Thursday, May 24, 2012

Telstra change passwords after 'hack attack' on GameArena and Games Shop

Today I read that Telstra had to change 35,000 passwords as a result of a hack attack on their game site.

Most people now use multiple online sites or services. The problem is many use the same password across their sites including their banking site.

People tend to think they're safe because if someone wanted to get into their account they'd be blocked after a few log on attempts. From what I've read, once the hackers get the database of usernames and passwords, even though passwords may be encrypted, they can work on the database offline until they crack the password. Then they have access to any of the services you may use that you use your email address to log on with.

Make sure you educate yourself on the exposure of using each online service. Think about using different passwords for different services.

The main aim of sharing this information is so that people are aware online services are being hacked on a regular basis and I'd even guess the major services are being attacked on a continual basis.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

MyAnswers: Which is the best virus checker please?? The one that you would use??

I regularly repair clients computers as a result of a virus infection. The anti-virus software I install is free and based on my testing of over a week, where I ran multiple programs on multiple computers against new viruses from the internet, the program performed best. I also found the program was light-weight in that it didn’t adversely affect the performance of the computer. I’ve found a number of commercial programs severely affect computer performance or usability.

Because clients often don’t have to then renew their existing anti-virus (which didn’t catch the malware) the cost saving often pays a considerable portion of the support call.

Today I was asked the question “Which is the best virus checker please?? The one that you would use??”, so I created the MyAnswers solution 2221 which provides the details of where to get the software and what I do when installing the software.

The solution is now available to all clients. This really is an excellent opportunity to install a good anti-virus program in your business and home computers. The software I install on client machines.
The one limitation is it based on the licensing, you can only install the software on up to 10 machines in a business. Above that you need to look for another solution.
As part of my ongoing testing to find new ways to assist clients MyAnswers solutions are now provided to clients on a pay-what-you-want basis. If it doesn’t assist then clients don’t need to pay.
Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MyAnswers: How to get around Windows formatting 40GB drive to 32GB using FAT32.

The following MyAnswers solution 2219 is now available:

I have an old 40GB 2.5" drive I want to format using FAT32. Windows will only allow me to use 32GB. How do I use the entire drive?

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

A reminder to think carefully about the data you put on the internet.

Whilst assisting people with their computers I often see situations where people are using internet based services that I would think twice about using. When you put your information on the internet you need to think about how you are exposing yourself, or possibly your clients’ information.

Most businesses I know use mailing list software where all their customer contact details reside on the internet. If people gained access to your mailing list would that exposure you. Others are using storage services on the internet to store their and their clients’ information. That could be an exposure to yourself and your clients. Are you sure your client would be OK if they knew their information was being stored on the internet?

The problem is you don’t know in advance what your exposure is and often you don’t think about it. For me it is quite concerning. Everyone is storing their data on the internet without thinking about their added exposure and haven’t considered the implications of the exposure. Many businesses have closed down as a result of their data being hacked. Smaller businesses often aren’t aware they could be exposed.

I read recently about how tens of thousands of Twitter accounts were posted on the internet (Thousands of Twitter passwords exposed... Read More). That article led me to the article about the co-founder of Apple and that Woz’ Twitter account had been hacked (It appears that the Apple co-founder's Twitter account may have been hacked by someone who earned $781 today working from home.... Read More).

I share these articles to let others know that accounts on the internet are being hacked. If you know it is happening then you can consider the implications of your online accounts being hacked and review your exposure.

We can’t eliminate risk in life. All we can do is manage the risk and minimise where possible.

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problems.
No problem too small.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buy a Windows 7 PC, upgrade to Windows 8 for free (or perhaps for a small fee)

If you’re thinking about buying a new Windows 7 PC, keep in mind that Windows 8 will be released later this year. So that people keep buying PCs and the market doesn’t grind to a halt, Microsoft usually provides new PC buyers with a low cost upgrade opportunity to the newer operating system when it is released.

For example, when Windows 7 was scheduled for release on October 22nd in 2009, for those purchasing a new PC from July 1st 2009, Microsoft provided the opportunity of a free upgrade to from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I’m not sure if there was a small cost involved, such as a delivery fee and there were also conditions which applied.

The aim of this post is to remind people of what occurred in the past if they are looking to purchase a new PC with Windows 7. By waiting a short while they may be able to also have access to a lower cost copy of Windows 8, giving them a computer they need now, plus a saving on Windows 8 which will last them for the years to come.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 if you require computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alert: Spring Offer : Apple Discount Card

I received an email today with the subject “Spring Offer : Apple Discount Card”. This is a scam and you should delete these emails immediately.

Normally I wouldn’t comment on a basic scam like this because most people now recognise the scam. But I’ve found Apple users since they haven’t been attacked as much as PC users aren’t as used to such scams. For example the Birthday Gift Voucher aimed at iTunes users saw this blog go from around 100-200 users a day to over 6,000 in a couple of days.

I hope this post helps Apple users.

Kelvin Eldridge 
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Alert: Clicking on a Google ad and my anti-virus popped up warning me it was cleaning the computer.

Tonight whilst doing a computer support related search in Google, the usual three ads appeared at the top of the results. I clicked on one of the ads which then went to the site and my anti-virus program popped up and stated it was performing a cleanup. The page had the Exploit: HTML/IframeRef.Z.

The anti-virus software states “This program is dangerous and exploits the computer on which it is run.” The item was located in the Temporary Internet Files.

I often say to people it is now possible to infect your computer by visiting sites on the internet. Some infections are time consuming and costly to remove.

The problem is this link is a Google advertisement. That is a concern.

I had another person who was looking for a map of Bendigo Hospital and clicked on a Google ad. The link asked the person to install a program which they did. The program changed the person’s search engine so that when they search, they got a over a screen full of ads and didn’t realise they were ads.

Another person wrote to me because they’d been tricked into using and paying for what they thought was support from Canon. It was titled Canon Support, but it wasn’t Canon. The problem wasn’t fixed but they still ended up paying.

If you’re using Google you should be just as cautious with the ads Google presents as you are with any sites presented in the search results.

Today I’ve personally experienced going to a site with my anti-virus program reported could have infected my computer. That is a real concern.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Biggest Loser: Margie Cummins, Brenda Hunt, Alex Zorzi, Kasey Cheesman

I decided to use the BMI/BMR calculator I wrote to determine the BMI for The Biggest Loser contestants: Margie Cummins, Brenda Hunt, Alex Zorzi and Kasey Cheesman. The contestants details at the start of the series were:

Name, Age, Height, Sex, Weight
Margie Cummins, 34, 175cm, Female, 159.1kg
Brenda Hunt, 40, 172cm, Female, 120.8kg
Alex Zorzi, 50, 162cm, Male, 161.6kg
Kasey Cheesman, 26, 171cm, Female, 132.8kg

Using the BMI/BMR calculator, the BMI for each of the contestants at the start of the show was:

Margie Cummins: 52
Brenda Hunt: 41
Alex Zorzi: 62
Kasey Cheesman: 45

All contestants were Obese Class III.

The contestants now weigh:

Margie Cummins: 98kg
Brenda Hunt: 78.5kg
Alex Zorzi: 96.6kg
Kasey Cheesman: 83.2kg

Margie now has a BMI of 32, which Obese Class I. Margie is getting very close to moving into the range of overweight.

Brenda now has a BMI of 27. Brenda is now overweight and no longer considered obese.

Alex now has a BMI of 37, which is Obese Class II.

Kasey now has a BMI of 28. Kasey is now overweight and no longer considered obese.

The following is where each contestant stands in overall weight-loss percentage to date.

Name, Weight, Weight loss to date, Percentage lost
Alex Zorzi: 96.6kg, 65kg, 40.2%
Margie Cummins: 98kg, 61.1kg, 38.4%
Kasey Cheesman: 83.2kg, 49.6kg, 37.3%
Brenda Hunt: 78.5kg, 42.3kg, 35%

Currently the biggest loser of weight in order are: Alex, Margie, Kasey and Brenda. Alex has a significant lead which will be very hard to beat, but it is still a close game.

I’ve produced three calculators which may assist others in their weight-loss journey. The BMI/BMR calculator which shows you where you are and which I used to determine my energy intake in kilojoules. For those who prefer calories, there are 4.2 kilojoules in a calorie. Divide kilojoules by 4.2 to determine the corresponding calorie value.

The second calculator is an Exercise Energy Calculator. This really shows people how much time you should exercise to work off the energy consumed. A real eye opener for most people. For e.g. a choc chip muffin from Coles is around 1,800kj’s. Check to see how long you have to exercise to burn off the energy and you’ll start to see how important diet is in reducing weight.

The third calculator I call the Work It Off Calculator. I wrote this so that should I not be able to resist that treat, this would show me how long I would need to exercise to burn off the energy consumed. Once you know the effort you need to make to burn off that moment of desire, you start to think twice.

You can find all three calculators on the JustLocal page

I find the maths behind weight loss to be easy and clear once you know the information. Once you know the maths, losing weight can be very easy.

For my own weight loss journey I decided to test if it was possible to lose weight without any additional exercise above normal activity. I was able to lose 22kg as a result of dieting alone. No food was off limits for me and all I did was measure the energy content. Very simple, but it does take focus. I would however suggest get a balanced diet in order and exercise and you’ll lose weight more easily. Also seek guidance from a qualified medical practitioner. (The information I share here is only my experience and is not meant to be taken by others as advice.)

Congratulations to the contestants and everyone who is meeting their weight loss goals.

Kelvin Eldridge (An Online Connections service)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Computers solutions in the MyAnswers database now available for purchase at a price you decide.

I like trying new approaches and enjoy seeing how people like or don’t like the approach. There is no right or wrong way to do things, just better ways. I always learn something when I try something new.

The MyAnswers database is a database of my notes on problems I’ve solved for clients and the solution to the problem. I use the solutions frequently myself and for assisting my clients. This saves myself and clients a lot of time and given time is money, that means a financial saving for clients.

I created the MyAnswers database so clients could request solutions to problems and use the DIY approach. If people can solve their own problems with a little assistance then why not. Clients can request solutions they are interested in from that MyAnswers database. If the solution doesn’t help them there is nothing to pay. If the solution solves their problem, I now let clients decide for themselves how much they wish to pay.

Check out the solutions at MyAnswers. There are a large range of solutions covering many aspects of IT, and some areas of interest to me. Because of my nature I often investigate things which interest me that aren’t IT related and I’m happy to share what I learn from those investigations as well.

You can find MyAnswers at  Please note the solutions are only available to clients. It is only because of the support of clients that the bills are paid each month. I hope and trust clients take advantage of the MyAnswers service to help them solve their problems themselves and in doing so, increase their knowledge, have some fun and at the same time, save some money.

Kelvin Eldridge


Friday, May 4, 2012

MyAnswers: Installing Windows XP SP3 freezes at the point Performing Cleanup.

The following MyAnswers solution 2216 is now available:

Installing Windows XP SP3 (Service Pack 3) freezes at the point Performing Cleanup.

Click here to obtain the solution.

Click here for related solutions.

Kelvin Eldridge
(An Online Connections service.)