Thursday, May 24, 2012

MVPS HOSTS File Available online now

I hope you are using this valuable tool. You can now download the new version as of today.

winhelp2002 has made a new post at Hosts News
MVPS HOSTS File Update May-23-2012

The MVPS HOSTS file was recently updated [May-23-2012]
Download: (145 kb)
How To: Download and Extract the HOSTS file
HOSTS File - Frequently Asked Questions
Note: the "text" version makes a great resource for determining possible unwanted connections ... (590 kb)
Get notified when the MVPS HOSTS file is updated

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shredding a hard drive?

I recently experienced one of those "now I have seen everything" moments. The town of Acton, MA has just implemented a program to shred hard drives. Yes, you read that right. I have been in the computer business for 44 years and did not know that such a thing as a Hard Drive Shredder existed!

A company named SEM in Westboro, MA makes several devices for this purpose, but the Town of Acton decided upon the SEM 0300. I have seen it, touched it, and used it to shred several of my own old hard drives.

Why would someone want to shred a hard drive, and what does that mean? Well, first of all if you think of all of the possible Government uses for such devices, the list would be endless. And how about us, the residents of the Town of Acton (and elsewhere)? The answer becomes more obvious every day if you read the papers or listen to the news or browse the web. Privacy. Security. Identity Theft. These probably ring a few bells.

Before you toss out that old computer, and the Town of Acton makes this easy to do at the Town's Transfer Station, think about the data that might still be on your hard drive, and if you have the least amount of concern about this, as I think most of us do or should, then shredding your hard drive is the answer.

The Model 300 will easily and quickly devour your hard drive and turn it into lots of unusable and very small pieces (see attached photo). It really is quite amazing and so easy to do, and works for 2.5 inch (laptop PC) and 3.5 inch (desktop PC) hard drives. I would encourage all residents of Acton to take advantage of this new Town service. Where, you might ask?

The answer is at the gate house at the entrance to the Town of Acton Transfer Station, just off Route 2. Stop at the gate house, complete a brief Hard Drive Destruction Release Form, and pay the attendant $10 for the service (these machines are VERY expensive as you can see from the SEM web site and the Town wishes to have the machine pay for itself). Please note: as I write this the form is not yet online. If, when it goes online, it is located in a different web location, I will update the link. My thanks to John Bailey at the Transfer Station (pictured below) who is holding a handful of shreds (former hard drives) and posing next to the SEM 0300 (yes, it is a small machine and surprisingly quiet too!).

For any technical questions regarding how to remove your hard drive from your computer, please contact me at 781-898-4060 or

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Comparing Intel Core i5 vs i7

This pcmag article is of great interest to me, and perhaps for a few of you as well. I am very interested in the Core i7 processors that can be found in many new desktops, and I guess even some laptops. I believe the Intel Core i7 processors to be the fastest available.

"For many consumers shopping around for a new desktop or laptop PC, one of the biggest considerations is the type of processor, and two of the two processors most often in contentio are the Intel Core i5 and Core i7. Discounting Core i3 (mainly found in budget systems) and AMD processors (another article entirely), the difference between Intel Core i5 and Core i7 can seem daunting, especially when the prices seem so close together once they're in completed systems. We break down the differences for you."

Monday, May 21, 2012

I received 2 e-mails from Google, warning me that someone in JAPAN had tried to access my e-mail account. At first I thought I had received a phishing e-mail from someone who would want me to divulge my password (NEVER do that!). Upon further reflection and upon receiving the second warning (below) that included the Japan reference, I figured maybe someone had my password already and had tried to sign in. Even if they didn't have my password, I decided that I would change my password, and I did. This is a very nice Google Mail (GMAIL) feature. I am impressed. By the way, I changed my password in the traditional manner by signing into Gmail and then selecting the CHANGE MY PASSWORD option. I would not recommend following any links in e-mails such as these. They could be fakes, phishing for my password and sending me to one of their own sites! Geez, who can you trust these days online?