Not all spyware programs are created equal
Periodically I get questions from readers which I try to answer individually. Sometimes they are so good I want to share them in my column.
Here are some selected queries that I think will be helpful:
» Dorleen from Mililani asks what's the best free anti--spyware available.
Well, Dorleen, there's no real agreement on the definition of spyware. Whereas one company's software will consider something a malicious intrusion, another will completely ignore it.
The solution: You're going to need more than one program to keep you free from all nasties. Here are several you can download for free.
* Lavasoft Ad-aware SE is one of the best on the market. It's also simple to use and fast. You can get it in two versions. Ad-aware SE Personal is free and offers basic spyware quarantining and removal features. The other one, Ad-aware SE Plus, costs $29.95 and has real-time protection, automatic updates and advertising block--features.
* Tenebril SpyCatcher Express also has free and pay-for versions. It also offers protection from phishing attacks. The $29.95 version has detailed info on your computer's applications and removes unwanted cookies. It's also very fast and often grabs spyware that other programs miss.
* Microsoft Windows Defender beta 2 is free of charge and scans a computer very rapidly. The bad news is that that it might remove legitimate third-party applications that it doesn't recognize.
The good news is that it updates automatically--the only free program to do this.
» Jimmy from Waikiki said he was watching the Classic TV channel the other night and spotted a dancer he hadn't seen in years named Fayard Nicholas who was part of the Nicholas Brothers, a famous vaudeville act.
He wanted to know if there was an easy way to find out if he was still alive?
There are a couple of ways to attack this problem. You could do a search on Google.com for Fayard Nicholas and no doubt figure out his status eventually. However, that might take some time.
Another way to check would be to go to a very cool Web site called www.deadoraliveinfo.com with a database that contains more than 7,400 people from various walks of life -- entertainment, politics, sports, music, law and others.
It will tell you whether someone is dead or alive, and give you thumbnail biography of them along with the cause of death.
By the way, the answer to Jimmy's question is that Fayard Nicholas just passed away in May at the age of 91.
general manager of digital phone at Oceanic Time Warner Cable, has been a telecommunications and computer expert for 25 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org