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Newsletter 8 – August 2004

We finally got summer (?)… I think! The good news is that we’re not going to have winter until February and it’ll be over mid-March.

We’re settled (more or less) in our new home and business. My shop is set up with all the “stuff” I need to get your systems working at peak performance on those occasions when they need to come into the “hospital”.

Over the last few weeks I have had to deal with a number of bad and failing hard disk drives. For the most part, my clients (that’s you) have been fortunate; we were able to get the data off the drives at minimal cost for data recovery. In a few, no problem at all… we retrieved the data from the backup – Backup is a good thing… especially when it’s good. I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s essential to test the integrity of of your backup BEFORE you have to retrieve after a disk drive failure. Remember, take a backup of important data off-site. If you have a fire or a flood, your on-site backup may be useless!

Viruses have and continue to cause problems with system operation. I’ve had a number of calls where the system was terribly sluggish and caused crashes or shut-down. Once operating system or registry files are damaged, the only remedy is to backup the data (’cause there was no good backup), reformat the drive, reinstall the operating system, download updates, reinstall the applications, reinstall the AntiVirus and updates, restore the data, then get the system back to you… normally 2 to 3 days later! Regularly run your Live-Update and install program updates. Most AntiVirus programs automatically download virus definition updates, not program updates! This has to be done manually.

Be vigilant when surfing the ‘net! I have seen pop-ups that suggest for example, that your computer clock is out. There’s a button that if clicked will download a utility that will correct the time. The bad news is that it very often downloads a program (like a virus) that will eventually do some damage to your system. This is how things like “” and “My Search” get installed on your system.

MSN Messenger 6.2 is now available and includes a Pop-Up Stopper. Google also has one available if you install their Toolbar

Watch out for AdWare… get AdAware or download from This is free for personal use and will scan your system for obtrusive adware and allow you to remove it.

Want to learn more computer terms (yeah – right) WeboPedia “The only online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology definitions” will help!

A new computer/Internet word phishing (v.) Pronounced “fishing,” the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information. For example, 2003 saw the proliferation of a phishing scam in which users received e-mails supposedly from eBay claiming that the user’s account was about to be suspended unless he clicked on the provided link and updated the credit card information that the genuine eBay already had. Because it is relatively simple to make a Web site look like a legitimate organizations site by mimicking the HTML code, the scam counted on people being tricked into thinking they were actually being contacted by eBay and were subsequently going to eBay’s site to update their account information. By spamming large groups of people, the “phisher” counted on the e-mail being read by a percentage of people who actually had listed credit card numbers with eBay legitimately. Phishing, also referred to as brand spoofing or carding, is a variation on “fishing,” the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hopes that while most will ignore the bait, some will be tempted into biting.

Are you using Windows Xp (Home or Professional)? Microsoft are about to release Service Pack 2 = from all I’ve read this is almost a new OS. It’s 272MBytes and available from Microsoft’s web site – as Release Candidate 2, which means it’s still in Beta. It’s anticipated to be released next week.

Next weekend (starting Thursday afternoon late, Barbara and I will be heading down to LA to celebrate my cousin Brian’s 60th birthday. On Friday, I won’t be available personally (except by phone) but have one of my associates available should an emergency arise. I’ll be available once again from Monday morning to “Help Reduce the Frustrations of Computer Use“!

Thanks as always for your continuing support.