For the past few years I've tread the line between good free software and the 'reputable' non free stuff. For PC security, this is definitely the case. On our desktop PC i've put free stuff, whilst on my laptop i've always had some flavour of Norton Internet Security (NIS), which includes a software firewall, antivirus, and antispyware amongst other things.
In a few weeks the subscription for my NIS 2006 was running out, and despite my best efforts to... ermmm... 'continue' the subscription without actually renewing it, meant that I was fed up with having to pay ~$80 year for it.
Norton is really overkill for me anyway. I'm knowledgeable enough to stay clear of most nasties that lurk on the internet, so something like that which takes up a vast amount of the computer's processing resources was a waste. I decided to ditch the paid-for stuff and go with the good free stuff.
Uninstalling NIS included the expected troubles. Despite running the program's uninstaller, like many many others out there, it left crappy traces of itself on my computer, and I was forced to download and run their 'Removal Tool' which did actually work. Now onto the free replacements.
Firstly was antivirus. I've mentioned before the two good free ones are the free versions of AVG and Avast. I personally really don't like AVG myself, but I find Avast really good. Avast it was, and it still impresses me in the quality of the software. The only thing really lacking in the free version is the ability to schedule scans.
For the software firewall i chose Comodo. Some would argue that having a software firewall is a bit overkill when you already have a hardware firewall in the form of a router. Personally, i like the application control that a software firewall provides: i like to know what is accessing the internet and if it really should be.
I wouldn't really recommend Comodo for the non tech-savy people. In my opinion, you have to know what you are doing to properly use this type of firewall. It's very nice graphically and does all that a good configurable firewall should do, although it could be a little more 'regular-user' friendly.
Onto anti-spyware. Although I do do scans with Spybot Search and Destroy, and Adaware, I decided to give Microsoft's Windows Defender a go. I like the minimalist approach to the interface, but i'm still a bit wary on the actual effectiveness of this product. There are varying opinions flowing abound the www on it.
So that's my free replacement for Norton Internet Security: Avast Antivirus, Comodo Firewall, and Windows Defender.
Onto life-blogging: other the cleaning and washing, Saturday was spent doing the above. Des and I did hire out a few movies to watch: The Devil Wears Prada and Taledega Nights, both of which were pretty lousy and disappointing.
Saturday night we went to Church, which was a lot more packed than usual, probably due to the fact that it was the last chance on a Saturday night for memorials before Easter.
Sunday we watched a few movies and celebrated my yiayia's birthday. Afterwards I played indoor, us winning 8-1, myself disappointingly not scoring. I didn't play too badly, but I don't know what's happened to my finishing boots lately, i can't seem to score any goals 🙁