Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How did I miss this?

This week I was working with one of our writers on a review of financial software. When we installed MSFT Money Plus we saw an interesting disclaimer saying Money was being discontinued. We checked out the MSFT web site and confirmed it. MSFT announced in mid-2008 that as of June 30, 2009 Money sales would end. If you have a version that requires activation then it must be installed prior to January 31, 2011. All online bank reconciliation support will also end on that date.

How times change. I remember when Quicken was the object of MSFT lust and envy. The acquisition MSFT tried was halted by the courts as anti-competitive and now MSFT is telling people to buy Quicken. Clearly there isn't enough profit in Money to keep it alive. What's next MSFT?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lexmark TV ad

Last night I saw the great Lexmark TV ad for their excellent low priced black ink cartridges. The ad shows the dreaded Inkasaurus and how to outsmart the ink monsters!! The ad is very well done and really gets your attention.

The Lexmark Pro series of inkjet All-In-Ones all use the same $4.99 black cartridges that are rated as being good for 500 pages. We've tested the printers and can verify the effectiveness of the cartridges.

By the way, all of the Pro series printers are available on the Lexmark web site at excellent prices.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Netbooks and desktops

We've been doing a lot of netbook reviews lately (with more to come in the next few months!!) and have commented that desktops are dead. In our next issue we'll be running the third article on our build a desktop series and it confirms what I've said all along. Desktops are only needed by gamers who needed lots of horsepower and lots of cooling power for their over-clocked systems.

Personally, MahJhong is as wild as I get at playing games!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We're in the process of doing our first eBook reviews and we're having conflicts on how to run the reviews. Should we run the reviews online on our blog only, in our newsletter only or both? Email or post your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Corel WordPerfect Office X5

Corel announced the latest version of WordPerfect Office today. I have been a fan of WordPerfect since the days of their DOS versions and remember using a dual 720k floppy disk laptop with it.  Those were the wonderful days of Reveal Codes, a tool that gave me mythical status in our office because I understood how to use it.

Check out the press release below.

Corel® WordPerfect® Office X5 Provides New Online Collaboration Tools, Unrivaled PDF Support and Legendary Formatting Features for Today's Office Professionals

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, March 22, 2010


Tomorrow is Tuesday March 23rd and TCM will be running 24 hours of Kurosawa movies!! I don't know about you but I'll be watching every one of them!! And TiVo-ing the few that I don't already have.

It will be a wonderful 100th birthday celebration for one of the two greatest directors of all time (John Ford is the other, BTW).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

April newsletter

The April issue of our newsletter has been sent out. If any subscriber hasn't received it yet, please email us.

If any blog follower wants to start receiving the newsletter, just let us know.

Friday, March 19, 2010

iPad stuff

Well today's the day that all of the brave bleeding edge Apple nuts will start pre-ordering their iPads. What exactly will they be ordering you ask? Whatever Apple is going to sell them. What will the capabilities and limitations on the new iPads be? Who knows? Certainly not the people plunking down over $500 to be the first one on the block have an iPad. I certainly won't be among the throng.

The true believers in Apple Land feel the iPad will change the world and eBook readers will disappear because the iPad will conquer all. Personally I feel they're totally wrong. eBook readers will continue to evolve and get better and better. I'm looking forward to a netbook sized tablet that runs rings around an iPad for far less money.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A real demise

In my life I've been a computer user group member many times. I've founded groups and enjoyed the incredible benefits of being a part of the user group community. I have many life long friends that I will hold dear to my heart forever. Without user groups I never would have met and exchanged ideas with Bill Gates, Dennis Hayes, and many other CEOs. I feel blessed to have been a part of that era, the growth of the industry.

I posted a note on Facebook tonight asking if user groups still exist. I am only involved with a small group now, my days as a President and founder of groups is behind me. Why? They are no longer needed.

Computers have become TV sets and refrigerators. They are appliances that don't need minute-by-minute support. It's what we have all hoped the industry would become.

We won the war, now it's time to rest on our laurels. Computer users today no longer need user groups.

Netbook demise?

Two major research organizations, IDC and Gartner, have looked into their crystal balls and are predicting the demise of netbook computers in the not too distant future. They are predicting a steep falloff in sales after 2010 for several reasons. They see the price and size of more powerful notebooks cutting into netbook sales and slowing growth dramatically.

I disagree completely. Netbooks aren't being bought as notebook replacements, they're being bought as additional computers. Netbooks are ideal traveling companions and email machines. They will always be smaller, lighter and cheaper because they are simpler to build and use.

If computer makers made a full sized notebook that was as inexpensive as a netbook it would still be too large to travel with on an airplane or carry with you all day long. The expert prognosticators are missing the point completely. I see a rosy future for netbooks for many years to come.

Friday, March 5, 2010

VIA ART-3000

This week VIA Technologies announced the new VIA ART-3000 ULTRA-compact computer. I have always loved the powerful little VIA small form factor systems and this one sounds even better that the ones we've reviewed in the past. Here's the announcement:

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the VIA ART-3000, a complete, fanless and ruggedized embedded box system based on the unique I/O-rich Em-ITX form factor, offering the ideal solution for a variety of industrial applications.

Available as a complete system including drives and memory, the fanless VIA ART-3000 combines a number of unique features including diskless booting, excellent vibration and shock resistance, dual Gigabit networking and dual LVDS video support. Ruthlessly low power consumption means the VIA ART-3000 can also support fanless configurations with no moving parts making it ideal for ultra stable, mission critical implementations.

"The VIA ART series really underlines our strength in offering system level products that exceed expectations," said Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Customers can now take advantage of a complete fanless, ruggedized system that offers incredible flexibility, a wide feature set, and excellent stability straight out of the box."

VIA ART-3000 - A Wealth of Features
The VIA ART-3000 is built around the VIA EITX-3000 board, the first board based on the Em-ITX form factor standard. The VIA EITX-3000 is powered by a 1.3GHz VIA Nano processor and the VIA VX800 media system processor, supporting up to 2GB of DDR2 system memory, integrated VIA Chrome 9 graphics core and the VIA Chromotion video engine for hardware acceleration for the latest HD video codecs.

The VIA ART-3000 supports up to three displays and two independent video content streams, across dual LVDS and VGA ports. Networking is through dual Gigabit ports, with an array COM and USB ports providing a wealth of device and peripheral connectivity. The VIA ART-3000 supports wall, table, reverse and VESA mounting options and can withstand temperatures of -20oC - 60oC, vibrations of up to 5Gs and shock resistance up to 20Gs in compact flash storage configurations.

VIA ART series products are available to customers as a complete fanless and ruggedized system, bringing extreme stability and longevity to a range of applications. For more information about the VIA ART-3000, please visit:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

COMDEX lives again!!

There was a press release on PRNewsWire today announcing the NEW COMDEX. Here's an exerpt:

Everything Channel, a UBM company and the leader in technology sales channel media and services, today announced the re-launch of COMDEX as a virtual event. The virtual COMDEX is the only show designed exclusively for the global technology sales channel where they can come to see product and technology they can bring to market. Everything Channel is returning COMDEX to its original vision as Computer Dealer Expo, an event designed exclusively for the technology sales channel, a community that drives $424 billion or two-thirds of technology sales in North America. (Source: Dataquest) The virtual COMDEX will be built on a cutting-edge, globally-enabled virtual event technology platform which will feature the city of Las Vegas and its neon lights - but no cross town traffic, no unruly crowds and no taxi cab lines.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

(Photo: )

The virtual event, scheduled to take place November 16-17, 2010, will offer a unique and progressive platform for technology vendors to connect with new business, new revenue streams and monetize new opportunities. It will also provide a forum for the sellers of technology to visit with technology vendors to view new products and technology roadmaps.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Western Digital Solid State Drives for Notebooks and Desktop PCs

This announcement came across the newswires today. Follow the link for all of the information on their new SSD drives.

WD(R) Introduces Fast and Rugged Solid State Drives for Notebooks and Desktop PCs

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wish for Our Heroes

I received this from a freind and felt it should be passed on:

We really need your help!! Wish For Our Heroes has a chance to receive a $50,000 grant from Pepsi, and we NEED YOUR VOTES! You can vote daily, but make sure you hit "Submit Your Vote". If you've done it correctly, you'll see you have 9 more votes for the day (not 10). Please pass this to anyone you's a great cause and will help a lot of soldiers if we receive this. Thank you!
Vote for the most refreshing ideas to win Pepsi Refresh Project grants for Neighborhoods

Monday, March 1, 2010

March madness

Every year we encounter a phenomenon that recurs every March. We are briefed on exciting new products at the winter trade shows that look fabulous and can't lose  Of course we were looking at mock-ups or prototypes that still had major engineering problems that had to be solved. The usual response we get when we ask for availability is Q2, or Q3 or occasionally, next year!

The March phenomenon is the number of vendors who give us availability dates of 4-6 weeks in the first week of January. Every year we get a half dozen of them and by March they realize they are still many months away from production. We've already received several emails from PR contacts informing us that the product we were expecting to review is still months away fro being available, It's what we've come to expect.

When you've edited a newsletter for as long as I have you learn to be very flexible and light on your feet. Not physically of course, but mentally!!