Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Computers, damn computers....

Spent a couple of days sorting out the home pc these last couple of days. I'm a big believer in free software and absolutely hate to have to pay for the stuff. To my shame I'm still using Microsoft Office, but that's the only paid software on here (and in truth I didn't pay for the Office 2003 upgrade). But I did pay an exorbitant amount for Office 97 years and years ago, and that's quite enough. Actually not true - I've just realised I'm using a paid for copy of Money as well.

But everything else is free. Which is where the problems started from. My anti-virus software was AVG free edition. I've used it for a long time ad used to heartilly recommend it to anyone who asked for advice at school. My first action with any computer is to strip off the horrible Norton bloatware that seems to ship by default on so many machines. It caused a horrible system failure on my machine years ago and I've never trusted it since then. So AVG was the AV software of choice, combined with Zone Alarm fee firewall and Adaware & Spybot for anti-spyware.

But AVG have released a new version of their free AV software, AVG 8.0. It's horrible, bloated and resource hogging. Plus they insist on putting link scanner software in it that slowed my search pages right down. Yuck.

So the search was on to get new AV software. Which led me here. I'm now running Avira Free AV software after playing around with some others and it seems good. But of course, I had to read on and discover that neither my firewall or anti-spyware solution was good enough. Aaargh. Say goodbye to hours. So I'm now, after much tweaking and testing, running a combo of Spyware Doctor and Spybot for anti-spyware and Online Armour as a firewall. All seems okay.

The problem is that I now have to let all those folks at school running AVG on their machines because of my recommendation know that it's all changed. Definitely need to be wearing this when I tell them.

Plus I've recently been playing with my email setup, as described here. It came down to Thunderbird or Windows Live Mail and as much as I hate to admit it, Windows Live Mail wins out. Setup was a piece of cake, everything imported beautifully from Outlook Express and there was none of the fiddling and faffing with settings that Thunderbird demanded.

The worst thing I have to face up to now is that before the end of May I have to talk dad through sorting his new anti-virus out. Then before the end of June I have to get him to install Windows Live Mail as well so he can still use his hotmail account. Oh joy.

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