Monday, June 15, 2009

Are You Ready to Pay for Each Site You Visit on the Internet?

WXPNews: Published by Sunbelt Software since 2001

Vol. 9, #75 - Jun 16, 2009 - Issue #383

 Are You Ready to Pay for Each Site You Visit on the Internet?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Are You Ready to Pay for Each Site You Visit on the Internet?
    • Follow-up: State of Spam
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
    • Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • No More Money
    • Need for more speed on your wi-fi network?
    • Microsoft offers to sell Windows without IE in Europe - but that's not good enough
    • Why are so many people staying with XP?
  4. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to view windows side-by-side in XP
    • View windows full-screen
  5. XP Security News
    • Nine security fixes for Firefox
  6. XP Question Corner
    • Reinstalled XP, now I can't access MyDocuments
  7. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Option to change the wallpaper is missing or grayed out
    • Your system has no paging file
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Newest Version of The Award Winning Editor's Choice Utility "Directory Opus" Released!

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product. Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

 Editor's Corner

Are You Ready to Pay for Each Site You Visit on the Internet?

Well, some folks think (or hope) that's just what we'll be doing in a few years. According to Barry Diller, who runs an interactive services company, it's inevitable. He said in a recent keynote speech that the Internet will "absolutely" become a paid content system within the next five years. You can read more about what he has to say at

I'm not so sure about that. After all, "information wants to be free" is the battle cry of the generation that grew up with Internet connectivity. The original quote wasn't quite as straightforward (It included the line "On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. On the other hand ...") but the expression has been adopted as the motto of open source advocates and those who believe there should be no copyright laws. And there are a very large number of those people out there.

Note that Diller isn't talking about the cost of Internet access (which some believe should be "free," i.e. government subsidized). He's talking about having Internet users pay to access specific sites and services, on top of what they pay for the 'Net access itself. There are, of course, already some sites that use this model. The online Wall Street Journal and some other online newspapers require a subscription to view their "premium" content. Users have to pay to get into online dating services and "adult content" web sites. Information services such as Nexus-Lexus have a long history of charging for access. TechRepublic has a "Pro" membership level that costs $99/year and provides content for IT professionals beyond what's available on their free site:

But just a couple of years ago, pundits were announcing that subscription-based web content was a "dying practice." That was the year the New York Times stopped charging site visitors and went to an advertising-based revenue model instead, and many other news sites followed suit:

Now the tide appears to be turning back in the other direction. The Frankfort Times put out the word this week that readers who don't subscribe to home delivery will lose access to free local online content on June 29th. They'll have to pay $20/month, which adds up to $230/year.

Will folks who are used to reading the news without paying bite the bullet and subscribe - or will they just get their news someplace else? I'm guessing the Times may be in for a disappointment if they're counting on a lot of revenue from web subscriptions. I read my local newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, online. If I had to pay $20/month to do so, I would most likely just watch the nightly news on my local TV station instead. That's definitely the case if the online newspaper continued to have the same annoying, intrusive ads that it has now (and which I put up with because I figure that's the price you pay for "free" content). Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

On the other hand, there is content that I do willingly pay for. I've bought songs from Amazon (why Amazon? In a nutshell: no DRM). I've rented movies from Unbox. I've subscribed to the WSJ (a subscription gets you both the print edition and online access). I've subscribed to tech magazines for their online content. But I'm pretty picky about what content I'll pay for. There are many sites I routinely visit that I would give up if they started charging for entry.

Those who advocate making the Internet all (or almost all) paid content contend that the obstacle to that up to now has been the "hassle factor." They believe that if it were easier to make "micropayments" - small payments charged to your credit card or PayPal account - with just one click, people would be more willing to pay. There is some merit to that, I suppose. I keep "one click purchasing" turned off on my Amazon account precisely because I don't want to make it that easy to spend money.

One problem is going to be the recent trends in the credit card industry. Card issuers are raising interest rates, bringing back annual fees, and there's talk that some may do away with the grace period and make interest start to accrue from the moment of purchase. That means if I don't want to pay interest, I'll have to go pay off my credit card balance immediately after every purchase I make. That would certainly motivate me to use the card less often.

Of course, I could be completely wrong in my feeling that people are going to be reluctant to pay for web content. I would never have dreamed, back in my younger days, that today most people would be paying for television. When I was a kid, it was all over-the-air and it was "free," paid for by advertising (and there was no way to fast forward past it, either, although most of us did view commercials as an opportunity to go to the bathroom or replenish our drinks or mute the sound and engage in a bit of real-world conversation).

And if we don't want to pay for the content online, someone has to. That means more ads. In a recent discussion about Bing, Microsoft's new search engine, a reader brought up something regarding one of its best features: the pop-up preview box that provides you with a sampling of the content on each link, so that you don't have to go to the page itself. His concern: will people use Bing to get the info they need from a web site and never actually visit that site, lowering its hit count and thus reducing its attractiveness to advertisers? It's a good question, but I'm not sure it's going to be a problem. The Bing preview is great for such things as easily finding the address or phone number of a business without hunting through its site. It's also good for getting enough of the flavor of the content to know whether that site is really relevant to your search. But the preview boxes don't contain so much information that someone who wanted detailed content would be able to bypass the original site. If they did, I could see how that could become a problem for site owners.

Running a web site takes a lot of time and can cost a good deal of money (I know that very well, since I run several of them). Site owners certainly need to be able to make revenues somehow. Tell us what you prefer: more (and possibly more intrusive) ads or direct payment? Or are you afraid that, as with cable TV, the for-pay "ad free" sites would soon be just as full of ads as the old "free" ones? How do you balance the site owners' need to make a living with Internet users' desire to maintain the status quo, where most web content is freely accessible? Let us know your opinions at or discuss it with other readers on our forums at

Follow-up: State of Spam

Last week, we revisited a subject near and dear to the hearts of most computer users: what's going on out there on the spam battlefront. It seems many of you are indeed seeing less spam in your mailboxes than you did a few years ago, while others note that just as much or more is coming in, but the filters are getting better, including those operated by the ISPs.

Kathy M. wrote: "I have ATT web-based e-mail and it is pretty good at blocking spam. I don't even get that much in my Spam folder. I check it occasionally to see if there are legitimate messages and very infrequently there is. I also very infrequently get messages in my inbox that I recognize as trying to trick me into opening them. It definitely is much better than when I first got a computer 10 years ago."

And some of you have taken to trusting the spam filters and not checking for false positives. Nancy E. said, "I used to check spam piece by piece on my ISP, but it has gotten to such volume - and said provider has cut down how many messages I can see at once - that I have taken to accepting their assessment and simply deleting everything they see as spam. This system leaves me slightly uneasy, that I may be deleting something I wanted to receive, but last time I checked any of the messages, they were the ones you describe."

Not everyone is happy with having their ISPs do the filtering. Kathy M. (a different one) wrote: "My ISP has recently installed a new antispam program; and I have no option but to have it, which irritates me, as I don't like my mail being censored. I have been having an issue with them ever since it started, as I have some email I pay for that I have been getting for years, and all of a sudden don't and can't seem to get them straightened out about it. Thank goodness, I can go on the web to utilize these letters, but I shouldn't have to. Quite frankly, I hate it."

David H. said, "Unfortunately I am not seeing a reduction in SPAM. The SPAM blockers are much better so the problem is not quite as annoying but it is still a real problem when over 80% of the messages are just junk by any standard."

The Rev. J.T. had this to say: "I must be rather fortunate, overall, as I don't really get all that much spam in the first place. I have both Facebook and MySpace account, as well as multiple email accounts including Hotmail and Yahoo. On my Hotmail account, I get about 20 - 30 regular emails a day, primarily from my various subscriptions plus a few personal ones, and about 15 - 30 spams a day ... I suspect that one of the saving graces for me is that I'm VERY selective about who I subscribe to, so my email addr doesn't get sold/bartered around so much."

Some spammers are sneaky, and find ways to continuously circumvent the filters. Don S. wrote: "I use both I Hate Spam and the filtering in Outlook. I am forever amazed at how certain sites like can continue to get through both of them. I have told Outlook to block the sender at least a dozen times yet I continue to get ads from them in my Inbox. Other than that, I am happy enough with the filtering to keep at it!"

Martin H. noted that "My Spam went from several hundred in 24 hrs. to about 12 a day since they shut down that spam guy about a year ago. Now they are starting to go back up." And Tony L. said, "My good buddy SpamPal catches almost all of it, but a few do leak through. There must be an ISP-based filter in place because the overall volume has definitely declined. I used to get hundreds a day, down to maybe 40-50 now."

Then there's Mike, who really has filtering down to an art: "I think that many of us, who really hate spam, have gotten the hang of balancing the technologies against it and I think that IT admin is getting better at companies as well. About a year or so ago there was a big spam raid done by the net admins that killed off a couple of the huge botnets that were the cause of much of that grief and since then the flow of spam has been less overall (if what I hear from friends is indicative). I get about one spam email a week, but that is because I really, really hate spam and go to great lengths to prevent it."

And Mike S. takes this position: "I was very surprised to see that statistic that USA is number two in SPAM generation. WHAT! I thought we had some legislation in place to deal with this. No? In any case, we can control what happens within our own country. We need to put our legislators to task for both not enforcing current regulations and to come up with more defined regulations on UCE [unwanted commercial email].A grass-roots movement is needed. We should start with a monstrous class-action lawsuit to those companies within our reach who send out UCE."

Thanks to all those who wrote on this topic, and may your mailboxes remain spam-free.

'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

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Quotes of the Week

We never know the worth of water 'til the well is dry. - English proverb

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. - Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. - Warren Buffett (1930 - )

Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free. - Kris Kristofferson,"Me and Bobby McGee" (1936 - )

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


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.

Automated fix for old XPs. Tired of your unstable and crashing PC? Looking for a permanent solution for your dysfunctional XP?

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!

 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

No More Money

No, that's not a statement about the economy, it's the announcement from Microsoft regarding their personal finance program, Money, which many of us have been using for years and which was the leading competitor to Intuit's Quicken. No more copies will be sold after June 30, although it will be supported until 2011. The reasoning seems to be that many banking web sites are now providing customers with the same functionality - but that doesn't make those who depended on the software any less upset. Microsoft is planning to provide a free conversion utility for those who want to switch all their Money data to Quicken. Read more here:

Need for more speed on your wi-fi network?

The latest generation of wireless technology, 802.11n, is capable of higher speeds (theoretically up to 600 Mbps, typically over 100 Mbps in practical deployment) and almost twice the range of the old b and g varieties, but there are a few tricks to obtaining its full potential. Now that many laptops come with n adapters, you might be thinking about upgrading your home or small office wireless network to the new standard. Before you do, be sure to check out Eric Geier's "Ten Tips and Considerations on Upgrading to Wireless N" at

Microsoft offers to sell Windows without IE in Europe - but that's not good enough

In the ongoing anti-trust suit brought by European regulators against Microsoft, the company has offered to sell a European version of the Windows 7 operating system that doesn't come with Internet Explorer, but the commission rejected that offer as "not good enough." Apparently they want Microsoft to actually install its competitors' browsers on their OS. Read more here:

Why are so many people staying with XP?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes asks, in a recent column on ZDNet, why it is that so many computer users are sticking with an operating system that's almost eight years old. He got feedback from a large number of XP users and concluded that one factor is that there are many people who have never used an operating system other than XP. Is it just that change is a scary thing, or is there more? Read his follow-up article at

 How To: Using XP Features

How to view windows side-by-side in XP

Like Windows 7's new feature whereby you can drag windows to each side of the screen to display them side by side? You can get the same effect in XP, although it takes a little more work. Here's how:
  1. On the taskbar, click the button of the first window that you want to display in the side-by-side view.
  2. Hold the CTRL key while right clicking the second window.
  3. Click Tile Vertically in the right context menu.

View windows full-screen

Want to go bigger than maximized? You can view an application window full-screen, without the toolbars and title bar. Here's how:
  1. Hold down the CTRL key.
  2. Double click the title bar of the window you want to view full screen.
To get out of full screen view, hover your cursor at the top of the window and the title bar and toolbar options will reappear.

 XP Security News

Nine security fixes for Firefox

If you use Firefox as your web browser, be sure to get the latest version, 3.1.11, which was released over the weekend. It fixes nine security vulnerabilities, four of which are rated as critical. Read more here:

 XP Question Corner

Reinstalled XP, now I can't access MyDocuments

My Windows XP was messed up so I reinstalled it, on another partition. But when I boot into the new XP, I can't access the files in the old My Documents folder. It's still there on the other partition but if I try to open it, it says I don't have permission. All my documents are there. What can I do? - Emory B.

Even if you used the same user name and password for your account in the new installation of XP, it's not recognized by the operating system as the same user account that owns the folder because it has a different SSID (the identifier used by the OS). The solution is to take ownership of the folder. To do that, you need to log on as an administrator, then right click the folder and click Properties. Click the Security tab, then Advanced, then the Owner tab. Here you can take ownership of the folder.

If you're using XP Home, you won't see the Security tab unless you log on in Safe Mode (with an administrator account).

 XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

Option to change the wallpaper is missing or grayed out

If you want to change your desktop wallpaper on an XP computer but you can't do so because the option is missing or grayed out in the Display Properties dialog box, it's probably because the registry is set to hide or lock the display settings. Some malware can do this. You can fix this by editing the registry. You'll find step by step instructions in KB article 921049 at

Your system has no paging file

If your computer hangs up and/or you get an error message stating that your system has no paging file or the paging file is too small, it may be that Windows tried to create a paging file on an NTFS-formatted partition but permissions had been changed so that the System and Administrators don't have the right permissions to do so. Find out how to resolve the problem in KB article 315270 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

Newest Version of The Award Winning Editor's Choice Utility "Directory Opus" Released!

This essential utility has so many useful features it's no wonder why PC Magazine said, " Incredibly Useful Utilities...." Computer magazines around the world have selected it as their "Editors" Choice. Directory Opus goes beyond the simply file manager metaphor, and offers you a complete replacement for Windows Explorer with access to its own suite of utility programs for handling FTP, ZIP, viewing files and images, file conversion, slideshows and more. Harness the power of your computer like never before! Review the feature chart, and download the free fully functional 60 day trial version. WXPNews readers can buy it with an exclusive $10.00 discount coupon.

 About WXPnews

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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.