Google+ 2010 ~ High Tech House Calls

Unexpected Chemistry of Cookies

Friday, November 26, 2010

Should You Buy an iPad?

Many of my clients that have an iPhone and an iPad are having buyer's remorse.

The major difference between an iPhone and an iPad is the size of the screen and the ability to act as a cellphone and folks who have bought both are finding that this may not be enough to justify having both an iPhone and an iPad.

Read books
Browse Internet
√ (larger display)
Add Additional Storage Capacity
USB Port
Connect to Internet via WiFi

If you have an iPhone, you might consider deferring your purchase of an iPad-like device until major players such as Samsung and Blackberry unveil their offerings. It is possible that non-Apple iPad-like devices may have additional features that will make it worthwhile to purchase a different vendor's product.

Here is a an link reviewing non-Apple iPad-like devices:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bad News for Blackberry Users and Syncing to Entourage

If you install Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, your ability to sync with Entourage using Pocket Mac will break.

Here is an email send to me from Pocket Mac:

     First of all, I wanted to let you know we're hard at work on our update for Microsoft Office 2011. 

     On December 15, we'll be shipping free MS Office updates for PocketMac for BlackBerry. Again, this update will be completely free and available to all PocketMac for BlackBerry customers. That's the good news. Now for the not-so-good news...

      ...Microsoft has decided, for reasons not completely clear to me, to limit what Outlook 2011 syncs. This means with the latest release, they're allowing only contacts to sync. This means for the foreseeable future:

      (*) no calendar sync
      (*) no tasks sync and
      (*) no notes sync. 

      For more on their decision, you can check out this MS Office for Mac blog post. The post specifically says, "’ll find sync support for your contacts through Sync Services. We do understand that Calendar sync is important and are working on it now." Not the best news, I know. With that in mind, though, here's what I'd recommend:

      1) Hold off on upgrading until Microsoft launches calendar synching or full synching capabilities.

      2) Download our update on December 15 with the knowledge that it will only sync your contacts. 

     Know this though: whenever Microsoft releases their updates and allows the synching of more items, we'll support them. We will provide a contacts plugin for Outlook 2011 initially, and, if/when Outlook supports calendar, etc. sync, we will provide free updates for that data, too. 

     And of course, we still have rock-solid support for Entourage 2008 included in the current version of PocketMac for BlackBerry. 

Thank you,

Tim Goggin

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Does Your Blackberry Freeze Sometimes?

Here are a couple of things you can try to fix the problem:
  •  Did you lock your keyboard by pressing the lock button? When you press the lock button again, does the screen remain blank? Try pressing the escape key (it looks like a u-turn) to force the display to re-appear. Then try pressing the lock button again.
  • Do you see an error message about an uncaught trap? In the body of the message may be a cryptic reference to the program that caused the problem. In my case it was the Blackberry Messenger Application. I deleted the application, the uncaught trap message went away, and my Blackberry stopped freezing. Re-loading Blackberry Messenger should fix the problem.
  • When you move from one application to another do you "exit" the application or use the escape key to move to the next application? If you do not select "exit" from the drop down menu, that application is still running in the background when you switch to the next application. Applications that are running in the background are using memory. If you use too much memory, your Blackberry freezes. Practice "exiting" an application when you are done with it.
  • When all else fails, your cellphone may need to be rebooted. Remove the battery and re-insert the battery. If re-booting the cellphone is becoming a daily occurrence, the next fix is wiping out your cellphone's operating system and re-installing it along with all the applications, themes, music and pictures you added since you bought the cellphone. Before attempting this, you must make a current backup of your cellphone by using the Blackberry Desktop Application. This can be a complex, time consuming process. I would suggest having an IT Professional do this for you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carbonite - Friend or Foe?

Is installing Carbonite the best backup and recovery strategy for your computer?

What do you want to back up?
  • Pictures
  • Documents
  • Emails
  • Address Book
  • Memos
  • Tasks
  • Calendar
For the first two items on the list, pictures and documents, Carbonite does a pretty good job.

For the rest of the items on the list, however, their integration with Outlook can present a problem. If you are like me, Outlook is always up and running. Unless Outlook is shut down, Carbonite cannot back up the rest of the types of files on the list because Outlook is using them and has them "locked".

To ensure Carbonite or an other backup program you use is able to access all your Outlook stuff, you need to export the contents of Outlook to a .PST file and that .PST file needs to be in a place where Carbonite will back it up. Since different versions of Outlook will go about the process of exporting a .PST file differently, I suggest a Google search of "Outlook export .PST" and follow the directions.

Another problem with Carbonite shows up during file recovery. Let's say your computer needed to be re-loaded because of a hard drive failure or a virus attack. Where will Carbonite load your backup files? The short answer is all over your desktop. You are expected to cut and paste the individual files to their proper locations. If you don't know what you are doing, this is a very time-consuming and tedious process. It is not recommended for the faint-hearted.

Here is another scenario where Carbonite fails. You have a windows based laptop that you have been backing up with Carbonite. You decide to replace the windows computer with an Apple laptop. When you try to restore to your new Apple laptop, you find out that you cannot restore from windows to your Apple laptop. You must find a windows computer that you can restore to and then copy the restored files to the Apple laptop via an external hard drive or cd's that you created.. 

Given these three areas of concern, I would not recommend Carbonite. There are better solutions out there that can backup your system safely if they are used properly. I would suggest engaging an IT professional to design, implement and test a back up and recovery strategy for you. The small cost you pay will be worth it when you have peace of mind knowing your important files are backed up and can be recovered, with a minimum of effort.

Is Your TV Connected to the Internet? How to Stream Movies from Netflix

Instead of renting movies from a store, the world seems to have gone to downloading and playing movies over the Internet; the major player in this market is Netflix. What equipment is necessary to download and play movies from Netflix?

If you only want to watch movies on your laptop or desktop, all you need is a high speed Internet connection.
If you prefer to watch movies on your TV, you must enable your TV-Internet connection. Here are three ways to do this:
  • If your television has a built-in network interface card, connecting a cable (Cat5e) from your DSL/Cable Modem or router is a matter of finding a cable long enough to reach the television from the DSL/Cable Modem or router.
  • If your television supports WiFi, you will need to plug an approved WiFi Adapter into the television's USB port. See your televisions owner's manual for more details.
  • If your television cannot connect to the Internet via a built-in network interface card or a WiFi Adapter, buying a DVD Player that has the ability to connect to the Internet will allow your television to stream movies from the Internet once the DVD Player is connected to your television. (Note: WiFi enabled Blu Ray Players do not include a WiFi adapter. They must be purchased separately. So far, the only approved adapters are the ones sold by the Blu Ray Player manufacturer. If you need your Blu Ray Player to be connected via WiFi, plan on spending an additional $70-$80 for a manufacturer specific WiFi adapter.)

Can I Really Make My PC Run Faster, Like it Says on the TV Commercial?

Can downloading a program from the Internet make a slow computer run like new?

Here is what happens when you download and install the software for free
  • A scan uncovers hundreds, if not thousands of problems.
  • To fix the problems, you must get your credit card out and click the link in order to purchase the debugging software.
  • After purchasing the software and running another scan, all your problems are fixed.
When running the software on a brand new computer, I would expect few, if any problem. A scan uncovered hundreds of problems. Running software packages I recommend and trust, no errors were uncovered.

The Droid - Better Than an iPhone?

With three months' experience using a Droid 2, what have we learned?

The Droid platform is for users who like to browse the Internet. The  phone has the same iPhone feature of changing from portrait to landscape display by rotating the phone. With the lack of a  method of syncing your calendar, contacts, memos and tasks with Outlook, the phone is not suited as well for business users. 

Here is a list of specific issues regarding the Droid phone:

            The Droid platform is very iPhone like, but lacks the maturity of the iPhone. We would describe the phone as having been developed by a group of smart engineers who didn't get together and talk. 

             Are you an Outlook user? There is not a straight forward way of synchronizing your calendar, contacts, tasks, and memo with Outlook and the Droid. Synchronizing data is through your Gmail account. Unfortunately, the free program that used to sync Outlook with Gmail does not work with non Outlook Exchange Server email accounts. Most businesses that use Outlook, deploy Outlook using Microsoft Exchange Server. If your email account is not a business account, there is no straightforward way of syncing Outlook and your phone.

            The Droid phone does not have built-in task or memo software. 

            Do you want a particular ring tone to ring for different people like your wife or boss so that hearing the ring tone tells you who the call is from? This is a great feature if it works consistently. There is a problem with the current Android Operating System software for the Droid where the phone sometimes plays a different ring tone than the one specified by you. The current solution is to reboot (pull the battery out and put it back in) your phone occasionally.

    Which Cellphone Should You Buy?

    There basically are two types of cellphones:
    Smartphones and standard cellphones
    • Smartphones can access the Internet and can send and receive email.
    • Standard cellphones can initiate and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages.
    If you don't care about email or browsing the Internet, a standard cellphone is right for you.

    If, however, you need a Smartphone, be aware that there are two basic Smartphone types:
    • Smartphones that browse the Internet well (iPhone, Droid).
    • Smartphones that send and receive email well and synchronize your email extremely well with Outlook (Blackberry).
    • iPhones and Droids can send and receive email, but do not integrate as well with Outlook as a Blackberry does. A Blackberry can browse the internet, but not as well as an iPhone or Droid. 
    These distinctions will change over time as each cellphone manufacturer tries to make its Smartphone the best for all types of users.

    Once you have selected a Smartphone type (Internet or email), the next choice is between a virtual keyboard and a traditional keyboard. 
    •  Most Smartphones have either a virtual keyboard that is displayed on the screen that you tap with your fingertips or a miniaturized keyboard which is similar in layout to your laptop desktop keyboard. Which keyboard is best for you depends on how well you can type on a specific Smartphone with a specific keyboard type. It is important to spend some time in your cellphone provider's store to try out the "feel" of a particular keyboard before your pick a specific Smartphone.
    • Some Smartphones have both types of keyboards integrated into the phone. Droids and Blackberrys are two that have traditional keyboards that slide out of the phone, but also have integrated virtual keyboard that work from the screen. You may find that some applications on the Smartphone work better with a virtual keyboard, while others are easier with a keypad; getting a Smartphone that has both can make sense.

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    How Long Does an USB Flash Drive Last?

    From the AJC Aug. 1, 2010 The Help Desk

    I do not trust a flash drive with any important data. Some flash drives claim they can survive up to 10,000 accesses; others - usually cheaper - can only handle 1,000 accesses. As far as a lifespan in years, I've seen 10 mentioned quite often. But keep in mind that is (1) pretty much a guess and (2) an average. So some lasted longer and others died sooner. My advise for storing critical data is to create several back-up modes, including online storage. If you do use a flash drive, store it in a cool place with low humidity.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    New post on blog reviewing Blackberry Bold 9650

    New post to blog on T Mobile cellular network and how they lied to me

    New post to blog on iPhone v4 upgrade failure

    New post to blog on using Clear

    Clear Hot Spot Test - Replacement for Your High Speed Internet Provider?

    A client got fed up enough to try Clear in order to get rid of a failing AT&T High Speed Internet Access connection. High Tech House Calls installed the Clear Modem.

    The exsiting Linksys Wireless Router connected seamlessly to Clear Modem device. No programming was needed to make the Linksys Wireless Router work with the Clear Modem.

    The Modem was very picky about placement. The people at Clear had pointed out where the closest broadcast tower was from the clients' house. A "stand" of books were stacked one on top of another so that the Modem was sitting in front of a window on the top floor of the house facing the broadcast tower. Other locations in the house resulting in a signal that would not allow a laptop to connect to the internet.

    The client was also given a hand held Mobile Spot that never connected to the broadcast tower.

    Both devices (Mobile Spot and Modem) were given to the client on a 14 day trial. So far, so good. Maybe Clear is your solution to dumping Comcast or AT&T High Speed Internet Access. 

    iPhone v4.0 Upgrade Failures

    High Tech House Calls has seen quite a lot of v4.0 upgrade failures on iPhones. Here are some facts on the upgrade process:

    •  The process is a lengthy one and can take as long as 6 hours.
    • It is NOT an unattended process. You must answer questions during the upgrade. Therefore, starting the process before going to bed and expecting it to be complete when you wake up is not going to happen.
    • How do you tell if the upgrade was successful? Go to Settings, then General and then About. If the version displayed is not 4.0, the upgrade did not succeed.

    Blackberry Bold 9650 - Good Enough Not To Switch to iPhone?

    For approximately the last two years, High Tech House Calls has been using a Blackberry Curve smartphone. We wanted an iPhone, but our hatred of AT&T precluded that choice.

    The Curve's access to the internet was minimal. You could read a phone number of the heading of a match found by Google, but actually reading webpages was out of the questions.

    With our switch to Verizon, we purchased new cellphones. Enter, the Blackberry Bold.  The Bold can actually display readable webpages. The cellphone does not have the ability to display a larger sized page via landscape mode like the iPhone, but this cellphone is usable as a way to surf the web.

    T-Mobile Lied to Me

    We have been a very loyal T-Mobile cellphone customer for at least 10 years. None of our three lab locations (Virginia Highlands, Buckhead or Smyrna) have had a cell signal strong enough to send and receive cell phone calls.

    T-Mobile indicated that since my plan had roaming included, I was always connected to the strongest signal regardless of who the carrier was. The conclusion was, it was bad luck that all my lab locations had poor cell coverage from all the cellular providers.

    High Tech House Calls changed to Verizon for all our cellphone needs. We have "3 bar" signal strength throughout the lab. The test for signal strength used similar model Blackberry models that should have eliminated differences a cellphones antenna.

    Is it time for you to switch to a better cellphone network?

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Buy a Mac for College, Get an Free iPod Touch

    Time for a new computer for your school kid?

    Choose your Mac.

    If you’re a college student or a faculty or staff member at any grade level and you buy a new Mac with Apple education pricing from May 25 through September 7, 2010, you can get a free 8GB iPod touch.* No wonder they call these the best years of your life.

    Click here for more information:

    Saving Money With Groupons

    What is a Groupon?

    Each day, Groupon features an unbeatable deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in your city. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, Groupon get discounts you won't find anywhere else. We call it "collective buying power!"


    How It Works

    1. Each day Groupon features something cool to do at an unbeatable price.
    2. You only get it if enough people join that day… so invite your friends!
    3. Check back the next day for another awesome Groupon!

    Do I have to sign up a group of people I know to get the deal?

    Nope - our millions of members make up a big enough group. You'll probably want to invite people anyway, though — Groupons are fun to use with friends, grandparents, and men who wear monocles.


    I like today's deal - how do I get it?

    Just click "BUY" before the offer ends at midnight. If the minimum number of people sign up, we'll charge your card and send you a link to print your Groupon. If not enough people join, no one gets it (and you won't be charged), so invite your friends to make sure you get the deal!


    What happens if the Groupon doesn't reach its required minimum number of purchasers?

    If not enough people sign up, then the deal is canceled, and you won't be charged. Better luck next time! So if you really want the Groupon, be sure to either beg or threaten your friends.


    Do I need to use my Groupon the same day I buy it?

    No. Many Groupons have an expiration date, but you never have to use them on the date of purchase.


    I bought a Groupon - how do I use it?

    Once you're charged, you'll receive an email with a link to sign in and print your Groupon. The Groupon has redemption instructions and a map right on it!


    Can I buy a Groupon as a gift for someone else?

    Yes. We communicate with all the businesses that we work with that Groupons can be gifted, and unless the Fine Print specifically states otherwise, gift away! To have us send them the gift, select the gift option at checkout.


    Wait, my name is on the Groupon. Are you sure I can use this as a gift?



    If I don't use the full value of the Groupon in one visit, can I use the remainder later?

    No. Unless otherwise stated you do not receive store credit or cash back for whatever you don't use. Bring a friend - share a little!


    Can I combine my Groupon with other offers or specials?

    No... not unless the Groupon specifically states otherwise.


    Am I billed as soon as I join a Groupon?

    No - you are only charged if the Groupon reaches the required minimum.


    Is Groupon safe?

    Extremely. Your credit card number is transmitted by SSL directly to a secure electronic vault. At no time is your credit card information stored on our servers.


    Can I return a Groupon?

    Read this, and then if you want, give us a call: (877) 788-7858.


    What happens if my Groupon expires?

    All is not lost! Once a Groupon reaches its expiration date, it loses its promotional value, but you can still redeem it at the price you paid for the length of time stated by gift certificate laws in your state.


    What if the business for my Groupon closes down?

    If anything happens that makes it impossible for you to redeem your Groupon, we'll make sure you get your money back.


     How can I get my business on Groupon?

    Check out GrouponWorks for more information.


    Why do you only feature one deal a day? I want more Groupons!

    When you're looking for stuff to do, choice can be overwhelming. We focus on one great thing each day and offer it at an unbeatable price to make things simple for you. Hang out with Groupon for a week, and you'll find something that's impossible to refuse.


    Where did you get the name "Groupon?"

    Groupon is a city in Switzerland where Goodyear tires are sold at heavily discounted rates.


    Who are you guys?

    Groupon evolved out of The Point, a platform for organizing not only group discounts, but all forms of collective action. You can learn more about Groupon, and learn more about The Point.


    Where is Groupon based?

    Groupon is headquartered in Chicago. We also have employees in cities across the U.S.

    Click here to sign up:

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    New post to blog on saving money on printing

    Pay Less to Print

    Before you buy a new printer, figure the cost per page.  
    By Jeff Bertolucci from Kiplinger's Personal Finance 07/2010

    Manufacturers of inkjet printers have long used the razor-and-blades business model: The machines often cost $100 or less, but the ink cartridges can add up to two or three times that much in just one year. Now, however, increased competition and consumer outrage are writing a new chapter.

    Over the past year, both Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard have run ad campaigns touting low ink prices, notes Andrew Lippman, a printer analyst with Lyra Research. And Eastman Kodak's latest turnaround strategy is based on cheaper cartridges for its printer line.

    For example, Lexmark now sells a $5 black ink cartridge, the 105XL, which prints an estimated 500 pages. That's 75 pages more than Kodak's $10 10B black cartridge, which itself is considered a value compared with similar cartridges that cost $13 to $20.

    Grab your calculator. The best way to get your money's worth is to figure out what it will cost to print per page, says PCWorld magazine senior editor Melissa Riofrio. Start with a printer model you like. Then go online to find out how much you'll pay for cartridges and how many pages each cartridge will print. (Manufacturers and reputable online vendors, such as Amazon, often list page yields along with the cartridge's technical specs.)

    Now divide the cost of the cartridge by the page yield. For example, the HP Photosmart C4780 uses the HP60 black ink cartridge, which costs $15 and yields 200 pages. Cost per page: 7.5 cents. By comparison, the Kodak ESP 3250 uses Kodak 1-B cartridges, which has a 425-page yield. Cost per page: 2.4 cents.

    More may not be less. But high-capacity cartridges may not be for everyone. "If you don't [print very much, a high-yield cartridge that sits for months and dries up isn't necessarily a good thing," says Riofrio.

    You'll need to run the numbers for color ink cartridges, too. Printers that use a single tricolor cartridge-which has cyan, magenta and yellow ink tanks in one unit-cost more in the long run. That's because once one tank runs out, you have to replace the entire cartridge, which typically costs $30 to $40.

    Once you've compared printing costs per page, you still have to decide whether the most economical printer has the features you want. And you should compare print quality with that of pricier models. Visit a local retailer and put the printers through their paces.

    One good choice for affordable home printing is the Canon Pixma iP4700 ($100). This inkjet model produces sharp, clear photos and documents , and it can print on both sides of the page (another money saver). Its inks are reasonably priced: the five tanks-black, cyan, yellow,magenta and photo black (for pictures)-are priced from $13 to $15 each.

    Blog Editor Note:  High Tech House Calls uses a Canon Pixma iP3000. We love the printer so much, we have replaced the print head to continue using it. We highly recommend the Pixma series of inkjet printers.

    We also use Cartridge World to save on money for cartridges. Cartridge World cartridges are high quality and we have never ruined expensive tri-fold brochure page when using a cartridge from Cartridge World. ( This is not the case with cartridges from Office Depot.


    How to Skimp on Printer Ink
    If you'd rather keep your current inkjet printer, there are ways to conserve-many of which also work with laser printer to save toner.

    Print in draft mode.
    Nearly every printer has the option to print in draft, economy or save mode.

    Stick to black and white.
    Switch to grayscale only if you don't need to see documents in color. To eliminate ink-draining Web color graphics, download Printee for IE (, an application that lets Windows users remove images before printing a page on Internet Explorer.

    Think before you print.
    Train yourself to read on-screen. To save online articles to your PC, use a free app, such as PDSFCreator (, to convert Web pages to Adobe Acrobat files.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    One of my favorite charities makes the news...

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    New blog post on version of Microsoft Office to buy.
    Home and Student vs. full featured.

    New post on the importance of sync'ing your iPhone.

    The Importance of Sync'ing Your iPhone

    Bad things happen if you do not sync your iPhone with your computer.

    When Apple discovers a problem on your iPhone's operating system or a new feature is created, a new release of the iPhone software is released.

    That new release is installed on your iPhone via iTunes. When you connect your iPhone to a computer, iTunes starts up and checks to see if your software is up to date. If not, it advises you of a newer release of software that is available for download and upgrade to your iPhone.

    Here are some thing to consider when upgrading the software on your iPhone:
    • Stay up to date. It can be more problematic to upgrade from an older release of software to the current release. Periodic sync'ing with iTunes will ensure that you have the most current release of software loaded on your iPhone.
    • Make sure your iPhone is backed up. Most upgrades will erase your iPhone data (calendar, contacts, applications, etc.), before the upgrade occurs. The upgrade process should backup and restore all your data but we have seen this process fail. Your backup will be your safety net if the restoration fails from the upgrade process.

    Need help sync'ing your iPhone with iTunes, here is an article from Apple on the process

    If you have any further problems, please feel free to contact High Tech House Calls at 404.229.0839 or

    The End to Buying the Student and Teacher Edition of MS Office?

    Have you decided that Microsoft Express or Windows Mail was good enough for your email needs? Did you think that buying Microsoft Office with Outlook was not necessary? Think again!

    • Outlook Express went away with Vista. It was replaced with Windows Mail. Many users of Outlook Express that had years of email stored in folders using Outlook Express found that Windows Mail could not successfully import all their "old" email successfully. Buying Outlook and exporting to Outlook was their only Microsoft solution that worked.
    • Windows 7 did away with Windows Mail. The solution that replaced it was Window Live. Windows Live Mail is an application that partly exists on the Microsoft web server. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
    • Do you have a SmartPhone? Backing up and synchronizing your SmartPhone with your computer is a must. Unfortunately, your SmartPhone will only synchronize with Microsoft Outlook.
    When Microsoft Office 2010 is released (current target date is June 2010), you should spend the extra money and buy the version that includes Outlook.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Is Your Wireless Network Secure?

    If I sit in your driveway with my laptop, can I access your wireless network?

    Here are some giveaways that your wireless router was installed with the factory default settings:
    1. Your network name is linksys or 2wire.
    2. When I access your control panel for administrative tasks for your wireless router the password is either admin or password.
    3. Your network is unsecured. A key is not required to connect to it.
    What can I do from your driveway once I can connected to your network?
    1. If I can log into your control panel for administrative tasks, I can change the password for the administrator, change the network name, remove a key necessary to access your network or change the key necessary to access your network to something you do not know.
    2. Once I am connected to your network, I can copy, delete or change any shared network resources such as shared folders or a networked hard drive. I may also be able to log into your computer and change your password or add accounts that I can use to access your computer later.
    3. Once I am logged into your computer, I am able to copy, delete or change any file on your computer. If you have not password protected access to programs such as Quicken, I can access your financial data.
    Is it time to secure your wireless network? Please contact High Tech House Calls ( or 404.229.0839). We are here to help.

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Announcing Partnership with Cherry Systems

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    When should you upgrade from free to fee for photosharing sites?

    Photo-Sharing Showdown

    Deciding between free sites for your travel snaps is a no-risk proposition - but when should you go from free to fee? ($5/year)
    1. What's free: One gigabyte of combined photos and video storage (equivalent to about 500 photos); superfast slide shows; collaborative albums
    2. The Upgrade:20 gigabytes of storage (about 10,000 photos)
    3. Drawback: You can't edit photos online - a separate (but free) software download is required for each computer you want to use. Download software here.
    4. Worth It? Yes ($25/year)

    1. What's Free: 100 megabytes of photo uploads (about 50 images) and two 90-second video uploads per month; geotagging to a world map; themed "pools" for tagged photos.
    2. The Upgrade: Unlimited photo and video storage, but individual videos still max out at 90 seconds.
    3. Drawback: Seriously? This costs $25 a year?
    4. Worth It?: No. ($25/year)
    1. What's Free: 500 megabytes of combined photo and video storage; free iPhone and Droid apps (in comparison, Picasa comes free on Droids, no app needed); on-the-go editing.
    2. The Upgrade: Unlimited storage space, with a discounted two-year option for $40.
    3. Drawback: Banner and video ads are more disruptive here than on other sites.
    4. Worth It?: only the two-year.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

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    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Clear Wireless Networks

    Do you have a need to connect to the internet from your laptop in the middle of Piedmont Park? Clear (Clear Wireless Network) may be an option.

    High Tech House Calls does have several clients that are using Clear and like the results so far.Clear had been targeted to the sales person who traveled and could expense the bill to the company they worked for. Clear's business model has changed somewhat and now has packages priced for the home user.

    Here are two concerns High Tech House Calls has with Clear:
    • We were approached to represent their company to our clients. We asked for reference accounts that we could talk to. The answer was no. We then asked for a trial of their service so we could comment first hand on our experience to our clients. The answer was again no.  Based on this experience, High Tech House Calls will not do business with Clear.
    • How long will Clear be in business? Will the modem you purchased work with another carrier if you switch? 
    High Tech House Calls would appreciate your feedback regarding Clear services if you are currently a client.

    Announcing Partnership with Cherry Systems

    High Tech House Calls is pleased to announce a partnership with Cherry Systems.

    If your hard drive cannot be accessed because it is crashed, what are your options if the data on the hard drive cannot be replaced?

    Cherry Systems are experts in recovering data from hard drives and other media such as camera storage cards when conventional means fail.

    This service is pricey (anywhere from $750 to $1250) because the hard drive has to be disassembled in a white room environment and then read a block at a time, but if your first born's first steps or your financials for your business are recorded on that drive and there is no other copy, this may be your only option.

    Click here to visit their website: Cherry Systems

    Please check with High Tech House Calls and give us a try. Many times the hard drive from a system that will not boot can be read by us for a charge of $40 to $85.

    Replacing the Battery for your iPod

    Someone in my family got their iPod washed in the laundry by accident. Once this was discovered, the iPod was surrounded by rice to dry the circuitry out. After a couple of days, the iPod was turned on. It worked! The music was still there, but the battery would not hold much of a charge.

    I bought a battery replacement kit on the internet. Unfortuately, I destroyed the iPod's screen when attempting to take the back off in order to replace the battery.

    Learn from my mistake:
    • Do not buy a battery kit until you have tried to take the iPod appart. If you do get the iPod apart without breaking it, you can probably replace the battery successfully.
    • If the replacement battery website says you should buy a replacement back because you will destroy the back when you open the case, buy the replacement back.
    • If it is just a couple dollars more for someone else to accomplish the battery replacement, pay the money.
    • Do the math! How much is a new iPod versus putting in a battery into an old one. How old is the iPod you are attempting to repair. Usually, it makes sense to buy a new iPod.

    Coupon for upgrade to Win 7 from Vista and college kids computer tune-up in new newsletter. Save some money this month!

    Newsletter is in the works. Look for in next couple of days.

    Win XP No Longer a Supported Operating System

    After April 2010, no more maintenance will be done to the Microsoft Operating System Win XP. After April 2014, no more security patches will be created.

    If you love one of Microsoft's most stable operating systems and all your personal and business needs are met by this operating system, what does this announcement mean to you?

    • You cannot easily buy a new computer pre-loaded with Win XP. You cannot easily buy Win XP software. Any new computer will probably come with Windows 7 pre-loaded. If you do not have a copy of Win XP with a valid license key, you will not be able to re-load a computer with Win XP easily.
    • If a problem with the operating system is uncovered, a fix for that problem will not be made available.
    • Computers running Win XP are poor candidates for upgrade to Windows 7. The hardware is too out-of-date for a successful upgrade.
    • If your computer is 3-5 years old, you should be thinking about a new computer simply because of  the age of your current computer. Need advice on what to buy. Send a email ( call us (404.229.0839) for free advice on what computer you show buy? High Tech House Calls does not sell computers or receive compensation from computer manufacturers. We are vendor and platform neutral.

        Time to Upgrade to Windows 7?

        Microsoft's Operating System Windows 7 has been out since October 22, 2009. High Tech House Calls thinks this operating system is a big improvement over Vista and strongly encourages users of Vista to upgrade their computers to Windows 7.

        In general, a computer that can run Vista will have no problem running Windows 7. To make sure all your hardware will work fine, install the Windows Adviser Software from Microsoft. Here is the link to the Adviser: Windows 7 Adviser

        What do you need to migrate to Windows 7?
        • copy of Windows 7 (upgrade version is fine)
        • backup of personal data on your current computer (emails, contact list, documents, music, etc.)
        What if you are running Win XP?
        • Most computers running Win XP do not have the horse power to run Windows 7. 
        • You cannot upgrade a Win XP computer to Windows 7. You must erase the contents of your current hard drive and start from scratch with a full version of Windows 7. It is critical that you have a complete backup of your computer's data in order to restore that data after the upgrade.
        • Win XP is a very stable and tested operating system. The time to upgrade is when you buy a new computer that is pre-loaded with Windows 7. If your computer is 3-5 years old, you should be thinking about a new computer simply because of the age of your current computer. Need advice on what to buy? Send an email ( call us (404.229.0839) for free advice on which computer you should buy.

        Does the  process of upgrading your computer to Windows 7 seem intimidating? High Tech House Calls will take on this task and guarantee the results. Please call High Tech Houses at 404.229.0839 or email us at

        Sign up for our newsletter (left hand side near the top of the blog) and receive a coupon for 1/2 off the cost of services to upgrade.

        Friday, January 1, 2010

        Happy New Year!