Monthly Archives: December 2009

Weebly – Powerful, Free, Website Creator

If 2010 is the year you’ve decided to create and host your own website for personal, or business reasons, then you’ll be impressed with what Weebly, a free Web site builder and hosting service, has to offer.

Sure there are more than a few sites on the Internet that offer similar free services, but frankly; most of them suck. Who needs a website that looks like it was created with an old version of MS FrontPage? Who needs a website so filled with advertising that your page content loses focus?

Instead, you need a website that looks highly professional and polished. A website where you control the advertising – assuming, that in fact, you want advertising on the site.

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With Weebly you control virtually every essential aspect of site design – and built-in integration with Google AdSense, allows you to deliver text and image ads that are specific to your site and your site content, if you choose.

The best part? With this free package you can turn out an attractive and effective web site without the need for any complex HTML, or other programming skills.

Using any one of the 70+ professional templates, WYSWYG (What You See Is What You Get) design tools, and your drag and drop skills, absolutely everyone (regardless of age or education level), can build a professional, and attractive website without having any previous experience.

If you’re looking to create that first web site using a WYSIWYG visual web page creator, and you want to do it for free, including web hosting, then this free service from Weebly will fill the bill admirably.

Fast facts:

Powerful, Drag & Drop Website Editor – Easy drag & drop website editor. Videos, pictures, maps, and text are added by simply dragging them to your website – no HTML or technical skills required!

Free – It is completely free to create and publish a website with Weebly. You can opt to buy a pro account upgrade for a small fee, or purchase your own domain, but our free service is and will remain 100% feature packed.

Hosting Included – No Restrictions. No arbitrary bandwidth restrictions, storage caps or limits on the number of pages allowed, either.

70+ Professional Designs (or Customize Your Own) – You can completely customize the template of your site, or build your own with HTML & CSS, right in the Weebly editor.

A Variety of Content Elements. – If you can imagine it, you can do it with Weebly. Add pictures, videos, music and audio, documents, maps, and photo galleries. Sell products, accept online bookings, create a contact form, or arrange your pages in multiple columns. Drag on slideshows, files, forums, games, RSS feeds, or any other HTML embed code — all by simply dragging and dropping.

Powerful Blogging Features – Weebly supports an unlimited number of blogs within your website, with full comment moderation features allowing an open, moderated, or closed conversation.

No Advertising – We don’t place advertising on your site, and never will. But, we’ve integrated with Google AdSense to allow you to easily enable advertising – as simple as entering your email address – letting you earn money from your site!

Publish to Your Own Domain – If you already own your own domain, use it with Weebly, at no charge. You can publish to your own domain name (ie. http://www.example.com instead of example.weebly.com) and we’ll still host your website for free.

Sign up at: Weebly

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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Multimedia Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Web Development, Windows Tips and Tools

Faketube.A Worm and Zapchast.EX Backdoor Trojan – PandaLabs Reports

Courtesy of Panda Security: This week’s PandaLabs report looks at a worm, and a backdoor Trojan.

The Faketube.A worm spreads via email. The message includes a link to access an erotic video. Some of the message subjects are: “Giga Video
Movie Britney Spirs and 8 Beverage Andorran” and “Stimulating Image
Britney Spirs and One Manifest South Korean”.

If users click the link, the browser opens and a fraudulent website is displayed, which resembles YouTube.

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Additionally, users are asked to update their flash player version to see the video. If they accept, the worm is downloaded.

Zapchast.EX is a backdoor Trojan that spreads using a fake Christmas card. In order to view the card, users are asked to install a special version of flash player which is really the Trojan.

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Once Zapchast.EX is installed on the system, it establishes connections with
several IP addresses, awaiting orders and gathering user information.

More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Panda Security, PandaLabs, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 31, 2009

Portable Hard Drives: A Terabyte in Your Pocket - The latest portable hard drives have astonishing capacity–and some new features. Here’s what to look for in a miniature storage device.

Seven tips for replacing a firewall - Hardware firewalls are no different from other implements of technology. They have limited lifetimes, and sooner or later they have to be replaced. Making the transition from one firewall to another is at the least a nuisance and at worst a security risk.

Top 10 Security Nightmares of the Decade – Blame the Internet for the latest decade of security lessons. Without it, the terms “phishing,” “cybercrime,” “data breach,” or “botnet” wouldn’t exist. Let’s revisit the top security nightmares of the past ten years, and reflect on what we learned.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

2010: The Year of the Mac? – Apple was a bright spot in 2009 in terms of PC sales, but the signals are mixed as to whether the Mac can grow beyond its niche

Browser Attacks Continue to Evolve - While the security teams at Microsoft, Mozilla and the other browser vendors continue to work on new defenses and exploit mitigations, the state of the art in attacks is continuing to evolve.

Major security myths of 2009 – 2009 is just like any year in at least one way; too many people buy into too many security myths far too easily.

Seven perfectly legal ways to get Windows 7 cheap (or even free) – If you’ve read any reviews of Windows 7, you’ve seen references to its price list, which ranges from $120 for a Home Premium upgrade to $320 for a fully licensed copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. Well, guess what? You don’t have to pay that much.

Off Topic:

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling – A handy guide for some common spelling errors.

Now Hear This: Apple Wins Appeal in iPod Hearing Loss Lawsuit – A federal appeals court has slapped down a class-action lawsuit that suggested Apple’s to blame for “possible hearing loss” caused by iPod use.

Groups of bacteria shown to power simple machines, turn gears in synchronous movement – Scientists have demonstrated that large groups of bacteria can turn microgears millions of times larger than themselves, showing potential for “smart” biomechanical systems.

The lightbulb of the future? – Silicon Valley’s Luxim has developed a lightbulb the size of a Tic Tac that gives off as much light as a streetlight.

Today’s Quote:

“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment”.

-     R. Buckminster Fuller

Today’s Free Downloads:

Giveaway of the Day: Aneesoft 3D Flash Gallery 2.0 – Aneesoft 3D Flash Gallery 2.0 is a simple yet powerful flash gallery making software that displays your digital photos in an interactive and elegant 3D photo gallery. This is very useful application for everybody to create a 3D photo gallery for sharing on website, Blogger, MySpace, computer, etc. No Flash skills needed.

gDoc Creator – This free software easily converts Office 2003 and 2007 files to PDF files. It runs as an add-in to Office, and is available from the toolbar. GDoc Creator gives you a great deal of control over your PDF conversion. You can create a single PDF for the entire document or one for each page; you can crop documents and convert the cropped area; you can add a watermark to the PDF; and plenty more.

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Happy New Year 2010

Dear readers and subscribers,

The coming New Year, as always, is full of promise and expectation. May 2010 fulfill all it’s promise, and may all your expectations be exceeded.

image“Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past”.

~    Henry Ward Beecher

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Free GeSWall Isolates You From Cybercriminals

imageI originally reviewed GesWall in September, after having tested this free security application for roughly 30 days. I’ve now gone well past the testing stage, and GesWall has become a permanent fixture on my personal machines.

Since installing GesWall on these home machines (I do not use these machines for testing purposes), I have not had to deal with a single instance of malware intrusion. GesWall is not entirely responsible for this of course, but it has certainly given me an enhanced level of confidence while surfing the Internet.

I think that all users, but particularly new and less experienced users, could benefit significantly by adding this application to their existing layered anti-malware defenses, and here’s why:

Anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall applications generally offer reasonable protection against the increasingly more powerful and destructive Internet based attacks, against home computer systems. Unfortunately, these applications, even taken together, do not make up for the lack of experience, and intuitiveness, of many computer users.

A good example of the effects of this lack of experience can be seen in the field day that malware such as rogue applications, or scareware, is currently enjoying on the Internet. Unaware users are downloading these highly damaging applications by the boatload. Regular readers are aware, that we report on these extremely malicious applications frequently.

Techies and geeks, on the other hand, have the ability to respond to these types of Internet threats in ways that would dazzle an average computer user. They can do this because of their experience, and their highly developed intuitiveness.

So, why not develop a software application that is, in a sense, experienced and intuitive?

GentleSecurity has done just that with the release of GesWall, an intrusion prevention system that is non-intrusive, and requires a minimum of user intervention – perfect for the average user.

I’m going to describe this application, as best I can, in a non-technical way, since the objective is to convince less experienced users to give this free application a try. Power users already understand the principals involved in “isolating”, or “sandboxing” applications. Strictly speaking though, GeSWall is not a sandbox.

Simply put, GeSWall is an isolator which dynamically isolates Internet applications including Web Browsers, Chat Clients, Email Clients, and so on. In fact, it can isolate any installed application which the user is unsure of, including application installation applets.

By handling security in this way, GeSWall prevents damage from intrusions and malicious software: viruses, worms, spyware, key loggers etc., including preventing rogue software from being installed.

The following graphic illustrates, in an uncomplicated way, how GeSWall works. Use your screen magnifier to make viewing easier.

GeSWall 2

Following the installation of GeSWall, you are presented with the following screen at which time you have the opportunity to isolate specific applications; particularly applications that interact with the Internet. For example, I have isolated all of my web browsers, and I strongly recommend that you do so as well.

GeSWall 3

There is nothing to be gained by re-inventing the wheel, so I’ll refer you to an excellent video, posted on YouTube, which provides a terrific overview on how effective GeSWall is at protecting a computer against infection. This is an impressive video, and Kudos to Matt over at RemoveMalware.com, for putting it together.

Regular readers of this site are aware that I surf the underbelly of the Internet regularly, seeking out unsafe and damaging sites, malware, rogue applications, etc. I regularly infect the test bed machine I have set aside for this purpose. I then test the removal ability of anti-malware applications.

No matter how I tried however, (being reasonably responsible, of course), I could not infect the machine I set aside to test GeSWall  – it performed flawlessly. If you watched the video I recommended above, then you’ll have seen just how effective this application can be.

GeSWall Fast facts:

Prevents key loggers, rootkits, backdoors.

Prevents confidential file disclosure.

Prevents targeted intrusions.

Prevents malicious software infection.

Independent of attack techniques.

Easy to use, non-intrusive.

Central Management through Active Directory Group Policy

If you use any of the following applications, you can increase your Internet security substantially by installing this free application.

Chat Messengers

Download Managers

E-Mail and News

IRC

Multimedia

Office

P2P

Viewers

Web Browsers

Operating system: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 7

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Rogue Software, Software, System File Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 30, 2009

The hottest 10 Things downloads of 2009 – Cool tricks, free tools, and Windows 7 features took top billing in TechRepublic’s downloads library this year. Here’s a look at the most popular 10 Things lists of 2009.

How to Troubleshoot and Repair Your PC – The most common hardware failures typically involve hard drives and memory. We take a look at several handy utilities to help you diagnose and repair these pesky hardware problems.

10 Firefox extensions that enhance security – This article and PowerPoint presentation offer 10 ways to beef up Firefox and make it more difficult for the bad guys.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Hit By Clickjacking Attack – Social network targeted by emerging brand of attack that’s hard to kill.

Software downloads: Most popular of 2009 – Check out the top 10 software downloads of 2009. Featured topics include registry repair and cleaning, file recovery, and antivirus and antispyware.

Adobe Will Be Top Target for Hackers in 2010, Report Says – Adobe Systems’ Flash and Acrobat Reader products will become the preferred targets for criminal hackers in 2010, surpassing Microsoft Office applications, a security vendor predicted this week.

Droid Battery Life Requires New Charging Habits – Droid users new to smartphones may be disappointed in its battery life. Like some other smartphones, its powerful features require new habits for keeping the device charged.

Internet Explorer Tips: Inline Search, Gmail, Xmarks – Get the most from Microsoft’s browser: search within pages in IE 8, access multiple Gmail accounts, and sync bookmarks.

Firefox Tips: Fix Print Size, Add Personality, Refresh Tabs – Learn how to change the print size in Mozilla’s browser, dress it up with Personas, set tabs to refresh automatically, and more.

The top 10 Microsoft Office tips of 2009 – Time for that final look back at the year’s most popular tips for each Office app.

Off Topic:

Implanted cardiac device testing is scant, study finds – FDA approval of devices such as pacemakers and stents is often based on data from just one trial, researchers say. Millions of Americans receive implanted cardiovascular devices such as pacemakers and stents, but many of the devices are not subjected to rigorous safety and effectiveness research before being approved for use, according to a study released Tuesday. (submitted by Dar)

Texas County to Name Drunk Drivers on Twitter – If you get busted for drunk driving in Montgomery County, Texas, this holiday season, your neighbors may hear about it on Twitter.

Study: Tiger’s scandal nuked up to $12 billion in shareholder value – The Tiger Woods scandal nuked $5 billion to $12 billion in shareholder value, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis.

Netbooks collide with laptops – Is the bloom off the Netbook rose? It is for me, but not completely. They’re light, durable, reliable and cramped.

Today’s Quote:

“Television news is like a lightning flash. It makes a loud noise, lights up everything around it, leaves everything else in darkness and then is suddenly gone”.

-    Hodding Carter

Today’s Free Downloads:

GrabIt – Most newsreaders are clogged with arcane and confusing features, unnecessary to all but the most advanced users. If Usenet’s complexity has scared you away in the past, you may want to give it another go with GrabIt. It is a great, free newsreader for Usenet newbies.

Tor – Protect your anonymity as you surf and use the Internet with this free privacy tool. The Tor download includes other software that you need for maintaining your privacy–notably Privoxy, a proxy program. The programs work well together; and because the software self-configures, they are simple to use. Tor runs in your system tray. To become anonymous, right-click the icon and choose Start. From that point on, you’ll be anonymous.

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Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus 2010 – Free License Giveaway

As part of our continuing “Stay Safe on the Internet campaign”, PC Tools has generously provided us with 10 free licenses for Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, (retail value $49.95 U.S.).

To enter the contest to win a free license, simply add a comment at the end of this article. On January 15, 2010, all comments will be added to the online List Randomizer, and the first 10 names that come up, will win a free license for this award winning security application.

As with previous contests, you don’t need to write a paragraph – “enter me in the contest” is enough. Good luck!

After reading the following review of Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a contest worth entering.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus Review:

image So how do you take the best and make it better? That’s a neat trick, but something PC Tools has managed to do with the release of Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus.

Spyware Doctor, as a stand alone anti-malware application, has long had a rich reputation for effectiveness, and ease of use. With the addition of both an anti-virus component, and ThreatFire technology, PC Tools has taken PC security to a new level.

Regular readers will remember, I have often recommended the stand alone version of ThreatFire, as one of the top three necessary components to maximize PC security. Kudos to PC Tools, for including it in this new version of Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus.

Experience has taught me that typical computer users are most interested in two areas when choosing an anti-malware application:

  • Protection against current threats, and equally as important, protection against rapidly evolving new threats. During testing, I found  Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, excelled in detection; particularly in its active protection against phishing sites.
  • Ease of use, with a limited learning curve; so that the inherent power of the application can be be brought to bear immediately. Those of us you have relied on the free version of Spyware Doctor Starter Edition, are familiar with its clear, simple, no nonsense user interface, and this new application continues that tradition.

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Fast facts:

  • IMPROVED ON-DEMAND DETECTION – Detects and thoroughly cleans an extremely diverse range of malware during on-demand and real-time scans.
  • UPDATED BEHAVIOURAL PROTECTION – Leverages ThreatFire technology to detect and block zero-day malware based on its runtime behavior.
  • NEW BROWSER EXPLOIT & SCAREWARE BLOCKING – Dynamically scans every webpage loaded in Internet Explorer to detect and block malicious exploits, such as iFrame & MDAC, that trigger drive-by-downloads of malware. Detects and blocks websites that scare visitors into buying scareware through fake antivirus scan pop-ups.
  • NEW STATE AWARENESS MODES – Detects how you are using your PC and adjusts to minimize performance impact and reduce interruptions.

- Game Mode: all scheduled scans, smart updates and program alerts postponed when playing games, resulting in an interruption-free experience. Activated automatically when playing games in full-screen, otherwise manually switchable

- Power Saving Mode: no scheduled tasks run when powered by battery

- Idle Mode: automatically scans in background when PC is not in use to reduce the length of subsequent scans

  • EMAIL GUARD – Detects and cleans infected email attachments at unencrypted POP3 and SMTP4 protocol layer (client independent).
  • 24/7 Help – available in 10 languages. Select the most convenient option for you – reach our support staff by phone, email, live chat or web.

I have always been a strong proponent of free security software, but with the increasing challenges we now face on the Internet, I’m finding that, by and large, the free versions of security applications are not up to the task of protecting an average, or typical user.

Free security applications, with their built-in limitations, are best suited to those who have a “better than average” understanding, of operating systems, security systems, and who have a heightened awareness of the hidden traps on the Internet. Even with an enhanced skill set, technically astute users are still finding that staying safe on the Internet is more difficult than ever.

In the last two years, I have only recommend two “pay for” applications and Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, has now become the third.

Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus, offers all of the protection that a top notch anti-malware application should, in an easy installation package leading to a “dead simple” interface, and then does what it sets out to do – protects the user efficiently, against the epidemic of malware and additional dangers circulating on the Internet, waiting to trap the under protected, and the unaware.

System requirements: Windows 7 (32bit, 64bit), Windows Vista SP1+ (32bit, 64bit), Windows XP SP2+ (32bit).

You may Buy Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus direct from PC Tools, ($49.95 direct, for three licenses), or you may download a free, limited, older version, at PC Tools.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Contests, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Full Versions, Free Security Programs, Freeware, PC Tools, Safe Surfing, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Safety Antispyware and Internet Security 2010 – Panda Security Takes a Look

Courtesy of Panda Security: This week’s PandaLabs report looks at two new fake antiviruses and a Trojan.

Safety Antispyware and Internet Security 2010 are malicious programs that try to pass themselves off as legitimate software applications in order to steal users’ money by tricking them into believing that they will eliminate threats that actually do not exist.

Safety Antispyware: Safety Antispyware tricks users by warning them their computers are infected by (non-existent) threats, prompting them to buy a program to remove them.

This program can be downloaded from the vendor’s site. The link can also reach users through spam messages, fraudulent Web pages, etc. The fake antivirus shows an icon similar to that of real antivirus programs. Once installed, the program interface opens and runs a full system scan looking for malware.

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Then, it shows a series of messages prompting the targeted user to buy the product. If the user decides to follow the program instructions to get rid of the
‘threats’, they will be asked to enter an activation code and be redirected to a website to buy the product.

image

Internet Security 2010: Once run, Internet Security 2010 scans the computer for malware. However, this is a fake scan that always reports that the computer is infected. Then, it offers users the possibility of disinfecting the computer.

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As the fake antivirus version is supposedly a trial version, users are first requested to buy the antivirus license. To this end, the malware opens the user’s Internet browser on the fake antivirus purchase page.

To reassure users that the purchase is safe and the antivirus is legitimate, it shows certificates of authenticity and claims to have been tested by McAfee. It even offers the antivirus license for a long time, apparently at a good price.

image

If the user decides not to purchase the antivirus, it will keep running and displaying warnings about the threats the user is exposed to if they remain infected and do not update the antivirus. These warnings are displayed in two ways: through warnings on the toolbar or on-screen pop-up messages.

For more information about this type of malware read “The Business of Rogueware“, a report on fake antivirus programs written by Luis Corrons and Sean-Paul Correll, PandaLabs researchers.

Banker.MAI: Banker.MAI is banker malware aimed at stealing banking data, credentials and/or credit card details when users try to log in to their online banking services.

This malware goes memory resident and does not show any symptoms that warn of its presence on the affected computer. The malware works in the background, waiting to be run, and send or receive data.

Banker.MAI arrives as a self-extracting RAR file attached to an email message, usually with the subject “Comprovante Deposito-29092009″. This email message appears to come from a legitimate banking institution, and asks the user to open the attached file to enter some necessary data. If the user opens the file they will become infected. The malware creator is notified via email whenever a computer is successfully infected.

More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

Safety Antispyware and Internet Security 2010 removal Instructions:

If you feel you have the necessary skills, and you want to try your hand at removal, then by all means do so.

The following free resources can provide tools and the advice you will need to attempt removal.

411 Spyware – a site that specializes in malware removal. I highly recommend this site.

Bleeping Computer – a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software. This is another site I highly recommend.

Malwarebytes, a very reliable anti-malware company, offers a free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, a highly rated anti-malware application which is capable of removing many newer rogue applications.

SmitFraudFix, available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.

What you can do to reduce the chances of infecting your system with rogue, or malicious, software.

Be careful in downloading freeware or shareware programs. Spyware is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download this type of program only through reputable web sites such as Download.com, or sites that you know to be safe.

Consider carefully the inherent risks attached to peer-to-peer (P2P), or file sharing applications.

Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/FireFox add-on, that offers substantial protection against questionable, or unsafe websites.

Do not click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, email scams, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Malware Removal, Manual Malware Removal, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Rogue Software, Rogue Software Removal Tips, scareware, Scareware Removal Tips, Software, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 29, 2009

The Five Essential Security Patches of 2009 – Fact: Everyone who patches is safer. Fact: Not everyone patches. The gap between the two facts is too deep for even security experts to explain, although they try, with theories running from the conspiratorial – pirates hate to patch, they say, because they’re afraid vendors, Microsoft mostly, will spy them out – to the prosaic … that people are, by nature, just lazy.

Best Free Software of 2009 – There are thousands of free and shareware apps and utilities on the Web. Not all are worth much more than what you pay for them. This story will help you find the right free tools for virtually all your key computing tasks.

Fix Slow Browsing and more with OpenDNS – OpenDNS gives your small business Internet connection an extra dose of speed, security and control.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Amazon, Wal-Mart Smacked By DDoS Attacks – If you did some last minute Amazon holiday shopping on Wednesday evening, you probably noticed that Amazon’s web site was sluggish and, at times, completely down; The same fate greeted Wal-Mart, Expedia, and a number of smaller sites.

Giveaway of the Day – Wondershare Photo Recovery is an ideal and powerful image recovery and digital photo recovery solution for users to recover images or photos accidentally lost from PC, memory card and USB drive.

Money-Saver Sites You Haven’t Heard Of – Looking for some new ways to find deals and conserve cash? Check out these bargain-hunting Websites.

Windows Live Spaces A Fake Pharma Target – Cybercrime affiliates of unlicensed pharmaceutical websites have begun moving on from attacks purely designed to poison Google search engine results, and are now targeting Microsoft’s web properties.

Make the Most of Your New PC – Did you receive a pristine, mint Windows 7 (or even Vista) computer this holiday season? Great, but right out of the box, every computer is far from perfect. We show you how to set it up and tweak it to best fit your needs.

Reader’s Choice: The Best in Service and Reliability – Here’s the best tech buying crib sheet you’ll find. All of these companies were selected by PCMag’s readers as those that make the best, most reliable products and offer top-notch service and support.

Off Topic:

Digg’s Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2009 – We uncovered the top 10 stories for Digg in 2009. While some match top trends on Twitter, Facebook and others (e.g. Barack Obama’s election, Michael Jackson’s death), other stories were decidedly humor only Diggers can truly understand.

Edge-of-yer-seat: Coast Guard’s 2009 Top 11 missions – U.S. Coast Guard’s 2009 highlight 11 video compilations. (submitted by Dar)

The 15 Most Influential Games of the Decade – Many games that made big leaps and defined what would come to be traditional aspects of the big-budget grand adventure, and others that pushed the reset button on game design.

Why it’s Wise to Avoid Most Popular Hand Sanitizers – Almost half of all hand cleansers sold in the United States contain antibacterial compounds. These antibacterial compounds are not only a contributing factor to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial products, has been shown to kill human cells. (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

“Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it”.

-     Stephen Vizinczey

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Printables: 2010 Calendars – Are you ready for 2010? Ready for not, it’s coming, and if your holiday gifts didn’t include a calendar (Someone always seems to give me a cat calendar), or you just like easy-to-read, formatted calendars, please visit Printable2010calendar.net, were you can conveniently download 2010 calendars one month at a time, all at once, or even year-on-one-page designs. All of the calendars are free in both PDF and .DOC form, and the .DOC versions can be customized in Microsoft Word.

PhraseExpress - Tired of typing the same words, signatures, phrases, and even paragraphs over and over? What you need is a program that automatically inserts text when you type an abbreviation or hit a hotkey. PhraseExpress is one such program, and it’s my favorite.

SmillaEnlarger – Most image editors make an attempt to smooth and sharpen, and some add a bit of “noise” (random data, which, counterintuitively, can make an enlarged picture look a bit sharper) to enlarged images,. But I haven’t seen any of them do as good a job as SmillaEnlarger can do at taking tiny bitmap files and turning them into usable, full-size images.

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Merry Christmas

Dear readers and subscribers,

christmas-message

At this time of the year I would like to wish you, all the joy that is Christmas. Family and friends, especially those that we hold close, are the greatest gifts that we receive.

Bill

Tech Thoughts is taking a break for the holidays. Regular posting will begin again on Monday, January 4, 2010.

P.S. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, this time of the year is still a  perfect time to do something nice for someone.

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Filed under Living Life, Personal Perspective