Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

A Quick Tip, A ‘Don’t Miss’, And A Mini-rant.

Let’s get started. An alert reader woke me up to this highly recommended limited-time deal (thank you).

It’s WinPatrol..What are you waiting for? GET IT!

Two Day Only 99 Cent Experimental Sale!

This is a lifetime license.

”As in the past, this will be a limited time only “experiment” starting at Noon EST on Monday, April 16th 2012 and will end Noon EST on Wednesday April 18th, 2012.”

*     *     *

Quick tip: In doing some research for the purchase of a HDTV, I have found an excellent resource for those shopping for new audio/visual devices: complete with product reviews. This very respected place is Crutchfield, and to visit their shopper’s advice area, click here.

*     *     *

Old Tech Paul is a pretty important guy, don’tcha know? Not only do I receive email from the United Nations and the FBI on a regular basis, I also have friends in other areas of the diplomatic corps..

Because the ISP’s routinely block most of the more obvious cases, most people have no idea what all this investment in “high tech” and the “world wide web” is being used for. Here is the current use of the 1’s and 0’s being pushed through our “infrastructure” right now.

Unfortunately, most of that spam is being sent from our own computers. (The one’s that have been infected and turned into “spambots”.. usually a fact unknown by their owners.) Fortunately, some people are finally taking “botnets” seriously.. maybe it’s too early to say, but some are arguing that progress is being made on this front. At least on a technical level, that may be true.. But what can we do to “fix” the humans that think sending this stuff (spam) is a good idea?

Today’s free link: a quite excellent resource page, Do-it-yourself: Stop junk mail, email and phone calls – A free guide to reducing unwanted or intrusive advertising

Today’s free download: Think it might be possible that you have been ‘botted’? One tool to help you find out is the free RUBotted from Trend Micro.. recently improved.

RUBotted monitors your computer for potential infection and suspicious activities associated with bots. Bots are malicious files that enable cybercriminals to secretly take control of your computer. Upon discovering a potential infection, RUBotted will identify and clean them with HouseCall.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


April 17, 2012 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, free software, how to, Internet, Internet scam, shopping for | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting The Best From Your HDTV

Bringing home your shiny new HDTV is just the beginning

A very smart man once told me, “Paul, don’t re-invent the wheel”. He wasn’t being derisive or mean, he was simply reminding me of a basic tenet that I sometimes forget. I was reminded of it today when considering how to write today’s HDTV article, and in my research came across a series written by Becky Waring for PC World magazine. It says it all, and does so far better than I could, so I am simply going to point you to it! She covers all the bases, and if you own (or are about to own) a HDTV, I’m sure you’ll find it well worth your time.

“Bringing home your shiny new HDTV is just the beginning of your home theater adventure. But don’t settle, as many HDTV buyers do, for just plugging your new set into your existing setup. The next steps you need to take after bringing your HDTV home are crucial to both your enjoyment of the set and getting the most out of your investment…”
Please see How to Install Your HDTV

Other titles in the series are:
How to Get the Best Video Signal for Your HDTV

How to Improve the Picture and Sound on Your HDTV

How to Connect Your New HDTV Properly

Stream HD Video From Your PC and Other Devices

[a brief aside: I seem to be coming across articles by Ms Waring more frequently of late, and I’m glad of it. She is top-drawer.]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

September 29, 2009 Posted by | advice, dtv, hardware, HDTV, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Smooth Transition?

Switch To DTV Did Not Cause Chaos, Riots

This morning my little portable TV I keep in my workshop was nothing but static. That is how I was reminded that American television broadcasters had shut off their analog transmissions and “gone digital”.

It seems it really did happen. Finally. And society did not collapse (further).

C/Net article: The day after the DTV transition
“Americans have survived the transition to digital television without incident.
The sky did not fall and there was no major shortage of digital converter boxes Friday when full-power broadcasters across the nation turned off their analog TV signals and started broadcasting only in digital. Calls to broadcasters and the Federal Communications Commission have been heavy the past few days, but officials say that the volume is within what the agency had expected…”
(I enjoyed some of the comments left on this one.)

It seems that the biggest problem people are having with getting over-the-air DTV is related to antennas. So here is a video showing how to build a Hi-Def DTV antenna out of coathangers for $1.50.

[note: I haven’t done this myself, but I have several “anecdotal” referrals.]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

June 14, 2009 Posted by | advice, dtv, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

40 Days To Armageddon

(Or, Are You Ready For The Digital Switch?)

In just a few short weeks the world will come to an end, and life as we know it will cease to be.

Of course, what I’m referring to the upcoming digital TV transition.
Congress mandated that February 17, 2009 would be the last day for full-power television stations to broadcast in analog. Broadcast stations in all U.S. markets are currently broadcasting in both analog and digital. After February 17, 2009, full-power television stations will broadcast in digital only.old_tv_set

What do I need to do to be ready for the end of analog TV broadcasting?

If you have one or more televisions that receive free over-the-air television programming (with a roof-top antenna or “rabbit ears” on the TV), the type of TV you own is very important. A digital television (a TV with an internal digital tuner) will allow you to continue to watch free over-the-air programming after February 17, 2009.

However, if you have an analog television, you will need a digital-to-analog converter box to continue to watch broadcast television on that set. This converter box will also enable you to see any additional multicast programming that your local stations are offering.

Analog sets should continue to work as before if connected to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV. Also, analog sets should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products that you use now.

Will I need a special antenna to receive DTV over-the-air?

In general, dependable reception of over-the-air digital TV programming will require the same type of signal reception equipment that currently works to provide good quality reception of analog TV programming. If you need a roof-top antenna to receive analog TV broadcasts, the same antenna generally will work to receive digital TV broadcasts. You should not have to purchase new antennas that are marketed as “digital ready” or “HD ready.”

What is the Converter Box Coupon Program?

To help consumers with the DTV transition, the Government established the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program. Every U.S. household is eligible to receive up to two coupons, worth $40 each, toward the purchase of eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes.

The coupons may only be used for eligible converter boxes sold at participating consumer electronics retailers, and the coupons must be used at the time of purchase. (Please note that these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing). Manufacturers estimate that digital-to-analog converter boxes will sell from $40 to $70 each. This is a one-time cost. For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, visit www.dtv2009.gov, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).
[note: the coupon program’s funding has already been reached, and if you’re just acting now, you’ll be put on a first-come-first-served waiting list which may, or may not get you a coupon.. depends on how many coupons are cashed/expire.]

Today’s free link: The place to get answers to all your questions about the digital transition (in fact, the info above was largely copy > paste from there) is the special website provided by the Federal Communication Commission, http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

January 8, 2009 Posted by | advice, HDTV, how to, News, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Get new life out of your old DVD’s

Many of us put off buying a Hi-Def disc player until the “format war” was settled, and many of us still haven’t shelled out the big  bucks for the winner, Blu-ray, yet. Instead, we keep on watching our collection of movies using our “standard”, old, DVD players.

This works fine until you bring a HDTV into the the scenario.. and then our old movies look sorta, well, old. (Certainly they don’t look Hi-Def!

The truth is simply this, to show you an actual HD image, your HDTV’s “input” (used to be called a “signal”) has to be HD– such as what you can get on (some) over-the-air channels, (some) satellite, and (HD) cable.. and Blu-ray discs.
What is missing from that list is all the DVD’s you’ve purchased so far— they’re “standard definition” (SD). Bummer.

So.. do you have to go out and purchase a whole new movie library, and a HD (Blu-ray) player to enjoy the “Hi-Def experience” you purchased the HDTV for? {Many of us would find this prohibitive.. Blu-ray players are around $400.} Fortunately, the answer is no.

Tip of the day: Enjoy near HD quality images from your (old) DVD’s buy purchasing a player that is capable of “scaling” SD signals up to 1080p (HD). [note: you want this ability even if your HDTV is less than 1080p] This “scaling” is sometimes called “upscaling”, “upsampling”, and sometimes “upconversion“. More info than you’d want to know about this can be read here. These types of players can be found for around $100.

I won’t bore you with the technical specs (you can click the provided links for that) but  I will say that upscaling uses a sort of intelligent “magic” to fill in the pixels required for the HD image.

Your HDTV has some scaling ability built into it, and this will help provide a fair picture from a SD source. It is possible that it does a good enough job with your DVD’s. But to get better results than you already are getting, a player with this capability is the way to go. Your SD DVD’s will appear much more “Hi-Def”, and you’ll enjoy watching them (again and again, if you’re like me) for years to come.

Today’s free link: (Yes, loyal Friends, I have posted this one before..) With the ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-Aware 2008 can clean your system easily, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

June 7, 2008 Posted by | advice, HDTV, how to, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment