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...)