Terry's Computer Tips - Newsletter
January 6, 2007

Volume 2, Number 30 — Sunday, January 6, 2007

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

5.  Feedback from Ivan Tadej

Subscriber and regular responder Ivan Tadej wrote this week to say:

Hey Terry, this is a response to the last "/Volume 2, Number 29 Sunday, December 31, 2006/" issue of your newsletter.

As first in regards to "/*1. Email Server Problems*/" entry on the http://www.terryscomputertips.com/archives/news_20061231.php page; you see, in fact it is possible to fetch e-mail message through Yahoo's POP3 servers, it's just that one needs to use a special program for that purpose. I personally use a program called *YPOPs!*: http://yahoopops.sourceforge.net/ (here's is also a link to its author's site: http://dbeusee.home.comcast.net/ypops.html) for more than two years now, and I am completely content with it. All I needed to do was set some things in my e-mail client, namely to change it's server to localhost/127.0.01; the detailed instructions are available on the program's site.

And as second in regards to "/*3. Reader Feedback*/" entry on the http://www.terryscomputertips.com/archives/news_20061231_2.php; you know that you don't need all these browsers installed to see how your sites look in them (or on other platforms)??! There are infact three sites that offer this particular service to you, *BrowserCam*: http://browsercam.com, *Browsershots*: http://browsershots.org, and *iCapture*: http://www.danvine.com/icapture (I got these links here: http://www.alternativebrowseralliance.com/action.html), while so far, even before finding the other two on the linked Alternative Browser Alliance, I've used the Browsershots one, and I can say without any doubt that it's a great and reliable service.

regards, Ivan Tadej http://tadej-ivan.50webs.com/

Ivan also wrote back to add:

P.S. - Oh and I forgot to mention in my yesterday's e-mail that that *YPOPs!* program that I mentioned (here's also another, the most appropriate link: http://www.ypopsemail.com/) also supports sending of e-mail messages, i.e. it also supports the SMTP protocol.
 
 

Thanks, Ivan. As usual, I appreciate your feedback and learning about the treasures you've found on the web.

I notice that you're using www.50webs.com for your web site now. Some of my other readers might be interested in your experiences there. Their intro package appears to be 60 MB of space and no sponsored advertising — for free.

If that's what you're using, tell us about it.

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6.  My Computer Security Software Recommendations

I review my security software recommendations and update them, for each issue, if I think they need to change.

My Philosophy: Many people want to pick their most economical solution and prefer an all-in-one anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall solution. In concept, that's a great idea. In actual practice, this type of package is not likely to be the best in all the protection categories you need.

Other people want to pick the best of each type program. I'm one of the these folks. Read about my security software choices.

So, I've got two types of recommendations below: one all-in-one solution and my individual picks for each type of protection.

Anti-Virus

For your anti-virus needs (and, yes, you do have anti-virus needs!) I recommend anti-virus software from Trend Micro (PC-cillin Internet Security, if you want a combination package) or ESET (NOD32, my choice).

I'm glad to see that Trend Micro has taken a major, user-friendly step with their PC-cillin Internet Security 2007(12-months) - Digital - $49.95 - Shopping Cart Link package by licensing it for up to 3 home users. You can also get a 3-year license 36-months - Digital - $119.95 - Shopping Cart Link) offers anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewall for your PC and PDA. TrendMicro provides an easy-to-use product that is from one of the big names in the anti-virus world.

I'm often asked about several other popular anti-virus or anti-virus combination packages. Yes, I realize that they are not in my recommendation list. " 'nuff said..."

My personal choice is the ESET's small, fast NOD32 anti-virus program, which offers a FREE 30-day evaluation license. I consider NOD32 to be the cream of the crop in anti-virus protection. Unlike some of the others, ESET offers multiple-year licenses also, including updates to the program as well as to the anti-virus signatures.

Support Terry's Computer Tips!
By the way, I found that my NOD32 link, unlike most affiliate links, is also good for licenese renewals of NOD32. If you use NOD32, please show your support by using my NOD32 link for your annual license renewal.

Read more about anti-virus programs on my web site.

Firewall Software

If you get the PC-cillin Internet Security package above, you are covered from a firewall point of view.

While the Windows XP firewall is much better than no firewall at all, don't count on the Windows XP firewall to meet your needs. You need a two-way firewall, which the Windows XP firewall is not!.

The Windows XP firewall does not control outbound communications originating from your computer — and you should want to have control if adware/trojans/spyware or even commercial products want to talk to the Internet.

Do you want Windows Media Player to call home every time you play something? It does! Do you use the Search function in Windows Explorer to find things on your hard drive? Did you know that every time you search, Windows Explorer talks to Microsoft — I didn't know that when I ran ZoneAlarm, but the Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall flags that for me, and I can stop or allow it to happen.

Many other programs call home when you run them, too.

If you don't get either of the above multi-function packages, I recommend my choice for a firewall program is Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall. You can try the full-featured "paid version" of Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall free for 30 days — after that, you can register it or, if you're using it on a home computer, you can let it revert to the free, lesser-function license. Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall is $19.95 for a non-expiring license for the program and includes one year of their updates subscription.

Read more about the need for firewalls in my The Internet Versus You and Do I Need a Firewall Program? articles.

Anti-Spyware / Anti-Adware Software

CounterSpy, from Sunbelt Software, has received many kudos from the computer press for its always-running and periodic full system scans. CounterSpy is my choice for anti-spyware / anti-adware. I use CounterSpy on my notebook (my main computer!), on my wife's computer and on my son's computer. I highly recommend this program.

Anti-spam Software

In today's Internet world, the question is not "if" you will get spam, but when and how much.

I use and now I recommend PopFile as my first choice for handling spam. PopFile sits on your computer, between your email program and your ISP mailbox, and handles emial as it downloads.

PopFile uses a different approach to handle spam than some other programs do — it does nothing to reduce spam. It is designed as an email classification tool — you train it to recognize spam and any other type of email that you want to classify. These classifications can help you sort your emails into appropriate folders in your email program.

Sunbelt Software, who makes the anti-spyware program CounterSpy (which I use and recommend) and the firewall that I use and recommend (Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall) also has a well-regarded, award-winning anti-spam program called iHateSpam for Outlook and Outlook Express. Since I don't use Outlook or Outlook Express for email, I haven't tried iHateSpam.

Mailwasher Pro is my first choice to handle spam before it ever gets into your computer's Inbox. Mailwasher Pro uses on-line Realtime Black Lists mail servers sending spam recently, "training" by you of what you think is spam, and your own "friends" and "blacklist" lists.

Mailwasher Pro can even bounce spam messages, as if your email address was not valid, although the usefulness and appropriateness of this is questionable. There is a free version called "Mailwasher," but it omits the functions that I consider critical for this purpose -- such as safely previewing the emails safely before they ever get to your email inbox.

Cable/DSL Router

If you have a cable modem or a DSL modem, you need to have another layer of inexpensive protection between you and the Internet. A cable/DSL router isolates your computer from direct connection to the Internet. Your computer can easily request your email, web pages, etc. through the router. The responses come back to the router and are smoothly routed to your computer. But, someone on the Internet side of the router can not initiate a connection to your computer — they can only respond to your request.

Even if you only have one computer to connect to your cable or DSL modem, I recommend that you purchase and use a cable/DSL router because of the protection it can give you against attempts to attack through some flaws in Windows itself.

A router isolates your local network, whether it is only one computer or several, from the Internet by actually making it a separate network. The router gets the "public" IP address and handles all your outbound communications and the responses to them. But, it blocks computers on the Internet side from being able to initiate communications with your computer! This will prevent you from falling prey to many worms that try to attack security holes in Windows itself.

I've changed my recommended wireless router. A number of friends who have bought WRT54G wireless routers are having occasional "green death" problems — all the lights on the router say it's connected to the cable and to the computers, but they can't get to the Internet without a power-off/power-on on the router.

Why is this happening with this long-respected router? It turns out that Linksys has been keeping the same model number on the router while they changed version numbers. This has been a regular practice with Linksys and was nothing to be concerned about.

But, in this case, with version 5, they changed the router's operating system. Versions 1 through 4 used Linux for its operating system. Effectively, they created a brand new model and gave it the same model number as a frequently-recommended model.

Even more disturbing, they brought the Linux-based router back with a new model number, as if it is the new model.

So, I changed my recommendation to the "old" model — the Linux-based Linksys WRT54GL 802.11g wireless router (Amazon.com or Buy.com ). If you don't want wireless now, or at any time, the function is easily turned off in the router's menu. You may be able to find a wired (that is, non-wireless) Linksys router on sale. If you don't want wireless, I recommend the Linksys BEFSR42 wired router (Amazon.com or Buy.com). Either way, based on my experience, I recommend Linksys routers.

Tech Tip
By the way, if you get tempted by the new "802.11n" routers, please pay close attention. So far, the 802.11n specification has not been approved and finalized. If you buy one, you may be locked into a specific vendor's implementation of a draft of a standard that never got approved. I recommend choosing 802.11g for now.

Read more on my Wireless Security web page.

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Acronis

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Volume 2, Number 30 — Sunday, January 6, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Terry A. Stockdale.  All rights reserved.


 

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