Monthly Archives October 2011

Fun, Frugal, Fearless Halloween

If pumpkin carving and paper mache is becoming too old-fashioned for your tech-savvy tykes, fear not. Dressing up like an iPhone 4 might be a bit much (that’s a real touchscreen, folks!), but there’s still plenty of ways to plan a Halloween that’s cool for the kids, fun for the family, provides parents some piece of mind and most of all won’t break the bank. Here’s six great options – all treats, no tricks!


Make a Zombie App
Sure, the “undead” are all the rage these days, but what if your kids are too young for such flesh-eating fare? These cuter, animated versions should provide some more age-appropriate frights. Customize your creature’s body, background, clothes and more, then share them via email, post to Facebook or save to a disk.

If you’re planning a haunted house, this website can help you increase the fear factor with a digital twist. Download images and animations that can be projected on windows or displayed on TVs, or spooky sound effects for creeping out oncoming candy-seekers. And if this all seems a bit complicated, the good folks at Geek Squad ( or via any Best Buy store) are available to help …

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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Arrives

Google finally managed to grab some headlines from the iPhone with the arrival of its latest edition of Android OS: Ice Cream Sandwich. That’s the good news for all  you Android phone users; the bad news: you may not see it soon or ever!  Most handset providers are tailoring the Android OS to their liking, often disabling or hiding functions that they want to control. The Galaxy Nexus phone may be the only one to see the full, pure Android 4.0 upgrade…but who knows when it will finally arrive?!

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Debt Agencies: Target cellphones

If you thought that replacing your home phone with a cell phone would keep the bill collectors away, think again.  Eileen Ambrose of the Baltimore Sun wrote an in depth article on the legislative battle going on over keeping debt collectors from hounding us everywhere we go on our portable phones.  The full article appeared in a recent Detroit News edition.

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Gov. Snyder Sees Broadband Essential for Michigan’s Revitalization

By Wil Payton, Communications Specialist,Connected Nation

From government and schools to hospitals and private industry, our cyber networks are integral to Michigan’s infrastructure, economic growth, and quality of life.”

Connect Michigan applauds Governor Rick Snyder for recognizing broadband as a vital component for revitalizing Michigan’s declining infrastructure.  “Broadband is one of the infrastructures of the future,” said Gov. Snyder yesterday in his Special Message to the Legislature on Infrastructure. That is why, since 2009, the Michigan Public Service Commission has been partnering withConnect Michigan to engage in a comprehensive broadband planning and technology initiative.

Connect Michigan is working to assess the local technology framework, establish goals, and develop action plans for expanding broadband throughout the state. Additionally, the program has been benchmarking broadband expansion and availability information statewide.

These efforts will assist the Governor with recommendations he made yesterday to:

• Leverage new investment and develop a unified vision with regard to broadband access and use in Michigan, with special attention to the rural areas in our state

• Work with private-sector broadband providers to help close the “digital divide” with better coordination, shared resources, more training, and greater investment

In the Governor’s White Paper of the presentation, …

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Podcast: October 29, 2011

Show Notes:

  • Robert Nazarian, Editor in Chief of talks about Ice Cream Sandwich, the latests release of the Android OS.
  • Cellphone Debt Collectors Law: Eileen Ambrose, Baltimore Sun
  • Michael Amman: President and CEO of Economic Development for the Benefit of San Joaquin Partnership in Northern California (near Napa Valley was one of the original investors and Board Members of OnlineTech. Among many other tech tales, he was asked to give Internet seminars in India during the Internet’s formative years.  He grew up in Jackson and led economic development groups in different parts of Michigan, before heading West.

Erik Anderson brings us the latest gossip from the Cupertino orchard with The MacMinute

Our second hour is dedicated to answering our listeners’ tech questions from “spinning beachballs of death” to learning how to install Time Code on videos they create.  Don’t miss these excellent answers and check out Ed’s Excellent ToolKit on our homepage.

Podcast: October 29, 2011 – Hour 1
Podcast: October 29, 2011 – Hour 2

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Ed's Excellent ToolKit 2.0


Many years ago Ed Rudel compiled a handy ToolKit on our homepage filled with lots of weapons to fight malware and help solve computer problems.  Now that kit just got an upgrade.  If it has been a while since you checked in, look at the new organization of the resources and the updates that  Ed has made.  The answer to your problems may lie within! 😉


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Stuxnet 2.0 New Version of Super Virus Spotted


Top malware researchers are sounding the alarming.  An upgraded version of the Stuxnet virus which was so deadly accurate in its attack on Iranan nuclear facilities has been discovered in the wild.  So far no targets have been identified but the the virus seems to be mainly reconnoitering key sites like Certificate Authority and industrial sites for future assaults.

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Amazing New Camera Allows Focusing AFTER Shooting!

A new camera was launched this week that may help those of us who are all thumbs with cameras absolute pros!  The Lytro is a weirdly shaped little camera with a tiny LCD screen that lets you mess with the focus after you have finished taking the pictures.  The should take care of about 50% of all my shots!  I will be most intrigued to see this adapted for cellphones which are now replacing point-and-shoot cameras. Foster Braun

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Toolkit – Other free utilities

GE Geek – Great Website for information, training, cheat-sheet and utilities

One of the best utilities that we have recommended for years.  It comes with a disk cleaner and a registry scanner and can be used to remove unwanted programs from starting up.

The 46 Best Free Utilities
Ian “Gizmo” Richards maintains a running list of the 46 best free utilities on his “Tech Support Alert” Web site. Gizmo keeps the list up to date by adding and removing utilities and updating each of the 46 descriptions. I have referenced this page frequently, and have now added it to our Tool Kit.

Nir Sofers list of free utilities and Tools  – Exellent web site that provides list of free utilities and tools –  Tech tools  – Recover passwords, Wireless router keys, networking utilities, command line utils, and much more.

Microsoft Windows Service Packs –  Download a Windows Service Pack as a single file.  If you are having difficulty locate older Windows Service packs you might find them at this Microsoft site.

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Toolkit – Bootable CD tools (LiveCD)


Hiren’s BootCD is a free bootable CD containing various diagnostic programs for fixing various Windows computer problems.  It is a Linux based operating system and provides dozens of utilities that can be best described as performing first aid for your computer. Anti-virus and Malware scanners, disk-check utilities, Password removal, undelete……Download the 500mb zip file, extract or copy the files into a new folder,  and run the BurnCD and let the program create the Hirens bootCD.  Hiren’s Bootable USB tutorial – A Video tutorial on how to create a Hirens CD

Microsoft Bootable Windows Defender – Microsoft Windows defender on a bootable USB stick or CD.  Once created you can boot your computer from the USB flash drive or CD and allow Windows Defender to scan and remove Viruses and Malware.

Puppy Linux is a bootable live CD that allows you to boot your computer from the puppy linux CD, bypassng your Windows Operating system, allowing you to view (and backup) all of your computers files.  Read the entire article – here

Kaspersky Boot CD – This is a wonderful free utility provided by Kaspersky antivirus that allows you to create a bootable CD and scan your computers for viruses …

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