NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, December 2011
Things, Thinglets and Thingassos - Novice Corner
By S. Jack Lewtschuk,
Past President & Columnist, Monterey Bay User Group-PC, CA
June 2011 issue, mbug-pc newsletter
http://www.mbug.org Blacklion (at) royal.net (click to email author)

Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence: 2010 Annual Security Report shows that the global spam rate increased 1.4% compared to 2009. Botnets* were responsible for sending significantly more spam this year, accounting for 88.2% of all spam, and they did so mostly from Asia and South America early in the year and predominately from Europe later in the year. About the same number of botnets (5 million) sent spam this year [2010] as in 2009 although the average amount of spam per botnet per minute dropped from 85 to 77. The Rustock botnet was responsible for 47.5% of all spam.

*Botnet (Robot Network)
Also called a “zombie army,” a botnet is a large number of compromised computers that are used to create and send spam or viruses or flood a network with messages as a denial of service attack. The computer is compromised via a Trojan that often works by opening an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel that waits for commands from the person in control of the botnet. There is a thriving botnet business selling lists of compromised computers to hackers and spammers.

Make sure you do your part to try to reduce the amount of spam you receive or send (knowingly or not). Some well-known spam filters are listed below:




ISPs (Internet Service Providers) usually use filters that reduce the amount of spam received.

In 2010/2011, I have received spam from MBUG members that was sent because their computers were infected (botnet), and in one instance, spam was sent knowingly.

What is Core?
The “core” is the part of the processor that does all the work.

Multi-core processors have been around for quite a while now. You can find dual-, tri-, quad-, hex- and octocore processors. Some server processors even have 12 or 16 cores.

Each additional “core” is just like having another processor in your computer in the space occupied by the one core. Your CPU (central processing unit) with multiple cores allows multiple pieces of information to be processed simultaneously. This makes processing much faster, same as several people doing one job, compared to you doing the same job alone.

At first, most software was designed to work with a single-core processor, so the second core was of little help. Modern operating systems and programs are designed for multiple cores. Especially those of you who do photo and video editing will appreciate the additional cores. Gamers will really like the speed due to the much better animation renderings; artificial intelligence can be assigned to a core and sound effects to another core. Multitasking is also generally improved by having multiple cores. Software still isn’t as good at parallel processing as it could be. Past a certain point, more cores don’t make a difference for most tasks.

Multiple core processors increase in cost with the number of cores. A quad-core CPU is the top processor recommended for the average user.

Unwanted Telephone Calls Bothering You?
I guess that I am lucky; I do not get telephone calls from sales people because I registered my phone numbers with “DO NOT CALL.”

Actually, there are times when I miss these calls. Back in “the old days” I used to engage the callers in a conversation, trying to persuade them to buy something else, change bad habits, join MBUG, etc.

The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. You can register your home or mobile phone for free. Telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this website: https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/conf.aspx.

If you think that you have already registered your phones a few years ago, you can check that with the registry also. If you would like to know more about the registry, go to: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/ alt107.shtm.

Good Old Snail-Mail Junk
Long before digital spam, our friendly mail carrier was filling our mailboxes with “snail-spam” and never stopped.

Getting too many catalogs and commercial solicitations from companies you have never done business with? How about “preapproved credit card applications?”

The Direct Marketing Association (http://bit.ly/kTMROB) operates a free online service that is the official mail preference service for catalog and direct marketing companies and is supported by the U.S. Postal Service. Your registration won’t stop mailings or calls from organizations not registered with the service, but it should help you to get the mail you want and less of the mail you don’t want. Sometimes mailings are prepared several months ahead, so it could take up to 90 days for your registrations to become fully effective.

Position for Your Monitor
Position the top of your monitor at or slightly below seated eye height. Lower it a little more if you:

Work with hard copy.
View through bifocals or progressive lenses. Look at the keyboard when typing.

A Little Trivia
The world has 295 exabytes worth of information. Scientists have measured the amount of information stored in the world. The grand total comes to 295 exabytes. That amount would fill up about one billion 250-gigabyte hard drives.

An “EXABYTE” = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes.

You better start reading!

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