Archive for August 2010

24 Hour Price Drop Alert — Asus Eee NetBook for $219 with coupon code

ASUS Eee PC 1005HA

TigerDirect is offering a limited time run savings on the popular Asus Eee PC NetBook for $219. Use coupon code EYQ5050 at checkout to save $20 off the $239 price.

ASUS Eee PC 1005HA

ASUS Eee PC 1005HA

More on the Asus Eee PC. Take the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-EU2X-BK Netbook wherever you choose with its 4 hour battery life and enjoy its brilliant 10.1-inch LED display with backlighting. It allows you to compute on the go with ease. It has a surpisingly large 160GB hard drive for storing, sharing, and accessing your important data anytime and anywhere. The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-EU2X-BK Netbook is one of the leaders in the compact netbook industry, and it provides multi-tasking performance and superior portability, that will liberate you from wall chargers, putting you in the lead of mobile computing.

The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-EU2X-BK Netbook draws its inspiration from seashells with an opalescent, glossy exterior is crafted by the innovative In-Mold Roller technology. It’s specially designed to be ultra-compact so you can take it anywhere with you. You’ll find it a joy to use and an excellent companion for long trips.

Additionally, the Eee PC Seashell’s keyboard is more comfortable and less fatiguing to type on for prolonged periods. You can also simultaneously slide two fingertips up or down the touchpad – making scrolling in a window easy without the use of a mouse.

Tech specs: It uses an Intel Atom N270 1.60GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM memory, and a 160GB hard drive (storage). It offers great user comfort with its 92-percent scaled keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, and convenient instant keys for Wi-Fi, and control of the ASUS Super Hybrid Engine (SHE).

Asus Eee PC

Any $1,200 Computer Is A Good Computer

New Mac Prices
New Mac Prices

New Mac Prices (click to enlarge)

Often people say to me, “I think I’m going to get a Mac” because they’ve “had enough of Windows”.

Then I ask them, “How much did you pay for the computer you have?”

90% of the time they say about $600 to 800.

Then I let them know that they’re not likely to find a Mac at that price because the cheapest Mac, apart from the Mini which no Mac owner I know has ever considered, costs at least $1,000. Most Mac owners start with the MacBook Pro which costs anywhere from $1,200 to $2,300 depending upon the features you get.

That’s usually when I say, “Any $1,200 computer is a good computer.”

For more information $1,200 computers, check out this article from PC World: “The Perfect PC: Don’t Buy It, Build It”. They discuss $500 machines briefly, then they elaborate on more expensive machines, even though they are talking about building your own computer.

FYI, I have an iMac and two PCs.

Microsoft Expressions Web for Website Design

There are quite a few web design software packages to choose from today. Undoubtedly the big dog on the block is Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS5. Personally, I prefer Microsoft Expressions Web 4. If you use Microsoft Word regularly, you’ll probably like Expressions Web, too, as the interface will already be familiar. Granted there is more to web site design than typing, but this will give you a good jumpstart.

Even if you use Dreamweaver already, you will find that Expressions Web 4 is capable of working with many of your Dreamweaver files and templates. As a matter of fact, I am part of a design team for another website, and most the programmers work with Dreamweaver and they aren’t even able to tell that I’m not using Dreamweaver.

Microsoft StoreAlso, if you’ve used Microsoft FrontPage then you should consider getting the Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional Upgrade Download for only $80 from the Microsoft Store. Expressions Web has replaced Frontpage as Microsoft’s flagship web design package. I once used FrontPage, and I love working with Expressions Web.

IF you must know, Expressions Web can also allow you to explore new artistic possibilities and create compelling graphic designs and illustrations for the web. I incorporates the latest tools such as Silverlight, Flash (animation), Deep Zoom, and Windows Media files (video) with drag-and-drop ease. It allows the use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for generating elegant, modern layouts with a state-of-the-art design surface. It’s also compatible with Photoshop in that it allows you to import those files directly, with complete control over the layers. I also handles popular image formats like PNG, GIF, and JPEG. If already a fluent programmer you’ll enjoy support for PHP, HTML/XHTML, XML/XSLT, CSS, JavaScript, ASP.NET or ASP.NET AJAX.

If you don’t have a web design program yet, you can also get the full Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional Download for $149.95 from the Microsoft Store. They’ll even allow you to try it out for 60 days without a purchase.

Samsung Vibrant is NOT my new Android Phone (Part Three)

MyTouch 3G Slide (HTC)

I’ve been discussing issues I’ve had with Samsung’s Vibrant Android Phone. This is just one of four new phones in Samsung’s Galaxy S Series which includes Epic 4G (Sprint), the Captivate (AT&T), and Fascinate (Verizon).

So far my small yet bothersome problems have been the Contact Manager and the Calendar. Now comes the biggie. The problem that pushed me over the edge and made me return the phone for another model. (I’ll tell you what I got instead).

WorkSmart Labs CardioTrainer

WorkSmart Labs CardioTrainer on the G1

GPS. I am far from the first to complain about the GPS problems with the Samsung Vibrant. Sadly I wasn’t aware of this when I bought the phone, or I didn’t believe the magnitude of the problem.

The complaints have been that the GPS doesn’t get a strong satellite lock or that it takes too long to get one or that it’s just not reliable. I experienced all three problems. Various fixes were discussed in a variety of places online, but none of the fixes I found and implemented fixed the problem.

Poor GPS Experience 1. I’ve been using WorkSmartLabs CardioTrainer app for Android with its Weight Loss Tracker on a near daily basis. It has GPS features that allow me to track how far and fast I travel when exercise by walking or cycling. It’s a great feature, but only when your phone has a reliable GPS function. My G1 always gave me extremely accurate readings, but on one particular cycling trip the Samsung Vibrant showed me following a course almost 10 miles east of my actual location.

Poor GPS Experience 2. While using CardioTrainer on a walk, the Samsung Vibrant showed me as walking in along a spiraling or corkscrew direction. Furthermore, it showed me as moving while I was standing still. I imagine the movement was the device working on pinpointing my location while its link to the satellite signal improved.

Poor GPS Experience 3. Here’s a beaut. I’m riding my bike under the clear open sky, yet the Samsung Vibrant lost its GPS signal and showed several gaps in he course I followed. the largest gap was almost a quarter mile long.

MyTouch 3G Slide (HTC)

MyTouch 3G Slide (HTC)

Taking It Back. I took the Vibrant back to T-Mobile, and told them I was very disappointed with the phone and wanted to exchange it for the MyTouch 3G Slide Android Phone (made by HTC; makers of the G1 and the Sprint EVO 4G). The 3G Slide is smaller than the Samsung Vibrant and doesn’t have the Vibrant’s sexy iPhone look-alike charm, so they were amazed I wanted to exchange it since no one had returned one to that location in the two or more weeks since its release.

“They obviously don’t need GPS,” I replied. “I use it everyday, and I need to be able to count on it.” Specially since I was traveling out of state soon. (I was in Denver from 8/14 to 8/17 to see the rock group Rush at the Red Rocks Amphitheater on Aug. 16 — great show! Hurrah! Where you there?)

Update: In the last 48 hours, while I was in Denver I read online that Samsung is releasing a GPS fix in September. They don’t have an exact date as yet. I’d consider a possible move back to the Vibrant if the fix really works. My old G1 was highly reliable with GPS. I’d like to see if the Vibrant can be too.

Currently, the MyTouch 3G Slide is working fine by me. The contact manager and calendar work the way I used to, along with a few other improvements. The GPS is solid and my workouts have been tracking fine. As a matter of fact, the Vibrant couldn’t get a GPS signal in the T-Mobile store, but the 3G Slide got a fix within 300 meters in less than 3 seconds in the same location. The only problem I am having is the power switch is right on top and tends to activate the phone when its off in my pocket.

The Vibrant has great HD video and multimedia features. That seems to me to be Samsung’s focus — video and photos — but these, as nice as they are, are not features I really need. I considered quitting T-Mobile and getting the Sprint EVO 4G (another HTC phone) but I have a lot of friends who use T-Mobile so its nice to be able to call them any time at no extra charge, ie minutes of airtime.

Samsung Vibrant is NOT my new Android Phone (Part Two)

Samsung Vibrant

Monday I started discussing issues I had with the new Samsung Vibrant, a phone which uses the Android operating system for cell phones.

I really enjoy the basic Android software. Yesterday, I discussed the clunkiness I experienced with Samsung’s modifications to the Contact Manager. It just wasn’t as simple and intuitive as the basic Android software seemed on my old G1 (for T-Mobile by HTC). There’s two more points I’d like to hit on.

Samsung Vibrant

Samsung Vibrant

The Calendar. I am a forgetful person, so a great calendar that sends me reminders when I need them is a big plus on a smartphone. I’m busy and have lots of things I try to accomplish every day in my business and personal life. I need to have substantial and timely alerts to prepare for and be on time for business meetings and appointments with clients.

With the old G1, I liked being able to specify a basic (default) reminder interval for events. Typically I like to get notified 2 hours in advance that I have something coming up. The Samsung Vibrant had a several presets, one being 1 hour in advance, and the next being one day in advance.

?!?

The preceding line was not a typo. I was genuinely puzzled and dismayed. This was pretty annoying. I’d have to choose between 1 hour or 1 day. Some may not consider this a problem, but for me it was. Eventually I did discover I could set a reminder for 2 hours in advance, but I couldn’t set 2 hours as my default reminder. Each appointment I entered I had to set the reminder period manually. Can you say “excessive keystrokes”?

frustrationThe next problem with the Calendar I will admit is specific to the basic Android O/S and the Samsung variant. Both allow you use multiple Google Calendar accounts so you can import from your multiple accounts or from associates accounts. NEITHER version allows you to specify the your own color scheme for these calendars. The software chooses them for you, and most of them appear to be shades of brown. It would be great if I could choose my own colors.

Next Up: The Biggest Problem of All.

Please chime in with your own pros and cons on the Samsung Vibrant. It has great features, too, but these were dealbusters for me. Specially the next one.

Thank yous: Thanks to @gmalhotra23 @OnADge @Alltop_tech for retweeting this post.

Samsung Vibrant is NOT my new Android Phone (Part One)

Samsung Vibrant
Samsung Vibrant

Samsung Vibrant (CBS Interactive)

Well, just two weeks ago I finally upgraded my Android Phone — twice. I had the original Android phone, T-Mobile’s G1 by HTC. Perhaps you’ve heard of HTC? They make the Evo 4G for Sprint, too. That phone sold out in a day or two, nationwide, when it was released in early June. You may also recall back in early March that Apple sued HTC and HTC sued Apple in May for various patent infringements, and each requested that the other not be allowed for sale in the US. (I find it amusing, in the previous link, that they wonder what would happen if both companies won and neither could be sold in the US.)

But, as I’ve done before, I digress.

So anyhow, two weeks ago today I went to T-Mobile to get the Samsun Vibrant. The Vibrant is the T-Mobile version of Samsung’s four new Galaxy S series of Android based phones: the Epic 4G (Sprint), the Captivate (AT&T), and Fascinate (Verizon) are the other three .

As I’ve mentioned before, Android is Google’s operating system for smartphones. Most people identify the Motorola Droid for Verizon as the only Android phone, but, in actuality, it is just one of many Android based phones on the market.

Samsung Vibrant

Samsung Vibrant

So I got the Samsung Vibrant which has HD video capability, TV output for video, and come preloaded with the entire James Cameron film Avatar, and the videogame The Sims. None of these features interested me at all. I was just interested in getting a faster and up-to-date Android phone since the G1 was stuck at version 1.6 while the latest Droid phones used version 2.2.

A few items ticked me off with the Vibrant.

The Contact Manager. First thing I noticed was the address book. The basic Android contact manager was great as it stored all the contacts on Google’s Gmail servers, making them accessible on any Internet connected computer, but the Vibrant, while having capability to do the same, also allowed your contact info to be stored on the phone instead of on Google’s servers, and storing on the phone is the default setting. I couldn’t seem to find any way to change the default, so if I wasn’t careful I’d wind with some contacts on the phone, but not on Google.

Furthermore, I had trouble setting the default phone number for my contacts. With the basic Android system it was quite easy, but the Samsung version made it more complicated, and even if you set it, there was no guarantee that you could just simply auto dial without being offered the option of using one of your contact’s other numbers.

Tomorrow I’ll continue discussing the other problems I had with the phone, and which phone I replaced it with.

Thank yous: Thanks to @gmalhotra23 @OnADge @Alltop_tech for retweeting this post.

Perseid Meteor Shower

Here’s some news for you to “look to the night skies” tonight from my friend Jason Shilling Kendall at The Inwood Astronomy Project: Tonight, Friday August 13, from 10pm EST to 1am EST Saturday August 14, you can watch for the Perseid Meteor Shower. Though it started on thursday evening, you still have a chance to see it tonight.

Here’s some more news on the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Trouble with Windows 7 and the T-Mobile G1

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

I don’t have any complaints with Windows 7 whatsoever. Really I don’t, but I have read about some people experiencing a problem accessing the G1’s SD card with Windows 7.

Okay, I experienced this problem too, but, luckily, I knew how to fix it.

What happened? I was connecting my T-Mobile G1 Smartphone to my computer to backup the memory chip in the phone. For your information, the G1 was the first phone to use Google’s Android Operating System for smartphones. Today’s leading Android based phones are Verizon’s Droid, Google’s Nexus One, and T-Mobile’s new Samsung Vibrant.

But, as they say, I digress.

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)

Shortly after upgrading to Windows 7, I attached my G1 to my PC via the docking station, and then I “mounted” the SD card in the G1 by selecting “Mount” option from the G1’s notification panel.

Now, for those who don’t have a G1, you “mount the SD card” — sounds ‘dirty’, I know — so you can transfer files to and from the SD or memory card in the phone to your computer.

But, now, with Windows 7, one time I attached my G1 via its USB cable (or docking station) I saw a notification on my computer’s desktop that Windows was “installing a driver” for the “HTC Dream”. (For your information, HTC is the company that makes the G1 for Google and T-Mobile. Dream is HTC’s model name for the G1).

I had never seen this happen before, but I thought it was cool because I was thrilled that Windows 7 was capable of recognizing so many devices when they were attached to the computer.

My thrill was short lived.

Once I mounted the card, and I double clicked the “Computer” icon on the desktop, I expected to see an icon, as I had in the past, that represented the SD card in my phone.

The icon wasn’t there.

I unmounted the card, remounted it, and, again, no icon for the card visible after double-clicking the Computer icon.

Uh oh!

This meant I wouldn’t be able to get my files the old fashioned way. Instead, I would have to remove the card from the phone and insert it into the memory card reader on my desktop computer. That would work, but I would prefer being able to just access he chip by attaching the phone to the computer as I always had.

The Fix. Here’s the solution for anyone who has experienced this problem, too.

  1. Right-click the Computer icon.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Device Manager.
  4. Locate “HTC Dream” on the list. You may need to double click a few items on the list to reveal the HTC Dream listing. I think I found it under “Other Devices”.
  5. Double-click HTC Dream.
  6. Click the Driver tab.
  7. Click Update Driver.
  8. Select “Mass Storage Driver”.
  9. Click OK to close out the dialog boxes.

Now when I connect my T-Mobile G1 via its USB cable or dock, and then mount the SD card, I am able to access the G1’s memory chip and transfer my files without a hitch.

How to Get Featured in Fast Company Magazine

Fast Company's Influence Project

One of the best ways to promote yourself and your business, online and offline, is through associations. People and businesses frequently list the names of newspapers and magazines their company or personal name has been printed in because it builds credibility and reputation.

Fast Company's Influence ProjectRight now Fast Company Magazine, one of the most well respected business start-up and entrepreneurial magazines there is, is doing a feature on influential people. It’s called The Influence Project. They are going to post everyone’s photo in the magazine who registers. The size of you picture depends on how much influence you have.

But you will always be able to say you were in Fast Company magazine under the “Most Influential People”.
Not a bad thing to have on your website? Your Facebook page?

Click here to start influencing now! Fast Company will send you a link that you can spread any way you like to get people you know — or don’t know — to start voting for you.

Or just click here to vote for Skylarking as being influential in your opinion.