Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Living and Dying in Cyberspace

WXPNews: Published by Sunbelt Software since 2001

Vol. 9, #87 - Sep 8, 2009 - Issue #395

 Living and Dying in Cyberspace

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Living and Dying in Cyberspace
    • Follow-up: Social networking: destroyer or savior of relationships?
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
    • Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Make XP (and Vista) boot as fast a Windows 7
    • Are XP users finally abandoning ship?
    • What you need to know about moving from XP to Windows 7
    • No CD updates for XP
  4. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to set up a network printer in XP
  5. XP Security News
    • Five critical vulnerabilities to be addressed
  6. XP Question Corner
    • Web browser doesn't work when I have a VPN connection
  7. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • It takes a long time for files to appear in My Computer
    • "Server Service is not started" error message when you try to add a user or group
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Expert PDF 6.0: - View, Create, Modify and Convert any PDF Document

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

Living and Dying in Cyberspace

This week's editorial touches on a somber subject and there's a personal reason for that. This past week has been a tough one for me, with the deaths of two different family members. It made me stop and think a lot about life and how we live it today, and it also impressed upon me how the Internet has changed not just our lives, but also many of the little rituals surrounding our deaths.

The first to leave us was my cousin, Kim. She was only forty-seven years old, but she had been battling cancer for over a year, enduring chemo and radiation and fighting the disease as hard as she could. For a time, the treatments seemed to be working. She went back to work full time in January (as a teacher) and was able to finish the semester. Then, this summer, an MRI (another miracle of today's technology) came back with bad news: the tumors had spread and the doctors gave her only a few months to live. True to her spirit, she didn't give up. She traveled to noted cancer hospitals such as M.D. Anderson, which she was able to find out about through Internet resources, and pursued new treatments, but modern medicine failed her and she spent the last month in home hospice, surrounded by her loving family and many friends.

She also had friends she'd never even met, people who intimately understood what she was going through because they'd been through it themselves. Shortly after her diagnosis, she joined the CaringBridge web site ( It's devoted to providing support for people with serious illnesses and to their families. Each patient can create a personalized web site with a blog/journal where you can share your thoughts and experiences and a guestbook where others can leave you messages. It's a way people can keep in touch with the outside world at a time when they may be too sick to get out and do things. And even during the last days, when the person is no longer able to participate, it can be a real lifeline for the family and other caretakers.

When my mom was in hospice care at the end of her life, people were always calling me to find out how she was doing. I appreciated the support and concern, but sometimes I didn't really feel like talking. Sometimes they called when I was trying to catch a little sleep. Sometimes I wasn't able to talk about what was happening without my voice breaking. Sometimes I got tired of repeating the same details over and over to different people. Today, there's another way to keep people informed. Almost everyone has an Internet connection. Kim's daughter took over the CaringBridge journal and posted almost every day about her condition. My other cousins and I checked the web site daily, rather than inundate them with phone calls. We still visited her, of course, but we live over an hour's drive away and weren't able to be there every day - but thanks to the web journal, we knew when she had a good day or a bad one, knew when they changed her meds and what the hospice workers were telling the family. We could leave words of encouragement for the family that they could read at their own convenience and messages of support for Kim that they could read to her.

When the end came, I found out through a private Facebook message from another family member just a short time after it happened, enabling me to call my aunt and offer any help I could give without waiting for her to think about calling me. My cousins and I used email to coordinate our plans to go to the funeral together, which is much easier than multiple phone calls when you're communicating between a large group of people. I remember when you had to go to a local florist shop to order flowers to be delivered to the funeral home, but now we can do it quickly and easily over the web. Some funeral homes also set up nice pages in tribute to each of the deceased, with photos that document their lives and guest books where friends can pay their virtual respects. The day after Kim's death, I got a message on Facebook that one of my other cousin's daughters was trying to get in touch with me by phone. I called her and found out that another of my cousins, Keith, had passed away following surgery that morning. Talk about a one-two punch. I was able to let my own friends know that I would be out of pocket for a few days, and why, via the various social networking sites I belong to. That was a lot easier than making calls or even sending individual email messages. And the responses that I got were so touching - it made the awful time a little easier, knowing so many people (many of whom I'd never met face to face) cared about me and my family.

Those people who say online friendships are not as "real" as the F2F kind must not have any online friends like mine. Many of the friendships that began through discussion lists or newsgroups (remember those?) or social networks have morphed into real world relationships over the years; I've gotten together with people from as far away as Australia, whom I originally "met" through a computer screen. Other long-time relationships have stayed confined to cyberspace but we're no less close. I have online friends I know more about than some of the people I've known in the "real world" for just as many years. I have groups of online friends I talk to almost every day.

Once upon a time, writers and others who worked at home ran the risk of becoming isolated but with the Internet, you're never alone if you don't want to be. No matter what time of the day or night it is, I can log onto Facebook and it's likely somebody I know will be online for me to talk to. There is something different, though, about relationships with people who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. In many cases, I've also met the spouses or other family members of my online friends - either in person or through the cyberworld. But I know many other folks through the Internet whose loved ones aren't involved in the online world. Sometimes one of these folks will just disappear from my Inbox or social networking posts for a while, and it always makes me a little anxious. What if that person is in the hospital or died suddenly? Will I ever even know for sure?

I've lost a few online friends to death over the years. The emotional impact was surprisingly strong, considering that I'd never gotten the opportunity to meet them in person. But then, maybe it's not surprising at all. After all, people cry over the deaths of celebrities and politicians who never knew they existed, and at least my relationships with my online friends went two ways.

I do think it's a good idea for those of us who have important online relationships to have a plan, in case something happens to us. My husband is involved in many of the same groups as I, and has met many of my online friends so I know he would notify people, and/or they would contact him, if something happened to me. I would hate to just disappear without a trace and leave people wondering what happened. That's another change the Internet has brought to our way of life - and of death.

What do you think? Are these changes beneficial? Or was the old way better, where such news was conveyed by phone or in person? Or does it matter? Have you ever had an online friend just drop out of sight, and wondered what happened? Have you lost any of your cyberfriends? Were you surprised at how much it affected you or did it seem less real than losing a "face to face" friend? In what other ways has the Internet changed things for the dying and their families, and the ways that the rest of us pay our respects? We invite you to discuss this topic on our forum at

Follow-up: Social networking: destroyer or savior of relationships?

In last week's editorial, I commented on some recent articles that focus on the dangers of social networking sites and how they can damage relationships, with a look at the other side: how participating in social networking can actually be beneficially to your real world relationships. A number of you posted to the forum with your own opinions.

One reader mentioned being tired of opening Facebook and seeing notice after notice about friends' games. I felt the same. If others want to play games, that's fine with me but I don't have the time nor the inclination. People kept sending me invitations to be in their vampire clans or mafia families or become Farmtown neighbors, and I kept getting updates about what they were doing in the games. Thank goodness for the "Hide" button, by which you can keep posts about the games from appearing in your friend feed without hiding real status updates from those friends. Just hover your mouse pointer to the right of a game update and you'll see the option to either hide all of that friends' posts, or to hide all posts (from any friends) pertaining to that game.

I found it interesting that many of those who posted in the forum mentioned the use of social networking sites to get back in touch with people they went to school with many years ago. It seems that's one of the primary uses of Facebook and similar sites. I didn't join it for that reason but some of my old high school friends found me anyway. Of course, has been around for many, many years for that purpose - but the difference is that to participate in that site in a meaningful way, you have to pay. It seems lots of us are interested in seeking out old classmates, but not interested enough to pay a monthly/annual fee to do it.

The best response, in my opinion, came from a reader who calls himself Zachlosopher. For those readers who don't read the forums, I'm printing his first paragraph here in its entirety because it's so good: "Sadly, there is such a thing as 'familiarity breeds contempt.' As a prelude to the present craze with SN networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., I'd belonged to an email group with a group of guys whom I've known since school days. We're all senior citizens now and carry Medicare cards, so you can easily figure out the number of years of association here. Because of the ease and spontaneity of email communication, pretty soon all our stances on political, social, economical, religious, etc. grounds became clear. Pretty soon we found reason to be upset, dismayed, and even angry. Pretty soon we greeted some in the group with absolute silence whenever he tried to contribute. Pretty soon it was obvious some had been shunned. Pretty soon the group started to diminish in number. And that's the reason why I can find time to respond in this blog."

Too often, that's the way it seems to go when we start online relationships with people we've known in the real world. I've had the same sort of experiences. On the other hand, I've also had the pleasure of finding out through online communications, to my surprise, that someone I knew slightly has political views exactly like mine, or that we have hobbies or other interests in common, and we probably never would have known it if we hadn't become friends on Facebook or some other social site.

A reader called tballard made a good point: the wisdom of using different social networking sites for different purposes (e.g., Facebook for purely social relationships, LinkedIn for business, and so forth). The only problem with that is that we often do become friends with those with whom we work. If your boss sends you a Facebook friend request, is it a good idea to say "no?" That might turn out to be almost as dangerous as "unfriending" your spouse.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the discussion on this topic.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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Quotes of the Week

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. - Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001)

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. - A. Sachs

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. - Evan Esar (1899 - 1995)

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


Backups? Why back up when you can sync? Simply replicate every piece of data to another drive in real-time. Set it and forget it.

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

BackBlaze is realtime back up online. Easy. Slick. $5/mo for unlimited backup space.

WebCam Monitor : Turn your PC and Camera into a Motion /Sound Detector Video Security and Surveillance System.
WebCam Monitor

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

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

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!
Cucusoft iPod Video Converter

Unclog Vista! Advanced Vista Optimizer will tweak Vista for Max performance. Easy to use:
Advance Vista Optimizer

 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Make XP (and Vista) boot as fast a Windows 7

After all the complaints about Vista's slow startup times, Microsoft paid attention and addressed the issue in Windows 7, which in the experience of beta testers and RTM reviewers can be faster than XP. But if you aren't ready to trade up to the new OS when it comes out next month, there are things you can do to tweak your current operating systems and make it boot faster. Find out how here:

Are XP users finally abandoning ship?

According to a recent report by Net Applications, a company that tracks operating system usage, Windows XP's share of the market dropped last month. This resulted in headlines proclaiming that XP is on the way out. However, if you read more closely, the story looks a little different. Despite the drop, XP still holds more than 70% of the entire OS market - more than twice as many users as Win7, Vista, older Microsoft operating systems, Linux and Mac combined. Read the real statistics here:

What you need to know about moving from XP to Windows 7

Many of our readers plan to stick with Windows XP for the foreseeable future, or at least until they buy new computers that come with Windows 7 preinstalled. But many others are considering upgrading to Win7 when it's released in October. If you're among the latter group, be sure to read this TechRepublic article that tells you 10 things you need to know about moving from Windows XP to Windows 7.

No CD updates for XP

Sometimes those of us who are fortunate enough to have fast cable, DSL or fiber-based Internet connections forget that there are still many computer users, especially in rural areas, who are stuck with dial-up. For those folks, downloading a large group of patches or a service pack is a big inconvenience; it can take hours or even days over a slow modem. A company named Fullerton Enterprises had the idea to offer a program called PatchMate that combined all XP updates on a CD - but they discovered after the fact that the licensing agreement prohibits redistributing updates. Oops. If you think Microsoft should allow this - or alternatively, do it themselves, let them know. Read more here:

 How To: Using XP Features

How to set up a network printer in XP

A few years back, printers that connected to the network via Ethernet (rather than to a computer via USB) were mostly confined to expensive models marketed to businesses. Today you can buy low cost printers for your home that plug directly into the network. Here's how to set up a network printer in XP:
  1. Physically connect the printer to a hub or switch on the network with an Ethernet cable and turn it on.
  2. In Control Panel, open Printers and Faxes.
  3. In the Printer Tasks section, click Add a Printer.
  4. On the page labeled "Local or Network Printer," select the local printer option and uncheck the box labeled automatic detection.
  5. On the page labeled "Select a Printer Port," click Create a New Port.
  6. Select Standard TCP/IP Port.
  7. Click Next.
  8. On the "Add Standard TCP/IP Printer Port" page, click Next.
  9. On the "Add Port" page, enter the IP address of the printer, which you can usually obtain by printing out a configuration information report from the printer's Setup menu.
  10. Click Next.
  11. Click Finish.

 XP Security News

Five critical vulnerabilities to be addressed

This month's Patch Tuesday comes on September 8th, just as those of us in the U.S. are catching up from the Labor Day holiday. Microsoft plans to release five security bulletins on that day, all five of which are classified as critical and which affect most Microsoft operating systems, including XP. You can read more about them here:

 XP Question Corner

Web browser doesn't work when I have a VPN connection

I use my XP laptop to get to my desktop computer at my small business using a VPN. I can then access the files on my work computer but while I'm connected to the VPN, I can't also use my web browser. Is there a way to fix that? Thanks! - Ross V.

This usually means that your VPN connection is set up to use the default gateway on the work network to access the Internet. Being connected to the Internet at the same time you're connected to your work network (which is called "split tunneling) can present a security threat to the work network. If that's not a problem for you, here's the way to fix the problem:
  1. Click Start | Control Panel and click Network Connections.
  2. Right click the VPN connection and click Properties.
  3. Click the Networking tab.
  4. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
  5. Click Properties.
  6. Click Advanced.
  7. Click the General tab.
  8. Uncheck "Use Default Gateway on Remote Network."
  9. Click OK.
Now you should be able to browse the web with your local connection at the same time you're connected to the VPN.

 XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

It takes a long time for files to appear in My Computer

If you find that clicking My Computer brings up the Windows flashlight for several minutes while Windows XP searches for files before displaying them , it may be because you have certain software drivers installed. Depending on the exact cause, there are ways to resolve the problem. Find out how in KB article 819017 at

"Server Service is not started" error message when you try to add a user or group

If you attempt to add a new user or group to your XP computer and you get a message that says "the server service is not started," you probably need to manually start the server service, or you might need to install it. If it can't be installed, there is still a workaround. Find out about all these methods in KB article 885859 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

Expert PDF 6.0: - View, Create, Modify and Convert any PDF Document

Expert PDF 6 is an easy to use PDF application which allows you to create, modify and edit PDFs from any type of document including Microsoft® Office applications. A great low-cost alternative to Adobe Acrobat!

 About WXPnews

What Our Lawyers Make Us Say
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.

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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.