Monday, October 29, 2007

What to do with all those cassettes.

Have old Van Halen or Def Leppard tapes lying around collecting dust? I know I do(I'm sure that dates me). I found this device called the Plusdeck. The video is courtesy from the folks at PC Mechanic. If any friends or family are wondering what to get me for Christmas you couldn't go wrong with this. I've seen it at and I'm sure it's sold elsewhere. I'd certainly love one of these.

Is that email legit?

I recently read a story where a spouse was looking around the house for the bank info. The other spouse (who was busy around the house) didn't think much of it. Then it kind of got his curiosity why his wife was asking for the information. Well before he could stop her she had hit the send button. Being proactive he notified the bank immediately. Sure enough within 24hrs he noticed his bank account had frozen up online with too many attempts to log into it. This just illustrates how easy it is to be fooled by phishing tactics. My general rule of thumb is to be suspicious of everything. For the most part banks are not going to contact you for personal information. Here's a handy guide from PC World that helps identity those Phishy emails.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How -to install a new Hard Drive

I've done this quite a few times. For those that are handy enough or are just curious how it's done. Here's a neat video from the People at

Email yourself

Ever have something you need to remember or do the next day? A simple way is to email yourself. I've done it when I need to follow up on an item or task the next day. This tip comes to you courtesy of Jason Faulkner at PC Daily Tips.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Computer Parts: Hard Drive vs. RAM

In conversations with some people who aren't computer savvy they sometimes confuse RAM with hard drive numbers, especially with trying to tell you how much they have. I hate trying to correct them immediately but rather try and receive the whole message. I'm going to try and explain the difference between the two.

Most personal computers and laptops come equipped with at least one hard drive. You can add more if you like to PC's providing they have additional bays to hold them . If not you have to use a an external drive. I think these days most PC's come with at least 80 gigabytes(or more) of storage. They come with different interfaces SCSI, IDE (PATA) or Serial(SATA). SCSI is mainly used in high end servers for businesses due to higher cost. IDE(PATA) was the standard for many years but is now being overtaken by Serial(SATA) interface.

The job of the hard drive is mainly storage. When not being used this is where all your programs(aka: applications) are stored. Also all your cute pictures, videos and other documents are stored. It also stores your operating system (Windows XP etc...). It's an essential part of the computer and couldn't live without it. That's why it's always important to backup your documents. Programs can usually be installed again but it's harder to replace those pictures of the family and so on. Think of the hard drive as a file cabinet with all your important documents.

RAM(Random Access Memory) is the space your computer works with. Think of it as a desktop where you can spread out all your work. It pulls out stuff from the hard drive(file cabinet) and places it on your desktop(your screen or runs program). Programs or documents are only stored temporarily in RAM. When the program, document or computer is closed or shut off the memory is wiped clean. Windows XP usually runs nice with at least 512 megabytes and Vista 1 gigabyte(1024 megabytes) or more.

Basically the the hard drive is more or less permanent storage vs. RAM which is temporary storage. I hope this helps some novices who are accidentally confused with all these numbers. It can be useful when trying to explain a problem or trying to understand the technical jargon when purchasing a computer. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Log Me in, Techinline

I'm really starting to like One benefit is that I'm able to access more than one computer in my own home. Kind of a poor man's network you could say. Its pay service I'm trying out (Log Me in Rescue)is nice but at $99-$129 per month price tag it's a bit too out of my reach. I'll stick with free version for now. It's a bit more cumbersome to setup but I'll manage.

The other remote access I'm trying out is through Techinline.
I was trying to use a free trial version with my darling mother-in-law(a complete computer novice) was unsuccessful. It seems if you use Firefox it has to install a plugin which she had problems installing and I was unable help her through(she's a big reason I want to get one of these working). I think next time we'll try it with Internet Explorer and hopefully we can get a working connection. It's pricing structure is a bit more reasonable and may be able to fir into my budget($30 month unlimited/ $20 for 5 sessions). well I'll keep plugging away at it. See you later.

Logmein: Remote Access

Ever needed to help someone with a computer problem but was frustrated because all you were going by was a phone conversation? Wish you could be there to help. I've found a couple of remote access programs/services that could help. One is called another is called I'm currently testing out both to see which would work out better for me. Logmein has a free edition but is a bit limited and requires both parties to have an account. Unfortunately ther pay versions are a bit pricey. Techinline is a little less pricey though I haven't fully tested it, it looks promising. I'll try and keep you posted.

Lottery winner?

Perhaps you've received emails like this telling you your a winner of an international lottery....


REF Number: STT/231-ILGI0431/05
BATCH No: DH/15/096/TVFS
TICKET No: 20511465463-7644
SERIAL No: 472-9768-98
LUCKY No: 79-2-15-24-34-40-11

Mr. Steve Meijer
Tel: +31-647-230-404
Fax: +31-847-131-515

Dear Winner,


We are pleased to inform you of the result of our Seasonal Lottery
International programs held on the 10th of October, 2007. Your E-mail
address attached to ticket number 20511465463-7644 with Serial number
472-9768-98 drew the lucky numbers 79-2-15-24-34-40-11, which
won in the 1st category. You have therefore been approved for a lump
payout of €1.280.000. (One Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Thousand
Only).This is from a total cash prize of €6.400, 000 (Six Million,
Hundred Thousand Euro) shared amongst Five Lucky Winners of the first
category. CONGRATULATIONS!! This is a promotional program by The Dutch
Authorities and this happens to be the biggest lottery program in the
All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn
over 200,000 companies and 5,000,000 individual email addresses from
over the world, as part of our international promotions program, which
conduct several times a year.

Be informed that your documents must pass through the authorities to
a clearance, which shall be attached to your document in readiness for
subsequent onward transfer of your winnings into your nominated bank
within 48 hours of completion of the authentication. Due to the
of unscrupulous individuals filing a double claim, we suggest that you
this award strictly confidential until your claim has been processed
notarized and your certificate of award obtained. This is in conformity
the lottery claim regulations and security protocol of the Netherlands
Gaming Control Board. All winnings must be claimed not later than 26th
October, 2007.
After this date all unclaimed funds will be channeled to the Dutch
Vault as unclaimed funds. Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically
disqualified. All winnings must be notarized and a certificate of award
be obtained from the Netherlands Gaming Control Board to complete the
process. For further information on this, please contact the above
claims department.
Also ensure that you take proper note of every correspondence as we
not be held responsible should there be any complications in this
transaction due to laxity on your part. Congratulations once more from
Royal Dutchland.

Yours truly,
Mrs. Marie de Boer
Games/ Lottery Coordinator.
The Royal Dutch Staatsloterij (Staatsloterij is a registered program
lottery program of the Royal Dutch Authority.Est.1876, Kvk.699472.Act
120/99) All rights reserved.


Please be aware these are scams. They are looking for your personal info. Should you find something similiar in your inbox, delete immediately. They are harmless as long as you don't send them any info or money. For more info check out :

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Printer set-up

Today I setup a printer for my wife's aunt who got a nice HP PhotoSmart 7150 printer. A pretty basic machine. Thankfully I had saved the cable from another printer that died awhile back and it worked great. For my troubles I received an awesome Boston Bruins sweatshirt. (Thank you Julie in case you read this). I should say thank you for the opportunity to help you out. Morale of the story - If a printer dies, save the cable, it may come in handy someday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some new goals

As you may know that I'm back in school now so my posting here has been slacking off. I'm currently reorganizing my schedule. My goal hear is to post at least twice a week with some updates and perhaps some helpful how-to's. My long term goal is to be A+ Certified in a year and be working in the field of PC repair sometime before or after either on my own or for someone else. Most likely part-time. Anyway that's what I'm planning on. See you soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Good news...

The Bruins beat the LA Kings 8-6. Ok it's not computer news but it made me happy. A recap of the last weeks yard sale. I did sell the Compaq Ipaq for whopping $5, lol. Better than nothing I guess. Got rid of a bunch of floppy drives that were just collecting dust. Falling asleep here just thought I'd touch base.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Welcome to October..

You may have noticed a drop off of post's here recently. Recently I've started going back to school again and free time I devoted to this blog has diminished a bit to say the least. Much of my time has been devoted to work,school and other household obligations. Not to mention the NHL hockey season has begun again in earnest with my Boston Bruins playing tonight against the Pheonix Coyotes.
It's been a bit slow for computer projects recently. Right now the only thing going on is prepping an old Pentium class computer for a yard sale tomorrow. I have to clean out the computer basically of personal items and or a complete reinstall of the operating system. I haven't quite decided yet. I'll probably do the clean install choice to be on the safe side. Also up for sale may be the Compaq Ipaq I got off Ebay a few months back too.
Well back to the game and I'll be back here soon enough.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rolling Stone Magazine Hits a Sour Note Over Hall of Fame Nominees

>....This year’s ballot shows that the Hall has skipped over the seminal '70s for the worthless '80s. The committee has chosen dance music over rock. They’ve all but ignored the pioneers who influenced the genre in favor of non sequiturs......>>

read more | digg story