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July 2005 Issue

 

Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.

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May 2005 July 2005        

5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter  

July 2005 Newsletter

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the Editor
2) Computer Security Review
3) Copyright Your Web Site
4) Tips and Tricks
5) Selecting a Hard Drive
6) Free Wi-Fi High Speed Internet Access
7) Contact Information

[1] Notes from the Editor:

Welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back to all loyal 5 Star Supporters! I hope that the 5 Star Support newsletters will be an effective vehicle for your computer learning!

5 Star Support is moving in a very positive direction and continues to add valuable support related content on a regular basis.

<> E-mail Support:
5 Star Support’s email support continues be as strong as ever. We have over 80 technicians that are willing and very able to offer advice on nearly any computer related issue.

http://www.5starsupport.com/support.com

If you find this web site a useful tool, please support us by sending in a small contribution so that we can continue our work here on the web. Follow the link below to find information on how you can donate to 5 Star Support.

http://www.5starsupport.com/donate.htm

Thank you for your support!

Now, just sit back and relax with your beverage of choice and enjoy your (a little late) 5 Star Support July 2005 newsletter.

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[2] Computer Security Review
Written by Dave J
5 Star Support Volunteer Technician

Security Programs and Solutions:

Compatible with PC’s running Windows 98, 98se, ME, 2000 professional, XP Home and XP Professional including XPsp2. Should also work well with Windows NT 4.0, and if you are running WinNT, Win2k, or WinXP, remember you need to be logged on as administrator to install any of these programs.

NOTE: For best (easiest) results, the programs should be installed in the order listed below. If you already have one or more of these installed in your computer, no worries, just add the ones you don’t have. I strongly recommend reading all 17 pages before you do anything to your system to be sure it is something you want to do. Most of the programs listed below are free for the personal or SOHO user, except for the last three listed in the section under Adware/Spyware (not free but good), and the Ewido Security Suite. Companies or businesses should use the paid licensed versions in all cases. Read the licensing agreement to determine which programs require purchase for business use. These programs are all for individual PC or workstation use and are not designed for server installation.

Anti-virus and Firewalls:

http://www.grisoft.com

AVG Anti-Virus, free edition. Download & install, get updates from within program. Set to run a scan every day at a specified time convenient to you. Set files to be considered out dated after 7 days. Be sure to update weekly. A download link and activation ser# will be provided from Grisoft via two separate e-mails. Be sure to register. Not as well rated as Symantec Norton, but a very good free alternative. It does seem to consistently have the ability to “heal” a number of infected files that Norton could not do anything with, and its’ reaction speed to incoming threats is very fast. The programming is excellent and the database for definitions usually only runs a few days behind Symantec Norton. I actually run this in addition to Norton, but don’t have it in the start menu so there are no conflicts that would occur from running both actively. In this way, it can be brought up for use as needed. I scan weekly.

http://www.sygate.com

Sygate Personal Firewall. Look under home & home office solutions for free solution. The needed activation code will be provided from Sygate via e-mail. Be sure to register so you will be notified of new versions. A great firewall, it is intuitive and has a great back-trace feature. By intuitive, I define it as one of the few firewalls that operate in multiple facets and directions and it is not bound strictly by a set of rules and configurations in order to work. It actually looks for program, code, and traffic behavior. Although free, I think it is about the best firewall out there. The Pro paid version is even better, and I recommend you get it. Officially, you are not supposed to run more than one firewall at a time as they can compete for system resources and lead to system instability. I have found that if you have Win2k or newer, and at least 384meg of ram, you can run Sygate as well as Norton’s firewall with no problems. The Sygate firewall is very fast and excels at finding port scans. It rates all hits on the firewall on a 0 to 20 scale, with 20 being the most severe. The logs are easy to read and informative. A quick note here: there are different versions available. The newest version, v 5.6, is optimized for use with WinXP. If you are using another operating system, I recommend you go with v 5.5. The newest version (v 5.6) will not install or run properly with Win2k, and can be twitchy with Win98.

If you like the firewall, you can also get another program for it called “SPF log viewer”, which makes reading through the logs quite informative, and it works much faster than the built in viewer. To get the free log viewer, go to:

http://www.geocities.jp/bruce_teller/sygate5/spflgvw_en.htm

Zone Labs also offers a very good free firewall. It is a bit easier to use than Sygate, and also offers you very good protection. It is easy to set up, and the help section is very good. If you want to try the Zone Lab firewall, you can get it at:

http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp

Just click on the link at the top of this web site page for “Download FREE Zone Alarm” and you are all set. The download is around 2.6 MB. Be sure to register the software and check the can Zone Labs contact you box. If the box is checked, you will receive notification from Zone Labs if there are program changes, as well as new versions of the firewall when they are released. They usually release a new version of their firewall about two times annually.

That should cover you for a firewall. Next we move on to Spyware and Adware protection. You should note that if you installed the above Sygate or Zone Lab firewall, as you install and update the programs below, the firewall is going to pop up a message window asking if the program is allowed to access the Internet. Simply check the box to “remember your answer”, and choose yes by left clicking with your mouse in Sygate, and answer allow by left clicking in Zone Lab.

Catch the rest of the article here:

http://www.5starsupport.com/tutorial/security-review.htm

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[3] Copyright Your Web Site

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and am not giving legal advice. I am simply offering to you my experiences from past experiences I have had dealing with copyright issues.

It is often thought that you do not have to actually register your web site's works with the U.S. Copyright Office in order for your writings to be copyrighted. This is true, but it seems that copyrighting your work will do much more good in a court of law in actually proving the infringement.

For those of you interested in copyrighting your works, click the link below:

-Copyright Registration for Online Works
http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ66.html

When considering to copyright your online writings, many people question the effectiveness and even the real necessity of it. I have put together a few frequently asked questions that may help you in your decision making:

-Is a Copyright universally respected?

When discussing "universal" or "international", keep in mind that Google, Yahoo and MSN are universal and international search engines. If you file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint with the search engines, they are now out of business. If the search engines won't list them, they can't be found. Case closed! If you need to prove your case, having the Copyrighted proof will seal their fate.

-Is it hard to enforce a copyright?

Yes, it can be. But if you have spent many years building your online empire only to have a scraper site come along and snatch up a portion of your works to make a few bucks, then wouldn't you do what is necessary to protect your hard work? I sure would! If you go the extra mile to protect your work, it will actually save you time in the long run.

-Is it worth the effort to register all sites?

No. If you are not making any money (or very little) from your site, it may not be worth your time to register. Keep in mind, if you are not ranking well with the searches, then your writings are probably not very desirable. But, if you are ranking in the top ten with the search engines, you may want to consider registering to help protect your rights.

-How exactly will registering my writings help me?

It helps in many ways:

* It allows you to confidently pursue damages when your work is stolen for profit.
* It will effectively prove who had the work first.
* In a court of law, you can receive statutory damages for your registered works. Where, not registering you will, at best, receive "real" damages.

OK, so there are those of you that do not have any faith in registering your web sites. I totally understand! But, you should take steps to at least protect your work from being stolen. Below, I have outlined a method that may help in detouring people from stealing your work.

-Detouring Theft

In your terms and conditions section of your web site, include a pricing section that will detail prices per use of any photo's, files, video or pages...etc. of your web site. Set your prices high, and state in your pricing section that any site found using these materials will be automatically billed. Be sure to state what your payment terms are (ie: Net 15 days). Now, after billing them, if they violate your payment terms and you can prove that they used your material, this will now become a billing issue and "failure to pay". Notarized screen shots of your material on their site could yield a positive decision in small claims court.

Will this method help you with international issues? No, probably not.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Digital Millennium Copyright Act:
Passed in 1998, the DMCA is a bill designed to bring copyright law up to date with digital media. Among other things, it outlaws the manufacture of, or "trafficking" in, technologies capable of circumventing "technical protection measures" used to restrict access to copyrighted works.

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[4] Tips and Tricks:
Generated from 5 Star Support

<>Saving Files to a CD-RW
[Windows XP]

I often get questions from people who would like to use a CD-RW disc much like a floppy disc. Using it to save and erase files as needed.

The RW stands for "Re-Writable". So in a sense, the CD-RW will perform this task as long as you have the proper packet writing software, which is not included with Windows XP.

However, once you remove a file from the CD, the space is NOT reallocated until the disc itself is re-formatted. So, if you are going to continue saving and erasing files, the space available on the CD will continue to shrink.

I personally do not recommend saving important data to a CD-RW as the media could become unreadable and the data lost forever. This can occur if you take your disc to a different computer system that may have different software. Other times, the data can become "magically" unreadable for no apparent reason.

I would prefer that users use the CD-RW disc's as they were intended. Put your favorite songs, pictures or data on it until it is full. Then save what you would like to keep onto your hard drive and delete the rest. Reformat the CD-RW and start over.

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<>Delete the Last Word
[Microsoft Word]

Have you ever been typing along, trying to hurry to catch all of your thoughts on paper when you suddenly make a spelling error and have to backspace to where the error occurred? Well, it might be a time saver and helpful in retaining your train of thought, to just use a couple of keystrokes and wipe out the last word instead of slowing down to fix the error. The key strokes are:
CTRL + BACKSPACE (Windows)
COMMAND - DELETE (Mac)
This is also a very useful trick when searching for just the right word to insert into a sentence. Such as;

The computer constantly (ctrl-backspace)
The computer continuously (ctrl-backspace)
The computer randomly reboots without warning.

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<>Change the default email client
[Internet Explorer]

You can set the default email program in Internet Explorer's Internet Options dialog box. Here's how:

1. Open Internet Explorer
2. Click the Tools menu, choose Internet Options.
3. Select the Programs tab and choose your email client from the drop-down list.
4. Once selected, click OK button and close the dialog.

Note: This requires an Administrator-level account to change the default email client as this is a system-wide setting.

------------------------------------

<>Display a Photo on your Desktop
[Windows XP]

If you would like to display your favorite picture on your desktop, Windows XP makes this a simple task. Here's how:

1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the picture file and right-click it.

2. In the resulting right-click menu, look for the "Open With" option. Choose to Open it in Internet Explorer.

3. Once Internet Explorer has opened your picture file, right-click the image and select "Set as Background".

--------------------------------------

<>Turn the PC off or leave it on?

I get quite a few questions about whether to leave the PC on or turn it off at the end of each day. There are many views on this subject and most all of them have valid points. Some believe that leaving a computer on will wear out components much faster while others believe that shutting a computer down each day does more harm.

The two main reasons that people are concerned about this issue are:
Energy Conservation
Component Longevity
Energy Conservation:

Operating a PC these days costs very little money (depending on electricity costs in your area). I would say an average amount would be about $1 per day. That is if you leave your monitor on too. Taking into account that most people do not leave their system running 24/7 365 days a year. People usually shut down on the weekends when away from the office or when they go on vacation. So, let's just say that your energy cost for a one year period will be somewhere around $120.00. If you adjust your PC settings to have the monitor turn off after being idle for 10 minutes, this figure can be greatly reduced. As you can see, the energy cost is probably not worth worrying about. So, lets move on to the meat of the matter and discuss Component Longevity.

Component Longevity:

Computers are designed to operate at consistent temperatures and have components in place just for this purpose.

Cooling Fans- While the system is turned on, the cooling fans will continue to keep the computers case cool keeping all of the other components within the case operating at a consistent temperature. It is very possible that by keeping your computer turned on you could be shortening the life of a cooling fan. But, is it really worth worrying about? Let's continue...

If you keep your computer case cleaned out every six months while paying close attention to your cooling fans, you will greatly improve the cooling fans longevity while maintaining their cooling performance.

The cost of a cooling fan and the time to replace one makes it really a non-issue where this discussion is concerned.

Hard Drive- This is the main concern when discussing shutting your PC down or not. A hard drive, when turned on, will experience a surge of electricity that will spin its platter to a speed of approximately 10,000 rpm. It will then begin to warm up and reach an optimum operating temperature. Then the cooling fans will keep it at that temperature.

Once you turn the system off, the platter spins down and the hard drive then cools to room temperature. Depending on the environment, these temperature swings along with the voltage surges when powering on can greatly reduce the life of your hard drive when shutting the system down regularly.

Lastly, the amount of time that you keep a computer system will be the determining factor when considering whether to shut it down on a regular basis or not. If you are one that keeps a system for about 2 years and then gets one with newer technology, then this is not going to be a factor for you at all. Do with it what you will. It is probably going to be under warranty for this time period anyhow.

But, if you keep your computer system longer and care about component longevity, then my recommendation to you is go ahead and leave your system running 24 hours. If you are away from it for a day or more, then go ahead and shut it down.

====================================

[5] Selecting a Hard Drive

It seems that each time I say that a computer can't get too much faster and a hard drive can't store too much more data, the chip and storage manufactures humble me by tripling the speed and storage limits of their respective products.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the digital age is truly upon us. Consumers are driving prices down with demands for the latest in technology that continues to change very rapidly! In particular, I have seen a great deal of changes in primary storage. The latest hard disks access data very quickly with the increase of their rotational speeds. With this increased capacity along with faster access speeds comes higher demand for the product, coupled with a great deal of competition creates a very affordable product. But, be smart, only buy what you need or you will be wasting your hard earned money!

In this tip, I would like to help you with your next hard drive purchase decision.

Hard Drive Capacity:

The best way to determine what you need for capacity, is what did you have last? Was it a 10gb hard drive that filled up pretty fast and you had to install a second 20gb hard drive?

You should also determine the time frame involved. Did you have this computer for 2 years? 4 years?

A little common sense will go a long way in determining your next storage capacity requirement after looking at your past capacities and the time it took to fill them.
Specific Needs:

If this is to be your first system and you are only interested in surfing the Net and loading a few games and songs here and there, I would recommend going with a 40gb hard drive. This is plenty of capacity for your operating system and tons of reserve space for your files and such. This, being the most common of hard drives today, will be an extremely affordable choice.

If you are a gamer or a graphics designer, you will probably want a hard drive with at least 80gb of capacity.

Then there are those of you who enjoy recording movies and songs which require extremely large storage space, you will probably want to purchase a hard drive with 240gb of storage capacity.
When selecting the proper speed that you would like, I have found that there isn't a big enough difference in price between a 5400 rpm and a 7400 rpm hard drive to worry about. Pay the extra money and get the 7400 rpm drive. You'll be much happier with the higher access speed.

Be sure to stick with a brand name, one that has been proven in the industry. Those that I recommend are:

Hitachi
Maxtor
Samsung
Seagate
Western Digital

Lastly, before making your final decision on a manufacture. Check the warranty. I have seen warranties that provide coverage for as long as 3 years.

If you still have questions and you should need our help. We are always here to help you. Just fill out our Free Technical Support Form located at:

http://www.5starsupport.com/support.htm

Or, you can register at our free discussion forum:

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[6] Free Wi-Fi High Speed Internet Access

It is important to know that free access is unsecured. So, if you are going to do some online banking or ordering online using a credit card, your personal information could be compromised.

Most locations that you find that offer free Internet access will not have any restriction, but there are some that may require one or more of the following:

*You may be required to be a guest at their facility.
*You may be required to make a purchase before receiving a login and password.
*Some may ask some survey questions as part of a login process.

Below, you will find a listing of several businesses and institutions that typically offer Free Wireless Internet Access.

-Academic Locations:

You may find that in most of the larger institutions, they will control the Internet access and restrict it to students and staff only. But, there are many that offer free Internet access with no restrictions.

-Cafes, coffee shops, restaurants:

You will find that many of these locations provide free wireless Internet access without any restriction. Some may require a purchase in order to obtain a login and password.

-Hotels, Motels and Resorts:

Most of these locations offer free access to their guests only. But, you will also find many that have no restrictions at all.

-Libraries:

More and more cities are now offering free wireless Internet access to the public via the public library system. In some cases, you may need to obtain a library card to gain a login and password. Also, many public libraries have software in place that restrict access to questionable sites.

-RV Parks and Campgrounds:

Many of these locations will require a login and password to gain access to their network.

-Vacation Rental Properties:

These locations will require a login and password to gain access to their network.

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[7] Contact Information:

I hope that you have enjoyed 5 Star Support’s July 2005 Newsletter. If there is anything that we can do to make it better, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

We are looking for people to run their own tips sections of the newsletter. If you would like to make your name known as an author, this is a great place to start. Send all inquiries to:

admin@5starsupport.com


Regards,

Newsletter Staff

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