Google+ May 2009 ~ High Tech House Calls

Do Dogs Really Miss Us?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Your High Speed Internet Choices


What are your choices for High Speed Internet in metro Atlanta?


Some providers may not be available at your location. Go to the various provider websites to determine this.
  • ATT - best solution when compared to Earthlink and Comcast. ATT still smells bad, but it does not smell as bad as the other solutions. Support will drive you crazy. Grab a cup of coffee, a magazine and a tranquilizer when you call.
  • Earthlink - uses ATT copper line to get to your house. If the problem is with the ATT line, be prepared for some finger pointing. Getting Earthlink to call ATT to fix the problem is difficult at best. You cannot call ATT because you are not an ATT customer. ATT repair techs do not care if your problem is solved because you are not an ATT customer. I have seen ATT techs lie about coming out to fix a problem. They do not come out, yet mark the problem as solved. Earthlink is a sinking ship financially and it shows.
  • Comcast - Horrible customer support. Horrible reliability. If you dropped your telephone land line and use the Comcast home phone line solution, I hope you have a cell phone because your home phone line uses the Internet connection and your Internet connection goes down at the drop of a hat for days. Run away from Comcast if you can.
  • Charter - cable company in Smyrna. This is what HTHC uses. Very fast and reliable. Good customer care. This is the provider of choice if you can get it.
If you change from one provider to another remember:
  • You will lose your email address. You will need to contact everyone in your address book with an email blast telling them you are changing. You will also need to go to multiple websites that you do business with and change your profile to point to your new email address. If you are using something like Yahoo instead of an ATT (or other Internet provider) email address, this will not be an issue.
  • Comcast will offer, for a price, the ability to keep your email address when you get rid of your Internet connection. You cannot send email using your Comcast email address. You can only receive emails delivered to your Comcast email address. I see this as a way of buying time until you send out your email blast and cut the tie all the way with Comcast.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who Owns Your Domain?

Do you have a website for your business?
You would think you own the website name (domain).
Think again!

Go to www.whoisnet/whois/"your website name" and see who owns your website. My client found out the owner was her PR firm. She asked me if $200 /year to host her website was reasonable. I thought that I could find a better deal and when I started the process to move her to another web hosting company, I discovered she did not own her domain. If she does not own the domain, she cannot move to another web hosting company. Will the PR firm change the ownership to her or will legal action be necessary? Take the time today to see who owns your domain. Update: The PR Firm "unlocked" the domain so she could take ownership and move her website to another web host.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Windows vs. Apple Laptop



Is a laptop purchase in your future? Is it time to consider an Apple laptop?

We use both Apple and Windows based laptops. Both have their place in my business.
Let me
lay out the basic differences to help you make an informed decision.
  • Apple Laptop will cost much more. (Win Tel $550 vs. Apple $1300). UPDATE: Apple announced this week of a drop in pricing for laptops and iPhones. Look for a price decrease of $300 for laptop in the near future.
  • You will have to buy/re-buy software for the Apple platform. Adobe PhotoShop that runs on your Windows laptop will not run on your Apple laptop. You need to buy an Apple copy. PhotoShop will look different from one platform to another. It is possible that the Apple version will have less fuctionality than the Windows version. Factor additional software purchases into the equation.
  • Microsoft Office for Windows will not run on an Apple. You need to buy Office for Mac. Your other choice is to use the software that comes with Apple (iCal, Address Book, etc.) or buy Apple iWork. I prefer the Microsoft solution for office applications. Please, no hate mail!
  • Apple Laptop harder to upgrade/repair. (42 screws to replace keyboard on Mac Pro vs. three screws on Dell laptop. Replacing a hard drive is stripping the Apple laptop down to a basic frame, while the Dell laptop is two screws.) If you are buying an Apple laptop, get the biggest hard drive you can afford when selecting a model.
  • Apple memory is expensive. When you buy an Apple laptop, no need to load up on memory. Buy compatible memory at a much cheaper price (www.kingston.com). Note if you are buying an Apple iMac or mini, buy as much memory pre-installed as you can afford. Both of these platforms are hard to install more memory in. Especially the mini!!!! I do not recommend that you buy a mini!!!
  • Apple replacement parts are expensive. If the wireless card fails, you can buy a Linksys USB wireless adapter to replace it. You have many cost effective options with the Windows platform.
  • Apple operating system will not support some printers connected to a network. HTHC prints to a printer connected to a Windows desktop from an Apple Laptop across a wireless network. We have seen some problems connecting to wireless printers from Apple laptops. Check the website of the printer manufacturer to determine if this is going to be a problem or send HTHC an email (carlthorne@hthcatlanta.com) and we will tell you if your configuration will work.
  • Support with the Apple platform can be a problem. Have a problem with your Comcast High Speed Internet Connection? Comcast will probably hang up on you when you tell them you have an Apple laptop.
  • Support with the Apple platform can be a dream! Apple online support, built-in help and live support are excellent. Try talking to someone from Microsoft sometime.
  • Your iPod will need to be erased and re-formatted to work with the Apple operating system. Your iTunes library will need to be moved/converted to the Apple operating system format. This can be a big pain and very time consuming. HTHC can do this task for you. We have vast experience in this area.
  • Apple operating system is more stable and does not freeze or crash. Be prepared to know how to remove the Win Tel battery to reboot a frozen Windows machine.
  • Apple operating system, so far, has not been infected with a major virus (knock wood). You better be up to date and running scans for viruses and malware on a weekly basis on the Windows platform or bad things will happen.
  • Apple laptop can be configured to run both the Apple and Windows operating systems. A Windows platform cannot. I like some versions of programs better on Windows. My laptop can dual boot to take advantage of both operating systems.
  • Apple operating system is very different from Windows. So what!!!! You struggled to learn Vista and Windows 7 is coming out soon and you will have to struggle to learn that operating system. You can learn to use an Apple pretty easy. Books are available (like the Dummies series), or you can schedule one on one training with High Tech House Calls.
Still confused? We offer free configuration advise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Printers and Printer Cartridges

Printers

· I follow the recommendations from >http://reviews.cnet.com/peripherals .

· I do not buy multi-function, all-in-one printers. If the scanner breaks, you throw the whole thing away. I sacrificed a little office real estate for a small flat bed scanner. This gets more use from me than the scanner that cannot scan a book page without ripping the page out.

· Canon is the brand I go with. HP charges the most amount of money possible for the least amount quality product.

· If the cartridge is not clear (you cannot see the ink level), I do not buy the printer. I use my eyes to determine when to replace a cartridge, not the program provided by the vendor trying to sell me more ink.





Printer Cartridges

· Cartridge World is the place to re-fill cartridges (www.cartridgeworld.com). No more ruined tri-fold brochure paper when using Office Max/Office Depot/Staples replacement cartridges.

· Cartridge World makes it right. If their cartridge does not work, they replace it or refund your money with no questions asked.

My Blackberry.... Details to Follow


Whenever I embrace a new technology, I jump in feet first and immerse myself in that technology. My Blackberry Curve is no exception.

Hardware Add Ons:
• 4 GB Micro SD card (I have almost filled it.)
Software:
Weathereye (Current, short and long term forecasts) http://www.theweathernetwork.com /mobile/weathereyebb
Poynet (Search from current location, businesses and movies. Then you can map it.)
http://www.mypoynt.com/
Assistant (track credit card and bank account balances and transactions and more…) http://www.pageonce.com/ The first five account you track are free. To track more accounts, the cost is $9.99/year. The price dropped! It did cost $4.99/month!
Beyond411 Search (just as the name implies…)
http://thebogles.com/berry/beyond411
Opera Mini Browser (Better internet browser than the Blackberry one)
http://www.opera.com/mini/download/blackberry/

Stay away from YahooGo. This app caused my Standby Mode to stop waking up. I needed to do a hard reset (take the battery out) to get my Blackberry to wake up.