Tech Buzz 08/03
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They're not the most glamorous pieces of business equipment, but scanners are still popular workhorses that many entrepreneurs rely on. If you create your own promotional materials or want to upload images to your Web site, you may be interested in the latest and greatest scanners on the market.
Newer, sleeker scanners offer higher resolutions, faster scanning and more convenient integration of advanced features. Hewlett-Packard's 8200 series, with prices between $500 and $1,500, includes scanners geared for higher-end business applications and document management. The basic 8200 features up to 4,800 optical dpi resolution and 48-bit color. Less demanding needs can be filled by scanners that offer remarkable quality for a price tag under $200. Canon, Epson, Microtek, Umax and Visioneer offer models ranging from bargain-basement equipment to professional-level hardware.
Ever get the feeling you're being watched? You may be right. Covert programs that are downloaded from the Internet onto unsuspecting computers have been proliferating lately.
Known as "spyware," these sneaky bits of software may be monitoring computer activity or serving up advertising (also known as adware) without you realizing it. They may be inadvertently downloaded by employees as part of another software program or hidden deep within a licensing agreement. At its worst, a spyware program may just plant itself when a surfer wanders onto the wrong Web site. Some varieties can even be triggered through HTML spam e-mails.
Fortunately, there are ways for you to keep your computers clear of spyware and your valuable business data safe. A good firewall setup can help prevent unauthorized programs from using your business network to send information back to a parent organization.
Free spyware detection products are also available from sites like Download.com. But to really protect your information, a more complete solution is anti-spyware software from companies like Lavasoft (www.lavasoft.de) and PestPatrol (www.pestpatrol.com). They can locate both spyware and adware and clean it off computers.
With these undercover programs becoming trickier all the time, you have to make an anti-spyware effort part of your overall security plan and review it periodically to deal with inevitable new twists.