Saturday, January 30, 2010

More thoughts on crapware

I just spent a pleasant evening watching an old Miss Marple movie while removing all of the crapware from one of our test Netbook computers. I'm sure it makes economic sense for the vendors to load expensive time-bomb versions of MSFT and Novell products on computers but it drives me crazy! Think about it, someone buys a $3-400 Netbook because they want light and simple. Why on earth would they want to load it up with the latest bloated incarnation of the ultimate fatware - MSFT Office?!?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad comparison

I found this on Tom's Hardware. How accurate!!

More free (almost) software

I received this offer from Steve Bass this week and thought everyone should know about it: WinPatrol Plus for Under a Buck One of my favorite security programs can be had for under a buck. Yep, the current version of WinPatrol, normally $30, will cost you a mere 99 cents. This is a one-day only experiment starting at midnight EST on Jan 29th and will last 24 hours. It will be available at The 99 cent license will be good for life. The FAQ and other details are on WinPatrol author Bill Pytlovany's blog. Ladies and gents, this is not a scam -- and a deal you ought not to pass up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The iPAD

The big news today has to be the new Apple iPAD. It's a 1.5 pound device with a 9.7" color touch-screen. It sort of looks like a much bigger iPhone to me. I have to give Steve Jobs and Apple credit... they know how to MARKET!! They were once the equal of MSFT when it comes to building anticipation and getting the masses drooling for their new products. Apple has now surpassed MSFT as a marketing machine in every way imaginable. Apple’s marketing has created a unique environment where their new hardware is better than the competition and the buyers are willing to pay the price for the product. Apple products cost more because people are willing to pay for the perceived value they think they are receiving. We’re waiting to see just how good the Apple iPAD is. Will it create a whole new category of Super eBook Readers? Thin, light, color computers that can do things that Netbooks and notebooks can’t do. Time will tell. As for me, I’m not investing money AGAINST Apple.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Pentax cameras

I'm finally permitted to tell everyone about some of the new cameras I saw behind closed doors at CES 2010. Pentax has announced three new models: the Optio E90, Optio I-10 and the Optio H90. All of them have design features to have them stand out from the crowd and appeal to a certain demographic. Here’s information on them from Pentax: Most unique is the slim and stylish PENTAX Optio I-10 with a design inspired by the classic look of film SLR cameras. This head-turning first model in the new Optio I line features a flash unit and speaker in the upper mid-section of the SLR-shaped body while the camera’s front panel is embellished with high quality leatherette texture and the classic PENTAX logo placed front and center. The Optio I-10 features a wide angle, 5X optical zoom lens (28mm-140mm equivalent), a 12.1 megapixel high resolution CCD sensor, a 2.7 inch widescreen LCD, and HD video capture at 720p and 30 FPS. For optimal image capture, the camera features a mechanical sensor shift Shake Reduction system and improved Pixel Track Shake Reduction technology for blur-free images as well as Smile Capture, Blink Detection and improved Face Detection that spots up to 32 faces including dogs and cats. The Optio I-10 is remote control compatible (sold separately) and will ship in February 2010 in a choice of Classic Black and Pearl White for $299.95 USD.

PENTAX also announced the Optio H90 digital camera with a clean, contemporary design that is as in style in a museum of modern art as at a concert or sporting event. Developed with the concept of “functional beauty” in mind, the fashionable and affordable Optio H90 offers a full assortment of features to capture a variety of subjects and scenes. This first model in the new Optio H line features a wide angle 5X optical zoom lens (28mm-140mm equivalent), a 12.1 megapixel high resolution CCD sensor, and widescreen HD video capture at 720p and 30 FPS. Improved Pixel Track Shake Reduction technology captures blur-free images and the Face Detection, Smile Capture, and Blink Detection functions help users create better portraits. The Optio H90 will ship in February 2010 in a choice of Orange-Silver, Matte Black and Ceramic White for $179.95. Both the PENTAX Optio I-10 and Optio H90 offer Eye-Fi connectivity capability for use with Eye-Fi wireless memory cards. The latest model in the easy-to-operate, affordable Optio E series is the PENTAX Optio E90. Priced at just $99.95 USD, the Optio E90 features a 10 megapixel CCD, a 3X wide angle zoom (32mm-96mm equivalent) and a large 2.7 inch LCD housed in a luxurious rubber coated body for a sure grip. Take advantage of the Optio E90’s travel-friendly design with AA battery compatibility. Auto Picture mode selects the best shooting settings for the scene, and a high 6400 ISO that freezes subject movement in Digital SR (Shake Reduction) mode. The Optio E90 features an intelligent ergonomic design with a sure grip and an easy menu that makes the E series a popular choice. Available in Black and Wine Red, the Optio E90 will ship in February 2010.

Complete information including individual product fact sheets is available here:

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Kingston SSD

This information came across the newswire today: Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the release of the second-generation SSDNow V+ solid-state drive. The SSDNow V+ solid-state drive has Windows(R) 7 TRIM. The addition of TRIM support helps keep the SSDNow V+ maintain optimal write speed throughout its lifespan. Using PCMark(R) Vantage 1.0.1 for Windows 7, the 512GB SSDNow V+ drive received a score of 28,264, whereas a 7200RPM hard-disk drive reached 3,294**. PCMark Vantage 1.0.1 for Windows 7 runs a series of tests such as operating system startup, importing photos, adding music to Windows Media Center and application loading. The score is an indicator of how many bytes are moved per second. The SSDNow V+ is the latest addition to Kingston's SSDNow family of solid-state drives. It is available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. As part of Kingston's goal to provide an easy upgrade path, the drive is also available with a bundle that includes cloning software, 2.5" USB enclosure, 2.5" to 3.5" mounting brackets and SATA data and power cables. The Kingston SSDNow V+ solid-state drive is backed by a three-year warranty, 24/7 tech support and legendary Kingston reliability. For more information visit

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Free Software

I'm just passing along this offer; I haven't tried the software and encourage you to use your favorite program to back up your system (and check the validity of the backup) before using. [Thanks to my friend Steve Bass for the lead.] The offer is for a limited time and ends on 1st Feb, 2010. Giveaway - EASEUS Partition Master Professional 4.1.1 Enjoy Free Partition Management Software Now! EASEUS Partition Master Professional is comprehensive hard disk partition management tool and system partition optimization software; it can let you enjoy all the powerful basic and advanced partition functions for Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 32/64 bit users. Overview * Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit compatible. * Extend system partition to maximize computer performance. * Resize/move/ delete/format/ create partition and lots of useful features. * Backup all data or copy entire hard disk to another without Windows reinstallation. * Operate directly on the disk map with the drag-and-drop and preview the changes. * Create bootable CD/DVD in case of system boot failure. * More detailed feature ************ ********* ********* ********* ** Q: Why do you give away this program? A: EASEUS Partition Master Professional is an excellent partition management software to resize/move/ delete/format/ create partition. However, we still need your advices to improve it in next upgrade. And this giveaway is to collect feedback or suggestions from users. Please send your feedback to feedback@easeus. com. We are very grateful for your comments and feedback. Q: Will I have to pay to continue to use this "Giveaway" version after it is expired? A: No, you don't need to pay any fee. We're giving away the full version of EASEUS Partition Master Professional 100% free for a limited time but the software can be used without limitations for as long as you wish. Q: Will I be able to upgrade this version to a newer version for free? A: You need to pay for the newer version. However, the discounts are available when you make the purchase. Please contact sales@easeus. com for upgrade.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Free TaxACT

We received this information and thought we should pass it on to our followers: For the fourth consecutive year, 2nd Story Software®, the makers of TaxACT, is offering all taxpayers completely free federal tax preparation and e-filing. Although TaxACT participates in the Internal Revenue Service's Free File program, TaxACT offers its Free Federal Edition to all taxpayers - regardless of age, income, state of residence, military status or complexity of return. TaxACT was the first to offer free federal tax software and free e-filing to all American taxpayers in the 2005 tax season. TaxACT Free Federal Edition has several new features for 2009, including Stock Assistant to make entering and reviewing investment information faster and easier, and data import from PDF copies of 2008 federal returns prepared by several software solutions*. As in years past, TaxACT Free Edition comes with unlimited e-mail and Web help, audit assistance, Maximum Refund Pledge and guaranteed accuracy. With free e-file and direct deposit, TaxACT users can have their refunds in as few as eight days. The option to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds with their refund is also available this year. TaxACT Free Federal Edition users can choose between online or downloadable versions. With both versions, it's free to prepare, print and e-file a federal tax return. TaxACT State integrates completely with Free Edition to guarantee that the data from federal forms transfers smoothly to a state return, reducing time and room for error. TaxACT Online State is available for as low as $14.95 with a free e-file.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ubuntu and wireless

Part of my normal Netbook testing has always involved using a Linux USB drive to boot with to see how the Netbook handles Linux. I've been using Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix on a 4GB drive until recently. I'm now using Ubuntu and Kubuntu 9.10 Remix versions on different 2GB drives. The one area I've encountered some problems with is wireless networking. The problem is usually driver based because every maker seems to use different hardare. Here's a list of the ones I've tested so far: Gateway LT2030u - Atheros ARSB95 Dell Latitude 2100 - Dell Wireless 1397 Lenovo IdeaPad S12 - Broadcom 802.11g ASUS Eee PC 900 - Atheros ARS5007EG With Ubuntu 9.04 both the Dell and ASUS wireless networking adapters were recognized immediately and connected with no problems. The Lenovo and Gateway netbooks were never able to connect despite my best efforts. With Ubuntu 9.10 everything has changed. I was able to get all of the correct drivers loaded with no problems and all four netbooks have excellent wireless connectivity. If you've read my posts on Win7 Starter Edition you'll understand why I'm leaving the USB drive connected to the Gateway for now, it's a much better fit to a great little netbook. I'll be publishing a full review in the next issue of the newsletter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

February newsletter

We've finished up our February newsletter issue and it will be distributed tomorrow morning. All of our subscribers should look for it in their email. The issue contains extensive coverage of the CES 2010 show in Vegas. There will also be pieces on Lunch@Piero's and the Storage Visions show. Naturally our regular columnists will be there: Sights and Sounds of Multimedia, Technology Today and The Deals Guy. If you're not a subscriber and would like to become one just email me and you'll be added to our subscriber list.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Lexmark SmartSolution

We just found out about a new product for those people lucky enough to have a Lexmark printer equipped with their wonderful SmartSolutions. The new SmartSolution comes from and allows users to conveniently print shipping labels and pay for its postage directly from their Lexmark Web-connected touch screen printer. After the initial one-time set up online, there is no need to use a computer to print out shipping labels. users enter an address or choose from previous shipment addresses. Once details are confirmed, simply hit print and your label is ready to ship. If you don't have a account you can get a free 4-week trial plus a $100 value from You can sign up at

Sunday, January 17, 2010


An open letter to system builders (especially netbook builders), Stop loading all of the crapware on your systems!! I'm sure you feel there is a compelling financial reason for loading time-bomb and crippled software on your systems but you're driving me crazy! It takes too much time to remove it all, especially since I didn't want it in the first place. The worst offense is MSFT Works with commercials! Netbooks only have 10 inch screens to start with and 1/4 of the screen area is being wasted by a stinking commercial! Gimme a break!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Win7 Starter

Some thoughts on MSFT Windows 7 Starter. I'm in the midst of reviewing a Gateway netbook computer that came pre-loaded with Win7 Starter Edition and I can't believe MSFT actually crippled the software this badly!! Netbooks all support multiple monitors (I know I use two of them on every netbook I test) unless they use Win7 Starter. That feature is turned off in Starter. As is the ability to change desktop backgrounds, colors, etc. The only thing you can change is resolution! WHY???? I've used netbooks with Linux and WinXP and have never had any unexpected performance problems. I'm not buying the argument netbooks are underpowered, I believe the problem is with MSFT, not netbook hardware! Here's a quick recommendation: do NOT buy a netbook with Win7 Starter! You'll regret it from day 1.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Going live

We're going live with this blog today. Please let your friends and co-workers know about it and check in often. We'll be posting to it often with information you'll want to know.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


To KKM at S&S PR. Thanks for the encouragement, I'll get this going soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

During CES 2010 in Vegas we discussed starting a blog for our newsletter. This is our first post.