Friday, November 20, 2009

Send International Text Messages For Free

This post was so interesting for me when I created it, that I had to definitely translate it into English. Here it goes.

Sometimes someone from outside the USA wants to communicate with someone else in the USA. The person living in the USA may have a cellphone with unlimited text messaging plan included. Every cellphone company has an extension like an E-Mail address for the text messages.

The list that I compiled for Houston was the following:

AT&T                or
Boost Mobile
Cricket            or
Virgin Mobile

The idea is pretty simple:

The person outside the USA sends an E-Mail message to the phone number followed by the proper extension, for example, if the number is 7131234567 and the cellphone company is Cricket, the E-Mail message would need to be sent to ("") without the parenthesis or quotation marks. The person sending it would save on the cost of sending a text message internationally and the cost of sending the text message itself, if any is applicable.
The important part is that that the person receiving the message has also unlimited text messaging on the cellphone plan, so that there is no charge at all on both sides.
Another interesting point: Instead of calling, send a text message, so that the communication has no static or background noise and, at the same time, there is proof that both persons "talked", since there is an E-Mail message with the text, date and content of the "conversation".
One last point: During a hurricane that hit Houston, I was able to send and receive text messages, even without a bar on the cellphone, but was completely unable to make or receive a call at all.


F. Bobbio C.

Envía Mensajes De Texto Internacionales A Costo Nulo

A veces uno quiere comunicarse con alguien de EEUU que tiene celular. Esa persona puede que tenga un plan de mensajería de textos ilimitado. Toda compañía de celular tiene una extensión de correo para esos mensajes de texto.

La lista que compilé para Houston fue la siguiente:

AT&T                ó
Boost Mobile
Cricket            ó
Virgin Mobile

La idea es muy simple:
Se manda un correo electrónico con el número de teléfono y la extensión, por ejemplo, si el número es 7131234567 y la compañía es Cricket, el correo sería enviado a ("") sin las comillas ni paréntesis,  con lo cual se ahorra el cargo de mensajería de texto internacional y el costo del envío, si es que hay alguno, para la persona que envía el mensaje.
Lo importante, nuevamente, es que la persona que recibe pueda recibir mensajes ilimitados, para que salga a cuenta.
Otro dato interesante: En vez de llamar a alguien, se envía un mensaje de texto, así la comunicación es mucho más rápida, no hay pérdida de palabras al llamar y existe un documento que prueba que se "habló" con la persona recibiendo el mensaje.
Un punto más: Durante un huracán que vino a Houston de visita, podía enviar y recibir mensajes de texto, incluso sin tener barras en el celular, pero no podía ni enviar ni recibir llamadas para nada.


F. Bobbio C.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The "Pest" Of Antivirus 2008, 2009, Personal Antivirus, Antivirus Pro And More

This second post in English, I will write on the topic of the "pests" with which I have been dealing lately.
These "pests" have changed names in the last two or three years, but still infest some PCs, trying to have the users pay a certain amount of money so that their PCs are "freed" from the supposed virus infections that such "nice" (fake) antivirus program finds. Once the user clicks on the link, he is directed to a webpage, where he is asked for his personal information and credit card number, which in turn does NOT help the user get rid of the (fake) infection. The infection itself is the antivirus program, with different names, like Antivirus 2008, 2009, Personal Antivirus, Antivirus pro and more. It shows a screen with some ficticious infections. It also slows down the computer to such a point, that the user is not able to move easily and is locked down to just the antivirus window.
One important point here: The real antivirus programs will NOT detect such infection, as it is not a virus, but malware; what is even more, the "Task Manager", "System Restore", "Registry Editor" and some other features, which could help the user rescue the system might (and most possibly will) be disabled.
The steps to rectify the problem are the following, from my personal experience:
1) Reboot the PC and, while it boots up, BEFORE the Windows logo, press and release the F8 key multiple times. The F8 key is located on the top row of the keyboard and is labeled (you guessed it) "F8".
2) On the menu on the screen, using the arrow keys, select "Safe Mode With Networking" and hit the "Enter key".
3) Log in, if at all possible, as the "Administrator", unless it is Windows Vista, in which case, log in as the account for the user, which may have administrative rights. Windows Vista normally disables the Administrator account by default.
4) Open Internet Explorer and go to
5) Download the file to your desktop.
*** Note: If steps 4) and 5) do not work, download the file in a PC that is virus free and transfer it to the PC with the problem using a USB flash drive, a CD or any other way. ***
6) Right click on the file and "Rename" to whatever name. This step is necessary, since the fake antivirus may recognize the name of the file and not let it be installed.
7) Run the file and follow the on-screen prompts until the installation is finalized.
8) Open "My Computer" and navigate to "C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware" or to the location where the program was installed.
9) Right click on mbam.exe and "Rename" to whatever name.
10) Run the renamed file; with some luck, the fake antivirus will not stop it from running. Once the program is open, click on the "Update" tab and update the program.
11) Click on "Scanner" and then on "Scan". Once the program finishes scanning, it will ask to click on "Show Results" and then on "Remove Selected".
12) With some luck, by this time the PC will be free of the fake antivirus.
13) Run steps 10) and 11) again. If there are no infections found, reboot in Normal Mode (just reboot the PC).
14) By this time, "Task Manager", "Registry Editor" and "System Restore" should be usable again.

Again, these steps are based on my personal experience. Any suggestions on how to cut down the steps is more than welcome and appreciated.


F. Bobbio C.