ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife, 27 July 2007

Tips & Hints

The July Nightlife we looked at the new Virgin mobile Internet plans, wireless security, SMS spam and the death of trialware. This week saw the 15th birthday celebrations for text messaging and the launch of a new wireless broadband plan. We kicked off with looking at trialware.

Trialware is the frustrating practice of computer manufacturers pushing trial software onto new systems. There’s nothing wrong with a free trial, but too much of a good thing results in a slow computer. We discuss trialware and how to remove it as our problem of the week.

On the day text messaging celebrated its 15th birthday the Australian Communications and Media Authority announced a fine of $150,000 to a company accused of spamming mobile phone users. SMS scams are becoming far more common and can be expensive for users. If you’ve been a victim the procedure for disputing a mobile phone bill is the same as with an excessive Internet bill.

A quick way to ring up a big Internet bill is to have an unsecured wireless network. If you don’t take security seriously someone could use your Internet connection and land you with the bill. Worse, if they do something illegal you may get the knock at the door so there are good reasons to secure your wireless network.

Wireless networking shouldn’t be confused with wireless broadband. Virgin Broadband’s new wireless service is an interesting product using the Optus mobile system and offering capped plans at attractive prices. We’ll be watching Virgin and their competitors very closely as we think Virgin’s entrance may change the Internet market.

As usual, we had a wide range of challenging callers with problems. Some of whom we promised to get back to. Here’s our homework.

Repairing Outlook Express

Ray cannot open files attached to Outlook Express messages. This can be two things, a damaged OE installation or Outlook Express’ security settings.

The security settings are easily fixed. Click on “Tools” then “Options” select the “Security” tab and take the tick off “Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus”. Click “apply” and “okay”.

Outlook Express is part of Internet Explorer and it relies on IE for a lot of its settings. To fix a damaged Outlook Express, it’s necessary to repair Internet Explorer.

To repair IE, open the Control Panel, go to Add or Remove Programs and double click Internet Explorer. Choose the repair option.

Just to complicate things, some versions of Internet Explorer don’t appear in the add or remove programs list. If this is happens, click the Start button, press run and type the following commands, click OK after each line.

regsvr32 Urlmon.dll
regsvr32 Actxprxy.dll
regsvr32 Oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 Shell32.dll
regsvr32 Shdocvw.dll
regsvr32 Mshtml.dll

We’ve also covered a similar problem on our ITQueries website, if the problem continues you might need to follow those instructions.

Reset your “what do you want to do with these files”

After an exchange student’s stay, Diane found the box that asks “what do you want Windows to do with these files” has stopped working.

The obvious answer here is don’t trust exchange students. If they must use your computer, set them up as a Limited User and password protect your own account. Instructions are at Microsoft’s website.

Fixing this problem is a little awkward. Open My Computer, right-click the CD, DVD, flash or whichever drive is giving you the problem, select Properties and then Auto Play.

You’LL then have to go through each function and choose the correct action. Normally you will want to tick the box that says “prompt me each time to choose an action”. This is another problem we’ve covered at ITQueries.

Skype Spam

One of the irritants with Internet messaging is the amount of spam you receive. Regardless of whether you use email, instant messaging or anything else, as soon as your address is public, idiots will spam you.

Skype chat is not immune to this as Diane found when she installed Skype. Skype is a great service and we highly recommend it for free or cheap interstate and international calls. But the chat function can be irritating and a security risk.

We recommend restricting Skype chat to your contacts, that way only the people you know can talk to you. To do this, open Skype, click Tools, then Options, select the Privacy tab and tick the boxes that allow only people from your contacts to call or chat to you.

Referred websites

During the show, we referred to two websites; Broadband Choice is where you can find the best Internet plan for your needs. If you want to test the speed of your Internet connection visit the Speedtest website.

Our next Nightlife spot will be on August 31 where we’LL be looking at how well Microsoft Vista is doing six months after being released. If you have a suggestion for the show, please contact us. We hope you can tune in after 10.00pm or you can stream the broadcast though the Nightlife website.
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ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2007