Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Handheld Device

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Handheld DeviceThere’s a handheld device out there that can specifically cater to your needs. All you need to do to find it is to be aware of your needs and wants and look hard enough. Even if you do buy the best or the cheapest device on the market, you might not be getting what you need as price is not an indicator when addressing such needs.

So before you go off to the electronics store and start looking at machines in a display case, the first step to buying your device starts here. The Internet has a wealth of information about mobile phones and tablets that may interest you, as you can find a myriad of reviews for each and every device on the market.

To help you narrow down your search, here are some questions that you should ask yourself even before you begin searching:

  • Do I want a phone, a tablet, or both?
  • Do I want a telephone solution or a tiny computer?
  • What kind of interface do I prefer? Touchscreen, numeric keypad, or QWERTY?
  • What brand am I leaning towards? Do I have any particular loyalty to a specific brand I use or do I want to try something completely new?
  • How much am I willing to spend, roughly?
  • How soon do I need this device?

These questions are a great way to start your quest to find your handheld device. To help you even further, here are some tips:

  • Look at specs online and videos of user experience. Video reviews can show you just what kind of experience you can expect when you buy the device and how it looks in comparison to a human hand. There are a lot of third-party websites that do independent, specs-based reviews on every gadget out there. Make sure you go through more than one to see if the information matches up.
  • An Apple device is always more expensive because of the brand, how it looks, and the user experience. This is not to say that an iPhone or an iPad isn’t a great gadget, but you can always expect it to be more expensive than devices that can roughly do the same thing but with a different operating system. There are apps that are exclusive on one particular OS, while some apps like RingCentral, MS OneNote, and Temple Run still have versions for both iOS and Android.
  • An Android device is always very customizable, but a little complicated. The Android version the device uses can be different from a lot of other devices and compatibility with anything is always a big issue. If you’re ready to go through the open source travails of an Android device, then you can get great rewards.

Aside from these questions to ask before you buy a handheld device, do you have any that you stand by before making similarly large purchases? Please feel free to leave a comment and share!

Image: Veronica Veronese With Her iPad, after Rossetti by Mike Licht,

Why I Recommended an Apple iPad to My Friend

Why I Recommended an Apple iPad to My FriendWhen I decided on this title, I could already hear people telling each other that it is just another article by an ‘Apple fan boy.’ In actually, however, that is as far from the truth as one could get. Those who know me are aware that I have been a Microsoft MVP for the past eight years and am a die-hard PC person. In fact, I have written numerous articles about Windows and PCs in general. However, In December 2011, shortly after I got my Amazon Kindle Fire, I couldn’t help but declare my enthusiasm for this device. As my knowledge of what the Amazon Kindle Fire could do increased, I started writing articles about it, including ways to add specific applications. In these articles I recommended better ways to take advantage of its features as well as how to add the Ice Cream Sandwich theme. So given my track record, one could easily conclude that my recommendations for a tablet would be the Fire or possibly the new Microsoft Surface that is scheduled for release in the near future.

With that being said, a good friend and neighbor came over to our house Tuesday and wanted to know if I would be available to go with him to look at tablet computers on Wednesday morning. Of course, asking a geek if he wants to look at new computer toys is like asking a duck if he wants to go swimming. In this situation, I knew the man was especially price conscious, so I wasn’t surprised that, when I mentioned pricing for a tablet could run from a low of $200 to a high of $900, he immediately went toward the lower price.

While this came as no surprise, and may also be of a major concern to those reading this article, there are also some other things that we need to know about the person who is about to venture into the tablet world:

  • How well and how often does the person use a standard desktop or laptop computer?
  • Do they struggle with simple computer tasks that we geeks see as child’s play?
  • Are they creative on a computer, or do they treat a computer as an entertainment device?

These comments are not intended to be derogatory, but rather to serve as a guide for those of us who are asked to advise others in selecting a tablet that will best suit their needs. In the case of my friend, he spends the majority of his PC time surfing the Internet and reading news articles. So, in his case, an Amazon Kindle Fire would work fine. However, I also know that a device such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, which limits users to the Silk browser, doesn’t always render pages accurately. Case in point: Last week, while using the Silk browser to view the Verizon website, I became quite annoyed when the browser would not render the information correctly — thus preventing me from reading its contents. That meant that I had to find another means to access the information. To accomplish this, I copied the URL and then opened the URL in my Dolphin browser. It worked perfectly and the website rendered correctly. However, how could I explain to my novice friend how to copy over the Dolphin browser .apk file from an Android phone to an Amazon Kindle Fire? In our case, I determined that it would just be easier to have him purchase a device that I know uses a browser that will render any website correctly.

These were the thoughts on my mind as my friend and I entered into Best Buy and took a stroll through the computer section of the store. I chose Best Buy not because I am a huge fan, but rather because it usually has all of the latest toys available for public consumption on display. The store, as usual, was well stocked, and we were able to try some of the Android powered tablet computers from Asus, Samsung, and others in 7″, 9″, and 10″ models. I found the Android OS easy to use and navigate, but my friend, not being as electronically intuitive, asked numerous questions about how to open and close applications. However, as we proceeded through the various displays of different Android tablets, he started to get the rhythm and attacked the systems with vigor. It was a revelation to me how quickly he emerged as a tablet convert once he became more and more attuned to the new devices and how they functioned.

Our last stop was at an Apple iPad display, which was conveniently located at the end of an aisle. On one side of the display was featured the newest Apple iPad, while on the other side was displayed the Apple iPad 2 (both versions in their black or white cases). My friend and I liked the looks of the white case, but more important (as well as very evident) was the way he took to the iPad’s simple-to-use iOS. The meshing of the operating system and hardware is what makes Apple’s iPad basically flawless. Yes, I said basically flawless since, like all electronic devices, there will be occasional hang ups, but for the most part, these tablets are error free.

So, what did we decide? Well, after contemplating all of the available choices and my friend’s reaction to them, I found myself recommending that he buy the Apple iPad 2 for $399.

Does that mean I’m going to throw away my Amazon Kindle Fire and buy a brand new Apple iPad? No way. I like my Fire and if anything, I may purchase its next iteration if Amazon offers it in a 10″ model. Why is that? That’s simple. As an Amazon Prime member I am able to access a limited library where I can get free videos and movies, as well as a free application every day. This is in addition to its free lending library of books that is also offered to Prime members.

However, in my friend’s particular case, the Apple iPad 2 that he purchased meets his needs and he is currently enjoying his new toy. Being a homebody, one of the things he is happiest about is its portability that allows him to sit in his favorite chair, watch TV, and surf the Internet all at the same time.

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by CLF

How Do You Navigate the Gift Card Jungle?

How Do You Navigate the Gift Card Jungle?How do you manage to use the gift card you got, for your birthday or Christmas, when you cannot find anything that you like or want? Do you look for something that you can give as a present to someone else, buy something you may not want, or toss the gift card into a drawer and forget about it? If these options sound like something you would do, why not trade your gift card for another or even turn it in for cash?

A company called Plastic Jungle has started up a business that deals exclusively in selling, buying, and trading gift cards from some of the major retailers in the US. These companies include such retailers as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, iTunes, Home Depot, Lowes, Cold Stone, Macaroni Grill, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shop, and many others (the total is too many to list).

What I find interesting at this site is that you can buy gift cards, depending on the retailer, for a discount of between 5% and 20%. In navigating this site I even came across one of my favorite places to visit, Cold Stone Creamery. Here, a gift card valued at $250 was just $225, and I can tell you that that is a lot of yummy ice cream.

So how do you go about selling a gift card on this site? Well, that is determined by several factors. To test it, I selected to sell a $50 Best Buy gift card. To do so, I was able to choose from several options, and the amount I received varied on which option I chose. As an example, if I chose to receive an Amazon gift card, I would receive $44.63 for my $50 gift card, however, had I opted to receive payment through PayPal or for a cash payout, the amount dropped to $42.50.

This means that you are going to pay a premium for selling your gift card, but I believe it still is a fair price — especially if you are not planning to use the gift card. Then, too, if you take those funds and purchase a gift card from Plastic Jungle that you will use, you can save up to 20%, thus coming out close to the value of the gift card you are trading. Overall, Plastic Jungle is a great way to dispose of those gift cards you may never use.

One additional plus to this site is that, if you choose to mail in your gift card, it pays the postage for you.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

How to Buy the Right Computer Power Supply

Over the years I have replaced many failed computer power supplies and have learned how to diagnosis, whether a bad power supply is the cause of computers failing to boot. When reader John M. contacted me about the problem he was having with a computer that would not start, I thought I would share his comments and my recommendations with you.

Reader John M. asked the following:
‘I awoke on Monday morning to find my trusty desktop computer failing to start. I smelled a strong electronic smell and noticed the fan on the power supply not turning. Is there a way to tell if the power supply is bad or if it could be something else wrong? If it is the power supply which one would you recommend that I buy?’

From the description that John provided, I would be about 99% sure that it was the power supply that is the culprit because of statement ‘strong electronic smell’. Another clue was ‘the fan on the power supply not turning’. In my experience these two facts would indicate a bad power supply as the culprit.

How many watts should the new power supply be? Over at Newegg they have a simple to use power supply calculator. You enter in the type of CPU you have, how much memory is on board, the type of motherboard on the system, video display adapter, hard drive and type of ROM device. If you have more than one hard drive, video display adapter or more than one ROM device, you can add additional devices before completing a final power calculation.

Most standard OEM systems, from companies like HP, Dell, and the rest, need at least 300 watts to function properly. If you believe that you may be adding more memory, another hard drive and a higher quality display adapter some day in the future, you may wish to get a power supply with more wattage. The next decision you will need to make is how much you want to spend. You can buy inexpensive power supplies for $20 or less.

I recommend you spend a little more money and get yourself a good, reliable unit that will provide you with the best performance. I have been using and recommend the Thermaltake 430 watt computer power supply. The units can be purchased from Amazon for about $41. Newegg carries this make and model as well.

What I like about this Thermaltake unit is that it comes standard with two built in fans for added cooling. The unit also comes with a black cable sleeve which is attractive and also provides better airflow inside the case. The computer power supply unit from Thermaltake is quiet, performs well and is an exceptional value when compared to other power supply units.

Aftershock – Is Another Financial Meltdown Heading Our Way? Review Part 2

Yesterday I posted a part 1 review of the book  ‘Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown’, in which the authors purport to predict the next economic meltdown. In part 1 of the review I covered how the authors state that they were able to accurately predict the current meltdown and therefore, are now able to predict the next economic calamity.

The bottom line of the next meltdown is that our government will be unable to pay off the massive debt we are accumulating. They add to this prediction that our dollar will fall in value like a rock. When this happens stocks will also fall in price, the price of imported goods will increase [they state a Toyota Camry could cost us $100,000], and we as a nation will have to return to the basics of life, that being food, shelter, energy and other basic needs.

The authors go on to state that after the two bubbles, government spending/borrowing and the dollar, both pop we are in for a long period of declines. I originally thought that the authors were not recommending buying gold. However, the authors do recommend buying gold for profit, but where I was originally mistaken, is I thought that gold would also decline in value. Which is correct, but this will happen a long time down the road.

Which brings up another point. The authors are very explicit in that they can not predict exactly when the value of the dollar will erode or when the government will be unable to sub-stain their rate of borrowing money. Their guess is this may happen sometime between 2011 to 2014 or beyond. So how should you prepare for this catastrophic economic depression?

Do not buy stocks or bonds. Stay away from real estate. Buy precious metals such as gold as an investment. But keep in mind that the gold bubble will burst as well, so selling at the right time is critical.

A finally the scary stuff that if it happens is going to kick us all right in the ass. With the dollar devalued gas prices will soar to $15 a gallon. With the government not able to borrow anymore money, social security will be curtailed and only those with no assets will qualify. Medicare will only be available for the people also without assets, and payments will be reduced to hospitals and doctors. Unemployment will be higher than the great depression which topped 25%. Yipes!

The book ends with this….. ‘say good-bye to the age of excess’. No longer will we have investment bankers and corporate executives make horrible mistakes that destroyed companies but made them a ton of cash. Even main street America got to play by have a line of credit from their ever increasing home prices which turned into a bank and credit cards galore. No longer will be able to run down and buy a car just because we want to have something new. In 2008 there were 35 million more cars than registered drivers.

The government owing some 10 Trillion dollars will seem like a drop in the bucket. Prepare yourself for Trillions more being thrown at the economy with little or no results.

Is the book worth reading? I believe it is. But one must also keep things in perspective. I would consider putting about 10% of my assets in precious metals. But I also believe that I’ll wait until the 4th quarter of 2010 or 1st quarter of 2011 before making that commitment. By that time we should know which direction the government is heading. If those in congress continue to spend money like a drunken sailor in a whore house, we may wish make a move towards precious metals.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Aftershock part 1 is here

Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown only $16.34

Diskeeper Professional 2010 – 2 Month Review

Back on November 18, 2009 I posted a review of the new Diskeeper Professional 2010. [See review here] In the original review I mention that the new DP 2010 came with IntelliWrite which the software maker claims will highly reduce the need for defraging. This new technology helps to keep your hard disk from becoming defragmented in the first place. So I decided to try DP 2010 for two months just to see how well or not so well the new technology works.

So the big question I had was does IntelliWrite work as the folks at DP claim? Yes it does. On my system ItelliWrite has been preventing over 95% + defragmented files. I have been running a manual defrag using DP 2010 once a week and it has been completing in less than five minutes, sometimes under 2 minutes. According to IntelliWrite statistics this morning, over 38,838 fragmented files have been prevented since 01-15-10 alone.

Second there is the question on how well DP 2010 works in the background? Only word I can think of to describe how well it works is ‘perfectly’. I have not noticed any slow down on my system. I have the software set to do its thing when the CPU is at 100% idle.

If you are a previous user of Diskeeper, you can purchase a single license upgrade copy at for only $34.49.

Upgrade Diskeeper 2010 Professional Single License Pack

If you need to purchase a full license offers a single pack license for only $51.98.

Diskeeper 2010 Professional Single License Pack

FYI – I am using DP 2010 on my laptop which is currently running Windows 7 Ultimate, a dual-core AMD @ 2.1 MHz, 3 GB of RAM [another 4GB using Ready Boost], 150 GB hard disk. I have had this computer for 14 months and it is running just as well as it did when I first purchased it. I contribute this to keeping my system defragged, and also running Clary Utilities to keep it free from gunk.

Comments as always are welcome.

Toshiba 32 -Inch 1080p LCD TV For Only $389.99 + Free Shipping

I have been looking for a small LCD TV to replace an old  TV in our guest bedroom. The old tube TV from RCA has served us well for the past ten years without even a whisper of a problem. I originally bought the RCA tube set at Walmart back in 1999 when it was on sale for only $179.99, But time, and use for a gaming Wii console has taken its toll and I have noticed that the picture was having difficulty remaining in color and would fade in and out from color to black and white.

So last night I went out to Amazon and located a Toshiba 32-inch 1080p LCD TV on sale for $389.99 plus free shipping. What drew my attention to the set was this statement about the HDTV:

Gaming Mode
Gaming Mode enhances the gaming experience by reducing game controller delay. The Gaming Mode allows the video signal to bypass select picture circuitry to shorten the overall signal to screen time. This provides an approximate 33-millisecond response improvement for 60Hz models and 48-millisecond response improvement for 120Hz models, virtually eliminating controller delay.

I thought I would pass this deal on to those who read my blog.

Toshiba 32RV525R 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

Comments welcome.

Virtual Economy Set To Make Billions Of $ In U.S.

Social networking sites like Playfish, which is a gaming social networking site, currently attract some 61 million users. The gaming site, which features 11 games, is raking in the big bucks by selling virtual goods for people to add to their virtual restaurant or pet menu, i.e. virtual furniture. According to a recent BBC article, virtual goods sales are going to take off here in the U.S. and spending is expected to reach in the billions of dollars.

The article also states:

The new gamers

And it is not just the stereotypical gamers that are spending their hard earned cash on goods that only add up to a handful of pixels on a website

Emma Cox is probably fairly typical of the new breed of social gamer who plays as a way to stay connected to friends and family.

“I am not a traditional gamer. I don’t buy console games or go out and spend $40 on a game for my PlayStation,” said Ms Cox.

“I am playing online games for a different reason and it’s instant gratification, playing with friends, showing off to others and have them see all the virtual goods you have bought for yourself and even for them.”

Ms Cox told the BBC she spends about $10 a month per game on virtual goods and plays two to three games. Her favorite is Country Store where players trade real money for coins allowing players to move ahead in the game or to buy goods.

This is an interesting take on playing games online. It seems that for some people it costs less to play online than to spend $40 or $50 for a software game.

There is just one thing I still find hard to believe. Why would anyone want to spend money for goods that are virtual and not real? Seems strange to me. What about you?

Comments welcome.


Would You Buy This Toshiba Laptop For Only $329.99?

Yesterday I received an email from an old friend of mine asking for some advice about a Toshiba laptop computer that Best buy has on sale. My friend asked whether or not this cheap laptop would be a wise buy and would meet their needs of email, surfing the web and light word processing ? I was familiar with this particular model since one of my old neighbors had bought a similar model from Walmart a few months ago. But the model from Walmart had came with Windows Vista Basic instead of Windows 7 Home Premium, was priced at $349.99 and other wise was basically the same model.

Here are some of the specifications of the Toshiba Laptop:

Product Features

  • Intel® Celeron® processor 900
    Features an 800MHz frontside bus, 1MB L2 cache and 2.2GHz processor speed.
  • 2GB DDR2 memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 8GB.
  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
    Records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD+R DL media; also supports DVD-RAM.
  • 15.6″ TruBrite TFT-LCD widescreen display
    With 1366 x 768 resolution for stunning detail and clarity.
  • 250GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage options.
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M
    With up to 1340MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory for intense detail. Built-in stereo speakers offer clear audio.
  • Multiformat media reader
    Supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick and MultiMediaCard formats.
  • 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital audio, video and data transfer.
  • Realtek wireless LAN (802.11b/g)
    Lets you connect to the Internet on the go.
  • 10/100 Ethernet LAN
    With RJ-45 connector for easy wired connection to the Web.
  • Weighs 5.9 lbs. and measures just 1.5″ thin
    For easy portability.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition operating system preinstalled.Provides a stable platform for word processing, Web navigation, gaming, media storage and more.

The single core Intel Celeron processor at 2.2 GHz is old technology, but a technology that has always performed reliably for the most part. I doubt if one should expect blinding speeds, but I believe the processor is adequate for the job of running Windows 7. 2 GB of RAM is also adequate and the other spec’s seem adequate as well. Overall I gave this stripped down unit a two-thumbs up for my friend.

But my question to you is this. Would you personally buy such a unit for your own personal needs? Would you recommend this computer to a friend? Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.

Best Buy source.

Frugal Consumers Are Renting Rather Than Buying DVD Movies

Hollywood is having issues with its declining revenues and is now looking at Netflix and Redbox for more bucks. In an age where consumers are controlling their spending, Hollywood is feeling the crunch as consumers decide to rent rather than buy. The fear is that even when the economy bounces back, we consumers may not flock to the DVD aisle to purchase Hollywood’s latest and greatest releases.

A recent news article states:

“The days when you [could] get anyone who wants to see a movie to pay $15 at a Blockbuster, Best Buy, or Walmart are in significant decline,” former News Corp. President Peter Chernin told a recent University of Southern California roundtable. “And you’re going to see [DVD sales] continue to decline.”

It is a measure of Hollywood’s desperation that the studios, which rarely agree on anything, are closing ranks to shore up the business. This past summer, Sony, Paramount, and Fox discussed combining back-office and distribution operations as a way of cutting costs and boosting DVD margins. Those talks have since bogged down because hoped-for savings might not materialize quickly enough.

Meanwhile, some of the largest studios are looking to squeeze more money from
Netflix, the fast-growing online behemoth that revolutionized the DVD rental business. Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO of Warner Bros.’ parent company, Time Warner, told an industry conference in mid-September that his studio wanted “better economics” from its Netflix deal. Time Warner, according to knowledgeable industry sources, is pressuring Netflix to rewrite its agreement either to share more of its subscription revenues or to get DVDs from the studios weeks after Wal-Mart and other retailers get them. A Netflix spokesman says only that it “continues to discuss the changing market” with the studios.

Another player feeling the hot breath of Hollywood is Redbox, the fast-growing upstart whose $1 DVD rental kiosks are in supermarkets across the U.S. In a bid to protect DVD sales, Warner, Universal, and Fox have threatened to withhold titles from Redbox unless it agrees to several restrictions. According to a lawsuit Redbox filed against Universal, they include limiting the number of titles rented in each machine, sharing rental fees, and waiting 45 days after a film has been in stores before renting it. “We think there is a place for very low-priced rentals, but obviously not in the middle of when we are trying to sell higher-priced [products],” said Bewkes at the same conference.

I am just wondering if there isn’t more to this than what Hollywood thinks. I know I have changed. I have noticed that with some 200+ channels on my Dish service, many of the movies I may have thought of purchasing are now being shown regularly on the tube. With Netflix movies on demand, why would I want to buy the movie on DVD? Just my two cents.

I just thought of something else. I have two cabinets full of DVD movies that I haven’t watched in years. I seriously doubt that I will be buying a movie on DVD again.

Comments welcome.


Does The New Apple iPhone 3GS Need A Better Battery?

Apple has added new features to the iPhone 3GS but one part of the hardware has been over looked. It seems that consumers are complaining that the new iPhone can’t make it through the day without a fill up of electrical power. The battery in the iPhone seems to be the culprit. But can Apple fix the problem?

Well according to an article over at the L.A. Times it states that:

Buyers are finding that the device, introduced two weeks ago, has trouble making it through a workday without a rest stop at the electrical outlet. It’s proving to be something of an Achilles’ heel on Apple Inc.’s flagship device, more than 1 million of which were sold in the first weekend.

Even the company suggests on its website that users disable some of the phone’s most vaunted features, including the faster 3G network itself, to keep it from shutting down during the day.Industry officials and outside experts sketched a complex picture of the technical and bureaucratic limits that might explain why, after two years and three generations of the device, the newest iPhone has less stamina than the first.

“There’s trouble in the battery field in that there’s only so much energy you can squeeze in a certain space,” said Allen Nogee, a wireless technology analyst at research firm In-Stat. Try to pack in too much juice, he said, and the battery could overheat or even melt.

“There’s not really a solution in sight,” he said.

Repair company, which specializes in Apple products, and other online gadget surgeons dismantled the 3GS on the day it was released and found that the phone’s battery was about 15% smaller than the one in the original iPhone.

The new model is smaller and sleeker, however, and Apple may have sacrificed some battery capacity in favor of a lighter phone, analysts said. The phone’s battery performance has disappointed customers, many of whom waited in lines for hours to buy the latest device. But the battery life is only marginally better than the handset it replaced, and lags well behind the original.

Interesting. It seems that Apple made the new iPhone mean and lean but cut down on the battery capacity. Turn off the 3G network to save battery power? Seems like an odd suggestion to me.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Looking To Buy? Looking To Sell? Try

There should be an image here!Looking to buy used music, games, or movies at bargain basement prices (but without the bargain basement risk of defective merchandise)? Or maybe you’re trying to get rid of your used music, games, or movies and will only accept top dollar. In either case, is your best option! has been online since August, 1996.

In June, 1998, the first retail store opened in Sherman Oaks, California. Since then, stores have opened in Costa Mesa, California, Santa Monica, California, and the 12,000 sq. ft. superstore in Denver, Colorado.

Products on the site come from three sources: the Internet, the retail stores, and from brokers around the country. This gives a much wider variety of music and movies than other used sites. Strict quality control keeps the defect rate to less than 1%, so everything is 100% guaranteed.

Google May Buy ‘Valve’

Anyone who has purchased any gaming software, may be familiar with Steam, which is a Valve feature program. On the Steam site they describe Steam as:

  • Instantly access your favorite games
    The full Steam library and all future Steam releases are at your fingertips. After you’ve purchased a game, download it immediately and start playing.
  • Join the Steam Community
    Now it’s easy to find someone to play with, meet up with friends, connect with groups with similar interests, and host and join chats, matches, and tournaments. Best of all, it’s all free.
  • Chat with your friends while gaming
    With Steam’s “Friends” service, you can talk to your friends while you play. You can also see when they’re playing games and easily join the same servers together.
  • Easily browse multiplayer game servers
    Steam’s integrated server browser makes it easy to navigate thousands of Internet game servers.
  • Receive automatic game updates
    Hunting for patches and downloading from unorganized web sites is so twentieth-century. On Steam, your games stay up-to-date by themselves. No hassles.
  • Play your games on any PC
    Once you have a Steam account, you can sign in from any PC to access your games. Your games are associated with your account, not your computer.

So what will Valve and Steam offer Google? It will provide Google with a tried and true distribution system. As  the article goes on to state, this will be a good buy for Google and good for everyone except Microsoft. With a base of 10 million registered users, this makes Valve even more attractive.

This is a rumor only. But a rumor with teeth. :-)

Comments welcome.
Article source.
Steam Source

Best Buy Premier Black Program

I have only bought one item from Best Buy, which was a plasma TV I purchased last November. The main reason I bought the unit was price, price and price. They were having a Black Friday super sale, plus I had a 10% off coupon they honored, which made the deal even sweeter.

So I was surprised when I received an email from Best Buy saying I was eligible for the super Premier Black program that was for their best customers.  In fact the email stated I was an ‘elite’ customer. Gee. I was impressed.All I had to do was buy one TV and I’m a top customer.

The program itself offers members plenty of perks, incresed rewards and a host of other features that sounded pretty good. But today I got this from Best Buy:

The Best Buy® Reward Zone® program is always looking at ways to make our program even better for our members. Today, you may have inadvertently and inaccurately received the below message during an initial email testing process. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or confusion. You continue to maintain your current membership status. If you are eligible for the Reward Zone program Premier Black test that will run in a limited number of select markets, we will notify you by a separate email.

Sniff. I was ready to run down to Best Buy and buy something just to receive my super rewards. :-) Oh well.

Comments welcome.

Chevy Volt – First Look

You have got to love it. GM is working hard at making the Chevy Volt a reality for the American public. So there is much interest if GM can pull it off by 2010. Rumor has it that GM may unveil the real deal on September 15 &16, 2008, which is the Centennial for GM and they are planning a huge celebration.

The Volt is going to be an electric powered vehicle which you plug in to charge and supposedly will run for about 40 miles per charge. Included is a small gas engine to supplement the electric if a longer trip is planned.  At the website that is showing the sneak peek of the Volt, there was one interesting comment.

The poster stated that there is no way the Arabs will allow GM to produce this vehicle and that they would buy GM to keep it off the market.

What do you think of the Volt? Will it actually go into production?

Comments welcome.

Sneak peek Chevy Volt