Thursday, May 14, 2009

Security criteria

What is the BEST security software? Best value? Are those different?

According to the testing done of 11 programs by Consumer Reports ---

* these FREE programs are all recommended: Avira, Microsoft Windows Defender, and Spamfighter Standard. But they don't have all the features of paid security programs shown below.

* top subscription suite is Eset Smart Security and it costs the most.

* number 2 is McAfee, which is what we use, and CA

* #3 is Microsoft Live OneCare, and #4 is Symantec. Others follow ie Kaspersky, BitDefender, Trend Micro, F-Secure, CA, Check Point and PC Tools.

The Criteria? = Scanning speed, the CPU resources used, detection quality, scanning of emails, ease of use, child filters, anti-spam performance, files backup and cost. Lots to consider for safe computing.


Have you seen the work-at-home offers? Stuff envelopes or set up an internet business? According to Consumer Reports they are scams. One claim, to make $107,000 in 6 months -- via Google Money Tree. First its not related to Google. A free CD kit is $197 if not ordered instantly online. You provide credit card for a $3.88 ship fee, which let's them charge your account $72 per month for web access to their site if you don't cancel in 7 days. Better Business Bureau has 478 complaints on them re unauthorized credit card charges, and it failed to respond to 460. Whew.

There are many more -- assemble products at home kit -- start with the listings for $26, then $50 for a starter kit from a Texas company Gone Fish' n Tackle for 24 fishing flies. The company actually pays $12 for those IF they pass inspection, so its a $38 loss just to start. Then pay $40 for a 144 fly-making kit. Or materials will cost $890 for 3,048 flies which pay back $1524, or $639 profit for 190 hours work, or $3.35 per hour without a break ... Half the minimum wage. But it's good money for the fly company.

Stuffed envelopes at $5 profit each? The free trial cost $67 for a kit. You pay and place a classified ad to "EARN $1500+ WEEKLY" to get customers to send you the $5 and you mail them a report on how to get big dollars and other promo pamphlets from EasyHomeJOB System. That's it. Never pay for materials, be wary of network marketing, be a skeptic says CR.

Flyer Mileage

When do you spend the money to fly vs using your precious frequent flyer miles? Do the math. According to Consumer Reports, the relative value of a mile is down from 2 cents to 1.2 based on what a passenger would have paid for a free ticket in dollars. Airlines usually charge at least 25,000 miles per round trip award, so at 1.2 cents that's $300. So if a flight costs less than $300 don't spend your award dollars.

A bigger challenge might be getting a free seat. An upgrade might be easier, but more expensive due to new rules.... 6-10x more than coach to fly first class. Yipes. Might be cheaper to fly allot, achieve the highest reward level and then get free upgrades. Do the math.