Archive for December 2011

Thank You to My Clients and Readers

I would like to take a minute to thank all of my clients and readers who come to this page to keep up on technology news and tips to (hopefully) make your digital life a little easier and safer.  Without you I’d be working in a grey cubicle from 8-5 for a company that in spite of the usual corporate benefits, would not be nearly as rewarding and certainly wouldn’t help you a bit.  Instead – I get to come into your home (either in real life or through this blog) and help make your computing life a little bit better and over time even save you money.

I love my job and am thankful for the opportunity you’ve given me to help yourselves and others not only enjoy their digital tools, but to help keep you safe using them as well.

Have a very happy new year and it’s my prayer 2012 will be an even better year than 2011.

Laurie Scott

Verizon Wireless Backs Down From $2 Fee

imageIf you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, you may not know that yesterday they announced that starting next month they would institute a $2 fee for customers who used their “one-time payment” feature online.  The goal was to get customers to sign up for auto-pay using a credit or debit card.  Well, word got out and enough people loudly complained that Verizon has already backed down and won’t be doing it.

If you want to read more about it, here a link to the Reuters article: http://goo.gl/vkeiA

Bad News for Doughnut Lovers

imageIf you love Krispy Kreme doughnuts, especially when they are freshly made and the “Hot Now” light is on in the windows, then I have very bad news for you – it will now be even harder to keep your sugar intake down because they have apps for iOS, Android and your computer that will tell you when the Krispy Kreme near you has freshly made and still warm donuts.  Just what you need following a month of holiday meals and desserts.  If you hurry and get it now, you’ll have time to make a New Year’s resolution to REMOVE it from your phone.  iOS and Android users can go to their respective app stores, for the desktop app go to KrispyKreme.com

Monopoly on Android is FREE Today at Amazon

imageIf you have an Android phone or tablet, the Amazon App Store has Monopoly free today (normally $5.00.)  You’ll need the Amazon App Store on your device, so go here first to get it http://goo.gl/qmYIc, then download Monopoly.  Be sure to check the Amazon App Store because every day they have a free app.

DEAL: If You Have a REALLY Big Stocking – Here’s a Monitor to Stuff in It

imageNewegg has an Acer 23” monitor on sale for only $120.  This is a nice LED backlit, full 1920×1080 HD resolution monitor.  It has a standard VGA connector (blue) and 2 HDMI inputs.  It doesn’t have the digital DVI input (a white connector), but if by chance that’s all you have on your computer (just look and see what color the connector is) then you can always get a $5 cable or adapter to connect to a HDMI port, but for most of you that won’t be necessary.  Here’s the link to Newegg’s site:

http://goo.gl/h7vvM

Here’s how to get it in time for Christmas – sign up with Shoprunner for their free 30 day trial, with Shoprunner you get free 2-day shipping with many companies, including Newegg.  Now with your free 30 day trial, go back to Newegg and have it shipped using Shoprunner.  If you order it today (Tuesday), it will ship on Wednesday and will arrive on Friday.  That gives you just enough time to get a stocking suitable for Bigfoot (well, I guess you COULD wrap it and put it under the tree instead.)

Here’s where to sign up for Shoprunner: http://goo.gl/Hu43m

Internet Explorer to Get Auto-Updates in 2012

imageFollowing in the footsteps of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft is going to automatically update users to the most recent version of Internet Explorer starting in January.  The more recent versions of Internet Explorer is 8 for Windows XP users and 9 for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users. 

Up to this point, the latest versions were not “forced” upon users, but in an effort to keep its users on the most current (and theoretically most secure) version they are changing that.

Users of Windows XP will get upgraded to Internet Explorer 8 if they are not already using it, users of Vista and 7 will get upgraded to IE9 (Internet Explorer 9 isn’t compatible with XP.)

If you’re still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7 what you will notice is a streamlining of the top menu bars – leaving more room for the actual web page but your “links” toolbar and even the familiar menu bar with “File – Edit – View” etc. might disappear and you’ll need to do a little work to bring them back.  I’ll write a post here before the end of the year with step-by-step instructions on how get your familiar look back (if you want it of course.)

Are Your Updates Installed (did you know they were even delivered?)

imageYesterday was the 2nd Tuesday of the month – so Microsoft pushed their updates for Windows out to you.  If you don’t know, you might see an icon in your task tray just waiting for you to click on it – but to be sure you can click on your start button, click on “Programs” and up toward the top you should see “Windows Update”.  Click on it and see if there are any updates you need to install on your computer.  If you leave your computer on 24/7 and auto-update is turned on then your computer is probably already up to date.  But if your computer is off then you may not have yet received the updates – so go check and if you need them don’t wait!  Download and install them.

imageIn addition to Microsoft’s updates, Adobe has recently updated it’s Flash player and Oracle has updated Java, so be on the lookout for those icons as well.

Can You Spot the Fake? You Better!

imageThe folks at OpenDNS put together a great little quiz to see if you can tell if 14 web pages are fakes or the real thing.  It’s simple – just look at the page and click either Phish (for fake) or Real.  You need to know how to spot phishing sites because they want login information to your email, social networking and financial web sites.  I get a gold star for getting 14 out of 14 right the very first time.  Take the test and let me know how you did: http://goo.gl/0lUmT

DEAL: Wireless B/W Laser Printer for $50!

imageIf you print mostly black and white pages – as in documents, email, etc. or you have kids who think printer ink grows on trees, then take advantage of this deal at Office Depot.  They have the Samsung ML-1865W on sale for LESS than half price at only $49.99.  Laser printing is cheaper than ink-jet printers.  Keep your ink-jet printer for color jobs, but use the laser printer for reports, email or just general purpose printing that doesn’t require color.  This is a wireless printer, so of course you can plug it in via USB, but even better you can connect it to your wireless router and then you can put it anywhere you have an electrical outlet and then all the computers on your home network can print to this.  If you order it online – you need to spend a penny more to get free shipping, so buy something like a pencil, or here’s an eraser for $.79 http://goo.gl/8lQrF

Go here first for the printer, then get the eraser or something else so you get free shipping: http://goo.gl/AvKQJ

DEAL: Lenovo Laptop for $299 Direct from Microsoft

imageThough Microsoft doesn’t build computers, they do SELL them, and this is a deal when you consider “Microsoft Signature” is included, in which junkware and trialware that you might normally find on a new computer has been already removed and the system is optimized to run at peak performance.  In addition you get a full 90 days of Microsoft support

This is a great first-time laptop or maybe for your kids in school.  It will be good for doing email, surfing the web and watching videos.  It has a 15.6” high-definition display, dual-core Intel processor, large 500GB hard drive, webcam, 4GB of memory, media-card reader, DVD burner and Windows 7.  Here’s the link to Microsoft’s page with the deal: http://goo.gl/7g93p

ATT Wireless Ranks LAST in Customer Satisfaction

imageIn 2010, Consumer Reports reported AT&T Wireless last in customer satisfaction among not only the four major carriers (ATT, Verizon, Spring and T-Mobile) but with very small regional carriers as well.  Carriers like U.S. Cellular and Credo beat out AT&T as well.  Wired.com has an article with all the details.  Check it out here: http://goo.gl/FGS0Z

Deal: Canon Multi-function Printer for $29!

imageThat’s right kids, I said $29.  Walmart has the Canon Pixma MP280 for only $29.  And the deal gets even better!  When you order it online, you get an extra black and an extra color cartridge, a USB cable AND a 4GB USB flash drive to use any way you wish.  If you don’t know what you would do with a USB flash drive – use it as a Christmas gift.

Here’s how to make it an ever BETTER deal.  The price alone is less than the price of replacement ink (around $40), so buy 10 of them.  For $290 that’s the price of a single high-end ink-jet printer, but now you’ve got the original ink AND and extra ink that came with each one.  Just stack the boxes in the closet.  When you run out of ink – open another box and grab the ink.  You can now donate a brand new printer minus the ink to Goodwill or your favorite charity and take the tax-deduction.  The ink costs you less than half-price AND you get the write off – what’s not to love about that!

Keep in mind this isn’t a top of the line printer – but if you just have basic printing needs along with copying and scanning then this will get the job done at a great price.  Here’s the link to Walmart’s page: http://goo.gl/r1oGe

Update 12/11 – It seems any reference to extra ink is gone – not sure I would count on getting extra ink with this deal.

Get Your Gmail Organized

imageFilters can be a useful thing when it comes to keeping your email organized.  MakeUseOf has a handy article on creating filters in Gmail, sorting your mail into convenient categories making it easier to read now or find later.  Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/6UJJT

Buying an iPad 2 for Christmas? Hold On–You Just Might Want the Asus Transformer Prime

imageFor starters, you have to admit (whether you know it or not) there CURRENTLY are a lot more apps available for the iPad than for Android-based tablets.  That being said, Android is quickly catching up (after all, how may flashlight apps do you need?)  Asus has announced that their Transformer Prime tablet will be available on December 19, just in time to get it before Christmas.

Why would you want one you ask?  Well for starters, it will be the first quad-core tablet on the market (that means it will have four processors handling the tasks currently handled usually by one processor.)  The Transformer series by Asus also has a keyboard that you can dock with making it much more like a netbook AND as a bonus has an additional battery giving you even more time to use your Transformer without having to plug in.

Engadget did a thorough review of the Transformer Primer – check it out here:  http://goo.gl/wiPmw

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