Monday, January 31, 2011

Internet Data Limits to be handed down in Canada

Well this has been a long time coming, but at the same time most Internet service providers have been imposing bandwidth usage limits on their customers in Canada for some time now.

Starting March 1st, 2011, the CRTC is making smaller ISP's charge for the amount of data you use for your Internet activities. On one had I agree with it, but on the other hand I do not.  It might help control the massive amount of movie, music, and software downloading that goes on. But for myself, I play some online gaming  with my xbox, do the occasional skype  conversation with video, and  watch movies using Netflix, this could mean that i don't do some of these activities any longer.

In Newfoundland, Canada, where i live, Rogers have had somewhat of  cap on its service, but once you go past 90GB of data, the charge maxes out and you don't get charged any extra. But with Bell Aliant, (my isp) they don't impose any limits or charges for the amount of  data you transfer over the Internet.

I still have more reading to do to get all the details of this. I will be following this very closely because the place that I work  We offer free Internet access to all our library patrons, and we have 96 separate locations.  As I get a better understanding and details of this new law, I will keep you all updated.

I can see this hurting many businesses have come to rely on the Internet to cut costs with long distance calls  by using video conferencing, posting videos to such services as  you tube for promotion, and the list could go on.

I guess when it you really look at it, back in the days when the Internet was first starting to get popular and making it's way into cities and towns way back in the early 90's. There really wasn't much capacity to do large data transfers, and the golden rule was, if you had to transfer something, or you were developing a web page for the Internet, your goal was to make it as small as possible, so that it would only take a short time to transfer.  For the readers who know what and used a dial up service, imagine getting on you tube to watch a video clip back then.

I remember the first day I got hooked up to the Internet. I bought a 14.4kbs US Robotics dial up modem which i paid almost 300.00 for back in 1994, and I wanted to get the latest Netscape web browser, it was a 5.5MB download. Well that took almost 12 hours for me to download, and back then you paid for time you spent online in blocks of time, if i do recall i had a 120 min package.

Today, I have a 10MB connection and the progress bar for that same download flies across my screen so fast, I have to check to make sure that it actually got downloaded, and getting the latest version of Ubuntu Linux (800MB)  only takes me 15 minutes of my day. Because I am a developer, and computer support person. I spend close to 12-13 hours a day online, some days I am much much longer. I can't imagine what the bill would be today considering i was paying 29.95 for  2 hours a month.

I am sure that this new regulation might some how slow down Internet piracy, but the users will always find away around the blocks. Remember Napster the very first file sharing program back in the late 90's. They shut that down and not long after came P2P networks, followed by the every popular bit torrent.

So for now, I guess we will have to wait and see what will happen in Canada with this new regulation. I really do hope that Bell Aliant doesn't follow suite and  impose some crazy small monthly cap on me.

for your reading pleasure,  my guess is that you don't want to do any more reading after that nice speech, here is the link the the CBC News article

* Update *

if you want to speak out about this, check out this site
hope you enjoyed the read

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another very useful Freebie

I would like to tell you about a nice free app that I have been using for sometime. It's called Free ISO Burner. Free ISO Burner can directly burn your ISO and CD/DVD image file to CD-R,CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW,HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. 
I know that most people either already have a program that they use for this, but the user interface for this piece of software is clean and simple that "-even a cave man could use it"
The short and sweet about it is that you simply select your iso disk image, followed by clicking the burn disk button.  

You can download Free Iso Burner from

Although this app is really nice,  I don't use it as much since I moved to Windows 7.  The reason that I don't use it as much is that Windows 7 has ISO burning built right in.  

To use the ISO burning feature in Windows 7, all you need to do is go to the ISO file you wish to burn, and right click on it. In the menu that appears click on Open File With and then select Windows  Disk Image Burner.

you are then off to the races burning you data.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nimbuzz .. The Ultimate Instant Message Client

I got introduced to this powerful software package the other day by my cousin Jeff. A big thank you Jeff.  There have been many IM (Instant Message) Clients that have come and gone in popularity. I can remember a long time ago using the once famous IM program ICQ, and then came along MSN Messenger, followed quickly by Yahoo, and as the years passed many more IM services have come online, Over the years I have switched  from one IM service to another because it seemed everyone was following what was hot, and not sticking to a single service.  I found this to be a big problem, because I had to switch to whatever service my friends had switched to, in order to stay in touch.
During those years, there were other IM clients that were released by third party companies that were designed in such away that it would allow you to sign into several IM services at once.  But I found the few that I tried to be pretty unhandy. So eventually I gave up on the IM world .  I do at times use Google Chat, but that is because its' build into my gmail, and for the most part I only use that to communicate with another coworker.

But along comes Nimbuzz to save the day!!!

"IM your friends across all popular instant messaging and social networks and have a real chat, in real time, for free!
With one secure log-in you can access Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo, ICQ, AIM, Google Talk, Facebook, MySpace, Gadu-Gadu, Hyves and many more. Plus, you'll never forget a name or number by storing all your important contacts in the Nimbuzz Phonebook."

I downloaded the PC version and I am extremely impressed with how clean the interface is, and how easy  it was to setup.  They have really though of everything! It even will tie into the facebook chat system, so your don't have to login to facebook to chat with your connections on there.  It even has support built in to make phone calls to land lines using VoIp technology. You need purchase credits to use this service. For calls to Canada it costs about 0.02 a minute.

I have my Nimbuzz tied into Windows Live, Google Chat, and Facebook. If you use any kind of IM client, this little app is one I would strongly recommend.

Nimbuzz is available for any smart phone, PC or Mac, and it has a web version as well.

You can get Nimbuzz by visiting their website @

PC running a bit sluggish? here's a little trick to speed things up a bit.

Time and time again I have a lot of people ask me how come their computer is running slow. My usually answer to them is it could be many things, and that is true. 

A few things that could cause your system to run slow are it could be that your computer is just old and needs to be upgraded, your hard drive could be reaching its storage capacity from all the files you have downloaded, and didn't delete when you were finished with them, or it could be that you have been cleaning up your system and deleting all those files have caused your hard drive to fragment.

Now before I can tell you about one way to help speed up your computer, you need to understand what is going on to cause the problem. I promise I will try and keep this short, interesting, and in layman's terms.

Think of your computers hard drive as a giant ice cube tray. Each cup in the tray represents a block for storage. We will represent saving data on your computer to adding water to the tray, and taking an ice cube out as deleting data.  After you take a few ice cubes out of the tray you fill up the empty cups with more water, but you usually have too much water to fill up one cube, so you let the extra spill into another cup.

Well a hard drive does the same thing, so if you try to save data, and there isn't enough room in a block, your computer will find another block to put the rest of the data.  The problem is that your hard drive has millions of blocks and the empty block that it finds is more than likely not right next to the block it just filled up. So your computer ends up with bits and pieces of data all over the place.

So how does this slow your computer down you ask?  Well if your data is spread all over your hard drive it is going to take longer for your computer to find all the bits and pieces of the data that you are requesting. So when your loading up programs or lots of data , your computer is running all over your hard drive to find  all the data that it needs, and causes your computer to run slow.   The official term for this is called Fragmentation.

The good news is that fragmentation can be fixed or reduced fairly easily. All versions of Windows have a program called Disk Defragmenter (defrag).  You can use this program to reduce or eliminate file fragmentation, but this is not a one time fix. Because as you  save and delete data, file fragmentation will occur again.

You should run the defrag program at least 1once a month, but you can use another tool, which I won't get into right now to have the defrag tool run on a schedule so you don't have to worry about it any more.

The easy way to run the defrag tool is to double click on your My Computer icon on your desktop (Computer  on Vista and Windows 7) to show your hard drives.  What you need to do here is  to right click on your C drive and click on properties in the menu that pops up. You then need to click on the tools tab, and the Defragmentation tool will be shown. 

I have to warn you that you might want to run this tool as you are going to bed. The reason is that depending on how bad your hard drive is fragmented, the process could take hours to complete.  I defraged a clients computer one time, and it tool 12 hours for the process to complete.   But if you keep on top of this, and run the defrag tool say once a month, it might only take a few minutes to complete.

Spyware Protection .. Everyone should use It

Wow I am on a roll today!  I just really got this stuff in my head and need to get it out.. ha ha ha

Spyware hurts everyones computer, and Yes everyone falls victim to it. Even I have fallen victim a few times, and I have all the proper protection and do the necessary scans for spyware.

Every time I clean up a computer at work, for a friend or a client I tell them how important it is to run routine scans and make sure that their spyware and anti virus scans softwares are up to date.

If you really think about it,  consider the Internet as a public place, like the mall, and you have been shopping all day and your ready for something to eat.  Most people will wash their hands in the bathroom or use hand sterilizer to make sure they don't have any nasty germs on their hands before eating.

Well your computer  should be treated the same way.... (DON'T WASH YOUR COMPUTER WITH WATER OR HAND SANITIZER).   But you should do regular scans to detect and remove the unwanted spyware from your system.

I use the free version of Malwarebytes.  I have used several different programs such as Ad-aware, and Spy-Bot. But Malwarebytes for me, is the king of the hill.

It's easy to use, and the updates are free.  There are a few other versions of it available, but you have to purchase those.  The free version doesn't do everything that the purchased ones do, but the free version suites me fine.

You can download Malwarebytes from

The important thing to remember about the free version is that, it won't automatically update to get the latest detection files. You have to do this your self by clicking on an update button. So before you run a scan, you should click the update button to make sure the software is up to date.

I do a lot of surfing, searching and downloading from the internet, so I update the program 2-4 times a week and run a scan each time.  Depending on how much you use the internet, should determine how many times a week you run a scan.

PDF's and the Freebie Everyone should have!

I am sure you've all heard the term PDF, and have used PDF viewer to look at PDF document at some point, and you may have not even realized.

Here is a little bit on what PDF is!

PDF stands for  Portable Document Format. It was created by Adobe Systems  as a step towards the "Paper Less" Office way back in 1991.  PDF was first official released in 1993.

 I won't go into all the history of the life of a PDF because that will get pretty boring, really fast. But if you are interested in reading more on how PDF evolved, you can go here for an in-dept look at PDF.

Why is PDF useful?

The #1 reason PDF is useful is for sharing your documents.  Not every computer user has the latest version of Microsoft Office, or Word Perfect on their computer.  Some people prefer Microsoft Office, other may prefer Word Perfect or some other type of word processor.

So here is the big problem for most people.  You are applying for a new job and you have prepared your cover letter and resume in your preferred word processor. You email your cover letter and resume to the email address supplied by the company your are applying to, pretty simple and pretty easy right.. Then the tragedy strikes!  The company can not open your documents because they don't have your program, and have requested that you send it in their preferred word processor format.

Now you are hardly going to run out to your closes store that carries software and purchase the software they use. That wouldn't make much sense.  So what do you do!!!!  Embrace the world of PDF!!


Here's your solution...  You can create a PDF of your cover letter and resume and send those to the company.  It's safe to say, that today every computer has some sort of PDF Viewer.

So lets get started.. the first thing you are going to need is something to create a PDF for you. You can pay up to $600 - $700 for  Adobe Acrobat software, or... you can download a free program called PDF Creator.

PDF Creator is a small little free program. You can download the latest version from the official website

When you have the program installed , it will add a new printer to your system called PDF Creator.  Now to to turn any of your documents to a PDF, all you need to do is open up your document and print it.  When you  are prompted to select a printer choose the PDF Creator and continue on.

PDF Creator will do its thing and pop up a little window where you can type in a document title and then save the output.   This make your document into a PDF and you can share it with who ever you need to with out worrying about if they can view your work.

If you don't have a PDF viewer on your computer, the two most common ones to use are Adobe Reader or Foxit PDF Reader.  I like Foxit because it isn't as big as Adobe, and doesn't want to update every few days.

On another note, some word processors have the ability to create PDF's by using the SAVE AS  or Export to PDF feature normally found under FILE  in your word processing software.

One last thing is that once your document has been converted it virtually can not be edited. I say virtually, because if you are lucky enough to have the proper software, a PDF can be edited.

Hope you find this somewhat useful

The Amazing Microsoft Office 2007 / 2010 Anoyance

This will be my first official  Blog Tip!!

If you are use Microsoft Office  user, you may find this little tip very useful.  In Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 Microsoft changed how the Enter Key functions.

In earlier versions of MS Office when you hit the enter key the cursor would advance to the next line. But in Office 2007 and 2010 when you hit the enter key, the cursor advances two lines.

This seems to be a very popular annoyance to everyone I talk to.  But guess what!  I can show you how to change this, so that when you hit your enter key, it will function the same as it did in earlier versions of office.

there are two ways to fix this annoyance

Method 1

Step 1.    Open up your Microsoft Word program and click on the "HOME" tab

Step 2. To the far right of the home tab you should see the icon  "Change Styles".  Click on the icon and a menu will drop down.  Now put your mouse over Style Set, another menu will drop down.  You should see Word 2003 in the menu.  Put your mouse over Word 2003 and left click.

That's it!  When you hit the Enter key now, it should only advance 1 line at a time, instead of 2.

Method 2
Method 2 in my opinion is much easier to do, and would be my method of choice.

Step 1 - Open Microsoft Word and click on the Page Layout tab.  About mid way in the page layout bar you should see Indent and Spacing.  Under spacing there is an option called After, and it might have a number  like 6 pt or 12pt ( You don't see this, because I have mine already changed.)  Click on the down arrow in the box until is says 0 pt

That's it!  Your Enter key will now function just as it did in Earlier versions of MS Office.


The Start of something Beautiful and Helpful

Well,  I am late getting  making it to the blogging boat, but here I am.  I was thinking to myself how could I share my knowledge of PC's and the Internet to friends, family, and whoever else that may find the knowledge I want to share interesting and helpful.

On a frequent basis I will come across little tips that make my computing life so much easier. Some of  this information I come across would be for an advanced computer user, but some of it just makes your every day life so much easier and the average person would possibly never stubble across it.

Hopefully you will find what I have to share useful and / or interesting.