Remembering and Forgetting

I’m reading a very good book that I picked up a couple of years ago but just couldn’t read at the time.  I’ll post a link to it later.  But here’s a quote that caught me.  It describing why we forget and how beneficial it is.  The first was written by Karl Barth;the second by Volf:

And we are enabled [by God] to [forget].  If it were otherwise, we should be in a terrible plight.  We should never be able to bear the sight of our own being in time.

If we were to remember the wrongs we have committed, we may not be able to live with ourselves, especially if we remembered them not as perceived by our own vision occluded by self-exculpations but with the clarity of divine sight.

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Cat needs home

Our 2.5 year old cat Fuzzy needs to be in a single pet (or 1 dog) home.  She doesn’t get along with our old cat.  She is a beautiful, soft, long-haired tabby and loves to play.

Here are pictures:  (It’s hard to get her to sit still)IM000014

IM000009 As you can see, she doesn’t like to be held for any length of time!101 IM000018 IM000005

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AT&T Tilt for Sale

AT&T Tilt for Sale
Get it quickly before it's gone!

As some of you may know I upgrade my phone, laptop, etc, about every 2 years.  This year, I'm doing it earlier for the phone because I wasn't using all of its features and I wanted something smaller.  Here are some picturesHere's a review.  (But mine looks different because I have upgraded it)  But let me tell you what I like and disliked about it.  First, it is large enough to read easily and use easily.  I don't want to have to squint or use a magnifying glass!  It can send and receive email and browse the web with an accompanying data plan from AT&T.  The manufacturer (HTC) supports it and has a great reputation.  It has very good AT&T reception and sounds very good on calls and works well with my Bluetooth headset (not included).  It syncs well with Outlook under Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7.  There are many free downloads for it, games or whatever you want to do. I can include some of mine, if you wish.   And the keyboard is great for people who text (not me--that's the one thing I didn't like about it)!  I'm offering you, my clients first chance to own it before I post it on Craigslist or Ebay.  It comes fully upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.5 (just like my new phone), my Boxwave leather case, extra stylus, charger and I have always had a protective cover on the screen and keyboard. (I just took the cover off so you can have a clean screen). 

They are going on Ebay for well over $100, but for my clients you can have it for $100.    It will be an easy upgrade for anyone using AT&T.  You can just remove your SIM card from your current phone and start using it right away.   Please respond quickly--it won't last long!

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Is Windows 7 worth the upgrade price?

Windows 7, will be released to the public tomorrow, and is definitely worth the upgrade price.  I have been using the full release version for a couple of months and have found it very good.  It recognizes hardware that you may connect to your computer and installs it without any interaction on your part.  I have found this to be true for even multi-function printers!  And it found a TV tuner card that I had forgotten I had in my Vista computer (Vista didn't' know I had it either) and installed it perfectly.  Programs that did not work in Windows Vista, but worked in Windows XP, now work in Windows 7.  And it is faster, more secure, and uses fewer system resources than Vista. 

If you have Vista you can upgrade to a similar version of Windows 7.  If you have Windows XP, it requires a clean install--you cannot install an upgrade version and it and will not save any of your programs, data, or settings. 

So, even if Vista is working well for you right now, I would encourage you to consider upgrading to take advantage of Windows 7's ease of use and new features.

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Internet Security or Antivirus? Which is best?

Many people ask me this question.  Anti-virus products cost less than internet security products, so can you get by with just an antivirus?  The answer depends on you.  Do you have a DSL (SBC or AT&T) or cable (Time Warner, Roadrunner, Insight) connection?  Do you click on links when you are searching the web?  If you can say "yes" to both of these, you need an Internet Security Product.  Why?  It all comes down to the difference.

Anti-virus products, in general, guard you from viruses and spyware and they do this by matching a suspected virus or spyware item to a "signature" for that particular virus or spyware.  Internet security products also look at the "signature," but they do more.  They will monitor the actions of files and programs to see if they act like viruses and spyware.  They will also add a toolbar to your web browser for safer surfing and may monitor websites for danger so you will know before you click.  The one I recommend, Norton 360, also provides a robust firewall, hard drive cleanup and defragmentation, as well as a backup program.

So, while you may pay twice for a yearly subscription to an internet security product, you are getting four, or five, or even six times the benefit.

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Windows Mobile 6.5, AT&T Pure dropped calls

I have been using my AT&T Pure for a couple of weeks.  It has consistently dropped calls.  I spent half a day online with AT&T and HTC (the manufacturer of the phone) to try to solve the problem.  Nothing worked.  I finally found a program that lets me change the phone signal from 3G to Edge (2G).  It worked great and no dropped calls and much better signal strength.  Now why couldn’t AT&T and HTC just tell me about that?

The program is Comm Manager 8 and it must be run from your phone.  It installs a switch in the Wireless Manager which allows you to switch off 3G.  AT&T’s 2G (EDGE) is very stable and strong here in Columbus, Ohio.

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Exposing How Rogue Antivirus Sites Snag Victims

Exposing How Rogue Antivirus Sites Snag Victims

Posted using ShareThis

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When is an anti-virus not an anti-virus?

This is the question.  If something labels itself an anti-virus, is it?  What do you do when you are on the internet and a window pops up telling you that you have many viruses?  Here is what you need to know.  I have previously described the effect of viruses and spyware.  If you are not experiencing those problems, you probably do not have any viruses.

If that pop-up tells you that you have many viruses, it is lying.  The purpose of that lie is to get you to spend money and purchase a useless program in order to remove those viruses or spyware.  These programs may have names like Antispyware 2009, Antivirus 2009, Personal Antivirus, and the like.  But whatever name is used, programs of this type are known as fraudulent or rogue programs as opposed to legitimate programs which you can trust.

How do you know if you have one of them?  Warnings of infections and an antivirus or antispyware program which cannot be removed normally.  They are not easy to remove and your best chance is to disconnect that computer from the internet and call us.

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Viruses—What do they actually do?

Here are what they may do.

  1. Block access to legitimate websites or your homepage.  If you find that you cannot access,, or your homepage and other valid websites, you may have a virus.
  2. Delete Windows files.  This means that Windows will not work properly and it may mean that even if we remove the virus, Windows will not work properly and may need to be reinstalled.
  3. Steal your identity.  A virus may install a keylogger that tracks what you type and can therefore steal information like your name, address, your user name and passwords for websites, your email address, and any other information you may type.
  4. Download and install spyware and viruses.  Think 1 virus is bad?  What if that virus installs 20 more? 

Of course, you can prevent all this by having a good security system on your computer.  We recommend Norton 360.

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How to contact us.

I do not check my office number frequently, so please do not use it.  Messages on it occasionally get lost.  The very best way to contact me is to call my cell 329-6671 or email me.  If you want to contact Jeff, you can email him or call him at 787-0184.  If you want to contact Suzanne, you can call her at 657-0552 or email her.  And of course you can always go to the website and contact us from there.  At times, when I am unavailable, Jeff will answer my phone or when Jeff is unavailable, and I will answer his phone.  However, you should always be able to reach one of us during normal business hours.  And we will return your call as soon as we can.

So make note of these numbers and use them!

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Out of Center?


From Eugene Peterson’s book Reversed Thunder.

. . . [E]very casual or pompous way station at which people seek easy and instant centering [is a delusion].  People who do not worship live in a vast shopping mall where they go from shop to shop, expending enormous sums of energy and making endless trips to meet first this need and then that appetite, this whim and tat fancy.  Life lurches from one partial satisfaction to another, interrupted by ditches of disappointment.  Motion is fueled by the successive illusions that purchasing this wardrobe, driving that car, eating this meal, drinking that beverage will center life and give it coherence.


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Facebook Tips

Much of this information was contributed by Jeff Lutz.  You can learn more about him here. (You'll have to scroll down the page).

Facebook has been growing by leaps and bounds because it's an easy way to find old friends and stay connected with current ones.  I have a Facebook page where you can connect with me.  But should YOU use Facebook?  Think first about your job.  People have been fired or not hired based on what employers learned from their Facebook account.

But if you decide to get a Facebook account, here are some tips to increase your safety:

  • During account setup Facebook asks you for your email password so it can automatically find your friends.  While this may save you some time, it gives Facebook access to everything in your email:  contacts, letters, attachments, etc.  Facebook does give you the option to skip this step. I recommend you skip it or wait until it finds your friends and then change the password on your email account so Facebook no longer has access.
  • Don't enter any more personal information than you feel comfortable sharing with the world. After you do this, go to Settings, Privacy and restrict this information to your friends, only.  If you have teenagers or younger children using Facebook, monitor their information.  Predators have used age, name of school, and other personal information to contact children. Keep your children safe by being their Facebook friend and frequently monitoring what they have posted, the messages they have sent and received, and who their friends are.  Remind them that their true friends already know this information.
  • Finally, Re-check your privacy settings (Settings, Privacy) to make sure that no one has access to information you would not want them seeing. 
    If you would like more information or help review your settings or your child's settings, call or email.  Click and send an email to Diana or Jeff.  Or call us at 329-6671.

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Windows 7 Update

Microsoft's announced release date for Windows 7 is Oct. 22, which means it might be on shelves by Nov.  If you are buying a new computer now, go to the manufacturer's website and search for Windows 7.  They should have a place for you to sign up to receive a free or greatly reduced upgrade to Windows 7.  Here is where new Dell owners can register.  People running business editions of Vista can only upgrade to business editions of Windows 7.  People running Home Basic or Premium can upgrade to Windows 7 in the same version.  f you are running Vista Ultimate, you can upgrade only to Windows 7 Ultimate. I do recommend that anyone running Vista who is having any problems, upgrade to Windows 7,  All Vista computers should be able to run Windows 7, but if you want to kn ow for sure, click here to download Microsoft's tool.

You can click here to see the difference between the versions.

Then decide if Windows 7 is something you will want.  If you would like more information, please contact me.

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Internet Explorer 8 vs. Firefox 3.5

Internet Explorer 8 has answered some of the short-comings of Internet Explorer 7.  Internet Explorer now has tabbed browsing, private browsing, easy links to Microsoft products and more security.  Firefox 3.5 has tabbed browsing, private browsing, and lots and lots of add-ons (extensions) that enable you to connect with almost anything or do anything or see anything. . . you get the picture.  It also has more security.  What I have found in Internet Explorer 8, however, is that it has so much security that some things don't work or don't display properly.  [For the few of my clients using a dial-up connection, I would advise using Google Chrome because of its speed.]  

Tips for Firefox users: 

  1. My favorite Add-On is Adblock Plus.  It blocks ads on most web pages.  And makes it easy to unblock those you want.
  2. Check to see that you have the most current version: Go to Help, then About and check that you have version 3.5. If you don't, click here to get it.
  3. Finally, an extension called Microsoft .Net Framework Assistant 1.0 may have been installed.  Go to Tools, Add-Ons, Extensions, and disable this feature because it presents a possible security problem.  (You will not be able to uninstall it, but it can be disabled.)

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Snipe Hunting

I was thinking about snipe hunting that I participated in as a teenager.  I never did find one, but here is information about one I might have found if I had quietly looked in the right place.  North American Snipe.  And if you look at the video you’ll notice that no one with a video camera has seen one either.

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A Little Fun

There's plenty on the internet to give you a few laughs when you need it?  Warning:  there is nothing bad in these videos but I wouldn't want to scare young children or give them nightmares, so view them first before showing them to young children.

  • Outsourcing:  always a sore subject, here are 2 videos that shed a different light on it. 

First, Outsourcing work.

Second, Outsourcing childcare.

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Windows 7—Availability and Cost

According to my best sources, Windows 7 may be released by late September, early October, or at least in time for the Christmas season  (although rumors have it that October 22 is the date).  CAN you upgrade?  You can upgrade if you are running Windows Vista.  By this I mean that if you are running Windows Vista, you should be able to install Windows 7 as an upgrade and retain your programs, hardware installs and data--but this will also depend on the manufacturer of your software and hardware. If you are running Windows XP, you may be able to install Windows 7, but only as a clean install.  You would then have to reload all your software, install your hardware, and replace your data.  Click here to down Microsoft's tool to see if your computer can run Windows 7.

There are several versions available for pre-order at a reduced price.  You can click here to see the difference between the versions.

Click here to check out the pre-order reduced pricing.   Then decide if Windows 7 is something you will want.  If you would like more information, please contact me.

And if you are buying a new computer, buy it from a source that will offer you a free or low cost upgrade.  Beginning June 26, 2009, Microsoft has made the free or low cost upgrade available through major retailers like Dell.

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Feedback, Why Do It?

How do we use feedback?

Feedback is vital to any business or person.  When interacting with you and working on your computers it is essential.  The need for feedback starts on first contact when we try to discern the nature of your problem.  We need to know what happened before your problem started.  Did you install a new printer, phone or other hardware?  Did you install some software?  Did you click on a certain web page or link?  Did you experience a power outage?  Did you install an update?  Or did it just happen out of the blue?  The answers to these questions can help us determine the action to take and the approximate amount of time it might take us to solve the problem.  However, this is not an exact science and a certain amount of guesswork still takes place! 

Next, when we are with you and your computer we need to know any other questions or issues you may have.  That way we can complete the job in fewer trips and make more efficient use of our time and yours.  Also, talking to you in person is usually a more accurate form of communication, although it may not be if we are stressed or tired!

Finally, we need feedback when we are finished.  No, you don't have to send a card or tip us, but we always appreciate a smile.  We know we have done our best and we like to know that you know also. And for those of you who are Angie's List members, and who haven't posted feedback or haven't done it recently.  Please do.  Here's a link to do it now.  Please note that called-in feedback to Angie's List does not create a detailed useful report on the web page.  So, please post it on the web!  I need it especially because once in awhile (recently, in fact) people who never see me, post a negative review.  And I do put feedback on my own website, so if you want it posted there, just send it to me in an email or use the Contact page on the website to send it.

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Who are we?

When you contact us about your computer what do we do?

  • We provide you with security.  We can examine your computer and tell you with a reasonable certainty that with all the concerns in your life, your computer need not be one of them! We check to make sure your software, including your operating system, is up to date and that internet connections are secure.
  • We provide better communication and organization.  A computer is primarily a communications tool and a data organization tool.  Most people use it to communicate through email and web postings and to organize their written communications to family, friends, and professionals in their lives.  We make sure that all things work together well and help you easily locate what you need to ease communication. 
  • We provide value.  Not only can we make your computer function better, we can help you relate to your computer better.  This is the most difficult part of what we do because while computers are built for the general masses, every person and business has specific needs and does things in a specific way.  We try to listen to your specific needs and make things work the way you need them to work.  But, if you don't think you are getting your point across, tell us.  Maybe tell us two or three times until we get it.  We can then recommend a workaround or the best free or low cost ways for you to do what you want to do.

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Who should update to Windows 7?

The pre-release Windows 7 was made available for the first time time this month.  And people have asked me, "Should I upgrade to Windows 7?"  Here is my response:  If you have Windows XP, probably not, unless your computer was manufactured in the last year or two and you know that it could run Windows Vista (this will depend on the software you need to run as well as the hardware in your computer).  I know that most Netbooks sold with XP will run Windows 7.  I am running it on mine.  I also know that computers running Vista will run Windows 7, so if you have Vista and would like more features, more compatibility, less memory usage, and a more stable operating system--everything that Vista could have been, then you will want to upgrade to Windows 7.  If you are buying a new computer, ask the manufacturer (Dell, HP, or other) if they will throw in Windows 7 when it is released.

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Repair or Replace?

How do you decide whether to repair or replace your computer.  The general rule for appliances is that if it costs more than 2/3 of the cost to purchase a new one, you should purchase new.  How do you figure the cost of the new computer?  You must figure the cost from the seller (I am using an example of a Dell with features similar to my own older computer)  Dell is selling this computer for about $700.  You must also figure the cost to backup your personal data and install it properly on the new computer.  This could be in the $100-$150 range or higher depending on the amount of data and where it is located.  So, let's now call it an $800 dollar computer.  There is also the cost of installing your own software, security software, setting up email, adjusting preferences, etc.  Let's just add on another $100 for that.  These are just estimates after all!  So the actual cost of the computer is $900 and 2/3 of that would be $600.  So you could spend up to $600 on that old desktop computer before it might be time to replace it with a new one.  You also might look at it another way:  what is my old computer worth?  Old computers aren't worth much to anyone else, but to you they are worth what it would cost you to replace it.

Now there are exceptions to every rule.  It often does not make economic sense to spend $600 because you might be replacing all the major parts and still have 1 or 2 parts which might fail imminently   So let's drop the cost to $300.  That would be 1/3 the cost of the new computer.  For  perhaps $300 (I am including parts and labor in these estimates), you could have your hard drive replaced and everything reloaded and reset.  For perhaps $150 or less, you could have your power supply replaced, or your video card.  For $100 or less you might be able to add more memory.   You get the idea:  Spend more than $300 on that old computer and it might be a waste of money when the next thing fails.

When we recommend a new computer, we are doing a quick economic analysis of your old computer.  The same sort of analysis that I performed in the paragraph above.  We also consider other reasons to replace a computer, which have little to do with economics.  The first reason is that your computer may not be able to be upgraded because of limitations built into the computer.  Many low-end computers have a memory limitation.  In that case, there is nothing to do but buy a new one.  The other instance is where software or hardware that you need will not work or not work well with your old computer because of its limitations.  This happens most frequently because of a global hardware change such as when computers changed from parallel ports to USB, or because of an underpowered processor (some programs will not work with low-end processors). 

If the repair or replace dilemma still puzzles you, please contact me and I can give you an analysis based on your situation.

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Microsoft Virtual PC

What you can do with an old operating system and old programs.

A virtual PC is one that does not really exist.  Of course you have a box with a computer in it but it is running Windows Vista or Windows 7, or even Windows XP.  Now, if you want to run a program that only works in Windows XP or Windows 98, what do you do?  Windows Vista and 7 have compatibility modes that work well, but not for every program.  So you need to run that program in a Virtual PC that runs Windows XP (or even Windows 98 or 2000).  To do this you need sufficient memory to run the older operating system on top of what you need to run your own computer. You also need sufficient hard drive space to allocate to the Virtual PC.  You will need a legitimate copy of the older operating system and Microsoft Virtual PC, which is free for the download.

I am running a softball league program (with very good tech support) that was released in 2004 in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 running Windows XP.  I set up everything I would need to do the league schedules:  a legitimate copy of Windows XP, Office 2007, the scheduler program, Firefox web browser, and Windows Live Writer to post the schedules to the blog site. 

This is a safe way to run or test any program because your own computer's operating system remains untouched no matter what happens in the Virtual PC.

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Windows 7 Experience--Update

The best application for better serving you!
In my continuing test of Windows 7 Beta, I have come across the most useful application to date.  It is currently called Record Steps to Reproduce a Problem and is found under Troubleshooting.  However, the name and location could change by the time Windows 7 is released.  When this program is run it presents a simple red record button which, when pressed, records every step you take on a computer.  When you have finished you stop recording and it prompts you to save a file.  You can then email the small, compressed file to me and I will be able to see every step you took that is creating a problem for you, along with screen shots.  This is very useful for you and me, but just think of the other applications!

You might ask me how to do something and rather than explaining I can record the steps and email them to you.  In fact there may be a number of uses I can't even imagine.  So if you have any ideas, please send them to me.  Or comment below. 

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Economic Climate Ideas?

What businesses should survive.
I recently read a review of a book about Marco Polo and the Polo Trading Company.  The review pointed out that a business can remain profitable despite what the government does.  The criteria for remaining profitable are these:

  1. Provide what people want.  I hope you all want friendly, personal, reliable, honest, computer service. And that's what I provide.  No sales or gimmicks.  Just good service.
  2. Offer true value.  That's why we DON'T charge you $99/hour.  After paying expenses at the hourly rate I charge, I can make more than the federal poverty guidelines.  And that's all I need.
  3. Offer exceptional service.  I hope the service we provide would be the rule, rather than the exception, however I have been the victim of poor service that that I would consider no service at all, but often seems to be the rule for some businesses, so maybe my service is the exception!
  4. Have a good reputation--always my goal! 

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Internet Explorer 8 problems

IE 8 is a great fix for Internet Explorer, but it keep certain other programs from working properly.  Two that I know about are Best Case bankruptcy software and Turbo Tax online.

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How Would You Live Without A Computer?

Our microwave oven quit last week.  No, it's not a computer, but I had to heat water on the stove and defrosting things was just impossible.  I felt like I had stepped backward in time to a time I could not even remember where everything happened more slowly.  Even the cabin where we vacationed the last couple of years had a microwave!  I did not want to live (not literally!) without it.

I started thinking, how would we live without computers and internet.  Would we do our accounting by hand?  Hire accountants?  Would we call or write to friends instead of emailing, using Facebook or Myspace, or texting?  Would we be willing to wait for snail mail or for the friend to be free before we would expect a response?  Would we hire a realtor for our house search, or actually drive around looking instead of looking online?  What else would we do without computers?  Any ideas? 

Just looking at what we might do, I realize that we may have lost some important things.  It takes time and thought to write a letter.  It takes time and thought to do our accounting or taxes by hand.  It takes time and thought to dialogue with a realtor or an accountant.  Have we stopped thinking?  We have certainly stopped using time to think.

What are some of the things you and I don't do because it takes time?  I have a book of short poems that I cannot finish because poetry cannot be read quickly--you have to stop and think.  Who can still sit (or sit still) through a 3-hour movie (like Gone with the Wind)? What are we missing by not taking time? By using computers?

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What do you do with your computer?

Do you need a powerful computer?
Email and Web Browsing
Most of the people I work with, businesses and gamers excepted, use their computers only for internet, email, pictures, music, and a few other non-processor intensive programs. For email, I recommend Windows Live Mail unless you have Outlook 2007 on your computer. Or you can use webmail, such as gmail. For Internet, there are 3 competing browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome. I recommend Firefox for everyone except people using older (but still XP) and slower computers. Then Google Chrome might work best.

Netbook, Laptop, Desktop
Do you need more than a netbook?
In the past, most people had desktop computers. Why? They were (and are) significantly cheaper than laptops and much cheaper and easier to repair. But now, the netbook has entered the market, a small-form laptop under $400. Other than price and size, a netbook is not as heavy duty as a laptop and probably not worth repairing or updating other than adding a new hard drive or memory. It also has no DVD drive.  You might even consider it a disposable computer. You won't be happy running a processor intensive program like photoshop on it, but if you only want to touch up red-eye or crop a picture or a half-dozen other things, you can do it with Splashup Light. It's free and very easy on any computer. It works well on a netbook.  So if you want something inexpensive, small, light and sufficient for ordinary computing needs, look into a netbook.

Buying a Netbook.
MSI Wind
Before I purchased a Netbook I researched all of them. The one I purchased was the MSI Wind. I purchased that one for several reasons: MSI products have always worked well for me, the Wind received respectable ratings from sites I trust, and it came in black. The most important reason I bought it was the screen size: 10 inches. Most netbooks have 8 inch screens. I think bigger is usually better especially when you're heading toward smaller.  The downside, to make the small form computer, some of the keys are smaller and the touchpad is awkward to use.  My solution:  a Bluetooth Mouse.  The netbook I purchased came with Windows XP, but I put Windows Vista on it with no problem and am also running The next version of Windows, Windows 7 (beta) with even fewer problems.  This netbook works very nicely for my needs and may also be sufficient for yours.

If you would like more information about other netbooks or anything else discussed in this newsletter, check out the links, email me,  or call me.

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The Kindle 2 and my Philosophy of Book Management

I previously blogged about Amazon's Kindle.   I love to read and think it's an amazing device.  And now, it has gotten better.  I'll tell you about some of the good things, but I have to note that it alone costs twice what I would spend on books in a year and those Kindle books can't be passed around.  My philosophy of book management is to read a book.  Then, if that book is extraordinary and wonderful, I will keep it and pass it along to others to read.  If it is an ordinary good read, I will still pass it along.  And if it is bad, I will dispose of it.

The new Kindle is thinner than most cell phones, has a battery that only needs to be charged once a week with continuous use, and can hold about 1500 books.  It's about the size of a paper back and can be read 1-handed.  The text size can be changed to suite you and books usually cost about $9.99.  That's no deal because the actual book would cost about 20 cents more.  Newspapers are different prices.  And the new Kindle has text to speech.  I don't know how that works, but it might be good for someone with limited vision. 

If I used the Kindle, I would not be able to pass along my books, but I would be able to read more easily in bed.  If I used the Kindle, I would not be able to pass along my books, but I could still tell others about them.  If I used the Kindle, I would not be able to read some authors I like simply because they're not popular enough to be released in Kindle format.  (eg. Mark Steele's books Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself and Half-Life Die Already: How I Died and Lived To Tell About It--a couple of book that always make me laugh)

So, if you're a person that likes to ready anywhere, everywhere, the Kindle might be for you.  And if you want text to speech or larger print, the Kindle might be for you.  But for me, I'll just stick to paper for now.

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Diminishing Networks and What to do About It

I spoke with a client this week who need to remove people from her address list because they had died.  She spoke about her network becoming smaller and smaller.  If you look at a teenager or young adult's social network (such as Facebook or MySpace), it may number in the 100's.  If you look at a 50 something person's it may number in the 20's or 30's at best (unless they have a lot of work contacts there).  And if you look at a person in their 80's there may be no social networking site at all, but just a paper address book that keeps diminishing.

And if it's a 50 something person, they can't claim network diminishment because of death of friends.  So what is it?  I think as we become older, we retain the friends that we can communicate with frequently and whose life experiences we have shared.  As a young adult, everything and anything and anyone is a possible friend.  And time expands to fit in almost all we want to do.  As an older adult, time is less expansive, fewer things seem possible, and life becomes so difficult that the easy relationships are the ones we lean toward.

What's the answer for the older adult?  Find a younger adult and make an effort.  Even if you didn't have any older adult friends when you were a young adult, you can still be an older adult friend to a current young adult.  No, it won't be easy with the younger adult juggling school, work, or children.  And it won't be easy building any shared experiences.  But it still may be worth the try.  There are a couple of younger women I would like to know better.  Now, whether they want to know me better is another matter!

And for younger adults. . . if you want to be helpful, take the initiative.  Contact an older adult and offer friendship. . . even if you can't afford lunch--the older adult will be willing to do free things or even pay for lunch.

What do you think?  Have any ideas?  Please comment.

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Jonah poems

I am currently reading the book

by Thomas John Carlisle, published in 1968, a collection of poems about Jonah.

Here are 2 of the shorter ones:


I will demonstrate

my immediate


providing You comply

with my demand

for a more satisfying




The word came

And he went

In the other direction.


God said: Cry

tears of compassion

tears of repentance;

cry against

the reek of unrighteousness;

cry for

the right turn

the contrite spirit.


And Jonah rose

And fled

In tearless


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Favorite Christmas Recipe: Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

I made this for the first time at Christmas and I like it far better than regular mashed potatoes.  I tripled the recipe which was far too much.  I will make it just as it is for next year.


  • 4 cups carrots, in 1/4 inch slices (about 1 lbs)
  • 1 lb potato (I used red skin and left the skins on)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced (about 2 small)
  • 3/4 cup water, hot
  • 1-1 1/4 cup milk, hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2-3 ounces bacon, diced, fried crisp (optional)


  1. 1
    Heat oil in a medium-sized pot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots and fry until onion is transparent, about 2 minutes.
  2. 2
    Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. 3
    In the meantime peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch dice. Add to carrots,cover, bring to a boil again and cook over low heat for 30 minutes until vegetables are completely soft and almost all liquid has evaporated.
  4. 4
    If there is some water, cook it off uncovered over high heat, shaking pot to avoid sticking.
  5. 5
    Mash vegetables with a masher.  I leave them lumpy for better texture.
  6. 6
    Add milk gradually, beating with a whisk until desired consistency. Depending on the starch in potatoes this might require about 1-1 1/4 cups milk.
  7. 7
    Add butter, salt, cayenne and nutmeg to taste.
  8. 8
    If using fried bacon bits, mix one half into vegetables and sprinkle other half on top

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New Reviews--Sansa View, Music sources

I have been using the Sansa View for several months now.  I bought a stand-alone mp3 player because my PDA just wasn't convenient for playing music.  Why didn't I buy an iPod?  They are expensive, need to use iTunes and not exactly what I wanted.  My tech philosophy is to use whatever is most popular because that is what my clients will be using and it's helpful to me to know the technology inside out.  But an iPod was just too expensive for that.

I purchased the Sansa View 16GB refurbished for about $70--the iPod would have been more than twice that.  I can use the Sansa View with Windows Media Player or any other music player.  I tend to use Windows Music Player for its ease of use and simple layout.    I am using MediaMonkey to set up playlists and sync because it makes it easy to do so on the Sansa View.  I buy my music from Amazon because the mp3's are easy to download, go right into my Windows Media Player library, are DRM free, and are competitively priced. I don't use iTunes because of its proprietary format.  And artists that I really like, I buy on CD. 

The Sansa View is easy to use.  What I like--it saves the last thing I was listening to so I can go right back to it.  It's easy to pause, skip, play by feel in my coat pocket.  It works with a standard headphone jack so I can plug it right into my car.  It is thin and the battery lasts for 8 hours or more of playing.  And Sansa is popular enough that there are boards devoted to it.  So, for me, it's the best of all music players until the next best one comes along.

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This made me laugh!

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