How to Protect Your Windows XP Investment Well Past Microsoft’s Drop Dead Date

My Windows XP Computer

Turns out that Windows XP is going to supported well into 2015 – but only if you’re talking about your internet browser. And we’re not talking about Microsoft Internet Explorer, either.

Google has announced that it is going to be supporting Google Chrome for Windows XP past Microsoft’s 2014 dropdead date. This means that people who are using windows XP should not only switch over to Google’s chrome browser immediately, but it should extend the life of your Windows XP for at least a year beyond what Microsoft is planning on doing.

For those of you who are looking for an even better solution for your Windows XP machines, you might consider putting a specialized firewall and filter in front of your XP machines. These devices allow you to filter all of the Internet traffic coming from and going to your Windows machine, and remove known viruses, aware, spyware, etc. These types of specialized firewalls and filters should extend Windows XP’s life far beyond 2015.

I’ve created just such  specialized firewall/filter for the Healthcare industry before. Using some of the technologies available in various BSD distributions of UNIX, I’ve been able to place filters such as Squid into the data stream and have been able to protect everything from VMS servers, old Windows, Solaris, Linux and UNIX machines, and even modern operating systems from hundreds of thousands of attacks.

As always it, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Otherwise, the implementation is left as an exercise to the reader. :-)

When is it Time to Buy a New Smartphone?

iPhone Original/3G/4/5

Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest technology? The push-back has always been the incredible costs associated with keeping up with 6-month refresh cycles.

It all boils down to some simple questions that can help you decide if it’s really worth locking yourself into another 2-year contract.

  1. Does your phone work? Does it do what you need it do to?
  2. Can you renew your contract to get a subsidized price?
  3. Can you get a discount? Has your employer negotiated a better deal than you can?  If you work for a big company, you can probably save some $$.
  4. When was the last version of the phone you want refreshed?  The big boys only refresh about once a year.
  5. Have you chosen a carrier? T-Mobile and Sprint have both come up with some great deals for new customers.
  6. Which is the right platform for you? If you need a dependable, secure phone with the most apps, you probably want an iPhone.  Apple has about a million apps, many of them business-oriented.
  7. iPhones aren’t as flexible as Android phones and even Windows phones.  However, if you’re a power business user you should probably avoid Android.
  8. Blackberries are out.  Long known as the business device, they no longer hold the lead on stability or security.  That goes to Apple.
  9. See if your chosen carrier will let you try the phone before you buy it.  Many of them have a 30-day no-fault program where you can return the phone if you don’t like it for any reason.  This will help you determine if the coverage is adequate and if you like the features.
    Remember that any Apps that you buy for the phone will belong to you, and you won’t get any refunds if you return the phone.
  10. Still need a new phone?  Really?  If you’ve got an Apple iPhone 4 or newer, you should be fine until somewhere around the iPhone 7, which should be circa 2015…  See you then.
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Is the PC Dead — Again?

The Windows family tree.

Mark Twain is reported to have said that “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Now-a-days it seems to be Steve Balmer of Microsoft fame. No, I’m not talking about his actual death, but the death of their leading product and platform: the ubiquitous PC and Windows.

Microsoft itself seems to have cast the death blow to its foundational product last year when it introduced Windows 8 — an operating system that few like, and which  most people find confusing and cumbersome. Designed to work on both touchscreen tablets as well as desktops, it inevitably doesn’t work with either particularly well.

And this isn’t just some vague perception from the anti-Microsoft crowd. This is backed up with real data, most notably in the latest IDC report released this month that says PC sales are down 14% year over year.

And it’s doubtful that Microsoft’s rush job on a new version of Windows 8 (codenamed “Blue”) will fix things.  Having upset hardware vendors who were counting on hardware sales during the bi-annual “refresh cycle,” it’s likely that many of them will be looking to Android and other platforms to secure their places in the hardware world.

“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.” (IDC report)


Limiting Kids Time On the Internet

Free Software to Speed Up Your Computer

The crowdsourcing process in eight steps.
Image via Wikipedia

You may not be familiar with CrowdSourcing, or the free, new software that’s designed to help remove unnecessary and damaging components from your Windows PC, but this looks very promising!

SlimWare Utilities officially launched SlimComputer this week which allows its users to collaborate together to determine which software on your computer is going help your performance, and which programs slow things down considerably.  CrowdSourcing is a new approach to building communities of people working together to solve problems, and is one of the biggest innovations in human interaction.

Check out this article about SlimComputer at

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