Low Cost or Free

Switching to Linux with Puppy

Posted on January 1, 2010. Filed under: Computer Virus and Malware, Linux, Low Cost or Free |

Do you need a trusted online banking environment that you can be sure is free of malware? Or maybe you are just tired of buying Windows, antivirus software, and still having to pay someone to remove viruses? Have you ever thought about switching to Linux?

Typically the Linux operating system has been considered an O.S. for computer geeks and hackers. When your Linux distribution of choice just happens to recognize all of your hardware, it really is nice. If you have to tweak your settings to get a plugin or driver to work, it can be a real headache.

I have used Puppy Linux for about two years, mainly for data recovery. When nothing else works to recover data off of a corrupted hard drive, I know that I can use puppy to easily copy files to USB drives with ease. That has been my secret weapon for data recovery.

I have been using the same Puppy CD-ROM disk for quite a long time. It met my needs so I didn’t see the need to try the latest version. Lately a coworker needed to borrow my disk, but I had left it at home. He downloaded and burned the latest version. When I took a look, the latest Puppy version (4.2), looked very polished. After trying it myself, the main thing that stood out was that the menus and program names are arranged by verb instead of program name. This makes it perfect for a first time Linux user. You don’t have to look for a program to play a video and wonder what the names of each program mean. When you click on the start menu, the programs are named similar to “Play Video”, or “Browse the Web”, or “Read Email”.

Puppy can be run directly from the CD or installed to hard drive quickly and easily. Just boot off of the CD to try it out and see if it recognizes your computer hardware. If you like it, you can continue to run it off of the CD or install it. If you continue to run off of CD, It will save your data to USB drives or hard disk. Each time you reboot, your operating system is refreshed but your files are still there. Basically any changes like a virus infection is wiped out, that is if you even have to worry about a virus infection in the first place since this is rarely seen on Linux.

If you would like to be sure that you are doing online banking from a clean system, just run your operating system of choice (Windows/Linux/Mac) everyday and boot from the Puppy CD before going to your banking site. This is a great way to prevent malware keyloggers from stealing your banking credentials.

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Small Business Servers

Posted on December 31, 2009. Filed under: Email Server, Firewall, Gateway Antivirus, Low Cost or Free, Office Server, Small Business Systems |

If you have a small to medium business and need a server, I have had good results with E-Box.

You can easily repurpose a used computer as your office server, firewall, or router instead of paying big licensing fees for MS Small Business Server or Cisco and buying expensive hardware. Contact me for consulting.

Features include:

eBox 1.2 Feature list

  • Networking
    • Firewall and routing
      • Filtering
      • NAT and port redirections
      • VLAN 802.1Q
      • Multi-gateway support, load balancing and automatic failover
      • Traffic shaping (with application layer support)
      • Graphical traffic rate monitoring
      • Network intrusion detection system
      • Dynamic DNS client
    • Network infrastructure
      • DHCP server
      • NTP server
      • DNS server
    • VPN support
      • Dynamic routes autoconfiguration
    • HTTP proxy
      • Internet cache
      • User authentication
      • Content filtering (with categorized lists)
      • Transparent antivirus
    • Intrusion Detection System
    • Mail Server
      • Virtual domains
      • POP3 and IMAP with SSL/TLS
      • Spam and antivirus filtering
        • Greylisting, blacklisting, whitelisting
      • Transparent POP3 proxy filter
    • Web server
      • Virtual hosts
    • Certification authority
  • Workgroup
    • Centralized users and groups management
      • Windows PDC support
    • Network resource sharing
      • File server
        • Antivirus
      • Print server
    • Groupware: calendar, address book, webmail, wiki, etc.
    • VoIP server
      • Voicemail
      • Conference rooms
      • Calls through an external provider
    • Jabber/XMMP server
      • Conference rooms
    • eBox User Corner for self users info updating
  • Reporting and monitoring
    • Dashboard for centralized service information
    • Monitor CPU, load, disk space, thermal, memory
    • Disk usage and RAID status
    • Summarized and full system reports
    • Event notification via mail, RSS or Jabber
  • Software updates
  • Backups (full and configuration only)
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