Nearly Back Online/OTP

Well, after 9.5 days without electricity, we now have (*knock on wood*) power restored… but still no cable TV (WW needs the Weather Channel! :-)) or broadband (it’s cable, duh), so all our connection to “the world” is down to one usually semi-unreliable POTS line connection and a slooooowwww 28.8 dialup.

So, make this a good one, folks. This is an open trackbacks post. Hit me with your best shots, cos I’m depending on you to bring me back up to speed on what’s going on in “the world” OK?

Just link to this post and track back.

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Before I turn WW’s computer back over to her for classwork, here’s a quick lil tip for Windows users who’re too lazy to do regular maintenance …or even just folks with better things to do than spend time running one standalone program after another to keep their Windows install working properly.

Here’s the deal: like it, love it, indifferent or hate it, Windows is here to stay for a while on most folks’ desktops. And it’s the target of choice, for many reasons, for malware of all kinds. In addition, Windows installations “cruft up” something fierce after only a few days or at most weeks of use and become, if not unusable, at the very least less than optimally-configured as a result.

What to do? Well, since converting to Linux is still out for most ordinary users (in spite of the “Aunt Tilly” friendliness of some recent distros) and switching to Mac OS X(.xx) is just trading for a different straightjacket–one that is apparently safer in part because it’s a more restrictive straightjacket–then maintaining a relatively cruft free and malware free Windows install is pretty much necessary. Until recently, that’s meant using several different products to achieve that goal, something that can be daunting or simply too time-consuming for folks who just want to get their web cruising, media management and document creation done.

Sure, Symantec and others have touted their integrated security and computer management/cleanup products for some time, but none of the “big boys'” products have appealed to me to the degree that I’d recommend them to clients. In particular, all of them, including the new Microsoft Onecare, have had serious flaws in execution or feature set that have made them “no deals” for me, and what I cannot justify for my own use, I cannot recommend to others.

Recently, however, I’ve found a product that, while lacking a software firewall and anti-virus, has most of the other features I have recommended several standalone products to fulfill, and fulfills those features quite well. That’s at least a step in the right direction for lazy–or just busy–folks who just cannot make the time to run several different computer management/anti-malware apps every day.

That’s a pic of Advanced Windows Care2 (PE) in action. (Yeh, I’ve blanked out any even vague identifiers that might peg which machine I was running it on. :-)) I’ve run it and several different apps that perform the same functions in comparison runs and had surprisingly similar results. With Adaware SE Personal and Spybot Search and Destroy scanning for spyware and startup issues, Fixit Utilities 5 scanning for registry errors and cruft files, for example, I found pretty much the same issues that Advanced Windows Onecare2 (PE) found with a one click, one pass effort. The general Windows and network optimizing suggestions were icing on the cake.

For disk defragging, personal firewall and anti-virus protection I’ll still have to continue to recommend (mostly) separate applications, but for those who find running multiple apps to scan for registry errors, spyware and other security issues to be a pain, I feel comfortable recommending IObit’s Advanced Windows Onecare, now. The “Personal Edition” is even free for home/private use.

Trackposted to Rightwing Guy, Wake Up America, Faultline USA, Big Dog’s Weblog, basil’s blog, Shadowscope, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Cao’s Blog, Dumb Ox Daily News, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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