Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bill Gates made an appearance on the Daily Show

Yesterday, Bill Gates made an appearance on the Daily Show to promote the official launch of Windows Vista. As always, Jon Stewart had some excellent questions for his guest. Enjoy the show!

Microsoft Releases Windows Live Messenger 8.1

Windows Live Messenger is Microsoft's next-generation MSN Messenger. It has the same features as MSN Messenger (contact list, emoticons, and instant access to your friends via text, voice, and video) — plus new ways to connect and share photos and documents effortlessly.

YAHOO! - With Windows Live Messenger, you can now connect with your Yahoo! friends.

PC-to-PC Calling - Have a high-quality voice conversation using PC-to-PC Calling.

Better Video Conversations - New Messenger gives better: live, full-screen (640x480) video.

Sharing Folders - Drag a file onto a contact’s name creating a Sharing Folder. Now you and your contact can get to all the files in the folder any time, even if one of you is offline.

Text Message Phones - See a little mobile icon next to a friend's name? Just right click to send a text message.

Windows Live Alerts - Headlines, sports scores, traffic, or just about anything else you want to keep up with — get pop-up notifications of things as they happen.

--> Download Windows Live Messenger 8.1 <--

The latest version of Messenger on each operating system:

For Windows 98 and Windows Me: MSN Messenger 7.0.816

For Windows 2000: MSN Messenger 7.0.0816

For Windows XP and Windows Vista: Windows Live Messenger 8.1.0178.

Safer computing for your kids with Windows Vista

With Windows Vista you can choose to allow or restrict specific game titles, limit play to games with a certain rating, or block games with scary or inappropriate content. In other words, zombies and guns are out, while educational games stay in. If you don't want your kids on the computer on Sundays, for example, because you'd prefer they get some fresh air instead, you can specify which days and times they are allowed PC access.

Here's a rundown of the other ways Windows Vista can help you set limits on your kids' computer usage:

Time limits: Set a limit as to how long children can use the computer

Web restrictions: Restrict the websites kids can visit and what they're allowed to download.

Game restrictions: Restrict the types of computer games children can play.

Application restrictions: Apply limits so kids can only run applications you have approved.

Activity reports: Get a detailed report of what your kids have been doing on the computer, including games played, websites visited and applications used.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Windows Vista Drivers Update

RadarSync put together a free webpage that will list ALL Vista drivers as they become available, with direct download links to the drivers. The page is already up and running and is 100% free for everyone, open to the community of Windows users.. check it out at


PC World says Opera is safer than either Internet Explorer or Firefox

In a recent issue of PC World magazine columnist Scott Spanbauer wrote about the importance of staying safe online while browsing. Here is what he had to say about the Opera browser:

“While no software is perfectly secure, many experts (including me) think the Opera browser is safer than either IE or Firefox.”

To be fair, it sounds like he’s basing it on the fact that Opera has a small market share, and thus malware authors aren’t targeting it yet.

Beware: Half of Pirated Vista Is Malware

From PC World Today:

"About half of all downloads that claim to be free versions of Microsoft's Vista operating system are actually malicious Trojan horse software, security vendor DriveSentry warned Thursday.

With Vista's consumer launch just days away, hackers have been bombarding discussion boards with offers of "cracked" versions of Windows Vista, which are typically being distributed on peer-to-peer networks, said John Lynch, vice president of sales and marketing for DriveSentry.

These posts offer downloads of the operating system that skip Vista's activation process, created by Microsoft to prevent users from running illegal copies."

Read the rest at PC World

Friday, January 26, 2007

Malicious Software Removal Tool

The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks computers running Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.

Microsoft releases an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month. New versions are available at the Software Removal Tool Web page, Windows Update, and the Microsoft Download Center.

Because computers can appear to function normally when infected, Microsoft advises you to run this tool even if your computer seems to be fine. You should also use up-to-date antivirus software to help protect your computer from other malicious software.

Note You must be logged on to your computer with an account that is part of the Administrators group to run this tool.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Turn any Windows XP or 2000 PC with an Internet connection into a CGI proxy you can use at work to bypass web filters.

I posted about this a while ago but thought it needed another post to keep it current. The circumventor freeware program will turn any Windows XP or 2000 PC with an Internet connection into a CGI proxy you can use at work or school to bypass web filters. Sure, regular web proxies will do the same thing, but isn't it cooler to have your own personal proxy that is ad free? You don't actually install the Circumventor on the computer that is blocked from accessing Web sites. You, or a friend of yours, has to install the Circumventor on some other machine which is not censored.

Download Circumventor here.

Dell Begins Selling Desktops Without Windows Pre-installed

Are you looking for a desktop on which you can run Linux® or other open-source operating systems? Look no further! The n Series Desktops comes with a Pentium D or Athlon X2, and an unformatted hard drive ready for Linux, BSD, or any other free OS (or heck, even Windows if you want)! Go on over to Dell and check it out.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to upgrade from Windows XP to Vista

Did you get a new PC with a free Vista upgrade recently? Tech site ExtremeTech tells you everything you need to know about upgrading your XP PC. The article goes tells you how to prep your system for the upgrade and walks you step-by-step through the procedure.

Clean up duplicate files with CloneSpy

If you have a ton of digital pictures or have a large music collection on your computer, you may wonder whether you've got duplicate files laying around that you could afford to trash. While you can try searching for duplicate filenames using a number of tools including the search functionality that is built in to Windows, to truly know if files are duplicates you need a tool that will examine the bits, and see if they match completely.

CloneSpy is a free little utility that will do just that for you, and it provides enough options to make sure that when you finally do decide to delete some duplicates, it's the right ones that actually get deleted.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rip your old vinyl to MP3

Don't let your vinyl die a slow an lonely death moldering in your basement for years. Liberate it digitally with the Numark USB Turntable. Simply plug this high-quality turntable into the USB port on your PC and rip your vinyl directly to MP3. Click here to get yours today.

Netflix broadband delivery

The long-awaited Netflix broadband delivery service begins this week, though the initial movie catalog will only consist of around 1,000 movies. Netflix will only be adding around 250,000 users a month at first to help better manage bandwidth demand, but the company's service should reach full stride by June. The interesting bit: if you're already a Netflix customer, you get access to movie downloads without any extra cost. Netflix customers who pay $18 a month already for mail rentals will get 18 hours of video access. The initial launch will work exclusively for the PC, IE and XP only. More detail at the NY Times.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Firefox Google Search vs Yahoo...

The search box built in to the Firefox browser defaults to the Google search engine. But say an internet user escapes the confines of Google, and looks something up in Yahoo, which makes a rival search engine. A message pops up on the top right of the screen, pictured above, encouraging the user to switch. And, look closely, that's a miniature Google logo being selected by the arrow. Here's betting that many Yahoo devotees, not the most sophisticated of internet users, get extremely confused. Bad Yahoo...

How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media

I've just come across an excellent article on Ad Terras Per Aspera which covers how to choose CD/DVD archival media.

"Ahh, I’ve been planning to write this one for awhile: an entire article on archival quality media. As I do professional software development as well as professional photography (what a weird combination), I need archival quality CD and DVD media to store my data on.

However, one of the hardest things to is actually find good media, or even understand why it is good media. This article focuses on the history of Compact Discs, writable CD/DVD media, and why DVD+R is superior to DVD-R. If you want to just know what media is worth buying, skip to the summary at the bottom."

The article gets in-depth in some places but it's well worth reading. However, if you want a summary, here it is.

* DVD+R is much better than DVD-R
* Buy good quality discs

Friday, January 12, 2007

Yahoo Using Dirty Tactics to Switch Google & Firefox Users?

The power struggle between Yahoo and Google for your desktop just took an evil turn, with evidence that suggests Yahoo is covertly trying to switch Google search users without their explicit permission. Read the complete article here at Marketing Pilgrim.

Coming soon Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista

Built from the ground up specifically for Microsoft Windows Vista, this all-new version combines the reliable and easy-to-use features you've always loved from Yahoo! Messenger with the cutting-edge experience of this new operating system.

*Instant message, voice, webcam video, and more

*Use the integrated Yahoo! Messenger Sidebar gadget to keep up with the friends that matter most

*Also add Windows Live™ Messenger friends to your contact list to see when they're online and IM them

*Keep conversations organized by dragging and dropping them into one tabbed window

*Brand new emoticons, program icons and alert sounds

*Instantly change the look and feel of your Yahoo! Messenger interface

*Automatic groups are created in your contact list based on your Yahoo! interests (i.e. Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football league)

Read more here

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Problem copying a large file to another Hard Drive?

My son wanted to copy a file that was very large ( over 4 GB ) from one of his internal hard drives to his external hard drive and keep getting an error message that wouldn't allow him to copy the file. After looking at his problem we determined that his external hard drive was formatted in Fat 32. The only way to copy files larger that 4 gigabytes is to have the external hard drive formatted to NTFS. So the lesson to the story is convert your external hard drives to NTFS and you won't have these problems.

To read more about Fat and NTFS go to "Comparing NTFS and FAT file systems"

To learn how to format your hard drive to NTFS or convert from fat to NTFS read this article from Microsoft.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Internet Explorer was vulnerable to threats 284 days in 2006

Brian Krebs at the Washington Post's Security Fix blog wanted to put together some statistics on how long it took major software providers to fix vulnerabilities last year. He started with Microsoft, and found that Internet Explorer was vulnerable to critical flaws for a total of 284 days. That's more than 9 months.

In fact, there were at least 98 days when Microsoft had not issued a fix even though criminals were actively exploiting some of those flaws to grab personal data from Internet Explorer users.

Krebs says he ran his data by Microsoft before posting it on the blog, and that aside from some minor issues, the company didn't bring up anything that would change the overall finding.

By comparison, Firefox was only vulnerable to a serious security threat for one 9 day period last year. What's interesting is that for 2006, Opera 8 and Opera 9 didn't suffer from a single extremely critical vulnerability as classified by Secunia (although both did suffer a single highly critical vulnerability).

Be sure to go read todays post. Krebs takes a look at the number of security patches issued for Microsoft Office in 2006.