Computer Organization, Inc.
(Member Copies Only)
Volume 32 January 2007 Number 1
IN THIS ISSUE
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING AND ELECTION ................................. 3
Deals Column, by Bob (The Cheapskate) Click .................................. 3
Windows Vista on the Cusp, A Perspective on Vista,
by Jan Fagerholm .............................................................................. 6
U3 Drives, by Diane George................................................................... 9
Coming to a Computer Near You—Internet Explorer 7,
by Ira Wilsker .................................................................................. 10
Windows XP: Remote Assistance, by Dick Maybach ........................ 12
The New, the Best, and the Worst, by Pim Borman ........................... 14
Microsoft Windows Vista, by Mike Moore ........................................... 18
Great Games for the Holidays Are Here, by Timothy Everingham ... 20
Ram & Reason: Enter the Dragon: Comodo, by Rob Rice ................ 23
Accessories for that New Christmas Computer, by Ira Wilsker ....... 27
A Letter From Former Editor Bill Agnew ............................................ 29
Board & General Meeting Minutes, by Carol Sanzi............................ 30
SIGs: IBM, IBM Intermediate, Advanced, & Novice IBM Group ........ 31
DATA BUS Deadline .............................................................................. 31
Other Groups Calendar of Events....................................................... 32
Computer Resource People................................................................. 33
SEMCO CALENDAR—January/February ........................................... 34
Map & Directions to SEMCO Meeting at ArvinMeritor Building ...... 35
from the DealsGuy NOTICE OF ANNUAL
Greater Orlando Computer UG
by Bob “The Cheapskate” Click MEETING AND
My wife and I decided to treat ourselves The annual meeting of the
to another cruise, and this time we were members of the
not disappointed. We chose Holland SouthEastern Michigan
America’s MS Volendam for a ten day
southern Caribbean cruise, and, unlike
our experience on HA’s Zaandam, we Inc. will be held Sunday,
were happy with the way the Volendam January 4, 007 at
did things. Actually, we chose it mostly :0 pm at ArvinMeritor,
for the price, but also because it was 5 West Maple Rd.,
Holland America, since Carnival had
some slightly lower prices for that date.
Troy, Michigan. The
Our only complaint might have been election of Officers and
poor table service at our dinner seating, Members-at-Large of the
although it improved toward the end Board of Directors of the
of the cruise. While we’ve had better Corporation will take place
food on cruise ships, the food on the
Volendam was not bad.
at the annual meeting.
I liked the ice cream bar that was
open at certain times each day offering
four different flavors of hard ice cream, largest library I have seen, although it
one sherbet, and one soft ice cream was not a really large ship. The captain
daily with all the trimmings, and plenty said the Volendam had been refurbished
of other deserts. All over the ship were nine months ago.
stands holding sterilization cream for I signed up for time at the Internet
your hands. Most of them were used Café, but working with their machines
voluntarily, but when you entered the was a challenge, considering the mouse
dining room, an attendant squirted it usually didn’t work well, and the
into your hand as you entered. I was small curser was hard to follow on any
impressed with their efforts to prevent computer I tried. They occasionally had
sickness, and I washed my hands quite discounts on the service. I bought 00
frequently. minutes for $55. I asked if the Internet
The entertainment was top notch service would be a freebie when I took
each evening, always something to enough cruises, using Princess Lines as
look forward to. There was only one a comparison. I was told no, and that
evening without entertainment, but that the free Internet service would soon be
was the big barbecue party by the pool, ending on Princess Lines, since this ISP
complete with the ice sculpturing, and was taking over as their service provider.
the food was great. Even our cabin was Some folks found free Internet service
a nice size and had a king sized bed, a at a couple of ports, but I only found out
nice sofa, and a chair. That ship had the about it on the ship that night.
Something of interest was that Another Tool For Restoring Your MS
Sprint (our Cell phone provider) had Office Files
told us we would be able to use our cell Smart PC Solutions Inc. announces
phone in the Bahamas and the US Virgin the release of Smart Data Recovery,
Islands if we set it to roam, but we were the newest freeware utility to restore
surprised when our phones found the MS Office documents, photos, music,
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Carrying the heavy bottles around while as hard disk drives (IDE, ATA, SATA
shopping was another story though. and SCSI), flash cards, multimedia
Deal Reminder cards, USB drives, PC cards, memory
The Medistick deal should still be good sticks, secure digital cards, and floppy
this month so don’t wait any longer. disks. It handles zip files and files on
Click on http://www.medistick.ch/ your digital camera. It also restores all
en/contact and mention the DealsGuy files and folders on a disk drive that,
column in the ‘comments’ area. according to the Windows notifications,
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That’s it for this month. Meet me anti-malware programs that work (as
here again next month if your editor the phrase goes) close to the metal.
permits. This column is written to Corel Graphics Suite X, WordPerfect
make user group members aware of X, and Adobe Creative Suite all run
special offers or freebies I have found well on Vista (as does the ever reliable
or arranged, and my comments should OpenOffice). Roxio Easy Media Creator
not be interpreted to encourage, or 9 and Nero Burning ROM 7 fail with
discourage, the purchase of any installer errors. Present versions of
products, no matter how enthused I Norton SystemWorks and Executive
might sound. Bob (The Cheapskate) Software Diskeeper refuse to install.
Click firstname.lastname@example.org. McAfee ViruScan installed, but made
Visit my Web site at http://www. Vista unbootable, even in Safe Mode.
dealsguy.com. I had to completely reinstall Vista from
scratch. [Check the vendors’ Web sites
Windows Vista on the Cusp for updates and further information.
A Perspective on Vista —Ed.]
By Jan Fagerholm Here’s some of the stuff I’ve learned
to love and hate in Vista, up close,
I have a confession to make. Though personal, and arbitrary. Nits and Picks:
I am a confirmed Linux geek, I have Picks:
been running Windows Vista. While I • System Services and system monitors
tell myself that I am preparing myself have been folded into Task Manager.
for what my clients will be running Services are included along with
soon, a lot of the time I spend in Vista processes, finally putting the running
is because I like learning new stuff. I’ve system stuff in one place. Expanded
been through the progression of Betas monitoring features give graphical
and have arrived at RC, two weeks information on these items similar
before Microsoft freezes the code and to other operating systems, including
sends it to the DVD burners. who’s using which process.
This is not a “review” of Vista as • Removal of some sophomoric
such—computer publications have terminology, i.e. “My Documents” is
been running articles on Vista for replaced with, simply, “Documents,”
months—but rather a collection of likes “My Computer” is replaced with
and dislikes that I have gathered while “Computer,” etc.
using it for the last year. Don’t expect • The Address line in most windows
objectivity here—I’m simply going to displays the path, the way Macintosh
point to improvements that have stood OSX has done for years. Similarly,
out or “improvements” that have bit me. progress bars show up as a transparent
These are some of the things you might overlay in the Address line, like
want to know before plunking down OSX. The path display is interactive,
your hard earned plastic for Vista. allowing you to go to any point in
On the whole, Vista will swallow the path directly as an alternative to
the mainstream applications that you “Browse,” again like OSX.
are running now. There are exceptions, • The Aero theme. It’s pretty, and
but these are usually utilities and handles transparency intelligently.
By effectively fading the window title as Alt-Tab. You must cycle through
bar and frame, it makes the windows every window to get to the one you
contents the focus of what you see. want. This is in contrast to the XGL/
This is one of those small things that Compiz window switcher in Linux,
have a large psychological effect on which beats Flip D hands down for
concentration. But see Nits. usability. Macintosh OSX’s Finder is
• Thumbnail previews of programs also much more direct. Worse, when
in the Task Bar when you move the Aero breaks, so does Flip D.
cursor over them. This is particularly • Most of the interface windows have
useful if you have several instances replaced menus with simplified
of a single program running. You can toolbars. They are not customizable.
quickly see which one has the content Many of the functions I use regularly
you want. are invisible. You can get the menus
• Mixed feelings about the changes back if you fish around. (Hint—go
to Security Center. While various to Control Panel/Folder Options/
security features are better integrated View tab and check “Always Show
into Security Center (such as Menus”).
Internet Options), and they have • By default, Vista enables User Account
more granularity, User Account Control in the Security Center. Even if
Control is pure pain. Vista security you are the only user on the computer
(like Windows XP security) is both (and thus administrator by default),
superficial and intrusive compared to User Account Control will pop up a
Macintosh OSX or Linux. dialog every time you (or any software
Nits: you run) tries to access system areas.
• They rearranged almost everything. This results in several warning
Too little is logical consolidation, and dialogs getting in your face while
too much of it seems serendipitous. performing many normal actions.
After the Start menu (which is also Worse, it blocked activation of several
changed), almost everything has been programs I installed, stopping the
relocated and re-nested. This new program from running or crippling
organization is supposed to make it into non-activation mode. (Here’s
things easier for the new user, but I your Top Tip of the Day—you can
don’t see how going through more stop this behavior by going to Control
dialogs to get the same thing done is Panel/User Accounts, selecting your
supposed to make things “easier.” If user account, then clicking the “Turn
you are an experienced user, you can User Account Control on or off”
throw away most of what you know link (and clicking the “Continue”
about where things are. button on the warning dialog, this
• The Aero theme. While esthetically feature pops up), un-checking the
pleasing, it turns itself off when you “User Account Control (UAC)…”
run certain applications. It doesn’t item, then clicking “OK.” A reboot is
always come back when you exit the required. This will make Vista work
application. like old-fashioned Windows XP.) [It
• The “Flip D” window switcher. also disables one of the big security
It’s pretty, but it works just the same features in Vista. —Ed.]
• We are in for a sea change of hard- card. While Vista will install in 5 MB
ware and software upgrades that we of RAM, Microsoft recommends GB
haven’t seen since Windows XP came minimum for “the best experience.”
out. Count on upgrading most, if not You will want to invest in an upgraded
all, of your anti-virus / anti-malware video card to get the best out of Vista,
software, a lot of your PCI cards, and though. Video RAM is important; Vista
a lot of your peripherals, especially capable video cards with 8 MB of
scanners. Many hardware and software video RAM and moderate performance
manufacturers are using the impending are available for around $50, and well
release of Vista to drop support of a worth the cost if you are moving to
lot of their older products. Vista. You will definitely want this if
Vista is almost upon us. While not you are moving to Vista to freshen your
a compelling upgrade from Windows desktop experience. You need it to get
XP, it is inevitable, because it will all the new toys working.
be on the next computer you buy. It I am not as enthusiastic about Vista
has some useful and some annoying as many reviewers are. I have had the
updates. The revamped interface is benefit of experiencing most of Vista’s
clearly aimed at the new user, but it “new” features, debugged and often
makes the experienced Windows user better implemented on OSX and Linux.
suffer, because it requires a relearning of Microsoft rightly imitated these; many
things you already know. Vista security of them are useful and compelling. But
is somewhat improved compared to they are not new.
Windows XP, but the fundamental If you are a casual computer user,
problem remains that security is tacked you will wind up with Vista on your
on to the surface of the operating computer sooner or later just because
system, compared to OSX or Linux, it will come on a new PC that you will
where security is architecturally built eventually buy. If you are a computer
in. If you are considering upgrading enthusiast, you will have to decide
to Vista for security reasons, save your whether it is worth both the cost of
money; spend less and get equivalent hardware upgrades and the purchase
protection from security software for price of Vista to move into the latest and
the proven and reliable Windows XP greatest that Microsoft can offer. For the
you are using now. short term, this will not be a painless
Should you upgrade your present experience; you will have to make many
computer to Vista? That depends on your adjustments to the way you work and
hardware and your definition of value. suffer several incompatibilities in both
If your computer is more than three hardware and software to get into Vista.
years old, you will not enjoy many of If you are a casual computer user and not
the glitzy new features that Vista offers. certain if overcoming these problems is
It wants a lot of CPU and graphical worth the effort, I’ll offer my standard
horsepower to run the cool visual stuff. advice for new Microsoft operating
On older hardware, you will get what systems: wait until SP before you take
Microsoft calls an “XP-like experience.” the plunge. For the adventurous, I say,
Read: you will need to increase your “Follow me, and dodge the slings and
installed RAM and upgrade your video arrows! The pain is slight, and I can
endure it!” The challenge of making work on them on another computer
it work is part of the fun. And on the (also with Office installed), without a
other end, you may find that you can trace of the files being left on the second
eventually get some work done on the computer. This means that you can take
computer… your work with you without a laptop,
Jan Fagerholm is Assistant Editor, use a computer elsewhere, like in an
PC Community, Hayward, California Internet cafe, without having to copy
and can be reached at http://www.pcc. the files, including your e-mail, to the
org and jan-f(at)pacbell.net. new computer.
There is no restriction against Other applications that come
any non-profit group using this preloaded include antivirus software
article as long as it is kept in context for the flash drive, password storage
with proper credit given the author. and management, SKYPE, Zinio Reader
The Editorial Committee of the for digital magazines, ACDSee for
Association of Personal Computer User photo management, and Migo (more
Groups (APCUG), an international about that later). In addition, there are
organization of which this group is a other free and commercial applications
member, brings this article to you. available at the U Central site that
are accessed from the drive, including
U3 Drives How does this work? The flash drive
By Diane George has a small partition that pretends to be
a CD-ROM, so that your computer will
This month’s column is half tips and half autorun a launch pad that makes the rest
product review. I recently got interested of the drive storage accessible—did I
in U drives, partly as a result of some mention that it is password protected
software I saw at the Southwest PC and can be encrypted? When you start
User Group conference in San Diego up, a launchpad for the drive is opened.
in July. You can password protect the flash drive
What is U, and why do I want to itself, so the first thing you see is a login
know? It’s not the successor to the rock screen. The launch pad is part of the
band U. U is an open-standard platform U system and is the same on different
that allows you to take applications and brands of drives. The launchpad gives
store and launch them on a flash drive. you access to the applications on the
Several flash drives are offered with drive and is required to remove the
U with pre-loaded U applications on drive—you must use the launchpad to
them. Verbatim, Memorex, Ativa and eject the disk, or you risk damaging
SanDisk all offer U smart drives. Go the drive.
to http://www.u.com/smartdrives/ When you plug in the drive, your
default.aspx for a list of U drives and system recognizes it as a USB drive,
more information. and you can see it in My Computer, as
The drives come with software a very small .78 MB CD-ROM drive,
preloaded, such as an application that that will autoplay. It also appears as a
will allow you to take Office documents GB removable drive that you can copy
created on your desktop computer, and files on like any other flash drive. In
general, the device works, but I have a There is no restriction against
couple of quibbles. I have had difficulty any non-profit group using this
with installation on one of my two article as long as it is kept in context
computers, and I have not yet been able with proper credit given the author.
to determine what the problem is. The The Editorial Committee of the
first time I put the drive in, it caused my Association of Personal Computer User
computer to slow to a crawl, and it never Groups (APCUG), an international
did recognize the drive. Only when I had organization of which this group is a
the drive inserted at startup did it allow member, brings this article to you.
me to use it. I have tried it on two other
Coming to a Computer
systems, and it worked fine.
One of the software applications
Internet Explorer 7
allows you to save selected files, Outlook By Ira Wilsker
e-mail, contacts, tasks, and calendar
information, and creates a desktop that Possibly by the time that you read
represents the desktop on a particular this, you may have the release version
computer. You can create two of these of Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) on your
desktops. When you take the device computer. You may have to do little to
to another computer and launch the get it, but you should be aware that if you
software, you have the choice of using have Windows XP, with Service Pack
either desktop. A tab is added to the (SP) installed, the finished release of
top of your screen, and when you click IE7 will automatically be included in the
on it, you see thumbnails. Each picture periodic updates pushed by Microsoft
is the desktop of the other computers. to most XP computers. According to
When you click on one of the names Microsoft, the user will have a choice
to install the new IE7, or retain the
or images, your desktop changes—the
current version, most likely IE6, on
My Documents folder contains only the
the computer. [IE 7 is available now
items that you brought from the other
through Windows update, or for those
computer, and your e-mail client will
who do not want to use Windows update,
show the contents of your inbox, and
you can download now directly from
the other shortcuts are different. Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.
I haven’t figured out yet why some com/windows/ie/downloads/default.
of the icons are from the desktop of mspx. —Ed.]
the computer I am on and some are The previous version of IE, version 6,
from the computer on the flash drive. has been out for several years, and while
I need more time with the applications there have been numerous security
and will write a follow-up. In the and feature updates, it has lost a small
meantime, these drives present some portion of its market share to the more
interesting possibilities and should be feature rich and secure upstarts such
fun to explore. as Mozilla’s very popular Firefox.
Diane George is Webmaster for PC IE7 is clearly meant to battle head to
Community, California and can be head with Firefox in order to maintain
reached at http://www.pcc.org or its dominance in the browser field by
digeorge(at)sbcglobal.net. incorporating many features already
available in Firefox, such as tabbed (Really Simple Syndication) format can
browsing, as well as greatly enhanced also be included in the favorites. When
security. It should be noted that IE7 a Website is accessed that contains
will be integrated in the upcoming an RSS feed, an icon appears on the
release of Microsoft’s new version of toolbar allowing for the RSS feed to be
Windows, Vista. previewed or added to the favorites with
Internet Explorer 7 has a new look a single click. If an RSS feed is selected,
and feel with a more modernistic and the user will be automatically notified
streamlined frame with less clutter, of any new content on that feed, with
and more space for Web pages to be the information displayed in a browser
displayed. Many users like to print window. Another feature that has been
Web pages, and one common problem popular with the competitive browser
in the past was that many Web pages is tabbed browsing, where multiple
were formatted wider than the paper it Websites can be opened simultaneously,
was being printed on, either truncating with each site being shown as a labeled
(cutting off) data at the margin, or tab on the top of the browser window. In
printing the edge on subsequent pages. IE6 and previous IE versions, each new
IE7 offers an automated scaling to fit Webpage appeared in a new window
the Webpage to the paper, as well as an if multiple pages were opened. In IE7,
option to only print selected text. Another a single window is opened (unless
feature that has been included in Firefox otherwise selected), multiple Web pages
is an integral search box, where search are loaded into that single window, with
terms can be directly entered. Microsoft each page selected by clicking on the
has included an integral search box in respective tab on the top of the page.
IE7 that defaults to Microsoft’s own Tabs can be formed into groups with
MSN search engine, but offers a wide multiple pages (home pages or startup
selection of non-Microsoft search pages) selectable for automatic loading
utilities. Other search utilities can be when IE7 is loaded. Another feature
added, and the default search engine that might be useful to some users is the
can be changed from MSN to an zoom feature that allows parts of Web
alternative search engine or resource pages to be zoomed in or out in order to
with a single mouse click. In addition make them more readable.
to the traditional search engines such as Security has been an issue, with IE6
Google, Yahoo, and AllTheWeb, other being a popular target for miscreants
searches can be performed from the and malware. IE7 is hardened to
search box. These other searches can contemporary security risks, and offers
include news sites (such as USA Today, better protection from Web born attacks
CNN, or Cnet), shopping sites (such as than its predecessors. Included in the
EBay or Amazon), or other information security offerings is a phishing filter
providers. to help protect the user from identity
Bookmarks, also referred to as theft by warning of potential spoofed
“favorites,” have been reorganized, Websites. The address bar will show
allowing quick access to the bookmarks, the true address of Websites, not the
as well as the browsing history. News spoofed but realistic looking addresses
and information feeds using the RSS commonly used by phishers to steal
identities or other personal and financial that the XP version is properly licensed
information, a definite security boost. before allowing IE7 to be downloaded.
Microsoft offers a voluntary opt-in Since IE7 is already available for free
feature that frequently updates the download from Microsoft, and offers
browser with protection from the latest enhanced security along with many
Web based security threats. Many other desirable features, I recommend
malware writers write their software to that all eligible users download it as
take advantage of the Active-X engine soon as possible, and not wait for it to
integral with IE. In version 7 Active-X is be included in an upcoming security
better controlled than in earlier versions, update.
making it more difficult for illicit code WEBSITE:
to be executed in the browser, offering http://www.microsoft.com/ie
enhanced protection. Ira Wilsker is an APCUG Director;
To help protect the privacy of the Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont
user, opening a single window will TX; Program Director of Management
allow the user to clear the cache of Development at the Lamar Institute
stored Websites, and delete passwords, of Technology, Beaumont TX; and a
cookies, and form data from the hard radio TV show host. Contact him at
Once Vista is released, IE7 will offer
additional features to Vista users. One Windows XP: Remote
worthwhile feature is what is called Assistance
“protected mode,” which prevents By Dick Maybach
malicious code from accessing any
part of the hard drive other than the “With Remote Assistance a tutor can
temporary Internet files, thus making it see a student’s Windows desktop and
difficult for malware to adversely affect operate his or her computer over the
the computer. IE7 integrated with Vista Internet.”
will also offer an integral “parental Because of BCUG members’ interest
control” feature that will allow parents and experience with PCs, many of us are
to control what their children access asked for help by friends and family.
on the World Wide Web (WWW). Often, those seeking help live across
Vista and IE7 can also store the child’s town or across the country, and it is
browsing history, allowing the parent to inconvenient to visit them. Fortunately,
review what the child has accessed; this Windows XP (both the Home and Pro
history cannot be easily deleted by the version) provides a solution. Using
child without the parent’s permission. its Remote Assistance feature, a tutor
The parent can also select a safety level can see a student’s Windows desktop
that can control the Internet and other and operate his or her computer over
computer activities of a child. the Internet. This allows you to assist
Internet Explorer requires Windows someone almost anywhere in the world.
XP with Service Pack (SP) installed, Remote Assistance supports an audio
or the higher Windows XP Professional link and live file transfers. During the
x64 edition. Microsoft will run its session, you can speak with the person
controversial WGA utility to verify you are helping, and exchange files
between the two PCs as easily as you Properties, select Remote, check Allow
can move them between directories. Remote Assistance invitations to be
To use Remote Assistance, both sent…, select Advanced, check Allow
parties must be using Windows XP, this computer to be controlled… While
either Home or Pro. The operation you are here, reduce the time that
will be smoother if both have high- requests are active to something like
speed Internet access, but this is not four hours (the 0-day default is far
required. Also, both parties should too long.) Allowing Remote Assistance
have microphones or combination requests does add a small security risk;
microphone-earphone headsets, which I recommend that you disable it when
are available inexpensively from many you aren’t using it.
computer hardware dealers. Without Use the following procedure to start
this, you will have to juggle a telephone a session. (It assumes you use MSN
during the whole session or use text Messenger.)
chat, both of which are inconvenient. • Both parties start MSN Messenger and
Finally, Universal Plug-and Play sign in.
(UPnP) must be enabled on your • The student requests assistance (Start
hardware router, if you have one. This » Help and Support » Invite a friend
appears to be the default for those used to connect to your computer with
in homes, but if you are behind your Remote Assistance » Invite someone
company’s, college’s, or some other to help you » select the friend from
organization’s firewall, you may not be the Messenger list » select Invite)
able to use Remote Assistance. UPnP • The tutor accepts the request.
does entail a small security risk, which Both can now see the student’s
many organizations won’t tolerate. desktop, but only the student can
It will also be helpful to use MSN control it; that is, the tutor’s mouse and
Messenger to set up the session. Without keyboard do not affect the student’s
this, you will have to use e-mail, which desktop. For many problems, this is all
will slow down the dialog immensely. that is needed.
(As a bonus, Messenger will allow Once the session has begun, you can
you to make free audio or video calls control the interaction.
anywhere in the world.) Both the • If you are using a high-speed
Messenger software and service are connection, tell the program so. (Click
free. You can download the software Settings and check High Quality
from Microsoft. (The fastest way to Connection.)
find the correct download page is to do • To start a voice conversation, click
a Google search for “MSN Messenger.” Start Talking. Again, one party
During the installation process, you will requests, and the other accepts the link.
be led through the process of obtaining This, of course, requires a microphone
a Messenger account.) or a headset at each PC. You can use
XP enables Remote Assistance instant messaging for conversations,
requests by default; however, check but this is much slower than talking
to be sure that this is so. The error and can be confusing.
message, if it isn’t, is not helpful. • The tutor can request control by
(Right-click on My Computer, select clicking Take Control. If the student
accepts, both now control the student’s posed by atomic size and increasing
desktop. This allows the tutor, for influence of quantum effects. We may
example, to demonstrate the correct have to learn how to do more with what
procedures and to make changes in we already have if we want to further
the student’s configuration. improve computers so that they’ll be
• Either party can send a file, by clicking able to predict the weather or model
Send a File. the Big Bang, to mention just a few
• Hitting Esc allows either party to challenges.
revoke control, kill the voice link, or From an electro-mechanical
stop the session. standpoint every digital computer, no
Remote Assistance provides a very matter how primitive or advanced,
valuable tool that allows PC users consists of on-off electrical switches
to help each other without leaving connected in a circuit. In semiconductor-
their homes, but it hasn’t received the based systems the binary 0’s and ’s are
recognition it deserves. represented by electrons that carry a
Dick Maybach is a member of the negative charge, and missing electrons,
Brookdale Computer User Group, called “holes,” with positive charge.
New Jersey http://www.bcug.com/ That is simple and straightforward
N2nd(at)att.net enough. But wait, there is more...
There is no restriction against There can be no electricity without
any non-profit group using this magnetism. They are like heads and
article as long as it is kept in context tails, yin and yang, up and down.
with proper credit given the author. Electrons, the elemental carriers of
The Editorial Committee of the electricity, also are elementary magnets.
Association of Personal Computer User You can, very much simplified, think of
Groups (APCUG), an international them as spinning spheres of electricity,
organization of which this group is a tiny electromagnets in other words.
member, brings this article to you. Depending on the direction of spin,
the magnetism points up or down.
The New, the Best, and Technology making use of the magnetic
the Worst properties of electrons is often referred
Collected By to as “spintronics.” So far, computers
Pim Borman ignore the magnetic state of the
Spintronics electrons, but what if we learned to use
No one, fifty years ago, could have it for additional information storage?
foreseen or even imagined how the About 50 years ago scientists
advent of ever more powerful computers learned how to manipulate and record
would revolutionize science, technology, the magnetic properties of electrons
commerce, and communications. Vastly and certain atomic nuclei to examine
improved algorithms and architectural the composition of substances, using
structures have been important, but the a technique called Nuclear Magnetic
crucial factor has been the ability to Resonance (NMR). Eventually that
cram ever smaller and more complex technique was extended to examine
circuits on a semiconductor chip. That the characteristics of human tissue.
ability is now approaching a limit The name was changed to Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) to avoid powerful, but also easier to use.
the term “nuclear” with its negative Because magnetic semiconductors
connotations, although it has nothing to retain their logic states without power,
do with damaging radiation or nuclear systems could be instant-on and use
energy in this case. less power. Also, principal functions of
More recently, in the late 90’s, a computer, such as logic operations,
scientists at IBM learned how to use communication between circuits, and
spintronics to make very small, highly data storage, could be integrated in a
sensitive read-heads for use with single material, resulting in smaller and
computer hard drives. The sensors faster computers with high data-storage
consist of a microscopic sliver of capacities and fast performance.
semiconductor sandwiched between Making spintronic computers
two thin magnetic layers. The top layer possible depends on chemists
is a permanent, “hard” magnet, but formulating magnetic semiconductors
the bottom layer is a soft magnet that able to support the technology. Much
changes magnetic orientation easily as progress is being made, but it will
it passes over the magnetic regions on take a while longer. Not surprisingly,
the disk. If both magnets in the head this article was based on an article
are oriented in the same direction, in Chemical and Engineering News,
electrons align magnetically in the same August 8, 006.
direction and move easily through the Cookies With Gas?
semiconductor. If the magnetic layers Would you believe Internet via the
point in opposite directions, the electron gas meter? A San Diego-area start-up
spin is reversed as it moves through the company, Nethercomm, claims to
semiconductor, affecting its mobility have developed technology to send
and therefore the amount of current. broadband and TV services through
Clever, isn’t it? Practically all newer the underground natural gas pipes. A
hard drives use that technology now. converter box attached to your gas meter
If computers could be designed receives the signals and sends them to
to use both the electrical charge and your computer or TV set. The headline
the magnetic state of electrons, each of the article in USA Today (9//06)
unit of information could have four says it all: “Gas-line broadband a pipe
different quaternary values (0,,, and dream?” (Thanks, Duane Morrow).
) instead of the two binary values A Linux Epiphany
(0 and ) currently used, resulting in I wasn’t going to mention Linux
greatly increased performance. But this month, but... James Derk, our
the semiconductors must be magnetic local computer guru known for his
to recognize the magnetic ‘up’ or syndicated weekly computer columns
‘down’ state of electrons. Magnetic for Scripps-Howard News Service,
semiconductors are few and far between, has been pooh-poohing desktop Linux
and so far none remain magnetic at room for years. Guess what? His column in
temperature. the Evansville Press and Courier of
If the material problems can be September 8, 006 is headed “It may
solved, we may be looking at future be time to give Linux another try.”
computers that are not only more He specifically mentions the Ubuntu
Linux distribution which, he writes, just as easy to synchronize my photo
is “…painfully easy to get up and folders with their backups on an external
running…without spending a dime.” hard drive. SyncToy will do the job
Derk keeps his columns at http://www. quickly and easily, using an intuitive
cyberdads.com/blog.html. You can interface. It is also handy to synchronize
also find them on the Scripps Howard genealogy data with backups, as well as
Web site at http://www.shns.com/ letter folders and other documents.
under “Columns…Business, Finance, SyncToy is one of the Microsoft
and Technology…Compute.” PowerToys, free utilities programmed
Reap What You Sow! by MS programmers, but not officially
I’ve been getting bored with being a supported. They are available for free
one-man Linux SIG in the SW Indiana download at http://snipurl.com/7r9b
PC Users Group. I suggested to our new (or do a Google search for “powertoys
Region 6 Advisor of the Association download”) and include such utilities
of PC User Groups (APCUG), Jerry as TweakUI that gives access to system
Gillette, that APCUG might be able to settings not exposed in the Windows
sponsor a way to exchange news and XP default user interface, including
information between Linux aficionados mouse settings, Explorer settings,
scattered amongst its member Groups. taskbar settings, and more. Also Power
He passed the word, and the suggestion Calculator with which you can graph
was accepted with enthusiasm. APCUG and evaluate functions as well as perform
now carries a new Conference (section) many different types of conversions;
on its Web Board, APCUG.linux. Of Virtual Desktop Manager to manage
course, the Conference requires a up to four desktops from the Windows
moderator, and who do you think got taskbar; Taskbar Magnifier to magnify
“volunteered?” Right, “c’est moi” part of the screen from the taskbar; and
said the fool. Oh well, one must reap several others.
what one sows. Access the APCUG Too Much Protection?
Web Board at http://webboard.apcug. While I was writing the previous section,
org:8080/~apcug. I tried to visit snipurl.com, a free site
SyncToy that lets you convert those endlessly
The best things in life are free, and long URLs to more manageable size.
Microsoft’s SyncToy is one of them. It I’ve used it several times in the past,
is a simple and effective little utility to but today, using the Firefox browser, I
let you synchronize folders in different just drew a blank screen. Using Firefox
locations. with Ubuntu-Linux on my laptop I had
For several generations of MS no problem accessing snipurl, and that
Windows the “official” Microsoft way way I obtained the shorter URL for the
to synchronize folders has been to use PowerToys download site. Eventually I
a virtual Briefcase. I never figured out found that it was ZoneAlarm that had
how to use the involved and cumbersome blocked my access.
process. As easy as it is to synchronize It is a dangerous world out there
and update a Web site on the computer on the World Wide Web, and we are
with the online version, using an FTP constantly reminded to install protective
program such as CuteFTP, it should be guardians to keep us safe. We need
a firewall, to start with, preferably a Broadband Speed Revisited
hardware version (a router) as well as a In the late 80’s, before the Internet and
software sentinel. An anti-virus program fast connections, I did online patent
is de rigueur and we need anti-spyware literature searches on a tight budget in
to keep bad guys from learning our databases charging upwards of $5 per
secrets. Unsportsmanlike phishers must minute online. Search strategies had
be prevented from stealing our savings to be carefully designed off line, with
under false pretenses, and if we want to only the titles and authors of target
enjoy our browsing experience we need records to be returned before quickly
disconnecting again. The results were
to fight off annoying pop-up windows.
carefully scrutinized, and only those of
The trouble is that everyone is
interest were subsequently uploaded to
getting into the act of protecting us,
retrieve abstracts of the articles. Those
constantly stepping on each others’ toes.
articles of special interest, based on the
ZoneAlarm PRO includes, in addition abstracts, were ordered as hard copies
to its operating system and network from various libraries. Using a 400
firewall, anti-spyware and identity baud modem, capable of transferring
theft protection, game mode, and more. something less than 0 kilobits per
AdAware and its AdWatch feature second (kbps; a baud is not the same as
keep an eye on spyware and suspicious a bit per second), the whole process was
activities in the Windows Registry. The expensive and took a long time.
Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers These days home desktop computers
compete with additional security hooked up to various broadband
features. I uninstalled the new Internet systems can go online at speeds up to
Explorer version 7.0 because it kept 6 Mbps, and we are still complaining
interfering with legitimate programs. that they are too slow. No matter how
Microsoft has made a major effort to fast the connection, factors beyond our
improve security with a long list of new control interfere with fast downloads
features in its forthcoming Windows and uploads. Sharing a cable node
Vista. I shudder to think what that will with a neighboring game enthusiast
add to the protection confusion. In the may be the cause. Often, congestion
on the Web at certain times of the day
end it gets difficult to know who is doing
slows your connection to a crawl, in
what to whom.
which case stopping and restarting the
You can never have too much
download may instantly bring results. A
security, except when it starts to
Web site providing a popular download
interfere with legitimate programs that may restrict the speed of individual
are blocked because something seems connections to avoid overloading its
suspicious. If all those guardians would server. And, as mentioned in my column
only let us know each time they block last month, the Dynamic Name Servers
something, and how to bypass it, life of your service providers may be slow
would be so much simpler. Too much converting URLs to the numerical codes
to ask, it seems. actually used by the Internet.
Dare I mention that none of this Kim Komando, in her weekly
applies to Linux? newsletter vol.0, no.46, states that
Windows XP PRO artificially reserves Association of Personal Computer User
some of your bandwidth. She writes, in Groups (APCUG), an international
part: “By default, Windows reserves some organization of which this group is a
of your connection’s bandwidth. But you member, brings this article to you.
can change that easily. Click Start
Run. Type gpedit.msc and click OK. The
Group Policy Box will open. You will
see Local Computer Policy. Click the
By Mike Moore
plus sign to expand the Administrative
Templates section [under ‘Computer In many respects, Microsoft’s dominance
Configuration’—Pim]. Next, click the in the areas of Internet Browsers,
plus sign to expand the Network section. Office Suites, and of course, Operating
Highlight QoS Packet Scheduler. In Systems is puzzling, at least in the past
the right side of the box, double-click
few years. Open Source software such
Limit Reservable Bandwidth. Check
as the free OpenOffice.org http://www.
Enabled. Change Bandwidth limit to 0
openoffice.org suite has come into its
percent. Click ApplyOK. When you
own, and the latest Apple Macintosh™
restart your computer, the effect should
computers are brought to market with
be immediate. Enjoy your blazing
an operating system featuring iron-
clad Unix underpinnings and a cheeky
I tried it and it didn’t seem to make
marketing campaign designed to turn
any noticeable difference. So I went to
PC users away from Windows.
the fount of wisdom—Microsoft itself.
Who should know better, after all? For And yet, due to the sheer number of
the details go to http://snipurl.com/ PCs out there with Microsoft branding,
MSQOS. Bottom line, the claims are Windows still commands a staggering
bogus. The bandwidth limitation setting market share, in spite of no major
applies only to unusual circumstances upgrades to either Internet Explorer
when a program requests bandwidth or WindowsXP in and 5 years,
priority. If left unchecked, it might respectively.
take over all other running network Microsoft’s answer to the rapidly
connections. It is very unlikely to changing personal computing scene has
happen under normal usage conditions, been a complete rethinking of Windows
and the 0% reserved bandwidth is from the ground up.
otherwise always fully available to Vista, a new operating system due
running applications. out around January of 007, seeks to
Pim Borman is the Website Editor redesign the way we use computers,
for the SW Indiana PC Users Group, particularly Internet and media-enabled
Inc. http://swipcug.apcug.org/ computers. Previously code-named
swipcug( at )sigecom.net “Longhorn,” this release is about as far
There is no restriction against removed from XP as XP was from the
any non-profit group using this old text-based DOS operating systems.
article as long as it is kept in context Although Microsoft is still hard
with proper credit given the author. at work finalizing the features of this
The Editorial Committee of the blockbuster operating system, you can
look forward to these new features, local hard drive searches with Internet
which will in most cases require a pretty searching.
beefy computer for support: For example, file name searches
Aero are often useless when looking in a
Aero is the name given to a new and directory of photographic image files
visually stunning -D like graphical where the digital camera has named
interface, which is currently known as them with non-descriptive serial-number
the Desktop and Windows Explorer. In like file names. Imagine describing
Vista, Microsoft introduces the Desktop a photograph to your computer and
Window Manager that will feature new having it go out and look for, say, a
technologies for application developers, photo with a white church steeple, or a
transparent window effects, animations, recorded song file that sounds like a tune
and file previews that all told will knock you hum into a microphone. With Vista
your socks off. See some of the previews and other search engine companies like
of this interface at http://www. Google, we are poised at the brink of
microsoft.com/windowsvista/. an explosion in searchability—a good
The full set of Aero features will thing, considering all of the information
be available on computers that support that is out there!
DirectX 9.0 and beefy video cards, so WinFX
prepare to upgrade). WinFX is an applications interface
Security that supersedes the Win standard
Microsoft has completely turned introduced in 99. An Applications
Internet security on its head in the Programming Interface (API) is a set of
new Vista vision, choosing to default a standards and library routines that serve
normal windows user to a limited access, to control Windows—everything from
virus-armored profile, as opposed to the the way applications are installed to all
current default of a normal user having of the various standard ways in which a
unlimited rights to the file system. Users program can manipulate a window. The
that require more permissions on their API is the way that many thousands of
accounts will have to make conscious programs, hardware drivers and video
and hopefully well-informed efforts to games are able to communicate with
undo the protection Vista has built in to Windows without Microsoft having to
each account. license the Windows operating secrets
Quick Search to each vendor. If you think of each
Windows 000 and XP relied on indexed way in which a particular Windows
search techniques that were effective to feature can be controlled as being a
a point, at a cost of much hard drive closed black box, the API standards
overhead and a key-word based search are the knobs, buttons and dials on that
methodology. Vista takes this a quantum box. WinFX means that developers with
step farther and looks for both file designs for software that is to run under
content and something called meta- Vista ought to be ready to study hard,
data, which will increase the relevancy because WinFX changes everything.
of our searches for information on our The new API also means that we are
machines, and will also help integrate bidding goodbye to our beloved DOS
command line pretty much for good, of a transition to the next generation
running Vista. of game consoles. What makes it even
As different as WinFX is, it should worse is the collapse of the computer
be thought of as a superset of Win, game industry’s major trade show, E.
which means that we won’t necessarily Game developers have had to revamp
have to buy all new software, at least their marketing strategies for the future,
not right away. yet at the same time prepare for this
WindowsXP is my favorite operating holiday season. This should add to
system to date, and I predict that consumer confusion on what to buy
Microsoft will have to float some pretty and when, and hopefully this article will
good deals, and computer vendors reduce that confusion.
will need to price sharply to get Increased Questions
mainstream users to up-grade. Computer Microsoft’s new operating system,
experimenters, those individuals that Windows Vista, increases questions for
get really steamed when their cousin those users of D oriented applications,
gets a faster computer than they have, especially games. A great part of this is
will likely upgrade immediately, and DirectX 0, which is a major rewrite of
hopefully BGAMUG will be able to DirectX and has much higher capability
refurbish what equipment they cast off than current and past versions. DirectX
in the quest for Vista! 0 will only be available for Windows
Mike Moore is President of the Vista and can only be used if you have
Bowling Green Area Microcomputer a video card that supports it. (Those
User Group, KY Webstar(at)hughes. cards that do not have DirectX 0
net http://www.bgamug.org/. support will be running DirectX 9.0L
There is no restriction against under Windows Vista). DirectX 0
any non-profit group using this cards based on Nvidia chips will start
article as long as it is kept in to come out in November, and those
context with proper credit given the based on ATI chips will start to come out
author. The Editorial Committee in February. There will be few games
of the Association of Personal with additional enhancements if you are
Computer User Groups (APCUG), an running Vista with a DirectX 0 card
international organization of which when Vista launches, such as Microsoft
this group is a member, brings this Flight Simulator X and Crysis. It will
article to you. probably be at least until mid-007
when significant numbers of DirectX 0
Great Games for the Holidays enhanced or DirectX 0 only titles will
Are Here: Changes in Industry
arrive. So for giving gifts to D gamers
who are going to be first adopters of
By Timothy Everingham
Windows Vista you might want to
We are now in the time when most of the consider giving gift certificates.
computer console games get released, Microsoft’s next generation console,
right before the holiday season. This the Xbox 60, has been out for about a
year it even gets more complicated year. It has been well accepted by the
because of Windows Vista coming out market-place and has a good number of
in January, and we are in the early stages quality game titles. Sony’s Playstation
is more powerful and will be able to play version, 004, with great scenery and
high definition Blu-ray disk movies, other graphics plus good missions. Be
but it has been delayed by technical aware that to get good frame rates on this
problems until November 7 and even you will need a mid to high performance
then will have limited supply in the PC by current standards. This is the
US. The decision to allow Blu-ray Disk first game that can take advantage of
movies to display at the higher level Windows Vista only features, including
080p High Definition TV instead of DirectX 0 capabilities, if you have a
the former 70p only should help sales. Direct X 0 graphics card. Comes in
It will also have some very good games both standard and deluxe versions.
available at launch. There will be Spyware
versions, the standard costing $499 and If you are looking for a first person
the deluxe costing $599. Nintendo’s Wii shooter, Call of Duty (Activision; PS,
next generation console will launch on PS, Xbox 60, Xbox, Wii) is the third
November 9. It is not as powerful as installment of the extremely successful
its two rivals, especially in the graphics World War team-based first-person
area (Maximum Video Resolution: shooter series. This time it centers on
Wii-480p, Xbox 60-70P, PS- the campaign from Normandy to Paris.
080p). However, it has a very unique Additionally the number of concurrent
gyroscopic controller that is shaped online/network players has been raised
like a TV remote control, which could to 4. Battlefield 4 (Electronic Arts,
make some very innovative gameplay PC) is Battlefield set in the future
(actions are evoked by your physical in the middle of a new ice age. Since
movement of the entire controller). Battlefield is such a great multiplayer
The Wii’s retail price will be $49. The combat title, this is a good thing. Like
safe bet for buying a console now is the the previous members of the Battlefield
Xbox 60, but I would advise waiting on series, it is usually played team vs. team
your decisions until the initial opinions online or at a LAN Party. Be aware that
on the PS and Wii consoles come out. this game has in-game advertisements,
(These will probably be found online on and spyware is installed when you
the video game review websites before install the game that analyses data on
the end of November). Remember, your PC to determine which ads to
when buying a console it is like buying display in the game. So if you don’t like
a computer. First you determine what such things on your computer you may
games/applications you want to run, want to pass on this game.
and then you see which console has the If you have dreamed of firefights
games/applications you want to run now using automatic weapons in the
or in the future. glamorous Las Vegas Casinos this is for
For the Holiday Season you. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas
Here are some of my game picks for the (Ubisoft; PC, PS, PSP, Xbox 60) is
holiday season: another in the successful Rainbow Six
If you are looking at simulation, series about the adventures of a US
Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Windows antiterrorist commando team. This time
XP or Vista) is a great visual experience. a large group of terrorists are attacking
It is greatly improved from the last the Las Vegas Casinos and plan to burn
them to the ground and your object is to Sport Games
stop them. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: As for sport games, try Tiger Woods
Double Agent (Ubisoft; PC, Xbox 60, PGA Tour 07 (Electronic Arts; PC,
Xbox, PS, Gamecube) is another in PS, PS, Xbox, Xbox 60, Wii). It
the great Splinter Cell series where you is extremely similar to the previous
work as a spy/mercenary for the National two versions, but is still a great game.
Security Agency. However, this time you For those who love golf games this is
act as a double agent within a terrorist probably your best bet. Need For Speed
cell, so things get more complicated. Carbon (Electronic Arts; PC, PS, PS,
This also has a multiplayer mode. This PSP, Xbox 60, Xbox, Wii, Gamecube,
series is great for those who like to sneak Gameboy, DS), is the next in the
up on the bad guys, take them out and successful Need For Speed street racing
steal or blow up their stuff. series. Its graphics are excellent and
Adventure smooth, and there is a lot of game play
As for adventure games, The Elder and various options/paths to explore in
Scrolls IV: Oblivion (K games; PC, the way you play the game.
Xbox 60) has extremely beautiful and In the good, but not expensive
high-level graphics. It is considered an category look at GTR (0tacle
outstanding title and one with which all Studios, PC). This is a GT car racing
other adventure games are compared, game that has gotten good reviews and
but you need a high performance PC has a lot to offer, and you can find it for
to play it. Gothic (JoWood, PC) is less than $0. It was released on Sept 6;
a single player adventure game in a it is a new game too. For sports games,
land where humans have been enslaved Electronic Arts has most of the best
by orcs. There is an evil mode where ones. You should look there first.
you side with the orcs, but most of the If you are into building rather than
gameplay you are on the humans’ side. destroying I would recommend Sid
The game is much more open ended than Meir’s Railroads (K Games, PC). In
most games, so if you get lost in non- this empire-building game you have
structured game play this title is not for 5 historical and fictional scenarios to
you. For those who enjoyed the fantasy choose from. Up to four players can
role playing game Neverwinter Nights, even compete online or over a network.
there is Never Winter Nights (Atari, The detailed graphic animation of the
PC). Half-Life (Electronic Arts) has environment/world is impressive, but
moved to an episodic model, and so because of this it is recommended
now has Sam Max (Lucas Arts). Sam that you have a significantly better
Max Episode : Culture Shock is the computer than listed in the minimum
first of seven episodes to come out on requirements.
a monthly basis with an estimated 4-6 Total War
hours of game play each. Each episode If you are looking for a real-time
will cost $8.85, but you can subscribe to strategy game, look at Company of
the entire set for $4.95. This is an off Heroes (THQ, PC). The detail in both
the wall humor-ridden adventure game the game play and the graphics makes
with a dog and rabbit team of freelance this World War II game, set in France
police as its heroes. in 944, superior to other similar titles.
You play either as the allies or the axis (part of CNET), http://www.ign.com,
and control small units on a battlefield http://www.gamepro.com, http://
to accomplish objectives. You can play www.gamespy.com, or http://www.
against another player or players online. gamezone.com.
Because of the graphics, low-end PCs May your games be happy and
are insufficient for this game. Also you bright (we don’t have to worry much
need to look at Medieval : Total War about screen burn-in anymore).
(Sega, PC), the fourth in the Total War Ti m o t h y E v e r i n g h a m i s a
historical combat real-time strategy member of TUGNET, California
series. The graphics and animation are http://www.tugnet.org
so good that the game’s engine is used to teveringham(at)acm.org.
create animated visualizations of large- There is no restriction against
scale actual battles for documentaries any non-profit group using this
shown on the History and Discovery article as long as it is kept in context
channels. The graphics have been with proper credit given the author.
updated, making it even more real than The Editorial Committee of the
in any of the previous versions, and even Association of Personal Computer User
what you saw in the TV documentary Groups (APCUG), an international
visualizations. The game takes place in organization of which this group is a
Medieval Europe, and you command member, brings this article to you.
one of the historical factions/countries
that vie for power. Look at Warhammer: Ram Reason:
Mark of Chaos (Namco Bandai, PC) Enter the Dragon: Comodo
too; a real-time strategy game with Free Desktop Security Tools
fantasy creatures and units, part of the By Rob Rice
excellent Warhammer series. Every once in a while a company
Something Unusual manages to push my button. Symantec
If you want something unusual you is the latest, after having bought my
may want to look at Bully (Rockstar beloved Sygate Personal Firewall
Games, PS). This is a boarding school and then immediately yanked it from
simulator where you work your way up the market. Having paid for the Pro
in this kid-dom. Last year’s best unusual version, I can no longer install it; since
was Destroy All Humans, a spoof on it requires authorization, I am dead in
the 950’s alien invasion movies. Now the water.
Destroy All Humans : Make War Not Still, a nice thing about capitalism
Love (THQ; PS, Xbox) has arrived and is that where there is a void, it will
is set in the 960’s. It is not quite as good get filled. Enter the Comodo Group,
as the original; but with the original with not only a worthy alternative to
being so good, especially in the rolling Sygate’s Personal Firewall, but a whole
on the floor laughing department, it still suite of security products for free!
makes for a very good game. There are The Comodo Group gets its name
new consoles and a lot of new games from the Komodo dragon, a metaphor
for this holiday season, too much to for the Internet, with a “C” instead of
cover here. For additional information a “K” to acknowledge a commitment
go to http://www.gamespot.com to commerce, communications, and
dot com. Comodo is the “nd largest terms of Applications and Network
Certification Authority for ensuring protocols.
Identity Trust Assurance” on the . System info—Information about
Internet. In other words, they are your system in terms of the Hardware
the folks that make that little yellow and details of all network Adapters
padlock on your web browser work. in your computer.
The Comodo Group is the real deal with 4. View Alerts—Get in-depth details
headquarters in Jersey City, USA (Yes, on the high severity risks that the
they have a real mailing address unlike firewall has detected.
some so-called security products offered 5. Update License—One click activation
on the Web) with global offices in UK, of your free-for-a-lifetime Comodo
Norway, and India. license.
So why is Comodo giving away 6. Computer Security level—Customize
product? While the company does more firewall security by using the slider
than just issue SSL (Secure Sockets to quickly move between preset
Layer) certificates, apparently they security levels.
feel the need to build brand identity. 7. Check the security of your firewall’s
According to Melih Abdulhayoglu, the configuration with Comodo’s
President and CEO of Comodo Group: online vulnerability scanner,
“If we are able to write good software HackerGuardian.
and give such valuable software for free, 8. Security Monitoring—Get an
our name will be known in the market immediate heads up on the status of
place, we will build our Comodo brand, the firewall’s major components.
and this brand will be associated with 9. Protection strength—Your overall
security. And this will help us sell more security level determined by the
Digital Certificates and other services settings you have chosen.
we have, as we will have a big brand!” Comodo Firewall, rated by PC
Simple enough! So what are they Magazine Online as an Editor’s Choice,
offering? Again from the Comodo constantly monitors and defends your
website: PC from Internet attacks. It’s easy to
• Comodo Firewall install and use and passes the industry’s
• Comodo Verification Engine most stringent firewall “leak” tests.
• Comodo AntiVirus Unlike some other ‘free’ firewalls, this
• Comodo AntiSpam is not a stripped down version, but is
• Comodo BackUp the full, completely functional product.
• Comodo iVault This free solution comes complete
Comodo Personal Firewall 2.0 with continual updates that are free
FREE lifetime license. forever!
Sleek design gives an at-a-glance System Requirements:
overview of your security status. Windows 000 (ALL)
. Highlights—Displays the latest Windows XP (ALL)
Comodo news and information about Windows 00 (ALL)
updates. 64 MB available RAM
. Traffic—High visual overview of MB of available free hard disk
the last minute of traffic history in space
Comodo Verification Engine • Dedicated Quarantine Facility—
FREE for life. Isolate suspected files where they can
VerificationEngine anti-phishing do no harm, more…
and identity assurance tool for • Advanced Heuristic detection
Microsoft Windows offers an extremely Engine—Protection against unknown
simple way to differentiate legitimate viruses, more…
Web sites from fraudulent ones. Place • Scan Removable Devices—CD’s,
your mouse cursor over a site logo. DVD’s, external drives, USB devices,
If it is authentic, a green border will digital cameras, more…
appear around your browser. So if you • Scans Network drives—Protection
really wish to be sure you are looking from any potential threats on your
at the real http://www.paypal.com network, more…
site rather than a clever imitation • Scans Compressed Files—There’s no
created to steal your identity, install hiding place for viruses, even in a .zip
VerificationEngine now! file, more…
Comodo AntiVirus • Does not hog system resources—
FREE lifetime license. Maximum Protection with no slow
• On Access Scanning—Always on, down of your PC, more…
real-time protection against threats, System Requirements
more… Windows XP (SP) / Windows 000
• On Demand scanning—Take control (SP4 or later)
by running instant scans on any file, 50 MB available space on your hard
folder or drive, more… drive
• Automatic Daily Updates—Up-to-the 8 MB RAM
second protection against the latest Intel Pentium 00 MHz processor
threats, more… (or equivalent)
• E-mail Scanning—Automatic Note—Not compatible with
checking and disinfection of incoming Windows 9x systems.
and outgoing mail, more… Comodo AntiSpam
• Process Monitoring—Continuously FREE license.
scans your PC’s memory for viruses, Install Comodo AntiSpam for
more… free and reclaim your inbox. The
• Worm Blocker—Monitors and powerful challenge-response technology
intercepts suspicious mass mailing authenticates the sender of every e-mail
attempts, more… —a system that automated spam bots
• In-depth Reporting—Comprehensive can’t get around. This is the full product,
logs of all scans performed, more… not stripped down ‘cripple ware,’ and is
• Pro-active virus defense—Submit free forever to the end user.
suspicious files for analysis by the • Total Spam Elimination.
Comodo AntiVirus team, more… • No hassle set-up.
• Easy, User Friendly interface—Sleek • Sender-based authentication.
design provides fingertip access to all • Thwart the Spam Bots.
major settings, more… • Works with your existing setup.
• Scan Scheduling—Timetable scans to • Automatically authenticate your
run when you choose, more… address book.
• Instantly migrate custom black and • Quickly recover your data in the event
white lists. of data loss.
• One click Bandwidth Optimization. • Schedule backups to run automatically
• Pro-active Spam defense. at a time that suits you.
• Maximum Protection—Minimum • Synchronized backup feature—save a
Drain. file, and it gets copied instantly.
• Independent Authentication • Send e-mail notifications to team
Database. members about the status of a
• Independent Quarantine Database. backup job.
• Protects all your e-mail accounts. • Save Disk space by compressing your
• Stay spam free WHEREVER you backups as ZIP files.
access your mail from. • Configure in minutes with our
• Never miss a message. intuitive interface.
• Failproof. System Requirements
• E-Commerce friendly. Windows XP (Service Pack or later) or
• You’re protected—stay protected!! Windows K (Service Pack or later)
System Requirements Intel Pentium IV with MHz
Operating Systems: Windows 000/XP processor
Processor: Pentium 00 MHz or 64 MB RAM
higher MB free hard drive space
System RAM: MB RAM Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0
Hard Drive: MB of HDD free or above
space Comodo iVault
Internet Browser: IE 6.0 or above. FREE license
Comodo BackUp iVault saves time by providing
FREE lifetime license. instantaneous logins to any username/
Comodo Backup is the password secured web pages such as
straightforward and powerful utility online banking and e-mail account
that allows users to quickly and easily sites. It also doubles up as a 56
create backup copies of critical files. bit secure storage for private and
Free of charge, it includes complete file confidential information such as
and folder-duplication to local network credit card details and social security
drives and FTP servers, intelligent numbers and protects against the
incremental backups, e-mail reporting, very latest key-logging Trojan Horse
extensive report logs, real time backups viruses.
with “synchronization” mode, advanced • Instantly login to your favorite
rule-based filtering, flexible scheduling Websites and applications.
of backups, space-saving archiving • S p e e d u p s u r fi n g — N o m o r e
capabilities, and more. forgotten passwords.
• Easily backup files or folders anywhere • Single point of storage for all your
on your computer, network, CD-RW, confidential information.
or FTP server. • 56 bit encryption of credit card and
• Protect yourself against ever losing bank account details.
those critical files that took hours to • Secure Password Generator instantly
create. creates complex passwords.
• Supports multiple users on a single Association of Personal Computer User
machine. Groups (APCUG), an international
• Anti Keylogging feature—Stop organization of which this group is a
hackers monitoring your personal member, brings this article to you.
• ‘Drag ‘n’ drop’ interface—Windows Accessories for
ease of use. that New Christmas
Comodo iVault can protect and Computer
manage: By Ira Wilsker
• Website password details. This Christmas season Santa is
• Software access passwords delivering countless new desktop and
• Credit card numbers and PIN details. notebook computers to good boys
• Bank Account Details. and good girls of all ages. Many will
• Telephone banking codes. also receive gift cards as welcomed
• E-Mail account passwords. presents, which will allow the recipient
• Computer logon passwords. to purchase whatever he wishes.
• Personal Contact details. While almost all new computers
• Cell Phone PIN codes. will run out of the box, these same
• And much more… new computers are often the epitome
Phew! That is a lot of stuff! And I of vulnerability, as they often lack
must admit I have yet to test all of these appropriate protective security software.
free products. Not for a lack of desire, While many new computers come with
but because we are talking about six some software and utilities, there are
programs! I will say that I am about half still several items which would make
way through my testing of the firewall good last minute Christmas gifts, or an
product, and it does seem to perform as appropriate utilization of a gift card.
advertised. But don’t wait around for New computers are generally very
me, grab these six freebies, and let me vulnerable to a variety of attacks from
know what you think of them! hackers, crackers, viruses, spyware, and
Thanks Comodo! other virtual threats. I would strongly
Comodo http://www.comodogroup. suggest that the new computer be
com/. accompanied by any one of the many
PC Magazine Article on Comodo readily available security suites. Under
Firewall http://www.pcmag.com/ the premise that something is better
article/0,895,969485,00.asp. than nothing, any of the commonly
Rob Rice is a member of the available comprehensive software
Computer Club of Oklahoma City and security suites will do a reasonable job
a computer specialist in Anchorage, of protecting the computer. Brands of
Alaska http://www.ccokc.org security suites from such well-known
articles(at)isp.com. companies as Trend Micro, Symantec
There is no restriction against (Norton), McAfee, Kaspersky, Panda,
any non-profit group using this CA (Computer Associates), and Zone
article as long as it is kept in context Alarm, will all do a satisfactory job
with proper credit given the author. protecting the computer from attack. All
The Editorial Committee of the of these brands, as well as most of the