Tech – for Everyone

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

Microsoft License Scam?

Folks, a reader wrote and asked me about a phone call they received. The (female) caller claimed to be from Microsoft, and warned the reader that their “Windows license had expired”…

This is a scam. Don’t fall for it. Hang up. And, please, warn your friends and family. As this ‘thread’ says, Microsoft would not call you unsolicited. Nor would they know if any errors existed on your computer.

The article has good information on scams and what you can do. Again, click here to read more.

And thank you Dear Reader for bringing this to my attention.

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Today’s quote:I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” ~ Ken Venturi

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 3, 2016 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Internet scam, Microsoft, Phishing, phraud, security, tech | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Goodies

In the spirit of a sunny summer Saturday, a few good thing to share with you today — a “goodies grab bag”.

First up: An Extremely Versatile and Configurable Screen Capture Utility

I have tried just about every screen capture utility out there, but a new one landed on my plate that I can only describe as being in the category of awesome (especially for being free and portable). It is called LiveCapture. I am not going to get into the details, because the screen shot below […]” Read more..

Then, a software giveaway: Digiarty, together with another 7 software vendors, launched a large-scaled Summer Holiday Giveaway, including:

  • IObit – Advanced SystemCare Pro 5
  • Lavasoft – Ad-Aware Personal Security
  • EaseUs – EaseUs Partition Master Pro
  • Kingsoft – Kingsoft Office Writer Standard 2012
  • ObviousIdea – GreenCloud Printer
  • Zoner – Zoner Photo Studio 14 HOME
  • My Privacy Tools – Cookie Crumble
  • Digiarty – WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

Sizzling Summer Slots!

Want to “spin to win”? Click here!

Great software deals and a giveaway you probably want to check out… (click on the image). Limited time offer. First come, first served!

All full licenses are officially sponsored by the related companies.

To make it interesting, visitors are required to play a simple game (the slot machine). Lucky ones can get a full license immediately. If they can’t match the figures, just make more attempts. Great discounts for the Software mentioned above are also open for every participant. (Click on the image to participate.)

And just because it’s been a while…

Click on image to see more by this artist

“beach bummmmmm..” by camerakarrie, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Today’s quote:Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Bonus: There’s more software giveaways in the Comment section (below).

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


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 23, 2012 Posted by | computers, free software | , , | 6 Comments

Saturday Software Giveaway

Folks, I have another nice surprise today. My recent license giveaway received enthusiastic audience response and feedback, so for those who missed out, I am repeating it.

PearlMountain Image Converter is a photo converter as well as batch image converter, which helps you convert images to other formats, resize, rotate, crop, add watermark, apply effects and add border to thousands of images at a time.

Some of the features include:

•    Convert thousands of files at once in batch mode.
•    Supports the most popular image formats: BMP, JPEG, TIFF, RAW, PNG, GIF, TGA, and PSD, and almost all image formats.
•    Save operations that you usually use as profiles and bring convenience to you in the future.
•    Convert between many different image file formats.
•    Resize image for any different use, such as for web, e-mail, photo printing, Facebook, MySpace, mobile phone, ipod/ipad/iphone, etc., with optimum quality.
•    Add image and text watermark for Image Copyright Protection
•    Adjust image brightness, contrast and saturation in batch to make your images look more special.
•    Apply borders to your images.
•    Crop photos, removing unwanted areas.

Product info page: http://www.batchimageconverter.com/image-converter/

Due to time constraints, I only had time to play with test this utility a little bit. So I can only tell you it worked, and that I enjoyed the animated GIFF feature (aka “no product review here.”) And for me, there was zero “learning curve”, as I have used this type of graphics program before. But even if you have not, learning how to make optimum use of this photo/image tool should not take long.. maybe, mere minutes. (The link above has a illustrated How To. Take a peek, and see for yourself.)

I can also say that the feedback I received from prior winners was positive.

PearlMountain has again generously donated ten licenses to me, and I have had the pleasure to give them away – to the first ten people who leave a comment with a valid (not Facebook) email (so I can send you the license keycode). This software retails for $29.90.

Thank you, PearlMountain!

You can download a full-featured “trial” version, here, if you’d like. It will put a watermark on any output files, but otherwise performs just like the paid version.

Sorry, the giveaway has been given away.

Today’s quotable quote:It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” ~ Mark Twain

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


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 19, 2012 Posted by | computers, free software, tech | , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Limited Time Freebies

Folks, today I would like to direct your attention to some hot, grab ’em while you can, giveaways — which were submitted by a helpful reader. Thank you, delenn13!

All free for limited time..

Free for 24 hours-PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant

EaseUS Partition Master Professional Edition (Built-in Linux bootable disk license) PC Software with a 100% off Discount Coupon Code – The Ultimate Partition and Hard Disk Manager

Daily Software Giveaway: Today’s Giveaway-3herosoft DVD Audio Ripper

Giveaway of the Day – free licensed software daily. Ashampoo Undeleter 1.10 – Never again trouble with accidentally deleted files

On at least one of those, “limited time” caveats means “today only”.

Sorry. Out of time for today. Y’all have a great one. Ya’ hear?

Today’s quote:You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.” ~ Stevie Wonder

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. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 15, 2012 Posted by | free software, News, PC | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

So It Begins | Hurry – Save $312 | More.. (Free Stuff Too)

Good News/Bad News. Which do you want to hear first?

Since it’s very brief, let me get the “bad” out of the way first. The other day I noticed that some results from a search query had been deleted and were unavailable to me (hey, I have been busy, busy.. and I just noticed now..)

Now, I am not going to go into some rant about DRM in general or the DMCA in particular. I can see both sides of that particular coin. But I am going to ask you to pause and ponder two concepts: “creeping incrementalism” (aka “a slippery slope”), and “who is watching the watchers?” Not, strain your brain, or anything, just.. muse.
(And ChillingEffects.org is an interesting site..)

And now for the good: an alert reader brought a deal to my attention I had to jump on..

Look what Easter Bunny has for you this spring!

Backup your entire system, protect it from any possible kind of malware, get rid of spam and prevent any phishing attempts, shrink documents to extremely small sizes without affecting the content, edit photographs, share any USB devices over the internet, and restore lost passwords. All of this is now available in one super-bundle – for just $49.99.

For two weeks only, top software vendors unite to bring you the best solutions for your digital life.

All at once. At an unbelievable price. For the first time in the PC world!

The countdown has already started — Easter Bunny is only here until April 9. Catch him and get your loot. It’s time to act fast! (To learn more/buy, click here http://www.acronis.com/promo/easter/)

Now, I know, the problem with bundle deals like these is you often don’t use everything included. But Acronis Home sells for $50 by itself (and is worth it) so… I jumped. Thank you Dear Reader!

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Bonus!!! BitsDuJour is giving away MailWasher Pro 2012 for today only.

“MailWasher Pro can help purge your inbox of spam, plus unwanted newsletters, large emails, and any other annoying email….

Intercept spam and viral emails before they get downloaded to your computer.
Set up Friends lists to let email through or Blacklists to stop specific senders.
Teach the program to learn which email messages should be allowed through.
Send bounceback emails to former friends, lovers, and current stalkers :-)
Control spam and viral email on an unlimited number of email accounts.
Control SPAM fast! Using simultaneous checking, MailWasher Pro 2012 can download and check up to 25 email messages per second.
Rescue accidentally deleted emails!
Check the origin received emails against DNS spam blacklist servers.
Block potential viruses by examining each email for any suspicious code.
Purchase with BitsDuJour’s discount coupon code and get all this at a promotional price!”

MailWasher Pro 2012 PC Software with a 100% off Discount Coupon Code – Stop Delivery of Spam and Viruses

Today’s quote:The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” ~ Albert Einstein

Breaking News: Facebook is down. Worker productivity rises. U.S. climbs out of recession.

Just kidding! Have a great TGIF everybody!

*    *    *

Bonus Bonus: gamers.. read the Comments below.. (hint).

Today’s reading reco: iPad Wi-Fi problems: Anatomy of a released defect

Some iPad 3 owners are having problems with the unit’s Wi-Fi, while most are working OK. Having a small percentage of failures is just a fact of life in the electronics manufacturing game.Read more..

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


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April 6, 2012 Posted by | News, shopping for, software, tech, XP | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Software Giveaway: Handy Backup

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at have asked me to run another giveaway of their highly regarded backup software, and this time have generously donated 7 licenses for Handy Backup Standard to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. (The first giveaway proved very popular!) So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close Thursday, October 6th, and the winners announced Friday. So act now!

Handy Backup ($39 retail) is a program for creating “backup copies” of the files on your computer – which regular readers know, is something I repeatedly urge people to do! With a backup program like Handy Backup, you can set-it-and-forget-it

I personally do not use “online backup” as my ‘solution’, nor will I ever. I use external drives (and/or discs) and software like Handy Backup. I do not trust “the cloud” to either be secure or always available. And with my method, I’m not renting, I’m owning. Below, I will give you my impressions of HB and some screenshots, but first…

CNet Editors say,
“Handy Backup Standard offers users an easy, streamlined approach to backing up important files and folders. Novice users will especially appreciate the program’s easy navigation.”

Publisher’s description:

Handy Backup™ Standard is an easy-to-use backup software designed to perform automated backup of your computer. User-friendly interface and a rich set of backup features make it one of the best PC backup software for home and small office use.

Handy Backup will automatically backup your data with the options of file mask filtering, backup compression, backup encryption, “native”, and other options. The application supports backing up to DVD/CD, Blu-ray, HD DVD discs, LAN/FTP and Online.

I found it easy enough for beginners, as it uses a “wizard” to walk you through the process of creating a “task” (a backup, or a restore) the first time it runs (but after that first time, you need to click on “New task”, which is not made obvious). I particularly like Handy Backup’s ability to automatically “span” a backup set across multiple CD/DVD discs (you must place a check in a checkbox, though), prompting you to insert a fresh disc when it fills up the current one. (One other note.. you need to place a check in “Verify the backup after burning” to help ensure a successful write. This should be the default, IMHO.) Handy Backup successfully handled every backup and every restore operation I tested it with. It is a full-featured backup solution.
One critique: it does not support “selective file restoring”.

To see the full Handy Backup slideshow, click here. (the article will open in a new window.)

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” (below), and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you a license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

Again, I thank the folks at for making this giveaway possible. A 30-day free trial can be downloaded here, Download Handy Backup. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..)

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 7 results will be the winners.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 3, 2011 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, free software | , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Backup4all License Giveaway Drawing

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at Softland have generously donated ten licenses for Backup4all Professional to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from those who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close Thursday, August 18th, and the winners announced Friday.

Backup4all is a program for creating “backup copies” of the files on your computer, which regular readers know, is something I repeatedly urge people to get into the habit of doing! With a backup program like Backup4all, you don’t need a ‘habit’, you can set-it-and-forget-it. Below, I will give you my impressions and some screenshots, but first…

Backup4all Review by Softpedia
Backup4all Featured in Lockergnome

Publisher’s description:

Backup4all is an award-winning data backup software for Windows. This backup utility was designed to protect your valuable data from partial or total loss by automating backup tasks, password protecting and compressing it to save storage space. This backup application is feature rich and offers an intuitive interface making all features easily accessible for both beginners and professionals.

Here is a “slideshow” of screenshots of Backup4all Professional. For this series, I show setting it to do a basic backup to CD/DVD discs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You may remember Softland from last week’s review/giveaway, and I can (again) say that my main comment on this product is it delivers what it advertises, and (again) I can say I largely agreed with all the (consistently positive) reviews I read (such as the two above). However I found one point of disagreement: I do not think the interface is all that “intuitive”, and I suspect the “average computer user” would not get the lead-me-by-the-hand experience they often need (my guess is they would stop at slide 6 of the slide show..). I was told that Softland is working on an improved wizard..
And they do offer a video How To guide, as well as illustrated online help files, so learning is easy.

So, this is my ‘prejudice’ but, my recommendation for this valuable tool is reserved for Intermediate to Advanced computer users and/or folks willing to learn the simple steps. If you have ever used a backup program where you had to create the backup set, and set a schedule, then you will have no troubles doing the Backup4all configuration (and you will appreciate the full feature set). Nice thing is, once you get it set, you can pretty much forget it.

Literally, the list of features is too long to fit on this page. So here is the link: click here. (I like the fact files are saved as ZIP’s.) Even more are available as “plug ins”. The default plug-ins are shown in the first slide; and, in the 3rd, I have added one for MSN Messenger (chat). Again, the list of plug-ins is too long to post here.. so here is the link: click here.

I should not have to tell you how important having a backup copy of your digital stuff is. It should be self-evident and obvious. Anyone who has lost documents and images due to a hard drive dying (and yes, Virginia, hard drives die) will tell you how they wished they had gotten around to making copies. (Often.. in tears..) Don’t be sorry. Make backups. (Yeah. Yeah. I’ll get to it tomorrow.)

Backup4all is compatible with Windows 7/Vista/2008 Server/XP/2003 Server/2000 and requires approximately 50MB of free disk space.

(There are also “Lite”,  “Standard”, and “Portable” editions available. “Professional” is the top of the line, and retails for $50. A comparison of the editions is here.)

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” (below), and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you a license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “list randomizer”, and the top 10 results will be the winners. A 30-day trial of Backup4all Professional can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!)

Again, my thanks to the folks at Softland for making this Giveaway possible!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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August 15, 2011 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, PC, software, tech | , , , , , , , | 17 Comments