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PC Rescue Newsletter August 2008
This month's newsletter is a little shorter than usual thanks to the new Internet for Dummies reaching the final draft, some new service products coming on to the market and the preparations for a number of small business month events. Despite it's length, this month's newsletter is a good read.
Something that's concentrating our minds is the avalanche of Trojan infected emails appearing in people's inboxes. We discuss these below. Suffice to say if you receive anything purporting to be air tickets or "Auto Identification Cards" do not open it.
It's a busy time for event organisers. We're entering business month season with events on in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Along with that, we have the annual senior's club conference which firmly explodes the myth about computers being a young person's game.
You're never too old to learn about computers.
The passing of the world's oldest blogger is a reminder that there is no age limit to technology. One of the biggest myths about computers is they are for young people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Over the years, we've dealt with thousands of seniors who have been just as computer savvy as another age group. In fact, in many ways older IT users often do a better job of avoiding the computer debilitating spyware and viruses that teenagers fall for.
The Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association will have their annual conference on August 28. Regardless of how good you are with computers, if you are over 55 this is a great opportunity to get in contact with others and see what's happening in the technology sector.
Small business month extravaganzas
August sees the beginning of Small Business Month season. First off the rank is Victoria with the Energise Enterprise program running through August. NSW follows with NSW Small Business September and SA Small Business Month in October.
All of these have terrific events and courses for all aspects of small business from exporting through to accounting and IT. The events aren't just confined to the major cities with all states having events in regional areas and online.
Of the four events PC Rescue are doing for NSW Small Business Month, two will be in regional NSW in Orange and Bathurst on Internet Marketing and Web 2.0. Even if you can't make our presentations, we'll be putting a lot of it online.
Virus warning: Ztob trojan.
The ACCC's Scamwatch service has warned about attachments on emails. The virus is the Ztob Trojan and is well known to computer security companies.
Using emails claiming to be spurious airline ticket bookings to spread the thing shows how devious the malware writers are. At the time of writing, another email is doing the rounds claiming to be "Auto identification cards".
While it reminds us of the Anna Kournakova virus of 2001, the motives are totally different. Anna's virus was just designed to spread itself. While the Ztob Trojan will do a good job of doing that, its main purpose is to steal your banking passwords.
We need to be careful with these things this Trojan is rapidly being rewritten by the malware designers and many antivirus programs are having trouble keeping up with the changes.
Do not open anything with a .Zip attachment unless you have confirmed with the sender this is a legitimate file.
Mobile phone data plan warnings
Another warning from the consumer authorities is about the risk of incurring massive fees when using mobile phone data plans. This is a real risk which we've discussed before.
Up until recently though, most mobile phone users didn't have to worry about the data component of their phone plan however the new iPhone is heavily Internet dependent and will use that Internet access even if you aren't doing anything.
An iPhone with a standard Optus or Telstra mobile phone plan can incur between 5 and 30 dollars a month additional charges for data. Fortunately most iPhones come bundled with plans that include a data allowance, but there are still risks of incurring big bills if you go over their limits.
There's a number of useful online utilities to check how much you'll need in a mobile data plan. Tech web site Arstechinca has a guide to what sort of Internet usage an iPhone generates.
Once you understand how much an iPhone or other smartphones will use on the net, you can then choose a plan from the excellent Mobile Choice Phone Plan comparison spreadsheet and iPhone plan comparison spreadsheet. Fairfax also have a plan comparison tool that's a little more user friendly.
Note neither of these comparison sites include data so you should look at the top five or ten choices based on your voice and text usage then examine their data allowances and options.
Hang on for that iPhone
The iPhone has been out for over a month now and the hype is dying down as people begin to understand its limitations such as limited battery life, poor Bluetooth compatibility and the stingy nature of the attached data plans.
If you are considering an iPhone we'd still suggest waiting. The market's only just warming up in this sector as competing companies have started releasing better products and the Telcos are finding users are less than impressed with the plans they are being sold.
PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
©Technology Publishing Australia, 2008