Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Security software expiration email

Comcast and AT&T users who use their free McAfee Internet Security should IGNORE any renewal emails from McAfee (or Norton). You DON'T need to pay for renewal – you should be getting it free from AT&T or Comcast. This email notification may be about an old paid-for McAfee/Norton subscription or one which was included with a new computer. Take a look at your PC. Look for the McAfee icon in the lower right ‘system tray’. If it looks like this: and doesn’t have anything obscuring it like this: then your security subscription on the machine is probably OK.

To verify, double-left-click the McAfee icon in the lower-right system tray, and the McAfee Security Center should come up.

Mine is from Comcast, yours might say AT&T (depending on who your internet provider is). If your McAfee Security Center has your internet provider's name on it and you see the big green checkmark like above, that tells you you’re OK.

If the McAfee Security Center does NOT say AT&T (or Comcast), then it’s an original paid-for version from McAfee or Dell, which has indeed expired. But you should NOT pay to renew it! Instead, go to the Control Panel, Add/Remove programs, and REMOVE the expired McAfee. After restarting your PC, click here to download and install your free McAfee from AT&T. Comcast users click here to download and install your free McAfee from Comcast.

Comcast users will need an "" email address and password to authorize the download/install. AT&T users will need the PRIMARY users "", "", or "" email address and password to authorize the download/install.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Does your DSL seem slow?

I recently came across a client who was having poor internet performance. His service was rated by AT&T as 6,016 Mbps download and 768 Mbps upload. But when we measured it with Speakeasy's Speedtest website (which usually shows about 80% of rated speed), it only showed 900/650 download and upload!

The client had had DSL for a while. Unlike cable internet, DSL shares the phone line with your house phone. When you first installed it, you were given a kit of DSL filters for wall and desk phones. In this case, the client had added both a cordless phone as well as an All-In-One printer with a FAX line, but neither had DSL filters. Once we added the appropriate filters, the speed bounced back to normal.

The Moral is: When DSL shares a line, EVERY PHONE AND FAX DEVICE NEEDS A FILTER!

You can check your rated DSL speed by looking at your AT&T phone bill, or by logging onto you network's DSL modem (one of these should work):
AT&T DSL Modem
AT&T 2WIRE Router (new)
AT&T 2WIRE Router (old)
AT&T 2WIRE Router (old-alternate)

Here are some other Internet Speed Test websites:
AT&T Yahoo! Speed Test
Comcast Speed Test - The Global Broadband Speed Test

Update your software!

Computerworld: Attacks show Google runs Microsoft's IE
The Atlantic: Chinese hackers attacked Google via older Internet Explorer v6

This recent hack into Google corporate data shows the vulnerability of unpatched software. According to Microsoft, many Google machines still hadn't upgraded from Internet Explorer v6 to v7 or v8, and the v6 machines were exploited. Of course if you run an alternate browser such as Mozilla Firefox, that would have stopped this attack as well. The message?

When requested, APPLY UPDATES TO SOFTWARE UPDATES FROM MICROSOFT, ADOBE, SUN, as well as your computer and printer manufacturer (ie Dell, HP, etc).
Microsoft Windows
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe Flash Player
SUN's Java website plumbing

Install Mozilla Firefox

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New MagicJack Femtocell at CES

A femtocell is a very small cellular tower for the home. I’ve been watching and waiting for affordable femtocell technology for some time. Magic Jack's offering requires a broadband connection and a GSM-compatible phone. The consumer's smartphone should also be internet WiFi capable, and they should also have at least in-home WiFi-G wireless internet.

“U.S. carriers have been selling and experimenting with devices that act similarly to the wireless magicJack. They're called "femtocells." Like the magicJack, they use the carrier's licensed spectrum to connect to a phone, then route the calls over a home broadband connection. They improve coverage inside the home and offload capacity from the carrier's towers.”

So, users of phones with GSM for voice may now have improved signal strength inside their home, and free daytime cellular “minutes” when their GSM phone is routed thru the MagicJack Femtocell device. However, experience and experimentation is needed to show what this means for data. Of course, if the user’s GSM device is a smartphone with WiFi capability, in-home WiFi will take care of the internet browsing portion.

There will probably be legal challenges for YMax/MagicJack, in that the new device uses, without permission, radio frequencies for which cellular carriers have paid billions of dollars for exclusive licenses. YMax says the device is legal because wireless spectrum licenses don't extend into the home. OK, that’s home users. What about business offices? We don’t know yet.

IMHO this is a ‘disruptive’ new technology which means opportunity for others to capitalize on in 2010+ At the very least, competition from YMax/MagicJack should alter the business models of the cellular carriers to some extent. Meanwhile, I’m planning that my next Smartphone be GSM-compatible world phone (not just a Verizon CDMA/TDMA type) – just in case.

Thought you’d be interested.