Monday, October 29, 2012

New Blog Posts

To all of our dedicated followers: This blog is not dead or on hiatus, we're just on the road with little or no internet access!!

Please be patient, we'll get back to our regular daily posts very soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

iFruit iPad mini


The iFruit company continues their onslaught of new products with the big announcement of new iPads and improved Macs on October 23rd. All of the new products are smaller, lighter, and faster than their predecessors and competitors products. Oh yeah, and they are still very expensive.

We have reviewed a half dozen different tablets that are the same size as the new 7.9” iPad with mixed results, some were good and some were bad. They were also all much less expensive than the iPad mini!!!

We heard a lot of rumors about what the iFruit company would charge for the mini, with most prognosticators predicting prices around $200-250. Hah!! Were they wrong! $329 is the cheapest version and that’s important to the iFruit bottom line. You can bank on paying a premium price for any product they make. Even if you can get more for less elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NeatScan Scanning Service


We just found out about this service and it sounds like a great solution for a small business.

The way small businesses deal with paper is an important matter.  Some keep what they need handy and store all their hard copy files at an offsite storage center, making the files very cumbersome to get to.  In addition this adds another monthly expense for the small business. Others spend a ton of money on data entry so that the information they may need is somewhere on their hard drive.  Eventually that can add to another expensive storage problem.

As more and more small businesses get smarter they are turning to cloud based environments to host all their important paper documents in one place that can be easily accessed.

The Neat Company recently introduced one of these options.  NeatScan®, a mail-in, bulk scanning service, scans paper documents for Neat users and sends digitized versions directly into their NeatCloud® account.  The service utilizes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Neat’s patented parsing technology to make every document fully searchable and automatically extracts data from receipts and business cards in a way that it can be activated for expense reports, tax preparation and export to other commonly used systems.

Here is how it works:

· Sign up for a NeatCloud plan
· Order pre-paid NeatScan envelopes and boxes and ship all your paper documents to the Neat Company via mail
· Specify how you want your documents scanned and organized
· Neat will scan the documents as you requested and place them in your digital folders
· In just a few days, you will see the documents added to your NeatCloud account

The documents will then be available everywhere users have access to Neat (web, mobile, desktop).  From there, items can be safely stored, and easily organized, accessed and shared.

Customers can request that their original paper documents be returned to them or safely shredded.

Monday, October 22, 2012

November ePub issue is out


The November issue of our monthly ePub was emailed out this morning. As usual, it’s full of interesting columns and reviews and should be a must read for everyone.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, just email us and we’ll add you to the list of subscribers.

IObit AdvancedSystem Care V6


IObit, the world's leading free system utility software provider, today announces the official release of Advanced SystemCare 6. With new features and a fresh interface, Advanced SystemCare 6 continues to provide PC users with the most powerful and easy to use system utility software on the market.

Millions of PC users are familiar with Advanced SystemCare for its elegantly designed interface, easy-to-use functions and one-stop PC optimization solution. Advanced SystemCare 6 has gone through thousands of hours of beta testing to ensure that the official release is the most stable, powerful, and intuitively designed PC optimization software ever made available to PC users.

Advanced SystemCare 6 is designed for users at all levels of technical expertise. With a new, simplified user interface, Advanced SystemCare 6's 'Smart Scan' button can intelligently provide solutions to most PC performance problems. Users can choose between the simple one button interface or power-users have the option to display the extensive PC utility tools in Expert Mode.

Building on the core functions of previous versions, Advanced SystemCare 6 creates a safer online environment with improved online surfing protection that detects and prevents risky websites and other e-threats from harming the PC. Advanced SystemCare 6 also offers performance monitoring that allows users to watch the health of their PC in real-time. These tools are complimented by a next generation of internet boosting technology and a high-powered disk defragment engine, both designed to speed up system performance. Advanced SystemCare 6 is fully compatible with Windows 8, providing comprehensive protection for the latest version of Windows.

"The launch of ASC V6 comes at just the right time for PC users looking for a new way to get the most out of their PC." says Michael Zhao, Marketing Director of IObit "Our intention is to help Windows users keep their PC running as fast as possible and free from malware threats. The best way we can do this is by creating the most powerful, dependable software on the market, and that is exactly what ASC V6 is."

About Advance SystemCare V6
Advanced SystemCare 6 provides an always-on, automated, and all-in-one PC care Service with Malware Removal, Privacy Protection, Performance Tune-up, and System Cleaning capabilities. It also creates superior and safer online experience with the latest Surfing Protection and Internet Boost technology, ensuring you top online security and maximum PC performance. For more information and to download, visit http://www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.html

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Firmware for Crucial SSDs


We received this information from Crucial this week:

Crucial SSDs are designed to support periodic firmware upgrades that provide enhancements to optimize how our drives perform. We're happy to announce that the latest firmware upgrade is now available for your Crucial m4, Adrenaline, or mSATA SSD on our SSD support page.

This is an optional firmware update, but by upgrading you'll benefit from the following improvements:
  • Faster boot up – we improved the time between when you press the power button on your computer and when the drive is ready to accept commands
  • Faster TRIM – we improved how our drives clean up files to make them more efficient
  • Better power management – we improved some power consumption elements so that our drives can draw less power

At Crucial.com, we're proud to deliver first-rate support to our SSD customers and that includes firsthand upgrade news. While you're on Crucial.com downloading the latest firmware, why not see if you can further improve your system's performance with a DRAM upgrade? Our innovative Crucial System Scanner accurately identifies the memory in your system and provides a list of guaranteed-compatible upgrades.  Just another great service we can offer – thank you for being a valued customer!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Lexmark Laser Printers


Lexmark made a major new product announcement this week. Here’s more on it:

Latest product introduction includes 18 smart MFPs that when combined with services and the Perceptive Software portfolio, transform time-consuming processes into efficient, automated workflows to enable business growth

In one of the most significant product launches in the company’s history, Lexmark International, Inc. (NYSE: LXK) today announced a wide breadth of new laser printers and multifunction products (MFPs) built on an enhanced technology platform that delivers productivity-enhancing solutions.

Lexmark’s smart MFPs include an intuitive touch screen that provides access to many powerful applications that reduce the complexities of manual processes and improve productivity. This seamless integration of Lexmark’s smart MFPs with the Perceptive Software portfolio helps improve infrastructure efficiency and team performance to propel growth.

Some of the newest additions to Lexmark’s printer and MFP product families introduced today include:

·         CX510 color laser MFP – Designed for mid-size workgroups, the Lexmark CX510 offers time-saving productivity solutions that are typically present on larger devices. This device produces professional-quality color worthy of branded marketing collateral thanks to Lexmark's calibration technology for the PANTONE® color system and Lexmark Named Color Replacement true color matching.
·         MX812 monochrome laser MFP – This high-performance MFP features exceptionally fast processor, print, copy and scan speeds. As the first A4 monochrome laser MFP to print and copy up to 70 pages per minute1, as well as to deliver the first page in as quickly as four seconds1, this is the ideal device for large enterprise workgroups who need a workhorse in the office. It provides professional finishing and comes with pre-loaded business solutions that are quickly accessible through an intuitive 10.2-inch color touch screen. An extra high-yield 45,000-page Unison toner cartridge, the largest in its class1, ensures fewer user interventions to replace toner.
·         MX611 monochrome laser MFP – The Lexmark MX611 features a vibrant 7-inch color touch screen, providing access to pre-installed workflow solutions that enhance business productivity by automating tasks. It’s a workhorse equipped to print up to 50 pages per minute and prints or copies a first page in as quickly as seven seconds. The Lexmark MX611 is the only MFP in its class2 that offers an automatic inline stapler finishing option.
·         MX410 monochrome laser MFP – The Lexmark MX410 introduces solutions capabilities on an MFP below the affordable $600 price point. The device saves time with fast processor, print, copy and scan speeds, and with powerful productivity solutions via the 4.3-inch color touch screen. It prints up to 10,000 pages per month, up to 40 pages per minute, and prints or copies a first page in as quickly as seven seconds.
·         MS610 monochrome laser printer – Starting at $699, the Lexmark MS610 is impressive in its own right with duplex and built-in productivity solutions3. As the fastest compact A4 monochrome laser printer4, it prints up to 16,000 pages per month, up to 50 pages per minute, and a first page in as little as six-and-a-half seconds. The easy-to-use 4.3-inch color touch screen3 also enables users to manage jobs right at the device.

Further information about these products and additional models introduced today can be found at www.lexmark.com.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pentax Q Discontinued


We found this post on the Pentax Forums:

With the imminent availability of the Pentax Q10, the Pentax Q (launched in July, 2011, see review) has officially been discontinued, and stock at US retailers is starting to thin out.  We believe that the $385 black Q prime kit will be the first to go, followed by the zoom and dual-lens kits.

Fortunately, the Q10 only costs $100 more than the old Q, and even this price is well below the original MSRP of the Q (which was an astronomical $799 back in 2011).  To learn more about the Pentax Q10, please see our Photokina Q10 preview.  The Q10 is expected to start shipping late this week or early next week.  If you're interested getting one or upgrading your old Q, it is already available for pre-order.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Tablet Computers


It should be an interesting next week or so. Both MSFT and the iFruit company will be introducing their new tablets to the world and both of them are hoping to sell gazillions of them in the next few months.

Both of them will have products that directly compete with each other so it will be an interesting battle. Both of them also have massive war chests and will be able to keep prices down and advertising up to lure potential buyers.

We’re looking forward to seeing what happens in the end. Will MSFT make a major comeback or will the iFruit company continue to dominate the tablet market?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nexus 7 Review

By George Harding

This is the latest in the tablet wars, a 7 inch (diagonal measure) one from Google. We’ve all heard about Apple’s stunning success with its iPad line and Amazon’s Kindle line. There are many other tablets, but none as successful as the iPad.

Nexus 7 hopes to rival that success and it is an excellent start toward that goal.

The size is what you notice first. Unless you have been using a full-sized tablet for a while, you can well be quite satisfied with the 7 inch size. I’ve been watching the live Olympics feeds on this tablet and have found it quite viewable.

The innards include a Tegra-3 quad-core chip. Tegra is not a widely known name, but it is made by a highly respected company – nVidia. The quad-core aspect, of course, means that you have four chips working as needed, to give faster performance.

The operating system is Android, the ubiquitous system that powers more cell phones than any other. The Nexus 7 comes with the latest Android version, 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

The screen is highly visible with a pixel density of 216 per inch. The iPad’s 264 pixel per inch density for the retina display is superior, but see below for the vast difference in cost. Resolution is 1280 X 800.

This tablet has a front-facing camera, which may be a drawback for some, since it would be clumsy to take pictures of anyone but yourself with it. Interestingly, Google has included a face recognition feature which can be used to unlock the screen, instead of using a password. The camera is more likely to be used for Skype calls.

Connectivity is through WiFi. Cell connectivity is not available, which may be a drawback for some.  Since I will be using the Nexus 7 here at home, that is not a problem for me.

The Nexus 7 comes with several apps already loaded. The latest member of the Bourne series (Bourne Dominion) is pre-loaded and can be read right on the tablet. There are several magazines and a couple of books, too, pre-loaded. It also comes with a $25 credit for Google Play.

Google Play gives you access to a bunch of entertainment. For example, there are more than 600,000 apps and games, millions of eBooks, songs, movies and more. If you stay with the free stuff, you can enjoy your tablet for a long time. The $25 credit goes in a hurry if you find items that cost money.

As you might expect, Nexus 7 doesn’t give you access to Internet Explorer, but Chrome is a very mature and good performing browser. Gmail is built in, but you can use any of the common portals for email that you wish.

The Nexus 7 is light (12 ounces) and easy to hold. The back is sort of rubbery and is not likely to slip from your grasp. There is an on-off-sleep button on the upper right side, and an up-down volume control. There are speakers which give remarkably good sound, and a microphone.

Probably the most important item for Nexus 7 is the price. At $199, it is considerably less expensive than the iPad. The only tablet that comes close is the Kindle. That price gives you 8 GB of storage, which may seem skimpy, but the Tegra chip is much more efficient that other chips, requiring less memory. If you need more, the $249 model has 16 GB.

Battery life is very good. Google says you get eight hours of movie watching and up to 10 hours of Web browsing. I’ve had to recharge several times, with my Live Olympics viewing.

I also used my laptop to view Live Olympics. It was interesting to compare the Nexus 7 with the laptop. I found that the Intel dual-core chip in the laptop provided poorer resolution and produced frame-skipping, which does not happen with the Nexus 7.

This is a great tablet at a great price. There are some disadvantages, when compared to an iPad, but at $300 less, it’s a bargain!

Nexus 7 by Google                  Use Google search for Nexus 7                     Price $199 for 8 GB model

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pentax K-5 Closeout


With the imminent availability of the Pentax K-5 II, B&H Photo has dropped the price of the original Pentax K-5 to $849 as final stock gets cleared out.  While lower prices may be available from independent internet sellers, this is the lowest online offer from an authorized US Pentax retailer (price on Amazon: $899, Adorama: $879).

This price is less than half of the K-5's original launch MSRP of $1749, making the camera a true bargain, while it lasts. According to B&H, this is their las K-5 shipment.



Monday, October 15, 2012

Prices for Win 8


MSFT has finally announced the prices for Win 8 which is due out later this month. Here’s what we’ve found out:

  • Windows 8 Professional Upgrade - $69.99 (save $130)
  • Windows 8 Pro Pack – Product Key Card (no media) - $69.99 (save $30)
  • Windows 8 (Full Version) – OEM $99.99
  • Windows 8 Pro (Full Version) – OEM $139.99
The two OEM products are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Microsoft has already announced that it will offer downloadable versions of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade for a discounted price of $40. That offer ends on January 31, 2013. In addition, anyone purchasing new Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 will be entitled to a $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

New iBike Products


iBike recently announced some new products for iFruit lovers. Here’s the information:

Velocomp www.ibikesports.com, a leading sports technology company and creator of the iBike line of cycling power meters, cycling fitness systems, and bike computers, announced today two new products, the iBike® Dash CC 5TM cycling computer and iBike Phone Booth 5TM bike case and mount.  Both products are designed specifically for the new iPhone 5 and feature advanced Bluetooth 4 bike sensor technology to track speed and cadence and water resistance to protect your iPhone from the elements.  

Made in the U.S.A., the iBike Phone Booth 5 will be available in November and the iBike Dash CC 5 Cycling Computer will be available in December.  All iBike Dash products for earlier iPhone and iPod touch models will continue to be available.   “We are excited to be able to bring out the new iBike Dash CC 5 Cycling Computer and iBike Phone Booth 5 quickly after the launch of the game changing iPhone 5,” said John Hamann, CEO Velocomp.  “At iBike, the wheels of progress and value just keep turning!”

Available in November, the iBike Phone Booth 5 case & mount for iPhone 5 is available now for pre-order, priced at $49.95 at Amazon.com or the iBike Store online at: http://store.ibikesports.com/iphone-bike-case-mount/ibike-phone-booth-for-iphone-5-pre-order , and will also be available for purchase in late November at Apple Stores or Apple online.

Available in December, the iBike Dash CC cycling computer for iPhone 5 is available now for pre-order priced at $99.95 MSRP at Amazon.com or the iBike Store online at: http://store.ibikesports.com/bike-computers/ibike-dash-cc-bike-computer-for-iphone-5-pre-order, and will also be available for purchase in late November at Apple Stores or Apple online.  Optional Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate sensor is also available.

The iBike Coach app is available from the iTunes App Store at:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibike-coach/id439272097?mt=8

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pentax K-01 Firmware Update


Pentax has just released a firmware update for the Pentax K-01 which includes the following changes:
  • Improved the auto focus performance
  • Improved stability of recording for some SDHC/SDXC memory card
  • Improved stability for general performance
It is very welcome to finally see see a stability update for something other than a high-end body, let alone an update that improves autofocus.

Download the Firmware Here
In order to upgrade your firmware, follow these simple steps:
  1. Download the firmware ZIP file using the link above
  2. Unzip the zip file to a folder of your choosing
  3. Locate the extracted .BIN file and copy it to the root of a formatted SD card
  4. Insert the card into your camera and ensure it is fully charged
  5. Turn the camera power on while pressing the Menu button (alternatively, go to the setup tab in the menu and select the firmware option)
  6. Select "Yes"at the firmware prompt
  7. Once the screen displays "Complete", turn off your camera
  8. Power your camera back on and resume normal use
  9. In order to verify that the firmware update was successful, hold the menu button while powering your camera on.  The screen should indicate version 1.x, where x is the latest version number for your camera, as listed above.  You should then power off your camera and resume normal use.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Golla iPad Cases


Golla has some new iPad cases coming soon that really look incredible. Here’s the announcement:

Golla presents iPad Slim Folders with big attitude

The iPad is a device made for everybody and Golla gives it its own personal style. The new Golla iPad Slim Folders arrive at stores in November 2012. They combine slim design with a big attitude, providing style and adaptability for life on the move.

Golla’s iPad Slim Folders provide a lightweight and versatile structure for the best use of all the iPad’s features:
• crafted for the New iPad and iPad2
• slim and lightweight
• all-around protection from scratches
• built in smart stand for easy viewing
• supports the iPad’s auto sleep function

Colors and designs to fit your style
The Golla iPad Slim Folders come in eight colors and with fresh designs. Smooth high-quality materials add to the outstanding look and feel. Urban and active, artistic and elegant, sporty and vibrant: Golla fits your style without compromising freedom and functionality. Wherever you go, whatever your inspiration, Golla has you covered.

  • 8 designs come to stores in November
  • recommended retail price: EUR 49,90/USD 59.99

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MSFT to Shift Gears


Recently MSFT CEO Steve Ballmer sent his annual letter to shareholders and it continued big news, they are going to shift their emphasis to making products like phones and getting more into services. The success they have had with the Xbox line and their hopes for a profitable tablet line are examples of how they want to make money in the future.

It sounds to me like MSFT hopes to become as profitable as Apple or Google, and see their stock soar to the elevated levels of those two tech giants. When you look at MSFT’s history you can’t help but notice a few other attempts to take on the iFruit company as a device maker. Previous MSFT phones were all terrible with a clunky, bloated OS and slow performance. How many of you remember the “iPod killer”, better known as The Zune, a slew of products and services that died a slow painful and expensive death.

In life anything can happen and MSFT may well make a successful transition to become a 21st Century powerhouse. It’s just something I don’t see happening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

iPhone 5 Production Problems


We read this story online and know all of the iFruit FanBoyz and Gurlz will want to know about it!

Production of the iPhone 5 has been halted once again following fresh disruption at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn.

Reports from Asia suggest that up to 4,000 workers at the controversial factory have staged a walkout over a dispute about forced holiday work, stopping iPhone 5 production lines at “multiple” locations.

The dispute originated from Foxconn’s Zhengshou plant and subsequently spread to three other locations. What are described as “overly strict demands on product quality” reportedly led to fights between workers and inspectors.

In typical Foxconn style, the troubles were ended on Saturday night after all those involved were threatened with the sack.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

3D Printing Goes to the Home Market


By Robert Sanborn

At CES last year, one of the coolest things was the 3D Printer or "Replicator" as some of us like to call them.  I saw one company passing out tiny key chain sized trinkets as samples but you should take a look at the following YouTube video to put it all in perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-aWFYT_SU  

Granted, this video is not for the home user, the wrench they produce consumes about $250 in material, but the technology is starting to make it to the home hobbyist in the form of kits that sell for less than $1500. 

I remember my geeky friends paying far more than that in the late 70s for a computer home kit.  Tech Republic has put together a pretty cool review of these home 3D printers at their site: 3D printers: 10 machines for home manufacturing