Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When to choose a Netbook or Mini

Small computers are all the rage. Everyone thinks that they want one but before you go out and make the purchase you really need to stop and think whether this mini-computer is going to do what you need.

What NetBooks are and are good at:

  • They are a small laptop computer, usually with a 10” screen and miniaturized keyboard
  • They usually run Windows but some are also running Linux
  • They usually have very long battery life. 3-8 hours
  • They are best used as a companion computer
  • They are great for reading email and working for short periods of time.
  • They are inexpensive ($300-$600)

What NetBoks are not good at:

  • They are not easy to use for a long time. The screen is small and the keyboard is small
  • They are not very powerful. Your applications won’t perform the same. It will be slower.
  • They do not have DVD drives (usually)

So why might you want to get one?

  • It’s a lot easier to open one on a plane
  • They weigh, like, a pound
  • You need something very occasionally
  • They are great for taking to meetings or to use while waiting at the doctor office
  • They are fully functional computers.

What do they cost?

As with all computers the price ranges widely. I bought a refurbished Dell Mini 10V for $236. It is truly bottom of the line. I’ve also seen NetBooks for as much as $1200. I would not recommend spending more than half of what you would spend for a laptop computer because you are going to get about 1/2 of the functionality no matter how much you spend. A small screen and a small keyboard have inherent limitations.

Having said that. I love the Dell Mini. It’s cute. It’s lightweight. It’s small enough to take anywhere. It’s a great email and light work gadget that is easy to use for about an hour or two at a stretch. As long as you don’t expect it to be a laptop you’ll love it.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

HotMail and FaceBook compromised

HotMail: If you have a hotmail account, please go there now and change your password. Thousands of hotmail passwords have been farmed. Here’s now:

<copied from> First login to your Windows Live Hotmail account, and then click the Options link in the upper right:

Windows Live Hotmail options link

And then at the bottom of the resulting list, click on More options...:

Windows Live Hotmail More Options link

On the resulting page, click on View and edit your personal information:

Windows Live Hotmail more options highlighting View and edit your personal information link

At this point you may be prompted to re-enter your password. This is a security measure to prevent just anyone from walking up to your computer and changing your information.

There's something interesting to note about the screen that you land on:

Windows Live Account setting page header

"When you change your password for Windows Live Hotmail, you're also changing it for all your Windows Live based services."

Note that it stopped talking about Hotmail. This is your Windows Live account.

Why does that matter?

Because your Windows Live account is used for all Windows Live services including Hotmail, Messenger Spaces and more. When you change your password for Windows Live Hotmail, you're also changing it for all your Windows Live based services.

Near the center of that page you'll see a section labeled Password reset information:

Password reset information in the Windows Live account setting page

Click on Change on the Password: line and you'll get this box:

Windows Live Change Password dialog

Naturally you must type in your old password in order to prove that you are who you say you are and are authorized to make changes.

As you type your new password the new Password Strength indicator will show you just how strong your password is. Having a strong password that's difficult to guess is incredibly important to the security of your account. Make sure you always have a strong password.

As an additional security measure you can instruct Windows Live to automatically require you to change your password every so often. While this can be seen as annoying, it's actually another layer of security to protect your account from theft.

Click on Save and you're done.

Facebook: is having a different problem all together. Facebook is popping up with rogue anti-virus warning and installations. This means you don’t have a virus --- the warning message is the virus. If you follow through, then you will have a virus. In this scenario, the vector is yet unknown but the infection is happening. Meaning we can’t yet say how you got it, you just did.

You will notice a weight loss post to the notes or wall section of your facebook page. The text will look something like this:

Wow, this woman’s story has inspired me to lose weight

I stumbled across this woman’s weight loss blog today, really interesting

These things must work well for losing weight, check out this woman’s blog and what she did

Once you visit the included link a pop-up will occur telling you that you have a virus and need to clean it – click here. Don’t do that, that is the virus asking you to install it.

If you see any such post you should delete the item from your Wall or Notes immediately.

Be careful out there. These things come in waves and it that we another one has rolled in.


Harbor Computer Services provides IT services to businesses in Southeastern Michigan. Find out more about us

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

HP DesignJet Sale

In the Inbox this morning is an email from Hewlett Packard regarding discounts on new DesignJets for loyal customers. Many of our clients have aging HP DesignJets, so if you were thinking about upgrading yours now might be the time. HP rarely puts anything on sale.


Trade up today and get up to $2,500 cash back*—offer ends October 23, 2009!
With the HP Designjet Cash In & Trade Up promotiongood only through October 23, 2009—you can get up to $2,500 cash back* when you upgrade your eligible old product and purchase or lease an HP Designjet Z6100 or Z3200 series printer and submit the online claim form by October 23, 2009. You have the option of keeping or trading in your eligible old HP or non-HP large-format product—you just need to show proof that you currently own one.
Plus, you can save up to $200 when you add a qualifying HP Care Pack Service, which will help reduced unexpected repair costs and downtime.