The Netbook Computer | Article | Dawn Clement

I just found an article that sure throws some light on the subject of netbook computers. I think you’ll find it interesting and here is an excerpt:

The Rise of the Netbook
“Small enough to fit in a purse, powerful enough for computing.”
by Dawn Clement

I’m using Google Documents to write this article on my newly acquired Acer Aspire One. These are important facts because five years ago I never would have deigned to use a computer that didn’t have an internal optical drive of some sort. These days, I’m not so sure I need an optical drive at all on a regular basis. You see, the Aspire belongs to a new class of computers called netbooks. These computers are ultra-portable laptops designed specifically for wireless communication and Internet access. They don’t need optical drives because it is assumed that the user will be accessing online services (i.e., Google Documents) instead of locally stored programs. Eliminating the optical drive and the PCMCIA slot results in a much smaller, much cheaper computer.

My Aspire has an Intel Atom N270 microprocessor with a speed of 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB SATA HDD, came pre-installed with Windows XP, and cost $299. For comparison, my Dell Inspiron 9400 (yes, the same shiny new Dell that had the nasty malware problems and is now a Linux box) has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with a speed of 2GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 120GB SATA HDD, also came pre-installed with Windows XP, and cost $1,700.

To read the whole article go to: http://webserver.computoredge.com/online.mvc?article=in1&issue=2733&zone=SD&src=1

Or go to www.computoredge.com and do a search. Enjoy!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”– Epictetus

Free Antivirus Programs | Computoredge | Effective

I found a really interesting article on Computoredge magazine about reliable (free) antivirus programs. The article also has a link to another excellent article on computer higiene to keep your computer healthy.  There is an excerpt below and also the links to both articles. Don’t miss them:

Do Free Antivirus Programs Work as Well as Commercial Versions?

Many people insist that the commercial (paid) antivirus programs easily outperform the free programs. They say that since the program is free, it couldn’t possibly get the support needed to keep the protection up-to-date.

While there is no doubt that you will get more features in the paid versions of antivirus software, it is difficult to say that the free versions of the highlighted programs are not as effective as the other commercial programs. All three of the programs listed here have a paid upgrade available for their professional-level software. While each of the companies would like to give an incentive for people to upgrade to the paid version, it would be counterproductive for them to offer a less-than-effective free version. It would hurt their reputation. Since the goal is for you to upgrade to the commercial virus-protection software, each company must offer an effective free product to protect their good name.

Why Not Use All the Best Free Antivirus Programs?

Unlike Web browsers, you don’t want different antivirus programs running simultaneously. They will interfere with each other and probably generate numerous errors. Based upon the nature of how antivirus software works, it’s necessary to choose one. You may want to store the better programs available on your computer, but only one should be active. Then, if you do run into a virus problem that one program can’t resolve, you can deactivate the first while trying a secondary program. Pick only one for your active program.

You will find both articles and the best free antivirus programs at:
http://webserver.computoredge.com/online.mvc?article=cover&issue=2722&zone=SD&src=1

And their main website is: www.computoredge.com They have a “site search”.

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?– Sydney J. Harris

Wi Fi Security | Digital Dave | Computoredge

I learned a few things about Wi-Fi Security in this explanation by Dave in Computoredge Magazine. It may help you too.

When you are using a Wi-Fi connection, or for that matter, anytime you are communicating over the Internet, the only time your information is secure is when you are using a secure (encrypted) connection. In Web browsing, an encrypted connection is accomplished through TLS (Transport Layer Security), previously SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Rather than using the standard port 80 for Web connections, TSL uses port 443. The browser knows this and looks for a valid Security Certificate from the Web site.
In most Web browsers, you can identify a secure TSL page by the “s” in https:// and the “closed padlock” icon on the end of the address field. See the figure below. Anytime you are sending private information over the Web, make sure that these appear. When you log on to the connection, it should be through a secure page. Also, any online business (purchases, banking, etc.) needs to be done through encrypted (TSL) Web pages. (Not all browser versions will display the “closed padlock” icon.)


Figure 2. See the https on the left and the “closed padlock” on the right for a secure (encrypted) Web site.

These browser indications (https and the icon) are not foolproof. If you want be sure that you are at the right Web site, then examine the Security Certificate. (Click on the “closed padlock” icon and select “View certificates.”) The URL, or address, should match the address line. Browsers will give warnings if a Security Certificate doesn’t look right.

You need to understand that most Internet communications are not encrypted and therefore not secure. E-mail is particularly vulnerable since it is rarely ever encrypted. As it bounces from e-mail server to e-mail server on its way to its destination, it can be intercepted. You should never put confidential information (credit card info, Social Security numbers, etc.) into an e-mail.

If you don’t know that you are using an encrypted connection, then you should always treat the Internet communication as vulnerable to public viewing. Plus, none of this protects you from the person looking over your shoulder at the coffee house.

For more information contact Digital Dave at: http://webserver.computoredge.com/online.mvc?article=dave&issue=2727&zone=SD&src=1 or www.computoredge.com

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”–Napoleon Hill

Computer Security | Digital Dave | ComputorEdge

“In the last issue of ComputorEdge, Digital Dave gave one of his readers (and us subscribers) some interesting advice on keeping our computers safe. You too may find it useful.

Here it is:

“Since you are a “security nut,” I assume that you have antivirus and anti-spyware software running on your computer. In addition, you should have some sort of firewall protection for your Internet connection. If you haven’t already done so, put in a router between your DSL modem and the computer. The firewall in the router will give you added protection, plus it makes it easy to share the connection with trusted friends and family. This will make it harder for intruders to get onto your network and your computer.

By default, the drives on your computer are not shared. That means that even if someone is on your network, they cannot access the drives on your computer. If you do have reason to share a drive on the network, be sure to add password protection with a strong password.

Generally, your firewall software and the protections built into Firefox should do a pretty good job of blocking outside intrusions. However, once someone gets inside the wall to your computer, either through a virus or spyware, there is little to protect your drives.

Most viruses get in through trickery and our own lapses in judgment. There is no software that will protect us from ourselves. The most important steps to take are in preventing yourself from allowing something nefarious into your system.

• Never download (save) an unverified attachment in an e-mail, link on a Web page, or from a pop-up at a Web site. If it’s an unexpected e-mail from a friend, talk to that friend under separate cover to verify the document sent.

• The Internet browsers have built-in protections to prevent the Web sites from accessing your computer. If you are merely surfing the Web, you are in little danger of being infected. However, if you click on a link, then allow something to be downloaded, the risk begins. There are some add-ons for browsers, such as Adobe Reader and Flash, that can enhance the Web experience and need to be downloaded. Rather than downloading the software from any site that may determine that you need it, you should go directly to the parent site for the software.

• Be suspicious of everything, especially windows that pop up offering to solve your virus problem.

• Only install software that you know comes from a legitimate source. Even then, be cautious. If you are downloading software, be sure that it’s coming from the correct site.

• If you are not sure about something, do a Google search for reviews on the questionable item.

• If reading files is a concern, to further protect your files, you can encrypt files or entire drives to make them unreadable for people without the proper key, which can be kept on a thumb drive. This should stop reading, although not deleting or altering.

The best protection is to prevent problems from ever getting on your computer in the first place.”

Digital Dave at: www.computoredge.com

Email Etiquette | Communication | Dawn Clement

I keep finding  excellent information that I must pass to my readers. The article below will help you to communicate better. Enjoy!

“Some Simple Rules of E-mail Etiquette” by Dawn Clement

E-mail is one of the more popular forms of modern communication. The important thing to remember here is that e-mail is, at its core, communication. If you want your e-mails to communicate for you, there are certain rules of etiquette that you should follow. Break enough rules often enough, and your e-mails will go straight into the Recycle Bin.  Since this week’s theme is e-mail, I thought it was an appropriate time to remind everyone of some simple rules of e-mail etiquette.

E-mail is not the forum for long, drawn-out prose. Reading text on a computer screen can be hard on the eyes. To get your message across, be concise and to the point. If the recipient has to scroll down, then your e-mail is probably too long. If you need to give that much detail, consider a phone call instead of e-mail. (By the same token, however, make sure you include enough detail so that your recipient knows what your message is regarding.) Also, never forget that e-mail is not private. Don’t include information in an e-mail that you do not wish to share with strangers.

An ineffective use of the “Subject” line is one of the things that annoys a lot of people. Many people sort their mail by subject line, or have messages routed to specific folders based on the subject line. Writing an appropriate subject will ensure that your e-mail is received in a timely manner. Some people even set up their mail programs to automatically delete any e-mail they receive with a blank subject line. If you’re going to go to the trouble to send someone an e-mail, make sure they receive it—use the subject line wisely!

By this point, most people know that you shouldn’t write e-mails in all capital letters because it feels like shouting. But how many realize that writing in all lower-case letters is just as bad? When you write an e-mail in all lower-case letters, you come off as uneducated or just plain lazy. Use spell checker, and read your e-mail before you send it off to check for typos and grammatical errors.  Avoid stylized fonts and colored backgrounds—they make reading an e-mail difficult, and you probably want your e-mails to actually be read.

You’ll also want to avoid sending e-mails in HTML or Rich Text format. Not everyone can view these formats, and since most spammers use HTML format, a lot of people delete those e-mails without ever opening them. Lastly, resize any pictures you are sending. Large files take up memory in people’s Inboxes, and many ISPs have e-mail size limits.

When you reply to an e-mail, try to address all issues raised. The recipient would like to know that you actually read their e-mail! If there are a lot of issues or topics covered, you can even quote the original e-mail (and edit out the full version) to carry the conversation along. This saves your reader from having to scroll up and down to find whatever you’re referring to.

Speaking of replying to e-mail—do you ever really need to hit “reply all”? Take a few seconds to edit out any addresses that don’t need to get your reply.

Did you ever stop to think that when you put multiple e-mail addresses in a message’s “To” field, you could be violating the privacy of those people? Every address in the “To” field can inadvertently be exposed to strangers who may use those addresses for their own purposes (usually spam). Be nice and use the “BCC” field instead! Put your own e-mail address in the “To” field and everyone else in the “BCC” field.

Let’s talk about forwards for a moment. I get a lot of forwarded e-mails—mostly jokes and chain letters. My least favorite type of forwarded e-mail are the chain letters that tell you to send it back to the person who sent it to you if you’re a “true friend” or some other such nonsense. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! Most often, the recipient has to scroll down through a bunch of junk to get to the forwarded message, only to find out that they’re not interested anyway.

There are times when an e-mail really does need to be forwarded, but there are a few things to remember before you hit that “send” button. First, edit the forward; remove all other e-mail addresses, headers and commentary from any other forwarders. Next, add some sort of a personal message to the recipient telling them why you have forwarded the message. Let them know why they should bother reading the rest of the forward (especially if forwards are the majority of your communication with the recipient). Never forward an e-mail without verifying the contents first. Use a Web site such as http://www.snopes.com or http://www.urbanlegends.com to investigate any questionable e-mails you plan to send to someone else (don’t forget to edit the forward and add a personal note!).

Lastly, can we all please agree to stop forwarding  jokes and chain letters? These e-mails are a waste of time and do nothing except bog down the mail servers. Use an anonymous service like http://www.stopforwarding.us to let people know that their barrage of forwards isn’t entirely welcome.

Dawn Clementis a freelance writer, domestic engineer, and mother of three with a Masters of Arts in Philosophy and over nine years experience in technical support. She wrote this article for, Computor edge. Enjoy! http://computoredge.com

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”–Plato

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