Category Archives: Anything I.T.

Erik Stensland recommendation of Jonathan Burrows (on LinkedIn)

I was very pleased to receive the following recommendation on LinkedIn by Erik Stensland. In fact, at first, I didn’t think it was me that Erik was writing about!

“I’ve known Jonathan for over 20 years and he continues to amaze me with his ability to link disparate ideas to find creative solutions. He’s someone who seems to thrive on solving puzzles. I’ve had him help me with several web related problems and he always comes up with terrific solutions. The range of his technical skills is really impressive. Most of the folks I’ve worked with in the software industry are specialists in just one area while Jonathan seems to cover an incredibly wide range of technical fields. I’m fairly competent having established numerous networks and projects, but when I’m in a bind, he’s the guy I call. Extremely competent and creative. I don’t think I know anyone else who even comes close to his amazing set of computer skills” – Erik Stensland, Owner of Morning Light Photography

Thanks!

Free Anti-virus and Anti-malware programs and other stuff

Free Anti-virus and Anti-malware programs and other stuff

Just thought I’d post up here two or three links to some useful programs that will help keep your PC clear of virus related issues.

1. Make sure that your Windows firewall is active (I’m presuming you are using Windows here, apologies if you are not)

2. Make sure your router is properly password protected (see your manufacturers manual for details). The main thing here is to ensure that your routers’ wireless security is on and that the admin password is changed from the default.

Anti-virus

There are a few but here are probably the most popular (my current favourite is Avast)

4. Avast Free Anti-virus is not too memory hungry or indeed processor hungry.  In other words it won’t slow your computer down too much!  You can get it here: Avast Free.

5. AVG Free Edition is an old favourite with a lot of people. My personal opinion is that while it still does the job it can be a bit ‘heavier’ (slows the computer down) than other programs such as Avast.  You can get AVG Free here.

It is my opinion that the paid for versions do not find more viruses than the free version.  Both will detect known viruses and deal with them.  The paid for version might however include an enhanced firewall to replace Windows firewall.

Anti-malware

Many anti-virus programs don’t go quite far enough.  There are programs out there (called malware) which often aren’t seen as viruses.  So you need a program that can scout these out too.  Malwarebytes is one such program and it has got me and friends out of trouble quite a few times!  Download Malwarebytes here.

Any questions on this short post? Try asking me from the contact page.

Thanks.

Appleby Westward (SPAR) Group Limited – New Website 2011

South West UK Retail Distribution Centre for SPAR UK

About the project

My latest project just finished is the Appleby Westward Group’s website.  My role within the company is I.T. Systems Analyst/Web Design Analyst and as such it was my responsibility to redesign the company website.

  • The site concept designs were created using Adobe Fireworks CS5.
  • The pages are coded in PHP with a MySQL database back end.
  • The design was implemented using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
  • There is a members area only accessible to SPAR retailers and Appleby Westward staff
  • The site is designed to work in Internet Explorer 7 and above; Firefox 1.5 and above; Opera, Safari and of course my preferred browser right now: Google Chrome
  • Hand coded for speed using Notepad++.  I didn’t use programs like Dreamweaver as these sorts of programs often bloat the code unnecessarily.

Many thanks goes to Kris Riggs for her input.  Kris’ design skills and thoughts were very much appreciated!

About Appleby Westward Group Limited

Appleby Westward are the SPAR Retail Distribution Centre for SPAR UK.

“We have a long-established local distribution service currently meeting the needs of a large number of great stores from Chichester in the East, Land’s End in the West and Salisbury in the North. We have a strong service culture with strict 24 hour order lead times.”

http://www.swspar.com

Comments

Hope you like the site :-)

Live Messenger 2011 – pros and cons of upgrading

So Live Messenger 2011 is now here! Woohooo! (I think!)

Download Live Messenger 2011 here (but read the article first!)

Here is a quick run down of some of the pros and cons of upgrading.  It might be good for you and it might not.  I have to admit I was a bit miffed at a couple of the ‘upgrades’ but I’m giving it a go anyway.

Pros

Facebook chat:

Of course you would expect a slicker interface and some added features and you do.  For one, you get integration into Facebook chat so you can chat to your Facebook friends who are signed in on Facebook chat through the Live Messenger chat windows rather than the Facebook chat in the web page.

You also get to see your Facebook friends signing in just like any other Messenger contact.

I like this but can be confusing at first hehehe.

Offline to all/Online to one:

If you are one of those people that sign in in Offline mode so you can just chat to one or two people and not get bombarded by many chats, then you can “Appear online to this person” or “Appear online to everyone” or “Appear offline to everyone”.

A good idea I guess although did it need messing with?

Send video message:

I don’t remember this option from previous versions.  In an IM window of the selected contact you can click on the little arrow next to Video Call and go down to Video Message.  This opens up a new window with your webcam visible and a record and stop button.  Record your message and click send!

Cons

No more one way video chat:

I’ve not tested this but I have seen quite a few sites where people are complaining that this feature has been taken away.  Why did it get taken away? This was a feature of Live Messenger in previous versions.  I know a few people who don’t have webcams but still like to see the other person on cam while not being able to show their own.

Thumbs down.

Nickname changes:

Ok, this one really got my goat when I first realised.  By default Live Messenger 2011 uses your Live Full name (first name and last name) as your Live Messenger name.  If you want to change your display name, the only option takes you to the Live website where you get to edit your ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’.  Of course, this will edit your name on both Live Messenger and the Live (Hotmail) site (i.e. when you send an email it will get sent with the new name!)

I don’t like this because like me you may have different names for different groups of people.  I use my hotmail email address to send emails that perhaps are more formal or even business related but I use Live Messenger in an informal way. For instance I have many gaming friends who know me as ‘Jabbs’ not as ‘Jonathan Burrows’.

As I write, I’ve asked a friend what my name shows as on Live Messenger.  She said it was my nickname (Jabbs) rather than my full name.  This suggests to me that existing people will see me as the nickname I had before I ‘upgraded’ to Live Messenger 2011.  I can only guess what any new contacts will see me as. Probably ‘Jonathan Burrows’.

Other stuff (not really a pro or a con in my eyes)

Tabbed conversations:

So conversations are now in one window (tabbed windows) by default but you can change this. I’m leaving it set like this to see how it goes.  Seems ok so far!

Connect to other services:

As you have seen above, you can connect your Facebook account to Live Messenger 2011.  You can also connect many other services such as MySpace; LinkedIn; WordPress; Last.FM; Flickr and many more.  no Twitter though!

Shared status with Facebook:

You can now set your Facebook status via the Live Messenger 2011 ‘Share something’ area and also visa versa (if you wish). You can disable this if you like.

‘Full view':

Full view basically incorporates what used to be MSN Today with news and search on one side and contacts on the other.  I’m not that fussed about this :-)

There are the usual other features such as Shared Activities (games and so on) but that’s all I’m writing about for now.  Got a comment? Write back here on the website or on my Facebook Page.

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows [TECH]

To enhance the post I made on how to create all sorts of smileys, emoticons and other symbols using the PC keyboard, I thought I’d do this one as I get a lot of people asking me how to do these things.  Using keyboard shortcuts does make life a lot easier and simpler when working on a computer so here they are.  I’ve split them into ‘Most used‘ and ‘All‘.

Most used

Windows general

The most used ones for everyday users of the PC are probably the following.  It’s not a long list as it can take a while to remember what each one does.

By the way, where you see the + (plus sign) that simply means you need to press and hold the first button PLUS press and release the second button.  For instance you will see in the list CTRL+C.  This means press the CTRL button on your keyboard (left of the spacebar), keep it held down while pressing the C button.

So, here they are:

F1 – help. Will bring up the help system in Windows.  You can then type a search to see if you can find the answer you are looking for.

F2 – Rename/enter objector cell. Let’s say you have a file selected in your Documents folder, you want to rename it.  You could right click the file and choose rename OR you could simply press F2! Hey presto, you are inside the filename where you can type a new name!

F3 – find. – Pressing the F3 button (usually top of your keyboard with all the other ‘F’ buttons) will bring up the ‘Find’ window. Type your search and away you go!

ALT + TAB. – I used this so much! It’s a quick and easy way of flicking through your open programs.  Basically keep the left ALT key down while pressing the TAB key repeatedly until you find the open program you want to go to.  When you do, just release the ALT key and there you go, you have flicked to the other program!

CTRL + C. This copies the selected text or file to something called the Windows clipboard.  You can’t see the clipboard but your copied item sits in there until you put something else in the clipboard.  To get your copied item or text out of the clipboard, you use ‘Paste‘ (see next item).

CTRL + V. Copies the text or item in your clipboard (see above) to where ever your mouse is selected (i.e. inside a word document).  If you are copying and pasting a file, then you will most likely be in a folder on your computer to paste the file.

CTRL + X. This ‘Cuts‘ the selected text or file to the Windows clipboard.  In other words it removes from the original location and when you ‘Paste’ (CTRL + V) it to the new location.

CTRL + Z.  Probably the best shortcut ever! If you made a mistake you can ‘Undo‘ your last or indeed any number of previous actions.  (Depends on the program you are using at the time).

CTRL + A.  This selects all text or all files in a window prior to a further action such as DELETE or copying etc.

CTRL + P. Opens the Print window.

Holding the CTRL key down while you select other files.  If you hold the CTRL key down while you click on other files in a folder, you will notice that those other files become selected also.  Useful if you want to copy, move or perhaps delete a selection of files all at the same time.

Holding the SHIFT key down to select all files in between the originally selected file and the last file you ‘Click‘.  This selects every file in between your first selected file and the last one you ‘SHIFT + Click’.  Useful for selecting a lot of files in a folder.

Using the Windows key in combination with other keys is also very useful.  The Windows key has a Windows log on it like this:

Windows key So…

WINDOWS KEY + M. Minimises all windows to show the Desktop.

WINDOWS KEY + E. Opens Windows Explorer so you can view files on your PC.

WINDOWS KEY (on its own). Opens the Start Menu.

WINDOWS + R. Opens the Run box.

Internet specific shortcuts

F5.  Refreshes the web page you are currently viewing.

CTRL + TAB.  Moves between tabs in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc (Saves you clicking between them all if you have many open).  You can also use the following if you know which tab you need.

CTRL + (a number).  For instance CTRL + 1 on your keyboard will take you to the first tab.  CTRL + 4 will take you to the fourth tab (if there is one).

CTRL + D – opens the ‘Add to favourites (favorites in the US)‘ box.

SPACEBAR.  Will move down the webpage one page height.

Text editing specific shortcuts

As well as using the above shortcuts like CTRL + C, you can use the following to quickly format text or move your way around text.

CTRL + B.  Makes the selected text BOLD.

CTRL + I. Makes the selected text Italic.

CTRL + U. Makes the selected text Underlined.

CTRL + Right or Left Arrow. Moves you left or right in your block of text one word at a time.  Much quicker than simply using the arrow keys alone.  Hint: You can hold the SHIFT key as well as the CTRL key to SELECT one word a time while moving left or right.

All

I’ll list my own here later, but for now you could click on the links below for more information.

References: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126449 & http://www.worldstart.com/guides/shortcuts.htm

Federated Search [TECH]

Federated Search

I love this! Windows 7 (Ultimate or Enterprise) has a feature called Federated Search (wikipedia link).  It’s awesome, read on for more!

What does it do?

You know the Windows 7 search tool within a Windows explorer window? (see screenshot below).  Well, Federated Search allows you to search for pretty much anything, anywhere (on the Internet that is).  So, that simple search box which you may have used to search for files on your computer can now be used to find Youtube videos, Microsoft Technet articles, Torrent files and much much more.  The results are displayed in the window just like any other search result on your computer.  You can double click them to open, copy and save any of the results (actually shortcuts to the original location) to locations on your computer for later use and so on!  (How about saving them to your Dropbox folder so they are there when you get to one of your other PC’s?

Screenshot

Notice on the left I have a few extra folders on the left? Youtube and Microsoft TechNet for instance?  Top right shows I have search for the word ‘runes of magic’ (it’s game ok?) and the results from the Youtube site are displayed below all from my Windows desktop!

If you’d like to know how it works – message me!

Jonathan out

ASCII characters (emoticons and smileys like heart) using your PC keyboard ALT key [TECH]

I thought I’d create my own page for these codes as I’m always having to search for the right page.  These little ALT codes are often used inside text forms on websites such as Facebook and Twitter (where people set their status’).  The most used ones seem to be emoticons (or smileys) such the heart ♥ and the smiley face ☺ and useful to perhaps web designers like using the copyright symbol ©

How to do it!

You need a full sized keyboard where you have the numeric keypad area (the part with numbers). These codes do not work with the numbers above the main QWERTY keys.

Now to make it work! Simply press and hold the ALT key on your keyboard (the ALT key at the left of the space bar (does not work with the ALT GR key to the right of the space bar) and then type the code of the key you want, then release the ALT key.

The full list is below but here are what I think are the most used ones ☺

Most used ALT key emoticons/smileys and ASCII codes

ALT+1 ☺
ALT+2 ☻
ALT+3 ♥
ALT+4 ♦
ALT+5 ♣
ALT+6 ��
ALT+14 ♫
ALT+15 ☼
ALT+174 «
ALT+175 »
ALT+251 √
ALT+0169 ©
ALT+0174 ®

The full list

ALT+0
ALT+1 ☺
ALT+2 ☻
ALT+3 ♥
ALT+4 ♦
ALT+5 ♣
ALT+6 ♠
ALT+7
ALT+8
ALT+9
ALT+10
ALT+11 ♂
ALT+12 ♀
ALT+13 ♪
ALT+14 ♫
ALT+15 ☼
ALT+16 ►
ALT+17 ◄
ALT+18 ↕
ALT+19 ‼
ALT+20 ¶
ALT+21 §
ALT+22 ▬
ALT+23 ↨
ALT+24 ↑
ALT+25 ↓
ALT+26 →
ALT+27 ←
ALT+28 ∟
ALT+29 ↔
ALT+30 ▲
ALT+31 ▼
ALT+32
ALT+33 !
ALT+34 “
ALT+35 #
ALT+36 $
ALT+37 %
ALT+38 &
ALT+39 ‘
ALT+40 (
ALT+41 )
ALT+42 *
ALT+43 +
ALT+44 ,
ALT+45 -
ALT+46 .
ALT+47 /
ALT+48 0
ALT+49 1
ALT+50 2
ALT+51 3
ALT+52 4
ALT+53 5
ALT+54 6
ALT+55 7
ALT+56 8
ALT+57 9
ALT+58 :
ALT+59 ;
ALT+60 <
ALT+61 =
ALT+62 >
ALT+63 ?
ALT+64 @
ALT+65 A
ALT+66 B
ALT+67 C
ALT+68 D
ALT+69 E
ALT+70 F
ALT+71 G
ALT+72 H
ALT+73 I
ALT+74 J
ALT+75 K
ALT+76 L
ALT+77 M
ALT+78 N
ALT+79 O
ALT+80 P
ALT+81 Q
ALT+82 R
ALT+83 S
ALT+84 T
ALT+85 U
ALT+86 V
ALT+87 W
ALT+88 X
ALT+89 Y
ALT+90 Z
ALT+91 [
ALT+92 \
ALT+93 ]
ALT+94 ^
ALT+95 _
ALT+96 `
ALT+97 a
ALT+98 b
ALT+99 c
ALT+100 d
ALT+101 e
ALT+102 f
ALT+103 g
ALT+104 h
ALT+105 i
ALT+106 j
ALT+107 k
ALT+108 l
ALT+109 m
ALT+110 n
ALT+111 o
ALT+112 p
ALT+113 q
ALT+114 r
ALT+115 s
ALT+116 t
ALT+117 u
ALT+118 v
ALT+119 w
ALT+120 x
ALT+121 y
ALT+122 z
ALT+123 {
ALT+124 |
ALT+125 }
ALT+126 ~
ALT+127 ⌂
ALT+128 Ç
ALT+129 ü
ALT+130 é
ALT+131 â
ALT+132 ä
ALT+133 à
ALT+134 å
ALT+135 ç
ALT+136 ê
ALT+137 ë
ALT+138 è
ALT+139 ï
ALT+140 î
ALT+141 ì
ALT+142 Ä
ALT+143 Å
ALT+144 É
ALT+145 æ
ALT+146 Æ
ALT+147 ô
ALT+148 ö
ALT+149 ò
ALT+150 û
ALT+151 ù
ALT+152 ÿ
ALT+153 Ö
ALT+154 Ü
ALT+155 ¢
ALT+156 £
ALT+157 ¥
ALT+158 ₧
ALT+159 ƒ
ALT+160 á
ALT+161 í
ALT+162 ó
ALT+163 ú
ALT+164 ñ
ALT+165 Ñ
ALT+166 ª
ALT+167 º
ALT+168 ¿
ALT+169 ⌐
ALT+170 ¬
ALT+171 ½
ALT+172 ¼
ALT+173 ¡
ALT+174 «
ALT+175 »
ALT+176 ░
ALT+177 ▒
ALT+178 ▓
ALT+179 │
ALT+180 ┤
ALT+181 ╡
ALT+182 ╢
ALT+183 ╖
ALT+184 ╕
ALT+185 ╣
ALT+186 ║
ALT+187 ╗
ALT+188 ╝
ALT+189 ╜
ALT+190 ╛
ALT+191 ┐
ALT+192 └
ALT+193 ┴
ALT+194 ┬
ALT+195 ├
ALT+196 ─
ALT+197 ┼
ALT+198 ╞
ALT+199 ╟
ALT+200 ╚
ALT+201 ╔
ALT+202 ╩
ALT+203 ╦
ALT+204 ╠
ALT+205 ═
ALT+206 ╬
ALT+207 ╧
ALT+208 ╨
ALT+209 ╤
ALT+210 ╥
ALT+211 ╙
ALT+212 ╘
ALT+213 ╒
ALT+214 ╓
ALT+215 ╫
ALT+216 ╪
ALT+217 ┘
ALT+218 ┌
ALT+219 █
ALT+220 ▄
ALT+221 ▌
ALT+222 ▐
ALT+223 ▀
ALT+224 α
ALT+225 ß
ALT+226 Γ
ALT+227 π
ALT+228 Σ
ALT+229 σ
ALT+230 µ
ALT+231 τ
ALT+232 Φ
ALT+233 Θ
ALT+234 Ω
ALT+235 δ
ALT+236 ∞
ALT+237 φ
ALT+238 ε
ALT+239 ∩
ALT+240 ≡
ALT+241 ±
ALT+242 ≥
ALT+243 ≤
ALT+244 ⌠
ALT+245 ⌡
ALT+246 ÷
ALT+247 ≈
ALT+248 °
ALT+249 ∙
ALT+250 ·
ALT+251 √
ALT+252 ⁿ
ALT+253 ²
ALT+254 ■
ALT+255
ALT+00
ALT+01 
ALT+02 
ALT+03 
ALT+04 
ALT+05 
ALT+06 
ALT+07
ALT+08 
ALT+09
ALT+010
ALT+011
ALT+012
ALT+013
ALT+014 
ALT+015 
ALT+016 
ALT+017 
ALT+018 
ALT+019 
ALT+020 
ALT+021 
ALT+022 
ALT+023 
ALT+024 
ALT+025 
ALT+026 
ALT+027 
ALT+028 
ALT+029 
ALT+030 
ALT+031 
ALT+032
ALT+033 !
ALT+034 “
ALT+035 #
ALT+036 $
ALT+037 %
ALT+038 &
ALT+039 ‘
ALT+040 (
ALT+041 )
ALT+042 *
ALT+043 +
ALT+044 ,
ALT+045 -
ALT+046 .
ALT+047 /
ALT+048 0
ALT+049 1
ALT+050 2
ALT+051 3
ALT+052 4
ALT+053 5
ALT+054 6
ALT+055 7
ALT+056 8
ALT+057 9
ALT+058 :
ALT+059 ;
ALT+060 <
ALT+061 =
ALT+062 >
ALT+063 ?
ALT+064 @
ALT+065 A
ALT+066 B
ALT+067 C
ALT+068 D
ALT+069 E
ALT+070 F
ALT+071 G
ALT+072 H
ALT+073 I
ALT+074 J
ALT+075 K
ALT+076 L
ALT+077 M
ALT+078 N
ALT+079 O
ALT+080 P
ALT+081 Q
ALT+082 R
ALT+083 S
ALT+084 T
ALT+085 U
ALT+086 V
ALT+087 W
ALT+088 X
ALT+089 Y
ALT+090 Z
ALT+091 [
ALT+092 \
ALT+093 ]
ALT+094 ^
ALT+095 _
ALT+096 `
ALT+097 a
ALT+098 b
ALT+099 c
ALT+0100 d
ALT+0101 e
ALT+0102 f
ALT+0103 g
ALT+0104 h
ALT+0105 i
ALT+0106 j
ALT+0107 k
ALT+0108 l
ALT+0109 m
ALT+0110 n
ALT+0111 o
ALT+0112 p
ALT+0113 q
ALT+0114 r
ALT+0115 s
ALT+0116 t
ALT+0117 u
ALT+0118 v
ALT+0119 w
ALT+0120 x
ALT+0121 y
ALT+0122 z
ALT+0123 {
ALT+0124 |
ALT+0125 }
ALT+0126 ~
ALT+0127 
ALT+0128 €
ALT+0129 
ALT+0130 ‚
ALT+0131 ƒ
ALT+0132 „
ALT+0133 …
ALT+0134 †
ALT+0135 ‡
ALT+0136 ˆ
ALT+0137 ‰
ALT+0138 Š
ALT+0139 ‹
ALT+0140 Œ
ALT+0141 
ALT+0142 Ž
ALT+0143 
ALT+0144 
ALT+0145 ‘
ALT+0146 ‘
ALT+0147 “
ALT+0148 “
ALT+0149 •
ALT+0150 –
ALT+0151 —
ALT+0152 ˜
ALT+0153 ™
ALT+0154 š
ALT+0155 ›
ALT+0156 œ
ALT+0157 
ALT+0158 ž
ALT+0159 Ÿ
ALT+0160
ALT+0161 ¡
ALT+0162 ¢
ALT+0163 £
ALT+0164 ¤
ALT+0165 ¥
ALT+0166 ¦
ALT+0167 §
ALT+0168 ¨
ALT+0169 ©
ALT+0170 ª
ALT+0171 «
ALT+0172 ¬
ALT+0173
ALT+0174 ®
ALT+0175 ¯
ALT+0176 °
ALT+0177 ±
ALT+0178 ²
ALT+0179 ³
ALT+0180 ´
ALT+0181 µ
ALT+0182 ¶
ALT+0183 ·
ALT+0184 ¸
ALT+0185 ¹
ALT+0186 º
ALT+0187 »
ALT+0188 ¼
ALT+0189 ½
ALT+0190 ¾
ALT+0191 ¿
ALT+0192 À
ALT+0193 Á
ALT+0194 Â
ALT+0195 Ã
ALT+0196 Ä
ALT+0197 Å
ALT+0198 Æ
ALT+0199 Ç
ALT+0200 È
ALT+0201 É
ALT+0202 Ê
ALT+0203 Ë
ALT+0204 Ì
ALT+0205 Í
ALT+0206 Î
ALT+0207 Ï
ALT+0208 Ð
ALT+0209 Ñ
ALT+0210 Ò
ALT+0211 Ó
ALT+0212 Ô
ALT+0213 Õ
ALT+0214 Ö
ALT+0215 ×
ALT+0216 Ø
ALT+0217 Ù
ALT+0218 Ú
ALT+0219 Û
ALT+0220 Ü
ALT+0221 Ý
ALT+0222 Þ
ALT+0223 ß
ALT+0224 à
ALT+0225 á
ALT+0226 â
ALT+0227 ã
ALT+0228 ä
ALT+0229 å
ALT+0230 æ
ALT+0231 ç
ALT+0232 è
ALT+0233 é
ALT+0234 ê
ALT+0235 ë
ALT+0236 ì
ALT+0237 í
ALT+0238 î
ALT+0239 ï
ALT+0240 ð
ALT+0241 ñ
ALT+0242 ò
ALT+0243 ó
ALT+0244 ô
ALT+0245 õ
ALT+0246 ö
ALT+0247 ÷
ALT+0248 ø
ALT+0249 ù
ALT+0250 ú
ALT+0251 û
ALT+0252 ü
ALT+0253 ý
ALT+0254 þ
ALT+0255 ÿ

Plymouth web design and hosting services

More information about website design and hosting for people in the Plymouth (UK) area can be found on my ‘Services’ website at:

www.jonathanburrows.com

Excerpt: I have the expertise to build and support your website from scratch. From domain choice to a complete hosting package. From website design (including mobile phones) to coding, SEO and completion.  Click the link above for more information.

Live Messenger – How to stop and remove those annoying adverts!

Do you, like me, get annoyed with the adverts that come up on Live Messenger?  I mean come on! All I did was move the mouse over that area accidentally and suddenly I have a bigger version of the advert getting in the way of what I wanted to do!

SOLUTION
There are several solutions to remove or stop the ads from Live Messenger, some of which include downloading and installing new software (add ons for Messenger) but I’m just going to mention one.  It involves editing a file called hosts and adding one line into the file, saving and restarting the PC.

FILE LOCATION
First of all here is the location of the file you need to edit:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\

(Your PC might be slightly different but I doubt it)

The name of the file is called ‘hosts’ and it doesn’t have a file extension (such as .txt for text files)

FILE PERMISSIONS
On Windows 7 and I think Windows Vista, you will first of all need to give the user you are logged on as the permission to have Full Control of that file.  The best way of doing that is to go to the start menu, find ‘Notepad’, then instead of clicking notepad in the normal way to run the program, do a RIGHT-click and then choose Run as Administrator.  You can then find the hosts file within the Notepad program and you will be running it as Administrator.

THEN SIMPLY
Open the file using Windows Notepad and add the following line to the file after all the other stuff in there (don’t delete anything else).

127.0.0.1        rad.msn.com

Save the file and Exit.  If at this point you get a Save as box come up, then you haven’t dealt with the permissions thing I mentioned above.

FINALLY
Restart the PC and sign in to Messenger and hey presto! No more annoying adverts!

EXPLANATION
If you need to know: What is happening is that we are telling Messenger to look for the adverts at the IP address of 127.0.0.1 which happens to be your PC!  Of course, it won’t be able to find the adverts at that IP address and therefore won’t display them! Simple!

DISCLAIMER
Don’t come running to me if you break something! It’s a simple change to an important file. If you delete, rename or do something else stupid – then that’s your fault ;-) Of course, just ask me and I will help you do this tweak :-)