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Death of the Fax Machine Print
Sunday, 15 July 2007 21:39

Death of the FaxWhy won’t the fax machine die? I hate them. Having transmitted images of document with a computer years before the success of the facsimile , I have just never been impressed. This is the age of broad band internet and computers. Does the term email mean anything to these Neanderthals still feeding these machines reams of paper? Why does the fax, an anachronistic 20th century technology still haunt me today? Well, I think I can answer my own question here. You can buy a fax machine now for fifty bucks. They don’t get viruses or spyware and their interface is a phone keypad plus a send button. When it doesn’t work you simply feed it more paper, ink, toner, film or whatever other money sucking thing they need. It’s simplistic and it works. I finally got rid of mine a few months ago and here is how I did it.

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Free 411 Directory Assistance Print
Saturday, 14 July 2007 20:36

Directory AssitanceAfter just a little digging, the first fact I dug up was that there were about 2.6 billion 411 calls made in the U.S. last year. This translates into a $7 billion a year market. Jingle Networks one of the first to offer a free 411 service took a 6% market share in the U.S. 411 business last year, which appears to have attracted the attention of the likes of AT&T, Google, and Microsoft. Each has entered into the business, mainly by buying a competitor of Jingle.

AT&T purchased InFreeDA and changed the name to 1-800-YellowPages. Google is rumored to have purchased 1-877-520-FIND in October 2006 and officially launch Goog-411 on April 6th 2007. Microsoft purchased TellMe, widely known as the mac-daddy of 411. Jingle is still 1-800-FREE-411. Armed with these 4 champions, I set out to call each and see what all the fuss was about.

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Rules for Online Dating Print
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 22:49

Rules for Online DatingNow that we’ve gotten all the technical stuff out of the way (from a quasi-technical standpoint, mind you) let’s talk about the nuts and bolts. Online dating has rules. And these aren’t necessarily the rules you’ll read in the user “tips” section of whatever site you choose. For research purposes (okay, and just for fun), I’ve created mini-biographies on a few of the most popular sites. So these rules are the ones I’ve learned along the way.

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Confessions of an Online Dater Print
Monday, 09 July 2007 16:07

Online DatingPerhaps you, like me, never thought you'd be there (or here depending on your perspective)... online dating. Fours years after the divorce, I thought I'd weigh out my options: 1) Meeting men in bars. 2) Friend fix-ups. 3) Meeting the man of your dreams in Harris Teeter. Hmmmm... no, no, and probably not. Okay, maybe just no. So why not take advantage of the easy access we all have to cyberspace from the comfort our own homes? In this day and age of online-everything, why not utilize the tools available for finding the One for you?

My journey in online meeting/dating (and there is a difference) has been somewhat of an ongoing sociology type of project in human behavior. So let me share what I've learned about the most reputable online resources available to ladies (and gentlemen of course, but, hey, this is a girl's perspective). According to a variety of reviews the 3 most popular sites are eHarmony, Match, and PlentyofFish. I have perused and used all three sites. And when deciding which site to use, it's first important to understand the features of each.

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Logitech Ultra Vision is the Best Webcam Print
Tuesday, 03 July 2007 07:46

Logitech Quickcam Ultra VisionIf you haven't purchased a webcam in a while, I recommend you go get one, now. Really, I'll wait. Not only are these devices great fun but with free software like Skype, they are a wonderful way to keep in touch with long distance friends and family. I recently tried several of them to see which one I thought was best. Glad to report that after hours of software installation and testing, the clear winner is Logitech.

Continue reading for more information and a short video demonstration.

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What Stories Will Our Pictures Be Telling? Print
Monday, 11 June 2007 16:36

Face RecognitionMicrosoft, Google, and others are quietly adding sophisticated imaging features to their portfolios. Right now these technologies can help you with simple tasks like organizing your photos online with Riya. Or just for fun you can use MyHeritage to see which celebrities you most look like. In the near future though, I foresee that a new generation of search abilities will emerge.

Imagine what your grandparents might have thought about typing a few key words into a search engine and being directed to a site with in-depth information on any subject matter in the world. We tend to take the functionality and usefulness of search engines for granted. Think of the rapid advancements that have taken place in a not so distant past. Only 12 years ago, it was Deja News that originally archived and indexed Usenet to collect a wealth of newsgroup information and make it conveniently accessible for the user. MapQuest and others brought road and satellite mapping to the web. Today Google can help you find phone numbers, information within a website, images, videos, the lowest prices on products, or even the answer to simple mathematics and numeric conversations.

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Zombie Bot Process Print
Monday, 11 June 2007 08:35

A diagram of the process by which spammers use zombie (virus-infected) computers to send spam.

  1. Virus writer sends out viruses, infecting ordinary users’ Windows PCs.
  2. Infected PCs log into an IRC server or other communications medium, forming a network of infected systems known as a botnet.
  3. Spammer purchases access to this botnet from virus writer or a dealer.
  4. Spammer sends instructions to the botnet, instructing the infected PCs to send out spam.
  5. The infected PCs send the spam messages to Internet users’ mail servers.

Zombie Process

 

 
Best Free Tool to Create PDF Documents Print
Tuesday, 20 March 2007 16:20

PDFI did a little investigating today for a free simple way to create Adobe Acrobat PDF documents. After looking around for a while, I narrowed it down to three of the more popular picks available today: BullZip PDF Printer, CutePDF Writer, and PrimoPDF. All three got the job done, but I liked the BullZip product best. It was the least obtrusive with the most features. All three programs work by using Ghostscript and installing a virtual PDF printer. To create a PDF document, you simply print to the virtual printer. This enables you to create PDF files from most any application.

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Brand Name vs. Custom Built Computers Print
Saturday, 01 July 2006 15:42

Which computer should I buy? As most everyone has a computer today, the average consumer inevitability will have to make this choice. Many people have a common misconception that the big name brand manufacturers can offer a better computer at a better price than your local computer store. This is simply not true. A computer is just a sum of parts. The big guys don't create a computer, they just purchase the parts from a host of other companies and assembly them all together in one box. A small local store has the advantage to do this better and more efficiently.

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Mars Software A-List Print
Friday, 30 June 2006 21:53

Last Updated: 2006-07-01

The "Software A-List" is a short list of essential applications.  Some software categories have both free and commercial alternatives.  Commercial alternatives aren't listed if the free stuff is better.

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