Category Archives: Advice

Practical Advice

Why You Shouldn’t Let Billy Bob “Help” You With Your Computer

Why You Shouldn’t Let Billy Bob “Help” You With Your Computer

Herein lies the classic tale of Billy Bob and the computer.

Herein lies the classic tale of Billy Bob and the computer.

Yesterday I had a remarkable experience with a customer whose computer I had restored some six weeks ago. (We’ll call him “Jim.”)

Now you should understand that I had done for him what I always do: a thorough, professional job that puts the computer into really great shape, software-wise.

Jim had called me a couple of days after I restored his system, complaining that he still had “the same damn problem.” His computer was “slow.”

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Avast! Lays Claim to Being World’s Most Popular Antivirus

Avast! Lays Claim to Being World’s Most Popular Antivirus

Only a couple of years ago, Avast! was a decent antivirus program with a control panel that I regarded as very user-unfriendly.

It took the form of some kind of weird music player, described by some as a “car radio.”  You would press the “Play” button if you wanted to scan for viruses, and it always struck me as very strange and user-unfriendly.

Then in the summer of 2009, the makers of Avast! gave up on their need to be “more creative” than everybody else, abandoned the music-player look, and came out with a clean, simple control panel that was a lot like everybody else’s — except possibly even cleaner and simpler.

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Software for Video Editing

Software for Video Editing

video-choicesQuestion:

What software should I use for editing digital home videos, and for making DVDs from them?

Answer:

It depends.

There are four stages in getting video recorded and from there to a finished DVD.

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Malware Warning: Avoiding Personal Security / Security Tool

Malware Warning: Avoiding Personal Security / Security Tool

There is currently a pretty widespread attack going on by two variations of the old “your computer is infected with viruses” scam.

personal-security-virusThis scam consists of a program that will infect your computer and then harass you in an attempt to extort money from you. The program attacks your legitimate antivirus software and Windows itself, and makes your computer nearly unusable until it is dealt with.

It informs you that you are infected with numerous viruses, and that scanning with Personal Security (or Security Tool) is the answer that will fix the problems.

For a price, of course.

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AVG users: It’s time to update to the new version, 9.0…!

AVG users: It’s time to update to the new version, 9.0…!

avg-logo

November 2009 — If you’re using AVG as your antivirus, you’ve probably seen some popup windows appearing lately telling you that it’s now time to “upgrade” your AVG antivirus.

In this post, I will tell you how to get the new free version of AVG. And we’ll also run through how to update if you’re using the paid version.

First, though, a few words on the current antivirus (and virus) situation in general.

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Multiple Layers of Computer Security

Multiple Layers of Computer Security

16-layersThis week I talked with a man who’s concerned about security. That’s not at all unusual — most of us have some computer-related security concerns.

But this particular man’s small business requires him to deal with some confidential customer information that he in no way wants compromised. So for him, it’s a bigger issue than it is for the typical home user.

As with most things security-related (whether it be home security, airline security, personal security or national security), there’s no single all-in-one solution. Any good solution to security (in whatever realm) is likely to involve multiple layers.

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A Lesson in How To Check Out Businesses and Identify Internet Scams

A Lesson in How To Check Out Businesses and Identify Internet Scams

billed-7990

It’s a good idea to read the fine print.

This blog post was written as a follow-up to my post on the widely-advertised teeth-whitening scam.

The following techniques may not enable you to sniff out every possible kind of scam — you’d need a much more sensitive “scam-meter” to sniff out the typical investment fraud, for example — but in many cases, especially those similar to the one mentioned, these checks can be really useful.

And any legitimate business should pass the first four tests. If it passes all five, that’s even better.

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Posted in Advice, Scams | Tagged | 2 Comments

Learn the trick, discovered by a mom, to RIP YOU OFF!

Learn the trick, discovered by a mom, to RIP YOU OFF!

white-teeth-scam

Scamming “white teeth” ads seem to be
everywhere. Once they get your credit
card info, they’ll repeatedly charge you
big amounts. Similar scams are based on
work-at-home schemes, acai berry
supplements, and other products.

If you do much web surfing, you’ve almost certainly seen the ads. They’re EVERYWHERE.

“Learn the trick, discovered by a mom, to turn yellow teeth white for under $5,” they say.

Get really white, beautiful teeth for less than $5? Now if you’re interested in improving your appearance (aren’t we all?), that sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?

Get ready to get scammed.

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Posted in Advice, Scams | Tagged | 32 Comments

What it Takes to Really Fix a Virus-Laden Computer

What it Takes to Really Fix a Virus-Laden Computer

Click here for the scan you computer.

“Click here for the scan you computer.”

I just got off the phone with a woman who told me she had a computer that was probably well-infected with viruses and other malware, and she wanted to know how much it would cost to fix it.

When I told her the likely cost, she said, “Okay, thank you,” and hung up.

Now I’m sure that Tina will find somebody to do the job (sort of) for less than I typically charge for a job of this type.

And she’ll probably get about what she paid for.

Or, maybe not.

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Viruses Redirect Google Searches to Annoying Ads

Viruses Redirect Google Searches to Annoying Ads

google-redirect-virusOne of this year’s big adware scams has been redirecting search engine results to advertising sites.

For example, you do a Google search for “cell phones.” The first search result provides a link for a major cell phone company.

Only when you click on the link, you get an advertising site instead, trying to sell you something. After all, buying some Viagra was what you really had in mind when you searched for info on a cell phone, isn’t it?

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