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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - December 2005

Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs. This is my customer newsletter, containing tips that I hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

This month's topics are Help Me Test Spam Filtering, Beware of New Computer Virus, Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Update, and Sony Music CDs Install Dangerous Software.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list. Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site. If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one.

I invite you to call me at 303-444-8247 at any time with questions or to schedule an appointment. I want to help you get the most from your computer.

I wish you a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years

Help Me Test Spam Filtering

I'm testing how effective several E-mail services are at identifying and removing spam (unsolicited commercial E-mail messages) sent to their members, and I'll report the results in a future newsletter. I have E-mail accounts with Comcast, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, and AIM. If you'd like me to test your E-mail service, please contact me. I'm especially interested in testing Earthlink and MSN.

Beware of New Computer Virus

A new version of the W32/Sober virus is arriving in E-mail messages that sometimes contain fake warnings from the FBI or CIA. To protect your computer from this and other viruses:

Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Update

Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware is one of the best programs available for removing spwyare from your computer and preventing new spyware from being installed. This program, which runs on Windows XP and Windows 2000 only, is currently in a beta phase, which means that it's still under development and might contain bugs. In my experience, the program has been completely reliable. The final version is expected next year.

I've installed and run it for many of you, and others have installed it themselves. A new update is now available which extends the program's expiration date from December 31, 2005 to July 31, 2006. The program should offer to update itself automatically. If it doesn't, go to this site for information on how to download and install the new version.

Sony Music CDs Install Dangerous Software

If you play music CDs on your Windows 2000 or Windows XP computer, be aware that some music CDs from Sony BMG Music Entertainment install software on your computer that creates a security risk that could allow malicious programs from other sources to hide on your computer. Sony BMG has created a web page with a list of the affected music CDs and offers to exchange them for versions without the dangerous software.

To remove this dangerous software from your computer, install and run Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware. For a detailed explanation of the problem, see this web page, written by my fellow Microsoft MVP Mark Russinovich, who discovered and analyzed it.

Note that these CDs don't affect computer running Windows 95, 98, or Me, or equipment other than computers. It's safe to play them on home stereo systems, portable CD players, car CD players, etc.