AVG Free is not the best AntiVirus program. McAfee and Norton are worse.


A couple of weeks ago my PC got a virus.   AVG Free didn’t detect anything suspicious but my web browsers were redirecting me to spammy sites.   MBAM (a free malware scanner) found something and removed it but my web experience was still funky so I reinstalled windows for peace of mind.

Since AVG let me down I decided to search for alternatives.  A lot of people in forums like Alwil Avast and Avira AntiVir.  A respected site for ratings of AV programs is http://www.av-comparatives.org/.  According to their reports the big brand guys like McAfee and Symantec (Norton) do not have very good detection rates. Apparently those companies are more skilled at marketing than they are at virus detection.   Continue reading


Secret GChat Emoticons

Emoticon Tale (219 / 365)
Creative Commons License photo credit: somegeekintn

Ever wonder why Google’s GChat only has 12 kinds of emoticon buttons while Gmail has many more? Well, taking a page out of Skype’s playbook, GChat actually has a lot of hidden emoticons that you can employ by typing in certain combinations of characters.  Here’s the list of secret / hidden emoticons for GChat.

Here are the secret emoticons for Skype.  And here are hidden emoticons for Yahoo Messenger.

Is Google Wave Just a Glorified Chat Room?

Waves crashing on the rocks
Creative Commons License photo credit: donjd2

I overheard this hypothetical conversation at Google HQ:

Developer: I have a new product idea. Imagine an online tool for real-time communication between groups of people!

Colleague: You mean a CHAT ROOM, a technology that’s been in use for over 20 years?

Developer: Yes but now imagine mashing in more features like embedable Youtube videos!

Colleague: So it’s a bloated chat room?

Developer: That’s right. Except that we won’t call it a chat room. We’ll call it a WAVE_-_-__ and pass it off as an entirely new concept that’s going to revolutionize the world!

Colleague: A bloated and glorified chat room.  Brilliant!

Color Changing Bookmarklets for Your Browser

The Crescent Moon

(cc) photo credit: lepiaf.geo

These days, the vast majority of computer documents and web pages are displayed in dark text on a light background.  As a result the majority of your computer screen ends up being white space.

Since your display is most likely back-lit, using the computer is a bit like staring into a light bulb.  So if you’ve ever stared at a computer screen all day, or every day as the case may be, you may have caught a case of CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome).  Symptoms are generally mild and may include eye fatigue, difficulty focusing, blurry vision and headache.

To alleviate CVS you could quit your job and go outside or spend a chunk of change on some fancy pants computer glasses infused with all sorts of made-up technology.  But before you run off in a panic, allow me to present some more reasonable solutions to the problem. Continue reading

Chrome 3 is better, less ugly than before

Google vs Microsoft  --Chrome
Creative Commons License photo credit: michperu

Chrome is quickly becoming a very good browser. As of Sept 15 version 3 of Chrome is officially stable. This release come with notable improvements in speed and stability as well as the addition of themes.

Now those of us not using the default Windows XP theme can finally shed those obnoxious blue colors from our desktop. I’m personally finding the “Greyscale” theme to be much more harmonious with the rest of my desktop.  To get themes navigate from the wrench icon > options > personal stuff > “Get Themes.”

In other good news, extensions are are just around the corner. The development release is already extendable.

Google Sports Team Calendars

Creative Commons License photo credit: Eric Kilby

There’s a link at the top of Google Calender today called “New: Sports calendars”. The new feature allows you to subscribe to your favorite professional sports team(s) calendars and see the game schedules. This is a great way for Google Calendar users to keep up with their favorite teams and a timely addition for new NFL season which starts this week.