PC Rescue Newsletter January 2009
2009 promises to be another
interesting year with the economy affecting the IT industry as much as
the rest of the world. For users that means some familiar names will go
out of business while others will change how they operate. Over this year
we'll be discussing how you can use these changes to get more value from
your computer systems.
This month's newsletter looks
at one of fastest growing and most mysterious viruses we've come across.
We also look at the next versions of Windows which is currently being
tested. First we start with a plea for good manners and common sense.
of the Internet
One of the delights of producing
this newsletter are the interesing and satisfying notes we get from subscribers
and listeners. Sometimes we make mistakes and often readers have good
suggestions on how we can do better. We value them all and hope you keep
Unfortunely not some can be
downright rude.A good
example was one from "Mike" whose entire email read "you'd
have a lot more credibility if you fixed the first paragraph of your website".
Mike's encouraging amd constructive
comment illustrates our previous discussion on Internet
ettiquette and Mike reminds us again why it's important.
Remember the key rules: never
write anything on the net you wouldn't like to see next to your picture
on the six o'clock news and that manners go a long way. Both of these
are good rules to remember off the Internet as well.
Be humble, grasshopper
Over January we had a Nightlife
spot on short notice where we covered issues like spam and phishing. One
of the worrying things were the callers who claimed they wouldn't be affected
because they used Macs or they had friends who are computer programmers.
Sadly, they're wrong. Scams
and tricks like phishing, online fraud and spam aren't restricted to any
one system or group of people. If you have Internet access, you could
be caught by the online scammers.
Some people also believe those
who fall for these scams are simply dumb and nobody smart, like them,
would fall for these tricks. That's also risky as many online frauds are
elaborate and credible looking. Crooks, both on and off the Internet,
are often cleverer than the rest of us.
Don't assume you're safe simply
because you and your friends are smart or because you use a Mac, you still
need to be on guard against online fraudsters and the tricks they use.
a computer tech? We can get technicians to help you with your home
and office computer problems anywhere in Australia.
If you need a new computer
set up, a virus removed or would just like to make sure your computer
is running as it should be, we can help you.
Call 1300 798 957
and our call centre can arrange a visit or online service.
computers infected by Windows worm
Where Mac users do have a right
to be smug is viruses. Despite the
hype from panic merchants, Mac users suffer nothing like the problems
Windows users encounter from viruses and the latest worm is a corker.
The Downadup worm may not be
the fastest growing virus we've ever seen but it's growth is pretty impressive.
Over the Australia Day weekend it's estimated over six million more computers
were infected around the world.
Most worrying about Downadup
is we don't know what the writers are up to. Some versions have crashed
networks when they have tried to guess passwords, but most versions are
just patiently waiting and spreading.
your computer checklist is a good start to protecting yourself. Given
the worm exploits an already fixed hole in Windows, visiting Windows
Update is a good first step to avoiding this problem.
of the Whirlpool website, we're hearing reports of fake software audits.
These are a variation on the "fake invoice" scam where a letter
looking suspiciously like an invoice appears in your letterbox.
In reality, these are just
a bluff hoping to either scare or fool business owners into paying for
something they don't need. If you recieve one of these letters contact
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make a complaint.
If you are concerned your business
may have pirate software or may be in breach of vendors' licences, then
Software Alliance has a set of tools and checklists you can use to
ensure you aren't at risk from an audit.
Incidentally, if you do receive
a letter from the BSAA treat it seriously. They are a legitimate representative
of the big software vendors and have been involved in serious legal action
against software theives.
The new edition of Internet
for Dummies is on the shelves. Look for the Australian edition at your
Who says you can't get a
good computer manual? Our Dummies
books are available online. If you
want to learn more about your computer, we have the answers.
The current version of PCs
for Dummies covers Vista computers and the earlier version covers Windows
XP. So we can help you get the most from both versions of Windows.
A tidal wave
of rejected messages
We've had a few people asking
why they are receiving dozens, sometimes hundreds of bounced email messages.
Many people are concerned they may have a virus.
While this can be a symptom,
it's generally not the case. Modern viruses have a nasty little trick
of spreading by emailing themselves to every address they find on an infected
computer. To make the infected email look more credible, they choose one
of the hundreds of email addresses they find on the computer and use it
as the return address.
If that return email address
happens to be yours then bad luck, you are about to get buried by rejection
Unfortunately there's little
you can do about it, you can use mail rules to block them but that's not
particularly reliable and may block legitimate returned messages. So we
recommend just grinning and bearing it until the storm passes.
Windows 7 beta
The successor to Windows Vista
has been released for Beta testing. This means keen people are working
as unpaid crash test dummies with the trial version of the next Windows.
So far the reports have been
fairly good about the new system, but for the moment most users should
stick with what is working for them. Because beta software is still in
the test phase, it's risky to trust valuable data and important systems
to something that may not work.
We'll be watching Windows 7
closely for the rest of this year, but our standard advice of not trusting
a new software product until the first service pack is released stands
so we can't see recommending Windows 7 until at least Easter 2010.
Jargon of the
month: What is a blog?
It's hard to believe we haven't
answered this question before. Basically a blog is just a diary put on
the Internet, the name comes from Web Blog.
Blogging has been around for
since the early days of the net. The founders of Lonely Planet and O'Reilly
Press, Tony Wheeler and Tim O'Reilly, claim to have had the first blog
when they wrote an online diary about their roadtrip across the US on
the then new World Wide Web in 1995.
It was the arrival of easy
to use Web2.0 tools (a term invented
by Tim O'Reilly) that saw online diaries explode in number.
Today blogging tools are so
easy to use they have become the most popular way of publishing websites
and tools like Wordpress and Blogger are free and have a vast array of
tools for the would be web publisher.
If you want to try your hand
at blogging, visit either Wordpress or Blogger and set up a free account
The next Nightlife is scheduled
for Friday, January 30 at 10pm where we'll be talking about using social
webtools for business. If the cricket is on, the show will be held over
until the following Friday.
Unfortunately we weren't
able to get a newsletter out in time for the show we did on January
15. We also post the
details on the front page of the website before the show. Generally
if you miss a program, it well be accessible from the Nightlife website
for a week afterwards.
As yet we don't have a date
for the next Sydney 702 Weekend program and when we do, it will be up
on the website as soon as we know.
If you'd like to offer any
suggestions about topics or improvements to the shows please contact
Next month on
2009 promises to be a challenging
year for homes and businesses. For most of this year, we'll be looking
at how you can use technology to meet these challenges.
In February, we'll discuss
how to bust the recession with cheap computers and free software. If you
have a topic you'd like us to discuss on the websites, Smart Company blog
or the radio spots please contact
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