• Have you got viruses or spyware? Here's my tips!

    I come into contact everyday with people asking how to fix their machines due to the inevitable spyware and viruses found on a Windows machine. Lately I have been switching people to Ubuntu, and even getting them to buy machines to install it on (Dell). But I understand and have no zealotry for Linux when it comes to fixing peoples’ real world problems. I always mention Ubuntu as a matter of course, and also Macs. I follow up peoples Ubuntu installs with friendly emails explaining the free help open to them, but also as common (probably moreso) are my emailed tips to people guiding them how to fix there Windows XP computer. So I’ll list the steps here which are generic and should help anyone out their with such problems; this is not a miracle cure and I fix these problems on a case by case basis, so expect better perfromance, but not a new computer!!

    1. Go to Control Panel (Click on My Computer, then a link to it appears at the side) > Add/Remove Programs
    2. Remove all Norton Antivirus and/or Symantec Security products
    3. Download This: Avast Home Edition 4
    4. When Avast installs and asks to perform a boot time scan, click: yes, then restart your computer as it suggests
    5. Register for a (free) Avast Home Edition 4 Serial key
    6. Start Avast from the Start Menu (Start > All Programs > Avast). It will flash an “A” on a round ball in the status area, click it and enter serial number recieved in email
    7. Download: Spybot Search and Destroy
    8. It will guide you through this when it starts up the first time: Backup your registry, download all available updates, immunise and then do a full scan (it sounds harder then it is), then remove all spyware

  • Seven financial reasons not to use Windows

    I recently read a very insightful article on 7 factors every company should seriously consider about Microsoft Windows, here they are summarised:

    1. Licensing Costs

      Everyone in the IT industry today knows that proprietary operating systems and the applications that run on them will cost you a lot of money on licensing fees. According to a recent Forrester study, U.S. companies overall are expected to spend $100 billion on software maintenance in 2007.

  • HP to Follow Dell into Open Source? and Ubuntu Home Server

    HP it seems is responding to Dell’s initiative to sell Ubuntu on their computers. With the Ubuntu Dells reportedly selling very well and Dell rolling out the program worldwide, this hasn’t escaped the notice of the world’s number one computer manufacturer - HP. This is speculation from blogs that has been going on for months since Dell started to offer Ubuntu. The Direct to Dell Blog states:

    This recent post from Tom Dryer caught my eye a couple of days ago, and thought I’d comment on it here. If the rumors about HP offering Ubuntu are true, we’re glad to see other vendors join us in support of Ubuntu and open source. We welcome HP and other system vendors that want to join in this initiative.

  • Windows Vista Security - Better than Linux?

    After reading a nice article written by Jeff Jones, a security researcher for Microsoft. He says he isn’t biased, saying he worked over 75% of his career outside Microsoft, using Slackware Linux, Unix, HP Unix etc. He claims Windows Vista has less security holes than popular versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu (he also compares Red Hat, Novell, Mac OS X). First let me say why his facts are distorted, and why he knows his facts are distorted. His facts do raise an issue of slow patching of vulnerabilities across the software Industry, but Linux performs the best consistently because anyone can audit the code. Here’s why his comparisons are uneven:

    • Linux is open source, so various tools can be used to find vulnerabilities. We don’t have this luxury with Windows, any holes found are needles in a haystack, but the target of the Windows monopoly allows greater incentive to find these needles
    • Linux has used SUDO and ROOT users properly since its inception (Think of Administrator in Windows). Anyone who is not a root user on Linux cannot install programs, make system wide changes, and you can even stop them from using USB keys, CD Drives etc if you are paranoid. Now this has received much attention, Vista has retroactively inserted this kind of security, but by my experience, it is very obtrusive, and can be switched off. Root in Linux is alot harder to stop, and theres no graphical way to do it, so the average user won’t.
    • A link to my second point above, Programs in Linux can only access what they need to, the home folder of the user that is running it and very little else. I don’t know what the case is in Vista, but in Windows XP, almost any program could destroy your system, by picking at the much famed registry.

  • Threats to Democracy

    After reading about Tom Cruise being banned from filming at certain German military sites because of his belief in Scientology, I was a bit outraged at first, despite my abhorrence of their beliefs, which I think are crazy and nonsensical.


    Germany has barred the makers of a movie about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler from filming at German military sites because its star Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, the Defence Ministry said on Monday. Cruise, also one of the film’s producers, is a member of the Church of Scientology which the German government does not recognise as a church. Berlin says it masquerades as a religion to make money, a charge Scientology leaders reject.

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