Houston We Have a Problem… 030 14/04/07
Belt and Braces
Although I have broadband, I only connect to the Internet
only when I am actually using it. I do this in the belief that in some
way, it is an additional protection against hackers. Am I wasting my
Reg Beard, Horsham
The web can be a
treacherous place but you can also be over cautious. Providing your PC is
protected by a regularly updated antivirus program and a Firewall then it is
virtually impossible for a hacker to gain access to your files. The Firewall
included with Windows XP is a good place to start, though it only guards
against an external attack. For more in-depth protection you need one that
stops any malicious software on your PC hijacking your Internet connection.
Most commercial firewalls and even free ones like Zone Alarm (http://tinyurl.com/2fqoyk)
stop this happening.
If you are concerned about your PC’s defences then I
suggest that you visit the Gibson Research website (www.grc.com) and carry out a ‘Shields Up’ test.
This attempts to 'hack' into your PC (it is perfectly safe) and tells you
exactly what, if any, steps you need to take to protect your computer.
Symbol in Photographs
Sometimes we need to email photographs and examples of
artwork to friends and clients. Is there some way of overlaying the image with
a copyright symbol or some additional text, which will prevent recipients from
copying or misusing the pictures?
Sophie Price, by email
Most picture editing
programs have a facility to insert text into an image but if you haven’t got
one then please try PhotoFiltre (http://tinyurl.com/yuxms7).
It is complete free, the many advanced features give a lot of commercial
programs a good run for their money and it is very easy to use.
To insert a copyright
symbol using PhotoFiltre all you have to do is open the image, click on the
Insert Text icon (‘T’) select the font, font size and colour then in the text
input box type: (c) yourname 2007 or your preferred notice. If you want to be
really clever, hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keyboard tap in 0169
and the ‘©’ symbol appears automatically. (Incidentally this works on any
application with text entry).
Free Office Software
I’ve just upgraded from
a PC running Windows 95 to a laptop with Windows Vista Premium. I have a copy of MS Office designed for Windows
95, which served me quite well.
However, I would like an up-to-date copy of Office and was hoping to be
able to upgrade to a newer version, but no one seems interested. Do you think I should just forget it and pay
for a completely new application?
Pauline Hart, by email
Unfortunately you need a
copy of Office 97, 2000 or XP or Works 6.0 or higher to be eligible for the
slightly cheaper Upgrade version of Microsoft Office. However, before you
splash out I think you should be a little adventurous and try a completely free or ‘Open
Source’ office suite called OpenOffice.Org (http://tinyurl.com/28hx9k).
no catch, it includes a fully featured word processor, spreadsheet,
presentation and drawing applications, a database program and a mathematical
equation editor. Many users maintain that it is every bit as good as MS Office,
and what’s more it is completely compatible with it, so there’s no need to
worry about exchanging documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc. with other
users. There’s no steep learning curve to contend with either and most of the
programs look like and work in a very similar way to their Microsoft
counterparts. You have nothing to lose and if you don’t get on with you can
still contribute to Bill’s retirement fund…
Hard Drive Hijack?
When using my Windows
disc defragmenter why does it show that I have only 69.80Gb hard disc space
when according to the manufacturer (a very well known company) it should have a
80Gb drive. Have I been conned?
No, the missing 10Gb or so
is there but it is in the form of a second partition. Essentially the drive has
been divided into two parts. Windows plus all of your programs and data lives
on the 70Gb C: drive and the remaining 10GB, assigned drive letter D: is used
for Windows recovery files, which will be needed if you have to reinstall
Windows. It also helps to keep prices down because manufacturers can get away
with not supplying a Windows installation CD.
We can no longer receive
email attachments. The paper clip symbol has gone and there’s just a small red
box with an ‘X’ inside. Clicking on it has no effect; could my anti virus program be responsible?
A. That little red box is called
a placeholder and the chances are Outlook Express or Windows Mail’s security settings have been
altered. This usually happens after installing a Microsoft security update or
Service Pack, though other programs can also change it. To get things back to
normal open Outlook
Express/Windows Mail, go to Tools > Options > Security, uncheck the item 'Do not allow
attachments to be saved or opened...' and click OK.
© R. Maybury 2007