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Make Your Computer Work For You!

March 28th, 2009 · Savings

These are tough times.  I am a middle class mom living in the Midwest, my friends are mostly the same.  I know the economy is bad, I’ve seen it in my husband’s business and I’ve seen it in my friends who have lost jobs or are looking for work for the first time in twenty years.  In these times it’s more important than ever to watch spending and cut corners wherever possible. 

There has never been a better time to use your computer to save money!  Here are some of my favorite ways to save: [Read more →]

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To Jump Or Not To Jump….

March 21st, 2009 · This and That

 

As the resident “Computer Tech Mom”, my friends are always asking me tech questions.  Which computer should I buy, how much memory, how do I get peanut butter off of the keyboard…  It never ends!

Today a friend called and asked the biggie,  “should I buy a Mac or a PC”  Ten years ago this was easy, buy a pc, that’s what the great software is made for, that’s what is at your office, that’s what your kids should learn, etc. 

Now, many of those previous answers are no longer the case.  Nobody makes cooler cutting edge electronics than Apple.  Mac is now capable of running Windows operating system so no software loss.  The kids?  They already know way more than you do and you’ll be asking them how to use it within a week.  As far as work goes, MS office (the industry standard) runs on both PC and Mac. 

I only had two hesitations for my friend, the same hesitations that I have from jumping the ship.  First, cost, Macs are much more expensive than a pc period, no way around it.  Second, service,  good luck trying to find a local guy to fix that fancy mac.  You’ll need to drag that bad boy to the local (or in my case not) Genius bar and they will take your fancy machine for who knows how long to repair it.  Where will you be then?

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Windows XP SP3 Issues

December 9th, 2008 · Kids, Maintenance, Uncategorized

Last week the kids started complaining about the computer in the family room. It was hanging constantly and was taking forever to load a page. I assumed that again we were full of malware and it was time for a clean out.

They weren’t kidding, I couldn’t get the thing to do anything, every click took a minute to execute. I ultimately realized that it was a windows update that was hogging the resources. I clicked to install the update and waited, and waited, and waited. I had to leave and figured it would have updated when I got back. Of course it didn’t work that way.

I returned to the dreaded blue screen of death. After way too much googling for a solution I landed at the source. It seems that the SP3 upgrade sometimes gets a little nuts with antivirus software. I disabled the software, waited another lifetime for windows to update and bingo, it worked!

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Where’s That Picture????

September 23rd, 2008 · Maintenance, This and That

If you’ve got kids the odds are that you’ve got digital pictures.  The problem is finding the pictures later.  At my son’s game on Sunday I took 450 pictures, finding the right one among the mix can be like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.  Here are my tips for not letting your pictures get the best of you!

1. Upload early and often!  My dad likes to hoard pictures on his card so that he can stop by the camera store and get pictures.  This is a bad idea for many reasons.  The more picture sessions you have on a card the more often you have to delete pictures while trying to get a great shot.  When you allow windows to easily upload your pictures it is going to take every picture meaning you will have the same picture in multiple folders.  Lastly if you upload every time you will have an easier time finding the pictures based on the date assigned to the upload.

2. Tag your pictures.  when you allow windows to manage your upload you are given an option to “tag” or name the group of pictures. It’s much easier to find a picture when you’ve got a tag and number to help in your hunt.

3. Go back later and name the individual pictures that you care about. It’s much easier to find “touchdown1″ in the Cardinals Game than trying to locate DSP2809 in folder 09-14-2008

4. Back up!!! Back up!!! Don’t trust your hard drive to save your precious memories. Use either a thumb drive, an external hard drive, or burn your pictures to a DVD.

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My Lifeline

September 23rd, 2008 · This and That

My brain

I’ve been a gadget geek forever.  I owned one of the first Palms back when they called it a pilot and I really had no use for it.  My love affair has lasted through color and through several Treo’s.  I have owned my latest bit of Palm magic for a year and if anything it has taken my love of Palm to a level I never dreamed possible. 

My treo 755P is a thing of beauty and I’m not just talking about it’s lovely burgundy color.  With my treo I have my phone, my camera, my video camera, my address book, my checkbook software, my… honestly my entire computer is stored on this small little gadget that is eternally lost in the bottom of my purse. 

I have to admit that when the iPhone and all of it’s cheaper copy cats came out I was a bit envious, those gadgets make my phone look like it’s prehistoric.  My envy will not send me rushing to change service or platforms just yet.  My love affair with Palm is about the software.  Everytime I upgrade and get the newest Palm (Now I can browse in broadband!!!)  I just give it the same name as the one before, sync and voila… same stuff, new palm! 

I would miss all of my software, I’ve been accumulating Palm software for twenty years, and maintianing the same address book list for the same amount of time.  What would I do without all of that stuff?  I have no doubt that soon Palm will kick it up a notch and make my next “brain” prettier but in the mean time go ahead and mock my dinosaur phone, I’m keeping my Treo!

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I’m losing my boy!

September 17th, 2008 · Kids

 I’ve always been the main man as far as the kids were concerned.  Need food?  Look for mom.  Homework help? Mom’s your girl.  I’ve always been close with all of my boys…  until now.  Big man is 14, and changing every day.  He’s all about sports and now his dad. 

When he stopped answering my questions about school and quit verbalizing his every thought I got it.  I knew that it was normal to pull away and a necessary part of adolescence.  What I did not anticipate was the changing of the guard in the favored parent front.

If only I’d known, I could have brushed up on my sports stats, started belching in front of everyone, and stopped cooking!  I’m trying to be glad that the big man has forged a new bond with his dad and they are both enjoying the new dynamics of their relationship, but I’m feeling a little left behind!

I’ll start now my plan to keep my favored parent status with the little man! This time it is on!

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A Day Without Power And Internet

September 15th, 2008 · This and That

We had some strong winds last night that took out the cable first (goodbye internet) and later the power.  Power is a commodity that we completely take advantage of.  We never give a thought to flipping a light switch or making a pot of coffee.  My kids were like junkies looking for a fix.  Luckily it was late when we lost the power so all that was left to do was go to bed. 

Unluckily we woke to no power or school.  After fielding the millionth how much longer question I took the kids to lunch.  When we returned there was light!  All good right?  Not so much.  The cable was still out and my wired (or more accurately wireless) boys still had no access to television or the internet.  And no little man, XBox live does not work without cable.  We all seem to need the cable more than the power.  The little man asked when all of the power would be on!

I personally link my treo to my laptop and it’s business as usual around these parts.  I sure have a new appreciation for those who are in areas often hit by severe weather and loose power more often.

Let’s hope the cable is back soon!

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Why Is My Computer So Slow?

September 14th, 2008 · Maintenance

This is the question I am asked most often.  Nine times out of ten the system is loaded with malware.  Malware is software or cookies in your system that send information back to the owner.  Some of this is only an inconvenience, some is malicious.  All malware will slow your computer down. 

Any computer with access to the Internet needs security software.  Most often your Internet service provider supplies good software for free.  When you use the software provided by your isp, you will have registered software with free updates.  Not using a good security software package is a big mistake.  Security software will not catch everything, you should still run specific malware detecting software occasionally. 

You don’t need to pay for maleware software.  Spybot is a good program that gets the job done for free.  Install the software, run a scan, and be amazed at the uninvited junk hanging out on your system. 

Cleaning out all of the unwanted programs and cookies that slow your system down will make a huge difference in your running speed!

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New Nano Now!

September 14th, 2008 · Product Review

    

Let’s talk tech!  This week Apple unveiled the new ipod Nano.  The most noticeable feature about the new design is the curve.  The curve gives the new Nano a very sleek look.  I’m loving the color scheme and am currently coveting the red! 
The new features inside include a new browser. Like it’s predecessors the iphone and the ipod touch, the nano now stores your music in album image view.  Turn your nano to the side and flip through your collection.  New to the nano is the shake to shuffle feature.  Shake your ipod and  it will shuffle your music.  I wonder if this will be a problem for runners? 
 
The new nano retails for $149.99 for an 8GB model and $199.00 for a 16GB model I imagine there will be many requests for these under the Christmas tree!

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