MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

April, 2010 - Vol. 2010a

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way. For more topics on other newsletters, check out MadMod Computing Newsletters.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.   Second use a software firewall and/or a router if using broadband.   Last, obtain all the critical Windows updates.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Using a Live CD with a Windows Computer
2.     Save-N-Sync
3. (website)

1.    Using a Live CD with a Windows Computer
Windows computers are constantly under attack by the bad guys trying to steal identity, login details, etc. to basically steal cash.  Microsoft, to it's credit, has done good work trying to keep up with security patches each 2nd Tuesday of the month, but on-line banking and credit card transactions continue to become more risky.  Can you really trust the website you're logging into?  It could be a perfect copy or the real thing.  If not the real site, it's about certain that visiting the site will bring in a trojan horse or virus to a Windows computer.

So, what to do?  What can improve the safety very quickly is to use a Linux CD-ROM with something such as Ubuntu 9.10 or Linux Mint-8 and start the computer with the CD-ROM.  Instead of Windows, the CD-ROM will load up a temporary copy of say Ubuntu that leaves the hard drive alone.  Once the regular desktop appears, Firefox can be used to visit a banking site with no danger of a malicious download.  Banks in some places are handing out CD-ROM's for their customers to use which link precisely back to the bank and nowhere else.  In this way the browser is required to go to a direct Internet Protocol (IP) address such as that is very unlikely to be hijacked.

Once the banking is done, documents needed can be saved to a USB flash drive and then the computer can be shut down with the CD-ROM removed.  A simple restart brings back the Windows desktop with no changes to the hard drive.

2.    Save-N-Sync
Save-N-Sync v4.1 is the latest application of this Windows software that allows synchronization of folders from source drive location to a destination drive location.  Typically it's used to backup the "My Documents" folder to a USB external hard drive of some kind.  I like the Standard version of this application.

What I like about the product is that synchronizes with newer files replacing older ones of the same name, and leaving everything else alone.  Thus changes since the last synchronization are copied to the destination drive.  The product allows for a one-click icon to be placed on the desktop which launches the synchronization and just gets the job done.

Save-N-Sync is particularly useful for people who don't want to mess with Windows Explorer to move files around.  It works on sub-folders of the source drive location chosen, so all files within those are also synchronized.  New sub-folders are also copied as well.

In contrast to compressed and compacted backups which must be restored fully if a file within them is needed, Save-N-Sync can reverse the source and destination locations very easily.  The synchronized file can simply copied back as needed.  For the home and small business, this makes more sense.

3. (website) The time has come for many people to start using's comprehensive and free product for documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint-like presentations, a database tool, etc.  The wordprocessor is called "Writer," the spreadsheet is called "Calc," the PowerPoint-like tool is "Presentation" and the database tool is called "Base."

The suite of tools is compatible with Microsoft Office applications and can be loaded and saved in the Windows formats. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux,'s suite is ideal for swapping files from one computer to another. The website for has tutorials on numerous topics to further save on not purchasing manuals or books.

I use every day on my Ubuntu 8.04 computers, occasionally swap them to my wife's Windows XP computer and have a number of customers now using after purchasing a new Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer.  Free, compatible, easy to use--what's not to like about

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