AsktheExpert
How should I prepare for Hurricane Irene?

While we are not anticipating major incident with Hurricane Irene, it does appear that the storm will be coming up the coast with more strength than usual due to warmer water in the Atlantic. It unfortunately appears that it will, at least in part, hit our region. This, in turn, will result in high winds and heavy rain. Anteil's primary concern is the possibility of lengthy power outages due to downed trees.

The uninterruptible power supply systems which feed your servers will, at most, support it for 30 to 60 minutes. This is normally designed to give you enough time to shut down the servers. It will not support a full scale power outage of lengthy duration, should one occur. The rule of thumb is that power outages after a severe hurricane can last as long as 14 days. Moreover, given the likelihood of inclement weather prohibiting access to the servers, we are recommending to all of our customers that they follow proper shutdown procedures this Friday to make sure the servers are down before the power can go out. Please make necessary backups and, if you are in a low lying area, consider temporarily moving your server to a higher location (if possible) in case of flooding.

If you require any assistance with these procedures, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Thank you and stay safe!

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
I've heard that my uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries have a shelf life of two years. How do I test my UPS for performance?

Batteries inside the UPS provide power to the devices plugged into it when power from the wall outlet is no longer available. The batteries are rechargeable and often replaceable, providing a long term solution to keeping your computer system running. As a UPS gets older, its battery life becomes shorter.

To test your UPS, throw the circuit breaker with the UPS on it to simulate an outage and see how the transition goes. In general, testing a UPS by pulling the plug from the wall is not a good idea. If you unplug a UPS, it's still powered but now has what electricians call a "floating ground". Not only can this be bad for electronics, but it can be quite dangerous as well. It is likely that unplugging just about any UPS for a short amount of time isn't likely to result in disaster, but throwing a circuit breaker would be a better thing to do.

Contact us and schedule an appointment to have one of our IT professionals test your UPS for you. Or, call us if you do not have a UPS - we can make sure you have the tools to keep your information safe!

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
My cellphone uses its contact list to show more detail about who is calling. This would be really useful at the office. Can I link my customer database to my office phones using caller ID?

Not only can you use caller ID to bring up customer information, you can also use your customer and contact databases to make outgoing calls. The technology to link a caller ID to a customer database has been available for decades. Until recently however, it has been cost prohibitive to all but the largest of organizations. The global adoption of Voice-over-IP or “VoIP” technology has brought computerized phone systems well within the reach of small businesses. Anteil, in conjunction with Polycom and Digium, has assembled a suite of low cost products that can link your office phones with your office computers, providing you with instant access to your customer information.

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
Why can't I open Microsoft Word files from certain people?

Most likely, those files were created with Office 2007. While one work-around is to ask for the file to be saved again as an Office 2003 file, that doesn't help Microsoft sell upgrades. To their credit though, Microsoft now offers a free "Compatibility Pack", allowing older versions of Office to open and edit Office 2007 files. If you don't have Microsoft Office or don't want to shell out hundreds of dollars for an upgrade, I strongly encourage you to try "OpenOffice", a professional office productivity suite that can read and write Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, including those created with Office 2007. For information on OpenOffice and the Compatibility Pack, browse the "Featured Products" on our website.
James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
What is "browser hijacking" and is my PC safe?

Browser hijacking is probably the most dangerous form of "malware" because it allows an attacker to steal your online identity.

In June of 2009, cyber criminals stole $415,000 from Bullitt County Kentucky by infecting the county treasurer's PC, creating fake employees, and wiring funds to bank accounts abroad. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the software most susceptible to this type of attack.

The most foolproof way to prevent hijackers from infecting your PC is to use a "read only" operating system, or "Live CD" that does not open your hard drive, such as Ubuntu or Knoppix, for your online banking transactions.

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
Is Windows 7 ready for prime time?

In spite of its new name, Windows 7 is Microsoft Vista with certain improvements. And whether it is ready or not, you will find it installed on almost all new personal computers. Gone are some of its most annoying features, and it does appear to be faster and more stable. However, it lacks support for many older devices, such as wireless networking cards. If you are starting from scratch, your problems should be few. If you are upgrading, you may have to pay extra in order to get everything working in Windows 7, as well as it did in Windows XP.

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
Why do computers "crash"?

In a hard-drive, the recording heads literally "fly" on a cushion of air over the surface of the discs. A "crash" is when one of the heads comes in contact with the disc, physically gouging and destroying it's surface. The hard-drive is the most likely part to fail, as it contains moving parts that spin at well over 5,000 rpm.
Most computer failures are not really "crashes", but are more likely the result of "bugs" or "holes" in the operating system. Computers, contrary to most people's experience, should run for several years without fail and without having to reboot them on a regular basis.

James A. Capp, President & CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
My Computer just detected a "Trojan Horse" virus. Shouldn't my anti-virus software have prevented this?

The problem with anti-virus software is that it usually only treats "known" viruses. Viruses are created to exploit defects in your computer software, which sometimes aren't discovered until after the virus has already done its job. The best you can do is to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date regularly, or switch to an operating system with a natural immunity to viruses, such as Apple's Mac OS or a Linux-based OS such as RedHat or Ubuntu.

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com
My company has a wireless network that is secured with WEP. I've heard that WEP is not safe. Is that true?

It is true. WEP is commonly used to protect both corporate and residential networks in spite of the fact that, with few exceptions, it can be cracked in a matter of hours. In 2005, T.J. Maxx disclosed that thieves cracked their WEP wireless network and stole information on over 45 million credit cards. As a result, use of WEP in any network associated with credit-card processing is prohibited as of June 30, 2010. If you have a wireless network, change your security settings to use WPA2 instead of WEP. The cost involved is only your time and effort. Not switching to WPA2 could cost you much more.

James A. Capp, President and CEO
Anteil, Inc.
4051B Executive Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-671-1141
www.anteil.com