Monday, January 30, 2012

The Perfect PC

What is the Perfect PC? Can there be such a thing? Is it the most powerful and expensive PC?

The answers are: Yes, Yes, and NO.

Maybe a Little Too Much ...

Just a Little Too Old...

So what would be just right?

Your Perfect PC is the best PC for your needs configured  properly. One for which very good choices have been made. One that waits for you, and not one for which you are always waiting. The Perfect PC has the right Operating System, Security Software, Application Software. The Perfect PC is backed up regularly and reliably to rock-solid, bootable, instant-restore media.

OK. You get the idea.

Why do I go on and on about this?

Because many people who could own their Perfect PC -- it's financially within their grasp -- don't.

And they end up paying for it in some other way:

By losing all of their data at some point, or every day, by waiting around for a badly configured or underpowered computer to do what it is asked, or by getting infected and having to pay, sometimes hundreds of dollars, to get it cleaned up.

Many people own an Almost Perfect PC, that is so close to being perfect and then ... they don't complete it.

Don't be one of those people.

Your Perfect PC will not let you down, because it has been set up to keep you safe and sound.

It is backed up to bootable media. Also check out "Bring In The Clones."

It is protected by powerful security software.

It is clean and kept in a well ventilated area.

It has a modern multi-core processor that can keep up with internet and graphical demands. Item 8)

It has 4 GB or more memory. See above

It's not more than 5 or 6 years old.

It is owned by someone who has plans for disaster -- what will you do if the hard drive fails, if it is infected with a virus, or if the motherboard fries?

Can you answer those questions?

What will you do if you main system hard drive fails? How will you get back up and running? How long will it take you?

Who will disinfect your system if you pick up a virus or a worm? Can you do it yourself? What will it cost for someone else to do it?

What is the plan if the motherboard goes up in smoke? Will you replace the computer or just the board?

Let's answer these questions ahead of time so we aren't spinning our wheels when the bad stuff happens.

By the way, a whole lot of my time is spent fixing problems for people who Have Not answered these questions ahead of time ...



Photo Credits:  Google Various

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Talk -- How To Take Care of Your Computer for Little of No Money -- Part 1, Disinfection -- Jan 19, 2012

Thank you all of you who attended this past Thursday's talk at the library -- we had over 40 people there -- and I enjoyed talking to you about the problems and concerns you have with your machines. As promised, following is a slideshow of the presentation you saw.Do remember, any of you who want to subscribe to the Working Computers Blog, just go the right hand side of the page and look for the "Enter Your Email Address" box and click on "Subscribe", or click on the "Subscribe in a Reader" icon. The first choice will get you the once a week articles on computer use and maintenance problems you face as a home or small business user.You can use the links in the Slideshare presentation below to download any software discussed, including Malwarebytes and Spybot. Or see the previous article.Take Care of Your Computer Part 1 -- Disinfection Jan-19-2012

If you have any questions feel free to drop me an email at the address to the right.

Also for the 2 ladies who were interested in my laptop recommendation in the $500 range, the best I can come up with at the moment is over 500 bucks, but is a good deal.

HP Pavilion dv6t 15.6-inch "Sandy Bridge" Core i3 2.2GHz Laptop w/Free 6GB RAM Upgrade -- $554.99, incl. shipping.
Use code: 25LOGICBUY at checkout.
I didn't like any of the other choices for various reasons.
See you in February!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Taking Care of Your Computer for Free -- Talk at the Kinnelon Library Jan. 19 7:00 PM

It needs a little love!

I will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Library Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 PM, which is the first of 3 such talks a month apart, on the subject of taking care of your Windows PC, new or old, with special attention in Part 1 to:

Free Software to Disinfect Your Computer including :

1) What to do when you first notice that you have an infected machine.

2) What are Restore and Recover and why you should care

The free software includes Malwarebytes'  and Spybot's  free programs which you can download and install from these links.

I cannot over-stress the importance of acting quickly if you think you have such a problem, so whatever you decide to do, pursue disinfection yourself, or have someone do it for you, do it right away. 

How to Surf Safely -- Howto explore the internet without getting infected, or having your identity stolen:

1) How to know if a website or download is safe

2) When to say Yes and when to say No

Ask Your Questions and Solve Your Problems --"Open Mike" -- Questions such as

1) Is my machine too old? When do I need a new machine?

2) What is the best Free On-Line Backup?

3) Why does my computer ... ?

4) If you have a laptop with a problem, bring it along and we'll take a quick look.

5) Questions and on-the-spot diagnosis will be limited by the time available!!!

All of you Kinnelon and North Jersey people, and everybody else, are welcome to come.

Call the Kinnelon Library at 973 838 1231 and reserve a spot.

See you there!


PS: This talk pertains to PCs running Windows 7, Vista and XP

Photo Credit:

Monday, January 9, 2012

The 7 Best Free Software Programs Around in January 2012

It Costs No Money!

I am going to list my most favorite, most universally needed Free Software, that I think no home PC should be without, from Word Processing and Office Software, to Ripping and Burning, and from Anti-Virus to Voice over Internet. You're welcome.

The criteria are that the software is really great, that it is needed or can be used by a lot of people, and that you don't know how you got along without it before you got it. I don't care if it isn't as good in some respects as the commercial counterpart, just as long as it doesn't do anything bad, and is easy to use, and I don't care if it doesn't have as many bells and whistles, just as long as it does the things I need it to.

Here are my 7 Best Free Software Programs:

Picasa: Google's photo management, printing and light-editing program is an astoundingly useful piece of software that catalogs, edits, uploads, easily prints photos of all kinds. Indispensable for anyone who takes photos or has a collection. No real commercial competition at all.

LibreOffice: A functional clone of Microsoft Office forked from the open source software of Sun's Open Office, now Oracle's Open Office, that includes great workalikes for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access as well as Math, an equation editor, and Draw, what it sounds like. The Open Office people apparently didn't like where the product was going under Oracle, so they set it free, umm, Libre ... that's free ... in French ... or ... Spanish.

Imgburn: a truly powerful CD/DVD burning and ripping utility that does its job quickly, directly and easily. If you need to burn ISO files, make disc copies, or rip backups to disk, this is your utility.The software you really need rather than some bloated package like Nero or Roxio.

Freemake Video Downloader, Video Converter, and Audio Converter: These are really 3 (that I'm counting as 1 -- hey, it's my list) separate programs, but they are all free, and they all do a great job of manipulating your own or freely available content formats and ripping or burning it. You want to grab that YouTube video and save it in WMV or AVI format and burn a DVD of it? Freemake Video Downloader and Video Converter are your programs. No real commercial competition.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware v1.60: The one piece of free software that stands a chance of disinfecting your compromised machine after you have a bad case the internet flu, even when the infection has prevented EXE execution, blocked internet access and begun popping up demands for money every 20 seconds. A must.

AVG Free Anti-Virus: Rated 4-1/2 Stars by CNET, installs and runs in 5 minutes, doesn't bug you or require repeated license confirmation or that you endure pleas to upgrade. While there are arguably better for-pay programs, that doesn't mean this one isn't very good, or good enough for you. It is. It's free.

Skype: You know what it is. It's not only a free product, it's a verb. You can get a good HD webcam for 20 bucks, and your video phone calls will be free. What are you waiting for?

That's my list. Do you have a program that ought to be included?

Let me know!



PS If the link for the $20 webcam has expired by the time you read this check TechBargains or LogicBuy for something comparable

Photo Credits:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Last Great Computer Deal -- the Dell XPS 8300 for $500 off, and the Dell U2412M 24" monitor

Dell XPS 8300 with optional monitor
I know I said no more Computer Deals for a while, but, for the Desktop Deals I said yesterday do not exist, there is an exception, The powerful Dell XPS 8300 very well configured with 8 GB of RAM and the Core i7 2600 CPU, and a 2 year basic warranty and a 15 month Internet Security Package is included, as is free delivery.

Use this Dell Site link and enter coupon code ?$QNC1?HSKNR9F at Checkout, and you will get a total of $510.75 off the regular price, or $722.24. Just copy and paste the code. Expires Jan 5 or sooner.

Dell also has a great 24" monitor with the very best, but still reasonably priced, 1920 X 1200 resolution for a desktop PC, the UltraSharp U2412M & LED backlight, with coupon code ZXP20F740G$W11 for $313.65 with free shipping. Expires Jan 9 or sooner.

OK, all done


Monday, January 2, 2012

Latest and Greatest Cheap Computers for Holiday 2011/2012! For the Last Time!

HP dv7t
OK, I've been over this Discounted-Computers-to-Buy-Right-Now thing several times in recent weeks, but I'll give it one last shot before letting it rest for a while. There are some very powerful, heavily discounted and very beautiful computers out there as I write this, that will solve your aging computer problems for a long time to come. For whatever reason, these non-advertised coupon-code only deals, are being made available now on top-of-the-line gear and it would be shame to miss them if you need a new machine. Remember, power equals longevity -- the more powerful your new computer, the longer it will remain useful and stand up to the ever-increasing demands of software and the internet.

First of all, go to TechBargains and check out the range of discounted items available; it's amazing, and these are by-and-large deals unavailable elsewhere, and certainly unadvertised. Specifically, check out the

HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition series
HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition series see picture above

but do not use those prices. Instead go through the following link at TechBargains: for the dv7t
& for the dv6t

They both use they latest Intel Mobile Quad Core i7 CPU, and differ in the size of the screen, 17.3" for the dv7t vs 15.6" for the dv6t. Both can be had for well under $1000 and you have to remember to copy the coupon code and enter it at checkout to get the discounts from $375 to $450, and you get free shipping. NJ Sales Tax applies.

Now for the Desktop Deals -- well -- there aren't any! None that I like anyway. A lot of people got the Dell XPS 8300 and the HP h8xt that I recommended in December, but sadly, those deals are gone. Too bad, too, because they have the high-end Core i7 2600 processor that offers so much bang-for-the-buck. I suspect however, that sometime in the next month or 2, they may come back in some form or another. If you are in the market for such a machine, do check the TechBargains website every couple of days.

Yes, you can find laptops that are cheaper, but remember, power equals longevity, and these are machines that will last you a lot longer than the Core i5 or AMD based computers. And I admit, the computers I am recommending are not actually cheap -- you can find decent, if not as nice, machines for less, but not ones that provide the long term value.

Let me say also that I have no stock in HP, nor do I make any money from sales of my recommended purchases!

Go forth and be powerful! Cheaply!

Freebie Alert! Norton for Nothing!
PS: Oh, by the way, Newegg has the boxed, 3-license (3 machine), 1 owner copy of Norton 360 v5.0 avaialble today only FOR FREE, including free shipping, after a $45 rebate directly from Symantec. This is a great deal and, admittedly a pain in the ass, but ... what are you going to do? If you have to jump through a hoop or 2 to save 45 bucks, well, there you are. I think, as do many others, that Norton 360 is the best and lowest impact (least effect on your computer's speed) available. If you aren't reading this today and missed the freebie, check out how to get it for 1/2 price here.
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