It’s too damn quiet around here

JayJayEver since we opened the store, part of coming here was being greeted by JayJay. He was the Cairn Terrier that so many of you played with when you brought your computer in or picked it up.

Many of you brought treats and brought your children to play with him. He loved having visitors.

Unfortunately, he was stricken with kidney disease about a year and a half ago and finally succumbed to it last month. It was one of the toughest days of my life when I had to escort him to the Rainbow Bridge. I had always promised him that I wouldn’t let him suffer. I lived up to that promise, but nothing I’ve ever done hurt so badly.

To those that knew and loved JayJay, you might be interested in the eulogy that I wrote for him. I think that I did a decent job of capturing the soul of my Little Buddy.

JayJay’s Eulogy

Another Scam To Avoid

I don’t post much about scams etc., but this one has been around long enough and has actually hooked several of our customers.

 

Fred Langa of Windows Secrets, one of my favorite newsletters has written an excellent article:

https://windowssecrets.com/top-story/security-alert-bogus-tech-support-phone-calls/

It’s a worthwhile read and I would suggest signing up for the free subscription while there.

How to Use Disposable Email Addresses and Avoid Spam

I’ve always enjoyed Gizmo’s site. A good one to ad to your reader.
Here’s a worthwhile article:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-use-disposable-email-addresses-and-avoid-spam.htm

Start menu alternatives for Windows 8

Transitioning to Windows 8 is tough. This article – from the New York Times (of all places) offers some pretty good advice:

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/tip-of-the-week-start-menu-alternatives-for-windows-8/

 

Securing your home wireless connection

Without getting stupid we suggest the following:

Stay up-to-date with patches and updates

As with any computing device, your router has special operating software called firmware. Most commercial companies will release patches or updates to that firmware. While these are not frequent, they can often fix security vulnerabilities in the hardware. You can likely check for updates in the router administration area.

Another effective practice is to ensure all updates and patches are applied to the devices connected to the network. Gaining control of one device on the network, especially an older, forgotten machine, gives an attacker a foothold to move on to other, more valuable targets. If you’re not using a computer or other device, turn it off, or at least disconnect it from the Internet, if possible.

 

Choose a strong administrator password

Most routers require an administrator password to access the setup and configuration settings. However, the default passwords for these routers are generally weak, and some have none at all.

You should change the default password to something strong. Once you have set up your wireless network, you will probably not need to use this password frequently, so you can use a very strong password without worrying about the difficulty of typing it in. If you do lose the password, you will have to reset the router to factory settings and set up your network again.

 

Disable remote administration

Many wireless networking routers offer the ability to allow administration of the router remotely, from anywhere on the Internet. Unless you require remote administration and are very familiar with WLAN administration and security, it’s a good idea to disable this feature. Otherwise, anyone connected to the Internet could conceivably gain administrative access to your router and network.

 

Encryption

For best security, you should enable or set an encryption password. All Wi-Fi equipment will support a form of encryption; you should choose the type that is most secure and will work across all the devices you need to connect.

If possible, use WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access). If you are using a home wireless network, you should choose WPA2 Personal. Some older devices may be unable to connect to a WPA2 network; in these cases, use WPA.

There are still some old devices that may not even be able to connect to a WPA network, and will require WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy). While WEP encryption is slightly better than none at all, WEP is not considered secure, and you should avoid using it. If you do need to use WEP encryption, be sure to choose a very strong password, and change it relatively frequently.

 

Change your default SSID

Your SSID (Service Set Identifier) is the name of your network. Pick something that is personally identifiable, but not externally recognizable.

 

MAC address filtering

This won’t stop anybody but your lame neighbor. Not worth the effort.

Review of free antivirus programs

We just ran across this review of the various free antivirus programs currently available.

It’s published by a reliable site and worth your consideration. We continue to recommend Microsoft Security Essentials to our clients due to the light footprint and adequate detection rates, but have no problem with any of the programs reviewed except those that don’t offer real-time protection.

Our second choice would be Comodo.