Archive for April, 2011

FACEBOOK – VIRUS ALERT

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis April 30th, 2011

Watch out for an email that says your password has been reset on Facebook!  It’s nonsense and has a zip file attached that contains a trojan called Zurgop.Q.  No details on how it attacks yet, because it’s very new.  In fact, your virus scanner might miss it –  ESET has only had it identified for about 24 hours.  The latest attacks are mostly the fake security warnings that are trying to steal your credit card info.  Most likely this one would load up your PC with software critters that do something similar.

Froyo ROCKS!

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis April 27th, 2011

I’m simply BLOWN AWAY by the difference in my Android phone.  I’ve had the upgrade to 2.2.2 (Froyo) for about a week now, and it’s like having a new, better smartphone.  The Samsung Intercept had several issues when I got it, but it shipped with Android 2.1 (Eclair) and it looks like a lot of the issues were software related.  It’s much snappier now, and hasn’t locked up or had any of the sluggish behavior as before.  I’m totally sold on Android now, and looking forward to tablets with version 3 (Honeycomb).  I’m pretty sure these devices will give the iPad a run for its money.  Meanwhile, for my $40/month at Virgin Mobile, I NEVER have to check my minutes any more!  So far the service has been solid, but I haven’t travelled far from home yet.

Windows Live mail

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis April 26th, 2011

Wow.  Microsoft finally LISTENED!  Windows 7 dropped Outlook Express as an email client.  Instead you must use Windows Live Mail, and everyone hated it!  But they’ve made some changes letely that really made a big difference, so they must be paying attention  :-)   So what’s the difference between that and other ways to get your mail?  It’s all about THE CLOUD.  See, webmail leaves it out there on a server somewhere.  So if you use Internet explorer to do your mail, then it stays Out There.  But if you use software like Outlook or Windows Live Mail, it transfers that mail to your PC, and removes it from The Cloud (unless you tell it not to!).

Explore!

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis April 22nd, 2011

Right-click.  It’s the other mouse button, and you’d be AMAZED at all the cool stuff you can do with it.  See, in windows 7 and lots of other programs, it’s context-sensitive.  So it depends on WHERE you right click, but you almost always get a bunch of cool choices.  I just discovered a new one:  if you right click on any office program (Word, Excel, etc.) that’s pinned to the task bar, it will show you the most recent set of things you worked on.  That’s BEFORE YOU EVEN OPEN THE PROGRAM.  Killer!  Try right clicking everywhere, and see what you can find.  :-)

Missing Menu

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis April 20th, 2011

Looking for that menu bar that says;   File, then Edit, all the way across to Help?  Windows 7, MS Office, Messenger, and a lot of other Microsoft products have dropped this long-used set of items, but never fear, they’re simply hidden.  To make them appear, just press the ALT key and Voilà!  There it is!  You can also right-click an empty place in the bar to permanently turn the Menu Bar on.  This has helped a lot of folks who were trying to get rid of Messenger, because you have to go to the Tools section to tell it not to run at startup.

When to update (or NOT!)

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis April 15th, 2011

People get frustrated trying to figure out when to update which software.  As a rule of thumb, we don’t buy into brand new issues of software until they’ve been out for at least 6 months.  So, for example, right now we’re warning our clients to stay away from Internet Explorer 9.  Microsoft is notorious for throwing their software out there half-baked.  BUT there are lots of cases where you SHOULD update, and that includes normal windows updates, driver updates, other standard security updates from vendors like Adobe, Java (Sun), etc.  WATCH OUT because a lot of times they bundle some crappy package with it, like McAfee Security Scan.  To avoid it, look for a checkbox along the way and UNCHECK IT.  Another good reason to buy new releases of software is for your database(s).  If you have critical business or personal info on a database (like Quickbooks, for example), you should get the new version every 2-3 years to insure that your data gets converted to the latest, greatest.  Otherwise, if you wait too long, you might not be able to upgrade.

Hot Hot Hot

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis April 13th, 2011

It’s almost summertime again, and it’s the time of year that we run like mad chasing overheating problems on computers.  Lots of times the PC has been borderline hot, but because your house or office was cool (70-75 degrees) it was ok.  But when you raise the ambient (room) temp a few degrees, suddenly it’s too much, and bad things happen.  Typical overheating signs are rebooting, lockups, or blue screens.  What can you do?  The best place to start is to open up your PC and BLOW IT OUT with a can of clean air.  Look for fans and heat fins that are choked with dust and crud, and be sure to blow out the power supply as well.  (power supply is the box that the AC cord plugs into).  If it’s a laptop, you’re stuck just blowing air into the vents or fan ports.  Either way, it can help your PC stay cool through the summer months.

Android Update

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis April 12th, 2011

Well it’s been a couple of months now since I made the switch to Android.  Overall I’m really happy with the Samsung Intercept on Virgin Mobile.  I’ve only had a few glitches, and it’s always worked to pull the battery and pop it back in.  Meanwhile I just got some GREAT NEWS!  This phone will be upgraded to the new Android! (Froyo)  I’m pretty happy about that, since I have to regularly kill app’s right now, and supposedly the new version ends that issue.  It also allows more storage and installation to memory cards.  This now gives users two GREAT choices if you want a smartphone on Virgin’s service.

Tax Software

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis April 10th, 2011

It’s that time of year, and once again I have to say I HATE TAXES.  But I want control, and I’m cheap, and I also want to be aware of tax saving items through the year, so I do my own.  Last year I used HR Block’s Tax Cut software.  I tried it because TurboTax (Intuit) raised their prices, and HR Blocks was less than half the cost.  It did a good job, but this year they pulled a sneaky and tried to nail everybody for another $40 after purchase for state forms.  So I switched back to TurboTax.  It was ok, but my biggest complaint is the way it handles FORMS.  When you click the form button, this year it DOES NOT give you the exact IRS version with line items.  This makes it difficult if you have to dig on details for a Schedule C or anyting else.  My other complaint is that they don’t WARN you (this year) about a couple of things:  1) If you don’t have a LOT ofitemized deductions, save yourself a lot of time and just skip to the standard deduct.  2)  DON’T FORGET YOUR MAX IRA CONTRIBUTION!  It used to warn you, but this year it didn’t.