PC Or Mac – Choose Right For You

My column in today’s Northwest Herald talks about how to choose between a PC and a Mac. Both have their pros and cons, but ultimately it comes down to your needs and your personal preference.

I mentioned that although Macs don’t suffer the same kinds of virus problems that PCs do, they still need protection. Here are some recommendations on Mac security software. I talked about my recommendations for PC security software here.

If you’re looking for help with your PC, here are some great resources:

And if you’re looking for Mac help, including how to switch from a PC to a Mac, try these:

You can also subscribe to my free Tech Tips e-newsletter for bonus tips, tricks, and product reviews. Click here to subscribe, or send email to techtips-request-at-guidryconsulting-dot-com, subject “subscribe”.

Don’t miss my upcoming seminars, Getting The Most Out Of Your Mac on November 5th and PC Troubleshooting on November 10th, both sponsored by the Crystal Lake Chamber Of Commerce. Details and registration information can be found here.

New AVG 2011, And How To Choose Security Software

There’s a new version of the popular AVG Internet security software available. Many people use the free version of this software to protect their Windows computers.

For a long time the free version was enough. Then I began to notice a trend. People running AVG were becoming infected with threats not detected by the free version. So I began recommending the paid version of the suite, known as AVG Internet Security. However, after testing AVG 2011, I have some qualms about this new version.

First, AVG 2011 is a memory hog. If you have an older computer it may slow you down, although this could be said of any security program. Reports of bugs in AVG 2011′s LinkScanner also give me pause. This will slow down your computer as well as your network. Not everyone has experienced this, however; PC Magazine reports that their tests showed AVG had a small effect on system performance.

On the plus side, it’s easy to use and offers solid protection. I also like the LinkScanner feature that checks your Facebook posts and marks them as safe. My hope is that AVG will resolve any issues and that AVG 2011 will continue to provide people with strong security software.

What are your alternatives? I still don’t recommend Norton or McAfee because they’re also memory hogs (especially Norton). But, I’d rather have you using one of those than nothing. What I really want is a security suite with a high detection rate and a small impact on system performance. You could try Kapersky Internet Security 2011, although its interface is not as friendly for non-technical users. Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2011 is good but scored weak on malware removal. Webroot Internet Security Complete 2011 is another option. The thing I don’t like about it is that its firewall constantly pops up warnings, a big turn-off for most users.

In short, there is no one right answer to security software for Windows. If you have an older computer, you’ll want a solution that doesn’t bog you down. If you have a mobile computer, you’ll want strong WiFi protection. If you don’t do much surfing, a free solution may suffice. The best way to determine your needs is to have a computer professional assess your environment and make a recommendation.

Subscribe free to Tech Tips and receive bonus tips, tricks and product reviews. Click here to subscribe or send email to techtips-request-at-guidryconsulting-dot-com, subject “subscribe”.

12 Years Of Helping You With Your Computer

It was 1998. Windows 98 had just been released. Apple introduced the first iMac, and a little company called Google was formed. I was a seasoned IT worker trying to decide my next venture. I’d done everything from help desk support to Internet security, but my only options for career advancement meant getting away from the technology I enjoyed.

Most of my experience had been with large companies, places with plenty of IT staff. But I also knew some small business owners and people with home computers. They struggled to find the same sort of IT help that was readily available at the larger organizations. It occurred to me that I could take my skills and help those people succeed.

Thus was born my company, which later became Guidry Consulting, Inc. My goal, then as now, is to help small businesses and consumers with their computers. My initial services included tech support for PCs and Macs, everything from large-scale networks to individual machines. Since then I’ve broadened my skills to include web design, blogs, social networking, seminars, and freelance writing on business and technology.

It’s amazing how far technology has come in twelve years. Equipment once available only for enterprises is now affordable for consumers. Security and privacy issues have gone from viruses on floppy disks to data mining and Facebook scams. Yet, at its core, what we do with technology remains the same: we communicate, we inspire, we seek better solutions.

I look forward to continuing to help you with all your computer needs.

Review: Microsoft Office For Mac 2011

At long last, a new version of Office for Mac will be available. Is it worth the upgrade?

The mostly widely anticipated feature is the new Outlook for Mac. Although Outlook previously existed for Mac, it was clunky and slow. It was discontinued and replaced by Entourage, which was widely panned by the IT community for not communicating properly with Microsoft Exchange servers. With this new Outlook, Mac users finally have a version that looks like the PC one and knows how to talk to Exchange (versions 2007 and up). Even better, Mac Outlook can import data directly from PC Outlook. However, it can’t sync calendars with iCal.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint have all been finetuned, both in features and in speed. Mac Office 2011 is lightning-quick compared to its predecessors. It uses the Ribbon toolbar but also maintains familiar menus. Most PC functions are replicated, with only a few exceptions. It offers the ability for multiple users to edit the same document when used in conjunction with Sharepoint or Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud-computing storage. And many users are heralding the return of Visual Basic after an outcry over its removal several versions back.

Kudos to Microsoft’s Mac group for coming up with a Mac version of Office that finally equals its PC counterpart. Office 2011 For Mac is slated to ship October 26, 2010.