Should You Upgrade To Windows 8?



The short answer is, it depends. Microsoft has made some enormous changes to the interface of Windows with Windows 8. It appears to me that they basically decided to change its operating system around for the future. I mean this is what they seem to do all the time: they basically look at what the hardware is going to be a little ways out and redesign their software for that time frame.

And in their infinite wisdom, they have decided that touchscreens are in. Not just for tablets, but for laptops as well. So they really designed Windows 8 to be more of an operating system for touchscreen laptops and tablets.

Gone is the start menu. Now in order to get back to the start menu,you will find yourself using the Windows key a lot more. Especially if you don’t have a touchscreen laptop, which most likely you don’t.

Couple days after Windows 8 came out I decided to take one of my laptops and upgraded it to Windows a because it was only 49 bucks. I said, let me try this out and see what it’s like and I got a tell you it’s taking me a while to get used the interface. I don’t really like it.

Get ready for a bit of a steep learning curve. They’ve designed this operating system for touchscreens. If you are planning on purchasing a new laptop, more than likely it will come with Windows 8 pre-installed, because that is what Microsoft has decided to do. If that is the case then you may wish to look at one of the new touchscreen laptops that are coming out there are number of models not too expensive there’s some Acer some Asus a number of different models that are sub thousand dollars that a not only laptops they are also touchscreen.

Let me give you an example in order to get to the settings section you can either move the mouse into the upper right-hand corner and a menu will pop out, or swipe in from the right side of the screen assuming you have a touchscreen monitor. It is much much easier to swipe in than it is to move the mouse up the corner. Microsoft, sensing that they had a problem here with people getting ready access to this to apps, put in a quick start menu in the bottom left-hand corner if you move the mouse to bottom left-hand corner and click right mouse then you get a quick access menu to bunch different things.

I guess this is basically there decision to replace the start menu with this little device here but I find it’s very difficult to use and it’s very painful so those of you who are not extremely technical may have an issue using that.

The bottom line is, if you have Windows 7, stick with it. If you have anything prior to Windows 7 then it’s probably good idea to upgrade, if you can handle the new interface. And like I said if you don’t have a laptop right now are you looking to upgrade your current laptop, it would be a good idea to look at the touchscreen laptops that are out there today. They simply work better with Windows 8.

Great Dictation Software – Dragon Dictate Home 12

dragonDictation software has certainly come a long way in the last couple of years.

Here is a little gem that will make your life easier if you do a lot of writing and or blog posting. I’ve been thinking about buying this for a while but I’ve been hesitating because I didn’t know what the quality of the dictation would be like but I finally bit the bullet and picked it up. Our local Fry’s Electronics actually had it on sale for $65 with a $20 rebate that ended up being about 40 bucks which is a great deal for something that should save me a heck of a lot of time in fact this blog post itself is being dictated by DragonDictate right now and I am going to take a look at the post and see how many actual corrections I need to make and let you know the bottom of post how accurate it actually ended up being. This should save you a lot of time if you do a lot of writing and reporting it doesn’t work that well for note taking. I was reading a giant report and trying to take notes and it didn’t work that well but if you’re more of a stream of consciousness person then it should work fine for you.

Ok – so I dictated the paragraph above and this is what I got:

1 – extra word, 7-errors, so 8 errors in a post of 218 words equals about 4%.

Hipe 3 LED Automatic Motion Sensing Directional Night Light

Welcome to 2013! One of the new features that we’d like to start at Helpful Hints is an automated home feature – ways in which to automate little bits of your life and home to make things easier. We’ll start off this series by looking at lighting. Over the last few years I thought – look LED lights are powerful, low power so can be run for a long time even with batteries. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone could come up with a way to make stick on automated LED lights which only come on when you need them and go off shortly after you leave? Lo and behold, we are starting to see these kind of lights come into the market. At first the designs were pretty ugly, but since then they look a lot better. Check out this light from Amazon, company called Hipe. Watch this space, since LED lighting is so versatile you’ll be seeing a lot more of these, and a lot more interesting designs as well…

The Hip-NL3LED identifies day and night automatically and will only illuminate at night, when movement is detected and Turns off automatically after 30 seconds if no motion is detected.Has an adjustable Direction LED that allows You to Aim the Light at the perfect Angle.The night light instantly turns on when it detects motion, and can detect motion from as far as 15 feet away with 180 degrees of vision.The bright LED never needs replacing its so efficient that you will get more than 2,400 activations on one set of batteries.Includes 3 AAA Batteries. Mounts anywhere with the included magnets Wall magnet can be mounted with the included adhesive tape or with the included screw

via Hipe 3 LED Automatic Motion-sensing Directional Night Light – Battery Powered Hallway Light with a Built in Motion and Light Sensor

Do You Need A New Printer? Of course you do!

You Need A New Printer

I think about 6 months ago I realized that we had way more printers than people in this house – all different brands, all of which take different cartridges, all of varying ages and qualities – but most of them are old and slow and crappy. So we went searching for a new all-in-one – one printer to rule them all sort of thing – something we could place centrally, connect all of our various devices to – and get fast printing. As both Kitty and I had good experiences with HP over time we looked there first, but in the end we found an awesome Epson printer (yes I know – Epson) which worked great for all of the various computers and devices that we have here. We settled on the Epson WF-3540 – its got a tons of features and allowed us to Goodwill/Craigslist all of our old stuff. Some of the key stuff:

  • Wifi
  • Bi-directional – you can scan to any wifi connected computer
  • Print from Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, iPad, Android devices
  • Cloud print via Google and Epson built right in
  • Prints fast and double sided, saving paper

We’ve had it a few weeks now and it rocks – highly recommended: Epson WorkForce WF-3540 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible (C11CC31201)

How To Banish Those Telemarketers

Telemarketing 150x150  1
Banish Those Telemarketers

Working from home has its pluses and minuses – one of the big minuses is all of the telemarketing calls we still get on our home phone – yes we still have one of those because a) my wife Kitty insists that we have a backup – it’s part of the mini-survivalist within her and b) it was free with the high speed internet – I mean its $40 with our without a phone line and since I can’t pass up free stuff, we got it.

One good thing about automation in the telemarketing industry is that most telemarketers have moved to an automated system which simply calls one number after another and only when the phone is picked up, does the call get passed to a human.

Use this “pause” to your advantage: the phone rings, I say “hello” – if there is no immediate hello back – and you know what I mean by immediate – if you hear any kind of pause or hesitation, just hang up. Their system will then mark that call as completed and either take you off the list or move you to the end of the queue. Computers are stupid – they think that the call was completed so they mark you off and move on.

You Need A New Laptop: Acer Aspire TimelineX

You Need A New Laptop

Yes, you do.

If your laptop is more than, say, 2 years old, you need a new laptop. Forget the Chromebooks, since you won’t have internet wherever you are. You’re best value and technology can now be found in a netbook. Like this one.

I am typing this blog post right now on the model below – highly recommended super fight and light and even has insane battery life – I’ve been able to get 6-8 hours in regular use – imagine how often you have to plug in your current laptop? This guy is fast and lean, and you can get it in 3 different screen sizes – personally as a road warrior I prefer the smallest, lightest screen, but with a dual core i7 its powerful enough to edit video and audio. If I have any complaint its that my own eyesight sometimes fails me – but you know, that’s what the zoom button in Chrome is for..

The next-generation of Acers popular “all day computing” lineup, the 11.6-inch Aspire TimelineX 1830 model AS1830T-68U118 is an ultra-portable powerhouse that weighs just over 3 pounds yet packs in a full-size keyboard and ultra-low voltage Intel Core 17 dual-core processing–with 4-way multitasking processor power to work on four tasks simultaneously.

via Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118 11.6-Inch Laptop Black: Electronics.

The Best Offline Email Client & Calendar Solution

eM Client

Here is the situation – you use Gmail and are on a plane and would love to have the Outlook style offline experience. You’ve tried pretty much all of the offline email clients but everthing is either too slow, old or kludgey.

I too suffered in silence, looking high and low for a solution. Probably about once every 6 months I’d try again, only to find that really even after all of this time, there really was nothing decent out there.

Finally, after my last brush with losing my draft halfway through writing it due to a crappy internet connection, I came across eM Client. eMClient is the best offline mail and calendar solution I have found, bar none.

Even better – it’s free for a single account – which is perfect for those of us who have all of our mail come in via Gmail – I have 6 email accounts all flowing into my Gmail for free, and now into eMClient.

Highly recommended…go get it now 😉

How To Eat Healthier : Black & Decker Steamer

This IS The Steamer You Are Looking For

If you follow the Eat To Live Diet, or other similar low fat, high nutrient diets, I’ll bet you’ve been told that you need to need a lot of steamed vegetables. And I mean a lot – cups and cups a day. It was a huge pain for us to get a pot going, boil water, put the steamer basket in, put in the vegetables, track the time, and take them out when done. Well, this puppy does all that and more much more easily. Basically you fill it with water, put on the baskets, put the vegetables in the basket, then turn the timer dial to the amount of time you want the vegetables to steam. There is a handy guide in the box which give you an idea of how long to steam stuff. For example, the other day we had a bunch of leftover Swiss Chard from our organic weekly veg delivery and didn’t know what to do with it – so we put it in the steamer and set it to spinach. Fifteen minutes later – retro DING! – and it was done. Toss it in a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bam delicious and nutritious meal – or side dish. If you are looking for a steamer (it cooks rice and eggs too) this is the one you want!: Black & Decker HS1000 Handy Steamer with Flavor Scenter Screen

For healthy, delicious meals in minutes, this countertop appliance can cook rice while simultaneously steaming vegetables, meat, or seafood. It provides a large 4-quart steam basket and a 5-cup rice bowl, as well as a built-in egg holder for cooking eggs. Simply set the adjustable countdown timer by turning the knob to the right for up to 75 minutes of cooking time. It will automatically shut-off and signal when the cooking time has ended. The units water window makes it easy to check the water level at a glance, and an external water-fill inlet allows for conveniently adding water anytime during operation. Even more, a unique built-in flavor-scenter screen provides added versatility; add herbs and spices and their flavor will infuse into the food. Other highlights include durable construction, a drip tray, and an easy-to-clean design. The food steamer measures approximately 12-1/5 by 9-1/5 by 10-2/5 inches.

via Black & Decker HS1000 Handy Steamer with Flavor Scenter Screen: Kitchen & Dining.

Why You Should Never Opt For The Extended Warranty

FAIL: Almost Immediately Or Never

So I’ve worked with PC’s since their infancy back in the 80s and I can tell you two things to expect from most electronics and failure:

  1. It will fail right out of the box or
  2. It will last a very long time

Sure there are exceptions, but most of the time whenever I work with anything, be it a PC, stereo equipment, TV’s, pretty much most anything will either fail immediately, or  never. The other day Kitty was plugging in a brand new conference phone into a conference room at her office and it was completely dead. No lights, tone nothing. That was an out of the box fail. On the other hand, I have computers that have lasted forever, and I only scrapped them because they were out of date.

So basically what this means is that in all likelihood that there is no need to buy that “extended warranty” – your new device will most likely either fail within the regular warranty period, or far outlast its usefulness. Take it from experience, you don’t need it.

How To Sell Stuff Fast On Amazon

One Simple Trick

Kitty is sometimes amazed by the rapidity of which stuff we list on Amazon sells, so in the spirit of those kind of ugly and dumb “one neat trick” or “one simple trick” ads – which usually feature an extremely unappealing photo of a person grabbing their flab or something nearly as unsettling, here is a simple trick to getting your stuff to sell fast:

  1. Always price it 2-3 cents below the cheapest already listed used item

Why is this? Well, while Amazon DOES classify the items based on condition, it always shows them first by ALL conditions in order by price. Therefore to ensure that your item will always be at the top of the list, always price it 2-3 cents lower. You’ll find that thing will sell almost immediately when you do that. If they don’t you’ll have to go in at least weekly and review your prices to make sure someone else hasn’t done the same thing to your item.

Man, those ads are ugly.