THE MAGAZINE

New in plaintext.

By Peter Piazza

Like life, the Internet can be filled with little annoyances. Unlike life, however, clearing up most of those Web-based nuisances is a fairly simple process, especially if you have a copy of Internet Annoyances: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things about Going Online.

The book’s ten chapters cover every kind of potential irritant, from security issues to e-mail and spam to using AOL. The book is aimed at novice users, so no in-depth knowledge of programming is needed to put these fixes into action.

The chapter on security tells the reader steps to take to ensure that home and business computers are locked down against intruders. For example, you may have spent time setting up a Windows XP or ZoneAlarm firewall; but how do you know if it’s properly configured and really blocking attacks? Author Preston Gralla points to several free online security checkup stations from reliable names such as Symantec. Or perhaps you think that a site you are visiting may be a fake; how can you tell? Simply type the short JavaScript command from the book into the address bar of your browser and a window will open telling you what site you’re really at.

Gralla provides easy-to-understand advice on other security issues such as avoiding spyware, recognizing and dealing with infections by Trojan horses, and reporting hackers to “the good guys.” Many of the tips are links to freeware or other software products. Many other tools are available for download through the publisher’s Web site.

Readers looking for information on how to work out the kinks of a wireless network securely, block pop-up ads, troubleshoot Internet connections, or combat many other common Web annoyances will want this book at their side every time they surf. The book is available from O’Reilly Media for $24.95.

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