Category Archives: Software

Heartbleed Detector for Android Devices

I use Lookout Mobile Security to scan my Android phone and tablet for malware.

I got an email from Lookout today that they have a free Heartbleed Detector that lets you know if your Android devices are vulnerable.

NOTE: This is only the SSL in your phone, NOT the individual apps on your phone.

Of course, both my phone and tablet are vulnerable. Hopefully, my providers will have an update soon.

Each application’s security is up to each application’s developer to secure.

End of Life for Windows XP

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 is the day the last security patches will be available for Windows XP and MS-Office 2003. Microsoft will maintain MS Security Essentials until July, 2014, but Microsoft warns that just an up-to-date anti-virus program is not enough to guarantee you computer is secure.

Once you apply the March 11, 2014 update, you will get a nag screen like the following until you mark the box to stop showing it.

End of Support WinXP
End of Support WinXP

You will also get a warning from MS Security Essentials that you are no longer protected.

End of Support for MS Security Essentials
End of Support for MS Security Essentials

If you click the link for End-of-support guidance, you will get a page where Microsoft is urging you to buy a NEW COMPUTER with Windows 8.

If you have a computer that meets your needs, but has Windows XP, that same computer can continue to meet your needs.

The simplest way to enable your WinXP computer to meet your needs and keep your data secure is to disconnect from the internet. This option is not practical for the majority of computer users.

Another option would be to use a secure and up-to-date and maintained operating system, such a Linux. There are various flavors of Linux and they are free. There are some limitations to how well Linux can keep your computer going. You will find that your computer is MUCH faster to get going and do your work than with WinXP.

The biggest limitation is that some games cannot be made to run on Linux.

If you need to be able to browse the web, like check your Facebook, and view YouTube videos and work with documents and spreadsheets, you can do it all with Linux.

The simplest way to use Linux is to copy all your data. You are already backing up all your data regularly, right?

Install Linux over the current install. This overwrites Windows and all your data, so if you don’t have a backup, all your data is lost.

The other method requires enough hard disk space. You can install Linux with a dual-boot option that lets you choose whether to run Windows or Linux when you start your computer. This option is best if you have some program that can’t be made to work in Linux, or for which there is no viable free alternative.

If you are interested in avoiding buying a new computer and keeping more of your hard earned money, contact me for assistance in making the switch to Linux.

For $50.00, I can get you step-by-step instructions to do it yourself.

For remote support for me to help verify the information you will need to do your own Linux installation, $75.

If you want phone support or remote support for me to help verify the information you will need to do your own Linux installation, contact me for pricing.

For those who are local, contact me for arrangements to drop off your computer.

  • $100 to install Linux. *
  • $50 to backup your data to CD/DVD if you don’t have a backup.
  • $50 to get your existing internet working with your “NEW” computer. (High Speed Internet Only.)
  • $25 to pick up and deliver your PC (25 mile radius).
  • If you want to pay to ship your computer to me, plus return shipping, prices as above.
    This is best done with a backup of your data first and insuring your computer for shipping.
    Contact me first to coordinate shipping. I suggest the remote option to make sure it is worth the expense. (This requires that you have a high speed internet connection.)

* (This includes verifying that installing Linux will work well your computer. If your computer is old enough, it would be better to get a new one.) Bookmarking Social Bookmarking is a great way to find information that other internet users find helpful.

The basic idea is to use “tags” to label each link saved to your folder. One can then see other links with similar tags. Each link can have multiple tags. By using tags, one does not need to keep a huge list of hierarchical bookmarks/favorites, but rely on the tags to find helpful sites. The biggest benefit is access to one’s bookmarks from any computer on the internet.

It is easy to see what other users find important on a day-to-day basis, and one can often find new web sites that if you knew it existed, you would have already tagged it.

By submitting your own favorite websites, you help shape the views of all the other users. This is truly a melting pot of ideas.

The Tools I Use

In addition to my favorite software, here are the tools I use to help others with their Windows computer problems.

For Anti-Virus, I use a combination of Trend Micro’s Sysclean, Grisoft AVG, and ClamWin. I also use McAfee’s Stinger for quick scans for the most common issues.
For SpyWare, I use a combination of SpyBot Search and Destroy and WinPatrol.
For Optimizing, I use CCleaner, NTRegOpt, and PageDefrag, and JKDefrag..
For Backups, I use SyncBak.
For computers that have so much spyware/viruses that they do not start, I use a Linux Boot CD. This allows me to get the data copied to a USB stick, so that I can wipe the drive and start fresh.
Where the user is open to it, I move them to Linux.

If Linux is not an option, I try to get them to use FireFox and Thunderbird, and educate them about how to avoid viruses and spyware. I also point out all of the free and open source software that is available.

The End of Pegasus Mail?

Due to financial difficulties, it appears that the end is near for Pegasus Mail.
While Pegasus has some great features, and is free, it is limited to Windows. This also raises the question of whether or not Pegasus users will be able to easily convert to other email programs. While most email programs can probably handle importing from Pegasus, there are also utilities to aid one in moving from Pegasus to other mail formats.

There are two good utilities, while Windows based, run well in Wine, or in various virtual machines on different operating systems. Both are developed by Fookes Software, Aid4Mail and Mailbag Assistant.

Both are able to convert from one email format to almost any other desired format. Aid4Mail can save messages to MHT format, for ease of viewing in a web browser. Mailbag Assistant is an email archiving and search utility. One can reply to or forward an email in any email box, using one’s current email program.

There is much more to both programs, that will help those with lots of email, from any program move to other formats. Both preserve the original mail files, so the conversion, is really a new set of files. These utilities make it very easy to investigate different email clients if one wants to experiment. Both are fast and can handle very large numbers of email messages.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta

Microsoft has released Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 7 to the public.

Unless you are comfortble with potential problems, it is recommended that you NOT install IE 7. IE 7 is already known to cause problems with some anti-virus programs, and to not work with some online banking, and web mail applications. A mahore security issue was also announced today.

IE 7 is limited to users with Windows XP or newer, so the majority of Windows users will not be able to use it.

For a simpler, and smaller browser, try Firefox or Opera. Both are standards-compliant and fast, and have tabbed browsing, and are free.

Table of Windows and Linux Equivalents

If you want to know what software is available on Linux that meets the needs of your software on Windows, then check out The Table of Equivalents/Replacements/Analogs.

I have my own list of software that works on Windows and Linux on my Favorite Software Page.

If you do a little research, you will find that almost all Linux programs have been ported to Windows and many other Operating Systems, and they look and function the same way with only minor differences. Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office are three very well-known examples of this. One way to prepare for future explorations into Linux, is to use the Windows versions of software to get your job done. Almost all are free, and work just as well as the Microsoft equivalents, and often better, and usually more secure.

Change Thunderbird Welcome Screen To A Webpage

Thunderbird has an option to allow the welcome screen to be changed to a web page of the user’s choice. It can even be a web page stored locally on the hard drive. My Firefox home page is a file on my hard drive. I have links to sites I visit often, such as the sites I administer, or links to my webmail accounts.

On Windows use these steps to change the Thunderbird welcome screen:

click on Tools -> Options

On Linux:

click on Edit -> Preferences

The box labeled Location should contain something like: chrome://messenger/locale/start.html if it has not been changed previously. Click the button labeled Restore Default to undo any custom settings.