Leave My Computer Alone!

I left my computer alone for a few minutes last night and came back to find a mess. It’s not like I’ve never left it alone before. I thought I could trust it!

My brother left a comment saying he had a similar problem recently. He downloaded a program called Malwarebytes, and that took care of his problem. So, I tried it. I downloaded the free version, installed, and attempted a scan. My computer shut down before the scan could complete.

Luckily, I had recently downloaded a program called WinUtilities from Giveaway of the Day. It has a tool to manage the startup files on your computer, so I looked through those and found something called prunnet.exe. That was the culprit, as well as some kind of advertising service that had installed itself. I couldn’t just delete the file because it was running, but by disabling it in the startup files and then restarting my computer, I think I kept it from starting. Then I browsed to the file (in Windows/system32) and deleted it. I also selected all other files there that had been created at the same time, and by right-clicking them, I could scan just those files with Malwarebytes. It found the bad files and removed them. I also used Add/Remove Programs to uninstall the advertising ‘service’ that had placed itself on my computer.

Now, I’m crossing my fingers that it all worked. So far so good – no more annoying popups. Still, I’m irritated that people do these kinds of things. Don’t they have better things to do with their lives? Thank you to the creators of Malwarebytes – I’m thankful you chose to use your powers for good. The rest of you – leave my computer alone!

Web Page Analysis

My poor brother mentioned yesterday that it takes forever for my blog to load. He is still using dial-up. Who knew there were people still doing that?

Anyway, I thought I’d check to see how long it takes for the page to load. I found this free Web Page Analyzer, typed my url in and got these results:

Connection Rate Download Time
14.4K 1118.46 seconds
28.8K 568.23 seconds
33.6K 489.62 seconds
56K 300.97 seconds
ISDN 128K 104.66 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 25.52 seconds

I’m hoping no one is actually still connecting to the Internet at 14.4K!

Anyway, besides giving me the overall download times, it also listed everything on my page and what size it was. Some of the scripts could supposedly be compressed to save bytes, but I really have no control over those, besides evaluating whether I really need them and perhaps removing them. For now, I’m keeping most of them. What I did notice was that images were the biggest source of the problem. I’m not going to stop adding pictures to my posts, but I did limit the posts on the main page, and I removed some images from the sidebar and some extra unnecessary stuff from the bottom of the page. Now my results look better:

Connection Rate Download Time
14.4K 517.48 seconds
28.8K 265.84 seconds
33.6K 229.89 seconds
56K 143.61 seconds
ISDN 128K 53.83 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 17.64 seconds

Hopefully that will help a little. If you’d like to know how long your page takes to load, give the free Web Page Analyzer a try.

All My Faves

I just learned about this website today in an email. It’s called All My Faves, and I think it links to everything on the Internet. Email? They’ve got it. Travel sites? Those too. Video, music, dating, chat, and games. If it’s not here, I don’t think it’s on the web.

The blog gives more information about a lot of the sites. It looks like a good place to find all kinds of fun and useful sites.

Going Mobile

I read about this on Lady Banana today. She recently got a new Internet enabled mobile phone, but so many sites are not mobile friendly. In a search to see how she could make her own site mobile friendly, she came across MoFuse. It’s an easy, free way to create a mobile version of your site. I signed up and set up a mobile site for this blog and also for one of my other blogs. MoFuse uses the RSS of your blog to update the content, so once you’ve got it set up, you don’t have to do anything else – just keep blogging. You can customize colors, create additional pages – like a contact page or an about me page, enable comments, and more. MoFuse also has site analytics so you can track your visitors.

I added a Mobile button to the top of the sidebar so hopefully, if someone browses through on their mobile, they will be able to get to the button and click through to the mobile friendly site. Ideally, I think, once visitors find mobile friendly sites, they will bookmark that url and bypass the ‘real’ computer site altogether. I was interested in the Automatic Redirect, but that won’t work with my blog. If you have a WordPress blog and can paste the code into your header.php file, you can use that. Then, if someone browses by your blog on their mobile device, they will be automatically redirected to the mobile friendly site.

View the mobile phone simulation for this blog if you’d like to get an idea what it will look like. Remember, the colors are fully customizable – header, text, links. If there are images in a post, they are resized to fit, too.

It’s good to be aware that more and more people are browsing the Internet on their mobile phones. MoFuse makes it easy for you to make sure they can view your site. I’m sure I would appreciate it if I was trying to read my favorite blogs with a mobile phone.

Portable Apps

If you’re away from your own computer but still want access to all your favorite computer programs and information, you’ll want to check out Portable Apps. Here’s how they explain it:

A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug the device, none of your personal data is left behind.

  • No Special Hardware – Use any USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod/MP3 player, etc
  • No Additional Software – Just download the portable app, extract it and go
  • No Kidding – It’s that easy

I just found this today. There are a bunch of applications that can be downloaded and installed onto your USB flash drive, iPod, or portable hard drive. You can carry your favorite computer programs with you wherever you go, along with all of your bookmarks, settings, and email. It works with any Windows computer, works with any hardware, and it’s free.

I’m usually at home on my own computer, but I like the idea of being able to carry all the important stuff with me if I’m away from home. I browsed through the list of available programs, and I’m really impressed. I can get Firefox to browse the Internet, Thunderbird to check my email, Nvu for editing webpages, OpenOffice portable for word processing and spread sheets, and so much more. You just have to check out this list of Applications.

Free Web Tools from iWebTool

If you’ve got a website or a blog, chances are you can use some of these free web tools. You can check the PageRank of your site or sites, check the Alexa rank, check backlinks, and see how fast your site loads – and that’s just the beginning. There are also tools to encrypt and optimize your html, shorten links, and clean and remove duplicates from lists.

It’s nice having these tools all in one place. If there’s one you plan to use on a regular basis or want to let your visitors use, they also provide the code so you can add the tool to your own site.

Quote web pages with kwout

I’ve been having a lot of fun with kwout. It lets you quote part of a web page as an image. If there are links in the part of the web page you quote, kwout automatically creates an image map, and all those links will still work! For instance, I used kwout to cut out the list of blogs I have linked from my other blog. Just try it – you can click on any of those links and they will work.

Kwout is easy to use. Simply drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar. Then, when you find a web page you want to quote, click on the kwout bookmarklet to get a screenshot of the page. You can either have it open in the same window or in a new window. Drag the mouse to select the area you want to cut out. Click on the “Cut Out” button, and the area you selected will be cut out as an image, with an image map if it included hyperlinks. You can set some different options, like whether or not the image has a border or a shadow, and the background color. Then kwout gives you an embed code to paste the image into your blog or website and share it with everyone. You don’t even have to save the image to your computer or anywhere else. Just link it from kwout.