Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Is A 404 Error Message?

by: Ron Eletrick

There are many Internet web server error messages. One such is the 404 error message. This error is a result of some problem with the Web server and not your terminal/computer. If you encounter a 404 error message, then the cause might be that the server is not able to locate the file that has been requested. It might be the case that the file that is sought has been moved to some other location or has been deleted. This causes a 404 error message to appear on you terminal screen.

Generally, when sending messages or requesting files using HTTP you get response from the server and each of this response has a numeric code associated with it. Here is a great technical site Also this code has message in English that appears as the message along with the number. This message for a 404 error message will be “Not Found”. The usual scenario is that with a 404 error message a short HTML document which has the numeric code with the associated string is included. But not all the web browsers have this kind of facility. Some browsers are more user friendly in that they even have a humorous 404 error messages!

A 404 error will also occur and get displayed if the file that is requested is spelt wrong. Always see to it that you type in the correct spelling. Even if you have spelt it correct and you get a 404 error message, then possibly the file has been shifted or deleted altogether. One another alternative is to remove the information between each backlash. Try this until you land up with the required file. In many cases this helps to reach the information you need.

Microsoft Outlook Web Access has various kinds of 404 error messages. They can be “File Not Found”, “Not Found”, “Object not Found”, “Page cannot be found “ and a few others.

The possible causes for this error message to appear are DNS name resolution, proxy server configuration, exchange virtual directory configuration, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) creation, problem with URL Scan component of IIS(Internet Information Server) lockdown tool and/or the wrong port allocation on the OWA Web site.

Always keep in mind that there is way to find the page you require. A 404 error message just indicates that the wrong instructions have been given to the server to locate that page, similar to you being on the wrong route to reach a city. You just have to correct the route!

Why is Microsoft Afraid of Google?

by: Emi Gal

We've all been wondering what's Google trying to do. Why is Microsoft so afraid of them. Why Eric Schmidt joined the Apple Board of Directors.

Let's go back in time for a moment and see how they started: The company founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were not terribly fond of each other when they first met as Stanford University graduate students in computer science in 1995. And although they argued about every topic they discussed, the two founders started working on a search engine called BackRub, named for its unique ability to analyze the "back links" pointing to a given website.

In 1998 they finally hit the jackpot and got $100.000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. He made a check out to Google, Inc. Nice, you might say. But Google, Inc didn't existed back then. Ultimately they brought in a total initial investment of almost $1 million.

The Google Search Engine launched in beta, and after short time it was already answering 10.000 search queries each day. Google was moving up in the world. One year later (1999), Google was already serving 500.000 search queries each day, with nearly 8 employees and a garaje office.

In 2000 Google was already the number one search engine in the world. They moved to the Googleplex, hired more and more people, and since then, what started to be a college project became the most innovative company on the planet. They are constantly improving their search algorightm, launched Adsense, a context-based advertising system, Gmail, a email solution that revolutionized the free email market, by offering 1gb storage (and constantly growing, reaching almost 3gb now), Spredsheats, Analytics, Writely, Calendar, Reader, Browser Synchronize, and much more.

Now let's see why Microsoft is so afraid of Google. First of all, the speed. Microsoft has been trying for the last few years to launch Vista, their new operating system. Their corporate system isn't working in a world where information and innovation is everything. The Google guys launch new products on a weekly basis, they are building enormous datacenters, and all this is done with a strategy in mind, no doubt about it.

So where is Google heading? Looking back in history, it's really simple. The Google OS. Online. Wouldn't it be awesome to have all your information online and be able to use it anywhere on the planet, from any computer? Yes, that's where they're heading, and it's not going to be that long until they get there.

Safe Online Surfing

by: Kadence Buchanan

If you believe that adults can suffer from identity theft or be mislead by online criminals, imagine what children can experience in case their online surfing time is not properly guided. In fact, parents should know that when children are online, it is just like they are out in public. Thus, educating kids and monitoring their online surfing time can save parents from the anguish of having to deal with an uncomfortable situation later.

Exposed to a variety of stimuli, children today are able to surf and visit websites, portals, enter chat rooms or participate in online games. Since technology has brought a tremendous shift in children's recreational time, kids should be taught that when they are talking with someone in a chat room or an instant message session, they are actually interacting with strangers unless they know in person the other party from the "real" world, like their school class or sports team.

A number of social studies reveal a shocking number. One in 4 children between the ages of 10 and 17 are exposed to sexually explicit imagery and nearly 20 percent has received an unwanted sexual solicitation during the past year. Although "kids are tough" and are not deeply hurt by these experiences as they consider them as a forbidden "fun" game between peers, a number of parents have reported that their children have been clearly disturbed by these type of online exposures. Surely, apart from the kids, parents are also extremely annoyed by the fact that unwanted exposures to porn and suitors have entered their kids' lives through the virtual reality of a computer screen. But the fact remains that even when children are not looking for these kind of information online, they can readily find such material accidentally and then not to know how are they supposed to react.

The situation for parents seems very difficult and organizations, or administrative units like the Commission on Online Child Protection, have been examining the subject of online children protections in great extend. The problem is that safety issues and moral issues tend to overlap and while parents agree that their children online safety is among the top priorities on their list, they have not yet reached a stage of mutual agreement of their concerns or a reasonable and effective strategy to limit the chances of their kids being exposed to such kind of unwanted imagery or solicitations.

As no single solution currently exists, it is imperative for parents to educate their kids and explain that the internet is just like a city street with interesting parks and happy people but also full of dangerous characters and speedy drivers. Since identity can be hidden or even altered while one is online it is crucial to make sure your children understand not to reveal any information about their identity or whereabouts that would allow someone to track them down. Of course that means that no names, addresses, phone numbers, school or parents' work locations and e-mail addresses. Finally, it is important for kids never to get together alone with someone they meet online. If for whatever reason, your child feels that it is absolutely imperative to get together with someone that they have "met" online, make sure it's in a public place, like a restaurant, at a reasonable hour and that a parent is present. Although this does not give you much assurance that everything will go well, you will at least be able to check the person's age, gender and demeanor.

Spam Blockers: Unique Challenge For Business

by: Scott Lindsay

“Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.” — Roger Ebert

The use of email has the potential to eliminate much of the costs associated with sending correspondence through regular mail. Invoices can be sent by email speeding up the payment process. Email can also connect individuals on a global basis in ways that have not been possible in the past.

Environmentalists were thrilled that fewer trees would be needed in a paperless exchange of communication, but there’s been a blight in cyberspace known as spam. Those who receive spam emails are about as impressed as those moments at during the evening meal when all telemarketers seem to make calls. The truth is no one likes spam.

“Spam is putting the Internet in jeopardy.” — Phillip Hallam-Baker

Many companies have responded to the difficulties with spam by providing consumers with spam blockers that eliminate most of the spam messages that are sent via cyberspace.

While this is wonderful news for consumers it provides unique challenges for passing along information to customers though bulk mail features – even when your customer opts in to a company mailing list.

Many spam blockers see bulk mail of any sort as spam and will typically block those emails. Some programs allow you to review the mail marked as spam to determine if you want to accept it as regular mail, but other programs block it before it ever comes to your in box.

"The spam wars are about rendering email useless for unsolicited advertising before unsolicited advertising renders email useless for communication." — Walter Dnes & Jeff Gin

If the above quote is the litmus test for ‘spam wars’ then this warfare is being won by zealous spam blocking software.

Many legitimate emails are now being sent to a large number of subscribers in a rolling delivery. By limiting the number of emails being sent to opt-in clients, business interests are finding better success in delivering requested materials.

Perhaps there will come a day when there will be a more sophisticated method of differentiating between legitimate bulk mail and spam, until then online marketers are finding increasing success through the use of blogs, optimized site content, forums and RSS feeds as an effective alternative.

Agree To Be Spam-Free

by: Scott Lindsay

Spending on commercial email ballooned to $7.3 billion in 2005 from $164 million in 1999.” - Jupiter Communications

The use of email is an important tool in maintaining positive client relationships. Some emails are sent individually and personally, however some are sent in bulk and that’s when difficulties show up for business interests.

Many simply mass email systems are immediately sent to many spam folders. The truth is very few people take the time to review the emails in their spam folder and these emails are often deleted without a second look.

Due to the over-abuse of spam emails by less than trustworthy interests spam blocking applications are making it more difficult for legitimate online business interests to use bulk emailing effectively.

What can you do?

Whitelists: This function is simply the most effective way to assist you in reaching your customer base in a timely fashion. The premise behind this approach is to visit directly with the ISP’s you deliver through and explain that you are involved in bulk mailing to individuals that have either opted in to your email list or are present customers.

Most ISP’s will have a few conditions that you must follow, but once a positive relationship is developed with the various ISP’s you are dealing with it will be much easier to pass along bulk emails.

“74% of customers believe that their ISPs should be responsible for fixing spam problems.” - Gartner Group

Slow Things Down: You probably don’t want to wait to get your message out, however you can, and perhaps should, slow your delivery down. There is a method that is useful to legitimate business called ‘tarpitting’. describes this procedure as, “Adding a delay between e-mail messages in order to thwart spammers. A mail server can be set up to insert delays between messages when a single e-mail has a large number of recipients. It could start delaying after the first 25 messages were sent, which would have little effect on legitimate users, but would considerably slow down the spammer. For example, if a five-second delay were added to a million messages, it would take 60 days to release them from the mail server.”

By demonstrating a willingness to slow down the delivery of your email, you have made strides in proving your legitimacy.

“250,000 spam-related complaints reported every day at AOL alone.” - PC Magazine

If you are an online business make sure you respect your clients by mailing information they truly expect from you, make it professional and go the extra mile to ensure your willingness to comply with applicable ISP’s. When you care enough about your client you will take the steps needed to ensure you are doing everything you can do gain the highest reputation for spam-free email delivery.

Peer To Peer!

by: Ankit Talwar

A peer-to-peer (or P2P) computer network is a network that relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively low number of servers. P2P networks are typically used for connecting nodes via largely ad hoc connections. Such networks are useful for many purposes. Sharing content files (see file sharing) containing audio, video, data or anything in digital format is very common, and realtime data, such as telephony traffic, is also passed using P2P technology.

A pure peer-to-peer network does not have the notion of clients or servers, but only equal peer nodes that simultaneously function as both "clients" and "servers" to the other nodes on the network. This model of network arrangement differs from the client-server model where communication is usually to and from a central server. A typical example for a non peer-to-peer file transfer is an FTP server where the client and server programs are quite distinct, and the clients initiate the download/uploads and the servers react to and satisfy these requests.

The earliest peer-to-peer network in widespread use were the Usenet news servers, which communicated with one another as peers, propagating Usenet news articles over the entire Usenet network, which particularly in the earlier days of Usenet also used UUCP to extend even beyond the Internet. However, these news servers also acted as client-server when the individual users accessed the local news server to read and post articles.

Some networks and channels, such as Napster, OpenNAP, or IRC @find, use a client-server structure for some tasks (e.g., searching) and a peer-to-peer structure for others. Networks such as Gnutella or Freenet use a peer-to-peer structure for all purposes, and are sometimes referred to as true peer-to-peer networks, although Gnutella is greatly facilitated by directory servers that inform peers of the network addresses of other peers.

Peer-to-peer architecture embodies one of the key technical concepts of the internet, described in the first internet Request for Comments, "RFC 1, Host Software" [1] dated 7 April 1969. More recently, the concept has achieved recognition in the general public in the context of the absence of central indexing servers in architectures used for exchanging multimedia files.

The concept of peer to peer is increasingly evolving to an expanded usage as the relational dynamic active in distributed networks, i.e. not just computer to computer, but human to human. Yochai Benkler has developed the notion of commons-based peer production to denote collaborative projects such as free software. Associated with peer production are the concept of peer governance (referring to the manner in which peer production projects are managed) and peer property (referring to the new type of licenses which recognize individual authorship but not exclusive property rights, such as the GNU General Public License and the Creative Commons License).

Ankit Talwar - Web Designer

Monday, January 26, 2009

Easy Guide on Networking Your Home Computers

by: Pinky Mcbanon

Easy Guide on Networking your Home Computers

Let's say you have 3 desktop computers at your home. One in your kid's room, in your home-office and one in your family room. Your idea is to have all these 3 computers connect to the internet. One computer has an internet connection on a DSL or cable modem (this is just a terminology for that little box that you connect from the phoneline or cable port!).

So you want all these 3 computers connect to the internet, share files? print from any of this computer?

Here are your step-by-step guide:

(1) Your DSL or cable internet service already comes with a modem. This is a connection from your phoneline to the modem. And then, you will notice your computer#1's network cable directly connect to this modem called the Ethernet port (or on the USB port).

(2) For the other 2 computers to share internet connection, you must have a router with 4 ports (at least!) --- looks like a telephone ports. There are a lot of router brands, one is Linksys and is my favorite. But as I have said there are a lot of different brands out there!

You must buy a network cable if you don't have one. You can buy it from most electronic store.

(4) Here we go! (considering ofcourse we are networking a Window-based computers-- Windows XP (home & professional) and Windows 2000 and higher)

(5) Connect a network cable on your router (port name: "internet" or "ethernet" - this is usually a separated port from the other 4 ports). The other end of the network cable will directly be connected to the DSL or Cable modem's (port name: "ethernet").

(6) Connect a network cable on each computer that you want to get connected to the internet-- (connect this cable at the back of the computer (port name: ethernet).

(7) The other side of each of this network cable will then be connected on each of the port on the router

(8) Now you are ready to be connected! -- turn on your dsl/cable modem. Make sure all lights are on and solid. Turn on your router.

(9) Then turn on your computer(s) -- make sure the light at the back of the computer is blinking! (this is a good sign that you are connected on the network!)

(10) Then set up your router which is normally you choose the proctocol PPoE and just enter your username and password supplied to you by your internet service provider. Oh! by the way, depending on the router, the admin window of the router is on the manual. It's so easy to find it. Trust me.

(11) If your username and password provided to you by your internet service provider is valid... then you should be connected to the internet!.Go and start browsing the internet!

*** most of the routers available in the market now are interlligent routers! There is really nothing complicated on how to set it up. Its entirely DHCP (automatic IP assignment). I don't want to be technical but .. there you go! Enjoy and be safe on the internet!

10 Things You Should Do When Your Computer Freeze or Hang-Up

by: Pinky Mcbanon

You are in the middle of doing your work, suddenly you realized your computer hang up. But the problem is, you have not saved your work! Don’t panic! There is a solution for that! And you can surely save your file! Here’s how:

1.) Click on “ctrl-alt-delete” keys. The windows task manager will then open, click on all programs that you don’t need and end the task. You will see that all programs on your taskbar will close one by one. If this will resolve the issue! – then save! (tip# 1: if you’re working on an MS Office application, it will automatically save your file incase the programs suddenly shut down --- tip# 2: always save your file at least every 2 minutes by just simply clicking on the “diskette icon”--- its just one click!)

2.) If it did not resolve the issue, are there some users logged on that computer? If so, go to switch user (for XP) and log off that user, go back to your log on screen and log on again.

The reason the computer hang up is because if there are many open programs and applications, these retains in the memory, if it is too much for the memory to handle, it freezes! Another reason too the computer hang up is because if you are connected to the internet via dial up, and you are running too many applications and opening many websites. So I suggest, if you are multimedia user or a heavy internet user, then you are better off with a higher memory, at least 512Mb of memory.

There are simple ways to avoid computer to freeze or hang up:

3.) Clean your history at least once a week >tools>internet options>clear history. I normally set my history to “0”, meaning, when I restart my computer, it doesn’t save history pages that I have visited

4.) Delete all internet temporary files >tools>internet options>delete files (do the “offline” content too!)

5.) Delete cookies (some do not do this, but I do delete cookies at least once a week!) >tools>internet options>delete cookies

6.) Remove unnecessary programs that you no longer use, they are just occupying space and memory! >control panel>add/remove programs

7.) Do defragmentation at least once a week >point the mouse to “start” button, then right click “explore”>right click the mouse pointing to drive C (which is usually the main system logical drive) >properties>tools>defragment now

8.) You can also check the logical drive’s volume for errors >point the mouse to “start” button, then right click “explore”>right click the mouse pointing to drive C (I repeat, is usually the main system logical drive) >properties>tools>check now

9.) It is better to have only one user being logged on. Even if there are many users, make sure the user logs off after using the computer, rather than keeping it logged on and you do the switching of users. Switching users is good as long as you don’t keep all users logged on—I think that is more logical

10.) Always shut down properly the computer (do NOT use the power button when turning it off!)

DVD Duplication And Replication

by: Michael Colucci

There are two primary methods that are used to copy DVDs, and these are DVD Duplication and DVD Replication. With the replication method, the disc will be compressed via a glass master, and the image will be printed on the surface of the disc. This will produce an effect that is similar to what you would find in DVDs that are purchased in stores. With the duplication method, the disc will be burned from the original DVD onto a blank DVD. The images from the original DVD may be printed and added to the surface of the new DVD.

If you have the time and money to order a large package of blank DVDs, it is important to make sure you use DVD duplication or replication. There are a large number of companies available that can make professional copies of DVDs. If you use the services that are offered by these companies, it is important for you to make sure they use the "compare and verify" function when they are in the process of burning your discs. A lot of these companies will turn off this feature so they can speed up the time it takes for them to complete the order, but making sure the "compare and verify" function is turned on will insure that you discs are correctly duplicated.

While there are companies available that can mass copy DVDs for you within a short period of time, purchasing your own equipment can allow you to make copies of DVDs. The basic thing you will need is a computer with a DVD burner. A lot of computers now come with DVD burners, and some of them may be able to burn both CDs and DVDs. If you don't already have one in your computer, it can be purchased from your local electronics store. In most cases, internal DVD burners are cheaper than external burners. Make sure your computer meets the system requirements for the DVD burner you are purchasing. Once you have the burner, you will now need to acquire the software.

Some of the most popular DVD burning software are Nero, Alcohol 120%, and Disc Juggler. Another popular program is DVD 2 Copy. Virtually all of these programs can be acquired online or at your local electronics store. If you use a professional company, it is important to compare them with other companies that offer the same service. A good company should test your DVD copies on a large number of different DVD players to make sure they are compatible. In addition to the playback, it is important to make sure your discs have a professional look. If you have a large order, it will take a good company about 4 to 5 days to complete it. However, if you are in a rush, some companies can complete the order in as little as 2 days.

When it comes to disc storage, you will often be given the option of "mini" or "full size." Full size will give you the maximum amount of space per disc, which is about 8.4 gigabytes. The mini size will give you about 1.47 gigabytes of space per disc. The size that you choose is dependent on your needs.

Spy on Your Competitors; 10 Tips To Monitoring The Competition

by: Sharon Housley

The old adage, "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer", is applicable not only to personal relationships but business relationships as well. While I'm not suggesting that you befriend your competitors, it is important that you are cognizant of your competitors' business ventures and methods.

It is important to realize that while monitoring your competitors is essential, it could easily become an obsession. Therefore, it is crucial that you strike a balance when incorporating it into your business plan. There are several ways to conduct successful stealth competitive intelligence operations. While it is fanciful to imagine yourself as a secret agent or spy, none of these techniques are difficult, hidden or secretive. In fact, most of them are tools or services available to all businesses.

1. Ego Searches

What are ego searches? Ego searches are keywords or keyword phrase searches for a specific brand, product, or company name. Ego searches are a great way to monitor mentions of a competing product. You can automate the set up of ego searches using RSS, so anytime a competitor's product or brand name is mentioned in the news, blogosphere, or print you receive notification and the details in an RSS feed.

How to Setup Ego Feeds -

Create RSS Ego Searches -

2. Competitive Intelligence

Competitive Intelligence is defined as the process of gathering actionable information in a competitive environment. Competitive Intelligence is researching the business environment or techniques that another business uses. Competitive Intelligence is often used to influence a strategy for business development.

First, it is necessary to know your competition. Background research can be conducted using the tools at DNS Stuff , and various other websites. The DNS stuff website will allow you to do a whois lookup. A number of other research tools are also available on the site.

3. Google Alerts

Receive notification via email on the latest relevant Google search results (web, news, etc.). Define the Google Alerts using a competitors company name or product name. (3rd party tracking service) - Google Alert is the web's leading automated search and web intelligence solution for monitoring your professional interests online. It tracks the entire web for your personalized topics and sends you new results by daily email.

4. Meta Tags

Have you ever considered what keywords or phrases a competitor is targeting on their website? Have a peak at their meta tags by simply viewing the webpage source. Pay particular attention to the header tags that include title, description, and keywords. Are these keywords part of your marketing mix?

5. Information

Arm yourself with information. The Googspy website is particularly useful when used properly. Enter a keyword, company name, or domain, click the results and view the companies top 25 competitors. If any of those websites are using pay per click on Google, you will also be able to obtain a partial list of the adwords they have purchased. The website gives you a glimpse inside competitors, but the list they provide is by no means exhaustive.

6. Incoming Links

There are a number of ways to determine who is linking to a competitor.

A simple search can be conducted in Google and MSN for "" (replace with competitor's domain). In Yahoo enter a search for "" (again replacing with your competitors name). The search will produce all webpages that provide a link to your competitor. Ideally you can request links from the websites as well.

Other BackLink Tools -

Search for Places to Submit to; this site auto-generates another tools that works in a similar way - ; simply enter the keyword and a list of sites that will allow you to request links appears.

7. Alexa Ranking

Use Alexa to determine not only who is linking to a competitor, but also to determine what sites are related (list yours) . Alexa monitors web traffic trends, and a list of similar websites. Alexa also has the ability to show a website's popularity trends.

8. Website Monitoring

It is generally a good practice to monitor competitors, and you can do this using a tool like CodeMonitor. CodeMonitor takes a snapshot of a websites' HTML and notifies of any changes. The differences in the web pages are highlighted, making it easy to discern what changes occurred. CodeMonitor is a free online tool, that can be found at:

9. Comparison Tools

MarketLeap has some great search comparison tools that allow for you to compare domains and ranking. Marketleap's Trend/History report gives you a view of how you or a competitors website's Search Engine Saturation has performed over time. It also verifies search engine placement based on keywords so you can quickly discern a competitors ranking for various phrases in the top search engines.

10. Other Useful Spy Tools

Domain tools has a mark alert that allows you to monitor the use of a trademark. They also have a number of domain tracking and monitoring tools that can be helpful.

Keep in mind that while you should be aware of the direction a competitor is moving. I do not advocate copying a competitor. These tools above are to assist businesses in monitoring their competition. I am not suggesting that you replicate, duplicate, or copy anything that a competitor does. Use the competitive intelligence to make sound business decisions about the direction you want to take.

Back Up Your Important Data

by: Chris Kaminski

Businesses require both security and data backup to run efficently and productively. Many business owners want to save money and scrimp on data backup protection then get stuck with lost data and valuable time. Here's a case in point that happened within the last two weeks before the holidays last year.

I’ll simply call them client A. Client A runs a business that survives on shipping their product out through UPS. When we first met back in the early spring it was to fix the shipping computer. He had installed an anti-virus program and it wiped out his e-mail in box.

This is a known bug with MaCAFEE anti-virus and it was a matter of a simple file recovery. In the process of fixing that problem we found other problems and the system was acting very un-stable and nothing was backed up. At that point and several others through the year I tried to encourage him to back up his important records.

Well guess what, he never did and a week before the holiday it crashed. Suddenly he couldn’t access UPS, couldn’t access his mailing lists and postage. Essentially he was out of business with a warehouse full of employees sitting around. Now he is losing thousands of dollars a day because he was trying to save a few hundred and put off getting a back-up device, the business owner went into shear panic and called us.

Now just as suddenly he tried to put the responsibility of saving his business on us, if we couldn’t recover his data he was out of business. I wouldn’t accept that responsibility. We will do our very best, we will do everything possible to fix the situation but if the data was lost it was his fault for not backing it up. People, things happen, so if it is the least bit important … BACK IT UP.

Fortunately, we were able to save about 90% of his data and get him running but it took 3 days and cost him thousands. Did he get a back-up device, not yet. This is the one single problem we run into and it comes in many forms. "My inbox became corrupted and all my e-mails are gone, can you recover them"? Were they backed up, no. Address books, family photos, your accounting records, what ever it may be, if it is the least bit important, BACK IT UP. If you are a business and your data is mission critical, BACK IT UP.

If it is a bad crash and we have to send it out for professional data recovery, I've seen bills as high as $12 thousand dollars. Data recovery can become expensive, not to mention the down time involved. So make sure to purchase a backup device that automatically backs up your important data every day. If you need data recovery, visit Computer Guys Live online for affordable recovery services.

Copyright 2006 Computer Guys Live Inc.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How To Go About Finding Cheap Computers

by: Luke Cameron

Almost everyone knows what a computer is and how to use its basic functions. Some people have their own desktop computers or laptops. Those who do not own a computer may still be able to use one by renting or using the ones in public libraries. However, there are cheap computers that are now available in the market, so it is possible that everyone and their grandmothers will be able to afford it. Computers are really amazing. The technology has evolved so much through the years. A lot of things can be done with the newest models that were not possible on the machines which were the “top of the line” a few decades ago. Give or take a few years from now, the current computers will be phased out and replaced by a more stable, more feature-packed machine.

A few years ago computers were very expensive. One unit of a desktop computer in 1998 cost about $1,600. That’s a lot. Fast forward to the present. The computers in 1998 are nothing compared to the models that we have now. The machines are faster, more durable, and capable of multitasking. Imagine doing so much in so little time! To top it all off, the cost is definitely worth the product. Nowadays, cheap computers are very easy to find. Promo packages as low as $300 are not impossible to find. In fact, they are all over! You might think that cheap computers are not as good as the high-end ones, but that is not the case. You get the same functionality, durability and technology at a very inexpensive price. But where do you find such cheap computers? Stores like Circuit City and Best Buy offer packages that are very inexpensive. However, there is a cheaper alternative – shop online! There are a lot of online stores that sell either promo packages or individual hardware parts for you to assemble. Of course, that is up to you. You purchase a machine that is tailored to your own needs.

These days, owning a computer is essential. There isn’t any industry that does not make use of this technology. Computers aid in learning and working. The world is a much smaller place now because of computers and the internet. There are just countless of benefits you can get from one single machine. And it does not cost much. Cheap computers are now available online. That is functionality and information within your reach.


by: Ankit Talwar

A hacker is a person who creates and modifies computer software and computer hardware, including computer programming, administration, and security-related items. The term usually bears strong connotations, but may be either favorable or denigrating depending on cultural context (see the Hacker definition controversy). Common definitions include:

1.) In computer programming, a hacker is a programmer who hacks or reaches a goal by employing a series of modifications to exploit or extend existing code or resources. For some, "hacker" has a negative connotation and refers to a person who "hacks" or uses kludges to accomplish programming tasks that are ugly, inelegant, and inefficient. This negative form of the noun "hack" is even used among users of the positive sense of "hacker".

2.) In computer security, a hacker is a person who specializes in work with the security mechanisms for computer and network systems. While including those who endeavor to strengthen such mechanisms, it more often is used, especially in the mass media, to refer to those who seek access despite them.

3.) In other technical fields, hacker is extended to mean a person who makes things work beyond perceived limits through their own technical skill, such as a hardware hacker, or reality hacker.

4.) In hacker culture, a hacker is a person who has attained a certain social status and is recognized among members of the culture for commitment to the culture's values and a certain amount of technical knowledge.

Categories of hacker:

The hacker community, the set of people who would describe themselves as hackers or described by others as hackers, falls into at least four partially overlapping categories. Sometimes alternate terms such as "cracker" are used in an attempt to more exactly distinguish which category of hacker is intended, or when attempting to put a contextual distance between the categories due to the Hacker definition controversy.

Hacker: Highly skilled programmer

The positive usage of hacker is one who knows a (sometimes specified) set of programming interfaces well enough to program rapidly and expertly. This type of hacker is well-respected (although the term still carries some of the meaning of hack), and is capable of developing programs without adequate planning or where pre-planning is difficult or impossible to achieve. This zugzwang gives freedom and the ability to be creative against methodical careful progress. At their best, hackers can be very productive. The technical downside of hacker productivity is often in maintainability, documentation, and completion. Very talented hackers may become bored with a project once they have figured out all of the hard parts, and be unwilling to finish off the "details". This attitude can cause friction in environments where other programmers are expected to pick up the half finished work, decipher the structures and ideas, and bullet-proof the code. In other cases, where a hacker is willing to maintain their own code, a company may be unable to find anyone else who is capable or willing to dig through code to maintain the program if the original programmer moves on to a new job.

Additionally, there is sometimes a social downside associated with hacking. The stereotype of a hacker as having gained technical ability at a cost in social ability has historical basis in an uncomfortable amount of factual foundation in many individuals. While not universal, nor even restricted to hackers, the difficulty in relating to others and the often abrasive personalities of some hackers makes some of them difficult to work with or to organize into teams. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for hackers to thrive on social interaction.

Hacker: Computer and network security expert

In the networking sense, a hacker is one who specializes in work with the access control mechanisms for computer and network systems. This includes individuals who work toward maintaining and improving the integrity of such mechanisms. However, the most common usage of hacker in this respect refers to someone who exploits systems or gains unauthorized access by means of clever tactics and detailed knowledge, while taking advantage of any carelessness or ignorance on the part of system operators. This use of hacker as intruder (frequent in the media) generally has a strong negative connotation, and is disparaged and discouraged within the computer community, resulting in the modern Hacker definition controversy.

For such hackers specializing in intrusion, the highly derogatory term script kiddies is often used to indicate those who either claim to have far more skill than they actually have, or who exclusively use programs developed by others to achieve a successful security exploit.

Hacker: Hardware modifier

Another type of hacker is one who creates novel hardware modifications. At the most basic end of this spectrum are those who make frequent changes to the hardware in their computers using standard components, or make semi-cosmetic themed modifications to the appearance of the machine. This type of Hacker modifes his/her computer for performance needs and/or aesthetics. These changes often include adding memory, storage or LEDs and cold cathode tubes for light effects. These people often show off their talents in contests, and many enjoy LAN parties. At the more advanced end of the hardware hackers are those who modify hardware (not limited to computers) to expand capabilities; this group blurs into the culture of hobbyist inventors and professional electronics engineering. An example of such modification includes the addition of TCP/IP Internet capabilities to a number of vending machines and coffee makers during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Hackers who have the ability to write circuit-level code, device drivers, firmware, low-level networking, (and even more impressively, using these techniques to make devices do things outside of their spec sheets), are typically in very high regard among hacker communities. This is primarily due to the enormous difficulty, complexity and specialized domain knowledge required for this type of work, as well as the electrical engineering expertise that plays a large role. Such hackers are rare, and almost always considered to be wizards or gurus of a very high degree.

Hacker stereotypes

There are theoretical types of hackers who are considered to possess an atypical level of skill beyond that of other meanings of the positive form of "hacker", which include the Guru and the Wizard.

In some portions of the computer community, a Wizard is one who can do anything a hacker can, but elegantly; while a Guru not only can do so elegantly, but instruct those who do not know how. In other sub-communities, a Guru is one with a very broad degree of expertise, while a Wizard is expert in a very narrow field. In practice, such exact distinction are usually more at home in a RPG world, and not often heard in actual conversation.

Within the mainstream media, hackers are often characterised as strange, mysterious, reclusive, and especially tricky. This may be seen as an extension of the human tendency to stigmatise what is ill-understood, which used often to be applied to natural philosophers who were often thought by superstitious neighbours to be wizards or mystics. One such example was Leonardo da Vinci, who was thought to be a necromancer due to his extensive (and extraordinary at that time) knowledge of human anatomy and his study of dead bodies.

Ankit Talwar - Web Designer

Investing Wisely When Buying a Laptop

by: Allison Thompson

I think many of us have now noticed the prices of laptop computers recently and certainly purchasing one can be quite a big investment for any one these days, but it all depends on you just how much you want to invest in one. When trawling through the paper on a Sunday there are flyers dotted all over the place offering various models on sale week by week. When people were first looking at purchasing a laptop they would select the one they wanted by looking at each laptops specifications and its general appearance (was it pleasing to the eye). Yet in today’s market these are not the sole choices that any one will have to make when purchasing a new laptop, and because the choice of laptop now available is so extensive that are you sure that the choice you have made is the right one for you. Provided below are several points that should be taken into consideration when looking to purchase a new laptop.

Firstly let us talk about the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and which is the main component of any laptop and this determines just how well your laptop will perform as well as controlling the heating and the length of life of the battery. But remember there is no way that you can have high quality CPU whilst comprising on the quality of the battery and power provided. So if your laptop is going to be replacing your desktop computer because you will be away from the office for extended periods traveling then there are several options that you could look at which offer a CPU that is integrated in to the laptops main board such as P4. Also if you should be using your laptop for business or schooling then it may well be worth considering purchasing one that has a more suitable CPU and certainly one fitted with an AMD Athlon may be the perfect solution for you. The Athlon processor has been designed for those users who are looking for an economical solution both in cost and the way it is used. Although older Athlon models certainly do not quite have the performance of the Intel Pentium Processor models with regard to performance, certainly the more recent models such as the 2800+ are strong enough now to compete as it has P4 2.8GHz of power.

However there seems to be one model of CPU more than any other that people prefer and this is the Centrino. The Centrino has been produced by Intel to provide a balance between performance and mobility issues for all laptop users. It comes with 2MB second level cash, and the Pentium CPU has been modified for laptop use which results in the easing of the burden placed on the CPU itself. This then helps to decrease the levels of heat and power consumption produced.

Next we will discuss RAM (Random Access Memory) and also the graphics card. Both these two items are important for the laptop to be of a high quality. You will find that there are 2 sorts of RAM now available on the market, SD RAM and DD RAM, and certainly if you are looking for a RAM providing you with high quality then look no further than the DD RAM. But you should still be careful when purchasing your RAM to look at the clock specification. If you purchase RAM in your laptop of 3.0MHz clock speed then you will see that the performance supplied is to the whole system. Also if possible do not look at purchase a laptop that has two slots of 256MB Ram x 2 as this will not be sufficient for your use, rather you should be looking at a laptop which comes equipped with 3.0Mz, 512MB, DD RAM.

Now as for video cards there are many varieties around today and the first thing that should look at when purchasing a video card is its “ON-Board” specification. Video cards are integrated into the laptop main board and normally run off of the main RAM for the video memory. So if you want to use your laptop for general purposes rather than gaming or 3-D design work (which would require 3D hardware acceleration) those laptops with onboard video cards are the right ones for you. But say you are someone who plays Counter Strike professionally then you would certainly be disappointed with the way the screen freezes and play becomes delayed.

The final technical matter that anyone should be looking at when purchasing a laptop is the hard disk. When purchasing a hard disk there is a detail you should be looking at which is more important than the capacity it provides and the RPM (Rotation per Minute) which determines how fast data can be transferred to the CPU to be processed. So this specification should be carefully considered as it plays a major role in the laptops abilities when dealing with multimedia functions.

So if you are considering purchasing a new laptop then certainly one to be considered is the Centrino with its onboard video card, big RAM (for those planning to use it at school or for their business) and if you want to occasionally watch a movie or listen to music. Yet you could also consider the Pentium laptops with AGP or PCI Express off board video cards which would provide you with the performance of a desktop computer (as long as you don’t mind the weight, noise and heat produced) in a laptop.

So with so many decisions to be considered when thinking of purchasing a laptop it is wise if you take your time and carry out your research thoroughly in order to make a wise investment for the future.

The History and Origins of Our PC Computer Keyboards

by: Max Rubin

The keyboard is among the most underappreciated and taken for granted component of the Personal Computer (PC) that we use everyday.

We are all creatures of habit. We generally use certain keys and not others in certain way.

What are the origins and history of the now current accepted PC computer keyboard?

Interestingly enough the standard keyboard layout did not originate in one fell swoop. It developed through three separate IBM keyboard projects and often involved mistakes and pitfalls along its evolutionary path.

Most keyboard setups have their direct origin in the original IBM keyboard – “The IBM Enhanced 101 Key Keyboard “which IBM set as the standard in the year of 1987. The Enhanced Keyboard was not the first but rather IBM’s third keyboard standard for PCs.

What were these previous frameworks of IBM keyboard models?

First the original IBM PC and XT keyboards had 83 keys. There were 10 function keys on the left side of the keyboard, a combined number pad and a cursor pad placed on the right hand side. The now called Control (Ctrl), Left Shift, and Alt keys were arranged in a line next to the function keys.

The Escape (Esc) as we know it was to the left of the numbers in the top row. To the right of the Right Shift Key, an unshifted asterisk key allowed the user to type the now common *.* without acrobatics. Between the tiny Left Shift key and the Zee key was a Backslash / Vertical key. The Enter key was narrow and vertically aligned and very easy to miss by most early PC users.

The design of this original IBM keyboard standard was a mixture of sensible and absurd keyboard layout decisions so much so that the admired components overshadowed the less thought out shortcomings and thus here we are today.

IBM’s next design was the original AT keyboard. This was somehow made incompatible with the earlier PC/XT design but a calculating user could reprogram in essence the newer keyboard to work.

The AT keyboard again had the then accepted ten function keys on the left, but exiled the Esc and the unshifted asterisk to the number pad. The Enter key was L-shaped and the Backsplash key, which now occupied the spot which used to be the left half of the Backspace key. Was reduced in size to the width of a single “alpha” key.

At some point when market forces pushed IBM to upgrade the venerable AT computer, it introduced the Enhanced model keyboard which was compatible with the original AT model, but had a drastically different layout. The ESC key and the 12 function keys were now along the top, the number pad was moved to the right. And a new cursor pad was placed between the alpha keys a number pad. The cursor pad ( which was actually split into two sets of keys ) consisted of four arrow keys in an inverted T at the bottom and a separate bank of 6 keys at the top: Ins ( Insert) , Del (Delete) , Home and End, and PgUp (Page up_ and PgDn ( Page down) .

What happened is that the computer users of the time disastrously started to press the Delete key when they meant end. There was virtually little memory, by today’s standards’ hence no advanced features of rescue that we take for granted today. A computer user who may have spent hours typing a major endeavor such as master’s thesis may have seen his hard work disappear into never never land.

It did not take too long for the complaints to arrive at IBM head office to rectify the situation. “Leave well enough alone “was the refrain. And the Backspace key returned to its original double width. The backslash key now occupied a single row. Caps lock migrated to the old side of the Ctrl key, and twin Ctrl and Alt keys flanked the spacebar.

The Del key though remained in its now current place although in some keyboards it is now double sized.

Like it or not this layout has become the standard by which we live with our computer enhanced lives.

The keyboard is among the most underappreciated and taken for granted component in our every day computer lives. We seldom stop to think why certain keys are laid out in the given way. Like it or not we owe a debt to thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the original IBM PC project engineers.

Why Do We Need Anti-Spam Software?

by: Robert Michael

Spam, otherwise known as junk email or unsolicited commercial email; is quickly becoming on of the most prevalent complaints of internet users. Not only is it annoying, but it is quickly becoming a dangerous and potentially expensive problem for businesses as well as individuals.

How is it dangerous?

First and foremost, spam is one of the leading causes for clogged networks and slow connections. American Online, one of the nation’s largest internet service providers; transmits over 8 trillion spam email messages a year. Those messages tie up valuable bandwidth and can slow down entire networks. Although end users will rarely see a significant change in their connections, they can rest assured that a noteworthy portion of their monthly bill is paying for that lost bandwidth.

Most spam includes images or weblinks within it commercial content. Although some of it is begin or at worst annoying, an increasing portion contains sexually explicit content. Spam messages frequently contain pornographic pictures or links to sex-related websites.

These messages are not suited for children yet can easily be accidentally opened by minors. In addition to simple sexual content, some of the most severely sexually explicit spam can contain images of such illegal and offensive acts such as bestiality or child pornography.

Aside from slowing connections or carrying unwanted pornography, spam is the leading cause of transmitted computer viruses. Computer viruses are programs which run malicious code which can damage computer systems, delete files and steal personal information. These viruses are often hidden in an email messages as attachments such as a pictures. Email transmitted viruses can render entire systems inoperable and delete important documents forever.

How can you stop it?

The easiest and most simple way to stop unwanted email is to employ a spam blocker. Spam blockers are manufactured by a variety of companies and be anywhere from free to costing upwards of 50$.

There are three basic types of spam blocking software. The first is a key-word blocker. These programs examine the header and body of an email message looking for a series of predefined criteria. For example, a program could be instructed to flag or block any email message containing the word “sex”.

Although seemingly straightforward, the spam blocker also has to stop any spelling variation of sex such as sexx or s_e_x. Although this type of spam blocker can do very well at stopping spam, it also has a tendency to block personal emails which may or may not contain flagged words.

The second type of spam blocker is an address list blocker which blocks or flags any emails not coming from a predefined list of addresses (such as the user’s address book).

Although this type of spam blocker does a very good job of not blocking personal emails from friends or family, it can inadvertently delete important messages from users not on the original predefined list. This can make it very easy to miss potentially important yet unexpected emails.

The third type of spam blocker is actually a hybrid of the aforementioned varieties. It will filter emails from known friendly accounts directly to the inbox while holding potentially dangerous emails in the filter. The user can then go in and sort through emails from either friendly strangers (non spam emails from unfamiliar addresses) or unfriendly strangers (spam emails from unfamiliar addresses).

Although these programs do require a slight amount of user interaction, they can protect your computer and keep you from inadvertently deleting important emails.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making Use of an Old Computer

by: Kimberly A. Griffiths

Five years ago I completed my my masters degree and to celebrate this achievement, I purchased a refurbished Dell computer. It's amazing what my computer has helped me do:

I wrote my book, Becoming Debt Free One Paycheck at a Time, and what seems to be endless edits

I created the One Paycheck at a Time website, and the ongoing redesigns

I surf the Internet constantly looking for new ideas to share for my monthly newsletters

I must have written thousands and thousands of emails to customers, vendors, friends, and family members.

Over the years, my computer has had its share of hardware and software issues. And, without a good computer repair person, I'd be completely lost. When my computer acts up and is really temperamental, I've seriously considered throwing it out of the window! Can you relate?

I've decided that my old computer is now too slow to keep up with the expectations and demands I place on it. Instead of adding to the over-burdened landfills, I've decided to donate much of the hardware. I'm keeping the accessories since I haven't worn out my monitor, speakers or mouse yet but I will donate these when their time comes as well. connects nonprofits with donated and discounted technology products. To donate a computer or its parts, plug in your zip code in their location finder. Local recycle companies which service local schools and nonprofits in your area will be listed so that you can contact them directly.

Here are the advantages of donating your computer:

Recycling is always good for the environment

Knowing that a student will have access to a computer makes you feel good

And, get a receipt documenting your donation -- you get to write this off of your taxes!

What Is A Spam


Spam is defined as unsolicited, bulk, electronic mail - it is the Internet equivalent of junk mail. Just about everyone who has been on the Internet for any length of time has received spam.

Spam costs Internet Service Providers both time and money. ISPs must invest in extra hardware and pay employees to deal with thousands of unsolicited messages. Staff members are put to the task of investigating thousands of spam reports and complaints. Spam increases the load on mail servers and consumes valuable bandwidth. This increase in load overburdens mail queues which lead to delays in sending and receiving mail.

Also check the knowledged-based blog -

Consumers also pay for spam. Time required retrieving mail messages, including spam, from the server increases, wasting one's time. Fees for accessing the Internet are dilated fro those who have a limited dial-up service. Time is wasted on filtering, blocking or deleting spam. There are psychological costs as well; frustration and annoyance mounts with each spam message polluting one's inbox. The costs of spam are therefore high to ISPs and consumers alike.

There are 7 basic steps you can follow to help keep the amount of spam in your Inbox to a minimum.

1) Use a Spam Filter
2) Never Reply to Spam
3) Don’t Post Your Email Address on Your Web site
4) Use a Second Email Address in Newsgroups
5) Don't Give your Email Address Without Knowing How It Will Be Used .
6) Never Buy Anything from Spam.

How to report spam to the Expedient's abuse reporting system?

Forward the offending email or newsgroup message to Be sure to include all of the relevant information you can provide. You must include the full email or newsgroup headers for our Abuse Department to be able to process your report; Click here for instructions to get the full message headers for email and newsgroup messages. You should receive an automated response to your report giving you some general information about network abuse.

Some relevant terms -

UBE - Unsolicited Bulk Email - This is email which is sent to you, which you never requested. The form of the mail suggests that it has been sent to everyone and their mother, or sometimes there are dead giveaways like a CC: list of several dozen or hundred people. Note that this email doesn't ask you to buy anything directly or advertise a commercial web site.

UCE - Unsolicited Commercial Email -Same as above, but the message has a commercial spin to it, asking you to buys something or visit some company's web site for the actual sales pitch.

MLM - Multilevel Marketing - This describes schemes where you are asked to buy some product (a report, a software package, just about anything) and you are promised phenomenal profits from reselling that product to as many people as possible. This is also occasionally twisted around to read "make lots of money."

MMF - Make Money Fast - These are schemes where you are given a list of names and addresses and asked to mail money to the people on the list, then cross off the first name on the list, and add yours to the bottom. After this you are asked to distribute the list with your name on it to as many people as possible usually by spamming it to every newsgroup you can find. These are also commonly known as money pyramids or pyramid schemes and are illegal in the United States in paper and electronic form. MMF email messages are pretty easy to spot by their titles.

ECP - Excessive Cross-Posting - This refers to news posts which are posted to multiple newsgroups. Crossposting in itself is not as big of a deal as EMP (see below) because when a message is crossposted, only one copy of that message actually exists - the others are just links to the original message. However when ECP is posted to many groups where the message would be considered off-topic, then it is considered an abuse issue.

EMP - Excessive Multi-Posting - Same context as ECP, however all of the messages are individually posted to the news server, resulting in more disk space, CPU cycles and network bandwidth being wasted. One hundred individually posted messages is a bigger problem than one message crossposted to 100 groups.

UDP - Usenet Death Penalty - A mutual agreement by a number of Usenet providers to stop accepting traffic from another provider. Often used as a threat against Usenet providers who have a steady stream of spam posts coming from their machines and refuse to do anything about it.

How To Block Sites Access Manually

by: Raymon Antony

If you are using Windows Operating System and did not use Proxy to connect to the internet, then search for the 'hosts' file or if you use Windows XP and use Windows XP standard installation, you can find the file at C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

These file used as a mapping site URL to your localhost IP.

You can use this trick to block sites access and also blocking ads sites, so you can surf the internet faster.

For example, if you want to block site, just add the codes below at hosts file:

Save the hosts file, then open your favorite browser and point to Your browser will displat a blank screen as the result

Another example:

This tips can be used at other operating systems, (such as Linux, Unix), as long as you know where the file hosts located


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What Is Firewall?

by: Alex Kubik

Traditionally, a firewall is used to protect one unit in a multi-unit building from a fire that occurs in an adjacent unit. The hope is that the firewall will isolate each unit from a disaster in one of its neighbors.

Today we use firewalls in computer networks to isolate our network and hosts from danger posed by our neighbors. Firewalls protect us from the unauthorized use of our resources by external entities. Simply put, a firewall protects you from what is happening "out there." And it can help to keep something happening inside your network from spreading.

Why do you want to be protected? In order to meet the three principles—confidentiality, integrity, and availability—you need to address the risks you've identified. This may mean you need to be protected from the wide-open Internet. It's a scary place out there. You may also need to isolate select hosts from the rest of your network. The threat of insider intrusion is still very real, and firewalls can help here too.

How does a firewall protect you? In its simplest form, a firewall examines your communications requests (network traffic) and decides, based on rules you have defined, what is and is not allowed. Really, a very straightforward function—on paper, anyhow. Complications are introduced by the different ways to achieve this goal. And each method has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Traditionally, corporations have firewalls only at the perimeter of the network—where the corporate network meets the Internet. However, the traditional network is changing. Users connect from home with high-speed Internet connections like cable modems, and sensitive data is being stored on local hard drives. These changes often make it necessary to consider protecting the local host with its own firewall software. And this is where personal firewall software plays a role.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Save Laptop Battery Power When You Really Need it

by: Kara Glover

You’ve got a five-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York City, and one battery in your laptop. You’ve got work to do, DVDs to watch, and games to play. How are you going to get that battery to last? Well, hidden inside (and outside) your computer are lots of tricks to help you.

Dimming Your Screen

Your screen and hard drive use up more battery power than any other parts of your computer. You can dim down your screen to a point where your eyes still feel comfortable but you also save energy. On most laptops, you first dim the screen by holding down the “Fn” key (go ahead and find it because you may never have used it before). Then you look for a key on your laptop that either has a picture of a sun or a half-moon. (On my Sony Vaio that key happens to be F5.) If you find it, go ahead and hit it while still holding down the Fn key. A brightness adjustment box should show up on your screen. If you can’t find a key with a sun or half-moon on it, try hitting your various arrow keys while holding down Fn, to see if that works.

Turning Off Your Screen Altogether

If dimming your screen is good for saving battery life, turning it off when you’re not using it is even better. To turn off your screen, we’re going to have to go into some settings in the Control Panel. You’ll soon see these settings are not only good for turning off screens; they perform a whole host of battery saving functions.

Click on Start, then on Control Panel. If your Control Panel is shown in the “Category View,” click first on Performance and Maintenance, then on Power Options. If your Control Panel is in Classic View, simply click on the Power Options icon. Next click on the Power Schemes Tab. Underneath where it says Running on Batteries and across from where it says Turn Off Monitor, choose how quickly you’d like your monitor to shut off when you’re not actively using it.

That Power Options Properties box we just opened brings us to a whole host of other enticing options we can employ on our cross-country flight!

Choosing a Power Scheme

Windows XP offers two Power Schemes appropriate for laptops on the go. These are Portable/Laptop and Max Battery. They can both be chosen in the Power Schemes tab of the Power Options Properties box. Both power schemes conserve battery power. But Portable laptop adjusts what it conserves to the amount of power you need at the time, while Max Battery is much less flexible. It keeps your computer at a very low constant power rate no matter what you may be doing. So if you are planning on watching a DVD on that flight, which uses a lot of battery power, I don’t recommend using the Max Battery power scheme. It might not give you enough power.

Each power scheme also has its own settings for when the monitor and hard disks should be turned off. Remember that both are huge energy hogs, and that both the monitor and hard disk remain on longer under Portable/Laptop than they do under Max Battery.

The power scheme you choose also determines how long the computer will wait to go into Standby mode or Hibernate after remaining idle. Standby conserves energy because it turns off your hard disk and monitor. However, whatever you were working on at the time stays in memory (RAM) instead of being saved safely to your hard drive. The upside of Standby, though, is that when you press any key your computer will come out of the mode rather quickly.

Hibernation saves even more energy because it saves your work to the hard drive and then shuts your computer down almost all the way. Inherently, of course, this means it takes the computer longer to wake up to its normal state, but when everything does come back on, it looks the same as before. To switch your computer to Standby mode manually, click on Start, then on Turn off Computer, then on Standby. To make your computer Hibernate manually, click on Start and Turn off Computer again, but this time hold down the Shift key down afterward. The Standby key switches to “Hibernate.” Click it and your computer will go into Hibernation mode.

Creating Your Own Profiles

Maybe you don’t like the two power saving choices Windows gives you. Maybe you want to create custom ones to suit your own needs. You can do that! I created one for “Long Plane Rides.” I adjusted the settings in the Power Options Properties box. For instance, I indicated I wanted my monitor to turn off after only 2 minutes of idle time, and my hard disks after 3 minutes. Then I clicked on Save As, named my profile, and clicked OK. Now maybe the battery will last even longer on the flight.

Let’s go through some other choices in the Power Options Properties box. Under the Alarm tab, you can check boxes to either be alerted when your battery is low and/or when your battery is critical. You can even use the slider to make your own determination of just what is low and what is critical. Then you can click on Alarm Action to tell your computer to, for instance, sound an alarm or go into Standby mode when those moments are reached.

Under the Advanced tab, you can choose what you want your laptop to do when you close the lid. You can choose it to go into Standby mode, Hibernation, or even do nothing if you wish. You can also choose what you’d like the computer to do when you hit the power button.

If you’re interested in using your laptop’s Hibernation feature you should check the box under the Hibernation tab that says Enable Hibernation.

Turn Off Wireless Network Card

Your wireless card can also be a drain on your battery’s resources, so disable it if you don’t need it. (You don’t need it obviously on a plane, for instance.) If your laptop has a wireless card, simply take it out. If your laptop has wireless built-in, you can disable it in Windows XP by clicking on Start and going to your Control Panel. In Category View, click on Network and Internet Connections, then Network Connections. In Classic View, simply click on Network Connections. Once you’re there, right click on the wireless connection you’re using, and click on Disable. You can also disable your wireless network card through the Device Manager. Right click on My Computer and left click on Properties. Click on the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button. Next, click on the small black cross next to where it says Network Adapters. Locate your wireless network adapter, right click on it, and left click on Disable.

You can also left click on Properties instead (after you right click on your network adapter), click on the Power Management tab, and check the box that says “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.”

Some newer laptops with the Intel Mobile Pentium® chip have a button somewhere on the laptop itself, for instance on the front, to enable you to easily turn your wireless on or off. You may have to check your laptop’s manual to find out if you have a button and if so, where it is.

CPU Throttling

The Intel Mobile Pentium® laptops also sport a feature known as CPU Throttling (and named SpeedStep™ by Intel), that actually slows down your processor when you’re running on the battery. When you’re plugged into your AC, your processor runs full speed ahead. But when you unplug that cord, it shifts into a lower gear. A processor running at a lower speed and using less voltage saves your battery even that much more juice.

So now you have a number of tools to implement in order to save your computer’s precious battery power. But maybe instead on that next long distance flight, you might want to think ahead and book a seat with a power outlet.

How to Use Windows XP "System Restore"

by: George Whitecraft

Whether it's the word processor, spreadsheet, or financial package that isn't working, most people do not know that Microsoft Windows XP has a built in feature that just may come and save the day. That feature is called "System Restore."

Basically, System Restore is like a little hound that runs behind the scenes taking "snapshots" of various parts of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. So, if a part of Microsoft Windows XP stops working one day, the System Restore utility is able to reference one of the "snapshots" it took and restore your system from a previous day (a day when your computer worked). It's kind of like going back in time to a day when your computer worked. All your current data (Microsoft Word files, etc.) are still retained, so you don't have to worry about losing any present day files.

In order to restore your computer just follow these simple steps:

1.) Close any open programs.

2.) Click on the Windows "Start" button (normally located on the bottom of your computer desktop)

3.) Click on "All Programs"

4.) Click on "Accessories"

5.) Click on "System Tools"

6.) Then click on "System Restore"

7.) At this point the System Restore wizard will launch. You will have two options:

a. "Restore my system from an earlier date"
b. "Create a system restore point"

If you just need to restore your system and get it working correctly again, just select option "a" and click "Next."

8.) On this screen you can select a date from the calendar that you would like to try and restore from. So, if you knew that your computer worked fine two days ago, just pick that date on the calendar and click "Next." 9. The next screen is the confirmation window. Just verify the information on the screen and click "Next." Windows XP will then reboot and try to restore your system with the settings from the date you selected.

The System Restore process can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how much reconfiguration Windows XP needs to do and how fast of a PC you have. When System Restore is done, a screen will popup with the results of the restore. If it was successful, you can then log into the system and start using the computer again. Any quirky issues that you were having are now hopefully gone.

Now, on step 7b above, I mentioned the "Create a system restore point" option. This option is for when you want to force Windows XP to take a snapshot of your system just before you install a program or alter any system settings that you are not sure of. It is like a safety net for when you install any internet programs (sometimes riddled with spyware) or system drivers (video, audio, etc). If you want to revert back to a virgin state just create a restore point "before" installing any software. This way, if your machine starts acting weird, you can just restore your settings from the selected point.

With a little practice, the System Restore utility is easy to use and a great way to help ensure the safety of your computer.

Software Piracy: A Serious Threat

by: Rachana Agarwal

Software piracy hammers the growth of software industry. For the software industry to prosper and further develop useful software for consumers, piracy must be controlled and gripped seriously as the developer does not get any compensation for his work. There are several kinds of software piracy.

Kinds of Software Piracy

Reseller Piracy

This kind of piracy occurs when a corrupt reseller circulates multiple copies of a single software package to different customers without providing original manuals & diskettes knowingly. Sometimes, reseller also sells fake versions of software to innocent customers to make money.

End User Piracy

End user piracy means using multiple copies of a single software package on several different systems or circulating registered or licensed copies of software to others. This kind of piracy also takes place when a cracked version of the software is used. Hacking into the software and disabling the copy protection or illegally generating key codes that unlocks the trial version making the software a registered version creates a cracked version.

Trademark/Trade Name violation

Violation piracy occurs when an individual or dealer claims to be authorized either as a technician, support provider or reseller, or is improperly using a trademark or trade name.

BBS/Internet Piracy

BBS/ Internet Piracy occur during the electronic transfer of copyrighted software. If system operators and/or users upload or download copyrighted software and materials onto or from bulletin boards or the Internet for others to copy and use without the proper license. The developer does not get any credit for the hacked software distributed.

Effects of Software Piracy

Software piracy harms not only the software developing companies but also effect consumers, software developers, and resellers. This increases the risk of corruption in consumer's computers by defective software and infected with viruses. Pirated software usually has inadequate documentation, which prevents consumers from enjoying the full benefits of the software package. In addition, consumers are unable to take advantage of technical support and product upgrades, which are typically available to legitimate registered users only. Pirated software can cost consumers lost time and more money.

Keeping Your Laptop Like New – ALWAYS

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Laptops are expensive. Therefore you need to take real good care of it. And laptop maintenance is not a one time thing. It should be a regular exercise. To prevent your notebook's LCD from becoming smudged or dirty you should clean it regularly. We recommend spraying a diluted window cleaner onto a soft, non-abrasive cloth and then lightly wiping the screen with it. It might be simpler to just spray the detergent directly on the screen but it’s not recommended as the fluid can trickle down into the bezel at the screen's bottom which could in turn damage the computer's circuitry.

When it comes to getting rid of dust, dirt and food crumbs off the keyboard, a vacuum cleaner's brush attachment is ideal. There are handheld vacuum cleaners, specifically intended for PCs that can remove the dust and food from in between the gaps on the keyboard. But if you’re traveling, a vacuum cleaner would be quite cumbersome. In such cases, you can use a canned aerosol cleaner to spray a blast of air between keys. And in case you spill something on the keyboard, you should immediately switch off the laptop and place a towel over the keyboard, and turn it upside down to drain the fluid and prevent it from leaking into the computer's circuitry.

And if you happen to travel a lot, your laptop is only as good as its battery. Luckily, most laptops today use lithium ion batteries that aren't afflicted with the memory-loss problems of the older nickel-cadmium batteries. However, in time it’s inevitable that your notebook's battery will lose its ability to fully hold a charge. So, make sure that you replace the battery every 18 to 24 months. However, if you don’t use your laptop often then you might not need to change the battery so frequently. One way to make sure that your battery lasts as long as it can is to reduce your screen's backlighting. Also, configuring your power settings so that the display shuts off after inactive periods can significantly increase the life of a battery.

However, there’s more to the maintenance of a laptop than just making sure that the exterior is clean and neat. When using it, always remember to keep it in a cool environment. A laptop computer generates a lot of heat and too much heat can damage the internal circuitry. So always try and keep your laptop in a well-ventilated and cool environment. Also it’s important to ensure that the fan grills on the sides, back, or bottom of the machine are not blocked while it’s in use. Also, LCD displays are fragile devices that need special care. So as much as possible, avoid touching or playing with your LCD screen. And clean the screen only with the approved cleaning materials.

Another risk to your laptop is viruses. So make sure to get hold of an anti-virus program and keep it updated. Buying an anti-virus one-month and not updating it regularly makes the whole process useless. Your laptop could be exposed to hundreds and thousands of new viruses every month and if you don't update your virus definitions then some viruses will go undetected by the program. And to make the whole process less complicated, most anti-virus programs have automatic update methods, so that you don’t have to remember to do it manually.

And always use a firewall on your Internet or network - enabled laptop. Also block out all the unnecessary ports and close all loopholes to prevent a hacker or virus from entering your hard drive. And whatever you do, don't drop your laptop. And finally always keep it safe inside a carrying case, especially when moving it or traveling.

Using a Laptop to Manage Your Life More Efficiently

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Nowadays everyone needs a computer, especially if you’re a student. Academic life can be hell without a computer. Gone are the days when you could hand in handwritten papers. Also, in this fast-paced world typewriters are too slow and cumbersome. So, be it for writing essays, crunching mathematical calculations, researching the Web, or collaborating with fellow students via instant messaging and e-mail, no one can efficiently manage student life without a handy computer. So, if you’re one of those students wondering what sort of a computer to invest in, then you should seriously consider getting a laptop instead of a desktop.

There are many reasons why laptops are better than desktops. Laptops are now accessible with improved upgrade-ability, dazzling large LCD screens, powerful processors and multi-media features as advanced as those on any desktop. And laptops have the added advantage of mobility as well as the fact that they require less space. In fact that is their strong point. Laptops provide you advantages and privileges in learning and obtaining information everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are, with a laptop the world of information is at your fingertips. You can take them with you to make power point presentations at seminars. This is not possible with a desktop. Just imagine lugging your desktop all the way to a seminar!

With a laptop you can work anywhere, not just in your room. So, if you suddenly feel like it, you can decide to get some work done at the park or while you’re in a train, car or airplane. Also laptops are a valuable investment because they’ll be a great help not only during your academic years but also later on when you start working. For example, in a situation where you’ve to take your office or vital data along with you on your business or personal trip, a desktop is useless. On the other hand, with a laptop you’ve no problems. A laptop is lightweight and easily fitted into the overhead storage bin of an airplane. That brings us to its next advantage, size.

Laptops come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs and purposes. However, depending on the size, the price of the laptop tends to vary. Also, many laptops come with impressive technical specifications that are better than most ordinary desktops. With hard drives of up to 100GB or more, with RAM up to 2MB or more supported by Intel Pentium 4, most notebooks are able to handle almost all computing applications and functions with ease. Also, the laptop can be used as a convenient backup for your vital files and programs. It’s a cheaper and safer way of protecting all your sensitive data.

So, laptops are the smarter option, not only if you travel a lot and you need the computer to be accessible to you at all times. However, it has its disadvantages as well. For example, laptops are very delicate and need regular care. Also, they’re not as durable as desktops that are made of stronger stuff. So, a desktop has the advantage over the laptop when it comes to pricing, durability, and ease of maintenance. However, nowadays, laptops are becoming cheaper by the minute. And as more and more notebooks are being sold, the price will drop even more. Even if the price is currently a little higher than a desktop, the gap is closing really quickly. When compared to all the other advantages that a laptop has over a desktop, I don’t think that it’s that difficult a choice to make.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Get Rid Of Spyware From Your Computer

by: Ismael D. Tabije

The Internet has revolutionized the whole ambit of communications and has proved to be a boon to mankind. However, its privacy and security is being threatened with Spyware, which can intrude into the computer and cause great damage to the whole system. Most malicious Spywares can access the valuable personal data that might be stored in your computer and cause financial and personal losses. If you don’t protect your computer from spyware, it will be just like keeping your doors open to unwanted elements.

Your computer can get affected with Spyware or Adware very easily but this happens mostly through “pop up” ads, downloadable games, music and screensavers. Spyware is a term which covers a vast variety of illicit software that has the capability to intrude, intercept and take control of the operations of the computer that it invades without the approval of the owner or user of the computer.

Spyware can help someone do the following illegal functions:

1) Read your e-mails

2) Access your e-mail list

3) Watch which keystrokes you are typing

4) Access your credit card information that might be stored in your computer

5) Get to know your passwords listed in your computer

6) Steal your social security number

7) Track all the websites that you visit

It is, therefore, essential for you to know whether your computer is infected with spyware or not and the following are the positive signs regarding the existence of spyware:

1) If your computer starts running slower

2) If some programs do not run correctly

3) If you notice some programs that you were previously not aware of. These could have been installed by the spyware.

Perfect Solution for detecting and removing Spyware from your computer

The perfect antidote to the menace of spyware is to download a spyware detection tool, which will run a spyware detector and scan your computer for signs of existence of spyware. Most anti-spyware companies offer free trials for scanning and finding out whether the spyware is present or not. If the result is positive, you would have to use the full software to get rid of the spyware and safeguard your computer.

After using a reputable anti-spyware tool, if you still having problems then what’s the solution?

It is quite possible that even a good anti-spyware tool might not be able to obliterate unwanted malicious software from your computer. The reason could be that a single scan might not be enough and that you might need to operate a number of scans and you might even need to use a second program to completely erase all spyware and adware. It has been noticed that there is no anti-spyware that can attack all the threats posed by the spywares. Some anti-spyware programs can tackle certain threats and these are listed in the software. As such, it might be necessary to employ two or more anti-spyware tools to get rid of all unwanted software that might have heavily infested your computer.

Since most anti-spyware tools specify which spyware variants they can detect and remove, it is advisable to use such a devise at the vendor’s premises in order to see its effectiveness and the areas that it can work on. You will thus get familiar with the various anti-spyware tools and with their names and functions. However, it is important to remember that when you apply these tools to remove the spyware from your computer, you should disconnect the same from the Internet connection.

Just as a virus can invade your body and cause various diseases and even death, spyware can also invade your computer and cause irreparable damage. Use the anti-spyware tools as soon as you notice any spyware signs.

Digital Camera Printer: Making the Printing Process Easier

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Gone are the days of the box-camera – it is the age of digital technology and digital cameras have taken over the entire range of photography. However, at its early stages, digital photography had eclipsed the most exciting aspect of seeing what you have clicked on photographic prints. Things have changed and various digital camera printers with many unique and useful features are now available to take care of this deficiency.

As these digital camera printers do not need a computer to give you the prints, you can print directly from the camera and this makes it very convenient and portable. However, deciding which printer, out of the hundreds flooding the market, would suit you best is the most important question. Given below are the special features and other information relating to these cameras that will help you make the right choice.

In order to get prints at home, digital camera printers have special features ranging from paper sensors that recognize photo media to built-in editing tools. The other special features are given below:

• Memory Card Slots: If you have a memory card slot, all that you have to do is to insert your camera’s memory card and print. You don’t need a computer or any cables.

• Color LCD screen: You can see the photos on a color LCD screen before you print.

• Front-panel buttons: If you want to preview, edit or remove the red eyes, you should choose a printer that has front-panel buttons for this purpose.

• Photo proof sheets: Thumbnail images on a printed page can be displayed on photo proof sheets to enable you to preview and choose the photos you wish to print.

• One-touch connections: You can have one-touch connections to your printer, TV, and PC if you place your camera in a built-in dock for printing directly from your camera. The other advantage is that you can recharge your batteries every time you connect.

Besides considering the above factors you should also consider the following paper-handling factors before you decide which digital camera printer you wish to buy.

• Capacity: It is cumbersome to keep on adding paper to the printer. As such the number of sheets a printer can hold is important. Generally personal printers hold between 100 and 300 sheets.

• Versatility: Choose the printer that can print on the type of paper you wish to use. Some printers cannot print on certain types of papers that other printers can.

• Paper size: Your choice of a printer should be such that it can handle letter (8 1/2" x 11") and legal (8 1/2" x 14") sizes, as well as borderless 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photo paper, panoramic paper, and envelopes.

• Image Quality: The prices of the printers of color photographs, though high in the beginning, have now come down and are within the reach of the average buyer but you must ensure that the printer can deliver photo realistic results, which should be as close to real photographic prints as possible.

• Print Resolution: For fine details and smooth gradation the print resolution should be about 2,400 x 1,200 dpi and this would be more than sufficient.

These digital camera printers store the images we capture on a memory storage device like a memory stick, a memory card, or even the camera’s built-in memory. There are many people who would also like to have actual copies of their photographs. It is a matter of choice and depending on your needs you can choose the best digital camera printer. The above-mentioned features will help you in making the right choice.