Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunch @ Piero's

I received this today and recommend "liking" them today!!
Win a WikiReader handheld electronic touchscreen encyclopedia holding the more than 3 million Wikipedia articles. Just in time for holiday gifts, travel, entertainment and pulling up quick answers anytime anywhere, all without needing an Internet connection. Just "like" us here first and then visit our blog to tell us in 25 words or less what you would look up on the WikiReader:

O'Reilly deal

We received this announcement today:
In celebration of Cyber Monday, we've extended our Deal of the Day to our entire catalog of ebooks and videos. 

Lifetime access. Free updates. Download in multiple DRM-free formats: PDF, .epub, Kindle-compatible .mobi, and Android .apk. Learn more.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Apps Vortex

Help me!! I'm being sucked into the Apps Vortex! For the past few days I've been testing the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Tab and I can't stop downloading apps! The Galaxy Tab has a beautiful 7" color screen and it makes every app look wonderful.  I've used a lot of Android phones and never got sucked into the app market because of the small screens. The Galaxy Tab is a whole new ball game.

Look out iPad, you've met your match!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Novell acquired by Attachmate

I received this in my email today:

Dear Valued Novell Customer,

I am writing to let you know that today we announced that Novell has entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Attachmate Corporation would acquire Novell for $6.10 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $2.2 billion.

We believe this transaction is great news for our customers. Novell has a long history of innovation and market leadership, and this tradition will be preserved and built upon through this transaction. We place tremendous value on the relationships we’ve cultivated with our customers and I can assure you that providing you with the innovative products, solutions and support you’ve come to rely on remains a top priority. 

We can also assure you that the planned transaction with Attachmate Corporation does not alter our obligations to honor all contractual commitments. This includes maintenance and technical support for our products. We continue to execute aggressively on our product development efforts and are committed to providing exceptional service and being easy to do business with. 

Novell also announced the sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC. The sale of certain intellectual property assets will not impact customers. Customers will continue to be authorized to use Novell products under this intellectual property. 

Attachmate Corporation plans to retain both the Novell and SUSE brands and operate them as two separate business units, along with its other holdings, Attachmate and NetIQ. The transaction with Attachmate Corporation and the sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC are currently expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 review

Here's a review from our December issue:

The latest version of Ubuntu has been released by Canonical. It is called their Perfect 10 version and is the latest version of one of the most successful flavors of Linux. This article is focused on the Netbook Edition, our personal Netbook choice.

The 10.10 version is one of the periodic upgrades and not a long-term support version. Version 10.04 is a long-term version.

The biggest change is the Unity interface. The new interface is designed specifically for the smaller screen and for mobile use. We found Unity to be the most intuitive and powerful desktop we’ve ever used on a Netbook. It absolutely rocks!

As usual we used the Universal USB Installer to create USB flash drives with persistence for our tests. When you download the Netbook version you’ll find all of the links and instructions you’ll need to be able to create a flash drive.

We tested the system with five different Netbooks and had mixed results. Our ASUS Eee PC 900 would never recognize the flash drive at all. Other Netbooks booted from the same drive and the ASUS booted with other versions of the Netbook software. Neither of our Lenovo Netbooks, an S10-3 and an S12, would fully boot. Both hung up and never completed a boot-up.

Our Gateway LT2030u and Samsung N220 both booted perfectly and were a joy to use with the new desktop.

We contacted Ubuntu support and traded several emails trying to figure out what’s wrong. As of the time I’m writing this they still haven’t found a solution to the problems.

Recommendation: If, and it’s a big IF, your Netbook runs with 10.10 then download it and upgrade to the new version. However, if your Netbook isn’t compatible, then stick with version 10.04.

MSRP is, as always, $0. That is… free

Friday, November 19, 2010

December newsletter

Tomorrow morning we'll be sending out the December issue of our newsletter to all of our subscribers. Here are the contents of the issue:

News and Views - Chuck Hajdu's editorial

Technology Spotlight -  Toasted Leg Syndrome
Reviews of the Targus HD3 Chill Mat and ThermaPAK HeatShift sleeves

Sights and Sounds of MultiMedia -
Reviews of the Plustek OpticFilm 7400 and Que books on MSFT Excel

Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition

Holiday Gift Ideas for Road Warriors
Reviews of Verbatim Wireless Nano Mouse, Logitech M570 Trackball, Logitech Lapdesk N550 and Franklin Roadie AMP'D Speaker

Un-Mouse Reviews, Part 2 - Adesso Browser Cat II

Technology Today

Maintaining Important Data in Your Backups

The Deals Guy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TaxAct information

We received this from TaxAct today and thought our readers would like to know about it:
From scholarships and student loan interest, to qualified tuition program expenses, figuring out whether you can claim deductions or credits for college and educational costs can be difficult. TaxACT has released a free, easy-to-use, interactive tool that gives taxpayers straightforward information about college tax breaks.
TaxACT's College Tax Whiz breaks down 10 tax benefits for current and future college students, families and even graduates. Information includes amounts, acceptable expenses, types of education and other key qualifiers for 2010 returns in a question and answer format.
Additional tools for the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, worth up to $2,500 and $2,000 per student, are included in College Tax Whiz. The tools guide users through the detailed criteria to help them determine whether or not they qualify for these valuable credits.
College Tax Whiz accounts for two major educational tax breaks that expired for 2010. While the $1,800 Hope Credit is not included in the pending tax extenders bill, the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses, worth up to $4,000 in previous years, could be renewed for 2010 returns. If this deduction or any other major education tax breaks are added for 2010 returns, TaxACT will add the information to College Tax Whiz.
Available now, TaxACT 2010 Free Federal Edition guides you through all education credits and deductions. As you answer simple questions, TaxACT completes the forms and does the math. Results are backed by accuracy and maximum refund guarantees, and unlimited tax help via e-mail is free. Best of all, TaxACT Free Federal Edition allows everyone to prepare, print and e-file a simple or complex federal return free. Learn more about Free Federal Edition in our Preview press release.

The worst idea.... EVER

I just saw an ad on TV for a new AT&T phone with Dolby surround sound speakers! Give me a freakin' break!! It's bad enough that I have to listen to people talking on their cell phones when they're out in public, but now I'll have to endure them listening to their "tunes".

Most of what passes for music today is little more than rhythmic grunting and I abhor it. Please do me a favor people, if you must listen to music then use earphones!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


COMDEXvirtual hits a browser near you on Tuesday, November 16 and Wednesday, November 17. Register now if you haven’t already to hear keynotes from industry heavyweights such as Symantec's Enrique Salem, high-tech entrepreneur (and Dallas Mavericks owner) Mark Cuban and IT pundit Nicholas Carr, plus a slew of sessions on hot technology and business issues. Here’s a preview of some of the topics that will be discussed, fresh from the COMDEXvirtual blog.

Facebook "email"?

Zuck made an interesting announcement at a press conference today. He announced a new service on Facebook that will allow greater commiunication for Facebook members. Here's how Harry McCracken of  Techlan saw it:

For months, there have been rumors that Facebook was working on turning the inboxes of its 500 million-plus users into a full-blown e-mail service. Today, Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg formally unveiled the subject of the rumors--code-named "Titan" and officially named simply "Facebook Messages"--at an event in San Francisco. And he spent much of his time stressing that whatever this new thing is, it's not e-mail. (More on Why Facebook Deals is Bad News for Foursquare)

Instead, it's a massive update to Facebook's current messaging system, chat feature, text-messaging integration, and smartphone applications that mashes up all sorts of communications (including e-mail) into one unified stream. Zuckerberg and Facebook engineering honcho Andrew Bosworth mostly talked about the service rather than demoing it, but they said that it'll include features such as these:
  • Every Facebook user will get an e-mail address: If your Facebook profile is located at, your e-mail address will be
  • If you're logged into Facebook, incoming e-mail will show up in the service's chat service; reply to a message, and it'll be sent as an e-mail.
  • Similarly, the Facebook iPhone app will notify you of e-mail and let you receive and send messages. (An Android version will come along later.)
  • In a feature that sounds a little like Google's Priority Inbox, you can organize the people you receive messages from into important folks (friends and family), others who aren't so vital (your credit card company, say), and Junk. The goal is let you see stuff you really want to see immediately, allow you to check in on less urgent messages once a day, and ignore spam.
  • You can also choose to have messages from people not on your Facebook friends list bounced, period.
  • Like e-mail, Facebook messages will be able to include file attachments; a deal with Microsoft will let you edit documents using the Office Web Apps online suite.
  • The service will go beyond threaded-message interfaces such as Gmail's Conversations by letting you scroll back through all the communications you've had with a particular person via Facebook, all in one place. (You'll be able to opt out of this--or skip all the new features, period--but that presumably won't be enough to satisfy every privacy watchdog out there. In fact, I can hear them growling from here.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More thoughts on eBooks

I've been reading two eBooks recently and have come to a couple of conclusions. First is the obvious, ePub files are much smaller than PDF files. Second, I really prefer PDFs. Why, you ask? Simple, they look far more like print books than ePub files do.

I'm reading Myths of Innovation from O'Reilly press and I've found the PDF version to much more enjoyable to my eyes. Maybe my opinion will change after I've used them more but right now I'm a PDF guy.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I've been a slow convert to eBooks. I have many books on my shelves that are a gazillion years old and every one of them is still easily readable. Will any of today's eBooks be readable in 19 years? I kind of doubt it.

However, I received an email today that shifts my persprctive, not change it mind you, but shifts it slightly. I reviewed a book from O'Reilly a couple of months ago, the superb Cooking for Geeks, and really enjoyed it.

Today I received a link to their eBook site allowing me to update to the revised version at no cost. This is the one spot where eBooks rule, they can be updated MUCH easier than print books can.

For certain types of books eBooks make a lot of sense. But I still feel that any book that you really value and want to retain for generations then you must stick with print.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

RockMelt browser

We've discoverd a new browser from RockMelt. I haven't tried it yet but plan to download it today. Here's how they describe the product:

RockMelt does more than just navigate Web pages. It makes it easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search. And of course, RockMelt is fast, secure, and stable because it’s built on Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser. It’s your browser – re-imagined and built for how you use the Web.  

If you can stand a few kinks and bugs, sign up for early access, and we’ll get you an invitation as soon as we can. We’d love to know what you think.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I received a reminder today from Virtual Comdex and that brought back a wave of memories. Comdex was THE computer show in the '90s and it introduced me to the joys of trade shows. I met many of my past and current columnists thanks to Comdex. I made friendships that have outlasted Comdex itself.

I'll be "attending" the virtual version of Fall Comdex but it won't be the same. My friends won't be at all of the press events we attended together, I'll just be sitting in my office.

Maybe virtual trade shows are the wave of the future but I still like face-to-face meetings!

Let's Talk

The One That Got Away It has happened at more than one so, so none of you vendors out there need to wonder, “Is >my< slip showing?” I’m at a trade show. There are so many companies and goodies that I can barely list them in the time available. But I’m doing my level best to get a balanced picture and an information package from each and every vendor. Things are going fine with my time budget of 3.2679 minutes per company when I come upon someone engaged in earnest conversation with another attendee, or at least Someone Else. OK, that’s fair. Many vendors have learned how to include more than one listener in their spiel and to accommodate late comers to the conversation and then incorporate individual questions. But these two are engaged (married?) in deep and exclusive dialog. I cannot get a word in to just ask for a card or press kit, neither visible at the booth. I go on to the next vendor, then return. Conversation unchanged. After two or three iterations, my path takes me onward. I’m still wondering: were they discussing last night’s game or was the vendor chatting up an angel who will take the company to the next level? There’s another story I didn’t get. Hope it wasn’t yours.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Outlook Foundation

This sounds like a worth while effort to us. Please check it out and do what you can to help.

Computer Outlook Talk Show  announced today the launch of the Outlook Foundation, a non-profit organization created to refurbish and repurpose computers; providing them to children whose economic background prevents them from having equal educational opportunities, as well as to deployed US service personnel and their stateside families in an effort to help maintain communication with loved ones. Beyond helping children and our service families, Outlook Foundation will also use its resources to reduce the amount of hazardous technology waste in landfills by recycling remaining technology through certified organizations. 

As many as 9.7 million children in the United States do not have access to a computer, leaving them unable to compete academically with their peers who have ready access to the vast information and resources available on the internet.  This ultimately contributes to the ever-growing gap between economically stable families and those families who are considered working poor.  Among the population of deployed service personnel and their stateside families, communication is a priceless commodity.  However, with the high cost of International phone service, many military families cannot communicate with loved ones deployed overseas unless they have access to a computer.

“Every year corporations update and upgrade their computers,” explained John Iasiuolo, Host of Computer Outlook Talk Show and co-founder of Outlook Foundation. “When a computer is replaced, the perfectly good computer is generally thrown away or recycled.  The Outlook Foundation will repurpose these computers to ensure a cast away resource gets into the hands of those who need them most.  This is our active and passionate pursuit, and we already have a corporate commitment for 4,000 laptop computers and 7,200 desktop computers.”

Outdated computers pose a hazardous threat to the environment:  monitors contain lead, central processing units contain mercury and chromium, and the systems themselves contain arsenic and halogenated organic substances.  By collecting obsolete computers, refurbishing and repurposing them to needy children and deployed service personnel and their stateside families Outlook Foundation will reduce technology’s negative impact on the environment.  In the event a computer cannot be refurbished, the foundation is prepared to recycle the technology through certified organizations so they will be kept out of landfills.

Outlook Foundation aspires to further assist these families by providing education vouchers which will allow computer recipients to pursue technology education at no cost to the family.  By walking that extra mile alongside adopted families, the foundation and its partners are providing the chance for better, more financially secure futures.

“Whether a child in an economically struggling family trying to compete academically, or a service family divided by contents trying desperately to stay connected, motivated and encouraged, the Outlook Foundation wants to be a part of the catalyst for change so that both groups recognize their potential and their value,” said Iasiuolo speaking of his dream.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wirefly free backup service

We recived this information this morning and thought our readers would like to know about the offer:

Wirefly (, the Internet’s leading authorized retailer of cell phones and plans, announced today the debut of Wirefly Mobile Backup, a revolutionary mobile service that lets consumers backup and transfer their contacts and more –-regardless of carrier, manufacturer or operating system -- for FREE.
Developed with software designer Spare Backup (OTC: SPBU) and available online at, this innovative backup service eliminates the need to manually transfer contacts, appointments, or other content when changing carriers or switching phones and protects people who suffer from phone loss, damage or theft.
Protect Your Phone’s Data
Smartphones continue to deliver more and more functionality and are increasingly replacing laptops as the preferred mobile utility and protecting that data is more important than ever.  Wirefly Mobile Backup wirelessly backs up a cell phone’s contacts, pictures, calendar entries, and music remotely using the phone’s mobile data connection or a local Wi-Fi network. All of the data is safely encrypted and can easily be accessed from a web-enabled cell phone or computer, allowing users to quickly restore and transfer everything from contacts to ringtones-without having to manually re-enter the information.  
“Everyone has experienced the pain and frustration of losing their phone -- more importantly, losing the data stored on the phone.” said Andy Zeinfeld, CEO of Simplexity, parent company of Wirefly. “Wirefly Mobile Backup protects and preserves content that in the past would have lived and died on the lost phone. With this service, the content is safely stored securely in a virtual ‘cloud’ so customers can quickly restore their information onto their replacement phone. What’s more, when you pair Wirefly Mobile Backup with our Device Protection service, losing a device is far less painful. Not only can you get a replacement device, but you can restore your data once your new device is activated.”
Works Across Carriers, Manufacturers, and Operating Systems
Wirefly Mobile Backup supports all of the most popular smartphones in the United States, including Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, and works across all major U.S. carriers, making it incredibly easy to transfer data to a new device when switching wireless providers. In addition, the Palm, Java, Windows Phone 7 and Symbian operating systems will be supported by the end of the quarter. 
Wirefly Mobile Backup can also be used to protect the data from personal computers (PC).   Up to five devices including one PC can be backed up on a single free account making it easy to protect, move and share photos, music and other important information between devices. 
Backup Your Phone’s Data for FREE
Wirefly Mobile Backup is available as a free download from, and from the Android Market and iTunes App store. The service is free, and includes up to 2GB data storage –enough space to back up the contacts and calendars for multiple devices. For those looking to back up an entire PC or large quantities of music, photos, and movies, unlimited storage is available, starting as low as $5.99/month. 
Wirefly Mobile Backup has no bandwidth or data transfer restrictions, and users may choose to schedule Wirefly Mobile Backup to automatically search for and backup new data found – at no additional cost.
“Wirefly Mobile Backup is the most comprehensive wireless backup and transfer service available in the U.S. today,” said Zeinfeld.   “It allows users to automatically synchronize, transfer and share cell phone data, even when switching carriers, operating systems, or devices.”    
“People come to when they are thinking about changing phones or changing carriers,” said Scott Ableman, Chief Marketing Officer for Wirefly.  “By offering this great service for free, Wirefly has eliminated one of the major concerns people face when making this decision.”
Wirefly Mobile Backup Key Features
·        Backup contacts, calendar items, music, photos, and videos automatically
·        Access stored information from any registered device at anytime from anywhere in the world
·        Transfer data between phones regardless of phone manufacturer, operating system, or carrier
·        Backup and share between PC and phone in one application
·        Free – up to 2GB of storage
Cell phone users can sign up for their free Wirefly Mobile Backup account at or via the Android Market and iTunes App Store.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Changes in Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical recently announced major changes in the next version of Ubuntu software, version 11.04 the Maverick Meerkat. The most obvious change will be a switch from the Gnome desktop to Unity.

We've had bit of experience with Unity, it's the desktop used in the Kubuntu 10.10 Netbook Remix. It's a totally different look and I'm still not sure whether I like it or not. I guess I'll get used to it in time.

The second change will be dropping as the office software suite and using Libre Office instead. This one baffles me. I've used versions of OpenOffice for many years and I feel it's a viable alternative to MSFT Office. If you haven't used, or even heard of Libre Office, you're not alone. I checked it out and it's still in beta! I guess I'll have to do a separate download of in order to get the suite.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Free software from Olympus

We were sent this announcement today and thought our readers should know about it:


Free Software Reduces Clicks by up to 96 Percent to Manage, Share, Backup Photos and Create Photobooks

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., November 1, 2010 – Olympus Memory Works America Inc. is proud to announce [ib suite], a new end-to-end photo and video solution that dramatically reduces barriers to enjoying digital photography. Consisting of and [ib] PC software, [ib suite] creates a seamless experience, moving photos and videos from the camera to the PC, then storing, organizing, editing, printing and sharing them online. The newest version of [ib] software is available for free download at

“In just a few clicks, users can download and organize their Thanksgiving, wedding or vacation photos and share them with the entire family,” said Michael Timar, Director of Business Development for Olympus Memory Works America Inc. “The invited members of your secured personal Share Space can easily add their own photos, download the full resolution photos with one click, and use all the images to create a photo book that makes a great gift or keepsake.”

Users are given free online Share Space, and they can purchase additional space for sharing and backup. Additional features of the solution include:

The software automatically downloads photos and video, and walks the user through tagging their photos by person (identified by face recognition technology), place, event, date and more in just a few clicks. The user can make collections which automatically update to include images as they are transferred to the computer.

Set up an online Share Space where members you invite can view and even add photos. Now, with one click they also can download the full resolution images. New events and collections can easily be added to the Share Space to be enjoyed by your friends and family.

[ib suite] allows users to easily use photo collections to design custom photo books and order prints, and create multimedia video slideshows (with their own music).

One click “Instant-Fix” improves photos. Other editing features like Red-Eye and Crop help to achieve just the right look. When used with Olympus cameras, users can enjoy additional features like RAW file development and export, as well as special effects like Beautifier, Sepia, Pop-Art and Panorama. The software also features straightforward video editing with simple upload to YouTube®.

Backing Up
People want an effective and easy way to protect their photos from common losses like viruses, theft, hard drive failure, and natural disaster. [ib suite] can automatically back up events, collections and other photo and video content including RAW files to the secure online Photo Bank.

Start using [ib suite] today. Visit:, create a new account, and download the [ib] software.