Thursday, February 24, 2011

Need Your Data at Home, Office, Smartphone? Try Dropbox!
By Ben Musall

Dropbox is a very useful tool that allows users to share data between multiple computers and mobile devices that can connect to the Internet. What's really cool about it is that the devices you want to share data with do not have to be on the same Local Area Network but can be anywhere in the world as long as the device has access to the Internet. You can also access your files from the Dropbox website or with an app on your smartphone or other mobile device. The service is offered for free with 2GB of storage space and a fee for more storage. I use the service a lot and 2GB suits my needs. Visit the Dropbox website,, for more information.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Microsoft getting serious about mobile (Finally!)
by Ben Musall

I am really excited about Microsoft's announcement regarding porting the next version of Windows to mobile processors. Your next phone, mp3 player, or "Tablet" may run a FULL version of Windows. Laptop computers will probably benefit from this as well meaning that battery life will drastically improve, maybe even all the way to 75 or more hours on a single charge. We probably won't see this until late 2012 or 2013 - I'm not holding my breath though because early announcement of Windows release dates are usually wrong.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Got Time to Save the Planet?
by Dave Alm

You're going to love this -- you save a heap of money AND do some good for the planet at the same time. Go to the bottom of our web page and click on the small green button that says "CO2 Saver". 

This takes you to the CO2 Saver main page. Once there, click on the Install Now button. This will download this nice little program for. When you run it it will take over the power management of your computer, saving you money -- between $20 and $65 per year. Put it on all of your computers and multiply the savings! We save over $300 a year with this little program.

CO2 Saver works transparently in the background, reducing the amount of juice your computer is pulling. It shows you how much CO2 you have saved from being emitted into the atmosphere. (It would be nicer if it showed the amount of money you had saved, but for free I'm not going to quibble.

It incorporates a nice little search window, but I almost never use it, preferring to use Google from my browser. You can also click to share it with a friend or co-worker. I am surprised more companies don't make this part of the minimum install on all of their computers. Now get out there and save the planet (and some cash)!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Microsoft Tries to Push Bing on Everybody
by Dave Alm

Bing is Microsoft's attempt to get in on the search engine business. It is terrible, especially compared with Google. (You can test sample Google searches against Bing searches at if you don't believe me. It will open your eyes.)

While there is nothing wrong with making a terrible product, what Microsoft has been doing lately has me all riled up. It appears to me they are trying to sneak their cruddy Bing onto all of our computers without our consent!

I see a lot of computers coming through our shop and they are all starting to have Bing on them. It is worth noting that no customer has ever told me they installed Bing or how much they love bing. (If you are one of our customers who loves Bing, do let me know and I will take this back.) It seems to me Microsoft has been using their market dominance to change all of our default search engines settings to Bing. It is usually done without so much as asking your permission in any way that you would notice it. When you do a Windows upgrade, perhaps a browser update, you will suddenly find that your browser's default search engine is no longer whatever it was.

It is almost a certainty you liked your old search engine choice better than bing. When you attempt to change back to Google, you will find it is not there as a choice. You will have to wade through 3 or 4 pages of third-rate search-enginey things to finally find the it, and then it is unclear that it is the "real" Google search engine.

I am wondering why nobody has tried to stop Microsoft from doing this? You can stop them on your computer. Change your preferred search engine back to Google!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Twelve Suggestions for Avoiding Malware
by Dave Alm

1. Avoid sites and discard e-mails offering anything “free” – i.e.: free games, free tunes, free wallpaper, free ringtones, etc.

2. Don’t unsubscribe to e-mails, unless it is a known.

3. Don’t use file-sharing services like Kazaa, gnutella, limewire, etc.

4. Run your anti-malware program weekly or any time you suspect you have a problem.

5. Don’t open any unexpected e-mails – i.e.: Viagra, mortgages, “help me get a million dollars out of the country”, etc.

6. Install a “site advisor” to help you avoid "poisoned" sites.

7. Block pop-ups and unsigned scripts in your browser.

8. Block images in e-mail. This is the default setting in Gmail.

9. Don’t let anyone else use your computer.

10. Convert to Google's Gmail for your email provider. It’s free, secure and you will get a LOT less spam than with your current provider, esp. Yahoo and Hotmail. Their address is:

11. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and consider buying the more complete version which helps against malware.

12. Use common sense.

In the coming years we will see malware and viruses get worse as the incentives for the criminals who do these things increase. Adopting safe practices and thinking before you click can save you a lot of headaches.

If you follow these steps and still wind up getting infected, or if you would like help implementing these measures on your computer, call Dave’s Computer World at 563-3504!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marketing in Madison, Indiana
by Dave Alm

John Wanamaker said, " Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

I just attended an excellent workshop on marketing at the City Hall in Madison, Indiana, down on the Ohio River. The workshop was led by Lisa Sirkin Vielee, owner of Gracie Communications, who works or has worked for The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana Transportation Museum, Indianapolis Cultural Center, and FitCity Indianapolis.

The workshop focused on practical tangible actions a company can take on a limited budget.
Electronic techniques were explored in detail. Search Engine Optimization, Facebook, Twitter, ideas for a company's web pages, direct email campaigns, and blogs were some of the areas covered.

Many ideas I came away with will be helpful in business. Also it really helped build our skill set to help our customers figure out what's out there in the new media and social media and determine what can work for them, make a plan and then implement. There are a lot of exciting new ways to reach our markets, and I would be happy to share what we have learned!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Google Voice -- I Like It!
by Dave Alm

Google Voice is a new gizmo from the Google gang. It integrates all of your various telephones under one new phone number and adds a lot of very nifty features.

It has a waiting list. I signed up for it over a month ago and just received an invition to join yesterday.

What I most like about it so far is two things. First my family and friends and customers can call
one number. It rings all of my phones, and wherever I am, I can take the call there. You can set rules by time of day, caller, etc. You might not want customer calls after five or on weekends. No calls from numbers you have not authorized, and so on.

Second, and the real killer thing for me, is: if nobody answers it goes to voice mail, and then a transcript is made and emailed to me. I can look at in an email on my phone or computer. Their web interface is identical to Gmail, so it is very easy to get going on.

You do not get to choose the new number, nor do you get to use an existing one, but you get to choose from many possible numbers in your area so it is a local call, or for that matter any number in the country. This would be a nice way to give yourself extensions in other cities! It also gives you extremely low long distance rates to other countries. (I have not tried that part yet...)

Another nifty feature is the ability to listen to messages while they are being left. You can record custom greetings for your favorite callers or block annoying callers by marking them as SPAM -- just click on the settings link at the top of your inbox.

This is a fun new product that seems to have a lot of possible uses. It is a window into the future of how telephony is evolving in a decentralized way. It is free at the current time. If this sounds at all interesting you will want to go to their web site at: Sign up for an account and in a month or so you too will have a shiny new Google Voice toy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Sweet Little Intel Atom
by Dave Alm

Super efficient, cost effective, cute! The new Intel Atoms come on a 6.75" square motherboard, also made by Intel. With their low power consumption, an amazing eight watts(!), they are very economical, very green.

The new N330 Dual-Core Atoms make for a zippy-feeling computer that is up to most office workstation needs. The small size of the motherboard and low heat output allow it to be put into a small box without fear of early death due to high internal case temps.

Though video processing, CAD, and serious photo editing may be a little too much, Micrtosoft Office, QuickBooks, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Ebay are all easy lifting for this little comuter that could. They also make a nice MediaCenter PC. Run Windows XP, Vista (boo, hiss), and Windows 7 handily.

If you are in the market for new workstations that won't break the bank, check out the specs and price on the new cute little Atom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dead Camera Memory Card, Flash or Thumb Drive?
by Dave Alm

Ever had a camera card stop working with all of your vacation pictures, birthday pictures, family reunion pictures on it? Urgh! Those little camera cards we trust with all of our memories often get clobbered, either from physical damage we can see, moisture, static electricity.

At Dave's Computer World we have got in a new solution that allows us to recover most lost photos from damaged camera cards, flash drives and thumb drives. One important thing you can do once the media stops responding is to stop fiddling with it. Often data is irretrievably lost when people "try different things."

Bring in those damage cards and let us get your memories back for you!
Intel’s New Core i7 Rocks!
by Dave Alm

Intel’s newest chip is the Core i7 and it is smoking FAST! These are around five times faster than the average dual core processor most people now have. If you do anything that requires real speed, take a serious look at this new speed demon.

The i7 is a quad-core desktop processor with hyper-threading. This means it has four brains inside of the main chip, all working together. There are 6 versions of this chip, from the 920 through the 9750.

Whether number crunching, working with photos, editing videos, gaming, doing CAD rendering – all of these users would see benefits from a computer with this new processor. If you do any of these or are just ready for a new FAST computer, stop in today and let us build one for you!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sneaky Password Crooks from .HK!
by Dave Alm

One of our friends just sent me a copy of an email he'd just received and I thought I would pass it along because it looks very plausable. Here is how it read:

Your Account Expires in 2 Day(s)

The Help desk Program that periodically checks the size
of your e-mail space is sending you this information. The
program runs weekly to ensure your inbox does not grow
too large, thus preventing you from receiving or sending
new e-mail. As this message is being sent, you have 18
megabytes (MB) or more stored in your inbox. To help
us reset your space in our database, please enter your
current user name (_________________) password

You will receive a periodic alert if your inbox size is
between 18 and 20 MB. If your inbox size is 20 MB, a
program on your Webmail will move your oldest e-mails
to a folder in your home directory to ensure you can
continue receiving incoming e-mail. You will be notified
this has taken place.

If your inbox grows to 25 MB, you will be unable to
receive new e-mail and it will be returned to sender. All
this is programmed to ensure your e-mail continues to
function well.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Help Desk

Of course it was not from the internet provider. The reply-to address ended in .hk and I wondered what that might be. When I googled it I found that it is Hong Kong. I also found that Hong Kong is the leader in bad stuff from the internet!

Antivirus software vendor McAfee reports the most dangerous domains to navigate to are “.hk” (Hong Kong), “.cn” (China) and “.info. Of all “.hk” sites McAfee tested, it flagged 19.2 percent as dangerous or potentially dangerous to visitors. Yikes!!! That's some pretty bad numbers.

The chances of downloading spyware, adware, viruses or other unwanted software from surfing the Web have increased greatly in the last year. You do not want to give ANYBODY personal information no mater who they say they are -- and especially if they are from a domain in Hong Kong, China, the Phillipines or Russia.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

With such a bad taste left in my mouth from Vista...
by Ben Musall

I'm kind of embarrassed to say I am starting to like Windows 7. The new "Start" bar on the bottom with its new way of handling open applications seems useful. It also seems faster than Windows XP - A SHOCKER. I guess something I am going to have to do is put it on older hardware (see vitals in previous post) such as a P4 2.0Ghz or something like that. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Windows 7 Beta seems to be worlds better than Vista. 
by Dave Alm

 Admittedly I have only installed and used Windows 7 for about an hour - but so far it seems faster and more stable than Vista has ever been. I'll be updating this in the coming days and weeks as I have more experience.

Test System Vitals:
AMD 6000+ Dual-Core Processor
Asus Motherboard
Onboard Nvidia Geforce 6150 Graphics
3GB Ram
250GB Seagate Hard Drive

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Help! My hard drive just died!!!
by Dave Alm

Your hard drive just failed! You have lost everything!
Every vital data file is gone or totally scrambled --
all of your computer work for over five years GONE!
What will you do? Will your business even survive?

This is some serious pain you want to avoid. You need
to have your computer up and running. You couldn’t
bear to lose your bookkeeping system, company data,
family photos -- the horror stories we see almost daily.

We have the solution to your problem. This is something
you have to do BEFORE your hard drive dies. You owe
it to yourself, your company, your family.

Our new product, designed by software engineers,
transparently backs up your whole system on the fly.
Your backup is up to the minute with no degradation
of your computer’s performance. You will not even
know it’s there.

It's so easy! We take the human out of the process.
Once installed, you never have to do anything. When
the unthinkable happens you are prepared. Total
recovery is fast and inexpensive. What a feeling
knowing you’re protected!

This solution is priced from 169 to 650, depending
on the capacity. Order today -- sleep better tonight!
The Backup Experts -- Dave’s Computer World

Friday, April 03, 2009

I have to tell you about the MAGIC JACK!
by Dave Alm

After seeing all the ads on TV for the last six months for a product called "Magic Jack'" I couldn't resist. I had to see if the thing really worked. I visited my local Walmart and found them in the special As-Seen-On-TV section of the store. The price was 39.95, though they advertise at 19.95 on TV. I later found out the price includes the first year's use. I bought mine and anxiously took it home.

We opened it up and plugged it into a Windows XP computer that is always on. We followed the directions and waited two minutes for it to set itself up and then tried it. The phone produced a dial tone. We dialed a number and waited. In about 5 seconds instead of ringing on through it put out another dial tone.

After over an hour of fiddling we figured out that the machine we were trying to run it on had a special version of windows on it, so we tried another machine. This time it worked fine. We hooked easily it up through our phone system and now we have a new line to use for outgoing calls!

Setup was a breeze once we put it on a good machine, though typing back and forth for support with somebody in India who "wanted to know the problem I would be having" was less than gratifying. Magic Jack is way easier than Skype for long distance calling, though you can't see the other person as is possible with Skype.

The are only two real drawbacks to me: 1.) If the power goes out your phone stops working, and 2.) They do not have numbers in all locations, including ours which surprised me. Most of us also have cell phones now days so the power outage thing is not a big deal, but having a number that forces anyone who wants to call me to dial long distance, well, that part is pretty much a bad deal. The company says they will have more numbers in more localities in coming months. Sounds pretty vague to me. Anyhow it may not be too big of a deal for cell phone users calling in as they have free long distance.

Good clarity and quality, acceptable lag and drop-outs for an IP phone. We had a working IP phone with its own inbound number and free long distance for only twenty bucks a year! Is that not a good deal? I love it when some seemingly cheesy gizmo turns out to be really useful! Go out and buy one! (But you may not want to give up your land line yet...)

Saturday, November 25, 2000

New DCW Techie Cam

Be sure and check out the new Dave's Computer World Techie Cam. It is a web cam located in the shop at Dave's and it's turned on every day during business hours. It refreshes every fifteen seconds, so there is almost always something new happening. Open it in a little window on you desktop and check it out from time to time. See what we're up to -- sometimes Bosco our shop cat wanders through, maybe we're working on you're machine today!