TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I think the giant retailers have finally done it. They crept into one of the two sacred holidays in our country and are forcing workers to give up time with their family to go into work. Once Thanksgiving is done then Christmas is sure to follow.
I am a capitalist. I employ people to go to work, and I wouldn't think of sending people in on Thnaksgiving.
There were two times I have had to work Thanksgiving because of server emergencies, but I did them instead of sending in my employees.
One of those two times was in the early 2000's. I had to work to resolve a server crash that happened the day before the holiday. I was so depressed that I ended up having to work Thanksgiving I decided to do some retail therapy. I added up all the money I made having to work those four days and I realized I could afford to buy a plasma TV. Up until then we all just had the big boxy TVs that weighed a ton and a half.
I blew the entire amount on a 37" plasma and I have never regretted it. It still works great and it definitely made me feel better.
Too bad many folks won't have that kind of ability this week as they are forced to work at low wages on the holiday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I missed all my meetings and appointments today. We even had to change the recording of the radio show because I got sick yesterday. Now, normally this isn't interesting news, but it's how it happened.
I went in for my weekly allergy shots on Monday. I get shots to not sneeze around my wife's dogs. I say her dogs because I would rather not have anything that makes me so miserable around the house.
But, that's another story.
While I'm getting the shots I think that it would be a good time to get a flu shot. I've been getting them every year for the past few years without incident.
I filled out the forms and got the allergy shots and the flu shot at the same time. Within a few hours my immune system went absolutely nuts.
I felt like I've had an allergy attack and the flu all at the same time. Sore throat, aches, sneezing like crazy, runny nose. Except for the nose the I ran through each symptom in just a few hours.
Here I am 36 hours later with just a runny nose.
That will teach me to try to be efficient. Back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I just unboxed a new Nikon DSLR D5100. It's my first DSLR in a few years. The last one I bought was an Olympus. It worked well but had a paltry 10 MP compared to over 16 on the Nikon. I know what you're saying, that MPs don't tell the whole story, and that is true.
The new Nikon also has some other cool stuff though. It has night vision, although it doesn' work as well as I had hoped. You can't film in total darkness and expect anything good out of with this camera. I think you would need infra red for that like you see on ghost hunting shows.
It also can film full HD movies with sound. I put in an Eye-Fi card so I could wirelessly upload movies to the internet. This is great to avoid having your storage card get filled up with data. It just sends it right up. I have tethering on my phone so I can upload videos even when I'm away from my home or work wifi units.
My big plan is to upload video as fast as I can shoot it at CES in January of 2013.
That is, if the world doesn't end by then.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Exciting night for an election. I spent the evening at channel 6 in Portland making sure the technology ran properly during the election. We needed to make sure the results posted in real time to the station and keep the network up and going.
It reminded me of four years ago when they asked to be on a live segment to discuss email hacking that had been going on with some of the candidates. The information was not all that interesting, but the experience was.
I paced the halls of the station and tried not to think about it. I had been on radio for years but people never actually saw me. I started to psych myself out.
I remember just before going on live I was sitting at the news desk. The same desk I had been staring at on TV for years, and now I was sitting behind it staring at the camera!. It was really freaky for me.
I was so nervous as they were announcing me. Picture yourself in that situation with Twitter and Facebook just waiting for you to screw up and live in infamy.
Just as the anchor finished introducing me he turned to me to ask a question and he accidentally spit on on my jacket lapel.
At first I couldn't hear him. I could only see the spittle flying from his mouth and onto my jacket. I almost forgot the question he was asking me. Somehow that was enough to break the tension for me and I relaxed and we went on with the interview.
I was so glad it was over but it was only the first of many more TV interviews over the last four years. It got much easier after that first one, but I will never forget it. I'm glad I didn't choke literally and figuratively.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Backups are funny things. I tell the backup to use certain hardware and it gets ignored and uses hard drives I don't want it to use. I think I'm getting a full backup only to have Windows updates reboot in the middle of the backup and kills it off. I do a test run that says it fails, but then find out there's no errors.
I attempt a restore and the catalogs say the data isn't there despite the fact that I can see the backup files.
It reminds me of when I was at Price Waterhouse in the late 90's.
In San Francisco, where the main hub was, they had a power issue and the servers all shut down due to an air conditioning outage. I was managing the Portland IT at the time. Even though they said they had good backups everyday, the backup tapes were blank. People down there were fired when the partners couldn't get their data back.
Backups provide a false sense of security and they are difficult to trust. I prefer to have servers that sync to others rather than backups because you can test to make sure the data is actually there. Not many companies have the money for this though, so we go on trusting our backups will be good.
Online backups are a joke for so many reasons. If you have to ask why then you don't understand why they don't work in a disaster. If I have had a good night's sleep for once I may have the patience to one day explain it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Microsoft Surface Tablet

I pre-ordered my surface tablet and received it on Friday the 26th. This is the tablet Microsoft makes and has spent a bundle on advertising.
I love it. It is much smoother than the Nexus or Galaxy Tab. It has an attachable keyboard with a mouse pad that I think tablets have been missing. If you don't want a keyboard then just snap it off but if you want to use this like a laptop then attach it and you get a cursor.
There are still more apps to make it complete but I do have Netflix and Hulu Plus. It also works on a lot of sites with Flash, but not all of them. The site has to register with Microsoft in order to be trusted.
I think the best thing is the pre-loaded Office 2013. It works great!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Almost two weeks ago

I got the call from Koin Channel 6 reporter Chad Carter. I thought it would be a typical Monday morning but it was anything but. He asked me if I knew about Fritz. Fritz Hayes was recently retired from our company. We threw him a big retirement luncheon and thanked him for the past 6 years in helping us grow our business. I asked him what he meant. He told me he was sorry to be the one to have to tell me but Fritz was murdered just a couple of hours ago.

I told him that couldn't be, but he said he had the address and they spoke with the police. Although they didn't want to officially give out his name he knew if was Fritz that was hacked to death with a machete by a piece of trash named Meiser.

So many thoughts went through my head. I started to feel guilty that I was bummed it was a Monday filled with work and more work. I started to think about how my day started with showering and shaving and being on a radio interview all the while Fritz was battling for his life.

The rest of the week was horrible for us at the office but worse of course for his family and friends. This past Sunday we went to the memorial and I was pretty much going to make it until I saw his damned hat he always wore. That finally made it real to me.

Fritz and I had an unusual way of communicating. We yelled at each other a lot. I don't even know why except that we saw the world from two totally different perspectives although, we usually came to the same conclusion. Despite this we both had tremendous respect for each other. Our relationship started out with him being my boss. When I hired him years later he never forgave me for that. But that's ok because we did a lot of business together over the years and we had lots of laughs and good times.

I wish I could get that hat. I would put it up in my office to remind me of what he was to our company and our lives. Even more so I wish I had him there so maybe I could just get one more argument in, and maybe this time I would win.

Friday, August 17, 2012

We use UltraVNC to connect to our customers but we've been having problems since Windows started going to 64 bit. It ran so slowly it made it difficult to use. The refresh rate was horrendous. At first we thought it was because of the Windows Aero scheme, but even when we turned it off it still didn't act right.
I found out if you completely uninstall the product, reboot, and reinstall without checking the box to install as a service it works like it did in 32 bit. Pretty weird!
So all of us uninstalled and made the change and now the program works great again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This heat is causing some problems. I realize that the NW hasn't gotten the horrible heat that the rest of the country has gone through, but this area isn't ready for what we got either.
The VOIP phone system was down all day Monday. Then Tuesday had a short internet outage on one of our lines and last night it was down for 6 more hours.
Fortunately we have backup ISPs but what a pain.

Had a weird Outlook issue. When a customer went to send emails to over 600 people from his contact list Outlook threw a generic error saying it won't send. After some troubleshooting we found that all it takes is one address that has a space in it or some other format issue and that's what you get.
Fixing the emails with bad formatting allowed the customer to finally send the emails out.
Some detail from Outlook would have been helpful.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Backup Exec 2012 has all kind of strange issues. The main one I've found is that backups can work fine one day and get a writer error the next. The quick fix is to reboot the server but not all customers can appreciate that.
They really need to fix this problem. It has been going on for many versions, but it appears worse than it used to be with Windows servers.
Backing up VMware is easier than ever, except when you do Debian versions. It doesn't appear to work no matter what way it is configured. I haven't yet tried it with the VM turn off. Hard to do on a production server.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I created two new arrays for an Exchange 2010 high availability group. One was done on an IBM SAS controller while the other was done on an IBM ISCSI controller. One of the weird things about HA in Exchange is that both servers have to have the same drive letters or they cannot sync.
It doesn't matter that one is SAS and the other is ISCSI however, but the SAS controller is much faster.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We just got the new Google Nexus 7. It is pretty awesome. I made some videos on it to post to You Tube http://youtube.con/user/clickx3

Went to the Hillsboro Oregon Air Show. Had some great front row seats thanks to KUIK. The fireworks were so close we could feel the heat. I put those videos up on the channel as well under Non Technical videos.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I have an IBM ISCSI DS3400 and I went to add capacity to it today. I wanted to give more hard drive space to a partition where I'm running Exchange 2010. I had no problem adding the drive and adding free capacity to the array. The IBM GUI made it very easy. When I went to expand the partition with all this extra space it became clear I would have a problem.

Apparently adding to the partition has to be done by command line, and in this case I have to use the magic IBM cable and connect it to a laptop with a serial to USB adapter. I haven't had to use that cable in so long I don't know where it is or what the magic password is. Once i do find it I have the command ready to go. But that could take a while.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You never know who you will work for or who will work for you. Today I had lunch with my first employee from ten years ago. He came with one of my customers who now works at my former employee's office after losing his job in January.
 Confused? I understand.
It reminds me of one of my staff who used to be my boss in 2001.
Who knows if I will work for one of my staff years from now?
It's best not to burn any bridges to possible employers of the future.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We recorded our radio show today and anyone can watch it by going to and typing in All Tech Radio in the search. We record on video and audio.
Of course the podcast is available on iTunes and pretty much every other podcasting site. You can also go to

Turning in two more papers tonight for my masters degree. These are on leadership. This is a lot of work but it feels good when I get a paper written and I get a good grade.

Friday, July 27, 2012

PCI compliance is a weird animal. Depending on who does the scanning, a company can have a lot of work to do or very little. PCI compliance in a nutshell is required by credit card processing companies to scan any business that holds credit cards on file in house. If they don't pass the penetration test they won't be able to process the cards internally.

Today I dealt with a company who is required to have two form factor authentication with a company called Truetwave for their VPN connections. I have tons of customers that get scanned for PCI compliance and no one has had this requirement. It makes me wonder if they are in cahoots with these vendors to force them in a certain direction to spend more money. It's way too random to be logical.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I had a great time on OPB's Think Out Loud today talking about hacking. The staff and host are really great. We talked about all kinds of things and of course some people had to pick apart everything I said online.
It's difficult to explain every detail about a subject in just 15 minutes when we cover so much ground. Some listeners decided to take what I said about free antivirus and SCADA systems and just let the negative comments fly. But that's okay. I tried to complete my thoughts about those items for them so hopefully it will all die down.
After all there are plenty of other things to complain about right?
Stop going to weird sites and take care of your computers. Don't open email attachments from people you don't know and without scnaning them for viruses. Don't click on ads without a content filter to protect you.
Or just go back to paper and pen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Very weird Comcast problem going around. Their business class service has these power spikes or power brown outs out of no where around noon every 2-4 weeks. It clears up in a few minutes but of course a million phone calls from people who have to be online every second of every day start poring in.
I'm hoping they figure it out. They have a new fiber based service for about 3 times the price where they swear nothing will go down. It actually has Comcasts first SLA to go with it. Hard to justify the cost when Frontier will do the same speed for 90% less, but has no customer service or SLAs.

"What a world, what a world." Wicked witch of the West.
Had an interesting outbound email isse in Exchange 2003. I don't see as many of these anymore since Exchange 2007 and 2010 have come out. Email to a couple of domains outbound wouldn't work.
I went into the DNS manager and then to the properties and found the forwarders were using for content filtering.
After discussing it, the customer wanted to keep those IPs where they were. I went into the Exchange manager and the SMTP properties under protocol. Instead of using the DNS forwarders I had to specify Exchange to only use a specific DNS IP instead and I put in the Verizon servers. Email then flowed as it should, and I didn't have to change their content filtering IPs.

I'm on lots of shows this week. Besides the All Tech Radio show, I did the Jeff Kropf show yesterday as usual, and I'm doing the Think Out Loud show on OPB tomorrow. This weekend I'm doing some sort of live question and answer at the Washington County Fair. Should be fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I've been working on my MBA in IT Management for the past month and a half. This is way harder than my bachelors degree. The main reason for doing so is because I really enjoy teaching at PCC part time, and they said I needed to complete it.
I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by how much I'm learning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recorded our latest radio show today. You can watch us on video by going to and typing in alltechradio. Some stuff that happens on ustream doesn't make it to radio so it's pretty funny, but probably not to the FCC.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It has been a while since I regularly updated the blog. In the past year I started teaching college. I'm teaching both online and on campus and it is a ton of fun. The class is on managing Windows servers. Of course the business continues to operate and we had 20% growth last year.

All Tech Radio is getting email from fans all over the world and we love hearing from them.

We have added a lot of Cloud Services to the business and we look forward to that being our strongest area of growth.

I will have lots of great stories here so check back when you can.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The next 75 posts

The next 75 posts are re-posts from my work at a local TV station over the past few years. They will be removing them soon and I didn't want to lose them. They have some interesting history such as several predictions. Some came true, like the ones on the demise of Blackberry, and the rise of the iPhone. While other predictions fell short like the ones on the iPad. I thought it would be replaced by a better product by now.
Enjoy a little piece of history and feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Missing the Mark on Craigslist and the Adult Section

Missing the Mark on Craigslist and the Adult Section

By Robert McMillen, KOIN’s Tech Guru
Last week, Craigslist, the popular site for selling everything from cars to companionship, decided to take the adult section off of their website, at least temporarily. PC Magazine projected that Craigslist would have made an estimated $36 million from the adult section in 2010. This represents about one third of its income.
There has been no word from Craigslist on whether or not the section is coming back. If you were to lose one third of your income, I’m sure you would figure out some way to earn it back, right? Well, you may not create ads to sell “dates” with strangers, but you wouldn’t leave that money on the table either.
The complaints against Craigslist were rampant. 17 Attorneys General filed complaints against the company saying they were exploiting the selling of women and children. Their acceptance of the ads, which cost about $10 per day, was tacit approval of the practice. Some even called Craigslist an electronic pimp for selling the ads. I don’t disagree with any of it, but once again authorities have missed the mark completely by going about it this way.
If you’ve ever had a cockroach in your home you probably know that when you turn the light on the cockroaches scatter more quickly than you can stomp on them. My first apartment was like that. It got to the point where there so many that I would just ignore them and go about my day. Eventually, an exterminator took care of the job when it got bad enough. This is exactly what will happen with Craigslist removing the adult section.
The ads immediately went to other web publications, like The ads for escorts more than doubled from just a few days ago, and the cockroaches just picked up their ads and moved. There are other locations where the oldest profession has moved to as well, but there’s no reason to list them here.
Instead of scattering the troublemakers, why don’t they just arrest them and their John’s? They have pictures of themselves in the ads. They even leave their phone numbers. Plus, Craigslist could easily provide law enforcement with credit card information and locations of IP addresses from where the ads were placed. I’ve tracked down bad guys for law enforcement and for businesses who’ve been illegally hacked with less information than what they’re offering. They couldn’t give you any more information on how to arrest them if they knocked on the door to the police department and handed them a written confession!
So why don’t they just arrest them? I can offer some possibilities, but without a statement from the police, I couldn’t really know for sure.
Here are my “shots in the dark” as to why police don’t just arrest the offenders.
First off, Portland was listed as one of the biggest areas for child prostitution in the country recently. It made for lots of bad Portland press. So we know many of these ads are about children, but even if they weren’t, we know they are exploited women. If you have all this information and you still don’t make an arrest then it’s obvious something is amiss with our law enforcement. Either the police are incapable of making an arrest using technology, or children and abused women aren’t important enough to be saved. For the first to be true we have to assume that the police departments in our area don’t have technical enough people to properly survey predators and make an arrest that can hold up in court. If that’s the case, then I offer my services free of charge. I will not only help in making the arrests and testify in court, but I will also train the departments on how to do it themselves. If the latter is true, and the abuse of children and women has no importance, then we have a much more serious problem. A problem beyond my comprehension.
So which is it?
Could it be a budget constraint? We know this is a constant problem, especially in a recession. This reminds me a little bit of a meeting I attended recently with several Chief Technology Officers for several large organizations. They were all asked what they did when the recession hit in regards to their technology. All of them said they cut their staff in half and reduced their spending. I was shocked at how short sighted these people of obviously high tech education were. If you have ten departments in a company when a recession hits, why cut the one department that can make 90% of the rest of the company more efficient? They could have easily used technology to replace several positions in other departments, and make things like sales and fund raising far more efficient by automating them with an upgrade to their infrastructure.
Bringing us back to our Craigslist topic, I see perpetrators giving their street name, photo, phone numbers, locations, and the nature of the crimes to officers all over the metro area. All they have to do is go pick them and their customers up. The practice of selling will dry up in just a few weeks, and the children can be saved. The adult women can be brought to safe houses.
The police may need a little technology training (I grant them that), but I can’t think of any easier way to clean up the illegal adult trade in Portland than by busting the bad guys with the evidence they are handing law enforcement on a silver platter.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, September 06, 2010 12:55 PM by Mallory

Are “they” ready for Cloud Computing?

Are “they” ready for Cloud Computing?

By: Bob McMillen
My wife and I have a running joke anytime we see a piece of news about something “they” say. “They” say that if you take vitamins everyday then….Who are “they?” No one ever sees who “they” are, but we apparently trust them implicitly. Well, last weekend I met “they.” At least the “they” sayers in the computer industry, that is.
I was invited to Dallas to see all the new computer software and hardware that “they” are dreaming up for the big Cloud Computing transition that we are all going to eventually be a part of, whether we like it or not. Every “they” was there, including the folks from IBM, Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee, Intel, Oracle, EMC, and dozens more.
Cloud computing is the transition of data from being locally held at your home or office to being kept at data centers worldwide and accessible via the internet. It doesn’t really matter where the data is, as long as it’s accessible, according to “they.” The data can also be replicated and synchronized so if the data is somehow lost at one location, you wouldn’t even realize it because you would automatically start using it from another.
“They” naysayers tell us that this can be a good thing, but we are rushing into this transition without thinking about the consequences of security for our data. Who has this data? How is it being backed up? What if that data center goes out of business, or is hijacked by bad guys? These are just a few of the questions businesses are having. There have been several famous Cloudtastrophes that I have mentioned in the past, but I still believe this is ultimately a good idea, if implemented correctly.
I flew into Dallas after heading to the Portland airport at 4 AM last Sunday. It was 105 degrees by mid afternoon. Fortunately for us, we were in a climate controlled mega hotel that had an atrium larger than two football fields. It was an amazing piece of engineering that we could be in a giant atrium that felt like you were outside, but without all that nasty heat and humidity. During the four day stay I had no reason to go anywhere outside the building because everything I needed was right there. The organizers knew this so they had us in meetings within two hours of landing at the airport all the way until 7 that night.
The next two days were spent in 14 hours of meetings and appointments with all the different vendors. The topic of the conference was Cloud Computing, so I was all jazzed up to see what was new. We offer some hosted services in our business and I wanted to see some new hosting ideas I could offer our customers.
I also got to see some interesting speakers. Besides the industry leaders that most people have never heard of, I got to see Mark Cuban, of TV and basketball fame, speak. He was a computer guy a couple of decades ago, and started his own business. He sold a couple of them and made enough money to buy the Dallas Mavericks, among other things. I also got to hear from Don Yaeger, who is a famous sports columnist. He didn’t have much to do with technology, but it was fun to hear him speak about beating Michael Jordan in a fluke game of one-on-one at a charity event.
By the time I had heard from all of the vendors I came to see and some new ones that have joined the party in recent years, one very obvious conclusion came to mind:  “They” are nowhere near ready for the Cloud. The largest manufacturers of technology from all over the world are not ready for us to join the Cloud. The main things any of them had to offer were the same applications we’ve been using for years, but licensed in a new way. Instead of paying $1,000 for a piece of software and then buying the upgrade a couple of years later, you could now just rent the software in perpetuity at $50 per month. Support and upgrades were included, but if you stopped paying for it, then you could no longer use it.
That was it. There was nothing new “they” could show me. They could have sent me that information in an email, or even a 140 character Tweet. Twitter was newer than most of what “they” were trying to sell us.
The rush to the cloud is more likely going to be a bit of a slog. Businesses say it’s now the second most important thing on their minds next to server virtualization, but they have no idea how they’re going to get there. We will get there, and like a slow moving slide of mud we won’t be able to stop it or change its direction. The mud will keep going and going until it accomplishes what it set out to do. Cloud Computing is just the wrong terminology. I vote we rename it to “Mudslide Computing.”
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, August 30, 2010 11:39 AM by Mallory

You Can Reach Your Computer Equipment Away From Home

You Can Reach Your Computer Equipment Away From Home

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
Your office has an IT staff that allows your company to do some amazing things. Some of those things are the ability to securely reach your company’s computer equipment while working from home, host a website, remotely access data files, security cameras, and more. There’s a whole host of equipment that’s reachable from the outside. You may want to do that with your equipment at home, but you don’t want to pay the money to hire someone to do it for you.
Well, it’s not as difficult as you might think, and there’s even some free help out there to do it. Some of you may be even paying companies like “Go To My PC” around $20 a month to access your computer from home, but you don’t have to do that. You have everything you need to access all of your stuff. You just need a little knowledge to push you in the right direction.
Let’s discuss the main technology items you may want to reach remotely: your PC, security camera, and DVR.
Every broadband connection (that’s any internet connection that’s not considered dial up) comes with a firewall. Up until a few years ago, you were responsible for the firewall because the internet service provider would just hand you an unsecured internet connection. But that caused the ISPs to become overwhelmed with hackers and other bad guys, so they started handing firewalls out with each order. If you’re not sure if your computer is behind a firewall, just do the following. Click on your start button and choose command prompt from the accessories menu (sometimes this gets moved around but you’ll find it). Type ipconfig and if your IP address starts with either a 10, 192, or 172, then you’re behind a firewall. These are all considered private IP addresses which means your firewall is hiding your real public IP behind it.
Look at the Default Gateway IP. This is the inside address of your firewall. Now go to a web browser and type in, or whatever your gateway IP address is. A firewall login will likely come up where you can log in and take a look around. Look for the “Port Forwarding” option. A port is like a doorway into your computer. The login username and password may be different based on who set it up, but Comcast users can type in “cusadmin” and the password default is “highspeed.” Linksys firewalls tend to have no username and the password is “admin.” If you can’t figure it out you can always reset to factory defaults and call your ISP.
You access the internet using TCP/IP. The TCP portion has around 65,000 doors. By default every door is closed, but you can open them up to allow you to access the devices remotely. You should also see a DHCP tab. Click on that and you will see the list if IP addresses your equipment is using. If you go to your web browser and type in the IP address of each one with an http:// in front of them, then you’ll see which device is using which IP address.
For outside access, just go to the network or system status area and the firewall will tell you what public IP address you’re using. This is the address on the outside facing the internet. Every firewall has an inside IP and an outside IP. This will be crucial so you can connect to your devices remotely. This may occasionally change, so if your remote access doesn’t work anymore, you may need to log back into your firewall to see what it changed to. You can also use a free dynamic service to help you when it changes. It’s called Dynamic DNS. One good website that does this for free is
Before you open any ports, be sure you have no usernames that have anything less than an 8 character password, at least one number, one letter, and one upper case letter. Also make sure the password doesn’t spell a known word. Dictionary attacks can usually guess these variations on words and numbers, so just make it random.
You can choose to port forward 80 or 443 to your security camera. This allows you to remotely log in to your security camera and see what it sees using a web browser. Think of it! You can now see what your dog is eating in your home while you’re at work. You can keep tabs on the babysitter or in general make sure your home is safe. Some higher-end cameras come with low light sensors for when it’s dark, and some have fire detection capabilities. You can also get this with your security alarm system, but there’s no monthly fee if you do it yourself.
Your computer has all kinds of free ways to access it remotely. If you have a professional version of Windows, you can use the free built in remote tool called Remote Desktop Protocol. Just port forward TCP 3389 and you can log into your computer from anywhere in the world just as if you were sitting there. From your remote computer, open the Remote Desktop program under Communications and type in the public IP address of your firewall to connect. If you have a home version of Windows, then download a free program called VNC from and port forward TCP 5500. Make sure your Windows firewall allows for these programs to pass through. There is an exception list under Control Panel- Windows Firewall.
The other device people want to see is their TV set and have the ability to record or watch programs while away. You can purchase a Sling Box for this. Plug it into your cable box on one end and your internet connection on the other, and now you can record or watch programs with no monthly fee. The stream gets sent to and you log into your account to watch shows through your web browser. There are even apps on smart phones where you can watch. No port forwarding is necessary.
You may have to occasionally check your DHCP tab on your firewall in case your public or private IP addresses change. Typically they don’t change, but if it stops working then you know where to check.
There are all kinds of things you can do without recurring monthly charges for remotely accessing your equipment, and these just scratch the surface. If you have any questions just email me at .
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, August 16, 2010 9:56 AM by Mallory

Use the Internet to Plan Your Wedding

Use the Internet to Plan Your Wedding

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
When I met my wife in 1996, it was a curiosity that we met on the internet. It was the days of dial up. There wasn’t even a DSL in sight.
It was so unusual to meet and marry someone you originally started talking with on the internet that the TV show 20/20 asked if they could video our wedding for broadcast to go along with a story about the growing trend. I was already so nervous and stressed out about all that goes along with planning and being in a wedding that I thought having news cameras around might just push me over the edge (I also didn’t want Barbara Walters to try to make me cry for the camera).  So, we declined the invitation.
Now many of us get our news on the internet and 14 years later, we see Chelsea Clinton getting married. The entire world can witness all the planning and thought that went into her multimillion dollar affair. I’m sure the stress was incredible.
There is one point of irony that I should bring up. Before I went into the computer field, I was a wedding photographer. I have personally photographed over 700 weddings. I don’t think there is a single flavor of religious or secular wedding I haven’t been to. I have attended weddings anywhere from 4 people to a thousand. Some weddings cost just a few hundred dollars to pull off while others cost so much that parents have mortgaged their homes.
There was one thing in common, however, and that was almost all of them lacked any kind of coordination. Since I was always the most experienced at any wedding I have been to, I was the one who had to tell the groom which side to stand on, when the bride should walk down the aisle, how to assemble a receiving line, and how much time each thing should take. I even wrote articles for photography magazines about all the funny things that happened during the weddings I photographed. There has never been a wedding I attended where everything went right. More things go wrong than right, in my experience. You have to have a sense of humor.
Another commonality I’ve found about weddings is that it is next to impossible for couples to find the time to plan the wedding. In times past, you had to do everything in person. How do two working people find time to do such things? Now it’s much easier because we have the internet. I will show you how to save days of your planning, save money, and possibly save your marriage. I will also point you in the right direction so you won’t make the common mistakes many couples make.
Weddings are so important to our culture that in the US, they make up 1% of our GDP. There are very few industries that come even close to making up that much of our economy.
There are several major points that make a modern wedding work: The ceremony location, the reception, invitations, food, flowers, cake, dress, tuxedos, photographer, videographer, honeymoon, engagement party, limousine, and music for the wedding and reception. There are a million little details that go along with these, and some extras that aren’t even major categories.
I suggest you start with a wedding planner. You really don’t want to wait for a photographer to show you what to do next on your wedding day. When I photographed weddings, I didn’t know what the couple was trying to accomplish because I hadn’t followed them from the beginning to the end of the preparations.
The following link will take you to two pages of local wedding planners:
One catch to the planner is that many times they have agreements made with local companies to do all of the services listed above. If you choose the easy route by going with what the planner suggests, then you may end up paying more because the planner gets a cut for everyone you sign up. The good news is that you’ll likely get a vetted company, and it will be more of a one stop shop. But if pinching pennies is for you, then just say that you’ll be searching for the best deal and that the planner should assist you in that endeavor.
For wedding etiquette, here is a link that tells you all you need to know. I especially like the parts about who pays for what:
The good news about etiquette is that they are not all hard and fast rules. You can break etiquette if circumstances just don’t work out the way you had hoped. Don’t stress about it, just adjust.
For reception halls in your area you can go here:
The largest cost of any wedding is the reception. Many couples save money by having the ceremony at the same location as the reception. It also cuts down on travel. If you do decide to have a more traditional church wedding and separate reception, then try not to have it more than 20 minutes away. People from out of town really hate that. You can also solve your food questions here. They may push you into a cake they recommend, but I’ve found that to be a large mark up item and a disappointment in quality. Go taste the cakes yourself before signing up.
A great place to find out about different vendors and Portland wedding styles would be to visit a Portland Wedding Blog. Here is one you can check out:
Rather than just rely on blogs, you should also look at forums. Forums are where many people ask and answer questions about everything they are interested in. A blog is one person’s opinion on what’s happening. They both have their merits, however.
A forum from multiple people is more advantageous so you know you’re getting some unbiased opinions. The wink and handshake agreements between vendors are very strong in this business. Remember, we are talking about billions of dollars changing hands, so you have to assume that if you hear it from a vendor, rather than a customer, it should be considered suspect. Sign up at this site to hear what people are actually saying about vendors and weddings in our area:
That should get you started using the internet to narrow down to some smart choices for your special day. Don’t use the internet to choose all of your purchases. Ultimately, you’ll want to go onsite to check many of these vendors out. But instead of doing this for months and spending lots of hours away from work and family, you can now do it in days with less time off.
If you have any questions in this area I would be happy to help.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, August 02, 2010 11:37 AM by Mallory

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use

Fun New Internet TV Options Anyone Can Use
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
There are a slew of new ways to watch TV on the internet. This works whether or not you watch on a computer screen or directly on your TV. We will be discussing You Tube’s new streaming service called Leanback and also Clicker.TV.
All of us have a little “attention deficit” when it comes to watching TV now that we have hundreds of channels of nothing to watch. Many people have dropped their premium cable packages because of this. We don’t need more content, just better content, right?
Before getting into these services, I should probably mention the ways you can watch them. If you have an internet capable TV, you only need to go to the Internet Component option and open your web browser. If you didn’t spend $2500 for this new type of TV, then you can connect your computer to your component TV by either S-Video or HMDI connection. Then your computer screen will show up on your TV. If your computer doesn’t have one of these types of connections, you can buy one from any computer or office supply store for around $40. I suggest you get the USB type so you can move it between computers in case you decide to change which computer you use to connect to your TV.
The alternative is to just watch directly on your computer monitor and skip the TV. Although monitors may be smaller than the giant LCD or plasma TVs out there, they are typically four times sharper than your high end TVs. This is because they have a massively higher amount of pixels packed more tightly compared to television sets.
Once you’re connected, go to your You Tube account and sign in. Then go to From there you will need to use your keyboard. The mouse doesn’t work, and it begs the question “why?”  But that’s a rant for another time.
When I tried out the service, I was pleasantly surprised by the HD quality of the videos. The first video just started playing. It supposedly picks videos based on your You Tube account settings, but the first video that played for me was a Spanish speaking South American tribal melodrama. At least that’s what it looked like. I couldn’t tell what they were saying. I had no idea how You Tube thought this would be what I wanted. By using the keyboard I was able to point the arrows left and right to scroll through a list of other videos I had no interest in. But the service itself is a great idea because once one video completes, it just starts the next one.
Another completely new website TV service is Clicker.TV. You don’t even need to sign up to use it, which is great. I am so tired of creating usernames and passwords for more websites. If you do decide to sign up, you’re supposed to get better results. This seems to be a little more like Hulu because it also shows network videos, but it will search far beyond that for you if you want it to.
Just start typing on the screen and videos start popping up. I typed in “The Office” and not only did episodes from the American show pop up, but the UK version did as well. But it didn’t stop there; I also saw You Tube parodies, and other shows that had an “office” atmosphere. Even news shows about offices came up as options. Very cool! When I clicked on any video, it would redirect me to the location of the website that played that video. For instance, when I clicked on an episode of the well known TV show, it played in Hulu. When I clicked on a news option, it redirected me to MSNBC’s video player since it was a news story from that site.
It wasn’t all chocolate bunnies and Yoo-hoo, however. It didn’t search every option as I had hoped it would. It won’t pull up local TV news stories. I typed in Koin News and didn’t get anything. Also, some players didn’t give me the option to stop and rewind the video. It just played on and on until it was over. A little work definitely needs to be done, but I still like this service a lot.
Another cool feature appeared when I clicked on the movie section. I was linked to “pay per view” movies that are available using “On Demand” like Comcast uses. I had options to go to all different kinds of sites that offered movies, and I was able to choose which site I would use to watch it. Some sites charge more than others and this way I was able to shop for the best price. For instance, I could watch Hurt Locker at either Amazon or iTunes. The iTunes site allowed me to watch it online for several dollars less than Amazon. I wouldn’t have known this if Clicker didn’t do the checking for me.
There are other new services like Google’s Android TV I plan on trying out next. This service goes even further than just searching for shows because it also includes “Apps.” It’s like having a giant smart phone.
Check out the alternatives to watching TV. You’ll find just what you’re looking for in a fraction of the time it takes to scan through the hundreds of channels you normally look through.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, July 12, 2010 10:35 AM by Mallory

Blood Feud Breakdown: iPhone 4 vs. Droid X

Blood Feud Breakdown: iPhone 4 vs. Droid X

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
Now that the dust has settled on the iPhone 4, let’s see if you made the right choice. While all the media hype has been going to Apple (thanks to the wizard himself, Steve Jobs), the Android operating system has been quietly taking away market share from the iPhone for the last quarter. However, that may change, at least temporarily, with the new iPhone. Most people knew iPhone 4 was coming so they just waited for it. This allowed Android to outsell to the consumer market over the iPhone this year.
Now that the iPhone is selling millions of phones, will we see the shift go back to Apple? I don’t know, but what I have seen is a shift to Android away from Blackberry more than anything else. I manage dozens of Blackberry servers, and in the last two months I have shut down more Blackberry servers than I’ve installed for my customers. Almost none of them went with Apple. They went with the Android phone of one flavor or another. Some have regretted it.
But a new Droid phone is coming out mid July and the specs have been released for us to do a comparison between the two. I won’t even get into the problems that iPhone 4 users have experienced with holding the phone the wrong way (according to Apple), or the yellow spot on the display that is driving people crazy. The reason for not getting into it is that the Droid X may have similar issues when it’s released in a couple of weeks, so it wouldn’t be fair.
Instead, let’s just focus on pure specs and features. One of the new Droid features is a game changer. It will blow you away if you haven’t heard about it yet, and it may make you cry if you already bought the iPhone 4.
The iPhone sports a 3.5” display compared to the Droid X’s 4.3”. The iPhone has more resolution but the Droid X screen is much larger. iPhone has a 1 Ghz processor with 512 MBs of RAM. Droid X has the same, although the RAM figure hasn’t been officially released.
The Processor on the iPhone may have an advantage because it was custom made for the iPhone and iPad, whereas it appears the ARM processor on Droid X is more of a stock piece. The flash drives are going to be comparable with 16 and 32 GB options, but the Droid can also take an SD card for an extra 16 GBs. iPhone 4 cannot expand. Droid X will be a little larger and heavier as well, but not enough to be a deal breaker.
Talk time and battery life specs are very similar. Both claim a little more in separate categories, but because the screen is so much larger on the Droid X, the usable battery life for the average user will no doubt be longer on an iPhone. Droid X did drop the physical keyboard and is now running the soft keyboard like the iPhone. This will upset some previous Droid buyers.
The camera is better on the Droid X, but Apple has a front and rear facing camera.
Both will cost $200 for the 16 GB model with a two year contract. I say you should go with the 32 GB model if you buy the iPhone because after two years you’ll need it. You can go with the lower model on the Droid X because the storage is expandable.
iPhone has well over 300,000 apps confirmed and may be close to 400,000 or more. The Android has an estimated 100,000 apps, but no one is nailing this down for sure. It does appear that the apps are being created faster for Android because developers find it easier to work with Google than with Apple. Apple is now under investigation by the Feds about making developers use only their tools instead of working the way the developers want to. This will give a bigger kick to Android because they have a much more open developer plan. The downside to that, however, is that the apps won’t go through the same rigorous testing. So you have to ask yourself, do I want more stable apps that are controlled by a father figure I never wanted, or do I want the Wild West with more options and more opportunities to crash my phone? Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
Flash Support:
Apple no! Droid X yes!
New Features:
The iPhone has added multitasking support which has been a long time coming. I understand that a slow processor and unknown problems kept them from doing that in the past. There has been many upgrades to the email, browser, and other items, but let’s talk about the cameras. The iPhone 4 has one on front and back. The front one will do video calls where you can see the person you’re talking to. It only works over Wi-Fi because of the amount of data a call like that would take, but that is the single biggest improvement in my opinion. The Droid X has one back facing camera only, so no video calling as of yet. Tethering your phone to your computer has also been added. ATT didn’t want this before because you would use up a big chunk of 3G bandwidth on your laptop that you wouldn’t likely use on your iPhone. Now that ATT has a 2 GB limit with the ability to charge for overages, the tethering option has been added.
If you are ready, I will now reveal what may be the most compelling reason for the switch to Droid X. There is a new rumored feature that the Droid X will have a built in Hot Spot capability. That means that you will be able to share your internet connection with multiple computers at once. This is similar to the Mifi device that gave Steve Jobs no end of problems during his iPhone 4 presentation. So many Mifis were in the audience that he couldn’t get a good signal to show off his new iPhone. A Hot Spot feature such as this could save businesses money and time if you only need to have one person in your workgroup to have wireless capability. This would be the first phone to offer a feature like this. People in your area would only have to have Wifi capability on their phone, tablet, netbook, or laptop. They would find your wireless SSID name just like they would at home or in the office. From there they would share your 3G connection to the internet. That is going to be a huge advantage to Droid X.
Connection Speed:
Verizon’s Droid X will join the new 4G LTE technology 3-6 months sooner than ATT’s iPhone. Once they are both on it, however, the speed should be very similar. With multiple manufacturers making phones for Android, I have to assume that Android models will be faster. The Droid X is just one of many phones that run Google’s Android OS on it, and that is not going to change the speed comparison for this article.
Connection cost:
iPhone is $25 for the 2 GB data plan on ATT, while Verizon’s 2 GB plan is only $20 per month.
In marketing the iPhone and Droid X, it’s clear that Verizon wants to appeal to business customers, while Apple wants to appeal to consumers, but with some business features and usability. That goes in line with what I have been seeing in our business where Android phones have been replacing more Blackberry units than iPhones.
Before deciding which phone to get, you may need to consider your main purpose for having a smart phone to begin with. They cost more than a regular phone, but the features are amazing compared to just a few years ago. The question is, can you use them?
Let me know which one you pick, because my contract is up next month, and I am deciding which way to go just like the rest of you.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here
Published Monday, June 28, 2010 11:28 AM by Mallory

Internet 2.0 is about to begin

Internet 2.0 is about to begin

By Robert McMillen, KOIN Tech Guru
I interviewed the top people at ARIN not too long ago. This stands for the American Registry of Information Numbers. They said that in 2011 we will start the transition from TCPIP version 4 to version 6. What does this mean and how will they do it?
The original planners of the internet made several fatal mistakes when they created the way by which we communicate with each other on the internet. They didn’t plan on enough addresses, and they didn’t make the protocol secure that delivers us to the internet. We can’t really blame them, because they never expected people other than scientists and the Department of Defense to use the technology when they invented it.
We only have a total of around four billion addresses we can use on the internet. It would be like home builders not being able to build a home because we have run out of street names and numbers. The space is there, but without the address you can’t get mail to them. The new version has been out for a long time but, like the metric system, we haven’t been able to convert to it. And, like the metric system, there hasn’t been anyone pushing us there so the world has moved on to the new version without us. They can get to all of our sites, but we can’t get to theirs without some tricky manipulation that no one wants to keep up.
The solution is simple, but acting on it is not. So, ARIN will force us there. The new version 6 has trillions of IP addresses and it’s far more secure. It is the epitome of having to eat your vegetables so we can go on living a healthy internet lifestyle. ARIN said to me that we are just about out of those four billion addresses. So, starting in 2011, they will charge internet service providers a premium for using version 4 addresses, while offering discounts for using the new version 6. These costs will be passed on to you. You will be given a choice if you have a static IP address for your company’s website or email server. If you’re a home user with a dynamic address, you may not notice any difference unless you need an upgrade to your home router. If it’s two years old or newer you should be fine. It already has version 6 support built in. Version 6 is also built into Windows Vista and Windows 7, but has to be added manually to Windows XP. Smart phones, Linux, Unix, and Macintosh OSX all have version 6 support built in.
For those of you technical types, version 4 is limited to four billion addresses because it’s based on 2 to the 32nd power, while version six is 2 to the 128th power. We not only need those extra addresses because the world has more than four billion computers on hand, but we need them because we have things like smart phones, tablets, netbooks, and gaming stations that all require public addresses. We also need them because version 6 has built in protection against malware and hackers. This new version is truly the answer to many of our personal security woes that threaten our identities and our livelihoods every day. It will also protect us from rogue states that decide to start a cyber war with us.
What will version 6 bring to us? Besides more addresses and security, it will usher in what Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly publishing has dubbed version 2.0 of the internet. This will include running your applications from data centers instead of on your computer. It’s called Cloud Computing, and the applications are called Software as a Service (SaaS). This means you won’t have to have ever expanding hard drives that you have to back up yourself, because the data will be on redundant servers in the Cloud. This is a big change, and a big challenge to people who support computers and the internet. All of the skills we learned ten years ago won’t help us in this new frontier. We will have to adapt to survive. There will be almost nothing you do that won’t be reliant on it. From the processor in your toothbrush that tells your mom you brushed your teeth properly, to the microwave downloading cooking instructions on how long to cook broccoli, there won’t be anything that isn’t capable of being on the internet in Web 2.0.
Or, you could become one of the growing number of technophobes. You could be one of those who shut everything off and live like the Amish.  I may give that a try someday if my microwave or toothbrush starts talking to me.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, June 14, 2010 9:19 AM by Mallory

The Worst Kind of Virus

The Worst Kind of Virus

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
You can get viruses many different ways, but there is a type of virus which is more prevalent than any other these days. Many readers and clients ask me how viruses are delivered. We have antivirus in our computers and filters in our email, so how do they keep getting past us?
Scareware is the most successful new type of virus. Scareware has been around for years but illegal software companies from Russia, China, and now South America are getting to us in a new way. So what is Scareware? I like to think of it as someone posing as a good friend, but then they shake your hand and pull you in, and yuck! Horrible coffee breath insults your senses like an oil slick in the Gulf.
Here is how they do it. You may have heard about certain legitimate websites like the NY Times infecting people’s computers with malicious codes from one of the ads. Other countries with lots of bad guys set up advertising agencies in the US or some trusted country we do business with. They contact the websites they want to infect saying they have legitimate advertising they would like to place on their website. Times being as they are, there is rarely any checking into the background of someone who wants to give you money. Once again laziness and greed are our own downfall. Did someone say Wall Street?
The sites themselves may not even be run by the company that they represent. Typically they are run by a third party whose job it is to make sure the site works correctly and keeps the advertising money coming in. After taking the money and placing the ad, the scammers put a link on the pictures of the ads, or force a pop up just by visiting the page. If you have a pop up blocker, most of these can be blocked, but not all of them. Despite my pop up blocker, I get Net Flix pop ups all the time.
The ad then scares you into thinking you have a virus and you have to click something to remove it. The reason they are so convincing is that they appear to be a Windows pop up, and they even look like they are trying to run a scan in some cases. If you click on the ad either positively or negatively, you still get infected. Then they want you to give them your credit card to remove it which only steals your identity and places more viruses on your computer.
There is some good news, however. The main person who was the perpetrator of this scam has been mostly shut down. Shaileshkumar "Sam" Jain is currently on the run in the Ukraine, but he ran the Win Fixer, fake Symantec AV products and others. Windows Antivirus 2010 is the biggest one we see in our shop. It works the same way as far as infiltration goes, but it’s also happening even if users have an up to date legitimate antivirus program.
The operation has been so successful however, that we can expect to see a lot more fake companies fooling website owners into this type of false advertising. The easy fix to this is to check on the company who is handing them money. It would be pretty easy to determine they were not legitimate. Find out who the officers of the company are and Google them. Check their references with other known quality companies who use them. Use some common sense. Don’t take candy (money) from strangers. These are things these website company executives should have learned in grammar school, right? Maybe they missed that day.
If you click the ad, you activate a program that can disable antivirus and other anti malware programs. This will bypass your protections and it will take over your computer. So how do we protect ourselves? Of course you should have a good antivirus. I do believe the free ones are good for the most part, but the paid versions tend to not only update their antivirus signatures more often, but they also provide support and better engines that aren’t as easily fooled.
You can also use an ad stripper on your computer. This automatically strips out any ads from the website so you just see the content. For some people this won’t work correctly because this is how the websites make money. You will see more websites either block browsers with ad strippers or make the content unreadable.
The best way is to use a website checking program that will look at the code to see if it has any malicious links and disable them. This will considerably slow down your web browsing experience but it will keep you safer. Many good companies make them including Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Eset, Symantec, McAfee, etc. That doesn’t mean that these companies won’t also make mistakes. McAfee took out all of Intel a couple of months ago by releasing an update that deleted a crucial Windows file. Everyone got the day off. Symantec accidentally thought its own program was a virus and did the same thing. So who can you trust? Just me and your mother, and she’s under suspicion.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business, call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday morning on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here
Published Tuesday, June 01, 2010 10:49 AM by Mallory

Biking in Portland using 3D maps

Biking in Portland using 3D maps

Biking in Portland Using 3D Maps
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
I have been running on a treadmill for many years almost every morning. I do it to stay healthy and keep my lungs clear. Becoming healthy was the main reason for moving to Portland back in 1997. My lung capacity had plummeted into the low 70% range from years of asthma and a collapsed lung from childhood. The Chicago air was just too dirty to breathe. I was having trouble walking to my car without a puff or two from an inhaler.
Years later I am able to run a mile and a half on a treadmill daily, and I have regained almost 20% more lung capacity after moving to the much cleaner air of the Northwest. Running is hard, and can be hard on your joints, but by using a cushy treadmill I was able to avoid issues with ankles and other injuries. The only problem was that it could be boring. Even with a TV setup and MTV rocking away, it has been difficult keeping my mind from telling me to stop when I should keep going. Besides, my wife would kid me to no end every time Fergi, Britney, or whoever would have a video on that I was running and trying to catch them.
So, a few weeks ago I decided to try riding my bike in the morning as the weather got better. I dusted it off, pumped air in the tires and did a trial run in the neighborhood. I didn’t think it would be as good of a workout, but I was wrong. It works a different set of muscles and my legs were on fire when I got back to the house. I went back to running, but I kept the idea open for the future. Then last Sunday my dog ran into my knee cap. I was unable to run without a lot of pain, but I was strangely able to bike without any. So I became one of the many Portland area bicyclists the next day.
Oregon Live says that 17,000 Portlanders bike to work every day, and says that 6% of area residents claim the bicycle is their main mode of transportation. My concern about biking is safety. I worry about being one of the many statistics where a driver doesn’t pay attention and causes an accident. I started reading online about the Portland biking community and I never expected to hear about such passion of the right to bike safely. We have the bike friendliest city in the country according to The only city in the world that beats us is Amsterdam.
Now that I am confirmed to be a cyclist while my knee heals and the weather holds, I decided to try mapping out a Beaverton area route where I could safely get a good workout and see the sights. Although there are many websites to aid in my safety bound journey, I went to Google to help me out. Google has a relatively new feature called 3D Maps. Just pop that into your search bar to get it. Rather than downloading a program, you can do 3D Maps in your web browser. Since I use Firefox I had to install a plug-in that went very quickly, and I could now see a 3d world in front of me in my browser.
I typed in my address at the top and it showed my house from a satellite view. Click on the Earth button to go from seeing 2d to 3d whenever you like. It’s not the kind of 3d you would see at the movies. It’s more of an angled view that can also show terrain, rather than just a flat surface. This can be very helpful to me as I decide if I want a trip with lots of hills, or one that is fairly flat.
I chose a trip down 209th because it gave me a chance to view farms, fields, and avoid most of the traffic. I then went to the “More” button in the webpage and chose the “Bicycling” check box. All of the bike paths overlaid my map and I could map my trip based on the paths. Unfortunately I was unable to get the path to cover the entire area, and that’s what Portland cyclists are fighting for.
I was able to supplement my search by looking at sidewalks. I was able to cover over 90% of my ride with bike paths and sidewalks. You can look at the maps either as a cartoon stick figure look of the streets by clipping the “Map” button, or click the “Satellite” button to see an actual view. The satellite imagery allowed me to view the sidewalks by zooming in on the area.
I hopped on my bike and started out on an 8 mile course according to Google. I haven’t gone over two miles in my test runs so I didn’t know how hard it would be. On 209th I went from bike path to sidewalk until I got to Rosedale. So far, so good. No close calls but I was out of breath. I stopped at the corner. A horse came over to me and stuck his nose over the fence. That never happened on the treadmill. I pet him a little until he got annoyed with me because I had no food to offer him.
Down the street I went, and I saw fruit trees and farms and all kinds of new sights. 209th is where the urban sprawl stops so it was quite a contrast to the view across the street where hundreds of houses stood all close together. I used all ten gears on my bike as the hills rolled up and down. I had no sidewalk or bike path, but the traffic was light and I was able to go onto the shoulder if I needed to. The only concern I had was up ahead, and that was an “S” curve in the road. Visibility would be difficult for a driver to see me, but I checked behind me and saw no one coming. I knew from my satellite view this was coming, so I already could tell how far the curve went and what to expect, despite the fact I had never been here before. I could even open the app on my iPhone if I wanted a refresher of what the area looked like as I approached it.
I made it through without incident, and I got all the way to River rd. Now comes the hard part. With a treadmill, if you get tired you step off of it, and you’re done. When you run or bike outside your home, you have to remember that when you stop and turn around you’re only half way there. I turned around and took a long drink of water and caught my breath for a few minutes before heading back. By the time I got back home I was a little light headed, my legs felt like tree trunks, but I made it. The horse didn’t even bother coming over to the fence on the trip back, but he did remind to bring something with me on my next trip.
I’m looking forward to more weekend bike trips in the future, but there just aren’t enough safe areas to bring along my kids. Kids can bike around cul-de-sacs and dead end streets, but I just wouldn’t trust to bring them along on the path I went. I had cars zooming past at least 20 miles over the speed limit on 209th within five feet of me. I just couldn’t risk the kids going along. If we want family friendly bike paths where we can all get healthy together, then this has to be a priority for our candidates as we get to election time.  Now that I’m aware, I will be right there with you fighting for the right to bike safely on a lot more streets in Portland and the surrounding areas.
To reach our company for computer support at your home or business call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday morning on AM 1360 KUIK, or go to -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here

Published Monday, May 17, 2010 1:05 PM by Mallory

Speeding up your computer

Speeding up your computer

By: Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
Many of you have seen the segment by Eric Taylor this week as he interviewed me about how to speed up your PC. It seemed to have helped a lot of people, but many more had lots of questions. I will try to answer them here.
Q: Should I buy a program that speeds up my computer?
A: The one big reason for buying a program that speeds up your computer in one easy step is that it’s one easy step. The program does all the work finding the utilities and running them for you in the background. Windows already has almost all of the programs already built in if you choose to learn how to use them. I will help you out later on in this article. Be sure to buy something that isn’t a virus that’s pretending to look like a legitimate program. How would you know? You can email me or ask a computer professional. Just because it’s advertised on a known major media site doesn’t make it legitimate. The New York Times website was hacked with spyware and viruses that people accidentally downloaded, so the risks are high.
Q: Is my computer running slowly because I have a lot of pictures and videos on my hard drive?
A: No it is not. As long as you have at least 15% free on your hard drive, it will run just fine no matter what kind of files you have on it, as long as it’s not malware. The reason you need 15% is so the disk defragmenter can take all those files and organize them in order for the fastest possible access. If you open all those picture and video files at the same time, it won’t be the hard drive that’s the bottleneck. It will be the RAM.
Q: How can I see what’s slowing down my computer?
A: Eric had that same question so we right clicked on the task bar and chose the Task Manager. In the Performance tab you can see if your processor is spiking upwards fairly quickly. If it runs constantly at a higher rate than 1% with no programs open, then you have a lot of programming running in the background we need to stop. Also, check out the Processes tab. Be sure to press the button to show processes from all users so nothing is hidden. Then look at how many are running and which ones are using the most RAM and CPU. You can right click and end those tasks, or we can keep them from running in the first place. Eric’s computer had 84 processes going, no free RAM, and the processor was running around 40% with no programs open. That was a problem. You should have no more than 40-50 processes with no programs open running on a PC. Less is even better.
Q: What utilities can I run to speed up my computer?
A:  You are full of good questions today! Here are the main ones included in Windows.
Disk Defragmenter: This puts all your data in one long circle on your hard drive. Over time this gets split up into fragments as data is added and deleted. This utility will definitely speed up your computer and add life to the hard drive. You can find this utility under Start- Programs- Accessories- System Tools. There’s not much to configure. Just click Defragment Now and off it goes. It may take several hours, and you can schedule it to run automatically in the Control Panel- Scheduled Tasks, or Control Panel- Administrative Tools- Task Scheduler if you have Vista or Windows 7.
Hard Drive Scan: This utility can be found in the same place. You should choose all types of scans in the options area. You’ll have to reboot so this is done offline. It may also take hours to run so be prepared. Not only does this scan and fix errors but it also marks bad sectors on the drive so data won’t be put there again in the future. A key program running on a bad sector will crash your computer or slow it down considerably.
Disk Cleanup: This utility can also be found in the same location as previously mentioned. Your hard drive will be scanned for temporary files left over from application installations, files in the recycling bin, internet cache files and others that are just taking up space. It can be run while in Windows, but expect it to take up to an hour if you haven’t ever done it on your PC before. Run this before you run the defrag utility. It will open up some holes in your hard drive where the data was deleted that the defrag utility can fill back in.
MSCONFIG: This is the best utility for speeding up your PC, but it’s also the trickiest. But don’t be scared. I will walk you through it. Go to the Start Button and choose the Run or Search box, depending on the version of Windows. Type in MSCONFIG. A new box pops up with several tabs. Choose the Startup tab and disable all startup programs. These programs just take up RAM and processing and slow you down. They were originally designed to help launch programs faster, but with so many of them running all the time in the background they use up too many resources. Plus, your electric bill will be higher with unused programs running, and that isn’t Green Friendly now is it? You will be prompted to reboot after you click OK. If you get any errors from programs that needed any of those to Startup on reboot, then write down which programs they are, launch MSCONFIG again, and just click the ones that had errors.  Another tab in this program shows Services. If you know you have services you’re not using, then you can uncheck them here. You may make your computer not work correctly, so there is a risk. There is no risk on the Startup programs tab, however, so you should have no problem that can’t be quickly undone. Eric’s computer went from 84 processes down to 48 after we disabled all of the startup programs, and we had no errors on reboot.
Q: What else may be slowing my computer down?
A: Here are a few simple things that we looked at on Eric’s computer that may help you. In Task Manager, I noticed he only had one GB of RAM. He should upgrade that to at least two GBs, and it doesn’t cost more than around $50 to do so. If you have a computer less than two years old it may have the ability to go even higher. Check the manufacturer’s website to find out, or just email me.
Check the processor type. There should be a sticker on the computer with it. Anything less than a Core Duo may be too old to get much faster. After Core Duo came Core 2 Duo, Quad Core, and then the i3, 5, and 7 series from Intel. AMD has different numbers, but you can type in your processor name into an internet search. If the manufacture date is older than four years, it may be time to replace the computer.  
Make sure Windows updates are done and up to date. I realize that sometimes the updates make things slower, especially if you get a bad one, but there are also driver updates that are optional. Sometimes these can really speed up your computer. If they make them worse, there is a roll back feature to save you.
Eric had an up to date antivirus and utility program so he didn’t think his computer was slowing down due to viruses or other Malware. But I found his processor was still running even after making all those changes with no programs open. I suspected his computer was infected. We downloaded a different kind of anti Malware program. There are several out there that can remove viruses and spyware without constantly running the way Symantec, McAfee, and other brands do. You should have one of those monitoring your computer as well, but don’t rely on them to catch everything. We installed Malwarebytes, which is free from  It found over 200 pieces of Malware that his regular antivirus didn’t catch. After we rebooted the computer it ran like a champ. Microsoft Word went from taking 15 seconds to open down to less than 4 seconds. His computer is over three years old with only one GB of RAM, so we didn’t think it would get much better than that.
Although Windows doesn’t have a good registry cleaner, you can also download the free CCleaner from It will remove fragments of the registry that are no longer in use to speed up your computer.
You can run these programs to make your computer like new again, and you don’t have to buy anything. It just takes a little education and patience. You will be amazed at how much better your PC will work.
To reach me for computer support at your home or business call All Tech 1 at 503-598-8408. We have a team of Microsoft certified technicians and engineers.
For great tips, you can check here, listen to Bob on All Tech Radio at 9 a.m. Sunday morning on AM 1360 KUIK, or go here -
To buy Bob's latest book, go here
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, Bob will always answer by email.

Published Monday, May 03, 2010 9:59 AM by Mallory