Bill C-27, the “Anti-Spam Bill”

Posted by admin on Dec 19, 2009

Taken from The Business Blink newsletter of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce, written by Michael Chong, MP

E-mail is a wonderful technology which, in just over a decade, has completely changed our lives. However, many of the benefits of e-mail have been offset by the problem of spam (unwanted and unsolicited commercial e-mails). According to a MessageLabs report of September 2009, spam accounted for as much as 86% of global e-mail traffic.  Unfortunately, Canada is, in part, responsible for this problem. Canada ranks as one of the top originating countries for spam; the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report ranked Canada fourth on the “Spam by Originating Country” list.
The high volume of spam in recent years has negatively affected the productivity of Internet technologies like e-mail. When a high volume of e-mail is spam, networks slow down, people waste time (at home and work as they delete unwanted e-mails), and companies are forced to spend considerable money on systems to prevent spam from entering their networks.

The high volume of spam in recent years has also impeded the full potential of the Internet as a platform for commercial use. Spam is more than just unwanted e-mail; it is often used as a vehicle to perpetrate fraud on Canadians. It can lead to online fraud by luring individuals to counterfeit websites (phishing), the theft of personal data to rob bank and credit card accounts (identity theft), the collection of personal information through illicit access to computer systems (spyware), and false representations in the online marketplace.  Canadian businesses also suffer.  Businesses are the victims of the counterfeiting of their websites to defraud individuals and other businesses (spoofing). Spam-borne viruses and other malicious software (malware) are used to operate networks of “zombie” computers (botnets) without their owners’ knowledge. This undermines confidence in the Internet as a platform for personal and business use.
The government is acting to combat spam and related threats by introducing Bill C-27, a piece of anti-spam legislation entitled the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA). The proposed legislation will deter the most damaging form of spam from occurring in Canada and will help drive spammers out of Canada.

Bill C-27 was in front of the Industry Committee, the Committee I have the privilege of chairing.  We have heard from a wide range of witnesses and the legislation passed our Committee at the end of October. Recently the bill has entered third reading and debate in the House.

If adopted by Parliament, Bill C-27 will go a long way to combating spam and spam-related threats. Based on the experience of other countries with similar legislation, a reduction in spam is quickly expected. While the legislation will not eliminate spam entirely, Canadians will see a reduction in the amount of spam received. Equally important, the legislation will decrease the most damaging forms of spam from originating in Canada, and will help drive spammers, along with the associated illegal activity, out of Canada.

The Internet has become the primary platform for online commerce and general communications.  Canada has had a long history of global leadership in the communications sector. E-commerce is now a major part of the Canadian economy, with billions of dollars of goods and services being sold over the Internet each year in Canada. This legislation will allow Canada to continue that leadership, ensuring we remain a secure locale for e-commerce and for Canadians. It’s time for Canadian law to catch up to the Internet age.

If you wish to find out more or have any enquiries, please contact me at or at   (866) 878 5556.  Hon. Michael Chong, M.P. Wellington-Halton Hills

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PC Performance Myths

Posted by admin on Dec 15, 2009

Taken from PC World Magazine, January 2010

You have lots of good ways to speed up your PC, but you’ll encounter plenty of bogus tips too.  Here are three tactics that don’t do the trick.

Cleaning the Registry… Hard-core Windows users love to tweak via the Registry Editor.  This, the thinking goes, improves efficiency, saves the OS energy at bootup, and makes it run faster.  But we have never need any significant increase in speed… plus you can do more harm than good, if you don’t know what you are doing.  If you want to do a bit of cleanup, but don’t want to use the Registry Editor, you can use CCleaner… read about it here…

Disabling System Restore… Many supposed Windows gurus say that disabling System Restore can speed up your PC by freeing hard-drive space and preventing it from kicking in while you work.  But since System Restore activates only when you install apps or when your PC is idle, and since it uses only a small fraction on your drive, turning it off robs you of a valuable safety measure without providing any benefit.

Defragging Your Drive… Back when drives were small and OSs were simpler, doing this was necessary.  But Windows XP, Vista and 7 all have automated disk optimization, and it’s rare for a drive to become so fragmented that it hampers performance.  While defragmenting isn’t harmful, it’s usually a waste of time.  We recommend running Defraggler once or twice a year to fix things that the automated optimization might have missed.  You can read about it here…

If your system is running sluggish, there are many possible causes.  The obvious culprit is usually a virus or a program running in the background.  A simple and inexpensive memory upgrade can also give your system a bit more zip. We recommend a yearly visit to our workbench for a tuneup.

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XP Mode in Windows 7

Posted by admin on Dec 15, 2009

First of all, you should know that XP Mode is only part of Windows 7 Professoinal or Ultimate.  If you have the Home Premium version, you will have to look at other virtualized XP options (see the end of the article)

There are pros and cons to using XP Mode, but if you do your homework properly, it can be a real life saver.  You may have a program that only works in XP, and there is no update for it yet.  We have found that many industry-specific programs have not make the leap to Vista or Windows 7 yet. 

XP Mode Advantages…
– It allows you to run XP apps on Windows 7
– It allows you to run multiple versions of incompatible software
– It is integrated and launches seamlessly
– It provides a way to run 32-bit apps on a 64-bit operating system
– You can easily delete it and reinstall it (in case of a virus infection)
– Windows XP License is automatically included

XP Mode Limitations…
– It is resource intensive (uses lots of CPU and RAM)
– It needs a CPU with virtualization technology
– It is slow… up to a minute or two to launch the first time

XP Mode Alternatives…
– Virtual PC 2007 from Microsoft
– xVM Virtual Box from Sun
– VMWare

To use any of the above alternatives, you will require an XP License and installation CD to get it up and running.  One benefit is that these programs will allow for multiple installations of XP (or older Windows versions) and even Linux.

Of course, if this project seems a bit out of your technical realm, please feel free to bring in your system and we can do it for you.  We can even help you decide what solutions is the best for you.