Tuesday, September 26, 2006

WGA still got you down?

As this little problem doesn't appear to be going away any time soon, I couldn't resist passing on yet one more report on this WGA issue, since this is not the first time I have discussed this.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Remote Baby!

For the next two weeks, anyone wishing to utilize in my services will have to depend on the remote capabilities that are now built in to your computer! I have decided it is time to put the tweaker down and walk away from the bench.. more like RUN away! Yes, as of Tuesday I will be heading down the highway (I-5) to points beyond with no real destination. The drive is something I truly enjoy as it gets my mind occupied on other things besides computers! Many think I am crazy to take the time to sit in a car and drive, but not for me. Not with all the electronic gadgets that I usually have with me such as dual gps systems (one for keeping me in the right direction) while the other is mapping out the geocache sites that I may stop at. I then turn to my pocket pc for information on that geocache. My laptop is usually tracking my journey using MS Streets therefore I can always know where I am and where I want to be. I am never too far out of range as with any real problems I can always shuttle a service loaner over to you so no worries matey....I am never that far from cellular range (sometimes I wish that wasn't the case but unless I go in to the deep woods of the USA, there is typically some sort of cellular coverage)!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

New Avant Browser available

There have been some substantial changes in the new Avant Browser including the ability to save your favorites and password information to a secure online server which allows you the ability to fill in forms, passwords and handle your favorites no matter what computer you are at! Version 11.x (I believe build 5 as I write this) which is always available through my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page link here or if you are using AvantBrowser currently, simply click on the HELP and then CHECK FOR NEW VERSION. Note that this will then take you to their download page where I suggest using the Alternate download site as this is direct from Avant and you will not be shuffled off to their sponsor site, which I have found quite confusing since the download starts only after you click on DOWNLOAD NOW, that is, if you click on the correct page! Unfortunately with many sponsored websites, there are many flashing banners and other links that make it sometimes confusing to know you are getting the correct file. This is the main reason I have made it always simple to get this and many other software files through my website directly.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Data Backup has become very important

Now that we are using digital cameras and taking a lot more pictures then we used to since cost is not an issue and all you need to do is plug it in to your computer and viola, you have an instant screen saver or the ability to email or print the pictures yourself. What we must realize however, is that this data is still very susceptible to errors such as a catastrophic hard drive crash, or even worse, you have a house fire and lose your computer. Think about it for a minute. If you did have such a fire, your normal photographs would be gone. This is probably one of the only things that you can't replace through insurance. Now that we are using our computers to house these photographs, extra care must be taken to make sure you have them safe and sound.

This can be done rather simply now with DVD Burners creating backups of our data at 4.7 gb per disc (or over 8gb on a dual layer dvd). This is just one of the services that I do provide to any and all computers that hit my work bench as I will typically not only create a backup 'image' of the entire hard drive, but will back that up to DVDs so that you have a copy that you can place in a safe deposit box (or even at a friends home since you don't want to just leave those disks lying around your home--in the case of that house fire!). Don't be shy, feel free to contact me on this or any other technical matter!

If you aren't already taking advantage of your cd/dvd burner and backing up your important data, such as "my documents", which if you are doing this, will also include the "my pictures" and "my music" folders... something windows has thought of and does well. So the old saying to "not keep all your eggs in one basket" in this instance does not apply since having 'my documents' actually housing your most important data makes creating backup cd/dvds that much easier. The key is what you do with that backup after you have created it!

As for online storage and backup, I highly suggest anyone that is in to photography to take advantage of the webshots online program. For about $25 per year you can feel confident in knowing your pictures are safe in cyberspace, not to mention the ease of viewing for you and for those that you offer permission to (public or private folders can be created).

Complete and constant data backup is now a reality with high speed Internet and Carbonite backup. At $5 per month, isn't it worth some piece of mind? I currently have it running on my server and my laptop and feel quite comfortable knowing I will always have access to those so-called "lost files". If you are interested in either of these, be sure to click on the links provided here as the prestige of signing on through me makes me rich (not really.. about $2 per sign up I believe).

Friday, September 15, 2006

It appears IE is still having many security issues

Not that any of those reading my blog actually still use Internet Explorer (or do you?), it appears by this ZDNet article that more security problems are on their way. Just one more reason to (continue) to use Avant Browser which you can always download directly through my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page as well as many other useful security and system tweaking programs.

Got a comment or suggestion? You can always contact me through my website directly!

Catch-up time! Server is working--sort of

I managed to get my SBS server up and running, somewhat okay. At least enough to finally retrieve email and my documents normally. However it does appear that there is more to it then that. Technically speaking, the DHCP server service is not started and will stop if I manually start it and it appears this is due to my Cisco RV082 router which is acting as the DHCP server for the network. Other then making everything a manual ip address I am pretty much at a loss as I simply haven't got the time to pick away at it with my services being required elsewhere. As much as I like a challenge, this is one that has been going on too long and even after performing a server 'repair install' it appears that I will be starting from scratch. That is, when I decide that the time is right to pull the plug as there never seems to be a good time to do this, I have been working on a redundancy plan of action on my bench to help with the server down time... wish me luck! It appears this weekend and probably well in to next week I'll have my hands full with my own computer issues. I am also taking this opportunity to tweak my bench which should also help streamline things in the future.

Now that it appears Autumn is knocking on the door (yesterday was my first day without wearing shorts since May), I am hopeful that my services will be even more efficient in the future...again, wish me luck!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Server issues (once again) causing slow-downs

I have pretty much had enough of not being able to connect to my server (where it holds my email, documents, etc) and having to connect directly to it to answer a simple email is crazy. Therefore I started the process of backing it up and starting from scratch. Since it has been almost two full years with virtually no real maintenance other then fixing the odd connection problems due to my router not connecting I would have to say it was time, however, I just can't seem to justify the time spent on it whereas I must stop all other activities to concentrate on this one task... this is something I am just not accustomed to since multi-tasking is something you just have to do when dealing with computer and their problems. In any case if you find your email has not been answered, please be a little patient as I haven't lost the email, it just isn't available until the server is back up and running which I hope will be by the end of the day (Monday Sept 11).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's Technology not just Computers

It seems like I am once again having to sell myself with regards to what I do. I am a consultant of technology, not just computers. For pretty much my entire life I have had an interest in anything new, with flashing lights, that require you plug in keys or push buttons (when I was very small I had loved playing with keys). For those that know me best, they will turn to me when they are thinking of making a purchase of a new microwave (since they realize there is a digital clock and many buttons and programs that they may or may not be able to figure out). Refrigerators now come with processors built in as well as LCD monitors on the door so why wouldn't you turn to someone that has more knowledge about this sort of thing? I do it all the time as I will always be the first to admit when I don't know about something. That is probably the one thing that I love most about my job is discovering the answers to technical problems! If I don't have the answer, I can typically find it for you or point you in the direction of someone that does know the answer.

I guess I am saying this because most recently, I have come in contact with existing clients that have simply gone out and purchased a new TV, or as I mentioned, a new microwave in which they were quite frustrated in the fact that to simply boil water required opening up the directions to figure out how to set the power. Consumers magazines have been publishing for years with results of testing different products and directly comparing them. Now with the use of the Internet, you can find out many things for yourself. Just ask any sales person that has been selling before there was something called the Internet and they will tell you just how much more educated the general public are when they come in to buy that new product! The fact that we live in a society full of technical products and issues that require knowledge of technical things doesn't mean you have to go back to school, simply put, ask! I blog here so that I can hopefully share answers to others questions to the masses as well, it allows me the ability to have a constantly stocked library of responses that I have made in the past that I can recall for whomever asks.

So the next time you are thinking about upgrading your television, stereo system, microwave or robotic toy for your child I hope you will think of me BEFORE you are disappointed with your purchase! My TIPS page has many common computer problems found on it, but the answers to the thousands of questions I have answered through allexperts.com can be recalled--no problem, just ask by contacting me directly!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Time for new ink for your printer, or maybe just a new printer?

I have blogged about this before, the fat that it is actually cheaper to just buy a new ink jet then to get the new ink cartridges, but now it appears it may be time to take that plunge and purchase a colour laser printer!

Yes, this is what I decided to do once my inkjet all-in-one stopped printing. Even though I still have a full set of cartridges, which will never get used I guess, since they stopped making that printer type and the fact that I opened them in hopes that all it was, was a dried up print cartridge. Not the case, and so I have basically wasted money...something nobody likes to do. For that reason alone, it is probably not your best idea to purchase ink from places such as Costco where you get two colour cartridges (or in my case 2 sets of magenta, cyan, and yellow). Unless you do go through a lot of ink or you know the printer is going to last. Quite simply, it is cheaper to just buy a new printer. As well, you won't just be getting a printer, but a copier and scanner as well as a multi-card reader!

But what about colour laser printers? Currently you can get an HP at Staples I notice, for under $300 however I have heard a few bad things about this one, not to mention it is HP and personally I stay away from HP printers since they started making the multi-function devices. I have found there are just too many printer driver issues to deal with that you are better off with an Epson. I have always been an Epson person but not so with laser printers.
I bought a Brother B/W laser over two years ago and I am now getting the toner refill notice. I paid $129 with a $40 rebate back then and thought I was stealing it, however that same unit sells for $89 now so things haven't changed that much with the B/W Laser printers. Thing is, the colour ones are dropping (finally).

Personally I opted for the Samsung 510 which is not on sale locally where I live but they do have the next model(at Staples as I noted the first place I looked since Staples is pretty much in every small town). London Drugs will usually follow suit and match any sale price, as will Future Shop.

Check them out though, for less then $400 and knowing you won't be replacing the ink as often, you will end up with a much better cost per page! If you are an existing client of mine, contact me for some deals that I might be able to swing your way!