Leo’s Answers #2 – November 25, 2005

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hellom!

For those you celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I hope your holiday is or has been a great one. Help yourself to another peice of fudge (I know I will!) and we'll get on with this week's newsletter.

In the United States the Thanksgiving holiday makes the traditional start of the holiday shopping and gift-giving season. With that in mind, this week's featured article from the archives is an overview of things to think about as you consider what computer to get that special someone.

Speaking of roasting a turkey, that's exactly what I'm sure many readers felt they were doing when they commented on one of my articles this week. I was seriously flamed for statements I made on why Mac's are safer the Windows based PCs. Many in the Mac community took me to task for arriving at the right conclusion (Mac's are safer), for the wrong reasons. In between the vitriol and name-calling, many of the comments on that article present compelling data on why Macintosh users run safer on the internet, and makes for very interesting reading.

And as a side note, I've moved the weekly podcast in with the "New Articles" sections, and they now include a transcript on the site. Podcasts, and Video Tips are now also identified by an audio or video icon. More on the video in an upcoming newsletter.

*** Contents

Instructions for unsubscribing are at the end of every newsletter.

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Is there a way to shutdown my headless Windows XP Pro machine remotely?

I have a couple of machines on my local network that I only access via Remote Desktop Connection. They are "headless" - meaning that they have no keyboard, mouse or monitor attached. When I access them remotely, there is no "Turn Off Computer" item on the Start Menu. How do I turn it off, or restart it?

And as you've seen, when you use Remote Desktop to get to your machine, the "Turn Off Computer" item is missing from the Start menu. To be honest, I'm not really sure why Microsoft chose to do that, it is inconvenient.

But we have ways.

Continue reading: "Is there a way to shutdown my headless Windows XP Pro machine remotely?" Article Includes Video

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Greylisting - Another tool in the war against spam

A client turned me on to a relatively new, and effective, anti-spam tool.

Continue reading: "Greylisting - Another tool in the war against spam" Article Includes Audio

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Can I check a download for viruses before I download it?

I'd like to prevent viruses from ever reaching my machine - can I test them before they're downloaded? And if so, how?

In a word, no.

But there are definitely precautions you can, and should take, that will allow you to deal with downloads safely.

Continue reading: "Can I check a download for viruses before I download it?"

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Are Mac's inherently safer?

Is it true that Macintosh is very safe in that viruses cannot get through? And what about emails? Can others sniff and get info using mac?

Yes they are.

No they are not.

And I just know what the comments on this article are going to be like...

Continue reading: "Are Mac's inherently safer?"

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Can I save my MSN Messenger Archives to another computer?

For MSN Messenger, is there a way to archive my conversations when I use a public computer or signed in somewhere as a guest user? Can I send the history to my computer automatically without opening the received files of that computer, keep it somewhere in the server somehow? (Without having to copy/paste it to my e-mail every time.)

Well, in the strictest sense, the answer is no ... MSN Messenger archives reside on the local machine, or perhaps the local network, period.

You can archive your conversations, and then take them with you, but a) it's not as easy as what you're asking for, and b) you may not want to do it, anyway.

Continue reading: "Can I save my MSN Messenger Archives to another computer?"

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*** Popular Articles from the Ask Leo! Archives

It's "that time of year". The holidays are upon us, and many of us are looking for just the right gift for that special someone. For those of you considering giving someone a personal computer, this article originally published around this time last year, offers some things to consider:

What computer should I give?

In a recent article, What computer should I get?, I discussed the criteria I used as I decided what computer to purchase for myself, and what criteria you might consider for yourself.

But what it it's not for you? What if you're looking for a computer as a gift?

Things get more difficult, that's what.

Continue reading...

*** Interesting Sites and Useful Resources

Google

OK, I know that most of you already know, love and use Google as your primary search engine. In fact, that's how most people find Ask Leo! in the first place.

I probably don't need to convince you that it's useful.

The problem is that most people don't use it well. By that I mean that when searching for particular bits of information, many people enter over-general, or over-specific, search terms. As a result they either don't find what they're looking for even though it's out there, or spend way too much time manually wading through search results.

It doesn't have to be like that. My wife often challenges me to look something up for her, and it's rare that I can't get exactly what she was looking for on the first page of search results, often in the number one spot. How? By knowing how searches work, and choosing my search terms carefully. It's as simple ... and as complex ... as that.

A friend of mine, Tara Calishain, has written a book, Web Search Garage, that I highly recommend. It can really help improve your "Googling" skills. (It actually applies to all search engines.) You can read more about the book, and why I recommend it so strongly here: Recommendation: "Web Search Garage".

Regardless of whether you get that book, or use other resources or techniques to do it, my strongest recommendation is simply to improve your search engine skills. Google is an unbelievably powerful tool, and it really is worth the time invested in learning to use it effectively.

*** Newsletter Administration Department

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Newsletter subscribers can drop me a line at leo <at> ask-leo.com. (I only give that email address to newsletter subscribers, so I'll know it's from one of my loyal readers.) If you like, you can make sure you get past any spam filters by simply posting your question or comment using the Ask Leo! Question Form.

I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - in fact you'd be surprised at how many. I simply cannot answer absolutely every one. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

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Till next week!

Leo Notenboom