Ads and adware from GAIN, digital camera display cluttered with text

Week of February 13, 2005

Q: When I surf the web I constantly receive pop-up ads from an outfit called GAIN. Is there any way to get rid of them?

-Jackie Cunliffe, Mt. Lebanon, PA

A: It sounds like your computer is infected with some unwanted software usually referred to as malware, spyware, or adware. Some annoying things these unwanted programs do are re-set your home page, bombard you with pop-ups, and re-direct web searches whenever you typo a web address.

Some adware, like GAIN, require you to download and install some software. This happens when you click a link with one of their offers. You may have done this without knowing when you installed a “free” software program they offer. Other, more sinister organizations download and install the software without your knowledge or consent when you visit certain websites they partner with.

These programs can be very difficult to locate and uninstall. The best way to get rid of them is by using a free application that searches your computer’s hard drive and registry, finds the unwanted programs, then quarantines and destroys them.

My favorite program of this type is Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Personal Edition, an application that can be downloaded for free. You can download Ad-Aware from the “free software” link at www.donlindich.com or from www.lavasoft.com. Even if you do not think you have an infection, I strongly suggest you download a copy and run it immediately. You will probably be surprised at how much of malware/adware/spyware has accumulated on your computer.

There are other free applications and services available on my site and I plan on adding others that I find to be of benefit to my readers. If you have any suggestions for programs to add to the free software section, please contact me through my website and I will post them so all readers can benefit from them.

A final note: I am primarily a Mac user, and one of the benefits of using a Mac is that spyware/adware/malware companies don’t usually bother to writing versions of their poison for Macs because most of the world runs on Windows. It is amazing how much of it can accumulate, and how quickly. Every time I run Ad-Aware on my Windows laptop I remove at least 100 unwanted elements!

Q: When I review pictures on my digital camera’s screen, there is lots of text overlaying the image. I can tell what some of it is, like the picture number, but the other stuff looks technical and is gibberish to me. How can I get rid of it so I can review my pictures without having it overlay the image?
-Judith Frank, Jasper, SC

A: Most digital cameras have several display modes that show varying amounts of information about the recorded image. These range from exposure settings and exposure graphs, to no information at all.

If you push your camera’s “Display” or “Info” button, it will toggle between these modes. Press the button until all the data disappears, then review your pictures gibberish-free!

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