Thursday, August 30, 2012

Java Security Risk affects both PCs and Macs

Security experts have discovered a flaw in Java (click here to learn about Java) that allows a remote computer to silently take control of your computer without your knowledge by visiting a website that contains malicious code.  The experts that discovered the problem are suggesting that you remove Java from your computer until such time as Java is fixed.  It is important to note that the problem affects both PCs and Macs!  You can read more about the issue and get instructions to remove Java at this link. I would probably not remove Java if you have version 6, but you need to decide that for yourself.  Some of you may have applications that require Java to run so check before uninstalling it.

As always, be sure you have good mal-ware protection and that it is up to date.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Picking a New Laptop

I am often asked for recommendations on computers.  Here are my thoughts on laptops as of today (tomorrow may bring something different). Remember, this is my opinion, and other computer experts will sometimes disagree (okay, maybe often).
  • Stay away from the extremes in pricing, avoid the sub $500 class.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  If it’s selling for $300 there is a reason.  And on the high end you may get a great computer but not great value.  This is true for all brands including the ones below.
  • Get a Toshiba or an ASUS.  Dell is also very good, particularly for their service, but you have to select the correct service during checkout.  Select “North American Support.”  Dell and Toshiba have the best accessory selection.
  • Be sure to check the warranty.  Consider an extended warranty from if the manufacturer's warranty is only a year.  Laptops are particularly expensive to repair so I like having a three year warranty.
  • Get an Intel processor (not an AMD).  Others really like AMD but I have not been impressed.
  • Get Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit or Professional 64-bit.  This makes migration from an older computer more of a project, but 64-bit is important for the future.  And in a business environment Professional is very important.
  • At least 4GB of RAM (Random Access Memory).
  • Don't confuse RAM with hard drive capacity.  In most cases the hard drive provided will be sufficient, but the bigger the better.
  • Never buy “refurbished” or “re-manufactured” electronics! (Just trust me on this.)
  • Compare processors at and get the fastest processor you can afford (Passmark CPU mark column).
  • Find the model you like and then compare at Just enter the laptop model number in the search box. There are some vendors to avoid so pay attention to the star ratings.
  • Generally October and November offer the best deals as vendors want to move inventory before Christmas.
Happy Hunting!