Turning the Sound off in Ad-Aware 1.05

Spybot Search and Destroy was my mainstay in keeping my Windows system free of spyware until recently, when Lavasoft released a new version of Ad-Aware. Ad-Aware had been my favorite but wasn't updated for a long while.

The software is thorough and currently has frequent updates. There's only one problem. When it finds a piece of spyware, it uses this godawful alert sound that made me jump the first time I heard it. Just today, I left Ad-Aware running in the other room, and went to the next room to greet my wife Karen just home from work, and she jumped about three feet sideways when that "BLAT" noise came barreling out of my subwoofer. Making me especially mad is that I thought I had already turned it off.

Lavasoft has succumbed to the dreaded WinAmp disease: let's make the interface skinnable, cool and mysterious. So it took me a while to figure out that the icon with the gear on it is for settings. Once there, I scanned the list of buttons on the settings window, and decided that "Interface" is how I would turn the sound file off.

So I blanked out the file name for "Play This Wave file if Targets Are Found" field in question, and saved the change, figuring it would stop playing it. No luck. Finally, under the "Tweak" option, under a sub-category called "Misc Settings", I found the option that turns the sound off. (To be honest, I had already deleted the sound file, but now I was mad.)

Why not make blanking the file work, or at least indicate it didn't, rather than silently (or noisily!) failing? Better yet, why even make noise at the user in the first place? If it were any other program, behavior that anti-social would be cause for immediate removal.

All said, I have to recommend you look past the interface and download Ad-Aware. It found things Spybot missed, and cleans out your system restore files. I've already had to use a system restore that had spyware in it, so I appreciate the thoroughness.

But don't forgot to turn that infernal sound off. To summarize, from the main window, click on the button with a gear on it, click on "Tweak", then hit the plus sign on "Misc Settings" to show both options. Next, click on the green check mark next to "Play sound at scan completion if scan locates critical objects" to change it to a red X mark, and click "Proceed" to actually save your changes and turn the sound off, and then scan in peace.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Friday, December 17, 2004 (Link)

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Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0: STILL not ready for prime time

I would like to use Mozilla Thunderbird to read my email, since Mozilla Mail only opens links in Mozilla, and I'm happy with Firefox. I tried switching again with the release of Thunderbird 1.0. My first impression about Thunderbird 1.0 was good: it imported my mail folders, address book, even mail filters.

I've switched back to Mozilla Mail. Here's why.

1. Thunderbird has an irritating habit of blanking out the pane that displays the message information (subject, sender, etc). If it only did it once in a while, that would be one thing, but this seems to be intended, and happens all the time. It shouldn't have been.

2. Slowness. Thunderbird would often show the hourglass wait icon, sometimes for reasons that still elude me. Granted, I have a complicated setup: 3 accounts, one of them a secure connection, and all using IMAP. But Mozilla Mail deals with it much more gracefully.

3. Worse, Thunderbird randomly crashed three or four times on me for no apparent reason. Googling led to some information that said I should delete my XUL cache. (Thunderbird uses this to keep track of all the menus and such.) What the heck, I did. It seemed to crash less after that. Not something you should need to do for an allegedly 1.0 version.

3. The dealbreaker? Spam. I wasn't surprised that I might have to train Thunderbird spam filter, and sure enough, 17 spam emails landed in my inbox. So I marked all 17 spam messages as spam, and they just sat there.

I checked the setting: it was indeed set to move spam to the Junk folder on marking. I tried the Run Junk Mail Controls on Folder command: nothing. I gave Thunderbird the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe it somehow didn't get that these were spam, so I tried a promising-looking function that would delete mail marked as spam in the current folder: nada.

Rather irritated, I quit Thunderbird and got back into it. The Mark submenu I use to mark spam had vanished. Mark was still there, but there was no arrow showing that it would expand out. Come on! I guess I wore it out from so much use. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. (It's possible, now that I think about it, that the menu was still there, just the arrow was missing, but I'm not going to use a program that flaky. )

Not only that, but when I pulled up my Task Manager, it was still running after I quit it. After killing it, I uninstalled with extreme prejudice.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Thursday, December 9, 2004 (Link)

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Compass Banking Bill Pay

So wanted to add Bill Pay to my Compass Online Banking. Much hilarity ensued.

Many faxes happened. It wasn't until fax number 3 that the Bill Pay option on the web site showed up. After figuring out that I need to "Add a Payee", I tried, and no matter what, I received this error message.

Please try signon again

"Please try signon again"? What kind of wording is that? And what is an "Unknown error"? I tried taking spaces out of the account number. I tried it in Internet Explorer, to no avail. I even "tried signon again". It reached the confirm page just fine, and then, every time, the same error message, when I tried to actually submit.

So I called the tech support, who said to fax the form. The same one I've had faxed 3 times now. Oh come on. They told me it'd been turned on but not authorized. What? How is that even possible? Oh, and they had to turn it off so it could be turned on properly.

After insisting that I had indeed faxed it, I got put on hold. They couldn't reach the person they believed to have one of the three faxes, so they were going to get back to me. I gave them my phone number.

They never got back to me. (You knew that was coming, right?).

A few days later, I called them again, and ended up going in and faxing the form for the fourth time. This time, it's addressed to the person I talked to, and it finally worked.

While on Thanksgiving holiday, at the folk's house, I signed on and added "Comcat" as a payee. Once saved, you cannot edit the official payee name. So I had to delete "Comcat" and re-enter everything under "Comcast"®—just to fix one letter. So I went in and added some people and sent off a payment.

Here's hoping the actual bill paying goes more smoothly than the signup.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Thursday, December 2, 2004 (Link)

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