What is Google Voice?

One number to rule them all
Ever wanted a way to manage all your phones (cell, home, work) and the different people who call you? Google Voice is that way. Google Voice, based on the old GrandCentral service, gives you one number that lets you manage all your phones, including cellular phones and landlines. However, Google Voice available by invite only, at the moment.

Manage all your phones
Google Voice assigns you one single number. However, your current cell number will still work. With Google Voice, you can fine tune and tweak which of your phones ring and under which circumstances. For example, say my wife calls my Google Voice number. If I don’t answer my cell phone, my work phone will ring next. If I don’t pick up at either number, she then gets routed to voicemail. That voicemail is stored online as audio and as transcribed text which is then sent to my phone. I can access my voicemail audio and transcribed text from any computer with an internet connection.

Other goodies include:

If you maintain multiple phone numbers such as cell, home, work, etc, then Google Voice has the potential to become your new best friend.

Comments (View)

BOOOYAAA! Got my Google Voice invite a few days ago…

And so far, I’m loving it! In a few days I’ll have a longer post detailing my early experiences and thoughts.

Comments (View)

5 Tips for a Safe Twitter Experience

A friend and I were remarking that there seems to be an increase in victims of malware lately. It’s due, in part, to people getting caught unawares on twitter (and Facebook).

Follow these short yet simple rules, and you’ll have a much greater chance of not becoming the next victim.

1. Only follow people you trust - eliminate everyone else.
2. Ensure your operating system and anti-virus software are all up-to-date and properly patched.
3. Really pay attention to the tweet; if it sounds too good to be true or outlandish, don’t click on the link.
4. Verify those shortened links.
5. Use twitter clients, and limit your time on twitter.com

Comments (View)

Twitter trending topics taken for a malware trip

Malware creators have traditionally targeted some of the most popular software and services on the internet, and twitter is no exception.

What’s going on?
Bogus twitter accounts, which contain trending topics complete with hashtags are infecting hundreds of twitters. Users of these services are being tricked into visiting fake video sites, where (through social engineering) they are served up malware. Some common video themes to watch out for:
* Shocking news, shocking video
* Airplane crashes, car crashes, multiple deaths
* Celebrities
* Rape theme, celebrity rape theme

(There is some social commentary in there, I’m sure of it!)

After clicking the link, users are asked to download a “required” video codec in order to view the video. The fake video codecs have these in their names (along with random version numbers):
* tubeviewer
* tubeviewerfile
* tubeplayer

The fake codecs are really viruses and trojans that once downloaded, send out spam from your twitter account to all your friends. Not to mention, they cause a major infection of your computer. It is estimated that the malware creators send out an average of 150 tweets over a 24 hour time frame.

How to remove the worms
Change your password immediately as it has been compromised.
Disable javascript in web browser (for IE or FireFox).
Clear browser cache and get a Javascript blocker.
Log back into Twitter and delete any suspicious messages.
Scan your computer with an antivirus program that can identify remnants of the Twitter worm

Practice safe twittering
Twitter is a great communications and marketing tool, but any tool can be misused. You aren’t obligated to click on every link, and you certainly shouldn’t download any suspicious software or applications. Keep your eyes open, and stay on the cautious side.

Are you experienced?
Have you been the victim of a twitter worm? Drop a note in the comments below and tell me what happened, and how you cleaned your computer.

Comments (View)

Google Wave threatens to drown the current way we communicate

Google Wave, while still in beta, has caused quite a stir. People all over the web are tripping over themselves using various buzz-words to describe Google’s new “paradigm-shifter”. But what makes Google Wave such a phenomenon? “The Top 6 Game-Changing Features of Google Wave" does a great job at answering this very question.

In this article, we explore these questions by highlighting some of Google Wave’s most unique and promising features. By exploring these features, we can better understand the potential of this new technology.

What do you think? Are you willing to try it out once it goes live?
Comments (View)

Unable to print - TSP 100 receipt printer

The first day of business for Crafter’s Corral was a quiet one, which is a Good Thing ‘cause we could not get the TSP 100 Receipt Printer to work. I was stumped, especially since it worked in Windows and not in Quckbooks Cash Register Plus 2009.

If you Google something long enough you’ll find it, and I did. I ran across a Quickbooks Knowledgebase article titled “Unable to print to the Star TSP 100 receipt printer from Cash Register Plus

The instructions for WIndows XP are about halfway down the page and right after completing them, the printer began spitting out paper.

I can safely say that at this point, that was the most excitement all day.
Comments (View)

What’s your defragmentation tool of choice?

For me, it’s Defraggler. I used it for the first time this past Monday and was very impressed with the results. After it finished running, there was a very noticeable improvement in the computer’s performance. Michael Ellerbeck compares Defraggler against DiskKeeper against Perfect Disk:

“According to my admittedly lame little test two runs of defraggler compares very favorably to DiskKeeper and Perfect Disk.”

Also, catch up on the ongoing discussion at the Spiceworks community. Any IT pros out there? Look for me on Spiceworks!

Comments (View)

How to Remove Personal Anti-virus from Your Computer

I ran across this nasty bugger on one of the computers that I manage.  The user was innocently surfing the internet when the “drive-by infestation” happened.   Personal Antivirus or  PersonalAntivirus, is what’s known as a counterfeit antispyware program.  Personal Antivirus is installed by a trojan called Zlob, and its sole purpose in life is to trick you into buying the alleged rogue anti-spyware program.  The messages that pop up on your screen are used to lure you into purchasing, downloading and installing the program to remove the imaginary spyware.   You must remove Personal Antivirus as soon as possible, and get rid of the General Antivirus trojan, if applicable. The trojan, if left behind, can install even  more harmful and malicious spyware onto your computer.   After scaring you half to death with the term “spyware”, I guess I should  define it for you.   What the heck is spyware?   In its most innocent form, spyware uses your information to deliver targeted ads to you and is most often found hidden in freeware/shareware programs. Spyware can collect many different types of information about you.   The symptoms you experience may vary, depending on the type of spyware you have but can include: New  Search toolbars that you don’t remember installingPopup windowsComputer slowdowns and crashes (with the dreaded Blue Screen of Death)  Spyware is constantly changing, and removing it manually can be difficult, time consuming, and potentially harmful to your computer.   So how do I get rid of Personal Antivirus ?   The most common manual removal method is to uninstall Personal Antivirus by using the “Add/Remove Programs” utility.  That method is very unlikely to remove the entire application, and other manual removal processes may be difficult and you run the risk of destroying your computer. Therefore it is  highly recommended that you use a reliable tool to remove Personal Antivirus from your computer. Personally, I’ve used Malwarebytes in the past, and it has been very effective.   The following steps should get you going on the right track.   Use Malwarebytes as your weapon of choice   Download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, or MBAM, and save it to your desktopUse the default settings all the way throughMake sure you leave both the Update Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and Launch Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware checked MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malwareA screen displaying all the malware that the program found will pop upYou should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove all the listed malwareWhen MBAM has finished removing the malware, it will open the scan log and display it in NotepadYou have now successfully removed Personal Antivirus from your computer  But you may not be done just yet   Even after removal of Personal Antivirus, your computer may be unstable and prone to acting erratically and If that is the case, your Windows operating system has been damaged.   Tell me all about it   What are your experiences with removing Personal Antivirus from your computer? Did you use a different method/tool? Hit me up in the comments section below and tell me all about it.  
Comments (View)

Test posting to my tech blog


Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. - Lao Tzu


Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.

Comments (View)



Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. - Lao Tzu


Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.

Comments (View)