Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter  -  April 2004



Dear Friends,


I hope that you're having a great year, and I want to thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs in the past.  I'm writing to give you some computer tips that I hope you’ll find helpful and interesting.  If you don’t want to receive this newsletter, just let me know, and I'll remove you from my mailing list.


Please contact me, by phone or E-mail, with any and all of your computer questions.  I’ll be in Seattle, at a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (see below) conference, from April 4 to April 8.  We’ll be learning more about the company’s current and future products, and we’ll meet with the people who develop Microsoft products.  That gives us a chance, as representatives of you, the users, to tell them what works, what needs fixing, and to influence the design of future products.


Best Wishes,

Steve Winograd, Boulder Computer Maven


Phone: 303-444-8247
Web Site:


Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years



Protecting Your Computer


The Internet is a wonderful source of information and entertainment, and keeping in touch through E-mail and instant messaging is easy and quick.  Unfortunately, there are people who try to ruin the experience for the rest of us, and you’ve probably seen news reports about the problems that they cause.  Here are the four essential tools for safe Internet use.  I can install them to make sure that you and your computer are protected:


An antivirus program, updated regularly with the latest information, protects you from viruses in E-mail and instant messages.


A firewall acts as a protective barrier between your computer and the Internet, stopping hackers from breaking into your computer.  All Internet connections need a firewall, and it’s especially important if you have a DSL or cable modem connection.


A spyware removal program searches out and destroys programs that can be loaded onto your computer by viruses and malicious web sites.  You probably have spyware if your computer suddenly starts to run slowly, your web browser takes you to sites that you don’t ask for, or your web browser stops responding.


Microsoft’s Windows Update service fixes critical bugs (errors) in Windows.  Hackers can take advantage of those bugs to read your personal data or even to turn your computer into a remote-controlled “zombie” that attacks other computers on the Internet.  I’ll install all the available updates and make sure that your computer automatically receives new ones as they’re released.



Spam Control


Some authorities say that Spam (unsolicited commercial E-mail) now accounts for over 60% of all E-mail messages.  I can install programs that recognize and delete spam automatically, so that you don’t have to see it.


Pop-Up Blocking


Many legitimate web sites use pop-up advertisements that open new browser windows and try to sell you products.  These ads aren’t a threat to your computer’s safety, but almost everyone agrees that they’re annoying and that they make surfing the web less fun.  I can help you eliminate them.



Wireless Networking


I'm writing this newsletter on my laptop computer while I sit on my living room couch.  I'm also surfing the web and reading E-mail.  I can do those things from anywhere inside (or outside!) my house, because my laptop has a wireless network connection.  I can move around freely, with no wires and no restrictions on my location.


There’s a new wireless network standard (802.11g) that transmits data much faster than the old (802.11b) standard.  As a result, network equipment makers have dramatically lowered the prices of their 802.11b equipment.  But 802.11b is much faster than the fastest DSL and cable modem connections, so it’s perfectly good for Internet access.  Now’s a good time to take advantage of the low prices on 802.11b.  I can recommend equipment and set up the network for you.



Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program


For the fifth consecutive year, I’ve received the Most Valuable Professional award from Microsoft for the help that I give to Windows users.  For more information on the MVP program, click here.