Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader questions+slow Firefox (updated repost)

Unexpected demands on my time has caused me to have to re-post a prior article today. This “Reader questions answered” post appeared 11/10/07–

Today I’m going to answer some reader questions whose answers I think may be interesting and/or applicable to you, in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: I have been using Firefox for a while and I like it, but lately it seems to be as slowas IE. Has (my) Firefox been hit by a virus?
A: The short answer is “No”, but I would like to point out a few ‘guidelines’ about malware (malicious programs like viruses) before I discuss Firefox, and state quite clearly that if you at any time suspect that you’ve been infected, you should stop what you’re doing and run a “full” (or “deep”) antivirus scan and then do the same with at least one anti-spyware, and then –because malware can corrupt your anti-malware apps — use an online tool to scan your machine.
Malware hits your machine, not specific programs on your machine (though it may very well use a weakness in a certain program to gain access to your machine). It is absolutely vital in this day and age to have, and keep up-to-date with the latest “definitions”, an antivirus program. Of course I also recommend running a firewall, have at least two anti-spyware tools, keep Windows and your programs updated with the latest patches, and be smart about your Web surfing habits. Malware today is the tool of organized cyber criminals and its purpose is to steal your identity and passwords, and turn your computer into a robot under their control.

Now back to Firefox: Firefox, from Mozilla, has become the world’s most popular “alternative” Web browser, and one of its prime draws (besides security, that is) was it was faster than Internet Explore. As time has elapsed, Mozilla has been patching and updating and releasing new versions of Firefox.  Unfortunately, the effect of this is that Firefox is no longer the lean, mean, and fast browser that it once was.
The answer to the reader’s question is: no, you’re not hallucinating, and it’s not a virus. Firefox is slow now.

Loyal readers will remember an article I wrote about another alternative browser, Avant, which is what I have been using recently (click here to read the article). Those of you who have become disillusioned with Firefox may want to take a look.
Another very popular alternative browser is Opera, which I have used in the past and can highly recommend. The mobile version of Opera is extremely popular now.
And if you would like another choice, there’s also Maxthon, whose stock is rising.

[update: Firefox Beta 3has done much to correct the deficiencies which has caused the slow behavior of Firefox 2. If you’re a Firefox fan, it’s time to upgrade.]

Q: My mouse is not moving my cursor like it used to, do I need to buy an optical mouse?
A: Like your keyboard, your mouse needs some care and maintenance too. The odds are good that this reader simply has an accumulation of dirt on the rollers inside of the mouse, which sense the direction the trackball is rolling. Clean off the built-up grime, and your mouse will roll like new. (To read my article on keyboard cleaning, click here.)

Turn your mouse upside down, and turn the trackball’s coverplate counter-clockwise about a quarter turn. The cover will come off and release the trackball. You can now look inside your mouse. You will see three rollers — typically two roller bars, and one wheel. You will also see the built-up grime. Simply scrape it off with your fingernail, or a small screwdriver. You could also ‘disolve’ it with a Q-tip and denatured alcohol if you happen to have those things handy.
Once the gunk is off of the rollers, drop the trackball back in and replace the cover. Your mouse — and cursor — will be as good as new.

Today’s free link:What? You want more?! Okay. I’ve told you that you need an antivirus, but your “subscription” has expired — download the top-ranked free antivirus program AVG Antivirus Free Edition.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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January 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, keyboards and mice, PC, security, tech, Windows | , , | 1 Comment