Friday, December 24, 2010

Hong Kong MTR Advertisement – Windows Blue Screen!

This is the second time in this week I saw – a big Mega 103” Windows blue screen advertisement on Hong Kong MTR's HD TV* – this time at Yau Tong, and the other time at Tai Koo Shing.

I wonder if there'll be compensation to sponsors. Besides, it reflects the technology behind or the attitude of Hong Kong MTR, which worries many and surely damaging the corporate's public image.

In fact, it's not just Hong Kong MTR alone, but often happened in other outdoors huge LCD/Plasma TV advs. Some are even being hacked or infected by virus! What a BIG advertisement, friend!

Having a brilliant video adv of course is important, yet a stable display software/hardware platform is essential too. Windows XP is surely not a good platform for such application. Some kind of backup system should always exist as well.
*Fact from HK MTR:
Mega 103” TV Network covers trackside and concourse area at a total of 48 MTR stations through 105 units of 103” HD Plasma TV and 51 HD LCD TV with optimal coverage of mass audiences.

Monday, December 20, 2010

FAQ - Hong Kong Internet Services

The Internet market is changing all the time. Yet, I'll do my best to keep you up-to-date guidelines.

What is the broadband Internet coverage in Hong Kong?
Very high, virtually everyone has Internet access, even through multiple networks. For example, one can have a home wired broadband subscription and a 3G Internet subscription on his mobile device or a wifi account for his netbook.

Are there free internet services in Hong Kong?
Yes, many big shopping malls have free Internet service. Eating places like McDonalds and Starbucks, some MTR stations, most government building and areas. Even public transportation like buses have free wifi access. However, in most cases, free Internet access are only for web page browsing like check your web mail account but not other web apps like chat, skype, etc.

What wired Internet ISPs are available?
For office use, many will choose PCCW (http://www.pccw.com/), HGC (http://www.hgc.com.hk/), Wharf T&T (http://www.wharftt.com/), HKBN (http://www.hkbn.net/). Usually, in business areas, you will have multiple choices. For home use, PCCW, HKBN, i-Cable (http://service.i-cable.com/) are popular. Because of competition, special offers are almost always available all the time. So, quote from various ISPs and negotiate!

What wireless Internet ISPs are available?
"Three" (http://www.three.com.hk/), PCCW 3G and PCCW wifi (http://www.pccw.com/) are some options. PCCW wifi is cheaper, but the coverage is not as wide as the 3G network.

What usually the ISP will offer?
Besides the Internet connection, usually a POP mail account with webmail support. Also, a SMTP server will be provided. Fixed IP are available for business plans, usually one fixed IP or 8 fixed IP. More WAN IP addresses can be requested. Home user plans usually do not have a fixed IP address.

What is the price range of a Internet connection subscription?
Depends on various factors like bandwidth, home or business, fixed or dynamic IP address, etc. For example, an unlimited 2M/640K dynamic IP business plan could cost about HK$100-200/month. While a 100M symmetric broadband with 1 fixed IP business plan could cost you around HK$700/month. Home plans are usually much cheaper. A 100M symmetric plan costs around HK$100/month.

Of course, these figures only serve to give you an idea and they're always changing.

I want to set up a branch office in Hong Kong, what broadband Internet subscription will you recommend?
I'll recommend a 4M/4M symmetric* broadband service with one fixed IP address business plan. It costs around HK$300-400/month, which is a very reasonable price for business use. It should be stable enough in most cases whatever ISP you use.

*symmetric means the upload and download bandwidth are the same. 4M/4M is just a minimum. Actually, many ISPs can provide a higher bandwidth line with more or less the same price.

What other suggestions will you give?
Often your ISP will offer you hosting services for your email and Internet domain. However, ISPs usually charges a much higher price, but poorer quality in hosting services. For quality hosting services, search for a hosting company.

Besides, usually business plans are with a free on-loan router. However, by doing so, you will have your Internet gateway controlled by your ISP. It is good that you provide your own router and have better control of your Internet gateway.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Redo Backup & Recovery

Clone Your Hard Disk over network, by using Redo Backup & Recovery

If you're a network admin, or have a need to build PC systems in sizable quantity, the concept of system hard disk cloning should not be anything new. Names like "Ghost",  "Clonezilla" and "Acronis True Image" are just some examples of cloning software available. However, your budget may be limited, or you feel Clonezilla too complicated to setup.

Recently, I came across a not-so-well-known name – “Redo Backup & Recovery”, and it really worth your consideration, even for serious network administrators. Benefits of this tool include – easy to use yet powerful, platform independent, support backup and restore over network, and FREE FOR PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL USE!

With advancement in network bandwidth and speed, it's now practical to clone drives through network. Here below outlines the steps to clone over network:

Steps to Generate Boot CD
  1. Go to this site and download the ISO file to make a boot CD: http://redobackup.org/download.php
  2. Use the generated CD to boot a laptop/computer, choose “Enhance Video”* (in my case, my two laptops need to choose this mode to start properly)
*try other video modes if can't go enhanced

Steps to Make an Image Over Network
  1. After boot at Home, choose Home-Backup or Restore. Choose Backup.
  2. In “Step 1: Select Source Drive”, select the drive to clone and press Next.
  3. In “Step 2: Select Partitions to Save”, check the partitions you want to clone. Press Next.
  4. In “Step 3: Select Destination Drive”, choose “Shared over a network”
  5. In “Server or share location”, enter your server IP address and sharefolder. Example: “//”, where is your server and the sharefolder “share” stores your clone source images.
  6. In “Username”, enter the user name to access the sharefolder. Example: “my-pc/tony”, where “my-pc” is your server computer name and “tony” is the user name.
  7. In “Password”, provide password. Unless you have a Domain, otherwise just leave the “Domain” field blank.
  8. Press “Next”, and provide the folder for storing the cloned image files. Press Save Here.
  9. … now very straight forward…

Steps to Restore Over Network
  1. Once started at Home, choose Home-Backup or Restore. Choose Restore.
  2. In “Step 1: Select Source Drive”, choose “Shared over a network”
  3. In “Server or share location”, enter your server IP address and sharefolder. Example: “//”, where is your server and the sharefolder “share” stores your clone source images.
  4. In “Username”, enter the user name to access the sharefolder. Example: “my-pc/tony”, where “my-pc” is your server computer name and “tony” is the user name.
  5. In “Password”, provide password. Unless you have a Domain, otherwise just leave the “Domain” field blank.
  6. Press “Next”, click on the folder icon and browse to the image file you want to restore from. Press “Open”* (*if network share not found, double check computer name/IP, username and password; also try disable the firewall of the server)

I think the rest you can figure out by yourself, very straight forward.

  • Can't resize the clone destination partitions, so you must clone a smaller disk to a larger disk but not the other way round

  • You may need to go to Home-Network (Setup wired connection) and setup your network first. Simply choose DHCP if it’s available, or self fixed a static IP address.
  • If you see a BLANK screen, move your mouse to the top right corner and click on the [X].
  • Do not use “\”, instead use “/”. For example, “//” instead of \\\share
  • You may need to make a boot CD for each laptop
  • The “server” which shares the clones files can be a simple Windows PC with a shared folder
  • Bootable USB drive is supported, boot from a CD and use its built-in tool to create one

  • Clone over network a 80GB HDD with around 6GB system data takes about 7 mins, using low-end D-Link Gigabit switching.

SOLVED! - HP 6910p Laptop Extremely Slow, 100% CPU Usage

MY HP 6910p runs extremely slow, CPU usage very high...

Use the built-in tool to check RAM, HDD - OK!
Using clamav to scan for virus, msconfig check - OK!

Symptoms: 100% CPU usage, battery not charged. After charging overnight, still below 10% charged.

Solved: By replacing AC adapter and the battery.

My Comments: When the AC Adapter cannot provide enough power, the CPU performance drops and so the 100% CPU usage. My situation is more complicated because both the AC adapter and the battery are bad. In your case, may be just changing the adapter will solve the problem.

Google this problem shows that I and you are not alone. Hope this helps you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to keep track of your IT inventory?

Another big headache of every IT admin, how to keep track your IT inventory? If you don't have the budget for a big software, here's a freeware, which may be exactly what you need:

Go to http://www.frostbow.com/downloads/index.shtml and download their Frostbow Home Inventory lite version and install it.

It tracks some important data:
-        Item name, serial number, warranty period, acquired date, manufacturer, ...
-        category, condition, item value, even item pictures ...

I love its simplicity and single database file design (very portable). The spreadsheet like “Grid view” give a quick view to the inventory list.

Now, you might want to change field names, adjust default values, … Yes, you can! Download their  full trial version and use it to make all the adjustments you like. Save the settings and just continue to use the “lite” version to do your daily business!

If you start to love this great tool, your appreciation might move you to buy their full version product to benefit from the full functionality of it.

No Firewall in Trend Micro Titanium?!

To many long time users of Trend Micro Internet Security, the missing of a firewall in their latest Titanium series is totally unacceptable. However, I do admire their courage to take this move.

Over the years, I'm feeling that Internet security software has been running into a dead end, drawing more and more system resources; downloading larger and larger update files … this situation is just getting worse and worse.

In places such as China, where the Internet bandwidth is low, users may not be able to get updates to their antivirus software.

With Windows Vista and 7, the built-in firewall is indeed strong enough even for serious users. Titanium will take advantage of this and gives users a cloud-based light weight security solution. I won't say it's a downgrade but just a brave move to face the challenging reality, which I believe many other software vendors will follow suit – it's just a matter of time!

To read more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Subscribe for a Hong Kong Domain Name?

Whenever companies want to start their business or set up a branch office in Hong Kong, often they ask this same question - how can I subscribe for a Hong Kong local domain name?

".com", ".com.hk" or ".hk"?
Probably you already have a name in mind, like "mycompany.com". But, some might wonder what about "mycompany.com.hk" or even "mycompany.hk"?

Tehnically speaking, all work in much the same way. But from the corporate image point of view, they're quite different in the minds of Hong Kong locals.

A ".com" domain name gives the impression that this is an international company, marketing worldwide. From the corporate image point of view, it may be good. Yet, from a product or service selling point of view, Hong Kong people might feel it too far away to be considered as far as customer service is concerned.

Both ".com.hk" and ".hk" domains are domain names solely managed by the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (https://www.hkirc.hk/), which is a Hong Kong-based non-profit making organization with government and academic links. ".com.hk" and ".hk" names are generally accepted by Hong Kong people as local domain names, which give people the impression that they're dealing with a local product or service provider, or the branch office of a certain international brand.

So, what's the difference of ".com.hk" and ".hk"? The application of ".com.hk" is stricter in comparison with a ".hk" domain. To apply for a ".com.hk" domain, usually the applicant needs to submit the BR (business registration) certificate issued by the HK government, to prove that the applicant is really a registered company in Hong Kong. However, it is not required for a ".hk" domain application.

In the minds of Hong Kong people, a ".com.hk" business is usually local, more official, with a longer history, whereas a ".hk" business will be newer business. Of course, this mindset is gradually changing as more and more .hk domains are being used in Hong Kong.

In short, if you're a foreign company coming to Hong Kong to open a branch office, probably you already have a ".com" domain. Simply apply a similar ".com.hk" domain to reflect the fact that you now have a local branch in Hong Kong. If you worry that someone might take your ".hk" domain, get it at the same time. For example, if you're holding "mycompany.com", apply also "mycompany.com.hk" and "mycompany.hk". You may use both ".com.hk" and ".hk" at the same time for your branch business.

If you're a new Hong Kong company and you serve mainly local market, you'll apply "mycompany.com" and "mycompany.com.hk".

If your business will go overseas, you better check for a ".com" domain and apply similar "mycompany.com" and "mycompany.com.hk" domains. You may use the whois service to check for the availability of the ".com" domain name (http://www.whois.net/)

How to Apply?
As I've said above, the HKIRC is the sole organization in Hong Kong managing the ".com.hk" and ".hk" domains. So, you can simply apply your names by using their online application service. All Hong Kong hosting service companies will also be more than happy to offer you help to apply for a domain name when you subscribe their hosting service.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


A friend called me today for some advice because her computer behaves strangely after switching to an antivirus software called “c.o.m.xxx”, even can't spell the name properly. After doing some research, it is actually “comodo”, which is a free antivirus based in US and UK.

It's my first time to hear this name, what a shame! Yet, what my friend  experienced confirmed the truthfulness of the comments from PC Magazine, which says “...Sandbox technology can prevent valid programs from installing or running correctly...” -

It is not uncommon to see some antivirus software go a bit too “aggressive” and “sensitive”, in this case “comodo” seems to fall into the category. However, I'm not saying that then we shouldn't use “comodo”. The fact is that, even for paid software like Norton and Trend Micro, all have the same problem. It's always a challenge to balance between security and practicality. You can have a very very very secure system, but nothing else could run on it, do you want it?

My opinion is to be reasonable, and realize that “human factor” is always the weakest factor. Awareness of security threat is the single major factor that determines your level of security. Of course, a security software is a must and it does help, yet even the most secured system in the world can be breached by someone who is lacking awareness of the threat.

If you are not satisfied with one antivirus software, there is always another software vendor happy to offer you an alternative free version if you don't mind spending the time uninstalling and installing.

Setting up a router with i-Cable

Like Hong Kong Broadband (HKBN), i-Cable can be connected simply with the DHCP mode, i.e. to automatically obtain a WAN IP address through DHCP.

Use Linksys WRT54G wireless router as an example, after login go to Setup, Basic Setup. Under Internet Connection type, select “Automatic Configuration – DHCP”.

However, in some cases, users also need to clone their PC's IP address to the router. A restriction fromthe ISP that I hate! Most routers today are smart enough to be able to “clone” your PC / laptop's IP address. Go to “Setup”, “MAC Address Clone”, select “Enable”. Press the “Clone Your PC's MAC” button. Press Save button.

If still no good news, unplug the power of the i-Cable model and plug again. This will refresh the IP  settings. See if this works.

A Word About PC Power Supplies

All were shocked when there's a loud “pop” sound, followed by bad smell – something was burned. Later we discovered that it was the power supply of a desktop PC.

1) How do we know it's the power supply?

Actually, by appearance, could tell for sure it's the power supply. However, I went through the investigation with the following steps: Ask, See, Assume, Smell, Test

Ask – ask the user what's happened when the PC was suddenly down. He plugged his mobile phone to the computer through a USB cable. After a few seconds, the tragedy! Well, … don't be quick to blame the user.

See – open the case cover, sight inspection; I'll first check the chips and the capacitors. Any sign of being burned? No...

Assume – this may be the most difficult part, as it takes a lot of experience to make proper assumptions. I'll suspect, the front panel circuit could be short-circuit, the front panel USB port is bad, power supply dead.

Smell – very interesting part, sounds very “low tech” way of troubleshooting. But, it works very well sometimes. I smell the back of the PC, the burned smell is strong!

Test – Get a new power supply, replace the suspected bad one and test it. The computer is back normal!

More lessons:

2) Why the power supply will burn?

Well, among the many parts of a computer, the power supply is one of the easiest to fail. It's always wise to invest more for a better power supply. Avoid using a bare-bone case with a bare-bone power supply. The ventilation of a bare-bone case is bad. When dust accumulated inside the computer, the situation can easily go ugly. Besides, bare-bone power supply is more vulnerable to failure because of the accumulation of heat and dust as well as lower loading capacity.

If you're a home user, and play a lot games with high-demanding graphics, ventilation is especially important. A sizable case, with a power supply capacity high enough is a must. A normal size power, not a bare-bone power is necessary.

3) Which power supply model is right for my computer?

Some companies provide free calculators to let you estimate the power supply you need, just one example:

A test of this service, I select one Core i3 540, 2xDDR3 RAM, one SATA HDD and one DVDRW, with 90% CPU utilization and loading. The result is I was recommended to have 208W PSU. A 350W power supply will be good enough.

Another test, I select a Core i7 880, 2xDDR3 RAM, 2 SATA HDD and one DVDRW, with a GeForce GTX 480 display card, with 90% CPU utilization and loading. Press “Calculate”, a much higher recommended value given – 479W. A 350W power supply will definitely not enough. I need to go for a maybe 550W power supply!

Netbook and Windows 7 Starter

Undoubtedly, netbooks are very portable and with long battery time. However, its much slower Atom CPU and the entry level Windows 7 Starter makes it unusable in many situations.

Take for example the latest Atom N550, its CPU benchmark is just around 564, just 1/3 to ¼ of the performance of a low end Core i3 CPU. Actual hands-on experience reveals if you have web browser, Outlook, Excel and antivirus running at the same time, please have some patience.

Windows 7 Starter is never my choice. In practical use, it is worse than Windows XP Home. Maximum RAM support for Starter is just 2GB. No multiple monitors, nor remote desktop host support, … too bad! Even when I tried to configure an IIS on it, failed as it's not supported! I've to switch to use Apache.

In conclusion, netbooks are good for simple, light weight processing application use, such as browsing web pages, checking emails and simple document editing. However, for serious business use or some processing speed demanding applications, they're never your options.

TIPS - How to Setup your wireless router security

Wireless Internet are so common today that many will setup their own wireless network at home. But, how secure is your wireless network? Wireless router or access point must be properly set. The followings are some items you indefinitely should check.

SSID – By default, many routers have the SSID the brand name or model number of the router. Change it to give no hint of neither the brand nor the model. For example, “home-wifi”. Some attacks are targeting certain weaknesses of a particular brand or model of router.

Hide or Show the SSID – hiding your SSID gives you another layer of protection as the presence of your wireless network is not obvious. However, users will find it not so convenient to use. Broadcasting your SSID is fine as long as the wireless security settings are correct.

Encryption – a must! Do not use WEP, which is very easy to break. If possible use WPA2 with TKIP or AES (probably called WPA2 Personal on your router), or WPA if WPA2 is not available. The share key or “password” should be strong enough, e.g. 12 characters or more with combination of upper and lower case and numbers. Avoid using dictionary words.

Firmware – every router or access point will have its firmware, a piece of software burned on the hardware to make it runs. Like any other software, firmware can have bugs and so security loopholes. Download the latest firmware of your router or access point, and apply to your device. Check the user guide or visit the router's website for details of how to upgrade the firmware.

MAC filtering (optional) – it seems to be useful; however, in real life I find it very troublesome to set as I have different wireless devices from time to time. Just leave it disabled!

Remote Management – if you will use the remote management function of your router, remember to set a strong password. If possible, use “https” access, which makes your settings invisible to others when you're setting them remotely.

Mercury Mail Transport System

Being a big fan of “Mercury” email server (actual name “Mercury Mail Transport System”) for many years, I always want to do something in return to help this wonderful developer – David Harris. And I believe an article of his “baby” could mean more to him than a “thank you” and donation.

What I love Mercury most is that, it is a full function Windows-based email system and a “freeware” (to be more exact, a “donationware”). For those who have limited background with non-Windows platform such as Linux and Microsoft Exchange too big an investment, such an option is surely a good news!

You will be happy with the Windows user interface, grouped according to modules. A fresh install with setup is not difficult. In fact, I can setup a full functioning “Mercury” email system in just five minutes.

Mainstream email protocols like POP, IMAP, SMTP, etc. are all supported. You can also plug-in filters for spam mails as well as viruses. Advanced users can also set rules and mail forwards. For example,  you can set a common mailbox to forward copies of received emails to other mailboxes of individual users.

A watchdog program is running if you “load” the email system, instead of directly “run” the main execute. This provides an additional layer of protection against the main program crash. If the watchdog detects a program crash, it tempts to reload the program again to ensure a “always-on” email service.

If you're the IT support, you will love to see the message stores of Mercury is not difficult to follow and troubleshoot.  All emails are stored in folders, one folder for one user. One email is one file – a file-based message storing system. For those who hates Microsoft Exchange blackbox-like message store databases, you'll love Mercury's transparency.

·         Windows-based, with familiar user interface
·         Donationware, budget amount is up to you, even free of charge
·         Advanced functions in rule processing, filtering of spams and viruses
·         Easy to troubleshoot problems

·         No web mail support
·         IMAP functionality limited
·         Run as a true Windows service is still under development
·         Unlike Microsoft Exchange, not integrated to your Windows domain; adding or removing accounts need to be done separately

Hosting email externally? Or, locally?

As far as hosting is concerned, there are two approaches to implement an email system – 1) Hosting Internally – your email server talks directly to all other email servers, or 2) Hosting Externally – your hosting company and ISP serves as email agents, and your email server talk to these agents

Scenario 1
For smaller budget and minimum effort to maintain and support, approach #2 is my choice because it added another layer of protection. Usually hosting companies and ISPs have better backup and contingency equipment and plans. Their Internet connection will be more stable. With approach #1, you must have very reliable and stable routing, networking devices, redundant powers and redundant broadband connections to failover. Another concern is network attack from competitors or others.

Approach #1:
                [Internet World] <------> [Your Email Server]

Approach #2:
                [Internet World] <====> [Email Hosting Server] <------> [Your Email Server]

Usually, the weak path is <------>. Consider what the situation will be like in Approach #1, any service down such as Internet connection or router could mean emails to you bounce back to senders, which could severely damage your corporate image!

In Approach #2,  senders will not notice any difference. And you can check emails by web mail directly to the email hosting server.

                [Internet World] <====> [Email Hosting Server] <--- X ---> [Your Email Server]

If I host my email externally, why I need a local email server?

For good reasons, hosting has limitation on space and / or data flow. Besides, it would be difficult to  make backups for your emails. In terms of management, it will not be as flexible and convenient as having your own local email server.

Scenario 2
For sufficient funding and manpower to maintain and support, approach #1 is the most direct and efficient way in delivering emails. No duplicate set of accounts to be managed. Sometimes, you  may not want users to check emails outside of the office.

How to setup your email server using Mercury Mail Transport System?

A) Software Installation

1)      Download Mercury Mail Transport System from the author's website, http://www.pmail.com/downloads_s3_t.htm
2)      Run the installation execute, press “Setup” button to start.
3)      Press “New Installation” for a fresh install
4)      Press “No NetWare Support” if you don't have a Novell NetWare environment
5)      Mercury asks you the installation directory. This is a VERY IMPORTANT question, think carefully as you will not be able to change afterward. My choice, e.g. D:\MERCURY . I do not recommend the default C:\MERCURY as the installation directory as it will result in the system drive fragmented  seriously and usually my C: is relatively smaller size and not easy to increase space.
6)      When you have made up your mind about the installation directory, press “OK, accept this directory” button
7)      The next question is about Pegasus mail, an email client software by the same author. I will choose “No Pegasus Mail integration” as I do not use it.
8)      Now, Mercury asks you the mailbox directory. Accept the default “D:\MERCURY\mail”, unless you want to put user mailboxes to another place. Press “Ok...”
9)      Select the protocol modules you want to start. It's fine if you make it wrong, because you always can change these settings after installation. Usually, I will check “MercuryS”, “MercuryP” and “MercuryD” protocols to get them started after installation
10)  Press “OK, continue installation” to proceed
11)  Mercury asks you to select between two different SMTP modes. Please read the instructions. If you're using approach #1 as stated above, MercuryE (2) should be your choice. For approach #2, MercuryC is good enough. If you plan your email server handles no SMTP function, e.g. all your clients will use the ISP provided SMTP directly, you can also choose “Install no SMTP client”. Usually it is no harm to install SMTP client module even if you're not going to use it
12)  Now comes the basic configuration. In “This machine's Internet domain name”, type the email domain that your email server is handling, e.g. “company_xyz.com”
13)  Username for postmaster, keep the default “admin
14)  Address of host via which to send mail, input the SMTP server that you're using. Usually your ISP should provide, e.g. smtp.yourisp.com
15)  Press “OK, continue installation”
16)  Select between three types of SMTP modes. This is a protection mechanism that protects your email server from being abused by spammers and worms, etc. Usually, “Normal” should be good enough
17)  In mail queue location, provide the folder for the messages to queue for processing. I'm happy with the default “D:\MERCURY\QUEUE”
18)  Press “OK, continue installation”
19)  Press “Install Mercury/32” to complete the installation
20)  After copying files, Mercury asks you to “Create service” or “Continue”. Press “Create service” will make Mercury load as a service, which means once your computer start up it will be loaded as a service. Otherwise, you can press “Continue” to let you to start the program by yourself
21)  Mercury lists some add-ins for you to install; these are all optional. Read their functions and install where you feel necessary
22)  Press “Done” and then “Exit”

Congratulations, done!!

B) Post-installation Configuration

Start your mercury and configure the followings.

1)      Go to “Configuration”, “Mercury core module”, “General” tab. You may want to set the time zone to your own time zone.
2)      Change to “Advanced” tab. Check the option “Allow file-based forwarding...” so that email forwarding is allowed.
3)      From the menu select “Configuration”, “Manage local users”. Add users to your email domain. For example, create a user with username=john, personal name=john, mail password=****** (provide the actual password). Leave the other fields as default value
4)      If you have an external email hosting (approach #2), you will also need to configure mail fetching. From the menu select “Configuration”, “MercuryD POP3 Client”. Press “Add” to start adding fetching rules. You need to provide the POP server name, username and password and the local user that you'll store the fetched emails.

There is a user community that many of your questions are already answered, check this out:

A review of portable mini projector

When I was asked to source a mini projector, be honest, I have no idea what I'm looking for. The request was “a very portable projector … 200 lumen”. My first impression was “no way”, a “200 lumen” projector!!? I would be too dim to be practical. In fact, after some studies and test, it's not as bad as it sounds...

There are big names supply mini projectors, such as 3M, Dell...; then, I notice a new technology – LED projector. The advantages of LED projectors are that it consumes much less energy, less heat produced, and the light source can last for at least 30,000 hours. So durable that, it virtually means the light can last for its lifetime. Traditional projector light bulb is unmatchable and much more expensive. Thanks for the new LED technology!

Surely you will find more and more LED projectors, smaller and lighter, yet bright enough. For example, the Acer K11 – my final choice – gives 200 lumen and weights just 600 grams. Brightness, totally acceptable to be used even in a well-lighted office room. With USB, HDMI, VGA support and built-in speakers, I love it!

Of course, better models are sure to come from other competitors like SAMSUNG, LG, etc. But, my comment is LED projectors are worth a look and very practical for home and even commercial use! It is also more environmental-friendly!

Last words, get a table tripod with your mini projector – a budget of less than US$10, surely you can find a good table tripod for your baby.

Cloud based Internet Security

All Internet users are going to experience a new age of Internet security – “cloud”. Some may feel like “cloud” or confused of what it means “cloud”.

For many years, antivirus vendors have based their products on a “pattern-based” model. That is, your computer downloads patterns from the software vendor server, stores on users' own hard drives for detecting against security threats. However, with the new “cloud-based” technology, no such pattern files will be downloaded. Instead, users connect directly to the so called “cloud” to check against security threats.

The advantages are obvious:

·         Light-weight client software – internet security software can take much lesser computer resources. As a result, user computer is not being slowed down.

·         Shorten the window period – from the time a security threat is detected, a pattern released and being downloaded by user; it's always a time race. There exists a window period, in which the security threat is spreading when the pattern is not yet available to users. With “cloud”, this window time is much shorter.

·         Improved detection – in the past, the efficiency of the detection depends much on how well the antivirus software vendor did in formulating the pattern files. Cloud-based technology used shared user knowledge, of course together with the feeds from the software vendor. As a result, the detection engine reflects more closely to the real-world situation.

So, it sounds like “cloud” is perfect … the fact: not really. There are disadvantages:

·         Availability of the “Cloud” - if your Internet connection quality is poor or not stable, cloud-based may not be a good idea. If the cloud is not accessible, such as a temporary disconnection from the Internet, protection amounts to nothing! A scenario - you are not connected to the Internet and you plug a USB thumb drive with virus to your computer = disaster!!

·         Quality of the “Cloud” - efficiency of detection depends much on the size of the cloud community. Of course, the larger the cloud community population (i.e. the number of users connecting and sharing information on the same cloud), the better will be the protection. Sadly, in many cases, the community population is not known – especially to those commercial vendors … and for good reasons, the figures are “commercial secrets”, which most commercial companies will not like to disclose. Also, the quality of cloud users affect too. If many of these cloud users are actually client software installed on email gateways, servers, you have a quality cloud!

·         Geographical Factor – although it also affects the traditional pattern-based protection, it seems “cloud-based” is more sensitive to user locations. For example, if most of the cloud users are living in Europe, your cloud-based protection will be more “European” and less effective in Asia, such as in China or Korea.

·         Slowness in installing new software – the presence of cloud-based detection is obvious when you're installing software to your computer. When your cloud-based security software keep checking every application and library files you're installing against the cloud, the installation process drags... sometimes, painfully slow.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging you to use “cloud-based” technology. In fact, I've been using it for months. And it's obvious that cloud-based will continue to be the trend. But, a more realistic view of  “cloud” may help you better assess the situation.

Recently, many security vendors are joining the race, offering FREE cloud-based security solutions. The happiest are the users. But, have you ever wondered why “free”? Of course, market share is an issue. On technical side, a “cloud-based” without a sizable cloud will make the cloud useless! No wonder it must be free to get people in!

Want to give cloud-based a try?

Some “cloud-based” solutions like “clamav” allows you to install it on a computer with another antivirus software. So, you may install “clamav” on a computer with AVG. This approach gives you another layer of protection. The down side, of course, it further slows down your computer a little bit.

Other well known vendors like Panda and Trend Micro (China) also have free or 1-year free trial available. There is nothing to lose with another good layer of Internet protection, which is definitely a must in today's cyber world.