Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

Reminder – Be Careful with WiFi in Public Places

November 13, 2006 Leave a comment

Every so often these warnings come out, and it’s probably worth paying heed. Using WiFi in public places can endanger your computer (especially if you use windows). Internet News reported today that Windows-based computers with wireless capabilities are vulnerable for certain types of exploitation–even if you are not accessing the Internet. So be careful in public places and make sure you’re secure.

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Look at all the Lonely People

August 6, 2006 Leave a comment

It seems there are more and more Eleanor Rigbys sitting by the door. Just a few weeks ago I linked to several articles about the growing sense of isolation in America. Now MSNBC has picked up as AP story on the theme. It is a growing problem that even threatens the health of many Americans:

In its most pronounced forms, loneliness is considered a serious, even life-threatening condition, heightening the risks of heart disease and depression. A sense of isolation can strike at almost any age, in any demographic sector — parents struggling to adjust to empty-nest status, divorcees unable to rebuild a social life, even seemingly self-confident college students.

In one disturbing line, they point out that some students opt out of chances to meet people to talk online instead.

John Powell, a psychologist at the University of Illinois counseling center, says it’s common for incoming freshmen to stay in their rooms, chatting by computer with high school friends rather than venturing out to get-acquainted activities on campus.

When I was first exposed to the Internet in 1992, I was concerned about the possible ramifications this might have for isolation and loss of the ability to enter into genuine face to face dialogue. When I read lines like that, it seems like for some that fear is coming true. There is value ot online conversation, but we as humans are more than just word producers. And we cannot ignore the dynamics, rewards, and challenges of face to face encounters. Avoiding the challenges, some may lost a vital link that protects them from isolationism.

There is much on this topic and maybe I’ll write sometime about community and why I believe relationship is an essential part of being human.

Online Software Update

July 19, 2006 4 comments

After I posted info on the various applications available online, Jeremy posted another downloadable suite called Open Office. So, I had to try it as well. Interesting, when you register the product, they ask if the reason you are using it is because you hate Microsoft. Then Boing Boing ran piece today about OpenOffice advertising on buses that go to Microsoft. That’s funny!

Anyway, I’ve tested the various apps and here’s my opinion. Open Office is pretty robust and a great downloadable option. I opened one of my Access databases in it and everything worked great. So it stays on the hard drive for when I don’t have WiFi access. But I also like the online apps because it makes it easy switching between computers.

I mainly tested the word processing and of all the apps, I liked ThinkFree. It has editing options I use like zoom, header/footer editing, etc. It runs on Java, which is a problem for some folks, and that means it runs a little slower, but the features are worth it to me. It also has a quick edit and power edit option, so for fasting editing, you can avoid the longer loading java window.

ZohoWriter and the Ajaxwriter were similar and I like them for quick edits. They run fast. I may prefer Zoho simply because it opens in another tab whereas Ajax opens a pop-up window for the document.

gOffice has a nice site but it is still a little too limited in editing options. I couldn’t figure how to change fonts.

If you haven’t tried any of these yet, you should. Open source is changing the rules and hopefully making the web what it was supposed to be. Not a place to make a few guys rich, but a place where us blokes could share our thoughts, ideas and solutions without always commodifying everything.

Customer Service Award

July 13, 2006 4 comments

Last week I ran out to find a digital audio cord to connect my Airport Express to the stereo. Since CompUSA has a Mac section, I ran by there. No success. Plenty of Mac stuff. In fact, plenty of Airport Express products: no cable. Interestingly, when I asked a salesman if they carried the product: no and no offer to try and get it. Not that I would wait but it was an interesting contrast with what was to come.

Before heading home to order online, I thought I’d stop by our mall to see if the new Apple store had opened yet. Success! They were open and packed! I walked in and in just a moment found the cable near the Airport Express units. As I walked toward the checkout, an employee stopped me and said, “Are you ready to check out?”


“Well, I can do it right here.”

He whipped out a little scanner, scanned the item, ran my check card across, got my email address, and told me they would email me a receipt and give me a print out in store as well if I wanted one. Maybe I’m too trusting, but I said email is good enough for me. By the time I got home, I had an email from the Apple store with a printable receipt for my order.

Kudos to the new Apple store. Anticipating a customer’s desire to avoid long lines at a register, they’ve reduced the steps to checkout buy equipping staff throughout the store with that ability.

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July 13, 2006 Leave a comment

Earlier this year, I switched from PC to Macbook Pro at the urging of my brother and friend Gordon. My biggest concern was use of my Bible study software. While there are some Mac programs they are not as robust as the bible research software available for PC. But I switched in hopes that there would soon be support for the new Intel chip. Last week I installed Parallels Desktop for Mac and installed Windows XP. Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels runs alongside the Mac and you can easily switch between systems.

After using my bible software for a week, I must say that I am completely delighted with Parallels. These programs run faster than they did on my old Dell. So if you’re thinking about switching and have some PC programs, I recommend Parallels!

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Apple back at Best Buy.

June 23, 2006 Leave a comment

Best Buy is going to start selling Apples again, so I guess CompUsa is going to start selling peaches and cream.

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