Monday, February 23, 2009

Buying Guide to Graphics Cards

by: Andrew Gates

The graphics card is a vital performance component of your computer, particularly if you play 3D games, or work with graphics and video content. The graphics card sits in an expansion card slot in your PC and it is specifically designed to process image data and output it to your monitor, enabling you to see it. A graphics card works by calculating how images appear, particularly 3D images, and renders them to the screen. 3D images and video images take a lot of processing capacity, and many graphics processors are complex, require fans to cool them and need direct power supply. The graphics card consists of a graphics processor, a memory chip for graphics operations, and a RAMDAC for display output. It may also include video capture, TV output and SLI and other functions. You can find the graphics card that suits you by comparing specification between brands and vendors on

At you can compare a great range of appliances, and assess them according to their specifications, brands, prices and vendors.

Graphics Cards

What are your needs?

The first decision you need to make is whether you need a graphics card for handling 3D images or whether you are simply requiring 2D image rendering. For 2D requirements, you need only a low-cost solution. In many cases, an integrated graphics solution will suffice for 2D applications.

However with 3D graphics, the performance of the graphics card will impact directly on the frame rate and image quality of 3D programs and games. The differences between the low and high-end cards can be substantial, both in cost and performance.

Rendering 3D graphics is like lighting a stage, both the geometry of the shapes in question and the lighting of it need to be taken into account. The geometry of an image calculates the parts of an object that can and can't be seen, the position of the eye and its perspective. The lighting is a calculation of the direction of the light sources, their intensities and the respective shadows that occur. The second part to presenting a 3D image is the rendering of colours and textures to the surfaces of the objects, and modifying them according to light and other factors.

Most modern graphics cards include a small microchip called the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which are provide the algorithms and memory to process complex images. They reduce the workload of the main CPU, and provide faster processing. Different graphics cards have different capabilities in terms of processing power. They can render and refresh images up to 60 or more times per second, calculate shadows quickly, create image depth by rendering distant objects at low resolution, modify surface textures fluidly and eliminate pixelation.

What Specifications to Consider

Processor clock speed

This impacts on the rendering capability of the GRU. The clock speed itself is not the critical factor. Rather it is the per-clock performance of the graphics processor, which is indicated by the number of pixels it can process per clock cycle.

Memory size

This is the memory capacity that is used exclusively for graphics operations, and can be as much as 512MB. The more demanding your graphics applications are, the better you will be served with more memory on your graphics card.

640M and more

Memory bandwidth

One thing that can slow down 3D graphics performance is the speed at which the computer delivers information to the graphics processor. A higher bandwidth means a faster data transfer, resulting in faster rendering speeds.

Shader model

DirectX Shader Models allows developers control over the appearance of an image as it is rendered on screen, introducing visual effects like multi-layered shadows, reflection and fog.

Fill rate

This is the speed at an image can be rendered or "painted". This rate is specified in texels per second, the number of 3D pixels that can be painted per second. A texel is a pixel with depth (3D). The fill rate comes from the combined performance of the clock speed of the processor and the number of pixels it can process per clock cycle, and will tell you how quickly an image can be fully rendered on screen.


Graphics chips don't work on curves, rather they process flat surfaces. A curve is created by multiple flat planes arranged to look like a curve. 3D objects are created with multiple triangular surfaces, sometimes hundreds or even thousands, tessellated to represent the curves and angles of the real world. 3D artists are concerned with the number of polygons required to form a shape. There are two different types of specification: vertices per second (I.e., angles the triangles), and triangles per second. To compare one measure with the other, you have to take into account the fact that adjacent triangles share vertices.


A technique used to smooth images by reducing the jagged stepping effect caused by diagonal lines and square pixels. Different levels of anti-aliasing have different effects on performance.


The Random Access Memory Digital to Analogue Converter takes the image data and converts it to a format that your screen can use. A faster RAMDAC means that the graphics card can support higher output resolutions. Some cards have multiple RAMDACs allowing that card to support multiple displays.


Some graphics cards provide the option to connect a television via either a composite (RCA) or S-Video connector. TV Out

S-video Out
S-video In and S-video Out (VIVO)
YPbPr Connection for HDTV


Some graphics cards include a connector for DVI monitors, handy because a lot of LCD screens support DVI. DVI offers better image quality than the standard VGA connector.


Dual-head is a term used when two monitors are used side by side, stretching your desktop across both.

SLI (Scalable Link Interface.)

With SLI you can couple two graphics cards in your computer, enabling each card to take half the rendering thereby doubling the performance.

When considering your graphics card, it pays to think about how much you need your computer to process your graphics output. Using a high end graphics card with a high pixels per clock rating, large memory, fast processor and other features means that you can run the latest games efficiently, or work in intensive graphics development.

Different Models

While there are many vendors of graphics cards, there are actually only two major manufacturers of chips for graphics cards. Nearly every graphics card on the market features a chip manufactured by either ATI or Nvidia. Cards using the same graphics chip will perform roughly the same as each other. However, even though they use the same chip, some feature slightly higher clock speeds, as well as manufacturer guaranteed overclocking-an even higher clock speed than that specified. Other factors that will influence your decision should include the amount of memory a card has (128MB, 256MB, 512MB) and its additional features, such as TV-Out and dual-screen support.

Use the search facilities at to compare the features, prices and vendors of graphics cards.

Why Flash?

by: Jonathan White

Many possible technologies exist that can power web based games. Php, HTML, CGI and Java amongst them, but the most common plugin used to design browser games by far is Adobe Flash, previously known as Macromedia Flash. One of the biggest reasons for this is that Flash has become a definite web standard.

Many PCs come with the Flash player installed. It is compatible with Linux, Apple Mac, BSD, cellphones, PDAs and a whole host of other devices. Over 520 million unique installations of Flash have been recorded, and it has been around since the days of Windows 98. This statistic accounts for approximately 95% of all Internet users.

Flash Player is also a free download, so if the user does not have it, it's only a few seconds and negligible bandwidth away, no matter the platform. Likewise, Adobe Flash is a comparably cheap product for the developers, and time input required is minimal to create simple games, compared to using other technologies.

A powerful but often overlooked feature of Flash is that it makes small files. For ten megabytes, in Flash, you can get a full featured game. This helps Flash to appeal to dialup or slower broadband users where Java or C couldn't. Flash can also use database connectivity to save scoreboards, progress and account details, which is rare in a format so smooth.

Flash is efficient, applets made in it tend to run on computers that you'd be hard-pressed to find outside of an antique shop. It is the empowering technology of choice on a certain well-known pet site, which almost certainly has users on dialup and on poor computers.

Something to remember is that Browser Games have a completely different TA (target audience) than that of AAA list games. Browser games are made for the casual player, someone who wants to play immediately and at his/her convenience, as such it must load fast, play fast and keep the user's interest. Developing a successful Flash game is very difficult, because generally if a user becomes disinterested, one or two clicks will take him/her to a completely different game.

So, what about monetizing a Flash game? Well, the standard is based on the shareware model. You have a teaser version of a game on a website and then allow users to download a 'Deluxe' build for a set fee. Often the producer will allow lots of sites to list their 'teaser' games; this is a clever form of viral marketing.

Possibly the most solid reason to use Flash is that it would always be fairly easy to find people willing to draw in the Flash SWF vector format. Other technologies would require external animation but with Flash, the motion, the drawing and the script can all be done in a single interface.

Graphical objects within this interface can have specified alpha values, positionings, angles of rotation, explosion effects and many built in motion tweening effects. It is this versatility and built in function that makes it a real joy to work with.

Flash is fast-becoming the only standard for browser based gaming, because it requires no real programming knowledge. The scripting language is very well explained on several websites, and in the included tutorials.

But the main reason? Simple. There are many very dedicated sites out there which will effectively get your product out for free. Even if all the other points in this article didn't exist, it is the only format with true open distribution.

Things You Should Know Before You Download Free Registry Cleaner

by: Arvind Singh

You would be tempted to see the offers for download free registry cleaner. Attractive it is. However, before you download free registry cleaner, understand what a registry cleaner is and how you should use one.

The registry is the heart of your computer. This is where your system stores all the information about your computer – what your software and hardware settings are, and everything about the system configuration. The Windows uses this information to operate. With time, as and when you install and uninstall new software and other components, the older, unnecessary, and incorrect records keep on accumulating in the registry thereby slowing down the system speed. A Window registry cleaner removes all these extra records, trimming down your registry, and speeding up the complete system.

In addition to old records that are not required, the registry is also a home to a plethora of viruses, Spyware, keyloggers, Trojan, and the like that manipulate the whole system, leading to system errors and much more.

Using a Window Registry Cleaner

The most important and critical element to any operating system from Microsoft is its registry, and you require a certain level of knowledge to use a registry cleaner. This is what you should know:

The frequency with which you should use your registry cleaner depends on the frequency of your changes in the system. You would not face much of a problem with your newly installed computer. If you frequently install and uninstall your software, you need to clean your registry frequently. It depends on how often you install and uninstall photo and graphics software, games, drivers, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software, among other installations.

Do you install components while browsing on the net? Do you often change the system configuration? Do you often change your hardware, printer, your monitor, and the like? Depending on these changes, you need to use your registry cleaner daily, weekly, monthly, or less frequently.

One registry cleaner does not necessarily clean the same way as the next one. A cleaner that finds more problems is not necessarily the better one. Certain cleaners, if they are not sure about the registry record, try to find out if it is important, instead of just deleting it. This results in a better computer performance.

Certain cleaners may search deep and show more problem records. There is every chance that the good records may get thrown out with the bad ones. This is the reason why you need to install a full version of the registry cleaner from a reputed vendor.

A registry cleaner does a great job of removing incorrect and useless data from the registry, and enhances the performance of your computer.

Now that you have all the required information about the role and advantages of Window registry cleaner, you can go ahead and download free registry cleaner for your computer. PC Mantra offers free download of registry cleaner for a trial version and offers a full version with added features and functionality.

Why Do You Need A Registry Cleaner?

by: Arvind Singh

Before we understand the need of registry cleaner, let us understand what registry is and why you need a registry cleaner to enhance PC performance. Just as you would store your documents in a file, the Windows stores all information about your computer in a Registry, such as all the software and hardware settings, and everything about the system configuration. It is the most critical aspect of the operating system, and needs to be cleaned periodically. A Registry Cleaner is a program that looks for and deletes outdated entries.

Using a registry cleaner periodically will make your computer run better. Registry was first introduced by Microsoft in Windows 95. Before this, configuration settings were all stored in INI (Initialization) files scattered all over the hard drive. Due to this, it was quite difficult to keep a track of them. A registry consolidated all information in a central location. It is a central cache of all settings, options, and preferences of the PC, manages the start up options, and keeps a track of the various software installed in the system.

Removing the Build Up

Over time, the registry in a computer builds up and this can make the computer unstable and have a slow start up. As you keep on using your computer, the registry keeps on building up with obsolete and unnecessary information. These need to be cleaned up using a registry cleaner.

This is especially true for Windows 95 and 98. However, Windows NT, XP and 200x also have a lot of entries that are not necessary, and are created when programs are installed or removed. It is always advisable to use a registry cleaner to remove these unwanted entries to make your computer run faster.

The registry cleaner scans the registry to trace the obsolete data, deletes it to enable your computer to run error free and enhance the performance of your PC. Most cleaners have a backup function to help you backup your registry before cleaning it, in case you encounter a system failure, and some files get deleted inadvertently. You can get a free registry cleaner or trial version. But the free or trial versions have their limitations therefore it is better if you select a licensed registry cleaning software for this purpose.

A damaged Windows registry in your computer can corrupt your whole system, rendering it unusable. To keep this vital part of your computer in a good working and an un-bloated condition, a good registry cleaner should have the following features:

Automatic scanning of the registry and its cleanup

Backup and restoration of the full registry

A startup organizer

Removing Trojan, which utilizes startup files

One particular registry cleaner may not be compatible for all types of computer systems. They have their own minimum system requirements, such as :

Some that are compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, or XP may not be suitable for other versions of Windows. Some require a particular class of processor with a certain amount of RAM

You may need a certain amount of empty hard disc space.

Now decide, do you need a registry cleaner or not?

Just How Important Is Ink!

by: Robert Michael

Peering down at the page of our books or newspapers or thumbing through glossy color ads that arrive at our homes, we tend to overlook an essential part of these media creations. Ink is the real medium that ‘illuminates’ the printed page. Without it, there would be no carefully scripted letters or bright, lively images, no smiling faces promoting new and improved products.

Still, ink has been getting more attention lately as the market for household ink becomes more and more competitive. Changes in the way ink is marketed and distributed have led consumers to take another look at the process in order to find ways to purchase affordable inks.

The old inks of ancient history were simple and natural constructions, made from such elements as vegetable acids, animal products and nut oils. Today’s inks are different. Chemists have created super-durable inks with technical additives and engineered these products to provide the smoothest results from use in commercial or home machines. The only problem is that ink has become in some cases extremely expensive as the market for ink shifts. Therefore, people are looking to get the most out of their dollar when it comes to refilling the printer or copier machine.

A growing number of buyers are resorting to an array of complex options for buying ink. Some search for bargains in sale catalogues or buy ink bulk; some even buy a new printer advertised at a lower retail rate than the required ink cartridge! Another option is to refill your old cartridges at a local ink distributor. This has become popular due to the way the cartridges work. It is not uncommon for a cartridge to not dispense all of the available ink, and so refills of a cartridge have turned out to be an efficient purchase.

Buyers can also explore the use of ‘alternative inks’ like soy based products, which are available from some print shops as environmentally friendly products that aid in the recycling of printed matter. These are useful in home projects that don’t involve the high-speed name-brand printer; issues of compatibility might mean that these alternative inks are not for everybody. But for those interested in long-term environmental effects, printing experts can advise them on how to use more natural ink products.

With all of these available choices, it’s getting harder and harder to figure out the best way to get affordable ink products. Consumers can look to product reports in office magazines or to the clamoring web pages where cheap ink is advertised, but in the end, the only solution is thorough research. Buyers need to be able to deduce which products deliver a high volume of ink at a low price, and which ones are just rip-offs.

Also, one doesn’t want to end up with a pile of waste products, plastic cartridges of whole machines marching into obsolescence. Overall, it pays to shop around when looking for the next bottle of that magical stuff that makes the pages of our print media come alive.

Guide to Buying a Webcam

by: Andrew Gates

How web broadcasting works

Webcams are those handy little cameras that attach to your PC and send images to a web page that can be viewed by others. This enables you to share daily life events with friends and family in other parts of the country or the world, or to arrange a video-conference with colleagues and maintain long distance relationships of all kinds. Of course the number of ways to use this technology is limited only by your imagination.

Web Cameras

But before you buy a webcam, it pays to understand a little about how the technology of broadcasting images over the Internet works. Of course, if you're a full bottle on this already, you can skip this section and go straight to browsing the options on where you can compare products and suppliers, their specifications and prices.

Webcams provide 'real time' images of people; places and events that can be viewed 'live' on a web page. The broadcasting end has a camera that captures the images, feeds them into a computer to an ISP and out to viewing pages across the Internet. There are two different types of broadcast: streaming images, where the images are a constant stream downloaded in video format; or Java, where the images are captured at fixed time intervals and refreshed on the web pages at a rate fixed by the broadcaster.

The Applications - What are you intending to broadcast, and to whom?

There is a wide range of uses of webcam technology. Some examples include personal 'Big Brother' style diaries, sharing of family events, workplace security, video conferencing, virtual tourism, road traffic management, weather watching, event broadcast and a host of others.

Before you make a choice about any webcam equipment, it helps to decide exactly how you want to use the technology, in other words, what you are intending to broadcast. This decision will impact upon the type of camera you use, and how you use it.

A second consideration is, who will be viewing your content? What level of quality is expected? This will help determine the type of camera you use, the software involved and your Internet connection. Of course, your Internet connection may be a limitation on how much you can do.

The requirements for video conferencing are different from the requirements of workplace security, which are different again from the requirements of sharing a family event.

The physical components

There are a number of physical components required to make web cam technology work. At the top of the list is the camera itself. Then, depending on the type of camera you use and the way in which you want to deliver the content to the Internet, you may need to incorporate video capture hardware in your computer. Some software is required to help you process the data, and Internet connection is required and a web page into which the data is fed.


Your choice of camera depends somewhat on what you are intending to show. If you need to reach a large public audience yo may want good quality camcorder or megapixel camera that captures high quality images. If it's just for seeing who's at your front door or keeping an eye on the kids in their playroom, then it may not need to present high quality images. If you are intending to use it outdoors, it will need to be weather proof and you may need to consider sun and UV protection. Available power supply and any robotic requirements for camera movement and focus are extra considerations.

Dedicated webcams

The most basic webcams connect to a PC using a simple USB connection. A wide range of cameras with accompanying software at a range of prices is available for this type of application. Simply search though to compare prices and specifications. Dedicated webcams are simple to install and easy to use, but come with limitations that affect the quality of the images, such as low number of frames per second (refresh rates) and resolution (pixels per inch).

Camcorders and security cameras

Higher quality images and more camera control come from using camcorder and security cameras. To use these devices you will need to add a video capture card to your PC. Once you have that installed however, you can use a wide range of cameras from broadcast cameras to miniature spy cameras. You can include variable lens options, filters for daylight and low light situations, as well as robotic controls for panning and focus adjustments. You can search through for camcorder selections.

Integrated cameras

An integrated camera combines the camera and the optical hardware with a video server, and as such requires no additional software. They can be used in network situations or as stand-alone devices for monitoring progress on a construction project for example.

Megapixel cameras

Network megapixel cameras combine network capability with high quality digital camera technology. These cameras offer excellent quality but this creates large files sizes, therefore they have limited application in constant streaming video. However for interval refreshed archive image collection, they are ideal, providing a constant record and high quality. You can search through for digital camera selections.


If you are not using an integrated camera solution, you will need to install an encoding program like Webcaster or MediaCaster to transfer your images to a web page.

At the receiver end, when web surfers browse the internet and wish to view live video on the web for the first time, they will need to download dedicated applications that show the content such as an ActiveX control, Windows Media player, Flash player or the like.


Finally, you need an Internet connection. The hardware you will need may include a modem for dial-up connection, or modem/router for a broadband solution. Naturally the higher the quality you want, or the faster refresh rate you want, the more bandwidth you will need. ADSL (Broadband) is going to offer you the best solution, but keep in mind what your Internet connection when you are making choices of cameras and feeder software.

Webcam applications work well with wireless solutions. Make sure when you are purchasing a camera or network video solution that it is compatible with any wireless system you may be using in a LAN.

Key considerations

The specifications that are variable with webcam applications, and are affected by camera type, web interface and Internet connection, include the number of frames per second and the image resolution.

Frames-per-second is the number of times a still image flashes by in a second to give the appearance of moving pictures. In Australia, the standard television PAL format is at 25 frames per second. A webcam with up to 30 frames per second will show normal video images. But the more frames per second you demand, the more bandwidth, memory and processing power is required.

Resolution is measured the number of pixels per inch. High quality photographs require a high resolution. But the standard for web images is a low 72 dpi. Higher resolution images will not be of any better visual quality, just slower to upload and download.

Use to compare different webcams, camcorders and digital cameras. You can compare the prices and specifications of the different products and brands, and a wide range of reputable vendors.

Protect Your Computer

by: Eoin Kane

I will have to be first when I admit I am addicted to the Internet. Whenever I‘ve got a spare hour, I love to just surf around as a form of entertainment. I have also found out about the world of download. I can take the best in modern music and DVD and watch or listen as I do whatever else I want. This is the kind of thing that absolutely anyone could become addicted to. Whatever entertainment you want for the cost of your Internet connection! Wow.

As perhaps you would expect, when I am online all the time I run into a few problems that I have had to deal with. When downloading, you are simply asking for problems when these files are not being scanned before you actually download them. I lost all information from my hard disk before, and that includes my financial records, my photographs and the all the games, and DVDs and music which I had downloaded along the way.

Before, I just had some anti-virus software called Norton which was just on my computer when I bought it. I thought it worked fine but occasionally some viruses would get through. Yes only occasionally, but this is not good enough when your computer could just crash at any given time. This is a problem that you have to tackle before some malware or spyware penetrates your hard drive or the internals of your computer. My friend's PC just started switching off whenever it pleased as a result of this and the same thing could easily happen to you.

So basically what I would recommend is that you do not surf the Internet, then your current protection will probably be ok. However if you do, then you absolutely have to upgrade your virus package.

So now I don’t rely on any rubbish package for anti-virus protection. You simply have to update your as well if you want to protect your computer. Because the Internet changes every minute, so does the viruses that your anti-virus software has to tackle. That is why you need software which automatically updates itself via your Internet connection. Think about when a new virus pops-along. Will your two-year old package be able to defend your computer? I do not think so some how.

And other thing that you need from anti-virus software is something that will come with support functionality. Imagine when you realize that you have zero idea how to upload your software. You need a call-center that is going to ensure you can get it working on your computer. You should actually get software which directly meets your surfing habits. If you do not then you are just asking for problems to happen. Look at the software and ask questions. Will this be able to handle downloading from peer-to-peer networks?

Basically, if you spend your time online or even if you work from the Internet then you cannot afford not to invest in some quality anti-virus protection. Having some rubbish package is better than nothing, however things are far more sophisticated these days, and you really need something that is going to work. It is a wise investment, and think how much money you will save once you start downloading free stuff online?

Windows Cleaner: Protect Your Online and Offline Privacy

by: Arvind Singh

If you do not want anyone to invade your privacy on your personal computer, installing Window cleaner is certainly the way to go. Let me explain to you a brief overview of why you need to install the windows cleaner and how does it help you protect your online and offline privacy.

Why Is The Need To Install Window Cleaner

All your activities on your computer are tracked by your operating system in various places. These places include document histories, cookies, temporary Internet files, etc. While you work offline or surf the Internet, all your activities are stored in the form of various files in these folders. Windows cleaner makes sure that all such information is removed when you shut down your computer system. Thus, it maintains your privacy. Other users on the same computer do not get to know about your online or offline activities.

Is This Just All About Maintaining Privacy?

No, it is not like that. Windows does not only maintain your online and offline privacy by deleting the various history folders, but it also keeps your computer free from garbage files that are stored in your computer system while you browse Internet. These garbage files include various application files and temporary files. A huge log of such files may cause certain problems for your computer. For example, it may slow down the processing speed of your computer, or sometimes it may intercept in the running of some software applications. Sometimes, it may also cause your computer hang. Therefore, it is not just all about maintaining your online or offline privacy, but by installing and running a free Window cleaner, you ensure a safe and soothing working experience on your computer system.

Can The Windows Cleaner Be Customized?

Yes, it is not like that the windows cleaner will always automatically erase all the history and junk folders. It will do so only if you have adjusted such a setting in its options menu. You can easily customize the same as per your requirement. It allows you to erase browser cache, cookies, history, visited URLs, typed URLs, auto-complete data, index.dat, temp folders, run history, search history, open/save history, recent documents and more. At the same time, it also allows you to specify cookies to keep, so that you do not erase your important login cookies.

Overall, if you want to keep your online and offline privacy on, and want your computer to be free from all the unwanted junk and garbage files, installing Windows cleaner is certainly the way to go.

Features And Benefits Of Anti-Spam Software

by: Arvind Singh

The best anti-spam software is the one that gives you your privacy. Ideally, an anti-spam device should be the one that delivers only the emails you want, and blocks 100 percent of the emails you do not want. This, though, is never going to be possible. Spammers are always one step ahead, and the manufacturers of anti-spam filter tries to catch up.

Most anti-spam solution can be customized to your needs, and only the approved emails come into your inbox. Such software always presumes that all the incoming emails are spam, and only allow those, from the people you know, to come in.

Benefits of Anti Spam Software

Let us look at some of the benefits and features of anti-spam software:

Blocking Spam – Certain anti-spam solutions not only block specific email addresses, but also look for subject lines and text in the email messages. You can arrange to block incoming emails based on senders, and also if your email address is not in the recipient field.

Automatic Filter Updates – Most software programs for filtering Spam come with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of filters built in. In addition, companies offering these software release new anti-spam filters regularly. This ensures that your anti-spam software is always up-to-date.

Creating Custom Filters – Some anti-spam programs allow you to create your own filters, depending on the spam you receive.

Quarantining Spam – Anti-spam filters automatically quarantine the spam emails, ensuring your inbox is spam free. Such quarantined emails are held for a fixed number of days, say 30 days or so, and then dumped. The delay allows you to check and recover any legitimate email that may have been quarantined.

Your Personal Whitelist – A feature in certain anti-spam software allows you to maintain a ‘friendly’ list of people whose emails you wish to accept. These emails are never mistaken for spam as against the blacklist of spammers. You can always update your ‘whitelist,’ as and when you wish to.

Monitoring Multiple Accounts – Other than deleting spam from your email account, this feature allows you to monitor and filter your email from multiple accounts. It allows you to filter your home email from work, and vice versa.

Reporting Spam – There is an option in certain anti-spam software to report back to the company supplying the program. This allows the companies to develop new filters based on the analysis of the reported spam.

Some anti-spam software allow you to block attachments. Certain executable attachments could damage your computer.

Emails have become a very popular way of advertising, and it is time that you start filtering your emails, to avoid spam. Most software available can be customized to suit your requirements, whether they are the home or the business versions. Get a Spam Filter now to block spam mails.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Is Anti-Spam Software

by: Arvind Singh

Before we learn about anti-spam software, we need to first know what is spam. To put it succinctly, spam is unsolicited and unwanted email. Other names for spam are Unsolicited Bulk Mail, Excessive Multi-Posting, and Unsolicited Commercial email, in addition to the more common - spam mail, bulk email or just junk mail. The advent of email brought in an era of instant communication, where information reaches our desktops, at negligible cost, and in no time at all, from across the globe.

Along with the benefits, came the negative aspects of email. For the multitudes of marketing hawks out there, this was an opportunity to send unsolicited promotions of their products, instantly, and at a very low cost. Today, spam has reached such monumental proportions that 10 out of every 13 emails (76.9%) we receive are spam, one way or the other. This is why anti-Spam filter has become a must have software for almost all PC users.

Stopping Spam

Simply put, anti-spam software helps detect spam. It is a software program that detects unsolicited and unwanted e-mail, and prevents them from reaching your inbox.

Anti-Spam software is also known by many different names, such as: Spam Filters, Email Spam Filtering, Spam Blocking Software, Anti-Spam Filter, Spam Filtering Software, Spam Blockers, Bayesian Filters, and Anti-Spam, among many others.

Anti-spam software is installed in your machine to divert the spam coming in. If installed in the mail server, you will never receive the spam, to begin with. The filtering is configured based on a number of criteria. These could be specific words in the subject line, in the body of the message, and the type of attachments accompanying the mail. You could arrange to filter out even the sender’s email address. Certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) maintain a blacklist of habitual spam senders – known as spammers. Anti-spam software detects these blacklisted senders and rejects them per se.

Over time, anti-Spam software has become sophisticated to match with the wiles of the spammers. They use techniques that do not trash genuine emails by effectively analyzing the content of the email. Such software looks for keywords and tries to interpret their meanings in the sentences. Certain spam filters do not accept emails that come to you in the form of "Undisclosed Recipients." They accept emails where your email address is in the “to” or “cc” fields.

Anti-spam software has become an essential part of your computer’s security, to ensure that you only receive the emails you want, and not others. To help eliminate spam, look for anti-spam software that has the following features, among many others:

Blocking emails using both lists and preset filters - blocks specific addresses, watches subject lines, and messages within

Updating filters automatically

Isolates spam outside of your inbox

Puts acceptable emails automatically into your safe list

Monitors and filters multiple email accounts

Now that you know the basics about the need and importance of anti-Spam filter, select the right one for your computer and get rid of the menace of Spam.

Things To Know About A Windows Cleaner

by: Arvind Singh

As you use your computer, all the activities it carries out are logged in. All software programs, including Windows, keep a track of the websites you have visited - the documents you have used, and all similar activities you have performed - and store them. A Windows cleaner is a tool that removes all the document histories you have created while working on your computer, offline as well as online, including cleaning the cookies and temporary Internet files. It also cleans up all the places where Windows stores all your activities, including in the document menu and the Recycle bin. Thus it is an effective tool to enhance PC performance. With a Windows cleaner, you will never have to face the problem of your computer running slow.

A Windows cleaner helps protect your privacy by cleaning up your system. As everything you do on your computer is logged in, this is a matter of invasion of your privacy, as any one can see what you have done, and the sites you have visited. In addition, the storing of all the activities takes up a lot of disk space, and this valuable space needs to be recovered to enhance PC performance.

What Does It Do

Cleaning up your tracks by removing all the extra unwanted files, such as the application, temporary files, cleaning up the history of your activities, recovering valuable disk space, and cleaning your browser's cache of cookies, along with your Windows tracks, the Windows washer is one great way to keep your computer running faster and free of error.

A Windows washer is a comprehensive tool that cleans up the following, among others:

Windows history
All Internet applications used by your web browser
Your browser's temporary files
Windows temp files folder
Registry streams
All duplicate files
The Recycle bin

Depending on the Windows cleaner you select, it can be personalized as per your preferences. You can utilize it to optimize your resources, and protect against hijacks. All cleaners provide you with a clean offline and online environment so that you don’t have to complain about your running slow.

If you have been neglecting to clean up your Windows, your folders would be saturated with, rather bloated with, files – running into thousands - those are unnecessary. These ‘overweight’ folders are carrying files that are negatively affecting the performance of your computer. There may hardly be any space left for virtual memory, or for the printer’s file, making you lose the ability to print. If you are using Windows ME or XP, you may be unable to create a system restore point, as you will need a lot of free space for its backup. All because of insufficient storage space.

To get your computer back to health, you need regular services of a Windows cleaner. Some windows cleaner are even available for a free download. Get one for your PC now and enjoy trouble free computing.

Notebook Battery Life - 3 Easy steps to extend the life of your notebook battery

by: Michael Paul

Notebook computers. At this point in the 21st century, they have become an indispenable part of many people's everyday lives. From the commuting business executive and the busy college student, we all want to be mobile with our computers. The big drawback of that is the fact that there is not always a plug around when you need one. A notebook computer's battery is its life-blood. Without proper care, your notebook battery could fail much earlier than anticipated. By following a few simple steps, you can expect to get the greatest amount of usage possible out of your notebook battery before a replacement is needed.

1.) Upon purchase, charge the battery to full capacity. Whether you have purchased a new computer have purchased a new battery for your laptop, charging it fully as soon as you open the box is the best recommendation. This allows the battery to reach a full capacity before you begin to use it "unplugged". Most batteries come with a partial charge, enough to get you going if you absolutely had to. Giving that battery a full charge when it is brand new will help set the charge capacity for the battery at its highest possible level.

2.) Once you reach a full charge, leave the computer plugged in for at least 2 hours. This action lets the battery "rest" at a full charge for a fairly lengthy period of time. At this point, the battery is not drawing power from your wall socket to charge, and it is also not supplying any power to your system. Letting your battery rest for a time after a full charge helps to "lock-in" that full charge capacity.

3.) Unplug the computer and drain the battery. It might sound silly, but now that you have gotten that battery to a full charge, you need to drain the power almost completely. Again, this will help determine the charge capacity of the battery. Leave your computer unplugged and use it until you get a warning telling you that the battery is almost completely discharge. Then save whatever you are working on and power the computer down. Plug back into the wall socket for a fresh charge. Then use the computer at your leisure.

If you follow these steps about once a month, your notebook battery should last a nice long while. Not to say that you will never have to replace it, but at least it will be a long time before you need to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Choosing Anti-Spam Software That Is Right For You

by: Arvind Singh

It is believed that on an average, an email user receives more than 2000 Spam emails every year! By certain accounts, an email user receives more than 77 percent of the mail as spam – which is around 10 out of every 13 emails you receive! More than two-thirds of the email passing through the air waves are pure junk – unwanted and unsolicited. It, therefore, becomes imperative that you chose the right anti-spam software that meets with your requirements.

Spam happens to be one of the biggest disadvantages of using communication channels through the Internet. There is every need to find ways to separate the wanted emails from the unwanted and unsolicited ones. Choosing the correct anti-spam software or Spam filter is the right way to cut down on the spam you receive.

Handling Spam

The amount of spam you can detect and delete depends on the type of screening your emails go through. Many anti-spam software have a multi-level of email screening, which is worth the money you spend. You can even select a trail version or free anti Spam software to sample what it does and then you can opt for a full version with enhanced features and full functionality.

One of the best places to trap and eliminate spam is at the servers that receive, forward, and send the emails. You, of course, have no control over the type of anti-spam handling done by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). To handle spam, there are particular services available to filter them. For a nominal amount each month, a particular service inspects and cleans your inbox. Another service involves forwarding your complete inbox to their servers, where the clean up occurs as emails arrive.

As personal spam blockers, a number of anti-spam software are available from reputed anti-spam suppliers, such as Symantec, McAfee, eScan, PC Mantra etc to name a few. Such software capture and inspect all emails coming in before allowing the clean ones into your inbox.

The type of anti-spam software you select will depend on the volume of emails you handle. It will also depend on the budget you allot to the anti-spam program. The best anti-spam software for you should have the following features, among many others:

It should allow you to see who the sender of the email is, the subject, and the attachment. You can then decide whether to delete the email or accept it.

A chance to preview the message before downloading it. This will enable you to delete if you do not like the message.

The feature that allows you to bounce back the spam email is a great way to let the sender think that your email address is no longer valid. This would probably make them remove you from their mailing list!

There are a number of anti-spam software available with a number of online suppliers that you need to explore, to select the best that is suitable for your needs.

PC Wars-The Saga Continues

by: Richard Stoyeck

At one time Dell Computer was one of the extraordinary growth stories in America. Michael Dell could do no wrong. There then comes a time in every entrepreneur’s career when he or she has to recognize, it’s time to step aside and let new, historically proven managers come in and run with the ball.

Michael Dell stepped down two years ago, and turned the ball over to Kevin Rollins who runs the company on a day to day basis. Dell either has to be kicking himself in the butt for turning the reigns over to Rollins, or be happy that he himself is not on the firing line at the moment.

Dell was innovative in selling directly to the consumer as a business model. It worked brilliantly for years. The firm had no equal in the direct to consumer market. Dell also was encouraged to sell big time to the corporate market. All great technology oriented growth companies hit walls. My work shows that it tends to happen about 7 years or so into the growth process. The exceptional growth company can take longer before it hits the wall, and has to reinvent itself. The word reinvent is the correct one to use.

Microsoft has now entered such a period, having become a cash cow as opposed to being a growth company. In my history of technology investing which goes back 35 years, I have never found a growth company that has not hit a wall somewhere in the growth process.

What happens is that companies at some point tend to rest on their laurels, their past successes and glories. They become so committed to what they are doing, that they become incapable of seeing the next revolution sneak up behind their backs and challenge them for supremacy. It always happens and it’s always the same way with the same result. Never have I seen a single growth company that could reinvent the revolution. It’s always some new kid on the block that spearheads the next new thing.

The consumer has probably now reached a stage where he wants to walk into a store and see what he’s getting for his money as opposed to just reading specs on his computer and talking to an outsourced person in India who is absolutely clueless about American culture.

In the last five quarters, Dell has missed on the estimates that it has given Wall Street. In the last quarter there has been a 51% decline in quarterly profit, and now a recall on 4 million laptop batteries to boot (no pun intended). This is not the way to run a major Fortune 100 company.

Things always get worse before they get better.

When a growth company hits the wall and starts to decline, the decline usually has to go for quite a while before a new management team takes the reins and starts to engineer a midcourse correction. This is like turning an aircraft carrier around. First you have to make the decision to go another way. You then have to get everybody else on board quickly. It takes several miles to get a carrier turned around at sea; it’s not easy for corporate management to do it either.

Dell will have to re-examine its direct to customer sales model, because right now Hewlett Packard is eating them for lunch. The stock is down 60% from its high for good reason. The stock market is telling you something. Is anybody listening down there in Texas.

Dell bet big on the corporate market, and completely failed to take into account the changing sentiments of the consumer market. Dell needs to grow bigger outside the United States. Everyone agrees that the US market is not really a growth market at the moment. The firm must increase international sales to a point where it’s growing 15 to 20% internationally. I don’t see it happening.

Somebody and not Rollins has to address the lackluster customer service in this country. Why not Rollins? It’s because he was in charge of the company when the problem became a problem. You never want the guy who was involved with the problem to be the guy who fixes the problem. He’s too busy protecting himself than to fix the problem. That’s management 101.

Dell use to be almost perfectly run. They had the low cost model, and the competition, namely Hewlett Packard, Acer, Apple, and China’s Lenovo were always playing catch-up, and stumbling trying to catch up. Why did they stumble, it’s the same in football, you go for the long bomb when you are behind in the fourth quarter. Now the competition finds its model working, and Dell is stumbling.

I realize that Dell has spent money fixing customer support, and trying to convince people that their product is no longer a commodity. I have seen zero results from this expenditure at this time. In my own work as a money manager, I have lowered my estimates for this company six times in the last twelve months. I currently do not carry it in a single portfolio. Fortunately, I missed the whole move downward, and I am not willing to bet on this company yet.

Yes, Dell is now considered a value stock by many. The problem is that the growth players haven’t been completely washed out of the stock yet. This will take more time. The institutions that have had a tough time performing this year will be under pressure to rid their portfolios of Dell by year end if the stock doesn’t perform. Dell has agreed to market processors by AMD as well as Intel. They will probably take a hit to their margins because Intel was probably rebating them back a portion of the sales to be an exclusive with Dell.

The company is still sitting with almost $11 billion in cash on the balance sheet, which works out to about $4.50 per share. Wall Street is in the process of lowering estimates for 07. Here’s the bottom line, with Dell you still have a valuation risk. Hewlett Packard is growing faster and selling cheaper. The only reason to own Dell here is its previous extraordinary history, but in stocks the past is not always prologue to the future. A stock has no ideas where it traded yesterday, and Dell has to execute on a believable strategy. Go figure.

Goodbye and good luck

Richard Stoyeck

Getting Your First Computer

by: Muhamad Fuad

Have you ever wanted to buy your dream computer? You have save your monthly income to buy it but you did not know what specification you should choose since there are lot of choices in the market today.

Beside budget, below are the important factors that you should look into when buying a computer. They are the operating system, processor speed, graphic card capability, power supply, hard disk, and the monitor. Take a look at this simple guide and I hope that you will have a nice computer buying experience later.

Build it yourself or ask somebody else?

Firstly before stepping into choosing the suitable hardware, a question that you should ask to yourself is whether do you want to build your own computer or ask somebody to build it for you?

>From my experience, it is better to ask somebody else to build it for you if this is the first time you want to buy your own computer. You can always learn to know about your computer hardware and software later. But, do not forget to assist the salesperson and ask him or her anything that you did not know about your computer. He might give you some tips of what should do and shouldn’t do with your computer during the building process.

Choosing the hardware

Now, we will look into buying hardware for your computer. Your computer hardware determines your computer speed. There are lots of factors that affect how well your computer will perform as well.

The Processor

Nowadays, two big companies are in the race of getting the fastest processor for mainstream are the Intel Corporation and Advanced Micro Device (AMD). What I’m going to tell you is not which one of them are the best, but some aspect of processor that you should know.

The greater the processor clock your processor have, the better performance it will be. As example, a 3.0 gigahertz Intel Pentium Processor will beat the 2.0 gigahertz version of the same processor. But there are bottlenecks that limit performance in other places such as the cache’s size and latency, power consumption, and temperature.

So, for conclusion it always better to choose a processor that have least power consumption, large cache size with low latency, and capable of running fast in well-accepted temperature such as 34 Celsius, and have the latest feature such as support for dual-core and 64-bit computing.

Remember, don’t compare different type of processor performance with clock speed since it’s proven by AMD that clock speed did not influences the performance of the processor very much unlike the 1998 era.

The Monitor

Prefer choosing a LCD monitor over CRT Monitor. No heavy lifting required with a LCD monitor since they weigh less than half the average CRT monitor. LCD monitors require half the power of CRTs and emit much less electromagnetic radiation which can interfere with other electronic devices.

Talking about the LCD size, 17-inch is enough already since it give the best support to resolution that operating system widely use nowadays (1024 by 786 pixels). But, if you want to keep your computer for a long time or want to use to make it as part of your Digital Media Centre, LCD Monitor with larger than 19 inch size is recommended.

The Graphic Card

A graphic card is a must have for modern computer today. Never intend to use integrated graphic since it will greatly slow down your computer. PC graphic such as photos and videos will require a lot of processing power. Without the help from graphic card, the CPU needs to handle all the system and graphic processing.

Choosing a graphic card is easy depends with how you use your computer. If you did not run any games, graphic card without latest features is acceptable. Just make sure that the graphic card supports the incoming operating system from Microsoft, Windows Vista. Since a high-end graphic card will require high power for SLI or crossfire function, if you want to save your electric bills, consider mid-range graphic card which usually sold at 150-250 dollar.

Power supply

The higher the wattage that a power supply support, the better it is. If you want to purchase additional hardware for your computer later such as USB optical mouse there won’t be a problem for you since a decent power supply will supports your need. A good power supply is the power supply that can give out as much 500 watt of power or higher than that.

Hard Disk

An internal hard disk with latest Sata 2.0 (serial ATA) support will serve you perfectly. Other than that, the size of the hard disk should be big since you might want to store a lot of pictures, music, and movies later. 200GB hard disk is the regular specification nowadays. If you want to keep your hard disk for a long time, 500 GB would be enough.

How many hard disks should you buy? The minimum is one but I recommend you to get two hard disks for your computer. One will be for main operating system and the other one for storing your personal data. This is essential to avoid those data from clutter together. Moreover, your computer performance might increase if you use two hard disks. This is because the computer can access the operating system files directly from its own drive.

The Operating System

For the best user experience, operating system from Microsoft such as Windows XP still dominates the market nowadays. Since lots of people using it, getting support would not be hard. Just go to a tech support forum and your software-related computer problem will be solved there. Although you can use Linux operating system for free, it is not recommended because not all hardware supports Linux.

Well, that’s all for now. Your journey to build your dream computer should not end here. Ask your friends for some advices such as a good computer hardware shop in the town or their past experiences in buying their computer. Thus, you will not feel regretted with what you’re going to buy.

Time for a Web Wash?

by: Penny Archer

Those of you in the business of e-commerce, internet marketing or website building will understand the importance of first impressions of a landing or home page of a website.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way and yes, I was stupid as I certainly should have known better, given my years of experience in marketing. The message really hit home on Saturday morning when a voice on the other end of the phone said “…and what exactly does your company do, I have been to your website but I couldn’t quite understand it.”

Oh dear, my little heart sunk about as low as it can go (well, over a website tragedy that is) and I vowed to remedy the situation first thing Monday morning. As it happened, I couldn’t live with myself by leaving the web-makeover till Monday, so Sunday morning I fired up the laptop and tried to put myself in the seat of a first time visitor to After two minutes I understood exactly what this well intentioned soul destroyer was alluding to and after five I had decided to throw away half of the content on the site.

But first things first, priorities reminded me that I had an urgent task to research some email marketing companies for a promo I was considering, so I spent the next three hours going through a list of companies that my researcher had prepared. The simple goal was to find the companies that could benefit from my product. And guess what; most of the websites were just as confusing as mine! So I set a benchmark, if I couldn’t understand exactly what the company did after two pages of research I deleted it from my list.

Let’s get real here, we are all busy people. How would you feel if you put your mower into the back of your car, drove it to the other side of town to a mower repair shop and found out that they didn’t really repair mowers.

So back to my website, while still having that annoying little inner voice reminding me of the Number One search engine tip ‘content is king’ (does anyone really know what the search engines feed on any more?) and trying to balance this with the KISS principle, I set about to come right back to basics. And do you know what? It was fun, it was easy, it was cleansing. And more importantly, my focus became clearer and clearer the more detritus I eliminated. It was like carrying around old baggage, not quite necessary anymore but I’ll hold on to it just in case I ever need it again!

How many of you can honestly say that your website is clean, is focused and your services clearly defined. Just take another little check, it won’t hurt.

When you clean out all your unwanted and unused hoardings at home it is referred to as a ‘Life Laundry’, let’s call this a Web Wash.

How You Can Increase Your Computer's Speed Without Upgrading ?

by: Abdelrahman Zohdy

How you can increase your computer's speed without upgrading ?

Every time I see the speed of my computer like the tortoise's speed I wonder if there are any ways to increase my computer speed without upgrading, and how can I speed up my computer although I'm a normal user and I don't have any programming skills?

The answer is very easy, just follow this ways:

1- Use Disk Cleanup to increase speed of Windows and the internet, how:

Start--->>All Programs or Program Files--->>Accessories--->>System Tools--->>Disk Cleanup then select the drive you want to cleanup and you should start with drive "C".

2- Use Scandisk to fix system errors and that make Windows run faster, how:

My Computer--->>click Right Click on drive C--->>Properties--->>Tools--->>Check Now then click on the first square to fix errors automatically then start.

3- Use Disk Defragmenter to increase the speed of your hard disk and applications, how: Start--->>All Programs or Program Files--->>Accessories--->>System Tools--->>Disk Defragmenter, then select the derive you want to begin with but you should start with derive "C" then click defragment.

4- Speed up your internet connection immediately: clean up your internet cache and your temporary internet files and cookies. Be careful because when deleting your cookies will also delete useful information from your computer. How can I speed up the internet connection:

Start--->>Control Panel--->>Internet Options--->>Delete Cookies and Delete Files.

5- Don't let a lot of applications running when Windows starts, because you will make Windows run slowly. How to delete applications from Startup menu:

Start--->>All Programs or Program Files--->>Startup then "click Right click and delete" on any application you want to delete.

Why Do You Need A Window Cleaner

by: Arvind Singh

Window cleaner has become an absolute necessity these days because every time you use your computer, every webpage you visit, every image and file – whether multimedia or a movie file - you see, are stored in it. This takes up a lot of disk space, which is quite valuable in terms of storage space. You probably use a number of software, as most do, and every software saves some information or the other. Through this information, all your activities can be tracked and traced, invading your privacy. Windows washer is a tool that helps remove all these traces, and much more to help run your computer better and faster.

What most computer users do not realize is that every single online activity of theirs can be easily tracked. Internet history files, cookies of the sites you visit, and your browser cache are a storehouse of all your online activities. Through these logs, your privacy can be trespassed. These files are not required, and must be deleted after you have finished using your computer. These unwanted files take up precious disk space and slow down your complete system. This is why you need a Window cleaner – to help clean up all these unwanted information.

What Will A Windows Cleaner Do

Window cleaner will free your computer of all stored information, which are not required, and which are a danger to your privacy. Different cleaners have different features, depending on what you require. Windows cleaner that merely deletes the files may have a limited benefit, as a variety of data recovery tools available can help recover the data. Certain Window cleaners have a feature that further shreds the deleted files and folders.

Though a Windows cleaner is an all-in-one cleaning tool, it comes with various features. All such cleaners are flexible tools that clean up the history of your activities, both online and offline, and restore hard disk space. Some cleaners come with features, such as secret bookmarks, stealth cleaning, and hide browsers, among many others. Certain other features include optimizers that clean all obsolete files and files that are pure junk. Certain features also find duplicate files and remove them.

A Window cleaner is a powerful tool and is quite reliable for removing all useless files, and de-fragmenting your computer, making it run faster than before, and completely error free. It is a user-friendly application, though some may not be able to restore deleted files. Depending upon the Window registry cleaner you have opted for, you can either clean all the traces of your activities manually, or fix up a regular schedule for cleaning.

Having a Window cleaner is no longer an option, but a must. To select the best cleaner to suit you, all you need is to go online. A plethora of online stores has a variety of cleaners to choose from.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Harmful Viruses And Other Malwares In Computers

by: Jeff Clark

A computer virus is often termed ‘malware’ because it is a type of malicious software. Other types of malware are worms and Trojans. Let’s take a look at each of these below.


A virus usually arrives onto your computer hidden inside of another program which is often delivered by email attachments. It derives its name from the fact that just like a living virus, it needs a host to live and breed on. When you run the infected host program, you then launch the virus into the memory of your computer where it sets up home and waits to go about it’s intended function of destroying your files and infecting other computers.

Once the virus has infected your computer it waits for the programmed trigger to signal it into action. The trigger coded into the virus and can be anything from a specific date to a set number of times it has replicated itself.

Once triggered, it goes about the destruction it was designed for. It may be a simple deletion of files or pranks. It could also be programmed to destroy your operating system.

Viruses are commonly spread on email attachments. This is why you should never open an attachment unless you know who it was from. The problem is that sometimes it can appear as if a virus is just an attachment from someone in your address book, so always be on alert when you get an email with an attachment on it particularly if it is an .exe file.


Worms work a lot like viruses do. They are also self replicating and can reproduce so fast that they can overload and shut down entire systems. The difference between a virus and a worm is that the worm doesn’t require a host to live on. A worm is stand alone malware. They also usually hitch their way onto your computer through email but don’t need an attachment to ride on.

Trojans aka Trojan horses

Trojans take their name from the classic Greek story for they misrepresent themselves as well. They often pretend to be something they are not. Trojans are not self reproducing like worms and viruses but they can do just as much damage. They hide on other programs and record your keystrokes and steal passwords and credit card numbers.

Fighting malware

It is important to stay up to date with the latest methods being used to combat malware. Your computer can be destroyed by one of these nasty computer programs or your credit card and other personal information can be compromised. For starters it is a good idea to not open email attachments to reduce your risk of picking up a virus. Use a good virus detecting program and firewall to keep the pesky bugs out of your system.

Laptop Security: Don't Leave Home Without It

by: Linda Marklund

Hundreds of thousands of laptops are lost or stolen each year. What if it happened to you? Think about all the valuable information stored in your laptop and the chaos that would enter your life should it become lost or stolen. Hours and hours of hard work on that special project—gone. Volumes of resource materials you collected for months, years—gone. All the photos you unloaded from your camera and never got around to editing and printing—gone. Most important, your personal information, your credit cards and bank statements—you shudder to think about it. Laptop security should be every owner’s high priority. Not just protection from physical loss, but from the internal infestation of spyware, viruses, hackers and spammers. Your security needs to be maintained and updated. Don’t take for granted that the security purchased with your laptop is sufficient. It may have been a three-month free trial subscription that you forgot to renew. Better check. Treat your laptop as you would your wallet, your purse, your fine jewelry. Protect it as you would your child. Here are some important steps for protecting your laptop.

· Make sure your OS (Operating System) is secure. Windows 2000 Pro and XP Pro are secure. Windows 95/98/ME are not—anyone could access your data.

· Password protect your data.

· Send in your manufacturer’s registration. If your stolen laptop is ever sent in for maintenance or repair, it can be traced through your registration.

· Turn on your popup blocker. On the Internet, go to Tools/Internet Options. Click on the Privacy tab and check the box that says Block popups.

· Install Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus software, and keep it up to date.

· Pay attention to Windows Updates and take the time to install them. A few minutes is all it takes. It’s so easy to click "remind me later," but even if you have to restart your computer, it’s time well spent.

Simple Security Measures to Protect Your Laptop:

· Carry your laptop in an inconspicuous bag. A fancy designer case appears to have "steal me" written all over it.

· Never leave it unattended, not even for a minute.

· Store it in a locked drawer when not in use.

· Label it. Use conspicuous identity labels that would be difficult for a thief to remove. Engrave your name on the cover.

Internal Security--Protect Your Data:

Set the BIOS password. This is the first thing that appears when the machine is turned on. Most computers refuse to boot if the password attempt fails three times.

Set the Log In Password. Most systems require a log in password. If the password entered is incorrect, the system will refuse the user. Password protection is not 100% secure, but it certainly presents a difficult challenge to a thief.

Sensors: There are some very sophisticated sensors that can be purchased for added protection, such as a fingerprint sensor, or a gesture sensor. Your password could be a sequential pattern of movements of your head from sided to side, up or down. There are also alarm sensors that sound if someone touches your laptop when you are out of range. Additionally, there are fingerprint sensors, retinal sensors, or even your typing characteristics can be recorded for authentication. Sensors are fairly new and not yet a standard feature on laptops.

Tracking Devices: You can now buy software that enables your laptop to "check in" to a tracking center by using a signal. The tracking center service works with police departments and internet service providers to track and recover stolen laptops.

Personal Firewall: Install this extra layer of protection not only to prevent intruders from hacking into your system, but also prevent your information from leaking out.

NTFS: If you have Windows NT/2000/XP, use the NTFS filing system. NTFS stands for NT Filing System.

Disable the Guest Account, or at least assign it a very complex, hard-to-guess password.

Rename the Administrator Account. Don’t use the word Admin in the name. A different name will make it harder for hackers to open the door. You could also create a "dummy" administrator account. Assign it a complex password, too hard to guess, and restrict all privileges. Then enable "auditing" so that you can tell if access has been attempted.

Disable the "Last Logged-In" user name. This will help prevent hackers from password guessing. You can find the instructions to do this on the installation CD for your laptop.

Encrypt your folders. Use EFS (Encrypting Filing System). When a folder is encrypted, any file stored in that folder is also encrypted. Encryption takes long to do and it also might slow the performance speed of your laptop, so you might choose to encrypt only the most sensitive files in your laptop.

Disable the Infrared Port. The port is for transmitting data and is not the method routinely chosen by most users. But did you know that someone sitting across the room from you could actually browse your files via the infrared port without you even knowing it? You can disable the port in the BIOS, or simply cover it with a piece of black electrical tape.

Back up your data before you travel. If some unfortunate circumstance occurs, your data can be retrieved by you. You could store all your data on a disk (encrypted and password protected, of course) and travel with an "empty" laptop. Remember to keep the disks on you and not in your laptop case! And watch out for metal detectors at the airports. Alternatively, you could send ahead your disks and retrieve them when you arrive at your destination.

External Laptop Security:

Cable Lock. You never know when it becomes necessary to leave your laptop unattended if even for a minute or two. Get a cable lock and use it. Make sure you tether it to something very sturdy and immovable.

Docking Station: At your office, many people you don’t know may pass through. You never know which stranger might want your laptop. A docking station can be permanently fixed to your desktop and it locks the laptop in place. If you can’t have a docking station, get into the habit of locking it in a drawer when not in use or when you have to leave the work station. You wouldn’t leave your wallet on your desk when you leave, would you?

Airports are a prime location for thieves to snatch your belongings in seconds. Obviously, never leave them unattended. Carry-on, never check your laptop. There’s a risk of it getting lost in the airport luggage system. How can you secure your data while traveling? One company in particular, Absolute Software, a Canadian-based company, has developed software that can trace a lost or stolen laptop and even delete the data with a remote device. Another company in Colorado, Otter Products, makes durable carrying cases that are crushproof, water resistant, drop-resistant and securely locked for traveling.

In summary, you could virtually turn your laptop into a mini Fort Knox if you took advantage of all the security options available. But I hope this article has instilled enough paranoia in you to incite you into taking necessary precautions to insure the security of your laptop and subsequently your private life! Taking heed to simple security measures on a regular basis will become as habitual as putting on your seatbelt when you get into the car. When security measures are in place, you can then lighten up and go about your day worry-free.

PC or Mac? A Big Decision for Your Business

by: Jeremy Maddock

When purchasing new desktop or laptop computers for your business, there are a few important decisions to be made. These include which exact features you want in a computer, as well as which manufacturer you wish to purchase from. The most fundamental decision of all, however, is whether your business should use a Windows-based PC, or a Macintosh.

The primary benefit of buying a Windows PC is the mainstream worldwide popularity of the Microsoft Windows operating system. For well over a decade now, these computers have been top-of-the-line in terms of software compatibility, with most application developers thinking about Windows first and Mac second. That’s why, generally speaking, you’ll find a lot more business-minded programs that work with PCs than with Macintosh machines.

In terms of speed and performance, however, Macs do have some definite advantages. In terms of graphical editing, video, and multimedia, for example, Apple’s Mac OS computers are known to perform extremely well, often making more efficient use of memory and processing power. Macintoshes do have quite a number of profound strengths, but it’s their low market share (about 10%) that can render them a less-than-perfect solution for those seeking flawless compatibility with mainstream business software.

Overall, the decision of Mac or PC rests solely on what functions you value most. It’s a good idea to look at numerous models of both types to determine which machine is best for your company’s unique purposes.

Spyware Remover

by: Greg Martinez

Spyware invades your privacy. It is generally any software that invades computer systems mainly for advertising purposes, secretly gathering information from computer users then sending it back via Internet connections without anyone’s knowledge or permission, no less.

What happens is that spyware applications are most often packaged or bundled in with shareware or freeware programs as hidden components. So when you download programs from the Internet, you get the entire package, spyware included. Then once you install and activate the package, the spyware goes to work, monitoring activity of the computer users on the Internet, and sending the data back to home base.

Spyware Protection

Some Internet service providers (ISPs), like Earthlink and America Online or AOL are offering their own spyware protection built right in with the service packages. And there are a variety of adware and spyware removal tools to give your systems spyware protection, in budgets for all ranges from free on up.

Free Anti Adware

One of the top companies on the market today offering a no-cost solution is Lavasoft. They offer a free anti-spyware / anti adware download called Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition that can scan your hard drives, RAM, Registry, even external storage devices. It detects unwanted advertising, data-mining and tracking traces left to work throughout your systems. Simply download, install, activate and clean out your systems to get your privacy back.

Recent upgrades to this software include extended memory scanning that is an in-depth process now. The cleaning process of your system includes Code Sequence Identification technology that scans for unknown elements in your systems, an extended Registry scanning that now checks multiple-user set ups and more. The softare will also rid users of scumware, parasites, dialers, some trojans, malware and browser hijackers.

Adware Anti Virus and More…

Computer users can get help with readily available anti-virus, adware & spyware removal tools, often via instant downloads. You can at least install no-cost applications on a trial basis to see what you think. Then continue use regularly with paid or free versions. Popular tool choices, listed in no particular order of preference, include:

- Hitman Pro
- SpywareBlaster
- AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
- Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware
- Spybot - Search & Destroy

So take charge and protect your privacy. Don’t let unwanted invasion enter and remain in your computer, sharing your personal information over the Internet with unknown sources. Fight back with an army of tools designed just to help you!

How To Prevent Spam On Your Internet Forum Board

by: Alessandro Golkar

Why spammers spend their day infesting forum boards with useless threads, and how you can keep your forum board tidy from this.

Spam in forum boards consists mainly in two activities, that are the following ones:

• Spam Threads
• Spam Member Profiles

Spam threads are new topics in which spammers put lots of links, usually pharmacy drugs and sex related, in order to obtain links for their websites and gain some traffic from the search engines.

This activity, apart of being illegal, it is totally deprecated because it promotes website that may potentially sell dangerous products, scams or could even bring to phishing sites.

Moreover, letting those links stay alive on your forum board may let your pages on being penalized, if such links are categorized as “bad neighbours” from the engines.

Last but not least, users seeing too much trash on your pages won’t return on your site anymore, and you will progressively lose traffic along with having your content quality drop to nothing.

For such reasons spam prevention is essential in order to keep your forum board tidy. Therefore the main question is: how can you achieve the goal of preventing spammers infest your forum board?

First of all, you will need to moderate your board by yourself or having some dedicated moderators in order to delete spam threads when these appear. If you are using PhpBB you should find a hack to add a thread report feature so to make your regular users help you in the spam prevention task.

Also, if you want to avoid people to sign up just to put their spam website on their profile to be shown, you should activate the email confirmation on your forum script. Both PhpBB and vBulletin are supporting this feature.

Manual activation of the accounts from the forum admin may be an idea, but this would slow down new memberships and could be an unsustainable extra work from your side.

You could even remove the possibility to add a website on your members’ profiles but this could limit your legit users, and you want your community to have all the benefits you can give them.

A good solution may be to remove the live links from profiles and the member list, and this can be easily done with manual modification of your forum script. It is easily feasible on PhpBB and vBulletin as well.

If you don’t know how to do this, you can contact a professional forum promotion firm and make them do the job for you. For instance, my company is doing such jobs for the public.

Security is the Number One Issue Online

by: Terry Ward

It should be a legal requirement for your ISP to protect every surfer, provide spam filtering that actually works and a defence against phishing that is more than a warning letter reminding you that emails asking for passwords should be deleted, but its not.

If you surf it is your responsibility to protect your online security. Especially if your connection is a wireless one.

You have no more important tasks before attaching yourself to the "World Wide Web" than the installation of a safe browser, firewall, block list and an anti-virus solution. You should also have a hosts file, and you should have made at least basic changes to the default configuration of your browser. The pitiful offerings that came with your Operating system are Dodos and should be considered as dead as them. Patches are continuously being introduced to the main interfaces and they always come too late.

You should be provided with the basic tools and information to have a good grasp of what is needed to survive in the tangle of bad websites, unscrupulous coders and thieving parasites that inhabit certain parts of the Net. The fact that you don't is, in this author’s opinion, scandalous. Secondly, the large number of sites offering "free malware, adware, trojan and virus detection" reflects the shortcomings mentioned above. Of course only the download and scan are free. When, and I mean when not if, these "free downloads" find something bad you will be invited to pay for their removal. Doubly scandalous as the very best solutions are available completely without cost.

So, which defences do you need and which do you need to replace? The firewall that is part of your OS, if you should be so "lucky", is lame and leaks like a badly designed nappy and should be discarded with the same haste. A similar fate should befall your browser. And one of the greatest ironies of our time is that the average user has to go online to get a decent anti-virus solution, privacy protection and, most importantly, a fully functioning firewall.

You should know that the criminals who create botnets have, to hand, the total list of addresses assigned to all the ISP’s in the world and they own such powerful computers and connections that your machine will be compromised inside 3 minutes of your being online. It takes longer than that for even a seasoned, read scarred, net veteran to assemble, let alone download, the necessary tools to prevent disaster. For disaster it most certainly is if you are caught with your pants down and some idiot has your number and has infiltrated your computer before you have your shields up.

They can prevent you from even visiting an anti-virus provider’s website. They ensure that their trojan code is hidden from your investigations and then utilize your CPU power and connection speed for their own ends. They riddle your hard-drive with spurious nonsense and defeat an intelligent attempt at their removal. In the wink of an eye your once clean machine is less powerful, your internet connection is slower and your software, including your personal files, in more danger than when you plugged it into your phone line.

Please have a CD, with some tools on it, to install immediately after you put the Operating System on your computer and before you even think about instant messaging your friends to tell them that you are back after the bad guys trashed your previous setup. The best free tools, and this time I mean totally and completely without cost, are available at my main website Download the latest versions, at a friend's house if need be, and learn how they update themselves to remain one step ahead of the very bad people who would hurt you if they could.

8 Things to Consider when Buying a Laptop Computer

by: Alex Fir

1.) The ports. You should make sure that laptop has lots of USB ports for devices such as printer, mouse, flash drive, digital camera, etc. If your laptop does not come with many USB ports, you will need an USB hub. If you plan to connect your laptop to a TV, you will need an s-video port.

2.) CD/DVD. Most of laptops come with a CD writer\DVD reader drive. If you want to copy DVDs, you will need a DVD writer drive. At this time the maximum speed for burning a DVD is 16X.

3.) The hard drive. The speed of hard drive is measured in rpm or Rotations per Minute. Try to find a laptop that has 4200rpm or 5400rpm. A laptop with 40 Gigabytes is sufficient for an average person.

4.) The memory. Your laptop should have at least 1 GB of memory. However, you can get a notebook with 512 MB and work with Windows XP. You should avoid a laptop with only 256 MB of memory.

5.) The processor. You can choose between Intel and AMD. At the moment, Intel has the best processor for a laptop called the Core 2 Duo. The speed of processors is measured in Gigahertz. The bigger the number, the faster the processor is. There are also Dual-Core processors. It means they can process two things at the same time. As a result, the power of the processor is doubled.

6.) Size. You should choose a smaller screen if you carry your laptop a lot. Typically a 14.1 inch screen is considered small. A 17 inch screen is considered big. A 17 inch screen is heavier and use up more battery life. You can get a 15 inch or a 15.4 inch.

7.) The warranty. Each laptop computer should come with one year warranty from the manufacturer covering only defective equipment. You can also get an extended warrantycovering any accidents you may have.

8.) The brand. Average brand of laptop is Dell, HP, Gateway, Acer and Compaq. The better brand of laptops is Sony, Toshiba, Alienware and IBM-Lenovo.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Set Up Your New ‘Pop’ Account

by: Emma Broe

Got your new hosting account, anxious to start emailing everyone but cannot understand what your service provider means?

A lot of clients have asked for help in setting up an email account so I have put together a ’step by step’ guide for Microsoft Outlook. If you still need help, please email me.

Step 1: Launch Microsoft Outlook and select ‘Tools’ from the main top menu’. Select ‘Email Accounts’ from the drop down menu. A pop up window will appear - select ‘Add a new e-mail account’ - click ‘Next’

Step 2: Select ‘POP 3′ from the list and then click ‘Next’

Step 3:

-User Information: Enter your name and email address.

-Logon Information: Enter your user name (usually your entire email address) and the password assigned.

-Server Information:

Your incoming mail server will be given to you by your email hosting company and will be something like - ‘’. If you haven’t got this information, ask your Internet service provider.

Outgoing mail server: This will be the address given to you by your internet access provider. It may be something like -

Please note: If you have a separate internet account to your email/web hosting, the outgoing address will differ.

-Click on ‘Test Account Settings’ - a new pop up window will show the progress.

-If there are no errors, you will see a ‘congratulations’ message.

Remotely Accessing Your Home Computer

by: John V. W. Howe

Windows XP operating system contains the software needed to remotely access your home computer from any Internet connection. This is a powerful tool when you are traveling and need to have full access to your home computer to keep your business running efficiently

If you are going to be an online entrepreneur, you always need to have access to your computer when you are away from home. Some people use laptops for home and travel, but many prefer to have use a desktop or tower model PC.

When we retire and are using the Internet for our retirement job, it is very important that we can access the Internet since working on the Internet is our life blood. There are several software packages on the market that will enable you to access your computer as though you were sitting in front of your own monitor. Some of the better known ones are and costs $49.95 for the initial setup and between $18.95 and $24.95 per month depending on the plan you choose. has a limited feature free version which you might investigate. The full version costs $12.95 per month for a single PC.

The great news is that Microsoft has created a package that is included in the XP Windows operating system. It can also be downloaded from the XP System CD to other operating systems. This will allow the computer to access the remote computer. This software uses the Terminal Server package which only transmits mouse, keyboard, and display information so it is fairly effective over a slow bandwidth connection.

You can install this on your home computer and access the home computer from a laptop that you might carry or from any Internet connection when you are on the road.

My road laptop is running Windows 2000 Professional so I loaded the software on it from my Windows XP system disk and it works very well. When you are traveling, you will be able to use any computer running Windows XP if the Remote Desktop software is installed on it. Most of the hotel business centers and Internet cafes have this set up. All you will need is the IP address of your home computer.

If you want to set this up, click the Start button and select Help and Support. Search on "remote desktop". You will get the information that you need to set up the connection. NOTE: You need a fixed IP address to which to connect. Some Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) do not assign a fixed IP, but rather give you a variable IP address. Most will issue you a fixed IP address for a one time fee or for an additional monthly fee. My fixed IP address cost a one time fee of $25. You need the fixed IP so you can always connect to the same address when the connection is configured. Check with your IP to see what your situation is.

If you have a firewall/router on your system and have a home network, you will also need to make your own computer IP address fixed within your network. This is done by clicking Start/Control Panel/Network Connections. Right click on the icon of the connection that takes you to the Internet and select Properties. In the scroll down window, highlight Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click the properties button below the scroll down window. Click the radio button. "Use the Following IP Address". Enter the IP address to be assigned to the computer. Most computers on Windows are in the 192.168.1.NNN number range. Usually, the lower numbers are assigned first by the software so skip to 101 for the rightmost address in the IP string ( The subnet mask is The default gateway is usually Leave the DNS server information alone. Click OK twice. Now try to access the Internet to make certain that nothing has been changed that will prevent you from operating your computer. If you cannot access the Internet, go back through the process above and turn on the radio button that says "Obtain an IP Address Automatically" and it will reset back to your old processes. At that point, I suggest you use your software support guru to help you do the job.

If you have a router, you will need to direct the input from port 3389 to your fixed IP address ( This is done by logging onto your router and setting up the port routing settings. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Read the router instructions and you can do it. As a precaution, write down the router settings before you change them so you can reset to the original values if something does not work properly.

To log on, go to Start/Programs/Accessories/Communications/Remote Desktop Connection. Enter your Internet IP address in the box and click Connect. If all is well, you should see the logon box for your user and password. Caution: If you have someone sharing your computer at home, warn them that the display may suddenly show the login screen. When you are on the remote connection, no one can use the home computer until you finish.

Sometimes we are careless about passwords on our home computers. Since you will be accessing your computer over the Internet, create a strong password for your login. Make it at least eight characters long and make it a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

When you log in, your job will be a window on the computer you are using for the access. There is a job bar at the top of the screen of the remote software. It has the IP address of the computer being accessed and the standard Windows Minimize, Reduce, and Close. While you are working on the computer, you can minimize the remote window and work locally and the connection will remain active. This will allow you to look up data on your home computer, copy it to the clipboard, minimize the remote window, and paste the information into an application running on the local computer.

I have used this feature for over six months now and it has worked very well for me.

One other consideration is to make certain that your home computer does not shut down while you are away. If a family member is there to restart it if you call and ask for help, this is not a problem, but if you are on vacation and no one is there to help, you have a problem.

Purchase a UPS (not the brown truck) but an uninterruptible power supply and install it on your computer. This will keep your computer running if there is a short power outage. There are bargains on good refurbished UPS units on the Internet. Buy one large enough to keep your computer running for twenty to thirty minutes if your power fails. Most of the time the power will be restored in less time than that.

Try it and see how it works. Good computing.