Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your families the  happiest of Holidays and a Very Merry Christmas Day.

As we wind down this year and begin to think about 2010, we have decided to expand the breadth of AskTheBlogster topics from simply computer related to social, family, and educational topics.

Here is a sneak peek at a few the posts that we will be writing next year:
  • Why Healthcare Reform is a bunch of bunk.
  • Can children learn from watching TV? (Two posts planned)
  • How to help your child become a math wiz.
  • Thoughts about evolution.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to Get Rid Of and Remove System Defender

Last Friday morning, I tried to get an early jump on my daily Entrecard and Adgitize droppings. While I was visiting Adgitize sites, new browser windows popped up, alerting me to a potential virus danger. I closed the pop-up and tried to continue my droppings. But I found that many of my browser links had been redirected. Either weird pages appeared, or the System Defender's Window Advanced Security Center! I could close that window, and search, but many of my other links didn't work. Randomly, little pop-up alert windows would pop-up automatically.  If I clicked on them, the System Defender's Window Advanced Security Center would appear. A sample of the main screen is shown below.

So what is System Defender? Basically, the intention of this program's authors is to trick you into paying them to remove the badware they just placed on your system. It's a hi-tech blackmail scam. Things keep popping up, links are redirected, and your computer runs slowly.

I knew that this was a major problem and it needed to be removed. I did some searching and found a site called:

While it has as strange name, I knew that it is a reputable website that offers removal software products for free (because I had used it before on someone else's machine). Also, it has complete step-by-step instructions for how to use the Malwarebyte program below. So, I won't repeat that information again.

Once you arrive on, scroll down to the Automated Removal Instructions and download the Free Version from their site or from cnet:

Once you download it, close all your programs, including all browser windows. Then, double-click on the Malwarebyte Icon and perform a full scan of your computer. If you have System Defender or another bad virus or more, this program will find the evil ones. (If you don't close everything, the virus will still be alive in your open programs)

Depending on your computer, the full scan can take 2-3 hours (mine took almost 2 hours). When the scan is complete, it lists the malware found on you computer. Press the Remove Selected button, and it will do its work.

After a reboot, your computer should be working properly once again! (If not, repeat the scan. Sometimes you have to do that twice)

Prevention Advice
Even if your computer is not infected with anything and you think your Anti-Virus software will protect you, I recommend that you download the Malwarebyte Anti-Malware program ahead of time. This way, if for some unknown reason your computer is infected (like I was), you'll already have the removal program on your machine, and will know what to do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Avoid Infecting Your PC - Only Click on Sites You Know

As I woke up this morning, I had plans of completing all my blogging chores early. So, I dropped my regular Entrecards, then began going about my 100 Adgitize clicks. Then, I was going to write a long planned AskTheBlogster entry.

Just to mix things up, I decided to start the Adgitize clicking around 100 of the Leaderboard. As usual, things were going smoothly until I reached 90 clicks!

Then, browser windows & pop up screens took over my computer. I couldn't close anything, so I rebooted.

But the malware was still there! For the past 8 hours, I have been battling this vicious & unwanted enemy.

I finally got enough control of my machine to write this post, and will begin another important Viral Scan that will take hours.

I usually open 6 Agitize sites at a time & begin clicking on them. So, I don't know if the malicious site was one that was on the Leaderboard or one that has purchased a  monthly ad.

(Perhaps even, the responsible site doesn't even know its infected).

This is really a pain in the rear, and makes one wonder if the $0.20 - $1.00 earned daily is really worth the effort.

Anyway, thanks to my recent commenters, but I won't get back to you until I clean this mess up.

And, if anyone else has a problem, please share it with all of us!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Add an RSS Feed to Your Site

As our website Lottery Power Picks has grown, we've realized that it has become difficult for visitors (and us), to find the quality articles and research pages that we worked on so hard.  We realized that going forward, we will need to rewrite many of our pages to concentrate on individual lotteries. Ideally, we would pack as much information into a compact space as possible.

So with this, we thought that we need to organize and deliver topical links that could be easily updated and broadcast. We thought about writing little individual pages for this purpose.

But in the back of our mind, we wanted our information delivered as a feed. Perhaps like many, we were intimidated by the word "feed".

We did a quick search and found that an RSS feed can be easily created. Basically, you just need to create an xml file! The two best sites that describe how to do this are:
The content in both are basically the same and provide an easy step by step method for a novice to follow. The only tricky part is that you must have a website domain that contains your files.

The xml feed file consists of a header, channel information, an individual items. The things you typically see are the items which include a: title, link, and description.

We followed their guide and created our first xml feed file. To distribute, we used FeedBurner. Below is the RSS link to our first stand-alone feed (which you can subscribe to):

Mega Millions Research Articles

Afterwards, we added our feed to our iGoogle Home Page. Soon we will be adding more and more feeds for various lotteries and topics. Best of all, we now have an easy to use distribution and organization tool that our visitors can subscribe to.

This was so easy that we wanted to share it with all of you!

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