Tech Archive

Computer Tips in 2005

1. Why aren’t you using Firefox yet? Firefox is an internet browser that is being independently developed and is far superior to Internet Explorer in many aspects. But most importantly, it isn’t a target for hackers and spyware, and most of those nasty security exploits can be circumvented by simply not using Internet Explorer. Get Firefox and surf safe!

2. Keep up on Windows Updates. This is critical as another patch usually comes out every week, sometimes several in a single week. And most of these patches are necessary to plug holes and exploits within Windows that makes it easier for hackers to infect your system with viruses and spyware. Keep up to date by turning on automatic updates.

3. Keep your virus definitions up to date! What’s the good of having a virus detection software if it can’t scan for the latest threats? It differs from software to software, but if you’ve kept up on your Window’s updates, you’ll notice that service pack 2 now has a virus protection monitor that keeps tabs on your virus software to make sure it’s up to date.

4. Invest in spyware protection software. It’s no longer a matter of just staying off those websites with questionable content, spyware comes from the most unsuspecting of sites these days to help the host recover costs. And unfortunately, redundant spyware software is the recommended way to catch it all. But if you’re going to buy just one, I recommend Webroot’s SpySweeper (~$30) and Microsoft’s Antispyware software (recently acquired from Giant, one of the best).

5. Tired of spam? Be careful when you sign up for anything online. Are you sure they need your email? Make one up if they don’t 😉 Also, if your email is published on a website, plan on it being harvested by bots for use in spam. If you’re getting hit with hundreds of spams a week, you need a new email address and/or some strong spam software.

6. Does your computer feel slow even though you’ve scanned it for spyware and viruses? Windows XP is a huge application and I now recommend at least 384mb of RAM and 512mb is recommended. Also, is your hard drive full? Make sure you have at least 500mb available on the hard drive at all times.

That’s all for now, but as I think of more, I’ll add to the list.


Personal and Family

Sergeant First Class Bojonowski

A couple of weeks ago, an old friend was in town and Paul and I were able to meet up with him briefly for lunch. But alot’s changed in ten years! Scott is still married to Janet and they now have two boys – both following the standing Bojonowski tradition of looking like their father. Sharp too, the little guy is quiet, but he’s listening to every word!

But as good as it was too see Scott and his family, he was heading back to Iraq to finish up his time there, which is about 6 more months. Scott is in infantry and pilots the Stryker:

To say he’s close to the action is an understatement. He was at the base that was attacked by the car bomb just after Christmas. You’ll probably remember the incident because it was a surprise to our forces how the car bomb got so close, exploding in the cafeteria. Here’s the story.

Here’s the video that was recovered by the military that the terrorists put together documenting their attack.

It’s frightening how big that explosion was, and I can only express how amazed and happy I am that Scott and most of his crew are alive. Scott said it was a 5000lb load. He said he couldn’t hear for a few days, and that just following the explosion they were under attack for a couple of hours requiring air support to finally put an end to the chaos.

Talking with Scott has been a real eye opener for me. I have been decidedly naive and ignorant about our involvement in Iraq, and I disapprove of our presence there. But I support our troops 100% in their efforts.

Thank you for being so brave, Scott. Come home safe soon!



BMW Love!

The Bimmer is going up to Portland for some quality time with the guys at Autohaus Bayern. Control arm bushings are being replaced and that should help with the rear end shudder when transitioning off the clutch to gas. Also European lamps are being fitted. The beam pattern is so much better. After switching with the old 337, I’ll always try to make this upgrade with any of our European cars. And lastly, a new exhaust is being fitted from Stromung. My current exhaust is coming apart from the inside out and makes the car sound amazingly cheap and busted. This should cure that handily 😉


Automotive Personal and Family

Quick Trip Up the Coast

Last Sunday I was inspired. No, I was on a mission! Saturday we sat around on the couch and blew away an entire day. Literally, we did nothing! It doesn’t happen very often and I thought we’d enjoy it, but at the end of the day it felt like a waste. So Sunday, we were going to do something!

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Shana wasn’t exactly on the same page, but we settled on a drive somewhere we hadn’t been before. I suggested Crater Lake, because Shana’s been on my ass to go there since we’ve been dating. And it figures, I’m finally excited to go, and there’s still snow there. We also recognized we’ve never been to Astoria before and figured, why not?!

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After a late start trying to get Sleeping Beauty out of bed, we hit the road about 10:00am (Those of you who have been to Astoria can just figure this as foreshadowing…) We decided to take the scenic route via highway 22, to a small stretch of road called Little Nestucca River Road, that ends up just outside Pacific City. Along that stretch we took these pics of the M3. Turned out pretty good considering we used the snapshot camera w/o a tripod, at noon, in hazy conditions, within about 15 minutes.

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Anyway, we stopped at the Pelican Brewery for lunch in Pacific City, a favorite spot when nearby. After filling up for $2.70 a gallon for super (Way to go W, looks like that little war is working out great…), we continued our trip. After getting through Tillamook we realized the Northern Oregon Coast is nowhere near as nice as the Southern Oregon Coast. And the farther we got, the more it rained. And it was slow going and pretty gray. Before too long, it was already 3pm and considering how long it would take to get back, we bagged it.

Guess we’ll have to finish that trip another time. But I needed this post as an excuse to post up the M3 glamour shots, hehehehe…


Automotive Ramblings

Audi Club Track Days at PIR

The good: The Rabbit cannot be stopped, and in fact, it can pass S4 owners with twice the horsepower due to the amazing corning abilities of this little car! That’s no BS, Paul and I both were flagged by because some of the ‘intermediate’ skilled drivers with 350hp+ don’t know how to drive. And I swear, the harder we beat the car, the better she performed. We did have to replace an exhaust hanger and bleed the brakes between days, but otherwise that little car took abuse from two drivers in separate sessions for two days straight without complaint! Can’t wait to go again, thanks again Paul for a beautifully constructed car!

The bad: It would appear the Audi Club chose profits over safety this particular weekend. The event was supposed to be limited to 50, and over 70 were in attendance. Furthermore, they only had a total of 3 corner workers available, which didn’t inspire any confidence either. But the worst was the complete inability to effectively manage this many people and the poor attitude of senior club members. The first day, no one had a clue and didn’t seem to care to get one either. My honest overall feeling of the event was that this was a much needed fundraiser to afford a track day and that they would have to put up with the nuisance of everyone else who was paying for their day.

As usual on track days, no one knew where to be or what to do without stumbling around. I’m used to that, but usually things come together by the driver meeting. Not this club. Paul and I were both new members to the club and paid our membership with the track day fee. Luckily we had our email receipts because this total asshole never got confirmation on the 15+ new members who paid the same way did and wasn’t going to let them out without paying again or proof of payment. What kind of bullshit is this, we’re using your email form and submitting CC numbers — get your act together!!

Then it’s Paul’s turn to go out and he’s required to have an instructor. He queue’s up and gets an ‘instructor’. Well apparently, instructors are club members who pay only $50 for the track day, but agree to ride with novices. And the guy Paul got was apparently totally lousy. Paul was ready to leave and I can’t say I blame him. These ‘instructors’ were just be interested in a cheap track day rather than helping novice drivers. My solution worked to keep us at the track: Since no one has a clue what’s going on, I’ll ride as Paul’s instructor. And it worked! No one noticed, and I got Paul the info he needed and after that he ran by himself. No one questioned it, and he was never flagged for bad judgment, driving or otherwise because by now he knew what he was doing and passing guys in $50k cars. The next day, they start barking at him for trying to go out without an instructor and he has to explain to 4 or 5 people that he was out all day yesterday w/o one. Luckily the instructor they forced on him next was actually helpful and day 2 was saved.

Long story short, I won’t be going back to their events. I was glad to get the time on track, but we have options.