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Technology Today - September 2012
By Robert Sanborn

Keeping Your Computer Safe

I have always enjoyed helping people with their computer problems even if they get infested with the latest malware and some of the ones I have seen lately have been very good.  I have seen lots of the bogus anti-virus products but the one lately called “Platinum Anti-Virus” was written very well and was very convincing and what gave it away was the constant popups that would not allow you to do anything else on your computer.   Another one I saw recently was a bogus FBI warning that wanted you to ship them $200 through an online payment processing system Moneypak.  That was very well done, and even turned on your video camera to show you looking at the warning screen. Problem is that if the FBI ever wanted to confront you with something, they do it with a knock on the door. The last one was my poor cousin getting a call from someone alleging to be from Microsoft telling her that they are responding to one of the error reports. She was not wise enough to just disconnect the phone but allowed them to show her the problems on her computer and hung up when she discovered that they wanted money to help her.  In the first two cases, the computers were pretty much up to date, anti-virus programs were running, and they thought they were being cautious about the websites they were visiting and not opening emails that they didn’t know.  Still they got hit.  How do you keep safe? Here are my own tips.  First, get a good internet security package; Kaspersky Internet Security (or Pure, or One); Symantec Norton Internet Security; and make sure that they are always up to date.  Next, Make sure that Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash Player, and Oracle’s Java are up to date.  Same thing with Windows; if you haven’t seen Windows update itself at least once a month, then click on Start, All Programs, and look for Windows Update. If you are using Internet Explorer, make sure you are running version 8 for Windows XP or 9 for Vista and Windows 7.  Next, if you are not using Norton Internet Security, then go to the Norton site and download “Safe Web”.  http://safeweb.norton.com/ Download their “Safe Web Lite” browser plug in.  Then go get the one from McAfee and download their “Site Advisor” http://www.siteadvisor.com/.  Both of these products help to keep your internet browsing secure and hopefully, will flag a site before you go to tell you whether it is safe to visit.  Finally, if things just don’t look that right to you, then get a copy of my favorite malware scanner, Malware Bytes, www.malwarebytes.org. just download the free version, install it, update it, and have it scan your computer.  This should keep you and your computer, live and well.

3D Printing goes to the home Market

At CES last year, one of the coolest things was the 3D Printer or "Replicator" as some of us like to call them.  I saw one company passing out tiny key chain sized trinkets as samples but you should take a look at the following YouTube video to put it all in perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-aWFYT_SU  Granted, this video is not for the home user, the wrench they produce consumes about $250 in material, but the technology is starting to make it to the home hobbyist in the form of kits that sell for less than $1500. I remember my geeky friends paying far more than that in the late 70s for a computer home kit.  Tech Republic has put together a pretty cool review of these home 3D printers at their site: 3D printers: 10 machines for home manufacturing

 

3D Printer
 

Windows Gadgets

I am a fan of Windows 7 gadgets.  Had them on my desktop to give me the weather in five different cities to see how the family is doing, had one to give me a slide show of some of my favorite pictures, another to give me stock updates on my favorites, another was a process monitor to tell me when my computer was getting slow, dual clocks to tell me what time it is in Beijing, and a currency converter for my traveling overseas.  There are thousands of them out there. Unfortunately, I had to get rid of them all.  First of all, it seems that Microsoft has done away with the gadgets in Windows 8 coming out soon and to make things even worse, there is a serious bug in the software that propels those gadgets to allow your system to get corrupted by some of the above junk ware.  So go to the Microsoft support page and they will tell you how to remove them from the system and if they ever get it sorted out, they also have the Microsoft Fix It to re-enable them. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2719662

Robert Sanborn

 

 

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