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  • Don’t use your credit card on Buy.com!

    Posted on July 31st, 2009 admin No comments

    Turns out if you use your credit card on Buy.com or a bunch of other sites and don’t read the “pop-up” $10 off message and/or put a bogus email in there, you will be charged a monthly fee because buy.com will give you CC# to a 3rd party coupon site. Full Story


    If a page offers it (and buy.com does) use PayPal. If a site doesn’t, use PayPal with it linked credit card feature. You can get a temp visa number linked to any read credit card that is only available for so much credit (you name to amount) and the temp account is only good for so long then de-activates.

    Paypal also keeps your Credit Card info one step away from the site so the site has nothing valuable to be hacked.

    For more security, check out getting a security key from Palpal (only $5, worth it), or get a SecureID VIP from Verisign. The credit card version is $40 and fits in a wallet, the software can go on a number of phones (iPhones, Nokia smartphones and a few Motorola). They all use a syncronizing server number that is good for about 30secs, so even if someone is packet sniffing or doing a “man in the middle” attack on a Paypal session, the number will expire before they can do anything with the information.

    BTW all security keys (software and hardware) will also work on Ebay.

  • Like brushing your teeth

    Posted on July 22nd, 2009 admin No comments

    Backups are a MUST!

    You should backup your data like you should brush your teeth if you want to keep ’em!

    Yes, one should run a virus scanner, and a spyware scanner (and yes I am talking to you smug apple users, a few viruses (and no virii isn’t a word!) have started appearing on your OS too!), but the one thing that no computer platform can escape is hard drive crashes!

    It is not a question of if a drive will crash, it’s a WHEN!

    I have had 3 friends lose their hard drives in the last couple of weeks. Oh yes, they were going to take my advice about backups when they got around to it…BUT IT’S TOO LATE NOW!

    At minimum if all you do is email and surf, have a flashdrive backing up your email’s archive files and your browsers favourites folder, keep them and your computer original recovery disk and you should be all set.

    If you have a more complex computing environment, then you need a real backup solution.

    Remember: laptops; they are MORE prone to hard drive problems then the desktop that is stable and never moves.

    Even solidstate drives have a limit on writes, and you can have a logic crash or an accidently erased files. Microsoft even has had patches that erased or changed critical files in the OS causing to be unable to boot!

    Backup, backup, backup!

    For real hard drive security I recommend:

    1. Retrospect Backup by EMC, it makes fast great backups and creates a really nice recovery disk, you basically put it in your drive, walk away and it rebuilds everything. Cost: $125
    2. Download a copy of Speedfan, not only will it monitor and control your computer’s cooling fans but it will give you SMART status of hard drives and give you warning if one is failing. Cost: Free.
    3. If you haven’t taken my advice to backup, backup and backup, then grab a copy of Spinrite from GRC. It might MIGHT be able to resuscitate your hard drive. Cost: $85.00
    4. That Drive Clone Pro (see below) is also a great backup system, you have a clone of your hard drive so just slip it in you system if your main drive dies (great on business trips!).
    5. For the Apple users; Timemachine and SuperDuper(Also see previous post) are a fantastic backup combination!

    I am so paranoid, I have all my systems backing up every nice with two bi-monthly external eSATA hard drives that rotate between the house and my safety deposit box at my bank.

    Now go brush your teeth and BACKUP your hard drive! Your mouth and data will thank you!

  • Upgrading the apple.

    Posted on July 17th, 2009 admin No comments

    Ya; I know, been away too long.

    Been down with alergies (I know at 110F what crazy plant in it’s right mind would be pollinating…dunno but something is screwing(literally) with my sinuses)! First year too. Never had allergies before. Ah the joy of getting older.

    Guess it beats the alternative.

    Was over upgrading a friend’s iMAC G5, poor thing only had a 150gb hard drive and 128mb of memory. Now it has a 500gb hard drive and 2gb of memory. He had over run his hard drive with too much itune music. Now he has plenty of room.

    Dunno if any apple users are following me but if you have to do something like this a great cloner on the apple side is SuperDuper, Dave (shirtpocket) makes a terrific program and answers in real time. The software works exactly as advertized and it is very reasonable for $27USD for something that will save you re-installing and configuring apps for days, weeks or months. A terrific bonus is; it add features to TimeMachine including a bootable hard drive backup, SWEET!

    Highly Recommended!