Google+ November 2011 ~ High Tech House Calls

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What You See Is Not What You Get

With the holiday season fast approaching, here is some insight into way your computer processed photos do not look the same on your monitor versus when you print them out.

Printing Problems

You may notice a huge difference between the photos on your monitor. It can either be lighter or darker than the ones you preview on your monitor. They may even exhibit different color schemes than what you were expecting.
The problem you are running into is that your monitor is not calibrated with the printer you are using. The printer's black might look gray on your monitor if you have your brightness turned way up. What looks orange on your computer may very well print red because the color settings are off.

Adjust Brightness and Color

The two most common adjustments you can make to your monitor to balance it with your printer output are brightness and color.


The most common issue with monitor brightness is that it is turned up too high. This results in prints that are much darker than you expect, and a loss of detail in shadow areas.
Let's say you take a photograph and transfer the photo from memory card to computer. You look at it on the monitor, where you have the brightness set to 100%. Everything looks good to you, so you print it out. Your printer may have a brightness setting of 50%. Your printed photo is twice as dark as what you see on your monitor.
This is an extreme example, but proves a point. When you have your monitor brightness turned up too high, all of your prints turn out dark.


The colors displayed on your monitor can be as far off from your prints as the brightness. Monitors display colors using different color temperatures.

When the color temperature of your monitor does not match the color temperature of your printer, all the colors in your prints will be slightly off. You may have noticed this, you may not. You will certainly see it if you display an image on your monitor and hold up a printed photo next to it.
About the only drawback to changing the color temperature of your monitor is that it may turn anything white (like all word processing documents) into a sickly yellow color. Since this is really hard on the eyes, I recommend setting up two different color profiles for your monitor. Create one for general use and another special one to preview your photos. The ability to create a monitor profile is part of Adobe Photoshop software functionality. On Mac OS, you can use the Apple calibration utility to create a monitor profile.

Test Prints

The easiest way that I know of to get a really close match between your printer and monitor is to make some test prints. Without adjusting your monitor settings, send some photos to your printer. Make sure that you print at a fairly large size (5x7 or larger) — this will make it easier for you to see detail and color in the photo.
Once the print has been made, open the photo on your computer so that it displays on your monitor. Hold the printed photograph right up to the monitor and compare the two images side by side. Now you can adjust your monitor brightness and color settings. Make minute adjustments until the printed photo matches the monitor photo as much as possible.
While it will be hard to get a perfect match, you can get very close. Once you make these adjustments, you should see more consistency between the photos that you see on your monitor and the photos that you print.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 2011 eNewsletter

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tablet Review

Why buy a tablet computer like an iPad? 

Here is an exercise I used to evaluate tablets for my business needs. I hope it helps you to think about what features you have to have and what features that would be nice to have. At the end of the blog, I have included some links to articles that compare and contrast the various tablets that are on the market. 

What would you do with a tablet? 
  • Read eBooks. 
  • Read Word Documents and PDFs.
  • Read/create emails.
  • Listen to music.
  • Show photos.
  • Stay connected to Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Surf the web.
  • Watch NetFlix Movies.
  • Maintain your address book.
  • Maintain a calendar.
  • Maintain a to do list.
What features are you looking for in a tablet?
  • Can I buy and replace the battery myself?
  • Fast processor. High amount of built-in ram for operating system to use.
  • Connect an external keyboard via Blue Tooth or USB port.
  • Move data back and forth using a USB Drive or a SD Card.
  • Ability to download applications to extend functionality.
  • Print to a printer.
  • Sync data between tablet and laptop.
  • Connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
  • Large amount of user storage available.
  • Middle cost in price.
Notes on tablet use.
You will find that eBooks cost about the same as printed books. There are books that I could read over and over again. I would download those books to my tablet so that if I was stuck somewhere and did not want to do some work, I would re-read those pre-loaded books. Storing thousands of books on my tablet for summer beach reading is not a goal of mine.

There are many formats for eBooks. Are you locked into a particular format because that is the preferred format of your tablet? Many eBook readers will work on different platforms. For example, the Kindle reader which is the pre-loaded eReader on Amazon's tablet. It is also available as an application for other non-Amazon tablets, Windows PCs, Apple PCs, iPhones, Android Smartphones, Blackberrys, etc.

Make sure different eBook readers are available for your tablet.

Read Word Documents and PDF's:
Instead of carrying around a USB drive pre-loaded with reference documents, it would be nice to be able to store and display those reference documents on the tablet. More than likely, an application would need to be purchased to add this functionality to the tablet.

Make sure this application exists for your tablet.

Listen to Music:
There is iTunes and everything else for music formats. iTunes is restricted to Apple products. Non Apple tablets usually have a music player that will play .wav, .mp3 or another music file standard. Music from your iTunes library would need to be converted to the format your tablet supports. Music you paid for from iTunes may require an additional payment of .30 per song for you to be able to convert it to a playable format. There are other iTunes-like music sources that may be supported on your tablet. For example, Amazon's extensive media library of music and movies would be available for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet.

If you have a large iTunes music library, is playing that music on your tablet very important? Then staying with a platform that supports iTunes may make the most sense. At present, only Apple's iPad supports iTunes.

NetFlix plays on many tablets. 

Check the NetFlix website for support for the tablets you are considering.

Browsing the Internet:
Make sure the browser speed is acceptable to you. The screen size needs to be big enough for you to see the web page.

If you cannot try the tablet first hand to test the browsing experience, look at reviews of the tablet for feedback.

Productivity Applications:
Go through your list of applications you must have to consider a particular tablet. If the application is not preloaded, can it be downloaded from an application library that supports your tablet?

Notes on tablet features:
Hardware Issues:
  • Cheaper tablets will have performance limitations. These limitations may make them useless to use. Reviews should point out performance issues.
  • Most tablets will not have a USB port.
  • Most tablets will not have a way of increasing the amount of storage capacity. Make sure you understand how much storage you need. If the tablet you are looking at does not hold that much, I would eliminate it from consideration.
  • Being able to plug in an SD Card to move files back and forth is very convenient.The SD Card can also back up your tablet.
  • Most tablets will not have Blue Tooth capability, meaning that an external keyboard will  not be an option. If the touch pad on the tablet is hard to use or too small for your fingers, that tablet needs to be eliminated from consideration.
  • Most tablets will have an application that allows you to print to a printer. Usually that printer will need to be a wireless printer. The printer application for iPad's is very awkward to use and I would expect that all tablets will share this same limitation. Printer manufacturers recognize this niche need and are starting to address it. HP and Canon have some printers with something called AirPrint built in. An AirPrint enabled printer can be printed to easily from an iPad from the tap menu without loading anything on the iPad. There are alternatives to printing directly to a printer from a tablet. You can send the file as an attachment via email to a computer that can print or you can copy the file to an SD Card and read the SD Card on a computer that can print.

Links for reviews of tablets:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Buy Microsoft Office 2010 Bonus Box - Office and Wireless Mobile Mouse

MS Office Bonus Box

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Syncing Your Email

Are your tired of seeing and deleting the same email message on your iPad, iPhone and Apple Computer? Is there a way of deleting the message once and not having it appear on your other email devices? Yes, there is a solution.

There are two basic protocols for email:
  • POP3 - most prevalent. Email is downloaded from your server to your computer for you to manage. Unless you use WebMail (access email using a web browser), each device that accesses your email will download all messages that are new to that device. Deleting an email from one device does not mean that email is deleted from all other devices.
  • IMAP - more likely to be seen in a corporate environment. Email is stored on the server. All email devices are accessing the same place for emails. Therefore, an email deleted from an email device deletes the email  from the server.
For example, Gmail supports both POP3 and IMAP protocols for email.  If your email account allows you to access it using IMAP, your email will be sync'ed.

If your email account supports only the POP3 protocol, you may be able to make your email account have a limited syncing ability.
  • In Outlook, you can specify that email be removed from the server once it is downloaded. Unfortunately, this is not guaranteed 100% that once that email has been downloaded once, it will not be downloaded again because it depends on how long it takes to remove the email from being downloaded again before a different email device attempts to download it. Usually, you want all email devices to have a copy of all emails so you are not limited to where an email you want is stored.
  • Outlook also has a setting to delete an email from the server once the deleted items folder is emptied. Again, you have a timing problem where an email may be downloaded to another email device before the deleted items folder is emptied.
Other email programs such as Thunderbird or the Mail Application on Apple computers may not have settings similar to Outlook that allow you to control somewhat what happens to deleted email or downloaded email.

iCloud, MobileMe and Lion

You patted yourself on the back. Your iPad and iPhone are now running IOS5. You have a new feature called iCloud. Now what?

In order to use iCloud across all your Apple computers and devices, your Apple Laptop or Workstation must be running the Lion (10.7) version of the operating system.
  •  If you are not running Snow Leopard (10.6), you cannot download and install Lion. Lion is only available as a download from Apple via the Apple Application Store. The Apple Application Store access is only available on computers running Snow Leopard or higher. 
  • What happens if you are running Leopard (10.5) or an older operating system release? You must buy a copy of the Snow Leopard upgrade disk. Unfortunately, that disk is not available to buy from any retail store in the U.S. including Apple Stores. You must go online to the Apple Store and place your order and wait for the disk to arrive via the postal system.
This seems like much time, trouble and expense. Why not stay with MobileMe? MobileMe goes away June 2012.  Here are the details of the transition from MobileMe to iCloud:

Changing Your Email Address

If you use the email address you created from your High Speed Internet Provider, what happens when you change providers?

  • You lose your old email address from your previous provider. Depending on the provider, you may be able to cancel your High Speed Internet Access contract, but keep your old email address for a small monthly fee. Usually, you will be able to receive emails, but not send them.
  • You probably tell all your old contacts in your address book about your new email address and tell them when the old one will no longer work. Usually that was accomplished by creating a distribution list of all your contacts you wanted to update and sending them an email with your new email address. In the age of SPAM, this has become problematic. One of my clients had her email refused to send because the 179 contacts in the distribution list looked like an attempt to send SPAM. I left her with the task of making smaller, less SPAM-like distribution lists to send out her announcement with. One thing that might make your announcement easier is setting a vacation message. Once you log onto your High Speed Internet Providers website, somewhere in the preferences for your email account may be the ability to create an auto-reply message that gets sent to everyone who sends you an email during a period of time you specify. We have all seen these messages at one time or another where the message informs you that so and so will be out of the office for a week and will have limited access to email. You can change this feature to broadcast your email address change instead.
  • If you are a business or someone who wants their own website, your alternative to ever changing your email address is selecting and buying a domain (the part of your email to the right of the "@" sign). Once you pay a web hosting company to host your domain, you can create email addresses with your new domain as part of the email address. As long as you renew the fee to re-register your domain, your email address will remain the same regardless of how many times you change web hosting companies. This concept is similar to your cell phone number where changing from T-Mobile to Verizon does not mean your cell phone number must change.
  • An alternative to spending money on a domain is the Google Gmail account. This is free and the email address you pick is limited by your imagination and whether someone else has already used your idea. Gmail is not dependent on any High Speed Internet Provider.

Android Cell Phone Is Not For Me

Three disturbing things have happened in the past month that have me wanting to get rid of my Android cell phone:
  1. My staff have two different models from HTC that stopped charging. The mini-USB port where the charger fits into the cell phone is defective. Over time it appears that the port shrinks in size enough that any charger you use will no longer fit tight enough for the  cell phone to charge. The fix is to gently apply pressure on the top and bottom of the charger end that goes into the cell phone to slightly flatten the charger end. This tightens the connection between the charger and the cell phone, fixing the problem until the next time you need to re-adjust the charger end. This problem seems to be limited to HTC Android models. The two Blackberry cell phones my staff have that use the same mini-USB port design do not have this problem.
  2. A recent upgrade to the Android cell phone operating system took away a feature that I am having trouble living without. Before the upgrade, I was able to have a distinct notification for a new voicemail, email, text, etc... With the upgrade I am limited to a distinct notification for your voicemail and one for everything else. A Google search uncovers procedures for Android users to un-install the last upgrade to recover the lost functionality.
  3. Two weeks ago, one of my staff members reported that they could send texts, but not receive them. The Verizon store indicated that there was a problem with the Verizon text messaging system and that model Android cell phone. The remedy was a replacement cell phone. Another Google search uncovers that other Android cell phones have had similar problems receiving texts and the fix was a new cell phone.
When my contract is up and I'm eligible for a cell phone upgrade, I do not think Android will be one of my choices.