Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Firefox 3.1 beta 2 available for download. You're not still waiting for a vaporware Internet Explorer 8 are you. Download is here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Prices for consumables: I've already written that if you need replacement toner cartridges for an HP color LaserJet, its cheaper to buy a new printer; the same situation holds true for Norelco razors, and HP Colorsmart Inkjet printers. Norelco HQ8 replacement blade sets cost over $30 for models of their rotary razors. But razor model 7310 comes with new blades, new charger, new motor, and new internal battery, all for under $30. Similarly a set of HP74 & 75 ink cartridges for an C5280 Photosmart inkjet printer can cost as much as $45 retail, but Office Depot was selling a new HP D5360 Colorsmart printer for $24.99 on Black Friday, which includes a new set of 74/75 ink cartridges.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Buying a Laptop - Thanksgiving 2008.

A friend asked me how much they should pay for a PC laptop if they wanted to buy one on Black Friday. My answer:

I wish it were as simple as naming a price. Prices start at about $400 (maybe less day after Thanksgiving) but the lowest priced ones have cut corners, producing machines one will likely quickly regret buying. At the end of 2008, A laptop you'd be happy with a year from now should optimally contain:
1. 4 Gigs of Ram (Not 1 or 2)
2. An Intel CPU (Not AMD), (Not Intel Celeron)
3. An ATI or Radeon Graphics processor with its own memory.
(Not Intel with shared Ram)
4. A 200 Gig or larger Hard Drive (Not 120)
5. 802.11n Wireless Networking (not just 802.11g)
6. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Operating System.
(Must get the "Premium")
Corners are typically cut on one or more of those items.
A larger screen is nice, but adds to the weight and cost of the unit.
Also when one buys a laptop, A spare battery and a heavily padded (no name) case should also be purchased. A case with a Dell or Sony or other logo on it invites theft. If buying at work these items can easily be justified at time of purchase, maybe not later on when they come from a different line in a budget.
Thus $700 or more for a laptop, and $150 for case and extra battery.
Laptops are great if one needs their own computer at different locations on a regular basis. But laptops, because of minituration, tend to be more fragile and about a year behind on technology; so if the machine is just for home use, I DON'T RECOMMEND one buy a laptop

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

President-Elect Obama is a Macintosh User.

Story here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The same folks that refuse to believe the SCIENCE of evolution have been refusing to believe the SCIENCE of polling to predict an election, again to their detriment. The same old "Don't like the message, attack the messenger"

Pew and Rasmussen were the most accurate; coming closest to the
52 to 47% Popular vote total. Most pollsters matched that within their
"margin of error", and all had correctly predicted an Obama win.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


2010 Prius








More pictures here.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toyota Prius: With the Stock Market decline of October 2008, folks worried about their job, other folks in Houston area having to spend because insurance didn't cover as promised after Hurricane Ike, and Gas prices again below $3/gallon; waiting lists for a Toyota Prius have melted away.

The Prius is a GREAT car: compact on the outside, Mid size on the inside, with lots of bells and whistles even without high priced option packages. And getting around 50 miles per gallon in city driving is not too shabby.

A few add-ons one might consider, unavailable from Toyota are:
Vent Visors, available from autoanything.com .
Body side moldings, available from metrotpn.com .
Auto Door locks, available from priuschat.com It locks the car at startup.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Continental Airlines: You'd think with fuel prices down 25% they could rescind some of their extra charges; like $75 to use Frequent flyer miles. Then I discovered they had put me on a Delta Airlines flight, which might not have been a problem, except with a scheduled 40 minute layover in Atlanta, I disliked being placed in row 28. Couldn't change it at continental.com, as their computer doesn't have access to Delta's seating chart, and going to Delta.com; their website didnt recognize my Continental reservation number. A telephone call to Delta, eventually got them to reveal their own reservation number for my itinerary, which then allowed seat changes (now in row 14) at the Delta.com web site. Got a rent-a-car through Continental.com, which I've since cancelled as Hotwire got me a price 40% lower, while still using Hertz; who knew Hertz now has prices through Hotwire that match Alamo pricing?

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Hydrox ! : Hydrox cookies are now available again, although maybe only for a short time. Two links tell the whole story: Wikipedia and the manufacturer's own website. My review is as follows:

A local store (Randalls) has them advertised at two for $5, the regular price will be $3.59 per package, and they come in a 14 oz package, smaller than original. My son sight unseen distrusts them as transfats have been removed and believes they can't have the same mouth feel. My taste test is as follows. They taste 100% like I remember Hydrox, although the creme filling is softer and slightly more squishy than the original. This can easily be taken care of by storing one's Hydrox in a refrigerator. I give them an A-, my son may give them a different grade.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

AT&T cant even do rip offs right:
It's a scandal that cell phones are sold for a 2 year contract, but
only carry a 1 year warranty, and commonly batteries WILL NOT LAST 2
YEARS.

So at 15 months age I discover my batteries lasting barely
longer than 1 day, but when new they lasted 4 days.

For a Sony/Ericsson w300i, the ATT website says a replacement Lithium
battery is $59.99 but they are out of stock.

At Amazon.com w300i batteries are $4.17 and in stock.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Citibank Screw Up - A few months back I got a Citibank at&t Universal Savings Rewards MasterCard. The hook is: all at&t purchases matched by any other charge get a 5% credit. ie. If your Cellular bill is $100 and you charged another $100 that month, you get a 5% credit in your card; and for the first year, you'd get a bonus 5%.

All went well the first few months, and I got 10% off. Then apparently in August at&t changed how the charges were submitted to Citibank. They were no longer submitted as "Cingular" which the Citibank computer knew was an at&t charge. It's now submitted as ATTM,
for at&t mobile, which Citibank didn't program its computer to recognize as an at&t charge; as no credits are issued.

I am hopeful that by going public Citibank will correct this error faster and retroactively give credits, rather than wait to see if customers discover the error and call in.

Followup: Two days later I get a call back from the Citibank President's Office, that still wants to blame it on AT&T, but says they're correcting the problem, and an $8.23 credit will appear on my account in 2 or 3 cycles/months. I told them that in the 21st Century, there's no excuse for it to take so long, and if their computer systems are so archaic I need to cancel my account, and I did.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buying a Prius: Three factors caused me to start seeing about buying a Prius. First my Pontiac Vibe isnt getting any younger. Second Toyota's next generation plug-in hybrid Prius isn't ready for prime time yet, and so the 2009 Prius will be essentially identical to the 2008 models. With gasolene prices now down to $3.50/gallon in Houston, and still dropping, long waiting lists are "melting" away. I identified a dealer that took my deposit for a 2009, put me on his waiting list, and we agreed that I would "only" pay MSRP when it comes in. I was told it might be three to six months. Next day I got to give to the sales manager a piece of my mind when a "Sales Consultant" called me to say that they had a Prius just in, that the person it was inline for declined, and I could have it for $1500 over sticker. I declined and asked that I not be contacted about any Prius they wanted to sell for over sticker (MSRP) price.
I think the dealer is ordering the following. A 2009 Prius Touring in Driftwood Pearl, with Bisque cloth Interior, and option package 3, which includes Deluxe audio system and anti-theft system, Bluetooth, but not DVD Navigation system. Standard now on all but the cheapest Prius is anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Stability System, Cruise control and Backup Camera. All Prius now have more airbags than you thought possible.
I have already ordered Texas specialty license plates KW-82, as 82 Kilowatts is the total output capability of the Hybrid system, so I seem committed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our DirecTv HR10-250 a TiVo DirecTv receiver decided after Tropical Storm Edouard had passed through that it only had one signal input instead of two. Having recently signed up for Directv Service plan @ $5.95 a month, I figured a simple phone call would save me from a $79.99 (and up) service call to resolve the problem (wiring or Multiplexor, etc). However DirecTv will still charge for a service call in first 30 days of that plan, so I cancelled the Service Call, and set out to solve the problem myself. First I swapped input lines at the receiver, and the problem moved with the cables switched, so I knew it was upstream from the receiver. Then I traced that line around the house, and found some suspect connections, so I bypassed them all with a new longer piece of RG6 wiring, and voila, problem went away. So I went to my local Electronics Supply store and bought RG6 Cable Clips to mount the new piece of wire nicely, and cut it to exact size needed and added a connector (C110-F). All is fine now, and I cancelled the Service Plan, which is free for first 30 days.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Your Microsoft Internet Explorer is unsafe. Story here. Use a safe browser. Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 protect your browsing from websites that will leave malware on your computer.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Microsoft Vista is bad because it is bad. Sorry Microsoft: Microsoft ran a trick demo of Vista, calling it a new OS "Mojave", and only seeing a demo, and not being able to interact with it, users said it seemed good. Microsoft spins that it means people who don't like Vista really haven't used it. WRONG. People who have used MS VISTA, and have not just seen a carefully choreographed demo don't like Vista. The same day Microsoft's trick hit the news, so did this story of Vista being difficult and a way to work around Vista's all too common crashes. Another user of Vista comments here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Renewable Energy Breakthrough ? An MIT scientist uses solar energy to "easily" make Oxygen and Hydrogen from water - using an catalyst - and says now you don't need to worry about power from solar at night. Story here. Sounds like such a technique could also have benefits for wind or tidal power also, neither of which is continuous.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reviving a "clogged" HP Ink cartridge Just over a year ago I bought an HP5280 "Photosmart" printer when it was on sale at Office Depot. It prints, it scans, it automatically will print from Camera memory card to 4 x 6 photo paper, and it will print to "printable" CDs and DVDs. However for Black and white printing I use my LaserJet, at a far lower cost per page, and with little use, the black ink cartridge of the 5280 clogs up (HP74), long before they are used up.
Using Google, I found a web page that suggested how up clear the clogs. First they say run the print head under hot water, and if that fails, soak it in a dish with 50% hot water, 50% ammonia. I had no ammonia, so I used a few flakes of lye from a drain cleaner, to provide some alkalinity. A 10 minute soak revived the cartridge, saving me money, and restoring my faith in this printer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AT&T offers free security software: If ATT is your Internet provider, they now provide free Security software, similar to how Comcast provides McAfee software. ATT provides Norton software that only can be installed if you're running Internet Explorer 6 or 7 under Windows. As I use Firefox 3.01; that makes the software useless for me. The web page fails to tell whether it daily checks that you're an ATT customer, or if it expires in a year or what.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Stupid Astros promotions: We already mentioned how worthless their $35 all you can eat promotion is. To make matters worse, Thursday is also the day they have their monthly $1 Hotdog night to compete with themselves.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Comcast's right hand conflicts with left hand: Yesterday they brag about having 100 Mbps download for Internet users nationwide by 2010.
Too bad they demonstrate they can't even provide 6 Mbps downloads now without blacklisting heavy users;
and look for new ways to secretly stop "heavy use". Or are they really making sure Comcast customers will have to use Comcast "On Demand" rather than Netflix or other streaming video ?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Worthless Houston Astros Promotion - All you can eat Thursdays - You pay $35 for a ticket and then get a voucher, good for a wristband, that allows you 4 items at a time at one and only one concession stand. Press release here.

I am old enough to remember a Free Beer promotion from 1974. Free beer rest of night if an Astros hit a home run on an even numbered minute. After that happened, and every concession stand was passing out beer, the lines were 15 deep and up with 10 minute waits.

Guaranteed you'd have to spend all your time on lines to get some value from the "All you Can Eat Thursday" promotion which does not include beer.

Turns out a Houston Sports writer 100% agrees with me. His story here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

PASSWORDS: I need to go edit my passwords and make them "Stronger", ie some random letters or numbers included. I discovered I had some 2 dozen utilities, credit cards, businesses I go on the web to visit, and each requies a Username, Password, and sometimes Challenge questions or 2nd level passwords. Got so messey I typed up a spreadsheet with them all, and the printout is stored in a lock box. Too many places lock you out after just 2 or 3 failed login attempts, or require password changes at 6 month intervals, or are adding 2nd level passowrds, making it near impossible for mere mortals to remember them all.
Firefox can often cache your password and username, but I should trust a Browser to remember,
and if a virus checker clears those caches? Hence the list. I am pleased to say no two passwords are identical now, but some should be STRONGER.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Global Warming: In the past million or 2 million years, the earth has undergone major climatic changes, of cooling and warming, resulting in four Ice ages, with Glaciers moving as far south as the Ohio River and Long Island, the earth warmed and the glaciers retreated, and the ice age ended, back when the number of humans on the earth was in thousands.
Thus I am not fully convinced that any current global warming is caused by man, or increases in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. However, "excess" carbon dioxide can trivially, and without great cost be removed. Story here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Drug Pricing News: Walmart, which was first promoting low $4 pricing for month supplies of generic drugs, then went national, has now added 3 month supplies for $10, and doesn't charge a $20 annual fee like Walgreens does. I'm headed over to Walgreens to get that $20 refunded. Details here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Price Gouging on Generic Drugs:

Pricing on a 90 day 3 month supply:



And yet Walgreens happily sells 400 Generic drugs/doseages at $12.99 now for 3 month supply to compete with Walmart, CVS, Kroger and HEB. At an $8.97 wholesale price $12.99 is a reasonable mark-up. I think paying Walgreens $12.99 is better for me than paying Aetna a $60 copay, so that is what I now do. CVS is apparently ashamed of the price differential so doesn't list their plan online.
No wonder Aetna tries to stall transferring a prescription (my experience).

Wholesale prices seen here: Read also here.

Retail prices as quoted to customer by Company

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Symantec Rebate: 10 days after mailed in they say : "Your rebate is valid and is scheduled for final processing." Translation - We're going to sit on it for 30 days now.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kaspersky followup: My credit card online is now showing a full refund for Kaspersky Anti Virus. See the April 10 and 11th posts for the reasons for that. And actually my April 4 post about credit cards is also relevant here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quicken 2008 : I had to give up and stay with MS Money 2007. It was easy to set up Quicken as it downloaded data from financial institutions ( but each institution had a different time frame it supplied from 3 months to 18 months, making historical calculations with Quicken worse than useless) , and after doing it the first time, subsequent times, it claimed no new transactions from Bank of America (untrue), and totally bollixed up transactions from TIAA-CREF. Then its built in graphics were flat unacceptable and unuseable with the "My Accounts" window refusing to stay as top window, but with elements of underlying window being redrawn on top of it. Also it kept nagging me to use their pay services that I get for free through my banks. All-in-all I grade it a D-; and can not recommend it.

Followup: I went to add this review to those Amazon has for Quicken, and discovered most folks think worse of Quicken than I do.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Some folks get too used to a GPS: and don't use common sense. Item - 11 foot tall bus ignores sign warning of a 9 foot high overpass. Story here.
More on Garmin GPS: Amazon's customer reviews of Garmin GPS are the most consistantly glowing of any product I've ever seen. One reviewer rails against Magellan Support in India, maybe the same crowd that does Symantec. The "2009" (translation: April 2008) maps by Garmin for updating your existing Garmin GPS can now be obtained at discount here they are not yet available from Garmin.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Comcast Fiction: The quality of their cable HD broadcasts has just gotten worse so they can offer a couple more HD channels (still under 1/3 of what DirecTv has). Story here

Friday, April 18, 2008

Norton isn't so good either: My Internet Explorer 6, and my Firefox 3.0b5 started crashing multiple times a day. Googling shows this to be a known issue, but no help in online FAQs, 90 minutes in chat with "analysts" from India whose command of English is seriously wanting (I'd be asked questions I'd already answered continually); and then without a resolution, they terminated the Chat. They said make sure Internet Explorer was in the allowed list; it was. I've just turned off the "Personal Firewall" altogether, hoping my Router and the rest of Norton Internet Security will keep me safe. Certainly my browsers now work, and faster.
In order to get a Virus Scan to complete, I had to turn off scanning of compressed archives (Zip files, etc). Norton is unacceptably very poorly error trapped. If it had a problem, it stopped and exited, rather than giving one the option of skipping the problematic archive.
Symantec at least (in theory) makes it relatively easy to get a refund should you decide the above is too much grief. Go here. The web address for refunds given on product package doesn't currently exist.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lowest prices yet on GPS Quality Garmin GPS units at close out prices at Amazon as units with the "new" 2009 maps are coming out in 3 weeks. The Garmin nĂ¼vi 360 and the 660 are very good automotive units and now at prices 20% less than Black Friday sale prices of last November.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another Comcast Fiction: It's bad enough Comcast has TV commercials that say they have more HD than Satellite, when they have 27 HD channels and DirecTv has 95, but today USPS delivers an advert for Comcast Business Class Solution of Voice + Internet + TV for $99/month.

I call the "800" number provided and after being on hold longer than makes sense if they want to sell something, I ask, "What can you tell me makes Business Class any different or better than Residential Service with its known abysmal service?" the answer I got was: "I don't have that information".

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time to ditch Kaspersky ?: An older Dell 4400 has Kaspersky Internet Security 7.x installed, and it has problems of its own. Internet Explorer and Firefox decided not to connect with the Internet, but Opera and Safari would. Again Kaspersky didn't fix the problem, just secretly posted a workaround here. Are the Russians just testing ways to shut down computers in the rest of the world by knowing how to sabotage Kaspersky ?
Next time Fry's has Norton on sale "Free After Rebate", guess what I'm doing? AntiVirus software is supposed to make your computer safer, not more vulnerable. (Note also my grief on April 10).
And I forgot to mention that Norton/Symantec is more reliable and much quicker about paying rebates, although I just received a rebate from a Drug Company in 10 days, so timely payment of rebates can be done if they want to.

FOLLOWUP: Kaspersky uninstalled, a request for refund made, and Norton 2008 installed.
I picked up a Norton Internet Security 2008 Premier 3 User", for $69.99 + tax, minus $60
mail in rebates at Fry's. So for a net of $10 I get 3 copies of Norton System Works Basic, which is what makes what I bought "Premier". Installation was relatively easy, and only configuration changes I made was not to scan outgoing email, and to upgrade to Yahoo Messenger 9 (beta) so the AntiVirus would watch over it, as it doesn't work with current version 8.1 I also got rid of or hid all those distracting, annoying Norton Taskbar icons.

FOLLOWUP 4/22 : Element 5, the folks I had bought Kaspersky AntiVirus from online, now claim to be processing a full refund to my credit card. Kaspersky Internet Security, I didn't ask for refund, as it had been "Free" after rebates.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back to Normal ! I was wondering why my Windows XP Pro SP3 was slowing down to a dead stop, and gmail stopped working in Firefox. Finally figured it out. I had earlier re-done my XP on a larger Hard Drive in my MacPro, and all was well at first. Finally traced my problem to Kaspersky AntiVirus 7.0.1.325 I use and its a known problem that Kaspersky makes you search their database to find. They say uninstall, download previous version 7.0.0.125, and install that, then make other changes so it won't update. So I did; and all is well; as long as I have "ProActive Defense", and scanning of outgoing email turned off.
Any more grief from Kaspersky and its back to Norton AntiVirus for me.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Always buy stuff with a credit card. Four main reasons.
1. You don't have to pay for it right away. I haven't paid interest on a card in 27 years,
but its nice not to have to pay for it till next month.
2. Infinitely easier to return for refund. I've had a (TV Personality) Furniture store owner
refuse to take back an unassembleable trundle bed, until I mentioned I had charged it.
3. You may get credits for using your credit card. Airline miles, free gas, 5% off your next
car, etc.
4. Most important, you have leverage if something goes wrong.

ATA Airlines just went belly up, cancelling all flights. A story about them said:
"The defunct airline's Web site tells people who bought tickets with plastic to contact their credit card companies for refund information. The will be no refunds for passengers who used cash or a check."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hewlett Packard sales : Most curious. Consider the aimed at business OfficeJet 6310. It's currently selling for $199.97 at Office Max, $144.99 direct from HP, and $139.99 from MicroCenter.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Best April Fool's jokes for 2008.

GMAIL Custom Time - Pick a time stamp for your email, wait, Blogger already allows this
Use "Post Options", and you can pick a date and time..

I'm saved from looking for more as someone's done it already. Story here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Final Version _ Release is now delayed until end of April 2008. Story here:

Monday, March 24, 2008

MS Windows Vista SP1 grief: Luckily it worked well on my Apple Intel Xeon MacPro, but not for many other folks, and so Microsoft is now offering free "support" for folks having problems with Vista SP1: story here. Not sure why the story omitted the phone number Microsoft says to use: (866) 234-6020, then push 1, 6 and 2 to get through the menus so as not to be charged. Microsoft site here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sony will rip you off: Sony, like most PC makers, make some extra bucks by loading your machine with software you may not want, like trial (short lived) versions of some programs. It's been labled bloat, its (not unfairly) also called crap. Now Sony for $50 extra, if you also have paid another $100 extra for an "upgrade" to Vista Business, will sell you a "Fresh Start" PC with out the bloat. Story here.

I call it a rip off, because one can easily remove the unwanted stuff by running simple software as soon as you unbox your new PC. PC DeCrapifier, now at version 1.8.8 and available for free download here.

Followup: Sony, after other complaints like mine, has backed off charging the extra $50 for "Fresh Start" but it's still only availble on PCs with Vista Business at $100 extra. Story here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Todays downloads? As of 9:30 AM CDT, I can't find Vista SP1 for download, but Apple's Safari 3.1 is available. Great browser !

Followup - as of 12:15 PM CDT, Vista SP1 is now available here.

Followup 2: Took 2 hours to Install as one first has to uninstall Service Pack 1 Release Candidate,
then install the release version of Service Pack 1. It would be nice if the separate
SP files had different names and different Knowledge Base numbers. It all went
smoothly, except that Kaspersky AV initially kept Internet Explorer from
connecting to the Internet. Luckily, no such problem with Firefox. Now at 54 updates to Windows Vista.
FiServ's Vaporware : Last week I expressed interest after reading about the coming ability to deposit checks at your bank via home computer. Turns out it's likely at least a year away (IMHO) if ever. I wrote FiServ enquiring which bank could I get see this service at and was told:

We announced the product in February and now banks are signing up for a test. Currently we are working with several banks, but they are only in test mode. Once this passes to the consumer test we’ll let you know so you can sign up. It is exciting news, but a few months away.

Thanks for your interest


Translation: It's VAPORWARE


P.S. I have zero interest putting my money at risk being an alpha tester.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Windows Vista SP1 - Will officially be released on March 18, 2008. It will likely take you over an hour to do the Install, and there is a published list of software that breaks under Vista SP1 here. SP1 will provide for faster copy times between computers on a network, and fix many bugs and glitches.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This I like: It is now possible and likely soon available at a bank near you, for one to be able to remotely deposit checks, by scanning them, and electronically sending that info to your bank.
Story here. Apparently not available yet from any bank I can identify.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Digital TV: Received my $40 "coupon" towards the purchase of an eligible converter box in the mail on Monday March 10. Despite a promise of being good for 90 days, it has an expiration date of May 23. Checked out reviews on the web, and folks were saying the $49.87 Walmart RCA box was as good as the $59.99 boxes at BestBuy, Radio Shack or Circuit City. So I went to my local Walmart, and no one there knew how to handle the $40 coupons. I went to another Walmart store and it was easily handled.
If you don't have a coupon, go here.
I hooked the converter up to a 10 year old 27" TV, and old pair of rabbit ears, and its GREAT. Gets all my local digital video channels (depending which way I turn the rabbit ears), has a wonderful setup function and easy to use remote. I programmed it to skip the Spanish Language stations, and programmed the Converter's remote to control power, input and volume on the TV.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Even Microsoft Vice Presidents had grief installing Vista: Turns out "Vista capable" meant nothing. Story here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Beware WinZix: Alledgedly (not so) a better compression format, but install it, and you've sabotaged your Internet Explorer also by installing Malware. The WinZix folks even admit to their trouble causing, trying to spin it thusly:

WinZix is financed by advertising and will display 4-5 pop up ads on your computer every day while using the software. We do not collect any personal information from our users. The advertising can easily be stopped by uninstalling WinZix and the sponsor software. If you only uninstall the sponsor software you can continue to use WinZix without any ads.

And the 4-5 is hourly, not daily, not to mention the other malware besides "Sponsor".

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Houston trying again for WiFi? You'd think they'd learned their lesson when Earthlink gave up on trying to wire the city for WiFi, but no. Story here.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Microsoft Windows Vista price drop: Must not be selling like they try to have led you to believe. Story here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Try doing this with a PC: I have an 8 year old Macintosh laptop, It's known as a Powerbook 2000 Firewire, also known as the Pismo model. Any 8 year old PC laptop would be totally useless and obsolete by now, not so with this Macintosh in 2008. So for about 25% of the cost of a new laptop, I got some upgrades for my Pismo. More RAM, an 802.11n Network card, and a larger hard drive all from "Other World Compuiting". I also ordered a new larger capacity Lithium battery for it from Powerbookmedic.
So, for word processing, emailing or web surfing, this laptop is as good as a new machine.

When all is done, my RAM will have gone from 384 Meg to 768 Meg (OEM was 128 Meg). The hard drive from 30 Gig to 120 Gig (OEM was 6 Gig), the Wireless network from 802.11g to 802.11n (OEM was 802.11b), all with a new larger capacity battery replacing the geriatric OEM battery.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1 may break your PC: Folks report their computer gets into an endless cycle of reboots. Story here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The telephone rings:
Thanks to a loop-hole in the DO-NOT-CALL law I received a phone call about noon on Monday.

Received an automated recorded message from Austin.

A Bill Clinton reminding me that Early voting for the Democratic
Primary starts tomorrow, and I should support Hillary Clinton.

Ted Kennedy didn't call so I don't think I'll vote for his guy.

Maybe I should vote for Huckabee and help throw a wrench in McCain's
plans.

And then stating "No New Taxes" yesterday, and having
George H.W. Bush endorse him today was just over the top.
The man has zero credibility.

Neither Democrat wants new taxes. They talk of closing loopholes
and re-instating some old taxes that George W Bush got rid of for the
wealthy.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Unbloating Vista: Microsft Windows Vista has fairly been labeled as bloatware, running slow and using up too many resources. An Apple commercial even pokes fun at it. Now comes a program to slice away modules and speed it up. Vlite available here. A review of it is here. And Microsoft responds, trying to sew seeds of FUD in a vain attempt to discredit Vlite.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Get rid of MS Windows Vista on your PC ? If you really hate Vista on your PC and wish you had it running Windows XP, apparently you're not alone. Indeed here are complete instructions for switching.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

WHOOPS ! Cable Company Charter Communications creates an email account for every new Internet customer, but some customers use other email accounts instead. Every three months the company deletes inactive Charter email accounts.

This time, during this maintenance they erroneously deleted active accounts along with the inactives. "It's never happened before." A charter representative said.

Story here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Windows Service Packs - Looks like the web is full of folks with negative comments about Windows Vista SP1 or Windows XP SP3, It's not just me.
Read there:

Vista Here; Here; Here

XP Here, Here

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


A Wooden PC ! - How would you like your PC to look like the above?
details here !

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Get your $40 coupon(s): Next year (February 18, 2009) Analog Broadcasting of Over the Air TV will stop in February. The U.S. Federal Government has a program to provide you with up to two $40 off coupons towards converter box(es) to receive Over the Air Digital Broadcasts. Starting in 2009 all Broadcasts must be digital. Most stations will broadcast both the same "low-definition" you receive now, and "High-Defintion". Story here.

Apply at https://www.dtv2009.gov/ for your coupon(s).