Sunday, April 5, 2009

Test your computer for the Conficker C virus

Last week there was a lot of media hype about the "Conficker" virus. Here's some important stuff to know:
  • Microsoft released a patch for this vulnerability in October of 2008
  • It only affects Windows computers, not Macs or Linux
  • If you keep your Windows box up to date, with patches and anti-virus, you should be reasonably well protected. That's why they release patches after all.
Here is a simple test to see if your computer has the conficker virus. As confickor blocks some AV sites (100+) this simple test uses your browser to see if the virus is blocking those sites. If you see all six squares you probably do not have the virus. If not you most likely have one of the conflicker series or other malware according to the links below the image.

I hope you computer is clean. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Digital TV conversion

On February 17, 2009 (legislation is pending to extend this date to June 12, 2009), U.S. broadcast television is switching from analog to digital signals. Analog televisions using an antenna will require a converter box to receive broadcast TV after that date. Every U.S. household can get up to two coupons--each with a code good for $40 off the cost of eligible converter boxes.

It must be emphasized this change to DTV affects you ONLY if you receive your TV signal off-the-air with an antenna. Cable TV users will have no changes. I fear that lots of perfectly good TVs are going to be thrown out by cable viewers.

If you receive your signal off-air, you have 2 choices... buy a TV with a digital tuner or buy a converter box to continue using your analog tuned TV. If you go the converter box route, and it only about $60 plus the government gives you a $40 rebate, a good box is the Zenith DTT901 and many online retailers e.g. Amazon process the rebate coupon when you order.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Microsoft Movie Maker is free and easy

Movie Maker is a free application that is included with the XP sp2 or above OS. While it may not be as nice as iMovie, it certainly is easy to use and provides the basics of editing, transitions, fading video or audio, and titling. I used it to edit some video shot with a still camera in movie mode and it was painless to learn.

Here's a sample using Movie Maker

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Excel does not prompt to save on exit

Cal from Bemidji, called with a problem in which MS Excel does not prompt to save when closing. We Googled this, and it appears that others have had this problem in certain circumstances.

The behavior is far from normal, and may be hard to replicate. This posting on lockergnome may provide some answers/suggestions.