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Back To Work

Does anyone else find it hard to pick up work after vacationing? Having completed a weeks worth of vacation I am back to the grind….well….sort of.

I am using this day to read up on new stories and technologies for new content on the site. Please bare with me while I compose myself and get my head out of the vacation cloud. Of course this is not easily done…

As you can see from the last post we are now taking posted questions to better serve our users. As well I would like to add if there is a new technology or concern you would like for me to address please post a comment to this blog. I would be happy to research and address topics for our users.

After all….It is you the end user for which we create the content.

Porn Spammers Caught and Convicted

Two men were convicted in Arizona Monday on eight criminal counts by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix. The charges included money laundering and transportation of obscene materials in connection with running a pornographic spamming business.

The men seem to have been identified after more than 660,000 complaints were filed with ISP’s, and a some complaints were even documented by the Federal Trade Commission.

The trial began on June 5 and was the first to include charges under the controlling the assault of non-solicited pornography and marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act.

Of course they seem to have already pocketed millions of dollars generated from the unsolicited emails sent to users. The spamming operation started in 2003 and the two men made more than $2 million by sending out spam e-mail advertising porn Web sites. The two earned a commission for each person that was directed to one of the pornographic Web sites.

The two men were convicted of two violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. One of the counts charged that the men sent multiple electronic commercial mail messages containing falsified header information. Another charge indicated the two were charged with sending e-mail using domain names that had been registered using false information.

The two men are facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each CAN-SPAM and offense as well as fines up to $500,000 and a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering.

The system seems to work! Yeah! Of course just look at the numbers though: Two down and thousands left to go.

Symantec Update Effects Chinese Users

Has anyone else heard the news of the update provided by Symantec which seemed to cause havoc for the chinese version of Windows?

Apparently on May 18th Symantec authorized and update for one of their programs which it turns out identified two system files as malware and subsequently quarantined them. The issue apparently effected somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 Pc’s.

Symantec says this issue seems to be caused by an automated process. Hmmm!

Users who lost data due to Symantec’s faulty update demanded compensation. I cannot say that I blame them.

After at least two lawsuits were filed Symantec saw fit to respond. Symantec decided to offer license extension and product upgrades for the blunder. If it were me…well I would not want to continue use of a program which has already put a halt to productivity and damaged my operating system.

Symantec has been nice enough to have alloted just a couple of weeks for effected users to accept there upgrade offer as well.

I wonder if this will effect their credibility in other regions?

Windows Live Mail

Microsoft has announced the new Windows Live Mail program which combines features from previous versions of Windows mail applications. After looking over Live Mail it’s abilities include pulling messages from Web mail and other accounts, its photo e-mail composition option, and other new features. Of course the new application still leaves room for improvement.

Once again as with many Microsoft products (even fully released versions) we are beta testers. The program does have many new updated features, but I would recommend waiting until they have had at least one major update for the program.

With a little tweaking it does run pretty well. The photo message option is a nice feature, but photo mail does not seem to be compatible with some other mail providers. When reviewing a test email the photo did not appear correctly.

Live Mail does seem to be much better than any version of Outlook Express. Until fully released I would recommend backups of email as you may end up as one of those users who experiences issues. Now what do they call those again?…………… Oh Yeah! Beta testers.

Vista- resource hog or not

I recently attempted installation of the Vista Home Premium operating system. I first attempted this operation to see how well it performed with the minimum system requirements. Of course it wasn’t as crisp and quick as I had hoped it would be.

After testing for quite some time I turned off all the fancy shadows and features of the operating system and of course it ran better. As I added my third party applications performance began to lag once again.

Ok… time to try the installation with the recommended requirements. Just to review what the recommended requirements are I have them listed here.

1 Ghz 32 or 64-bit processor
1 GB of system memory
40 GB hard drive with 15 GB available space
128 MB graphics memory card that supports directx 9.0

Even after updating the system configuration with the new hardware… performance did improve. Of course being a tech head I do desire the as fast as possible scenario.

After reviewing my options I decided to attempt using Windows Ready Boost to see if I could boost performance. I added a compatible USB 2.0 drive with 2 GB of capacity and configured ready boost to use the device.

After testing I would have to say I would recommend to anyone that uses Vista (which does seem to be a resource hog) and needs peak performance you may want to consider using the ready boost option. Even though you cannot monitor the ready boost device performance while installed it does appear to have benefits.

As well as the performance benefits it is as well much cheaper to add a USB drive than internal system memory. I guess Microsoft knew we might need some other option to boost performance of their new os. I’m glad they decided to add this option to the operating system.

Warm weather is here!

I don’t know about you, but today I was having difficulties. My difficulties started with the warm weather and me being stuck inside. I am an avid motorcycle rider and this beautiful weather has my head in the wrong place.

I thought writing about it might help me get through this week.

Days like today I like to just take off on my Harley for eight hours…stop, grab a hotel and continue the ride the next day.

Unfortunately today that isn’t possible. I have way too much work to do…submit this and compose that along with research, research and yet more research.

However I guess it would be ok to take a minute out of the day and think on what I enjoy doing. It as well has put me in a good mood.

Maybe this might help cure a few of those work week blues for you as well. We can only hope!

Tomorrow my article will be more computer oriented. Have a good week and an even better weekend.

Windows Vista Recovery Environment

Microsoft has added a new feature to the Windows arsenal. The new utility is the Recovery environment utility. This new utility has been added to aid a user in repair of the Windows Vista OS.

This new utility is actually booted from the Vista DVD and has a few new utilities. Included in this new utility are the functions below.

BCDMD
Repairs the MBR, partition table, or boot sector.

ChkDsk
Runs ChkDsk in repair mode.

File Repair
Replaces the corrupt system file with a backup copy.

BootCfg
Reconstructs the BCD.

System Restore
Rolls back the system state by using System Restore.

ACLs fix
Sets the ACLs of the specified file to a default value.

Registry rollback
Replaces the corrupt registry hives with a backup copy.

Change Crash on Audit Failure setting
Disables Windows auditing. Only an administrator can log on to Windows.

Memory Diagnostics
Runs the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool.

You might notice the new Memory diagnostics utility. This utility not only tests RAM but cache memory as well. This can be very handy when experiencing memory errors. Its a great diagnostics utility.

The easily accessible registry rollback utility….. I am sure will be used by many users knowing how the registry can become corrupted.

If you ever have experienced an issue that could not be resolved through normal or safe mode you may want to look into the Recovery Environment utilities as it isn’t necessary to boot to Windows to use this utility. I hope it proves to be as helpful in troubleshooting and repair as I think it will be.

Don Imus Fired!

Due to his recent comments about the Rutgers women basketball player Don Imus has now been dropped not only by NBC but by CBS as well.

This comes after a brief temporary suspension of the “Imus in the Morning” broadcast show. After his opinionated and unwarranted comments on his April 4th show most of the sponsors lodged complaints with CBS.

Imus did apologize and even appeared on Al Sharptons radio show hoping to quiet the public outcry. Although this did not alter the outcome of the CBS decision.

Will Imus go to satellite as well as another controversial radio personality Howard Stern? Who knows, but as of this moment all Imus shows have been cancelled.

Top 10 ways to speed up your computer

The list below describes the top ten ways you can speed up your computer through either general maintenance or hardware upgrades. I tried to list some things other than just the obvious ones most places always list.  Now there are of course many more.

10. Check your initial hardware for possible memory, CPU, or hard drive upgrades.

9. Insure your paging files is set to one and a half times the size of the amount of ram installed. If you are using 2 gig or more of ram memory simply turn off the paging file. (To review your paging file right click my computer and choose properties -then choose the advanced tab – Then select the performance settings-slect the advanced tab and modify the virtual memory file size)

8. Run monthly system maintenance such as disk cleanup, disk check, or disk defrag.

7. Clean out your temporary internet files and cookies. (To do this open Internet Explorer and choose the tools menu- Select options- on the main page you can emty the temp files and delete the cookies.)

6. Empty the c:windowsprefetch folder.

5. Scan your system weekly for spyware.

4. Delete any unused programs by using the add/remove programs utility.

3. Groom your Windows start up file by using the msconfig utility. (This can be done by going to startRun and typing msconfig then select ok and choose the start up tab)

2. Update your device drivers. If you are using an OEM computer simply visit the manufacturers website for updated software and drivers. If using a custom built computer you will need to visit the hardware manufacturers support site one device at a time to obtain the latest software.

1. Turn off unnecessary services in the services manager.(To access this control panel go to control paneladministrative toolsservices)

This little tid bit should allow you to boost your PC performance somewhat. The major improvements will come with hardware upgrades especially increases in system memory (RAM).

Feel free to leave me some of your ideas below in the comments section.

 

Patrick
PC911