Friday, July 16, 2010

Microsoft Tries to Push Bing on Everybody
by Dave Alm

Bing is Microsoft's attempt to get in on the search engine business. It is terrible, especially compared with Google. (You can test sample Google searches against Bing searches at if you don't believe me. It will open your eyes.)

While there is nothing wrong with making a terrible product, what Microsoft has been doing lately has me all riled up. It appears to me they are trying to sneak their cruddy Bing onto all of our computers without our consent!

I see a lot of computers coming through our shop and they are all starting to have Bing on them. It is worth noting that no customer has ever told me they installed Bing or how much they love bing. (If you are one of our customers who loves Bing, do let me know and I will take this back.) It seems to me Microsoft has been using their market dominance to change all of our default search engines settings to Bing. It is usually done without so much as asking your permission in any way that you would notice it. When you do a Windows upgrade, perhaps a browser update, you will suddenly find that your browser's default search engine is no longer whatever it was.

It is almost a certainty you liked your old search engine choice better than bing. When you attempt to change back to Google, you will find it is not there as a choice. You will have to wade through 3 or 4 pages of third-rate search-enginey things to finally find the it, and then it is unclear that it is the "real" Google search engine.

I am wondering why nobody has tried to stop Microsoft from doing this? You can stop them on your computer. Change your preferred search engine back to Google!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Twelve Suggestions for Avoiding Malware
by Dave Alm

1. Avoid sites and discard e-mails offering anything “free” – i.e.: free games, free tunes, free wallpaper, free ringtones, etc.

2. Don’t unsubscribe to e-mails, unless it is a known.

3. Don’t use file-sharing services like Kazaa, gnutella, limewire, etc.

4. Run your anti-malware program weekly or any time you suspect you have a problem.

5. Don’t open any unexpected e-mails – i.e.: Viagra, mortgages, “help me get a million dollars out of the country”, etc.

6. Install a “site advisor” to help you avoid "poisoned" sites.

7. Block pop-ups and unsigned scripts in your browser.

8. Block images in e-mail. This is the default setting in Gmail.

9. Don’t let anyone else use your computer.

10. Convert to Google's Gmail for your email provider. It’s free, secure and you will get a LOT less spam than with your current provider, esp. Yahoo and Hotmail. Their address is:

11. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and consider buying the more complete version which helps against malware.

12. Use common sense.

In the coming years we will see malware and viruses get worse as the incentives for the criminals who do these things increase. Adopting safe practices and thinking before you click can save you a lot of headaches.

If you follow these steps and still wind up getting infected, or if you would like help implementing these measures on your computer, call Dave’s Computer World at 563-3504!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marketing in Madison, Indiana
by Dave Alm

John Wanamaker said, " Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

I just attended an excellent workshop on marketing at the City Hall in Madison, Indiana, down on the Ohio River. The workshop was led by Lisa Sirkin Vielee, owner of Gracie Communications, who works or has worked for The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana Transportation Museum, Indianapolis Cultural Center, and FitCity Indianapolis.

The workshop focused on practical tangible actions a company can take on a limited budget.
Electronic techniques were explored in detail. Search Engine Optimization, Facebook, Twitter, ideas for a company's web pages, direct email campaigns, and blogs were some of the areas covered.

Many ideas I came away with will be helpful in business. Also it really helped build our skill set to help our customers figure out what's out there in the new media and social media and determine what can work for them, make a plan and then implement. There are a lot of exciting new ways to reach our markets, and I would be happy to share what we have learned!