Oct 012019

Let’s face it, your kids are going to be smarter than you when it comes to using technology and the web. They use it more often, their friends know more about it than your friends do and they have plenty of free time to learn more.

But you are right to be worried and do what you can to keep them safe.

There’s lots of software out there that can filter out web addresses, and many of them are bundled into security suites that you might already have loaded on your computer. OT and ICS cybersecurity is given a lot more importance these days as everything is digitized. 

But filtering software that blocks specific site addresses is not enough.

Web Proxies

Web proxies allow you to bypass your own Internet provider and browse through the proxy web site.  All that you have to do is find a web proxy site (easily found through a web search), type the web site address you would like to visit in the form they provide, and start browsing. Once you keep browsing using that form, you are protected and your real IP address is not being logged and your filtering software in unaware that this is happening.

Take Charge — the Better Alternative to Blocking

As you can see, there are a lot of workarounds if you decide to block sites with a filter to avoid retrohunting.  Like the Hydra in Greek mythology, each time you cut a head off two more grow in its place.  You will never ever get ahead of the curve if you try to put together a list of sites to block.  It’s just not possible.

So work the problem from the opposite end.  Decide what sites are acceptable and only allow those sites to be accessed.  This type of list, called a “white list” (I know, I know — I didn’t make up the name), is much more manageable and can be added to as needed.

You may already have the ability to set up a whitelist in your security software.  If not, here are recommended software you can try for 15 or 30 days free:

Jul 162019

In this bad economy where every dollar is even more precious, you might want to hang on to your computer just a slow-pclittle while longer. I go out on a lot of calls where people’s computers have slowed down and I am asked to diagnose the problem. Here’s what I look for:

Disk Space

It’s a good idea to have at least 20% of your disk be free space, so here’s how to check available space:
My Computer –>(right mouse click) Local Disk (C:) –> Properties
If you do not have sufficient free space it is time to think about either adding an additional disk drive, and moving data over to it or cleaning up your existing files.

Disk File Defragment

This used to be a much bigger fix twenty years or so ago, but is less so now. However, it is easy to do and may have some effect. Start it when you are not using computer for a long time like just before going to the bed or going out. Always analyze before defragmenting, and only defragment if it is recommended after the analysis:
Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> System Tools –> Disk Defragmenter

Cleaning the Registry

The registry is a very important part of the Windows operating system. Almost every process run in your system relies on information in the registry. Unfortunately, when you delete an application, it does not always do the necessary housecleaning in the registry and so it may be full of a lot of unnecessary information that can slow your computer down.
My favorite free registry cleaner is CCleaner. It has advanced features to remove unused and old entries, including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, and much more. It also allows you to backup the registry before you make changes, so that you can roll back to the original configuration in case of a problem.

Use Alternative Software

Always look for alternative software which occupies less memory.

  • Swap out Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a complete resource hog, for the free Foxit Reader. Foxit Reader has all the functionality of Acrobat Reader and uses far less memory.
  • Replace Internet Explorer (another resource hog) with Mozilla Firefox, a free full functional browser that I personally prefer and endorse.

Clean Up the Start-up Files

Practically every program you have ever installed on your computer configures itself to start automatically every time you turn on the computer and then runs constantly in the background. This not only makes the time it takes for you computer to get to a point where you can start using it, it is also a complete resource hog. Look over at the bottom right-hand part of your monitor — do you see a lot of icons there? Those are some of the applications that load automatically during start-up and run in the background.

You will then see this

Select the Startup Tab: you will now see all the applications that are loaded during startup:

Unclick them all (every important application will be started in the Services folder) –> Select OK –> Let the computer reboot.  Voila ! A much faster startup !

Still not so great.  Consider a memory upgrade.

Live in Oakland or the immediate environs?  Would you like for me to take care of this for you?  Use my contact form