Archive for June, 2009

VoIP To Good To Be True?

Let me give you a little back ground on my VoIP experience before I write this blog. I want to make sure you understand I’m not hoaring myself out to the products I recommend. Always keep in mind I have no interest in making a single dime off of these posts. I just want to inform the public of some cool products out there that really do what they say they will.

I have been working with VoIP since 1999 when I started working at Business Works of Hawaii Inc. We had an Altigen VoIP PBX system that we had built in house. At the time VoIP was highly unreliable and basically was a waste of money. You needed a super fast connection and a high initial investment. Since 1999 I have worked with VoIP non-stop. I am an Altigen Certified Engineer on two different revisions of the Altigen VoIP phone system products. I have installed over 100 VoIP PBX’s. So I would think my qualifications are there. Let me get off the soap box and explain why I’m establishing my qualifications to blog on this subject.

Today I had a high end customer in Kailua that needed long distance enabled on his telephone. He is staying temporarily in a very expensive property. The phone company said they enabled long distance but ofcourse they are full of crap. Being that I have stayed up many sleepless nights with the TV on. I remember the AD for the Magic Jack. I had also heard some buzz about the product working pretty well. I figured why not give it a try. I picked one up at radio shack of all places for about $50. I installed it on the customer’s computer in only about 5 minutes. It worked right away with little hassle at all. The call quality was comparable to my iphone and seemed very reliable. For the money I think Magic Jack is awesome. I would recommend it to any person who travels a lot and needs a phone instantly at their hotel etc. It’s simple because you just unplug the hotel phone and plug it in to the Magic Jack. So props to Magic Jack for brining simple, fast and effective VoIP to the people. Kick Vonage to the curb and get yourself a Magic Jack. You can thank me later.

 

Aloha

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WiFi Cook My Brain?

Everybody always asks me… “Which Wireless Router should I purchase for home?” This is a tough question to answer. I almost feel like telling the customer to buy the cheapest one on sale because all brands will eventually die on them.

But, I have found a favorite wireless router among all the brands. When I started the Ugly Van Free WiFi project about a year ago I was looking for a wireless router that could put out a strong signal and accept an external antenna. I was surprised that not many companies offered affordable wireless routers that had an external antenna connection. I ended up finding the Buffalo WHR-HP-54G. I think it was only $60 at the time. I found it on www.newegg.com.

This router exceeded my expectations! I was able to load DD-WRT on it fairly easy and I was able to hook up  a -15db external antenna. Now I have a nice wireless setup in my van that can produce a signal up to a mile!

Now if you’re not as geeky as me. I would recommend something cheap and simple. My second favorite is the Linksys WRT54G series. Skip the N wireless routers as it’s mostly not necessary. If you have Cable or DSL you won’t need a wireless router faster than 54g. (54Mbit)

On my final note. If you go wireless… Read the directions! Make sure you set a WEP KEY at the very minimum. The easiest of all hacks is the getting into your open wireless. If you are too lazy to read or if you can’t read… Give me a call and I will set it up for your remotely for FREE! Cool eh? Obviously some restrictions apply. So call me for the details.

Aloha,

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Crap Cleaner

A lot of the times you see ads on the Internet or on TV telling you that they can clean up your computer and make it faster. So is there really a program out there that can make your computer faster? YES!

I was introduced to a really cool piece of software about a year ago. I was told by a buddy of mine that he had this software that would clean his registry and his temporary files etc. I was skeptical at first… But after trying it I was sold . The program is called CC Cleaner and you can get it at http://www.filehippo.com It’s a FREE program that actually doesn’t have spyware or something attached to it like Google toolbar or something stupid. This program is awesome, it deletes orphaned registry entries and cleans up your hard drive somewhat similar to disk cleanup built into Windows XP. It’s hard no days online to try out freeware without worrying about your computer taking a crap on you.

So download CC cleaner and let me know what you think. Do me a favor and backup your registry when it prompts you before cleaning the registry. That way if you do have a problem you can simply run the backup file.

Aloha,

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Fake Microsoft Update Notification via Email.

There is a new virus out that may appear in your email as an update. It will say something similar to the message below.

Update for Microsoft Outlook / Outlook Express (KB910721)

This is a fake update. This is a virus and will hurt your computer. Please delete the message immediately. FYI Microsoft will never email a critical update notification to your computer ever. 

Aloha,

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Unpack my .zip and .rar files!

Over the years I have ran into other geeks that have showed me some really cool software that is cheap or free. I would like to share these programs with all of you.

Back in the day I used to use a program called WinZip. I’m sure most people are familiar with it. WAY  WAY back in the day I used a program called PKUNZIP. That was the good old DOS days. Since Windows XP Microsoft has included a built in program for unzipping compressed files. But it’s a typical Microsoft program lacking ease of use and such. So what do I use now to uncompress those pesky .zip files? Winrar! Winrar is by far the best compress/decompress program out there hands down. What is slick about winrar is that you can easily right click on a zip or rar file and simply select “decompress here.” I know that after time Winzip added this feature to the Windows Shell (right click feature). Additionally the winrar program unpacks and packs files faster and with less effort than WinZip or the Windows built in feature. You can get winrar at www.rarlabs.com I suggest you purchase it as they are always improving the software.

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Super Virus Me Please.

I get this question all of the time… “What is the best virus scanner?” Back in the day I used to use Mcafee Virus Scan. It worked ok at the time. But where is Macafee now? I work on approximately 100 different computers a month. I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw Mcaffee.

So what is the best virus scanner today? Well personally I prefer AVG-FREE. It is hands down the best virus scanner on the market right now that is free. I have installed it over a thousand times by now and have yet to have a REAL problem. Occasionally it will do some whacky update and screw up it’s ctf files. (Update control files). But that is easy to fix and there is plenty of posts online on how to fix it. This virus scanner is awesome because it is mostly just a virus scanner. Norton and Mcaffee include all kinds of crap that can screw up your computer. I have seen norton totally shut your network connection down. So stick to the cheap/free AVG.

Keep in mind with AVG that the FREE version is for non-commercial use. So if you use it at work… PAY FOR IT! The software is only $20 for a 2 year single license.

AVG is a fantastic program and it does remove viruses. However, it doesn’t handle all of the nasty stuff floating out there right now. I recommend pairing AVG with a program called Malwarebytes. This is another free program for non-commercial use that is awesome. Malwarebytes has really stepped up this last year as the top dog of malware, virus and rogue program remover. Using both AVG and Malwarebytes will really help keep your Windows computer pretty safe.

Keep in mind that using these programs will help you remove the viruses if you get them. BUT the best way to keep from getting the viruses in the first place is to keep Windows Updated, keep your virus scan updated, be cautious about what pages you go to, if you start to see weird stuff… SCAN YOUR COMPUTER!

Also, a lot of my customers will call me and say, “Hey, I removed the virus but my computer is still screwed.” Keep in mind that the virus has probably attached it’s self to your Windows system files or internet browser. Just because you removed the virus doesn’t mean your computer is all better. Most of the virus removal process is not removing the virus but restoring Windows back to it’s normal state.

To avoid all of this… Buy a Mac.

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ALOHA!

Welcome to my NEW blog! Before I get started with this blog I want to make sure you understand my perspective on this technology. I believe that blogging, social networking and twittering is kind of Narcissistic. I’m planning on keeping this blog directed not towards myself or my company. But more so along the lines of self help. I want to share the information I learn everyday about computers, networking, servers, virus removal etc lalala with my customers, family and friends. Some might say that giving away “trade secrets’ is bad for business. But I believe that with technology changing so often it would be impossible to knock yourself out of a job so to speak. I’m not going to focus on grammer, spelling or punctuation as I’m terrible with all of that. If you’re a critic… Not the site for you. I look forward to posting information about some of the knowledge I have picked up over the last 20 years of geeking out on the computer.

Aloha,

Jacob

Narcissism describes the trait of excessive self-love, based on self-image or ego.

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