PC Rescue Newsletter July 2008
A blast from the past! The
Y2k bug bites some Mac users. We always knew something to do with Y2K
would bite us when we least expected and, eight years after the hype,
it has bitten a few Microsoft Office for Mac users. We describe it below
and explain how you can avoid similar problems in whatever system you
One of the ways to avoid problems
is to keep your computer up to date with the latest patches and service
packs. Having seen two serious spyware infections this month, we can't
emphasise enough how important updating your system is.
But before you can update your
computer, you have to buy one. So we kick off this month's newsletter
with a word about the hidden cost of running technology.
The real cost
We tend to pay attention to the ticket price of a computer but we never
look at the whole costs. Like cars, the purchase price is only a small
part of the equation. Buying a computer is only the start of the journey.
Upfront costs you need to consider
are new printers, along with another trip to the shop for the cable that
wasn't included. Software as programs like Microsoft Office are rarely
included in a new machine although many computers come with trial editions.
Not to mention subscriptions to things like your antivirus program.
Ongoing costs such as printer
consumables, paper, Internet access and, if you have teenagers, the cleanups
after searches for free music go wrong, can add up to twice the purchase
cost of your original computer. We'll have more on the website later this
week and it's the topic of this month's 702 weekend spot.
One hidden cost of computers
is the energy use. It's often underestimated how much energy computers
With the concerns about greenhouse
gases and energy costs, any way you can save energy helps both the planet
and your pocket. It's claimed that the typical computer user can save
$80 a year by putting their computer into sleep mode when they aren't
Off Australia has been set up to help consumers and businesses manage
the power IT equipment users. Their website includes useful information
on reducing energy use, a calculator and a tool to help Windows users
enable their computer's energy saving options.
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.
What can you
do with an old computer
Once you've set up a new computer, there's the problem of getting rid
of the old one. Computers contain all manner of environmental nasties
so local councils are less than keen to see them going into landfill.
If you are a Mac user then there's a healthy market in second hand machines,
but Windows users can have a problem disposing of their old systems.
Some of the brand names have formal recycling programs and a few of the
local shops will take the old one off your hands. The Recycling
Near You website has a breakdown of all the recycling services in
each local council area. Victorian readers can also use the Byte
Back Australia computer recycling program.
Another issue of course is getting your data onto the new computer and
wiping the old computer. Windows XP and Vista come with data migration
tools and we recommend the Eraser
program for wiping computers.
If you find this too difficult, you might want to contact
a computer tech to help you transfer your data and securely erase
your old machine.
Software of the
month: Firefox 3
The new version of Firefox is proving to be a good addition to your computer.
So far we haven't had many problems with it and it seems to be faster
and less memory hungry than the previous version. We strongly pruning
it instead of Internet Explorer. You can download it from the Firefox
One trap to watch is some of the plug ins for the older version of Firefox
don't work on the new edition. Firefox will warn you about those the first
time you run the machine. One of the most notable plugins that isn't compatible
is the web site checking function of AVG 8.
Ask a question
Our sister website,
Queries answers common computer problems.
If your computer has a frustrating
problem, have a look for an answer at IT Queries. If you don't find
one, just ask on the IT Queries site and we'll get a solution for you.
By now all AVG Free users should
have upgraded to AVG 8. Apart from Grisoft not updating AVG Free 7.5,
the new version has a lot more features.
One feature that is causing
a bit of fuss is the site checking tool. This function plugs into both
Firefox and Internet Explorer to run a check on websites as you view or
search for them.
The problem is the plug in
is not compatible with Firefox 3 and it will be disabled by the browser.
It's also causing some fuss for webmasters who are finding it's pushing
up their traffic volumes.
We'll be putting instructions
on how to turn it off on our IT
Queries site in the next few days.
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.
Jargon of the
month: TLD or Top Level Domain
A Top Level Domain is the last
bit on an Internet address, that is the .com in itqueries.com
or the .au in pcrescue.com.au. Until now these have followed
the conventions set up in the early days of the net.
The people who control the
Internet, ICANN (the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) have announced a new scheme
where anyone with a lazy few hundred thousand US dollars can set up their
own Top Level Domain.
For us humble net users, this
is not a problem as we can't afford one of these things and they won't
be appearing for at least 18 months.
It's highly unlikely any new
top level domains will knock off the existing .com and .com.au domains.
Newer domains such as .biz and .info have proved to be failures and it's
highly unlikely most of the newer ones will succeed.
PC Rescue's Managing director,
Paul Wallbank, can help your business or community group get more from
their technology. Contact
us for more details
office: Where will our offices be in twenty years time
The elder guru; exploding the myths of the digital divide.
Ten ways to revolutionise your business IT
What does it all mean? cutting through computer jargon.
Y2K bug comes
back to life
A bizarre story appeared last week where in certain circumstances Entourage,
Microsoft's email and contact manager for the Mac, will get confused
by birthdates before 1950. It turns out to be a Y2K problem.
The bug stems from the Mac's
date preferences and how Entourage reads them. If you used double digits
rather than four digit dates, eg 12/08/08 rather than 12/08/2008 the problem
can affect you.
Regardless of what program
or system you use it's best to stick to using four digit years and month
names such as 12 Aug 2008 when using spreadsheets to eliminate confusion
between US and International date formats and reduce the possibility of
these sort of problems.
A recent report found as few
of computer users are running out of date web browsers. This isn't
surprising when you work on computers for living and it's the quickest
way for a computer infected with nasties.
You must keep
your computer up to date. Windows users should visit the Windows
Update website Mac users should click on the Apple icon in the top
left corner of their screen and click on Software Update.
ABC Radio Spots
Our next Sydney 702 Weekend
spot will be at 10am on July 6 where we'll be looking at the costs of
a new computer. The next Nightlife is on Friday, July 18 at 10pm where
we'll be talking about the new Internet domains.
If you'd like to offer any
suggestions about topics or improvements to the shows please contact
Next month on
In July, the release of the
iPhone is going to focus us more on data costs and mobile Internet. Related
to this is the cost of roaming overseas with your mobile phone. We'll
be looking at these issues in a lot more detail.
If you have a topic you'd like
us to discuss on the websites, Smart Company blog or the radio spots please
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