Friday, April 23, 2010


Hi you all,

This week-end I am addressing a problem that I am sure all of you have experienced:

Who has not had problems with print jobs that get stalled because there is a problem in the printer queue, caused by what?, some times double clicking the print command, some times an old print job that was not terminated etc. etc.

Mr. Rick Broida, of PC World, to whom I have referred many times in the past, sent me an e-mail some time ago, addressing this subject and offering a small but very effective tool that solves the problem:

"Sometimes print jobs get stuck in the queue, and it's not always obvious why. It could be the result of a driver issue, it could be because you're using a Wi-Fi connection to the printer, and so forth. Even more vexing, Windows won't let you delete a stuck print job, which blocks subsequent items from printing. Usually the only solution is a reboot, and no one should have to endure that kind of a hassle just to print a document. Salvation! Stalled Printer Repair is a free utility that purges any stuck jobs it finds, meaning you should be able to resume printing again right away.

What I especially like about SPR is that there's nothing to install (if you download the Zip-file version, that is): Just run the app, click Purge Print Jobs, and you're done. That makes this a perfect addition to the USB Flash drive you use for system-rescue utilities. (You do have one, right?)

If you've been plagued by stuck print jobs, I definitely recommend giving Stalled Printer Repair a try.

--Rick Broida"

In order to download and install this program go to:,84019/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat

Click the above or copy/paste to your browser.

I have installed the program in my computer and it really works well.

Have a good week-end.

George Freire

Friday, April 16, 2010


I received an e-mail from one of our Portuguese readers and friend, Mr. Luis Nabais, concerning a "tricky" method for defeating the spread of computer viruses from machine to machine "add infinitum".

Luis also asks whether the method is valid and whether it will work.

I'll explain what this method consists of, but first, Luis, what you are referring to as a virus that can be defeated by this method is not in the real sense of the word, really a virus, it is what is known in "computerese talk" as a "worm" or an "e-mail" spreading malware.

The trick that Luis mentions, will defeat this type of pests and keep your computer "worm" proof, apparently was divulged by a technical super dude from HP and consists of the following,(frankly it makes a lot of sense to me, however it will do nothing to prevent other types of viruses, which operate and attack your computer in totally different ways),:

-Go to your address book in whatever e-mail system you use, (i.e. outlook express, gmail etc), click to open and enter a new contact.

-A window opens where you enter the name, e-mail address of the new contact, etc.

-Enter the name 0000! (four zeros followed with an exclamation point).

-For e-mail address enter "".

Now, this new contact named 0000! with an e-mail address ", by virtue of the name 000! will automatically be placed in your address book as the first name of the list. (Try it it really works).

Now, when a worm type virus enters your computer, it looks immediately for the address book and takes control OF THE FIRST NAME ON THE LIST. It is through this name and address that it will send its malware message to all your contacts in your address book on an alphabetical order.

HOWEVER, it is obvious that it will be impossible for the e-mail system service to deliver the message from a totally invalid address "". When this fails, the "worm" message cannot propagate and stops right there.

FURTHERMORE, because the message could not be delivered, your e-mail system service will send you an e-mail message saying something like this: "your e-mail to 0000! with address could not be delivered...

Now you know that your computer was under attack by a "worm" type virus.

My opinion on whether this will work leads to the positive, but until I see the results on my own computer, or if any of you readers will advise me, I cannot be absolutely sure.

What follows now is a definition and comments on different types of viruses that unfortunately are a big pain in the neck for all of us computer users:

E-Mail Viruses

Most of the time a e-mail virus is one of those types of computer viruses that is generally a macro virus and it will multiply itself by seeking out the other contacts in a e-mail address book and then send itself to those addresses in hopes that they will activate the virus too. Thus it spreads over and over again exponentially. There are even times an email virus can spread by only previewing it in the mail client. One that was very successful in spreading worldwide was the ILOVEYOU virus and it was destructive too.

The Difference Between a Computer Virus, Worm and Trojan Horse
Combating Viruses, Worms and Trojan Horses
Last updated: September 25, 2009

The most common blunder people make when the topic of a computer virus arises is to refer to a worm or Trojan horse as a virus. While the words Trojan, worm and virus are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Viruses, worms and Trojan Horses are all malicious programs that can cause damage to your computer, but there are differences among the three, and knowing those differences can help you to better protect your computer from their often damaging effects.

What Is a Virus?
A computer virus attaches itself to a program or file enabling it to spread from one computer to another, leaving infections as it travels. Like a human virus, a computer virus can range in severity: some may cause only mildly annoying effects while others can damage your hardware, software or files.
Almost all viruses are attached to an executable file, which means the virus may exist on your computer but it actually cannot infect your computer unless you run or open the malicious program. It is important to note that a virus cannot be spread without a human action, (such as running an infected program) to keep it going.

People continue the spread of a computer virus, mostly unknowingly, by sharing infecting files or sending e-mails with viruses as attachments in the e-mail.

What Is a Worm?
A worm is similar to a virus by design and is considered to be a sub-class of a virus. Worms spread from computer to computer, but unlike a virus, it has the capability to travel without any human action. A worm takes advantage of file or information transport features on your system, which is what allows it to travel unaided.
The biggest danger with a worm is its capability to replicate itself on your system, so rather than your computer sending out a single worm, it could send out hundreds or thousands of copies of itself, creating a huge devastating effect. One example would be for a worm to send a copy of itself to everyone listed in your e-mail address book. Then, the worm replicates and sends itself out to everyone listed in each of the receiver's address book, and the manifest continues on down the line.

Due to the copying nature of a worm and its capability to travel across networks the end result in most cases is that the worm consumes too much system memory (or network bandwidth), causing Web servers, network servers and individual computers to stop responding. In recent worm attacks such as the much-talked-about Blaster Worm, the worm has been designed to tunnel into your system and allow malicious users to control your computer remotely.

What Is a Trojan horse?
A Trojan Horse is full of as much trickery as the mythological Trojan Horse it was named after. The Trojan Horse, at first glance will appear to be useful software but will actually do damage once installed or run on your computer. Those on the receiving end of a Trojan Horse are usually tricked into opening them because they appear to be receiving legitimate software or files from a legitimate source. When a Trojan is activated on your computer, the results can vary. Some Trojans are designed to be more annoying than malicious (like changing your desktop, adding silly active desktop icons) or they can cause serious damage by deleting files and destroying information on your system. Trojans are also known to create a backdoor on your computer that gives malicious users access to your system, possibly allowing confidential or personal information to be compromised. Unlike viruses and worms, Trojans do not reproduce by infecting other files nor do they self-replicate.

What Are Blended Threats?
Added into the mix, we also have what is called a blended threat. A blended threat is a more sophisticated attack that bundles some of the worst aspects of viruses, worms, Trojan horses and malicious code into one single threat. Blended threats can use server and Internet vulnerabilities to initiate, then transmit and also spread an attack. Characteristics of blended threats are that they cause harm to the infected system or network, they propagates using multiple methods, the attack can come from multiple points, and blended threats also exploit vulnerabilities.

To be considered a blended thread, the attack would normally serve to transport multiple attacks in one payload. For example it wouldn't just launch a DoS attack — it would also, for example, install a backdoor and maybe even damage a local system in one shot. Additionally, blended threats are designed to use multiple modes of transport. So, while a worm may travel and spread through e-mail, a single blended threat could use multiple routes including e-mail, IRC and file-sharing sharing networks.

Lastly, rather than a specific attack on predetermined .exe files, a blended thread could do multiple malicious acts, like modify your exe files, HTML files and registry keys at the same time — basically it can cause damage within several areas of your network at one time.

Blended threats are considered to be the worst risk to security since the inception of viruses, as most blended threats also require no human intervention to propagate.

Combating Viruses, Worms and Trojan Horses
The first step in protecting your computer from any malicious there is to ensure that your operating system (OS) is up-to-date. This is essential if you are running a Microsoft Windows OS. Secondly, you need to have anti-virus software installed on your system and ensure you download updates frequently to ensure your software has the latest fixes for new viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Additionally, you want to make sure your anti-virus program has the capability to scan e-mail and files as they are downloaded from the Internet, and you also need to run full disk scans periodically. This will help prevent malicious programs from even reaching your computer. You should also install a firewall as well.
A firewall is a system that prevents unauthorized use and access to your computer. A firewall can be either hardware or software. Hardware firewalls provide a strong degree of protection from most forms of attack coming from the outside world and can be purchased as a stand-alone product or in broadband routers. Unfortunately, when battling viruses, worms and Trojans, a hardware firewall may be less effective than a software firewall, as it could possibly ignore embedded worms in out going e-mails and see this as regular network traffic.

For individual home users, the most popular firewall choice is a software firewall. A good software firewall will protect your computer from outside attempts to control or gain access your computer, and usually provides additional protection against the most common Trojan programs or e-mail worms. The downside to software firewalls is that they will only protect the computer they are installed on, not a network.

It is important to remember that on its own a firewall is not going to rid you of your computer virus problems, but when used in conjunction with regular operating system updates and a good anti-virus scanning software, it will add some extra security and protection for your computer or network.

I hope this will be of help to you all. Thanks to Luis Nabais for bringing this intriguing subject for discussion.

Have a good week-end,

George Freire

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Do you readers remember this post published Sunday October 4, 2009?

I have recently been asked by several of my friends whom I have been helping resolve problems with their computers about "key board short cuts".

I thought that probably many of you did not read this post, which I consider a must to learn for those of you who want to be proficient when working with your machines. Therefore here it comes again. Do not ignore, for this is good stuff easy to learn and so helpful to you all:

"Here are some good and easy to remember keyboard short-cuts that work in most windows related programs.

They are easy to remember, (especially those that you use more regularly), and as the title says, very fast and easy to use:

SELECT THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT : Ctrl-A (this is useful if you want to copy and paste the document).
TURN BOLD "ON" , "OFF" : Ctrl-B


There are many more keyboard short-cuts that you can use, however, remembering them all is "kinda" hard to do. I though that the above cover most of the actions that we all need when using "WORD", "EXCEL" Internet Browsers, (IE, Firefox and others); once you start using them, you'll find out that it all comes naturally when you are working in your computer."

Happy computing,

George Freire

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


A friend and reader from Portugal, Mr. Carlos Esteves Vinhal who happens to be a Co-Editor and Administrator of one of my favorite Blogs, "Camaradas da Guiné", sent me an e-mail with the title "Here is a list of free software applications, worth keeping..."

I saw it and I must confess that I am familiar with quite a few of them, some of which I have recommended in this blog. The list is quite extensive and has all kinds of good free stuff for everyone, therefore, with due respect I take the liberty of publishing here the list he enclosed in his e-mail:


3Delight Free -

Anim8or -

Aqsis -

Blender -

Houdini (Free Edition) -

Now3D -

OpenFX -

POV-Ray -


Terragen -

Toxic -

Wings 3D -


A-squared -

AntiVir -

Avast -


BitDefender -

ClamWin -


Ad-aware -

Bazooka -

Hijackthis -

SpyBot Search & Destroy -

SpywareBlaster -

SpywareGuard -

WinPatrol -


Gungirl Sequencer -

HammerHead -

Jesusonic -

KRISTAL Audio Engine -

OrDrumbox -

Tu2 -


1by1 -

Billy -

CoolPlayer -

DeejaySystem MK1 -


Foobar 2000 -

ITunes -

Jet Audio Basic -

Mixere -

Mixxx -

MonoRAVEik -

MoreAmp -

Musik -

MusikCube -

QCD Player -

Sonique -

Winamp -

XMPlay -

Zinf -


Audacity -

AudioShell -

BeSweet -

CDex -

DBpowerAMP Music Converter -


Encounter 2003 -

GermaniXEncoder -

K-MP3 -

KraMixer -

MP3 Book Helper -

MP3 Tag -

Mp3 Tag Tools -

Mp3DirectCut -

MP3Gain -

Mp3Trim -

MusicBrainz -

Rarewares -

SoundEngine Free -

TagScanner -

The GodFather -

TigoTago -


Burn4Free -

Burnatonce -

Burrrn -

CDBurnerXP -


CDR Tools Frontend -

Deepburner -

DVD Decrypter:

Easy Burning, DropCD & Audio CD -

ImgBurn -


7-zip -

bzip2 -

ExtractNow -

FilZip -

Info-Zip -

IZArc -

QuickZip -

TUGZip -


Zip&Go -

Zipgenius -


DIRMS & Buzzsaw -

OpenVMS -


AveDesk -

CursorXP -

Desktop Sidebar -

Filehand -

Glass2k -

Kapsules -

Konfabulator -

Lost Goggles -

MobyDock -

Panorama -

RunFast -

Samurize -

SlickRun -

Snippy -

TaskSwitchXP Pro -

tclock2 -

Trip -

Weather Watcher -

WinRoll -


Free Download Manager -

Fresh Download -

LeechGet -

Retriever -

Star Downloader -

Sun Download Manager -

wackget -

wget -

WellGet -


Axcrypt -

Blowfish Advanced CS-

Eraser -

File Shredder -

KeePass -

GnuPG -

PGP Freeware -

PicoCrypt -

TrueCrypt -

WindowsCleaner -


2xExplorer -

A43 -

ExplorerXP -

freeCommander -

Gyula's Navigator -

JExplorer -

MeeSoft Commander -


PC Inspector File Recovery -


Jetico Personal Firewall -

Kerio (Kerio Personal Firewall is FREE for home and personal use) -

NetVida Safetynet -

Outpost Firewall (version 1 is free) -

SoftPerfect Personal Firewall -

Sygate -

Wyvern Firewall 2004 -

There are quite a few more, but the above are plenty for you all to check out and experiment with. Next week I will publish a few more he included in his e-mail.

Have fun, all of the above are free to use.

George Freire

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Happy Easter to all our readers, Pascoa Feliz para os nossos leitores em Portugal.

Today I have a program that children will love.

It comes to us from a PC World selection, which I think is very appropriate for the Season, when possibly you'll have your grandchildren and children all around you:

"This free program is a labor of love, designed and maintained by a community of volunteers. And it's user-friendly for parents and teachers as well: There is a long list of interface languages to choose from, and when you install the program you're treated to a comprehensive how-to, then asked to configure the program. You can simplify it for use with younger children, make it run in full-screen mode, disable printing, and more.

Tux Paint is easy to use. Small children (ages 3 to 5) might need a little guidance at first, but even beginning readers should be able to follow the penguin guide's advice on how to use the various tools. Children can start with a blank drawing space or choose a background (a castle, undersea scenes, maps, and so on). Older children will likely appreciate the grid options, which allow for more precise drawings.

The download linked to this review is compatible with Windows XP, 2000, Vista, and Windows 7. But there are many versions available on the Tux Paint site, including earlier versions of Windows, Mac OS X, Linux distributions, and many more. The source code is available as well. The developers also offer a free download with extra "stamps" to add to the program.

Tux Paint is Open Source software, distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is especially well suited for schools and educational institutions--though children anywhere will enjoy it.

--Kim Saccio-Kent"

To download and install go to,71229-order,4-c,drawpaintsoftware/download.html

Click the above address or copy/paste to your browser. That is all.

Again Happy Easter to you all.

George Freire