On Computers

Holiday Weekend Potpourri

Gail Allinson, gail@oncomputers.info

30 May 2004

Memorial Day

This weekend brings up a variety of thoughts.  First in the US, this Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday honoring those who gave their lives for their country.  We also honor public servants like the policemen and firemen who have died in the line of duty.

Sam Johnson

I will also add a personal note of remembrance for one of the nicest people I ever met, Sam Johnson.  He was 76 years old and he passed away last Saturday.  I had the pleasure of meeting and flying with Sam at Racine Soaring in 1993.  So why am I mentioning this now?  Well, Sam was one of the last of his kind in this country.  He was the CEO of a family company who put his fellow man before corporate greed. Pilot and philanthropist, Sam was just a down to earth all around good guy.  I will count meeting him as one of the special pleasures of my life.  He really was the family man in the sweater that you saw on the Johnson Wax commercials (the TV commercials aired in the US -- don't know if they aired elsewhere). God speed and happy landings, Sam.

Zone Alarm

This week I downloaded the latest version of Zone Alarm Pro, v. 5.  http://www.zonelabs.com

The install file for this version is approx 700 Kb larger than v. 4.5.  For this extra weight you get a feature that will tell you if your antivirus is working and a feature that will automatically configure  internet access for programs.  The antivirus feature works well but is unneeded bloat in my opinion. The configuration feature can lock up your computer if Zone Alarm can't communicate with its servers. This is especially bad for dial-up users.  It probably works pretty well on broadband.  It is a step in a good direction for non-techies, but for those of you on dial-up who know what you are doing, you are probably better off configuring it manually.  The good news is that Zone Alarm lets you turn off any unneeded and unwanted features.  While I understand the pressure to deliver more, in the face of the upcoming release of Windows XP SP 2 with its enhanced firewall, I hate to see Zone Alarm become so bloated. Savvy users may turn to the new Windows XP firewall just because of the bloat -- just the opposite effect to what Zone Labs desires.


SpoofStick is an easy to use anti-phising program.  If you love your non-techy grandma (or other non-geek friends and family)  you will get SpoofStick and for her, install it, and show her how to use it. SpoofStick is a little toolbar that show you what Web site you are on.  It is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox and it is free. I've tried it in IE and it works beautifully.

Yahoo Messenger

It is important to mention that a new version of Yahoo! Messenger has been released.  Yahoo Messenger is another form of communication used by the On Computers family.  This is the first new version that I've seen in a while that is more than a bug fix from its predecessors.  I admit that this gang gets silly with Yahoo Messenger and we have been playing with the "audibles" and new emoticons all week.  Go grab yourself a copy and let us know what you think.

Horror Story

To round this all out Joe encountered a computer that was loaded with spyware this week.  I don't want to steal Joe's thunder but if this computer were a building it would have had to have been condemned.  So again we want to remind everyone to surf safely. Here are some tools that that we can use to prevent and remove spyware.

Ad-aware - Software - Lavasoft



IE Spyad


2004 Gail Allinson

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