Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Beans of Java

For this years Christmas I asked for some more books that focus more on the heavier side of programming as to last years book list of web development learning. I'm sure I don't know all there is to web development but sometimes you need to change things up a bit and get your feet wet. Change is good and I love change, because for myself, it helps me think better, even if it's just by changing the position of my stuffed beeker toy by my desk.

For Christmas I got three more programming books, Head First Java, 2nd Edition, Ivor Horton's Beginning Visual C++ 2008, and Beginning JavaServer Pages. The first book I cracked open was the Java book because I always had an interest in learning Java, but was always kind of intimidated by the language for a reason that I cant explain. Funny thing is that after reading a good bit, I actually understood what the book was talking about and it was sticking in my brain.

So far I think the hardest part was gathering the JDK (Java Development Kit) and getting it up and running which can be downloaded here. After everything is downloaded and installed you will probably need to add the jdk path to the system variables. Travel to the following directory C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_06\bin\ and copy the full path currently in the address bar of windows explorer and just hold it on the clip board a bit. Now, click start and right-click on My Computer and choose properties from the drop down. Click the Advanced tab and select the system variables button and look for the variable named path or Path or even PATH. Click on the path variable and then click the edit button. Now, at the very end of the value listing add a semicolon ; and paste (control+v) into the value. Click OK on all the dialog boxes to submit your changes. It's now time to check to see if the JDK is running, so click start and choose the run box. Within the run box type cmd and click ok or hit enter on your keyboard. While inside the command window type javac and hit the enter key which should start a process and show a bunch of settings inside the command window. If this is what you see them everything is up and running and you are now ready to start programming in Java. Yay!

So I don't know why but I have always had an interest in learning Java Programming but would have never went ahead and bought a book on the language myself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Facebook Virus

It's seems as though the virus known as the Facebook virus is coming up in conversation more and more everyday. Just this week I received a call form a friend saying that they received and email that contained this virus. After telling my friend that I have never heard of the Facebook virus, I went on to doing a bit of research, just to see how serious this virus was.

I found a couple articles saying that the Facebook virus is also known as the Koobface virus and lingers in the background of their computer waiting to record keystrokes and since it's now Christmas time, that's a serious matter because almost everyone is doing their shopping over the Internet these days.

So, how do you kill this annoyance?
I searched and searched this also to find a couple solutions to try which are:
1. Update you anti-virus software and run a complete scan.

2. Since all anti virus software is different, download and install another, say a free one called AVG and scan your computer with that. Make sure you disable your primary anti virus before running a scan with the newly installed anti virus. Also, once the scan is complete and all problems are fixed, uninstall that anti virus and enable your primary anti virus.

3. One thing you could try is doing a system restore, although most of the time the utility becomes more of an annoyance then anything else, give it a try. Roll back your computer to a date before you got that virus.

4. Try this: Open up your command prompt and click the processes tab. What you are looking for are processes called fbtre6.exe and another called fmark2.dat and if you find them running, kill those processes. Now find the following files and delete them for ever:

Now, click start, run, regedit, click ok. This should open the registry for your system in which you will have to delete two registry keys created by the virus as follows below:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run\”systray” = “c:\windows\mstre6.exe”
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run\”systray” = “C:\Windows\fbtre6.exe”
After removing those registry keys, you may be asked to restart your computer.

5. One problem I ran into after the virus was removed was that Internet Explorer went into proxy mode which made it seem as though there was no internet connection even though there limited connection. What I found to fix this problem was:
Open Internet Explorer, click Tools, Internet Options, Choose the Connections Tab, click the LAN Settings button, UnTick the checkbox that says "Use a proxy server for your LAN", click OK, click OK, and refresh Internet Explorer.

That's everything I found for this virus as of today and will update if anymore information and fixes become available.

- Pete

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Free Security Applications

Believe it or not some of the best security for PC’s is actually free. But what makes them the best and why on earth are they free?

First let’s talk about some free Anti-Virus Software that seems to be more updated then costly predecessors. The anti-virus software I am referring to AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. Now, the reason for this awesome software being available free of charge is that it only acts as an anti-virus, and nothing more. This means that there is no Anti-Rootkit, Anti-Spam, Firewall or free support, although AVG does have something they call Safe Search included within the free edition. For the anti-virus itself, I will say that my favorite thing about it is that it does not by any means slow your system down a bit like other Anti-Viruses that are available for a yearly fee. (Ahem, Norton’s). When running a scan on my overly populated system, I saw no change in speed and only know that AVG was scanning my system because a very small dialog box pop ups informing me that a scan has started which is a very fast scan at that given all the files I have. As for this Safe Search stuff that AVG includes in their free anti-virus, it’s not too shabby. Let’s say you run a search on Google, AVG will display small icons next to your search results identifying the web site pertaining to its results as a good or bad web site. Finally, for AVG, you can do the same stuff as with other anti-virus software such as schedule scans, control any viruses that are quarantined, view scan logs, and have AVG check your Outlook for problems. Get it here…

Now for this free Firewall I was talking about. About 3 months ago I made the switch from Zone Alarm Firewall which I absolutely loved and thought it was very easy to use. The problem with it was that it slowed my system down horribly, especially on start up. One day I gave up and began my search for something, anything and didn’t care if it was free. Then I came across COMODO Firewall Pro which is free to download and use. As with AVG, there are versions available for purchase although I don’t see a need especially since this software has almost everything an everyday user needs to protect themselves from intruders and not only that, it’s very easy to use, just like Zone Alarm. Basically, the COMODO Firewall free edition does it all with the exception of protecting you against WIFI connections, remote installations or removals, and there is no support for free clients. That’s all I really have to say about the COMODO Firewall free edition, it really does the job and speaks for itself. Get it here…

- Pete

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The NEW 2008 MacBook Pro

Many many people have already done their reviews on the brand new and shiny 2008 MacBook Pro except for myself. Do I even have one of those monsters, NO!, but I have been saving my pennies for one since those things are insanely priced (yea, only 2k sheesh). I may not have one but as always I believe it's a must to take a trip to the Apple store which is all the way in Atlantic City to have a look at the new laptops in person and instead of driving to AC I just took a trip to the nearest Best Buy with a n Apple section which happened to be in Mays Landing.

The first thing I did was pick the laptop up and noticed how lite it was compared to the older models. I then opened the laptop and glanced at the screen because I heard of there being tons of glare because of the new glossy screens. I don't think the glossy screen is a big deal, maybe because I may be use to the newer glossy monitors since I own a 22" HP LCD which does have a glossy screen. What I did like was the new track pad which is now glass and also acts as a button. I really like that idea lots because I always hated those silly little buttons and always wished for someone to finally get a clue and put a massive track pad on a laptop.

The next thing I played with was the same keyboard as the MacBook Air I was hoping that they wouldn't have put on the MacBook Pro. I'm sorry to say it but I totally loved the keyboard on the old style so much better.

Of coarse you have the ports in their usual laptop locations although missing a standard Firewire port and including a mini display port. I really don't mind the lacking of the older Firewire because they did include all the latest hardware. Again, I don't have any problems with the mini display port for the reason of it being a laptop and I doubt that I'll plug an external screen into it.

There's other changes such as hardware upgrades as there should be along with taking the redundancy of a battery indicator off the bottom of the laptop and placing it on the side where it should be.

That's all I have to say about the new 2008 MacBook Pro and I like many others have been waiting for these changes before placing my order for one.

- Pete