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Monthly Archives: April 2012

How To Avoid Spyware

Hackers are sneaky. In an attempt to steal your personal information, they can insert viruses and spyware into just about anything, even an image on a web page. The information they obtain could include your passwords, login information and surfing habits. And even the least seemingly-harmful spyware can cost you in the form of your computer having to use more resources.

Get Defensive

Taking action which will prevent the installation of spyware without your knowledge is the first step to avoiding it. Here are a few tips:

Windows Update is a great tool that, when set up for automatic downloading, can ensure that your computer is always protected against spyware threats. Knowing your sources before you download shareware will ensure that you only download programs from trusted sites.

Installing anti-virus software such as AVG, Malwarebytes or Microsoft Defender and then keeping it running in the background while your computer is on is a great way to prevent unwanted spyware.

Having a firewall can be yet another tool you can add to your anti-virus and malware scanners. A firewall puts an additional barrier between hackers and your computer. If you have a home wireless network for your internet, you may also want to consider using a separate router.

Microsoft Seeking Code Monkeys For Possible Xbox Skype Dev

While there were no official announcements about any developments, some Microsoft job postings at the beginning of the week hinted at the Microsoft development of Skype products for the Xbox. And rumor seems to be becoming more of a reality today as more details about the postings are revealed. Four openings on the company’s site called for developers who can help ‘bring the Skype experience on to the web’. This has led many to believe that it’s a sign that Skype and the Xbox are ready to team up. Other details of the job openings included a desire for coders having a strong technical background with the development of client or embedded software. This gives further clues about a possible team-up, but it isn’t yet clear whether the project will be stand-alone or not.

The De-Mystification Of The DVD

If you’re not technically-inclined and have ever gone shopping for blank DVDs, you were probably surprised by the many choices in front of you. Abbreviations like DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW most likely left you wondering why on earth anyone would want to put themselves through this technical torture.

You can avoid unnecessary money spent by knowing what these terms mean. DVDs come in two standard formats; the DVD-R, and the DVD+R/+RW.

The DVD-R(W)

The “R” in this DVD type stands for “read-only”, which means that anything recorded onto the DVD can be read, but not altered in any way.

The DVD+R(W)

“RW” for this DVD type stands for “read/write” and means that information recorded on them can be read and erased, and new information recorded. And adding information to this type of DVD can be done with ‘drag and drop’, much like you would place information onto a portable USB stick.

Knowing Which DVD Type To Buy

Because not all DVD players will be able to read all DVD types, it’s important to find out what format of DVD your home player can read before you buy or burn. This will either be NTSC or PAL. As well, check the speed rating of the disc, as this will tell you how long it will take to burn information on the DVD. Any DVDs you purchase should be rated at or above the speed of the DVD drive on your computer.

CISPA Rewrite Complete, But Worries Continue

Although the rewrite of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act is now complete, and, it has been stated, is not meant to endanger the privacy of Americans, many are still saying it’s not enough. Only minor tweaks to the act were made, leaving a legislation that is still very broad in scope. Experts are saying that should the legislation go forward – a vote is expected next week – it will allow the National Security Agency to access sensitive information such as e-mail content and internet history. Many advocacy groups are protesting the legislation, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and TechFreedom. The issue with the legislation lies, essentially, with one phrase: “notwithstanding any other provision of law”. Including this phrase would allow the legislation past the privacy policies of web companies, wiretap laws, medical records and many more rules designed to protect information.

Using A Wireless Keyboard With Your New Laptop

To many who are used to typing on a regular computer keyboard, having to switch to the smaller keyboard of a laptop can be incredibly frustrating. But wireless keyboards are available which can allow you the same ease and comfort that you enjoy while typing on your computer.

Check Your Laptop

First of all, you must check to see if your laptop has the capability for a wireless keyboard. This will require checking for Bluetooth or RF capability. Looking online for your laptop’s make and model should tell you whether or not you can enjoy the freedom of a wireless keyboard.

Avoid Interference

Before you install your new wireless keyboard, ensure that its receiver is located 8 or more inches away from interference from items like computer monitors, CPUs, metal objects, fluorescent lights and electric fans. Also ensure that the laptop is 8 inches from the keyboard, and that the keyboard and receiver have a direct line of sight between them. Then, install the batteries for the keyboard. The compartment should be located under it.

Installing The Keyboard

You will have to insert the CD that came with your keyboard in order to install the drivers. As well, you will have to plug in the keyboard’s receiver to your laptop via USB. Your keyboard will then be detected by your laptop, which will configure it automatically. If you are using Bluetooth, your keyboard can be activated by right clicking on the keyboard icon and pairing it with your laptop.

Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Not The Norm

Yesterday’s purchase of Instagram by social media giant Facebook will not be something the company does on a regular basis, said Mark Zuckerberg. The $1 billion acquisition marks the company’s first investment into a high-user service, and Facebook plans to build and grow the service independently. Instagram is a photo-sharing service which features filters that allow users to give any photo they’ve taken with their mobile device a vintage look.  Many eyebrows were raised by this move, including analysts who communicated its similarity to those purchases which occurred in the late 1990s during the ‘internet bubble’. But some are saying it was a smart move, as Instagram was Facebook’s biggest competitor in the photo sharing arena, something that is one of the most popular activities among Facebook’s over 800 million members. Zuckerberg says that many Instagram features will remain intact, including the ability to post to other social networks, and the choice to not share Instagram photos on Facebook.

Sharing Music On Facebook

Music can add a lot to your Facebook experience. By being able to share your favourite tunes, personal creations or using apps to listen to your music, you can add a layer to the connections you have with those on your friends list and enhance their Facebook experience as well. In addition to sharing music by pasting links to videos on the web, you can use a number of Facebook apps to share your music.


This app allows for the access to your music library from where ever you happen to be, and includes many options for users who want to share their music with others who have this app installed. It isn’t free, but offers a number of music sharing options.


This app lets you either upload or link directly to audio and video that are already stored on your computer. As with Spotify, once a track is uploaded, you can play your own tunes or listen to what others on your list who have the app have uploaded.


Audiophiles will love this app, which allows you to create a playlist of your favorite music videos. When used with Facebook, this app lets you post your playlists on your wall for your friends to enjoy.

Google Found Guilty Of Misleading Ads By Australian Court

Search giant Google received a ruling of guilty for the breaching of trade law today by the Australian Federal Court. Last year, a ruling by a lower court was handed down that Google was not responsible for any breaches by its advertisers of the country’s Trade Practices Act. But three Federal Court judges overturned that ruling unanimously, saying that the company was guilty of misleading and deceiving consumers. The deception centered around four ads that appeared on the Google Australia web site, ads which advertisers used competitor names in order to get their own ads to appear. It was decided that people searching for the competitor info would likely be misled by the practice. Although there will be no fine to Google, the company was ordered to make changes that would prevent this from happening again, as well as pay court costs to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.