From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 11 May 2008 - Privacy / SP3 / Vista UAC / Ubuntu / Backups
In today's TOURBUS, you'll learn that privacy is a slippery thing, and what can people learn about YOU with just a few clicks. I've also got the scoop on SP3 for Windows XP, and how to get rid of those annoying UAC popups on Vista. Thinking of getting rid of Windows entirely? Check out the new Ubuntu Hardy Heron version of Linux. Oh, and if your backup procedures are not fully automated, you NEED to read my tips on how to put backup on autopilot. Read on!
What information that YOU thought was personal or private is freely available online? In the past, only government agencies and businesses with a 'need to know' were able to access personal information. Today, the web allows almost anyone to find information about friends, co-workers, job applicants, etc.
If you enter your own name into your favorite search engine, you might find hundreds of links. But there are plenty of other ways to "find yourself" online. Learn where YOUR personal information is available to others, what online activities might expose more than you like, and how to limit what others can see. Read on:
Remember all the hubbub surrounding the SP2 service pack for Windows XP a while back? Well the fun is starting again! The nice folks in Redmond have unleashed Windows XP SP3 - the final service pack for Windows XP. It includes over 1000 patches that have been released since SP2, including some security fixes.
In addition to all those patches, Windows XP SP3 also includes a few new features. Some people are reporting that SP3 gave them a boost in system performance, while others say it stopped them cold. Find out what's new in XP SP3, how to get it, and what you need to know before installing this final service pack for Windows XP...
A Tourbus reader who recently upgraded to Windows Vista wrote to me about an annoying feature in this operating system:
> "I'm constantly getting popups on Vista saying "Windows needs your
> permission to continue." Is this spyware or a virus? If it's part
> of Vista, can I turn this annoying 'feature' off?"
It turns out these popups, generated by Vista's User Account Control feature, and almost universally hated by Vista users. But that's exactly what Microsoft had in mind... they were designed to be annoying on purpose!
Read on to learn more about Vista's UAC feature, and how to disable those annoying popups without sacrificing system security:
A reader wondering whether to install Windows Vista or switch to Linux wrote and asked:
> "I'm hearing good things about the latest Ubuntu Linux. Is there
> anything compelling enough in the latest release to save me from
> installing Vista on my next machine? Kinda hoping so..."
This reader is not alone... plenty of people are dreading the move from XP to Vista. So this might be a good time to look into the latest Ubuntu Linux and see if it works well as an XP replacement. Ubuntu's Hardy Heron operating system, released a few weeks ago, has many of the same applications that can be found on Windows, such as a Web browser, email client, instant messaging, games, graphics tools, and software for word processing, charts, and spreadsheets.
The user interface has become much friendlier in recent releases, and now with the Wubi installer, it's much easier to install Linux or just take it for a test drive. Find out what's new in the Hardy Heron release and see if it's the right move for you...
Sooner or later, data loss will affect all computer users. Are you prepared for the day when you boot up your computer, and it makes a horrible screeching sound, followed by a message like ERROR READING FIXED DISK or HARD DRIVE FAILURE?
You might not have a catastrophic hard drive meltdown, but every day, files are lost due to user error, system malfunctions, viruses and other computer problems. You might be doing backups already, but in my experience, if your backup strategy involves any human intervention, it too will fail at some point.
That's why it's important to have a FULLY AUTOMATIC backup solution. Read on to learn more about backup methods, both online and offline, as well as the software and hardware you can use to protect your important data:
Sorry it's been a while since the last issue. Other projects have kept Patrick and I very busy, but now we're back at the wheel. One of the reasons I've been extra busy is my new puppy. Get a look at Bonzai here: http://askbobrankin.com/bonzai_its_a_new_puppy.html That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin