Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy 2006

First of all I will thank all of you to visit Software Flash in its first 5 months! I hope you come all back in 2006. We are back at Monday the 2. January for a new year of softwarenews.

I wish you all the best, luck and goodness in 2006.


* 2006 *

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WiMax (802.16) is is a newer standard of wireless networking designed to provide the last mile of high speed internet access to the end user. Some people would call Wimax WiFi on steroids but this would be to broad of an assessment. Wifi was and still will be used in LAN environments for the foreseeable future. WiMax was designed to provide (MAN) Metropolitan Area Access, to homes and businesses.

WiMax base stations will have the ability to provide approximately 60 businesses with T1 access and hundreds of homes with DSL/Cable speed access…in theory. Engineers are stating that WiMax has the capability of reaching 30 Miles but real world testing has shown 4-8 mile working radius.

WiMax (MAN) deployments are similar to a WiFi network. First the ISP would have their T3 or higher access. The ISP would then use line of sight antennas (Bridges) to connect to towers that would distribute the non line of sight signal to (MAN) residential/business clients.

WiMax line of sight antennas operate at a higher Frequency up to 60mhz. Distribution antennas do not have to be in the line of sight with their clients. Non – line of sight towers operate on a range similar to WiFi . WiMax can operate right next to cell phone towers with no interference.

WiMax networks are similar to Wifi in deployment. The Wimax Base station/Tower will beam a signal to a WiMax Receiver. Similar to a WiFi access point sending a signal to a laptop. As far as I can tell laptops will be shipping with Wimax receivers in 2006.

QOS (Quality of Service) is an major issue with WiMax because of the number of people accessing a tower at once. Some would think that a tower could be easily overloaded with a lot of people accessing it at once. Built into the WiMax standard is an algorithm that when the tower/base station is nearing capacity then it automatically will transfer the user to another WiMax tower or cell. Unlike a Wifi clients who have to kind of fight to stay associated with a given access point; WiMax will only have to perform this hand shake at the MAC level the first time they access the network.

WiMax is designed for building a network infrastructure when the environment or distance is not favorable to a wired network. Also, WiMax is a cheaper and quicker alternative than having to lay wire. Third world countries will greatly benefit from deploying WiMax networks. WiMax can handle virtually all the same protocols Wifi can including VOIP. African countries are now going to start deploying WiMax networks instead of cell phone networks. Disaster zones can also utilize WiMax giving them the ability to distribute crisis information quickly and cheaply.

Militaries are already using wireless technology to connect remote sites. Logistics will be simplified with the ease of tracking with RF technologies. WiMax can also handle Webcams and streaming video which would give commanders eyes on target capability. Just imagine if planes were able to drop preconfigured self deploying WiMax antennas in strategic areas giving troops real time battlefield intel. Armed with wireless cameras, drones and a GPS one soldier would truly be an Army of One.

As WiMax is deployed in more areas theory and real life capabilities of WiMax will come to light. The differences between WiMax and Wifi are simple. Think of a WiMax network as an ISP with out wires, with the signal providing your internet access to your business/ home. Wifi will be used within in your LAN for the near future.

By Eric Meyer

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Virus or Spyware - What's the diference?

by Dave Fraser

This month's article is one of the things I still find comes up as a frequent question, "what's the difference between Viruses and Spyware"? I will try and clarify that here. One of the biggest slowdowns of a PC is caused by viruses, adware or spyware as it's often called. Before you can benefit from any other optimisation tips or improvements you really need a system relatively free from those pests.

A virus is a piece of malicious software code written to cause some kind of damage to a computer system or network or even the Internet itself. Viruses spread, similar to their biological namesake, from one machine to another and can spread havoc wherever they go. They are most commonly spread by sharing files with others or through email attachments where they can be set up to send themselves to all the addresses in your email address book.

Adware is usually dowloaded and installed along with some other program without your knowledge and unlike a virus doesn't spread by itself. Very often you click "OK" without reading the terms and conditions and by doing so you agree to have the files installed. An example is you see a "free" program on offer that you think might be useful and download it without thinking. Even some anti-spyware programs install adware and the website earns money from the ads that are clicked on.

The catch is that the extra files introduced are used to determine things like your surfing habits and the data is used to serve up popup ads or redirect your browser to a page other than the one you wanted. Some of the programs can be used to install keyloggers which can send back information about passwords and bank details etc. Adware is not a security problem it is more an annoyance especially when you have ten different programs trying show ads. The amount of computer resources it uses up slows your system to a crawl.

Spyware is more malicious and evil intentioned and is designed to steal something from you. It can be downloaded by visiting the wrong types of websites or along with other files the same way as adware. Spyware can often be hard to remove as it can continually recreate itself and hide somewhere on your hard drive.

Programs such as trojans can be used to allow access to hackers at a later date. From the story of the Trojan horse where the Greeks hid inside the wooden horse left as a peace offering and were wheeled in to the fort by the Trojans themselves. Then at night the Greeks crept out of the horse and opened the gates and let the enemy in. Trojans and adware unlike viruses don't spread themselves.

It is wise to run more than one spyware checker as no one system gets rid of them all. You can never be certain you have every one removed because new ones may not have been discovered and the Spyware program doesn't recognise it yet. I use the two free ones "Spybot" and "Adaware" and I also use which comes from a reputable company that specialises in removing spyware.

Sometimes people say to me "doesn't my anti-virus software remove spyware"? Well the answer is most don't and even if it does I always find a specialist product works best. Beware also of bogus spyware scanners available on-line which actually install their own spyware once they have removed their competitors. Sometimes you run a free scan and it finds all sorts of nasties but you will have to sign up and pay to remove them. I have even seen it that they find things that don't exist or try to frighten people into believing they have lots of spyware when all they have are advertising cookies.

Cookies are small text files that websites leave on your system so that when you return they can customise the page that loads or they can count you as a returning visitor. They are harmless and most of them are useful. They can be easily removed by deleting them in your browser settings.

So you need to be running a suitable and up to date antivirus program and one or more Spyware checkers.

More tips can be gotten from my website at

About the Author
Dave tries to make your computing experience a bit less stressful and helps you to
speed up your computer with free tips at

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Open Source for iTunes

The Inquirer reports about Open Source for iTunes.

Lord has come up with a wizard idea to have an Open Source music machine called "Songbird" which is based on the same underlying open-source technology as the Firefox Web browser.
Songbird will play all the music that an iPod will play, and all those that it won’t. The thing is that it is Open Source and this is where the fun is starting.
In the pre-marketing material, Lord is daring to speak the Apple name in a derogatory way and referring to iTunes in a manner which is getting Jobs Mob cronies getting their burning crosses and nooses together for a good righteous lynching.

Read on at the Inquirer

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Avast! Antivirus 4.6.744

Awil Software has brought out an update for version 4.6 of its Avast! Antivirus, 4.6.744. This program is available in a Professional Edition and a free Home Edition.

- added unpackers for a couple of new variants of EXE packers
- fixed a problem consisting of a lack of removal of avast temp files during a scan of huge archives
- Standard Shield: fixed a problem with blocking of the name of infected file even after the file was removed
- fixed a bug causing that for some infections, avast was offering the "Repair" action even if it was in fact not available


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SpamAware 4.2.2.

SpamAware is a freeware plugin for Outlook and Outlook Express which were you can filter spam. It looks to the header and the content of the incomming mail.

This is new in version 4.2.2.:

- Outlook:
* BugFix: SpamAware caused an error when other programs accessed Outlook without creating it completely.
* BugFix: "Read Receipt" popups raised during scanning these mails.

- Outlook Express:
* An error sometimes appeared during scan will no longer occur.

- Both:
* Now the mouse cursor changes to hourglass when SpamAware is busy.
* Some minor bug fixes and improvements.


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aMSN Messenger 0.95

Yesterday there is brought out a new version of aMSN Messenger, it's version 0.95. aMSN Messenger is the open source counterpart of the popular instant MSN Messenger. In the new version is amon other things more support for webcams.

Release notes:
After more than a year since 0.94, aMSN 0.95 is finally released! New features include webcam support, tabbed chat windows, improved skin and plugin support, new file transfer protocol, many new plugins (like Ink and Nudge support), an improved bug report system, as well as LOTS of bugfixes! We hope it was worth all this wait! :)


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Monday, December 26, 2005

MSN Messenger 8

Lappy512 from Krazy Letter Forum has take a look on MSN Messenger 8.

After opening it up, you can see the supposedly improved messenger contacts list. Whenever you mouseover people, you can see their avatar, and some options: Instant Message, Email, Call (voice conversation), Video Conversation, and Shared Folders. I first couldn't figure out where to find the email of people, and I figured that I had to mouseover, then mouseover the "instant message" icon. I didn't really like that, since most of my friends change their display name every day or so, which makes it even harder to identify them. I think Microsoft could have made the same feature, using a tooltip, instead of integrating it with the interface itself, which is annoying. You can disable it, however.

To Krazy Letter Forums

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