The Internet Archive breathes new life into more than 1,000 classic Windows 3.x games

The work at the Internet Archive is never-ending. After adding nearly 2,400 classic MS-DOS games and a collection of nostalgia-inducing interactive viruses to its collection, the tireless team has turned its attention to Windows 3.x games.

As Jason Scott from the Internet Archive recounts in a blog post Thursday, Windows 3.x was a pivotal product for Microsoft in the early ’90s as it helped cement the dominant desktop paradigms that are still in use today. The era churned out some incredible and memorable software, many of which were games.

Now, more than a thousand classic Windows 3.x games (1,067, to be exact as of writing) can be relived right in your web browser. Many of the classics you know and love are there including Wheel of Fortune, Monopoly Deluxe, Hearts for Windows and two of my personal favorites, JezzBall and The Even More! Incredible Machine.

If you’re “new” to Windows 3.x, the archive’s Showcase category is a good place to get started. It features 49 pieces of popular Windows 3.x software such as MIDI Made Music for Windows Shareware version 2.11, Roulette, Windows Speed v1.0 and Election ’92, an arcade-style game that lets players influence the outcome of the year’s presidential election.

There’s even a stock installation of Windows 3.11 and a demo of Windows 95 if you want to relive what the early days of Windows looked like.

India blocks Facebook’s Free Basics Internet service

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Bringing the rest of the world online is proving to be tougher than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg likely bargained for. Telecom regulators in India have banned the social network’s Free Basic service as part of a larger ruling in favor of net neutrality.

That realization isn’t entirely surprising as some in India have resisted the initiative for nearly a year now.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ruled that no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content. Or in other words, it effectively bans the practice of zero-rating in which end-users aren’t charged for using select applications or Internet services.

Facebook’s Free Basics is just that, a free service that offers access to select news and health sites, Wikipedia and of course, Facebook itself.

Regulators argue that such programs favor select services over others and that under net neutrality, all online services should be treated equally. Facebook, meanwhile, maintains that the goal of Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform.

Zuckerberg and company are no doubt disappointed by the development but it’s not the end of the road for Free Basics. The service is currently available in 36 countries around the globe, helping to bring Internet access to more than 19 million people that Facebook says wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to get online.

Sling TV now has over 600,000 subscribers, sources say

dish network, cord cutting, internet tv, streaming tv, sling tv, over the top, roger lynch, tv internet, pay-tv

Sling TV, the $20-per-month over-the-top Internet television service from Dish Network, has consistently added to its repertoire since its debut in early 2015. The continued investment has apparently paid off as the streaming service now has more than 600,000 paying subscribers according to people familiar with the company’s numbers.

In a regulatory filing last August, Dish said it had 169,000 Sling TV subscribers at the end of March. Since that time, however, the company has been mum on its subscriber count. That’s led to plenty of speculation as to how well (or poorly) the service has performed since launching publicly last February.

Sources claim Sling TV’s growth as of late has been helped by the college football playoffs. What’s more, the company is expecting similar growth next month as a result of March Madness – the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

One of the big questions surrounding Sling TV is whether it’s attracting new customers or simply “stealing” subscribers from traditional pay-TV outfits. In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said the vast majority of its customers are not currently pay-TV subscribers.

Elaborating a bit further, Lynch said that either they have never had pay-TV because they are 25 years old and it never crossed their mind to pay for television or they cut the cord sometime during the past five years.

How to know if your PC is part of a botnet

Botnets are the “big bad wolf” of the Internet, and the problem is that your PC might be a part of one, and you might not even know it. For those of you who are not familiar with the topic, botnets are an “army” of computers which get infected with specific malware and are then used by the attacker for illegal activities such as spreading viruses to other computers, spamming or flooding web targets. Also known as “zombie armies”, the PCs operate without the knowledge of their owners. The largest botnet that we know about was called Oficla, included as many as 30,000,000 computers and was shut down and dismantled in November 2010. In case you’re worried about such things, here’s how to find if your PC is part of a botnet:

Symptoms of being a “zombie”

If your PC isn’t acting strange in any kind of way, there’s no reason for you to worry that it may be part of a botnet. However, there are several signs which can tell you that your PC might be a zombie. Here are the most common ones:

  • Your computer never shuts down properly or takes a very long time to do so: this indicates that there are some processes running which your operating system has a hard time shutting down, and the regular applications that you install generally don’t do that. This could indicate the fact that your PC is part of a botnet, but it could also mean that you’ve picked up some kind of regular virusб so you will need to use a process of elimination to find out which one it is.
  • Your fans are working even harder when your PC is idle: smart botnets will try to conceal their presence as much as possible, so they will try to avoid the user’s suspicions by doing their thing only when the computer isn’t in use. The fact that your fans kick into overdrive while your computer isn’t active usually means that there’s a background process which uses resources. Don’t get alarmed just yet, this could also mean that your Windows is performing updates, or that there’s too much dust on your fan, so rule those out first.
  • Your hard-disk start working intensively for no reason: make sure that there aren’t any updates going on, but if there aren’t, and you weren’t doing anything on the PC while this happened, you should be slightly worried.
  • Windows updates / antivirus updates or installation not working: not being able to update your Windows or antivirus program (or even install a new security application) is usually a clear sign that something is very wrong. You can’t know for sure if you’re actually part of a botnet or of it’s just some other kind of the malware, but you definitely should check it out.
  • Your Internet browsing and downloading speed is very slow: this could mean that something from your PC is using your Internet connection without you knowing. First, make sure that there aren’t any updates running, and that your torrent client isn’t running. If not, then perform an Internet speed test, and if everything looks normal than your computer is most likely a zombie.

The symptoms are there. How about a cure?

The part about a cure is a little bit more delicate than anyone cares to admit. To put it very simply, depending on the type of infection that has been used to add your computer to the botnet, you may not be able to completely get rid of the problem. However, here are a couple of things that you can try:

  • Microsoft Safety Scanner – this tool has proven to be effective versus some botnet infections over the years, so in my opinion, this should be your first step. The application (also known as Malicious Software Removal Tool) is completely free and contains signatures of many known botnets.
  • Bot Revolt – is another solution that seems to work. To be completely honest, I didn’t test the application myself, but one of my friends did, and it actually helped solve his botnet issue. The tool constantly monitors all your inbound communications, being able to recognize suspicious or unauthorized access, keeps an eye on every installer that you use, constantly checks your registries and is not only useful for finding infections, but also for preventing them.
  • RUBotted – coming from Trend Micro, this freeware program contains digital signatures of several known botnets and is also capable of discovering currently unknown botnets. Additionally, the application is quite proficient at cleaning up an infection form your PC, but it uses an online feature called House Call in order to do this, so you will need a decent Internet connection.
  • Mirage Anti-Bot – a tool that contains a database of URLs known to spread botnet infections. The tool keeps you safe from these URL addresses and allows you to add your own links that should be blocked.

While the previously mentioned tools will probably help, there are cases in which there isn’t anything you can do, except maybe buy new hardware. Certain infections can affect your RAM or directly your router, which makes them nearly impossible to clean. So, if none of the applications I’ve shown you are helping, you should seek help from a specialist.

If computer security is a topic that interests you, then you might also want to find out what is ransomware and how to protect yourself against it, learn about how to keep your browser safe from hackers or read about how to know if your router has been infected.

Top 7 Chrome extensions to make the Internet easier to use

The Internet can be a complicated place even for those who are tech-savvy, so there is no such thing as “too much help” when it comes to browsing. Furthermore, Chrome may be one of the best tools of its kind, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that Google’s browser will offer you every function that you’ll ever need, or that the existing ones can’t be improved. This is why I’ve decided to write a list and show you the top seven Chrome extensions that will simplify many of your daily Internet activities.

VisualPing

VisualPingVisualPing

If you’re one of the people who keep hitting the refresh button in order to be one of the first to see when tickets to an event become available, or when Black Friday deals are posted online, then you will surely appreciate a tool like VisualPing. This Chrome extension allows you to monitor any website that you want and emails you as soon as it has been updated. Sure, there may be a few false alarms from time to time, but your F5 button deserves a break.

Tab Snooze

Tab SnoozeTab Snooze

Having too many tabs opened is one of problems that I face regularly. It’s not just that they unnecessarily take up system resources, but it’s also quite easy to get mixed up in all of them, click the wrong tab and lose my valuable time. Closing the extra ones would be a simple solution, but most of the time I’m afraid I’ll forget how to get to the respective page or forget about that tab altogether. As its name implies, Tab Snooze lets you close any tab that you have opened and automatically relaunches it after a predetermined period of time.

Mail2Cloud

Mail2CloudMail2Cloud

As far as I’m concerned, Google’s mail service is the best free one available, and that’s why I’ve been using it for more than ten years. But there’s still room for improvement. A little while ago I’ve showed you how to send self-destructing emails using a tool named Dmail, but there’s also another Chrome extension that can help you out. After you add Mail2Cloud to your browser, you will be able to track the clicks on your email attachments, schedule email sending, send self-destructing messages, set automatic replies and much more.

Panic Button

Panic ButtonPanic Button

Being caught red-handed is never fun, especially when we’re talking about Internet browsing. Just imagine trying to order a surprise present for a friend whose birthday is coming up when they suddenly walk in and ruin the surprise. Using the Alt + Tab key combination is a simple solution, but it will probably make your friend suspicious, and it only works if you have another application running on your PC. Panic Button offers a better fix, as it allows you to customize a key combination that you use whenever you want to instantly hide all the pages you are browsing and replace them with the ones that won’t attract any attention.

Minimalist for Everything

Minimalist for EverythingMinimalist for Everything

If there are too many things displayed on your screen, and they’re stopping you from focusing on the important content of the webpage you’re visiting, then you need to find a way to make things better. Fortunately, there is a Chrome extension called Minimalist for Everything that removes all the clutter, making things easier for your eyes and helping you stay focused on what’s important.

Lazarus

LazarusLazarus

I’m sure you’ll be very “surprised” to find out that my job involves a lot of writing in a browser-based interface, so you can imagine how “happy” I am when the browser crashes. Fortunately, there’s a handy Chrome extension called Lazarus which automatically saves everything that I write, so that I can easily recover it in case something happens. This tool is capable of saving all the forms that you complete in a form, so once you install it, you’ll never lose any texts that you write, ever again.

TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBearTunnelBear

Region-blocked content has been a nuisance for a long time now, so there are many of solutions to deal with this problem. TunnelBear VPN is an easy fix, but it’s also a limited one. If you only need to watch a video or go to a website every once in a while, you can use it without any problems. However, if you plan on using VPN extensively, then you’ll most likely need to pay for a subscription or find a different solution. In case you’re not sure about what your alternatives are, you should check out my previous article: “How to Bypass Region-Blocked Content”.

If your browser has gotten too cluttered with extensions and toolbars, I’ve already written an article called: “Clean Up Your Chrome Browser with Google’s Software Removal Tool”, which will help you solve that issue. In case Google Chrome isn’t your favorite browser, and you prefer Mozilla Firefox instead, you should check out these add-ons that will help you reduce Firefox’s resource consumption.