Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year


1373105218055683962
Originally uploaded by mdacre
In every attempt to be politically correct in what to say at this time of year...


Wishing you and yours all the best!

From me and Bud!

(about the picture)
When is the last time you felt the wind upon your face? It's time to enjoy some of life's simple pleasures!


Remember I am a key click away if you require any technical assistance!

Most of all, Thank-you!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Signs everywhere, you just need to know which ones you read are important.

No matter what we are doing through our normal day to day routines, we are always 'deciding' on something. You prioritize everything by examining what you did at the end of the day and compare it to what you set out to do.

With spyware/malware issues on your computer, it isn't necessarily how often you run the scans, it is sometimes where you have been that leads to all sorts of problems, but with 'automatic' anything on your computer, this means, without you actually starting the task yourself, you are unaware if everything is going to work as it is supposed to. So in software programs you will have indicators and prompts stating the obvious "you are out of date and should update" with a button you press to start the update.  Depending on the software, it will then either automatically install, or allow you to complete the process. Again, depending on the automatic settings built in to the program. The most recent release of Ad Aware takes advantage of a 'service' which is basically a program that runs in the background that will monitor such things as updates that are available and automatically download and install to your computer. This means it is always listening to the internet and catches only what it is supposed to. But if this should get 'hacked' by some other malicious software script, then it could do more damage then good. Therefore when you do start Ad Aware and choose to update, you may get an error but that may also be because the website (server) is busy with too many other people also getting updates or simply automatically updating. Remember this is a free service with the ability to purchase the professional version and if you do, this 'service' that is running on your computer, you actually are paying for in more ways then one!   So is it safer to have this service running and protecting, essentially slowing down your computer, all-be-it a small amount, but this could become a source of problems, should attempts to update be blocked and when you get errors, once or twice, (I typically suggest noting the time of day you are performing the update as it may reflect to busier times of updating?? you never know... but it could also some form of malware attempting to hide itself on your system by eliminating or blocking a service that is supposed to be running either 'all the time' or when prompted in the case of the updating of definitions.  

In short, what should you do if you get an error when trying to update Ad Aware.  Click cancel and, if you still want to perform a scan, continue on, but note you are doing a scan on older definitions, not that it can't help, but then that will be determined on just how old the definitions are and how long it has been since the last scan.  Try again later, but if it persists (which I would say is for over a week or 7-10 times of attempting to update at various times of the day.  Since this is not the only line of defense, it should not necessarily be a very high priority in the maintenance and cleaning and optimizing of your computer, but should be a simple note to watch. And, if you are an existing client of mine, you would be probably emailing me with the comments that it has been about a week without success, as this, in my opinion, would deem the need to have your computer checked over/scanned by a technician or someone that knows what to look for when it comes to malware and other nasties.

Since Ad Aware is only one of a number of anti-spyware programs I recommend running on a daily basis, it is good to keep track of this sort of maintenance unless you are paying for someone to do it for you and this is something more and more people are finding they are doing as they use their computer more and more as a tool in your every day and every minute of the day lifestyle. 






Friday, December 21, 2007

Windows XP SP3 Beta Released

Windows XP SP3 (service pack) Beta Release Candidate has been released publicly and available here.

Note this is still BETA so if you not sure, then don't install it however I have been using SP3 (previous beta) and only notice nothing but good things and an improvement in performance by 10% (minimum).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Photos-Storage-Choices

With digital cameras getting more hi-res and storage cards getting so cheap, it is easy to snap off 100 shots and transferring 2gb or more at a time.  It makes the internet a perfect place to store while showing off your work. There are many choices to choose from and photography bay does a great job of presenting a fewFlickr is my current pro-storage site of choice.


The Death of the Pay Phone-Valuable Property Space

It seems to me with the death of the pay phone, which will be happening in the US by the end of 2008, doesn't have to be the death of communication at that point. The wiring is already in place and the real-estate is still the property of the phone company, it would seem logical that a wireless hotspot "access point" be created. Currently with "unlimited national hotspot" wireless costing about $25/month, this rate could drop substantially if it were to be accessed by more people as well.



Searching-for people-online

When it comes to online searching Google is probably king these days, but when you want to get in to more in depth searching, especially for a person, you might want to read this link from lifehacker to get some more ideas.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Missing TV shows and sharing

In general, I am not a strong advocate of file sharing and not because of legality issues, although I do have an opinion on this as well, I do find myself turning to places like Youtube to watch snippets of various news articles that have been reported on by the professional broadcasters such as CNN and the other networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, CBC, CTV, GLOBAL, BBC, I could go on but I believe you get the idea.. for that matter, the fact that these are now broadcasting their own streams in many case, direct from their own website, whether I choose to record it to watch on my computer at a later time should be my choice. Now, the fact that I forgot to record or even knew that it was playing means I should be able to turn to tv listings and plan a scheduled recording and now we have PVR's for that (TIVO for those of you in the know). So the fact that your computer is online the internet through a high-speed connection and is on all the time, means you should be able to share with those that you choose, such as family and friends. This is an 'opt-in' situation however, as you would be setting up the connection between the two computers.  Along comes some program that allows you to search the internet for the tv program and what I will just call 'bit torrent" as there are many other means to connect computers, this appears to have been the most accurate way to send large batches of files through the internet, but even this causes problems for network administrators such as your Telco/Broadband provider) as they obviously want to give the best of bandwidth and speed to those that are paying the most for it because that is how they stay in business, the more we saw the times when you could place an antennae on your roof of your home and pick up distant television signals that were being broadcast, you can now walk down your street and pick up numerous internet signals that are most likely secure, but not always and you may find a hotspot in which you can quickly check your email, or quite possibly send one. But what if someone were to park outside your home and start to download large sized files and ultimately steal your signal strength then you would be upset about this, but what about the times when you are not at your computer and you are not using that bandwidth?  I turn to a 'bit torrent' styled program such as U-Torrent to retrieve that missing tv program. Is this wrong?  So I am over at your home and I am telling you about my problem of not recording last weeks episode of Survivor and you say to be, " no problem, I have it right here" and proceed to  hand me the DVD that from your DVD recorder.. is that allowed?  What is the difference?  Well some would say it is the way in which you received the file and others would say there is nothing wrong.  So lets make a law and you have enough people with claims of why it should be a law and it either becomes one or gets tossed out for being crazy thinking.   

So as I try to stay on top of the tech news, I find more and more 'issues' that could all be considered so controversial.  Programs pop up and get promoted as the next great thing and "Web 2.0" applications and websites start coming on to the scene.  Sites like Facebook which show a very steady growth in 'subscribers' and yet still less then what MySpace has, yet everyone I talk to says MySpace is dead. Now with the recent outbreak of privacy issues with Facebook and Beacon and the entire advertising gimmick (again only my opinion)... personally, I have a facebook account and at this point in time I find it nothing more then a waste of my time.. Yes sure, I like to stay in touch with friends and family but the problem I see is how much time I find myself applying new applications that simply want to run off of the facebook list of people, creating things like 'your vote on the movies you have seen and can then compare it to your facebook friends'.. being able to post to their wall, much like sticking a note on their fridge door for when they happen to walk by it.. in this case the draw to the website has been on steady climb, that is until people recognize just how quickly their privacy can be taken for granted but in the end only because they 'opted in' to something without your true knowledge of what you have done.  This is where the laws are (slowly) being created and entire companies are being destroyed.  The thing about the internet is no matter what goes on, things move at a much more rapid speed then what it may be like without such a huge 'communication source'. After all, that is what the internet was initially designed for wasn't it?  For communication purposes.

Along comes a new website, much in a way like tvlinks.uk (has been taken down so no point in linking)  that was taken down due to it being unlawful?  Still not sure exactly what for, other then the fact that some of the website links were to known to be illegal websites that have quite possibly since been taken down as well, but this time, people can input whether or not the site is good or not, inevitably making the site prosper or not. The more 'hits' a website gets, if the site has enough sponsorship advertising, could essentially make the website owner a very wealthy individual, depending on just how many people visit the site and stay at the site, tell two friends about the site, etc, etc.

So by me blogging about a site that I happened to visit and find very useful, may also help you find something useful, but when we later find out that it was against the law, where does that leave us? Accessories to the fact?  It is this type of thinking that must stop as it only creates mass pandemonium within.  I know I hadn't blogged about Facebook on this blog much before, and most recently how I stated I was planning on posting something more to the fact that in my opinion, I saw Facebook as nothing more then a virus (waiting to happen maybe), and this is pretty much what has happened. Because you are essentially always 'accepting or refusing' the installation of various plug-ins or web-apps to work from within the website 'facebook' you would eventually be clicking to accept something you were unaware of that would eventually lead to the broadcasting of whatever you purchased through a specific website.  I personally found quite the shock when I was at a friends place and had mentioned amazon to them, pulling up the website and entering my email address I learned what I had purchased before and what they were recommending for me.   Sure, maybe when I am considering buying something, to place other items that 'others that have purchased this product also found of interest' these sort of things can lead to some very good finds when shopping for specific items.

The most recent website I have found that could be of some use, but feel it too may be found to be contributing to the "wrong side of the internet" which many would say is the illegal use of your personal well-being.   If it is doing nothing but allow others to place their thoughts of specific programs and/or websites you have visited, then surely the law makers must also feel this way?  No, unfortunately as much as we all would love to live in harmony, there are always going to be those that want to upset the apple cart whether it be through the greed of making money or the need to be noticed through 'website hits' which essentially lead right back to not only revenue for the website but money for the site owner. So where does this money end up? To go back in to further research and programming or?  I would like to think so!  

Funny thing about this blog entry is by the time I have completed it and have gone back through inserting the various links the 'pickypirate' website has either been taken down or has been flooded by too many people visiting the site all at the same time!


How to keep your photos safe

There are many different approaches that can (and should) be taken when it comes to data in general, however when you are a photography nut or happened to be doing this for a living, these suckers are a little more important..not that I believe any photograph isn't important since you look at the one main thing about these.. if you happened to lose the photograph, it is likely you can never get it back because you can't simply re-create it or 'buy a new one'.  What I am referring to of course, is the loss of all data that is stored on your computer, or external hard drive, or burned cd/dvd drives.  This can happen quite easily if you look at the major disasters such as a house fire, flood or other 'natural disaster' whereas everything is lost. Yes sure, you may have been insured so you can get that new computer, but all of your data is gone, and all of your pictures.   So I find it interesting to read how many people from this website have posted what they do to back up their photos.

Some of these people have mentioned online storage but not the majority.  With online storage becoming a very inexpensive way of saving things, I believe this one method will be certain to be utilized more in the near future. A good reason may be the latest invention of wifi on an SD-memory card making it that much easier to get your photos from your camera directly to your online account.

For me, the actual transfer from my camera to my computer is the first step. Then, because ALL OF MY COMPUTERS are using CARBONITE, I know that this will also backup my photos.  But since I typically do not want to fill up my hard drive with photos, and I will want to share some of them with my friends, family and the public, I will then publish my photos to my FLICKR account, using the RAW image mode for archiving purposes. Subscribing to a 'pro account' gives you unlimited uploading and storage of your photos so this is a no-brainer for the $24/year fee.  Remember if you are planning on using external hard drive and/or cd/dvd discs to back things up, you need to be able to place the media in to a fire-proof safe (or your bank's safe deposit box), but whatever you do, it must placed somewhere that you can retrieve them easily enough and is still safe enough from the natural disasters in life.





Friday, December 07, 2007

8 ways to fight off memory loss

The computing I do, the more A.D.D I seem to witness so when there are tips on fighting off memory loss, I'll take all the help I can get!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Facebook a Virus

I plan on a much more elaborate and in-depth reasoning to my stating that Facebook is a virus but for now, let's just say it is high on my list of things to rant about!

The Story of Stuff

This is a good piece of video, it is long, but worth it in my opinion.. it does make you think..doesn't it?


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Transferring large files

Are there times when you send an attachment only to have it returned to you with the error message your file(s) were too large to be sent? This after you have waited a number of minutes for the email to go out?  There are a number of programs on the web, both free and through an annual subscription that you should be aware of. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are we living to work or working to live?

If there is one thing great about the internet, it is the ability to share and now with such social networking sites like facebook and youtube and new readers to be able to capture vast quantities of news articles and blog posts like what I recently read from Amber Mac's blog.
This amazing video gives some statistics of how the world is in perspective of only 100 people. Where do you fall within these statistics?  Are you doing your part?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

How to Never Lose Contact with your friends again!

There is a new website/service available which has a very good concept. The only problem is when they say "never" that is a long time and of course it would depend on how long this service is in business. I personally believe you would be better off having a web based email account (which is yours for life.. or life of that web service) such as Google's GMAIL or MSN Hotmail or Yahoo's email as these will most likely be around for some time.  I personally have all three that I use for different reasons, such as subscribing to regular mailings of tech sites or other mailings, I'll quite often use my yahoo account.  With GMAIL's most recent upgrade to include the use of IMAP which I blogged about earlier, and their very accurate spam filtering, I have moved my main mail to be forwarded through this service.  If for no other reason, it would be a good idea to keep all of your contacts in one of these email services so that you can always get to it wherever you are at any computer that has an internet connection. Just make sure you keep your contacts updated regularly.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Google Vs Yahoo! Search Engines

As the name Google becomes more and more prevalent when it comes to searching on the net, Yahoo! should not be forgotten as there are many things this search engine does that Google simply doesn't do, or at least not yet!  This site gives a good example of the differences.



What's wrong with this picture?


What's wrong with this picture?
Originally uploaded by mdacre

What's wrong with this picture?


What's wrong with this picture?
Originally uploaded by mdacre
It seems to be a strange name for a store that isn't actually going to be open 24-7?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Macbook Report after one week of use-with Vista installed

As I play with my new macbook more and more, now going on one full
week, I am learning that there are many similarities with the hang ups
and freezing that windows computers have. That is, when you are using
other software that may not be initially planned to be used for a
mac. Although Parallels is built specifically to run a different
operating system on a Mac, it causes the mac to perform strange by
hanging when there is a problem. And, to get out of this problem,
there is no other choice but to turn off the computer and turn it back
on again, allowing it to fix itself. I am sure if I were to just use
mac software and not experiment with multiple operating systems all
would be wonderful, but the fact is, I'm not and the simple fact is I
will always be pushing the limits on this thing. After all, that is
why I bought it.

The parallels program appears to be functioning better now, and I am
not sure if that is because I have installed Vista's SP1 Beta. As I
haven't had it freeze up and not start once since this time, I did
have troubles booting in to windows initially after performing the
upgrade.. to the point that I thought I should try the 'time machine'
which I did initially try, but realized it was going to restore the
entire computer to a folder that I had chosen as the restore
location.. not quite sure but it appears that this time machine will
not take your entire system back to that time, but the files will most
certainly be restored, therefore I am not quite sure how much use this
will actually be when carbonite finally works with a mac. I go in to
the properties of Vista and it is not showing the SP1 service pack
therefore I am not quite sure if it was successful or not, so I might
attempt this one more time.

My overall experience so far with the macbook however, is quite
favorable, that is, so long as the parallels software is functioning
and the use of the SPACES program, I can quite easily switch back and
forth from Vista to Mac, exactly how I had hoped I would be able to.
One thing I am having a hard time getting used to however, is the fact
that I don't need to import all my program software that I would
normally use on a windows machine because I am trying to stay in the
mac realm as much as possible.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Macbook and Parallels

I am the (proud) new owner of a Macbook! Yes, I can now say I own a
mac after so many years. So with that being said I can now report on
my OOBE (out of box experience). I can first state what every Mac
owner has said all along, that it just works... well so far I can say
without too many problems. Turning it on and answering the basic 'who
are you' questions, and sitting in a parking lot where it immediately
found a hotspot that I pointed to and connected, within about 10 I was
not only up and running but surfing the web. At that point the mac
found there were updates available and about 100mb of updates and
another 10 minutes I was completely up to date. This was pretty
amazing but that was before installing the parallels software which
would allow me to then install Vista, which I did. Of course an OEM
version of Vista home premium took about 2 hours to complete after all
the updates but yes, it is also true what some have reported, that
vista actually runs faster through a mac then on any other device I
have run it on. This is probably due to the fact that through
parallels it is running as a shell. I initially had the macbook
running on the built in 1gb of memory but have since upgraded it to
4gb thanks to the recent Black Friday in the USA and Fry's sale on the
2gb sticks at less then $40 each!

So would I recommend a Mac? The fact that you can install software
such as parallels to keep you in the windows world, I guess sure, it
would be something new for you to play around with. But to make the
complete switch over to mac would probably not be recommended at this
point in time as you would find you are completely starting from
scratch with regards to all of your software needs and the integration/
syncronizing to any windows product is going to be a lot more
challenging. For me however, it is just another way that I can keep
on top of the ever changing technology. Next step for me is to build
from old parts, a Linux system!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

RANT-Windows Vista vs Windows XP, Security and Education

I am reading a recent post from ZDNet where a Microsoft Exec was mentioning how unsafe the security was on a windows xp machine with SP1 installed.  First of all it is XP and that operating system is over 5 years old now and SP2 has been out for at least 3 years. The fact is, now that Windows Vista is here, why are there even stories about Windows XP and its security flaws when it is obvious these are being addressed by the fact that there is a new operating system.
 
And why is it that those people that "hate Vista" seem to be complaining about things within their operating system which really don't have anything to do with the problems they are faced with. Yes, Vista requires a lot more memory to run, but memory is cheap and your motherboard and all newer hardware have the capabilities of even more upgrades with regards to  more memory and hard drive space. So it seems when I am told home much someone hates Vista and when I ask them why, the answers are typically related to security measures and the (lack of) routine maintenance such as antivirus scans and spyware/malware scans. Yes, most people that are asking me these questions have software that I have always recommended installed, but rarely are they up to date. When a new version of the software program comes out, it is not always that you will get a notice of the new release. Quite often you will get this message once, when you first run the program after an update has been released, but if you choose not to perform this update, quite often you will not be told about this ever again. So it is no wonder then, when I do connect to so many peoples computers to check on things, do I find the basic scanning instruments are way behind?
 
It is all about education.  The more computers I work on and the more I relate with those using Windows XP and Vista, the complaining is pretty much the same whenever there is a new operating system release and how some will love it and others hate it. There is no in-between here, and in most cases, people will always reflect back on what they 'used to do' when there are new shortcuts made with most new products, you can typically change things back to the way it used to be, but before you do, shouldn't you seriously give the new way a try?  Yes, I understand you don't always have time to learn something new and want to just carry on with the way things used to be, but in most cases, when you do take that extra few minutes to learn the new way, you will find some neat shortcut that you were not aware of which just may actually save you some time in the end.
 
So why are these tech writers even mentioning some security problems with such an old operating system in the first place and why, at some tech conference are they showing what is quite obvious.. a computer when no antivirus, no firewall protection,  running an old operating system.
 
The way I see Vista is you shouldn't be upgrading it to your existing system unless you are prepared to add a lot more memory and depending on your processor speed (anything under 1Ghz forget it!) Fact is having Vista on a machine with 2GB of memory (minimum) will run quite nicely. That is, once you have managed to optimize the system. That is why I have the TIPS and the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT pages, so that the same tools that I use to fix a very sick computer on my bench, can be used by you to prevent it from getting to my bench in the first place!  Now with remote capabilities, if you aren't sure of what to do, contact me and get me to connect to your computer and see what the problem is! It is just like making a house call but without your computer needing to be unplugged and brought to the bench where only the sick computers that can't get connected to the internet or are simply operating far too slowly while on the internet should end up on my bench. It is all about preventative maintenance and a little education will go a long way!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why Not?

I came across a pretty interesting website through a recent search. I think this one could have a lot of potential to go places... a plug in to Facebook--why not?

Attitude is everything!

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort".

Herm Albright

Thanks Herm, it is words like this that sometimes make my day all that much brighter!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Google-Just one step closer to being perfect

I am a faithful GMAIL user for over a year since the fantastic 'archive' feature and the searching of any email has become so great, but I have always hated the need to cut/paste my signature file as it would always appear at the bottom of the message thread (something they never did get around to fixing).

Along comes the IMAP feature and I am now back to using Outlook through GMAIL.. not sure if going 'back' to Outlook is always something to be proud of, but it is nice to see (a Google product) doing their part in communicating with (a Microsoft product) so much better.

On the note of archiving however, since there isn't an 'archive' button within Outlook, I believe by moving your message to 'all mail' within the GMAIL folder should retain the message as an archive.

Friday, October 26, 2007

How to-How to Be Optimistic

I came across this site which gives you a few pointers on whatever the topic may be. Being Optimistic is always a good start!

Some Facebook Statistics

With Microsoft making waves once again, this time with Facebook as Om Malik states some stats in a recent blog posting.

*Facebook.com was the 9th most visited web site in the U.S., with .96 percent of all Internet visits.
*U.S traffic to Facebook.com has risen 102 percent year-over-year when compared with the week ended 10/21/06.
*Among a custom category of leading social networking web sites, Facebook.com received 15 percent of U.S. visits, putting it at No. 2 behind MySpace.com, which received 76 percent. Windows Live Spaces received 0.4 percent.
*Facebook.com received 9.9 percent of its U.S. traffic from search engines. Of that traffic, MSN Search and Live Search combined for .46 percent to Facebook.com. Google sent 6.82 percent of U.S. traffic while Yahoo! Search sent 1.34 percent of traffic.
*U.S. visits for Facebook.com among users ages 35 and over have increased 19 percent when compared with the week ended 10/21/06.


Those are some serious stats I would say!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lost Laptop: Free Beer For Life-does it work?

As reported by CNN, a company lost their laptop with all the records so you put a price on this. What is your computer worth? If you say more then $50 then you should probably invest in Carbonite backup as your data is safe even if you lose your computer!

Talk about identity theft when you do lose your laptop, and did they win even if they do get the laptop back? Security will always be a problem but preventative measures always help!

What can you do with the internet?

I quite often come across home where the one spouse wants nothing to do with 'the Internet' and the other is quite in to using the computer. Interesting to ask the one that 'doesn't have time for...' is only missing out on some wonderful adventures. Yes, I say adventures because you can quite honestly lose yourself in some web application and find that you have completely been 'wasting your time' as it may be fun, it is not very productive. I have also had questions like 'what can you do with the Internet' and so I figured I would point you in some sort of directions.

You want to listen to music, nothing more then like turning on the radio... then do it.. go search for your favorite radio station, odds are they have a website and you can listen to them by clicking on the 'listen live' button typically found somewhere on the page. The next thing if this is truly what you have now found interesting, is to recognize what web applications that radio stations web uses, such as Real Audio Player, which will require you to first have the real audio player installed. Now this is where all hell breaks loose, in the fact that you click on www.realaudio.com and get to their website only to learn that you are downloading a 'free' program but will be constantly hounded to buy the premium version and to get out that credit card.. that is typically where most will just turn off the computer and say... "exactly what I expected..nothing for free!".. .well that isn't true, it is more like you just need to know what you are installing and what to watch out for.

First of all your Windows Operating system will have a 'windows media player' and therefore if you care to pay attention to most websites, that will have the Real Audio icon, they may also have the Windows Media icon, in which case you don't have to install anything.. now again, I'm not saying you shouldn't install the Real Audio player, just be aware of how you install it and learn the correct way. At this point you may want to read my OPTIMIZING TIP before continuing.

The podsafe music network and places like podshow will allow you to not only listen to music, but create your own radio station! Podsafe means this music is completely free to listen to and download without the Fed's knocking at your door for downloading music that belongs to a record company.

This brings up RSS which is simple to say, the format in which the music you want to listen to, gets to your device such as an IPOD. By subscribing to websites with the RSS logo you can have this information pushed to you. This can be any information from websites that have just been updated, to news stories using an RSS news reader (google reader is quite easy to understand for those that are new to this)

Just understanding the SEARCH itself may take some real new users a while to comprehend, especially since after you choose the item to search for, a page with many links appear causing many to just not know what to do next. There are many 'search engines' available with Google, Yahoo, MSN making up a majority of the big players, but don't let the little guys go without notice. Why not try searching for other search engines... you may be pleasantly surprised to find some specialty search engines that deal with the topic of interest to you!

Yes, there is a lot of reading that one does when surfing the Internet and the more you use it, the easier you will find yourself finding where to look and what NOT to click on! One thing I have told many newbies when dealing with a computer is to take advantage of F1 . The Function-one button (F1) has always been the emergency key for instructions and because it brings up a different set of instructions depending on where you press it, it does make life a little easier, so long as you don't depend on it! The best thing you can do with those 'Internet for dummies' type books is to use them as a reference only.. read only a section at a time that you are currently having issues with. Most importantly, when you get to the point where frustration is taking over, get up and walk away from the computer... come back when you are ready to tackle it once again.

Vista Service Pack Beta comments

The release of the new Vista operating system hasn't wowed a lot of people and most techies I know and those blogs that I have read are either complaining about Vista or the fact that it seriously needs a Service Pack release. Now that the service pack release is out there in Beta form, I am beginning to read how it isn't all that it was expected to be... my question is, 'when has Microsoft ever had a wow with their latest release?" never.. unless you count their flight simulator programs which I love, but the operating system? It is an operating system.. get over it people and get used to it.. sure, you don't like vista.. tell me why? It is too slow? Then add more memory and use the ReadyBoost feature. All of my Vista machines are very fast. Problems with drivers... goes with the territory.. I would have to say my biggest complaint wasn't with Vista but with Windows XP Pro 64 as they really dropped the ball on drivers for this.

Yes, I have installed the beta on two of my machines without a hitch (so far) and sure, I'll expect there to be some sort of problems, but the simple fact that I haven't had any so far doesn't mean I won't see them in the future. This, as I have learned, goes with the territory with testing out new programs and installing and uninstalling things.. basically 'using my computer'.

To complain about the new operating system without recognizing that it has been some 6 or more years since a release of one, when quite possibly there may have been a lot of features removed from the original plans of Vista, but realize it is new and has better security features for the web based programs. (I still have people questioning me with windows 98 problems even though I have requested these questions to not enter my inbox through allexperts they still do)Considering almost everything you do on the computer now utilizes the Internet in some way, it only makes sense to have Vista. I therefore have never recommended those that are thinking of 'upgrading' to install Vista, but if you are buying a new computer (desktop or laptop), it will probably come with Vista (home premium is the minimum level I would suggest purchasing). Don't look back 5 or more years, to Windows XP, even though SP3 release will bring security features already found in Vista, there just is no point.. now that Vista SP1 is due to be released publicly, the latest is Windows 7, the NEXT O/S and of course those that will complain about SP1 being not what it should be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dog found alive and well--in jail!

The story has a happy ending after I dropped a flyer off at the local dog pound last night. The person(s) that picked him up from the park brought him in to town and, fortunately for me, was dropped off at the local animal control shelter. So, after spending a night in jail Bud is home safe and sound. Thanks to all that have already sent many words of support. I can now get some sleep!

Missing-a member of the family!

I just wanted to let you know that my dog went missing from a park where I frequent when travelling up and down the highway between my home and the Northern Okanagan. I had stopped to have lunch as I have done so many times in the past and nobody else was at the park. No, the dog was not on a leash as this is not something I do if there is nobody there and since this is a small rest stop off the highway, he never usually goes out of site (as he is 14 years old and is now deaf!) I have spent the rest of the day posting flyer's and will be visiting the local dog pound and SPCA's so please understand if I'm a little "not-with-it" for a little bit.

I am very hopeful, that someone (I only witnessed two other vehicles come and go while I was there) picked him up, thinking he was left behind. I am hopeful however a little leery on this since my car would have been quite noticeable as you had to drive by it on the way out of the park. To me, it feels like my child has been abducted but it is still too early to tell. I can only hope if someone did pick him up, that he is warm, healthy and is being loved and that whomever may have done this will be contacting the local shelters soon! As I have never witnessed any other wildlife here before (not even deer), I don't believe that is something to worry about, nor do I believe he was struck by a vehicle on the highway as that is not some place he has ever ventured before.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Everything you wanted to know about ReadyBoost

As Windows Vista becomes more apparent in the day to day life of computing I see many question asked to me with regards to the features. ReadyBoost in my opinion, is one of the biggest features to this latest operating system. Tom Archer has done research on this by talking to one the leads over at Microsoft on this.

Pretty much every question you would have on ReadyBoost is answered here and so when I am asked about whether Vista is something to look forward to or not when it comes time for the upgrade. First of all, I would say to keep the upgrade only if you are getting a new computer/laptop as it will most likely come with it. Of course if you are building a computer, you do have a choice. For me, I have definitely made the move to Vista, if for no other reason then the fact that XP is old, when it comes to computer life/time. Just the Windows 98 before, it seems that many went straight from 98 to XP, missing Windows ME and/or Windows2000 altogether. But for those that want to stay current and are wanting to upgrade their existing computer to Vista, then ReadyBoost will be a must as the odds are your (older) computer will be using SDRAM or first generation DDR (noting today DDR2 is probably standard with DDR3 starting to make a splash) and when the price of upgrading older memory can cost more then an entirely new motherboard/cpu which houses the latest RAM. The key to learn is the ratio of ReadyBoost Memory to the on board RAM as you will definitely see a difference when added to a slower machine.

Finally, when asked what to look for in laptops (which will be an entirely new blog eventually) the memory is still a big factor. I see so many "low-end" laptops these days for $500-$800 which either come with Vista Basic (don't recommend) and only 1gb of memory. Knowing this is a laptop which will usually only house 2 memory slots, having 1gb typically means 2 x 512mb and so upgrading to anything more means pulling at least one of the 512's and either donating it to another laptop or shelving it (a good place might be e-bay but don't think you will get a whole-heck-of-a-lot for it!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Carbonite Online Backup Software available

If you use the Carbonite backup service then you probably woke up to a pop up on the screen notifying you of the FREE update for your Carbonite Online Backup Software available. Simply clicking on the INSTALL FREE UPGRADE NOW is all you needed to do, however some have already messaged me stating they thought it was spyware and simply closed this box. First, you should probably be paying a little more attention to what exactly it was since this is very important that you do keep up to date with this as it is your computers life-line with regards to your data being safe and sound. If you have already closed this and are unsure of what to do just contact me. I believe if you restart your computer it will also pop up again stating there is the update available so you can give that a try if you want (before contacting me).

Watch American TV Programming outside of the USA

I use a wonderful program to record and watch all of my TV programs. This is called Beyond TV from Snapstream Media. This works great when you remember to add the program to the list and even if you forgot to choose the program you can go to any Internet terminal and log in to your account and remotely add the program to the recording list. The problem I have if I do happen to miss the episode is that I can't simply watch it from the American network website (such as Heroes on NBC) because the website recognizes me as a visitor from outside of the USA and therefore will not allow me to watch it. Why? mostly I figure because they can use any sort of excuse not to have to provide this extra bandwidth that would be required when (I guess) they figure the advertisements that are used are for products within the border of the USA.

Thankfully I have found a website out of the UK that allows me to watch the programs that I did miss, immediately, without having to utilize a torrent and download it first. This is a bookmark/favorite must for anyone outside of the USA that wishes to watch that good ol'American programming.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Asus R2H Tweaks

This post is mostly for myself, so that I have a quick and easy reference to what issues I have and have not already done to my R2H unit. Firstly, I have not *(yet) updated to Vista but have added the necessary RAM to make it work well with Vista. I have found when I first bought this unit, that Vista was just too new and did not have the ability to be compatible with the way I had planned on using my little baby. Since about day 3 however, I had removed one software command from the start up (I guess) that has rendered the 'program launcher button' inoperable. The weird part here is the button is a button and not something I would click on the screen to use and so I would think this should fall within the system bios. So far I have found no fix for this (other then to restore from original backup which I figured I would hold off on, mostly because I am too busy using the unit to take the day or more to get it tweaked once again and feel waiting until I make the plunge to Vista on it to first see if that fixes the problem or not).. I have found some good links, in particular this one which has a number of other useful links within it.

Part 2 of the above link which can also be accessed from within that post can be found here.

This would be another tip of instructions, noting that all of these are not for people that are feeling uncomfortable dealing with the registry.

I'll be updating this post with more links as I come across them, but since I am still using Windows XP that came with the system they all will have to wait.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dollar for Dollar

For the first time in my life where it actually means something (I was too young to be spending money the last time this happened), the Canadian Dollar reaches par with the US... strange thing about this is the free trade agreement happened many years ago and yet it has taken this long for the real "free trade" happens. Currently I am visiting in the USA so it means even more for me since I feel pretty good pulling out those American Dollars knowing that they aren't any better then the (much prettier) Canadian Loonie! Go Canada Go!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Think before you "click"

One of the wonderful services I offer to all of my clients is the ability to help them remotely when a problem does crop up. A simple email with regards to what problem you are having or a phone call, in the case your email is the problem, will result in me connecting remotely to your computer and diagnosing and in most cases, repairing the problem.

So hopefully you can imagine my frustration when I connect and start the diagnosis and repair process which will usually have at least one sort of spyware scan, to have the owner/user show up to their computer and see something 'strange going on'... which would be the fact that the mouse is moving and all these files are opening and closing, etc... the first thing that is done is to attempt to 'close the program' instead of thinking for a minute and possibly even paying attention to what is going on, the file/program is closed. Now for me, I see the mouse beginning to move, out of my control (or is it)... the fact is I do have the ability to lock the keyboard and mouse remotely, but I usually don't since after all, it is not my computer to be doing that to, but boy is it frustrating when a scan, which may have been going for over an hour, is terminated simply because "I didn't know what was happening".. in fact I have had some even pull the plug on their computer....

So all I ask is, please, think before you decide to close that task that is open. Check out exactly what it is that is running and you may be surprised to find it is one of the good programs, only trying to clean up the mess that was created.

Thanks...

now you can go back to your crazy clicking!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remote Computing--Connecting to your friends computer

This is a 'tinfoil hat' blog post as it can get a little technical and for many, over their head when it comes to 'how to' but I believe Peter Butler over at CNet has a pretty good explanation with some examples of product available. I have personally used many of these, and currently have taken logmein (http://www.logmein.com) as my favorite method that I deploy on virtually any computer that ever goes across my bench. Since their software installs quite easily (very few problems so far), so long as your computer is connected to the Internet, I should be able to connect and help you out with whatever problems you might be having...without you needing to know ip addresses or router settings. With their service, it is very customizable and can grow as I need it to, giving me even more methods of helping those that require closer monitoring. Some people like to just use their computer and not have to worry that it isn't going to be working when they want to use it, and that is my mission--to be able to keep you up and running, or have a service loaner available for you which can be delivered to you in most cases, within the hour if you should be in that much of an emergency!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Google Earth and the Easter Egg

When it comes to computers and Easter Eggs, this typically means a hidden set of tools or program within a program. As with the latest version of Google Earth there is an incredible Easter egg that all aviation enthusiasts will enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Arriving Soon

It appears those wishing for a service pack to be released for Vista will finally get their way. As ZDNet reports, in a few weeks it will become public as it is currently in beta. Personally for me, a service pack is simply an easier way to get the system up to date, without having to install numerous security patches and fixes by installing separate files. Along with most service packs there are typically some minor adjustments made to the way the overall system functions but it appears this will be very limited to the desktop search methods so to the consumer, nothing will really change. Should this service pack release mean you should switch to Vista? Absolutely not! Not unless you are purchasing a new computer, I really still do not see any reason to make the switch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TIP (Technical) How-to remove Winfixer, Virtumonde, Msevents, and Trojan.vundo (ATLDistrib Object)

How-to remove Winfixer, Virtumonde, Msevents, and Trojan.vundo (ATLDistrib Object) using Atribune's VundoFix removal tool.

This one can be a bugger since the normal adaware, spybot, ccleaner and avg combination don't get this, thanks to others that have had to deal with it, and the ability to search Google.

I am hereby placing a link to where I found the fix.

Although this may sound easy, I still suggest you have someone that feels completely comfortable repairing spyware since these sorts of tools can also render your system useless (until a technician arrives to fix it)!

..and you know what.. this still doesn't work on some systems... in the end, going back to the tried and true 'hijack this' ends up doing the trick! This and the others I mentioned are always available through my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page here.

UPDATE: Okay, well after numerous scans, it appears there is a new winner in the ongoing battles against the spyware and that winner is CounterSpy. This program is new to my arsenal of tools and over the next month or so, I will continue to monitor its effectiveness alongside the tried and true Spybot, Adaware, AVG Antispyware and others that are available from the Software/Support page and what I recommend in the battle against malicious software.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New CCleaner (beta) Version 2.0 released

For those anxious in keeping their computer clean, you can probably feel pretty safe installing version 2.0 even though it is labeled as beta. You can get it through my Software/Support page here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Windows TIP-Turn off Automatic Updates

The popular Skype peer to peer communications network went down last week due to a massive amount of computers performing a 'normal' reboot due to numerous windows updates that required the system to be restarted.

To eliminate future interruptions an easy method of fixing this is by simply turning off the automatic windows updates. Personally it is the first thing I do when setting up a new computer. Simply changing it to 'notify me' instead of automatically downloading and installing, since there are just too many problems once certain updates are completed.

To change the settings RIGHT CLICK on My Computer and select PROPERTIES and then click on the WINDOWS UPDATE Tab. From Vista you would RIGHT CLICK on COMPUTER and perform the same task.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gnomedex 7-final report

I don't want to say negative things about this years conference and hopefully Chris and Ponzi will take all comments, both positive and negative as constructive criticism and education for next years event, that is, if they do decide to have one. I know in previous years, the talk nearing the end of the conference was always about next year but this year nothing. But then again I can't help but wonder if it was because it was like the fire drill of 2 years ago where the clock struck 5:30 and everyone had to get out... I'm sorry but I don't believe you can do that, not when everyone is wanting to gather and say their goodbyes and what not. I figured I would wait until I got back to my room at the Westin where I am quite happy to say the wifi works fast and, so far, I haven't had to pay for another day (yet).. at $9 a day (pretty typical price in most hotels it seems). I know at one time there was some mention of possibly having the conference over at the Microsoft campus where I would have to think the wifi issues would not be an issue whatsoever, and the fact that Microsoft is still a major sponsor, (although I didn't see much in the way of swag coming from that direction other then an employee from the "Expression Studio Division" who dropped a copy of the program on my lap). I simply couldn't help but think things this year were all a little rushed, even though it appeared from those who helped/volunteered for this years show were more then in previous years, not to mention that after 6 of these, things should start to drop in to place kind of nicely. Yes, there is always going to be sponsorship issues, but much like those 'no frills flights' where you can save a few dollars when you don't have any luggage or are willing to pay a few dollars more for seat selection, I do believe this sort of thing should have been cleared up before the programs are printed. Oh, that's right.. there weren't any due to some unfortunate printer malfunction?? Ummm excuse me, but isn't this a technology conference? Shouldn't there be access to at least one other printer somewhere in this fine city of Seattle. Chris did mention that there was a .pdf available (at the end of the conference). Again, not to piss on what I believe was still a very successful and fun conference. I can only hope that if and when next year's Gnomedex is announced, that places such as Microsoft's campus (or anywhere that can handle 350 geeks that want fast and working wifi!). True, you can't beat the views and the food was once again outstanding as the venue truly can't be beat in Seattle, I am sure, but I can't help but think that being the third year in Seattle, my negative comments should be non-existent. How can things improve? Well, considering we talk about social networking and we are all futurists that go to this conference, I would think a list of what needs to be done early on should be presented to the masses that will be attending since in many cases these sort of problems could have been addressed by someone that wants to step up to the plate and take on the respective job, whether it be with the wifi networking issues, venue location/logistics so that Chris and Ponzi can focus on and polish up on all the new issues that are sure to arise as the conference time nears. This all being said, if all goes well (with my health and well being) I should have no reason why I wouldn't be once again, one of the first to sign up for Gnomedex 8! Thanks again Chris and Ponzi, you truly are great hosts!

Gnomedex 7 Is now over

.. actually as I write this, it isn't over but it seems by the audience that this latest speaker seems to be getting either a bit of a bum wrap or simply not many are interested in what the University of Washington is doing for promoting technical issues and courses and finding funding due to the bureaucracy of the education system. If I didn't have a close friend that is currently completing a Ph.D in Education I probably would have left the room as well. Nothing against Kathy and her speaking, especially having three additional co-speakers to give us an idea of what is going on, but it almost seems that this was just scheduled at the wrong time of the conference. As Iggy points to some other negative issues of this years conference, I will only state one (ongoing) complaint and that would be the wifi still sucks! What is it about getting a room of about 350 geeks together that can't get the one engine that they all have in common running properly? This is now 7 years of constant problems... I understand the Microsoft Campus was one option for the location of this years Gnomedex.. I have to think that this one complaint would FINALLY be addressed and if not, it would just give everyone there one more reason to complain about Microsoft.. maybe that is why it was decided to stay at the Bell Harbour Convention Center.. Don't get me wrong here, I enjoyed myself as I do each and every year simply because of the people and after all, that is what Gnomedex is all about!

Thanks again Chris and Ponzi for providing what I would say is another successful and fun conference!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I love technology but then you already knew that!

Currently sitting here listening to speakers at Gnomedex doesn't mean I can' t still help you out! My phone just vibrated and sure enough, a client with a computer problem. In this case, it sounded to me like all that might be required was a reboot. But without getting up, leaving the room and phoning this client, I thought I would try and see if I could 'see the computer' online (using the logmein service).. sure enough there it was.. I tried connecting, but couldn't.. so I proceeded to perform a REBOOT... after the reboot,before I could try the connection again, my phone started vibrating.. sure enough that fixed the problem and it was the client calling to say all is well once again.

I knew this actually because as I connected, I could see her reading my email! This is just one more example of how quick I can come to the rescue, even though the initial problem seems like a reboot is all that was required to get this one person off and running again.

Gnomedex Report #1

So I made it to Seattle and Gnomedex 7. Last night's mixer/registration was another success and as I sit and set up for the start of the first presentation today, I see that the WiFi is about the same as it was last year.. no luck getting connected for about 20 minutes, but now that I am connected, all seems okay.

If you wish to follow along, this year Gnomedex is being streamed live so go ahead and take in the show!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Enough already about the I-Phone!

With (only) 33 million people in Canada, it appears Apple figures that isn't a large enough market to place the I-Phone. Either that or Telus, Bell, and Rogers don't seem too worried that if you buy one, don't plan on having it fully functional, but at $295 month?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Only 5 Months 'till Christmas!

OK so it is the middle of Summer and probably the last thing you want to think about is Christmas, but when I saw 25 ring up on my Calendar that number just goes with Christmas. Thing is since it is the middle of Summer, you probably don't want to also know that there are less months until Christmas but that doesn't stop the stores in prompting the fact that it is 'back to school'. Yes I hated this time of year as a kid, since I still had just over a month left of my summer holiday and yet they are promoting 'back to school'. From a computer buying point of view, don't let the fliers fool you in to thinking you are getting a better deal as the deals are always there, it all depends on what you want. Remember, most 'sales' you are going to see with regards to computing will be stuff that has been hanging around for a while, since this is the time of year when they are trying to clear their shelves in order to get the real deals (which will typically happen a week or so before September-that is the summer time specials). Regardless, I hope you will have the decency to ask your local computer consultant when it comes to making any sort of 'technology purchase'!

I was with one client today that just went and purchased new ink for their printer, not reading my blog about this, which I might add, was posted last September, so prices have even (dropped) changed since then and this time for the price of the colour laser printers! Generally you buy a colour laser printer and when it runs out of toner (ink) you will probably find yourself purchasing a new unit. This is something that I said back in September with regards to ink jet printers and it is still the case, but even more so since your next purchase of a colour printer may be wiser to move to the colour laser if for no reason, you won't be purchasing more toner/ink for a lot longer then you would with the ink jet. From what I can see, about 5 times longer! This going from my own past experience and usage... just a friendly tip.. because you may find purchasing more ink for your old ink jet will lead to you being very frustrated and out of pocket, the price of the ink, when you learn that it wasn't out of ink but something wrong with one of the ink jets itself. Oh sure you could pay to have it fixed, but that will run you at least, the money you paid for the ink in the first place! As unbelievable as it may seem, the next time you need ink you will need to think if getting the refill is the best solution!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We Bleed Maroon

I have a friend who is currently completing a Ph.D at Texas A & M, I have managed to spend many days on the Aggie Campus. Stephen James has produced a very 'inspirational' video, one in which I don't think you actually have to have been an Aggie to appreciate. I believe anyone that has been on this campus can relate to this fine video.. well done!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Expert Researcher

Following up on being a geek. Wouldn't it also be sort of assumed that computer consultants could be referred to as Expert Researchers? Doing a Google search on this I was intrigued to learn that other websites that listed this were mostly Japanese, at least for the first twenty or so sites. Is this nothing more then what a futurist could be labeled as?

Still in testing stages on Plaxo

As I have blogged about Plaxo recently and with the most recent release of the "New look Plaxo", I am still testing the waters and would not be at the point where I would be recommending it to people but that certainly doesn't rule out that you can't try it out yourself. As Techcrunch who reports how Plaxo could be the Open Facebook
You may want to give it a try and see for yourself. Personally I was more interested to see how the conversion of other address books was working including that with Google. Does it still have the spyware component? I don't believe so but then again, I am still testing how valid this program/service will be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Do all geeks think alike?

Yes, I am a geek, and I guess that is something that I realized when I attended my first Gnomedex back in Des Moines, Iowa. It is there, where I found myself surrounded by people from all walks of life in many different fields of business, but we all had one thing in common and that was the fact we were in the same room together...at a 'geek conference'. Well Gnomedex has matured a lot since the first few years back in Chris Pirillo's old stomping grounds, but so has the web and as a result, what I am noticing about this conference is the even broader spectrum of people that attend, due to the simple fact that they use technology in their day to day business and that technology typically has something to do with the Internet and as a result, they find conferences like this. So it should come as no surprise when you read one of Pirillo's most recent blogs on how technology is there to make our lives easier... to the point where people don't want to use their brain anymore!



This my friends, is by far, the one issue that frustrates me the most about some people... the lack of (or to use) their common sense!

Friday, July 13, 2007

What is Web 2.0?

If you want what I can think of as the easiest way to understand what web 2.0 is would be to use your web browser is 'full screen' mode and see how long you last before you need to use the 'back' 'forward' and other buttons on the browsers toolbar. If you find that you can pretty much point and click on the content within the website itself, and browsing to other sites can be done without the use of the browsers tools then that is what I would consider what web 2.0 is and how you too can experience it.

It is interesting to see, over time, how much more I can go surfing in Full Screen mode these days, especially nice if you use a big screen display and a wireless mouse/pointer for research.

Finally it appears money is just another widget

Although I haven't heard of an actual widget being built, I am sure it will not be too far off, now that you can send money over your phone using Paypal. The instructions seem simple enough, although I have not tried it (yet), it only makes sense, since the ability to write someone a piece of paper that was authorized by your bank (a cheque or check if you are American reading this). I am still blown away by how many people actually do still use them when at a checkout when I am pretty sure they have a bank card.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Optimizing your computer in 3 Steps

Steps you can and should to for the health of your computer system.

  1. Stop using the INTERNET EXPLORER! Since this Internet browser comes with your windows operating system it is therefore used the most and for that reason, gets hacked the most. Close to 80 percent of the problems I fix on a regular basis could most likely not even happen if it weren't for the fact that the Internet Explorer was being used. Get yourself a new web browser or two (I think it is best to have two so that you can always determine if the one browser is at fault when a web page doesn't open or look correctly, you can open the other web browser. For this I use AVANT BROWSER as my main browser which you can always download from the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page. I find it has been the best to customize to 'look' as close to the Internet Explorer did in version 6 which most people were accustomed to and for that reason alone, the Avant Browser works best. As well, I use FIREFOX. There are many so go ahead and try out a few.
  2. Keep your anti-spyware up to date and used on a DAILY basis. Yes, I suggest DAILY if you use your computer every day for internet activity then why not run the spyware scans at the end of your day as it will take you less then a minute to start and since you are through using the computer, why not have it performing something useful so that when you do come back to your computer, the results will be in and you can be sure you are computing with a clean computer. Remember you can always get the latest version of the anti-spyware that I suggest you use from the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.
  3. Read my OPTIMIZING tip if you haven't already done so. I know it is long but that is because I am trying to be thorough.

Still requiring more help or questions, remember you can always contact me.
Oh, there are always more things to add here and over time I believe I will but for now it is just 3 easy steps.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Avast needs re-registering

It appears the people at Avast Antivirus are wanting to know just who is using their free software as it seems I am getting a lot of questions on this. Since the program is free, they simply want you to register it and when you do, they will send you a confirmation registration code that you can then copy and paste in to the registration key by clicking on the AVAST icon to start the program and as it begins to scan your start up files, click on the REGISTER key and paste your new code. It is really quite simple. Or if you find my instructions complicated or confusing, you can always contact me and I can do it for you!

I moved to Flickr but because of Webshots, not Yahoo

As reported by the Tech Web Network, Flickr traffic has surged due to Yahoo but for me, I made the move to Flickr from Webshots over a $5 difference!



After being with Webshots for a number of years, utilizing their premium services as soon as I bought my first 6 megapixel camera. I knew I would want a place to store them in their full image size as well as a place to send friends and family instead of using email which would never handle this size of a file. You pay for your premium service once a year and I just received notice from Webshots that it was 3 weeks from being due and that my credit card on file would be charged. Now I am not a very big fan of 'automatic renewals' no matter how good your service may be, I still want to shop around or at least know that I am getting the best 'bang for my buck'



So with a quick email to webshots asking why their rates had gone up substantially (I think the first year it was $20 and now $29.95), knowing that storage space is becoming more available so it would seem this should go down, which by not going up at all in my opinion, is pretty much the same as a rate drop with everything else on the rise. But in the end, after a few days and no response, I figured I would start to test out these other guys.



I always had a flickr account since I also have Yahoo, but only placed a few family pictures and actually used it as a temporary picture storage place, more for organizing as they seemed to have a very user friendly and functional photo manager. Although Flicker and Webshots do have a free service, I can still use the free webshots service but for me, the switch of premium services has been something that I will continue to do as I utilize other services online such as the Carbonite backup service and the LogMeIn remote services.

Now just because I made the move doesn't mean the Webshots service isn't for you. You will be paying $5 more but they may also have some service that works better or easier for you. The free screen saver is nice but that too is something you can use without being a premium member.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Backing up your data has never been so easy!

Looking back on some of my previous blog posts stating what services are basically done to any computer that reaches my bench and how dvd backup works but staying with the times, these times do change and now it can be done even simpler. Now with the use of the 'Internet all the time' connection, whether you are on highspeed on the lite package offered by most ISP's the simple fact is your data can be safe for if/when disaster strikes. Look no further then Carbonite! It just works!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm down but not quite out

What to do when you get struck by what I am guessing is the flu-bug? Nothing can be done but rest and follow the guidelines of what medical professionals say is 'rest'. Easier said then done when I'm a guy that needs to be doing something all the time! It isn't like there aren't people waiting for some help either. I apologize for the delays in which I am directly the cause of the wait but this is something that I can't do anything about and can only hope by resting, it will be a very quick recovery. I am down to about 2 hours before I can't concentrate on what I am doing at which point I try to sleep. That I seem to do for about an hour and then realize that I am going to just stare at the ceiling so I get up and continue work, for about another hour.. it has been a terrible, terrible night and I am truly hoping this will be flushed from my system ASAP.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New features in Google Docs

I love you Google.

Well, maybe that is a little too strong, but I do love the new features found in the Google Docs and I do love how they (Google) continues to find ways to improve. As long as they continue to impress, I have no reason to fear the giant as many do. So long as there are people who are not happy with certain services and features, they will simply go somewhere else. That is the one great thing about Open Source, we the people do have some say in what we will use.

I initially signed up to the Google Aps package and since they had extended the free trial, I figured why not. That was a bad call however, since giving permission to my domain access resulted in my website being 'off the air' for almost a full 24 hours and my email was being bounced. Not good, oh and of course as a result of being off the air, the adsense dropped and for that matter, has not completely returned to the way it was... and that is a Google thing.. hmmm well maybe the love is gone, but I still like you enough to praise the good things that you do!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Advertising that just works and makes you feel good at the same time!

I subscribe to a number of horoscopes. I am not ashamed of it and even if these are nothing more then a fortune cookie you may get from your last meal at an asian buffet, you have to admi when you read and compare a few of these, taking anything that is similar and positive makes your day just that much better. So when I read the following and witness all the built in links to their advertisers.

Examine and Evolve
The planets' dance this week encourage you to stand back, take a good look at yourself and realize, 'Hey, you've come a long way baby!' Your commitment to personal evolution deserves a hearty round of applause -- better yet, treat yourself to a cosmic bubble bath with a
free sample Inner Healing Reading. Wow, you sure clean up beautifully! Take advantage of this karmic Kodak moment by taking a free sample Numerology Portrait. Speaking of karma, your recent hard work in this life could very well make up for your questionable behavior in lives gone by. See for yourself with a free sample Past Life Reading.

Plaxo-Good or Bad?

Plaxo is back in the news as reported by PC Mag, it is making a comeback with newer (and supposedly better) software that isn't as intrusive.

Personally I will not tell my existing clients to jump on board and only because I was the one that was having to remove the results of plaxo in the past due to its malware components. Maybe because of this reason, I am a little more leery but regardless I am posting about this because yes, it may be one of the best in the future of social networking. After all, with the ability to intrude on so many computers in the past, it would be safe to say they do know how to blanket the market and for that reason alone, they may win the hearts of many. I will be giving it a try, but mainly for the fact that it will synchronize so many formats and will hold my breath on the first product to successfully sync Google contacts/schedules.

HOW TO: Enable the build-in Administrator account in Windows Vista

I recently had the need to install an update for my carbonite backup on my new laptop which has Windows VISTA Home Premium installed. Since I basically turned this laptop on and set it up as the one and only user, I made sure that I was the administrator, or so I thought. But when I went to the control panel/user accounts I noticed that it was set to 'standard user'. Do you think I could change this? Not a chance, and because I was the only user, I was screwed...

Doing a search through the Microsoft support I did come up with a solution. The support article id is: 555910 in case you want to check for yourself, or simply go to this link to read more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We Techs (IT Guys and Gals) aren't always right...

An interesting dilemma has cropped up recently with Microsoft's latest patches. Actually this is something that has been going on for a long time and from a consultant point of view, who is merely trying to keep the computer working and hopefully working well, will find very interesting.

Personally since I deal with a number of clients with varying software installed, I have usually kept the systems in full 'automatic' mode whereas all the critical updates are done as they arrive to the computer. But as of late, my strategies are changing due to this exact issue that has happened with the latest set of windows updates, as discussed by this ZDnet Blog.

For this reason alone, you should realize that communication is truly the key and with the right communication many issues can be prevented. Therefore the next time you see something pop up on your screen that you aren't sure about, or simply aren't sure about anything to do with your computer issues, don't wait until it is too late! Your computer tech would probably appreciate knowing ahead of time that you have noticed little issues.

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Avant Browser available

I was just about to post a small rant regarding some problems I have noticed as of late, partially due to the way the AVANT BROWSER opens and prompts the user for username (email address) and password. The reason for the complaint may not necessarily be the browsers fault but the people who operate it not understanding just what this prompt for username and password is all about. This is of course, for the use of the auto fill and other personal browser favorite settings, but because it would prompt you initially BEFORE the browser even opened, I believe this is where some of the confusion came from. Now, when I was prompted this morning that there is a new browser available, I was quite pleased to see this problem has been resolved by first opening the browser and then being prompted for username. As well, with any new version, there are the few obvious things such as new icons (I like) and the initial placement of the toolbars has changed. Remember this is a very customizable browser. Much faster then Internet Explorer and by far, more secure, if you haven't given it a try then now is a good time to give it a try! Remember to keep it up to date so when you see that prompt that there is a new version available, either click YES to be directed to the Avant Browser download or get it directly through my site here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Surface computer-the future is near

This new Surface computing looks to be very cool. Now to see if it catches on and sells cheap enough for them to be seen everywhere, it truly could be closer then you may think.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pay more attention to your email and the size!

It seems as of late, more and more problems are showing up with regards to email messages not going through, getting caught up in the outbox, or 'timing out' before completed. When checking on these problems (remotely) I am finding email messages, typically jokes that have been forwarded a few times already (fw: fw: fw) and the email has a 4.7mb file attachment!

Now even though you received that message okay, that certainly does not mean that it will leave your system okay! Depending on a number of things, the speed of your Internet, the amount of time your email program is set to leave the outgoing server open, and of course the amount of room your email account has available at the time.

What you can do is stop sending these as most people you send them to will probably already have it coming in from someone else, and if they don't then maybe point them to places like "youtube" where you can do some fancy searching for hundreds, if not thousands, of funnies to watch. Utilize your high speed connection for viewing video via streaming instead of plugging up your email mailbox with this sort of thing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Computer Tips-What is Dual Core?

As I attempt to keep providing various computer tips through this blog, it seems that a simple pointing in the right direction can help as many that care to take the time to read the blogs in the first place. Through email would seem like the most logical place to start, but don't forget about word of mouth. There are many times in conversation these days, where you make mention of 'a website I recently visited' and it becomes quite clear that you will then go home and email a link to your friend that you were in conversation with earlier. So what does that have to do with Dual Core? Nothing, but now that you are reading this, you should realize how easy it would be if you were subscribed to it!

Chris Pirillo does his best to stay on top of technology but also continues to teach and help as many as he can, virtually free to you and me.. so what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this link and don't be afraid to pass it on and SUBSCRIBE to his blog as well as this one if you haven't done so already!

Now that you have subscribed and/or have leared a little more about communicating through RSS and using the internet technology to help benefit you, go and learn what dual-core is by clicking on this link to Chris's tip.