Posts filed under ‘how to’

Games, Performance Enhancement (Computer), Freeware

Game Booster is the real thing.  If you play games that use anything much, this shuts down on non-essentials while you’re doing it; it does it visibly; it won’t allow you to shut down the program while it has processes shut down.  It is a beta; I’ve been using it now for a couple of weeks (the updated beta, version 3, to which you have the link, is improved) and never had any problem.  Bit Defender has another version of the same thing, more or less, which seems to amount to a spotty AV protection.  I didn’t read through the whole description.  Any disablement of protective functions needs to be visible–in fact, in needs to be “in your face” as Game Booster is.

–Glenn

April 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

Mainly a link: Who/What Does Microsoft Blame for an XP Error?

Go here for the answer.

–Glenn

April 2, 2009 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

Garbo: Social Networking for the Anti-Social

Social networking for folks like me!  The only thing I don’t get–how do I join?

–Glenn

[2nd April Fool’s joke.  The Garbo bit is at least supposedly real, though.]

April 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Freeware Password Managers

First of all, we’ve got the S10 Password Vault.  This is from FreewareFiles.com, which is (so far) an excellent source of freeware.  It has a master password (yes, just one), and it will fill in forms without c&p (copy and paste).  To some extent that’s dangerous.  However, we’ve still got that damned “barber” problem–Russell’s paradox, though I’ve seen attribution to Italy and quite a lot earlier.  You have to have a password…in order to remember the password.

Comodo i-Vault is the next.  This piece of freeware has been heavily recommended through a lot of years.  256-bit AES encryption is used as well as protection against keyloggers.  It also allows transmission of sensitive data directly from the program into a web application.  You might have guessed I’m not totally in favor of that.  Oddly enough you have to have a master password.  I’m definitely allergic to storing things like bank account numbers or credit card numbers in such an application.  However, this particular company has an excellent reputation.

Then we have My Security Vault 3.0.  This isn’t just a form-filler and storage for passwords; it helps you guard against sensitive information inadvertently left on your computer.  This also allows encryption of files (I personally have tended to use EncryptOnClick; I also managed to screw up recently on the passwords to a number of files…to which I actually knew I had unencrypted backups).  This used to be used by commercial and government entities.  [One of the advantages you have of reading my blog at times is that I’ve gone places I don’t advise you to go.  There are other programs advertised than My Security Vault, and I’d advise you to ignore them.]

Acerose Password Vault, mind you, specifies Windows XP.  I doubt that Vista will cause a problem here.  I’m going to get just a little bit off the subject and say that–as long as a program doesn’t use a lot of fancy graphics, call on some characteristics of the older Direct-X versions that actually are fairly ancient or–and this really is something you can’t expect even out of a legacy-compatible system–actually require what amounts to a DOS environment–it will generally run on Vista if it did on XP.  They have made a real attempt at random number generation.  The real advantage is that this will actually run in a server-type situation (multiple “personalities” i.e. multiple passwords) and extra steps are taken to preserve the data.  Besides, you can probably use the other program to figure out how to shoot something if your passwords don’t work out.

And we have Cybervault.  This is pretty small, notice; half a meg.  This is cutting things down to essentials, like Oubliette (notice I’ve just sent you to Tranglos because Mr. Jedlinski–no, I’ll not swear I have the name right–has a lot of very cooool software there most particularly including keynote, which I am currently using) does.  Note too that EncryptOnClick can be used quite easily as a password vault, because you can encode the whole document.  I’ve been known to use a *.wps file out of laziness; most word processors can’t begin to handle it.

Let us take another detour through the woods.  In point of fact, the only code I know of that’s unbreakable is the book code in some form.  That means you refer to the physical placement of words and/or characters within a book to transmit a message or in this case to store it.  A common method of making passwords less obvious is to take a word–I like “password”.  Just have this fondness for it, mind.  First of all:  Password.  So our first letter is capitalized.  Make the s’s 5’s (or one of them); could make the “o” a zero.  Mind you, I would not under any circumstances use any variation of the word “password” as a password, since it is absolutely the most common to ever have been used.

I forgot to mention most of the vaults mentioned thus far will happily and quietly produce passwords for you.  I actually don’t have any advice for you should you just lose “it”, the password, and access to files.  Well, except for the advice I took when I lived in Spokane as a kid, right across the mountains from the nuclear testing (and knew about it).  I think that translates into something like “Bend over and kiss” something “goodbye”.

And on.

And now we come to mini-Trezor.  I suppose someone had just had his mouth broken the day before and couldn’t pronounce “treasure”.  One-user, 0ne-computer application, although several storage devices may be used (discs, that is, although things like pens and pencils still do actually work).

The next search result I have is from Tucows, and I strongly advise against visiting that site any more.  I did some investigating, and what made my “mind” up was this; of their top ten recommended downloads…every one of them resolved via whois to the same domain in Russa/UK (oops, Ukraine) [like ISP] that had the scamware (badware that will solve all your problems, most particularly including “finallyfast.com”.  One program I began downloading did make me a gift of a Trojan; ZLob, I believe.  So I would give Tucows a firm miss.  This is not a sudden happening; I’ve watched it progress over quite a few years.  So:  FWIW.  I certainly am no guru.  I did have fun removing that Trojan.

…Okay.  I can’t go any more.  My back is really killing me.

This only leaves fifty or so freeware password programs.  The major reason I’m doing this is because almost all have password generation utilities (even though I’ve not mentioned that) and there’s simply no reason for not keeping strong, up-to-date passwords.  There never was, but this is presenting it on silver platter and all.  What I’ve presented thus far is only a small part (though some will doubtless be repetition) from one search engine—desktop–that everyone has pretty well forgotten about.  I have another one.

–Glenn

March 31, 2009 at 11:16 pm 1 comment

Roboform and Oubliette: the Challenge

I could swear I remember when Roboform was beta freeware.

I just read a white paper originating in the company that sells it as a corporate password solution.  Roboform is easy to find.  Oubliette is at Tranglos software.  And it’s freeware.  And I’ve been recommending it for a long time.

I don’t actually see oubliette as very satisfactory as a server-based solution, although because of its size it could arguably be installed on a memstick (USB blah-de-blah:  idea dates back to early 1900’s:  memstick) and as I recall (I was wrong; it’s installed into the registry, so solid state storage device run would be a bit beyond it).  It could be tweaked but that’s a bit beyond the scope here.  The oubliette program is designed for one user per file.  This means that for every user there would have to be a dedicated file, and no less than that–no recovery of passwords built in.  You blow it, that’s it.  Which brings us back to the “who shaves the barber” conundrum (“The barber shaves every man in town.  So who shaves the barber?”].

I’m actually fairly interested in the company’s reply.  If any.  Curiosity and the cat:  perhaps that’s why we have a lot of cats.

–Glenn

March 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Conficker/Downadup

This is a demonstration of the BitDefender tool for the current variant of that virus.  To remove it, that is.  And April Fool’s Day (All Fools Day) isn’t far away.  This is worthwhile viewing for anyone having trouble with understanding what all the to-do is about.

–Glenn

March 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Essential Safety Measures: Secunia: Freeware: How to Check Updates

My last post was about a defragmentation facility.  The reason that’s so important is simply access time.  In some ways, then, it’s a secondary concern; it basically, for instance, has nothing to do with a computer’s or network’s security.  In it, I said something about nothing being hacker-proof.

The most common hacker exploits right now are based on unpatched software.  People don’t like to update their programs.  It takes time.  It can even take concentration (you should actually read the warnings before clicking through them, for instance–more on that in a moment).  Secunia can help keep programs up to date.  It is absolutely not perfect.  Keep in mind too that the ancient program you love and understand (not that I would have hung onto, oh, say Paint Shop Pro Version 5 for ten years or so; not me [blush]) is an invitation to outsiders to hack it.

Secunia is a first step because it will notify you of dangers you have.  At times it will at least be exasperating.  Most users to date have not taken care of all the problems it’s notified them of.  [Dangling participles and all.]  That’s a bad idea.  If you have to, delete the bloody program (but make sure not to clean out your recycle bin, because if absolutely necessary you can restart in Safe Mode and put it back where it was) and do a restart–it can be the only solution in some cases like Java.  Doing an immediate restart is determining whether or not, for instance, there are some *.dll’s in the folder that something else uses.

*My little note.  I was cheerfully installing something or other, half paying attention to what I was clicking on, and saw a message decidedly out of the ordinary.  While I still ended up having the ZLob Trojan installed, I knew it and was able to take appropriate steps–among them aborting an installation procedure that would have undoubtedly been the more disastrous the longer it took.  Don’t just “click through” on the messages.  Read the TOS, don’t toss them–read the Terms of Service rather than assuming you’ll accept them.  More than one piece of adware has come out where the person installing it has agreed to do it.  After you’ve read a few, those with odd stipulations will tend to stick out.  You’ll even end up (for instance) not installing the Yahoo! toolbar ten thousand times.

–Glenn

March 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

Smart Defrag (Freeware)

Recently I blogged about Defraggler, which is also an excellent defragmentation facility.  Or was.  In these days of huge drives and programs, it’s difficult to truly defragment unless it’s a constantly running tool.  The last time I exited it… (Defraggler) my “C” drive (generally the main drive, although not necessarily any more)…had 55% fragmentation.  The strength of Smart Defrag is that it can run constantly; it has a very small footprint in RAM and CPU cycles…and it will help avoid the task that seems to last forever if you just run defragmentation (say) monthly.  I actually uninstalled Smart Defrag for a while because I was afraid of too much runtime on my hard drive; I’m back to it.

I helped with the original five star rating.  The references on that page are real, not made up.

Recommendations on CNET home page:

http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10120734-12.html

http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10050376-12.html

http://www.download.com/Smart-Defrag/3000-2094_4-10759533.html

http://www.download.com/8301-2007_4-10172041-12.html

…And as a final note, IOBit can be trusted as a software vendor.  I am not saying they can’t get hacked–hell, NASA and NSA both got hacked within the last couple of years.  I am saying their products are the real thing and trusted in the industry–and that I will vouch for them from personal experience and research.

–Glenn

March 29, 2009 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Conficker (Downadup) and April 1st

Time for FUD (fear, uncertainty and despair–or disparate despair, should should prefer…), right?  Not really.  Good way to see if you have it:  go to f-secure.com.  Note I didn’t type in the “world wide web” or www prefix.  If it’s a “Page Cannot Be Displayed” or 404 Error and same with symantec, microsoft and other security sites, most likely you have it and it’s blocking access.

If you got that, try to follow the link I gave on top, because it will give you other links.  You can also contact me via comments.  You can even figure out what my g-mail address most likely is.

As far as me agreeing with the gurus…I’ve never gambled (on the tables, that is).  Even though I was in Hong Kong.  I have absolutely no opinion what will happen on the first regarding this worm, its associated botnets and the crafty and misguided idiots that crafted it and its siblings.  Except that they’re idiots, I mean.

–Glenn

March 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

The Fake Anti-Virus Program

It’s evolved, at least in title (among the security vendors):  Anti-Virus 360.  That’s when you visit a page–often unexpectedly–and have a page-within-a-page pop up and tell you that you have terrible problems with your computer and it will scan them for you.  There’s something indicating progress, from a clock to a line.  And then…the golden moment:  for just $xxx, you can have protection.  And give ’em not only your current paying power (from debit to credit card and all between) but your computer.

To escape, ALT+F4.  If there’s a problem, go down to Start and do a Restart (reboot your computer) or even power it off.  Anything else is taking a measurable chance you’re clicking on an “enter character”.  Saying yes, that is:  these programs are even known to leave shortcuts and executables on the desktop–if just one “enter” character is clicked (the “Enter” key is a “click” for this purpose, because I don’t even want to attempt to define what an enter character is in clear English–particularly since it’s actually a legacy from the days of teletype and paper tape, of all things).

And use WOT or Haute Secure, at least.  They’ll help.

–Glenn

Please do read the referenced article.

March 27, 2009 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

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