Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 released

In the past few months I have noticed a number of things about clients’ computers. The first though is what a pain they are to use. Why are there so many menus and folders to go through just to get something small done? It’s windows. Enough MS bashing for now…

Last week the latest edition of Ubuntu was released. Normally, I don’t care. This time though, there were a number of articles about how fast it is. Being a netwbook user these days, it seemed like a good enough reason to try it. My first install was actually done on a virtual machine using VMware ESX server. This was just to see how it was different. It is fast, and more consumer friendly. It also has loads of software to help you make the move from windows. Pretty nice.

So then I decided to try it on my netbook. I went with the actual netbook remix and I have to say that I like it. Everything is easy to get to. I still need to install a flash player as well as VLC and some codecs, but it is blazingly fast. My battery life seems to have improved with it as well. I went with a dual boot setup and it resized my drives in order to work. Pretty nice if you ask me! For most of my netbook needs, it is perfect. The fast book makes the mini-pc even more convenient. So far, all that have seen it seem to really like it. I guess my only complaint is that it doesn’t already have support for many media codecs until you install them.

Spyware in 2009

I really can’t believe it: It has been four years since I first found spyware to be a major pain. That was when I started doing these on-site PC repairs to get rid of pop ups. Things have changed a lot since then though. The big hitters used to be Norton Antivirus 2005 and Webroot Spysweeper. With those, it was nearly impossible to catch something.

I’m not so sure today though. The ploys are the same, but the threats are worse. One bad click can have you wishing you had backed up all of that data on a regular basis. Many new variants I am finding can only be remedied with a fresh install of Windows, wiping your hard drive clean. The added benefit is that you are starting with a PC that runs better than it did when new, but what about all of your important files? I always try to back things up, but it is not always an option with some of the more dangerous infections.

By far the most popular form of malware is the fake antivirus or antispyware. Anyspyware 2009 is not real. Don’t download it.

I saw a funny one at my day job the other day too: the software didn’t do anything except change the screen resolution constantly and lock out the desired resolution for that monitor.

I’ve also seen malware search engines. Nothing like having your searches only show malware infected websites….

I am finding that users are getting dumber as time goes on. When all of this started, people were cautious about what sites they visited or what they downloaded. Today though, it seems that they want to go everywhere and download it all without t common sense that would tell them that they don’t need a search bar other than Yahoo, google, or Ask. I continue to see people using MS Internet Explorer: software known to be the target of many malware attacks. I just don’t get it.

The best defense is a good offense. Keep your security software healthy, updated, and within its renewal time. Use common sense when surfing the web. Find a way to get e-mail on the web rather than through Outlook. Don’t try to get things for free. It is pretty rare that free is good on the internet. Services like Limewire are bad.  They are breeding grounds for malware and pirated software, music, and movies. Many malware installations are out there hiding as a movie or music file. Hint: use torrents or paid services instead.

If you are still having issues after all of that, buy a mac. Haha. Not really. Their day will come too, although it will be further down the road. You can however find a Linux distrobution and use it. Most can even be run from the CD/DVD. Since the userbase is still very small, the number of personal attackes is very low. Check back for future posts on that idea.

Really CHEAP hosting and a free website

The big guys in town hate it, but I am currently offering free websites to small businesses with pre-paid hosting for 6 months. Its apache/sql. You can have 1 database, I don’t care how many domains. No porn, no illegal stuff, no spam. $5/month if you say you saw this post for the first year and $10 after. I will give you 100 free and related twitter followers if ordered before April 30 or if I don’t get the site up within 24 hours. I’m not trying to compete with the big guys or the phonebook. You need a website with your hours, address, and company information. Very minimal time investment is needed on your end. I am selling domains to go with this at $12/yr and e-mail hosting with web access and spam filtering for only $25 to setup.

Go for it. You can’t lose.

McAffee Security and Upgrading your Subscription

My last post was similar to this, but I promise this will be less of a rant. I recently was commissioned to upgrade a client’s installation of McAffee. This is the kind of phone call all tech’s hope to get day in and day out because really, what can be so hard about this?

Well on to the hard part. You see, if you go from one version of software to the next things go smoothly. The problem arises when you change product families within the line. This would be like going from antivirus to internet securiy. This issue exists will all security vendors, and it is ultimately for the greater good. When the automated upgrading tool fails miserably, it is usually for only a few reasons:
1. you have a virus keeping it from working
2. your  installer is corrupt
3. the old product still exists on the computer in some way, even after the uninstall process
1 and 2 are for another day, but 3 is what I had to address today and actually a few other times this month. With my recommended ESET Nod32, you just uninstall the old version, or perform a repair. With Norton, Trend Micro, McAffee and a slew of others though: they install themselves with the idea that it needs to be hard for a user to screw up. So the idea was to make it nearly impossible to fully remove the software. It also helps most of the time with product loyalty. In any case, the removal process is most easily completed by finding the vendor’s removal tool. McAffee’s Removal tool; Norton’s Removal Tool

Once you have fully removed the old version, the new one will install effortlessly.