Tech – for Everyone

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

Feels Like Monday | AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Off (News)

I hope everyone had a stellar holiday weekend.

I found the time this weekend to watch the headlines come in, look at some of the (tech) sale prices, and think about where this is all going — how things are changing. And, yes. They are changing.

One thing, I looked through the notes I keep on my repair workbench, and I compared this past week with the same week last year, and it became clear(er) to me that I am seeing a distinct decline in the number of severe malware infections in my shop. Largely, this is due not to people being less prone to fall for a rogue antivirus pop-open, (see Internet Plague – Rogue Antivirus) I don’t think, but because less people are on Windows XP now (at least in my area of the world).

The changes Microsoft made – starting with Vista (such as the UAC, DEP, and Random Memory Allocation) – and the switch to 64 bit, have – it seems – had a positive impact. Early last year I finally wrote a piece saying something I had been thinking for a while: It is time to face facts and finally dump Windows XP. (I remind you that in tech, a year is equivalent to 7 human years.) I have no doubt that you would be safer from viruses, cybercrime, and Identity Theft on a new Win7 machine than an old XP unit.

*     *     *

The headlines tell us that “the PC is dead” – that now all you need is a tablet. (Example: this landed in my Inbox not more than 5 minutes ago. Great Debate: Can PC makers survive in a post PC world?) I don’t recommend that you believe it, though.

*     *     *

Aside from switching from Desktops to ‘viewing tablets’, computing is “moving into the cloud“.. and so I see headlines like: Revealed: The jobs that will be wiped out by cloud computingAs businesses switch to cloud computing demand for some traditional IT roles will plummet“. (Don’t worry India and the Philippines. I think we’ll still keep shipping jobs to you for a while yet.) And yes. Some people are even beginning to question if cloud computing is secure… or can be secured..
* Gartner: Seven cloud-computing security risks Cloud computing is fraught with security risks, according to analyst firm Gartner.
* Cloud Computing: Secure or a Security Risk? …
In a few years, no-one will consider how secure cloud computing is because there will be few alternatives.

But the only thing certain about the future of tech – in my mind – is that it is uncertain. And that it is not going to stand still, but continue to change and evolve, exponentially. How? Well.. this might tell us a little: 10 wild new patents: The future of tech?USPTO has been granting lots of new patents, some with a surprisingly quick turnaround. Here are drawings of 10 noteworthy patents issued to top tech players last week.” View on site.
And you can see the new products from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (aka “CES”) which took place a little while ago.

And things continue to obey Moore’s Law in other ways too; namely, prices continue to decline. Tablets are no longer 1st Generation and $800, so if you have been thinking about getting one, but haven’t yet.. maybe now is the time? And if your Desktop unit is Windows XP.. you don’t need to wait for Windows 8 (I wouldn’t).. the time for a new unit is quite overdue. This article may help.. What to Look for When Buying a New Computer

I was going to write about the ridiculous world of SEO gamesmanship, but that will have to wait for another day. As will software piracy. (Are you aware that there are *people* who – for a fee – will write [phony] good reviews about your product/service.. and/or [phony] bad reviews [slams, even] about your competitors? And that Google’s ranking counts those the same as real reviews? Crazy!)

18 spam comments were posted to this blog – by infected machines (aka “bots”) – in the short time it took to write this..
The more things change.. the more they stay the same, eh?

News item: I just got a text on my T-Mobile phone saying the ATT merger is off. (Says to see, http://t-mobile.com/attoff.)

Today’s quote: ““Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 29, 2012 Posted by | computers, News, tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where Did My Icons Go?

A very upset person called my shop convinced that their machine had been “hacked”, probably had “spyware”, and they wanted me to “fix it”.

There was nothing terribly unusual about that, but their answer to one of my basic questions was unusual– what is happening that makes you think your machine has been hacked?
A: “When I turned on my machine, several of my icons were gone.”

That answer (and a few others) told me that, yes, my client’s machine had been altered, but not by a hacker unusedor spyware infection. Their machine had been altered by a “helpful” Windows feature called the Desktop Cleanup Wizard.

The Desktop Cleanup feature keeps track of your usage of the icons on your desktop and periodically (every 60 days) offers to remove the icons you have not recently used. Sometimes it will run when you aren’t looking.. which is what happened to my caller.

The icons are not deleted, they are moved to a folder and you can put them back on the desktop if you want. The folder is C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Desktop\Unused Desktop Shortcuts.
It will also place a shortcut to that folder on your Desktop, as shown.

Tip of the day: Turn off the automatic aspect of the Disk Cleanup tool, and avoid those pop-up balloons and “missing” icons.
1. Right-click a blank spot on the desktop, and then click Properties to open the Display Properties dialog box, click the Desktop tab.
2. Click Customize desktop to open the Desktop Items dialog box.
3. Click to clear the Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days check box.
Click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.
unchk

* To run the Wizard manually, click Clean Desktop Now on the Desktop Items dialog box. You can perform a manual cleanup at any time, even if you have disabled the wizard.

Today’s free link: lets you put yellow sticky notes on your Windows desktop, much like the popular Mac OS application. It is very simple and very customizable. (Far better than the Vista Sidebar widget.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 25, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, missing files, PC, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , | 5 Comments