Terry's Computer Tips - Newsletter
January 15, 2006


Terry's Computer Tips Newsletter
http://www.terryscomputertips.com
A computer tips newsletter for users of PC's.


Volume 1, Number 31 — Sunday, January 15, 2006

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

IN THIS WEEK'S E-MAIL ISSUE:
   0.   JUST FOR SUBSCRIBERS — EMAIL ONLY
   0.1   Welcome to New Subscribers
   0.2   More Gmail Accounts Available
   0.3   An On-line Computer User Group
   0.4   Do you have an Internet-based business?
   0.5   My Recommendations for Computer Security Software
   0.6   Recommend Terry's Computer Tips to Your Friends

IN THIS WEEK'S ON-LINE ISSUE:
   1.   How about a Free Internet Service?
   2.   Updates Last Week
   3.   A Better, and Free, Way to See What's Running
   4.   Backing Up Your Outlook Express EMail Folders
   4.   Backing Up Your Outlook Express Address Book
   5.   My Computer Security Software Recommendations
   6.   A Previous Version of WinZip — and FilZip
   7.   Recommend my Terry's Computer Tips Newsletter to Your Friends
   8.   Send me some email!

Welcome to the online version of my Terry's Computer Tips newsletter.

My free, emailed newsletter includes a special "Just for Subscribers" article, an announcement that the new issue of Terry's Computer Tips has been published online, and the table of contents for the issue.

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1.  How about a Free Internet Service?

I was chatting with Walter Scott, one of my local friends and a Terry's Computer Tips Newsletter reader, at lunch last week. Walter has a new notebook computer and was trying to come up with a good solution for dialup access for two purposes.

First, when he travels, he wants to have a good dialup solution with local phone numbers in most of the country. Many hotels have wired or wireless Internet access, but not all of them — or they charge an outrageous price like $10/day for high-speed access.

Second, he wanted a backup connection via dialup for those times when he has cable Internet troubles (ever notice that your phone still works, even though your electric utility has lost power in your area of town?) — I sent my August 29th Terry's Computer Tips Newsletter via dialup on Hurricane Katrina Day -- no power, but my notebook had its battery and my telephone worked.

I mentioned to Walter that he could Get Free NetZero Internet Access for 10 hours per month.

Walter had this to say in his first report about NetZero's Free Internet Access:

Terry:

Went to your webpage and clicked on the free netzero ad. So far so good. The only problem is that currently they are giving me a free trial of Netzero platinum, which I get automatically with no choice, so I can't really tell what the difference is between the platinum and the free service until a week has passed. But:
  1. the download is VERY small
  2. you can pre-set up your account on their website when you d/l or you can set up the account when you install the software
  3. looks like they want you to have an alternate email, and when you signup they take a lot of demographics. You can opt out of email ads, though. So far I've not had any ads pop-up, but I'm sure that is because of the free trial.
  4. it installs w/ no problems, you enter your phone number and it finds local access numbers for you. You can create as many dialing locations as you want, you just need to know the phone number to enter so they can find the numbers local to that area. This is done before you log in, very similar to AOL
  5. operation is just fine (so far!) it brings up IE and directs it to your "personal" Netzero page. I exit IE and fire up Opera and off I go.
  6. I did successfully access my powweb email via Netzero and Outlook Express, again I'm not sure if that is because of the free trial or if the free version supports pop3. But webmail works fine!
  7. I'm going to wait until 1/19 or so (free trial will expire) to try this all again. So far I cant find anyway to track your on line hours. Other than that it all looks good!

Both Walter and I are sure that NetZero has some way to monitor the hours spent in the free, 10-hour per month program. Of course, since hours-tracking during the free trial of NetZero Premium is meaningless, he's not likely to find any report of hours spent until he actually has a limit.

Look for more reports from Walter as he shifts from the initial week-long trial of the NetZero Premium service and reverts to their free service. Of course, if he was going to stay with dialup, he could always buy the Platinum Service. Get NetZero Platinum today! Platinum gives you fast reliable internet access for as low as $6.95/month!




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2.  Updates Last Week

Microsoft (operating systems, email, web browser, office suites):  

Microsoft's regularly scheduled Windows Updates for January were released last week on Tueday, January 10. Updates included:

The next regularly scheduled Windows Updates are scheduled for Tuesday, February 10, 2006.

Firefox (web browser, www.mozilla.org, free):  No updates this week. Current version 1.5.

Opera (web browser, www.opera.com, free):  No updates this week. Current version 8.51.

Eudora (email, www.eudora.com, options: paid, sponsored or free/lite):  No updates this week. Current version 7.0.1.0.

OpenOffice (office suite — spreadsheet, word processor, presentations, graphics, web design; www.openoffice.org; free):  No updates this week. Current version 2.01.

QuickTime (media player, http://quicktime.apple.com, free & paid versions): Apple's QuickTIme v7.0.4 for Mac and Windows was released last week to address four security issues. These address problems with handling of GIF, TIFF/TIF, QTIF and TGA image files. All four problems could result in "arbitrary code execution" — the buzzwords for "do whatever the attacker wanted to do." For more information, visit Apple's site at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303101 .



3.  A Better, and Free, Way to See What's Running

Program: Process Explorer
Author: Mark Russinovich, SysInternals
Website: www.SysInternals.com

A good thing came out of Mark Russinovich's discovery of the Sony BMG music CD rootkits. I found his SysInternals.com web site and his free program Process Explorer.

In last week's issue, I discussed viewing running processes with Task Manager and WinPatrol. Task Manager is part of everyone's Windows XP, and is an improvement over the version that comes up with Control-Alt-Delete in Windows 98 and Windows Me.

WinPatrol is a free third-party program that will allow you to see and control startup programs, processes and more, as well as providing protection for some security-critical files like the Hosts file in Windows. The Hosts file is used to specify exact IP addresses for specific computers -- such as www.yourbanksname.com.

Process Explorer will tell you far, far more about the running programs than does Task Manager. Even better, it does not hog the screen like TM does and it doesn't seem to give artificial 100% usage numbers like TM does.

SysInternals provides three versions of this neat freeware product. There is one for the Windows 9x series -- Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me. There is a second version for Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 Server. And, finally, there is a 64-bit version for folks running the 64-bit Windows XP or 64-bit Windows 2003 Server.

The programs do not need "installation" -- they just need unzipping. Just unzip the files into the directory of your choice. Then, you can create a shortcut on your Desktop or in the Start Menu.

Obviously, you only need one of these for any given computer. So, I downloaded all three, unzipped them into different directories, and copied them to my USB flash drive. All I have to do is plug the flash drive into a computer and run the appropriate version directly from the flash drive.

Let's take a look at the program as it runs. It does provide a lot of information and shows all of the programs and processes running, so it has a long scroll bar. Rather than embedd such large images into this page, I'm putting smaller images — click on the image for the full picture in a new window.

When you start Process Explorer, you get a view like this. You can click on the headers Process, PID, CPU, Description and Company to resort the columns. Be sure to click on Process 3 or 4 times — Process Explorer provides alternate views as well as sorting.

Process Explorer display, sorted by CPU usage

Click on image for complete, larger picture

In this image, I want you to notice that I've selected "firefox.exe". As long as it is selected, there is a lot of additional information at the bottom of the window (notice the position of the scroll bar). Also, since the CPU usage of each program is constantly varying, your selected program will be highlighted and you can spot it easily as it moves (Moves? I usually sort the CPU column, so the programs are constantly changing lines.)

Process Explorer, selecting one process to see additional information

Click on image for complete, larger picture

This final image shows the bottom of the Process Explorer window and the scrolling CPU Usage graph that is in the Windows Status Bar. Notice that the bottom of the window shows the total CPU Usage, the Commit Charge (the percent of total RAM and virtual memory that is being used by all running programs and Windows itself) and the number of Processes running (programs and Windows services).

Process Explorer graph in the Windows XP Status Bar

Thanks, Mark, for providing this cool program and making it available as freeware.

 


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Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

Volume 1, Number 31 — Sunday, January 15, 2006
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Copyright © 2006 Terry A. Stockdale.  All rights reserved.


 

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