Computer Crime Research Center


Stay updated on computer security

Date: February 07, 2007

Q Why does Windows say my anti-virus program is out of date when I just recently installed it?

A The Security Center feature in Windows XP (Service Pack 2) monitors the defensive readiness and state of your system’s firewall and anti-virus programs, as well as its Windows Automatic Updates settings. The Security Center has most likely detected that the anti-virus program has not been updated.

To keep your PC protected from new viruses, Trojan horses and other malicious software flying around the Internet, the anti-virus program needs to download regular updates from the manufacturer.

Try opening and manually updating your anti-virus program (most recent ones have an Update button on the main screen), or adjusting the program’s settings so updates can be automatically downloaded more frequently. You may also get a Security Center alert if the subscription for your anti-virus program has expired — which means your PC is not currently protected against threats.

Q Is there a cheap and easy way to convert songs on cassette tape to MP3?

A In many cases, you can rescue songs from cassette tapes and vinyl records — and transform them into digital music files — with an inexpensive stereo cable, audio-recording software and plenty of hard-drive space.

The type of cable you need depends on the device you’re recording from. If dubbing from a cassette deck (or turntable and pre-amplifier that’s part of a larger audio system), you may need a Y-shaped patch cable that has two RCA plugs that connect to the back of the stereo receiver and, on the other end, a 3.5-mm stereo mini-plug that connects to the computer’s sound card.

If you plan to record tapes from a portable cassette player, you need a patch cable with stereo mini-plug on each end to link the player’s headphones port to the computer’s sound card. Most cables can be found for less than $10 at RadioShack and other electronics stores.

If you don’t already have a program that can record audio on your computer, there are many to be found on the Web. Shareware sites like HitSquad Musician Network ( point the way to plenty of audio programs. Audacity ( is free open-source software for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux systems; an optional LAME MP3 encoder is also available for converting your recorded files to the MP3 format.

Once you have connected the tape player to your computer, you may have to adjust your system’s sound controls to record from the audio line-in. Then you basically just pop in a cassette and push the Play button on both your tape machine and on the recording software to begin capturing the sound to a digital file. This may take tinkering with settings to get sound levels adjusted.
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