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More computer stuff

No, I haven’t forgotten all the other things I mean to post about. I’ll get back to book reviews very soon.

Meanwhile, I have just discovered this neat feature of my Acer:

screen

As you may see in the top left window this feature can be downloaded for other computers: see  Split your Monitor into Sections with Acer GridVista.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2009 in computers

 

The 2001st post — to seven or not to seven

I spent yesterday morning at Sirdan’s helping out with some minor issues following his upgrading his Windows for Mac from Vista to Windows 7. Sirdan, without whom my Acer wouldn’t exist, offered to buy me Windows 7. I, of course, managed to royally screw Vista, as you may recall, and am now running on XP’s latest incarnation. My computer is singing like a bird as a result, using between 20 and 30% of the available RAM and a CPU usage normally at 0-1%. Not to mention how little, comparatively, of my hard disks — there are two — are devoted to the operating system.

So even though I have downloaded the necessary transfer software I knocked back the offer for now. What about you? Have you upgraded? What do you think of the process and the result? CNet has some ideas.

Time for a poll.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2009 in computers, Sirdan

 

Well here I am again

I have just finished and emailed the Aunty Beryl story to the South Sydney Herald and I have been to M’s to do something for him – he’s on a ship cruising around Australia at the moment. I have also been carrying on with rereading The Lord of the Rings – about halfway through, but most of my time has been spent restocking the ACER which went to the computer hospital for a successful operation yesterday.

I’ll tell you what happened. I managed to corrupt Vista, all by myself. It’s easy. Just forget to tick a box when creating a backup, especially if the box you fail to tick is the data disk. Then restore from that backup. Works every time!

There is a plus though. ACER comes with an ability to roll back to XP – and now it has. Yes, while you’re all out there contemplating Windows 7 I am retreating. I have to tell you the computer is very happy with the change.

Of course there are those updates which are still trickling in from Microsoft, but I can tell you a neat trick. IOBit Security 360 has a tool that downloads and installs all the missing Windows hotfixes from Windows except it does it a lot faster than Windows does. I discovered that a few days ago when I was running an older borrowed computer as a stopgap.

Soon I will get back to proper posting, but now to do the photoblogs.

One last thing: three of my coachees are now doing the HSC so they are no longer coachees. But a Year 9/10 one told me yesterday that they have a family friend with three kids who want tutoring, so that may work out well. The Year 9/10 is happy with me because he has just been promoted to the top English class.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in blogging, computers, personal

 

The things I learn

I have been exploring Vista – yes I have upped to it involuntarily with the new ACER just as Windows 7 is about to break out – and discovered something most of you already knew, probably: that you can add to RAM by inserting a USB memory stick and dedicating it to Boost Windows Vista.

It does make a difference!

Here’s what I see on the ACER at the moment.

screenshot1

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2009 in computers

 

Multicultural Surry Hills, and How to Kill a Toshiba

So I go downstairs to Elizabeth Street shops this morning: the Chinese corner shop, the Cambodian coffee shop, the mixed ethnic pharmacy, the Indian newsagent, the Indonesian grocery, and the Cambodian fish and chip shop – brother of the coffee shop. All Australian of course, 21st century style. Over the road it’s just about all Lebanese, except for another Chinese grocery and internet cafe and a Thai restaurant. Further towards Cleveland Street on my side there’s the Indonesian/Malaysian cafe/restaurant (jazz on Sundays), the allegedly bikie-owned backpacker place, the Lebanese Italian pizza joint, the Lebanese grocery and internet cafe, and the Lebanese restaurant. The Turkish mosque is just around the corner in Cleveland Street.

So I go into the Indonesian grocery and there is this preschooler – such a cutie – sitting up at the laptop and actually using it, his mother supervising. So computers can’t be hard, can they, if preschoolers can use them…

That puts my recently challenged geekdom in place.

Because, as you know from last week, I am guilty of Toshibacide. Thought I’d tell you more about how I did it.

Lovely machine it was too, a fetching shade of red, but at three years old starting to show its age. But we were happy. After all, who am I to complain about limited resources? That’s the story of my life. But it used to complain to me about some programs, particularly whenever I had a stint with Threatfire. It couldn’t quite cope, what with its 448 meg usable memory and all.

So I was being kind and updating a few drivers from DriverMax, which gets nice green things from WOT and McAfee Site Advisor. Unfortunately I hadn’t read this.

This crapware is really potential malware. They connect you without permission to an unregulated forum and if you are not an advanced user then you could easily download the wrong driver that could cause your computer to stop working or even worse a virus disguised as a driver.
The rating system is very suspicious and just because it shows hundreds of idiots (I sometimes suspect they may not even be users but malicious hackers) say they downloaded a driver from another so called user that uploaded what they claim to be an updated driver, doesn’t mean it is even an authorized nor appropriate driver for you device. The reports are also generated by these so called users so even if your drivers are up to date, if one person claims an update then it will deceive you into downloading whatever the file is. When they report hundreds of different drivers for one specific device then you really have to begin questioning what the hell they are doing.

Well, at first all was well. I downloaded some good updates. Then, oh my! (Perhaps Threatfire may have saved my poor Toshiba?) Down came this “driver” willy-nilly, no questions asked, which proceeded to disable the Antivirus, cut off all communication to the DVD drive and all USB ports, rearrange a few files, and – worst of all – deleted all the restore points before itself. Result, one very sick Toshiba. It still works in a limited way, but you can’t communicate with it, if you see what I mean, or even do a clean install and start again. Toshibacide.

Now on my ACER Extensa I have just installed Threatfire, and yesterday Malware Bytes. Why? Because yesterday Spybot Search and Destroy told me I had 12 instances of infection with a BHO Trojan. This trojan only invades Internet Explorer, and it may have become attached in one of those intervals when the computer was unprotected while I changed over to Avast! from McAfee (which came with the computer) and a series of other internet condoms. Certainly Vista didn’t send up any nagging popup about it, as it regularly does for quite innocent programs – even Microsoft programs sometimes.  Spybot could only fix seven of the twelve infections, but Malware Bytes disposed of the rest.

So my geekdom has received a blow, and I am being extra careful with my new partner Extensa. It is also now totally backed up onto an external hard disk.

Don’t touch DriverMax with a barge pole. 😦

 

Computer tragedy

I have boasted recently of my growing geekdom, but I crashed and burned last Friday! Somehow I downloaded a nasty bit of malware – I think I know how and caution you against any site offering free drivers – and the poor Toshiba had all its restore points prior to the malware wiped, had a few files rearranged, and all access to USB and DVD/CD destroyed. You know what that means: all fixes are off! Running antivirus and antimalware programs did nought. Too late, she cried!

Thanks to Sirdan I now have an ACER 4230 with a 2 gig dual core processor, 160 gig HDD and Vista. So much time downloading updates and restoring and setting up favourite programs – but no shonky driver updaters!

I am now back in business, as you see. One or two things I am still catching up on.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2009 in awful warnings, computers