But it fit…

The other day I was speaking with someone who had tried to charge the battery on one of his devices. Everytime he plugged in the charger, the device would shut down and he couldn’t figure out why.

In asking several questions, we finally came to the key. The charger he was using wasn’t made for the device he was plugging it into. It was made for his phone. The next comment was “but it fit.” Well, that’s fine but it wasn’t made for it.

Every device you have has a unique charger. Yes, some will work with other devices, and yes, there are common connections so it’s easy to get confused, but there is a reason you must use the charger that came with that device to charge it.  Every device, cell phone, mp3 player, GPS, etc. requires its own unique power level to charge the battery. The charger that comes with it is programmed to send the right amount of power. If you use a different charger, it may send too much power or not enough power, which will play havoc with the battery, possibly even burning it out.

Universal chargers are designed with adjustable power so they’ll work fine with just about everything. If an aftermarket charger is purchased, it should be for the actual device, but there are some that will work. My Motorola phone charger will charge my Blackberry but my Blackberry charger won’t charge the Motorola.

If you have several chargers that will fit many of your electronic devices, label them so that you don’t mix them up. Your batteries will last longer, as will your devices.


Email File Attachment – How Can You Find Out if it’s Virus Free?

One can’t be to careful these days, when opening an attachment in an email from a “friend” can create all kinds of trouble to your computer and your life.

Everyone does it – seeing an email from a friend or family member you automatically open the attached file, because if it’s from someone you know, it must be okay, right? NOT!!! Yes, most of the time it’s okay to do, but there are times when it just doesn’t feel right, but you’re not sure, so what do you do? Open it? Delete it? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someplace to send the attachment to that will check it out for you and let you know that it’s okay to open?

Well, VirusTotal is just the place to do that.

VirusTotal is a service that analyzes suspicious files and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware detected by antivirus engines:

  • Free, independent service
  • Use of multiple antivirus engines
  • Real-time automatic updates of virus signatures
  • Detailed results from each antivirus engine

You can upload files from your computer, or you can forward that email with the attachment to them for testing. VirusTotal will scan it with over 40 different antivirus engines and will return an email with the results. A note of warning, it could take a few hours for the results to be returned so don’t give into the temptation and open the attachment anyway.

Sending files by email

Create a new message or forward the message with the attachment with  scan@virustotal.com as destination address of your email.

Write SCAN in the Subject field.

  1. Attach the file to be scanned. Such file must not exceed 20 MB in size. If the attached file is larger, the system will reject it automatically.
  2. You will receive an email with a report of the file analysis. Response time will vary depending on the load of the system at the time of placing your request.

If you’re sure that the email and attachment are clean, open away, but if you have any doubt, be safe with VirusTotal (http://www.virustotal.com/)

AP News: Microsoft warns of serious computer security hole

Associated Press

Get AP Mobile for your phone at APnews.com

Microsoft warns of serious computer security hole

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Published: Today

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Microsoft Corp. has taken the rare step of warning about a serious computer security vulnerability it hasn’t fixed yet.

The vulnerability disclosed Monday affects Internet Explorer users whose computers run the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating software.

It can allow hackers to remotely take control of victims’ machines. The victims don’t need to do anything to get infected except visit a Web site that’s been hacked.

Security experts say criminals have been attacking the vulnerability for nearly a week. Thousands of sites have been hacked to serve up malicious software that exploits the vulnerability. People are drawn to these sites by clicking a link in spam e-mail.

The so-called “zero day” vulnerability disclosed by Microsoft affects a part of its software used to play video. The problem arises from the way the software interacts with Internet Explorer, which opens a hole for hackers to tunnel into.

Microsoft urged vulnerable users to disable the problematic part of its software, which can be done from Microsoft’s Web site, (http://tinyurl.com/kwh8ls) while the company works on a “patch” – or software fix – for the problem.

Microsoft rarely departs from its practice of issuing security updates the second Tuesday of each month. When the Redmond, Wash.-based company does issue security reminders at other times, it’s because the vulnerabilities are very serious.

A recent example was the emergency patch Microsoft issued in October for a vulnerability that criminals exploited to infect millions of PCs with the Conficker worm. While initially feared as an all-powerful doomsday device, that network of infected machines was eventually used for mundane moneymaking schemes like sending spam and pushing fake antivirus software.


On the Net:

Microsoft support page:


AP Mobile. © 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

via AP News: Microsoft warns of serious computer security hole.

Making a Web Page Link Do What You Want It To Do

Most people happily go about their web page surfing, left clicking on links as they go, just accepting that the link will either open in a new window, a new tab, or replace the page they are currently on, but never knowing what it will do until it’s clicked. If the last one occurs, and you weren’t ready to leave that page, you’re stuck hitting the back button to return to the page you were on but then you lose the page you linked to. A vicious cycle occurs.

Did you know that if you right click on the link, instead of left clicking, you can choose to open it in a new tab or new window yourself? That comes in real handy if you are doing research and want to keep different pages/tabs open.

Additionally, depending on which browser you are using, you will find other options under the right click menu. For example, you can copy the link, bookmark it, save it, WOT it, email it, etc.

Windows XP SP3 Can Corrupt TIFF Images – A hotfix is available from Microsoft – Softpedia

Microsoft has warned users of Windows XP Service Pack 3 of an issue that can lead to digital pictures becoming corrupted. According to Microsoft, the problem is limited to XP SP3. Microsoft has explained that when using Windows Picture or Fax Viewer to manage TIFF images, in the eventuality that a specific picture is rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise, that document will become corrupted.

A hotfix is available for this specific issue, but affected customers will have to contact Microsoft here (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/970922)  in order to get it. “This problem only occurs to a TIFF document that is compressed in CCITT Group 3 format with 2D encoding. This problem does not occur if the TIFF document is set to read-only.

via Windows XP SP3 Can Corrupt TIFF Images – A hotfix is available from Microsoft – Softpedia.

Windows Updates – Were They Installed Without Permission?

I’ve been reading recently that on some computers Microsoft’s updates are happening automatically, even though the user has  set the update settings to download but notify before updating, or even set to check for updates but not download or install without prompting.  Microsoft has mentioned on their blog “Update Notifications and Install-at-Shutdown Behavior” that they “are investigating the reports and trying to clarify with the community exactly what people are experiencing.” They then go on to clarify how the update notifications work.

As I’ve written in the past, certain updates cause more harm than good on some computers so the ability and choose which updates to install and when is important. Certain updates could conflict with programs or hardware and cause computer instability.

A more comprehensive article from windowssecrets.com on this issue can be found here. In this article, it is mentioned that “One theory to explain the forced installs is that the large number of patches Microsoft released on June 9 overwhelmed the Redmond company’s download servers…The extra demand may have caused some downloads to be incomplete. Incomplete downloads are known to disable the notification icon and possibly the approval dialog that’s supposed to appear during shutdown.”

Something to be aware of if your computer has been giving you problems over the past couple of weeks, it may be because of some unwanted updates.