Which anti-virus software?

Examining a hard drive with a magnifying glass

There’s an interesting article/review this month (April 2007 edition) in Computer Shopper magazine comparing the 12 most popular AntiVirus applications.

What they did was set up their own controlled lab, with a default install of Windows XP and then threw 434 of the most recent viruses at each application. They observed how the software handled e-mail-bourne viruses as well as viruses and malware downloaded over the network connection.

Selected summary

Here’s a quick summary of a few (the number refers to where they were in the top 12), with percentages indicating viruses detected:


I read the article and then checked out AV-Comparatives for … well, for a comparison.

# Title Email Web Both Rating Price
1 Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 90.8% 47.5% 72.6% 5/5 £28
2 Steganos AntiVirus 2007 90.4% 44.8% 71.2% 5/5 £20
5 AVG Anti-Virus Free 7.5 66.9% 48.6% 59.2% 4/5 Free
8 Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2007 74.5% 27.9% 54.8% 3/5 £27
10 McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007 75.3% 16.4% 50.5% 3/5 £20

Computer Shopper’s verdict

This is what they concluded:

What anti-virus software are you running? If it’s one of the programs we’ve tested here, we hope it’s Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, Steganos 2007, F-Secure Anti-Virus 2007 or Eset’s NOD32 2.7. There are the very best money can buy, detecting most samples we fired at them. Steganos 2007 is the best value of them, although if you have three PCs to protect the slightly less accurate F-Secure Anti-Virus will work out cheaper.

Grisoft’s AVG Anti-Virus Free 7.5 deserves a special mention because, although it’s not as accurate as the above options, it does a better job than most rivals and it is free for home users.

It is a sad situation when the home anti-virus products from the three world leaders, Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro, fail to impress. Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan are distinctly average and PC-cillin’s virus detection abilities are poor. If you are using any of these, we recommend that you replace them as soon as possible with an alternative from the above list.

I have Norton AntiVirus 2004 installed on my main, day-to-day PC but will uninstall this soon and replace it with AVG or I may try Kaspersky or Steganos.


I read that article and then checked out AV-Comparatives for … well, a comparison. Their results from February 2007 were similar, in terms of overall positions, although Norton fared better in the AV-Comparatives test.

AV Computer Shopper AV-Comparatives
Kaspersky 72.6% 97.89%
AVG Free 7.5 59.2% 96.37%
Norton AV 54.8% 96.83%
McAfee 50.5% 91.63%

Still, it shows that Kaspersky is clearly a very good anti-virus application, and that the free AVG Free 7.5 is up there with the best commercial offerings. I’m going to make the switch today.

New year revolutions

Close-up of a bicycle chainset
Bicycle Gear by donjolley at Stock.xchng.

Today was the first day in weeks that I’ve not woken up with a sore throat. So to celebrate Jane and I cycled down to her aunt’s to deliver a card.

I read the other day “a quarter of all car journeys are under two miles”, and that “cycling for fifteen minutes a day halves your rish of a heart attack”. I really need to cycle more.

Gosh it felt good to be back out on our bikes: new year revolutions, indeed. I just need to keep it up. Here are some of the other things I’d like to achieve this year:

  1. Spend more time with God in prayer
  2. Spend more time with Jane
  3. Exercise regularly: cycling and free weights
  4. Eat more sensibly, and cook more often
  5. Get a new job (for those who don’t know my current post ends in April 2006)
  6. Keep in touch with friends more faithfully, and not just by email
  7. Read more
  8. Play guitar more (maybe even start a band?)
  9. Be more environmentally aware and friendly
  10. Play more Mah Jong
  11. Finish the backlog of websites that I’ve promised people
  12. Learn PHP and MySQL more thoroughly; learn how to setup and administer an Apache server under Linux; improve my CSS knowledge

What am I doing still sitting here?! I’d better get on and start doing these things!

Four things …

Confused girls ... according to Stock.xchng
I searched stock.xchng for photographs entitled “Questions” … and this is the only photo it came up with. Who am I to argue?!

Questions nicked from Steve Lawson, et al.

A. Four jobs you’ve had in your life

  1. Priest
  2. Group Worker in Shaftesbury Society Homeless Hostel
  3. Stock-taker and van driver at Claridge Mills, Selkirk
  4. Temporary Postman

B. Four films you could watch again and again

  1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
  2. Star Wars, Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1977)
  3. The Italian Job (1969)
  4. Highlander (1986)

(Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Rear Window (1954) came close to appearing in that list.)

C. Four cities you’ve lived in

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Inverness
  3. London
  4. St Andrews

D. Four TV programmes you love to watch

  1. Man Stroke Woman
  2. Top Gear
  3. The Mighty Boosh
  4. Fr. Ted

E. Four favourite places you’ve been on holiday

  1. 1992 NYC World Tour (California, Hawai’i, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore)
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Healdsburg, CA
  4. Moscow and Leningrad (as it was then)

F. Four websites you visit daily

  1. http://study/ — my personal webserver’s home page!
  2. Google UK
  3. BBC News
  4. Steve Lawson’s blog

G. Four of your all-time favourite restaurants

I don’t really do restaurants, but …

  1. St John’s Curry Club, Edinburgh
  2. Behind the Wall, Falkirk — for the most gorgeous desserts ever™
  3. There was a restaurant at Larkspur Landing, CA in 1992 that holds great memories, even if I can’t remember what I ate!
  4. Similarly, the National Youth Choir’s 1992 World Tour of McDonalds restaurants on three continents was pretty special! Particularly James Whalley’s 9 burger meals in Dunedin … and he has diabetes!

H. Four of your favourite foods

  1. Chicken Malayan (curry)
  2. Haggis, neaps and tatties
  3. Hawai’ian pizza (with extra mushrooms)
  4. Chocolate!

I. Four places you’d rather be right now

  1. With friends and family
  2. San Francisco
  3. With friends and family in San Francisco
  4. Making new friends

J. Four things you find yourself saying

  1. “Pretty much …”
  2. “Do you see what I did there …?”
  3. “… and in a way, that’s a bit like Jesus!”
  4. “Internet Explorer is RUBBISH — you want to try Mozilla Firefox!”

Cellardyke: cleaning at the warzone

A very messy kitchen
A very messy kitchen on its way to becoming a very tidy and clean kitchen. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

Here’s how it works in our partnership: I do the cleaning and Jane does the painting. There’s no point in us sticking to the stereotypes because I like cleaning and Jane likes painting. So that’s the way we usually do it. And today was no different.

I stayed in the kitchen for about five hours putting all our dishes through the dishwasher and scrubbing clean the utterly disgusting pots and pans (more on those in a minute) and Jane confined herself to upstairs, first cleaning the bathroom (for which she should receive a medal) and then wiping off the marks on the walls and paintwork, and then painting the radiators:

Jane painting the radiator in the bedroom
Jane painting the radiator in the main bedroom. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

The house still stinks of smoke and goodness knows what else. The first thing we did when we arrived was fling wide the windows and doors to get a good airflow through the house; the front door was on the chain all day. It seems to have done the trick. At least it smells a lot better, and the carpet cleaners a week on Monday (12 December) will hopefully help. We’ve had to take down all the curtains to have them cleaned, and the duvets too returned to Edinburgh with us this evening.

In the kitchen I cleaned everything. With bleach.

Empty cupboards
Old Mother Hubbard helped me clean out the cupboards this afternoon. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

I emptied the cupboards, washed down the cupboards, washed the outside of the cupboards and put everything that was in the cupboards through the dishwasher, on a 65° C cycle. I felt at times like Lady Macbeth, “Out damn smell!”

Here is my Top 5 cleaning products:

  1. Bar Keeper’s Friend – it claims to clean where others fail and it hasn’t let me down yet. (5/5)
  2. Kitchen Power – an amazing fluid that cleaned all the gunk off the pots and pans (both stainless steel and non-stick). That and 70 minutes of hard scrubbing with abrasive sponges. (4/5)
  3. Hot water – very effective on its own, and with the products above. Also has the advantage of not poisoning the water table! (4/5)
  4. Flash with bleach – good old Flash! Good old bleach! (4/5)
  5. Mr Muscle Kitchen Cleaner – claimed to kill bacteria. I was taking any help I could get! (3/5)

While cleaning out the store cupboard in the kitchen (where I also discovered that they’d snapped the broom handle!) I discovered an empty can of beer (or similar alcoholic beverage — the subtle differences between ale, beer, lager and stout, I’m sorry to say escape this non-drinker).

The word “warzone” can be seen written on this Polish beer can. The word seemingly means ‘brewed’. (Photograph on my Nokia 5140i.)

The writing on the beer can was in Polish and, I’m not sure if you can make this out very well in the photograph above, has the word “WARZONE” written on it. Which pretty much describes the state of the house before we arrived!