Tips to save on security and ink

It has been some time since we answered the ton of mail that has been piling up so let’s get right to it and relieve the pressure on my inbox.

It has been some time since we answered the ton of mail that has been piling up so let’s get right to it and relieve the pressure on my inbox.

Question: I don’t quite get your column on free anti-virus programs.

Are you saying that we don’t have to pay for these programs anymore?

Answer: Well, I am saying for basic anti-virus programs there is little need to use one of the expensive programs if all you need is anti-virus protection.

Most of these paid programs have become what I call “bloatware” by sticking in “anti-spam,” firewalls, anti-this and anti-that until the thing bogs down your entire computer. Worse yet we have seen a few cases where the paid subscription ran out and the product locked down closed, meaning the computer could not get out to the Internet at all, a sort of cruel trick if you ask me.

So if you have no need for the additional “stuff” that the paid package brings to the table, I would respectfully suggest you keep the US$50 bucks and don’t buy it. If you want the additional features, by all means buy it.

Now, if you’re a business you may not have any choice because many of these free packages are only free for non-commercial use, so check the license carefully.

Question: You mentioned in a previous column that certain printers have been released that take much less ink than others. I received a printer when I bought my computer and the ink for it is costing me a fortune. What are the ones that use less ink?

Answer: Since I wrote that column more than a year ago there are many more thirsty printers out there so it would not be fair for me to name them now.

Suffice to say you have found that not all “free” printers are “free” nor are they a bargain, especially if you have to go back to the manufacturer for ink.

To find the most current ratings of printers and how thirsty they are I would check the current rankings in PC World magazine or online at

Question: My new printer has a wirleless connection and an Ethernet connection.

What is the best way to connect to my house full of printers?

Answer: By far the best is the wired Ethernet connection if the printer is within wired distance of your router. It will be faster, more stable and cause you less hassle.

If your printer supports it you can turn on both types of connections but I assure you that the wireless one will slowly drive you crazy like the water torture that is against the Geneva Convention. Oh, it may work for a week, a month . . . six months … but like the wireless expanders and printer controllers, they will fail. People will come, Ray . . . people will come . . . to fix your lousy connections.

Question: Did you read that Facebook finally dropped Beacons?

Answer: I did. Took it long enough. This lame-brained advertising gimmick took way too long to die and should have been killed after the initial outrage.

James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer repair firm and a tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at

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