy to use password and profile manager that docks neatly into your Internet Explorer toolbar and keeps track of all of your passwords for you. Roboform also uses a master password system. You will have one password that accesses all of the passwords in the program. This way you can keep all of your information safe and secure. You can download Roboform for free by http://www.roboform.com.

Spyware Remover Next to spam, spyware is the internet’s biggest annoyance. By definition, spyware is “any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.” The amount of spyware that exists on your pc is dependent on the amount of internet surfing you do. A good rule of thumb here is to scan for spyware once per week or whenever poor system performance surfaces. If you don’t have a spyware scanner, we recommend http://www.webroot.com.

Antivirus This should go without saying, but if your computer is connected to the internet you need antivirus software. With weekly scans and program updates you should be protected from most threats. For added protection, we recommend using more than one anvtivirus scanner.

Firewall A firewall will keep unwanted visitors out of your computer. You can obtain a firewall either by using software application like ZoneAlarm or Black Ice Defender, or by using a router with your internet connection. For more information on routers plese visit http://www.Linksys.com.

File sharing Basically, file sharing programs are the single biggest security risk you will come across. This is because the only facts you have about the files you are downloading are the file name and the file size. It is quite simple to change a filename to dupe someone into downloading a virus or other malware like keystroke recorders. Our advice – stay away from file sharing at all costs. If you need to use it, make sure you have updated antivirus software installed and running.

Research In a sentence – know what’s out there. http://www.Symantec.com has a section on their website that will serve you well. Knowing what types of viruses exist and how to avoid them will make you a much smarter internet user.

Email protection Most of the antivirus applications available offer email scanning. If yours does not, you will want to get one that does. Email scanning will make sure all of your incoming and outgoing emails are safe for both you and the recipient. Email viruses spread very quickly by using your address book to propagate. Never read email from people you don’t know and always make sure your email scanner is active.

Network security Another way that viruses spread is through computer networks. We have a few quick tips to keep your network safe. Always scan any files that come in from other computers. Even if it’s a file you have brought from home. Never allow a file to be placed on your network until it has been scanned. The main server should be the only computer with file sharing enabled. By not allowing computer users to transmit files, you can quickly neutralize a threat.

Maintenance Performing weekly virus and spyware scans will go a long way to keeping your computer safe. Defragmenting weekly will also greatly improve performance. If you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with a safe and smooth running pc. Not to mention less headaches!

By following these ten guide lines, you will greatly improve the performance of your computer. You will also generate peace of mind as you gain a new sense of security.

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What Are Survivable Computer Systems

by: Darren Miller

Definition Of A Survivable Computer System

A computer system, which may be made up of multiple individual systems and components, designed to provide mission critical services must be able to perform in a consistent and timely manner under various operating conditions. It must be able to meet its goals and objectives whether it is in a state of normal operation or under some sort of stress or in a hostile environment. A discussion on survivable computer systems can be a very complex and far reaching one. However, in this article we will touch on just a few of the basics.

Computer Security And Survivable Computer Systems

Survivable computer systems and computer security are in many ways related but at a low-level very much different. For instance, the hardening of a particular system to be resistant against intelligent attacks may be a component of a survivable computer system. It does not address the ability of a computer system to fulfill its purpose when it is impacted by an event such as a deliberate attack, natural disaster or accident, or general failure. A survivable computer system must be able to adapt, perform its primary critical functions even if in a hostile environment, even if various components of the computer system are incapacitated. In some cases, even if the entire "primary" system has been destroyed.

As an example; a system designed to provide real-time critical information regarding analysis of specialized medications ceases to function for a few hours because of wide spread loss of communication. However, it maintains the validity of the data when communication is restored and systems come back online. This computer system could be considered to have survived under conditions outside of its control.

On the other hand, the same system fails to provide continuous access to information under normal circumstances or operating environment, because of a localized failure, may not be judged to have fulfilled its purpose or met its objective.

Fault Tolerant And Highly Availability Computer Systems

Many computer systems are designed with fault tolerant components so they continue to operate when key portions of the system fail. For instance; multiple power supplies, redundant disk drives or arrays, even multiple processors and system boards that can continue to function even if its peer component is destroyed or fails. The probability of all components designed to be redundant failing at one time may be quite low. However, a malicious entity that knows how the redundant components are configured may be able to engineer critical failures across the board rendering the fault tolerant components ineffective.

High availability also plays a role in a survivable computer system. However this design component may not maintain computer system survivability during certain events such as various forms of malicious attack . An example of this might be a critical web service that has been duplicated, say across multiple machines, to allow continuous functionality if one or more the individual web servers was to fail. The problem is that many implementations of high availability use the same components and methodology on all of the individual systems. If an intelligent attack or malicious event takes place and is directed at a specific set of vulnerabilities on one of the individual systems, it is reasonable to assume the remaining computer systems that participate in the highly available implementation are also susceptible to the same or similar vulnerabilities. A certain degree of variance must be achieved in how all systems participate in the highly available implementation.

What's The Difference Between An Attack, Failure, And Accident?

How Do These Differences Impact A Survivable Computer System

In many cases when I am discussing the security of systems with customers, the question of business continuity and disaster recovery come up. Most companies that provide a service that they deem critical just know the system needs to be operational in a consistent manner. However, there is typically little discussion about the various events or scenarios surrounding this and that can lead to great disappointment in the future when what the customer thought was a "survivable computer system" does not meet their expectations. Some of the items I like to bring up during these conversations is what their computer systems goal and objective is, what specifically does continuous operation mean to them, and specifically what constitutes an attack, failure, or accident that can cause loss of operation or failure to meet objectives.

A failure may be defined as a localized event that impacts the operation of a system and its ability to deliver services or meet its objectives. An example might be the failure of one or more critical or non-critical functions that effect the performance or overall operation of the system. Say, the failure of a module of code that causes a cascading event that prevents redundant modules from performing properly. Or, a localize hardware failure that incapacitates the computer system.

An accident is typically an event that is outside the control of the system and administrators of a local / private system. An example of this would be natural disasters such as hurricanes, if you live in south Florida like I do, or floods, or wide spread loss of power because the utility provider cut the wrong power lines during an upgrade to the grid. About two years ago, a client of mine who provides web based document management services could not deliver revenue generating services to their customers because a telecommunications engineer cut through a major phone trunk six blocks away from their office. They lost phone and data services for nearly a week.

An now we come to "attack". We all know accidents will happen, we know that everything fails at one time or another, and typically we can speculate on how these things will happen. An attack, executed by an intelligent, experienced individual or group can be very hard to predict. There are many well known and documented forms of attacks. The problem is intelligence and human imagination continuously advance the form of malicious attacks and can seriously threaten even the most advanced designed survivable computer systems. An accident or failure does not have the ability to think out of the box or realize that a highly available design is flawed because all participants use the same design. The probability that an attack might occur, and succeed may be quite low, but the impact may be devastating.

Conclusion

One of the reasons I wrote this article was to illustrate that it's not all about prevention. Although prevention is a big part of survivable computer system design, a critical computer system must be able to meet its objectives even when operating under hostile or stressful circumstances. Or if the steps taking for prevention ultimately prove inadequate. It may be impossible to think of all the various events that can impact a critical computer system but it is possible to reasonably define the possibilities.

The subject of survivable computer systems is actually one of complexity and ever evolving technology. This article has only touched on a few of the basic aspects of computer system survivability. I intend on continuing this article to delve deeper into the subject of survivable computer systems.

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as long as the bylines are included.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Security and Internet Browsers – Firefox vs. Internet Explorer

by: Igor Pankov

Introduction

The Internet is becoming a more and more dangerous place to be, due in no small part to the inherent security risks posed by viruses and spyware. Additionally, applications that access the Internet as part of their normal operations may have errors in their code that allows hackers to launch attacks against the computer on which those applications are running. The safety and integrity of digital assets is further compromised by the fast-growing threat of cybercrooks who devise and implement large-scale hoaxes such as phishing and ID theft.

In the light of all this, it’s clear that users need a reliable and secure web browser between them and the Internet, which will be free of these problems and won’t let harmful content invade the computer.

The web browser industry continues to be dominated by the Windows-bundled Internet Explorer, with an 85% market share, but in recent years a new breed of free, more functional and resilient browsers has appeared – the most popular being Mozilla/Firefox and Opera. All have received serious security upgrades to help protect against recent scares and safeguard users online.

Internet Explorer is at version 6.0, essentially the same product that was included with Windows XP in 2001. Eighteen months ago, the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 substantially increased IE safety; however, it did not eliminate many of the loopholes exploited by hostile program code. At present, Firefox is at version 1.5, but its very different development history (see next section) means that it can be considered at a similar level of maturity as Internet Explorer.

Currently, Microsoft is preparing its next-generation browser, Internet Explorer 7.0, which it plans to introduce sometime during the first half of 2006. The company has stated that it intends to make the browser stronger and more secure to help protect its users against the many problems that have dogged the software over the years.

We, along with Internet users everywhere, await the final results with interest. In the meantime, we decided to undertake our own security evaluation of both IE 7 (beta) and its closest rival, Firefox 1.5.

History and overview

Internet Explorer is a proprietary graphical web browser developed by Microsoft. In 1995, the company licensed the commercial version of Internet Explorer 3.0 from Spyglass Mosaic and integrated the program into its Windows 95 OSR1 edition. Later, it included IE4 as the default browser in Windows 98 – a move which continues to raise many antitrust questions.

Firefox is an open-source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation; anyone who is proficient enough can collaborate in writing and improving its program code. Mozilla is known for its stringent approach to security, promising a bounty of several thousand dollars for any major vulnerability found in the product.

Security incidents and threat response

While no browser is perfect, major security lapses happened rather more frequently with IE than with Firefox. To be fair, Firefox has less than a 10% market share and is thus a rather less enticing target than IE; that’s probably also why security researchers focus much of their attention on the vulnerabilities of Microsoft’s browser, not Firefox’s. Some people have argued that if the market shares were reversed, bugs in Firefox would start appearing on a more frequent basis, as has recently been the case with Internet Explorer.

The open-source architecture of Firefox contributes to the overall safety of the browser; a community of skilled programmers can spot problems more quickly and correct them before a new release is available for general use. It’s been said that threat response time for Firefox averages one week, while it may take months for Microsoft engineers to fix critical bugs reported by security analysts – an unacceptable situation for users who remain unnecessarily vulnerable to exploits (hacker attacks) during that time.

>From the threat response standpoint, Firefox is clearly the winner.

Security features

Phishing safeguard

New protection against financial fraud and identity theft has been incorporated into the new IE. A so-called “phishing filter” now appears on the Internet Options menu, which is intended to protect users against unknowingly disclosing private information to unauthorized third parties. Here’s how it works:

If a user visits a spoofed site which looks exactly like a genuine one – usually as a result of clicking on a link in a fraudulent email - the browser senses a phishing attempt and compares the site against a list of known phishing sites. If the filter finds the site is a phishing culprit, it blocks access to the site and informs the user of the danger of leaving his/her personal details on sites like this. The database of known phishing sites is updated regularly, and users have an option to report a suspected phishing instant to Microsoft for evaluation.

We’re pleased to report that, even in beta, the filter appears to work quite well, correctly identifying half of the test sites we visited as phishing sites.

In Firefox, phishing protection is delivered through third-party extensions such as Google Safe Browsing (currently in beta for US-based users only (see http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/safebrowsing/index.html); this can be plugged into the browser’s extension menu.

As additional protection against accidental phishing, the authors of IE have stated that they plan to make their product display the URL of every visited site. With IE 6, this capability was not available and many pop-ups appeared without displaying an address in the previously non-existent address bar. Unfortunately, in neither browser were we were able to achieve more than a fifty percent URL display ratio; we trust that this percentage will increase as the release of IE 7 approaches and Mozilla continues to work on improving its functionality in this area.

Restriction of executable Web content

In the current version of IE, suspect websites have been free to install almost any software they want on visitors’ machines. While XP SP2 has dramatically reduced this possibility, many unnecessary add-ons and toolbars can still be easily installed by inexperienced users. IE 7 should provide more protection for na├»ve users, as it will offer to run in protected mode, thus restricting access to the host OS files and settings and making these critical elements of the computer inaccessible to malware.

The default setting for Firefox 1.5 is to have installation of extensions and add-ons disabled; the user must manually change settings in order to enable adding extensions to the browser.

There will always be a tradeoff between security and functionality, but security experts always maintained that letting websites unrestrictedly launch executable code within the browser creates unlimited potential for exploitation. IE 7 will offer much greater flexibility in configuring which external code will be permitted to run within the browser and what impact it would have on the OS.

ActiveX restrictions

Aside from some graphics enhancement of web pages, in most cases ActiveX is more damaging than beneficial. Many sites that serve up spyware and pop-up ads use ActiveX scripting technology, and ActiveX scripting in the Windows environment can be allowed to run unrestrictedly with administrator (root) privileges. Firefox 1.5 does not support Microsoft’s proprietary ActiveX technology and so the Firefox browser is more resilient against spyware infection.

In IE6, even with SP2, ActiveX is allowed to run by default, which automatically renders IE users less protected against the threat of spyware. In the upcoming IE 7, it is not yet known whether Microsoft will continue this approach, but early indications point to this being the case. This would be unfortunate, since the current approach is a clear security vulnerability.

Of course, IE users can manually disable ActiveX scripting on a particular website and let ActiveX be started automatically on all other sites visited. Or, vice versa, they can disable ActiveX scripting on most of the sites visited and permit it to run on a particular site. All this can be configured under the Security tab in IE’s Options menu. However, it is hardly realistic to expect Internet novices, who need the most protection, to do this.

Java, JavaScript and Visual Basic components

Java and JavaScript can be enabled and disabled by both browsers. Firefox allows users to specify permissions for particular actions performed by these scripts. IE 6 allows users to create a group of trusted sites to which global limitations on these scripts will not apply. In IE 7, more flexibility will be added that will lead users toward a more customized display of web pages belonging to a particular site; it appears Firefox also plans to introduce more flexible parameters.

Internal download manager

IE 7’s download manager will be revamped, and feature an option to pause and resume downloads - a feature not available with the current version. Specific actions will be able to be defined following the completion of a download, and users can check the newly-downloaded file with their anti-virus before running it. This approach is already in place with Firefox, so Microsoft appears to be playing catch-up here.

Encryption of data on protected sites

When you submit sensitive information, such as transaction details to a bank or financial institution, it travels in an encrypted form through a secure HTTP (SHTTP) connection. The information is encrypted by your browser and decrypted at the receiving end. The new version of IE will use stronger encryption algorithms to reliably transfer your data without the risk of being intercepted and deciphered by someone in transit. A padlock icon indicating that a user is on a secure site will be placed in a more obvious place than currently, and more detailed information will be provided to help visitors check the authenticity of such sites.

Firefox currently has a better-organized display of security certificates for its users, so clearly Microsoft has a room for improvement.

Updating

Both browsers are updated automatically when new code is ready. Firefox has this update mechanism already in place, and for IE 7, it is expected that updates will be provided through Windows update technology.

Privacy enhancements

IE 7 will have the ability for users to flexibly set what private data will be saved and can be applied to different sites; users will be able to easily remove browsing history and other private details such as passwords, cookies, details submitted on web forms, download history, and temporary files. In IE 6, these files were stored all over the place and users have complained that there is no clear way to delete this information. Firefox 1.5 already provides this capability.

Conclusion

IE 7 promises a lot of interesting security and privacy enhancements that will help users stay more secure. With the final release users will receive a good, solid browser that, if Microsoft promises are fulfilled, will help it to compete well on the security front. As we have seen, Firefox 1.5 is already a role model, and it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for this talented challenger.

Is Your Domain Name On Someone's Wanted List?

by: Edwin John

A good domain name is, and will always be, essential for any online business. If you ask me, the internet is still only just evolving from infancy. It's a long way to maturity.

Still the world has come a long way since Ken Olson, president & founder of Digital Equipment Corp. etched his name in history, when he proclaimed less than 30 years ago, "There's no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home."

How technology has changed our lives within a span of a single generation. Sooner rather than later, more and more businesses will want to go online and cater to a global market instead of being content with the local neighborhood. And one of the first steps after deciding what business you want to do, is getting a good domain name for your business.

A domain name can make or break an online venture. A domain name is a company's identity online. It is your brand, your personality, your trademark. So, choosing the right domain isn't easy.

BuyDomains.com argues that: "Today .COM and .NET names have established recognition and can identify your company on the Internet forever. For this reason, they have considerable resale value and serve as excellent investments.

Over time, most, if not all companies will conduct a considerable portion of their business over the Internet. A domain name that is easy for your customers and prospective customers to remember is the key factor in generating new business and conducting business on the Internet.

Having relevant "keywords" to support your domain name is also an important consideration and will enable customers to find your online business effortlessly through Web based search engines.

Another excellent marketing tactic you should consider is to have multiple URL addresses (including your domain name) point to the very same Web site. This is very simple .....This will allow you to keep your legacy domain name, while multiple new e-business names conduct commerce and are listed in the search engines, significantly increasing your Web site's overall traffic."

A web site is a worldwide advertisement that runs 24/7. For the price of one print ad, or one-tenth of a 30 second commercial, you can have a solid web site designed and running every single minute of every single day. Show a company how a few thousand dollars invested in a domain name & a web site now can translate into 100 years of sales and effective promotion, and they will all be scrambling to get in line.

Most companies, even small ones, will tell you that having a web site is no longer an option. It offers the business owners the opportunity of having potential customers view their products or services day or night, without needing to an outlay of huge sums of money.

But then, many small and medium sized businesses that are already online have poor or difficult sounding domain names. Names that they would readily change in an instant if they had the right domain name. So there will always be people and companies who will be looking at the domain resale market for a better name for their business. This is key.

When Anysoft, a Massachusetts company, acquired any.com for $30,000, their vice-president, Emily Shain, said it was worth the money because the domain name was such a vital marketing tool that would help customers find them easily.

If you are at the right place at the right time with the right name, you could find yourself pocketing some nice cash.

Even governments are getting in on the act. The New Zealand government shelled out NZ$ 1 million for newzealand.com. As a result, there was understandable criticism in the NZ parliament over the purchase as being a waste of tax payers money.

What was the government's response? Mark Burton, the NZ Tourism Minister had this to say, "There is no question that this domain will provide an invaluable portal for... commercial entry into New Zealand for those interested in tourism, commerce, and industry.

The South African Government offered US$10 million for southafrica.com. It has also been reported that korea.com was sold for US$5 million to True Net, Korea's largest Internet service provider."

Author, Tariq Ghafoor writes, "I feel that there's still reason for optimism in the domain aftermarket but in order to profit there's a crucial need to alter one's perception and strategy just like our brethren have been forced to do in other web-based businesses."

It's true. The heady days of the domain gold rush has seen its final sunset. We are seeing shifting trends in the arena. To cope with the changes, a domain speculator needs to see himself as a domain entrepreneur and begin to organize his domain names and increase their value and prepare them for prospective buyers.

Copyright Edwin John

Web Applications vs Desktop Applications

by: Sharon Housley

There has been a long running debate about web applications replacing desktop software applications. While some functions are better suited to web applications. It is my belief that security concerns and legacy systems will prevent desktop software from becoming obsolete.

Some argue that the debate between web applications and desktop applications is pointless; as their is no clear answer. While still others argue that the issue at hand is as much a business and marketing issue, as it is a technological issue.

What Defines a Web Application Vs a Desktop Application?

A web application is an application delivered to users from a web server like the Internet. Some businesses run web applications on an intranet, as well. Web applications are becoming more popular due to the widespread use of the web browser as a client.

Some applications are better suited and more likely to become successful as web applications. Web applications designed specifically for search engine optimization, have become increasingly popular. It is easy to understand why web applications that relate to the Internet would prosper, while business applications may have less appeal in a web environment.

A desktop application is a self-contained program that performs a defined set of tasks under the user control. Desktop applications run from a local drive and do not require a network or connectivity to operate or function properly, though if attached to a network desktop applications might use the resources of the network.

Pros and Cons to Desktop and Web Applications:

Easily Accessible

Web applications can be easily accessed from any computer or location that has Internet access. Travelers especially benefit from the accessibility. This often means that if a traveler has access to a computer, phone or handheld with Internet connectivity they can utilize the web application.

Low Maintenance & Forced Upgrades

Desktop applications need to be individually installed on each computer, while web applications require a single installation.

Many web applications are hosted by a 3rd party and the maintenance fall under the applications hosts responsibility. The ability to update and maintain web applications without distributing and installing software on potentially thousands of client computers is a key reason for the popularity of web based applications. This can be a blessing and a curse as users of web applications on hosted systems are at the mercy of the host, if an upgrade does not go well, or the individual user doesn't want or need the new features the upgrade will still go forward.

Increased Security Risks

There are always risks involved when dealing with working online, regardless of how secure a host might say a web application is, that fact of the matter stands that the security risk of running an application of the Internet is more significant than when running an application on a standalone desktop computer. Some applications require more security than others, playing Sudoku on a web application would cause little concern, but dealing with sensitive corporate formulas or accounting details in a web environment might be determined risky.

Cost

Over the life of the software use, web applications are typically significantly more expensive over time. Desktop applications are purchased outright and rarely is their a recurring fee for the software use. Some desktop applications do have maintenance fees or fee based upgrades associated with them, but rarely is there a subscription fee associated with the software's ongoing use.

Many corporate web applications use a different model, users typically are charged monthly service fee to operate the software. Fees are considered "subscription fees". If you fail to renew your subscription you may be unable to access the data stored in the web application.

Connectivity

Web applications rely on persistent and unmanaged connectivity. If you do not have an Internet connection or if your host does not have Internet connectivity you cannot access the information. Critical applications or businesses that are time sensitive cannot risk denial of service attacks or power outages to interrupt their operations and access data that is sensitive.

Slower

Web applications that rely on the Internet to transfer data rather than a computer's local hard drive, may operate slower. The speed may also vary based on number of users accessing the application.

Backups & Ownership.

Regardless of the platform, companies need to be sure that their data is appropriately backed up. When using a web application that are hosted by a third party, companies should clearly determine who owns the data housed in the application, and be sure that privacy policies prevent that data from being used by the web host.

Ultimately the accessibility of web based applications make them very desirable. Web applications have some fundamental limitations in their functionality, and are better suited for specific tasks. Understanding the pro's and con's to each business model, will help users determine whether a desktop application or web application will better suit their needs.

How Do I Get My Domain Name Appraised?

by: Edwin John

What's your domain name worth?

Perhaps it is better to ask how much a potential buyer would be willing to pay to acquire your domain name. If there was some interest in your domain name, you ought to, at least, have some kind of idea of its value. Generally, is the domain good or bad? If good, how good is it?

If you were to visit any domain reseller sites, you will find literally thousands of ridiculous names. If you scrutinize their asking prices, it will leave you shaking your head in amazement. They run into the thousands and even millions. Names like ApeChatsWorth.com.....It would be better to let them expire or sell cheap if you can find a 'fool'.

So how do you tell if you have a winning name?

I know someone will be quick to say, "That's easy. Get them appraised."

Well, you could do that. But the problem with domain appraisals is that there are no industry standards. And you simply cannot put a market value on it and give an accurate appraisal by any standards. Perhaps, in that sense, a domain name is different from real estate because it is not something you can see or touch.

There are numerous companies and sites on the web that will evaluate your domain and give you their opinion on what your domain name is worth. Their services cost anywhere from between $10 to $50. They give you a nice certificate online. But let me tell you that, an appraisal certificate may not necessarily do anything for your domain name.

As can be expected, a single domain name can have vastly differing values when evaluated by different appraisers. Values can differ by tens of thousands of dollars.

You have probably heard it being said over and over again that a domain name is only really worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Or what the buyer and seller can agree on to make a deal. So even if a domain name has been evaluated at $2,000 but if no one wants to pay out more than $200 for it, it is obvious the real value of the name is far less than the perceived value that it was originally appraised for.

If you have absolutely no idea what your domain name is worth, getting a professional appraisal may be useful as well as to give you a basis for an asking price if there was indeed someone interested in the name or simply to decide what you want to do with the domain name. A potential buyer already interested in a domain name you have, may be further swayed towards your position by an independent appraisal.

However, let me caution you to be careful. There are a number of thriving scams on the internet designed to play on your emotions and get your money. One instance is when a so-called "buyer" feigns interest in your domain name but requests first for an appraisal from a particular appraiser, just to be sure of the market value, he claims. Then, insists that no other appraisers will do. It doesn't take a genius to see through this. If you pay for the appraisal, the so-called 'buyer' suddenly disappears, no doubt to fleece his next victim. Many fall for this cruel trick in their ecstasy imagining that finally, there was actually someone wanting their domain name. Before you spend any money, check out feedback on the website's services from other customers. You can do this at Alexa.com. Simply enter the name of the website and you can see reviews and feedback from other customers.

A genuine buyer who wants your domain name is interested in it, NOT because some appraiser says it is worth a princely sum. But only because he himself sees it's intrinsic value and/or has specific plans for the name. Keep this in mind.

There are a number of free domain appraisal services you could try just to test the waters around your name.

A number of domain name forums have active appraisal boards where you can post your domain names and someone will evaluate it for you. A search on your favorite engine will give you several options.

You may also have come across automated computer scripts online that give you a free instant evaluation of your domain name when you put in certain required details about your name. Those give you a ballpark figure but sometimes do grossly inflate the value. It is after all a script.

If you do decide to get and pay for a professional appraisal, make sure you are engaging a reputable company or you would end up blowing your money.

If you're still undecided, let me take a look at your domain name and I'll evaluate it for free. No obligations. See http://www.OpenForSale.com/ to submit your domain name.

Copyright 2005-06 Edwin John

Monday, November 24, 2008

Basics Of A Router

by: Robert Thatcher

Router is a computer device that receives or forwards data packets to and from the Internet towards a destination in the process called routing. Router is the essential component of the computer networking that enables any sent data to arrive at the right destination.

As an illustration, imagine that the Internet is the world and one computer is one household. Other computers connected through the Internet are households around the world. Say one household will send a letter to another household in any part of the world. The letter has an address right? And that address would determine the destination of the letter. But without one reading the address, the letter would not arrive to the right receiver. The letter also would not be able to reach the intended receiver if there is not medium. This medium would be the courier. And the courier of the computer data is the router.

A router (broadband router) is also a device that enables two or more computer to receive data packets from the Internet under one IP address at the same time.

Remember that to be able to connect to the Internet, a computer must have an IP address unique from the rest of the computers. Therefore, every computer connected to the Internet has it own IP address. It is like having a fingerprint or ID as an access pass to be able to enter the web. With the presence of the router, this “fingerprint” or “ID” could be shared by two or more computer at the same time.

In simplest form, a router makes two or more computer use the Internet at the same with one access pass.

One more thing: a computer with cable modem could also be considered as a router. In this, the computer would do the process of routing like normal routers do. Other computers are then connected to the computer with Internet connection that would give it with the Internet connection. The computer with cable modem has the direct contact with the Internet and the ones connected to it are sharing the connection.

Why would anyone need a router?

For households with two or more computers who would want to have Internet connection to every computers they have, taking subscription for each would be too much. The solution is to buy a router that would enable every computer in the house to have an Internet connection. In the definition above, the broadband router would act as a hub to the existing Internet connection.

If the router is comparable to a hub, would it affect the Internet speed?

It should be taken into consideration that once a single Internet connection is divided, the connection speed is affected. But there are some broadband routers that would bring minimal slowdown to the Internet speed and the effect might not even be big.

Internet speed would also depend on the type of application used in a router. While some would inflict little effect on the speed like online games, others would terribly slowdown your connection and even hinder you to use the Internet at all.

Usually, offices use a more sophisticated router to redirect Internet connections to the large number of computers. These routers would give better data packeting compared to a typical router used at home that results to faster Internet speed.

LAN Service Contracts - Grab The Opportunity

by: Joshua Feinberg

If you've done a lot of research on computer consulting, you probably have information overload. In this article, you'll learn what steps to take when first starting your business of computer consulting.

Pick a Date

First, pick a definite date for launching your new computer consulting business and write it down: Launch date is ____/____/____. Why is that important? It gives you something to work towards, a concrete goal at which point you say you know you are starting your computer consulting business. Put the date on your calendar, whether it is six months from today or six weeks from today.

Narrow down your to-do lists and organize your tasks in top 10 priority. Write down everything that's floating around in your head and then go through that list and pick the 10 most important things.

Possible Top Ten Priorities

Your list might include:
· meeting with an accountant
· getting a business resale license
· opening up a distributor account
· picking a company name
· coming up with a business card
· looking through insurance options
· getting a Web site domain
· getting a business voice mail box

There are probably 30, 40, or even 50 things that are on your list. Narrow that down to the ten that you think are the most important to do before launching.

Order Your List

Once you get those 10, highlight them on paper and try to see if you can rank them in order of some kind of chronological order that makes sense to do. Just work on one or two a week. If you're a more analytical type and you think you work better on the screen, do this exercise in Microsoft Excel or do it in Microsoft Word. And then narrow your huge list down to your top 10 business priority tasks.

Develop a Timeline to Start Computer Consulting

Let's say you're launching your computer consulting business five weeks from now and you've got 10 things to do. Pick two things to do each week. It seems a lot more manageable when you put it in terms of that kind of time frame.

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Options In Broadband Internet Access

by: Mark Woodcock

The Internet is an astonishing entity, allowing us to be connected to every corner of the world in order to communicate, seek out information, do business, and even have fun. Years ago, our connections to the Internet were limited to dial-up access, which hogged our home telephone lines and uploaded and downloaded information at a snail's pace. Today, though, we have the fortune of being able to connect at what seems like breakneck speed in comparison with our old 28.8 Kbps modem, with the arrival of broadband Internet access.

Basically, broadband Internet access provides the user with a high data-transmission rate Internet connection. Any connection of 256 Kbps (kilobits per second) is considered broadband Internet. Because of the high rate of data transference, it is also commonly known as high-speed Internet. This is ideal for uploading large files including pictures and music, as well as downloading larger files in a fraction of the time it used to take with dial-up.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) identifies broadband Internet access as 200 kbps in one direction, and advanced broadband Internet as 200 kbps in both directions (uploading and downloading). There is not a single standard rate of transmission that has been set industry wide, however. Therefore the term broadband can mean much lower transmission speeds, depending on the ISP (Internet Service Provider). Some ISP's take advantage of this, unfortunately, and promote slower transmission rates as broadband, unbeknownst to the customer oftentimes. In addition, because ISP's often allow more customers to subscribe to their high-speed Internet service that they can usually handle, the bandwidth that they promote is rarely available.

Right now, there are three basic types of broadband Internet access available to the general public. The first one, known as DSL, is the standard broadband technology available. DSL (digital subscriber line) originated in 1988, when the Internet as a public entity was still in its infancy. It is still widely available today, mostly through telephone companies, as that is the technology that is required for DSL.

On the coattails of DSL in broadband Internet popularity is the cable modem. Cable modems provide comparable data transmission rates to DSL, though uploading data is usually a bit quicker still with DSL. However, the advantage of cable modems is that is does not tie up your home telephone line. Cable modems can also be used to provide telephone service (VOIP), and more cable companies are jumping on that bandwagon all the time. Often, though, cable modem service comes at a price. Cable companies are frequently hesitant to offer broadband Internet access without the customer subscribing to a certain level of cable television programming as well. For most people, this isn't usually a big issue.

One major obstacle of broadband Internet access is that it is often difficult to provide the service to rural areas, due to technological constraints. The costs to connect outlying areas is high, therefore the technology is often slow to reach the regions outside of more densely populated urban areas. There is a solution, and technology has looked to the sky to provide yet another means of providing broadband Internet access to the masses.

Satellite Internet is a newer type of broadband Internet access, and is ideal for areas where land-based Internet access is not an option (such as on boats). It is more expensive, but is often the only way of getting Internet access of any kind in rural areas. The drawback of Satellite Internet is often the delay problem, due to the signal having to travel through space to the satellite and back to Earth again. This problem can be exacerbated because of any number of atmospheric conditions, from rain to sunspots. Fortunately, it really only affects those who participate in Internet gaming or use streaming video feeds. The delay is not really noticeable when using the Internet for email of other basic Internet services.

Broadband Internet access provides the computer user with a quicker way to enjoy the Internet. You don't have to tie up your home phone line anymore to check your email, and you don't have to be cut off from cyberspace if you have an incoming call. The speed of data transmission is vastly improved over dial-up Internet, which is a lot less frustrating when uploading or downloading large files. The best thing about broadband Internet access is that the cost for service is going down all the time, thanks to the competition of the various ISP's. By doing research, you can find the right type of broadband Internet access to fit your individual needs.