Friday, 25 February 2005

Newsletter Issue 92, February 2005

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 92, February 2005
Hi guys,
If your PC is slow, you might be infected with adware. Check out The Adware Epidemic for the hows, whys and then what to do about it.
Paua is shaking off its tourist-tat image in The Paua Renaissance
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

The Adware Epidemic

So what is 'adware', 'malware' and 'spyware', and why are they so bad?
Adware is a code in a programme you downloaded - or bought - that displays advertising banners while it is running. The software includes additional code to deliver pop-up windows or a bar on the screen containing the ads. Malware is "malicious software" - ie any harmful  programming or file including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware, which gathers information about a computer user without permission (this is the section which includes keystroke loggers which harvest your banking or credit card details and passwords). The 'spyware' subset of adware also usually includes code to track your personal information and passes that info on to third parties via the internet, without your authorisation or knowledge. 
If you download Grokster, Kazaa, or any other file sharing software, you will find your PC infested with adware after install. There are also some websites that will download and install code without your knowledge or consent just by visiting them (games sites, song lyrics sites and sports sites). You can go to a website and have pop-up ad appear - and it has loaded some code onto your machine without even knowing by clicking a 'Close Window' button.
Adware takes up your PC processor space by running all sorts of data-miners and code which, even if not sending internet 'backchannel' data, is not running with your consent and could cause your PC to be deathly slow and repeatedly crash.
The justification from softies is that adware helps to recover programming development cost, which in turn helps to hold down the cost for the user. But the reality is that adware makes big money. Benjamin Edelman, a Harvard Law graduate, published an article in January this year showing that four of the largest adware makers had recent venture capital injections from Silicon Valley of close to $140 million (see
In a study run last October by an instructor at the University of Illinois, Eric Howes, it was found that 80% of home PCs in the US are infested with adware and spyware.
Mr Howes' study appears to be pretty robust (you can read about it at,1759,1731474,00.asp and On several PCs infected with adware, he tested 20 different anti-adware applications and tallied the adware component removal; the BEST - Giant - only removed 63% of adware. Ouch.
Then he tried combos of various anti-adware programmes to see if he got a better hit rate by using more than one programme. He found that if he used Giant AntiSpyware plus Webroot Spy Sweeper, it cleaned out 70%. Giant and Ad-Aware SE Personal took out 69%.
Brian Livingstone, of Windows Secrets Newsletter, has trawled through Mr Howe's study data and tabulated the results (view them at He suggests installation of three anti-adware aps; Giant and Webroot and CWShredder (CWShredder is a small utility for removing 'CoolWebSearch' and other hijacking and redirecting software).
Download these at:
While you are best to avoid software and sites that load adware, in reality this is very hard to do. Many quite unexpected sites have found they can generate revenue by illegally installing 'drive-by downloads' and you only realise the infection once your PC is running as though it's running through treacle.
It is crazy that we cannot use the internet without actively and repeatedly monitoring adware accumulation and purging it. I think Brian Livingstone summed it up in his article perfectly by saying "It's absolutely absurd that PC users must download, install, and update multiple programs just to keep their machines from silently accumulating crapware from morally-challenged Web sites."

The Paua Renaissance

Do you remember that awful paua tourist tat that you used to see in the cheap tourist shops? The tacky tray and coaster trash, set as small broken pieces of shell in clear resin with a black plastic bottom? Or ghastly resined jewellery with nasty fake yellow, yellow 'gold'?

Well, I think those foul days are over, as there is a growing trend by New Zealand jewellers to now use paua as the central material to create jewellery 'art' pieces.
Blackfoot Paua (Haliotis iris) is a native New Zealand abalone species. It is ideally designed for fine work because of its thick, multi-hued nacre shell.  With its strong greens, blues, purples and pinks, it is being increasingly used in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, pins and rings, set in silver, platinum or gold. Once set and polished, the shell is proving to be fairly durable, with only crushing or poor setting causing damage.
There are a number of contemporary jewellers who are gaining a solid reputation for their paua work, including Dean Hawkins (one of Dean's Jewelleryworks pendants is illustrated below), Jens Hansen and Hanne Andersen.
A quick search on the internet reveals a plethora of paua jewellery suppliers with a vast range of product quality and design. However, some good jewellery work can be viewed at:
There is also a range of other paua materials which can be purchased from peel and stick laminate to whole shells to polished fragments. See for details.
And what about the paua pearls? Those tiny things in a necklace that will each cost you the same dough as a 1987 used car?
Paua pearls are made by inserting a little piece of plastic into young paua, then three years later, harvesting the meat and, hopefully, a cultured hemispherical - or mabé - pearl. As yet, Kiwi farmers have only been able to make hemispherical pearls. They can make them in a variety of shapes, but not truly pearl shaped. Mabé paua pearls can be viewed at, or
R&D by a number of marine farm and science joint ventures are working on sphere paua pearl development, but no one has cracked this particular nut thus far. But with projected retail values running at US$1000 per pearl, the lucky people who finally do get it right will have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

MS Picture Manager Part 2

Last time we had a brief overview of editing and populating MS Picture Manager.
This time we are going to look at how to move images, rename images, saving changes and using Picture Manager with other Office Programmes.
  • Move Files: To move images in the views, you need to select the image, hold down the Shift key and drag it to your new location in the Shortcuts list. So select, then hold, Shift & drag (if you don't Shift, the image is copied not moved).
  • Image Format: You can also choose a different save format to convert the files between formats.
  • Rename (Edit | Rename or pop-up menu Rename): Renaming files by letting you add to or replacing the existing filename, adding sequential numbering (starting wherever you like) at either the beginning or end of a filename... ah, so easy. The software also shows you a sample sequence so you can check your logic before making mistakes.
  • Printing: If you go to File | Print, the Windows XP Photo Printing Wizard opens to handle the printing for you. You can choose if you want to have a proof sheet printed of a folder (very useful), can arrange multiple photos on a single sheet of paper or print multiple sizes on a single sheet.
  • Image Changes: All image changes that you make are not saved to the image, but are stored in an 'Unsaved Edits' folder. You can either save by choosing File, Save All and the changes will overwrite the original files, or you can highlight images that you don't want to save changes to, right click and select 'Discard changes'. Or you can "Save As" to save your edits and change the name of the image.
    However, BEFORE YOU CLOSE OUT OF THE PROGRAMME you must save your edits (if you are happy with them). If you don't, you will lose your changes.
  • Other Office Apps: Open Picture Manager & either drag and drop images into any open Office program window or 'send' an image by right-clicking and choosing Send To | email recipient or to an Office document (if the program you're sending it to is not open, it will be launched automatically). You can also click 'Options' to configure the size the image should be when sent.
If you have Office 2003 already and don't have a photo management tool, then MS Picture Manager is definitely an easy-to-use answer for you.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • ICMP bug, Internet Control Message Protocol bug, or ping of death. A DoS attack caused by a deliberate sending of a packet larger than the IP-allowed 65,536 bytes
  • DoS, Denial of Service. Unavailability - usually forced - of a particular network service like e-mail or web hosting or the temporary loss of all network connectivity or services

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do in Outlook. This time we focus on what you can do with the Tab key, Shift, Alt & Ctrl;
  • Outlook "Switch to the previous program" Alt & Shift & Tab
  • Outlook "Switch to the next program" Alt & Tab
  • Outlook "Select the next or previous toolbar or move between the Folder List and the information viewer to the right or go to the previous tab in an item or dialog box or switch between the Folder List and the information viewer to the right" Ctrl & Shift & Tab
  • Outlook "Move to the previous option or option group or move to the previous field and, from the first field of a card, move to the last field in the previous card or move to the previous option or option group in a dialog box or select the previous appointment when working in the day/week/month view or when a unit of time on the time scale for days is selected, select the upper time scale (when the lower time scale is selected)" Shift & Tab
  • Outlook "When a toolbar is active, select the next or previous button or menu on the toolbar" Shift & Tab
  • Outlook "Move to the next option or option group or toolbar or move from item to item when working in day/week/month view or move to the next field and, from the last field of a card, move to the first field in the next card or select a field when moving between fields on a card or select the first item on screen or the first group on screen if items are grouped (when the lower time scale is selected) and a unit of time on the time scale for days in selected or select the lower time scale (when the upper time scale is selected) and a unit of time on the time scale for days in selected or select the next appointment when working in day/week/month view" Tab

Hot Linx
For online books, try Doubleday at, Whitcoulls at, Amazon US here or UK here
Wondering when the end will be reached for the internet? Then this page is definitely the one that you need at
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In the UK & want to know the name of that song? Just call Shazam on 2580 & point your phone at it to find out. Check out the website at

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