Ira Wilsker's archive

The news has been dominated by stories about the dangers of the Internet. Just in recent days, we have heard of major banks losing the personal information of hundreds of thousands of account holders, a congressman’s indiscretions on a social networking Web site, hackers accessing thousands of accounts at a major retailer, and many other mass data breaches that may result in wholesale identity theft.

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Sometimes, despite our best efforts, it seems impossible to remove the spyware and other malware from our computers. Despite their efficacy, there are just some times that the traditional and proven malware killers will not be able to neutralize the malware on our computers. While some of the so-called “experts” simply give up and reformat the hard drive, resulting in the loss of any programs and files on the computer (unless properly backed up), this is not an appropriate step in trying to restore the computer.

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If you have downloaded many documents from the Internet, you have likely come across many that are in PDF format. Portable Document Format (PDF) has been around for almost 20 years, and has become the de facto standard document format that embeds text, fonts and graphics into the document, such that it will appear the same regardless of the operating system on the computer.

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Sometime ago, I wrote about several free utilities available from Google. Google has continued to update and enhance its offerings in its attempt to maintain its dominant position on the Internet by offering dozens of free utilities for PCs, MACs, and Linux computers. The comprehensive listing of Google offerings is online at www.google.com/intl/en/options.

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A regular reader of this column suggested that I write about a free service that can automatically install and update the most popular freeware programs available. She recommended Ninite, but I was also familiar with a competitive service from AllMyApps. While both have comprehensive listings of free software, AllMyApps also includes links to some commercial software applications, so I would have to give the edge to Ninite when it comes to the mass installation of free software.

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