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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Carbonite really stinks

"In the aftermath of disclosures that Belkin employees for good reviews on Amazon, David Pogue reports in the NYTimes that Carbonite has gone one better with 5-star reviews of its online backup services written by its own employees. Pogue recounts how Bruce Goldensteinberg signed up for the backup service, and all went well until his computer crashed and he was unable to restore it from the online backup while Carbonite customer support kept him on hold for over an hour. Frustrated, Goldensteinberg started reading Carbonite reviews on Amazon and a few of them seemed suspicious. 'They were created around the same date — October 31, 2006 — all given 5 stars, and the reviewers all came from around the Boston, MA area, where Carbonite is located,' including a review by Swami Kumaresan that read... --
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Has Your Surgeon Wii-d yet?

Don't let a smart kid hear about this.  I can see hear it now: "But Mom, to become a surgeon I just HAVE to play this video game." That's right, apparently, some surgeons are starting their training on Wii's to establish dexterity, etc. According to a very small and very preliminary study, playing certain video games on the Nintendo game console, helps surgical residents to hone their fine motor skills and improve their performance on a serious surgery simulator.  It's being used as a warm up to the more complicated virtual surgery equipment. Currently, the more sophisticated simulator is the sort of thing that’s used right now to help doctors do a better job on keyhole surgery using tiny instruments outfitted with video cameras (i.e. gallbladder surgery, laproscopy, etc).  Also, the improvements in simulator performance didn’t come... --
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Dell Gives a Preview of It’s Slim Notebook

Have you seen the Mac that fits in the envelope? Or the slick way more and more screens look like plasma t.v.'s?  Well, Dell gave a preview to the people at Engadget.com of their super-hot Adamo.  Like the Inspiron label, the Adamo will be the first in a series.  Although they didn't get to turn it on or explore "under the hood", apparently it did wow them. It's really small, less than an inch thick and the 13-inch screen rumor seems accurate.  Based on first glance, it seems to be built very well, yet a complete smudge magnet.  You can see the finger prints quickly spreading over a super-glossy display and a shiny black panel like the Studio XPS series on the lid.  As for expansion opportunities... they noticed three USB ports and an eSATA jack. The power adapter is crazy small,... --
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Money Saving Notebook Tips

4)    Defragment the memory Well, it's a notebook tips kind of day.  Previously, I wrote about getting a longer life and better performance from your notebook.  Now, it seems that a few money saving tips would be nice, too.  So, please consider these recommendations:
  • Screensavers are not money savers: Some research reveals that over 50 percent of computer users never turn off their PC. Maybe they turn it off only before they call it a day.  Many simply assume that having the screensaver on conserves energy. They couldn’t be more mistaken - the screensaver consumes almost as much energy as a fully functioning PC and to make matters worse, actually keeps your notebook from properly going to sleep. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program touts figures estimating that people can save anywhere $25 to $75 in energy costs a year by merely... --
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Refresh Your Notebook

In these tough economic times, replacing a notebook computer is not a desired expense.  Many people believe that when their "older" notebooks are slowing down, then that means it's time for a new one.  However, much of the slowing down can be limited.  The computer speed is the same as when you bought it, but the clutter of the figurative gears is getting in its way.  So, here are a few tips for refreshing your notebook (many of them are not new or original, but friendly reminders.).
  • Get Rid of The Junk:  Your hard drive accumulates many unnecessary files - old download files, internet cache, etc. Clean it up. Delete away! You can recover several gigabytes worth of hard drive space without spending time and money needlessly searching for a larger replacement drive.
  • Defrag, Baby!: As you create, delete, and download... --
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Have your books been Kindle-d?

This winter there is a new kind of Kindle that is hot. It's not the itty bitty sticks or Duraflame of the past, but an electronic book system.  In 2008, Amazon.com caused a stir when it announced its Kindle device for reading e-books.  Many were very critical of the development (and Sony's competing device), saying that nothing could replace the feel of flipping pages.  Yet sales sored as customers were drawn to the book's sleek look and ability to conveniently store hundreds of electronic titles and navigate through them without physically turning a page. Now Amazon.com has announced that the Kindle was its top selling gadget for 2008, beating out the likes of the Nintendo DS, PSP, and others.  Apparently, the hot new... --
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Humor Fun

Yes, we are in the computer support business. And, yes, you would think we do get the customers that we would just love to tell you humourous tales about.  But, of course, our customers are smarter than that.  So are we.  So I turn to a funny at the cost of Microsoft's tech support and let everyone appreciate how good we are at PC Fixer.   So, without further ado........... A Microsoft Joke...... There was a pilot flying a small single engine charter plane, with a couple of very important executives on board. He was coming into Seattle airport through thick fog with less than 10m visibility when his instruments went out. So he began circling around looking for landmark. After an hour or so, he starts running pretty low on fuel and the passengers are getting very... --
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Apple To (finally) Change Some iTunes Pricing

Does the expression "DRM- Free Pricing" mean anything to you?  Well, if it doesn't now, it may soon affect your pocketbook.  DRM, digital rights management, is the copy protection software that has greatly influenced the cost of downloading music.  According to two sources close to the negotiations, Apple has cut deals that will finally enable iTunes to offer songs free of  this software from the three largest music labels.  As the largest retailer of music today, that means something.  In exchange, Apple has agreed to become more flexible on pricing.  One source explained that under the terms of the deal, song prices will be broken down into three categories--older songs from the catalog, midline songs (newer songs that aren't big hits), and current hits.  The flat rate pricing that Apple has used for the last few years... --
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Can LittleBigPlanet Save PS3?

LittleBigPlanet is the latest customisable platform game to gain some attention.  It is designed especially for Sony's Play Station 3 and is their great hope for helping to sell the box.  With the immense popularity of the Wii and many others making BluRay capable players, Sony needs this to be a success.  So far, the reviews are pretty good. In summary, LittleBigPlanet is a "novel, imaginative, and highly customisable platform game" in which everything from your character to the environment is geared towards user creation and adaptation.  Each level of the story mode is an unforgettable trip through the wild imagination of the designers.  It has cute characters that are not based on blood, guts, bullets & fear.  Hence, more ages can play so the customer base is larger.  This should help Sony. In summary, the titular Little... --
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Music Download Sales for 2008 Up from 2007

Gee... what a shocker!  With more tech gadgets allowing for music to be played with greater quality and availability, this should not be news.  But it is reassuring.  According to industry tracker Nielsen, 2008,total music sales rose 10 percent to 1.51 billion units sold, up from 1.36 billion units the year before. These numbers include physical albums, digital albums and tracks, and music videos.  However, digital music was the largest contributer to the growth.  For instance,legal music downloads (i.e. those from sites such as iTunes and AmazonMP3), were up 29 percent from the same period a year earlier. It is also very noteworthy to recognize the Recording Industry Association of America in December said that it would dramatically slow down it's practice/bad habits of suing people that it suspected of illegal sharing of copyrighted music. With less legal fees haunting... --
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