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Saturday, July 05, 2008

How to make a folder in the Quick Launch Bar

For those of us that have lots of launch icons for programs, webpages, etc. in the Windows Quick Launch Bar, did you know you can make a folder to organize and store even more Icons for the above mentioned and launch them with the same quickness? If you are not using Quick Launch, you are missing out. Open the "Quick Launch" by right clicking on the "Start" button and then "Properties" and on the window that opens, click the "Taskbar" tab and put a check mark in "Show Quick Launch" > then read on:

Here's how to do it in Windows XP: Right click the My Computer Icon, the click "Explore" then expand (click the +) of the (C:) 'Active Partition', and then expand the "Documents and Settings" (You need at this point to make sure you are not hiding "Hidden Files and Folders" by sliding up to the "Tools" on the task bar of "My Computer's" window, and then "Folder Options...", and then "View" and look down the list to "Hidden Files and Folders" and put a tick mark in the "Show Hidden Files and Folders" if you don't have that checked already) - now back to: ->... after the expansion of "Documents and Settings", look down to <"your user name"> and expand the "+" sign there. Under your <"user name"> expand the (+) by "Application Data" and look down to "M*cros*ft" - expand the (+). Now down to "Internet Explorer" and guess what - expand the (+). Now you will see a folder named "Quick Launch". If you highlight it and look in the right panel -> all the Quick Launch Icons that you have in your Quick Launch Bar will be present (if you are using the "Quick Launch" feature of Windows).

To make a folder among your icons, just right click in an open place in the right hand panel within your icons, and click on "New" and then "Folder" and then name it whatever you want. You can now drag the "Quick Launch" icons to it and drop them in the folder to help you organize. Now you can have the most used shortcut icons visable on the taskbar, and the least used in the folder and just by opening or as described in the next hint, just highlight the folder and they will appear.

The way to do the above is: If you slide the moveable bar on the Taskbar [make sure you don't have it locked and if it is, clear it by right clicking in a blank space before your tray (that's where your clock is) and untick to unlock the "Lock Taskbar"].

Now with the Taskbar unlocked, you can slide the little bar marker over toward the "Start" button and cover some icons and the folder you made. It will open when you hover over it with your mouse and your icons will expand, just like a menu. To 'see' your hidden icons and the folder you created, you will notice you now have ">>" showing on the Toolbar. Just click it with your left mouse button and the hidden shortcuts inside will slide open.

I found this to be very handy and I think you will also. Sorry if this is too detailed for our more experienced users, but remember, we have beginners here also!


CREDITS : NFT TEAM

How to recover MOST of scratched CD data discs

I learn an old thecnique to how to recover damaged or scratched disks
with some lost of data. In this case i have one borrowed game - MAX PAYNE 2
with a chunck of 4 mb lost with a scratch in CD1 Install. Here we cover some
special thecniques of how to create a full working CD from the scratched one.

First some tools will be needed:

1. Alcohol 120%
2. UltraISO
3. Windows XP/2000 (not tested on 95/98/me)
3. Small piece of cotton
4. Dry cleaner paper
5. Finally, oil for cooking.

First step - preparing the CD

Get the cotton and drop some water, start cleaning vertically the surface of CD.
Do it 3 times and dry the water with a piece of dry cleaner paper. With a new piece
of cotton, drop some oil for cooking and start to wet the surface like you are
washing the CD with the oil. Dry carefully now. Some particles of oil will stay on the
microsurface of the scrath. It's okay. Seems the oil helps the laser of the CD/DVD driver
to read the surface again. Sure this will work with small unreadable scratchs - some hard
scratchs loose parts of the surface of the CD where we have data and it's lost forever.
But if it is loosed try anyway. Whith this tip 80% of the small scratched CD's coud be
recovered.

Second Step - testing the CD

With Alcohol 120% make an ISO - image making wizard - and lets see if the app can
read the loosed surface. In my case Alcohol 120% had recovered 60% of the data.
This is not enough. Have tryed other appz, they do not recover all the data. But the
CD/DVD driver laser CAN recover all data in this case. the data is still there, what we do?

third step - making the new CD

With the main copy system of windows explorer you can do it. Just create one folder
with the same name of the CD label for future burn reference, and copy the CD content
to the folder. When the CD copy process find the scratch, in majority of the cases, it's
slow down the reading and will recover ALL loosed data.If not, it just tell you there's
an unreadable sector. In this case your CD is lost. But it's not my case, finally
windows explorer got all the data from the scratch and made a copy in the folder.
with the ultraISO, wrote the original CD label, drop the content of the folder and
save as Iso. You can Test the new CD just mounting the iso in the Alcohol 120%. In my
case i did ISO of the two discs from MAX PAYNE 2 and tested installing from the mounted
ISO. Works like a charm. I got the 4 mb lost again. So, I have burned the CD and now i
have a working copy from the scratched one.

Sounds too bizzarre, but works. Course you can jump the cleaning process and try to copy
the content with Windows explorer. But in my case did not work without oil...

Any comments are welcome.

CREDITS : NFT TEAM

Formatting a Partition Greater than 32 GIGs with FAT32

WindowsXP will only format a partition greater than 32 GIGs as NTFS.
If you want to format it with FAT32:

1. You can use a regular Win98 Boot disk and use that version of FDISK to create the partition (with Large Hard Drive Support)
2. Reboot with the same boot disk and format

3. WindowsXP will then be able to use the partition with no problems 


CREDITS : NFT TEAM

Adding SafeBoot to the Boot Menu

You can add Safeboot as an option to the normal XP boot screen

Open a command prompt

Copy the current c:\boot.ini to another name (just in case)

With your favorite text editor, edit c:\boot.ini

Copy then edit the current boot line to another line. For example:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
might copy and then change to:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional Safeboot" /fastdetect

Start MSCONFIG

Click on the BOOT.INI tab

Highlight the second line with the additional name of Safeboot

Check the /SAFEBOOT box with option you want

Minimal - Minimal set of drivers
Network - With Network Support
Dsrepair - Directory Services Repair
Minimal (Alternate Shell) - Standard Explorer Desktop

You will now have this option every time you start XP 


CREDITS : NFT TEAM

Identify Faulty Device Drivers

If you are having problems with lockups, blue screens, or can only get to safe mode,
often the problem is due to a faulty device driver.

One way to help identify them is through the use of the Verfier program

Start / Run / Verifier

Keep the default of Create Standard Settings

Select the type of drivers you want to confirm

A list of drivers to be verified on the next boot will be shown.

Reboot

If your computer stops with a blue screen, you should get an error message with the problem driver

To turn off the Verifier, run verifier /reset 


credits : NFT TEAM

Understanding Firewall

What is a network firewall?

A firewall is a system or group of systems that enforces an access control policy between two networks. The actual means by which this is accomplished varies widely, but in principle, the firewall can be thought of as a pair of mechanisms: one which exists to block traffic, and the other which exists to permit traffic.

Some firewalls place a greater emphasis on blocking traffic, while others emphasize permitting traffic. Probably the most important thing to recognize about a firewall is that it implements an access control policy. If you don’t have a good idea what kind of access you want to permit or deny, or you simply permit someone or some product to configure a firewall based on what they or it think it should do, then they are making policy for your organization as a whole.

Why would I want a firewall?

The Internet, like any other society, is plagued with the kind of jerks who enjoy the electronic equivalent of writing on other people’s walls with spray paint, tearing their mailboxes off, or just sitting in the street blowing their car horns. Some people try to get real work done over the Internet, and others have sensitive or proprietary data they must protect. Usually, a firewall’s purpose is to keep the jerks out of your network while still letting you get your job done.

Many traditional-style corporations and data centers have computing security policies and practices that must be adhered to. In a case where a company’s policies dictate how data must be protected, a firewall is very important, since it is the embodiment of the corporate policy. Frequently, the hardest part of hooking to the Internet, if you’re a large company, is not justifying the expense or effort, but convincing management that it’s safe to do so. A firewall provides not only real security–it often plays an important role as a security blanket for management.

What can a firewall protect against?

Some firewalls permit only Email traffic through them, thereby protecting the network against any attacks other than attacks against the Email service. Other firewalls provide less strict protections, and block services that are known to be problems.

Generally, firewalls are configured to protect against unauthenticated interactive logins from the ‘outside’ world. This, more than anything, helps prevent vandals from logging into machines on your network. More elaborate firewalls block traffic from the outside to the inside, but permit users on the inside to communicate freely with the outside. The firewall can protect you against any type of network-borne attack if you unplug it.

Firewalls are also important since they can provide a single ‘choke point’ where security and audit can be imposed. Unlike in a situation where a computer system is being attacked by someone dialing in with a modem, the firewall can act as an effective ‘phone tap’ and tracing tool. Firewalls provide an important logging and auditing function; often they provide summaries to the administrator about what kinds and amount of traffic passed through it, how many attempts there were to break into it, etc.

What can’t a firewall protect against?

Firewalls can’t protect against attacks that don’t go through the firewall. Many corporations that connect to the Internet are very concerned about proprietary data leaking out of the company through that route. Unfortunately for those concerned, a magnetic tape can just as effectively be used to export data. Many organizations that are terrified (at a management level) of Internet connections have no coherent policy about how dial-in access via modems should be protected.

It’s silly to build a 6-foot thick steel door when you live in a wooden house, but there are a lot of organizations out there buying expensive firewalls and neglecting the numerous other back-doors into their network. For a firewall to work, it must be a part of a consistent overall organizational security architecture. Firewall policies must be realistic, and reflect the level of security in the entire network. For example, a site with top secret or classified data doesn’t need a firewall at all: they shouldn’t be hooking up to the Internet in the first place, or the systems with the really secret data should be isolated from the rest of the corporate network.

Another thing a firewall can’t really protect you against is traitors or idiots inside your network. While an industrial spy might export information through your firewall, he’s just as likely to export it through a telephone, FAX machine, or floppy disk. Floppy disks are a far more likely means for information to leak from your organization than a firewall! Firewalls also cannot protect you against stupidity. Users who reveal sensitive information over the telephone are good targets for social engineering; an attacker may be able to break into your network by completely bypassing your firewall, if he can find a ‘helpful’ employee inside who can be fooled into giving access to a modem pool.

Last, firewalls can’t protect against tunneling over most application protocols to trojaned or poorly written clients. There are no magic bullets, and a firewall is not an excuse to not implement software controls on internal networks or ignore host security on servers. Tunneling ‘bad’ things over HTTP, SMTP, and other protocols is quite simple and trivially demonstrated. Security isn’t fire and forget.

What about viruses?

Firewalls can’t protect very well against things like viruses. There are too many ways of encoding binary files for transfer over networks, and too many different architectures and viruses to try to search for them all. In other words, a firewall cannot replace security-consciousness on the part of your users. In general, a firewall cannot protect against a data-driven attack–attacks in which something is mailed or copied to an internal host where it is then executed. This form of attack has occurred in the past against various versions of sendmail and ghostscript, a freely-available PostScript viewer.

Organizations that are deeply concerned about viruses should implement organization-wide virus control measures. Rather than trying to screen viruses out at the firewall, make sure that every vulnerable desktop has virus scanning software that is run when the machine is rebooted. Blanketing your network with virus scanning software will protect against viruses that come in via floppy disks, modems, and Internet. Trying to block viruses at the firewall will only protect against viruses from the Internet–and the vast majority of viruses are caught via floppy disks.

Nevertheless, an increasing number of firewall vendors are offering ‘virus detecting’ firewalls. They’re probably only useful for naive users exchanging Windows-on-Intel executable programs and malicious-macro-capable application documents. Do not count on any protection from attackers with this feature.

so its doesn't matter which firewall you use .... zonealarm,kerio,comodo,oupost etc......


Credits : NFT team

Lost bookmarks From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

This article deals with lost or missing bookmarks, recovery methods and preventing future losses. If changes you make to your bookmarks are not being saved or if you can't add new bookmarks, see the article Bookmarks not saved.
Contents
[hide]

* 1 Step-by-step bookmark recovery
o 1.1 Preventing future problems
* 2 Multiple profiles and profile in use
* 3 Corrupt localstore.rdf
* 4 Firefox 2 installer error
* 5 Finding your bookmarks
* 6 Restoring bookmarks from backup
* 7 Other methods of recovery
* 8 Bookmarks always missing after restart
* 9 Prevention
* 10 Related bug reports


Step-by-step bookmark recovery

If you don't see your bookmarks when you open Firefox or Mozilla Suite, the bookmarks file may have been damaged or the contents deleted. Firefox automatically makes up to five daily bookmark backups, with newer backups replacing the older copies, so you must act quickly, before they are all overwritten. However, there are other reasons why your bookmarks may be missing, so it is important that you follow all of these steps:

1. Firefox and Mozilla Suite store user data in a separate place for each user account on your computer. Make sure you are logged on to your computer with your usual logon name.
2. Mozilla browsers allow you to store different sets of bookmarks and other user data in separate profiles. Make sure you are using the correct Firefox or Mozilla Suite profile (see Multiple profiles and profile in use, below).
3. If bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks Manager but not in the main menu, and they can't be edited, try the fix for a corrupt localstore.rdf file, given below.
4. If bookmarks are missing after installing Firefox 2 on Windows, see Firefox 2 installer error (below).
5. If your problem is still not solved after doing the above, see Finding your bookmarks and Restoring bookmarks from backup (below). To identify the correct backup file, you can open and view bookmarks files with your browser.
6. Other methods of recovery


Preventing future problems

* You can minimize the likelihood of future problems by following these suggestions (below).
* If bookmarks are always lost after restarting, it may be because Firefox or Mozilla Suite is not properly shutting down. Read Bookmarks always missing after restart (below).


Multiple profiles and profile in use

Firefox and Mozilla Suite allow different users to have different settings and bookmarks. You may have inadvertently switched to another profile. Start the Firefox or Mozilla Suite Profile Manager and if multiple profiles are listed, select the other profile. If you receive a message that the profile is "in use" or if you are unable to start the original profile, read this article.

Corrupt localstore.rdf

(Firefox) If your bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks Manager but not in the main menu and can't be edited, this can be caused by a corrupt localstore.rdf file [1]. You can fix this by either deleting the localstore.rdf file from the profile folder or, in Firefox 1.5 and later, by starting in Firefox Safe Mode and selecting the option to reset toolbars and controls, then clicking the "Make changes and restart" button, as explained in this article.

Firefox 2 installer error

Bookmarks may appear to be missing after upgrading to Firefox 2. This problem is caused by the installer not properly closing Firefox before doing the upgrade (bug 357922, fixed in Firefox 2.0.0.1). To restore the missing bookmarks and fix other problems that may be related to the upgrade, you should reinstall Firefox.

1. If you don't have the installer already, download it.
2. Uninstall Firefox (your other settings will be unaffected).
3. Restart your machine (advanced users can instead kill firefox.exe processes using the Task Manager ).
4. Run the installer.


Finding your bookmarks

* In Firefox 1.5 and above, five daily bookmark backup files are saved in the bookmarkbackups folder, located in the Firefox profile folder. Important: You must recover one of these five backups before they are overwritten by newer versions.

* Firefox and Mozilla Suite store bookmarks in file "bookmarks.html", located in the profile folder. There is also a "bookmarks.html" file in the program folder, but this one is only a template and does not hold your bookmarks.

To make sure you have the right file, you can open the bookmarks.html file or any bookmark backup file using "File -> Open File" from the Firefox or Mozilla Suite menu to review the contents (see this article for details).

To find all bookmarks files anywhere on your computer, you can use your operating system’s file and folder search feature to locate find bookmarks* (be sure to include the asterisk, with no space). Windows users: Read the information here, as the profile folder containing your stored bookmarks is hidden by default.

Restoring bookmarks from backup

* The import bookmarks feature of the Bookmarks Manager will add the contents of any bookmark backup to your current bookmarks.

1.
* Firefox: "Bookmarks -> Organize (or Manage) Bookmarks... -> File -> Import... -> from File"
* Mozilla Suite: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> Tools -> Import..."
2. When the file picker appears, navigate to the folder that contains the bookmarks file you wish to use and select that file. Windows 2000 and XP users can navigate to the bookmarks backup folder typing "%APPDATA%" in the file field and pressing Enter, going into Mozilla then Firefox, then Profiles, then xxxxxxxx.default (where xxxxxxx is any sequence of numbers and characters), then the bookmarkbackups folder [2].

* Alternate method for advanced users: Rename the backup file "bookmarks.html". Replace "bookmarks.html" file in the profile folder with the renamed backup. Make sure the browser is not running when you replace the bookmarks!


Other methods of recovery

* Check the Recycle Bin/Trash for a file called "bookmarks.html".
* (Windows) Run the error-checking tool Chkdsk (Windows 2000, XP) or ScanDisk (Windows 95, 98, ME) to see if you can recover any file fragments that contain your lost bookmarks. Look for files with names like FILE0001.chk or FILE0002.chk on the root directory (the files may be inside folders named FOUND.000 or similar). Open each file in Wordpad or Notepad and, if it contains bookmark data, rename it with an .html extension (for example, rename FILE0001.chk to bookmarks1.html). Finally, import the file using the Mozilla Suite or Firefox Bookmarks Manager [3].
* Use a file undelete utility to see if you can recover the file [4] [5]


Bookmarks always missing after restart

This may occur on Windows systems because Firefox (or Mozilla Suite) is not properly shut down before you power down or restart the computer. This can be caused by a faulty or misconfigured plugin or extension, or even malware, causing Firefox to remain in memory. To see if this is your problem, perform the following steps:

1. Use Firefox to browse the web for a while, then open the Windows Task Manager, select the Processes tab and find firefox.exe in the list.
2. Use "File -> Exit" from the Firefox menu to close Firefox, then wait for firefox.exe to disappear from the Task Manager Processes list (this may take a few seconds if many tabs were open, or Firefox was using a lot of memory). If the firefox.exe process disappears and doesn't come back, this is normal, so if your bookmarks are always missing whenever you restart the computer, it could be related to bug 333907 which may cause .rdf file corruption. To avoid it, exit Firefox before shutting down your PC.
3. If firefox.exe remains in the Processes list, end the firefox.exe process by selecting it in the Windows Task Manager and clicking "End Process".
* If the process disappears and doesn't come back, you may have an extension or plugin issue causing Firefox to persist in memory (for example, firefox.exe may remain active after running a Java applet). You should make sure all plugins and extensions are up to date and seek support if the problem persists.
* If the process disappears but comes back, you probably have a virus, or some other malware. Anti-virus software may not be able to detect it. If yours doesn't, seek support. See also Firefox.exe always open.


Prevention

* Do not power down your computer with Firefox/Mozilla Suite running.[6]
* Be careful when using Firefox Safe Mode. If you use the option to reset bookmarks to Firefox defaults, this will delete your bookmarks.
* You can also lose your saved bookmarks by accidentally deleting them in the Bookmarks Manager.
* Some "computer clean-up" programs like System Wiper may delete your bookmarks. Make sure you do profile backups before using such programs.
* Periodically save your bookmarks to the backup location of your choice:
o Firefox 1.5 and earlier: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> File -> Export..."
o Firefox 2: "Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks... -> File -> Export..."
o Mozilla Suite: "Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks... -> Tools -> Export..."
* You can increase the number of saved Firefox backups by modifying the value of the browser.bookmarks.max_backups preference to the desired number.
* Instead of backing up just your bookmarks, you can also back up your entire profile. See also Guide: Bookmark Back Up Extensions/Utilities and More.


Credits : NFT team & MozlliaZine KB

Vista DOES have a compatibilty mode.

Run Applications In Compatibility Mode In Vista

If you upgrade to Windows Vista, one of the things you may discover is that not all of your older programs will work under Vista. Many software vendors are working to release Vista-compatible versions but in the mean time, you can try running the applications in Compatibility Mode.

Open Windows Explorer.
Location the application executable.
Right click the executable and click the Properties option.
Select the Compatibility tab.
Select the Run This Program in Compatibility Mode option.
From the drop-down list, choose the operating system you ran before upgrading to Vista.
If necessary, select the option to run the program as an administration.
Click OK.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it's worth a try anyway. 


Credits : NFT team

How to integrate Windows XP Service Pack 2 files into the Windows XP installation folder

View products that this article applies to.

Article ID : 900871
Last Review : June 20, 2006
Revision : 3.0

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to integrate Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) files into the Windows XP installation folder. You can use the /integrate switch or the Update.exe utility to perform this task. These tools help you run an in-place upgrade to Windows XP SP2 if the original Windows Setup CD is an earlier version of Windows XP.

MORE INFORMATION

---------------------------------------

Method 1: Use the /integrate switch

1. Create two new folders on the computer. For example, create the C:\XPCD\i386 and C:\XPSP2 folders.
2. Copy the files and folders in the i386 folder from the original Windows XP CD to C:\XPCD\i386.
3. Download the Windows XP SP2 network installation package to C:\XPSP2. To download the installation package, visit the following Microsoft Web site:


Note If the operating system uses a language other than English, change the language to English before you download. The Change Language option is listed in the middle of the download page.

4. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
5. At the command prompt, type cd C:\XPSP2, and then press ENTER.
6. Type WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe /integrate:C:\XPCD, and then press ENTER.
7. The Windows Service Pack 2 Setup Wizard starts and notifies you that Windows XP SP2 files are being integrated into the Windows XP installation folder. Follow the instructions in the Windows Service Pack 2 Setup Wizard.
8. Click OK when you see the dialog box that indicates that the integrated installation has completed successfully.
9. After you complete the integration process, run an in-place upgrade to Windows XP SP2. To do this, click Start, click Run, type C:\XPCD\i386\winnt32, and then click OK.

-------------------------------------

Method 2: Use the Update.exe utility

1. Follow steps 1 through 5 of Method 1.
2. At the command prompt, type WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe –x, and then press ENTER.
3. When you are prompted, make sure that C:\XPSP2 is listed as the destination folder for the extracted files, and then click OK to extract the files.
4. At the command prompt, type C:\XPSP2\i386\update\update /s:C:\XPCD. The Windows Service Pack 2 Setup Wizard starts and notifies you that Windows XP SP2 files are being integrated into the Windows XP installation folder.
5. Click OK when you see the dialog box that indicates the integrated installation has completed successfully.
6. After you complete the integration process, run an in-place upgrade to Windows XP SP2. To do this, click Start, click Run, type C:\XPCD\i386\winnt32, and then click OK.


APPLIES TO
• Microsoft Windows XP Professional
• Microsoft Windows XP Professional
• Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1a
• Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
• Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
• Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1a


Keywords: kbhowto kbinfo KB900871


credits : KB articles & NFT team

Some Google tricks

Google.com is famous as a search engine and it's full
of tricks. Here are a few new tricks you haven't seen
yet.

Google does calculations. For example, to find out how
many times the number 8 goes into the number 720, just
type 720/8 in the search box and press the Enter key to
get the results. You can use the standard + and - keys to
add or subtract. Use the / key to divide and the * to
multiply.

You can also use google to convert measurements. For example,
type "100 meters in feet" (without the quotes) and press the
Enter key for the results.

Use a dash to eliminate a word you don't want in your search
results. For example, if you were looking for a Hilton hotel
and not the Paris Hilton, you'd type Hilton-Paris as your
search criteria.

Place quotes around your search query terms to direct Google
to search for the terms together. For example, "George Bush"
will avoid any reference to foliage.

If you want to limit your search to a certain domain type,
place a colon after your search and then type the domain
extension. For example, taxes:.org

To limit your search to a specific language sites, click on
Preferences (to the right of the search bar) and click next
to the languages you wish to read search results. Scroll down
to the bottom of that page and click Save Preferences.

Finally, you can enter a zip code, a +, and then a local search
result you wish to find. For example, type 90210+kitchen cabinets
to produce a list of cabinetmakers in Beverly Hills. This works
really well if you are looking for a restaurant.


Credits : NFT team

How to explain RSS

How to explain RSS to your friends, family & clients

RSS is something I use everyday for my own personal use that speeds up my use of the internet tenfold. Sadly, most people outside the industry still haven’t cottoned on to it yet. So I’m going to try help you to explain it to them.


Step 1: Explain what RSS is and what it the abbreviation stands for?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication - when selling the idea of RSS to people it’s best not to dwell on the name too much - it’s a stupid name which I’m sure is partly responsible for the lack of popular uptake - instead focus on what RSS is and what it does and tell them RSS will save them time.

RSS is a simple way for people to see when a website has updated. A good example for this is news. If a big news story has broken you’ll want to be informed as and when information becomes available so you’ll probably keep checking your favoured news website every 20 minutes to see if it’s changed but with RSS you don’t need to bother as you’ll be informed as and when changes are made.

Explain all the different terminology and let’s people know it all means the same thing. Feeds, RSS, Atom, feedreaders, aggregators and all that bullshit really confuses people. It confuses me and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing.

Thanks to heavy promotion by BBC TV/Radio and Ricky Gervais in the UK, podcasts are relatively big news so a good idea might be to explain that RSS is like a podcast but with text instead of music/talking.

Step 2: Eliminate any confusion about RSS being like email updates
Having explained the basics of RSS to people most of them assume it’s similar to email updates whereby they put in their email address and get told when the site has updated but, ensure they know that RSS differs to email updates in a few crucial ways.

Unsubscribing is often much easier - it’s as easy as deleting an email
Your email inbox does not become crammed
and most importantly you don’t have to give anyone your email address. Bye-bye spam!
Step 3: Explain how you use RSS to do non-geeky things
Some great examples of using RSS are:

Keeping track of a news websites when you’re bored at work.
Keeping track of eBay searches to see if that new must-have item is being sold and at what price
Personally, I use RSS alot, to read blogs about web design but if I explain that to people they quickly get bored. Luckily I also use RSS for music (which is a much better example) - I read a lot of mp3 blogs and as soon as they post a new album to download I know about it straight away with RSS. I also frequent the ticket selling website Scarlet Mist on which you can swap/buy unwanted tickets at face value. Tickets posted on there go really quickly so with RSS I can find out about them straight away.

Letting people know what real-world things they can do with RSS will help sell it to them.

Step 4: Explain to them how they can read RSS.
People can download special RSS software (feedreaders) like Greatnews, or read RSS through their browsers including:

Internet Explorer 7 (and not IE6)
Firefox
Opera
or Safari on a mac
Some mobile phones are even now equipped with RSS readers so you can download RSS feeds from anywhere. I use my mobile phone to check for news headlines or football results when I’m bored and waiting for something.

Whatever they use to read RSS, the appearance is nearly always identical. A list of websites that are marked as bold if they have new items you haven’t read yet. A wesbite with nothing new will not be bold. Hey presto, it’s now obvious which sites are worth visiting but it gets better, you can also view the summaries (sometimes even the entire updated text) of the updates and then choose to visit the site only if the content is interesting. This allows better time management. People no longer have to check the site to see if it has updated and they no longer have to visit the site if the updated content is of no interest to them.

Step 5: Go a bit geeky and explain to your clients how RSS will improve their sites.
A website can do (at least) two things with RSS:

Produce their own RSS feed for many purposes
Use other RSS feeds to increase their content
With the correct permissions you can use RSS from another website to make your website a little bit more interesting. Example: If your client has a website trying to get people to visit a UK city then they could include a RSS feed from a local news site that gives people headlines about that city which will give them potential visitors a better feel for the place or they could include the RSS from BBC weather on that city so people from abroad can see what the weather is like (actually, scratch that, as it may decrease the number of people wanting to visit if they knew how poor UK weather can be!)

Using RSS in this way gives a website’s content another dimension but thankfully, it doesn’t detract from the original source i.e. if you supply an RSS feed from your site and someone else uses it on their site, there’s a strong chance that people will eventually find their way back to your site and your visitors will increase. Most RSS suppliers stipulate that you include a link back to their site and make it obvious (although not glaringly so) that the content is theirs. So clients shouldn’t be dissuaded from allowing other websites to use their RSS as it will probably benefit their site more than it will harm it.

Further reading
The BBC does a fantastic job of explaining RSS to people with it’s microsite Feed factory. The BBC display a link to this microsite next to every link to an RSS feed.


credits : NFT team

How to change all file extensions in a folder,

This post also applied to other actions such as copying, removing to manage and organize your Linux file system more effectively.

To make sure that you do not destroy your real files, I use the folder /tmp resided the home directory to carried out this tutorial. You can create a new one if you like.

cd
mkdir /tmp
cd tmp

Now, I'm standing in the folder /tmp. Currently, this is a empty working directory. I make 100 new files in the extension .dot as the following:

for x in {1..100}; do touch "file$x.dot"; done

And 200 new files as Gif images

for x in {1..200}; do touch "myimage$x.gif"; done

Now, how can I rename all files .dot to .bak in the folder /tmp? The following command can solve this problem.

for x in *.dot; do mv "$x" "${x%.dot}.bak"; done 


credits : NFT team

Make your computer faster using this tweak method.

Make your computer faster using this tweak method.

Step 1. Disable the luna theme

Right click on your desktop to open a popup menu.
On the pop-up menu, select the Properties option.
When the Display Properties window appears, notice the Themes roll down box.
Click on the roll down box and select the Windows Classic option.
Click OK.

Stap 2. Fasterbootup

Open the Start menu by clicking on the Start button.
Click on the Run... item.
Into the "Open:" text box, type "msconfig",
Now go to the "BOOT.INI" tab
and check the "/sos" box,
now go to "startup" tab and uncheck all apps you dont need
Click Apply. but dont restart your computer

Step 3. Disabling Services

Open the Start menu by clicking on the Start button.
Click on the Run...item.
into the "Open:" text box, type "services.msc".
Now disable all this services:

>> Alerter
>> Background Intelligent Transfer
>> ClipBook
>> Help and Support
>> Indexing Service
>> Messenger (this is not MSN Messenger)
>> Net Logon
>> NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
>> Performance Logs and Alerts
>> Portable Media Serial Number Service
>> QoS RSVP
>> Smart Card (only i you dont use one)
>> Uninterruptable Power Supply
>> Windows Time
>> Wireless Zero Configuration 


credits : NFT team

right-click functionality

Lots of web sites have disabled the right click function of the mouse button... it's really, really annoying. This is done so that you don't steal (via right-click->save picture) their photos or images or any other goodies. Unfortunately, it disables ALL right-click functionality: copy, paste, open in new window.

It's easy to change, assuming your using IE 6:
Click "Tools"->"Internet Options"
Click the "Security" tab
Click "Custom Level"
Scroll down to the "Scripting" section
Set "Active Scripting" to "disable"
Click "Ok" a couple of times.

You'll probably want to turn this back to "enable" when your done... 'cause generally the javascript enhances a website. 


credits : nft team

How to disable auto-start applications on windows startup?

Using this tip, you can minimize the startup time of windows XP and Vista also. You can disable some optional windows applications like windows messenger, Yahoo messenger, QuickTime and many others auto startup programs that run automatically when you start your computer.

Follow the given steps to disable the windows auto run applications:

To use this feature, you will need to be logged into your computer with administrative rights.

Click Start button and type msconfig in Run option then press Enter for next.

A small System Configuration Utility dialog box will appear with many options like General, System.ini Win.ini, Boot.ini, Services, Startup and Tools.

Now select Startup tab and uncheck the applications that you want to disable from windows startup.

Now click on Apply button to implement the changes then click on Ok button to end the configuration process.

Again close the all program and restart your computer after any changes to go into effect.

credits : nft team

How to exit a Java App cleanly!

Exit Java Application

Have you ever started a java app from an SSH session and when you are done you try to exit the SSH session and it's not exiting. Another symptom would be to call the java app from a script and the script never regains contol from the Java App. The solution is simple...

Your program still has descriptors for stdin, stdout and stderr open and sshd is waiting for them to close. Either have your program close those descriptors or redirect them to /dev/null. You probably also want to use "nohup" to prevent the program from exiting on SIGHUP. Here is an example that should help you....

nohup java -cp . Test /dev/null 2>&1 & 


credits : nft team

Determine the length of all audio CD tracks, Very fast with Excel

This macro will list the duration of all the tracks on an audio CD inserted in your CD ROM.

Open Excel
On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Visual Basic Editor (or Alt F11)
Copy text between the lines below:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Option Explicit

Private Declare Function mciSendString Lib "winmm.dll" _
Alias "mciSendStringA" (ByVal lpstrCommand As String, _
ByVal lpstrReturnString As String, _
ByVal uReturnLength As Long, _
ByVal hwndCallback As Long) As Long

Sub AudioCD_InsertTime()

Static S As String * 30
Dim Cmd As String
Dim Counter As Integer, Answer As Integer
Dim Min As Integer, Sec As Integer
Dim NrTracks As Integer, Track As Integer
Dim TrackLength() As String

Answer = MsgBox("The audio CD must already be in the CD-rom drive." & vbCrLf & _
"No other software may use the audio CD.", vbExclamation + vbOKCancel)
If Answer <> vbOK Then Exit Sub

mciSendString "close all", 0, 0, 0
mciSendString "open cdaudio alias cd wait shareable", 0, 0, 0
mciSendString "status cd number of tracks wait", S, Len(S), 0
NrTracks = CInt(Mid$(S, 1, 2))

ReDim TrackLength(1 To NrTracks)
Dim i As Integer
For i = 1 To NrTracks
Cmd = "status cd length track " & i
mciSendString Cmd, S, Len(S), 0
TrackLength(i) = S
Next i

Do
Counter = Counter + 1
Min = CInt(Mid$(TrackLength(Counter), 1, 2))
Sec = CInt(Mid$(TrackLength(Counter), 4, 2))
With ActiveCell.Cells(Counter, 1)
.Value = "00:" & Format(Min, "00") & ":" & Format(Sec, "00")
.NumberFormat = "[mm]:ss"
End With
If Counter = NrTracks Then Exit Do
Loop

mciSendString "close all", 0, 0, 0

End Sub
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the Visual Basic Editor:
Insert > Module
Paste the code.

Go back to Excel (use tab on Windows' Task bar) or close the Visual Basic Editor.
Put an audio CD in your CD ROM
Select any cell (suggest a cell on row 1 for this try out)
Then...... Tools > Macro > Macros (or Alt F8)
With your macro selected click .
You can copy the cells and paste into any text document.
Save the workbook for use next time.


credits : NFT team

Monday, June 30, 2008

Skype Lets You Make Free Phone Calls Online

Everywhere you turn phone companies offer 3 or 5-cent long distance phone calls, or even unlimited long distance for a flat fee monthly.

Now you can make reliable calls using the Internet for anywhere from 0 to 2.3-cents per minute.

Welcome to Skype, the Internet telephony company that has set the traditional telephone world on its ear.

Recently purchased by Ebay for 2.6 billion dollars, Skype stands ready to revolutionize worldwide voice communication simply because they enable you to carry on crystal clear voice communication with anyone else in the world with a either a phone or Internet connection.

What's the catch you ask?
Well, to make phone calls, you need a computer, a microphone, speakers, a modem, an Internet connection and the free Skype software you can download from www.skype.com

To make a free phone call, you need someone on the receiving end with a computer, Internet connection, and the Skype software installed.

To make a call from your computer to a land-based phone virtually anywhere in the world, you must pre-pay for calling minutes in blocks of 10 Euros (approximately $12 U.S.).

One block of calling minutes gets you about 500 minutes of calling time, or a little over 8 hours of talking time.

Skype uses a technology called IP telephony.

IP telephony first appeared commercially back in the lat 1990's with services like Dialpad.com, which initially offered phone calls from computers to land-based phones in exchange for watching online advertising.

This model soon failed, but the thought of making ultra-cheap phone calls through a computer did not.

And, as the recent mega sale of Skype reveals, a market now exists that can put Internet telephony to work on a grand scale, or at least large enough to make eBay pony up with a lot of cash and stock to give it a try.

Once you install the software, you log onto the service and can make phone calls to other Skype users through their computers at no charge.

You can set up a call list, much like an instant messaging "buddy list" so with a couple clicks of the mouse you can ring your friends up for a chat.

Or, if you pre-pay for calling minutes, you can enter in the country code and phone number of your pals, click a button, and their phone or cell phone will ring.

Skype also allows you to hold conference calls with up to 4 other people at the same time, making it easy to hold group meetings.

Skype includes a group chat feature which allows you to hold a group chat session with up to 48 other people at the same time... excellent for "webinars" or even planning that next family reunion.

Skype also allows you to transfer files to and from other users, perfect for sharing photos, music and short video clips with your pals.

Tip: Get a good headset microphone.

It makes using the service more enjoyable and also eliminates the echo created by your own speakers feeding back into your PC's microphone. 

Notebook Computers in the Age of the Internet

Everyone knows that our world cannot exist without computers. Ever tried to make a purchase at a convenience store when their computers are down, ever waited for someone to make change when their register computer is down, or have you ever tried to find a book in a library when the system is down? If you have ever experienced one of these inconveniences, you know that our world hinges on whether or not our computers are working.

Remember when you told your teacher that the dog ate your homework? Did she believe you? Probably not. Now the excuse is my computer crashed, my printer wouldn't print, or we were out of ink. Even kids rely on computers to do their schoolwork. The days of pen and pencils are almost over. In fact most students know more about computers than their teachers or parents. They don't even remember a time without computers.

As computers become more and more intuitive and powerful, we must proceed with them. If you are still among the population that resents the encroachment of the computer, think about this scenario. If Eve in the Garden of Eden had access to the Internet, she could have looked up information about snakes. She would have found out that they have forked tongues and an evil reputation. Instead of listening to the snake's lies, she would have thrashed him with a tree branch. Think how much better our world would be now.

The best present any graduate can get this June is a desktop computer or a laptop. In my day, girls were given matching luggage to take their clothes to school. Yes, I know I am dating myself, but I do have a point. Today buy your child a computer and let them take their clothes is a paper sack. They don't care; an old gym bag will do. I know; schools have computer labs, but they are always full. Wouldn't you rather your son or particularly your daughter not be out of the dorm or apartment working on projects or papers? Also, when your newly graduated senior has moved away to school, e-mail will become your best friend. Even if you hate computers, you will learn to love them because they will become your link to your child. The nest will never be empty as long as you have e-mail.

Computers are links to the outside world. The world has never been more accessible or smaller. You have to keep up or you will be left behind and who wants to be the last straggler on the planet? Not me!

Using Shortcuts On Your Computer

I have worked in computer support for many years and it amazes me how people panic and exclaim "I can't do any work" because they suddenly find that their mouse doesn't work properly.

Anything you can do with a mouse can be done from the keyboard. In fact you can do a whole lot more with the keyboard and you can normally do it quicker as well!!

Here is a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to make yourself more productive -

(Remember that when a shortcut has CTRL+X, it means you must press AND HOLD DOWN the Ctrl key and then push the X key on the keyboard)

CTRL+X Cut (whatever you have highlighted will be 'cut' and stored in the 'clipboard')

CTRL+V Paste. (Will copy whatever is in the 'clipboard' to the position the cursor is in your document)

CTRL+Z Undo. (your last action will be undone - e.g. if you pasted something - it will be removed)

DELETE Delete.

SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.

CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.

CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 Rename selected item.

CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.

CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.

CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.

CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.

CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.

SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.

CTRL+A Select all.

F3 Search for a file or folder.

ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.

ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.

ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.

ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.

CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.

ALT+TAB Switch between open items.

ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.

F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.

F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.

SHIFT+F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.

ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.

CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.

ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu.

Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.

F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.

RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.

LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.

F5 Refresh the active window.

BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.

ESC Cancel the current task.

SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Press To:

END Display the bottom of the active window.

HOME Display the top of the active window.

NUM LOCK+ASTERISK on numeric keypad (*) Display all subfolders under the selected folder.

NUM LOCK+PLUS SIGN on numeric keypad (+) Display the contents of the selected folder.

NUM LOCK+MINUS SIGN on numeric keypad (-) Collapse the selected folder.

LEFT ARROW Collapse current selection if it's expanded, or select parent folder.

RIGHT ARROW Display current selection if it's collapsed, or select first subfolder. 

That Does Not Compute!!

Do you remember that famous TV series called 'Lost in Space'.

There would be few who wouldn't remember the Jupiter II lost in space with the Robinson Family, Dr Zachary Smith, Major Don West and, of course, the Robot.

The Robots catch cry was "Danger, Danger Will Robinson" when trouble was lurking or "That does not compute" when something was not logical.

The phrase "That does not compute" springs to mind more often than not as I deal with Family, Friends and Customers with their computers, VCR's and other electronic equipment.

What doesn't compute is why you pay so much to use so little of the power of a device such as a modern day computer. You are paying $1500 - $2000 for a device to play games.

Now come on ... hands up all those people who bought a computer for their kids to play games ... OK ... there's one ... two ... three ... yes there's quite a few.

Now your saying to yourself "Well what else would I do with it because I don't run a business" and therein lies my point. You don't have to be running a business to get the most out of your computer ...

OR

.... why NOT run a part time business and try and get some of that investment back.

Here is a list of personal/business uses for your 'toy' -

1. Build a Catalogue/Index of your favorite recipes

2. Research and build your family tree

3. Search the Internet for any sort of information

4. Create your own family or Business web site

5. Use it to run design software for quilts (this is a use one of my friends uses it for). There are tons of software programs out there that allow you to design almost anything.

6. Catalogue your collection of whatever you collect (stamps, comics, figurines, books, toy cars etc)

7. Shop online

8. Buy Goods like cars, white goods, furniture.

9. Sending and receiving email

10. Keep a list of personal and business contacts

11. Let your kids research their homework on the internet

12. Do an online course of study

13. Complete a degree or Diploma

14. Book Airline tickets, accomodation, holidays

15. Plan your holiday or trip online

16. Buy and sell goods through an online auction i.e. ebay

17. View and Buy a house

18. Design your own dream home

19. Put an inexpensive web camera on your PC and have a video conference

20. Do Video editing

21. Create Video tutorials of your favorite subject

22. Research your favorite pastime/hobby

23. Send a protest to your politcal representative

24. Scan, edit and store your photos

25. Write a book

26. Write your family history

27. Submit your tax returns electronically

28. Do your banking online

29. Pay your bills online

30. OK, I'll concede ... play some games as well!

This list is just off the top of my head ...

.... you can use your computer for any imaginable task e.g. In the not too distant future your computer will run your house for you.

The one thing that stops you from doing any or all of these things now is a lack of the basic understanding/knowledge of your computer. Sure your reading this article so that means you can receive email or browse the web but what happens if they don't work any more? Do you have enough basic knowledge to rectify the simple problems or would you rather wait for your computer to be 'fixed' by the local technician?

More than 80% of most computer problems could be resolved with just some basic computer know-how. I have known people to go without a computer for a few days only to find a cord was loose on their mouse.

Your first task after buying a computer should be to learn about the basics of your computer. There are online courses, college courses and tutors available to help you do just that.

So take the initiative and get the most out of your computer otherwise you are wasting your time money and 'That does not compute!'

Beware - Gone Phishing!

One of the biggest frauds being committed today is the scam of email phishing.

What is Email Phishing?

If you regularly use email as a communication method then someone has tried to phish you unless you haven't opened any email in the last 18 months. Phishing is the email you generally receive that informs you that your bank account/paypal account/ebay account has been suspended until you login and verify your account details.The email says something like this -

"We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your Citibank Internet Banking account may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your account and of the Citibank network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive account features. To restore your account access, please take the following steps to ensure that your account has not been compromised".

If you click on the link provided in the email you are taken to a web page that contains all the logos and features of the legitimate organization with a form to fill out with some or all of your account details

These emails DO NOT come from your banking institution. They have come from somebody who is trying to STEAL your account details. This information will then be stored/or transmitted to the phisher who will now have your account details and can now make transactions on your account.

Do NOT respond to these emails. Your banking institution will contact you by letter or telephone if there is a problem with your account. If you get one of these emails DO NOT click on any links in the email. Instead you should contact your bank or financial institution by telephone/personally and ask if there is a problem with your account.

You should report any phishing emails to your financial institution and/or to the appropriate Federal authorities.

According to Gartner approximately 2 million people reported that their checking account was breached in one way or another during the last year and over US$ 2 billion were defrauded from the victims!

Other steps to take prevent this from happening to you -

Never submit account details unless a web site is secure. Look for the closed padlock in your browser status bar and the https:// at the beginning of the Web address. If both of these signs are present, then the Web site is secure.

Review your bank statements immediately when you receive them.

Most phishing emails come from spam so get a spam filter and install it on your computer.

Report ANY phishing attempts to the concerned institution.

Change your passwords and PINs regularly. It is advisable to use separate PINs and passwords for different accounts so that if one account is compromised, your whole financial details will not be compromised.

If you are a frequent user of EBay, download the EBay Web browser toolbar which is a small program that runs with your Web browser. It flashes red when you visit a possible spoof site. The toolbar uses a database of spoof site URLs, submitted by customers and is updated quite often.

Check and update your computer with the latest scanners for spyware and trojan software.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Found a new site to Increase Traffic


And here we go towards the procedure


Here is the link to the beautiful site called boosterblog -- http://www.boosterblog.net

4 Basic Steps To Protect Your Computer Against Internet Intruders

It never ceases to amaze me how many people connect to the Internet with no protection on the PC at all! This is a very dangerous activity and has led to financial ruin for some people.

I have had family members and friends who ask me to check out their PC's because they are 'slow' or they can't stop these damn popup windows from coming up. These are the first signs of infection or security breaches on your PC.

It takes 4 simple steps and it costs you nothing at all except a bit of time and effort.

Step 1 - Get a firewall installed.

Firewalls help to protect you from Internet attacks and intrusion from hackers on the Internet who go 'sniffing' for unprotected computers.

What do they do when they hack your computer? Well they look for password files, security breaches that allow them to use YOUR computer for malicious attacks on other computers on the Internet.

There was a story not long ago about the Russian Mafia hacking into a household computer and using it to transfer funds from unsuspecting bank accounts for their own illegal purposes. When the Feds tracked down the responsible computer, it belonged to some unsuspecting person who had no idea of what was happening. So be warned!!

Microsoft Windows XP has a built in firewall so you could enable that and it gives you some basic protection.

If you don't want to use that firewall then try a free firewall called zone alarm from http://www.zonelabs.com

Zone alarm is a great firewall and even better for the price - they have a free version for home and non-commercial use.

Step 2 - Get an anti virus product installed

Anti virus software scans your computer for malicious code that can cause all sorts of problems on your computer and even delete files and make your computer inoperable.

You can get a very good free virus scanning software called AVG virus scanner from http://www.grisoft.com/

Step 3 - Get a reliable anti-spyware software

Spyware tends to sit on your computer and 'spy' on what you are doing. It can do things like look at web sites you have visited, record your key strokes (looking for account numbers and passwords) and it can then sends this information back to its originator.

A great and well know spyware scanner is called Spybot-S&D from http://www.safer-networking.org/
The other great spyware utilities are adaware from lavasoft, and Microsoft have one as well.

My advice would be to run two or three spyware utilities, particularly if you do a lot of online transactions with your computer.

Step 4 - Keep your Microsoft (MS) Windows Operating System (OS) updated

Microsoft come out with security patches on a regular bases to close up security 'holes' that have been identified. These patches can be applied manually by you or you can have MS Windows download and install them automatically.

To check out what updates you require -

1. Go to the Microsoft Windows Update page here - http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

2. Scan your computer to find out what critical updates and security patches are not installed.

3. Select the updates to install paying particular attention to CRITICAL Updates.

You may need to restart your computer after the patches have been applied

As a final word on the 4 steps, it is critical that you keep all of the programs up to date. So check back with the vendors on a regular basis (at least weekly) to see if updates are available. The better programs (like Spybot) will have options in them to check for updates.

The above list of programs is not the ultimate list. Like any programs there are dozens of choices. The ones above are those that I have had first hand experience of.

I personally use commercial programs because I spend so much time connected to the Internet, my family surfs quite regularly and I am a big fan of online transactions. Even the commercial programs only cost pennies compared to what can happen if you do get an infection. 

What To Do If Your Computer Is Attacked

Prevention is always better than a pound of cure.

Believe it or not, it is now utterly impossible to survive without a computer. Almost anything and everything could be done on-line nowadays.

From purchasing to selling to paying bills, one really need not go out as any transaction could actually be made thru the computer thanks to the internet. Unless of course fresh air is also available online.

However, the computer’s flexibility has also allowed it to be vulnerable to attack from one of the most potentially harmful entities around: the computer virus.

The instance you detect that the computer you own is infected with a virus, the following are helpful tasks that you could do to protect it further and to also avoid other personal computers to be affected as well.

Use disks from trusted sources

You do not allow your shoes to tread on any mud puddle or any dirty floor, or your shirts to be easily vulnerable to stains or dirt. Therefore, it is always best to treat your computer the same way.

As much as possible, always be careful with what kind of disks as well as files enter your computer. Either the files were downloaded from the internet or the disks borrowed from friends, it is always best to make sure where they come from or to scan them in order to avoid any potentially harmful viruses.

It is also not a good idea to download any files from internet sites that are unsafe or insecure. Also, do not immediately open attachments received via e-mail.

Take a good look on the subject of the email as well as where the email came from. Be wary even if the email was from your contacts.

Fortunately, there are now facilities in email services that immediately scan attachments prior to opening them. Email subjects that are vague and from senders that have gibberish email addresses must arouse your suspicion.

Included in this group are those emails that aggressively claim that you should “Check out this message!” or that you should “See the following pics!”

Acquire a program that fights viruses

Fortunately, there are a lot of anti-virus software programs that scan and eliminate viruses once they are detected. This allows anyone to safely and confidently share data and disks, the freedom to download any files from the internet as well as open any attachments received via e-mail.

When the virus hits

Fear not. As much as possible, relax. There is a way out of this predicament. All you have to do is to visit the web site of the manufacturer of your anti-virus software. They may have the latest software which, if it will not delete the harmful virus, could identify and detect it.

Search for a vaccine

The world wide web is available at your beck and call so you could search for any information you may need with regards to the particular virus that you want deleted.

By entering the virus name on the search engine, all information as well as vaccine may present itself.

Download, download, download

Be free to install as well as download any patches of software or programs that could help in eliminating the computer virus.

You could also try to religiously follow any of the instructions that you will find in order to manually delete the virus.

Do not rest on your laurels

Do not be easily convinced that once the computer virus has been deleted, the virus is now totally eliminated.

The best way to determine if the virus is completely destroyed is via running a virus scan. If the scan reports that no virus components have been detected, you can now relax.

Un-attach yourself from attachments

Caution must always be practiced once attachments have been received. The file extensions that one should be careful in opening are those that end in *.exe, *.doc, *.ppt or *.xls.

However, those that end in the following extensions such as: *.js, *.vbs should – as much as possible – never be opened.

All in all, every computer is vulnerable to be attacked. What one needs to protect your own PC is caution and preparedness to look towards the future and anticipate any potential attack prior to it happening. This ensures your computer to run as smoothly as it possibly could.

Expect A Computer Crash And Back Up Your Important Files Often

You’ve heard horror stories about it, or perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself. Many a working man and woman have nearly gone insane after the disaster that all computer-dependent individuals shiver at the thought of: the great computer crash.

A person can literally lose everything he has saved on his computer in a blink of an eye. The reasons are varied. At times it occurs after an ample amount of warning signs, other times it comes as a complete surprise (making it more disconcerting). When these moments happen – and they do happen, and quite often actually – one can only hope that he has saved his files elsewhere, otherwise, there is little hope that they will be recovered.

Are you scared yet? If you don’t want this to happen to you and your precious files (which I’m almost sure you don’t), read on and find out how to create backups for your many important files.

But first off, if you’re still not convinced of the importance of backing up, here are a few reasons that might convince you.

Top Reasons Why You Should Back Up Your Files

1. One of the few universal truths in life is, no matter how in control you are of your universe, something, someday will inevitably go completely wrong, and usually it is something that will happen beyond your control. The same is true for the files on your computer. No matter how updated and top-of-the-line your hard drive is, it will someday inevitably give up on you and your files.

2. Numerous viruses abound in the computers of individuals around the world – computers that send and receive files through the internet. There are also the numerous floppy disks, CDs and flash drives that connect to your computer. Any one of these can be carriers of a harmful virus that can wipe out the data stored on your computer. If you don’t have a backup for this data, you’re most likely never going to see them again.

3. Power failures are one of the computer’s worst nightmares (which also include running water and becoming obsolete). They happen without notice, especially when the whether is bad. And power failures can just as easily ruin your computer and all the files on it. It is another good reason why you should back up your files.

The bottom line is, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. There are many ways to bring about a data disaster, and there’s only one way to be prepared for any of them, and that is through backing up your files.

Ways to Back Up Your Files

There are various ways to back up the files on your computer. You can use internet programs and services that allow you to back up your files on a separate server that can be accessed through the internet. You can also use the conventional writable CD-ROM disc, where you can copy, paste, and burn the files on your computer through a no-brainer process. Zip disks are also effective for backing up files, as well as external hard drives.

How to Choose the Data You Should Back Up

When backing up files, you don’t have to copy the entire contents of your computer. Computer programs that you have a CD-ROM installer for often need not have a back up. Here are some of the files that you should definitely have back ups for:

- Bank records and other files that have financial information

- Digital images and pictures

- Software and music files that you downloaded from the Internet

- The contacts of your email address book

- Any other personal projects (essays, research and term papers for students; presentations, documents, and reports for the working folk)

- Important emails

Some Final Reminders on Backing Up Files

Do label your storage materials. If you are using CDs, for instance, be sure to label and file them properly. Back up files are of no use if you can’t find what you are looking for among them – and they’re sure to pile up.

Don’t use floppy disks as permanent storage for your backup files. The data inside them easily get damaged and won’t last long enough to be useful as a back up.

Instant Messaging Dos And Don'ts

Believe it or not, instant messaging services are now just as susceptible to viruses and other scammers.

Since almost anyone and everyone has access to e-mail, viruses now have the ability to infiltrate both your office and home as this popular form of communication is being used by virus writers to spread electronic worms and viruses.

According to a study conducted way back in 2003 by the Internet Security of Semantec, viruses and worms that were spread using instant messaging services have increased to 400%.

The instant messaging worms

Currently, the worms Bizex and Jitux.A are now targeting the instant messaging services of MSN as well as ICQ.

The worm Jitux.A is currently spread by infiltrating the contacts of a particular user’s IM. However, the Bizex worm has an intent that is more malicious, it sends a user a link to a particular web site that have already scanned the computer you are using for any electronic finances or payments.

Since it was discovered, the site has since been shutdown, however it is yet to be known the quantity of data they have already collected, albeit maliciously.

Do not be complacent

Though the major virus threats have already been discovered, this is no time to be complacent. Threats could still continue. As more users know better on how to stop traditional virus attacks, writers of viruses will continually look for other targets.

This is according to CyberScrub president, Bill Adler. And the soft target are currently instant messaging services.

Yet do not panic

Relax, this is still no reason for you to throw away your instant messaging service. Be aware that many viruses in IMs do not automatically propagate.

Usually, clicking a link or downloading an applet is hat would require to download a virus or a worm.

Avoiding these threats require that users constantly be vigilant and always do safe computing.

Do not trust friends

Or at least those messages sent by friends. Unbeknownst to your friend, he could be sending you a link that would lead you to a particular site (under the guise that it was supposed to be a picture of someone you both know) which would get you to download a software. When actually, it is a Trojan horse that would automatically install spyware and adware on your PC and easily distribute itself.

It s during these moments that an anti-virus software would be a big help.

Another thing that should not be trusted are games, one such example is a game called Osama Found that is spread via instant messaging.

It is spread via instant messaging via a link inviting users to download the game wherein the idea is to pretend that one is catching Bin Laden.

Those who clicked downloaded the game and BuddyLinks which were able to grab all the user’s contacts in IM and sent the same message link to everyone.

A lot of software could help

Thankfully, there are security and anti-virus software that could extend the coverage protection of instant messaging services.

Zone Labs, for instance, has released IMSecure. It is a program that makes it possible to encrypt messages as well as block hazardous and dangerous URLs.

The anti-virus software of Norton by Symantec has in its feature the scanning of instant messages as well as McAfee. These software programs are able to remove different viruses from any files that were received through instant messaging.

The good thing about the mentioned software is that it works. Based on the tests conducted by PC World, a lot of anti-virus software have been able to catch known worms and viruses that were sent via instant messaging.

However, it is also a fact that there is really no defined anti-virus software program that could one hundred percent prevent all known attacks from viruses or worms.

Vigilance is always the most excellent defense.

All in all, one way to prevent threats from worms and viruses is by not putting your whole trust to any content that you receive from the internet especially through instant messaging.

Prevention is always better than a pound of cure. Being wary of any files sent through IM is not being paranoid, it is being safe rather than sorry later on.

How To Avoid Being Invaded By Adware And Spyware

We've all heard of computer viruses. Even people who are neophytes to computers have heard tales of computer viruses spreading like wildfire through a network and wreaking havoc. Unfortunately those tales, while mildly exxagerated, are fairly accurate portrayals of how potentially damaging viruses can be.

Aside from regular computer viruses, however, another irritating and potentially destructive type of computer program that can infect your pc through the internet is spyware, and its little cousin, adware.

Adware by itself is generally harmless, albeit irritating. It is a program that basically inserts itself into your system and spams you with tons of unasked for and unsolicited advertising.

Spyware is a much more threatening program. Some types of spyware seem like simple adware on the surface, but aside from flooding you with ads, spyware, as its name suggests, also allows its controller to monitor and access information you have on your computer. Other types of spyware also change your pc's system configuration, leaving you open to further intrusions.

There are several methods available that can help you avoid the hazards of getting invaded by spyware. Among the most effective of these are:

Adjust your computer's security settings - the procedure for adjusting your security settings differs depending on your operating system. By and large, it can be found by looking for the option for controlling system settings or internet options. Look for the heading that refers to system security, and adjust it according to your personal tastes. For home users, setting security levels to Medium is recommended, as High security settings will actually block out some sites you may want to access.

Firewalls - these are security programs that automatically block unidentified programs that try to remotely access your terminal. You can set the parameters of the firewall so that only certain types of programs get filtered, or even limit your accessability so that only specified sources can send you data. The only disadvantage to a firewall is that sometimes it will tend to block information you try to recieve from even harmless sources if they are not specified on your firewall settings.

Anti Spyware Programs - online programs can be downloaded that are actually geared towards spyware security. When looking for such a program, find one that not only detects and intercepts spyware attempts on your system, but one that also has options to actively scan your system periodically for existing spyware that may have already gotten in. Find a provider for your anti spyware program that keeps itself updated with the latest spyware technology so that you can download patches for the program that can deal with the latest types of spyware that hackers are using.

What You Should Know About Phishing?

You can say that the internet is short cut for “international networking.” By just logging on, you can connect to people all over the world. They may be people you personally know or people you just know online. Whatever the case, there is always somebody on the other end of your internet connection.

As accessible and easy daily life is now thanks to the internet, there are disadvantages from this convenience. Criminal activities such as illiciting sexual activities on the web is an example of online problems society has to deal with.

Another online criminal activity is phishing. Phishing is acquiring personal information like passwords and credit card details by pretending to be a representative of a company. Phishing is done through email or instant messaging.

It is called ‘phishing’ because it similar to the recretional activity fishing. It ‘fishes’ for users’ personal information such as passwords and financial data.

Phishers create accounts on AOL by using fake algorithmically generated credit card numbers. These accounts are maintained for a number of months. Due to the reports of phishing incidences, AOL has brought in measures preventing this from happening by securing the data of their users and confiming the information of those signing up for AOL accounts.

On AOL, a phisher pretends that he is an AOL employee and sends out instant messages to random customers which asks for passwords of their account. Luring the victim further, the phisher includes in the message “verify your account” or “confirm billing information.”

Thus, a number of clients get lured in and give off their password. Once the phisher gains access of this sensitive information, he can use the victim’s account for spamming. Check your inbox and take a look at the spam messages you’ve received. Yes, those are real names of people. These people’s accounts have been hacked and is now being used to relay spam messages.

Because of this, AOL assures their clients that no one from the staff of AOL ask for their personal or billing information. Also, AOL has created a system which deactivates accounts as soon as there are signs that it is used for phishing.

Other recent phishing incidences involve that of the Internal Revenue Service. There is a way for phishers to know the bank of their potential victim. Then they pose as an employee of that bank and send an email to their victim.

Also, social networking sites can be a home-base for phishers because personal details that have been printed online are used for identity theft. Statistics show that over 70% phishing attempts are done in social networks.

Another technique used by phishers is coming up with a link in an email that belongs to a fake organization. They often use misspelled URLs or subdomains to trick potential victims.

Note the web address and check the @ symbol. For example, http://www.google.com@members.tripod.com may be a link that can easily deceive anyone casually observing the page. However, whoever clicks on this will be merely directed to a page that simply does not exist.

To tend to this problem, Internet Explorer and Mozzilla give users the option of either continuing or canceling their surfing. With a warning message, the user can just go to that questionable page or not.

There are some phishing scam which utilizes JavaScript commands. These alter the address bar and is done by imposing a picture of a credible entity URL over it. These visually deceives a casual internet user.

Another phishing technique is the cross-site scripting. Here, the culprit uses a legitimate companies own scripts on a potential victim. In doing so, the user is directed to sign in for the services of the imposed company. The security certificates and web address appearing on the page may seem correct for the non-professional eye. In truth though, this link the potential victim has clicked on is a way for a phisher to know his personal and financial information.

Damages from phishing are:

1. Loss of access to email which can also lead to financial loss.

2. Identity theft making the victim vulnerable to online criminal activities.

3. Access of public records

Once sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and mother’s maiden name are acquired, it will be so easy for the phisher to manipulate the account of his victim.

For every problem, there is a solution and anti-phishing techniqes been created to prevent this online criminal activity from taking place. Users are taught to not believe every email sent to their inbox. When you get a message asking for your personal information, contact your bank or the company which supposedly sent you the email and verify it with them.

Then there is the Anti-Phishing Working Group which serves as the law enforcement association dealing with phishing incidences. From them, anti-phishing software can be downloaded by websites and uploaded as their homepage web content. Eventually, the toolbar displays the real domain name and serves also the guard dog against suspected phishers.

Installing Firefox and spam filters also protect the users from phishers. These programs reduce the email received by their clients.

In the end, it is all carefully reading the messages you receive in your email. As soon as it sounds suspicious, report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

Do You Need A File Encryption Program?

As the worlds becomes more advanced each day, it also seems to grow less and less secure. The creation of new virtual venues has also paved the way to the emergence of places where people can be victims of criminal activity such as fraud and identity theft. In the real world, people of high stature get the service of body guards and security forces. Would such protective measures also be beneficial for the world of data?

Most people think that data security is something that only large business entities would have to be concerned about. However, the internet is an open channel can be accessed by anyone. And now that people are doing more personal matters through the internet, such banking shopping, sending confidential male and personal letters, it is probably just right for people to take more steps to keep their privacy and security.

The answer to this situation is file encryption, which is basically a more sophisticated and powerful manifestation of the age-old art of ciphering that has been used by humans throughout history. Do you actually need to take advantage of such programs that make your files secure through complicated encryption? Perhaps knowing more about file encryption would help you decide the right answer to this question.

What exactly is a File Encryption Program?

A file encryption program basically uses complex algorithms to create codes for file contents so that they cannot easily be read by people other than their intended recipients. File encryption programs write messages, files, and other content into codes that can only be deciphered by persons who would have a decoder. It is somewhat similar to the way students write secret messages in class, they use different ways to manipulate messages in such a way that other people would not be able to understand them.

The big difference between the codes that people make and file encryption programs write is the complexity of the encryption being made. While the codes people normally make could take just a few analytical hours or minutes to decipher, the ones made by computers are so complex that they cannot be able to be unraveled by practically anyone even for a lifetime. In fact, even other computers who would not be able to decipher the codes without the right decoder.

The function of file encryption go beyond the field of information technology – computer files and electronic messages, it is also used by other industries such as in the entertainment business. For instance, DVD movies are encrypted so that digital video could not easily be converted into VHS format by consumers. Encryption is also used in to scramble videos of pay-per-view channels and only those who would pay would be given the codes to unscramble the reception.

Perhaps the most important application for file encryption programs is for privacy protection of people and organizations. The most commonly known example is this would be the message encryption being done for confidential electronic messages and projects being sent via the internet. Another example would be the decryption used for telephone conversations and satellite transmissions that help protect the security of concerned parties.

Do you actually need to get a file encryption program?

As mentioned, file encryption has many functions and the need for such security measures depends on the way you use your data and the way you go about your activities in open channels such as the internet. You have to carefully check what exactly you do when you are online.

Do you do banking transactions through the internet, or do you just view websites of your favorite stars? Do you send business messages and projects to your clients and colleagues through email, or do you just send jokes and funny quotes to your friends? Do you shop online and give out your credit card information, or do you just window shop and check out what you can buy in real stores?

When deciding whether you would need file encryption or not, you have to ask yourself if the things you do online actually require you to be secure. If you normally give vital personal information such as your credit card, social security number, addresses, and the like, then you might benefit from buying a file encryption program. But if you do not really do things that could compromise your security then, perhaps getting file encryption would just be a waste of your money.

But still, it never hurts to be safe. If you have extra cash and would like to be sure that you do not fall prey to the many dangers that lurk in technology, then by all means go and get a file encryption program. In these days where the world is becoming more and more complex, one can never be certain of what could happen.

What Are Patches And Do You Need Them?

A patch is generally the term used to refer to pieces of software that are created to give updates or fixes to existing programs that need to be rehashed or repaired. Patches fixes bugs, replaces graphics and improves a program’s performance or functionality. Patches are very useful and are usually needed if there are certain imperfections in the programs you are using, however, patches that are not made perfectly can also lead to other problems.

What are the Type of Patches?

Programmers create different forms of patches, each having its own function and characteristics. Software that have proprietary policies are delivered as executable files instead of sources. Such types of patches alters the executable program run by the user by either completely replacing the entire executable program or just making changes to the binary file.

Other patches may also be circulated as actual source code themselves. In such cases, there would be certain textual differentiation between the original source code and the one included in the patch. Such kinds of patches are made for projects that have open sources. For these types of patches, the programmers assume that the users would be able to do the update themselves without the help of executable files.

Patches may also come in larger forms. And since the term patch is usually associated with small or short fixes, bigger patches are sometimes called service packs or software updates. Microsoft Windows are known to use such terms to refer to their updates. However, even in the guise of another name, they are still patches nonetheless.

Other operating systems such, as Linux, among other systems that are similar to Unix, have patches that are distributed as full software packages. Such patches have their own installers that work so that they can serve as an upgrade to current existing versions or as stand-alone installers that can be set up by themselves.

How are patches used?

Patch sizes vary and may be as small as some kilobytes or go as high as a hundred megabytes and higher – the larger the size, the larger the change the patch is bound to do. Typically, when media, such as pictures and sounds, are changed or added instead of program, files become rather large. This is usually seen in patches designed to update or modify computer games.

Unlike software designed for initial installation process, patches generally are faster to apply. Some patches may be acquired from the manufacturers and sent to users in diskettes or discs, while others may be downloaded through the internet. Patches that are downloadable could take longer to acquire depending on the connection speed.

Most patches that are designed for operating systems and software for computer servers are created to fix important holes in the security system. Some operating systems allow automatic update or semi-automatic updating that allow the continual feed of patches whenever there are changes done by their authors.

A lot of people, especially those in the corporate world, decline getting totally automatic updates because there were many experiences of patches causing glitches. Some software experts also believe that allowing totally automatic updates may let software companies acquire limitless control over people’s computers. Thus, varying degrees of automation has been offered in relation to getting patches.

The use of totally automatic updates is rather more popular for the consumers because most operating systems, Microsoft Windows in particular, have added them as a support tool. The automatic updates for Windows has also been set as default by its creators.

Some users, especially network system managers, are very wary about installing patches. They put off applying them until they have clear proof that the fixes are stable. Most large patches or those that promote sudden significant alterations are distributed first with limited availability as beta tests for qualified developers who would know what to do in case something wrong happens.

Patches that are made to modify the programming of hardware are called firmware and are rather challenging because they entail complicated steps such as re-embedding sets of code on devices that involves that total modification and installation new codes for programs instead of just simple alterations to the existing version. Usually such patches perform delicate modification processes that could compromise the device if not installed properly, rendering it useless.

Do you really need patches?

There is no quick answer to this question. Patches are intended to improve the performance of your programs, however, they have to be very stable so that they would not do more harm than good. Before installing a patch, check for its stability by asking around about reported problems with installation.

You can check internet forums regarding users’ experiences with the particular patch you are about to apply. It is usually wise to put off the patch installation for some time before going with it to see how people react to its effects.

How To Get Rid Of Adware

This article will define what adware is and tell you how to get rid of adware. Your computer is at risk all the time for viruses and spyware programs. These programs can get inside your computer, track information about you and even do irreparable damage to your computer. One of these programs is called adware.

Adware is a sneaky little software program that is bundled in with a purchased program or a free download program. The main purpose of adware is to collect information about you and send it back to advertisers. Then you may start seeing dozens of pop ups on your computer screen almost daily. Sometimes, the pop ups will become so frequent it can disable your computer.

The symptoms of adware on your computer are:

- Slow computer performance. Since adware programs operate in the background with no visible signs, it may be hard to tell when your computer has adware programs. But if your computer is slow to start up or if your Internet connection seems unusually slow you may have adware.

- You are getting bombarded with annoying popups. Adware can spy on you and track your Internet surfing history and even gather your personal information. You need to get rid of adware as soon as possible, because the longer it is on your computer the more pop up ads you will receive.

- New desktop shortcuts. Adware can add new desktop shortcuts to your computer or it can even change your home page to a different site. It is very important that you get rid of adware to avoid any possible damage to your computer.


The best way to get rid of adware is to use AdAware which is a downloadable adware removal software developed by Lavasoft. This particular software will search your computer for possible adware activity and give you the best recommendation for removing it. Once the adware is removed, it is a good idea to do a full virus scan using high quality anti virus software.

To keep from getting adware in the first place, make sure that your security features are on. Activate your firewall and keep it up at all times. Have a good antivirus software installed on your computer and do frequents scans. Visit the anti virus software's website frequently and download any updates. Use Spybot Search and Destroy to get rid of spyware programs.

Be very careful when downloading files. Only download files from sites or people that you know you can trust. Do not open email attachments from someone you don't know. Read the terms of agreement thoroughly before you download anything. This is where you get tricked most often. Nestled in the midst of the terms of agreement is, what type of information the website can collect from you and what they can do with it. Most people will just click "I agree" and unknowingly give permission to receive adware or spyware on their computer, piggybacked to their download. Sneaky huh?

To prevent computer problems and damage, make sure that you give your computer a good check up frequently. Most importantly, get rid of adware.