Tech – for Everyone

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

Gorilla Glass | Kewel Desktop Clock (with weather) | More

Several items have been brought to my attention recently, via reader comments and emails, which are worthy of your attention. First up, “gorilla glass”.

Are considering getting a new mobile device? One that might be dropped? Or kept in the same pocket/purse as your car keys (aka “where it might get scratched”)? Or perhaps, will be mostly in the care of a young person/child?
If so, you might want to make sure the gadget you’re considering has a screen made with “gorilla glass”.

Why do I want Corning® Gorilla® Glass on my devices?

“Scrapes, bumps, and drops are a fact of life, but Gorilla Glass enables your device to resist damage from the abuses that come with everyday use. Gorilla Glass also has strong aesthetic appeal. It’s thin, lightweight, and cool to the touch – enabling the sleekest designs.”

Clicking on the gorilla picture will take you to Corning’s gorilla glass FAQ page; and their list of vendors and products which use the tough screen glass is here. (I was pleased to discover my smart phone was listed..)

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Now that Winter is coming, keeping a “weather eye” on the forecast seems a bit more.. prudent. Having it displayed on your Desktop would make that easy. I am not a fan of “weatherbug” and some of the others (I view as adware and a resource hog.. but others, including CNET give it good reviews. You can see that, and download it here), and don’t really have any good alternative suggestion for a free app (or widget) except for maybe HTC Home.

I don’t think this will give you emergency warnings of impending tornadoes, but does give the basics in an attractive way.
I hope someone will leave a comment with their fave free ‘weather widget’..

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Learning By Video: Perhaps you might like to forward this to someone you know..

If so, here’s the link: (You’ll probably also want to send them Tip: Bcc Protects Private Email Addresses. Who know? Maybe.. you can FINALLY get through to them?)

Today’s free download: Are you a skim reader? It’s up above!

Today’s quote:The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” ~ Lily Tomlin

Have a good weekend, everybody! (And my thanks to those who wrote in.)

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

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November 5, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, cloud computing, computers, e-mail, Internet, mobile, shopping for | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Winners | Friday Fun | My New Tablet Is Not A Tablet

I have mentioned here that I am intrigued by the new “tablet” PC’s (ala the iPad) but have held off, waiting for better capabilities at a better price. Amazon’s new Kindle “Fire” (check it out here) seemed at first glance to be the first to fit that criteria, and got my interest going — but I will not buy the first release of any product, and will wait for version 2.

My need for a portable, and the lack of really good tablet (yet) had me looking at netbooks again. Remember netbooks? The most hyped product – sure to change the game – of just a couple years ago?
I never did get one. Too underpowered, and I didn’t like the small keyboards.

It so happened that I saw in my local gizmo and gadget store a Limit One Per Customer deal (always a good indicator of a bargain) for a 15.6″ laptop (aka “notebook”) for $230. The same price as netbooks go for these days. So I got one. (An eMachines EM443). I repeat: $230.

For a mobile device, it’s big (deliciously big when Netflix watching) true enough, but it’s quite light .. and I’m not trying to fit it in a purse. (When I’m really “on the go”, my HTC smartphone is in my pocket.) Battery life. Big bright screen. Optical drive. Full-size keyboard. Windows 7 Home Premium. Build in webcam. I figure, why settle for a crimped little netbook? Or a tablet that mainly only lets you view (or “surf”)? With a stripped-down OS..

Winners announced: The folks at Novosoft generously donated 7 licenses for Handy Backup Standard to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that.

“Handy Backup 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.

The lucky winners are….

(Winners, check your Inbox [and maybe your Junk folder] for the Subject HBStandard Winner)

Friday Fun:

The weekend is almost here. Yay!

Today’s quote:The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.” ~ George F. Will

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

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October 7, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, mobile, PC | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Does My Tablet Need Antivirus?

A Reader Writes In With A Good Question…

Q: I think I know what your answer is going to be, but I thought I would confirm. This week I bought a Galaxy Tab tablet and I am wondering if it needs antivirus like a regular computer does. Thanks.
Carol B.

A: Carol,
Congratulations on your new Android tablet computer. Let me answer your question with a question: does your Tab connect to the Internet?

I have stated here before, and will repeat; criminals (aka “hackers”) and hostile governments/orgs have made the Internet a dangerous place to visit, and I recommend that any device which connects to the web have security installed – and that means an “antivirus”.
Tablets and smart phones are not “immune” from “rogue” applications, spyware, etc.. No digital device is.

I do not yet own a tablet, but a quick look in the Galaxy Tab user’s forum suggests an equal split with folks recommending AVG Mobile (free) and Lookout Mobile (free) to their fellow Tab users. (Also, you may want to refer to 15 Mobile Security Tools.)

{note: If you have been using an Android tablet PC, and have an antivirus you’d care to recommend (or, infection story), please share it with us by leaving a Comment. Thanks!}

Something like over 10 million Americans had their identities stolen last year (and the year before) (and the year before) (and the year before). I’m glad you wrote in.

Today’s quote:The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

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

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September 28, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, Internet, mobile | , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Halloween In August + Friday Fun + Software Giveaways

DANCING SKELETON Pictures, Images and PhotosI wasn’t going to say anything but, it was two weeks ago when I first noticed Halloween paraphernalia for sale in some local stores. Now, it is in all the stores I’ve seen, even the hardware store. And the little kids are already excited and eager. (Well.. the little girl whose mom was ahead of me in line at the hardware store yesterday was certainly eager. [She wants to be a witch.][Because of the kewel hat.])

Two weeks ago it was August. Yesterday, it was early September.
The way I remember it.. Halloween happens the last day of OCTOBER. Or thereabouts.
In other words, retailers trotted out their holiday specialty wares ten weeks (which I think is more than two months’ time) early.

If you are a retailer and you did this, I, for one, say shame on you. It’s still summer, and this is a fall holiday. And you reek of greed and crass commercialism. Have you no decorum? No class? Is the dollar all you think about? What’s next, Christmas in July? “Everyone else is doing it” is never good reasoning, IMHO.

I sometimes wonder if I am all alone in my thinking, so.. a quick poll, please.

Bah! Humbug! I know we’re in a rough economy, but, sheeze!

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you some Friday Fun

Please.. if you have to try that, try it outdoors? Um, nowhere near any digital devices, please? (Or you may need to read How To Rescue A Drowned Device*)

Bonus For Reading All The Way Down To Here

• For a limited time, Digiarty Software, Inc is giving away free copies of WinX Blu-ray Decrypter ($50 retail.)

“WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is able to decrypt any Blu-ray video disc, even encrypted with recent AACS MKB v25, BD+ and BD-Live, etc., and transform 3D Blu-ray to 2D video. It comes with 2 copy methods – Full Disc Backup and Main Title copy modes. You can get decrypted Blu-ray folder or HD M2TS videos on the hard drive.” Read more.. (get your copy)

• For a limited time, BDlot is giving away, free, All-in-one BDlot Video Media Suite Giveaway

Competently make all your SD/HD videos playable everywhere

Make your DIY movie/music from YouTube with one-click

Create DVDs from Camcorder, Portable Gadgets or any video clips

(You need to scroll down a bit.) Read more.. (get your copy)

A reading reco: A Stylus for Your Tablet PC or Touchscreen Phone

Following the purchase of my tablet PC (Toshiba Thrive – see review), the one tool I went for to make my tablet computer experience more enjoyable (and cleaner) was an omni-directional” capacitive stylus.Read more..

Today’s quote:A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl

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

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September 9, 2011 Posted by | free software | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Considering A Tablet?

Folks, two very good reads for you today. The first puts into print my “spiel” when I am asked about tablets (such as the iPad), and also explains why I do not own one (yet). The second explains not only the “state of IT”, but also, indirectly, perhaps, the state of our nation..?
(If you are an ‘IT type’, or are thinking about working in IT, then the article is [IMHO] a ‘must read’. Perhaps a reader or two has been effected by this change..?)

Tablets are for people who hate computers

Tablets may be stealing some of the thunder from traditional PC sales, but that doesn’t mean they’re for everyone. If you’re already proficient with a PC, you may be disappointed by a tablet.Read more..

The future of IT will be reduced to three kinds of jobs The IT profession and the IT job market are in the midst of seismic changes that are going to shift the focus to three types of jobs.

There’s a general anxiety that has settled over much of the IT profession in recent years. It’s a stark contrast to the situation just over a decade ago. At the end of the 1990s, IT pros were the belles of the ball..Read more..

Since it has been a while..:

Today’s quote:Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.  Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.  Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.  Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.  Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.  But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”  ~ Buddha

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

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July 28, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, mobile, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Internet Explorer 10 is Here? | More..

Saturday Bits & Tech News

Internet: Loyal readers have heard me say that this tech stuff is evolving at an exponential rate, and never stands still — you got to keep up — keep learning. Seems to me, Microsoft’s new version of Internet Explorer (#9) got here just last month, and here I see that a limited “test drive” (pre-release) version of IE 10 is now available for download.
I am sorry, I cannot tell you much about IE 10, except that you can get it/read about it here. (Not sure it’s something you want to do, but.. now you know.)

Tablets: If you believe everything you read, tablets are how we are going to compute. Apple’s iPad has “changed everything”, and now companies are scrambling to bring you their versions. Android is a game changer. Blah blah blah.
I think it’s still much too early to buy a tablet, but I am keeping an eye on developments.

This week’s tablet hullabaloo and ‘press frenzy’ is a new player in this fast-shifting game: Review: HP TouchPad is the productivity tablet

“HP’s webOS tablet, the TouchPad, has landed. It’s not the entertainment powerhouse that the iPad is, but there’s a lot to like for business professionals. Here’s a look. READ FULL STORY..

(Catch that? “Entertainment powerhouse”? The iPad?! That’s too funny. I am not knocking the iPad, but know this – no tablet is a “powerhouse”. You have to keep your thinking caps on, people. Tech Paul lives in the Playboy Mansion. Wrong. Just because it’s there in black and white, doesn’t mean it’s true.)

Hacktivism: If you read sites like this one, you probably have read about about LulzSec, a group of politically motivated vandals. I cannot print my thoughts on this subject (there really is no such thing as true “free speech”; and this is a “public forum”) but I can say that the story does underscore just how vulnerable to mischief the technology we built this “web” (and “smart grid”) on is, and, if you want to learn more: 50 Days of Mayhem: How LulzSec Changed Hacktivism Forever

“LulzSec didn’t invent hacking, let alone hacktivism, but the merry group of digital outlaws showed how a tight-knit operation and canny PR can take the world by storm.” READ FULL STORY..

(Ahem. “Merry group of digital outlaws“??? What, these guys are modern-day Robin Hoods? Wow. How out of touch is that? A very good article, though.)

More Internet: The Internet’s Thirty Second Rule.

(Also a very good article.)

HP, or DELL? My recommendation on that question has been sought several times this week. Fortunately, I could just refer them to this: Which is Better, HP or Dell?

Summertime Odds are good it is a nice day there where you are. Turn off your computer. Go outside. Stay there all day. Find a chair, and one of those really old-fashioned things that people used to call “paperbacks”, (Dashiell Hammett is a good choice) or better yet, take a hike. Stretch your legs. Leave the smart phone home — look up, and around.
There’s a whole ‘nother world out there.

(Thanks for reading this, though. Now get outside!)

Today’s thot:Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” ~ Albert Einstein

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

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July 2, 2011 Posted by | Android, computers, free software, gadgets, Internet, Microsoft, mobile, News, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fools Rush In… (aka "Let’s Go Slate-boarding!")

Those who know me personally, know that a little thing like last week’s predictions setback (25% accuracy) is not going to stop me from continuing to post my Playoff Picks…


And Now For The Tech:
It has been published that sales of PC’s was better than expected this holiday season – Intel and Acer doing particularly well.

Yes. I said Acer. The big sellers were a relative newcomer to the PC market, the category of small, portable, “netbooks” (see, It’s Time We Talked About Netbooks) of which the Acer models seemed to be preferred. It seems everybody wants a netbook.

And Then Came Apple.. And CES

More predictions: But netbooks and Christmas sales are ancient history already, and everybody’s looking ahead. And the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is where we get to see what the manufacturers will be bringing us soon.

It seems our future is something called a “slate”.

Photo source:

* Apple’s next “big thing” is supposed to be something named “iSlate”.
* Microsoft is hyping Windows 7’s “touchscreen” features.
* iPhone sales were ginormous, and everyone figured it was the ‘touchscreen’ that explained it.
* “gestures” and “multitouch” are seen as replacing the mouse and eventually the keyboard…

In spite of the fact that this all is vaguely reminiscent of the “voice recognition” and text-to-speech of Windows XP (that was supposed to give us “hands free computing“), you add up those bullet points, and you are not surprised when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer uses his CES Keynote Address to show us a tablet PC.. and refer to it as a “slate”. (As well he could, it was an HP prototype named “the Slate”.)

The HP Slate was underwhelming, to say the least. Hailed by Ballmer as “something that’s almost as portable as a phone and that’s as powerful as a PC running Windows 7“, the demonstration showed a flat panel computing device that seemed more equivalent to a color Kindle than to a Windows 7 wonder-tablet.

Yes.. the utter prior failure of tablet PC’s in the marketplace was simply due to the fact that touchscreen and gestures weren’t here yet. Windows 7 changes that, so… touch tablets. Oops. Excuse me. Touch slates.

For those of you who read this far, this article: HP Slate Lowers the Bar for Apple’s Tablet PC.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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January 16, 2010 Posted by | Apple, computers, hardware, Microsoft, News, PC, Portable Computing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment