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Auto freeware installer Ninite!

Ninite.com is getting more and more popular these days but there are still plenty of people out there that aren’t familiar with it.  Since I recently got a bunch of facebook “Likes” I thought I would write a useful blog post that almost everyone can benefit from.  Ninite.com can detect if you already have a program installed or not.  It will also automatically say no to anything annoying the free app may come with such as browser toolbars etc.  Here is a list from top to bottom of apps I recommend you grab from ninite.com.

  1. Google Chrome (Probably safest web browser)
  2. Skype (Internet Phone)
  3. Pidgin (If you use several instant messengers get this)
  4. VLC (Video player that plays almost anything)
  5. All the Runtimes (Flash, Flash IE, Java, .NET, Silverlight, AIR, Shockwave)
  6. IrfanView (Image viewer thats fast and views almost everything)
  7. Open Office (Office alternative) (*Note: Only if you don’t already have microsoft office)
  8. Foxit Reader (Light PDF (acrobat) viewer)
  9. Essentials (Antivirus) (*Note: Only if you don’t already have an anti-virus installed)
10. Malware Bytes (AntiMalware)
11. uTorrent (if you use bittorrent get this)
12. Google Earth (View the earth)
13. ImgBurn (CD/DVD burning software)
14. CCleaner (Frees up hard drive space, for more advance users)
15. Defraggler (Alternative to windows defragment)
16. 7-Zip (File extractor that supports almost every format)

Ninite.com

I hope this list of useful free software helps you guys.  I appreciate all the Facebook “Likes”,  thank you very much.

 

Mikko Hypponen on TED Talk

Mikko Hypponen on TEDtalk:  http://www.ted.com/talks/mikko_hypponen_fighting_viruses_defending_the_net.html

I have already mentioned Mikko Hypponen in a previous blog post mikko hypponen gives a basic summary of computer viruses.  This particular video goes into more detail.  Interestingly enough he used the wmf virus I sent him back in 2005 in this presentation.   The portion of the video containing the wmf virus I submitted starts at the 10:00 minute mark on the video.

At least make your email password unique!

If you are going to use the same password for everything regardless of how many people tell you it’s a bad idea then please at least make your email password unique.   When someone has your email password they can often get their hands on other passwords that may be in old emails or may be easily retrieved by lost password retrieval systems.  Email passwords are also commonly stored some where on computers in spots often targeted by viruses.  Some email providers such as gmail has a section of the website that will let you see where you last logged in from.  When you log in to gmail it is on the far bottom right corner labeled “Details”.

New facebook virus is getting popular.


There is a new virus going around thats pretty clever.  It attempts to stop several popular antiviruses by pretending they are still functioning in an “Enhanced Protection Mode”.   So far I know this virus can pretend to be Avira, Avast, Norton, and ESET.  This virus also redirects facebook.com to your computer where it will display a authentic looking facebook page stating “Sorry, we are experiencing temporary technical problem, please check back later.”  I am not certain yet due to only encountering this virus once so far but I believe it may also modify the apppath variable in the windows registry causing many programs to no longer retain settings properly.  The virus may also delete the windows security center service.

If you need us to help you remove this virus please enter the live chat and place an order for either the Quick Virus Removal ($35.00), Complete Virus Removal ($60.00), or Full Service ($88.00).

Update 8/19/2011:  Today this blog post seems excessively popular.  Not sure why as most of the visits look direct.

Update 8/20/2011:  This is an online computer repair business.  I do not know why this blog post has become so popular but I do not offer free help!

Affordable power back up (UPS)

The picture I have above is the CyberPower Intelligent LCD CP1500AVRLCD uninterruptible power supply (UPS) available on amazon for 140.00 dollars.  I believe having a power backup is very important for your expensive electronics.  I strongly urge anyone with a decent desktop system and monitor to purchase one.   Laptops have their own built in battery backup but I am sure they can benefit from some of the additional protection offered by having a UPS.  On fairly powerful systems the UPS isn’t going to last but a few minutes but it does come with software that will tell your computer to shut down once the battery starts getting low.  Having a UPS also helps prevent data corruption issues and other issues associated with sudden power loss.  I can’t honestly recall a case as a computer repair tech where a power supply (other than the really cheap ones) died while hooked up to a UPS.

One thing I like about this particular model unit is the information given on the LCD.  The most useful features are the display showing how long it will run if you lose power at the current power usage and the other is a kilawatt display showing your current power usage.  At this exact moment I am using 203 watts (0.203 Kw) if I bring up a usage calculator such as http://www.electricity-usage.com I can see that running this computer 24/7 costs me about 15 dollars per month.  Now I do realize there are cheap devices that will measure wattage usage such as the KILL-A-WATT device but I had a bad experience with one of those hooked up to a window AC once and have decided against hooking it up to my computer components.

Clipmate – The Clipboard Extender!

Clipmate saves everything you copy into the clipboard (you know the clipboard, copy/paste, ctrl+C/ctrl+V).   If you take a screen shot with Prt Scr key even that will be saved into clipmate.  You may think clipmate isn’t that useful but trust me once you get into the habit of copying and pasting clipmate will constantly help you.   Lets say for example I ran into a very strange error I never thought i’d see again with a client and I was searching all over the place for additional information.  Well lets say I finally resolved that situation and then 2 years later I run into the same issue.  With clipmate I can actually search through all my old clips and get an idea of what I did to solve it.  Some may find that hard to believe to be able to find that kind of information from clipboard history but once you get in the habit of using clipmate copying useful things just becomes second nature.  Whats that you say?  That’s what favorites are for?  I have over 33,000 clips!  Lets pick one at random…

1/13/2009 3:21:53 PM Maneki Neko     (ok what the heck is that, lets look for clues!)

1/13/2009 3:22:21 PM Solar Powered Relaxation Toy (what in the world?)

1/13/2009 3:28:59 PM Long receipt from jlist (now lets find out what i ordered by using google…)

Ok now I remember!  This is a head bobbing fortune cat that’s suppose to be like a financial lucky charm.  I have him on my desk at work as a reminder to keep on keeping on!  You know..because his head bobs infinitely and he has one fist up in the air?  :)

Visit Thornsoft’s website for more information on clipmate: http://www.thornsoft.com/

Process Hacker, my favorite task manager.

When process hacker first came out I really liked the application.  The only down side is that back then it was a .net application and not everyone had .net installed.  Ever since process hacker 2.0 was released the program no longer required .net and I strongly believe this should be on every ones computer.  Doesn’t matter if you are a computer repair tech or not.

Process hacker has many features that I find useful but I am going to list a couple that my readers may find really useful.

 

1. Able to verify digital signatures and allows you to sort by Trusted/Non Trusted.  This allows you to quickly find malware as it is pretty rare for malware to have a cert (though it does happen).  To turn this on go to Hacker > Options > Advanced > Check Images for digital signatures and packing.  Then right click the column header (Name, PID, CPU, etc etc) then add Verified Signer and Verification Status to the Active columns.  Now you are able to sort by Verification status or Verified Signer.   If you want to reset to the normal tree view just keep on the column header “Name” until the default tree view comes up.

2. The ability to suspend a process.  Lets say you have a process that’s running and slowing you down or getting in the way but you don’t want to terminate it.  You just want to pause it.   Simply right click the process in process hacker and then click suspend.

3. The TERMINATOR!  You know those programs that refuse to close when you try to end task via task manager?  Well the terminator doesn’t take crap from any process.  It doesn’t matter if the process is an antivirus that boasts about how it can’t be closed by viruses.  The Terminator will terminate that process no matter what (least from what i’ve seen).  Careful what you terminate though as the Terminator has no limits it can terminate processes the operating system needs which will result in a blue screen then you’ll have to reboot.

There is much more to process hacker than just those things I listed above.   There is also several plugins that further enhance process hackers capabilities.   Including a virus total uploader for you virustotal fans.  They have both a install version and a portable version,  check those out at the following website: http://processhacker.sourceforge.net/

Multimonitors and special taskbar applications

I never really felt multiple monitors helped that much.  When I needed more screen real estate I simply bought a bigger monitor that supported a higher resolution.  I just felt it was a hassle to deal with that second monitor until a few months ago when I discovered Ultramon & Display Fusion Pro.  Both applications can create additional taskbars on the extra monitors that act just like the original taskbar.   Ultramon is 40.00 and Display Fusion Pro is 25.00.  If you are looking at just the taskbar feature I prefer Display Fusion Pro because it adds start menu, date, time, and the tiny show desktop option.

I’m not sure just showing you does it justice. You really can’t appreciate the second taskbar until you start using it. Personally I keep my work related applications on my left monitor and my other applications on my right.  I really don’t think I can ever go back to just a single monitor.

Bad anti-virus reviews are all over the place!

Today I was sitting at my day job and I received notification that they were switching from Trend Micro to Norton.   I thought to myself…thats interesting because that’s like going from the fire back to the frying pan.  Norton for companies is a lot less bloated than the home version but there are still better solutions out there.  Near the bottom of this notice there was a segment that we no longer get Trend Micro for free for home.  It’s no secret that i’m not a fan of Trend Micro so I considered that to be a good thing.  Anyway at the bottom of this e-mail was 2 links to 2 pretty popular PC magazines with articles on anti-viruses to help us choose an alternative.

So I view these articles and my response is this:

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT PLEASE DO NOT WRITE TO THE WORLD ABOUT IT!

One of the articles gave the #1 spot to an antivirus that had worse detection but a nicer looking interface.   I am not making this up!  If you read an anti-virus review that gave a higher score to an inferior product because of a nicer interface please post a nasty comment for me!

The other article had tests being done where it showed several products scoring 100% in detection.  If you do a test and even one anti-virus gets 100% then you need a better test.  If you do a test and several antivirus products get 100% then you just need to step aside and let someone that knows what they are doing do the tests themselves because you obviously don’t have a clue.  Another thing that the second article was guilty of was giving high scores to products I know bog down your system BIG TIME.   I don’t care how good it is at stopping viruses,  if it slows down the user its garbage!

My personal favorite Antivirus is Avira.   It doesn’t have a nice interface but its detection is consistently top notch.  Avira’s removal process isn’t as good as some other anti-viruses but for most advance users just being told there’s an infected file is all they need.  For antimalware I like Malware Bytes because they have Merijn Bellekom….enough said.

ubee ddw3611 bridge mode with Time Warner (Road Runner)

So I swapped from U-verse 24mbps service to Time Warners (RR) 50mbps service today.  I had everything ready for the tech.  I even went as far as having the cable line on the table next to a laptop with a surge protector on the table.  Line was already ready to be plugged in outside.  With my preperations it only took them 5 minutes to get me online.  Hopefully they will take that into consideration when they are billing me that 40 dollar install charge!

If you are a serious tech geek like me you probably already have a really nice router with custom firmware setup.  The first thing you are going to try to do is put the router into bridge mode.  Let me save you some time by telling you that bridge mode has been hidden by Time Warner.  To access bridge mode you must go to one of the following:

http://192.168.0.1/TlModeChange.asp

http://192.168.100.1/TlModeChange.asp (This one is usually to change it back into NAT mode)

*Note: default login and password is: user

Don’t forget once in bridge mode it’s just like any other cable modem.   When I say it’s like every other cable modem I mean you will need to power cycle the modem by unplugging the power then replugging it anytime you connect the modem to a new device.  So far the service is rock solid but I will update this blog post if something goes wrong.

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