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.