PC Rescue Newsletter June 2008
and online protection
Is the age of the computer coming
to an end?
With the rise of smartphones,
including the new iPhone, increasing availability of broadband Internet
and the rise of online services like Salesforce.com, Google Apps and Zoho,
do we really need big, clunky and unreliable computers?
This is one of the the things
we'll be looking at over the next few months. It's also the topic of this
Friday's ABC Nightlife computer spot.
The release of the iPhone and
Apple's new retail store is going to change things on a number of levels
in the Australian tech sector. The pricing of the iPhone will shake up
the mobile phone industry, particularly at the business level. While Apple's
store model is going to set a higher standard than we've been used to
from our retail computer outlets.
The iPhone isn't for everyone
but, for the reasons we explain below, it's going to trigger some competitive
deals in the mobile phone market. If you're considering a mobile phone,
it's a good idea to hold off for a few months as we can expect more features
at cheaper prices.
On a more immediate front,
our ABC spots have changed and this month we have a Nightlife spot at
10pm on Friday the 13th of June. The July Nightlife remains but the June
Weekend spot is now on July 6. More details below.
The life of AVG Free 7.5 has
been extended to the end of this month. If you haven't yet installed the
new AVG 8 Free version we
have the instructions on where to find it.
If you don't install it by
the end of the month, you'll find AVG 7.5 will still work but the virus
definitions won't update. So it's a good idea to get the new version on
your system as soon as possible.
When you install, we'd recommend
you don't choose to install the Yahoo! Toolbar. There's too many toolbars
being bundled into software at the moment and we find they tend to interfere
with each other.
Who says you can't get a
good computer manual? Our Dummies
books are available online. If you
want to learn more about your computer, we have the answers.
The current version of PCs
for Dummies covers Vista computers and the earlier version covers Windows
XP. So we can help you get the most from both versions of Windows.
Norton and Windows
We said in last month's newsletter
that we hadn't seen many problems with the XP Service Pack. No sooner
had we sent that when we started hearing about an incredibly irritating
bug caused by the self protection mechanisms in Norton.
If you are running Norton products
should read their instructions before installing any Windows service
Generally the advice to disable
all antivirus and security products before installing any important upgrade
is very good advice.
Jargon of the
month: FTTN and FTTH
Fibre To The Node (FTTN) is
a way of getting high speed communications to a local community. It involves
running optical fibre cables to the local telephone exchange or junction
box and from their it can be sent out over the local telephone lines.
FTTH, or Fibre To The Home,
takes the fibre one step further and gets the optic fibre cables to your
house. This means even faster telecommunications but it costs substantially
more than the FTTN option as it involves running vastly more cable in
You'll be hearing a lot more
of these two terms as the Federal government works towards announcing
it's National Broadband Network. Treat anything you read or hear on this
topic with a grain of salt as most sides have big vested interested.
a computer tech? We can get technicians to help you with your home
and office computer problems anywhere in Australia.
If you need a new computer
set up, a virus removed or would just like to make sure your computer
is running as it should be, we can help you.
Call 1300 798 957
and our call centre can arrange a visit or online service.
A flood of cheap
The wave of budget laptops
continues; Asus have announced the successor to the original EeePC, HP
and Acer have come up with their cheap units and Dell are promising to
have one real soon now.
These cheap laptops are one
of the reasons the age of the PC isn't over yet. The bottom end laptops
are now cheaper than the mobile phones many people think will replace
If you are looking for a cheap
system, have a look at our
recommended specifications before buying. While the cheap units will
do for many users, the extra memory and extended warranty are money well
spent in getting a more useful, longer lasting system.
Last month we looked at Telstra's
$0 laptop deal and came to the conclusion that you could probably do better
elsewhere. Since then Dodo Internet has started a similar offer and it's
been bought to our attention that Optus have had a laptop deal running
for the last two years (shame they didn't tell anyone about it).
Our advice with all of these
packages is to cost them out carefully. There's no such thing as a free
lunch or a free laptop. Before committing to a long term plan, check out
the prices and the conditions carefully.
In our view, with the changes
currently happening in both the computer hardware and mobile Internet
markets, you'd have rocks in your head to sign up to a long term plan.
Ask a question
Our sister website,
Queries answers common computer problems.
If your computer has a frustrating
problem, have a look for an answer at IT Queries. If you don't find one,
just ask on the IT Queries site and we'll get a solution for you.
Stay smart online
This week is the National E-security
Awareness Week and the Federal government has launched their new Stay Smart
Online initiative. Their
website has tips for businesses and families on how to use computers
safely. The Net Alert site is still operating and the free webfilters are
still available until the end of the year.
of secure computing
The last two weeks has seen dozens
of people arrested in a world wide police operation. It's interesting
to note that the whole exercise started after a hacker broke into a legitimate
website and used it host his illegal pictures.
Using other people's computers
for this sort of thing is the main reason for hacking systems. Once the
bad guys have control of your computer or network they can do anything
they like from hosting pornography to sending masses of spam and attacking
If they do this from your computer
or wireless network you will be held responsible. The first door the police
will knock on is yours. So it's important to make sure your computer and
wireless network are fully secure.
We have tips for both wireless
network security and protecting
your computer on the website. Take them seriously, particularly the
tips on wireless networking.
PC Rescue's Managing director,
Paul Wallbank, can help your business or community group get more from
their technology. Contact
us for more details
Thursday 26 June.
Forest Computer Pals for Seniors, Forestville, Sydney. Bookings can
be made through their
The elder guru;
exploding the myths of the digital divide.
Ten ways to revolutionise your business IT
What does it all mean? cutting through computer jargon.
Selling tech; capturing the home and SOHO markets.
This week saw the new 3G iPhone
announced and a date for its Australian release. The interesting thing
about the release is Optus and Vodafone will be carrying it, but not Telstra.
This is going to set off a
battle in the Australian mobile phone market as Telstra has the best network
but the iPhone's pricing is less than half that of the equivalent competing
phones and Vodafone's plans, where you can receive them, are substantially
cheaper than Telstra.
All of this means that if you
are in the market for a mobile then you should hold off buying a mobile
for the moment. We are going to see some very competitive deals as the
rest of the market responds to the market.
Another announcement this week
from Apple was the addition of a number of Australian universities to
the their iTunes U program which offers free lectures, guest speeches
and videos from various institutions. If you are studying, or interested
in the courses, it's worthwhile checking
out their website.
Universities aren't the only
institutions making material available for free on the web. Sydney's Powerhouse
Museum have teamed up with Flickr, the photo sharing service, to share
their photo collection.
on Flickr is a project to share some the world's biggest photographic
collections. The Powerhouse is the third institution to join up after
the US Library of Congress and the Brooklyn.
We've had a late change to our ABC radio spots with the next Nightlife
segment on Friday, June 13 at 10.15pm. Our next Sydney 702 Weekend spot
will be at 10am on July 6.
If you'd like to offer any
suggestions about topics or improvements to the shows please contact
Software of the
One of the problems with Windows
is the lack of an easy to use backup program. While Synchtoy was really
designed to help users synchronise data between their home computer and
laptop it works perfectly well as a backup tool. It's a free download
For Mac users an free backup
program is the excellent Silverkeeper
from LaCie. Note Silverkeeper isn't compatible with Mac OS 10.5, but
if you're using Leopard you have the time machine function available anyway.
Next month on
In July, we'll be looking closer
at online office applications and seeing if it's possible to do all your
work using free tools on the Internet. We were hoping to look at that
this month but were swept up by the iPhone hysteria.
If you have a topic you'd like
us to discuss on the websites, Smart Company blog or the radio spots please
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