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Newsletter 15 – January 2006

In this Newsletter… Windows® Firewall versus the Others… do you need more? Spam and how to control it (’cause you can’t eliminate it)!

You’re getting this Newsletter because you are a client, friend, prospect of just because you enjoy the content and want to be kept in touch with some of the trends affecting Small Businesses and Information Technology.

Winter’s come and gone and come again in the last few weeks. Someone said “if you don’t like the weather, hang about, we’ll get something different tomorrow”! Ain’t that the truth?

I’ll be leaving for a trip to Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday next, the early evening of the 1st February and back into Toronto on the following Saturday, the 11th in the afternoon. It’s time to go see my mom who had not been doing too well the last little while and figured it was time. The last time I saw her was at the end of 2003 for her 80th birthday.

As is the past my, associates Mike and AJ will be available to serve your urgent technology needs. If you’re able to wait for my return, I’ll be in a position to take care of things after the 11th. Barbara, my wife, will have my phone as of around 1.00pm on the 1st and will be able to get you the attention and assistance you require. As always, the number is (416)729-1232.

I’ll have regular access to the Internet and will be checking my email regularly, as will Barbara. I’ll also have access to a cell phone while in Cape Town, so Barbara will be able to contact me without any problems.

Remote Support
I have purchased a subscription to a product that enables remote support. You as my client initiate the connection so there need be no fear that I can get into your system without your permission! What this does is allow me to “get in front of your screen” without the associated travel time and traffic delays. It also allows me to charge for support in half-hour increments. I’m sure this will be of benefit to both you and me.

Windows Firewall
In a previous issue I gave you an overview of Firewalls and this snipit is designed to allay some fears that may exist and also offers additional information. If you’re running Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2, you have a good Firewall for most users. Remember, it’s essential to get your system current with all available Windows Updates. If you have a router that permits you to share your single Internet connection, there is invariably a Hardware Firewall built in to the router.

I found an interesting article by Brien Posey at that is worth reading. If you are not using a router, then it might be an added security to look at the commercially available software firewall such as Zone Alarm. If you’re running Windows 2000 or Windows 98 you without a router/firewall, you will want to consider getting a software firewall.

We all get it, some more than others, so what to do about it? A Spam Filter has become an essential tool to remove the Junk Mail that exists across the Internet. I use and recommend Qurb with costs $30.00US. You can purchase a copy via a link on my web site. Click on the Software link and then the Qurb button. Qurb does a search for email addresses in your Contact List and also through your Sent folder. From here it creates a “white list”. This is the Approved List. Everything else is regarded as Spam until you approve those email that are “legit”!

Another tip on reducing Spam is to avoid sending your own group emails with addresses in the To: or Cc: boxes. Use the Bcc: box instead!

In past issues (Number 7, Number 8, Number 9) I’ve brought backup to your attention and the necessity to also check the integrity of the backup. This past weekend, one of my clients had a friend help with creating a Ghost image of their drive, right after making a backup of their essential data. All good so far! They made 2 (no three) errors. First error, they had not checked the integrity of the backup. Second error, they Ghosted the empty drive to the good drive. Third error, not using a professional! The story has a happy ending… sort of… we managed to retrieve their accounting data, which was bad on the last two most recent backups, but did find good data from a week ago. Way better than no backup. Got the message?

As always, safe computing! See you on my return.

Once again, I appreciate your perspective on the content of my newsletter, both good and bad. I look forward to hearing from you.