Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Tip For Solving Most Printer Errors

by: Karl Smith

Ever have blinking lights on your inkjet or laser printer that just will not go away? Ever install a new ink cartridge in your printer and it still thinks the old one is there? Well, instead of just getting angry at the printer or hunting around for your manual, you can try one simple thing: unplug it.

This technique has a few names that all mean the same thing: cycling the printer, resetting the printer or clearing the printer’s memory. Now unplugging your printer may seem like a low-tech solution to complex problems, and in reality it is. But, for problems like blinking error lights it is the only solution and also, it is typically the first one that will be recommended to you by a technician working for HP, Lexmark, Epson etc. They will recommend it right away if you install a new cartridge and it is registering as empty. If your printer isn’t registering it full, then that means it still thinks the old cartridge is in there and the memory needs to be cleared by unplugging it.

The first thing to remember about this solution is that unplugging the printer is not the same as turning the printer off. If you have error messages or cartridge communication problems, then turning off the printer is not going to do anything. It has to be physically unplugged from the wall or the back of the printer itself (you don’t have to unplug the printer from the computer). The second and most important thing is that the printer must be unplugged for at least one minute. It takes at least one minute for all the electricity to be cut off from the printer to allow it to completely reset and clear its memory. If you just unplug it for a few seconds, when it comes back on it is going to pick up right where it left off.

While this technique will not fix every problem, it is still a very quick and easy solution to a lot of annoying printer problems and it is always the best place to start when one of those problems arises.

Which Printer Manufacturer Should You Choose?

by: Karl Smith

A question people frequently ask is "which brand of printers is the best?" The main manufacturers for inkjet and laser printers are Hewlett Packard, Epson, Canon, Brother, Lexmark, and Dell. Without picking one clear winner, here is a rundown of each one and some pros and cons of each:

Hewlett Packard - there is a reason that this name is synonymous with inkjet printers, laser printers and inkjet cartridges in general. HP has long been the leader of the printing industry in terms of size and selection of their machines and printer ink. But just because HP is the biggest does not mean they are the best. Something that has grown in popularity is individual printer ink cartridges for each color. From both an environmental and an economical standpoint, people like the idea of just replacing one individual color when it runs out instead of having to buy a whole new cartridge. This is something that HP was slow to adapt and they just recently introduced it on some of their Photosmart printers. At the same time, HP has also been decreasing the amount of ink in their cartridges. Their previous printer cartridges held anywhere from 20-40 ml of ink, while their newest cartridges hold as little as 5 ml in some cases. The cost of printing can still be low for HP users who do their own refilling, but it will mean more frequent refills for customers. So, as a trade-off for a vast selection and other benefits, you must consider the long term costs of operating an HP printer before buying.

* Pros - availability, dependability, name recognition

* Cons - no individual ink cartridges on almost all models, long term costs

Epson - along with Canon, Epson spearheaded the do-it-yourself photo printing movement with their collection of Stylus Photo printers. With Epson printers, you are going to find a large selection of photo machines and a good amount of entry level and high end machines. Epson has a limited number of multifunction inkjet printers, but the models that they do have are usually pretty popular and well-received. Based on customer feedback over the years, we have found that some Epson printers can require a little more maintenance than their counterparts in regards to running cleaning cycles for the print cartridges. So, this is something to consider when buying an entry level model from Epson. One downside with Epson is that you are unable to refill their ink cartridges.

* Pros - good photo printing, individual ink cartridges

* Cons - some maintenance issues, can't refill cartridges, machine may not last forever

Canon - Typically, Canon users are the most loyal to their brand. There was a period when Canon had a relatively small selection compared to other major brands, but the inkjet printers that they did have were always very popular. Most of the time, the top photo printer on the market will be a Canon model. For a while now, Canon has had individual ink tanks for their machines, and in general they have the lowest overall cost per page. Although their selection of inkjet and photo printers has grown recently, Canon still seems to prefer quality over quantity. So just know that although you might see a limited number of Canon printers in your local stores, what is available is likely of top quality. One downside is that there are some Canon inkjet cartridges that cannot be refilled. So for the newer machines the only product available is Canon brand ink.

* Pros - excellent photo printing, reliability

* Cons - some lack of selection/availability of machines

All Others - the three other main manufacturers of printers are Dell, Lexmark and Brother. Dell has become a big player in the market, simply because of their ability to sell directly to such a large number of people. Both Lexmark and Dell (who has Lexmark manufacturer products for them) tend to focus on inkjet and multifunction machines, so if you are looking for a photo printer then they are most likely not the manufacturers for you. Lexmark does have a selection of some quality all-in-one machines, but both the machines and the products for them can be hard to find. Also, Lexmark/Dell currently do not have individual ink tanks for their machines, so even with our remanufactured cartridges the cost of ink can be as high or higher than Hewlett Packard's. The good news is that you are able to use ink refill kits on Dell/Lexmark ink cartridges or have them recycled, so there are some benefits to their cartridges. Brother tends to focus more on laser printers and fax machines, so their selection for home users is pretty limited. Like Lexmark, they do manufacturer some quality all-in-one machines, but their lack of selection and availability is one downside.

Work_Grew.A” Virus, Threat, Hype Or Dud And Its Impact

by: Darren Miller

The Worm_Grew.A Virus Got Allot Of Attention

----------------------------

The 3rd has come and gone. What has been the real effect or impact of the “WORM_GREW.A (Also know as Nyxem, BlackMal, MyWife, and so on)” virus? For weeks there has been tons of warnings, in the news, print, e-zines, you name the forum and it has been a discussion topic. Current information indicates that the WORM_GREW.A virus has not caused mass destruction as promised or suspected. I’m sure some of those 600,000 or so suspected infected computers were impacted, but who really knows at this point.

Viruses Can Impact You In Various Ways

--------------------------

There is one thing I do know however; Even if the BlackMal virus has not done as much physical damage as predicted, it has done a good deal of indirect damage. Think about how much time corporate technical people have spent preparing for the possibilities, making sure their enterprise anti-virus solution is functioning properly, the time devoted to discussing and planning for disaster recovery in the event a direct impact is realized. What about all the home and small business people stressed about the doom looming over their computers head in the form of a “possible” destructive and wide spread infection.

How Do You Know If Your Business Is Protected Against Viruses

--------------------------------------------------

A business associate of mine recently worked on a project in which he performed a complete infrastructure upgrade for a document / information heavy business. During the upgrade, he found that the anti-virus solution they were using was not functioning properly, had not updated its virus signatures for eight months, and on top of this, their very expensive tape backup solution had not been working for about as long. The customer kept changing the tapes, but they were blank. Just imagine what would have happened if they had not had this upgrade done, and an effective anti-virus and tape backup solution put back in place. If they had contracted this virus it could have not only shut them down for a period of time, it very well may have cost them huge financial losses or worse.

Virus Threat, Hype, or Somewhere in Between

----------------------------

Do I think this particular virus scare is a product of a real threat, fueled by hype, or a dud? Quite frankly I think it has been a little of all three. The threat was / is definitely real, the hype was all over the media and other information outlets, and as far as being a dud, if you analyze it using the equation threat+hype= impact, maybe.

I think what really has set this virus apart from recent malware / threats, is its destructive capabilities. Many malware developers have moved away from creating destructive worms and viruses in favor of creating cash generating malware. There’s no money in it for them if they just blow up your system.

Conclusion

----------

It’s quite interesting, the parallel between how we deal with threats and risks in our personal lives, and that of the technology world. Many of us only prepare for a negative or damaging event shortly before the event takes place. That is if we have been warned with time to prepare. The bottom line is we can never let our guard down. Consistency, persistence, awareness, and preparedness need to be in the forefront of our minds.

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

Original URL (The Web version of the article)

Recycling Inkjet Cartridges

by: Karl Smith

It is estimated that roughly 350 million cartridges end up in landfills every year. Obviously this is a staggering number, but what is upsetting about it is that number could easily be greatly reduced. If everyone made an effort to recycle their cartridges in some way, either through a recycling service or just by refilling and reusing the cartridges themselves, we would not face such an ugly statistic. Here are some other reasons why recycling inkjet and laser toners is a good idea:

* It is estimated that between 80-90% of cartridges are simply thrown in the trash.

* The number of cartridges ending up in landfills increases by more than 10% annually.

* A brand new laser cartridge requires 3/4 of a gallon of oil to be produced.

* Discarded cartridges still have small amounts of ink in them which can leak into the ground.

In addition to environmental benefits, there are also economic benefits to a consumer when they recycle. In general, if fewer ink cartridges are thrown away and more empty cartridges are available for remanufacturing or refilling, then prices will go down. There is an increased economic benefit to customers if they keep the cartridges and recycle or reuse them themselves. The best way for consumers to save on ink is to refill their own cartridges. You can typically refill an inkjet cartridge three times before it fully wears out. If you use a refill kit, it usually works out to be about $3 or $4 per refill. Add up those numbers over the course of six months or a year and you realize what a huge savings refilling can be. Then, once the cartridge is worn out and cannot be refilled anymore, you can have it professionally recycled.

There are other options outside of just throwing your printer cartridges away:

* You can have them professionally refilled for you through the mail.

* You can take them to your local office store, as most should accept them and many even have a promotion where they give you something in exchange for your cartridge.

* Many times local schools will collect empty cartridges for fundraisers.

* If all else fails, you can contact your local sanitation department to see if they have a special recycling location where products like ink cartridges can be dropped off.

Hopefully after reading this you will realize that there are plenty of alternatives to throwing away empty ink cartridges. If you don’t want to reuse them yourself, then there is always somebody out there who will accept them from you. And as you can see from the statistics we quoted, with that much potential environmental damage happening every year, it really makes sense to make some kind of effort to keep these cartridges out of the trash.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spyware – What Is It? Why Should You Care?

by: Stephen Wright

Not many disagree that the expansion of the internet and technology related to advances with the various aspects of interacting on the internet continues to accelerate at a dizzying pace. As with most advances, with the good side, also comes a not so good – dark side. More than ever, the criminal element continues to make great strides in finding ways to perpetrate mischief, mayhem, and mal-intended scams.

One of the latest growing ways criminals have employed to profit at the expense of unsuspecting internet users is the spread of spyware viruses. Spyware and adware quickly are becoming all too prevalent for anyone. It has become vitally important that everyone take precautions to protect themselves from the malicious effects through the use of virus protection software.

Spyware: What Is It?

By definition, a spyware virus includes a wide variety of virus, some of which are the good kind; some are relatively harmless in nature. For example some spyware programs are “documenters, or scribes” if you will. Their primary purpose is to keep a record of basic information on users’ activities. This can include such things as what websites and other actions you have taken over a period of time. This allows the program to target your IP address with advertisements (many of which are popups) that are related to the theme of the sites you frequent. Giving you what you want, based on where you visit on the internet is the general method for this type of spyware. Again, being a nuisance is the primary offense of this type of virus.

Spyware: Why Should I Care?

Spyware’s “evil cousin” is not so virtuous and clearly much more harmful. These types seek to target financial related information (all personal and private information of course), using the information for criminal purposes. Identity theft is the more common example of this type of spyware virus. The sheer number of attacks, severity of the attacks is growing at alarming rates.

And just when we thought identity theft was bad enough, another type of spyware virus is growing with even more damaging effects. These are essentially key logger programs. This type of spyware is designed to capture highly sensitive data (account numbers and passwords to online banking, financial records, etc.) by recording actual keystrokes by a user on the keyboard. This data is collected and reported back to the author – who in turn uses the information or gives the information to others to undertake criminal actions to steal all they can using this information.

What Can I Do?

By far, the best protection one can use against these kinds of spyware viruses is to obtain (and maintain) a reputable anti virus software program, combined with a good anti spyware program and spyware removal tool. More and more anti virus programs are incorporating spyware detection and removal into their products. However, many still feel that to be 100% safe, it is best to install several different products at once. Of course the best way to keep those spyware viruses off your computer is to run your anti virus software and spyware removal programs: 1) with the option of “real time coverage” whenever possible, and 2) run on a daily basis. Each program will then report back on problems it has found giving users the option of how to handle anything found.

It does not take much thought when you hear the horror stories of unsuspecting internet users who have “lost everything” because of the effects of spyware in its various forms to realize you must be proactive. To ignore the warnings of internet security experts and reports of the damage caused by spyware is truly a formula for disaster. Don’t let yourself be the next victim.

Hard Drive Crash Prevention And Recovery Tips

by: Michael Cottier

The hard drive in our computers right now stores all of our data, and our computer could not function without it. There would be no World Wide Web, email or even an operating system without hard drives. Since hard drives are so important, a hard drive crash is without a doubt the biggest problem that someone could face on their computer.

Hard drive crashes can happen for many reasons, and usually the owner is not to blame. One reason your hard drive can crash is because of a hard ware problem. See your hard drive is a magnetic disc that spins and has an extended arm hovering over it, to access any area, and collect the data. If the motor overheats and stops spinning or the arm fails to function, then your hard drive will crash and not be accessible at all.

Another way for your hard drive to crash is from corrupt system files, registry files and viruses. Viruses come in many forms as spy ware, ad ware, in emails and many other places all over the web. I recommend a good virus protection program from McAfee or Norton to stop those viruses and prevent your hard drive from crashing.

Now let’s say your hard drive has crashed, how do you determine the problem and can it be fixed? Well determining whether the hard drive crash is mechanical of software related is actually pretty easy. The flashing light on front of your computer case, that blinks when the computer is busy, is a good tool to determine the problem. If you see the LED light flashing, but the computer will not boot up, then most likely it is a software related problem, which means an operating system glitch or a virus of some sort. Lucky for you this usually can be fixed and all of your files can be saved, but I recommend only letting a professional try and fix it since the average person might find it to difficult unless they have experience in formatting hard drives.

Worst case scenario is if you don’t see the LED light flashing in the front of your computer case, this means your hard drive has not activity which basically means it is a mechanical problem. A mechanical problem in your hard drive can be fixed, but I imagine it is pretty expensive. It is cheaper to get a new hard drive then to fix it, but of course if you have important data stored on the broken hard drive that you must get back, then you really have no choice but to have a professional fix it. You local computer store should have the expertise to repair it, but if not just ask them who can.

I should point out also though, that advanced hardware and software standards in today’s hard drives tell you when your drive is about to crash and gives you time to back up your important files.

Overall, the best way to stop your hard drive from crashing is to not neglect it and take care of it. The most important care tip is to make sure you defragment your hard drive at least once a month. Your operating system should come with a defragmenting program that is easy to use. Performing a defragment on your hard drive basically takes your data and organizes it into more convenient places so that the mechanical arm can access data faster and with the least amount of movement.

Another way to protect your hard drive from crashes is to purchase a good virus scanner, preferably by McAfee or Norton, and keep protection tools enabled and perform a full system scan of every file on your hard drive once a month.

Some other minor precautions that you can take are to enforce a SPAM guard on your emails and delete your temporary internet files every once in awhile. You should also keep your operating system up to date by downloading updates for it as soon as they come out. Windows makes this easy, but I am not sure how easy other operating systems make this or if they even provide this option.

If you are a person who downloads a lot of files from the internet, then you need to exercise caution in what you choose to download, as hard drive crashes are commonly associated with faulty software from unknown sources on the net.

Of course the best way to save you a headache if a hard drive crash happens is to back up your data regularly. Data loss is the reason a hard drive crash is so hurtful, so if you back up your data daily or whenever you work on it, then if a crash happens you will have no sweat on your back. I recommend you save your files to a rewritable CD/DVD or floppy disc as soon as you get done working on it, especially if the data is business related.

Make a Photo Collage with Style

by: Lisa Janice

Have you been trying to get a simple and practical photo editing tool? Have you been creating a photo collage with style?Wondershare Photo Collage Studio is a new digital photo collage utility that assembles favourite photos into an artistic compilation. With Photo Collage Studio, you can make great-looking photo collages, either quickly and easily - with templates, or creatively - with rich animated/static cliparts to choose from. And each masterpiece can printed over and over again. Truth to tell - I enjoy using it.

Some may ask: I have Photoshop; why do I need any other software to work with images? What's good about this Photo Collage Studio? Here's my opinion: Photo Collage Studio provides an alternative way for those people who would like to edit their photos, but would rather not spend time on some hard-to-master software like PhotoShop. In PhotoShop, you may need several steps to add mask or set an appropriate shadow. But in Photo Collage Studio, just select a sample, then with a click you can see the same effect right away. You may also see the detailed merits as following:

1. Drag and Drop - Want to turn your favorite photos & pictures into amazing standouts? You must have many memorable photos taking on various occasions,does it ever occur to you that, just a few clicks, you can touch up them even more? With Wondershare Photo Collage Studio, the process can be easier! This powerful software can instantly locate your photo in hard disk, all you need to do just drag and drop it to the main interface of software, and then decorate it with photo frames and mask effect. Simple and Practical!

2. Get Creative - Want to add more fun to photo & picture with you imagination? Photo Collage Studio allows you to resize and rotate photos & pictures, lighten up them with clipart and word arts, etc. This software also provides multiple selectable photo frames sorted in various themes, such as holiday templates, art templates and plant templates; completed with special mask effects, you can turn a so-so picture a work of art!

3. Print, Email and Wallpaper - What's the better ways to enjoy and share your masterpiece? Photo Collage Studio offers several ways to help distribute and share them. It can automatically attach the newly created photo & picture to your email or save it as wallpaper to personalize your despot; it can also print your collage at virtually any size. Those distribution methods make your works more available to your family and friends.

The trial version of Photo Collage Studio will place a water mark on the output. You may download it for a free trial at http://www.photo-collage-software.com, just feel free to make wallpapers or personal photo collages - that’s very easy and, I dare say, kinda addictive. Print or email your collages to your friends and family who'll think you're a genius for creating them!

Enjoy !

About Monitoring/Surveillance Software To Spy

by: Ramiro Banda

Why should you use monitoring or survillance software?

Think for a moment about how much confidential data you store on your computer?, your information isn't safe. A small device plugged in line with your keyboard or a computer software running in your system could let to others gain access to your privacy and confidential data. Perhaps these hardware devices or computer software shouldn't have been created, but these are here available to everybody. There is a posibility that you are going watched now. You need to know what is going on your computer.

Uses of survillance software

If you are a parent and your children use the Internet you should use a survillance software to make sure that no inapropiate web content will be opened.

Use a monitoring software to retrieve lost information, if your operative system crash, a power loss happens, your word processor doesn't respond, etc.

If you are a system administrator and you would you like to restric opened applications and internet sites in a few of machines.

Like a business administrator with many employees and you would want to ensure that your employees are not misusing the computer at work.

If you are a spouse who suspects your partner might be having an affair,your health coud be at stake.

Perhaps you want to know if somedoby is lying, etc. this list could be interminable.

A Keylogger (KeyLogger, Key Logger, or Keystroke Logger) is a small device installed installed between your keyboard and your computer or also can be a computer program that runs in the background, recording all the keystrokes. Once keystrokes are logged, they are hidden in the machine for later retrieval, or shipped raw to the interested person.

Tipes of keyloggers:

- Hardware based: This is independent of the computer operating system, easy installation but also easy to detect (physically), expensive, for example a hardware keylogger with 512KB of memory will save keystrokes typed during four days approximately. A hardware keyloggers like this is about $150. It could be found at any moment and disconnected and will only provide you with keystrokes.

- Software based: A very basic software Keylogger normally consists of two files at least:

- An executable file which load a DLL, sets the hook and saves keystrokes

- A Dynamic Link Library or DLL.

Also in more complex keyloggers or monitoring softwares is included one kernel driver to hook the operative system and stay hidden from others softwares like, antispyware, antivirus and specially from any list process.

Of course, a single keylogger can't do more that save keystrokes, but we know that there are more events in ours computers that could be monitored: your computer screen, mouse activity and cursor, instant messajes, etc.

The survillance software or spy software are products that are developed in different countries of the world by hundreds of companies and by individual programmers. These software products embrace, as a rule, absolutely different products, some of them are well known than others.If a survillance software becomes popular then more antikeyloggers will be able to detect and disable it.

Periodically one good surveillance software should create a new version, with diferents signatures for files, for staying undetected for antispyware.

If you think that you are going being spied install another monitoring software in the same computer in your office, but never use keyloggers for illegal purposes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How To Upgrade Computer Memory

by: Michael Cottier

Computer memory, also known as Random Access Memory (RAM), is just like your short term memory in your brain. It stores everything you are currently working on and recently worked on. As you can see that makes it a very essential part of your PC because it stores vital information that you are using and need access too immediately. No matter what the data is, pictures, sounds or just text, if you get a good amount of memory your computer will load that data much faster and store it better.

Many people want to do a RAM upgrade there selves, but always run into the problem of figuring out which type of memory to buy and installing it. If you didn’t already know, there are many different types of RAM available on the market, and you need to get the type that corresponds with your motherboard. If you don’t know what a motherboard is, it’s the big circuit board inside of your computer that connects everything together.

First, let’s talk about the two main types of RAM that are in use today, SDRAM and DDR. SDRAM stands for Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory, and is the most common amongst PC’s today. Most likely your desktop computer uses this type of RAM. I use to have SDRAM, and I thought it was okay because it got the job done. I have switched though to DDR RAM, which is replacing SDRAM. The speed of DDR RAM is twice that of SDRAM, so you can imagine the difference. If your motherboard currently only has SDRAM slots, then you have no choice but to get that type of RAM. If you want to change to DDR RAM, then you have to buy a whole new motherboard and install it. To find out what RAM your computer uses just look at the instruction manual that came with it, or if it is custom built, look at the motherboard’s instruction manual.

For all you laptop and PDA owners out there, the type of RAM in your laptop or PDA is called SODIMM. Available at the same memory store you purchase your desktop computer RAM from, just a little more expensive and harder to install.

Now that you know the different types of RAM, you need to know where to buy it from and how to install it. To buy it, I suggest your local computer store because there will be a person there to help you and they will make sure that you buy the correct RAM. Here’s a tip to, bring your computers instruction manual with you to the store and they will definitely know the correct type of memory you need. If you want to buy online, then NewEgg.com and TigerDirect.com are two great online computer stores that will deliver your RAM into your mail box.

And last but not least, you need to install your new RAM. Believe it or not this is the easy part. First shut down and unplug everything from your computer and then remove your computer’s case cover, to gain access to the motherboard inside. Once you can clearly see the motherboard, locate your RAM. You should know what it looks like since you just bought some and you can look at that. When you find it, you will notice a latch connected to the slot that holds it on each end. Push down both of the latches to unhook them, and then gently pull the RAM stick out. It should slide out with ease, but if it doesn’t, then wiggle it a little bit while pulling.

After that you just need to insert your new RAM. First count how many slots you have available for RAM and how many of them currently have RAM in it. Some times you will see 2 slots occupied and 1 open, or all three slots could be used. Either way, you have to insert your new RAM into an open slot, or if all are used then remove the oldest and least amount of RAM to clear a slot. Then gently insert your new RAM and pull the latches back up on both sides, securing your memory into place. After that just screw your case cover back on, hook your computer back up to everything and then power it back on. Your computer will automatically detect the new RAM and no further installation process is needed.

Well that is about it, I hope I have helped you. Just remember to keep your computer clean plus maintain properly, and it will live a long life. Learn more at: http://www.computer-customizing-guide.com/ram-memory-upgrade.html

Inkjet Printers Getting in Demand

by: Karen Nodalo

Inkjet has grown widely and it is commonly used by most of the printing companies. For all we know, inkjet ink is a complex formulation that formulates on any porous surface and enables us to print different kinds of printing. Even homeowners have printers at home. it can either be an inkjet or a bubble jet printer that perfectly meets the standards of good printing.

There are two types of inks, which is the water-based, and the solvent-based inks. In addition, there are user-friendly print delivery systems. A lot of ink manufacturers have spent a great time and money to research the development of the inks in order to produce characters with the crisp. These new-age printers have a quicker drying time and they stay permanent on porous surfaces.

Inkjet has a lot of advantages if you are on the business. Although it is quite expensive, it can give you prints that are long lasting and permanent. However, the expensive days of buying inks have been over. You can buy inks at lower prices for all your printing demands and needs. You can use it dependably without the worries and it can fit into almost everything.

The principles of printing have been drawn out from great ideas, technology and use of chemistry, electricity, mechanics and the use of the different types of software and hardware to enable us to create practical applications that are needed for the industry.

The concept of inks can be very simple which is just spraying ink on the surface, but it’s not all that. Inks have to be absorbed perfectly and penetrate on paper permanently. In this case, ink-manufacturing companies need to create inks with the highest quality. ink quality should never be sacrificed because there are a lot of people that make use of it as a means of promoting their products and services.

Poor production of inkjet inks can mean failure and low quality processing. Since inks are treated as a vital part, it should be enhanced to meet the requirements of a good quality printing, which is enough to deliver the services to the people properly and brilliantly.

People do not need a lot of options for inks because they are after one which is the inkjet ink. They use it mainly for printing catalogs, brochures and other forms. Go and see for yourself the magic of using inkjet inks.

For more related articles, you may visit http://www.catalogprintingexperts.com

Wireless Security – Getting It Right

by: Vishwadeep Bajaj

It may sound strange but is true that several organisations, which have adopted Wireless networking, are open to severe security breaches. Mostly the reasons are that organisations simply plug the access points and go live without bothering to change the default factory settings. Wireless local area networks are open to risk not because the systems are incapable but due to incorrect usage. The biggest problem lies with inadequate security standards and with poorly configured devices. For a start, most of the wireless base stations sold by suppliers come with the in-built security Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol turned off. This means that unless you manually reconfigure your wireless access points, your networks will be broadcasting data that is unencrypted.

In the old world of wired local area networks, the architecture provides some inherent security. Typically there is a network server and multiple devices with an Ethernet protocol adapter that connect to each other physically via a LAN backbone. If you are not physically connected, you have no access to the LAN.

Compare it with the new wireless LAN architecture. The LAN backbone of the wired world is replaced with radio access points. The Ethernet adapters in devices are replaced with a radio card. There are no physical connections – anyone with a radio capability of sniffing can connect to the network.

What can go wrong?

Unlike the wired network, the intruder does not need physical access in order to pose the following security threats:

Eavesdropping. This involves attacks against the confidentiality of the data that is being transmitted across the network. In the wireless network, eavesdropping is the most significant threat because the attacker can intercept the transmission over the air from a distance away from the premises of the company.

Tampering. The attacker can modify the content of the intercepted packets from the wireless network and this results in a loss of data integrity.

Unauthorized access. The attacker could gain access to privileged data and resources in the network by assuming the identity of a valid user. This kind of attack is known as spoofing. To overcome this attack, proper authentication and access control mechanisms need to be put up in the wireless network.

Denial of Service. In this attack, the intruder floods the network with either valid or invalid messages affecting the availability of the network resources.

How to protect?

There are 3 types of security options – basic, active and hardened. Depending upon your organisation needs, you can adopt any of the above.

Basic

You can achieve the basic security by implementing Wired Equivalent Standard 128 or WEP 128. The IEEE 802.11 task group has established this standard. WEP specifies generation of encryption keys. The information source and information target uses these keys to prevent any eavesdroppers (who do not have these keys) to get access to the data.

Network access control is implemented by using a Service Set Identifier (SSID – a 32 character unique identifier) associated with an access point or a group of access points. The SSID acts as a password for network access.

Another additional type of security is Access Control List (ACL). Each wireless device has a unique identifier called Media Access Control address (MAC). A MAC list can be maintained at an access point or a server of all access points. Only those devices are allowed access to the network that have their MAC address specified.

The above implementations are open to attack. Even when you do turn on WEP, there are still problems inherent within it. The problem lies in the protocol's encryption key mechanism, which is implemented in such a way that the key can be recovered by analysing the data flow across the network over a period of time. This has been estimated at between 15 minutes and several days. The SSID attached to the header of packets sent over a wireless Lan - is sent as unencrypted text and is vulnerable to being sniffed by third parties. Unfortunately most supplier equipment is configured to broadcast the SSID automatically, essentially giving new devices a ticket to join the network. While this is useful for public wireless networks in places such as airports and retail establishments - in the US for example, Starbucks is offering 802.11b access in some of its stores - it represents another security loophole for corporates that do not switch it off. Finally any MAC address can be change!

d to another (spoofed), so the use of ACL is not foolproof either.

Active

To implement an Active type of security, you need to implement the IEEE 802.1x security standard. This covers two areas – network access restriction through mutual authentication and data integration through WEP key rotation. Mutual authentication between the client station and the access points helps ensure that clients are communicating with known networks and dynamic key rotation reduces exposure to key attacks.

Due to weaknesses in WEP, some standard alternatives to WEP have emerged. Most of the Wi-Fi manufacturers have agreed to use a temporary standard for enhanced security called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

In WPA, the encryption key is changed after every frame using Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). This protocol allows key changes to occur on a frame-by-frame basis and to be automatically synchronized between the access point and the wireless client. The TKIP is really the heart and soul of WPA security. TKIP replaces WEP encryption. And although WEP is optional in standard Wi-Fi, TKIP is required in WPA. The TKIP encryption algorithm is stronger than the one used by WEP but works by using the same hardware-based calculation mechanisms WEP uses.

Hardened

There are organisations like banks, which have very stringent security requirements. They need to implement the hardened type of security systems. These are solutions certified in accordance with the Federal Information Protection Standard (FIPS 1.40). Products in this category offer point-to-point security for wireless information communication and include offerings such as AirFortress and IPSec Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A VPN will increase the cost of your network, but you can base your decision on whether to implement it by using the same course of action that you should be taking with all other parts of your infrastructure. Map the risks against the business data that you will be passing over radio, and assess the financial impact of a breach. If the data is too critical, reassess what should be passed over the network, or use a VPN to enhance your protection.

Summary

The vendors are working towards implementing newer standards and this year we should see products implementing IEEE 802.11i that will further the authentication and encryption gains implemented by WPA. Most notably, it will add a ground up encryption standard known as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) as well as various other enhancements.

Newer standards apart, organisations must understand that achieving wireless security is essential and the good part is that it is easy. An organisation must define its security needs and use the features available in the systems accordingly. Choose a good vendor who can help you implement your requirements through standards based solutions. A good implementation must be supported by a security policy, which is well understood by everyone in the organisation. Make your employees aware that they all are responsible for security and share the cost of security breaches. Assign authority & ownership to few employees for the various parts in the security policy and make periodic reviews of their performance. Most important is to monitor your systems for any possible breaches and adapt if necessary. Never sleep well.

Video & Web Conferencing: How To Determine Which Features Will Benefit You The Most

by: Dan Richmond

Web and video conferencing technology is becoming more sophisticated with each passing day. A few years ago it was a novelty just to talk with someone online, and view his or her image at the same time. Today web conferences bring together entire companies in complex interaction that rivals live face-to-face meetings. How you might benefit from the latest developments in web conferencing depends on your particular needs. Here are a few points that you should consider.

1. Do you need to make a Powerpoint or other presentation during your conference?

If you answered “yes” to this question, then you will be glad to know that current web and video conferencing services allow the host of a conference to present a slide show or power point demonstration that will be visible on the screens of all the participants of a conference. Similarly, hosts can also open and show other document formats to their attendees. If you need this kind of capability, make sure that your conference provider can give this to you.

2. Do you require telephone conferencing integrated with your web/video conference?

Many organizations have found telephone conferencing to be an effective way to get work done. If you are already connecting with your members and staff via telephone conferences you can expand on this by choosing a web conferencing system that integrates telephone conferencing along with the online conference. The combined service will give you the ease of phone conferencing along with the enhanced visual and presentation features of online conferencing.

Some services allow the host to pay the long distance bill of all the participants (toll free conferencing), while others require each participant to cover their long distance fees.

3. Do all of your conference participants use the same type of computer?

If your participants are going to be using a variety of computers (PC, Mac, Linux) then you will benefit most by choosing a web conferencing system that works on any platform. While earlier conferencing systems required the downloading of complex software that would work only on specified operating systems, newer conferencing formats are delivered online and are browser based. They work on any operating system and if yours in an eclectic audience, then you will get best results with this type of conferencing.

4. Will it be necessary for one of your technicians to “take-over” and operate the computers of any of your participants?

If you wish to use conferencing as a service tool and want to avoid having to send out your service team on physical visits to clients, you can save a lot of travel time and cost by selecting a web and video conferencing system that allows the host of the conference to go online and actually take control of the computer of the client or conference participant. If you are looking at web conferencing as an after-sales service tool, then this particular feature will probably give you one of the most important benefits that you could wish for.

5. Do you want to conduct an online poll or survey during the conference?

If you have a large organization and want to make a quick and accurate poll of opinion or vote on a particular issue then the new polling capabilities of the most advanced web conferencing services will be an important feature for you.

Similarly, if you need to gather demographic information about your meeting participants, obtain valuable input, or quiz and test your participants, then the new online survey capabilities of current web conferencing systems will be an important feature to look for when choosing your conference format. Data from these types of online “surveys” can typically be saved and used for future use.

6. Do you want to brainstorm online, using a “whiteboard”?

Brainstorming is a great way to tap the ideas of a group and to come up with and select new ideas. If this is what you like to do when holding physical meetings, then you will probably want to be able to do the same thing in your virtual meetings as well. This is now possible in some of the more advanced web conferencing systems by using a “group notepad” that enables meeting participants to utilize a shared workspace. The results of these brainstorming sessions can typically be saved in a storage area.

Which of these features will benefit you the most? It all depends on your particular needs. However, one thing is sure: once you experience the convenience of online meetings, you will not want to go back to the era when every meeting required you to pack up your bags and get on an airplane.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Are You Protecting Your Computer?

by: Alton Hargrave

Do you know what to look for in anti-virus software?

You just bought yourself a new computer! Can't wait to get it out of the box. Maybe you have had a computer before and maybe this is your second or third computer. And, you don't want to have all those problems you hear about. This is the time to think ahead and go for a positive online experience.

You should realize that while you are unpacking your new machine, there are people all over the world who are plotting to spoil your computer with maliscious, well-thought out plans. Your computer will endure attacks moments after you go online. This is why we all have to use antivirus protection. You and I just have no choice. The single most important program on your computer is your anti virus program. And, it should be a really good one. Everything on your computer, from your valuable software, your work, to your personal financial records is contantly at risk. I will explain some of the features you should look for in anti-virus software.

Most of us make our choice on price alone. That is, after we use the product that comes with our computers. This is not the way to choose something so important. You need to look at several products before making your decision.

Look at your available options. Start with the anti virus software that came with your PC. You can get started by getting that software up and running. Don't try to postpone using anti-virus software. After a period of time, your software needs updated. While you are online, your software should be allowed to make daily updates. It is very important to make the first update as soon as your new computer is online for the first time. It is very likely there have been a lot of new threats and viruses introduced since the computer left the factory. Updating the software is the best way to keep your computer protected against these new online dangers.

As you use the software that came with your new computer, it is a good idea to make a list of what you like – and don’t like – about it. Is it easy to update? Is it user friendly? Is it easy to see any problems? Does the software notify you if the update could not be completed? Are updates made available on a daily basis?

Now, you have a basis for establishing what to look for in anti-virus software. Read all you can online to get even more information. Some anti virus companies make their software available in trial versions, so be sure to check out a number of different products before deciding which one best suits your needs. Some of the best is free, without a trial.

Take some time to get the best protection you can for your computer. And, periodically back up your files. Al little planning can make your computer experience an enjoyable experience.

The Difference Between Satellite Internet And DSL

by: Paul Cris

What is Satellite Internet? Getting high speed internet through satellite is called as satellite internet. Satellite internet is much faster than DSL or cable internet. Satellite internet can be accessed even in remote corners of the country. They are easy to install and operate. The internet speed is higher than DSL or cable internet. Satellite internet is also called as lightning fast internet connection. You can download heavy files in quick time and even listen to online radio uninterrupted. The internet speed is constant and does not fluctuate.

What is DSL? The full form of DSL is Digital Subscriber Line. DSL internet is faster than cable internet. It is a broadband internet connection and files can be uploaded and downloaded quickly. The most important point is you need not require any new cabling to be connected to DSL internet. You can simultaneously connect through the phone lines for accessing internet and receive and make calls too. DSL internet is much more faster than dialup internet. While you opt for a DSL internet connection, you get a DSL modem for connecting to the internet.

The differences between Satellite Internet and DSL:

· You can stay connected to the internet always with the help of satellite internet. The satellite internet service provides two way internet access, which provides internet speed without fluctuations in bandwidth. While in DSL internet, the internet speed is not constant.

· Satellite internet does not require huge cabling or telephone connection to access the internet. The speed of the internet is also constant as satellite internet uses two way high speed internet. In DSL internet the internet speed depends on the telephone wires and in case there is some cabling fault then your DSL internet would come to a stand still. The better the quality of your telephone cable the better your internet speed.

· Satellite internet service is accessable anywhere at any time. You can use satellite internet even in remote places. DSL internet can be accessed where there are telephone lines.

· The downloading speeds of audio and video files are smooth while in DSL internet the files take a lot of time to download.

· If you stay in a city or a rural area the speed of the satellite internet would be the same while with DSL internet the speed would be high if you are near the main office of the DSL service provider. The farther you are located from the main office of the DSL service provider the lower the internet speed.

The best Internet solution: With technology improving day by day, the demand for internet with faster bandwidth and downloading speeds has increased and this in turn has led to satellite internet. Satellite internet can be accessed anywhere which is the most important part of this technology. No cable and no hassles for internet connection and installation. Satellite internet connection is more reliable than a DSL or dial up internet connection. If you feel that there is a need for changing your internet connection opting for a satellite internet connection would be the ideal solution.

Hard Drive Data Recovery

by: Mac McClellan

Hard drive data recovery is the method of recovering data from hard drives when it cannot be accessed in the normal manner. This failure to access the hard drive could be caused due to logical damage to the file system or any physical damage that had occurred to the storage device, thereby preventing it from being mounted by the host operating system.

The physical damage to a hard drive could occur due to several mechanical failures such as failed motors or head crashes. The physical damage of a hard drive can always lead to some data loss and in many cases this can also results in damage to the logical structures of the file system. In fact, logical damages to a file system are more common than physical damage. This includes damages caused by power outages, which prevents file system structures from being completely written to the hard drive, system crashes, and problems with hardware (particularly RAID controllers).

Most physical damage to hard drives cannot be repaired by end users. For instance, opening a hard drive in a normal environment can cause dust to settle on the surface, resulting in further damage to the platters. Mind you, normal computer users may not have enough technical experience to make type of repairs. This is where hard drive data recovery companies play a major role in helping the end user to recover their valuable data from a damaged hard drive. Almost all these hard drive data recovery firms use Class 100 clean room facilities to protect your hard drive while repairing, and use the latest tools such as magnetometers to retrieve the lost bits from the magnetic media. The extracted raw bits retrieved from the damaged disk are used to rebuild a disk image, which can then be mounted to have its logical damage repaired.

Nowadays, there are several companies which offer hard drive data recovery software programs which help the end users to recover all their important files or folders lost after an accidental format, partition loss, software malfunction, file or directory deletion, or virus crash. Whether your computer crashes or you accidentally delete the files, hard drive data recovery software helps you to locate, recover and restore lost information from your disk.

Some of the main contexts where hard drive data recovery software could save one from the blues include a formatted drive, deleted file or directory, missing file or directory, drive not booting, inaccessible drive, support copying of system locked files like registry hives, damaged or corrupted partition table, recovery of deleted files and folders on FAT and NTFS hard drive or partitions, retrieve compressed files from NTFS partitions, data recovery on damaged FAT and NTFS partitions, and formatted hard drives.

Most of the hard drive data recovery software programs available in the market are easy to install and use and are virtually self maintaining. It is highly recommended to use any of the popular hard drive data recovery software in your computer along with other programs. The program frequently creates backup copies of all your files so that you need not have to worry of any potential unexpected data loss.

It is better to prevent and prepare than repent and repair later. Check http://harddriveusa.com for additional resources on hard drives.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Powerpoint Background Slides Tips

by: Thomson Chemmanoor

There are various tools available in the computers, for your web designing and writing. One of them is the tool, Microsoft Powerpoint. This powerful tool is used to create professional looking presentations and slide shows from scratch or by using its easy wizard. By using the PowerPoint software, you can make any form of background you may need for your program. Using different values in the program, you can get animated backgrounds, music backgrounds and even Christmas and religious backgrounds.

The world of internet has made advertising so easy, that you can shop, buy and download perfect PowerPoint templates and PowerPoint background videos in a matter of minutes. Not only this, there are terrific, ready-made PowerPoint background slides be available where you can change your dull PowerPoint presentation into an aggressive, attention grabbing and energetic presentation in not time at all.

With the free PowerPoint templates available in the internet, you can try out your skills at the PowerPoint presentation background, without actually first buying it. You can download these Microsoft PowerPoint templates for free for your education and use. Remember, all the PowerPoint background slides have been pre-set by expert graphic designers. The design background, typeface and colors have all been expertly designed; all you have to do is insert the text, and you have it!

You can experiment in making animated backgrounds in the PowerPoint by setting different values in the program. The background animates when an absolute value has been specified for either the horizontal or the vertical directions. If at all both the directions are specified, the background is animated diagonally. By making changes in the PowerPoint values, you can form blue blocks, closed circuit, award night and many more other PowerPoint background presentations. These changes bring about moving characters on the computer screen.

If you need graphics for specific web pages, they too are available in abundance in the internet. You just have to download these special backgrounds, like Christmas, New Year and other festivities’ backgrounds from the internet for free. You then use these graphics in your web page as you desire. There is another free software available for download in the internet, the Movie Wizard, where you can spice up your slideshows with the addition of graphics and background music and animating photos with the help of their tutorials.

Keep Your Passwords Safe on Public Use Computers

by: Garnet Bailey

As you no doubt realize, passwords are the keys to our resources, our belongings and our online accounts, including our finances. While using our own home or office facilities, most of us work hard at keeping the possibility of having our information monitored or stolen at as low a level as possible. But the threat is still quite real. Part of our protection armor must include the use of protection software such as virus scanners and spyware scanners. It really is a very bad idea to use any internet connected computer today that does NOT have any means of virus or spyware protection. Almost all new computers sold today come equipped with some form of protection pre-installed. And a variety of alternate programs and services are available, many of them at no cost.

But what do you do if you are not at your home or office? This poses a much greater security risk to your password and account safety. Examples and accountings of hijacking of passwords, of tracking surfing activity and of capturing screen information of a user seem to be a common occurrence.

The best method of dealing with these facilities is to simply not use them for any medium or high security uses such as accessing bank accounts or other highly sensitive services you require.

But, of course we don't live in a vacuum and circumstances may dictate that you simply must do so at various times. So when it is essential, there are many steps you should take to ensure your own security. These steps will take a few minutes, but will increase your security by a wide margin and give you peace of mind that your passwords, accounts and information are not being compromised.

First, ensure that the computer you are using is free from spyware. The most vicious of spyware forms is “key logging” software that records your keystrokes. This will instantly compromise your passwords and everything those passwords allows access to. If the computer you are using has one of the brand name spyware scanners installed, run it to ensure there are no hidden threats lurking behind the scenes. On many public machines, the start menu will offer a virus or spyware selection. If there are none of these available on the machine, you can visit one of a number of websites to run a spyware scan without installing a complete application on the computer, which, since it is a public computer, is likely not allowed. There are a number of these out there and you can pick one (or more!) from an internet search for the words "online spyware scan". Most of these require a script be installed and run and will take a few minutes to identity the cleanliness of the computer. Follow the instructions given by the software vendor's website. If there are threats that cannot be easily removed by the software, move on to another machine and advise the owner of the problem.

The next step you should take is to ensure the browser you will be using will not store your usernames and passwords. For Internet Explorer, this function is called "autocomplete" and can be disabled through the options setting of the menus. It is good practice to test that this has actually been turned off by logging into one of your accounts with a phony password. Then close and restart the internet browser and start the login process again. If the system does not offer you a "remembered" password as you type in the same username and phony password once again, you know that it is not storing your passwords. You can then login with your real username and password. On the other hand, if it brings up a password or username before you have completed typing it, do not put in your real information, but go back and try turning off “autocomplete” once again. Otherwise, you should simply move on to another machine.

Once you have accessed your accounts and have completed your sessions, make sure you purge as much of your activity from the computer as possible. Be sure to delete all "temporary files" and all "cookies" from the machine. This is done from selections under the options setting of the browser you are using. This helps erase your tracks from any prying eyes after you leave the computer!

Our information, accounts, resources and the passwords that unlock all of them are too valuable to leave for granted or to chance.

Knowing how to use passwords away from home is only a portion of the methods and techniques we all need to know to protect our belongings, our security and our personal and family identities.

You too can learn how to simply and easily create a number of secure passwords that avoids being compromised by any number of methods, and at the same time will be easily remembered. Visit the "Easily Create and Remember Secure Passwords" web site at http://www.perfectpassword.com.

Keep Your Passwords Safe on Public Wireless Networks

by: Garnet Bailey

Most people take for granted the security of their computers connection to the outside world. And in many homes and offices this is a reasonably good assumption. But, things do change when someone, armed with a laptop computer and a wireless “WIFI” connection ability visits a local public “hotspot”, perhaps at the local coffee shop.

These type of locations are rapidly growing and provide temporary internet connections to visitors through wireless devices called routers. They offer a convenient way to use your own computer with the internet at little cost to the service owner. These wireless connections, since they are “public”, are not configured with the security and encryption protection that a normal private network should have.

In these locations, it is possible for anyone with minimal hardware and software to eavesdrop on any of the wireless broadcasts that are taking place. And since there is little or no network security, usernames and passwords can be easily stolen.

What is one to do then? Maybe you want to get your email, relax and have a cup of coffee, read your messages and reply to some of them. The best method in this case is to refrain from using your usual email client program (such as Outlook, Eudora, etc.) and instead use your internet provider’s Webmail application. These web based applications will allow you to access your own email accounts without using a resident client program. They are usually provided with each internet service and almost always operate under a SSL (secure sockets layer) secured connection. This means that the connection provided is encrypted and is much more secure. So, if your connection is being taped, monitored or recorded, the content others will be capturing is fully encrypted. Much safer indeed.

On the other hand, if you are wanting to access another application that requires you to provide a username and password and that application does not use a SSL connection, be aware you may be handing your username and password to someone else. You can verify that you are on a SSL secured connection by the small padlock symbol shown by your browser.

If you want to know more about password protection and how to keep your possessions, you identity and your accounts safe see us at www.perfectpassword.com. We offer simple and easy methods to create secure passwords that can avoid being compromised, and at the same time can easily be remembered. Visit the Easily Create and Remember Secure Passwords web site to learn how easy it really is and breathe easier knowing you have secured your accounts the RIGHT way!

Tips to Protect Data Loss

by: Jowyne Leong

Prevention is always better cure. In order to avoid data loss situation, you could observe the following steps:

1. Use an Anti Virus software and keep it updated

Antivirus is designed to protect you and your computer against malicious computer virus. Some virus infections can delete, modify your data secretly and cause your computer to crash. So be sure to update your Antivirus software with the latest patch and signature files for maximum security.

2. Protect against power surges with an UPS

An uninterruptible power supply protects your computer and data during a power surge or failure. The spare battery in the UPS gives you ample time to save your documents and shut down Windows properly so that you don't lose any files or damage any hardware components.

3. Keep your machine in a dry, shaded and dust-free area

Never leave your computer near places where it is directly exposed to rain, sun or humidity. Such conditions have the tendency to cause rusting and damage to your hardware parts.

4. Do not attempt to repair or open up your computer without assistance

Without experience, you may damage the circuit boards, hardware components and worst of all, receive a nasty electric shock! Always consult an expert.

5. Do not over-tweak your system

Avoid modifying your system registry or overclock your hardware to yield performance boost unless you're absolutely sure of what you're doing. You don't wish to fry your computer.

6. Store your backups at an off-site location

This helps to protect your backup from damage in case of a fire or disaster.

7. Avoid moving your computer when it is in operation

You definitely would not wish for your power cord to fall off and cause a data corruption and physical damage to your hard disk such as a head crash while working on a project.

8. Do not share access to your computer with strangers on the network

Your computer data can be prone to theft and modification if anyone on the network can access your files freely.

9. Practise disk maintenance

Clean up temporary files, unused files and defragment your hard disk from time to time. This helps to keep your hard disk on top form.

10. Read failure symptoms

You know it's time to start backing up all your data files when your hard disk starts producing funny noises and your system starts getting cranky.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who Plays Computer Games?

by: Tony Brings

Playing computer games was once reserved for the geek of the class who would shut himself away until the early hours of the morning with no company apart from a joystick. This has changed significantly as the standard of graphics and game play has improved and the use of computers is even more widely accepted. The advance of the Internet has also made sure that online gaming has become increasingly popular allowing people from all around the world to play against one another or in huge online tournaments. The appeal has spread significantly to what it once was.

The first generation of gamers are growing older now and this is coinciding with the introduction of next generation console games that look and sound much better than was ever dreamt possible ten or twenty years ago. AS such, many of these early gamers continue to play console games and computer games meaning what was predominantly a children’s market is shifting upwards in age. It is by no means uncommon for people in their twenties and thirties to be buying the latest games.

As well as being younger, the game market used to consist of almost solely males. Again, this has changed. AS technology has become more and more accessible and accepted in the form of cell phones and computers, the playing of computer games has also increased and there are many girls and women who are just as comfortable behind a control pad or a joystick as the men.

One more factor that has changed in the gaming world is that playing computer games is a solitary existence. Again, the stereotype of previous generations of gamers is kids locked in bedrooms playing fantasy games until midnight. Now, well over half of the people who play computer games do so on the Internet or with their friends on a regular basis.

Backup Software

by: Matt Garrett

You won't have to worry about losing valuable data again if you find the best backup software for your home or office. Whether your main concern is to keep a copy of all your documents or to encode sensitive information, you can find the best backup software that contains the best of both of these features and more. Backup software may not always be cheap, but it is an essential investment for preserving and protecting valuable information.

If security is your main concern, there is backup software that has five different encryption alogrithms that protect your data against hackers. You can also have the file name encrypted for added security. It is easy to add new folders, and you can build your files at the click of a mouse.

The best backup software will:

• Create a backup program
• Choose files for backup
• Define compression settings
• Choose target of the backup

You can have all of your files backed up automatically, or you can pick and choose files to back up. Changes can be made constantly, and most backup software is flexible enough to accommodate multiple versions of the same document or selected revisions. If you want to conserve space, you can select the highest level of compression to make more room. It is also easy to choose which location you want you files stored, whether it is in:

• Hard drive
• USB stick
• Network Folder
• CD
• DVD
• Remote FTP Server

Most backup software employs automatic backup programs that will store your information as it is created. You can choose scheduled backup instead, if you prefer. It is possible to store multiple versions of a document and the wizard feature restores files to their original folders.

Backup software may also contain other features that are helpful, such as virus scanning and disaster recovery. Anti-virus features will help prevent file-destroying crashes from infecting your computer, and disaster recovery will help get your computer up and running again if it does happen to crash. Backup software will ensure that your files will be intact even if your computer temporarily ceases to function.

There are many who simply to backup their files manually on a floppy disk or a CD rather than purchasing backup software. However, these devices have a somewhat short shelf life, and will tend to wear out even if they are not used excessively. It would be a major disappointment to believe that your files are safely backed up when they fail to appear when needed. The sheer effort required to cut and paste and to edit your files for backup will probably cost you in terms of work hours much more than a rather modest investment in backup software. Everything is done automatically with backup software, and there is less likelihood that you will fail to backup certain files due to an oversight.

Backup software varies in price and quality, so it is worth doing substantial research before making your final investment. Some might find that security is more of a priority, whereas others are looking for backup software that will provide them with maximum space. Still others ar searching for the lowest prices on backup software. It is definitely worth it to take advantage of trial offers and demos when they are offered. This will enable you to decide on the backup software that is right for you.

How to Restore Old Photos with Photoshop

by: Michael Wysmierski

There are times that people may have old photographs they would like to restore to save the memories. Photos usually get damaged through the times. The pictures may get blurred, the color fades and the picture might acquire marks and scratches. Thank the technology of today. People can now save and restore their old photos with the help of Photoshop.

Here are some steps to follow in restoring old pictures using the Photoshop.

1. The person may use the Elements in Photoshop, which are Dust and Scratch Filter to remove the marks, scratches an blots in the photo. The Dust and Scratches Filter is located on the Menu Bar and click on the Filter Tab. A drop down will list elements and then he can choose the Noise tab and select on the Dust and Scratches.

2. After clicking on the Dust and Scratches menu, a window will pop up with two control sliders. The first slider is for the Radius and the other one is for the Threshold. There will also be another window if the preview box will be checked. These are the main options that will be used in treating the picture.

3. Adjusting the Radius slider may remove the scratches. However, there is a tendency that overdoing it may make the edges blurred too. If that happens, the option is to adjust the Threshold slider and this will allow the details to go back and make the picture clearer with the scratches disappearing. The person should be careful not to set them too far or it will only create blotches on the picture.

4. In removing the marks, selecting the whole photo will not diffuse these marks. The option is to select only the part where the scratches are located. He may use the Lasso to do this.

5. He can then feather the edges of the selected area so that the selected area will not be obvious on the picture. He can do this by clicking the Feather option and click the Scratch and Dust Filter again. He can do the process again of adjusting the Radius and Threshold sliders to get the texture needed and remove the scratches.

6. It there are still visible marks on the other parts of the picture, he can do the technique again by selecting the areas he would like to adjust. To finish the process and make the picture presentable, he can crop the image enough to remove the cracks and torn edges of the picture. The canvas may be use to equally crop the image.

7. A person may add drama on the picture by adding a drop shadow on it. This will make the picture appear as if it has been lifted off the page. The color may also be removed using the controls Shift+Ctrl+U. He can then add color by putting a little amount of Sepia. He can do this with the Hue or Saturation tab. The contrast may be adjusted using the Levels option.

This is one easy way on how to remove the blotches and marks on an old picture. This is also a good way to make the picture look new but still appear classical. It will be a pleasant and easy way to display pictures kept on old albums and cabinets for a long time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What is Virtualization?

by: Matt Peterson

There is a lot of buzz going around about Virtualization. What is Virtualization, and what benefits does it provide? In this article we will take a look at the technology to see how it can provide a great deal of flexibility and cost effectiveness for IT professionals and software developers.

Virtualization technology allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single host computer. These virtual machines can run different operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and UNIX. Each virtual machine has its own set of virtual hardware resources (e.g., CPU, RAM, Hard Drive, etc) allowing the operating system to run as if it were installed on a physical machine.

The benefits of Virtualization technology are far reaching. Many organizations have moved to the virtual machine solution to consolidate multiple servers, running side by side on a single physical machine. Server consolidation allows IT professionals to fully utilize server resources, while isolating virtual machines and allowing them to run different operating systems and applications. Software developers utilize virtual machine technology to quickly test applications on different operating systems, without the hassle of setting up multiple physical machines for testing or taking the risk of causing problems by testing in a production environment.

You can run Virtualization software on pretty much any platform. Once the software is installed it is simple to create virtual machine instances. Virtual machines are just a set of files located on the host machine. You configure your virtual machine settings on the host computer, install the operating system and you are ready to go. It is a very common practice to use a master image of a virtual machine. This master image can be a fully configured machine, with the operating system and all required applications installed. You can then rapidly deploy virtual machines by copying the master image to multiple Virtualization hosts to provide zero downtime and 100% server availability.

There are a number of Virtualization products available. VMWare, which is probably the most popular, recently announced that it will be releasing a free version of its GSX Server product. This will allow any organization to host virtual machines on either Windows or Linux hosts. Other Virtualization products include Microsoft’s Virtual Server and SWsoft’s Virtuozzo, just to name a few.

Rid Your Computer Of Spyware

by: Sandra Stammberger

Everyone seems to be asking these days: why is my computer so slow? Well, the answer to that question is usually that it’s loaded with programs called spyware and adware. Spyware and adware are programs installed, usually without your permission, on your computer so companies can show their advertisements, log what sites you visit so they know what products you’re interested in and record keystrokes on your computer so they know what you’re talking about. Below are 3 easy steps to take to start protecting and eliminating your spyware and adware problem on your home computer.

First, stop using Internet Explorer! I know you may be shocked, but Microsoft’s internet browser has more holes in it than Swiss cheese! The best alternative is Mozilla’s Firefox, available for free download at Mozilla.org. After installing the browser, it will automatically transfer your bookmarks/favorites and settings over to Firefox. Also, please make sure Firefox is your default browser. Using Firefox will reduce the amount of spyware and adware on your computer by 75%.

Secondly, download these two free programs: Spybot (safer-networking.org/en/index.html) and Ad-Aware (lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/). These two free programs will search throughout your computer, find the spyware and adware and allow you to quarantine and delete it. To be completely safe, be sure to run and update both of these programs twice a week. This will get rid of all spyware and adware currently on your computer and bring your protection level up to 95%.

Finally, be sure to use a firewall. A firewall is just what it sounds like, a “wall” between your internet connection and your computer. If you have a high speed broadband connection, a firewall is a must. Most Windows XP systems have a built in firewall that you can simply enable (check Microsoft’s help files if you don’t know how) but if you’re looking for more protection but don’t want to pay, simply download Zone Alarm’s free firewall at tinyurl.com/7cn6a. Zone alarm’s firewall may take awhile to configure, but it is worth it in the long run. With a properly configured firewall, your protection level is now at 100%.

Good luck and be safe!

Virtual vs. Dedicated vs. CoLo: Which Web Hosting Do I Need?

by: John Hasson

You know you need a web host, but you don’t know where to start. So you do a web search to research potential solutions and get a bit overwhelmed with all the jargon: UNIX, dedicated servers, POP3, CoLo... the list goes on.

Step back a bit. You don’t need to learn everything about web sites to choose a host. You do however need to know what a web host is, and the basic types of web hosting. This knowledge will lead you to know what type of hosting you need, and ultimately you can make a sound decision.

To begin, let’s define the term. Web hosting is a service that hosts web pages on servers that can be accessed through the Internet. There are three primary categories of web hosting providers that cater to the requirements of site owners; these include virtual web hosting, dedicated web hosting, and co-located hosting. There are various sources online that offer detailed information and reviews on these services, but there are several details you should pay most attention to. The points to consider before selecting a web hosting provider include the number of clients they service, years in business, customer service reputation, hardware specifications, and backup routines. With that out of the way, let’s jump in and explore the basic types of web hosting.

Dedicated hosting

A dedicated web server is basically like the name sounds: it’s dedicated to your site only. Typically it is leased to a site owner. The hosting company is responsible for the maintenance, backing up, security, and power management. The site owner manages the software-related issues.

Dedicated hosting is useful for websites that need extra bandwidth and system resources because of the use of technologies such as e-commerce software, customized server applications, and heavy traffic. Such websites are often better served by a dedicated hosting provider rather than developing and running an in-house solution. Dedicated hosting is possible with Windows, Mac, and Linux servers. A dedicated server can cost upward of $100 / month.

Pros and cons: 24/7 tech support is available. Speed, dependability, and customizability of website are often enhanced. The response time of dedicated servers is fast as compared to shared servers where the activity of other sites affects server speeds. Reliability and customizability of websites are improved as dedicated hosting offers greater storage capacity and greater freedom in terms of hardware configurations and software installations; hard drives can be upgraded and bandwidths increased with growth.

Shared servers and CoLo hosting are cheaper alternatives to dedicated hosting. Moreover, as the server is not owned by the site owner, security of sensitive data can be an issue.

Virtual hosting

Virtual hosting, also called shared hosting, is a popular and cost-effective web hosting solution. The hosting provider leases the website hosting server, services, and bandwidth to more than one website. Small and medium-sized websites, which do not have high traffic and have limited bandwidth requirements, benefit from virtual hosting. A virtual hosting offer by a service provider usually includes features such as Internet connection, domain name registration, file storage, email account, and may also include website design assistance. The cost of virtual hosting is in the range of $5-40 per month. It can be more or less depending upon the package selected.

Pros and cons: Virtual hosting enables the establishment of an online presence with no expensive equipment purchases required on part of the site owners and therefore is the perfect solution for SMBs.

One of the limitations of virtual hosting is that sites compete for the provider’s service; this may result in slow server response times in periods of heavy traffic and make browsing inconvenient. Since websites hosted on a server may be grouped under a single IP address, there is a chance that a site owner may have to share an IP address with adult or scam sites. This can lead to debarring from search engine placements which will have an adverse effect on the traffic. As the software components are shared between websites, a site owner may not be able to personalize the website as per his business objectives and target audience.

While purchasing virtual hosting services, it is useful to have an idea of the total anticipated traffic during the day as well as the visits during the peak period. This helps in obtaining a package with sufficient bandwidth for immediate and near term needs. Also, the cost of an upgrade and changes to the package should be understood.

Co-location (Co-lo) hosting

In Co-location hosting, the server is owned by the site owner and it is leased at the co-lo facility, where it is installed along with other servers in the facility. A co-lo service enables site owners to make maximum use of network access points and the freedom to choose between telecom lines provided by the hosting company and other telecom lines. Co-location hosting enables site owners to utilize high bandwidth at a cost that is not significantly higher than that of a normal web hosting package. The site owner maintains the server while the hosting provider ensures smooth running by providing regular power supply and IT support.

Co-location hosting services can be standalone data centers or companies that operate by leasing server space from a co-location web hosting reseller. The cost of the server and the volume of rack space required by the servers of a site owner influence the cost of co-lo hosting. Servers that fit in with the dimensions of the racks can help to save costs; co-locating tower servers usually cost more. Additional services provided by the hosting provider and insurance are other factors that affect cost. The monthly cost of a co-lo service for a half-rack of server space can be up to $1000.

Pros and cons: The benefits of co-location hosting include temperature and humidity controlled environment for the servers; security from hacking, fire, and theft; provision of redundancy and backup. It enables the site owner to control the critical features of web hosting such as bandwidth allocation, routers, VPN, server space, and VLAN.

Site owners may not find it easy to locate a co-lo service that is situated close enough to facilitate easy and safe transfer of servers and at the same time provide the best connection speeds. Co-lo hosting is of greater advantage to those who have hosting experience and consequently are better placed to recover the costs involved.

Ultimately, it is the requirements of the site that dictate the choice of web hosting solution. Online stores and sites with heavy traffic are better off with dedicated hosting, personal blogs and small sites without ecommerce activity that do not have high bandwidth consumption can function with virtual hosting, and websites that require a high degree of customization and deal with sensitive data benefit from a co-lo hosting arrangement.

To determine what type of host you need, ask yourself what type of site you have, and it should all flow naturally from there.

Projector Buying Tips: The Best Projector Shopping Guide

by: Robert Thatcher

Technology has always been known to make people’s lives better. In fact, some surveys said that 8 out of 10 people who were interviewed showed significant representation of people who were relieved to have the best technology in their lives.

One of the primary reasons why technology is deemed as life’s enhancers is because it can unleash the limits set upon the rigidity of previous inventions.

This goes to show that with the new trend of technology, people can expect a better life because it provides a hundred and one ways of making the impossible doable.

Take for example the case of projectors. Before, projectors are known to be used in movie theaters and during business presentations or seminars.

But with the continuous technological advancement and development, projectors are now known to be used even at home. This is especially true to those who want to create a home-based theater of their own.

Technically speaking, projectors work in a way that the visual aspects that are limited on the tube of a television are directly converted into a bigger screen. This is where the graphics and images are unleashed on a bigger view and where space is no longer constrained in a tube.

However, not all projectors are created equal. Therefore, projectors may vary from one model to another. So the only way to get the best item is to know how to effectively buy a good one.

Here is a list of some tips that consumers may use when buying projectors.

1. Know the available type

Basically, there are only tow types of video projectors: the LCP, or the liquid crystal projection, and the tubed. Both of them can function well as far as projection is concerned.

Also, these two kinds of projectors are unique on each sense of functionality that may influence the presentation and setting up of the item.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages as well. So it is best to do some research regarding this matter so you would only get the best kind of projector.

2. Decide on the magnitude and weight of the projector

There are three available categories of projectors. These are the conference room projectors, ultralights, and the fixed installation projectors.

Each category has its own purpose. So it is better to know the main purpose of using the projector so that you will be able to decide on what weight and size should be bought.

3. The price

As mentioned, not all projectors are created equal, that is why, they may be priced according to the level of their functionality and the way they were manufactured.

Generally, projectors re priced between $1,300 and $9,000. Though, 75% of the available projectors in the market today greatly fall under the $3,500 to $20,000 price range.

The main factors that influence the way projectors are priced are brightness and resolution. Hence, the higher the resolution and the brighter the projector can display images, the higher the price.

4. Consider your needs

When buying projectors, it really pays when the buyer knows what he needs before going to the store. This will make the buying process a lot easier and faster, avoiding the perils of motivations made by persistent salespeople.

The bottom line is that the quality of images that people should expect is reflected upon how they buy items like this. Hence, it is important to always have the initiative to research on the things that bring about the main concept of projectors.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Flash USB Drives: Backup Easily, Conveniently And Securely

by: Yuri Filimonov

Tired of switching CD/DVD discs while backing up? Flash USB drives to the rescue!

If you already backup often, you are doing the most you can to secure your files against accidental file deletion and recovery, file damage and what not. Also, you may be considering making your backups as easy and painless as possible. So what may be a remedy to this issue?

Naturally, you need to consider several backup media and select the one suitting your needs and requirements. Among all, CD, DVD and flash USB drives are considered.

You may as well use CD to backup, but you will either need to dump CD-R discs often, or insert a CD-/+RW discs often to make another backup. Someone else can also misplace your backup CD disc or overwrite your backup data with other information. Moreover, a CD only admits about 700Mb of data, which may not be convenient. Nor is storing multiple CDs of your backup copy.

The same can be said about backing up to DVD. Of course, a DVD admits from 4.7Gb to about 18.6Gb of data, but is it really convenient backing up to DVD? An external hard disk drive or a flash USB drive will be speedier, more reliable and easier overall.

Here is when a flash USB drive comes handy. It not only allows faster data copying than CD or DVD, but can also admit from 256Mb to 4Gb of data (or maybe more). Moreover, you can take the USB drive with you anywhere you go and transfer the data between distant computers without resolving to FTP backup. Of course, one of the drawbacks of a flash USB backup is that the drive is only limited to about 100 000 writings, while another slight disadvantage (or an advantage, if you put it nicely) is that the device is so small you can easily misplace it.

Link Relevance

by: David Andrew Smith

We are constantly being told by SEO experts and the Search Engines that the importance of a link is determined by its page rank and relevance to our own web sites. Consequently when developing a linking strategy we should only be concerned with relevant links. That is other web sites which have some connection to our own. For example I run a web site devoted to providing a variety of cleaning services to commercial clients throughout the UK, so a relevant site would be a cleaning machine supplier or a cleaning chemicals supplier. Not other cleaning companies for the obvious reason they are our direct competitors.

Now this sounds simple and straightforward and if we did this we would end up linking to about twenty sites. This number is not in any way sufficient for us to compete with our competitors who have many hundreds and in some cases thousands of links recognised by the search engines.

How does Google determine relevance? I would suggest that it is a completely random process. If I look at my own back links which Google are registering then many are relevant in terms of the definition above, but many are not. None of our suppliers who provide us with a back link and incidentally have high page ranks form part of this list and yet they are highly relevant? It may be that these form part of Google’s count but they choose for one reason or another not to divulge these. It remains a mystery.

How does a mathematical formula work out relevance? If I back link to my customers who are a very divers group to me they are relevant but apparently not to Google. We have many back links from construction and building companies because we carry out builders cleans for them. Yet these are seemingly not deemed to be relevant but a mortgage company is? Builders and construction firms are mentioned several times on the web site and so a relevant connection should be able to be made.

If I look at the back links of my major competitors then the situation becomes even more confusing. Very few would appear on the surface to be of any relevance at all but who am I to judge? I do not have inside knowledge of the workings of these companies and their possible connections.

To me the whole process seems completely arbitrary and I will continue developing links to sites that I consider relevant. If Google paid attention to its own advice in only developing links to relevant sites then presumably it would only link to other search engines?

It is an easy statement to make for Google and SEO experts, ‘only develop links to relevant sites’ but the reality is that they have no way of knowing what is truly relevant and what is not. Consequently my advice is to continue developing your links to websites that you consider of some relevance either to you or surfers who come across your site and continue to be astonished at what Google considers to be relevant!