Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are We Headed Toward a Wireless Future?

WXPNews: Published by Sunbelt Software since 2001

Vol. 9, #72 - May 26, 2009 - Issue #380

 Are We Headed Toward a Wireless Future?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Are We Headed Toward a Wireless Future?
    • Follow-up: Beating the same old DRM
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
    • Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Feature comparison: Win 7 vs. Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3
    • U.S. Army is moving from Windows XP to Vista
    • New Microsoft search engine set to launch this week
  4. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to color code folders
  5. XP Security News
    • Adobe promises better security for Reader
    • IIS 5.x and 6.x Security Advisory
  6. XP Question Corner
    • "Sidebar Clock" for XP?
  7. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Dialog box content doesn't update when you use Run As to start an application
    • Can't drag and drop Outlook email message on XP SP2 computer
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • CyberScrub Privacy Suite: NEW Version 5.1 Completely Erase Evidence of All Internet/Computer Activity & Encrypt Data

Your Current (free) Antivirus Costs You $200!

Huh? Yes, you read that right. Do the math with us for a sec. We recently asked you how much you paid for your Personal Computer and peripherals. The vast majority answered that it was about $1,000 total. Now, the average old-style antivirus (paid or free) you install, hijacks about 20% of that PC, in CPU and Memory. Bingo, there's your lost 200 bucks! Time to switch don't you think? Get VIPRE. It's not a resource hog, does not slow down your PC, and is only $30 per year. Get your 15-day eval here and experience VIPRE for yourself:

 Editor's Corner

Are We Headed Toward a Wireless Future?

Once upon a time, setting up a home or office network involved running cables - lots of them. If you had the skills (or the money to pay someone who did) you got up in the attic and dropped the cables through the walls. If you didn't, you ran them around the baseboards and over the doors. Sometimes it was a real challenge to get those cables where they needed to go. Then along came wi-fi, and all that changed.

Now setting up a home network is as simple as plugging a wireless access point into your Internet modem or router. In fact, many ISPs provide routers that already have wireless built in, so all you have to do is configure your computers to connect. Of course, that means each computer needs a wireless network interface card (NIC), but almost all laptops now come with one built in and you can buy USB versions for your desktop systems, so that you don't even have to open up the case to install them.

Back in those early days of networking, computers didn't typically come with Ethernet adapters. You had to buy the card, crack open the computer and install it in an empty expansion slot. Today an Ethernet adapter is built into the motherboard of most desktop systems. I expect that a few years from now, those RJ45 jacks on the back of consumer grade computers will disappear and most of them will come with built-in wireless adapters just as laptops do now. In the typical home, at least, network cables may very well become a thing of the past.

Of course, there are still some significant advantages to that old-fashioned wired connection. One of those is speed. Although wi-fi has gotten progressively faster, from the 11 Mbps of 802.11b to 54 Mbps for 802.11g and now 802.11n with a theoretical top speed of up to 600 Mbps, the practical throughput for wi-fi currently maxes out at a little over 100 Mbps - still far slower than gigabit Ethernet. The equipment for 1 Gbps Ethernet is now readily available and affordable (and 10 Gbps Ethernet is the new emerging standard). Another consideration when deciding between a wired and wireless network is security; it's easier to intercept wireless transmissions, which go over the airwaves. Read more about wireless security risks here:

Nonetheless, we have seen the future and it appears to be increasingly wireless. And it's not just with local area networking that we're losing the wires. I am now using a wireless keyboard - something that I resisted for a very long time. I actually had this one thrust upon me; Tom bought it and didn't like it, and I hated to see it go to waste since it was a $100 keyboard, very compact and very nicely laid out (Microsoft Laser 6000). To my surprise, I have enjoyed the "untethered" nature of the wireless keyboard - although I still don't think it's as reliable as a USB or PS2 model. And it's really annoying when the batteries start to get low.

One of my favorite wireless gadgets is the presentation device that allows me to control a slideshow without being stuck at a podium with my laptop. It's great to be able to move around the room while I'm giving a talk or teaching a class and still be able to go to the next slide or animation with a simple click.

On the top of my wireless wish list is a way to do away with all those wires connecting the components behind my TV. There are the HDMI cables hooking the Blu-ray player, cable box and Media Center computer's video card to the television, the three coax cables going from the wall outlet to the set-top box and the two TV tuners in the computer, the digital sound cables from the DVD player and computer to the home theater receiver, the USB and firewire cables connecting the external hard drives to the computer, the speaker wires (five of them) connecting the home theater receiver to the speakers, the power cords for all those components, and probably a few more I'm forgetting. It's like a jungle of wires back there, and I don't look for that to change any time soon - although I'm heartened by the fact that you can now get wireless speakers for some new audio systems.

Wireless Internet is another up-and-coming technology. Wi-max is long range wireless that can deliver Internet connectivity in places (such as rural areas) where there is no CATV, DSL or fiber infrastructure. Satellite is another, older form of providing Internet connectivity without running wires from the provider's location to the user's location. Unfortunately, at this time none of the wireless Internet technologies can provide the same level of bandwidth as high speed cable or fiber optic, but they are fast enough to be classified as broadband.

Of course, the wireless technology that most of us use (or at least have with us) most often is that over which our cell phones transmit. There are some exciting new developments on that front. For quite some time, it's been possible to connect your laptop to the Internet by tethering it to your (data enabled) cell phone, or by buying a special card that would let it connect directly to your cell phone provider's 3G network. Verizon is making it even easier with their new MiFi wireless router that's small enough to fit into your pocket. You can read about it here:

What else does the future hold for wireless? Here is an interesting take on that question, with some predictions you might not have even considered:

Let us know what you think. Will we do away with the wires entirely in our lifetimes? Do you think wireless is now as trustworthy as wired connections, or do you still prefer the latter for reliability? Are you concerned about security over wireless connections? What's on your wireless wish list? Tell us what you think at feedback@wxpnews.com or discuss it with other readers on our forums at

Follow-up: Beating the same old DRM

In last week's editorial, we took another look at digital rights management, especially in light of the DRM in Amazon's Kindle ebook reader. A couple of people reminded me that some folks may not "get" the article title: All Your Content Are Belong to Us." In fact, I received a number of messages chiding me for my "poor grammar." Oops. The intentionally ungrammatical wording was a reference to a very famous flash animation that went around the 'Net back in 2001-2002, based on a Japanese video game called Zero Wing ("All Your Base Are Belong to Us"). You can watch it on YouTube at

However, most readers either were familiar with the reference or ignored the title and responded to the article itself. "Id" had this to say: "Copy protection, high prices, delivery methods on proprietary devices or fixed format storage media that the content owners continue to use actually create the demand for lower cost alternatives on which the 'black market' capitalizes. The only effective way to battle so-called 'piracy' is to make the genuine article affordable, easy to obtain, and capable of being played or read on any device the purchaser chooses. In the long term content owners would still make a lot of money without the problems or expense of copy protection, lawsuits and prosecutions, and the resulting poor public relations."

Richard M. made some good points regarding DRM: "It just makes life difficult for those who are not computer-savvy, while the others will crack it or get cracked versions no matter how good the DRM is. My daughter spent a lot of money downloading music to her phone, and when the phone went, the music went. That really irritates..." And " ... the RIAA et al need to be seen to be coming to the party. They come across as desperate people trying to protect an old way of life. Just as I cannot keep all this technology away from my kids just because I did not have it when I was growing up, they need to face up to the modern world and adapt to it."

Paul H. agrees: "Not allowing purchasers of music files to use them in any fashion they desire is just like any other attempt to tell people that they can't do something; a way will be found to do it anyway. I'm reminded of prohibition and the current 'war on drugs'." And Ilmars C. said, "The music industry's most profitable year was at the height of Napster's popularity ... The RIAA thinks every shared copy of a song is a lost sale. They should be looking at it as free promotion. No one will buy a CD from someone they've never heard of."

John echoes the sentiments of many discouraged customers when he says, "I, myself, don't like DRM at all. I can't even play music that I paid for & music I downloaded from Spiral Frog. I keep getting DRM error. I'm sick & tired of it so much that I don't even care if I ever get another song."

Ed H. took a more pragmatic approach: "It is a technology that is required and abused. I am a professional programmer and I abhor the idea that it should even be necessary, but it is a sad fact of life that the number of 'honest' people who have EVER walked the Earth is only one. I am tired of the debate over whether DRM is good or bad, necessary or not. The debate is really when will people the world over grow up and take responsibility for themselves and their actions. When that happens, DRM and all of its friends will just be a sad history lesson."

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication called VistaNews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Look up the WXPnews Fan Page and join us on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor. - Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters. - Margaret Peters

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said. - Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005)

Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!

 Cool Tools

Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without


Never reinstall your XP again. New technology: no set-up, no loss of data or applications. The ultimate professional repair tool. Free PC booster with every scan, get it now!

Backblaze is the no fuss solution to getting all your data backed up online securely, easily, automatically, and for only $5/month for unlimited storage.

PC Tune-Up: 4 Easy Steps That Eliminate Frustrating Slow Computer Problems:

Registry First Aid 7.0 - New Release Is Faster, Safer and Even More Effective

Improve your English writing skills with WhiteSmoke a smarter solution for high quality writing. Download the free trial version here.

Rip DVDs for your iPod/iPhone or Apple TV. Bundle includes video converter too! Try it free!

Vista gets bogged down very quickly! Advanced Vista Optimizer will tweak Vista for Max performance. Easy to use:

Backups? GoodSync is an easy and fast way to backup and synchronize your emails, photos, iTunes, MP3s, and other important files.

Spotmau PowerSuite Professional 2008: Fantastic! All the tools necessary to fix most common computer problems. Clone and backup too!

Print Screen Deluxe is the realistic upgrade of the Windows version. You can crop - before the capture! Very quick!

 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Feature comparison: Win 7 vs. Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3

You may be wondering exactly what features you're missing by sticking with Windows XP. Would you get what you need by moving to Vista, or do you need to wait for Windows 7 in order to benefit from the best new features? This feature comparison may help you decide whether to stay put with XP for a while longer, go to Vista, or skip it and move to Win 7. The most useful info is in the comparison chart, so be sure to click to enlarge it.

U.S. Army is moving from Windows XP to Vista

The cogs of government often turn slowly, but it appears that the U.S. Army has decided not to wait for Windows 7 but to move from Windows XP to Vista before the end of this year. The transition will also include upgrading from Office 2003 to Office 2007. The big reason? Security. Read more here:

New Microsoft search engine set to launch this week

Last week in our sister publication, VistaNews, we announced that Microsoft is close to launching a brand new search engine, code named Kumo and possibly to be called Bing! Now the word is that the launch will occur this week, but the company is keeping things under wraps for now. Keep an eye out for the official announcement and meanwhile, read more here:

 How To: Using XP Features

How to color code folders

I love color coding. It provides a way to instantly identify an item. I use the "Categories" feature in Outlook to color code individual email messages. I wish Windows gave you a way to color code your folders in Explorer. Luckily, there is a free application for XP that does. It's called Folderico and you can download it here:

Once it's installed, color coding your folders is easy:
  1. Launch the program and on the Change Icon tab, click the Select Folder button to browse to the folder whose color you want to change.
  2. Then click the Select Icon button, and pick the desired colored folder icon from the Icon Library.
  3. Click Apply.
Or you can just right click a folder in Explorer and choose Folderico from the right context menu, making it an even simpler operation. You can also download additional themes for folder icons with symbols (such as musical notes to denote folders that hold music files, etc.

 XP Security News

Adobe promises better security for Reader

Adobe Reader is the most popular software for viewing PDF files, but it has been plagued recently with security issues. Now Adobe, in response to criticism for being slow to patch a recent zero-day vulnerability, is promising to do better when it comes to security. That's good news for Reader users. Find out more here:

IIS 5.x and 6.x Security Advisory

The version of Internet Information Services (IIS) that comes with Windows XP Pro, version 5.1, is subject to a WebDAV security vulnerability for which Microsoft recently issued a security advisory. If you're running a web server on your XP machine, be aware that US-CERT says this vulnerability is already being exploited. IIS 7 and above are not affected. Read more here:

 XP Question Corner

"Sidebar Clock" for XP?

I'm not ready to switch over to Vista yet. I'll probably eventually run Windows 7, but not until I get it installed on a new computer. In the meantime, there is one thing that I like about the Vista and Windows 7 desktop: the sidebar clock, especially the cool neon blue one. Is there a way I can install it on my XP desktop? Thanks! - Bob J.

If the clock is the only "gadget" you want, there is a very nice looking analog clock application that runs on XP called ClocX, and you can download it free. It's actually much more configurable than the Vista/7 sidebar gadget and includes alarm functionality, a configurable transparency level and a simple calendar. It will run on almost any version of Windows. You can get it here:

If you want the whole sidebar with multiple gadgets, including an analog clock, you can get the Thoosje "Vista Sidebar for XP" at

 XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

Dialog box content doesn't update when you use Run As to start an application

You might discover that, if you use the Run As option to start an application program with a different user account on your XP computer, the content in dialog boxes and menus doesn't update automatically as you would expect it to. There's a hotfix available to solve the problem. To find out how to get it, see KB article 949860 at

Can't drag and drop Outlook email message on XP SP2 computer

If your computer has Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and you're using Microsoft Outlook for your email client, you might find that you're not able to drag and drop in order to move or copy an email message to a new location. This can happen when the path length at the new location is too long. To find out what to do about it, see KB article 944781 at

 Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: WXPNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

 Product of the Week

CyberScrub Privacy Suite: NEW Version 5.1 Completely Erase Evidence of All Internet/Computer Activity & Encrypt Data

CyberScrub Privacy Suite removes all evidence of your online activity, erases data beyond recovery, secures your files with strong encryption and enhances overall system performance. This award winning app sports over 50 new features and enhancements. The CyberScrub Risk Monitor(tm) alerts you automatically when your privacy is at risk. WXPNews readers get an exclusive 20% instant discount with the coupon on the landing page so be sure to write it down or use copy and paste to enter into the coupon field. Download and evaluate with the trial version and get more information. Selected as Microsoft & WUGNET Shareware Pick of the Week!

 About WXPnews

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These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


This newsletter and website and may contain links to other websites with whom we have a business relationship. Sunbelt Software does not review or screen these sites, and we are not responsible or liable for their privacy or data security practices, or the content of these sites. Additionally, if you register with any of these sites, any information that you provide in the process of registration, such as your email address, credit card number or other personally identifiable information, will be transferred to these sites. For these reasons, you should be careful to review any privacy and data security policies posted on any of these sites before providing information to them.

The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. This document may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions: 1) All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included; 2) All copies must contain Sunbelt's copyright notice and any other notices provided therein; and 3) This document may not be distributed for profit. All trademarks acknowledged. Copyright Sunbelt Software, Inc. 1996-2009.

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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.