Saturday, December 31, 2011

Verizon Wireless $2 fee

By Chuck Hajdu
Well, that didn’t take long! Verizon Wireless announced their intention to start charging customers a $2.00 monthly fee if they paid their bills using certain methods. They weren’t going to charge everyone the fee, just certain users.

When people heard this news they went ballistic! In less than one day they had over 95,000 signatures on petitions demanding Verizon Wireless stop the change from going into affect. And it worked!

At least for now Verizon Wireless will not be charging the fee. It’s a victory for the consumer and it shows the power customers have in a capitalistic world. Consumers stopped the BoA debit card fee a few months ago and now they’ve defeated Verizon.

Friday, December 30, 2011

VIA VE-900 project request

By Chuck Hajdu

About a month ago we posted an announcement for the new VIA VE-900 mainboard. It’s a very cool little board that has some real power and can be built into any number of systems.

In the past we’ve built quite a few VIA kits, including server and desktops. We’ve received a sample board from VIA and 8GB of DDR3 1066 RAM from our memory vendor friends. We already have hard drives on hand from WDC so we’re just about ready to go.

The next step is to actually design our system and that is where we’re looking for input. What should we build? Here are a couple of things we’ve thought about in the past:

1- an ammo can computer using a surplus Russian 7.62x54R can with dummy cartridges!!
2- an engine block from a Porsche 928 turned into a coffee table computer!!
3- gutting an ancient 286 “luggable” and turning it into a usable computer again

We’re asking our readers to send us some suggestions. What should we build?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Digitl camera interchangeable lenses

Bu Chuck Hajdu

Over the years I’ve used just about every possible type of camera to take pictures, everything from 8X10 view cameras using plate film to 16mm Minox sized cameras. There are boxes in the garage with dozens of old film cameras in them that I haven’t used in ages. I doubt if film is even made any longer for most of them.

Since digital cameras replaced film the only thing that has changed for me is the medium I capture images on. Camera types haven’t really changed at all, sensors have replaced film, that’s about it. There are still rangefinder style cameras and there are still SLRs, along with most other formats.

My personal preference has always been for interchangeable lens SLRs. Back in the film days I almost always used Minoltas. My fist SLR was an SR-T101 that I bought in the MEX in Iwakuni, Japan in 1968 and it served me well for many years. I still have many of the lenses I bought for my SLRs and actually use them today on digital cameras.

The biggest change in lenses in the past 40 years is the improvement in zoom lenses. In the ‘60s there were very few zoom lenses at all, almost everything was fixed focal length. That started to change in the ‘70s and now zoom lenses are what most people use.

For many of us fixed focal length lenses are still preferred.  Fixed focal length lenses have a number of advantages to me. They are usually smaller and lighter, have better quality edge-to-edge and have larger apertures. The larger apertures mean you can take pictures in lower light without being forced to use flash.

My current favorite lenses are:
For Olympus PEN cameras (very compact and adapters are available for most lenses ever made) - 17mm f/2.8 M. Zuiko and 200mm f/5 Minolta Rokkor
For Pentax dSLRs - 35mm f/2.4 and 100mm f.2.8 Macro Pentax

All of these lenses are wonderful and I prefer using them to any of the excellent zoom lenses that I have.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Apples and Oranges

I’ve been testing Tablet computers for the past year and I’ve become infatuated with them. If you’ve read my blog posts and ePub articles then you know just how bedazzled I am. I have often argued that a Tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard is just as useful as a Netbook computer. I’ve tested so many of them that I started to buy into the hype.

Well, of late I’ve changed my mind. It takes a big man to admit he was wrong and I’m now admitting it. Tablets aren’t Netbook replacements, just as Netbooks aren’t full powered Notebook or desktop replacements. Each of them has a specific place and does some things better than the others.

I came to this conclusion while preparing for a trip. My plan was to just carry a Motorola XOOM and a Logitech wireless bluetooth keyboard and leave everything else behind. In preparation for the trip I tried using the XOOM as my day-to-day computer to see if it would work. Nothing brings out the problems with any plan faster than trying to implement it.

The biggest headache I encountered was dealing with email. Just as most other people do, I get scads of emails every day that I don’t want to read and usually just delete them. With the XOOM the only way I can delete an AOL email is to have it open and then click the trash can. What a pain that is!

The other problem is cutting and pasting articles I write in Google Docs for use in the ePub and this blog. It's simple with a Netbook but a tedious pain in the butt with a Tablet.

My plan has now changed. I’ll be carrying the XOOM for the tasks it does very well. But I’ll also be carrying a Netbook for the tasks it does better than a Tablet. Apples for when I want apples and oranges for when I want oranges.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Managing Outlook- Part Three

By Robert Sanborn

Setting up personal folders
  1. In Outlook 2010, click the File tab, and then from the Account Settings drop-down menu, choose Account Settings... .
    In earlier versions, from the
    Tools menu, select Account Settings... (2007) or E-mail Accounts... (2003).
  1. Select the Data Files tab, and then click Add. In Outlook 2003, Select View or change existing email accounts, click Next, and then click New Outlook Data file... .
  1. If you only use Outlook to view personal folder files, select Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst). If you want your personal folder files to be compatible with previous versions of Outlook, select Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst). Click OK.
  1. The Create or Open Outlook Data File window will open. From the drop-down menu next to "Save In:", select a location to store the personal folder file.
  1. In the "Filename:" field, enter a filename for the folder file (e.g., Becky's Personal Folder File). A .pst extension will be added automatically.Note: This is the name for the .pst file only. You will need to name the folder separately (see next step).
  1. Click OK. You will now see the Create Microsoft Personal Folders window. The name that you supply here will appear among your mail folders in Outlook; use a name that is related to the contents of the folder. For example, if you named the.pst file Becky's Personal Folder File, then you may want to name this folder Becky's Personal Folder.


When you set up a new .pst file, in Outlook, it will appear at the bottom of the folder list. If you have messages groups in folders, you can easily move or copy them from one folder to another either individually or in large groups.  Brush up on your drag and drop and cut/copy/paste procedures if you are not sure how to do all that.

Outlook .pst files have no theoretical limit on the size of the file but experience has shown that with versions prior to Outlook 2007, if your file size gets larger than 2 gigabytes, you will have problems. A couple of tips; one would be to remove the attachments especially if they are videos or pictures. They take up a lot of space. 2nd would be to empty the "deleted items" folder. When you delete a message, it goes there and they can pile up. If you send a lot of email, you might also empty the "sent items" folder. Those three things will do wonders to the size of your .pst file.
To see how large your .pst files are, in Outlook 2010, go to the Data Files tab in steps 1 & 2 above and just hilight the default .pst file listed there. Click on the "Open File Location" and it will open a new explorer window of your Outlook data files and you can then see how large the .pst file has become.  From this window, you can then copy those .pst files to a USB memory drive or stick (assuming it is large enough to store the data files) for moving to another computer.
From this window, you also see where on your computer that the files are stored.  If you are going to copy one of those .pst files to another computer, you will also need to know where on that computer the Outlook files are stored and the best way to do that is to again follow the steps 1 & 2 above.  You need to remember where it is stored on your computer because after you copy the .pst file to the new location, you need to then tell Outlook that you are going to use it.  Go through steps 1 and 2 above and when the window opens up, instead of typing in a new file name, just select the file that you have just copied to this new computer.  Outlook will then recognize the new file at the bottom of the list of folders.
Those USB Memory sticks are a great way to backup you your Outlook files, another would be to get a USB external drive and use the backup software that comes with it. Either way, you will be sure you have all your email messages.

Free eBooks online

We received this from our friend Roy Linker. It's a listing of 449 sites that have free eBooks. This may be just whet you're looking for your new eReader. Give some of them a try.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Managing Outlook- Part Two

By Robert Sanborn

Managing Outlook Data Files
Normally, you wouldn’t really need to worry about how Outlook manages files but if you need access to several emails from within Outlook on a different computer, there are a few ways of getting it done. One would be to simply email the messages to you to another account.  Another would be to save individual messages as a text file and not deal with the Outlook data file structure. Just open up the message you want and click /file/save as/.  If there is an attachment you need with it, you simply copy that attachment to any folder on your computer. To export messages to a text file, look at these instructions here:

If you need access to more than just a few messages, it gets far more difficult. Remember that Outlook is a database so just copying off messages or a folders worth of messages to another file to be able to read them will not work very well and in fact, you need to have Outlook available on the other computer that you are going to read these messages. If you don't have the same version of Outlook on that other computer, you need to take special care in copying over the folders to make them compatible with that version of Outlook.
Outlook does an excellent job of allowing you to manage your email into subject folders.  When you first start Outlook, you have the basic folders of Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, and Deleted Items. All are subfolders of the main Outlook database. You can right click on Outlook and add as many folders as you like and then move your messages to the various folders. I even set up rules to grab a message when it comes in and automatically move it to its appropriate folder. If there is a new message in one of the folders, it will be in bold with a number beside it indicating how many new unread messages are in that folder so it is easy to spot the new mail when it comes in.
Outlook 2010 makes it much easier to deal with the .pst files. If you have an older version of Outlook, you may have to do a Google search to find out more information.  Indiana University has a good reference article (from what this is based on) at:  - the following is from IU.

Next time we’ll learn how to set up personal folders.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


This will be our last post for a few days. We're shutting down and spending some time with family and friends to enjoy the Holidays. We wish everyone a happy last few days of Chanukka and a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another MSFT boo-boo

Ever since Steve Ballmer took the reigns as CEO of MSFT they have made one bad move after another. Today I learned about their latest decision: January 2012 will be their last CES Show. What? Are you nuts? Do you think it's still 1995 and people can't wait for the next version of Windows? Gimme a break!!

Ballmer has proven to be short-sighted and wrong-headed many many times. MSFT has been thrashing around trying to find traction to get their stock price back up instead of having it stuck in a terrible rut. Decisions like pulling out of CES are examples of why they get it all wrong.

The world of computers is shifting rapidly to CE devices and away from traditional computers. Today's buyers want devices like Tablets and internet-connected TVs, not PCs. MSFT either can't see that or isn't capable of making the changes they need to make with their current leadership.

It's time for them to make drastic changes or else they are doomed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Managing Outlook

By Robert Sanborn

Outlook is a wonderful program for managing your email but the problem is that it can be difficult to work with especially when you want to make sure your email system is backed up. Think of an Outlook file as a massive database where your emails are entries to that database and not individual messages.

Because it is a database, this first section will be about making sure your Outlook file is clean and problem free. The second section will be on managing those Outlook files.  Outlook has been around since the early days of Microsoft Office and has changed radically with the changes in Office.  I don’t intend this article to be about how to use Outlook, just on how to make sure that when you use it, it has not been corrupted and is clean and workable.

In Outlook, a personal folder file is a file with a.pst extension which is usually stored on your computer's hard disk or on a company server. Personal folder files contain messages, forms, attachments notes, calendar, address book, and other message folders. You can work with a personal folder file as you would with any other file and you can copy or move a .pst file to another location on your computer or a server. These files allow you to work with your email when you are not connected to the server or the internet.
Personal Folder files can get very large. It is not uncommon for a .pst file to grow to over 10 gigabytes in size, way too much to be held on a DVD disc, so saving them offline can be difficult. If you have a ton of emails (say over a few thousand) with lots of attachments that you leave attached to the messages, then the solution is to have multiple .pst files and the good news is that they can still all be available in Outlook all at the same time.

So first of all, make sure you know what versions of Outlook you have on each computer. With Outlook 2007 & 2010, hit the file tab and then click on help. Next would be to make sure you have all of the updates for the version of Outlook you have. In Outlook 2010, you would click on File / Help and then Check for Updates. Also probably a good time to make sure your version of Windows is up to date as well by clicking on Start / Programs / Windows Update.

If Outlook does not appear to work very well, you might want to repair your personal file folders. Go to Microsoft’s Search site and look for "Inbox Repair Tool" and of course, the instructions will vary by what version of Outlook you are using. For Outlook 2003 and earlier, it is a file scanpst.exe which is located on your hard drive. For Outlook 2007 & 2010, it is located on the first Office CD or you can get it here:

Watch for more tips tomorrow on cleaning up your Outlook data files and making them manageable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Free LapLink software

We received this today:

Laplink Software, Inc. today announced it will release a new product, PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant, on January 5, 2012. Based on Laplink's top-selling migration product, PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant will automatically move all files, settings, user accounts and much more - even applications - from Windows 7 to Windows 8, making it dramatically easier to perform efficient and comprehensive testing of Windows 8.

PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant will be available at and can be used to perform an unlimited number of migrations at no charge prior to July 2012.

“Here at Laplink, we use PCmover to facilitate testing Windows 8,” said Laplink CTO Jack Wilson. “PCmover allows us to automatically provision several different Windows 8 VMs (virtual machines) complete with a unique arrangement of development tools, debug software, SDKs, and environmental variables. Then after PCmover sets up the VMs, we create snapshots of each so we can easily restore to that particular state as needed. By using PCmover to provision the initial Windows 8 VMs, we literally save hundreds of hours. That’s where the idea of offering PCmover to others who are or will be testing Windows 8. I strongly recommend anyone testing Windows 8 get their free copy of PCmover and see how much time they can save.”

PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant will work with the Windows 8 Developer Preview as well as all of the upcoming Beta releases and RC (release candidate) builds. The source PC must be running Windows 7 (64-bit) and the new PC must be running Windows 8 (64-bit); either or both PCs can be physical or virtual machines.
“PCmover is a ‘Day Zero’ utility,” explained Neil Minetto, Laplink’s Director of Marketing. “You want to have it downloaded and ready to use before you set up a Windows 8 environment, not a week or two afterwards. That’s why we encourage everyone to download PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant right away.”

PCmover is the number one best selling migration software in the world and it is the only software that moves applications (in addition to files, settings, and user profiles) from an old PC to a new one.

When asked why Laplink was offering this software for free, Minetto was blunt. “We could probably charge for this and do pretty well so far as short term revenue,” he admitted. “But more importantly, we want to do what we can to support the Windows ecosystem. And, if users have a great experience with PCmover when testing Windows 8, then Laplink will benefit in the future when we release our official Windows 8 version of PCmover.”

PCmover features an easy-to-use wizard to set up the migration process. Just install PCmover on the source and destination PC, connect the PCs (e.g., across a network) and follow the directions. For more complicated scenarios, Laplink provides a comprehensive User Guide.

Laplink currently offers several editions of PCmover based on end-user needs, from Home to Professional to Enterprise which provides IT departments with a set of tools to easily customize the entire migration process and experience.

“Anyone testing Windows 8 probably wants to transfer over a full copy of their existing environment,” continued Minetto. “PCmover will transfer all user profiles, settings, data files, Internet favorites, and much more including applications. No need to re-download applications and no need to find old CDs or serial numbers. It’s fully selective so you can choose what to transfer. And once you define the migration, PCmover automatically does the rest saving you significant time and hassle!”

PCmover does not remove anything from the source (old) PC so there is no risk to a user’s current environment; and unlike imaging tools, it does not affect the operating system on the destination PC, making it the perfect companion to help test Windows 8.

Those interested in downloading the free PCmover Windows 8 Beta Assistant can do so here. More information about PCmover can be found at PCmover (for migrations to Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows) is available for sale at or at most major software retailers in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

January issue

The January issue of our ePub went out this morning to all of our subscribers and I must say it's a good one. There several excellent product reviews, trade show reports and other great pieces.

Any followers of this blog who want to subscribe just need to email me and I'll add you to our subscriber list. Believe me, you'll be glad you did.

Now this is a funny idea

I received this in an email today and it made me laugh out loud:

Obama’s Economic Knowledge Summarised In Blank Book

An author has produced a book detailing everything he believes the President knows about the US economy - and it's entirely BLANK.

Jimmy Moncrief has become so frustrated with Obama’s economic policy he’s released the 200 page blank book which he says conclusively details the sum of the President’s economic knowledge.

Everything Obama Knows About The Economy’ has already sold hundreds of copies in its first few weeks and is expected to break into the thousands before Christmas.

Mr Moncrief says he has always been fascinated by the link between economics and politics ever since winning a stock market competition aged just 12. Now, nearly two decades later he has finally ‘penned’ his critique of the President’s handling of the US economy.

Jimmy says the time has come for Obama’s economic actions to be closely scrutinised. 

Mr Moncrief said: “I thought it only right that I should detail exactly what I believe the President does know about the economy in one concise book.

“I have a fundamental disagreement with Obama’s policy.  We’re faced with huge deficits and you do not solve anyone's problems by giving them more debt.  Similarly, you do not stimulate the economy by raising taxes.”

The publication is the first piece of work from the credit analyst, who admits whilst having always wanted to pen a classic, he never anticipated his first book would contain no words at all.

Mr Moncrief, from Chattanooga, says whilst the book carries a strong and simple political message his main aim is to get people laughing this Christmas.

He said: “I’m extremely proud of this book and after many years of contemplation I am delighted I finally put pen to paper – or not as the case may be.

“We all know we have problems with the economy and the way I see it you can either laugh or moan about it, I’m trying to do both at the same time and lighten the load a little.
“I'm not trying to be a political lightning rod, I'm just trying to get people to laugh and enjoy themselves.  I love showing the book to new people for the first time and it’s great to see their reactions.
“I've seen stoic older men end up laughing so hard they fell out of their chair and for me that’s what this is all about.”

Jimmy, 30, says the book has proven so popular he’s launched his own enterprise and plans are already in place for a follow up ‘What Sarah Palin Knows About Politics.’

Everything Obama Knows About The Economy is available from and on Amazon here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another opinion on the ChromeBook

I received an email today with an interesting link in it. Regular readers know how much I love the Samsung ChromeBook 5 that I use every single day. It's light, with incredible battery life and very fast, it's the ideal carry around computer for me.

Here's the link to someone else's opinion:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Android answer to Siri

I've been reading a lot lately about an answer to the iFruit company's Siri app. According to the buzz Google is perfecting a product to be called Majel that will be a real competitor to Siri.

The best description I read was in Android and Me and it states:

"Majel is an evolution of Google's Voice Actions that is currently available on most Android phones with the addition of natural language processing. Where Voice Actions required you to issue specific commands like 'send text to…' or 'navigate to…' Majel will allow you to perform actions in your natural language similar to how Siri functions."

Of course, there are already a slew of other Siri alternatives available on the Market. I personally haven't tested any of them but recommend anyone who's interested in voice control to check them out.

This is just one more example of the iFruit company taking existing technology and getting the press and the fan boys to make it sound like something new. Steve Jobs must be very happy wherever he is, his marketing machine is still running smoothly.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Android eval apps

We ran into an interesting situation yesterday. We had contacted a vendor about reviewing their software and received a surprising reply: they would love to have us review their software and wish they could provide us a free version but they can't. They could send us free versions of the iPad, Mac or PC products but not for Android.

Does anyone know if this is really true? Why on Earth are Android apps restricted like that? It makes no sense to me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

WebOS is still alive after all

A while back I pronounced WebOS to be dead. It turns out I was a bit premature. Since Meg Whitman took over as CEO of HP she's reversing many of the decisions her predecessor made and keeping products alive. Instead of killing WebOS HP is making it an open source product and I think that's a great decision.

Here’s the full statement:
PALO ALTO, CA–(Marketwire - Dec 9, 2011) - HP (NYSE: HPQ) today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.
HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.
webOS offers a number of benefits to the entire ecosystem of web applications. For developers, applications can be easily built using standard web technologies. In addition, its single integrated stack offers multiplatform portability. For device manufacturers, it provides a single web-centric platform to run across multiple devices. As a result, the end user benefits from a fast, immersive user experience.
“webOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
HP will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license. Developers, partners, HP engineers and other hardware manufacturers can deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace.
HP will engage the open source community to help define the charter of the open source project under a set of operating principles:
The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
         Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
Software will be provided as a pure open source project
HP also will contribute ENYO, the application framework for webOS, to the community in the near future along with a plan for the remaining components of the user space.
Beginning today, developers and customers are invited to provide input and suggestions at

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Android Juggernaut

We received an announcement today from VIA Technologies that caught my attention. VIA is now supporting Android OS in the mainboards and that means the Android juggernaut continues to roll on. MSFT better watch their backs because Windows may be in trouble. Android and iOS are rapidly gaining more and more traction and may someday be all we use on our devices. Here's the full announcement from VIA:

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced Android support for VIA x86 embedded platforms, starting with support for the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board. Running Android on an x86 platform offers increased flexibility, great multimedia support and cost saving advantages for embedded applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and interactive kiosks.

Key advantages for Android on x86 include leverage of Android development resources and existing apps, rich I/O flexibility, greater CPU performance as well as higher display resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080. In addition VIA has released SMART ETK, an Embedded Tool Kit which allows monitoring and control of peripheral devices through the Android OS, allowing for greater environmental control of kiosk and other installed environments.

“VIA has a long history of offering a wide range of options and customized solutions for our embedded customers,” said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. “The addition of Android OS support to our embedded x86 boards adds increased flexibility and further broadens our ability to meet their needs.”

The VIA EITX-3002 is based on the unique Em-ITX form factor, and is powered by a choice of a 1.2GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor in combination with the VIA VX900 MSP. Placed on the reverse side of the board, the available real estate is optimized, facilitating simple fanless chassis designs. The VIA EITX-3002 takes advantage of the VIA VX900H media system processor, a feature packed all-in-one digital media chipset that brings excellent hardware acceleration for the latest HD video formats including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1 and WMV9. The VIA EITX-3002 can support dual independent display for superior digital signage displays.

Designed for stability at extreme temperatures, fanless devices based on the VIA EITX-3002 can enjoy absolute stability at temperatures ranging from -10oC to 65oC. Dual I/O coastlines include an HDMI port, VGA port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual COM ports, four USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports (optional), audio jacks and power and HDD activity LEDs. The VIA EITX-3002 supports Windows 7, XP, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 and WES7 as well as Debian Linux and Android 2.2 operating systems.

To watch a video demonstration of Android running on a VIA EITX-3002 x86 board please visit:

For more information about the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board please visit:

For images related to this release please visit:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

AZiO Holiday contest

We received this announcement for an AZiO Holiday contest and thought we'd pass it on:

Seasons Greetings!
This holiday season we are bringing all of you gaming enthusiasts a wonderful surprise.  Not only are we proud to launch a new gaming keyboard, we are going to give you the opportunity to win them, FREE!  On top of that, we will be offering additional products brought to you by VisionTek, Bigfoot Networks, ZOTAC, & Patriot Memory!
The cool thing about this give-away is, you only have to do TWO things: Register for the Give-Away at AZiO's Facebook page under the 12 Day Give-Away App.  Also be sure to Like all partners Facebook pages! They are the ones bringing you all this great Christmas joy after all. From December 14th through December 26th we will be offering great product prizes for 1 winner, each day.  We might offer TWO product bundle prizes on the same day.  So it is necessary to check in daily to see if you have won, or what the next prize will be.  We promise, you will not be disappointed. 
Please visit: for more info!
If you were not one of the lucky ones to win, don't worry!  While we are running this holiday give-away, we will be offering discounted product bundles through online resellers such as NewEgg and NCIX, featuring the brand new AZiO Mech4 Gaming Keyboard.  Links on discounted items will be provided after and during each product give-away. 
Below is a list of terms & rules.  You must follow these guidelines to be considered a participant or winner during this give-away.
-        Please register on AZiO's Facebook Page under the “12 Day Give Away” Application to enter this give away.
-        Participants can win only ONE give-away prize day during this promotion.
-         All participants will be re-entered for each give-away opportunity after the initial “Like” day. You must “Like” all related Facebook pages. *Prize winners during this promotion will not be re-entered.
-        Please share & tweet with friends for more chances to win awesome prizes!
-        Winners will be selected through a random name generator. If you are selected as a give-away winner, you must answer our email from, within 48 hours after the winning date. Please provide a valid name with the correct shipping information to guarantee fast shipment.
  Happy Seasons Fragging!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LensPen news

We first saw the LensPen products at this year's CES last January. Since then we have become huge fans and love their excellent lens and screen cleaners. Here's an announcement we received this week.
LensPen – New Look, New Features,
Same Great Results

It has been 20 years since Parkside Optical introduced the original LensPen®, and a generation of photographers and outdoor enthusiasts have counted on it to keep their cameras, binoculars and other fine optics clean and images sharp.

Now it’s even better. At CES 2012, Parkside is introducing a new line of LensPen cleaning products with a high-class stylish design and state-of-the-art packaging. A completely new look, but with the same unmatched features that have made LensPen an optics necessity, not just an accessory. It’s completely safe for all lens and filter surfaces. The secret to LensPen’s unique cleaning ability and amazing long life – more than 500 cleanings -- is found in its special carbon compound.

Over the years LensPen’s carbon compound has convinced many camera, binocular and scope manufacturers to have Parkside Optical produce LensPens on an OEM basis for them. Parkside has introduced this carbon cleaning technology to a wide range of applications: DSLR sensors, laptop and desktop computers, cell phone cameras and, most recently, iPads and tablet screens with their new SideKick™.

“There are never any messy liquids to spray on and then wipe off, and there’s no need for dirty optical tissues or microfiber cloths, that often do nothing more than smear the fingerprint oil around,” said Peter Meurrens, Vice President of Operations at Parkside Optical.

“Try it once and join the millions of already satisfied LensPen customers who know that nothing cleans like a LensPen,” Meurrens said. “Not really so surprising for those that know us because at Parkside Optical we focus all our energy on one little problem that everyone else seems to ignore: how to clean fingerprints!”

For more information on LensPen products, go to To see a demonstration, watch the “LensPen Lens Cleaning System” video at

Monday, December 12, 2011

The "imperfect" Kindle Fire

I've been reading reviews online for the Kindle Fire and I'm amazed at some of the complaints I'm reading. The loudest complaints seem to be that the virtual audio controls take too many clicks to get to (there are no physical audio controls), there aren't any parental controls and there is no password required to use one-click buying from Amazon.

If these are the loudest complaints that Amazon is getting they should be very happy. Every one of them is really minor. I only use audio on my tablets when I'm actually listening to audio or watching a video so it's no problem to take a few seconds to get to the audio controls. As for parental controls, that can be a bit of a problem if you have young children who need to be protected. And for one-click not requiring a password, just turn off one-click! Sure you now have to click a few more times but it solves the problem.

Come on people, this is a less than $200 tablet that actually competes with devices that cost 3-4 times as much. You can't expect any product to be perfect, especially when you're buying one that is aimed at the low-cost market. Personally, I can work around annoyances when I save a heck of a lot of money.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Holiday gift suggestions

By Robert Sanborn

A computer sitting near your desk does not have to sound like a wind tunnel and quiet computing is a reality beginning with the Antec Mini P180 Tower. A small form factor desktop computer that is truly silent. Add the green power supply and you have the makings of a good looking, fast, quiet computer. About $200. 

Power Protection for your wide screen television is a must and the best way to do that is with Monster Cable's Powercenter 3 outlet surge protector. This plugs into a double wall outlet and gives you protection for the television, cablebox, and the cable coming in. About $50.

When it comes time for a new monitor to go with that computer or to upgrade, you still can't beat the Samsung brand and this one, the Samsung B2430H at 24 inches is a great one to go with. Normal 16:9 widescreen view, razor sharp graphics, and a great contrast ratio makes it one of the best. About $270.

Skype is the latest way to connect with friends and family all over the world for next to nothing. To make that connection easier, you need a video camera and microphone and the Blue Microphones Eyeball 2.0 Web cam is what you need. decent video but the sound you get with the microphone makes all the world difference when talking to someone. About $65.

Something for the road. While a bit expensive, The Escort Passport iQ combines the best of radar detection with an excellent GPS and what is even better, you can update the maps and database that includes everything from attractions to state parks to restaurants. almost weekly, I get an email that tells me what states have been updated. About $650.

I have spent a ton of time researching superzoom digital cameras and this Panasonic FZ150 is the best of the bunch. Great pictures, terrific features, and a range that is hard to beat. Fun to use, great quality, and a long term keeper.About $499.

I mentioned the Apple iPhone 4S above and if you want to go with a Windows Smartphone, then the Samsung Focus S is your best bet. Full of the same kinds of features, maybe not as many apps, but if you want a preview of Windows 8, then this is the phone to go with. The same caveats about phone service expenses apply here as well. About $200.

Happy shopping and happy holidays, and I can’t wait to see what is new at CES.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday gift suggestions

By Robert Sanborn

It is that time of year to think of the computer products that will make life easier for you. I know CES is just around the corner but put these items on your wish list and you will find that life with computers gets easier.  So here is a mini shopping list of some cool and very useful products.

What will be exciting about notebooks this year is the new category called the "Ultrabook". Think of it as one of those miserable Netbooks on steroids with more power, better graphics, and great battery life. The Asus Zenbook is the best of the bunch. About $1200.

If you have to have a tablet computer, then you have just lots of choices, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one of the best Android tablets around. Surf, read email, play, videos, and more. Get the 32GB version. About $600.

Smartphones are it and what rules the roost in the USA is the Apple iPhone 4S. It does everything a tablet does and also gives you directions with built in GPS and a terrific camera. Watch those data minutes and read the fine print from the phone provider. About $200.

There is nothing that kills your computer experience more than having a dead hard drive or one wiped out by malware. Back it up and the Seagate GoFlex Ultra external drive is the way to go. Just do it. Available in nearly every computer store.About $

If you have the backup, then you need the Internet security package and the best rated one is Kaspersky Pure Total Security. Good for three computers, great protection against nearly everything, and a bargain for those of you that shell out money everytime you get hit. Available in nearly every computer store.About $45.

Friday, December 9, 2011

GDGT: Live in San Francisco - The Last Part

By Bayle Emlein

Looking to upgrade your photographic results if not your personal skills? Look at the new line of Olympus cameras. When my box Brownie broke, I replaced it with an Olympus, which served me very well for many years. Olympus has scored another home run with the E-PM1. Not quite as small as my Pen-D, but still definitely heading for a stocking or a purse near me. Possible even a pocket–not in my skinny jeans, but even with extra lenses I could carry it in a jacket and not strain my shoulder or my budget. or your favorite browser for shopping without reading about specs first.

Logitech has a line of keyboards that they call solar rechargeable. But they’re really light-powered, charging up on the ambient light in most work spaces. I had so much fun watching the snap-out keyboard pop out of the Logitech iPad case and slide back under that I almost forgot about the rest of the Logitech table, even the slick little speaker with a touchpad control panel on top. for information, browse for shopping opportunities.

Twonky software applications let you manage, stream, share your stuff or stuff about your interests. Windows, Mac, Linux, web–beam them all to the device and people of your choice.

T-Mobile powers a variety of phones as well as the GDGT show. Check them out at to match features with your needs.

TiVo set the standard for management of personal entertainment and media. Not standing still, they continue to add resources and improve ease of operation. See what’s new at

Roxio has expanded its horizons. GameCapture Capture enables real-time game play from your Xbox 360 or PS3 to your PC while you are playing live on your television screen. It also makes it easy to add transitions, voice-overs, and overlays to your captured game play so you can highlight high scores and best moves. Then the user can easily share on YouTube or Facebook. Whether you want to show off, offer tips, or post a game review, this tool allows the user to employ actual footage as well as commentary.

The size of a lipstick or cigarette lighter (you’ve seen them in old movies, haven’t you?) the Looxcie 2 wearable digital camcorder lets you take movies hands-free. Show them what you see, record action sports from a player’s point of view. Possibilities limited only by the wearer’s creativity. Get started at

Connect an Orb to any stereo in your house. Connect one to every stereo you own. The Orb can use your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as a remote control to browse your entire music collection, as well as your favorite content from Pandora, SiriusXM Internet Radio and gazillions of Internet radio stations. It looks like a small mouse pad. With zero hassle, it does what miles of wires around the house tried to do. Just plug it in and listen in every room. Details and more Orb devices at

Thursday, December 8, 2011

GDGT: Live in San Francisco - Part 3

By Bayles Emlein

Ooh! Ooohhh!! Another think I just gotta have now: 3M had some absolutely cute mobile projectors so that instead of squinting at your smartphone or iPod you and your friends can easily see what’s on the screen and even get the display big enough so you don’t have to distribute breath mints before sharing the view. I’m sure that when someone dubbed these thing “pocket projectors” it was with full awareness of the potential pocket-protector jokes just a short typo away. And the viewing potential is awesome too. Online shopping opportunities too numerous to mention, and any of these would fit into my stocking. Really.

The Sony Streaming Player with Wi-Fi SMP-N100 gives the big picture for  entertainment streaming with TV, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and many more services available. I was so busy being entertained, I almost skipped over the trusty Vaio upgrade. A bit too big for a stocking, but would still be a welcome addition to my Road Warrior kit. For either product line, start looking at or just start shopping in your browser of choice.

Incipio (in-SIP-ee-oh) makes cases and covers and bags and screen protectors for iPhones/iPods, Mac Books, eReaders and a variety of tablets. Really slick: the iPhone 4 4S offGRID™ Backup Battery Case holds a concealed battery, built right into the fully-iPhone 4 protective case. In addition Incipio offers a variety of chargers and back-up power solutions for other devices.

The Slingbox Pro HD adds high def capabilities to the power of the Slingbox Solo that enables you to access your entire home theater from anywhere in the wired, or wireless, world. Take all the comforts of home  with you wherever you go and manage your home entertainment system without having to race to the house to flip switches.

G-Technology from Hitachi offers a number of compact external hard drives for iDevices. Back up your iPad or Airbook wirelessly. The 9 ounce G-Drive 750 GB Mini would fit perfectly into my stocking or purse and store plenty of resources to get me through airport delays.

Kinoma is an open-source software platform for developers using a variety of hardware devices–from handheld mobile to smart furniture. At the beginning of 2011  Marvell purchased Kinoma, which had been founded by former Apple employees in 2002. These developments provide an easy-to use app development environment, allowing the programmer to focus on productivity rather than coding. Interested in doing it yourself? Start off at

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Yet another Tablet computer has bitten the dust. Dell has pulled the plug on the 7" Streak Tablet, joining the 5" version that died last summer. Only the 10" version remains, for now.

This is yet another example of how clearly defined the Tablet market really is, there really isn't a Tablet market. There's an iPad market and an eReader market. The iFruit company controls the former and Kindle controls the latter. They are the mega-players and everyone else is an also-ran. At least for now.

Personally I hope buyers catch on and realize how useful tablets really are and start spreading the wealth. There are some excellent products out there that deserve to be big successes. I love the Motorola XOOM, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Acer Iconia Tab A500. They are all as good as, or better than, an iPad, they just haven't caught the buying public's attention. Let's hope for a big Holiday buying surge that helps these great products.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

and coming soon to Android

Tonight I heard a phrase once again that I have been hearing very often lately.... "coming soon to Android". Everyone knows that today, in December 2011, the iFruit company's iOS has the most Apps of any system. In my humble opinion, and I have been wrong once or twice before, that will change in the next year or so.

With the tragic loss of their soul, Steve Jobs, I am hereby predicting the gradual, but continuous, decline of  iFruit products. It happened the first time he left the company and I feel it will happen again. I remember seeing the NeXT computers he built while he was away from iFruit and thought he was truly a visionary. He saw things as they could be, not as they were.

Android tablets and phones have a strong and diverse industry behind them. They are gaining market share rapidly and, in my opinion, have already surpassed iOS. Rest in peace Mr. Jobs, you were one in a milllion.

Free software announcement

We received this announcement today and thought our followers would be interested:

JPG To PDF offers a powerful algorithm that produces a quality PDF ebook from images very fast. Users can convert a single image to PDF, or multiple images to a multi-page PDF file. 

The installation file size is only 1.04MB. There is also a portable ZIP version for USB drive, and the file size is only 808KB. 

JPG To PDF runs under Windows ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7, also tested under Windows 8 Preview version and it runs very well. The program is a 100% freeware with no virus/spyware. 

Features of JPG To PDF are: 
1- Fast. Once you test the program, you will know how fast it does. 
2- Make the conversion without Adobe PDF Software installed. 
3- Tiny size, and portable version is available. 

The program website: