How to Use Email, Part 2: Better Subject lines

Use a descriptive subject line. What may be even worse than a blank subject is a wrong subject. A subject line of “hi,” “question,” “problem,” or “help” is practically useless. Be descriptive. If you write someone about next week’s board meeting time being changed, then an apporpriate subject line would be “Next week’s board meeting time has changed.” See how quickly that helps convey your message? Sure, you could have said “board meeting,” but what does that really say? Not much. Continue reading “How to Use Email, Part 2: Better Subject lines”

How to Use Email, Part 1: Subject lines

I’ve decided to publish some notes that I’ve been accumulating for a long time on the do’s and don’ts of email. Since it may get a bit long, I’ve decided that I’ll put them out here one at a time, and it will consist of at least five parts. (That way I can be lazy and not have to think up new topics for a while!)

So here’s the first thing that you can do to make yourself a more effective emailer: Always use the subject line. Continue reading “How to Use Email, Part 1: Subject lines”

Norton Internet Security is Garbage

I highly recommend that anyone who purchased Norton Internet Security or a computer that came with it preinstalled, uninstall it immediately and get something else. The firewall that comes with NIS is completely brain-dead, and to date EVERY computer that we have worked on which has NIS installed has had issues where the firewall keeps the user from doing anything network-related.

The idea behind a software firewall is that it keeps the bad guys out of your computer. The problem is that Norton Internet Security seems to take this a step further by keeping you from getting on the Internet or even your local area network! I suppose that the truly draconian network administrator could argue that this is more secure, but the far cheaper and simpler method would be to simply disconnect your Ethernet card from the network.

If you need a firewall, Windows XP comes with one built in, for free, and it works well. There are also plenty of other firewall, anti-virus, and spyware prevention products out there. I’ll list a few for your reference:

Firewalls:

Windows XP’s Built In Firewall – Microsoft – Free

Kerio – Sunbelt Software – $20

ZoneAlarm – Zone Labs – $50

Anti Virus:

Norton Antivirus – Symantec – $40 (yes, this product is okay)

AVG – Grisoft – $39

AVGFree – Grisoft – Free to NON-business users for ONE computer only.

Anti Spyware:

Windows Defender – Microsoft – Free

Spybot Search and Destroy – Free
AdAware Personal – Lavasoft – Free for personal use

SpySweeper – Webroot – $30/year

Alternately, just buy a Mac.

MacNu – My Initial Foray Into Podcasting!

I started listening to podcasts in February of 2006, and quickly became addicted. One that I listened to was known as Duel Boot Radio (yes, we know it’s the wrong “duel”). The hosts were funny and, while I didn’t always learn much from it, I found them entertaining.

A few weeks ago, Duel Boot Radio came to an end when one of the co-hosts backed out of doing the show. I wrote to one of the hosts, suggesting that he keep doing the show, but with guest hosts.
He didn’t want to do that, but invited me to be a guest/co-host of his new podcast, called MacNu. I agreed, and now we’re recording at least one episode a week. Look for it at macnu.com or in iTunes.