I managed to solve at least 4 significant computer problems for people today, and all by lunchtime.

Wireless and malware repairs

This morning at the scooter shop, Andrea was having wireless connection issues with her laptop, and on a separate machine spammy ads appearing on web pages.

The wireless was being intermittent last week, and completely failed now. Even removing all that the laptop knew about the wireless and reinstalling the drivers from fresh could do noting to resolve the issue – so the evidence points to an actual hardware failure. The solution to this is simple, which is to get more hardware.

Dragon PC have a wireless USB adaptor that does the job just perfectly, and with it’s tiny size, it can remain plugged in to the laptop permanently.

wireless netgear

This meant heading out to Riccarton to pick it up from Dragon PC, which had the nice side-benefit that I could stop off at Dumplings on Riccarton for lunch. It was nice to head back to them to enjoy lunch with them, for when they were in town they were visited quite regularly.

The issue with the other computer is that someone installed programs that resulted in malware also being installed, including one called iMesh which adds extra annoying advertising to your web pages that weren’t there to begin with. Such ads also had below them “ads not by this site”. Fortunately there are a good set of removal instructions which involved searching for and uninstalling anything that’s suspect, and running the computer through a gauntlet of four different malware scanners to obtain as much good coverage as possible.

Videos and emails

Over at the Hepatitis C Resource Centre I was called in to help with attaching a large video to an email, and to figure out why some emails couldn’t be seen on Outlook 2010 but were visible via the Yahoo email portal.

Because attaching large files to an email can be problematic, an alternative solution is to put the video up somewhere on the internet, either as a youtube video, or if you want them to be able to download it, to a file storage location such as dropbox.com in to a public folder. The trouble here though was that their dropbox didn’t have a public folder, which is strange because my dropbox account does. According to this article on what is the public folder for, dropbox prevented new accounts from having the public folder. Fortunately though you can enable your public folder, so that a direct link can be provided to anyone to content that is in there.

The other issue was about why some emails couldn’t be seen from Outlook 2010. For example, when creating a test email and sending it to ourself, it doesn’t turn up in the inbox. There is only a record of it in the sent items folder. The reason why it’s not showing up in the inbox is because Outlook is trying to be helpful and not show anything that we sent.

This has quite a business impact though when scanning from the photocopier to email. The scan is coming from our same email address, so Outlook doesn’t show any emails that came from us. Outlook though didn’t send the email, it was the scanner that sent the email so we can’t access what was sent in the sent items folder.

Of the possible solutions to this, it seems that the best solution is to adjust the photocopier so that emails are not sent from our email address to the same email address. Instead, changing the from address to something like christchurch-printer@hepcnz.org is a good solution here that permanently fixes the problem.