Archive for June, 2013

The Battle for Your Computer’s Safety

Friday, June 28th, 2013

More is always better, right? Well, in most cases it is. However in terms of using anti-virus protection for your computer, one is enough. While certain programs may have better or different catch rates (How often the program detects issues), or less “false positives” (When a file is incorrectly marked as malicious) and so forth, you do not want to mix these programs together!

If you find a better antivirus program than the one you are currently using, whether it is your personal computer or on a set of computers you administrate – you want to remove the existing program first. On the outside, it sounds ideal to combine products to maximize your protection but what this actually does is increase the strain on your computer greatly.

Think of it in this way – an antivirus program would be similar to an army of medieval knights and your computer is comparable to being your castle. Your army will tirelessly and vigilantly protect the entrances to your castle, while also searching the premises for unwanted things that have snuck by occasionally. Introducing a second antivirus program to your computer would be identical to hiring a new and completely different army while simultaneously employing both to do the same job.

These armies will constantly bicker with each other and try to gain each other’s ground. One army has an entirely separate approach to deal with threats than the other while both defend your data differently. An antivirus program sets up its own system and methods of computer protection. They generally do not like interacting with each other, and your computer’s safety becomes an issue once again. There are further side effects of using multiple programs to achieve protection from viruses, but the main trouble would be programs trying to dominate one another.

Other programs cause fewer issues – something along the lines of anti-malware, or anti-spyware programs. These are suitable to use in conjunction, and are lighter supplements to your total defense plan. It is just the heavy defenders like Norton, AVG, Kaspersky, Avast, Avira, and so forth that do not play nice with each other. Ideally, the ultimate goal for protection is to find one you like with reliable results, and let it operate only with complementary programs.

If you are currently unprotected, we highly recommend getting some form of security, and there are some great free programs. For an antivirus, try using AVG (http://free.avg.com) or Avast! (http://www.avast.com) These are safe and free to download. We also recommend a few additional programs like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (http://www.malwarebytes.org) and SUPERAntiSpyware (http://superantispyware.com). These tertiary programs specifically target other sources of malicious files.

Dirt and Dust – Are you destroying your computer?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Fundamentally, computers are complex machines. They can perform many tasks of modern life, but are susceptible to the same flaws as any other machine would be. Dirt and dust are mortal enemies of machines and have several troubling consequences, home and office computers included. In a list of the ten most common reasons for computer failures published in 2008, number six was dirt and dust while heat rated number eight, even though heat can also be a side effect of a dust buildup.

What exactly is it that dust and dirt do to your system? First, it would help to understand what dust is – dust is a mixture of particles such as plant pollen, cloth fibers, paper fiber, and tiny specks of dirt, skin cells, and hair from both pets and humans. Some dust is capable of conducting electricity as well and can short out your computer. It is entirely a deadly combination of gunk capable of serious damage.

Dust will find a way into any part of your computer/laptop, and every part it settles on can be affected negatively. For example, dust can diminish the lifespan of your components, increase power consumption, clog your fans, and insulate and short circuit the electronics. This would cause excessive heat damage, damaged or destroyed cooling fans or damaged parts. All of these problems could lead to dire results such as costly repairs or replacements of individual parts or the whole system.

There are several warning signs however – slowness of the operating system (throttled speed) or louder fan activity for no apparent reason to name a few. It is highly recommended to get your computer or laptop checked for dirt and clogs, and having this maintenance done will help prevent critical and costly failure.

The Cloud

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

So, you may have heard of “The Cloud” by now, probably mentioned in an advert or some other form of media, but what exactly is it? Simply, The Cloud refers to the most efficient way currently to store and share information – files are stored over the Internet rather than on a hard drive or through physical devices like CD-ROMs or USB flash drives. Why is it called “The Cloud” though? This is due to the way it is referenced, much like actual clouds; your stored data floats around in virtual space between all applied devices. Using The Cloud has several immediate advantages.

Utilizing The Cloud, files are stored over the internet. Some benefits include having backup protection and instant availability. Many modern companies and tech-savvy individuals are claiming Cloud space for themselves already – and the only two requirements using The Cloud has are the amount of available space, and having an active internet connection.

Cloud storage offers a great method of file backup for personal use OR business use. In the past, companies would copy all of their data to giant tape rolls and send them offsite, while personal users back up their data to physical mediums and store them away. There is a better way, and that would be The Cloud. Say you are working on a presentation for a meeting the next day. You finish it, and save the file to your personal Cloud. The next morning before work though, tragedy strikes, and your hard drive fails! The file could be corrupted or outright destroyed… thankfully; you saved the file to your Cloud. Using a different computer or other internet capable device you access your Cloud and there is that presentation along with all of the other files you have stored there. This works with virtually any kind of file, so long as it fits in your allotted Cloud space.

As previously mentioned, using the Cloud can offer you immediate availability on your files. So long as you have Cloud space and an internet connection, any file can be saved from any location that is linked to your Cloud. Then, anywhere else that is also coupled will have that file accessible as soon as it is downloaded. For example, uploading a document from your office computer to your Cloud will mean that as soon as you get home and without having to have any equipment on you, that file can be downloaded and handled at home – as long as your home computer is on the same Cloud network. Imagine it’s an image – now both computers (along with any others connected) will be able to view it instantly.

How Cloud storage works: It’s really no more than simple file sharing. You can rent space from a company who sells it. That space you are renting from them is on the company’s servers is now your personal storage area. When you upload a file it is sent to that set of computers, and then those computers redistribute it to all of your devices – and typically (depending on network speed) it is usable within seconds.