From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 20 Oct 2005 - Big Brother Printer / Firewalls


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Can a printed page from your laser printer identify who you are and where you live? What's the deal with firewalls, and why is your computer running so slow? Get answers in today's TOURBUS! Read on...

Is Your Printer Spying on You?

A reader recently asked me this intriguing question about laser printers and personal privacy: "I've heard that some printers embed a secret coded dot pattern on each printed page, and that if you decode the dots, you can determine the owner of the printer and the exact time the page was printed. That sounds like a privacy violation -- is it true?"

This one has all the markings of a silly urban legend, but in fact it's true. Find out what the U.S. government has to do with this, and learn how to decode the little yellow dots here:

What Happens When You Yell "MOVIE!" in a Crowded Firehouse?

Sometimes even the professionals who are supposed to be protecting you are confused by hype and false alarms. Have you heard conflicting reports on whether or not you should be using a firewall? Some people say they are only needed for dialup users. Others claim that you MUST have a firewall if you have a highspeed DSL or cable connection.

So who's right? It turns that "Do I Need a Firewall?" is the wrong question. What you really need to know is... what the heck *IS* a firewall, why you need one, and what kind of firewall is right for your system. My article "Do I Need a Firewall?" (which, given the benefit of hindsight, seems rather unfittingly titled) answers all your burning questions.

Do You Need a Registry Cleaner?

Does your computer seem to be running slower as it gets older? It might seem like a Vast Conspiracy designed to make you buy a new computer or the latest operating system. But it could be just a dirty registry that's slowing you down on the infobahn.

That's not meant to imply that you've been visiting any questionable websites... Your Windows system registry stores all the settings and options for the operating system, hardware, software, and the user preferences of the PC. It also manages your system startup options, and keeps track of all the software that's installed.

But the sad fact is that the registry is very likely to turn into a muddled mess over time, and can make your computer start up and run slower. Learn how to view the contents of the registry, and where to get a free download to clean the clutter.

The Next Best Thing

Linda from Marlinton, West Virginia recently wrote and said "The next best thing to Tourbus is the Smart Computing magazine that you guys recommend. I've been getting it since last summer and it has solved numerous problems for me and my friends." Thanks, Linda!

We hope other Tourbus riders will discover the Plain English answers to their computing questions that Smart Computing delivers every month. Do you want to speed up your PC? Eliminate the threat of computer viruses? Get rid of spyware and keep hackers out? Try Smart Computing today -- get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW!

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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