VISUAL NEWSLETTER – MAR 2004
Advances in computer software have from time to time required that we upgrade our computers to run the latest software. Older computers are constrained primarily by processor speed, disk space and RAM memory availability. Occasionally, the operating system level may also become a problem. Some newer programs will only run on Windows 98 or newer operating systems.
With the exception of operating speed, these typical constraints can be upgraded fairly inexpensively. Processor speed related problems are not so easily fixed. A computer running at 100 MHz for instance, cannot run the latest movie trailer regardless of how much memory or disk space it has.
In some instances operating system degradation can make an otherwise capable computers run much slower than it did when it was newer. This can sometimes be remedied by a tune up or a full operating system reload may be necessary. In either case, if the computer worked ok before, then it can usually be brought back up to spec.
Before you throw out an otherwise useful computer, consider the upgrade and reinstallation possibilities. Slower computers may also work just fine in certain data entry intensive operations, so relocation may be a viable option. Many companies offer older computers to employees. As a first computer for a child or a second word processor, they can still be useful if they are in good working order. We often can find older computers a home if you no longer have any use for them.
Older computers have some useful possible functions. A common one is to use an older computer as a print server. On Novell networks one can drive up to three printers with excellent performance and reliability. This is usually superior to printer sharing.
The ever increasing onslaught of Viruses, Ad-ware, Spyware, Hackers and unsolicited E-mail (Spam) has caused seemingly unending aggravation to computer users across the world. The major Anti-Virus companies have responded with a suite of products which are commonly known as Internet Security programs. Norton, MacAfee and others have created these suites to combat all of the above problems.
Anti-Viruses have become essential in the Internet enabled workplace. They need to be kept up to date to be effective however. This means daily updates and weekly scans at the very least. Even then a new virus can occasionally breach security especially if you are not also downloading Windows patches.
At the same time these suites also detect, hunt down and remove Ad-ware and Spyware which can cause excessive ads to pop up and may relay personal information to the outside world. As an added benefit, Norton’s Internet suite also functions to suppress pop-up ads. I found this to be quite effective visiting sites that I know to be Ad intensive.
Another function of the suites is Anti-Spam. Unwanted e-mails, guaranteed to make you rich or enlarge body parts are rampant. These can be effectively blocked by these suites but you must take care not to block legitimate e-mails at the same time.
Another function not to be overlooked in the workplace is Parental Control. This can be activated to keep employees out of web-sites that they have no business visiting at work.
The downside of these suites is cost. This extensive technology costs about $100 per computer. When you consider the cost of repairing virus damage, lost productivity and corporate liability it may still be a bargain.