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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.


Want to learn more about your computers? Our e-training courses can help you in the comfort of your home or office. Topics include introduction to the Internet, Learning Microsoft Vista, Office 2007 and dozens of other specific topics.

Just contact us on 1300 798 957 and we can give you all the details. If you book one of our technicians for a computer service, you'll get 30 days complimentary access to the e-learning programs.

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.

Speaking Services

If you're trying to navigate the rough waters of technology then PC Rescue's Managing director, Paul Wallbank, can help your business or community group avoid the traps. Upcoming engagements are shown on the Speaking page. Topics include;

Future office: Where will our offices be in twenty years time
Web 2.0 for free: How to get on with the hype without spending a cent.

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.

We can tailor a topic to your requirements. Paul also does a limited number of free presentations for community and educational groups. Contact us for more details.

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.

Ask a question

Our sister website, IT Queries answers common computer problems. All for free.

If your computer has a frustrating problem, have a look for an answer at IT Queries. If you don't find one, just ask and we'll get a solution for you.

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.

Jargon of the month: War driving

The theft of 40 million credit card numbers by Wardrivers shows the risks of unsecured networks.

A wardriver looks for unsecured wireless networks and connects to them. Usually the intention is to get free Internet access but once a sophisticated war driver is on your network they can do anything, including steal passwords and other details.

Retail stores using unsecured or poorly configured wirless networks to connect their point of sale terminals were the target of these wardrivers. When they connected to these networks, they collected the credit and debit card details being transmitted across the stores.

Once they had the data, the war drivers passed the information on to a gang of Eastern European credit card forgers.

This is another reminder of how the game has changed with computer security and why the bad guys are no longer curious computer geeks but organised crime gangs. It is essential you secure your wireless network.

Computer services

Need a computer tech? We can get technicians to help you with your home and office computer problems anywhere in Australia.

If you need a wireless network set up, a new computer installed, 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.

Software of the month: Windows Steady State

If you have staff, kids, family or friends that are constantly messing up their computers, Windows Steady State, a free program from Microsoft can help you.

Steady State will reset the computer back to its original settings every time you restart it. For most home and office systems this is can save hours of frustration and big tech bills.

You can download it free from the Microsoft web site. Before installing it, make sure you've read the optimisation check list, installation instructions and backed up any important data.

ABC Radio Spots

The Olympics have caused havoc at the ABC. As Sydney is not carrying any live coverage due to a dispute with the commercial broadcaster, we have two Nightlife spots this month.

A Sydney only Nightlife spot will be from 10pm, August 15 and we'll be discussing Wireless hotspots. If you're not in the Sydney 702 area. You can stream the show online through the Nightlife website.

We also have a spot scheduled for August 29 where we'll be discussing web marketing for businesses. This is national but will be affected by AFL coverage in some states in which case you can also access the program through the website.

Our next Sydney 702 Weekend spot will be at 10am on August 7 where we'll be looking at the questions you need to ask your computer supplier. While 702 doesn't save podcasts of this segment, you can listen through the Sydney 702 streaming site.

If you'd like to offer any suggestions about topics or improvements to the shows please contact us.

Next month on the website

Next month will mark the first stirrings of the Christmas buying season. New computers are a popular gift so we'll be looking at what you should be getting for your money and what you should ask before handing over the cash.

If you have a topic you'd like us to discuss on the websites, Smart Company blog or the radio spots please contact us.

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PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
©Technology Publishing Australia, 2008