Keep safe and avoid these main 5 online scams.
Note to Commenters
Monday, 7 December 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
To block your pics from showing up in ads on your friends' FB pages:
News Feed and Wall
Close the pop-up that appears (Worried about Privacy? Your photos are safe)
Change this setting:
Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to
Choose: No One
Now, scroll down to the next one:
Show my social actions in Facebook ads to
Choose: No One
Done - go back to your home page in Facebook.
(Thanks for the heads-up Richard U.!)
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I have been using and recommending AVG Free for years now for a number of reasons
- It is very good at finding and removing threats compared to other programs (including paid ones). Many times I've cleaned up peoples' computer that were running paid versions of Norton or McAfee. AVG found and removed what these programs could not.
- The interface is very easy to use
- The annoyance factor is low - updates work in the background automatically. And there are few pop-ups trying to get you to upgrade to the paid version.
- It is far less of a resource hog than most security programs
- Fast - with version 9, it is faster at scanning than before
I've used other free security programs and still prefer AVG Free over the others.
And, occasionally there are glitches, but they usually minor and are quickly rectified with new program/definition updates. Most security software has glitches occasionally and some are worse than others.
Get AVG Free's latest version here at Filehippo.
Read more about AVG Free here.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Great for DJing parties.
Watch the demo video at the bottom of the page.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Monday, 19 October 2009
The Pros and Cons of 64bit:
Pros - You can use more than 4GB of memory, so it is great for things like Photoshop, video editing and games (IF you have the 64bit version)
- 32bit hardware (this means, for the most part here, peripherals - like printers, scanners, things you plug into your computer) drivers won't work in 64bit, and some hardware doesn't and won't have 64bit drivers. - So,
- not all programs come in 64bit
- not all plug-ins for Photoshop come in 64bit
- some 32bit programs will not run in 64bit (most will run in 64bit, usually the ones you need to run won't)
- some programs meant to be 64bit don't work in 64bit
- 16bit (very old) programs won't run in 64bit
- few games are written yet to take advantage of 64bit
- not all video editing (or that old video editing program you have) will be written for 64bit (and these 32bit video editing programs are some of the ones that most likely won't work in a 64bit operating system.
Who should get a 64bit operating system?
Someone who is going to be running a or some specific made-for-64bit programs, who also is using new peripherals with 64bit drivers, and won't need to use other software or hardware that is or could be incompatible with the 64bit system.
Who should not get a 64bit operating system?
Eventually, when most things work with a 64bit system, then it will make sense to get it. Otherwise, I would stick to the 32bit system.
Read more about this at the above link.
Note: Homegroup - this section may seem discouraging for those who will be networking a Windows 7 machine with machines running older versions of Windows. But, do not despair, you can easily connect and share between machines, just like Vista could. The Homegroup feature just ADDS another level to what you can do (although just for sharing between Windows 7 machines).
Friday, 16 October 2009
AVG Free v9 Installation Instructions
(Basic installation instructions with some changes to reduce annoyances)
Download from here Download AVG Free - FileHippo.com
Close all open programs.
Run the installer file (avg_free_stf_en_9...)
Check off "I have read the license agreement"
Check off "Custom Installation"
Username and License number appear - no need to do anything in this window
Destination Folder - no need to do anything in this window
Do you want to create the directory? ... - Yes
Component Selection - no need to do anything in this window
AVG Security Toolbar - UNcheck "Install the AVG Security Toolbar (recommended)"
AVG will now check for and install updates
Schedule Regular Scans and updates
- Updates - once a day (this is usually checked as the default setting). This section may be greyed out. If so, don't worry about it - you can always change this in the program later via the Update Manager section.
- You can set up your automatic scan schedule here, or later after you have installed the program. Once a week is usually a sufficient schedule.
- If you have or often have removable devices (external USB sticks, drives, memory cards) attached to your computer, check off the "Enable automatic scan of removable devices..." box so these are scanned too.
Restart computer - Yes
After your computer restarts, eventually, this will pop up:
AVG Optimization Scan
Yes, run this now.
(This only takes a few minutes and it will make your scans run faster in the future.)
And finally, if you don't want it, delete the new AVG icon on the desktop. You can always access the program from the system tray icon.
For advanced computer users only:
If you want to remove the annoying notices that show up below the program window when you open it, this is how to remove them:
Make sure you can see hidden folders and file extensions.
Go to the Program Files\AVG\AVG9 folder
Alter the names of these files by adding something like
after each one (example: avgfree_us.mht.bak)
Thursday, 15 October 2009
This is a great Alt+Tab replacement viewer. It has a big preview, and a very legible list of the open programs. Plus, you can change how it works and with what keys. 32bit and 64bit versions for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
Friday, 9 October 2009
If it seems like Adobe's Acrobat Reader is constantly under attack, well, that's because there's some truth to it. The latest threat comes in the form of another zero-day bug being exploited in targeted attacks, Adobe said.
Not a whole lot of information has been made available on the newest threat, though according to an advisory from VUPEN Security, the vulnerability in question is an unspecified memory corruption error that occurs when users open a specially crafted PDF file. VUPEN says the bug can be exploited remotely.....
Want a less-bloated, faster, less-buggy PDF reader that has proven itself over the years?
Try Foxit Reader
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Watch the above link mid-to-late October for the free version of AVG 9 (anti-virus and anti-spyware).
AVG 9 claims to be much improved in performance/speed and in threat protection.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
This is a great little program for converting different measurements, including currency.
There is a portable version and a version you can install.
And, there are updates for the program and the values/measurements.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Say you want to make things on your web page simple, so someone who might not have a PDF viewer installed on their computer (even though most people do have Adobe Acrobat Reader or an equivalent viewer like Foxit - and they are free) still be able to view a PDF file. You can use the code on this page to embed the PDF file on your web site in Google Document Viewer. If you want to print the PDF file, click on the button to enlarge to full-screen and there is a print option.
Oh, and you can also use this to display PowerPoint presentation files on web pages!
This is a great article with a number of tips on accessing Gmail through different methods.
Personally, I have Thunderbird set up on my laptop and an a POP3 account set up for it so I always have all my sent and received emails at hand if I loose my Internet connection. Also, as stated, when the Gmail interface went down the last time, the POP3 connection was still active, so I still had full Gmail access via Thunderbird.
If you were having problems with squished bookmark drop-down menus in Firefox with Tiny Menu add-on version 2.0, then make sure to update to version 2.0.1. This problem has been fixed.
If you don't have the Mr. Tech Toolkit add-on installed, you may end up with some incompatible add-ons whenever you update Firefox. Install this add on. Then, whenever Firefox updates and something stops working, open up the add-ons (Tools, Add-ons), find the one that is no longer compatible, and right-click on it and choose Make Compatible. Then, restart Firefox.
Most of the time this will fix the add-on an it will work. But sometimes, the add on will no longer work properly. If the add-on no longer works properly or causes problems, disable it and watch for updates for it.
The latest version of Firefox (3.5.3 and 3.0.14) will let you know if you have an outdated Adobe Flash plug-in.
If you haven't updated yet, to manually update, Click on (Menu), Help, Check for Updates, and follow the instructions to install the update.
Monday, 10 August 2009
If you don't want to get the paid version, click on the Maybe Later button.
Apparently, AVG will run a campaign every once in a while to try to get people to upgrade to the paid version. During these times, this pop-up will come up every day or every few days for a while. Although this can be annoying, they are just trying to make some money from their product, and, if you want to stay with the free version, the simplest thing to do is just click on Maybe Later when the pop-up appears.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
If you haven't update AVG since July 25th and you have iTunes, AVG might think that iTunes contains a trojan. Update AVG to fix this. If AVG has moved part of iTunes to its vault, click on the above link for the steps to restore the important iTunes files.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
When you upgrade to Firefox 3.5, some of your extensions might not work. Tab Mix Plus, which is one I use all the time, did not work. But, there is a version that will. Go to the above link and download the 0.3.7.4pre version and it will work fine in Firefox 3.5.
Also, make sure you have Mr Tech Toolkit installed. It will enable you to make other add-ons compatible with the new Firefox. Most, made to work this way, should work fine.
Another thing. If it annoys you that when you close the last tab, Firefox closes too, instead of just giving you a blank page, you can open up about:config and navigate to browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab, and change the value to false. This is new with Firefox 3.5.
Saturday, 27 June 2009
If this has happened to you, removing IE8 may speed things up, but maybe not all the way back to as fast as it was before.
To Remove IE8:
Open Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, check off Show Updates
Look for Windows Internet Explorer 8. Look for Updates and Security Updates for IE8. Remove the updates first, then, finally Internet Explorer 8. Restart the computer as requested throughout the removal process.
To Block IE8:
Go here and download and run the blocker tool from Microsoft.
Maybe Microsoft will come out with something to patch this. Until then, hopefully removing IE8 will help.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Oopsy-daisy! According to complaints on McAfee's message board, a mandatory service pack for the company's antivirus VSE 8.7 software has left some machines unbootable. The update, which was issued on May 27 and later pulled on June 2, was intended to squash minor security bugs, but also inadvertently flagged some Windows system files as malware.
This is another reason why I recommend NOT using one of the big commercial anti-virus programs.
I recommend using AVG Free.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
If you are planning on buying a new computer soon, wait until after Oct. 22nd. Windows 7 comes out then. From all I've read, Windows 7 is better than Vista. Don't get me wrong, Vista works great (contrary to all the bad press it got). But Windows 7 sounds like it is pretty much a version of Vista that has been tweaked under the hood and has some new features added.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
First detected back in March, the 'Gumblar' attacks have been gaining steam lately, growing by as much as 188 percent in just a single week, ScanSafe warned. Gumblar refers to
a Web attack that plants malicious scripts on normally legitimate
websites, which then redirects Google search results on victims' PCs.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
... The attack, which has intensified in recent days, can be found on
several thousand legitimate Web sites, according to security experts.
It targets known flaws in Adobe's software and uses them to install a
malicious program on victims' machines, CERT said.
... Security experts say that if you're using a fully-patched system with
up-to-date security software, you should be protected from these
attacks. To date, they've worked by hitting the victim with malicious
PDF or Flash files.
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Friday, 24 April 2009
New ones I've discovered:
- Facebook Add Status - In the new layout, you no longer see your status on the Home page. This adds your status to the Home page
- Facebook Events, Pokes, Requests to the top - Highlights has taken over the right-column, so you end up having to scroll down all the time to see things. This script moves things up above the Highlights section so you don't have to scroll down to get to them.
For Greasemonkey and Greasefire set-up info, visit the previous post about these here.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Do you have a lot of icons on your desktop? Would you like to organize them easily? This free program, Fences, is a great program for organizing desktop icons/files/folders in Windows XP and Vista. Check it out.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
If you have a large collection of movies and you want to get a better handle on it, try out this free movie cataloguing program. It does a lot of the work for you, including downloading information and pictures from IMDB. You can also track of who you have lent movies to and when.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
"Scareware," or programs that masquerade as legitimate security and anti-virus software and then frighten and bully users into paying for them, have emerged as the most prolific and fastest-growing threats facing PC users, according to a biannual security report released this week by Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft found that in the second half of last year, seven of the top 25 malicious software families removed from Windows computers were scareware titles such as Antivirus2008, XPAntivirus, SpywareSecure, and Winfixer.
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
At this site you can find nearby locations for disposing of hazardous waste and electronic waste (computers, TVs, etc.)
Regarding the electronic waste:
To decrease the amount of potentially hazardous material accumulating in our landfills, the Ontario Government has designated Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES), a non-profit industry organization to manage a program that encourages reuse, recycling and, if needed, proper disposal of unwanted electronic equipment.
If you live in Toronto and have old computer parts that still work and you are looking for new home for them, you can check out
Computation at 280 Jane St.
They also accept dead computers and parts. They have a free day coming up for dropping of computers and parts:
Computation's FREE Earth Day
They also have a location in Montreal.
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
This article (link above) contains a lot of useful information about the Conficker Worm.
Basic things you need to know:
- If your computer is running Windows (modern versions), it is possible for your computer to become infected
- If you have been getting regular Windows Updates and you have the latest (March 2009) updates, you should be safe.
- Make sure to keep your anti-virus program up to date
- If you cannot get Windows updates, and you cannot visit real anti-virus sites, you may be infected (as the worm blocks these things)
[UPDATE: for an easy test to see if you are infected, go to this infection test link.]
Here is the Microsoft site with specific security patches (which you should already have via Windows Automatic Update, unless you were infected a while ago) for this worm:
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 – Critical
Am I Infected (and if so, how do I get rid of it)?
Here are 2 detection and removal tools:
If you can't get to these sites to get these tools, then there is a good chance you are infected. Download these tools using another computer and copy them onto your infected computer.
1) The latest Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
You can get this from Windows Automatic Updates, or, download it on another computer from here , and then copy it onto your computer and run it.
2) Symantec's (Norton) removal tool
W32.Downadup Removal Tool
When done, if you were infected, re-connect to the Internet and see if you can get Windows updates again - if so, make sure you get all the critical updates.
More information on the Conficker worm here:
Protect yourself from the Conficker computer worm
Virus alert about the Win32/Conficker.B worm
DHS Releases Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool
Conficker Doomsday Worm Sells Out for $49.95
Monday, 30 March 2009
I was running an Asus laptop with an Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT video card (with a driver from April 30, 2009 obtained via the Asus Update utility) in it running Windows Vista Home Premium. Everything was fine. Suddenly it crashed and i got a BSOD msg referring to
Looks like some glitch with the Nvidia display driver and Vista.
I found this forum with the solution.
What worked for me was:
- Boot into Safe Mode
- Run, cmd, sc delete nvsvc
- restart computer
- In the Display properties, change it back to Aero.
Everything seems fine after this fix.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
There are more and more threats being created for Mac computers. iAntivirus is a free anti-virus program that may be suitable for most Mac users. It only targets Mac-specific threats (so, if you are not sharing files with a PC or dual-booting to Windows, then this should be sufficient).
The free version of iAntivirus comes is full-featured and only lacks the support features - updates are automatic and free.
One other drawback to this free software - it doesn't cover OS versions prior to 10.5
For other programs, check out these reviews at About.com It seems the most comprehensive anti-virus (in these reviews) is the paid Norton Internet Security for MacIntosh program.
If you have other recommendations, please leave them in the comments.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
For YouTube videos, there is the easy to use bookmarklet that enables you to download the video in MP4 format:
Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Files
You can use the Orbit YouTube Downloader - more complex:
Orbit YouTube Downloader
For a variety of embedded video formats, there is the full Orbit Downloader
All of these are free.
Sure, there are Firefox extensions that enable you to download embedded videos, but they don't always work. When they don't, try the above downloading methods.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
To update to version 8.5, download the new version here at Filehippo.
Then, run the file - choose Repair Install when asked which installation.
Make sure to un-check the Security Bar and un-check daily scans (if you don't want these options).
When done, reboot the computer and manually run the updater to immediately get the latest updates (or you can let it update itself the next day).
To get rid of the notification ads, make sure your settings allow you to see hidden files and extensions, go to Program Files\AVG\AVG8 and look for
avgfree_us.mht and rename to avgfree_us.mht.bak
Also add .bak to
Works fine in Windows 2000 to Vista (x32 and x64)
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Thursday, 12 March 2009
(This post assumes you are using Firefox - You might be able to do these things in IE, but I haven't checked it out.)
You can do a lot using Greasemonkey and Greasefire.
Greasemonkey allows you to run special user scripts on specific websites.
Greasefire lets you see what scripts are available for a site.
These can be used for all sorts of sites, but I'm going to focus on a couple of basic scripts for Facebook here.
Install Greasemonkey from here.
Install Greasefire from here.
You will need to restart Firefox to enable them.
Once you have restarted, go to your Facebook home page.
Right-click on Greasemonkey and choose the top line that shows a number of scripts available.
Look for these 3 scripts (you can type them in the top to find them more quickly):
- Facebook Poke All
- Facebook Layout Ad Killer
- Facebook Friends Checker
Poke All - if you get a lot of pokes, this is a useful script. It puts a poke-all button above the pokes. It also ads a poke selected button so you can select some (by checking them off) and then click the button to poke only the selected people. Sometimes this script doesn't show up or work, so you have to do things the old way. But, when it does work, it is a time saver.
Ad Killer - gets rid of the Facebook Sponser ads and ads in the news feed.
Friends Checker - Do you have lots of friends and does it bother you when it seems someone has de-friended you but you can't figure out who it was? With this script installed, you will receive a notice of who de-friended you.
There are lots of other useful Facebook scripts out there. Check it out.
If you don't like the Highlight column in the new Facebook layout, check out the script called Delete Facebook Highlight Column
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Visit the link for the details and the download links.
Monday, 23 February 2009
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Do you have a baby in the room? On some cell phones, if you get the charger slot wet (or a baby sticks his/her tongue in it) it can short out the phone and make it think a special “car kit” device is plugged into it (whatever that is). You look on all the settings and there is nothing to adjust anything like Car Kit.
To repair this – make sure the charger slot has dried out. Then, wiggle a piece of metal in the slot until “Car Kit” disappears (bascially you are toggling the Car Kit setting back off). The end of a butter knife, a paperclip, a piece of tin foil, ... something like that does the trick.
And now, keep the phone away from babies.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Watch out for rogue anti-virus programs, period.
This one in particular (Anti-Virus-1) is altering the host file so when you go to certain legitimate review sites, you will get automatically redirected to fake versions of the site which give glowing reviews of the fake anti-virus program.
UPDATE - More on this at
Ars Technica: New malware attempts legitimacy by spreading phony reviews
Thursday, 19 February 2009
OpenOffice.org 3.0 costs absolutely nothing but comes closer than anything else to letting you delete your copy of Microsoft Office (which probably cost you a lot). Even though OpenOffice.org—which is, yes, an application suite, not just a Web site—can't do everything Office can, it can do a lot, and it has some of its own tricks that even Office can't manage. Here are a few that may not be obvious, as well as a few ways to make OpenOffice.org less annoying out of the box.
Monday, 2 February 2009
If you can't update and you open AVG, you may see a message stating that a .bin file is missing.
To solve this problem right away (it may solve itself in a day or two), go to the above link and download the last 2 files in the Updates list (of 4 files).
Once you have downloaded these bin files, open AVG, click on Tools, Update from directory...
Point to the folder where you saved the bin files and okay.
It should be fixed now.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
The Downadup worm, called "Conficker" by some researchers, surged dramatically this week and has infected an estimated 3.5 million PCs so far, according to Finnish security company F-Secure Corp. The worm exploits a bug in the Windows Server service used in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008.
Microsoft issued a patch in late October after confirming reports of in-the-wild attacks, most of them against machines in Asia.
Microsoft has recommended that Windows users install the October update, then run the January edition of the Malicious Software Removal Tool to clean up compromised computers.
When you see the little yellow shield, apply the updates. If you don't see the little yellow shield for over a month, you probably have something infecting your machine, blocking the updates. Update your anti-virus program and run a full system scan. I recommended this anti-virus/anti-spyware program: AVG Free 8.