ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife, 18 October 2007

Tips & Hints

For the October Nightlife spot we followed how online frauds work, we picked an online fraud that popped up in our Skype messaging system and looked at how this scam works. To emphasised the danger these things present we discussed the Ebay survey found 90% of Australian Internet Users take risks on line. We also looked at the state of Australian broadband as we enter into the Federal election.

ATO Warning

A good example of how clever the scammers can be is a fake tax refund notification doing the rounds. The email is a pretty convincing fraud. It uses ATO logos, advises you have a tax refund and asks for your details to make the deposit.

The ATO has issued a warning and advises that if you have given your credit card to contact your bank immediately.

Comparing broadband

Tony threw a question of how Australia compares to other nations in terms of broadband. There's been a lot of comparisons between countries. Suffice to say we are somewhere in the middle of the pack.

We could, and should, be doing much better. But the pricing structures of Australian telcos and ISPs, government misunderstanding of the industry and regulator's wishful thinking have meant competition has been stymied. It's difficult to see how we can now get up the broadband tables.

It's probably safe to say the status quo is set for the moment. The challenge for Australian broadband users is to understand the limitations of what we have and use them as well as we can.

WiMax rollout

Tony . WiMax is touted as the technology of the future and has been chosen as the technology to provide the "last mile" in the Federal government's OPEL scheme. We're not convinced WiMax is the answer, but others will differ. If you'd like to learn more about WiMax, Intel have all the information.

Confusing Wireless

During our discussion Tony confused the two types of wireless. This a common problem and is the fault of the IT industry for using interchangable terms.

Wireless Internet is a way of connecting to the Internet by using the mobile phone network or other wire free technologies. All of these have built in security that makes it almost impossible to evesdrop.

Wireless Networks are a way of sharing files, printers and Internet connections in your home or office. These have major problems with security as many systems come without the basic security set up and most people don't understand how to do it. Damien asks a question on this towards the end of the show.

Listeners questions

Internet Explorer not working

Walter, IE not wroking. It "can't display the webpage". This is typical of a spyware infection. We'd recommend scanning your system for spyware and cleaning out any rubbish.

Wireless Internet

Peter from Deniliquin was finding hislocal wireless provider unreliable. The older HiBis companies are struggling with the changes to the Federal government subsidies. The struggling services are more a financial matter and underlying technologies these companies use are quite sound.

Computer shut down

Michael had a PC that wouldn't start and ask him to run the installation disks. This usually indicates the Registry is damaged, which is a . It could be the hard drive is struggling. This sounds like a job for a computer tech.

Prospects for satellite broadband

Peter asked about the prospects for satellite broadband given he lives in a remote location and the proposed wireless broadband rollouts to regional areas.

It's difficult to say when these schemes will actually become reality. Our guess is there's a few years until we'll see them. If, like Peter, you live in an area where ADSL is not feasible, we'd suggest going ahead with the satellite installation on a 12 or 24 month plan.

Limited user accounts

Steve had some problems after following our advice on setting up Limited User Accounts. He's finding the system runs slowly and icons are missing in the profiles.

The missing icons indicate a problem with the profiles. We'd suggest creating a new profile for the user. This should be a reminder why you don't let kids on the main administrator profile: It's better they mess up their profile than the entire computer.

As far as the slow system goes, this could be because a program doesn't like the Limited User Account. This does happen and it's difficult to get around, the only thing we can suggest is to troubleshoot the programs to see which one is causing the difficulties.


Peter was complaining about overtyping on his laptop. This is the glidepad, the touch panel at the front of the laptop and he's resting his fingers on it. We'd recommend changing the touchpad settings. This can be done in the Mouse section of the Control Panel.

Warranty support

Jamie had a problem with a laptop going back five times. Including installing a new hard drive which cost her her data. She's barely had her laptop since last may.

The first lesson is to back up your data before sending the laptop off to the company. Of course this doesn't help her now.

Warranty service is where the IT industry lets a lot of people down. If you are having trouble, we'd suggest contacting the management of the companies you are dealing with. If you are finding you are getting nowhere with the management, then contact your state consumer protection authority.

Reporting scams

Micheal ATO recieved the ATO spam and reported it to ACMA and the ATO earlier in the week. The authorities can't do anything unless they know about these scams. We recommend that you forward information to such things to organisations like ACMA, the ACCC and your Internet provider whenever you encounter a new one.

Removing Spyware

Tony had a problem with malware. How we deal with this is to remove the spyware through downloading the spyware scanners then running the computer in safe mode. We have detailed instructions on removing malware on our ITQueries website.

WiFi dangers

Damien had a comment about how often he encounters either unsecured wireless networks or ones where the default passwords have been left on. He recommends getting someone who knows how to setup a wireless network to check your setup. We tend to agree with this.

Hiding a MAC address

we don't normally tolerate follow up questions, but Damien asked about the legality of masking his MAC address. Every network device has its own unique MAC address to identify it to the rest of the Internet and other networks. It is possible to hide these addresses but we tend not to recommend it as it can mess up many network connections.

There's no law against you hiding your MAC address, but if you doing this to hack into a network or to connect to a cable Internet without an account then you are probably committing an offence of some sort. We'd recommend you don't do it.

Web server problems

Julian is looking at setting up a webserver and had some questions about DNS, port forwarding and sub domains. All of these are good questions, but way too complex for what we do on the show. We'll just say it is possible, but takes a degree of expertise and understanding.

We would suggest though that if you have to ask these questions then you don't have the skills to do it. Running a webserver is a full time job and requires reliable equipment with multiple backup systems. Given the prices of webhosting, it's cheaper to set up an account with a web hosting company than to spend a lot of time and energy yourself.

Our next Nightlife spot will be on November 23 where we'll be looking at what's coming up for Christmas. 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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