SNUG met February 9th at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church and shared a popular Q&A session with panelists Sherry Foecking, David Henry, Myron Thorner and Frank Zacherl. A detailed report follows.
1. PC SECURITY: How would you like to have your PC programs monitored for the latest security patches? www.secunia.com not only does this but lets you automatically install those patches!
2. BEST ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAM: Here’s a nice review that explains, then recommends BitDefender. http://askbobrankin.com/is_bitdefender_the_best_antivirus.html Additional antivirus discussion: Microsoft Security Essentials is free and automatically updates. The windows firewall only checks what is coming in. Some other firewalls look at what’s coming in and what’s going out. The free version of AVG is good. You should only have one antivirus program running at one time and only one firewall running at one time. Otherwise they conflict with each other. If something is flagged by the antivirus program and you are unsure whether to delete it or not, you can quarantine it. This way if it is something needed to run one of your programs, you haven’t deleted it.
3. CLOUD BASED ANTIVIRUS: Panda’s system seems to work pretty well, even the free version. You install a very small manager that communicates with the AV program in the cloud that does the heavy lifting. New AV data is instantly available to all users. Download it from www.cloudantivirus.com
4. KEEP SOFTWARE UP TO DATE: Don’t be surprised if out-of-date software doesn’t work or you can’t get help for it. Download and install CNet’s free TechTracker app from http://tinyurl.com/7mglzue It makes it easy to keep your software up-to-date.
5. WINDOWS 8: What it’s all about. It is expected to come out in late 2012. The big thing is that it will provide touch screen capability, similar to smartphones and tablet computers. Bear that in mind if you were thinking of buying a new monitor that is not touch-screen capable. They are not doing away with the keyboard and the mouse, which will continue to be used in “legacy mode”. Get a sneak preview at
6. START-STOP VIDEOS: You’re watching a YouTube when the action stops. What can be done? Not much, because the speed of playback exceeds the speed of receiving it. You can watch the progress bar, wait, and let the advance part get well ahead before re–starting. Or you can download the whole thing and play it later. Google “download youtubes” and find several free apps that let you do this.
7. TEN DIGIT DIALING: It’s coming! Example: If you subscribe to Verizon’s Digital Voice it seems you may have to dial a full 10 digits even if it is to another subscriber in the same area code, like 813. The root cause is that we are running out of area codes.
8. ASK BOB RANKIN: It’s a helpful site if you want to keep up with what’s going on. http://www.askbobrankin.com
9. SLOW STARTING COMPUTER? If it takes 2 minutes or more, don’t shut it down, put it into sleep mode (or stand-by) Also install soluto’s anti-frustration app from https://www.soluto.com/ It identifies your background processes that take excessive time during boot up and recommends which are safe to remove.
10. COCOON: A new add-on to Firefox. It’s a cloud based approach to protecting your browsing. https://getcocoon.com “It’s another layer of protection in addition to what you may already have.”
11. Q&A: David, this message came through twice. A lot of my messages come through twice. Question for Q & A? Why does this happen?—Gail Benton. It may be that a setting on your e-mail has been changed. If this does not correct the problem, it might be a corrupted mail file.
12. Q&A: My diagnostic test tells me that I have programs in start up that are slowing my computer. I have never known what I can "uncheck".—Charlcy Griffin. Check the task manager, ctrl alt delete, task manager, to see how much of the CPU is being used. If a significant portion is used, go to start button, run, msconfig, ok and click start up tab. All the programs that are checked, start up when the computer starts. Google the programs to determine what they are and decide if any can be turned off.
13. Q&A: David, this question is from Sharon West, a student in Computers II with Caye Wheeler. Her uncle told her the java script on her computer was not up to date. We told her in class that we thought usually a message came up automatically when it was time to update. Can the panel shed some light on this, what java is and what she needs to do.—Gail Benton. It usually updates automatically or a message comes up asking if you want to update. Sometimes you might have to uninstall a program and reinstall the current version of it.