Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday August 1, 2012, is Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. We’ll remind everyone again tomorrow morning but we want to let anyone who doesn’t know about the event that it’s occurring.

Show your support of a great company that makes excellent food by enjoying some great chicken.

Rebit Pro Review

By George Harding

Backing up is a task that should be done regularly. If overlooked, a computer breakdown could be catastrophic. The problem is that you have to remember to back up. Now there’s a fix to remembering – Rebit Pro.

This product backs up every change in each of your files every 30 seconds! You wouldn’t back up that frequently because it would be impractical. But Rebit Pro can do it without any intervention on your part. The only time that back up is paused is when the keyboard is active.

And where is this back up? Initially on a USB device or NAS. A full system backup is followed by a mirror in the cloud.  This copy enables you to do a full system recovery from a restore point at any time that you select.

If you have a hard disk failure, are infected by a virus or malware, or even if your laptop is stolen, you can recover completely from the cloud backup.

You can try it out with a free trial. You download the software install program, install it and set up your account. The email and password you set up are used for two purposes. First, an email is sent to the address you specified to validate you email address. Second, if you need to access your files, you will need your email and password to do so.

The next step is to decide which files to back up. You can select from Desktop, Documents, Music, Photos and Videos. The backing up process begins immediately and is done locally. You should proceed with a full system back up, which can occur at the same time, to a USB external drive or network attached storage device.

Saving a copy of local files proceeds every 30 seconds, as files are changed, protecting you from almost any loss. In addition, the USB or NAS full backup will be mirrored to the cloud once each day.

Once the full backup is completed, you won’t notice any impact on your everyday operations. Rebit Pro operates in the background, never interfering with your work.

So for protection in case of hard drive failure, theft or malware/virus attack, use Rebit Pro for easy and complete back up of your computer or laptop.

Rebit Pro          www.rebit.com             
Price about $80 per year, free trial available

Monday, July 30, 2012

Why Keep "Olde" Computers?

By Chuck Hajdu

I’m a packrat and I know it. Not in everything mind you, just with certain things. Things like computers mostly. It seems that I just can’t throw old computers out, unless I’ve stripped them of every part that someone, someday, may need.

Back when we all used desktops that meant I’d take the computer apart and put all of the cards, chips, wires and all of the other components in little boxes and bins saving them for the inevitable emergency. Which seldom, if ever, came by the way. I still have lots of parts for 8088 and 286 computers if you need them!

Most computer users today use laptops, and to a lesser extent Phablets, so instead of stripping old computers I just save the whole thing.  That means I have little (actually pretty big) piles of laptops in bags and boxes strewn around the office waiting for a rainy day.

This week I had one of those rainy days! My daughter needed me to come to her rescue with a problem she was having with her Netbook. I needed to access a software product I had not used in many years and wasn’t even sure I still had available. Lo and behold I found an old Gateway convertible laptop (the earliest tablet computers) that had the software loaded on it. A relatively quick boot of WinXp and a few mouse clicks later and she was back in business!

I guess this means my packrat lifestyle has proven itself to be worthwhile and I can continue hoarding dust collectors for a while longer.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is Privacy Dead?

By Chuck Hajdu
There have been a number of news stories lately that seem to be unrelated. The People’s Republic of Kalifornia is considering taxing people by miles driven in their vehicles. Insurance companies want to track how and when we drive to reduce their risks. The government is using unmanned drones to monitor American citizens in the USA. All unrelated stories? Not to me.

Each and every one of those stories is an indication of how technology has given the people in power more control over the average person’s life. By using GPS, cell phones and wireless technology Big Brother can know what we do and when we do it. That may not bother you, but it drives me crazy.

George Orwell just got the year wrong in 1984. Had he said 2014 he might have been eerily correct. Even worse, the politicians seem have discovered that Orwell was right when it comes to language. All we ever seem to get from our elected officials is “newspeak” as Orwell called it. Be afraid people, be very afraid. Our liberties are endangered.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Coming Win 8 Disaster

We have been reading more and more report lately predicting a catastrophe for MSFT when they finally introduce Win 8 this fall. This blog, and our companion ePub, have been long time naysayers and have predicted the demise of Windoze for ages.

The computer buying public no longer needs or wants big, bloated software and desktop computers. People want small, lightweight mobile devices that will allow them to work whenever and wherever they want to. MSFT still looks at a business model from 20 years ago and sees it as the future. They couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

The business model for this decade is Google and Apple. iOS and Android are what people want today. Win 8 is a “blast from the past” and will only appeal to nostalgia buffs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Plextor M5S Series SSD Hard Drive

Plextor recently announced a new Solid State Hard Drive. Here’s some information:

Plextor, a leading developer of high-performance digital storage equipment, announces the launch of its newest Solid State Drive (SSD), the M5S Series, featuring an enhanced and sustained read/write speed up to 73,000/70,000 IOPS. The M5S Series performs faster than its award-winning predecessors with overall enhanced performance.  With its exclusive firmware technology, Plextor is proud to offer a consistent high quality and high-performance SSDs that will ensure the sustained optimal read/write speed after long periods of time and continued to excel in performances.

Plextor’s M5S SSD features a sustained computing performance with its exclusive firmware technology, including Instant Restore, Global Wear Leveling, and Bad Block Management. Besides the sustained long-term high speed performance that greatly strengthens the efficiency of data transfer, Plextor exclusive technology also helps stabilize and improve the sustainability of its SSDs. The new-generation M5S also inherits True Speed, a Plextor’s exclusive high-speed sustaining and non-declining performance technology that featured random read/write speed up to 73,000/70,000 IOPS as well as the continuous read/write speed up to 520/390 MB/s. The M5S SSD can truly responds to the complex access environment of the computer and bring a superb computing performance under stable speeds.

The M5S Series has persisted on the Plextor's high-quality imperative for its SSD and can greatly satisfy users' demands for durability, data security, and stability in SSD's. The low power-consumption and high transmission rate can better suit the users' goals for upgrade of system performance. Plextor continues to promise optimal service for its customers by registering for VIP membership at Plextor official site. Once registered, users can download PlexTool, the exclusive SSD application that provides a full range of services for SSD such as monitoring of the drive status and upgrading firmware.
With advanced performance and superior quality, M5S brings enhanced and safe experience of SSD applications and will become the optimal choice for users to switch from conventional hard drives to SSD's! The M5S Series will be available in mid-July with in the current capacities: 64GB (PX-64M5S, $99.99), 128GB (PX-128M5S, $159.99) and 256GB (PX-256M5S, $299.99)

For additional information on the M5S Series SSD or other Plextor products, please visit:
Website: www.PlextorAmericas.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PlextorAmericas
Twitter: www.twitter.com/plextorusa

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mad Catz Flight Simulation

We received this announcement recently:

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (NYSE MKT: MCZ) announced ... that it will launch a new flight simulation experience entitled Combat Pilot in the summer of 2012.  Combat Pilot introduces multiplayer, military aviation and combat operations to the realistic world of flight simulation, where simulation enthusiasts from around the world can train, fly, fight and interact together.

Combat Pilot was developed by Mad Catz’ internal ThunderHawk Studios™ and represents the first ever interactive, multiplayer combat simulation built around Flight Simulator X™ from Microsoft® (sold separately).

Those entering the Combat Pilot universe must qualify to earn their wings in order to fly with others in the community.  The proprietary, multiplayer engine, as well as the regulated military environment, sets Combat Pilot apart from any other flight simulation experience.    

“We believe that Combat Pilot will prove to be an important destination for the flight simulation community to gather, interact, and share experiences,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “Mad Catz’ Saitek™ brand and flight simulation is an important part of our company’s culture and Combat Pilot will allow the flight simulation community to come together and interact as never before.”

To learn more and to reserve your unique call-sign, visit www.combatpilotseries.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The iFruit company Quarterly Report

Once again, I’m amazed at how accurate my predictions are. The latest quarterly report from the iFruit company confirms what I have predicted many times in this blog, they are no longer meeting profit expectations. In the last quarter their profits were lower and the reason is that buyers are purchasing less expensive models of their products. DUH!!

With each new product announcement all of the Fanboyz and Girlz spend their money on the highest priced iFruit products because they want to show their “circle” that they are cool. Once they have bought all of the iPhones and iPads they can afford to, then things stabilize. The people who are buying iFruit products today are looking for value because they aren’t rabid fans.

Here’s my suggestion to anyone buying a new Phablet, go Android, not iFruit. I also feel that this quarter isn’t a small blip, it’s a view of the future. Sell your iFruit shares now and enjoy the profit. If I’m wrong, I’ll be shocked.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pentax K-5 and Q Price Drops

We read this news on the PentaxForums:

Despite the fact that the new mid-range Pentax K-30 was already priced very close to Pentax's flagship from 2010, the price of the Pentax K-5 keeps on dropping.  The K-5 is now available for $879 at B&H Photo and other major retailers, which represents a $20 drop over the old price of $899, which earlier fell from $919.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that this price drop doesn't mean that the K-5 is being discontinued, but rather that the price of the K-30 will also drop, and that the K-5 will be replaced by a very high-end APS-C successor.  We expect this successor to be unveiled at the Photokina trade show in September, which we will be covering live and in-person!

In addition: Consider this the deal of the day- the Pentax Q kit can now be had for $399- the price it should have launched at!

My bet is that both models are about to be eliminated from their product line.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rovio Amazing Alex

By Alex Woody

Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, has introduced a new game called Amazing Alex. Since I have always been a big fan of all versions of Angry Birds I was looking forward to the new game. I must admit that being an Alex myself had an influence on my wanting to play it right away!

I downloaded the free version and gave it a try. Along with the free version there is a $0.99 pay version and a $2.99 HD version. Since I am an Android user that is the pricing I encountered on the Play Store. I’m not an iFruit user but I understand their pricing is higher. But then again iFruit Fanz are always willing to pay a lot more money to get less, they’re just that kind of people.

The first few levels are REALLY easy but they give you an idea of what has to be done. It’s all about positioning shelves, balloons, scissors and other objects in order to create the reaction you’ll need.

My only complaint is how few free levels there are in the free version. If you want to move on to more complex tasks and higher levels then you have to buy the paid version.

Amazing Alex is a fun app and I recommend it for some quick learning fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Golla Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S III

Golla has announced that they have a complete line of cases now available for the Samung Galaxy S III Smartphone. We haven’t had a chance to test an S III as yet but based on our extensive experience with the S II we anticipate it being a real winner.

Golla has always made some of the most interesting and attractive cases for all kinds of mobile devices of every type. When I travel I wouldn’t think of carrying my phones, tablets and cameras in anything but a Golla case.

Check them out at www.golla.com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The MSFT/NBC Divorce

Much like other celebrity splits (TomKat comes to mind immediately) the final split between MSFT and NBC is providing lots of fodder for the rumor mill. MSFT got out of the broadcast part of the deal a while back and now the web part of the deal is also being dissolved. Why the split you ask? Simple, it was another big money loser for MSFT. Word has it that MSFT has lost $10 billion in their online efforts over the past seven years and their stockholders were finally rebelling.

What will MSFT do now? Probably try to set up a stand-alone MSFT web news service that will be unrestricted by the extreme leftist NBC biases. Will it work? Probably not. Why not? Because MSFT is MSFT and they can’t see the forest for the trees.

Here’s some advice to MSFT, free of charge. If you want to succeed then you must tap into the lucrative market that hates NBC and all they stand for. Get together with Rupert Murdoch and Rush Linbaugh and become the web voice of conservatism. Make Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter your spokespeople. MSFT news online will become the biggest money maker they have.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Exciting Email from MSFT

By Bayle Emlein

Just got an Exciting Email from Microsoft: I can download a free trial of Office 365 (or is it Office 360?) All I need is Win 7 or better and a consistent, robust internet connection.

WordPerfect looks better all the time. Even LibreOffice is shining through. Sure, I would love to have secure access to my documents (many of which are covered by client confidentiality regulations) anywhere in the world. My home connection is pretty good, except after a few days of rain. Guess that's the upside to the drought. Connection at work? Some machines connect some of the time in some buildings. Others are known dead spots. I hear "they" might be working on this, but I'm not volunteering for further frustration.

The upgrade to Win 7 or 8? Sure, if they give me the link to download a free update and send a voucher to cover the cost of the time it will take me to install and relearn. And maybe a month of 4G connection on the devices I frequent? Who knows, if I try it I might like it.

All I saw about features down to the 2 levels I clicked through was an assurance that I really need this thing. Didn't see one of those nice comparison charts that tell me which version has what features, and which are not available in previous releases. Nothing that would make me want to drop everything productive and spend a couple of days trying this out.

Right now, the first feature I'd like to see is a familiar (inter)face, followed quite closely by a smarter version of autocorrect. If you're wondering what I mean, wander on over to DamnYouAutoCorrect and waste a few hours chortling at other people's frustration with
modern improvements.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pentax K-01 price drop

The hot word on pentaxforums.com is that the prices of the Pentax K-01 continue to drop. In addition to the $50 instant rebate from Pentax, New York City retailers are offering about another $100 off of a body or body and lens kit. This puts the final price of a body at less than $600 and a dual lens kit at about $850.

At these prices Pentax may be able to sell the K-01 (except for the hideous yellow ones). It really does take great pictures, despite it's limitations. I had a post earlier this week on my review of the K-01 and what I like and what I don't like.

If you're in the market for a really good camera then be sure to check out the full line of Pentax dSLRs before you make a purchase. They really are excellent cameras.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Glo Bible

A couple of years ago we first saw the Glo Bible software demonstrated at Lunch @ Piero's during CES in Las Vegas.  It immediately became the answer to the question: What have you seen that is really interesting? Readers of our monthly ePub will recall our review of the product and how we raved about it.

It turns out that we aren't alone in finding the Glo Bible software to be very interesting and of great value. We received this press release this week and want to pass some the information along:

Immersion Digital is thrilled to announce that on July 13th, 2012 Glo Bible and Powered by Glo products reached the milestone of 1 million app downloads. 1 million downloads translates into over 30 million minutes of Bible reading in over 120 countries. 

The media-rich interactive Glo Bible app has been downloaded on iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC worldwide (note: we have been told an Android version will be available later this year) in multiple languages including English and Portuguese as well as the newly launched Mandarin and German versions. In addition, Glo technology powers Bible apps included in the 1 million figure such as “The Bible” by United Bible Societies and Bible360 which will have exclusive media from television Producer Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s upcoming television series on the Bible.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MSFT Office 15 "event"

By Chuck Hajdu

Well, I hit another prognostication right on the nose. This week Steve Ballmer of MSFT had a major press event and said exactly what I predicted he would say. Of course it’s easy to predict the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) coming from Redmond, they have been doing it for many, many years.

Here’s what their next big announcement will be about (whenever it comes, it doesn't matter really): don’t buy anyone else’s products, just wait for ours. Our next version of (fill in the blank) will be the greatest product ever and you’ll be so happy you waited!!

Sorry, Steve and sorry MSFT. I won’t be fooled again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pentax K-01 w/40mm f/2.8 lens Review

By Chuck Hajdu

I have been testing a Pentax K-01 for a few weeks now and have had a chance to find several likes and dislikes. Of course, this isn’t a full review, that will be published in our monthly ePub in an upcoming issue. If you aren’t a subscriber just email me and we’ll add you to our list.

For the K-01

What I like:
The excellent auto-focus speed and accuracy
Superb picture quality
The ability to use a gazillion Pentax K-mount lenses
The built-in flash is surprisingly good

What I dislike:
The boxy shape that designer Marc Newson created
The overly simple controls
No thumb rest on the designer back
The hideous “signature” yellow color
No electronic viewfinder which forces you to try to use the LCD on the back in bright sunlight. It just doesn’t work

For the SMC Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 XS lens

Picture quality is great
Auto-focus speed is very impressive

The 27mm filter diameter
The miniscule lens cap (I’ve lost it a half dozen times)
Because of the small depth of the lens the focus ring rubs against your hand when focusing
The 40mm focal length is too long for a one lens camera. The 35mm f/2.4 Pentax lens would be a better choice for anyone buying a K-01 who wants a non-zoom lens

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is This Thing ON? Part 2

Book review by Bayle Emlein

Tame the email monster:
  •   Sort by Sender, Date, or Subject
  •   Reply at once to everything you can.
  •   Keep, and file, only the stuff you >really need. Have a holding file for the stuff you truly can't finish now--not enough info, waiting for input, etc. Abby's personal rule is that she does not get to go to bed with more than 30 unfiled emails.
  •  Give each document and photo a meaningful name, one that will make sense in a year and be findable in a Search.
  •  Use the Who, What, When strategy. If you put the date first in a subject line you can easily find pending items in email lists.

More suggestions: Protecting You and Yours
  • Protect Your Information
  • Should I? (Click here, etc.)
  • If you are asking the question, the answer is NO.
  • It’s just good netiquette to protect the email addresses of your recipients by sending a group email as a BCC even if everyone knows everyone's address.

Help identify spam and hack attempts. If you consistently use a formal or structured greeting and closing, you build an email format that is recognizable to your correspondents and differentiates unsolicited emails and possible hacks to your address book. Folks will know whether or not you every start off with “Hey There!” and you will recognize “I was just wondering how you are doing” as something to delete immediately.

Remember, the box (TV or computer) is not talking to you personally. If an offer to update pops up, treat it like a TV ad and assume it is a link to where you don't want to go. If you think it might be a official product update, go to the application source website and check for sanctioned links.

  •  Ideal is 8 characters, including letters, numbers, and at least one upper case.
  •  Do not use a sequence (e.g.,1234, abcd);
  •  Do not use publicly available information about you;
  •  Develop a strategy for passwords, e.g., embed website letters into a consistent location in your standardized password.

  •   Use multiple media. Neither the Cloud nor thumb drives count in Abby’s opinion.

End of part 2

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Digital camera flash

By Chuck Hajdu

I recently attended a family wedding and had the opportunity to test a digital camera at the event. It turned out to be an excellent test environment because, in addition to the wedding and reception, we had a bride's side versus groom's side softball game. That meant that in addition to the indoor and outdoor wedding we also got to shoot a brightly lit softball field. 

The Olympus camera that I used, a PEN E-P3, performed perfectly and turned out to be an excellent choice. The only problems I ran into invloved using the built-in flash. There were times that is was perfect to illuminate a picture and many times when it was totally inadequate. It proved to be surprisingly effective as an outdoor fill flash and not-surprisingly terrible at lighting a large hall. 

My advice to every photographer is to use your equipment a lot and learn what it can do and what it can't do. The best teacher is always experience and that is especially true with cameras. Don't wait until the last minute to try something, practice starting today.

Friday, July 13, 2012

MSFT Office 15

The word is that on Monday MSFT will make an announcement on the new features that will be available in Office 15 which should be out early next year. Expectations are that there will be lots of tight integration with in8, due out this fall. MSFT needs to keep potential  buyers syched up and waiting for the newest, latest and greatest product from Redmond.

What would happen if buyers realized that they don't need to "upgrade" their software every year or two in order to stay productive? Simple, MSFT would lose a lot of money and their stock price would fall. That's what they really care about.

What MSFT needs to realize is that buyers caught on to MSFT years ago and are using what works, not what they're told they "need". This post is being written on an Android tablet using Google software. Sorry MSFT, no sale here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is This Thing ON? Part 1

 Book Review by Bayle Emlein

Is This Thing On?
By Abby Stokes, 2011 edition

A guide for the novice and those who help them, by Abby Stokes. This is a book, an actual paper and ink book, written by someone who guides novices through everything from considering which technology to buy through the steps of setting it up, using it effectively and safely, to considering the “netiquette” of being a good digital citizen no matter how recently you immigrated to this weird territory. The 2011 edition addresses Twitter, Facebook, Smartphones, cameras, iPads, e-readers, Skype and more.

The subtitle of the book, “A computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes, and the Kicking and Screaming,” tells us who might benefit from finding it in their Christmas stocking. And the last group, the Kicking and Screaming, could apply to anyone who supports the rest of us. With gentle humor, Abby presents an organized strategy for addressing each technological issue. She helps us stand back and see that we’re all newbie somewhere and that we’re all on the same bandwidth as the late bloomers who come after us.

Ms Stokes started her career as an organizer–someone who comes into your home and helps you sort out your cupboards and closets and desktops. Through a fortunate coincidence of timing, she found that people were having as much trouble with their digital desktops as with their actual ones. Out of this came classes and individual support as well as the 2000 edition of Is This Thing On?

At the Southwest Technology & Computer Conference, Ms Stokes summarized guidelines for making computer use more organized:
1.   Only touch once. Handle it and move on.     
2.   Organize according to Who, What, When--depending on which works best for you.  
3.   Have a folder system. Use it.

End of part 1

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Pentax K-30 dSLR

Pentax has announced their new entry level dSLR and it sounds very impressive. Instead of the bling they were shooting for in the past year or so with the K-01 and the Q, this sounds like a really great product. Here’s where you can learn more:

Join PENTAX for a hands-on experience with the brand new K-30 and learn about the impressive features of the K-30 that make it stand out from the competition. Demo cameras including the K-30, Q, K-01 and 645D will be at each event as well as some of our best glass. There will be an Optio WG-2 given away at each tour stop and attendees will receive a special offer on the K-30. Attendees can also enter to win our grand prize—a K-30. The drawing for the K-30 will take place August 9th, 2012.

Dates are available at: http://www.pentaximaging.com/about/events/