Friday, March 30, 2007

Top 5 Things To Do After You Buy A PC

If you just bought a PC (is it too late to convince you to buy a Mac?), you want to enjoy your new purchase - especially if your PC is connected to the Internet. To that end, here is what you should do - in order - as soon as you get your computer home.

NOTE: #1 should be done BEFORE you connect to the Internet.


When you connect to the Internet, your PC is accessible to anyone and everyone. A router puts up a wall between you and the rest of the world, letting in and out only what you tell it. If you have a router, you can always add a software firewall (such as ZoneAlarm), but turning on Windows Firewall (if you have XP) is probably more than enough for most people. BOTTOM LINE: Don't even think about connecting to the Internet without a router!!!


I recommend AVG, which is a FREE download from Grisoft. Yes, I like it because it is free, but I use it because it works as well, or better, than Norton (it is less of a CPU hog than Norton). AVG scans my e-mail and updates its virus database almost daily.


Spyware and malware can be just as bad, if not worse, than viruses. Indeed, the need for anti-spyware software is crucial to the health of your PC. Thus, I recommend running multiple spyware software, as you will have a greater chance at a spyware-free computer than if only running one. I recommend Webroot's Spy Sweeper, which costs $29.95 and gets your PC as close to spyware free as it's going to be. I would also recommend running Microsoft's FREE Windows Defender.

NOTE: I would not advise running multiple Anti-virus software, as I suggest here with Anti-spyware software, as Anti-virus software tend to conflict with each other and you may run into issues.


If you have a PC than, by default, you have the Internet Explorer (IE) browser. However, this does not mean that IE has to be your default browser. Indeed, while you will still need IE for a number of web sites, including banking and financial sites, it is not your best option if security is important to you. (Also, they are a bit behind the times as well - IE only just added tabbed browsing. I mean, come on!)

Firefox is more secure than IE and is amazingly customizable with hundreds of extensions, or add-ons.


When you start using your PC, no doubt you will be creating documents, writing e-mails, downloading music, videos, etc. If any of what you save to your PC means anything to you, you will begin a monthly (at minimum) backup routine. There are a lot of good options out there for your backups, but my recommendation would be Maxtor's OneTouch II - it really is one touch and you're done!

Please feel free to write in with any questions you may have about your new PC.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cisco Tip: MAC Addresses (CatOS vs IOS)

When working with switches, it always helps to know what is connected to them. Switches work at the Data Link (MAC) Layer of the OSI Model (Layer 2) and any device that is connected to a switch has its own unique Layer 2 (MAC) address. The command you enter to view a switch's MAC address is determined by what type of software (CatOS or IOS) the switch is running. Let's take a look at each command:



show cam dynamic



show mac-address-table dynamic

Stay tuned for more command differences between CatOS and IOS!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cisco Tip of the Day

I will be doing this weekly starting this week. However, if there is an interest in keeping this daily please let me know.

Metrics for your Blog and Web Site

If you want unprecedented detail about every visitor to your web site or blog, you need Performancing Metrics.

Performancing Metrics is FREE to all users with sites that average less than 1000 page views per day. You also have the option to upgrade to their premium service for $14.99/year, a very reasonable price considering the extra features.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cisco Tip of the Day: Terminal Length

Let's take a look at terminal length. By default, it is 24 lines on routers and switches. This is fine in most cases. However, if you have a router or switch with a huge configuration and you want to log this to a file, you may not want to have to press the space bar every 24 lines - for the rest of your life! (or so it seems!)

The solution is to change the terminal length to 0. When you are finished, you can always change it back to the default 24. Or, you can just logout of the router or switch and the next time you login the terminal length will be the default of 24. Here is what you need to do on a router and a switch:


terminal length 0

terminal length 24 (to set back to default)


set length 0

set length 24 (to set back to default)

Hope this helped. More to come!

GREAT Mac Utility: Onyx

Onyx is a free Mac System Maintenance utility that allows you to tweak (if you have used Tweak UI, you will love this!) hidden parameters of the Dock, Finder, Dashboard, Safari and more. If you want to change the default screen capture format from PNG, this is the application you need. However, the coolest feature is the man page search on the "Unix Utilities" tab: you can enter in any Unix command and you are provided the man page. Even better, should you want to keep this man page for reference, a "Create PDF" button is provided which does just that - it creates a PDF file of the man page displayed on your screen. How cool is that!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cisco Tip of the Day: CatOS vs. IOS

For those of you confused between CatOS (set-based) software and IOS (native) software, let's look at how a Layer 2 VLAN is configured each way:

set vlan 5

#configure terminal
(config)#vlan 5

I will have a new Cisco Tip of the Day tomorrow and I will have more examples of CatOS vs. IOS

Suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

1Passwd Demo Video

If you are a RoboForm user and are currently looking for a similar product on the Mac, check out this video!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Safari Browser Extensions

If you use Safari as your default browser, you will definitely want to check out these extensions:

1. Saft is a free extension for Safari ($12.00 for the registered version - well worth it!) that adds features such as crash protection and "draggable tabs." Saft is a necessary addition to Safari.

2. SafariStand is another free extension that gives Safari the ability to save groups of tabs to a "Bookmark Shelf." Also, it allows you to search through thousands of bookmarks in a breeze with its Stand Bar. SafariStand was given an excellent review in Macworld and is a must-have addition to Safari.

PuTTY - Free Telnet/SSH Client

Some times the best things in life really are free. In the case of a telnet/ssh client, you can't ask for more than PuTTY gives you. If you need to access multiple devices, you can set up different profiles for each and there is plenty you can customize. To think this is a free product just boggles the mind.

FYI, PuTTY is #1 on Packet Magazine's "Top 5 Freeware Tools for Cisco Network Administrators."

You might recall I discussed #2 about a month ago.

Best Bluetooth Mouse - BT500

If your laptop has Bluetooth, it would be a crime not to check out RadTech's BT500. The BT500 is ideal for use with laptops, as it is small and fits perfectly in your hand. This excellent mouse comes with 3-buttons, including a programmable scroll button. The BT500 uses NiMH rechargeable batteries, which are recharged via an included USB cable. The BT500 has received great reviews from Macworld and Mac|Life (formerly MacAddict).

Friday, March 16, 2007

1Passwd 2.3.8 Released

For those of you who use 1Passwd, or are in desperate need of a Mac alternative to RoboForm, the latest release of 1Passwd is sure to please. Version 2.3.8 was released yesterday with some nice new additions and changes.

Check it out!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

File Comparison Tool for Cisco config files

For anyone who spends a lot of time with Cisco router and switch configs - like me - and understands the importance of diff'ing (comparing) the configs in order to ensure nothing has changed before implementation, have I got the tool for you: ExamDiff by prestoSoft is a tool you won't soon be able to live without. Trust me.

I save all my "show" commands from my routers and switches and then use ExamDiff to compare them each week to see what was added, deleted or changed. The amount of time saved using ExamDiff is incalculable and the success I have had with my implementations can be credited, in part, to this wonderful tool.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD

My 2 cents on the subject.....Blu-Ray is going to win. Here is why:

In Blu-Ray's camp you have Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic, while in HD DVD's camp you have NEC, Toshiba and Sanyo.

As far as specs go, HD DVDs supports 15GB on single-layer discs and 30GB on dual-layer discs. Blu-Ray, on the other hand, supports 25GB on single-layer discs and 50GB on dual-layer discs.

The Sony Playstation 3 comes with a built-in Blu-Ray drive; I seem to remember this "built-in" strategy worked for Microsoft a few years back with a little product called Internet Explorer.

Yes, HD DVD was the first to market, it is cheaper than Blu-Ray and there are more films currently available in HD DVD than Blu-ray. However, when you consider the above.....enough said.

For those who want a happy medium, LG has come up with a solution, albeit an expensive one, in a product which supports BOTH HD DVD and Blu-Ray.

1Passwd is "Hot Stuff"

Every month, Macworld raves about cool new products in "Hot Stuff," which, in the April 2007 issue, moved from the back page of the magazine to the end of the "Mac Beat" section. This month they feature 1Passwd, the absolute best form filler and password manager for the Mac - bar none. I have been singing 1Passwd's praises for some time now, but it is nice to see a publication as fine as Macworld taking notice of this wonderful product.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Running Windows on your Mac

When I got my Mac last year, my intentions were to put Windows on it since I could and since I didn't think I would be able to coexist without it. Well, it is almost a year later and OS X has served me just fine. Still, BECAUSE I CAN, I intend to install Windows on my Mac. I have not yet decided if I will use Boot Camp or Parallels. If I choose Boot Camp, I will wait until I upgrade to Leopard, as Boot Camp will be integrated into 10.5 (Leopard). However, I am leaning towards Parallels for the simple reason that I do not need to reboot to switch between operating systems. Further, Parallels has come a long way in a year, especially with their USB support. Also, Parallels has incorporated new features such as Coherence, which allows you to run Windows applications directly on the Mac desktop. Any comments on Boot Camp vs. Parallels are more than welcome.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

1Passwd 2.3.7 Released

Last week, 1Passwd 2.3.7 was released. Typically, these "minor point releases" are not much to talk about - not the case at all here. In fact, I am not going to try and summarize the new features, but, instead, will urge you to check out the new features described here.

1Passwd: AllBookmarks

The creators of 1Passwd have just released AllBookmarks, a menu bar tool that gives you quick access to all your Safari, Firefox and Flock bookmarks. AllBookmarks also gives you access to your 1Passwd 1Click bookmarks and will have future support for Camino, OmniWeb and Opera browsers.