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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Facebook - New profile information

(2n) Help Center (2)
The link is to the Facebook FAQ on the new profile.

Some highlights:

If you choose to apply the new profile, you cannot revert back.

None of the privacy settings are changed. But, there are some new things to be aware of regarding privacy (tagged photos at the top of your profile, and any special friend lists you add to Relationships that will appear on the left of your profile to anyone who can see your "Friends List" - both of these items are listed below in the highlights).

Tabs that went across the top are now items on the left side.

New: Additional fields of interest, graphic display for top interests, more ways to list how you spend your time

To post on your wall, see near the top: Share: Post, Photo, Link, Video to choose which type of thing to share.

To edit your profile, click the Edit Profile button in the top right corner.

To remove any pictures that appear at the top from appearing at the top, roll over the photo and click the X in the top right corner. This does not delete the photo, it just removes it from appearing at the top of your profile.

If you want specific friends lists (that everyone can see just like your regular Friends list) to appear on the left of your profile, choose Edit profile, Relationships, and next to Featured Friends, choose to add either an existing friends list or create a new one.

TechCrunch: Full details on Facebook's overhauled profile pages

Inside Facebook: Facebook profile redesign will coax more data from users: an in-depth review

Craving Tech: Facebook introduces your new Profile page. Like/Dislike?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Malware in Facebook news feeds

Facebook news feeds are beset with malware - The Inquirer
Bitdefender claims that one in five news feeds on Facebook contains some sort of malware.

The outfit looked at 14,000 user profiles and worked out that the
bulk of the infectious software on the ego-stroking and privacy
shredding website was written by independent developers.

Anything that uses the phrase "Free trial! Click here!" is likely to lead to a malware infection.


Saturday, 30 October 2010

AVG 2011 Bugs

Today I discovered a new AVG glitch while using the new AVG Free 2011 version.

When I tried to post a note in facebook, it added something that began with
#avg_ls_inline_popup{position: a
to the bottom of my note.
I could not get rid of it.

I discovered that this is caused by a glitch in the Search Shield, which is part of the Link Scanner.
To stop this from happening, Open the AVG main interface, double-click on Link Scanner and un-check Search Shield and Save Changes.
Restart your browser.

Hopefully they will fix this glitch soon. I write it off as growing pains of the new version (2011).

However, there have been other issues reported regarding the never version of AVG:
AVG 2011 Bug Affects Browsing Experience, Could Also Hurt Websites
This article mentions issues with Link Scanner components, but also see comments below the article for other issues.

I have not experienced any of the other problems mentioned in the article or in the comments below it - only the one problem I mention above. I'm using AVG Free 2011 on a Windows XP Pro SP3 machine and on a Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit machine.

I've discovered that AVG is aware of issues with Link Scanner components and that they are working on the problem.

I've also discovered that the Surf-Shield component of Link Scanner, as well as the browser add-on AVG Safe Search can cause problems for Java scripts, including Greasemonkey scripts for Facebook. I've disabled both of these (in AVG and in Firefox Add-ons) and the scripts work fine now.

.... later on - I turned Surf-Shield back on and things with scripts seem to work. It looks like the Firefox AVG Safe Search add-on was the culprit. So, so far with this and Search Shield disabled, all is good.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Backup your Facebook data - coming soon to Facebook

How to Download Your Information from Facebook
Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature to backup your Facebook information and photos. Eventually, under Account settings, you should see "Download Your Information".
More info and a video at the link above.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

AVG Free 10, aka 2011, is out now

The latest major version of AVG Free is out now. You can download it here.

To upgrade to this new version, you have to download the file (at the link above), and run it (you can't get this new upgrade through the automatic update process in AVG Free 9). You will have to chose either the 32bit version (Most of you running Windows XP or Vista will choose this), or the 64bit version (most of you running Windows 7, and some running Vista, and the odd few running Windows XP will choose this).

CNET - AVG banks on better performance

Once you have downloaded the new installation file (see above)
  • Run the file
  • Accept
  • Next
  • Custom Install, and UNcheck the gadget installation (on the right side of the window - this doesn't appear in Windows XP, only for Vista and Windows 7), Next
  • Uncheck Additional installed languages, (if you have MS Office installed, scroll to the bottom and check MS Office plugin), Next
  • Uncheck Set Yahoo..., Uncheck Install the AVG Security Toolbar, Next
  • ...
  • yes to reboot
  • (after reboot, it will finish installing)
  • UNcheck I agree to participate ... and click Finish
  • (then it will open and automatically begin updating)

  • If, after a few minutes, you get an Analysis pop-up, you can ignore it. This will run the next time a scheduled scan runs.

  • Things to check:
  • Scan Options - Managed Scheduled Scans, Edit scan schedule.
  • - Run at a specific time. Select a day of the week and time. Under Advanced Schedule, check Run on
  • computer startup if ...
Also: to enable it to automatically scan removable devices, open AVG, click on Tools, Advanced Settings, click the + beside Scans.
Click on Removable Device Scan.
Check off Enable Removable device scan, Automatically heal/remove infections, and move the slider under Adjust how quickly Scan completes all the way to the right.
Apply, OK and close the AVG window.

Advanced Users
  • To get rid of the advertisement (notification that drops down if you open up AVG)
  • Go into Program Files\AVG\AVG10\
  • Rename the following files by adding
  • .bak
  • to the end of each file name (after whatever extension is there in the name)
  • avg_us.mht
  • avgmwdef_us.mht
  • avgresf.dll
  • avgsals_us.mht
  • avgsbfree_us.mht
  • avgtrial_us.mht
Note: sometimes after updates to the program, it will re-introduce these files (so you may need to go back in and name the new batch of these files to remove the ad/notice).

Friday, 10 September 2010

"Here You Have" virus

McAfee: New Worm Eats Your AV Software | Maximum PC
Watch  out for the new one. Don't click on unknown links in emails.

The worm is spread by email with a link to a seemingly innocent PDF
file or raunchy WMV download, though users who click will get much more
than they bargained for.

"When a user chooses to manually follow the hyperlink, they will be
prompted to download or execute the virus," McAfee warns. "When run, the
virus installs itself to the Windows directory as CSRSS.EXE (not to be
confused with the valid CSRSS.EXE file within the Windows System
directory). Once infected the worm attempts to send the aforementioned
message to email address book recipients."

McAfee says it can also be spread through accessible remote machines,
mapped drives, and removable media through Autorun replication. Once
infected, the virus attempts to cripple and delete security services,
including popular AV software like AntiVir, Avast, AVG, McAfee, Panda,
and a whole bunch of others.

Keep your antivirus program up to date as well as the definitions. And old antivirus program with recent definitions won't do the job.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Facebook Places - how to update your privacy settings, again.

How to Disable Facebook Places
Summary of what to do:
  • Privacy Settings, Customize, Things I Share
  • Change Places I check in to only your friends or Only Me.
  • Include me in People Here Now after I check in - Uncheck enable.
  • Go to the section Things Others Share and find Friends can check me in to Places - set as Disabled.
  • Click the Applications and Websites link, go to Info accessible through your friends, Edit Settings.
  • Uncheck everything and Save.
Read the above link for more details and explanations.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

My Top 20 Free Windows Programs - June 2010

In no particular order:


Cobain Backup
- a free backup program that you can fully customize - scheduling, backing up to various drives including network drives, etc. Now uses Shadow Volume Copy so you can back up while you work on your computer.

- the latest version of Firefox is fast and very secure and remains the best with extensions of all the browsers. Check out Personas - an easy way to dress up Firefox.


- great for cleaning up temp files, temp files leftover from crashes, and cleaning up the Registry, disabling unnecessary start-up items and more.

Revo Uninstaller - an advanced un-installer program that enables you to remove the usual leftover registry items and folders.

Defraggler - from the makers of CCleaner, this program is a great replacement for the Windows defragment program. Works in all recent versions of Windows. This program lets you see what is going on (like the old program in XP). It is fast and can work even if you have less than 10% of the hard drive free.

- an excellent email program from Mozilla (same group that brings you Firefox). I find this much easier to customize and to backup and move files around when need be than Outlook or Outlook Express. The latest version has tabs and the search feature is most excellent.


- best free media player overall - yes it has playlists and you can use it with your ipod or any other MP3 player. Works better than iTunes and doesn't install other programs behind your back, and you can customize its many settings (file formats to deal with, whether it launches on its own or by your command...). Great for doing live mixes as you can queue songs up.

DVDFlick - convert and burn digital video files (many formats supported) to DVD in regular DVD video format. Also has basic menu creation features too.

VLC Media Player - for playing a wide variety of video and music files, DVDs, and streaming. When Windows Media Player won't play it, this will. The user interface isn't that pretty, but it works.

File Sharing
- the best little torrent program around. Pronounced
MOO-torrent (as the initial u is actually the micro symbol)

Peerblock - lets you control who your computer "talks to" on the Internet. By selecting appropriate lists of "known bad" computers, you can block communication with advertising or spyware oriented servers, computers monitoring your p2p activities, computers which have been "hacked", even entire countries! They can't get in to your computer, and your computer won't try to send them anything either.

Open Office 3
- the best free alternative to MS Office. And it can open .docx files. You can create a PDF directly from any of the programs in the suite with a click of an icon. Word processor, spreadsheet, drawing program, database, you can make it save things in MS Office format by default if you need to share documents with others have MS Office, and more. Currently on version 3.2.1

EssentialPIM - A personal information manager. Similar to many of the other features in Outlook (outside of the email part). If you want a PIM that is not bogged down by the email part of Outlook - just a basic appointment calendar, contact list, To Do list and notes - this is a great program.

AVG Free - anti-virus and anti-spyware, and much improved since it first came out. Easy to use and works better than the big programs that must be purchased.

Malwarebytes - A good anti-spyware removal program to use along with your regular security program to occasionally check for bugs. Has a quickscan mode that takes about 10 minutes, and a full scan mode. Also adds as a context menu so you can right-click on a file/folder/drive and choose to scan it with Malwarebytes.

Mailwasher Free - filter out Spam before it gets to your email program. Works with a wide variety of email programs. Free version only works for one email address. Paid version will work with multiple addresses.

TeraCopy - Improves copying speed for large files and for when copying a lot of files at once. Also has better overwrite and skip options. Install it and it replaces the Windows copy function. You can still use the usual cut/copy and paste shortcuts.

7zip - decompression and compression of many many compression formats, and free!

Foxit PDF reader - works directly inside a Firefox tab as well as on its own. Faster and with a much smaller footprint than Adobe Reader. They keep making this better with every version

Crossloop - enables you to remotely connect to another computer to give or get help. Very simple to use

Got any favourite free programs I left out? Add them in comments

Friday, 11 June 2010

Open Office 3.2.1 is out!

OpenOffice 3.2.1 fixes bugs, updates logo - The H Open Source: News and Features
If you use Open Office, you should update to this new version.
It includes some bug fixes, some vulnerability fixes, and a slight change in the look/icons (related to Oracle now being the main backer as they acquired Sun Microsystems).

Download from here.

The next version out will be 3.3 in the Fall this year. It will have
some larger updates and new features.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Thinking of getting a smartphone? There are other/better options than the iPhone.

10 Things Android Does Better Than iPhone OS | Maximum PC
Many of the non-iPhone smartphones available run an operating system by Google called Android. This article covers many of the ways that an Android smartphone is much better than an iPhone. And, when comparing smartphones with similar hardware as an iPhone, the Android smartphones are generally much less expensive. There are also many different manufacturers of smartphones that use Android on their phones.

See also:
... “It’s amazing all the ways the iPhone manages to screw the people that
love it,” writes Cory Doctorow at tech site “Saddling
iPhone owners with crappy contracts with abusive mobile companies…then
screwing the [application] developers with equally abusive agreements. I
guess that’s one way to ‘think different’.” ...

And, the reviews of the iPhone 4 are in. See
Ten Reasons Why An iPhone 4 Is A Bad Idea

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

How to find out if your Facebook account has been hacked

How To Find Out If Your Facebook Account Has Been Hacked
Head over to Facebook and log in,
assuming you haven’t already logged in. Click the “Account” button in
the top-right corner, then click “Account Settings” to get the
preferences page we’re looking for. You’ll notice a new addition:
“Account Security.”
... read the link to see how this works.

Google Analytics Opt-Out Extension keeps your data out of Google's tracking service

Google Analytics Opt-Out Extension Keeps Your Data Out of Google's Tracking Service
Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer: With a browser extension, users can
control their privacy and stop their data from being sent to Google
Analytics, a Google service which monitors and tracks traffic and
visitor data for web sites.

Google Analytics
Opt-out Browser Add-on

Facebook Privacy - The new settings (as of May 26, 2010)

A Guide to Facebook's New, Simpler Privacy Controls
Within the next couple of weeks, Facebook will roll out their new privacy settings.
It won't change much, just mainly the privacy controls interface. Your old settings will remain as they are.
This guide reviews the changes.

Also, here is a handy tool for checking to see how private your settings are:

Also, don't forget to check this post out about Instant Personalization

10 tips to protect your privacy on Facebook

10 tips to protect your privacy on Facebook | News | TechRadar UK
Some of the privacy control locations have changed, but these tips are all still applicable.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Facebook to simplify privacy controls

Mark Zuckerberg - From Facebook, answering privacy concerns with new settings
In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler
to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Facebook - new UN-private default setting

Facebook has introduced a new privacy setting that is set on Allow by default. It allows sharing of your information with non-Facebook sites. To turn it off, go to
Privacy Settings
Applications and Websites
Instant Personalization
Un-check Allow...
Go to the page for Microsoft Docs and block application
Go to the page for Pandora and block application
Go to the page for Yelp and block application

For more information and details, check out
(thanks Jane!)

Here is the page that lists what applications are enabled for Instant Personalization:
Check back here periodically to disable further application as they are added.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

McAfee update deletes part of Windows XP

McAfee Update Thinks Windows XP is a Virus | Maximum PC
Users of McAfee's corporate antivirus product found themselves wrestling
with some pretty serious
today. The most recent DAT update for the antivirus suite
caused the scanner to identify the benign Windows svchost.exe file as a
virus. The antivirus' course of action is clear; it deletes the file.
The result is a lot of crashed PCs and unhappy IT departments. This
isn't even the first
McAfee has had an error like this.


Get the problem fixed, then remove McAfee and install AVG Free

Friday, 2 April 2010

Why do people create computer viruses?

Why do People Create Computer Viruses? | Technibble

There are hundreds of thousands of viruses out there (if not
millions) and they often designed for different objectives. Most of them
fall under the following categories:

  • To take control of a computer and use it for specific tasks
  • To generate money
  • To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords,
    personal details, data etc.)
  • To prove a point, to prove it can be done, to prove ones skill or
    for revenge purposes
  • To cripple a computer or network
Read the link for more details.

Most of the viruses I find and deal with on a regular basis on client computers generally fall under points 4 and 2 - to prove it can be done and to generate money.

PDF threat

Foxit and Adobe Warn Users of PDF Attack | Maximum PC
Didier Stevens, an IT consultant with Contraste Europe, discovered the
vulnerability, which entails getting PDF viewers to automatically
execute embedded executables when the PDF file is opened. ...

"To address the specific problems outlined, Foxit has added a warning
dialog box that will pop up when a PDF file is opened with Foxit
Reader, asking the user to agree to execute or not," the company
continued. "This solution adds a layer of safety yet maintains Foxit
Reader’s compliance with current PDF standards."

Adobe already has a warning box in place, but Stevens claims there's a
way for hackers to partially alter the dialog. According to eWEEK,
Adobe is discussing the potential threat but didn't say if it would take
any further precautions.

So, Foxit has dealt with the threat while Adobe has not yet.

Download the latest version of Foxit Reader here to fix this security hole.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Facebook Password Reset threat

Beware of the Facebook Password Reset Confirmation Malware - Tech Salsa
If you get an email claiming to be from Facebook and stating that they had to change your password, don't open the attachment. Delete the email. Then log into Facebook and change your password just to be safe.

If you do get infected by this threat, download and run Malwarebytes to get rid of it, then log into Facebook (after you have removed the threat) and change your password.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Google map directions for cycling

Official Google Blog: Biking directions added to Google Maps
You can now get directions from one place to another for travelling by bicycle. The directions will try to avoid hills and tries to put you on safe trails.

This looks great, but so far it is only for in the USA.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

AVG's false postive of TeraCopy

Copy your files faster with TeraCopy
AVG's latest definitions have been identifying TeraCopy as a threat. It is not a threat at all. Your technician (or yourself) has installed this program with the intent to use it to speed up and improve Windows copying process. The program takes over the Windows process for copying. AVG sees this as a threat. To have AVG permanently ignore TeraCopy as a threat you need to add it to the exceptions for the Resident Shield. To do this:
- Open AVG
- Click on Tools, Advanced Settings, and below Resident Shield, select Excluded Files.
- Click on Add
- Navigate to the Teracopy.exe file (usually: C:\Program Files\Teracopy\... and select Teracopy, click on Open
- Click on Apply and OK
- Close AVG. Done.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Open Office 3.2 is out!

The latest version of openoffice is out - The Inquirer
Faster, more compatible with MS Office, and other tweaks. And, if you are upgrading from a previous version, it seems to keep your customizations nicely now.
If you don't want the Spanish and French spellcheckers installed, you'll have to manually remove them (Tools, Extension Manger).
Download it here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Facebook - hide posts from an individual

If you want to remains FB friends with someone, but you find they post too much (like I do) and it fills up your wall/news stream, you don't have to de-friend them to stop seeing all the posts from that person.
To remove an individual's posts from your wall (so they never show up), go to your wall, find one of their posts and hover your cursor over it. You will see a Remove button appear at the right, click on this and their posts are gone.
To edit these options, and also to put someone's posts back if you removed someone by mistake, scroll down to the bottom of your wall page and click on Edit Options.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Firefox 3.6 is Here!

If you are upgrading there will be issues with some extensions (as usual).
To upgrade, click on Help, check for updates and follow instructions

If you are using Tab Mix Plus, after you upgrade to 3.6, manually install the new version of Tab Mix Plus from here.
After installing the Tab Mix Plus update, restart Firefox, go to Tools, Add Ons and Enable Tab Mix Plus and restart Firefox again.

If, when Firefox 3.6 starts up, you get a log of errors and warnings, it could be that you have some incompatible add-ons causing problems. Go to Tools, Add-ons, and Disable all the add-ons with red exclamation marks and restart Firefox. The problem should be fixed.

Make sure you have Mr. Tech Toolkit installed so you can make your fave add-ons compatible.

You might want to disable any add-ons you had to deal with memory as 3.6 seems to handle memory issues better.

One thing new to 3.6 is Personas. Install the Personas Plus add-on here. See the green button in the lower right to install the add-on.

Here is an article at PC World on some of the new features