SMA OnLine News Magazine a free community-run nonprofit public service, written FOR and BY the expatriate residents, in our attempt to meet needs not being met elsewhere
5/21/04 Additional virus protection from Pat Marzulli
Type AAAAA@unisono.net.mx as the first name in your list of contacts or addresses and that will prevent any virus or worm from spreading through your address book. Reason: it is a dead end and the virus has no place to go.i
5/9/05 free utilities to combat web-site advertisements, etc. - by M. Wein
In addition to the anti-virus, spyware, and firewalls discussed in the Don Gussin (April 5, 2004) article below, I am currently using the following free utilities that you can download at these links:
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/ - PC World magazine has a huge assortment of free material and downloads to aid you in solving such problems
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,8060,00.asp Pop-up Stopper (as its name implies)
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,2074,00.asp Web-washer (helps you to eliminate banner ads and the like)
http://www.roboform.com - obtain AIRoboform - download this Password Accumulator to save you from your own faulty memory and data theft by others
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,23249,00.asp - down load this Fast Cache which will help you speed up your retrieval of online pages.
When you surf the Internet you need to realize that you are being watched and tagged with cookies and spyware. The spyware may be collecting data on where you go on the Internet. We have also found that popup ads are getting more aggressive and more obnoxious. The Wall Street Journal also had an article on this subject. We recently got a popup on a news website and starting loading obnoxious software we did not want.
If you want to get rid of this garbage, go to www.download.com and download Ad Aware 6.0 and Spybot (see virus and other annoyances, by Don Gussin, below),
Search & Destroy. Ad Aware is free although they hope you later upgrade to the deluxe version for $29. Spybot is from a guy who hopes you donate a few bucks to help him keep it free. Ad Aware is pretty easy to use. You have to go through and click the things you want to delete after you scan. Spybot does the same thing. Make sure with Spybot you do not delete anything that says Microsoft Media Player or C Dilla in program directory and possibly a few other files. Spybot and Ad Aware tag each item so it is easy to figure out what you want to delete. The ones you want to zap will generally say “tracking cookie” and there may be others.
Spybot also has an “Immunize” feature that blocks a lot of spam and popups from your system. For more block of Spam, go to Google.com and search for Google Toolbar 2.0. You download their toolbar and it will install. Make sure you uncheck the button to send info back to Google. If you don’t they will spy on you. After you do all of this stuff, guess what? You still get popups and you have to run Spybot and Ad Aware usually every day if you surf the net. The cookies, spyware and popup garbage are like roaches that you will never get out of your house. By using these tools to clean up your PC, it will run a bit faster.
4/9/04 shortcuts to accomplish things faster on your computer - by M. Wein
April 5, 2004 Viruses and Other Annoyances - by Don Gussin
VIRUS MESSAGE GENERATION AND PROPOGATION
Some viruses find email addresses in a computer that they have infected, and then send themselves (as an attachment) to all of these addresses, putting a randomly-selected one as the sender. (The current versions seem to include a message such as "Is this you?", "Your credit report", "How could you do this?", etc., intended to make you want to open the attachment right away.)
So, when you receive a virus message with someone's return address (say, "Andy") , whether you know him or not you can be pretty sure that the message didn't originate from his computer.
Also, while providing your email address only to trusted contacts will reduce spam considerably, it won't stop you from getting these virus messages because it only takes one contact's computer to be infected in order for you to get them. Furthermore, after the message is sent to all of the addresses in Andy's computer, your address is then in all of those systems (whether or not you know their owners), making you more likely to receive the next virus from any of them.
Another class of annoyance is known as "spyware" or "adware". These are programs or other files that are inserted into your computer when you visit some websites. They can be harmless, such as "cookies" that make it quicker for you to reconnect to favorite sites. They can be annoying, such as browser "hijackers" that change your browser homepage, insert links in your "Favorites" list, or bring up web pages or ads on their own. Some can even be expensive, using your modem to dial out to 900 or 976 numbers to generate high telephone bills. Some can seriously degrade your system's performance.
As always, the cure is a good defense:
- Always use an anti-virus program and keep the signature files up to date daily. (The ones that do this automatically are easiest to use).
- Never open an attachment unless you are sure that it is safe. First, know who sent it and what it is. Second, whether you know the sender or not, use an anti-virus program to scan it before you open it; to do this, I save it to a temporary folder and then tell my antivirus program to scan it. You can trust a few types of files such as .txt, ,pdf, .html. .jpg, .gif, .mp3, .mpg, and usually .doc, .xls, and .ppt. You can open .exe files only when you're really, really sure, and you should never open others such as .pif, .scr,. zlo, etc.
Adding a firewall will improve things, helping defend you from some threats such as "trojan horses", and if you get infected with a virus like the one described above, some firewalls will help stop them from sending large quantities of email from your computer. I use ZoneAlarm; the basic edition works very well and is free from www.zonelabs.com (look at the bottom of the "Download and Buy" page.) Windows XP has a firewall built in, but I believe that ZoneAlarm is better. If you're interested, there's a good source of information at http://www.firewallguide.com/.
By the way, I used to use Norton's antivirus. It worked well, but I found their website for customer service and renewals to be almost impenetrable. I'm satisfied with Computer Associates' E-Trust (www.my-etrust.com).
A firewall will prevent outsiders from accessing your computer, and will prevent trojan horses and spyware programs from connecting to the internet or dialling out on their own.
You can also keep your system clean by occasionally running a program that will detect and remove the offending files. I use AdAware, a free program from www.lavasoft.de. Another recommended (free) program is SpyBot, available from http://download.com.com/3000-2144-10122137.html.
March 4, 2004 How to save time using Mailboxes, Filters, and Sorting emails - by Michael Wein
I came back from an out of town trip and found 212 emails waiting for me. Because I had already set up my filters and my mailboxes, I was able to go through most of the new emails in about 5 minutes. Your investment of a small amount of time necessary to create a mailbox or two and filters should pay dividends daily from that point on.
For purposes of aiding anyone who wishes to create a separate mailbox and a separate filter, I submit the details on how to do it. Try it. I've been meticulously detailed so that the actual creation should be easier than it looks on paper.
First, let me introduce you to two exceptionally useful options that you probably have in your email software program. They are "filters" and "mailboxes". You are already using "in", "out", and "trash" as your present mailboxes (possibly others, if you have created them yourself). I suggest that you create some variation (depending on your own software program --- I will describe Eudora Pro here) on the following:
TO CREATE A NEW MAILBOX - click on "mailbox", then click on "new", then name it "fliggle" (or whatever you want to name it), and click on OK. You can, if you wish, place this new mailbox out of sight (i.e., under the desktop), or you can place it somewhere along side of your current mailboxes, changing the space allotted (using the mouse and dragging the edges) to each so that they sit out in full view in any configuration that you personally design.
TO CREATE A NEW FILTER - click on "tools", then click on "filters", then click on "new", then (and again, it depends upon your own software, but it should be some approximation of the following) create a filter where the "header" is "To:" and the next choice is "contains" and the next choice is "ABC man" (or whatever your important person's name is)" (exactly, as there must be an exact match). Finally, designate an "action" of (click on) "transfer to" (click on) "fliggle" (or whatever else you named your mailbox). After doing all of the foregoing, your filter now says (in effect) that when the header "to:" contains "ABC man", this filter should automatically transfer that email (and all other emails that are to: "ABC man"
to the "fliggle" mailbox. This segregates (automatically, without any more effort on your part thereafter) all emails that would ordinarily be in your "in" mailbox and sends them to the "fliggle" mailbox, ready for your review, sorting, and trashing/reading/responding (whichever you wish).
SORTING - as a result of all of the above, your "fliggle" mailbox will now contain all of your ABC man (and others that you designate similarly) incoming mail (which you can save or trash or do whatever your might wish to do with it). At this point, you can SORT all of these emails (as well as emails already in your "in", "out", "trash" and other mailboxes) by double-clicking on "who", "date", or even "subject".
Seems like a lot of work, doesn't it, but take my word for it, it is easy to do, and it will save you much time and effort. You will receive long-term (forever) time-saving dividends based upon the little investment of time that this costs you today.
It is time you accept computers as a TIME-SAVING PRODUCTIVITY TOOL. LEARN to use your software; don't be a slave to your own fear of it. The various email software programs are the easiest of all software programs to use, but if you don't spend some little time learning HOW to use them, you are wasting your time and the time of all those that you communicate with. Use the methods described above and the time loss for emails that you don't wish to read will be ridiculously minimal.
Another use of filters, by the way, might be to create filters against "spam". For instance, I filter any email that has in the body (or heading) the words: viagra, free, breast, XXX, and many other similar words. They are filtered directly to "trash". I glance at "trash" before deleting everything just in case some friend sends me an email asking "are you free this week?".
Objectives of this page: This section will contain all "tips regarding computer usage" that meet the criteria described in Instructions . All tips will be published in the date order of receipt, with the latest tips on top (the oldest nearer the bottom).