Best Bit Rate to Rip or Encode CDs or DVDs

July 29, 2008

According to Tech Guy Labs….

“Apple’s AAC is better than MP3, [but comes down to personal preference.]

Start at 128kbps. But go at least 160kbps, even with AAC. Makes a significant difference, but only takes up 25% more space. Patrick Norton [of Revision3] says that 320kbps is the max you can encode and hear a difference, . Leo says you can’t really hear any difference above 192. But Leo is older than Patrick.

Use Variable Bit Rate encoding (VBR) will waste less space and is an option in iTunes.”

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Best Bit Rate for Ripping/Encoding CDs or DVDs

July 29, 2008

According to Tech Guy Labs….

“Apple’s AAC is better than MP3, [but comes down to personal preference.]

Start at 128kbps. But go at least 160kbps, even with AAC. Makes a significant difference, but only takes up 25% more space. Patrick Norton [of Revision3] says that 320kbps is the max you can encode and hear a difference, . Leo says you can’t really hear any difference above 192. But Leo is older than Patrick.

Use Variable Bit Rate encoding (VBR) will waste less space and is an option in iTunes.


How to Start a Blog

July 29, 2008

There are many FREE websites that offer the ability to start a basic blog, be it for personal use to let friends and family know what you’re up to, or for professional use, to help get your company coverage online.

Here are a few websites that are very easy to use, and require no knowledge of programming or coding…

MULTIPLY.COM-Multiply makes it easy to create, share and discuss your blog, photos, and videos with more of the people you know, and fewer of the people you don’t.

VOX.COM. Done by TypePad, but free. Has three levels of privacy – public, friends, and family. Take the tours of all the new ones and see which one you like.

BLOGGER – A blog is your easy-to-use web site, where you can quickly post thoughts, interact with people, and more. All for FREE.

WORDPRESS (the gold standard). And all of these are template driven so all you need to concentrate on is content.

WINDOWS LIVE SPACES – Microsoft’s blogging and Social Networking platform. The site was originally released in early 2004 under the MSN Spaces name to compete with other social networking sites. Windows Live Spaces received an estimated 27 million (27,000,000) unique visitors per month as of August 2007.


What is Phishing?

July 29, 2008

Phishing scams are also a big problem. A good example is when someone sends an email that appears to be from your bank, but when you enter your information in the fake web form, the scammers steal your data.

Another definition describes it as a form of social engineering, characterised by attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords, or credit card information.

According to Symantec, these are the ways to protect yourself from Phishing attacks…

  • Be wary of emails asking for confidential information—especially of a financial nature. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email.
  • Don’t get pressured into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information. Be sure to contact the merchant directly to confirm the authenticity of their request.
  • Familiarize yourself with a Web site’s privacy policy.
  • Watch out for generic-looking requests for information. Fraudulent emails are often not personalized, while authentic emails from your bank often reference an account you have with them.
  • Never submit confidential information via forms embedded within email messages.
  • Never use links in an email to connect to a Web site. Instead, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar.
  • Maintain effective software to combat phishing. [many anti-virus programs now] automatically detect and block fake Web sites. They may also authenticate major banking and shopping Web sites.

Spam Management

July 26, 2008

According to Tech Guy Labs:

“The longer you use an email, the more SPAM you will get. The easier your email is “guessable” by spambots, the more spam you’ll get. The more listserves you’re with, the more SPAM you’ll get. Leo, for instance, gets over a million spams a month!

Leo’s 3 stages for Spam management:

1) use an external service. Leo uses MailRoute.net. There’s also onlymyemail.com. These are for pay services that block out spam.

2) Use Spam Assassin on your server.

3) Finally, a local solution like Mail Washer.”

Another option, when using services like Hotmail or Yahoo, in recent years, have spam-catching services that seem to catch most, if not all, spam or junk email. You can also have the junk email filter spam to specific folders. Microsoft Outlook has similiar options. You can also use a Junk Email Senders List, and filter to specific folders as well.

In Outlook, right-click email, choose “Junk E-Mail”, and “Add to Blocked Senders List”. From that point on, Outlook filter those emails to the Junk Mail folder. You can also right-click messages and “Create a Rule”, so the message is automatically filtered to the folder you designate.


How to Disable Memory Dumps (Physical Memory Dumps)

July 26, 2008

according to Tech Guy Labs….

The memory dump is a behavior that’s set in XP’s system control panel under advanced system properties. It happens when you suffer a crash. And it’s rather useless unless your a programmer. Just turn it off.”

Memory Dumps often happen suddenly and are evident with a Blue Screen of Death, usually with an error code such as “***STOP: 0X00000008E(0XC0000090, 0X004B4BD8, 0XEE25885C, 0X00000000)”.

These dumps can be caused by a faulty piece of hardware or a bad driver. Reinstall the drivers with the most current from the manufacturer’s websites or Windows Update.

To DISABLE Memory Dumps:

1. Right-click My Computer -> Properties
2. In the Advanced tab -> Startup and Recovery -> Settings button.
3. System Failure -> Write Debugging Information -> drop down list select None.
4. Click OK

To learn how to prevent the computer from restarting when a Blue Screen of Death happens, go here.


IRQ Not Less or Equal

July 26, 2008

What is an IRQ?

There doesn’t seem to be any direct cause of this Blue Screen of Death error message. The most likely cause seem to be faulty or bad RAM. So, make sure you’re grounded, open up your computer case and make sure the RAM is properly seated. You should not be able to see the gold contacts. If you bought cheap RAM, you may want to return it and buy from a well-known company, such as Kingston.

Other possible causes include the video card (NVidia seems to be a culprit), or the sound card. Try swapping these components for others and see if the problem reoccurs.

You can also try running RAM tests using Memtest or Simmtester.com

Another cause could be overheating, and Windows may just be guessing the problem. Make sure the case has proper air flow.

You may be able to figure out the problem in the Event Viewer, Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Event Viewer.

The best way to avoid IRQ conflicts to is install expansion cards one at a time AFTER installing Windows.