Readers' Forum - September 2005

from the September 2005 Actrix Newsletter

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).

Eddie writes: Dear Editor. It has always been my understanding that I should have a "firewall" such as "Zone Alarm" etc. or some sort of antivirus preventative. I was told very recently, I don't need Zone Alarm. Is this true? I did have zone alarm & now I don't. The reason it was deleted is because my computer does not have the capacity to operate zone alarm & to function properly i.e freezing often, operates slowly, very slowly etc. Regards, Eddie

Hi Eddie, There isn't a definite right and wrong answer to the question of whether you need a firewall. It is always preferable to have one, but you need to weigh that up against the obvious performance issue. If you're just on dialup then you probably don't really need one. Hackers are more interested in people with fast connections, and there are plenty of vulnerable fast connections out there for them to target.

However, if you don't have a firewall, the truth is you are pretty defenceless, and if a hacker decides to go for you you're not even going to know he's had a try. And no one can guarantee you that some kiddie-hacker might not want to have a go just for the fun of it. Zone Alarm can cause problems, especially on older machines, and for safe online computing, it's recommended you consider upgrading to something a little more powerful, perhaps.

Steve writes: Hi Rob, Every time I go to update my AVG Update I get a message saying the "...AVG server is too busy and unable to download...". This was happening from time to time a few months ago, but the problem has got a lot worse in the last few weeks. I installed AVG after the recommendation from Actrix, and by and large it has been problem free. Is there a technical problem with using AVG presently? Are there too many people using it? is there any other free antivirus software available that Actrix is aware of and could recommend?

Steve Trayhorne, from the Actrix help desk responds: The problem you describe is quite common of late and is really due to AVG limiting the connections for customers using their Free version. Quite understandable as they need to make sure they are able to provide full service to their subscribed customers. There are four ways to approach this:

  1. Keep trying to complete the update checking at various times of day, early morning or late evening seem to be the best times.
  2. Manually go to their web site and download the update file and install it from your hard drive.
  3. Purchase either their paid version of the product or an alternative reputable Antivirus program.
  4. Search the Internet for other Free anti virus solutions:

I hope this information is of assistance. Regards, Stephen Trayhorne

Anne writes: Hi there Rob, My query deals with downloading programmes from the internet. Recently I somehow lost one of my favourite fonts Black Chancery. I used it often, especially making cards on Publisher. It disappeared from the 'fonts' facility and by chance I found a notice on Publisher saying that Black Chancery was no longer available. Can you throw any light on how this could have happened? Can it be retrieved? I found Fonts Free on the internet but when I attempt to download, a sign comes up saying that if I download this program it may harm my computer. Is this program safe? At the moment the icon is sitting on my desktop but I thought it prudent to seek your advice about this one. Thanks, Anne

Josh Simpson from the Actrix help desk responds: Hi Anne, This is a little outside of what we normally provide support for, but we'll see if we can help. You could try checking in the "c:\windows\fonts" folder on you computer and see if you can find the font Black Chancery (It may be called "BLKCHCRY.TTF"). If it's not there you will need to get a new copy from the Internet and copy or save it into the "c:\windows\fonts" folder. That particular font can be found on a few "Free fonts" web sites such as http://www.dafont.com/en/font.php?file=black_chancery. After it is copied into the fonts folder is should become available to all windows programs.

As for the warning, this is a general warning that Internet Explorer gives for all downloads. To be sure the best course of action would be to virus scan the downloaded file before you open it. This can usually be done by right-clicking on the file and selecting "Scan for virus" (or something similar). If it detects a virus, just delete the file and find a different web site to download from.

I hope that helps. Josh Simpson, Actrix Support