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Friday, February 26, 2010

DID YOU KNOW??

I was looking at some past posts and came across this one posted back in early 2009.

Because I think it is obviously of help to all computer users, and I am sure many of you new viewers never saw it, I decided to republish it today.

Here goes:

DID YOU KNOW ?

Here are some tips that will help everyone make their computers work better and faster:

-Windows can significantly slow down its own start as it searches for shared files, folders and printers. In Windows Explorer, you can go to "Tools-Folder Options-View" and disable the feature "Automatically Search For Network Folders and Printers". This will make your start faster.

-Whenever there is a crash or error, Windows saves a memory dump in a file called "Memory.Dump" under the installation directory, (e.g. C;\Windows). This file can be deleted without any problems resulting. This will free disk space that you might need.

-When using an alternate firewall solutions, such as those available in virus protection programs such as Norton and many others, it is recommended to disable the Windows Firewall, otherwise there will be interference between the two firewalls. To do this, go to "Control Panel-Network Connections", open up the connection you use and choose "Advanced-Internet Connection Firewall", (or Windows Firewall , after SP2), and turn it off.

-Lots of visual effects cost valuable computing power and in most cases they loose their luster after a few days...
You can ton down the visual effects by going to "Control Panel/System", under the "Advanced" tab and disabling them to free up valuable computer power.
In Windows Vista, go to "System Properties, click "Advanced " tab, "Preference Settings" tab and under "Visual Effects" click "Adjust for Performance" button and then click OK.

-When Vista is first installed, or on new computers, there is no "Run" command visible in the start menu. If you want it to show there, which is a good thing, go to Control Panel, choose "Task Bar and Start Menu Properties", go to the "Start Menu" tab, click "Customize...", find and check the option "Run Command" and then click OK again.

Windows XP has a command that lets you restore critical system files if necessary. Click "Start/Run" and then type the command "scf/scannow". Windows XP will check through the system files and automatically replace any damaged files. (It may ask you in some instances to insert the Windows CD or the restore CD that came with the computer when doing this.

For today this is it. I hope the above will be of help for your good computing.

George Freire

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MICROSOFT SOLUTIONS CENTER (AGAIN)

Dear Readers,

Back in September 2009 I published a post about the fast help and fixing solutions offered by the "Microsoft Solutions Center".

I know, I know that a lot of you read it, visited this Web page, saw how interesting it was and then.... never used it.

I have had many calls from friends who read my blog and other people who don't, who call me for help and support with their computer problems. Many of these problems can be solved easily by going to this great site, "Microsoft Solutions Center".

Therefore, I decided to republish the post again.(Please make sure you save the address in your "Favorites" so that you can access it fast whenever you need it) Here goes:

We all from time to time have problems related to Microsoft Products, such as :

Widows
Internet Explorer
Office
Email and Messaging
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Center

Such problems may be pretty simple to correct, but many times, such problems can be exasperating because
"Windows" is a very sophisticated program with thousands os hidden files that only those who are true experts can see and somehow debug them.

Some of you may not know that Microsoft has a web site that is extremely helpful and can help you correct such problems.

The site is called as the title above indicates "FIX IT SOLUTIONS CENTER".

The site address is

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_fixit_main#tab0



If you click the above address you'll be immediately be "transported" to this site. Once there, first select the "About Fix It" on the left side tab of the page in order to understand how it works.

After that, select the product you are having problems with, (which are all described on that same tab). When you do so, the right side of the page opens up and shows a series of most likely problems that can occur with the product.

If you see in any of the described problems areas common with your problem or problems, click on it and a new page opens. In this page you'll see the steps you need to take in order to solve the problem, BUT EVEN BETTER, you are asked if you want the "Fix It Solutions Center" program to do it automatically for you!!

If you click yes, (and who wouldn't...), like magic the "Fix It Solutions Center" will do it for you.

One word of advice here: You must follow a few instructions, and click here and there for the solution program to run.

Even if you are not experiencing any problems now, I suggest, (just for the sake of familiarizing yourself with "Fix It Solutions Center"), that you go to the site and read the instructions.

I hope this will be, (for those who did not know about it), a great tip that will help you solve many problems that sooner or later you'll be faced with when operating your computer.

George Freire

Friday, February 19, 2010

INCREDIBLE SPACE SIMULATION PROGRAM

Today we have a new program which is free and of great entertainment especially for those who enjoy space observation and the unknown facts of this Universe:

Welcome to Celestia
... The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy.
All movement in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit.
Celestia is expandable. Celestia comes with a large catalog of stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and spacecraft. If that's not enough, you can download dozens of easy to install add-ons with more objects.
To download this wonderful program go to:

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/index.html

Click on the above, download and install the program; you'll enjoy it for sure.

George Freire

Friday, February 12, 2010

Astronauts install space station observation deck

This post is like a continuation of what was offered yesterday. The International Space Station is now 90% completed!

You all have a good week-end.

George freire



Astronauts install space station observation deck

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SPACE STATION FROM DAY ONE

I received an e-mail from a dear good friend concerning the development of the International Space Station since its very beginning just about 12 years ago.

It is absolutely fascinating to see how it developed from the day the first module was in place.

In his e-mail he says:

Watch the pieces come together as they are sent up from Earth. This is the International Space Station (ISS) Assembly diagram, piece by piece. I had no idea the Space Station had grown to this size. This is really cool.......

In order to actually see the development of the Station along the last 12 years just click on the following address

http://i.usatoday.net/tech/graphics/iss_timeline/flash.htm

You all will enjoy it, I guarantee!

Have fun,

George Freire

Sunday, February 7, 2010

TWO NEW IMAGE/PHOTO SOFTWARE PROGRAMS THAT ARE FREE AND VERY UNIQUE: FASTSTONE IMAGE VIEWER AND PHOTOSCAPE

Today, for all of you who do a lot of photography and video camera handling in your computer, I am bringing two programs that are very, very good and on top of it all, they are free.

Of course these were introduced to me by our friends at PC World, (what would I do without them?), our thanks again for all they have contributed to this blog.


FastStone Image Viewer:

If you only use the photo tools built into Windows, browsing through your photos quickly becomes tedious. FastStone Image Viewer displays pictures lightning-fast and lets you browse through them all in Windows Explorer-style fashion. Run the program, go to the folders where you want to browse, and all your photos are displayed immediately, with very little delay. You'll see thumbnails of them all, and a preview screen. To see any full screen, double-click it.

If all FastStone Image Viewer did was display images, it would be well worth the download. But it does much more than that. You can crop, rotate, and resize pictures, as well as send them via e-mail. You can also create slide shows. And the program will also let you convert between file formats.

One of FastStone Image Viewer's greatest strengths is the wide variety of file formats it supports. It can handle just about any graphic or photo file format you've heard of. In addition, it previews videos as well, so you can use it as a full multimedia viewer, not just for photos.

--Preston Gralla

Photoscape:

This remarkable free piece of software is one that any self-respecting digital photographer needs on his or her PC's hard disk. There's no possible way to begin to describe the wide range of tools and features this one has--there's everything from a file viewer to a photo editor, slide show creator, batch editor, screen capture program, and more. There are some quite original and innovative tools in Photoscape, such as combining multiple photos in a single frame. There's also a small, but extremely useful tool--it will take photos that are in the RAW format used by many digital cameras, and convert them to JPG, so that they're more useful.

Even though this program is free, the creator will take donations if you find Photoscape useful. Pay via Paypal. Given the quality of this software, if you keep using it, consider making a donation.

--Preston Gralla

In order to download above programs go to the following addresses:

For FastStone go to:

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,25677/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat


For above program here is a sample of user reviews:

"Strengths: Faststone viewer does a superb job of resizing, emailing photos, viewing, renaming, change time stamp, light editing, generating slide shows, etc. The list goes on and on. If you need to do something with a photo, Faststone viewer will probably do it. When you think it does it all, they come out with a new version with improvements.

Weaknesses: None that I can think of.

Overall Evaluation: Faststone viewer is a first rate program. Faststone also has other programs, some free, some shareware. All the programs I have work great and do tasks that I don't find elsewhere."


For Photoscape go to:

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,65533/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat


For above program here is are samples of user reviews:


Strengths: easy interface, LOTS of features, free

Weaknesses: none

Overall Evaluation: I accidentally voted negatively on this program. It is actually VERY powerful for browsing through images and making sime changes.

Strengths: Many features in one program, view, rename, screen capture

Weaknesses: None

Overall Evaluation: Very good program to have. I have not worked all the features yet. It has a lot!!!
Strengths: Easy to use. Numerous options for working with photos.

Weaknesses: none

Overall Evaluation: WOW! WOW! WOW! GET IT!!!!!

I hope you all amateur and pro photographers will enjoy these programs, they are both excellent.

George Freire

Thursday, February 4, 2010

HOW TO RE-SEND E-MAILS SAFELY AND AVOID ATTACKS BY ECKERS AND INTRUSIONS BY UNKNOWN MALWARE CREATORS

I received an e-mail from one of our Portuguese viewers and friend, Mr. Luis Gra├ža, addressing a matter that many of us pay very little attention to:

How to re-send e-mails to other people in our address book in a secure way and prevent security problems that can affect all of us.

What is the best way to handle this?

A:
When re-sending an e-mail to other people, make sure you remove the names and e-mail addresses of the persons who have already been sent that e-mail. There are several illegal programs on the Internet, that will “catch” all the info shown before and after the @ sign, meaning all the e-mail addresses shown. Those who illegally get this information, sell it to spammers or spread virus containing messages to those who innocently will open such messages.

B:
When sending a message to more than one person, do not use the “To” or “Cc” address boxes; instead use the “Bcc” address box, because this will prevent the e-mail address of the receivers of your message from showing in the message itself. (In order to make the “Bbc” address box to show, you must click the “show Cc & Bcc” command on the right upper side of your message page.

If everybody would follow the simple above rules, we would get rid of a lot of virus containing messages and other electronic garbage that continuously clog the Internet.

C:
Finally, whenever you receive those silly chain letters that promise all kinds of good and happy days if you send them to a number of other people, (but should you not do this, you’ll have many bad luck days ahead), just ignore and trash them. After all we are intelligent adult people, are we not? Nothing will happen to you if you break the “chain”...

D:
Be very careful when receiving messages that include lists of people requesting, or protesting whatever causes, to which you are asked to add your name, address etc at the end of the list and then resend to other people. Some of these are valid, BUT be careful and investigate the veracity of the causes, before you put your name on it and send it to other people.

Thanks for the sound advice, Luis.

I must add that there are many more instances on the Internet where very professionally designed traps are presented to you to fall into, the danger is always there, but if we are a little more careful we may be able to slow down the delivery of spam and the loss of personal important information that others have no business in learning.



George Freire

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Free

I received an email from PC World, (always good stuff), this time about a program that once you install it in your computer, you will be indeed very happy about. It offers you another level of protection against trojans, viruses, worms, and other malicious code which in this day and age, is always good to have.

Here is PC World editorial review of this free software:

Supplement your regular antivirus program (the one you keep running in the background at all times) with an extra malware scanner, such as Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Free.

The free version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware doesn't offer real-time protection (the $25 full version does), making it useless as your first line of defense. But scanning your hard drive with the free Anti-Malware every week or so will add another layer of protection, finding whatever your main program missed. It's like going to another doctor for a second opinion, except that you don't have to make an appointment or a co-payment.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Free is extremely easy to use. You load it, check for updates at its prompting, then start the scan. To scan just one drive, file, or folder, right-click it and select Scan.

Not a complete solution by any stretch of the imagination, this version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is a free yet valuable addition to your security arsenal.

--Lincoln Spector

Here is what the creators of this software have to say about its use and qualities:

Have you ever considered what makes an anti-malware application effective? We at Malwarebytes have created an easy-to-use, simple, and effective anti-malware application. Whether you know it or not your computer is always at risk of becoming infected with viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers, spyware, and malware that are constantly evolving and becoming harder to detect and remove. Only the most sophisticated anti-malware techniques can detect and remove these malicious programs from your computer. ptagep Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is considered to be the next step in the detection and removal of malware. In our product we have compiled a number of new technologies that are designed to quickly detect, destroy, and prevent malware. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware monitors every process and stops malicious processes before they even start. The Realtime Protection Module uses our advanced heuristic scanning technology which monitors your system to keep it safe and secure. In addition, we have implemented a threats center which will allow you to keep up to date with the latest malware threats.

Activating the full version unlocks realtime protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating. For consumers and personal use, it is a one time fee of $24.95. For corporate and business customers, annual licenses are required, please see our Corporate Licensing program.

If you want to download and install the program in your computer, go to:

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,83075/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat

Click on the above address, or copy and paste on your browser.

I have installed it in my computers and I can tell you that it works really well.

George Freire