Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Face Book

What is all fuss, me I can probably list all my friends on an A4 sheet, people I know would take a few more pages. 
So who would you give access to your sensitive information? 
Paul Ducklin of Sophos has some very useful advice and comments on Friends on his Sophos Blog "Be careful when getting into social networking. In particular:                       
Don't blindly accept friends. Treat a friend as the dictionary does, namely "someone whom you know, like and trust." A friend is not merely a button you click on. You don't need, and can't realistically claim to have, 932 true friends. Learn the privacy system of any social networking site you join. Use restrictive settings by default. You can open up to true friends later. Don't give away too much too soon.                       
Assume that everything you reveal on a social networking site will be visible on the internet for ever. Once it has been searched, and indexed, and cached, it may later turn up on-line no matter what steps you take to delete it. " (Paul Ducklin, Sophos)
I wonder if that is his real name! Sophos have some great Security Blogs, which have a serious message but sometimes in a humorous way.
Another Blogger from Sophos has some advice on the new Face book security settings

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Make Live recordings on Your Laptop or PC

How can you use your laptop to record from your Mixing desk?

I have been using audacity it free to download software, and a 2 port USB sound adaptor which has 2 x XLR balanced inputs and 2 x phono out (£25 from CPC - Farnel). (there are numerous adaptors with a range of inputs, normally only stereo).

1. Connect up the usb adaptor (mine doesn't require additional  drivers, uses the standard window susb Drivers).
2. Start up Audacity
3. You may need to change the sound source with in audacity (File Preferences or edit - Options)
4. Click the record button and it should record.

There are many options and settings within the software which makes it very versatile.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Home PC security need not be Rocket Science

Home pc security need not be rocket science; I have stumbled across “Get Safe on Line” its founding partners are UK government, Banks, Microsoft, SOCA…

It gives simple advise.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Imaging disks with Microsoft Vista installed with Ghost 8.0

Vista and Ghost 8.0
I have had to image two failing disks with vista Home basic on. The process even using Ghost 8.0 was not as easy as XP!! I have imaged many disk over the years as an IT pro, this was the first time with Vista.

Connect up the new disk along side the disk to be imaged (using sata, IDE, usb caddies etc)

Boot the system using a Boot environment, Ghost or other.
I use BartPe boot disks with the Ghost 8.0 plugin, and Intel sata drivers added (see BartPe for information)

Open Ghost, and select the options box.
Set option within Ghost 8 gui –FRO, and then image all disk partitions.
(If you need more information on Ghost look on the web)
Wait a while the disk is imaged, swap old and new disks.
(Laptop PC now has the freshly imaged disk installed, old disk removed)

Boot from vista install DVD (set language) and then select repair option, if prompted to repair say no, we don’t want to repair at this stage.
You should see the Vista install you wish to sort listed, select with mouse (now highlighted)
Now select Next
Select Command Prompt from list of options.

Type bcdedit (press return)
This will show the contents of the BCD file (the new boot.ini)

Look at the device boot and osdevice

If the imaged disk is failing to boot the following can be run at the command prompt.

BCDEDIT /set {bootmgr} device boot

BCDEDIT /set {default} device boot

BCDEDIT /set {default} osdevice boot

This worked for me, there are other references to vista failing to boot on the web following disk imaging using Ghost 8.0

I also ran Bootrec from the command prompt
Bootrec /fixmbr

Bootrec /rebuildBCD 
(plenty of advise on line about bootrec)

Vista should now boot, as with all advise online search around and verify that other folks have done some thing similar. Data is important back it up prior to imaging etc.

Helpful Sources on Ghost 8.0 and Vista



Thursday, 5 November 2009

Can't open DOCX Office 2007 files

Have you just received a .DOCX attachment or .DOCX file on a memory stick?

When Microsoft released Office 2007 the default document format became .DOCX, these new file may have additional office formatting which is only available to office 2007.

So what can you do with your office 97 and no intention of buying Office 2007?

Microsoft has some free software which can easily be downloaded and installed. The “Office 2007 compatibility pack” this will allow you to open these new files in an older version of office (2000 upwards), some new features will not be carried over, but 99% of the time the document will look fine.

Once the Office 2007 compatibility pack has been installed (Just a few clicks) you will be able to open up the new .DOCX files with your current Microsoft Office software and then save as .DOC. If there was any special formatting this may be lost when it is saved.

If you don’t want to buy Microsoft Office of any version or have office 97, Microsoft has a range of office Reader software which will enable you to open and print Word Documents. (You can get a reader for most Microsoft Office applications)  MS Word Viewer upto 2007

If you are a student or work in Education you may be able to get a good deal on a student package. Lesser known is that the majority of Registered Charities may be able to buy Microsoft software cheaply as well. (Check the Microsoft.com site)

Note:- As with all software downloads, check you are happy with the source.

Acer Aspire L320

How to get into a Acer Aspire L320 Case

1. Remove Screw from rear of Case

2. Slide the top to the rear. (Should come off)

3. Removing the disk Caddy, remove the single screw (see screw driver)

4. Remove the front Bezel, Release black tabs(highlighted by paper), The bezel will tilt forward, mind the locating lugs at the bottom.

5. The caddy will lift , may need to slide slightly (The sata hardisk cables will need to be released prior to lifting to far) The disk unscews with 4 screws.

Monday, 2 November 2009

mp3 - upload to Blog - podcast

Put mp3's on your blog (remember copyright)
You can upload video's and pictures to Blogger, but what if you want to upload an mp3?

To covert the mp3 file to a video,

You need
Your mp3 file
Windows Movie maker (or equivalent)
May be some pictures

How to
Open Movie maker and import the audio mp3 file.
Drag audio to "Audio time line"
You can add text caption (you can drag this along the time line so it is visible for the whole Video.
(You can now add pictures etc if you wish)
Now you need to save to "my computer", when saved movie make will play the video.

Post into Blog
Now login to your blog and upload the video (may take a while, there are size limits)

Remember copyright, and make sure that the mp3 is yours to use and make available on line.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista or clean install from windows XP

Check the current system prior to upgrade to check compatibility, Microsoft has a Windows 7 upgrade advisor tool to run on the system prior to upgrade.
You will be best to remove antivirus and any other application suggested by the Upgrade Advisory tool (remember to reinstall latter)

If you wish to preserve all user settings then use the Windows Easy Transfer to copy all your settings to a removable storage device. (Windows Vista) (Windows XP)

With XP you will need to do a clean install of Windows 7 (The disk will be wiped), you can then use Windows easy transfer to re load your user data and settings.

Upgrading from Vista, if all goes well then all your settings and data should be already in place.

You will now need to get on line, if your wifi card is not working try the Ethernet cable, you may have had some warnings from the advisory tool about device drivers, the initial connection to windows update may fix some of these driver issues (I couldn’t believe it the first time I installed on an aging laptop)
I have seen reports of the upgrade hanging at 62%, guess what Microsoft have a fix! (you will need to edit a system Variable) KB975253

There are many guides and loads of advice on windows 7 on the web.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Windows 7 is coming

Release day 22nd Oct 2009, will Microsoft have got it right first time?

I have tried the prerelease version on an old Laptop and Home brewed PC, both worked only missing a couple of drivers, as soon as Windows 7 connected to the internet  any driver issued resolved them selves by magic!

I am looking at buying, I have sent of for the MS training book MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows 7 Book/CD Package

There are numerous versions of Windows 7  you need to make sure that you get the correct one! Nothing with Microsoft is simple.

An Aladins cave of tools in Yeovil

I haven't been in the "The Tool Shop" in Yeovil since it moved a few years back to take away alley, Middle street, there were small tools, power tools and accessories for every job. I just went in to browse and ended up buying.

They were most helpful.
"The Tool Shop" 105 Middle Street, Yeovil, 412333

Monday, 19 October 2009

Scareware has finally made the news

Scareware: Pop ups telling you that your computer has hundreds of virus problems , but all will be fine if you use your credit card to download their Software to clean up your PC.

Scareware will try and sell you a solution to a problem and it will sound very convincing.

Exit your web browser and run you own antivirus software, (assuming you have some, some free links).
Don't allow the software to download.
Don't pay by credit card or anyother means.

For the Techie's
If you see one of these popups showing you the drives that have been scanned, does it actually match the drive you have, probably not, what you see is a bit of flash graphics showing you the most likely drive combination. C:,D: and A:.

Friday, 16 October 2009

How to hide Email address’ in email header and avoid upsetting customers, clients etc

Good email Practice Tip

How to hide Email address’ in email header and avoid upsetting customers, clients etc

1. Create the email

2. Add your email address to the TO: address box (you always need a TO address)

3. Click on the TO: to left of the address box, this will normally display TO Address Box, CC Address Box. BCC Address Box

4. We need to add the address list or individual email address to the Bcc Address Box.

5. When the email is sent the recipients will only see the address that was put in the TO Box.

TO: yourself
BCC: Mailinglist;otherpeople
Why bother?

If you place all the email address’ in the TO box all recipients will see all the address, you may not want every body to be able to see all your customers.
If one of your email recipients has a PC infected with a Virus, spyware etc this could cause spam email to sent to any email address that can be found in address books, emails and documents.
Looks more professional.
People may forward the email on to another person; you may not want them to see your email address list.


TO: Main recipient

CC: Carbon Copy, copy some one in so they can see the email but not as the main recipient, email address visible to other recipients.

BCC: Blind Carbon Copy, copy some one in but not make there address visible to other recipients.

Church of England Confirmation Service

C of E Confirmation Service

The highlights of the service for me were the straight to the point Christian Message from the Bishop and the folks who were confirming their faith. Personal testament can mean more than lots of sermons when it is from the heart.

The service included baptism for those that couldn’t remember if they were baptised as infants (Infant baptism another story).

The folks who were baptized were signed with the cross using water and then the confirmation included signing them selves with the cross using oil.

There was the unease of not knowing what to do next, I am in this church most weeks and I didn’t know what to expect.

I know all the songs were chosen so that folks would feel at home, but looking around folks were struggling with the more traditional, I just stood and focused on the words.

I am not one for loads of paper, there was none; this was one of those times I wish I had a service sheet so I could keep up with the proceedings.

It was a very good evening and it is always good to see folks growing and standing and making a declaration of Christian faith and their belief in a risen Lord.

The evening was followed in a traditional Church of England time to meet and talk with Cake and soft drinks.
All clergy and Choir were in their robes, the majority of Music was played by the Organ with the Band playing songs during Communion and as the Clergy, Choir, Wardens and Bishop processed out.

The C of E has moved on over the years, but I have a feeling the words used and sung responses may need a little adjustment (not changing the biblical importance) may be a different tune? The Sung Lords Prayer really confused everyone.

There were plenty of responses to make, If I have to make a response I like to understood what I am responding to.

St James is known for its variety of styles and service types and in some areas a bit cutting edge.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Protect you home PC or Laptop,

I still find PC’s and Laptops with no Anti Virus product or not with latest updates installed and the fire wall turned off!

As a minimum you need to have an up to date Antivirus product and an active firewall. These alone are not now adequate to cope with all the online threats. The majority of issues are now malware related so the Antivirus software now needs to include Malware/ Spyware removal and detection. Allow all Microsoft Updates to install and other software product updates to install (office, Adobe, Java etc)

Once you have all the good security stuff in place you may need to change your online habits.

I am a bit skeptical about anything which is free, no such thing as free lunch. It may appear to be free, but may well cost you latter.

Free online anti Virus popups saying that your system is badly infected and that you need to buy their software, you will end up with software which will down load adverts and use the credit card details you have provided.

Software protection need not cost:
Microsoft XP, Vista and windows 7 all have an inbuilt Firewall, Microsoft now also have a free Antivirus / Malware software.

I have been using AVG free and Zone alarm Basic (free for Home use).

Some customers have been using Comodo Fire Wall and Avast antivirus (Free for Home users).
Some links via my website

Spybot Search and Destroy
Spybot Search and destroy is very usefull for finding spyware and malware and can be run when needed along side the other products, it is very good at finding and removing problems.

Virus Scans
Scan your system regularly to check for problems, most will automatically scan, let them scan.

If you think you have a Virus / malware then Don’t do online transaction which may expose personal information (Bank details).

The links are provided for information (check that you are happy where the download is coming from).

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Microsoft Free Security Software

Microsoft Security Essentials :- Has now been released Anti Virus and Malware, how good will it be. I am planing to give it a go on a spare pc.

I have been a fan of AVG Free and Zone Alarm Free, but may be time for a change (May be not, I always have a mistrust of Microsoft).

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Three Mobile Phone Reception Yeovil

I have been with Three since March this year, using the phones (3g) in Yeovil (When signal quality has allowed).

My experience has been that the Three Mobile, (3 Mobile) network coverage in the Yeovil area is poor. I have had 2 x INQ1 phones which I have been advised work as well as any other model, time will tell as I am now using a different model.

My other phones are on O2 (Tesco PAYG Mobile) and Vodafone and have never lost a signal in the Yeovil area or as I have travelled around unlike Three.

I have called Three customer services numerous times and have found the process frustrating and costly in time (need to have your mobile on the charger).

I have been looking for reviews on the Three Mobile Network, I have listed some below:-


Three's own map of coverage in yeovil shows that your phone may only work outside

Three have actually admitted that the reception on INQ1 phones is not as good as it ought to be (this cause the phone to work harder and discharge the battery). INQ are bringing out a new version of the INQ phone some time soon.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Finding windows Keys on your system

I have repaired a few pc's where the XP key has been damaged on the case, Jelly Bean keyfinder returns a list of software keys.

Imaging Disk on Compaq nx 6310 LAptop

Needed to upgrade the hardisk from 40gb to 160gb, used Symantec Ghost to image the old disk to the new with the -ID switch to copy all partitions bootblocks etc.
The laptop would not boot to the xp partition, it would boot to recovery partition OK.

Used Bootit NG to re jig the boot partitions, laptop now boots fine. Nifty bit of software.

The new disk now has the old partitions, and 120gb of space for a new partition.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Exchange 2007 Public Folder Permissions

Found this on this website, looks good, uses the CMD Shell, check out their site

Add-PublicFolderClientPermission -Identity "\public folder name" -AccessRights Owner -User username

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Multiport W200 WLAN card Compaq EVO N620

Compaq Evo Laptop fitted with the W200 Wireless Network card (Under silver case on Lid).

Problem / History

When the Laptop is powered up with the wireless card enabled or Fn + F2 keys are pressed the laptop "Blue Screen of Death" BSOD. The Laptop was running win xp pro with correct drivers, it worked fine at the customers premise (no bsod). I started the laptop to carry out work and BSOD appeared.

After reinstalling the drivers etc numerous times the fault was still present, Then I found this article on the HP website, The Multiport W200 card can't handle new wireless (WIFI) Access points (AP) with new extensions and features. The bottom line is get a PCMIA wifi card if you want to move around.
When some AP's are found the laptop installs a USB driver (don't know why) this is what causes the problem. (Xp can't handle this usb device driver and BSOD's)

Laptop back with customer and working fine on his Netgear Router (AP), who would believe it, I was a bit sceptical.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

DVD / CD sound jittery or broken up

DVD / CD sound jittery or broken up - Check DMA settings on IDE port used by CD, Dell have a small utillity to reset the DMA settings (I have used on a Compaq Presario R3000 link to Dell Download Area or search on Dell for PIOtoDMA.exe.

Can't remove Mcafee Security Software - Mcafee tool to remove Mcafee home security -Mcafee site

Can't remove Mcafee Security Software - Mcafee tool to remove Mcafee home security -Mcafee site- Mcafee tool to remove Mcafee home security -Mcafee site

Can't remove Nortons Security Software

Can't remove Nortons Security Software - Norton tool to remove all software and settings on Symatec site

xbox360 and Dazzle video creator Platinum

My son has just bought the Dazzle Video creator video capture card for his laptop.
He will be using it to capture his Xbox 360 session.

UK TV use PAL as the video format, the Pinnacle studio software appears to support PAL, but not PAL 60.

After a bit of a search on Google I found the following link which solved the problem.


A good clear explanation. Installed AMcap and with the studio software capturing all appears well.