Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What are you getting when I place your computer on my bench?

...hopefully the confidence that your computer's data is the first thing that will be checked on for safely backing it up.

It appears there are always bad news stories out there like this one. Truth be told, it doesn't surprise me at all that this was normal procedure for many computer benches. It is quite unfortunate that the computer at this point, becomes nothing more than a widget that needs repair and when you have an assembly line full of broken widgets... this is what can happen.

This is why it is important to be a proactive worker on the bench, when it comes to any sort of updates or cleanup, the very first thing that must be done is a backup of the data. This is what I would call the 'ace in the hole' since you can always resort back to the way it was originally if it came to a shouting match over $$$!

Look, if you aren't happy with the way you get your computer fixed, look for someone that does look after your best interests first and that should be the data that is on your hard drive!

Once the computer is up to date, a new back up image should be created (and from my bench it would also get a DVD burned backup of the image). After all, what happens if you get your computer home only to have the drive completely fail or worse yet, you get your computer stolen or your house burns down! That is also why it is important to take the DVD backup and NOT keep it next to your computer, but in a fire-proof safe or at your bank's safe deposit box!

With all the new software available to keep your system optimized and backed up not to mention the remote software to keep your system up to date and repaired remotely, finding the right person should be the most important thing and once you find that person, make sure you keep in touch with them! Don't make it their responsibility as much as they may want to help you, there are always others out there that seem to monopolize their time, but then again, they are paying for this so essentially it comes down to 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease' and by this I certainly don't mean to start a bidding war for the computer person's time (not that I would ever complain about this, since I am one of those computer people), but seriously, it is all about communication and communicating with whomever it is that is doing the maintenance to your system. Let them know the moment you see something out of the norm or are unsure if you performed the last update correctly. In most cases, a simple connect to your computer to check on things (in my case) will not even cost you anything, other than your own piece of mind, knowing that you have a computer operating well because you have a good working relationship with your computer maintenance person.

If you need more information of course, you can always contact me!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Windows Vista? No thank you, I'll take Windows XP

Well it appears that Chris Pirillo might have opened a real war of words over his rights to tell the blogospheare how he feels about Vista and I must say I am following in his footsteps on the belief it is more like a beta release then the actual working program. Sure I understand there will always be bugs and patches, this goes without saying on any operating system, just as there will always be security updates. But come on Microsoft, why would you release something (other then the fact that you were under extreme pressure to get it out the door), that has true maintenance, security or other functioning software, other than your own 'windows defender'? I am referring to the fact that Symantec software such as partition magic and pcanywhere for example, as well as numerous incompatibilities with printers/scanners. I hate to say this is another windows x64 (even though I am using Windows Vista Premium 32), whereas no manufacturer really stepped up and provided working drivers. The 64bit Windows XP has been out for years now and where did it go?

Unfortunately my new laptop came with this Vista O/S, otherwise I too would have held off in going for Vista since I had the beta DVD given to me at last years Gnomedex. I had been dabbling with it on a computer I built for that purpose.. as a consultant it is important to stay surfing the leading edge of the trade so that you can truly understand how to fix an error when one arises. It seems to me I am spending more time doing the simple things like just getting connected to a wifi connection then testing out the actual O/S. Maybe I might not be whining as much as Chris seemed to be, but from the sounds of his troubles, he has every right to 'vent'.

For my own clients who are now starting to ask me pretty much on a daily basis whether or not they should be looking to upgrade, I am obviously telling them to stay as far away from it as possible. But this may be a difficult thing to do when it comes to purchasing a new laptop since they are all starting to ship with some sort of Vista O/S installed and unless I start purchasing 'bare-bones' laptops and completing the build myself whereas I can then control what O/S goes in to it (believe me I am very close to doing this now), it seems that my only course of action is to continue to read the blogs and tech reports on what problems I can be expected to see at some point, most likely sooner than later... or maybe I should do as Scot did?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Computer Jargon-Needed when buying a new one..

It seems that with the current prices of laptop computers, they are the current computer of choice when looking for a new one. Since not everyone knows all the key words when reading the specs on these things, nor do you want to look stupid when the salesman asks you a few things like, "what size CPU are you looking for?" Lockergnome gurus have come up with a little help.

Although I would never use the term "idiot" with anyone I know, it does seem to sell a lot of books.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What am I reading?

A lot of my time is spent reading.. whether it is attempting to stay current on technical trends, I believe a lot of that deals with security as this is something everyone finds important and yet from my computer cleaning/repairs that I have done over the years, I have noticed a lot of problems simply due to lack of education on the right way to do things. It has always been a war to know what is real and what is advertising for many years as many websites, including my own, have such items as Google AdSense. A lot of great research is found within the results the ad sites have when performing a simple search. It is what typically follows, whereas you get hit with pop up questions and whether or not you should choose yes or no. In my opinion the Internet has only made the world that much smaller as you can stay in touch with your friends and family and stay so current when and for how long, you decide to be plugged in.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gnomedex Booked

(note that I would have used the code here to have the fancy icon but for whatever reason blogger doesn't like it-either that or I'm doing something wrong). In any case the link is there for you to see. This will be number 5 for me as I missed the first two only. I was hooked after the first one I went to!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cell phone emergencies

I received the following information through a much-forwarded email. I have only tried one of the items and it didn't work on my one cell phone (the *#06#) so that might be based on a specific type of phone and you may want to contact your provider to find out what the actual number is for your phone as it does make sense to know that information. Hopefully some of this will be of some use however. It is just that I truly hate forwarding on email in a chain letter due to the fact that people typically do not forward mail properly and as a result the actual message gets lost in all the email addresses and other hidden characters that can cause major problems to those that open it. So here's the details:


There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:


The Emergency Number worldwide for **Mobile** is 112
If you find yourself out of coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. **Try it out.**

#2 -
Have you locked your keys in the car? Does you car have remote keys?* This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Hidden Battery power Imagine your cell battery is very low, you are expecting an important call and you don't have a charger. Nokia instrument comes with are serve battery. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone:
* # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. when your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that" (I tried this on my phone -a Motorola - and it did not work so you might want to contact your provider to see what the actual number is for your model of phone as this could be quite useful)

These are certainly worth trying!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Unpatched holes in Firefox, IE; Does Microsoft's patch cycle need fixing

Time and time again, continued patch problems exist with the Internet Explorer and I am left wondering why people still use this brutally bad browser, when there are so many other options. To this date I have yet to have a major issue using the AVANT BROWSER and highly suggest you give it a try if you haven't already. As ZDNET reports more holes found in Microsoft's latest IE 7 browser.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Security issues for Eight nations set to get $150 laptops

ZDNET reports that Eight nations are set to get $150 laptops.

This is wonderful, in my opinion, but as the report expresses concern over the obvious hacker/black market dealers will attempt to make this not such a good idea. It goes without saying that when you put a lock on something, people will be curious as to what is so important that it requires a lock and thus attempt to break the lock. Yes, security is important as your data must be protected but to what extent? I am still a firm believer in open hotspots for wifi as it becomes more and more critical for the individual computer to have the security features up to date. Such items like finger print recognition should be mandatory (I believe) when it comes to personal information but this would add more cost to the end product and when you are attempting to provide the minimum level of computer equipment to 3rd world countries for the sole purposes of getting those on the Internet and using a computer that normally would never be able to, this becomes a very strong point. Giving those that normally could not afford such things as a computer is one thing, but I believe it is the education that needs to go along with this.

HP Printers Do you own one? Were you planning on buying one?

HP Printers, if you own one or were planning on buying one, then you may want to read the following blog from a ex-employee of HP.

Since I have blogged about this in the past, the fact that in most cases it is cheaper to buy a new printer then to replace the ink... the comments this person makes are quite valid.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Clean install workaround for Vista upgrade discovered

It appears those of you wishing to perform an upgrade to Windows Vista may have the ability to use the upgrade disk to perform a clean install afterall, as reported through engadget.

Although I haven't tried it yet, I do have the 30 day trial DVD so I'll be sure to see how well this works if/when I do perform this sort of upgrade. It is nice to know this is possible though.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Web Based Email-Comparison

For some time now I have been raving about Google's email "gmail" and have pretty much moved my entire office away from outlook/exchange. The reason was simply better synchronization when I am dealing with a pocket pc, which uses outlook, the laptop, and the multiple desktop scenarios. Gmail just made sense, especially since I can utilize the pop server and forward mail from my own domain. So which one should you get? You may want to see what other services you may already be using. Such as if you are a yahoo messenger person, then it would only make sense that you would have a yahoo email account. Same applies if you are an MSN Messenger person, odds are you probably have a hotmail account, whether it is active or not.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has done a comparison.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Superbowl, Email marketing and Chris Pirillo

Well if you like the Superbowl for the commercials then you are not alone. I am not a huge fan of "NFL" football but I am a huge fan of Chris Pirillo and his tactics at email marketing, especially when he admitted a few years ago at one of his Gnomedex conferences how email marketing is dead. But at that time he was marching to a new drum, called RSS and viola, now comes his email marketing through RSS and his Picks of the week. Below is the entire email that I received and I have not removed any links (as does anyone that subscribes to one of his feeds)as he should be entitled to help you as he can help me:

eGreetings!Well, I'm still recovering from the cavalcade of Super Bowl commercials. Can't say any one of 'em really had me reaching for the rewind button. Then again, I'm not much of a sports junkie - or a commercial junkie, for that matter. If you liked GoDaddy's set, then maybe you should take advantage of a few GoDaddy coupons we lined up for you:Save an additional $5 any order of $30 or more, use coupon CHRIS2: 10% on any new domain registration, use coupon CHRIS1: you'd rather look at links belonging to people who have already registered their own domains, let me oblige you once more...[OPENSOURCE] 3D modeling, animation and rendering system[RESOURCE] Convert any Web page to a feed[DIALUP] Modem Troubleshooting and Help[SAVE] Windows Clipboard Software Discount[CONTENT] The People's Media Company[LEGAL] Attorneys Hall of Shame[FREE] Open Source CD/DVD Burning for Windows[HELP] Vista on your Mac via Boot Camp[SECURITY] Super Bowl Stadium Site Hacked[PLAY] Live Flash Games Online can't believe that recommended Pirillo's Picks to all their readers recently. So did Brad Wilson at (the other day). Will you be next?Yours Digitally,Chris Your friends can email to join this list. Go to for the archives. Check if you'd like a live feed. If you really want to unsubscribe But what if you miss out on a link that totally makes your day?


Kudos to Chris for finding a way to get his Go Daddy code out to his loyal subscribers. After all, why should Go Daddy spend a few cool million dollars on commercials on the Superbowl telecast when you have huge subscriber fan base like Pirillo! By the way, as you read this, are you beginning to understand RSS and it's marketing capabilities yet?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Podcast-what is it?

Podcasting....Something that has been around for a few years now but is still not completely understood by most is podcasting. This is a form of communication by producing an audio and/or video presentation that is distributed using RSS Aggregation. Of course you will need to know what RSS is before you can truly take advantage of podcasts. For me, Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code would be at the top of my list of podcasts to listen to, followed by whatever Chris Pirillo has on the go.

RSS for me is managed using Google’s READER, along with the material being transferred to either my pocket pc, my laptop, or my newest gadget, the ASUS Ultra Mobile R2H.

There is still only 24 hours in a day.

For those of you that know me, I am always doing something related to technology at all hours of the day, 7 days a week. The difference lately has been the fact that I been traveling more often then normal due to Air Canada’s latest ‘flight pass’ that I picked up during their promotional time at the end of 2006. I have had to change the way I would normally perform my day to day duties, instead of working for about 30 days straight, before taking a week off and travel to points ‘south’ typically, to making a flight either Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday of each week and I will continue this until the middle of March. If you are unfamiliar with the flight pass I highly suggest you check it out, especially if you have friends/family where you visit on a regular basis since you may find yourself saving a lot of money of the year, not to mention the comfort of knowing you always have a seat waiting for you.

Much like the phone plans that are now out where you have unlimited calls to specific zones within your country or any select country, the flight pass allows you to purchase flight credits or unlimited travel for a determined length of months (3 or 6 months). This is by far, the newest and I believe, the future of travel as we know it since it is a win-win scenario for you and the airline involved. So because I have this ‘unlimited’ version of a ‘North America flight pass’ in which my travel can be on any Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, I am trying to use it to the fullest extent, which means find a place to go each week. This hasn’t been a problem for me as I do enjoy traveling; I visited Such places as Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Florida, Texas, California. Why? Because I can! So the next time you have a weekend where you are sitting around ‘doing as little as possible’ enjoying your time off, you could be enjoying it in some other city!

Windows Vista-1st Report-Wait!

It has begun, the steady stream of email questions of whether or not you should upgrade your current Windows XP to the latest Vista operating system. In one word-NO!

The only time I would even consider such a decision would be if you were to purchase a new computer that happened to have Vista already installed since this would be the only reason you would have to use this version of operating system. With any new program that you have never used before, there is the obvious uncertainty of what to click on and where everything that you are familiar with is now located. For most people, as I have learned over the years of helping train how to use the computer and repair it when it is not functioning correctly, they don’t like change, and since you would be required to re-train yourself on this new operating system you will have to ask yourself if you really want to go through that since you are probably just getting good at what you currently are using!

Sure there are those that can’t wait for something new, and want to give it a whirl but a lot of these people are also the first to complain when they start having issues of not being able to use the system the way they “thought they would be able to use it” (from what they have read about this new operating system being ‘even easier to use’). Of course marketing is everything when dealing with an entirely new O/S.

The first major problem I see for those thinking of upgrading their existing systems to the new Windows Vista is the memory configuration requirements. Even though Vista “may” function with only 512mb of memory, they recommend you have “at least” 1gb of memory installed and to truly be satisfied with the performance, you should have double that (2gb) installed! Better still, you will configure the flash drive/swap file system which will enhance substantially, the overall operating system performance by utilizing the flash drive drive you plug in to one of the available usb 2.0 ports on your system which then uses this for random access memory utilization.

The next issue is the choice of 32 or 64 bit operating systems. Of course Microsoft is not providing anything new here as the 64bit Windows XP O/S has been out for years, however they never truly got it off the ground since many manufacturers still refuse to build 64 bit drivers for devices and as a result, the 64bit “business edition” of XP never truly took off. So why would you consider looking to Vista’s 64bit system if you are going to have troubles finding drivers? I guess this too will work itself out over time, hopefully a lot quicker then the 64bit XP driver availabilities.

So when should you be considering this major upgrade? Probably when you are ready for a new computer! Seriously, I really see no need in moving to this operating system since there are already issues with security problems (more so with the Internet Explorer version 7 but that comes standard on Vista of course), and don’t get me started on IE7 or Internet Explorer in general since I believe you are best to never open this program! It is definitely a different feeling from when they first introduced windows XP to the market since I was very keen on getting (people) moved to this new O/S comparing it to most that were still using Windows 98 at that time, it was by far a much superior, secure and stable operating system. Since windows 2000 had been out for some time, but this was a business operating system and a lot of people had not moved to it and of course there was the Windows ME version which most hated, it was a no-brainer to move to the new “XP”, but this is definitely not the feeling I have with Vista!

Of course this is only my first report and there will be many more as time moves on.