Archive for July 2013

Don’t Go Chasing After the Rabbit

imageI saw this ad on TV while working late one night and though I knew it was a waste of money, I did go online and check it out for you.  I know some of you have thought about dumping your cable or satellite service to save money, and this may look tempting.  Their commercial wants you to believe you can get free TV over the Internet.  They make it sound like you can just tune in your local ABC or CBS network, 5,000 TV channels, 9,000 radio stations and 50,000 movies.  Wow, and all that for $10!  How do they do it?  They just tell you what you can find out for free.  You can get many television shows from Hulu for free.  Radio, there are LOTS of sources for radio stations, Shoutcast.com is one and Streema.com is another.  Movies? Crackle.com has movies you can watch for free, just don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of any of them before.  And of course, all this watching is done on your computer, not your television.

So save your money.  Treat yourself to a nice dinner – you’ll enjoy it more.

Quick Roundup of Your Local News with Yahoo

imageIf you’re looking for a quick way to get a synopsis what’s happing in your local area, Yahoo News does a good job a grabbing the headlines from multiple local sources, allowing you to pick and choose what you want to read without limiting you to one source’s particular slant.  For example, in Austin you get the American-Statesman, the Chronicle, YNN, KXAN, KVUE, FOX 7, the San Marcos Daily Record and the Hays Free Press.  Just go to http://goo.gl/au4TVb, you might need to tell it where you are the first time, but after that it will remember your location – and NO, you don’t need a Yahoo account.

Have a Virus? A Hammer is NOT the Solution!

imageWell once again, we have an example from our government on what NOT to do.  This time it comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

Apparently late in 2011 malware was detected in the organizations computer systems.  After a couple of weeks, a security expert concluded that they were false positives, and not really viruses.

The EDA wanted a guarantee that there were no viruses, which is near impossible because that’s asking for proof that something DOESN’T exist.

To make a long story short, several months later the paranoid idiots spent $4,300 to destroy $170,000 worth of equipment with a hammer, including computers, printers, televisions, cameras, mice and keyboards.  A virus in a mouse?  Really?

How much did all this troubleshooting, consultants, new equipment end up costing?  Just $2.7 million.  That’s all, no big deal, it’s only money.

This is What a LIE Looks Like

imageI’ve said it many times, bad guys lie!  Today, I had not one but TWO clients get caught by the same lie.  They both had this “System Care Antivirus” program pop up and report that they had all these trojans, worms, spyware, all the scary words.  The thing is, they really didn’t have those infections, rather, they had this tricky little thing that tries to frighten you into thinking you have all these problems and then they ask you to download their software to fix it – all you need is a credit card to buy it with.  Of course, if you do now the bad guys not only have some of your money but they now also have your credit card information, and though this scary window may go away, I promise you’ll have other bad things left behind you won’t know about.

The good news is that neither of my clients gave up any credit card information.  What’s more disturbing is that it apparently came in through Java, and BOTH of them had the latest version of Java, so I’ll repeat myself again here…. Remove Java from your computer unless you absolutely must have it.  If you’re not sure, remove it anyway.  Any program that needs it will tell you to get Java, and you can go to Java.com to get the latest version.  You can remove Java from the Control Panel under “Programs and Features” (Add/Remove Programs if you’re using Windows XP.)

6 CRITICAL Updates, 34 Vulnerabilities

imageYep, lots of problems and lots of fixes.  It’s the 2nd Tuesday of the month so of course, that means its (say it all together kids) “Patch Tuesday!”  Hopefully your computer is set up to automatically install the updates from Microsoft.

All 6 updates address what is called “remote code execution” vulnerabilities, which allow a bad guy the ability to have software run on your computer.  Some of the problems involve Internet Explorer, another is actually involved in how fonts are rendered on your computer.  Be sure to install the updates if your computer prompts you.  Don’t give the bad guys an easy way into your system.

Save Some EXTRA Money at Amazon

imageLifehacker.com has a good article on how to save some extra cash by using the little know places like Amazon Outlet and Amazon Warehouse Deals.  Did you know you can also set up price alerts so that when an item on Amazon hits a certain price you’ll get an email notifying you?  So click on the link and check it out:  http://goo.gl/Q5O5L

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