Saturday, July 30, 2011


This week I tried something different, traveling with just a Tablet computer. I've been on the road for the past couple of weeks and decided to take a side trip and not take my Lenovo S12 Netbook with me. The Lenovo has been my preferred traveling companion for some time now but I decided this was the perfect time to see if Tablet computers were up to the task as an all-purpose device.

When I was in the car the Motorola XOOM was wonderful! The Verizon connectivity was solid with no areas of poor coverage. I was driving on interstate highways on the east coast so that was expected. The Navigation app and GPS did a great job of turn-by-turn navigation and the built-in maps replaced a paper Atlas easily.My contacts and gmail were all at my fingertips at all times so I didn't need my usual paper 5x7 tablet at all.

The only disappointments were with how the browser handled AOL mail and the lack of a really good word processor. I'm not sure what can be done about the AOL mail situation but I'll keep trying to find answers. As for a word processor, I've tried a couple with mixed results. I'm looking for an Android app that allows me to write simple text that I can then send to my netbook/notebook for final processing. I would prefer one with spell check and one that doesn't add hard returns at the end of every line. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Plustek scanner

We have always loved Plustek scanners and they just announced a new one:

Plustek Technology Inc., a manufacturer of consumer, prosumer and professional imaging devices, announced today the launch of the Plustek OpticBook 3800, a cost effective, simple, innovative solution for scanning books, magazines and bound materials.  This scanner is ideal for comic book collectors, rare book collectors and sellers, eBay book sellers, education personnel, and college students.

Using Plustek's patent-pending Shadow Elimination Element (SEE™) Technology, the OpticBook 3800 can scan any book without the book spine shadow and distorted text associated with book scanning on flatbed scanners.  The OpticBook 3800 includes everything needed to create searchable PDFs from books, magazines and bound materials.  The book scanning and creation software is easy to use and is an affordable solution for all home users, libraries, copy rooms, students, teachers, universities, and anyone that wants to turn books, magazines and other bound material into digital files.

Key Features Include:
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • SEE Technology for distortion free book page images
  • Up to 1200 dpi resolution
  • 4 single touch buttons to simplify scanning task
  • Fast scan speed seven seconds for an A4-size color, grayscale, black and white scan at 300 dpi
  • Ergonomic design for fast and efficient scanning

Monday, July 25, 2011

Free malware fighter

We received this information and thought we'd pass it on:

IObit Malware Fighter has been released version1.1 this month.
For more info, please check here,

It's time to remove malware & spyware in your PC

IObit Malware Fighter is an advanced malware & spyware removal utility that detects, removes the deepest infections, and protects your PC from various potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, bots, worms, and hijackers. With the improved, unique "Dual-Core" engine and the heuristic malware detection, IObit Malware Fighter detects the most complex and deepest spyware and malware in a very fast and efficient way.

If you follow the link you'll find the download  for version 1.1.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Logitech Tablet Keyboard

I have been testing the Motorola XOOM tablet for the past week or so and have just found an indispensable accessory. The Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android 3.0 tablets is wonderful!! I just used one to write a portion of the full review and it was a dream.

Picture this scenario: you're on the road and a tablet is the perfect tool to use all day long. Your calendar, contacts, notes and emails are all at your finger tips as you go through the day. In the evening it's time to put things together and do some serious writing. No problem. Get out your Logitech keyboard and connect to your XOOM using Bluetooth. In seconds you have the functional equivalent of a Netbook. Typing is fast and easy and you're getting your work done.

Look for the full review in our next issue.

Motorola XOOM

I've been working on the Motorola XOOM review while I'm on the road and the device is awesome! Incredible connectivity, a wonderful screen and reasonable size. I MAY change my mind about a tablet being a Netbook replacement.

Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ViewSonic ViewBook 730

We just received a ViewSonic ViewBook 730 Tablet and eReader to review and it's very interesting. It has most of the features of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" version but at a surprisingly low price. How does under $250 sound? How about under $230 at

It's an Android 2.2 tablet and it has all of the software we've come to expect on these tablets. It's actually a bit thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Tab and, therefore, it has a flimsier feeling to it. We're planning on doing a major review on it soon and expect to see updates here as we go along.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Motorola XOOM microSD slot

We have been testing a Motorola XOOM for a few week now and have been very impressed with it. It is clearly the best tablet we've used so far and we are discovering new capabilities every day. We'll have an in depth review next month and it should be a good read.

The one odd thing we've found is the disabled microSD card slot. Other Android 3.x tablets have working microSD slots so it makes no sense to us that Motorola has it disabled in the US market. We found this on Motorola's web site:

The microSD Card Slot will be enabled in the Android 3.2 Update.
Motorola XOOM users in the U.S. -- we've confirmed that Android 3.2 is now rolling out in phases to those of you with Wi-Fi versions. 
We expect the rollout to continue to Verizon Wireless users in the coming weeks, and will share more detailed info on timing as it becomes available.
Stay tuned.

August issue

The August issue of our monthly publication went out to all of our subscribers today. If you'd like to subscribe just shoot me an email at or add a comment to this post and I'll add you to our growing list.

Borders obit

I'm sorry to hear that Borders is closing all of it's book stores. I've always loved Borders and I'll miss them. My daughter worked at one of their stores when she was younger and we both have fond memories of those days.

In my opinion Borders ended up losing their way when they didn't recognize the changing book marketplace. eBooks have changed the way people read books, magazines and newspapers and Borders didn't recognize the shift and make the necessary moves to stay competitive.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Night in Moscow

Bayle Emlien submitted this today:

"Another Night in Moscow:" Turn down the lights, start the machines and all gaming experiences are still not the same. Take, as an outstanding example, the now annual presentation of games from 1C Company at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. Nicer inlaid wood floors than any internet cafĂ© I’ve been to anywhere in the world. No smoking either. Does that invalidate all those World War II adventures?

Many Americans don’t realize what a huge trauma WW II was for Russia (as I recall, the death of something like 20 million Russians attributed to it, though any reader could check my memory with a quick internet search). It’s still not ancient history there.

So it makes sense that the Russians are still perfecting war games based during the 2nd World War. They’ve moved on to add a spy series based during the Cold War–an extension of WWII from some points of view.

1C PR Manager Felix Yakovlev and his US partner David Tractenberg pulled together a wonderful evening. Enough stations to give everyone a chance to play. A support person at each station to be sure that as soon as a player sat down, s/he got started in the game and found success in short order. Do these Help Friends come with the premium package? Also better snacks than I’m used to. But my favorite add-on were the WWII posters. They looked authentic, except that they were all unblemished. So maybe they were well-done recreations. 1C does have a lot of technology resources, after all. You’re probably familiar with “Uncle Sam Wants You.” There were also a couple of Russian posters urging in the war effort, another American contribution explaining how cheerfully accepting rationing was patriotic, and the British “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan.

Look for details of the new 1C game releases elsewhere in MCC, where we have the space to discuss products at length.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


One of the biggest problems an Editor has is Time. Time is our perpetual enemy. Getting assignments out on Time, getting articles submitted on Time, getting editing done on Time, getting publications completed on Time, getting an issue distributed on Time. It's all about Time.

Sometimes I think my Time is running out.

I'm reminded of Richard Farina's Nothing poems.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A really odd problem

I have spent a LOT of time on the road in the past few weeks and have run into an odd problem. I have been using a Sanyo Zio smartphone using Android 2.2 on the Sprint network for the past 6 or 7 months and have just run into an odd problem.

Every once in a while the phone seems to be calling out on it's own. I can hear a ringing tone that differs from the normal ring sounds when it's doing it's calling and I'm baffled. People with normal hearing (I'm deaf in the high end for several reasons).Battery life drops seriously and it's a real pain.

Any suggestions?


I'm offering an apology to our regular followers, it's been a hectic month. I have been Uber-busy and have not kept up with this blog as well as I should have. I'll try to do better!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Delkin POS

Tim Ehrhard sent us this today:

I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "review" per se, but considering I paid for the POS I'm about ready to throw some mud.

Bottom line, Delkin's PC-Express 54 adapter for CF Type-1 UDMA cards sucks. I'm pretty sure it, and everything like it, is hampered by some sort of secondary chipset that interferes with what should be a blazing transfer rate. It took 01:07:00 and 01:17:00 respectively to move the same 3.63 GB data bundle back and forth on a Lexar 300x 8 GB card. Time elapsed to move a 7.7 GB data bundle from a Sony a700 camera via a micro-USB/USB 2.0 cable into the Dell laptop? Oh about 6 minutes. Delkin is fired.

I just want something fast that's "built in" to the machine and doesn't have a whole mess of cables to deal with or little dongly thingys hanging around. Is this so much to ask?

The death of point-and-shoot cameras

As more and more young people use their smart phones as cameras and more and more old film users are dieing off I can see a day when the whole concept of the point-and-shoot camera is gone. Ever since the original Kodak Brownie there has been a huge market for compact, easy to use cameras. But in the past few years that market sector has been taken over by phones.

I've been fairly good at predicting the changes in the camera world and I'm very confident in this prediction: sooner, rather than later, smart phones will be the dominant camera used by most families. Yes, there will still be a huge market for medium and high end digital cameras but the low end will virtually disappear.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pentax has been sold.

We just found out about this acquisition:

Ricoh will focus on DSLR segment

Japanese optical equipment maker Hoya has announced the sale of its Pentax camera unit to rival manufacturer Ricoh. The Nikkei business daily reports the deal is worth 10 billion yen ($124 million). The selloff of the camera business was widely expected. Hoya bought Pentax in 2007 mainly for its medical technology.
Sales of Pentax cameras declined 13 percent last year, which the company attributed to falling prices in the extremely competitive digital compact camera segment. Ricoh says it intends to focus on higher-end single lens reflex cameras.

Pentax is the world's tenth-largest camera maker by units shipped. Ricoh primarily makes copiers and printers. Its current camera business is not a force in the global market.

Hoya expects to close the sale in October, according to filings with the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Motorola XOOM reset

We've been testing the Motorola XOOM tablet for a couple of weeks and we ran into a new problem today, the system totally froze up. It wouldn't shut off and the whole system was locked. Normally I would just remove the battery on an Android phone and let the system reboot. Alternatively there is usually a way to push a reset button with a paper clip inserted into a small hole. But not this time. I did a bit of research and this is what I found:

Soft Reset for Frozen Xooms:

To reset your Xoom when the screen is totally unresponsive, press the power and volume up buttons at the same time for about three seconds.  The two buttons are right next to each other on the back and side of your Xoom.  This is a soft reset. It's the equivalent of yanking the batteries or totally powering the device off. Once your Xoom powers back up, it will still have all your software and preferences. It just (hopefully) won't be frozen anymore.