Viruses What They Are And One Reason Why People Make Them

Over recent years, computers have become synonymous with viruses and viruses don’t show any signs of disappearing any time soon. In recent news, LiveScience.com reported that “Before the month is even done, April has set a record for virus e-mails.”1 In the past, we would be comfortable in telling new computer users not to worry about viruses and that catching a computer virus is rare. Today, that would be some of the worst advice we could give anyone. As reported in countless news reports, computer viruses are rampant and they’re extremely worrisome. This article will describe what viruses are and then point you in the direction of some rather unique protection and prevention.

In short, a computer virus is a software program designed to destroy or steal data. It attacks computers via distribution – often unknowingly – through email attachments, software downloads, and even some types of advanced web scripting. Viruses that destroy data are known as Trojan horses, viruses that explode their attacks are called bombs, and viruses that duplicate themselves are called worms. Some viruses are a combination of each, however they can be further identified according to where they’re located on a computer.

A virus originating from the boot sector of a computer is a boot-sector virus and this nasty devil does its dirty work the moment a computer is turned on. A virus that attaches itself to (infects) other programs is a file virus and activates the moment that an infected program starts. File viruses may also be referred to as parasitic viruses, however should a virus work from both the boot-sector and from an infected program, the virus is then known as a multipartite virus.

Why viruses exist remains a mystery, however we had privy access to the mind behind a virus programmer who explained his motivation behind his destructive inclinations. Apparently, this person had a deep grudge against a popular online service which shall remain unnamed. In this hacker’s mind, the online service failed to do a quality job in protecting children from online smut and as retaliation, he created and distributed a virus to as many file libraries of this service as he could. His intentions were to disable the computers of the online service’s users so much that they wouldn’t be able to connect for days. In his mind, the loss of connection meant loss of revenue for the online service.

Although the malicious code that this person generated may have worked for a small percentage of users, sufficed to say, the online service continued on and still exists today. Despite his motivation or intention, his efforts were null.

We wouldn’t be surprised to learn if other motivations behind spreading viruses were similar to this person’s, but that doesn’t justify the damage that viruses do. Innocent people become pawns for the evil plans of others who’ve convinced themselves they’re doing the “right” thing.

To protect a computer from getting a virus, or clean a virus from a computer system once infected requires the use

Smartphones What’s the craze all about?

If you haven’t heard of smartphones, we’d like to learn where you’ve been hiding all this time. Smartphones have been all over the news and chances are, you do know what they are – only you know them under a different name. Smartphones are mobile phones with computer like capabilities.

What’s that? Aha! Yes, you’ve not only heard of them, you’ve probably seen them as well. Packed with Internet access, email capabilities, address books, and a whole lot more, cell phones have come a long way since their first debut. But be careful not to confuse these newest toys with sandbox devices.

Sandbox devices are tools that come pre-loaded with things like calendars, calculators, and a notepad. What differentiates them from smartphones is that users can add (download and install) additional programs to smartphones and they seemingly become mini portable computers for the people who use them. That – and the ability to edit the content that sits on them – is what makes these phones “smart.”

Some of the more popular brand names include the Blackberry, PalmSource, Nokia, and Windows CE. Yet the craze is extending to even some off-brand company names. Today, it’s hard to find a cell phone that doesn’t offer some sort of “smart” technology because it’s in such a high demand. The convenience of having information at our immediate access is phenomenal – so much so that thousands of programmers have jumped on the opportunity to build unique applications specific to these small machines.

As a result, you can find tons of games, databases, GPA systems, weather reporting programs, and even small encyclopedias on these things – each accessible not at the click of a mouse – but at a few presses of a free thumb. Of course a mini keyboard is available for the text-messaging fan or for the poor fellow who can’t seem to get away from the office. In the latter case, don’t be surprised if you find the entire Microsoft Office suite displayed within a screen no bigger than a matchbook.

Is this a phase? That’s highly doubtful. The market for these devices extends from the highly technical and professional all the way to the pre-teen socialite. The product crosses all demographics and thanks to decreasing costs – it sees no economic boundaries as well. The Wikipedia encyclopedia claims that “Out of 1 billion camera phones to be shipped in 2008, Smartphones, the higher end of the market with full email support, will represent about 10% of the market or about 100 million units.”

But what is it that makes smartphones so appealing? As mentioned, smartphones give us the ability to not only carry our data around with us where ever we go, it also gives us the ability to edit that data any place – any time. In today’s “reality” based generation, we’re always looking for the opportunity to capture and relive a moment. And we want to share that moment with others. At best, smart phones give us the opportunity to express ourselves impromptu with entertaining results.

Attempting to do the same with a bulky desktop computer or laptop is to cumbersome. Even some of the smallest peripherals (digicams, digital cameras, etc.) don’t give us the same opportunities that smart phones do. Being able to carry around a device for communication, creation, recording, and editing simply compliments the need for today’s generation to do more and then do it, faster!

Buying a Computer What To Do And Why

It isn’t fair, but buying a computer is just plain easier for some than it is for others. Those who’ve purchased and used a computer in the past already have an idea of what they need in a new computer. But those who are new to the computer world could get lost in the myriad of choices available.

The short answer to “What should I buy?” is “The best.” Of course that answer is extremely subjective because “the best” to one person is certainly different to another. Our definition of “the best” is the fastest and the biggest, but even that leaves the computer newbie confused. Here’s a quick rundown of what the computer novice should do and why.

1. Buy a computer that includes basic peripherals. Every computer can be broken down into four major components: CPU unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For the novice, it’s best to buy a computer that has all of these components included so that when it’s taken home, assembling the computer is a simple matter of plugging things in where they belong. Save the individual purchases of these components for those who have more experience.

2. Decide what you’ll use the computer for. If you want to use your computer for cruising the web, sending email, or performing simple word-processing or spreadsheet tasks, a computer with the basic components that we just described should suffice. If you want to use a computer to help with a career in multimedia however, you’re going to need to accessorize your system with a scanner, printer, digital camera, tablet, or digicam for example. If you want a computer to help with a career in music, you will need a quality microphone and set of speakers.

3. Create a budget and stick to it. How much can you afford to spend on a new computer? Although the prices of computers are decreasing, they can still create a hefty expense especially if you need additional peripherals described above. In addition, you’ll need to figure in costs for maintenance, servicing, and insuring.

4. Start comparison shopping and look for the “fastest and biggest.” By “fastest and biggest,” we mean the computer with the fastest processor, the fastest modem, the biggest memory, and the biggest hard drive capacity. Even if you think that you’ll never need the amount of speed or space available on the market today, it’s important to have in the event that you truly do need that much in the future. Having such a large reserve will cut down on costs when the time comes to upgrade for more than what you may settle for in a computer that offers less.

5. Stick with the better-known brands. Venturing off the beaten path with lessor-known brands is again, an adventure for those who have more experience with computers. Although those better-known brands may be a tad bit more expensive, the computer novice will appreciate the comfort in purchasing a computer from a business that has a long record of building quality products, and that has the funds available for fulfilling returns, trades, servicing, and warranties.

6. Select a store. Having an idea of what you want in a computer and what kind of computer that you want, your only task left is to select the place in which you want to buy it. There are a number of places available including computer store outlets, online stores, auction sites, used computer stores, or your friendly neighborhood yard sale. For the computer novice, we recommend buying a computer from a physical store. In a physical store, you have the opportunity to see the computer of interest in person and ask questions. New computer buyers also have access to store warranties, returns, trades, and services.

These suggestions should give the computer newbie a great start in selecting a quality computer for the first time and they apply to either Windows computers or Apple Macintosh computers. After making these decisions and finally selecting one that fits your needs, you can then venture into the fascinating world of software – a world that is just as grand as the world of hardware!