Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why all those toolbars?

Hi All,

Replying to Kini's comment got me thinking about another item which I think is important for those that download a bunch of 'FREE' stuff and wonder why their computer system is running slow.

OK, here's a rule that I was taught by my Father, James H. Storer BEFORE the internet and it is still true today... "Nothing is free."

Folks, it's common sense - which is not common at all these days. If someone gives you something for free, they are poking a hole in your back pocket for your change to fall out.

I'll make my point: When you download the latest 'cute/neat/killer/sick' game or app, don't just keep clicking on the OK and NEXT buttons during the install. Read the fine print. When I upgraded my Java yesterday, It wanted to install a Bing toolbar. I installed AVG Free (antivirus software) and it wanted to install an AVG toolbar. Now, I'm OK with people wanting to forward their brand, but these toolbars are backdoors for other things (Spyware, Malware, etc.) to get into your systems. Not that (all) these people are crooked, they just don't upgrade the toolbars and hackers will use any means to send your private info to someone who will pay them big bucks for it.

Think about it. Microsoft puts out patches and updates to their software on a nearly weekly basis to keep the bad guys out of your systems. When was the last time I saw a Google toolbar update? - Hmmmmm. I've never seen one of them... And if you have these toolbars in Internet Explorer - the hackers can get right into the base command of your operating system and then all bets are off!

Friends (and I mean that), why do we need a toolbar to search Google, when we can search Google in the built-in 'search box' in the top right of Internet Explorer or Firefox? My advice, uninstall the toolbars - they clutter-up your browser(IMHO) and do nothing but allow junk (that's a nice way of saying what I really mean) into your system. The junk (Spyware, Malware, etc.) takes down your Firewall without you seeing it, and lets in more junk which makes your system slow to a crawl. Then it's too late and you are calling guys/companies like me (which I can't say that I mind) to fix the problem.

I have seen one such system that Windows defender was down, the Firewall was down and I couldn't get either one back up. And I couldn't do a 'System Restore' to an earlier date to try to fix it - the junk in the system erased them! The only thing to do was to Pull the personal info from the system and wipe it clean and start over (FYI. When I connected to Microsoft to get updates, I stopped counting at 71.) And that was a system where unsuspecting kids were playing 'free' games and not doing Antivirus/Spyware updates and scans. Computers are like anything else - you need to do maintenance to keep 'em healthy - do the updates and scans at least every 2 weeks!

So, If you have made it this far and not fallen asleep. I will award you the 'Geek Medal of Honor'.

Now Let's chant the anti-toolbar mantra of system cleanliness:

"Toolbars are for Mars...Toolbars are for Mars...
Toolbars are for Mars...Toolbars are for Mars".

OK, that should about do it for this post. Thanks for listening...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just Geekin'

Hello all,

Today I wanted to do something other than I normally do, so I figured on getting some 'geek' on. Actually, I geek pretty much everyday. Anyways, I went ahead and made a 'Persona' for the Firefox web browser. It's an add-on that places an image background in the header and footer of your Firefox browser. (I prefer most things non-MS)

Here's the link if you want to check it out (Shameless Plug of self-promotion). The persona features Mo, from my upcoming Children's book and Animated short. It's the same guy you see above in the blog header. I figured if you couldn't get enough plastic cuteness and had to navigate from this blog, you could keep him on your browser for constant distraction!