Friday, June 19, 2009

Congress Interested in Privacy of Online Consumers

I ran across an interesting article while reading the NY Times Technology page regarding a congressional inquiry into how online companies track consumer’s personal data. Facebook, Google and Yahoo executives were questioned on Thursday about tracking consumers for advertising purposes. Showing Washington’s increased interest into what online companies are doing with all the data they have on their customers.

This joint hearing between two House subcommittees (one on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the other on Communications, Technology and the Internet) brought forth views of privacy advocates versus the industries argument that privacy regulation would be a ‘huge blow” to commerce. The Social networking executives argued that they were careful with user information and gave users a choice about what data was used.

Read more about this Hearing at:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few weeks ago I encountered for the first time. At work my browser started going to instead of Google when I wanted to complete an online search. Since I was not aware of the Microsoft search engine I was very interested in an article I found in eWeek – “Bing’s the thing” by Jim Rapozza. Of course Microsoft is one of the few companies that is large enough to rival Google and launch a search service but how are they as a search engine.

Personally, I have not used it much but Jim thinks it is more attractive than Google and has a lot of interactive touches. These enhancements include but at not limited to providing a variety of information. The Left side is a menu which expands the search based on the information entered. The middle lists the main results which is familiar to many other search engines. A nice touch - when you hover over the right of the result, a small window containing additional information about the linked site.

Bing also has a video search, enhanced photo searches and improved shopping experience. The maps and news searches are not as good as Google but they are acceptable.
Please go to and read more about

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amazon Kindle DX Sold Out Already

Since I did a podcast on this subject just a few weeks ago, I found this article on very interesting.

As you already know the Amazon Kindle is a mobile device for reading many types of electronic data as well as books and newspapers. The latest version was released on June 13th and was sold out within the first few days. According to the article stated they would be available again on June 17th. Amazon’s cash cow, the Kindle DX retails for $489 and is expected to earn the online retailer billions in the coming years.

Read more about the Kindle DX at:

Monday, June 15, 2009

5 Ways to Speed up your PC

There is one common bond between pc owners, regardless to how fast our computers are they are never fast enough. By following a few simple steps, we can not only maintain our computers but keep them running as fast as possible. I recently came across an article on Microsoft’s website that discussed how to use the tools in XP and Vista to more efficiently maintain your computer.

  1. Free up disk space – Run Disk Cleanup to remove temporary Internet files., remove downloaded program, empty the Recycle Bin, remove Windows temporary files, remove optional Windows components that you don't use and to remove installed programs that you no longer use.
  2. Speed up access to data – Run Disk Defragmenter to improve your systems overall performance. The computer’s response time is longer when the files are fragmented causing the computer to search the hard drive to consolidate the pieces.
  3. Detect and Repair disk errors – Run Error Checking utility to check the integrity of the files stored on the hard drive. This will detect bad sectors on your hard drive and repair file system errors. If you use your pc daily this is a utility you should run weekly.
  4. Protect your computer against spyware – I know you are aware of the existence of spyware, its threat to your personal information and the harm it can do to your pc. With that stated you should also make sure you protect your pc form spyware. This article recommends you use Windows Defender to protect your pc. I recommend you do your research. Windows Defender is a freeware and you get what you pay for.
  5. ReadyBoost - Windows Vista introduces Windows ReadyBoost, a new concept in adding memory to a system by using flash memory to improve performance without adding memory.

These are 5 systems tools that each of us should utilize regularly to keep our systems running better. For more information or details abou t running these tools, follow this link to Microsoft’s website.

Gmail Power Tools

I have used gmail from Google for years now. This class has opened my eyes to the versatility of not only Google but gmail also. While flipping through my co-workers MacWorld magazine (yes, I said flipping through - I was actually reading the paper version) I found this very interesting article about the powerful tools that gmail has to offer.

My reason for acquiring a gmail address initially was the portability of a not ISP linked email address. After reading this article, I had a greater appreciation for Google. Here are a few of its features:

  • GMail Labs – developmental features that include canned responses, forgotten attachment detector, Google calendar gadgets, quote selected text, etc. that are a work in progress that could disappear at any moment.
  • Centralized E-Mail Accounts – allows you to consolidate up to 5 your POP3 email accounts.
  • Voice and Video Chat – you can chat and create videos from Gmail , all you need ais a microphone, web cam along with any free voice and video plug-in.
  • Open Attachments – ability to open attachments even if you do not have the software installed by opening as a Google document.
  • Search Autocompete – Google is the world’s leading search engine.
  • Google Notifier – If you miss the new mail notification feature of other desktop clients you can download the free Google Notifier and install this feature.

Here is the link to the digital version of this article::

Saturday, June 13, 2009

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New To Blogging? Watch This Video

If you are not sure what a blog is or how it works, the video called Blogs in Plain English will help. This video explains why blogs are such a "big deal." To view the video, just click on the large arrow in the middle of the video window below.