Friday, November 7, 2008

Post-election Blogging Computer Tuneup

Ok, I don't know about all of you (especially you Obamatons), but I'm burnt out enough to need a break from politics.

Now one thing I saw in the various blogs over the past few months was the standard issues of computers getting gunked up, computers crashing, and all the fun shit that makes blogging both challenging and barely possible at times. So I'[m going to take off the pundit hat (and whatever articles of clothing are chafing) and give you my sagelike tech advice.

disclaimer: You assume all risk taking advice from me. But I use or have used pretty much every program I'm going to list, and free programs are good! But if you have any issues, that's what Windows system restore is for. And remember, you can drop me an email if the fit hits the shan. And you have another computer working. I's all about personal responsibility people!

Browsers - For the uninitiated, this category begins with the obscenity called Internet Explorer (aka Idiot Exploder, IE for short). I know some of you that come here to peruse use IE 7. There are even people running IE6. This is scary. IE is such a part of windows that any virus that hits windows can exploit it. You know that thing about putting all your eggs in one basket? It applies to software. Abandon all Microsoft if possible beside your operating system.

Instead, my preferred browser is Mozilla's Firefox. This is actually the second Firefox post I did (the first being on Firefox 3's release day). It's faster, cleaner, more secure, and magnicifently customizable, and a version of it will work on every Windows, Mac OS, and Linux platform out there. And if you don't like it, there's always IE (the John Murtha of browsers) to fall back on.

Speaking of customization, there is one must-have addon: IE tab, which lets you render the rare page that only works with Idiot Exploder. Beyond that, just try anything that flips your dinger.

And if you're not Firefox-inclined (MIKE!!!), there are others browsers out there like Opera, Apple's Safari (which iTunes tries to sneak in), and Google Chrome (which is in beta, but that means nothing when Google's involved).

Email - If you're using Outlook Express (OE) or Windows Mail (Vista), it's like salting a rectal boil. You're just asking for pain. Thus, as IE has OE, Mozilla's Firefox is complemented by Thunderbird. At least it's worth a try before your emails go bye bye.

Antivirus - If you're on your computer, reading this and you don't have an updated antivirus, you may be an Obama voter and you definitely need to be hit in the head with a hammer. If you have an expired pay antivirus, delete that shit (it's probably Norton) and download AVG Antivirus. I have the free version on one computer and the paid (because I didn't have to) on the other. It's the best and brightest free antivirus out there. If you're still running an older machine (Windows 98 or ME), I'd recommend Avast! Antivirus, which is what I have on the kids computer. And for those of you who aren't sure and need an online scan (including Mac users!!!), theres Trend Micro's Housecall. Although, if you run Windows, the online scan is no substitute!

Spyware - I have three programs for you here. Ad-Aware 2008 is the easier one to use, and Spybot Search and Destroy is the more comprehensive one (as in cool things it can do (unless you're a noob!)). Download at least one, if not both. The third one, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a trial version, but it will kill the fake antivirus programs, like XPantivirus2008 (pic or the devil to the right) and variants. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but if you get one of those shitware programs, it seems to kill it.

Firewall - Firewalls can be tricky. They block stuff very easily, require some tinkering if you do more than surf, blog and email, and thus in my job I don't recommend them. If you have a router in your home network, it already has an firewall built in. And if you don't go to dangerous sites, search things that can lead to bad sites, don't download porn, mp3's, or other peer-to-peer shared files (all of which I have done), and keep all your other security programs updated, then that's enough. If you're like me however, you download a software firewall. One computer uses the firewall in the paid (not by me) version of AVG, but my primary computer (on which I blog and do all the dangerous stuff) runs Zone Alarm. However, as I've personally run into two computers that don't like it, my suggestion for a second firewall would be Comodo Firewall. A caution, though. If you do go with a firewall, it is often the source of some problem or another at some point, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Parental Control - If those of you that comprise my Christian reading base (narrow because I make drunk sailors blush) are paying cash for filtering software, shame on you. Especially when you have me around. I have two things to recommend. First, assuming you have the sense to have downloaded Firefox and your kids are still young enough not to try hacking the computer to check out tits, you're in luck. After my son started randomly typing in letter (like KKK) to a Google search, I had to throw up some filtering. Fast. Five minutes later, I found and installed FoxFilter, a nice little addon for Firefox. Now if you are an IE infidel, or you don't trust your kids that far, there's K9 Web Protection. It does lock up the whole computer rather than just one or two user profiles, but that's the price you pay if you're a cheap bastard trying to protect your kids.

Other programs - If you open up your add/remove programs (programs and features in vista), you're likely to find the beast that is Adobe Reader. Delete that shit and download Foxit Reader. It does the same thing, but is not bloatware.
For word processing, death to Microsoft Office, especially when there's Open Office. I have yet to find anything that it can do that Microsofts overpriced POS can do. And of course, I have to mention the sister to our beloved Blogger (kissing ass to please the Google overlords), Google Docs. You log in and the shit is there. And it exports to Open Office.

Help for the comments section - Since I see this often, I'll add help Ive given people before in posting links in the comments section. It requires learning a little HTML, unless you want to use Google Docs to do this. I do have to use Google Docs to create the example though.

To create bold text you type <b>bold text</b>
To create italics text you type <i>italics text</i>
And typing <a href="http://www.fairtax.org/" >a link to the FairTax</a> results in a link to the FairTax.

Final Word - If you know of any programs I've missed and you think should be included, let me know. I'm probably going to have to put a permanent link somewhere on the sidebar for easy reference. Any questions later, either drop a comment or email me at patrickmspeaks@gmail.com.

Now let me recover enough to get all political on you again next week!

28 comments:

Bullfrog said...

Nice work. I am a Mac user and have been considering Open Office for OS X because at work we have to be able use Excel. Right now we run Parallels (the worst "bloatware" of all).

As for browsers, you would have to pry Safari from my cold, dead, hands. I am a native app purist.

TAO said...

You know, thats what I love about you KIDS! :) You just think this crap is soooooo easy! You rattle on and on about one thing or another and you act like computers are all just click and play!

I had to get up at 4am CST this morning to work with my web designer and his first words to me were, "...oh its easy, I will show you how to do it...." that pretty much ruined my day! :)

So, when are you and bullfrog driving down to fix up my computers? Oh, thats right your conservatives (maybe compassionate conservatives?) rather than socialists...

Here is what I am working on today:
http://turneroriginal.myshopify.com and then this weekend is my business blog and three landing pages....

As soon as all these projects are over then you "conservatives" won't be hearing much from me as I will not be glued to my computer as I have been the last few weeks....

Free, Free, thank God almightly, free at last....

TAO said...

Not to draw you in to politics, BUT, since Obama started campaigning he has discussed a pull out in Iraq and a timetable for the pull out....and now we will have a timetable.

He also discussed direct talks with Iran...and now we are not only talking to Iran but we have also requested permission to establish a diplomatic mission in Tehran (a step below an embassy).

Obama has also been campaigning on increasing our presence in Afghanistan...

Today the Bush Administration announced that they were considering sending more troops to Afghanistan...

Then by floating the name of Caroline Kennedy around as UN Ambassador, which would give us instant goodwill around the world, the guy knows his stuff...

He is different....he is a wind of change to an establishment (which includes Democrats and Republicans) that is tired.

John said...

Thanks for the useful programs...I've got most of them already and they work nicely. Another one that I very handy is CutePDF which acts like a printer, in that, anything you want to print can be sent to a pdf file (instead of choosing the target printer).

Patrick M said...

Bullfrog: A little warning about Open Office. It can be a little unwieldy, but it's not obscene bloatware.

And if it ain't IE, I'm happy. You did notice I did suggest Safari as an alternate Widows browser. But if you want to, give Firefox a try. You can have 2 browsers to use. My second computer runs Safari for media browsing.

Tao: Kids? Do you realize I've been working with computers in various capacities for over 25 years. Of course I was 7 when I first got my hands on a computer. It was an Apple II plus (that's before the Mac).

The site looks pretty good. Not much use for me, diminutive as I am.

Also, I'm not discussing politics today. :)

And (warning to all) if the politics continues, I might have to start back on the comment purging.

Patrick M said...

Thanks, John, forgot about that one. I'll add it.

TAO said...

Patrick,

my first computer was a Tandy...which means when you was 7 I was...that would be about what 1984/1985....I remember programming fortran and Cobol usually those cards....that was 1978...oh how I miss novell networks because you didn't have to put up with idiots who who knew just enough microsoft to be dangerous...I remember in 1993 and our first 286...whew! That was awesome. I remember when we had dedicated phone lines between all our plants so our computers could all talk to each other at a cost of $3,000 a month per line. I remember when you had to check to make sure no one had an orders on their screens so if you were running reports you would have the most accurate data...

The trouble now is I wear reading glasses and have less tolerance for instructions...and everyone is putting instructions in smaller print...

TAO said...

Patrick,

Back when you were 7 :) there was like Commodore, Apple, Epson, and Tandy in choices for personal computers. I remember having to decide on a computer to use to write my Masters thesis...

I have from time to time wondered how different my life would have been had I actually chosen Apple.

Three years ago when I started planning my business I actually planned on buying one Apple workstation...and I didn't.

I have never ever figured out why I always back down from buying an Apple...

Must be my conservative streak! :)

Arthurstone said...

tao typed:

'I have never ever figured out why I always back down from buying an Apple...'

Do it.

You'll be glad you did. So much easier to work with you won't believe it.

Toad734 said...

Or you could just get a Mac

Dave Miller said...

Hey Patrick,

I am one of those folks caught in the middle of PC/MAC land. MAC on the road, PC in the office.

I am still trying to figure the new MAC out.

Hey, quick HTML question, what is the code for those text boxes like Mike uses? Not with red, white, and blue, just a box to set apart quotes and that type of stuff.

Patrick M said...

Tao: Then why are you complaining? At least I didn't have a story involving punch cards.

But the new Macs are great. They're just a little pricey if you lack money. Thus I don't have one yet.

Dave: No HTML question is quick, as I must learn as I go.

And what I learned is that it requires a good bit of formatting. Unless you cheat.

Here's how to do it:
1. go to Google Docs
2. create the table using their tool, and make it look how you want it.
3. switch to the 'edit HTML' under the edit menu and copy the text box code.
4. got to blogger, click on the 'edit html' and paste it in.
5. switch to preview mode and laugh at the lesser mortals who now lack your prowess. except the ones who read me and know you're faking it.

Patrick M said...

Dave (and everyone): I'll also add this to the post eventually, but try this link if you want more info on html code:

www.w3schools.com

TAO said...

Now, how about some cigar buying tips and maybe your wine recommendations...

TAO said...

Oh...and before I forget....

At least with my punch cards I knew about hanging chads long before anyone else! :)

Patrick M said...

Tao: I'll give you some suggestions if you like cheap wine (the stuff in the box) and cigars (Garcia Vega English Coronas and Black and Milds). I also have various recommendations on coffee, meat, and generic foods. But I'll leave all that for other posts.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Hey!

We're home!

Did you miss me?

Patrick M said...

Saty: Good, just in time to tune your computer up.

Wade Moline said...

@ bullfrog,

Have you had the chance to use Apple's Numbers yet? Far superior to Excel. Since purchasing iWork I have been able to eliminate all Microsoft products from my Mac.

Safari or Firefox, or die. IE what? They still make that piece of junk?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I can't move over to Mac until they make Sim City for it.

Patrick M said...

Saty: If you want to move to the Mac, click here, then go buy yourself a Mac.

I got that in a few seconds with a Google search.

Patrick M said...

Wade: They ditched IE for Mac. But they weld it to Windows so you can't purge it. Ever.

Robert said...

Thanks for the visit and the link to ConservativeConvictions.blogspot.com.

Jenn and I welcome you and all of your readers to come and own a piece of the place, and join us as we rally to demand a conservative driven GOP.

Some good suggestions here! I use AVG and it is incredible. Might I add another suggestions?

Advance Windows Care. It is a free program (google it) that allows for some maintenance basics like immunization from spyware, etc. The best feature it has is a registry cleaner. For those small little busg that the computer gets, a registry cleaner will take care of it without the nonsense from tech support or reformatting your hard drive like they always tell you.

Jennifer said...

I tried your Mozilla Fox, and after a little bit of experimenting, I like it a lot. I like how you can customize it. It's very different from IE!

Ya know you really picked a good time for a computer post, because I have a question for you. Somehow I ended up with XPAntivirus2008 and I have no idea how to get rid of it. I googled it and got a ton of sites that give you all these detailed ways to get rid of it. Any easier programs that you know of?

Oh, and thanks for stopping by CC and linking us. We are just starting bout ut really hope it takes off.

Patrick M said...

Robert: Welcome.

AWC looks like a good program once I installed it. I'm scanning now and it found lots of crap in the registry. No surprise there, it being windows.

Here's the link, all....

A caution to anyone installing: Yahoo tries to install their shitbar and take over your search. Be sure to uncheck that garbage.

Jennifer: Good luck with the junkware. If your computer is still messed up and you can afford the downtime (it helps to run 2 computers), your best bet long-term is to wipe and reload that computer from scratch. Those programs do a lot of damage.

Beth said...

Glad to see updates in your creative writing blogs, Patrick!

Toad734 said...

Saty:

you can install Windows on Mac and have it run things like Sim City. I was going to do that then I decided not to poison my computer with Windows.

Patrick M said...

Thanks, Toad. I forgot about that one.