Websites and Computers

Today was an interesting day.  Most of it was spent in front of a computer, but the vast majority was not having fun.  We have always had some issues on our home LAN with our computers being able to see each other.  They were all running the same firewall software with the same settings but not everyone could see the other ones.

When I got my new computer, I decided to research firewall software and go a different route.  Today, was spent changing out the firewall software and upgrading my PC management tools on all five of our machines.  Since I have had outstanding luck with AVG anti-virus software, I ended up selecting their firewall/spy-ware and malware solution in addition to their anti-virus.

Well, after changing out software and upgrading the backup solution, registry cleaning and other assorted management tools, I discovered  a series of viruses and trojans on Suzanne’s computer.  She has the uncanny knack of taking the firewall down on her computer so she can get to the other ones when she needs too.  Unfortunately, she rarely remembers to put the firewall back up.  At some point towards the end of last week, it appears she also took the anti-virus software down such that is wasn’t protecting and scanning.  The actual cleansing of the machine was pretty easy and straightforward and there doesn’t appear to be any permanent damage.

I also stumbled on the JV16 Power Tools.  This is a set of tools that claim to improve the performance of your PC but fixing deep hidden issues.  After running a few simple and mostly non-scientific benchmark tests on my old machine and Suzanne’s machine, I turned the software suite loose.   They have a 30 day trial version.  Now, it might just be me, but both machines exhibited noticeable improvements in response times for typical activities (opening and closing apps for instance).  On my machine, America’s Army opened much better and even had a 20% increase in frame rate.  It’s hard to believe but the tools may actually have done some good.  On Suzanne’s machine, they found 1100 issues in the registry – even after other registry cleaning tools had been run.  I may just have to invest in some licenses of that tool when the 30 days is up.

I did find some time today to begin work on a couple of new sites.  As mentioned prior, myself and a couple of buddies are going to launch a new, yet undefined site.  I have been creating a new theme for the site and work is progressing nicely.  I would roughly guess we are a month or so from launching.  I am excited about the prospect of something fresh and new.

I also began work today on a complete redesign of my America’s Army gaming clan’s website.  The existing design on that site has been in place for almost 2 years now.  It’s time for something new.  I also want to get that site away from php-nuke.  I am probably going to redo the site in WordPress with some bbpress forums.  I am hoping to enlist some graphics help from clan members as Mr Papa doesn’t do graphics well.

After all that, the family found time tonight to enjoy a movie.  We watched The Island.  It’s a strange concept but has some fast moving action and maintained everyones interest.  It won’t win any Oscars, but it was enjoyable.  Sean really like it but claimed the plot was a bit thin.  He is keen on action movies.

Suzanne and the kids musical show at the Tucson VA Hospital today went well.  They had about 40 folks in attendance and put on a show of singing and dancing.  I understand it was good prep for next weekends Showstoppers Dance competition in Phoenix.