Data Doctors: Tips for online backup of photos – East Valley Tribune: Data Doctors

August 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Q: after hearing about the reporter who had his entire laptop wiped by hackers, I’m wondering about the best way to backup all my photos to the Internet. what Internet photo storing sites do you recommend? – Greg

A: For those that haven’t heard the gut wrenching details of tech journalist Mat Honan’s epic hacking incident ( ), it’s a cautionary tale well worth reading about so you can avoid the basic missteps that he made.

One of the many actions taken by the hacker was to use the remote wipe feature of the ‘Find my MacBook’ utility, which resulted in Mat losing all of the precious photographic memories of his new daughter and family members.

As is common in these cases, Mat hadn’t got around to backing up what was on his laptop, which is causing lots of folks to think about all the precious images they have accumulated that only exist in one place.

Photo storage/sharing sites abound on the Internet, but since they all differ in one way or another, it’s important that you research those differences before you commit to any of them. making a change to another site after you have uploaded a year’s worth of photos is something you want to avoid!

Most of us have a Facebook account and upload pictures to our profiles, but that is far from a comprehensive backup of your photos. Facebook also compresses your uploaded images to save space, so you can’t ever download them in their original resolution should you need to.

Straight forward backup sites such as Carbonite ( ) and Mozy ( ) are a great way to automatically push exact copies up to the cloud, but if you want to share or make use of your photos via the storage site, you may want to consider additional options (remember, there is no such thing as too many backups).

For most casual photographers, Google’s Picasa software ( )combined with their Picasa Web Album online service is a great solution for cataloging, editing and backing up your photos.

When you install Picasa, it automatically starts to scan and catalogue (by date) all the photos it can find in common picture locations (you can manually tell it to search other folders if you have them stored elsewhere).

Once they have been catalogued, you can use the built-in backup utility to burn DVDs or to back up to an external hard drive or upload them to your Picasa Web Album or Google+ accounts.

You have the option to upload them in ‘Best for sharing’, which compresses the photos or original size which will take longer to upload but creates a true backup of the original photo.

You get 1 GB of free Picasa storage or for $2.49 per month, you can increase it to 25 GB or $4.99 per month for 100 GB of storage.

Android smartphone users can also configure the Google+ app to automatically upload images taken by the phone to the Picasa Web Albums.

If you are a hardcore photographer with a lot of images, you should consider getting setup with a Flickr Pro account ( $24.95 per year). Not only can you store images in their original size, you get unlimited storage space and support for more file formats.

If you choose to share your photos, you can choose to only allow them to be seen in lower resolution and deter casual downloaders by disabling the right-click option for downloading.

Another option that my wife loves is Shutterfly ( ) because of its free unlimited storage, easy sharing of albums (publicly or privately) and ability to design photobooks and send personalized postcards using any of our pictures.

Although you can upload images in full resolution, sharing or downloading them in the original resolution can’t be done, unless you are willing to pay to have them transferred back to a DVD by Shutterfly.

In fairness, you can download images at 1600×1200 which is sufficient to print a decent image up to 8×10, but if you want total control of your images at full resolution, you should avoid Shutterfly.

Remember, moving your life’s work in photography from one site to another isn’t easy, so don’t take this decision lightly.

OK, wise computer people, before I drag my butt to Best Buy for tech support…

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

maybe one of you knows what is happening. bought a Toshiba 755 about three months ago. Got a little freaked out the first time the screen went blank but it was because if you move the laptop, there’s something built in to protect the hard drive. a little message appeared when this happened. as soon as you are still again, the screen comes back. A couple of times, maybe twice or so, the computer shut itself off completely. I also noticed I would shut the computer down, leave it, return and the computer would turn on as soon as I opened it without pressing anything to turn it on. I wondered if maybe I had not shut down properly? Tuesday, after leaving the computer off all night, I got to work and the computer would not stay on. Pressed the power button, it would attempt to start and then pop off. tried a few times and it kept shutting off. it was plugged in the entire time. I started it in safe mode and the computer checked some files and found nothing wrong. After another couple of tries, it stayed on and everything worked fine. around 6:30 pm it shut itself off and would not come back. I use a cooling fan all the time so i don’t think it was overheated. I gave up with work and came home. Repeat yesterday morning. I used my phone to record what happened and saw it shut off and turn itself back on and then shut off. What I noticed yesterday was the battery light in the front was red. however, it was plugged into the power source. I was able to get it to stay on and do a backup and virus scan. Called best Buy and I can take it in but I know that will be a boatload of time. last night I left it plugged in all night and this morning the battery light is white. Bum battery? Bum charger? How will they check this if the computer is working fine now? I called Toshiba and they want to do a system restore. Do I have a lemon? any thoughts?

Moshi Zefyr 2 Macbook Cooler Hands-on Review

July 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Overheating iOS gadgets are a familiar concept, but do external fans really work? our hands-on with the Moshi Zefyr 2 and my fanless Macbook Pro will find out.

In January of 2010, I walked off an airport that had flown half way around the world from New York City to Hong Kong. After 16 nonstop hours of being crammed in the window seat, I couldn’t wait to get to my hostel, plug in my Macbook, and let my family and friends know I had made it to the far east safe and sound. Instead, I found that my battery and fan had decided to crap out during travel, and would not hold charge without keeping the power supply plugged in. As a result, this also meant my Macbook was constantly hot in the already pretty tropical climate of east Asia. What’s the point of using a laptop if you can’t place it on your lap without potentially burning yourself? 

As a poor college student back then and in a foreign country, I found it hard to scavenge for an official Mac retailer to fix my computer. Instead, I’ve live to this day just dealing with cords and the inevitable overheating. this meant my Macbook constantly logs off when the CPU overclocks, making me lose work progress or stop movie streams halfway through. I could drop a few thousand bucks on a brand new computer, or a couple hundred for a new battery. but when the Moshi Zefyr 2 Macbook Cooler came along, I had to wonder if this would be a good cheap fix.

Look and Feel

Designed with same chrome finish typical of newer models of the Macbook, the Zefyr 2 fits in seamlessly as a Mac accessory. The fan folds in half and stores in a carrying case, making it efficient for travel. once extended, you can place the fan under your Macbook and it acts as a slight recliner. to turn to fan on, simply plug the USB into the left side slot and select the fan setting of low, medium, or high.

Relatively lightweight, the Zefyr 2 also has rubber grips on the bottom and top surfaces to keep your Macbook from slipping. this will obviously work better when working on a table surface rather than, say, a bed or your own lap. You can feel the air coming out from the Zefyr 2, and it’s kind of a nice touch to get a quick dash of cold against the warm laptop surface.


With my Macbook Pro’s fan declared dead for a few years now, there was no other way to test the Zefyr 2 than to put that thing on blast and see if it works. at the high setting, you can barely here the fan noise. Yes, it’s audible, but not in any way disruptive. using it on a louder environment, such as an office or coffee shop, will render the noise undetectable while low and medium settings, as you can imagine, barely made any sound. The rubber grips also do a good job of keeping my Macbook reclined without making it uncomfortable to type. 

But you’re really here for the million dollar question: does it work?

I tested the function by setting up Temperature Monitor, which calculates the temperature of my Mac’s hardware. here are the numbers before and after I left the Zefyr 2 on high for 35 minutes.

As you can see, the temperature didn’t drop dramatically (I apologize for using Celcius, American readers). but the fact that it did at all was impressive, considering my Macbook is extremely warm to the touch. I honestly believed it could not be salvaged. Considering that it has also been sitting for just 30 minutes, the effects took place at a reasonable pace. The recline also helped the air flow between the my Macbook and the surface it rested on, dissipating the heat.

However, for those looking to cool their Macbooks by more than a few degrees, you may need to look elsewhere. if your fan isn’t dead, it’s worthwhile to set up apps such as  smcFanControl to regulate how your fan works to optimize cooling features. No cooling fan is going to magically decrease your computer’s temperature externally, less you set the Macbook atop a bed of icepacks.

I give credit to the Zefyr 2 for being an extreme well-designed product. While I will keep using the cooler to help alleviate my Macbook’s pain and for reclining purposes, it might just be time for me to invest in a new computer altogether. in the meantime, this will prolong the lifespan of my laptop for just a while longer. The Moshi Zefyr 2 Macbook Cooler is compatible with all Macbook models, available now for $80.

Amazon Black Friday Computer Sales and Deals – Apple, Dell and Netbooks at Low Prices in 2010

July 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Every single year Americans look to save money on Black Friday and one way to do this is to find the best deals and sales on computers from Amazon. Over the last several years Amazon has expanded their merchandise to almost everything under the sun but they have done a great job of promoting the sale of computers, laptops and netbooks. When looking for a computer this year many people will likely consider Apple and Dell along with some of the other makers of computers.

If you are thinking of a laptop or netbook as a Christmas gift idea then you will want to make 100% certain that you know exactly what you are looking for. Some people are very particular when it comes to the computer they are going to use. It might be the case that the loved one in your life wants a MacBook or an iPad. if this is the case then they will probably not want a netbook from another company. There are many people that do not use an Apple at all and this would mean that you might want to consider a computer that runs the Windows operating system.

Over the next several weeks it will likely be the case that many people begin to think about 2010 Christmas gift ideas. before coming to any final conclusions it might be smart to wait a little while and see what types of products are going to be on sale when the Friday after Thanksgiving rolls around. There could be some opportunities that you do not want to pass up when it comes to desktop computers, laptops and netbooks.

How To Choose The Best Gaming Laptop

July 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

The gaming laptop is coming of age It is steadily
increasing in popularity as performance quality goes
up. Gamers now regularly consider laptops or notebooks
when searching for that perfect gaming machine.

With each new generation of notebooks we are seeing some
novel breakthroughs: dual core notebooks, PCI Express,
Sonoma chipset, increased storage, increased RAM, faster
CPUs, better battery life and better wireless connections
including a Cellular Modem. all welcome news for gamers
and notebook lovers alike.

Generally, gamers are a very demanding group, they know
their computers and they know what they want in their
computers. Most gamers like to order their gaming laptop
with their own specs and configurations. in that light,
if you closely examine the main points gamers consider
when configuring or building their Dream Machine — you will
have a good blueprint for the best gaming machine.

Since notebook technology changes every two years or so,
it’s probably wise to purchase a laptop that can be easily
upgraded as new products come on line. So consider the
upgradable factor in any notebook that you plan to buy.

Now, lets look at some of these key gaming factors:


You must have the best/latest/fastest Graphics on the market. DUH

Serious gamers are concerned with graphics, obsessed would probably
be a better word. And rightly so Graphics or the quality of the
graphic chipset in your notebook computer will be your first area
of consideration and it will greatly determine the gaming performance
of your PC.

Go with the latest Graphic Chipset and also check to see if you
can upgrade your Graphics Card on the particular machine
you’re thinking about buying. many machines allow this.

Here are some Graphic Chipsets that are highly rated: ATi Mobility
Radeon 9700, ATI’s Mobility FireGL V3200 or Intel’s Graphics Media
Accelerator 900.

ATi Mobility Radeon 9700 is a high quality Graphics Card or visual
processing unit (VPU) present in many next generation notebooks. It
will give you higher performance at a lower power level, saving
battery power.

It makes your notebook computer capable of many functions: 3D games,
wide-screen HDTV, dynamic presentations, mobile video editing studio
and graphic processor.

Many notebooks now come with integrated graphics, where components
interact and are sometimes shared, especially memory. If you want
a notebook computer for 3D games — check the amount of video RAM —
this is memory that’s dedicated to graphic or video applications.

Other common graphic chipsets are: STMicro, NVIDIA, 3D Labs, Matrox,
Trident S3 and SIS.


Get the largest amount of RAM possible. DUDE

RAM or random-access memory will determine how much graphics
your notebook computer will be able to handle. It’s best to
get the largest amount possible on your machine or what you
can afford.

It’s generally agreed that you need at least 256MB for
Windows XP and Mac OS X. you will only need 128MB for other
operating systems in Windows or Mac.

RAM or the amount of RAM on your notebook computer is extremely
important if you want to handle heavy graphic files or want to play
games on your notebook. The more RAM you have, the more applications
you will be able to handle. some notebook now come with up to 2GB
of DDR2 533MHz RAM

DDR2 SDRAM – is a new standard that can boost conventional SDRAM
memory up to speeds well over 200MHz and beyond. for example, the
IBM ThinkPad T43, thanks to the Sonoma Chipset or platform has

This is much better than standard SDRAM which tops out around 150-
166MHz and DDR SDRAM which starts at 200MHz and goes up to around

Video RAM or VRAM is special memory that’s used by video adapters on
your notebook. this is RAM that is dedicated to handling the visuals and
graphics on your notebook computer. this is helpful if you want to play
a lot of the latest 3D video games on your notebook.

It is somewhat different from ordinary RAM because it can be
accessed by two different devices at once — enabling screen updates
while the video processor processes new data. VRAM provides better
graphics but is more expensive than ordinary RAM.


You need the fastest computer money can buy. Period

In order to get the maximum performance from your ultimate
gaming computer you must have the fastest speed you can get
or afford. your ultimate PC must be able to process and handle
the latest 3D video games with ease. there is nothing as annoying
as your PC freezing up in the middle of some major gaming action

Therefore, your Processor’s speed is very important.

CPU or Central Processing Unit, you probably know it as
the processor It’s the heart or rather the brain of your
notebook or computer. It does all your computer’s data processing and applications. since it does most of the work, it’s usually the most expensive part of your notebook computer.

SATA is a type of hard drive and stands for Serial Advanced Technology
Architecture. It was developed by a whole group of companies including
Seagate, Intel, Maxtor, Dell and others. SATA transmit data in a serially
(in a single stream) as opposed to PATA or Parallel ATA which is commonly
referred to as an IDE hard drive.

Serial ATA hard drives uses less power and are ideal for notebook
computers, they are also more advanced than PATA hard drives which
uses multipe streams of data — go figure But Serial Technology carries
data in a single stream and unlike PATA is not limited to a particular
clock speed, Serial transfers data packets almost 30 times faster than

If top performance in your notebook is one of your goals, go with a SATA
hard drive.

Intel Pentium M processors are commonly found in a lot of
notebooks and laptops. When in doubt also go with a Pentium

The speed of microprocessors is measured in MHz.

MHz is short for megahertz. one MHz equals one million cycles
per second. The speed of processors, usually known as clock speed,
is measured in megahertz (MHz) or these days in gigahertz (GHz).

The higher the clock speed, the faster the computer will process
applications and data. It determines how powerful your notebook
computer will be. Processor speeds for notebooks or laptops are
steadily increasing, not quite the same as a desktop but the gap
is narrowing quickly. Speeds of 3.4GHz or more.

Don’t forget to ask or check the hard drive speed a 7,200rpm hard
drive is faster than a 4,200rpm or 5,400rpm and usually gives better


You need the sharpest, brightest display screen or all the above
points are moot

Display quality is also extremely important to your gaming
experience. make sure the resolution and display quality of
your notebook computer can handle the graphics for 3D Gaming.

What to keep in mind.

SVGA Resolution. put simply, computer images are made up of
dots, the more dots you have — the better the image.
SVGA Resolution is made up of 800 x 600 dots.

Many notebook computer have XGA (1024 by 768 dots) or
SXGA (1280 x 1024 dots), these resolutions will give
a higher quality image. WXGA stands for widescreen XGA.

TFT Active Matrix Display. TFT stands for thin-film
transistors and many high-end notebook computers use
(TFT) active matrix liquid crystal displays.

If display quality is your main reason for buying
a notebook, it’s best to give it the ‘old eye test’
and check out the image quality first-hand and decide
for yourself. Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony, and others
are known for their high quality monitors — this
quality is also present in their notebook display

So when buying your perfect Gaming Notebook Remember this:

Graphics + Ram + Speed + Display = Perfect Gaming Notebook

Consider all of the above factors before you buy or config
your perfect gaming machine. Chances are high that you
will get a top-notch quality Gaming Notebook that will
give you hours and hours of pure gaming bliss

Helpful Information About Remote Computer Repair

June 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Are you one of those who constantly visit their repair shop only to find out that their PC has crashed again? Do you depend entirely on your workstation to get the job done? Do computer errors and blue screens prove to be troublesome for you?

If you rely on your computer and use it your business, then you should call the right computer repair technician to help you. but, with several service representatives, who will you choose to trust?

What if while you’re at the height of your presentation and your computer suddenly hangs and doesn’t turn back on? Imagine seeing the Blue Screen of Death? Then, you know that means trouble. Using a laptop will be much more convenient since you can simply bring it to the technician. on the other hand, if you are using a workstation with a CPU-you need to dismantle and disconnect several cords.

But, if you know a reliable person that you can call for home service PC repair, that would be great You can give them a call and set up an appointment. the only thing you need to consider is, when will he be available to cater to you? well, the great news is you can get your computer fixed without you leaving your home, or without them going to you. Most repair services offer remote technical support. It will save you money as well as time. so, how does this work?

PC Repair and Remote Support Benefits

Numerous PC repair shops now offer remote support. this means actual on the spot assistance being provided without being physically present in front of the desktop.

A qualified representative will then view the computer through screen sharing, granting him access to see what is taking place on the screen. he will be able to provide advice or helpful resolutions regarding the matter. this is known to be one of the most efficient and time saving ways. the computer technician is given access to the workstation, which will allow him to apply various updates, install or modify. this can all be done remotely online.

Choose the right People to Provide You Computer Repair Service

With the number of companies offering computer repair service, it is not easy to choose someone to work on your PC.

So, what qualifications should you look for in a technician? Here, we would like to share some helpful information and tips:

*Do a background check and find out his expertise

*See if he has any certificates or diplomas on short courses.

*Find out if he can build, repair and modify computers.

*Ask him about his knowledge on troubleshooting.

*Test to see if he can understand how the system works so he can detect the source of the problem.

*Inquire about their fees. Do they need to get paid per hour or do they have fixed rates?

*Consider your budget before making any commitments.

*Weigh things if it is wise to have your computer repaired or if you are better off buying a new one.

*Ask around and do some research on the company. What’s their reputation?

*Gather some feedback from friends and family. Get referrals from them.

*Search the internet and look for potential computer repair companies and inquire about their rates.

Is It a Laptop? A Tablet? Whatever, PC Makers Just Hope You’ll Buy It

June 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

One thing apparent at Computex this week is that computer makers really aren’t sure what consumers want in a PC, and they’re throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

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There might never have been such a wide variety of computer styles on display as there are here in Taipei. many use Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS, or the Windows RT version for ARM-based processors. others run Google’s Android software, though that OS has been less visible this year than last.

There are laptops with screens that twist and fold in every direction, some with touch-screens and some without. There are 7-inch tablets and 10-inch tablets, and tablets that come with attachable keyboards and others that don’t. The line between a tablet and a laptop has almost ceased to exist.

There’s an all-in-one PC with a large monitor that can be unclipped and carried like a giant tablet, and other monitors that can be turned on their side in portrait mode. There’s a smartphone that snaps into a tablet that snaps into a keyboard, turning the whole thing into a laptop.

The products are made possible by better, cheaper components, by the new touch interface in Windows 8 and by Intel’s ultrabook formula. But they’re also driven by a sense of urgency among PC makers, desperate for a hit product that can outrun the iPad and revive their fortunes.

“We were expecting to see a lot of experimentation at the show and we got it,” said IDC analyst Brian Ma. It’s probably good for consumers, who get to vote with their wallets to decide the winners. But many designs will surely fail or be relegated to niche markets. Charles Darwin would be impressed.

One of the more inventive companies is Asustek Computer, which popularized the netbook a few years ago. Asus Chairman and impresario Jonney Shih had more surprises at a news conference Monday. One was the Taichi, which looks like a standard Windows notebook, except that when the lid is closed the outside can act as a second, touch-screen display, so the device becomes a tablet.

It’s not bulky, either; Asus says the Taichi is as light as its Zenbook. And when the lid is open, the inner laptop screen and the outer tablet screen can be used simultaneously, so people sitting opposite each other can both view what’s on the display. It could be useful for presentations and sales pitches, or it might not be useful at all: Time will tell.

Also unusual was Asus’s Transformer AiO, which looks like a normal, all-in-one PC but has detachable, 18.4-inch touch-screen that can be used as a wireless display. more unusual, at the push of a button the display can switch from Windows 8 to Android, becoming “the world’s biggest tablet,” as Shih put it, carting it across the stage under his arm. Unfortunately, the screen froze during his demo and he had to move on.

Acer also has a new all-in-one PC, shown by Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer in his keynote Wednesday, with a large monitor that can swivel on its side into portrait mode. He also showed an Acer laptop whose ports are hidden at the back to make it as thin as possible, but which drop down when needed at the push of a button in a half-centimeter panel.

Yet another Acer laptop, the aptly named Yoga, has a screen that folds out flat through 180 degrees, and then keeps folding all the way back on itself, so the device becomes a tablet with a keyboard on the back. why? maybe just because it can.

Not everything at the show is gimmicky. There are standard laptops in all sizes, made thinner and lighter thanks to the upcoming “Ivy Bridge” variant of Intel’s Atom processor, which can get by with smaller, lighter batteries. Gigabyte Technologies showed a laptop with a carbon fiber casing that weighs just 975 grams, lighter than Apple’s MacBook Air. The X11 will go on sale in the U.S. and Europe later this year from $999.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dell’s Alienware M18X, a hulking machine the size of a small briefcase with a “starting weight” of almost 5.5 kilograms. Billed as the “world’s most powerful laptop for gamers,” it’s priced from $1,999 on Dell’s website.

Toshiba, meanwhile, announced an ultrabook with an unusual, 21:9 aspect ratio, for watching movies in wide-screen format without black bars eating up screen space at the top and bottom. The Satellite U845W (called the U840W in Europe) is due later this year, priced from $999 in the U.S.

There’s also variety in the smartphones, with each trying to find the sweet spot for screen size, and most larger than the 3.5-inch iPhone. Samsung’s Galaxy Note, one of the biggest at 5.3-inches, has been disparagingly called a “phablet,” as it’s midway between a phone and a tablet. its Galaxy S III, due later this year, will be 4.8 inches, while HTC’s One S is 4.3 inches.

Asus wins for the most out-there smartphone idea. The PadFone, which was announced in February and just went on sale in Taiwan, looks and operates like a normal Android phone but also snaps into the back of a tablet, in a concealed dock. The tablet is useless without the phone, but with the phone inside, the tablet uses its OS and processor and effectively gives the phone a larger screen.

The tablet has its own battery and can recharge the phone while it’s in the dock, and the whole set-up can snap into a keyboard, turning it into a laptop. There’s still no ship date outside Taiwan.

The designs here highlight a basic difference between Microsoft and Google on the one hand, and Apple on the other. Apple — which doesn’t attend Computex — spends years designing a small handful of products until it releases something it thinks is perfect. Microsoft and Google provide software, tools and some guidance to a multitude of vendors, and let them compete on the implementation.

The result is more variety in the worlds of Windows and Android, and sometimes lower prices, but whether the products here will be more successful remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: It’s become hard to say what some of them are.

“It’s hard to say what’s a tablet and what’s a notebook now,” said Gartner analyst Tracy Tsai. “Every notebook is a tablet, or every tablet is becoming a notebook. It’s all mixed together.”

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James’s e-mail address is

More competition could cut into Best Buy’s lucrative Geek Squad service

June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

by Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio May 30, 2012

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Best Buy sees an especially needy — and lucrative — market for its Geek Squad tech services in the aging baby boom generation.

but the retailer, which is seeing competitors eat into its consumer electronics sales, also faces increasing competition from rivals offering tech help.

when she’s having technology trouble, Suzanne Johnson turns to the Geek Squad at the Eden Prairie Best Buy store. She’s been having a lot of problems with her laptop.

"my son’s cockatoo pulled about 20 keys off it," she told Geek Squad Agent Joey Diaz. "I thought it was goner then. but you took care of it. Right now, it’s hung up on logging off and it’s been acting up. So, I don’t know if there’s any hope for it."

Geek Squad Agent Joey Diaz promptly detects rogue software. Johnson watches in amused wonder as the inspection continues.

"This is fun watching you do that," she said. "I have no idea what you’re doing."

Johnson, of Eden Prairie, is 65 and belongs to AARP. She’s very interested in the discount tech support program Best Buy is offering to AARP members.

"I do not know much about anything except where the on button is," she said.


Best Buy is partnering with AARP to offer the group’s 37 million members reduced rates on annual tech help plans. They provide unlimited consultations with Geek Squad Agents and other benefits, including free labor on any computer bought from Best Buy. Plans start at $170 for one year. the normal price is $200.

Only about 12 percent of Americans are between the ages of 55 and 64. but more than one-third of the current subscribers to the Geek Squad’s tech support service for computers and tablets are in that age group.

AARP surveys indicate most members lack the knowledge or time to deal with things like setting up TVs, computers and home networks, never mind fixing them.

"obviously, the over-50 age group that AARP represents is thr group that’s using a lot of technology these days, and they’re trying to use it to improve their lives," said Brian Hutto, the Best Buy executive who oversees Geek Squad’s partnerships with other organizations.

"What our tech support does for them and the reason we partnered is that it helps them learn how to unlock the technology," he said.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes there’s a strong correlation between age and the need for tech help.

He said the AARP-Geek Squad partnership is "a match made in heaven."

"everybody over 50 is a better target audience for Best Buy’s service," Pachter said. "They are less tech savvy on balance. and they have more money."

Best Buy gets about $3 billion a year in revenue from the Geek Squad and other services it sells. the company doesn’t specify how much revenue it gets just from Geek Squad services, though.

Analysts say tech services are very profitable for Best Buy. Customers pay $60 an hour for Geek Squad labor. and in California, for example, where wages tend to be well above average, Geek Squad agents are paid about a third of that, according to court filings.


but Pachter says younger people are much more comfortable with technology and as they age, they won’t need tech services as much as their elders do now. "the problem is old people are not going to be replaced by another generation of old people who are not tech savvy," he said.

Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy notes many devices are becoming much more user-friendly. and there’s more competition in the business. Target, for instance, offers set-up services for TVs and other devices and free telephone tech support. Costco, Walmart and Sears also offer installation and tech services. and Hottovy notes Apple has its in-store "Genius Bars," where employees provide free tech advice.

"It’s a business you have to have," he said. "but by having other competitors that do offer similar services, it does take its toll on what is really a high-margin business and may weigh on Best Buy’s profitability."

That wouldn’t be good for Best Buy, which has a host of other problems to deal with — from declining sales and rivals undercutting its prices to stores that are too big.

  • Morning Edition, 05/30/2012, 7:25 a.m.

Gamers’ World – How To Get A Cheap Gaming Laptop Or Computer

June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Gadgets today can be very expensive. before, having a gaming computer or a laptop seems impossible for they cost a lot. however, as the computer industry becomes more and more competitive, laptops are becoming less expensive year after year.

Several gaming laptops or computers are now affordable and reasonably priced. it depends on the brand and features that come with the package. To help you, here are steps on how to get a cheap gaming laptop or computer.

Know The Specifications You Want For a Gaming Computer Of Laptop
First you must decide what kind of computer you like – a desktop computer or laptop. Desktop computers are usually less expensive than laptop and most gamers prefer a desktop computer because they can easily upgrade it if they want to. however, if you prefer the one that you can carry anywhere you want, a gaming laptop is great for you.

After deciding what kind of gaming computer you want, you will be able to determine the specifications you need. Identifying the specifications you need and those will not be useful will help narrow down your choices.

When buying gaming computer or laptop you only need high end video card and a good quality memory. You need these computer specifications in order to get high quality images. You may also consider buying a computer which has wide screen for better viewing. Avoid buying expensive processors like quad core. if you have limited resources a dual core processor is a great alternative.

Shop And look Around
After you have identified what you want and what you need, be patient to look for different places where cheap gaming laptops and computers are sold. do not stick to one place. Find other sources like the internet.

For sure you will be able to find inexpensive computers on the web because there are many computer retailers and auctions that are available to the public. Visit online forums of gamers chat where you can find useful reviews and suggestions from hardcore gamers.

Usually, you will find best buys of second hand used computers from these forums as hardcore gamers often put their computers on sale whenever the latest model of computers or laptop are out in the market. They put their old computers on sale in a very cheap price to easily dispose them.

Furthermore, you may want to wait for Black Saturday deals where most units are on sale. Websites of reputable computer brands have hot deals and often offer big discounts. Computer manufacturers refurbish their old models and put them on sale.

Compare Computer Specifications

Compare the specs of various gaming computer brands. Know their individual performance and find out if they are worth the price.

Always look for those who offer the most powerful unit for a cheaper price. Usually high end computer specs cost way too much money as compared to low end units. then again, you will notice that they both have the same computer specifications.

Before buying the gaming computer, you may want to consider buying in the last quarter of the year. this is because most of the retailers dispose their stocks by dropping a few hundred dollars to give way to the newly released models that would be release to the public the following year.

Indeed, owning a decent gaming computer is affordable nowadays. With the steps mentioned above on how to buy quality and cheap gaming computers, you will be able to find the right one without stretching your budget outside your means. good luck

The Most Popular Laptop Brands in 2011-2012

June 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

There are a wide variety of laptops out there, as there is a wide variety of brands, or manufacturers, that make laptops. Some of them have gained fame, while others still linger in the dark awaiting recognition. what makes a laptop brand popular and what are the most popular laptop brands?

Popularity, when it comes to technology and specifically laptops, has much to do with a lot features the computing machine has to offer the end user. Some brands have established themselves as innovators and usually bring out laptops with the newest technology built into them, allowing for a small glimpse into the future of mobile computing. Others are known by their interesting designs and the general feel a laptop can bring to a user. many have gone to great lengths to optimize the way people work and play using laptops, and several branches (a.k.a. brands) have emerged, each of them dealing with a specific segment when it comes to usability or ultra performance.

Brands like Alienware, for example, are known worldwide to provide top-notch gaming system. These come usually packed with the latest high-tech solutions, meaning a heap of processing power to be able to withstand high requirements the newer generation of games have. also, they are known to have quite a large price tag to them, so you won’t find your laptop for everyday use when searching through the Alienware brand. instead, you’ll come across powerhouses which pack in a lot of tech in a very small space capable of taking any task you might throw at it.

Apple, on the other hand, is a great brand known worldwide for their unique approach to mobile computing. this brand is a true innovator in almost all aspects of the way we interact with technology. Aside from their already renown iPad and iPod line of products, their laptops are some of the best you’ll find which have a reasonable price tag to them and a lot of processing power to go. their support makes Apple one of the most popular laptop brands today and their unique operating system approach give new meaning to the term user friendly.

Again, on the innovative side of things, one brand to truly appreciate is the Lenovo. their laptops are known to be durable high performance machines, and the unique designs they pull out on a constant basis make them a true competitor in this popularity contest. their laptops are usually packed full with useful and convenient software designed for businesses and average consumers alike. They address a lot of consumer needs and new generation software will keep them in a high position for years to come.

Sony is another popular brand among users. their laptop designs are considered to be sometimes luxurious and their customer support can only be matched by Apple’s. their goal is not only to make laptop that work well, but also make laptops that look exceptional and have an ultra-modern look and feel about them. They invented the island style keyboards and have been known to provide a better typing and navigation experience.

Acer is a bit of each, but since it doesn’t focus too much on a specific segment, they come out with plain looking laptop that gets the job done. this is addressed to people who don’t care much for the laptop design, and are interested specifically in everyday tasks. as an everyday use laptop, the Acer brand could be one of the most affordable laptops the market has to offer.

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