Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Use A Spam Filtering Tool To Manage Spam And Save Hours Everyday

by: Balraj Dhaliwal

For most of us, changing our primary email address to get rid of spam is not really an option. This is because our email addresses are known and used by many of our contacts and may also be printed on business cards and other material. We certainly don't move to a different residence because of some junk mail in our letter boxes. Luckily, there are some very effective ways to combat spam and one such was is using a Spam filtering tool.

The particular tool that I am referring to is called MailWasher. It is a tool that I cannot do without. I've been using it for about 2 years now and my running totals shows that 72% of emails received are automatically deleted by Mailwasher. For more product information on Mailwasher, please visit: www.BSDRegister.com/products/mailwasher

Mailwasher is a piece of software that works at the source i.e. it connects directly to your inbox on the server and takes care of emails there. This is very different to using email filters in your email software for example Outlook or Thunderbird. The major difference is that Mailwasher wipes out emails on the email server so that you never have to download them. Having a filter in Outlook would mean that the email has to first be downloaded onto your computer and then examined and dealt with accordingly. For those messages spreading viruses, this could well pose a threat.

Mailwasher is easy to setup and takes a few minutes. There is a 30-day free trial of the software so that you can have ample time to decide if it is working for you. Initially, I started setting up my own spam filters and was having some success, but then I stumbled upon a link on the company's website that pointed to a link where an avid user was offering his filters for free. I downloaded those and installed them and have never look back. The amount of spam that was identified started to steadily increase until the 72% level that it is at today. This means that on average, 3 of every 10 eamils I receive are legitimate and are allowed through by Mailwasher. The rest are deleted at the source and I don't have to spend time downloading them. This is a big deal if you are using dialup access to the Internet.

There are many controls within the software. You can specify emails be deleted automatically without your knowledge or you could have the program mark them for deletion but let you glance at them just in case. This is useful initially until you get a good feel for it. There are many other options that fall in between these. The good thing is that they are all on one screen.

There is a concept of a blacklist and a whitelist. You can import all of your address book from Outlook with a couple of clicks and from other email programs as well. These go into what is called a whitelist. Mailwasher will allow all emails through that are on the whitelist. It will mark or automatically delete all those that are on the blacklist. Adding or removing someone from either list is a very simple point and click exercise.

Mailwasher also allows the setting up of legitimate filters. These are methods of specifying an email as legitimate. For example, if you identify all emails coming from your company domain name as being legitimate, then all messages from your coworkers will be allowed through without you having to specify each person. This is achieved using a wildcard setting such as "*@youworkdomain.com". This can also be used to blacklist an entire domain such that all messages are immediately marked for deletion or automatically deleted depending on your settings.

MailWasher is an independent program and does not interfere with your email software. It sits in the system tray and does its work diligently. In my case, it checks my inbox every 10 minutes and does a cleanout. I have my email software setup to only retrieve messages when I instruct it to so that MailWasher has the most opportunity to do it's work.

Mailwasher also has more advanced controls, one of them being something known as "Origin of Spam". There are servers on the internet which list known spam addresses. When you receive a message from one of these addresses, it is automatically marked as spam and deleted without your filters even being invoked. This is a remarkable system and comes free with MailWasher. A whopping 14% of emails that I get are identified in this manner and automatically deleted.

MailWasher is an indispensable tool in my email arsenal. If spam is a problem for you, it could do likewise for you. Download your free trial today and use it for 30 days. If you like it, you only pay $37 which in my book is a small price to pay for so much time saved everyday.

Organize Your Folders to Optimize Efficiency

by: Aldene Fredenburg

Files proliferate quickly on personal computers and, without a bit of planning, users can end up hunting through a long list of miscellaneous files with names that seemed sensible when they were created, but now appear very mysterious.

Windows automatically saves new text files in My Documents and graphics files in My Pictures unless you tell it differently- great for knowing where your files land, but not so great when it comes time to find them again. A little planning will help you create an easy to use organizational system for all your documents.

Using nested folders is an easy way to organize your documents. Do you use your computer for both personal and business projects? Think about creating a separate folder for "Personal" and "Business" documents. Within these folders, divide into additional categories.

In the "Personal" folder, you may find a mishmash of letters to friends and family, letters to the editor of your local newspaper, complaints to companies about unsatisfactory products, downloaded recipes and website pages about a variety of topics, and so on. A "Correspondence" folder could be divided into more folders labeled "Friends and Family" and "Business Correspondence"; the "Friends and Family" folder could be further subdivided into folders for each individual, assuming you correspond regularly; you could add a "Miscellaneous" folder for those you correspond with infrequently. If you communicate via email, you could also copy and paste or download your own emails and the responses you receive, particularly where the letters contain valuable information. Your "Friends and Family" folder may also be a good place to store personal photos.

Take a good look at the website downloads and miscellaneous files you've gathered. Do you have a lot of recipes, or information about vintage cars or alternative energy resources? Create broad categories, and then subdivide; "Alternative Energy Resources" suggests several subcategories: "Wind", "Solar", "Biodiesel", etc.

On the business end, you may have correspondence, project notes, background materials, finished and in-progress writings, and a variety of financial files. A number of organizational options present themselves; in terms of financial files, do you want to group them all together in a single folder and subdivide as necessary? Or do you want to keep the financial files with the corresponding project files?

Say you do freelance work for several companies, and have a variety of files for each company. One method of organizing is to create a "Freelance" folder, then a folder for each client; subdivide each of these into "General Information", "Projects", "Invoices", "Correspondence", and so on. The "Invoices" folder for each client could be subdivided again by year, and contain all invoices you've sent the client. "Projects" folders could be subdivided into "New Projects", "Work in Progress", "Done but not Sent" (for files you need to submit), and "Sent". This not only helps you saves finished files, but allows you to organize your work as you do it.

In the "Freelance" folder, you may also want to provide a "Financial Summary" folder containing one or several files which summarize the financial information for all clients.

While you're planning your file organization, also give some thought to how to name your files. It helps to create a systematic way of naming files. Invoices, for instance, could include "Invoice" plus the name of your client, the project, and the date submitted: "Invoice Harvard Stephen Crane 10-20-2005". Correspondence about the project could be labeled "Correspondence Harvard Stephen Crane 10-20-2005". It's easy enough to rename existing files to fit into your new organization plan; in Windows, simply right-click on the file's icon, scroll down to "Rename", left-click, then type in the new name.

Don't forget to back up your files! Burn a CD to save your information and free up your hard drive in the process. And apply the same type of planning with your backup files as you do on your hard drive. A little organization can make your life on the computer a whole lot easier.

Is Your Network Security And User Access In The Right Balance?

by: Derek Gardner

The whole meaning of networking is to share programs, but granting others to access a computer device reveals an open window for those with foul motives, too. In the early days networks were quite secure because they were closed in systems, and to do any harm you had to get physical access to a server wired to the LAN. Remote access and Internet possibility to hook up has changed that. Broader availableness and less cost of broadband (DSL and cable) connections means that even home computers remain linked up to the Internet round-the-clock, which add the chances for hackers to gain access to computers.

Computer operating systems were originally planned for stand-alone computers only, not networked ones, and security was not an issue. When computer networking became known, applications and operating systems concentrated on easy accessibility rather than security. Because of this earlier focus on accessibility; security are now retrofitted into a lot of hardware systems. Modern operating systems such as Windows XP are planned with security in mind, but they still have to operate using conventional networking protocols, which can result in security problems.

Security versus access. The users want easy access to network resources. Administrators want to remain the network secure. These two goals are at odds, because access and security are always on conflicting ends of the scale; the more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

For business computer networks, the key is to hit a balance so that employees are not annoyed by security measures, while trying to maintain a level of protection that will keep unauthorized individuals from getting access.

Internal network security threats are those that come from within the organization, as opposed to those that come through the Internet. Internal threats include employees who on purpose attempt to nick data or bring in viruses or attacks on the computer network. Other internal threats are posed by outside employees (contract workers, janitorial services and people posing as utility company employees) who have physical access to the LAN computers. Though, many internal threats are unintended. Employees may install or use their own software or hardware for a private purpose, unaware that it poses a security threat to their computers and the complete network.

External security threats are those that come from outside the LAN, typically from the Internet. These threats are the ones we usually think of when we talk about hackers and computer network attacks. Such people can make use of flaws and characteristics of computer operating systems and software applications. They take advantage of the way various network communications protocols work to do a range of things, including the following:

Enter a system and access (read, copy, change or delete) its data.

Break down a system and harm or destroy operating system and application files so they do not work anymore.

Install virus and worms that can spread to other systems across the LAN.

Or use the system to start attacks against other systems or other network

Cleaning Your Computer

by: Brian LaCrette

Cleaning viruses off your computer system can be an easy process if you have the right tool. There are many fee and free programs that you can use to do this, ones that you may not even know are available to you. Many of these programs are set up so that even the most novice of computer user can use them without a probleam. Running a virus scanner will safeguard your computer, and may save you from a lot of headaches in the future.

Some of the well known virus scanners are made by Symantec (Norton), Mcaffee, and Trend Micro. Computer Manufacturers will even include a month to six months to a year of free updates with these virus scanners. Once these free updates run out, it doesnt mean that your virus scannner is not working. It means it wont be updated with the latest virus information. While it is reccommended that you have the most recent updates, having the virus scanner itself on your computer will afford you some protection. I dont recommned keeping your computer this way, but if it is your only option, as in you some how cant download one of the free virus scanners I will mention later on in this article, make sure you keep atleast this one line of protection on your computer. Norton and Mcafee sell their antivirus programs for 39.99. You get a years worth of updates with both of theses. Trendmicro bundles their antivirus package with their internet security suite. This costs $49.99, the same as the Mcafee internet security suite, but less than the Norton internet security suite at 69.99. If the information on your system is important to you, the cost is actuallty very reasonable.

There are ways you can save money on Antivirus programs. Many internet service poviders such as aol, verizon, and netscape have started to offer their customers the choice of getting virus protection from them. For instance, with verizon dsl, you can download MSN Premium, which in turn allows you to download Mcafee's virus scan for absolutely free. You simply have to make sure to sign into msn to verify your subscription once every few months. The reminder is actually very non intrusive. Netscape for an additional 3.00 a month will provide you with antivirus protection from Mcafee as well. This comes out to 36.00, so you'll save about 3.99 against buying the actual program. While this is not much, as they say, every little saving adds up over time. For AOL users, you get a free Mcafee virus scan online included with your service for no extra charge. If you're not sure if your isp offers a free virus scanner, you can check over their web site, send their representatives an email, or give them a call. For those of you signed up with the very very inexpensive isp's make sure that you're not going to be charged to call them for information. Most of them though will offer free email support.

For an abosolutely free virus scanner that any home user can get, you can check out a company named TrendMicro Housecall. While it will not reside on your computer to actively protect you from viruses, you can run the program from the internet to verify your computer is virus free, or even to remove a virus if it has not caused enough damage to your computer to stop you from using it. It is available at http://housecall.trendmicro.com. Another free virus scanner that you can download is AVG free edition from Grisoft. It has an in resident scanner that can actively protect you from viruses. You can download it from http://free.grisoft.com. If you like the free version, and would like a more full featured anti virus program, Grisoft also offers a paid version to their antivirus program.

So no matter what you budget is, you can get a virus scanner from some where. You can even get the full featured clients depending on which isp you are using. The most important thing is that you have the scanner on your computer, protecting your data from harm.

For more information visit http://www.dreamsync.com.

How To Avoid Spyware?

by: Matt Garrett

Spyware is a kind of software that monitors the different activities of a user, without his consent or knowledge. Spyware is a major threat and menace to your productivity as well as privacy. Many PC's are affected with spyware and it greatly hampers their performance.

Spyware can spy on your personal information, the software installed in your computer and the web pages that you visit. Sometimes spyware can even hack your username and password. Spyware is a big menace for computer users but can be controlled with the use of spyware removal techniques.

Spyware can be present in any form of harmless program or software. The spyware is capable of sending information to the creators of the software or program without your consent.

Imagine the amount of damage that can be caused to you due to this unauthorized leakage of your personal information. A resent consumer study has found that around 80% of PC's in the United States of America are infected with some kinds of spyware.

Another study has indicted that the IT managers rate spyware as the number one threat for networks.It is likely to happen that you yourself have infected your computer with spyware.

The free smileys and the cursor that you download from websites are most likely to contain spyware. Be very cautious about whatever you download from the online sites. Most free programs and downloads have spyware attached to them. It is highly unlikely that people read the contents of the different pop-ups appearing on their computer screens during downloads. Spyware distributors take into consideration this aspect and embed the spyware in such program.

Spyware puts your privacy at risk. Spyware has become a leading threat to personal computers and online privacy. Spyware interferes with normal functioning of your computer and send information about your online activities to spyware manufacturing companies.

Installation of spyware in our computer without your consent amounts to bad netiquette. It is netiquette to seek permission to use personal information of any kind for any purpose. Incorrect use of your personal information online can land you in trouble.

You can follow some common and simple steps to avoid spyware installation in your system. The basic rule for avoiding spyware is to practice safe surfing. Safe surfing ensures that you are not lured into doing anything, which you do not wish to do. Be very cautious while you are downloading any thing, as it is very difficult to tell what program contains sypware and what program does not. Many legitimate free download programs come with spyware embedded with them.

Install a good anti spyware software, such as XoftSpy, with advanced features in your computer. Do not forget to run your spyware protection every day. It is extremely important for you to read the license agreement terms and conditions very carefully, before you download anything. This can help you in preventing spyware installation in your computer. Spyware threat can greatly hamper your work and other activities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen

by: Bernz Jayma P.

Stolen identity? What comes into mind when you hear that phrase? Stolen identity is when someone uses your name and personal information to benefit financially or materially.

When ones identity gets stolen it is important that they don’t remain silent on the matter. It is wise to report the matter to the concerned authorities as soon as possible. fhe First thing to do is to recognize which identity information has been stolen, your wallet containing credit cards or identification card. It is important to verify whether you still have the documents or you truly misplaced them and need to take immediate action.

The immediate next step after informing the authorities is to keep record of every development on the case. Record the time, money and conversations you have had with the authorities.Why? This is because in case the thief is caught up with the goods he will be able to be charged and asked to pay for the troubles the claimant went through. The next thing to do after your identity is stolen is to create an alert to the credit company. Create a statement with your bank that will issue an alert on fraud and then close the account if the account has been comprimised. Also visit the theft programs if you lost your identity through the internet.

What else can you do if your identity has been stolen? If there are new accounts that you have recently opened make sure to close them. Since they might be compromised too, change all the passwords in your emails and websites; it is a first step towards deterring the thief from causing more damage. If you lost your drivers license visit your department of motor vehicles to get a new number and card. It will be worth paying the drivers license fee all over again rather than breaking traffic rules, due to lack of a license.

Learn to check your credit status oftenly since forewarned is forearmed. Among the major things you need to do is report to the authorities first. They will always give you firsthand info regarding what to do. You can always get your identity back so there is no cause for serious alarm. Try and be consistent in finding where it is you lost your identity and to whom. Fraudsters are charged and punished by a court of law.

10 Best Hidden Windows Features/ XP Secrets/ XP Little Know Features

by: Paul wilson

Windows XP is an operating system par excellence. Easy to use it comes with some amazing features.

1.) The computer management screen allows control of the operating system from a single interface.

2.) The event viewer permits viewing of logs maintained by XP as default. Program and system errors are maintained in the systems logs for ready reference when recurring problems occur. Important is to enable this auditing system which is inactive by default.

3.) The shared folders file lists all folders that can be shared by remote users. The Sessions List displays all remote users connected to the computer. And, the Open Files List indicates all files being accessed by remote users. An invaluable system this helps in security. The system is such that files in drive C: are shared by default. To prevent this, a password must protect all user accounts. One can however remove remote users from the system.

4.) An interface permits management of users, passwords, and groups (XP professional). The ‘groups’ option allows restricting as well as assigning rights as privileges to multiple users. The default users group cannot use systems applications to install software. Only the administrators group has unlimited access to the system. The Microsoft web server software creates IUSR-xxx accounts that permit access to web pages created by you to remote users. To protect the files disable the guest account, which is a security lapse. Further, password protect all administrator and user accounts. Caution! XP home and professional by default make users created during installation process a part of the administrators group.

5.) Win2K creates a database when one or more drives become dynamic. The dynamic disk database contains detailed information of the system. This permits resizing of space in a disk as the dynamic volume need not be continuous. Dynamic volume can be resized to include free space on other disks, termed as spanning. Dynamic disk groups can also be transferred between supporting computers by physical removal and importing them into the disk manager.

6.) A system restore feature takes snapshots of the computers configuration at set intervals. This is a working backup of windows registry and contains all information needed to restore the computer’s functionality. The default reserve of a drive is 12% and restore points are stored in this space. If it runs out of space, a system restore will begin overwriting restore points automatically.

7.) A local securities policy controls XP security options like auditing. The local policies section has auditing options which allows one to know who has accessed audited resources. Auditing is disabled by default; enable only one or two options that are necessary.

8.) Accessibility options includes tools that make using Windows easier for people with visual impairments or disabilities of other kinds. One can change: text size, scroll bar size, icon size, color scheme, use visual indicators instead of sound effects. Of the many facilities such as use of single keys instead of simultaneous use of two or more keys is an on screen keyboard for those who are unable to use a physical key board.

9.) A built in backup system enables data backup to a tape or hard drive. Users of XP Home can add backup utility from a CD.

10.) Files and settings transfer wizard allows transfer of documents from other computers automatically. All it needs is a net work connection.

Understand the operating system and you will discover many delights.

The Power of Web Directories

by: S. Housley

Web directories are an important component to search engine positioning. Directories come in all shapes and sizes, some are generic, while others are highly specialized. Directories, are defined as categorized topics or collections of information organized into a tree like structure where categories are used to define each groups association.

Large directories like Yahoo tend to have general themes and may charge for listings. While smaller niche directories like http://www.finance-investing.com offer free listings and profit from advertising revenue or pay per click models like Google AdSense.

Being listed in a directory not only brings in targeted traffic, it provides a one-way link from a website with similar content. Directories are generally highly ranked in search engines, and are considered well respected resources, two traits that are desirable in link partners.

While smaller directories that focus on a specific niche might generate less traffic, the quality of the traffic from a niche site is usually highly targeted and will be superior to that generated from general search engines.

If you are selling fire alarms, traffic from yahoo will be less qualified than traffic from Alarm Tools, http://www.alarm-tools.net . Most visitors to Alarm Tools will have a genuine interest in alarms and alerting systems. The nature of highly specialized directories result in visitors who have a serious interest in the directories theme, or a at the very least an interest in a theme related to the directory.

As a result, web publishers need to make a conscience effort not to ignore the value of directory listings. Regardless of their size, a related niche directory listing can be extremely valuable.

Many directories offer sponsorship opportunities. Vendors can optionally purchase sponsorship to increased their exposure with a bold listing or top category listings.

Determining a Directories Value

It is difficult to assess the value of directory listing, as there is an obvious advantage to a listing of a closely related theme directory that is difficult to measure and quantify. In general, webmasters can use common web guidelines to determine the popularity of a directory and assess the directory link's value.

To assess the value of a web directory, consider the PageRank of the webpage where the link placement of your site will occur. The PageRank is indicative of how important Google may find a specific page. Another reliable third party measuring tool is Alexa. The Alexa ranking provides insight into how popular a website is. In general, a link from a web page containing a PageRank of 5 or higher is considered very good. A link from a site in Alexa's top 100,000 is also generally very desirable.

Compare the following two directories' Monitoring Tools http://www.monitoring-tools.net and RSS Specifications http://www.rss-specifications.com. Monitoring Tools' main page has a PageRank of 5 but most internal pages that contain links have low page ranks and the overall Alexa ranking of the site is over 650,000. While RSS Specification's claims a main Google PageRank of 6 and subpages all contain a minimum of a 5 for PageRank, the overall site is ranked 32,000. Clearly if you are in the syndication business, RSS Specification's would be a very desirable link partner, while you would have to weigh the cost benefit and position of a link from Monitoring Tools.

To determine a sites PageRank without downloading the Google Toolbar, use the following online tool from RustyBrick http://www.rustybrick.com/pagerank-prediction.php . A website's Alexa ranking can be found by entering the URL into Alexa http://www.alexa.com.

It is recommended that PageRank and Alexa ranking be only used as a guide when determining a directories reputation. It is important not to get too caught up in either Google PageRank or Alexa Ranking as webmasters can use "tricks" to artificially inflate their numbers.

The bottom line, links from directories that are small but niche, can provide quality web traffic.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Computer Help

by: Blaise Calpe

Well there's no denying it - No matter how new or how well maintained our computers are, we all encounter computer problems sooner or later. The good news is that we don't have to face them alone. There are a ton of resources available to walk us through computer issues but it may take a little knowledge in knowing how to access them. This article will show you how.

1.) Remember help files. It's funny, but people seem to forget that every computer and every program installed on a computer comes with its own help file. Even the operating system of a computer has a help file and it really should be the first place to look for answers. Help files are designed not only to guide the usage of a computer, they're also designed to solve problems. Inside a help file, look for a section called, "Troubleshooting" (or something similar) when you need to resolve an issue. This section is reserved for solving problems specific to the software or hardware that you're using.

2.) Product websites. If you're having a problem with a piece of software or with a hardware part, try the website of that software's or hardware's manufacturer. Most (if not all) manufacturer's reserve a portion of cyberspace and dedicate it to support the products that they build. Microsoft's help desk is good example.

3.) Fan sites. Fan sites probably isn't a good name for this resource, but you can find websites that are dedicated toward supporting the users of a particular software program or piece of hardware. We've called them "fan sites" because the maintainers of these sites have no affiliation with the manufacturers that they support! Call them what you will, but their free help is immeasurable and without it, we wouldn't have some of the wonderful workarounds and unique problem solving techniques that we have today.

4.) Usenet newsgroups. Another underused resource on the Internet, Usenet newsgroups have hundreds of discussion groups dedicated to some of the most popular computer systems, operating systems, hardware manufacturers, and individual software programs. Sometimes, the representatives of these companies participate, but most of the time, the support in this group is user to user, which is just as valid because you're working with a team of experienced people.

5.) Support Lines. Another source for help that we shouldn't forget are the support systems of various manufacturers. You can reach these systems by calling the phone number associated with the product that you're having trouble with. Calls may be free (1-800 or 1-877 number), or they may cost a small fee (1-900).

6.) PC support groups or user groups are another option for help. These are groups that meet in libraries, computer stores, or other local areas and they discuss all sorts of issues related with a particular product. Even if you aren't experiencing a computer or software problem, user groups are fun to participate in and they can help you network into other interests such as job or teaching opportunities.

7.) Surprisingly, you may even get a helping hand from the salespersons at your local computer store. We don't recommend that you make this your first pit stop when you experience a problem, but we don't recommend that you rule this option out altogether either. Computer salespersons are hired for a reason - and that's their knowledge. Often, these kind folks can help you resolve an issue over the phone and prevent you form having to buy a costly solution.

As you can see, help is easy to find - You've just got to know where to look for it. Most of the contacts within these resources are extremely friendly and willing to take the time to walk you through a problem at little to no cost. From online discussion groups to the files on your own computer, help is often just a click away.

Protect Your Privacy, Change Your IP Address With Proxy Servers

by: Leon Search

Protect your online privacy. All of your Internet activities are being monitored by your Internet Service Provider, web site owners, hackers, government agents and search engines. There is a simple solution - replace your IP address with that of an untraceable proxy server IP address. No doubt you have seen some of these recent headlines:

- EU official says IP address is personal; Google disagrees

- Google's Servers Log and Retain Your IP Address and Search Terms

- Your Internet provider is watching you

- Google Hands Over Blogger's IP Address

- YouTube blocks UK users from watching music videos

The above items need not apply to you. Proxy servers work by hiding your real Internet Protocol (IP) address and other private information (your location, your ISP etc.) by redirecting all of your network activity through special proxy servers.

There is now desktop proxy software to help you conceal your true IP address. Protect your online privacy, surf anonymously and change your IP, state, or country at will. You can unban yourself from forums and sites. Using a proxy server also provides protection against hackers, spyware and viruses because it acts as an online "shield" against outside malicious attacks.

Normally, surfing the Internet through a proxy server is nothing short of a major hassle. First you have to find a list of proxy servers on the internet. So many of them are bogus. They don't work. Second of all changing your proxy settings through your web browser is a pain too! You have to click tools, internet options, connections, check the button to surf through a proxy, insert the proxy IP address and port and then click OK on several dialog boxes. After a few times of doing this and finding the proxy IP address doesn't work makes you want to punch your computer screen $#@!

In other words a proxy server is nothing more than another computer (server) that is designed specifically for the purpose of allowing internet users to surf through them.

By using proxy servers you are never directly connected to the websites you're visiting. Your computer "talks" with the proxy server basically saying "get me google.com webpage". Think of them as middle men and bodyguards for your computer.

One of the greatest benefits of using a proxy server is that you'll be immune to hackers, viruses, and trojans which plague the internet today.

Proxy servers offer anonymity and security for your computer. If you are interested in learning more give them a visit.

Definity Phones - An Innovative Way Of Telephony

by: Thompson Jems

Telecom solution is the need of an hour. There are many phones heating up the markets such as Voip telephones, Definity Phones etc. The telephony nowadays is helping major business sectors. Many deals are organized and committed through this mode only. For this every enterprise requires an effective mode of telephone lines, broadband connections or other services to organize its business deals at higher phase. T1 Internet Services are very helpful which will surely improve your customer relationship as they will receive the specific data at appropriate time in this regard.

Advance business communication solutions such as Definity phone systems are always in demand. Designed to simplify the business communications in a more effective and efficient manner Latest Definity phone are global leader for various communication systems, applications and services.

Definity phones like Definity 6408+ telephones are best suitable to solve your various business communication purposes. You will get Reliable and clear voice. Be it a simple Definity phone system or Definity digital phone system you can install all brands of phone systems to bring a significant change in your business communications.

To improve customer relationships and maximizing profitability, Definity phone systems are designed for securing single and multi-site networks to. Its advance functions of voice messaging capability and provided features helps in expanding the growth rate of the business. The phone also consists of unmatched features supporting various call centers in increasing their goodwill. Infact these phone systems reduces the work pressure at various stages.

There are many companies who are enjoying faster, reliable and clear communication and providing best transfers at all time with the help of this system. To simplify the complex communication, The IP Telephony Server supports and manages all types of businesses networks.

The sleek design, improved technology and high quality voice transfer of Definity digital phone system is an innovative way of telephonic communication with all your clients at any point of time. It will facilitate excellent customer relationships and enhance business productivity. These business phone system works with the existing technologies to provide a satisfactory result to your clients and staff.

And again if you are looking to sell used telephone like your definity phone systems or equipment then you must be aware of some websites such as 1st-used-network-hardware.com which buys a wide range of used and surplus Definity Phones in a variety of categories. You just need to discover few easy steps of selling your telephone systems. You'll save a great deal of time and increase your return on investment.

http://www.btxchange.com/products.htm
BTX - Business Telephone exchange
587 Division Street
Campbell, Ca. 95008
Phone: (800) BTX-0299
Fax: (408) 374-8757

Monday, April 13, 2009

History of Hewlett Packard and Ink

by: John Sollars

Hewlett Packard’s tryst with ink took off when it acquired a company named F.L Mosley based in California in 1958. Mosley was manufacturing recorders and plotters for industrial applications such as continuous process monitoring systems, data loggers and the like in the 1950’s.

Hewlett Packard was the pioneer in imaging and printing technologies. It was the first in the market during the 1980’s to come up with inkjet and laser technology used in printers until date. Its first printer was the “ThinkJet” in 1984 based on the inkjet technology and later the “DeskJet” printer also based on inkjet technology and the “Laser” printer as the name suggests based on laser technology.

The Ink

Today inks are not just gooey fluids filled in cartridges to give you images on your print media. Specially engineered ink gives high quality prints-it has specially designed active agents and colorants that give rich color and fade resistance.

There is a difference between printer ink and toner - printer ink is a liquid that is applied to paper by pressure. Toner is a fine powder that is burned onto the paper through heat and laser guidance.

There are two types if ink - dye based and pigment based. The rest are a variation of these two basic types.

The Ink Cartridge

The printer cartridge nowadays is not only an object that holds ink but also a highly technical one that has an integrated circuit to control the quality of printouts. The printer ink cartridge is by far the most important consumable as far as its cost, type and replacement is concerned. Every printer model has its own specific ink cartridge.

Inkjet

The inkjet cartridge is a combination of speed and precision. Each ink nozzle in the cartridge fires up to 36,000 drops of ink per second to deliver crisp text and sharp images.

The Inkjet and DeskJet printers use this cartridge. They are ideal for home and personal use.

LaserJet

The Laser Jet cartridge comprises up to 70% of the total imaging system and therefore plays a key role in delivering quality prints. It uses a precision laser to draw the image giving clear sharp and precise prints. These are ideal for home as well as small to large businesses and workgroups.

Design Jet

These cartridges give uniform fills, sharply defined lines and crisp clear text across a wide range of durable printing applications. These cartridges are used for large format printing media such as trade show and event displays, posters and presentations, photo enlargements, architecture and engineering applications such as CAD/CAM.

Color Layering Technology

In color layering, a number of microscopic droplets of colors ranging from three to eight colors are combined and managed through hundreds of small nozzles in the cartridge. The result is a print of high quality with vibrant and realistic true to life images. This technology gives a wide range of colors up to millions.

Available Cartridge Options

1. OEMs

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges are the same ones that come with your printer. The company that makes the printer generally manufactures them. For example, HP laser printers come with HP toner cartridges. OEM laser printer toner cartridges are the most expensive type. You can save money by choosing remanufactured cartridges, compatible cartridges or refill kits.

Benefits of OEM Cartridges

Many manufacturers recommend only using OEM cartridges with their printers to achieve the best results. However, they are also trying to get you to buy their product. Again, if you require optimum quality then it is best to use OEM cartridges. They also prove to be economical in the long run because remanufactured or refilled cartridges may fail 70 to 80 percent of the time in their first attempt or they usually don’t give as many prints as the original or as promised by the remanufacturing company.

2. Remanufactured

A remanufactured cartridge is one that has been disassembled and its worn parts replaced. A new print head is then fitted onto the cartridge, is refilled with ink, and is tested in the factory to guarantee print quality. Remanufacturing is considered more comprehensive than refilling.

Your printer's print head cleaning utility (described in your printer's operating manual) should always be run 1-2 times after inserting a remanufactured cartridge. They are thoroughly tested to ensure quality, and their performance is generally equal to new cartridges.

Just because a cartridge ran out of ink, does not mean the print head and electronics are not still in perfectly working order.

To view a wide range of HP ink cartridges visit http://www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk/acatalog/hewlett_packard_printer_supplies.html

3. Refilled

Refilling your cartridge means cleaning the cartridge and refilling it with new ink. Now, either this can be done at home using a refilling kit or you can ship your cartridge to a refilling company in your area.

Some refilling companies claim that Refilled Cartridges are environmentally friendly and provide a high quality output, which meets or exceeds consumer expectations and that they are:-

· Ultrasonically bathed to ensure a clean print head
· Filled with top quality inks using state of the art equipment
· Tested to ensure high quality printing
· Sealed and packaged in vapor resistant material

It is best to refill your Cartridge within 15 days of the cartridge becoming empty.

Empty cartridges have a certain life span and this can range from between one refill to five refills on average. However, cartridge circuits have been known to fail on the 1st attempt of refilling / remanufacture and in contrast, cartridge circuits have been known to last up to 10 refills, the latter being exceptional durability.

Once a cartridge circuit has failed, the ink cartridge is unusable and a new or serviceable cartridge has to be purchased.

Cisco CCNP / BCMSN Exam Tutorial: Changing Root Bridge Election Results

by: Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933

Your BCMSN and CCNP studies will include mastering the details of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). While you learned some of these details in your CCNA studies, quite a bit of it may be new to you. Before going on to the intermediate and advanced STP features, let's review the root bridge election process and learn how to change these results.

Each switch will have a Bridge ID Priority value, more commonly referred to as a BID. This BID is a combination of a default priority value and the switch's MAC address, with the priority value listed first. For example, if a Cisco switch has the default priority value of 32,768 and a MAC address of 11-22-33-44-55-66, the BID would be 32768:11-22-33-44-55-66. Therefore, if the switch priority is left at the default, the MAC address is the deciding factor.

Switches are a lot like people - when they first arrive, they announce that they are the center of the universe! Unlike some people, the switches will soon get over it. BPDUs will be exchanged until one switch is elected Root Bridge, and it's the switch with the lowest BPDU that will end up being the Root Bridge.

If STP is left totally alone, a single switch is going to be the root bridge for every single VLAN in your network. Worse, that single switch is going to be selected because it has a lower MAC address than every other switch, which isn't exactly the criteria you want to use to select a single root bridge.

The time will definitely come when you want to determine a particular switch to be the root bridge for your VLANs, or when you will want to spread the root bridge workload. For instance, if you have 50 VLANs and five switches, you may want each switch to act as the root bridge for 10 VLANs each. You can make this happen with the spanning-tree vlan root command.

SW1(config)#spanning-tree vlan 1 ?

forward-time Set the forward delay for the spanning tree

hello-time Set the hello interval for the spanning tree

max-age Set the max age interval for the spanning tree

priority Set the bridge priority for the spanning tree

root Configure switch as root

In this example, we've got two switches, and SW1 has been elected the root bridge for VLANs 10, 20, and 30. We'll use the spanning-tree vlan root command on SW2 to make it the root bridge for VLANs 20 and 30.

SW2(config)#spanning-tree vlan 20 root primary

SW2(config)#spanning-tree vlan 30 root primary

SW2#show spanning vlan 20

VLAN0020

Spanning tree enabled protocol ieee

Root ID Priority 24596

Address 000f.90e2.1300

This bridge is the root

SW2#show spanning vlan 30

VLAN0030

Spanning tree enabled protocol ieee

Root ID Priority 24606

Address 000f.90e2.1300

This bridge is the root

SW 2 is now the root bridge for both VLAN 20 and 30. Notice that the priority value has changed from the default of 32768.

In the next CCNP / BCMSN tutorial, we'll take a look at more STP features.

Easy Audio And Video Conferencing Solutions

by: Conference Webs

Businesses and individuals that find themselves operating on ever-enlarging circles of influence can now cut costs and hassle by incorporating the use of conferencing solutions.

Conferencing software has developed in response to the widening global economy, wherein businesses and other types of international organizations must maintain frequent contact with individuals widespread across nations and the globe.

Conferencing solutions include video and audio conferencing. They are both large and small scale, and can entail as many aspects as might be needed given the situation.

The most convenient forms of conferencing are those that are available through the internet. Both businesses and individuals can hook up with others miles away through their personal computers, for a large meeting or a private conversation.

Audio conferencing entails just the vocal aspects of the meeting. Audio conferencing over the internet is cost effective, as it does not entail the exorbitant costs that are put out by long distance carriers, and this is even more true for businesses. There are many application that are available for audio conferencing, both as software purchases through companies such as Microsoft and applications available for free on the internet that can be used by the individual or small business owner, such as Skype. All the different conferencing packages have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of security, privacy, and reliability, and theses are usually dependant on cost.

Video conferencing is also available through the internet, in real time. Video conferencing usually involves more equipment than audio depending on the size of the meeting. Sometimes, a single monitor is enough to accurately depict several individuals, but more often than not businesses purchase large flat stand-up screens for video conferencing purposes, in order to have each individual at a desk or table visible for the duration.

Video conferencing often includes components that make for easy illustration, such as projected charts and graphs. It can also entail animated components, making the information easy to follow and understand. Video conferencing also offers detailed transcripts of proceedings for later review and other records.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Internet Security - How Safe is Our Worldwide Web?

by: Marguerite Pickett

Are you aware that behind the scenes a depraved snake is watching, slithering through Internet security loopholes, ready to strike at any moment? Despicable, swindling crooks prey on unsuspecting victims every second of the day via our wonderful Internet.

Ahh, the Internet! What would we do without it? Need a quick answer to a question or a solution to a problem? Look it up on the Internet. Have some shopping to do and don’t want to hassle the crowds or search from store to store? No problem. Order off the Internet. Need to relax and unwind? Browse the Internet. No doubt about it, the Internet has impacted the lives of almost everyone.

A Look Behind the Scenes

Did you know when you log into the Internet, a fraudster can gather enough personal data on you to conduct monetary transfers from your banking account in a matter of seconds? You don’t even need to be browsing.

The keylogger computer virus has become one of the most serious and dangerous attacks on the Internet. It silently sits in your computer illegally recording key strokes of user names and passwords. While bank and credit card information is transmitted to the hacker, you may not even be aware you have a virus.

Computer virus attacks are increasing in frequency and complexity. Everyone who uses a computer, whether at home or at work, is exposed to more security risks than you can imagine. According to an FBI report, 90% of companies have detected Internet security incidents in the last year. Online attacks have become so widespread that unless we know how to protect ourselves, we are most certainly vulnerable to some type of personal destruction.

How to Defend Yourself

If you seriously want to be in command of your security and privacy, you need to follow these steps:

1. Get rid of any malware (virus, Trojans, worms) that lives in your PC now.

2. Protect yourself against future attacks.

3. Be aware of the tricks these hackers, scammers and snoops play.

4. Keep your personal information away from prying eyes.

It is imperative that you take some time to educate yourself. Putting it off is putting yourself at a high risk. Take advantage of our almighty worldwide Internet. You will find tons of information about spyware protection and even free downloads to see if your computer is infected. What you learn could save you from upsetting losses.

Clean up and secure your computer now. Don’t become a victim!

For more information please visit: http://www.travelwebbase.com/internet-security.html

Spyware Protection - It's Not An Option Any More

by: Marguerite Pickett

The next time you nonchalantly browse the web, think about this: Someone could be watching you! If you have never felt the need for spyware protection on your PC, you may want to reconsider.

Spyware and adware are universal terms used for software that performs particular activities such as advertising, collecting personal information, or altering the configuration of your computer, generally without your knowledge or consent. Millions of advertisers are using spyware products with total disregard for your privacy. Did you know that some spyware programs are among the most popular downloads on the Internet?

What You Need to Know

Any information you enter through the Internet can be intercepted.

Illegal sites can append themselves to your desktop, bookmarks and browser.

Your browsing activity can be recorded and monitored.

Your personal information can be sold to other parties.

Your default homepage, files and settings can be hijacked so you can't change or remove them.

It seems as though your hard drive space has been taken over by aliens. Your computer is experiencing browser instability and exasperating slowness. You are exhibiting dangerous signs of computer rage. Does this sound familiar?

The scariest part of all is that any or all of the above can happen to you without your knowledge or your consent.

Who is at Risk?

Everyone who uses a computer, whether at home or at work, is exposed to more security risks than you can imagine. Most of the time it is some form of a virus, trojan, or spyware that causes a PC to slow down and not perform the way it should. If you are in business, you face the same dangers of Internet security to an even greater degree. A business owner is legally liable for the protection of personal information held about employees or customers.

How to Protect Your PC

The obvious safeguards are: Do not download software from unknown sources on the Internet. Do not open attachments to unknown emails. Only share your primary email address with people you know. But, are these precautions enough to protect you from malicious spyware? In my opinion, no! It’s too easy to become complacent and let your guard down.

It’s time to fight fire with fire. Invest in some good spyware protection. Defeat those spies! There are a lot of anti-spyware software programs available on the Internet. Take advantage of a free download to determine if your computer is infected. If you do not have current, up-to-date anti-virus, firewall, and anti-spyware software installed on your computer, do it right now!

Use trusted software from reputable companies. The Internet is full of software for little or no money. Use caution before you download any software that does not come from a well-know, trustworthy source. The actual cost is sometimes buried in the malicious software that can come concealed in these programs.

Until these evil hackers become smart enough to apply their fraudulent talents into something constructive, the Internet is a place of caution. Protect your computer and your peace of mind.

For more information please visit: http://www.travelwebbase.com/spyware-protection.html

Internet Security and You - Take Action

by: Anthony Norton

It amazes me that for whatever reason people tend to overlook this problem time and time again. With the expansion of the Internet comes more threats. There are people in this world that want to cause harm to your computer, just because they can. You may not know when or where these attacks will occur, but it can happen to you at a moments notice.

When you are online you are sharing a vast network with millions of other users from all over the planet. Some of these user like to abuse the Internet by sending you spam emails or even worst, these people can be hackers and those who create viruses meant to harm your system.

You may have received an email from an unknown sender with an attach link or file with the sole propose to cause havoc to recipient. This file could be an Trojan, keylogger, adware, spyware or a number of the thousands of harmful viruses that can damage your computer, and the time and hard work you spend to customize your system can be wipe clean.

Some of the more well known viruses have been the:

Anna Kournikova virus

This arrives as an email attachment. Opening this attachment infects your machine. Once infected, the virus mails itself to all recipients found in the Windows Address Book.

Lovsan Worm virus also known as "Blaster" or "MSBlaster"

Has quickly infected computers throughout the Internet. The worm takes advantage of a flaw in Windows operating systems to drop a malicious program on your computer.

Unlike typical computer viruses, which usually arrive as email attachments, Internet worms attack communication ports on vulnerable computers, often without the user's knowledge. By taking advantage of a vulnerability in Windows, the worm is able to spread without requiring any action on the part of the user.

Nimda

Infects web servers and local files. Its main goal is simply to spread over the Internet and Intranet, infecting as many users as possible and creating so much traffic that networks are virtually unusable.

The "I Love You" Virus

This virus is pernicious, using Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express to send itself to everyone on a Contact List from these programs, and destructively replacing files. The subject line of the infectious email reads "ILOVEYOU", and the message of the email reads "Kindly check the attached LOVELETTER coming from me." The attachment, which has the destructive Visual Basic script, is named "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs"

If you receive this email attachment, DON"T OPEN IT!!! Your computer will not become infected unless you open the attachment on purpose. Reading the email won't infect your computer.

You may also be careful when using File sharing, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software. This platform is great place for people to spread viruses to other people by simply creating or modifying an virus and renamed this program to a popular file name. Then once the file have completed downloading, the unsuspected user opens the file, and the destruction begins.

It can be a simply problem that hoping your anti virus will detect and alert you of a potential danger, or the virus may just completely wipe you hard drive in seconds. For those of you can use popular p2p programs like kazaa, limewire, shareaza, emule and others, please do not download any file that may look suspicious with a weird a file extension. This file may look like "britney spears.jpg.exe" or "norton antivirus.exe" with a smaller file size then usually.

If you have an antivirus software, you can simply, "right click" a file on your system and scan for viruses, before your open the file itself. This method can help you, but is not foolproof.

Don't be the next victim. Take these steps to help keep the odds in your favor of being protected:

Antivirus Software

An premium antivirus software like Panda Platinum Internet Security (which included an antivirus, firewall, spam blocker, and anti-spyware), BitDefender, or The Shield Pro is the most critical element of your Internet safety.

If you don't have up-to-date antivirus software on your PC you're asking for trouble. A good antivirus software will find viruses that haven't yet infected your computer and remove the ones that have.

Firewall Software

Windows XP comes built-in with a firewall, and if you are running Service Pack 2, it is turned on by default. Although Windows XP's firewall is certainly better than nothing, you should strongly consider acquiring another firewall to work on top of, or replace (recommended!) the firewall that comes with Windows XP.

Firewall software watches these ports to make sure that only safe communication is happening between your computer and other computers online. If it sees something dangerous happening it blocks that port on your computer to make sure your computer stays safe from the person who is trying to hack into your system.

Some of the better firewalls are Zone Alarm Pro, Norton Personal Firewall, Panda Platinum Internet Security, and The Shield Pro.

Spyware Removal

There is a good chance that if you are actively online with your computer system that in some way spyware will get installed. All it takes is just clicking on the wrong site or by signing up for some web programs. Another issue with spyware is the danger of invasion of privacy.

Remember that these programs can collect all types of data from you computer system and then send back to its creator. Spyware usually collects information that can be used for advertising, marketing to see what websites you visit on a frequent bases.

There are several spyware tools available, but many provide insufficient protection.

One of the better spyware removers are; Webroot Spy Sweeper, XoftSpySE, and AdwareAlert.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Choosing The Right Speakers For Your Computer

by: John Gibb

When buying a computer, many people don’t take much note of the type of speakers they will get for sound, video and gaming. They often rush ahead and go for a computer system what meets their specific budget at the time. However, many people find that the supplied speakers are not powerful enough to bring out the best in there sound, video and gaming. For this reason, buyers look for different types of speakers to bring out the best in audio sound.

There are many different types of speakers that you can purchase for your laptop or desktop system. In this article, we will discuss three different types and what they may be best suited for.

2.1 speakers – This speaker set normally comes as 2 speakers and a subwoofer to give that extra bit of bass. There are many speakers out there in this set and they can vary in price. Normally, the more you pay the better sound will be. However, this is not always the case. It’s a good idea to test speakers if possible or read many reviews on the Internet before you choose your speaker set. We personally paid around £100 for our 2.1 set and get excellent sound from them. These speakers may suit gamers and mp3 listeners.

5.1 speakers – These are speakers that come as 5 speakers with an extra subwoofer to give an impressive sound experience. Again, price can vary with these speakers. Look to pay around £120 for a decent 5.1 set, but you want to be paying over £200 if you want a real cinema experience. The sound from these sets of speakers can be very impressive when set up on your computer correctly for optimal sound performance. These sets of speakers may be suited for people who wish to have the ultimate multi media experience including gaming, dvd, codec video, mp3, audio, and multi media application including graphic animation.

2 speaker set – This is your stand alone speaker set that normally comes included with your desktop computer. Laptop buyers normally get speakers built in. It can be one or 2 speakers depending on the laptop. Many computer buyers are often not satisfied with the sound from their laptops so they choose to upgrade to a speaker set. These speakers can still sound very good depending on the make and the price you pay. These speakers are often suited towards people who download mp3, listen to audio, and use the computer for work, business or schooling.

Be sure to check out our site dedicated to computer speakers below this article. We feature reviews, guides and the latest news on computer speakers for helpful computer speaker advice.

How To Protect Your Computer From Viruses And Spyware

by: Donna Rivera-Loudon

I have been around computers for years. I even teach on Introduction to Computers class at a four-year university. Despite my knowledge of computers, I was not immune to the problems that viruses^ and spyware can do to a computer. My computer was attacked and it was so bad I ended up replacing my hard drive. Does that sound scary to you? If so, I apologize. At the same time, I hope that my experience can benefit you.

While many computer users are familiar with the term virus, not as many understand the term spyware. Simply put, spyware is software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without your premission. Here are a few things that can happen if you get spyware on your computer.

* Pop-up advertisements will appear even when you are not on the internet.

* Your home page (the page that comes up when you first open your internet browser) changes all of sudden and you don't know why.

* A new toolbar appears and you can't seem to get rid of it.

* Your computer takes longer than usual to complete certain tasks.

* Your computer crashes a lot when it never used to.

Just reading the above list should be enough to encourage you to read on and do what you can to prevent viruses and spyware from attacking your computer. Below is a list I compiled of things you can do to protect yourself from viruses and/or spyware. Following these suggestions doesn't mean you will never have a problem. However, it should lessen the chance of it happening.

1. Everyone should have good anti-virus software on their computer. This is especially true it you use the internet. I use PC-cillin Internet Security 2006 on my computer. Before that I used Norton's Internet Security. Both are good but only work well if used properly. If you are a beginner computer user, I would recommend Norton over PC-cillin. However, PC-cillin is a good program for those who are more advanced computer users. It requires a little more patience to set up and a better understanding of computers than Norton's does.

2. While it is nice to have Internet Security software, one must make sure it is turned on and that it is updated weekly. New viruses are being created daily and if you don't update your anti-virus software weekly your computer is open to attack by new viruses.

3. Make sure you have a good firewall and that it is turned on. A firewall helps protect your computer from outside attacks. Again, a good Internet Security program such as Norton's and PC-cillin come with a firewall. However, remember they only work if they are turned on.

4. I use two free programs in addition to PC-cillin to give me a little extra protection from spyware. I run these programs once a week to ensure that my computer is free from spyware. The two programs I use are:

SpyBot - Search and Destroy

Spyware Blaster

Both these programs can be downloaded for free at www.downloads.com

5. I use a free program that checks for advertising trackers and lets me get rid of them. You can download a copy of this program at www.downloads.com. The name of this program is:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Personal

There are a few other things I would like to mention concerning viruses and protecting yourself from them.

a. When you receive an email from someone you don't know and it has an attachment. Never open the attachment. Often times these attachments can have viruses in them.

b. If you receive an email from someone you know with an attachment and you weren't expecting it, don't open the attachment. Contact them first to make sure they sent it. Sometimes a virus can send out emails without the person even knowing.

c. Be careful when you are downloading software or programs off the internet. Often spyware software will install during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file. Whenever you are installing something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it may appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.

d. Be careful when you use a file from someone else's computer. If someone gives you a disk, even if it is your best friend, run a virus scan on the disk before opening any files. It is possible for the file to have a virus without the person knowing about it.

I hope these tips will prove helpful to you. If you have good protection and exercise caution you have a much better chance of getting through your computer life without the headaches of viruses and spyware. However, remember there is no guarantee that it will never happen to you.

^A computer virus is a program that invades your computer system, hides there, and replicates itself. Viruses spread when you launch an infected application or start up your computer from a disk that has infected system files."

Data Backup And Security

by: Elizabeth Neck

Whether your computer is for business or personal use, losing your data is tragic either way. Your data is your life, keep it protected and secure! This is why you should always have a data backup plan! There are many different data backup methods to choose from. You can use a zip drive, USB drive, a secondary hard drive or simply use a CDR/DVD writer and copy your data onto CDs. What ever method you use, your system should be backed up at least once a week.

A simple and easy method is to get 4 blank CDs and label them week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4 and also write the month and year. Then, at the beginning of each week, backup your data onto the disc labeled for that week. Do this for each week every month, so that if your computer was to crash you will only at the very least be one week behind on your data. This way it wouldn’t be so devastating and it will be much easier to recover.

Another simple method is to use an online storage service. This method is the most popular and one of the best options for data backup. Here are some of the reasons why this is the best option.

Number one is SECURITY!!

With an online storage service, you never have to worry about losing your data or your data being destroyed. You can always be sure that your most important data is stored safe and secure.

Number two is AVAILABILITY!!

With an online storage service, you access your data whenever and wherever you are. You can be sitting at your home, or visiting family and friends in another state or country. You will always have access!

Number three is SHARING!!

With an online storage service, you can easily share your data with business cliental or even your family and friends! You can share any data you may store, whether it is important documents, or simply photos from your child’s birthday! Sharing is simple and easy!

For whatever purpose you use an online storage service, make sure to pick the most perfect and secure one for you, and make sure it is always password protected in a safe manner.

You should never use an obvious password. You should never use anything like your date of birth, the city or state you live in, your name or even your social security number. One of the safest ways to make a password is to use letters and numbers and make the letters in different cases. This makes it harder for anyone to guess. And you should never use the same password for everything. Yeah it may seem easy for you, but remember, it also makes it easier for someone to access your information and accounts or, even worse…steal your identity. So make sure to always be secure and backup your data.

Did you know that 70% of businesses that lose their data never fully recover and go out of business within a year?

That is why it is very important to backup your computer as often as possible. You can even use the old-fashion floppy disc if necessary. But backup your computer as often as you can and do it now before disaster strikes and it is too late and you lose everything!

Remember 76% of data loss is due to hardware failure or simple human error!

Hurry up before it is too late!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My PC Is Slow, What Should I Do?

by: Damien Oh

No matter how good your system is, there’ll sure be a time when you face the slow pc performance syndrome. This is a universal problem every user sure to bounce into.

So when do you consider your PC slow? When you discover that the booting up time is more than the usual loading time, there is frequent hanging of PC, taking load of time to start an application or sluggish game play.

What is the cause for this? Well, it can be due to the hardware or software issue.

A lack of memory RAM is often the main cause for hardware issue. As technology advances, more and more software with heavy bandwidth are being developed. An old system with only 64MB of memory RAM will surely pants when running these heavy duty programs. Check out your motherboard maximum memory support and upgrade the RAM to the maximum. This will see an improvement. If your memory RAM is already at its maximum, then maybe it is time to change the motherboard.

Other than the RAM, the CPU is also another culprit for the slow performance. Similar to the RAM, an old CPU will not be sufficient to support new and complex applications. It might be easy to think that changing the CPU will help; however, changing CPU is not as easy as changing ram. Most of the time, the old motherboard will not be able to support the latest CPU in the market. If you are seriously considering changing the CPU, then it might be better to upgrade the whole system.

The data storage on the hard drive is based on sector allocation. Over the time, due to frequent installation and un-installation of programs, the data sectors will be scattered all around in the hard drive, making data retrieval difficult. This in turn adds up to the loading time. The hard drive fragmentation percentage refers to the percentage of the scattering of the data sector. The higher the percentage, the slower the performance. Performance can be improved by doing a defragmentation. This will arrange the sector cluster in retrieving order and also move seldom used or unused data to a remote sector.

Running of background processes and programs will also slow down the pc performance. Most of the time, these background activities occur without your knowledge and it is always the main cause for PC hanging. To eliminate this, press “ctrl + alt + del” to access the Window Task Manager. Click on the PROCESSES tab. This window will slow all the background processes. Select the application that you don't need and click ‘End Process’. Do this with care as shutting down of important application will cause your PC to hang and all your unsaved data to be lost. Next, the right bottom panel of the window task bar shows the program running in the background. Right click on the icon and shut down the unused programs to free up the bandwidth.

With these few tips, it will be sufficient to improve your PC performance. If the above technique don't works, then you might have to consider reformatting your pc or upgrade to a new system.

Losing Your Mind With Data Recovery

by: Mohamed Rabea

For nearly all computer users, losing data can be a very traumatic experience. If you use your computer for a business or for other important matters, it can be very stressful and very traumatic to lose everything you have worked months, and possibly even years to build.

Even though you may back up your data on a periodic basis, you’ll still need to check the backup to make sure that everything works. Nothing can be worse than backing something up, only to find months later that something went wrong.

No matter who you are, or what business you work for, data loss can happen. Computers are great, although they aren’t perfect. Over time, your hard drive can crash or malfunction, which will result in the loss of everything you have stored on your computer.

Whenever this happens to you, it’s always a good thing there’s data recovery. Without data recovery, it wouldn’t be possible to retrieve files, recover information, or simply get back to the data you spent years building.

To recover your data, you’ll need to send it off to a company that specializes in data recovery. They will need to run some tests on it and see what shape it is in, how bad it is damaged, and just what needs to be done to recover your data.

This process will normally take around a week or so, all depending on the problem. It can be quite expensive as well, depending on where you send it. Keep in mind though - the more experience the data recovery technicians have, the higher the price will be.

Those that are more expensive are great if you have the money to spare, for the simple fact that they are experts and are more apt at saving your data and information. The cheaper data recovery companies are great as well, although larger companies and those with extremely important data will want to put their trust in the best that money can buy.

With most cases, companies can rebuild the hard drive, providing the drive isn’t totally corrupted. In cases where the hard drive is totally gone, it will need to be rebuilt, which can take quite a bit of time. No matter what the situation may be, data recovery experts can normally find a solution to recover your data.

At some point in time, everyone will experience some type of hard drive crash or malfunction that will result in the loss of data. When this happens to you, you shouldn’t get all shook up or alarmed, you should instead make sure that you are prepared to always expect the unexpected.

Even though your data can normally be recovered, you should still back up everything on a weekly basis just to be on the safe side. This way, when your hard drive is sent off to be repaired, you’ll have the information you need backed up to keep on going as normal.

To be on the safe side, you should keep your most important documents and files stored on a CD, by using a CD burner and CD-R media. This is by far the cheapest and easiest way to back up your data, and it will keep you more than prepared for when your hard drive malfunctions and crashes when you least expect it.

If you prepare yourself by backing up your data, a hard drive malfunction won’t be as traumatic on you. You should always be prepared, and ready just in case something happens. Computers are the wave of the future - although they aren’t perfect by any means.

Your Signature File -- Give It Some Love

by: Nicole Dean

Your signature file -- the blurb at the end of your forum posts and your emails -- is prime real estate. Are you using it to the fullest?

Do you put any thought into your sig lines? I hope you are putting as much thought into your sig lines as you would a paid advertisement. Your signature file has the potential to work for you, if you let it.

Of course, if you’re posting on forums, the #1 most important thing is your actual message. Don't attach your signature file to anything that will reflect poorly on your business.

And, likewise, in emails, if you're sending around jokes that are a little risque, then think twice about attaching your URL if it's not appropriate.

Tip 1: Give people a reason to click on your URL.

How can you entice viewers to click?

Your signature file should capture attention and create interest. It should always be clear and direct in stating the benefits your program offers.

Don’t just say “We sell gadgets.” Explain how those gadgets will help your potential customers save time, money or to make their lives better.

Tip 2: Don't Write a Novel

Make your signature file short and catchy. A long, drawn-out signature file is sure to be ignored. And, a boring one will be, too. Stick to one or two URLs, even if you have 30 or 40 websites. Any more than that will dilute your branding and effectiveness.

Tip 3: Don't Confuse

When writing your sig file, remember that a confused mind always says "no". Don't go crazy in your signature file with too many links or options. Be clear and direct about the benefits of your program so anyone and everyone reading it can see exactly how your product or service can help them.

Don't assume readers know as much as you do about your business. Don't talk jargon. Some terms or ideas in your industry may be over the heads of potential customers. Oftentimes I read ads and have no idea what in the heck they are selling, or why I'd need it. Make sure to state your benefits in simple words and grammar so that anyone who isn't in your industry can understand them. For instance, everyone has skin, but not everyone knows what an epidermis is. Make it simple.

Tip 4: Nab them

Once a reader does click through your sig line, do you have a way to capture their contact info so you can stay in touch? If not, get your newsletter sign-up box ready to collect those interested visitors. Otherwise, you're losing that potential customer, possibly forever.

If appropriate, offer something free to collect their email addresses. Offering a discounted item or freebie is always a good idea.

You may be wasting PRIME opportunities to get visitors to your site if you aren't putting as much thought into your sig line as you would invest writing paid ads. Try some new wording and watch your click-through rate rise.

E-mail Tracking -The Truth Is Revealed

by: Bruno Ligutti

Have you ever wondered whether your boss, coworkers or family read your e-mails? Well, now you can track your sent e-mails.

In fact, there are many approaches to e-mail tracking. We all know the "read-receipt" system, in which you send an e-mail requesting a read confirmation. When the recipient reads your e-mail, he or she is asked by the software, "Would you like to confirm you received this e-mail?" Then the recipient may choose "No", and we will never get a confirmation. So it is an honor system, and there are some cases in which we cannot trust the recipient.

Other approaches have been implemented by corporate e-mail systems, such as IBM Domino. Recipients are not asked to confirm the reception so confirmations are always sent –provided that the e-mails are actually read-, but it works only for corporate recipients and not for external people.

The tracking system I will describe next is "hands-free" and works for almost every e-mail system. It is analogous to a package-delivery system –we ship a package, and the system gives us a number for keeping track of it. Before getting technical, let me point out that you will need a server –but in case you do not have one, you can always use our already-developed system.

Let’s assume we would like to ask our boss for a rise –that’s a common case in which the recipient cannot be trusted. So the system generates an ID for our e-mail, and stores it in the server’s database. When we send the e-mail, this ID is sent along with it.

What is the idea? Well, the ID identifies our e-mail. When our boss reads it, the ID is "passed" to our server. So the server gets the message, "The e-mail sent to the boss is being read." From there, the server may proceed in many ways, such as storing the date and time, and our boss’ IP address. It can even notify us to our e-mail address and cell phone!

How is the ID "passed" to our server? When our boss reads our e-mail, we just saw that the e-mail needs to "call back" the server with the ID. This is achieved by passing the ID in the source of an image.

Going back to our basic HTML lessons, the image’s src attribute specifies the image’s address. So if we insert an image in our e-mail, and we let its source be ourdomain.com/ourlogo.gif, then our boss’ e-mail client gets that image and shows it to him. That is, the e-mail client "calls" our server at ourdomain.com and requests the image ourlogo.gif.

The trick is to have a special page on our server, which receives the ID, stores the tracked data and notifies the sender, and finally sends back an image –this is achieved by server-side scripting, offered by frameworks such as Microsoft .NET. So we insert a 1x1 hidden image in our e-mail, and let its source be ourdomain.com/ourpage.aspx?ID=0123. ourpage.aspx is our special page, and ID=0123 identifies our e-mail sent to our boss.

The page gets the ID and checks it against the database –recall that the ID is stored in the database. Then it updates the database, and notifies the sender of that particular e-mail. Furthermore, the page can get the recipient’s IP address, which can reveal his or her geographic location and many more details. And finally, the page sends back a 1x1 transparent image, which is shown to the recipient.

This is a "hands-free" system given that the recipient is never asked to confirm the e-mail’s reception –in fact, he or she does not even realize the e-mail is being tracked. Thus, this system has been accused of compromising users’ privacy, and has caused the redesign of e-mail clients and services –which now allow users to disable images on received e-mails.

For seeing this system in practice, please visit the SenderTracer Free Tools at http://www.sendertracer.com.

Buying A Printer? But How Long Will It Last?

by: Robert Michael

Printers, like so many other pieces of electronic equipment produced nowadays, last forever, even though in some cases they may be considered obsolete a year or two down the road.

But you don't need to care about obsolete if you're a student, or an individual who makes personal use of it, or even a SOHO entrepreneur who doesn't offer graphic arts or desktop publishing services. Obsolete is just a word that manufacturers and retailers made up to suggest it belongs in the trash, when all it really means is there is a new improved model out there.

If your printer is working just fine, there's absolutely no reason to trade it in unless and until there is no one around to repair it and no part with which to replace a broken one once your printer breaks down.

If you're shopping for a printer, unless you're filthy rich (and if you are you probably got that way partially by making wise decisions about how much to spend) you want a printer that can do only what you need it to, and costs you the least amount to do so.

Basically, the first choice you'll want to make is between an ink jet and a laser printer. If you typically produce multiple color copies ink jet will actually cost you less. If, however, what you're going to be doing most of is word processing - i.e., printing out black text on white paper - you might be better off with a laser printer.

Depending on how much printing you'll be doing. A typical black ink inkjet cartridge will produce 500 letter size pages. If you're going through one of these every couple of weeks you probably would be better off owning a laser printer. Yes, you'll spend more up front, but your ink will cost considerably less. Laser jets generally wear better, with minimal break down and have a longer life than ink jets.

No matter which printer you choose, ink jet or laser, you'll need to shop for brands and features. What you'll want to know about each choice is the cost of the cartridges and paper that you'll need to use with it, the quality of the finished product, whether it connects by USB or parallel port (new ones will most likely be USB but is your old computer?), whether the paper path is straight or curved (if you're going to be creating your own business cards, for example, you have to have a straight paper path), and if you have any warranty. You also need to find out if that warranty offers a loaned printer while yours is in the shop.

A few other important features are the speed of the printing (how many pages per minute) it will deliver. This may not mean much if you're printing out your resume, but if you have a 200 word document it may seem like forever, and may also slow up or make nearly impossible anything else you want to accomplish on your computer.) You also want to know its resolution range, measured in dots per inch. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality.

One thing to keep in mind, too, before you buy that lesser known inexpensive brand is that the well-known brand names are well-known because they offer the higher quality product as well as the better technical support and service.

A little Vintage Computer Monitor History

by: Arthur Felon

Until the early 1980’s most monitors were terminals. They were boxy video display terminals (VDT’s) combined with an attached keyboard. A terminal could be configured to work with just about any computer on the market. (Not that there was a wide selection of personal computers for you to choose from.)

Terminals were attached to computers by a serial interface. In those days, the VDT was commonly referred to as a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube).

Before DOS, the dominant operating system (OS) for 8 bit computers was CP/M (Control Program for Microprocessors). Early CP/M machines were originally designed to use separate memory-mapped video display devices and discrete keyboards that plugged into the machines – not unlike video display cards used later. The most well known was the VDM-1. Terminal manufacturers recognized this “lost market “and began to market mainframe and mini-style terminals to the CP/M community. The sales pitch of “just like a real (mainframe at the time) computer” paid off. CP/M computers soon used terminals almost exclusively.

Apple II computers and the early game machines (such as those made by Atari, Coleco or Nintendo) hooked to a monitor not a terminal. (The Apple II was built with a keyboard as part of the system. All that was missing was a monitor once the Apple II was plugged in).

These monitors – unlike terminals – looked like television sets without the tuner. In some cases they actually were television sets. (Many early computers – such as the Commodores Vic 20, 64 and 128, could be used with any television set with a special RF adapter that hooked to the antenna of the TV).

Then IBM came out with PC-DOS computers, which were dubbed “three-piece computers.‘ One explanation according to a prominent used car dealer Moonie Bronstein was that many of the early marketers / hucksters advising the techies of the early computer era ,had their start in the competitive world of auto sales where such terms as “ 3 piecers “ and “ 4 piecers” were popular marketing and sales terms. Other explanations for this marketing term was because the computers included three main components i.e. – the monitor, the keyboard and the CPU “box”.

Ironically, when the IBM PC-DOS computers arrived on the scene with separate monitor and keyboard – the monitor connected directly to the computer. Just like the earliest personal computers) through a display device connection. These new monitors used video cards that were either IBM monochrome (MDA), IBM color graphics cards9 CGA), or Hercules (the first third party ad on cards).