Remote wipe your BlackBerry without BES

by on January 4, 2010, under Mobile Phones

Your BlackBerry contains lots of useful business and personal information – that’s why you bought one. But if your BlackBerry is lost or stolen, that information could be compromised. If you have a corporate BlackBerry connected to a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), your IT folks will almost certainly use its Remote Wipe feature to nuke your BlackBerry remotely in the event that it is reported lost or stolen. If your BlackBerry is not connected to a corporate Blackberry Enterprise Server, you can accomplish the same thing with a little $9.95 BlackBerry App from roblock.

Once this app is installed, you have a number of theft recovery features available remotely should your phone be lost or stolen. You can track it by GPS or cell tower location, can cause it to emit a high-pitched alarm, can disable it, or wipe it. There are also remote backup options available for a monthly fee.


Trouble upgrading to AVG 9.0 Free Edition

by on December 1, 2009, under Security

We’ve received a lot of feedback from folks having trouble upgrading their AVG Antivirus Free Edition from version 8.5 to version 9.0. The following recipe seems to solve the issue:

  • Use your browser to navigate to free.avg.com
  • Download and save the AVG installation file to your desktop
  • Navigate to www.avg.com/download-tools and save the avg-remover tool to your desktop
  • Close your browser, go to the control panel, launch Add/Remove Programs (XP) or Programs and Features (Vista, Win 7), and uninstall AVG
  • Reboot and run the AVG remover you saved to your desktop
  • Reboot and run the AVG installation file you saved to your desktop

Just say no to toolbars

by on November 4, 2009, under Microsoft

Sometimes when I work on a computer that is running very very slowly, I see lots of toolbars installed in the web browser. Each individual toolbar might be nice, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Multiple toolbars can slow down your web browsing, cause your computer to become unstable, and even make it hard to see all of a web page on the screen at one time. How do folks end up with so many toolbars?

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How to display your birthday, not your age, in Facebook

by on November 2, 2009, under Security

Many people choose the default settings when entering their birthdate information into Facebook, and as a result the day, month, and year of their birth is displayed in their profile. You can preserve some privacy and change this default so that only the month and day appear.

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Java Update Available – should I install it?

by on October 21, 2009, under Security

Some people are annoyed when this pop-up appears on their screen, and wonder if it is legitimate or necessary:

This is indeed a legitimate software update from Sun Microsystems, the vendor that provides Java. Java is a programming language and runtime environment used by a number of websites to display interactive web content. In order to secure your computer from online threats, you should keep all of your online software up-to-date. This includes Java. So, the next time this pop-up happens, you should click on the pop-up window and allow the update to proceed. It should only take a few minutes.


Is your home in a flood hazard area?

by on October 18, 2009, under Miscellaneous

We certainly have had more than our share of rain in the Atlanta area recently! Many areas experienced historic levels of flooding as swollen streams and area lakes overflowed. Lots of people had wet basement, but many were really flooded!

Is your home in a flood hazard area? FEMA has online resources which outline the extent of the officially calculated hazard areas. One such resource is FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer for Google Earth.

To get started, download and install Google Earth if you do not have it already. Then download the FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer and save it. Opening this file will launch Google Earth with the FEMA layer loaded.

Here is a screenshot showing the overlay after choosing “Special Flood Hazard Areas” and “Floodways”.

The red areas indicate flood hazard zones, where flood insurance may be mandatory.


Upgrade your Windows Installer version

by on September 8, 2009, under Microsoft

An older Windows XP system can sometimes get into a state where complex software products do not install and uninstall properly. One thing to try when you have this situation is to make sure your XP system has the latest version of the Windows Installer. Microsoft has a KB article which describes the 4.5 version of the installer.

The downloads for various flavors of Windows can be obtained directly from Microsoft. Upgrading your Installer will ensure that you have the latest Microsoft fixes for the Installer component, and may possibly fix registry permission issues that are hampering some of your current attempts at installing third-party software packages.


How to fix red X in Outlook signature

by on August 25, 2009, under Microsoft

Sometimes in Outlook 2003, a red X will appear in your signature if you have an inline jpg embedded there. You carefully re-insert the image in your signature and it seems to work for awhile, displaying your singature properly, and then eventually it stops working correctly and then the red X comes back. If this is happening to you, this fix may help.

In this situation Outlook 2003 is storing images in emails in a temporary security folder. If you have an image called, say, image.jpg, Outlook will store this image temporarily in a folder. When Outlook saves this image, a filename such as image01.jpg, image02.jpg, image03.jpg, is used. The bug happens after 99 repetitions, when Outlook goes past image99.jpg. It cannot save the file, so it displays a red X. This little autoit script will clear the folder so that Outlook can start displaying the inline images in your signature properly. I have had good success in placing this program in the startup folder so it runs each time the user logs on to their computer. This program should not be run while Outlook is running.

The source code can be found here. Compile it and enjoy!


Blackberry Home Screen Icons – How to change

by on August 10, 2009, under Mobile Phones

The default location of the icons on a Blackberry are not to my liking. I prefer to change my Blackberry icons by relocating them so that the handful of functions I access most often are on the top row of the home screen. This puts them right at my fingertips. To see how easy this is, here is a walkthrough on a Blackberry Pearl in which we move the Address Book icon to the top row.

1. First, browsing around with the trackball, locate the Address Book icon. In this example it is one of the last icons. After you find it, the icon should appear highlighted.

 

2. Now, click on the menu button. On this Blackberry, it is the little “paw prints” button to the left of the trackball. This will bring up a context menu. With the trackball, scroll up or down to select the Move option and clik the trackball.

 

3. The context menu goes away and now we see that the Address Book icon is surrounded by a little box indicating it is under our control.

 

4. Use the trackball to slide the Address Book icon around until it is in the desired location. If you mess up, just hit the menu button and select Move again.

 

5. After you have the icon where you want it, click on the trackball and it will stop moving. In my case, I like putting the Address Book as the third icon on the top row.


Snow Leopard Available for Pre-Order

by on August 1, 2009, under Apple

You can now pre-order Mac OS X Snow Leopard online. The pre-order price is $29 for a single Mac, or $49 for a family five-pack. Many people expect the software to ship in September of 2009, but no official date has yet been announced.

This upgrade version is only available for Macs currently running Leopard. It will only install on Intel-based Macs.


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