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My technical life, day by day.

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If you are browsing the web and a pop up apears saying you computer is infected with all kinds of viruses, take the time to confirm that the pop up is real and from your antivirus software. If the pop up is in a browser windows, like firefox or internet explorer, then its FAKE and its a VIRUS itself! It fools you into believing your computer is infected and once you click on the pop up, it downloads its self to your computer and takes control! There are several different types of these viruses and each on does diffrent things.

What it basically does is it does a fake scan without your promession, then detects thousands of fake viruses, the program’s scam is that the threats it detects cannot be deleted, just found, until you pay for it.  But the Virus scanner does not work, its fake, so you are paying for nothing, a scam!  The worst part of this fake virus scanner is that it tricks Windows Security Center, the error that comes up on the taskbar stating that your computer is not protected.  If you do not pay for this fake virus scanner, it keeps popping up saying that your computer is infected.  It also spoof’s your browser and won’t let you navigate to the web pages you imput into the address bar.

Take a look below to familarize yourself with some of these fake anti-virus programs:

These nasties are hard to remove, and sometimes root themselves so bad in your computer that you have to backup your data and reformat, and re-install your operating system. The best defense against these nasties is to use good judgement. When you see something like this pop up, don’t click it! Instead open your antivirus software and perform a scan get rid it!

I don’t know why people do it, but for some reason when they setup a new wireless network they choose not to secure it either because they are to lazy to, or they don’t know how. This is the same as leaving your front door unlocked and putting a sign up that says “free stuff inside”. If you don’t secure your wireless network, anyone with in range of your networks signal can connect to it and leach off your internet, probe your network and if they are canny enough, steal information from your computers and hijack networked peripherals.

You should secure not only your network, your router as well. Securing your wireless network means nothing if anyone can log into your router and change the security settings. When setting up a wireless network use the following check list to make sure everything is in order.

  • When you create a SSID (your networks name) name it something short and sweet that is easily recognized by you.
  • When securing your network, use WPA2-PSK (this option allows you to choose the network passkey yourself so make it strong but easy to remember, you will need it to connect any computer or networkable device to your wireless network).
  • Enable TKIP and AES
  • Enable MAC filtering so that only devices with MAC’s listed in the router config file will be able to connect to your wireless network
  • Use your computers built in firewall for added security.
  • Create a new user name and password for your router. Make the password strong and write down your user name and password and keep it in a safe place.
  • Memorize or write down your routers IP address for easy access to the routers configuration page.

If you take the time to secure your network properly, you will probably never have any problems with people leaching off your internet or poking around on your network. Hope this helps. If you need help with setting up your network, hire professional help. If your in the Tampa Bay area, I am available for all your computing needs: www.ocstampabay.com

No body likes to be sick, and your computer doesn’t either. Just like you take precautions to avoid getting sick, you should do the same to keep your computer virus free. Below are some tips to do just that, its pretty simple to stay away from viruses if you use some common sense.

  • NEVER open spam email. NEVER. If you don’t know who its from, don’t open it.
  • Scan every email you want to open, I don’t care if its from the President, just do it.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date, its worthless if its not.
  • Back up your data regularly. Just in case you do get one, your not up the creek with out a paddle.
  • If you do not recognize the file extension of the attachment in an email, delete it. Best to play it safe.
  • Never click on pop ups unless its a pop up you expected. If its an ad for something, don’t click it.
  • Do not download programs that come from any kind of pop up. If you want the program go to the vendors site directly.
  • Keep your operating system up to date. Turn on automatic updates.

Keep these things in mind while you browse the net and open email. It will help you stay clear of viruses and other pests.

With everything and everyone being online, keeping your private personal information away from people you may not want to see it is imperative. People so easily give out their personal information on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. This is dangerous because there are plenty of creeps out there that would love nothing more to either steel your identity, bully you, or cause other problems you just don’t want.

So, what can you do to reduce your risk and stay safe online? There are many things you can do and I will go over some of them

  • Create strong passwords to every website you have to log in to. Change them often.
  • Use privacy settings on social networking sites to keep personal information visible to people who you want o see it.
  • Stay away from warez sites, or sites that have illegal software, music, or video downloads.
  • Play it safe and NEVER EVER click on pop ups, if the product or service that pops up is something your interested go to the website directly instead.
  • Only open email from people you know, and always scan the email with a anti-virus program before opening it.
  • Clear your browsers cache and history from computers that are not secured with a log in password.
  • Never do any kind of online banking, trading, or other sensitive activities on public computers.
  • Do not let other people use your computer unless you absolutely trust them.
  • To avoid spam, only give out your email address if you really need to. Don’t freely give it away to website that ask for it or sign up for newsletters.
  • NEVER EVER post any kind of financial information online. You should only do finances with the bank or institution you do business with.
  • Do not respond to SPAM emails, once you do they know your email is active and will spam you even more!

You can find more helpful tips from tips from the following:

Microsoft

EFF

I am not a huge Twitter user, I use it from time to time to post updates about myself and my blog posts, but recently while reading my RSS feeds from Lifehacker, I came across an application called TweetMyPC. This program allows you, through Twitter, to shutdown, reboot, lock, logoff, etc via your mobile phone.

It basically works like this:

  1. The application is installed on your computer and you enter your Twitter username and password. I suggest setting up a separate Twitter account to use with TweetMyPC so that others can’t see your commands that you tweet.
  2. Once the application is installed, run the program and you will notice a Twitter icon in the task bar.

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3.   Enter your Twitter username and password and click Save and Close.

That’s all there is to it, simply enable your Twitter account to use text messaging or install a Twitter app to your mobile device if your device supports one that is currently available. Once you have that setup, just tweet the command and TweetMyPC will make it happen.

Go here for a list of commands to tweet to control your computer.

This is a pretty neat application, heck I would use Twitter just to be able to use this program. If you have a Windows Mobile device or your device supports Remote Desktop, the combination of that and TweetMyPC will surely give you more control of your computer remotely. One of the best features of this program is creating your own commands! Anyone have an custom commands they created for this program? If you do what are they?

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Noreve leather case for HTC Touch Pro

Today I will be reviewing the beautiful Noreve leather case for the HTC Touch Pro. As always, when I buy a new phone I have to get a new case for it, I just don’t feel right if I don’t. Call me weird. I have bought and tried many leather cases for a multitude of mobile devices and time after time again, I find myself coming back to Noreve.

Who is Noreve you might ask? They are an exceptional company that makes custom leather cases and accessories for all kinds of electronics and hand held devices. They are based out of St. Tropez, France and make one exceptional product. In this review I will be discussing the the leather case they make for the HTC Touch Pro and the metal belt clip system they make for their cases.

NOTE: The case comes with a standard plastic swivel clip, the metal clip system is NOT included with the leather case, you must purchase it separately. Believe me, its well worth it as you will see in this review.

Leather Case for HTC Touch Pro

When my case arrived in the mail I was so excited, I owned other Noreve cases in the past and I knew I was in for a real treat. The first thing you will notice when you open the plastic packaging and open the box that contains the case, is this wonderful smell of leather, not cheap leather, high quality leather. You know what that smell is if you ever bought a fine leather wallet or accessory. When you go to the Noreve website, and select this case to purchase, you are given the option of there different leather collections to choose from: Perpetual, Ambition, and Exceptional. Below are brief descriptions of these collections.

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This is the basic leather you can choose for your case. There are a wide range of colors to choose from.

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This is a more durable choice. The leather has a pebble texture.

From Noreve website:

This pebble grained leather of great quality is known for its durability, due to a polymer film containing pigments. This surface coating allows an enhanced resistance to scratches and discoloration.

It is recommended for intensive use. It is resistant to weathering.

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This is the luxury choice. This is leather is sueded for a soft and supple feel.

From Noreve website:

Special oils give the leather its unique extra smooth and weathered finish. Dark vintage, Sandy vintage, Passion vintage & Jean vintage are timeless colors. Their touch and smell are truly luxurious.

True to this unique process, it is important to understand the finished product. The Exceptional vintage is not your normal leather case. We start with exceptional suede…soft to the feel. Colors are combined to form the unique offerings and then the leather is treated in a way to distress the suede giving an old worn look, hence why it is called vintage. The finished product crafts a different look every time. You should expect natural scratches within the leather, markings that look like water spots, and shades of darks and lights throughout.

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What comes with the case.

My leather choice was the Ambition Chestnut. I choose this leather type because I needed a durable case and I wanted the leather to stand up to some abuse and resist scratching.  I have used the case for a week now and I have bumped and scraped it on a few things and as you can see from the review pictures, it looks brand new. The quality of the leather is excellent it feels great to the touch and looks great. The workmanship on this case is top notch. There was no loose stitching or hanging treads that I have come across on other cases I have used. When using the phone the case does not hinder it at all, simply fold the top flap around to the back. If you carry this case in your pocket, then you will be pleased to know that this case adds very little bulk to your phone, which is a plus when pocket space is at a premium. The clasps that hold the phone in the case are leather wrapped and will not scratch your device. When I got my case, they were a little loose, so I bent them forward and it held my phone tight and it was hard to shake the device out of the case. The styling is top notch, its fashionable but not gaudy. It looks good on your belt and gives a professional look. Its small foot print makes it harder for it to get in the way of day to day tasks, which is what I like the most about this case.  There are cut outs for all the buttons and ports for the HTC Touch Pro. The device fits like a glove and holds it securely. Noreve also included two pockets for storing additional microSD cards, a handy feature if you like to store programs on one card and pictures on another.

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Inside view.

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Outside view. NOTE: that the metal stub on this picture is for the Metal Belt Clip system and is NOT included with the case. The swivel gear is included with the case to use with the standard plastic swivel clip.

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Bottom view.

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Back view.

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Open view with HTC Touch Pro aka AT&T Fuze.

Packaged with the case is a small flat head screw driver, the swivel gear, and the attachment plug. To use the swivel clip, simply remove the plug, screw in the swivel gear and slip it on the clip. Noreve’s basic swivel clip is of good quality, but on my last case it broke mainly because I use my case everyday and it gets banged around. Also included, is a plug that will plug the mount hole if you decide not to use the case with a clip. The design of this case is awesome, just look how it holds your phone.

Noreve Metal Belt Clip System:

Because I use my case heavily, I opted for the metal clip system that they offered and its worth its weight in gold. The metal clip is solid, it has some heft to it. It feels like it could take a lot of punishment. Its a simple system that uses a solid metal post that slips into a a solid metal clip, simply rotate it 90 degrees and it locks in place. The combination of this sturdy clip and the tougher leather choice should make this a great system that will keep my phone protected and will last a long time.

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The metal clip.

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What came in the package, sans the case and device.

In conclusion, if your looking for a great case for your HTC Touch Pro or any other mobile device; then make sure you give Noreve a good look. Their custom cases are high quality and custom made. The addition of the metal clip system will make this great case even better. But this system won’t come cheep, the case is $51.00 and the metal clip system is $17.92 for a total of $68.92. Its not the cheapest option out there but I believe for the quality and workmanship you get and the added benefit of the metal clip, you are defiantly getting your moneys worth.

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The famous Blue Screen of Death

There are a lot of people out there who do not back up their hard drives. Many novice computer users simply do not know how to back up their computer and others say that they don’t have the time. I was one of those that said they didn’t have the time to do it, and guess what? My laziness bit me in the ass the other day.

My installation of Windows Vista became corrupt. My computer would randomly BSOD (blue screen of death) with all kinds of stop errors and what not. If you ever got a BSOD before, I am sure you have noticed that it goes away quickly before you can write down the error numbers so that you can research the problems. Well there is a solution for that:

  1. Left Click on the Start button, Right Click My Computer and select Properties
  2. Select the Advanced system properties tab
  3. Under Startup and Recovery click on the Settings button
  4. Under System failure, uncheck the Automatically restart option
  5. Click OK in the Startup and Recovery window, Click OK in the System Properties window
  6. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot after you have written down the error number

After researching error numbers given to me, I basically came to the conclusion that the inner workings of Windows were messed up and was beyond repair. So, I rebooted my machine after yet another BSOD but this time it wouldn’t boot, it went straight to the BSOD. Game over. I didn’t have a back up of anything, not one thing. So the lesson here, folks, is to ALWAYS back up your hard drive, you never know when a problem could strike and make your computer unusable.

I got my computer up and running by using the Recovery Disk I burned when I first got my laptop. Let me just say right here and now so that you don’t make this mistake; most computers come with a partition on the hard drive with recovery data and a piece of software to burn that data to a disk. You should ALWAYS burn that data to the disk via the recovery software provided by your computer manufacturer. Once you do, keep it in a safe place because you never know when you will need it and computer manufacturers usually do not provide you with a recovery disk. For the novice, a recovery disk basically reformats the primary partition on your hard drive and reinstalls Windows back on your computer the way it came from the factory. The recovery disk is basically an image of the hard drive before you put anything on the computer. Pretty neat, huh? Wouldn’t it be even better if you can make your own “recovery disks”? Well, its possible and I will tell you how.

There are many commercial disk imaging programs out there that do a great job, like Norton Ghost for example. However being the cheap collage student I am, I wanted something that could do the job for free. My solution was Clonezilla. Here are the no frills instructions on how to get started. Once you have the disk burned, make sure you understand and follow ALL the instructions given in the links provided. I am NOT responsible if you hose your computer. 

 

  1. Download ImgBurn, you will need this program to burn the .iso file for Clonezilla to a disk
  2. Download the Clonezilla .iso file
  3. Use ImgBurn to burn the Clonezilla .iso file to a disk, you can find instruction on how to burn an iso file to a disk with ImgBurn with this handy How To Geek article here
  4. Now that you have Clonezilla burned to a disk, it’s now time to read about how to actually use this program.

TIP: If you just bought a new laptop, I highly recommend that you uninstall all the bloat ware programs that came with your computer that you don’t want. Then install all the current updates for Windows, and install all the programs you will be using often on your computer. Once you’ve done that, make a image of your hard drive so that if you ever need to recover or you just want to wipe the slate clean, you can with a clean image.

NOTE: In order for Clonezilla to work, make sure that you set your boot order in your computers BIOS to have the CD drive be the first drive it tries to boot from. Also, make sure you use another program to back up your User File Folder periodically, I recommend Cobian Backup 9. There will be a post later on how to use this program to make periodic backups of your user file.

So now I have a Recovery Disk that puts my computer back the the factory default when I bought it, and a disk image that will put my computer back the way it was when I got all my programs, updates and what not installed. Life is good. I hope you found this useful, and that this tutorial will motivate you to back up your hard drive as well. Does anyone else use Clonezilla? How about another imaging program, free or not? I would love to hear your experiences.