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Trojans, unwanted junkware – the downside of free software

A lot of people like free software, I included, and so knowing how to legally and safely acquire it is a popular topic.

Squirrel could be the answer to eliminating logon names and passwords

On October 2, 2013, Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation announced a proposal that for some people could mean an internet experience free of user names and passwords.

Spell-checking feature can be a mixed blessing

In writing this column I am indebted to the members of my Editorial Review Board who volunteer their time to help make me look good by proofreading this column before it goes to press.  These people are friends who live outside of Mexico or people who have moved away but still want to continue reading this column.  My agreement with them is that they need to contribute by checking spelling, grammar and style.  In spite of everyone’s best effort, sometimes a mistake still manages to show up in print.

New barcodes can help you find your lost dog

This week my goal in writing this column is to give readers just a little background for the technology of the ever-more-ubiquitous “QR Codes” which are popping up everywhere. 

Internet gone down? Not an ISP problem? Fixes require rational steps, patience

Do something!  Do something!  Do something NOW!  That was the refrain Berta was hearing from the renters one weekend morning.  Berta is the employee in charge of a rental property and the best cook and housekeeper in San Miguel de Allende. Her technical expertise does not extend very far into network topology or internet troubleshooting though. Berta tries hard to please, sometimes too hard, so with the tenants vociferously wailing that they were being deprived of Facebook, she succumbed to the pressure of the moment.

Computer world’s looming deadlines, relatively speaking

This week being the start of a new year is a good time to look at some upcoming events in the computer world.  For many technical support people this year is going to be, as was termed by the inimitable Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again.

3D printers: Will we soon need a background check to buy ink?

As a teenager I became an avid Trekie, never missing an episode of the original series, TNG, DS9 or STV.  Readers who have never heard of Star Trek may be excused now.  Over the years a great deal of the futuristic technology featured in the series has actually become a reality.  The latest example is the “replicator” used to turn energy into matter, magically creating anything from a replacement warp core part to a steak dinner. 

How to check that your personal data hasn’t been compromised

One of the ways in which criminals gain access to potential victims is by obtaining lists of names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, etc.

Examining spy agency’s high-tech shenanigans

My inbox has been receiving a number of emails from readers asking me to explain PRYSM, the recently-revealed surveillance program undertaken by the U.S. government. 

Dissecting Microsoft Windows XP ‘end-of-life’ policy

Last week all of Mexico celebrated dia de los muertos. This most colorful of holidays is a joyful time to celebrate the lives of those that have passed on and for most this is not a day to grieve but to give thanks. Perhaps this is as good a time as any for me to remind about one third of you personal computer users out there of a demise that will occur at your house next year.

Adobe to discontinue boxed, purchased software

Adobe Systems, the maker the popular Creative Suite that includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, Dreamweaver and Acrobat has announced the current versions will be the last.  The company will discontinue the sale of “one-and-done” boxed or purchased software in favor of a cloud-based “software-as-a-service” scheme. 

Send uncrackable emails by using encryption keys

Recently in this column I mentioned the Electronic Frontier Organization and their web site found at where internet users concerned about their privacy may learn more about secure software and encryption.  I warned that there are no simple solutions, so if an easy answer is what you are looking for you may as well stop reading now.