Does Microsoft Windows Need To Do More Or Less In Future Versions?

There is little doubt that over the years we have seen Microsoft Windows continue to grow, into what some claim is now bloated beyond belief. Some have claimed that Microsoft has followed a pattern in their growing spurt as hard disks grew bigger, processors became faster and memory became cheaper. Microsoft also had no qualms in sharing the super sizing even for their prized software Microsoft Office.

Some have stated that this increase in size was needed as the operating system carried more of the load, offered my options, included more software such as DVD writing and other applications. Microsoft Office was also called upon to do more for their clients which in turn added to its growth in size. So if you run both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office latest editions, you saw a definite increase in size.

What also is bringing attention to Microsoft is that while the bigger computer cousins like desktop and laptops can handle the load, smaller hardware like netbooks and tablets struggle pushing the Windows code. Even though Microsoft has shrunk Windows down to a bare minimum these devices still struggle. While over at Apple and Google their operating systems thrive on lean hardware.

However, if it was that simple to compare Microsoft Windows to Apple iOS or Google Chrome, the argument would be easy. Except that there are distinct differences that separate these operating system for the specific needs of the consumer. So putting this argument aside and also the argument that Windows contains outdated code etc. , is Windows too bloated?

Hold on say some to this notion. They like the way Windows 7 functions plus they enjoy all of the new bells and whistles. They argue that they do not care how big Windows is because Windows works just fine on their desktop or laptop computers. In addition some want Windows to increase what it does and add more features. With the new hard drive sizes they feel that Windows getting larger is a none event.

One comment that I found of interest was from those who have chosen to put Windows on a SSD drive and store their data on a traditional hard disk. They complain that this type of system doesn’t function perfectly since Windows seems to feel that all software should be installed in the Programs file directory. Microsoft would have to address this problem, which some feel will not happen anytime soon.

How this idea? The user gets to choose what gets installed on a system and where it gets installed? This suggestion, coupled with a modular type of Windows, seems very popular.

Personally I don’t care. Windows 7 runs great on my systems and I have no complaints. The days of calling Windows or Office bloated make no sense, since the hard disks we have become so huge, and performance hasn’t suffered because of faster processors and more memory, the argument is a moot point to me.

So what do you think?

Source – Windows 7 News Forum

The Number You Call For Technical Support Really Does Matter

When you call technical support or for information about any company, the number you call really does matter. For the past few months I have written articles about my experience with Straight Talk. Yet when I have needed support from Straight Talk, I have found that either email support for a simple problem, or calling its corporate office, resulted in better customer service than calling the standard technical support phone number. FYI – the Straight Talk corporate phone number is 800-876-5753.

I also discovered that when you call DIRECTV, if you call 800-531-500 and press 0 0 quickly, you can usually cut down on your wait time. I received this tip from a DIRECTV representative when I called before. It seems to work, but like any tip, your mileage may vary.

So if you can stand listening to music for countless minutes on end, or just sit holding a phone to your ear, how do you find the best number to call?

My first step is to do a Google and find out what others are using. You would be surprised at how many recommendations you will find.

There is another trick you can try. When you are prompted to push a number, do nothing. Remember those old rotary phones? The system may be fooled into thinking you have an oldie but a goodie and connect you to a real person. Remember, your mileage will vary depending on which company or business you call.

Give GETHUMAN [link below] a try. This website has a listing of phone numbers for a wide assortment of companies and businesses that others have found useful. They even offer a listing of phone numbers for some elusive companies like Google and Facebook.

What tips do you have? Share your experiences with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Gethuman

Turn Off Conversation View In Your Gmail Account – Coming Soon

Today the folks at Google announced a feature that I personally look forward to using.Currently Google stores your incoming mails in what they call ‘conversations’. I look at this feature like storing all messages from the same source into one single folder. To me this is a hassle when I am looking for one single message from one single source.

By being able to turn ‘conversation’ off, every message will be listed by itself, just like a real email program should do it. LOL On the Google site they also state:

This feature will be rolling out over the next few days so if you don’t see it immediately, check back in a bit. And once you try it out, let us know what you think.

I can let you know what I think even before it arrives. Two thumbs up!

Comments welcome.

Source – Google

Smile.ly

There should be an image here!A lot of people use social networking services to connect with friends and family and don’t want to be bothered by interactions with companies in any way, but then again, more and more people are willing to communicate with brands on social networking services and are even proactively communicating with them. These users are a big help to companies because they can provide feedback and spread the word through their networks. A lot of the time companies have to track these consumers down, but a site called Smile.ly provides a community of people who want to try new products and talk about them.

As you can imagine, the value is pretty clear for companies because they get a social focus group of sorts, and for the community members, they receive incentives for doing what they do best — trying new products and discussing them. These community members are also usually some of the first people to experience these products and offers, so bragging rights are a part of the process. You can’t say every company doesn’t want to hear from the public.

Have A Google AdSense Account? Do Not Have Family & Friends Click On The Ads!

One of the ways that bloggers can generate revenue on their Web site is to set up a Google AdSense account. The process is fairly simple and the folks at Google are more than willing to place their advertisements on your site. On most Web sites, you, the owner, can also select where the ads appear and in some cases can even specify what type of ads should appear on your site.

I am not an expert on the way Google operates its AdSense program nor do I have a clue on how the company decides what ads will appear on any given Web site. But I do know one thing. If Google selects your site in the AdSense program, do not contact your family or friends and have them click on the ads to help you generate income.

Here’s why.

Google keeps track of the number of visitors to your site as well as the number of advertisements that are clicked upon. Though the exact formula that Google uses to determine abusive behavior is a guarded secret, common sense would dictate that if you have 100 visitors a day, with 25 ad clicks, something is definitely wrong.

So what is an average visitor to click ratio?

I can only speak for myself. I checked from July 1, 2007 to July, 2010, and the average percentage was 2.10; this translates into every 100 visitors averaging about two ad clicks.  Your mileage may vary.

A word of caution. If you have your family and friends click on the ads hosted on your site by Google, your account WILL be suspended or terminated.

Comments welcome.

You Can Now Try Google Docs Without An Account

For those of you who have not tried Google Docs, there is now a demo site that Google has set up where you can try out the software. Included in the Docs demo is also Spreadsheet and Drawing demo. The demo includes an explanation of how to use the system and simple to understand directions. Here is what the demo screen looks like:

Give Google Docs a try and see what you think.

Comments welcome.

Google Docs Demo Is Here

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Soluto Anti-Frustration Software Just May Be The Real Thing

On May 25th, 2010 I wrote an article about another of those so called software products that promise to speed up our computers. I must admit that like most of you, I was just tired of hearing promises about a faster computer, only to be disappointed later on.

One of the comments I received was from Robert Scoble, Scobleizer,  who pointed me to a link which led to an interview he did with the co-founders of Soluto. I found the interview interesting since the software was going to do something similar to what Google has done with search. The company was going to introduce a software that they claimed would make a PC frustration free. If that wasn’t enough Soluto won the TechCrunch Disrupt award.

Over at TechCrunch they stated:

The Israeli-based startup offers something that millions of people want — no, need: a way to make their computers run better. One thing that’s interesting about this company versus most of the others in the competition is that they’ve created native software. It monitors your PC to find the things that are likely most annoying to users. For example, it tracks down printing problems, crashy apps, resource hogs — all the good stuff.

That alone is interesting. But more interesting is that it offers up solutions for how you can fix your computer issues. And the data they’re (anonymously) collecting about PC problems should be useful across a range of industries and services.

Quite simply: if Soluto can convince the millions of frustrated PC users to use their software, they could transform the industry. Or, disrupt it.

Hi Ron,

Sorry for the late reply, we were loaded with TechCrunch Disrupt effect. Download should now be available on our homepage, you’re welcome. I prefer that route to sending you a link because on our website you’ll also be able to see an instructional movie and learn more about us.

Let me know if you need anything for the article (images, quotes, interview).

Best, Roee Adler, Soluto

Roee Adler is Soluto’s Chief Product Officer and I took his advice and downloaded their software for a test spin. One must remember that the product is still in beta and may need some fine tuning.

If you take the opportunity and watch the Robert Scoble interview, there are a few points that I must admit make sense. It is usually the software we install on our system that hinders performance as well as poorly written drivers that cause crashes. This is not to say that the Windows operating system is not  to blame. In the interview it is stated that it is usually the applications that are the culprit. How do these applications cause performance issues?

According to the founders of Soluto it is the applications that include a process that loads at boot. This includes processes that check for updates, upgrades and so forth, that are unnecessary in their opinion. Soluto is designed to identify these unnecessary processes and can advise the user whether to delay the process or pause the process keeping it from starting in the first place.

Most of you who read the articles here at Lockergnome are advanced Windows users. You have learned over the years how to fine tune Windows and keep it running at peak performance. On my personal system I use Glary Utilities which has a built in module for controlling start-up processes and programs. I have turned off approximately 60%+ of the gunk on my system, which was nothing more than resource wasting items that served no purpose.

After installing Soluto my boot time was 1:33 and Soluto showed me more items I could do away with. Some I selected but a few I left because I want them to auto start when I perform a specific action on the computer. After following Soluto’s recommendations I cut the boot time to 1:15. Remember, this software is in beta and does not have recommendations as of yet for all programs on your computer.

The Soluto screen look like this:

Click To Enlarge

There are three specific recommendations:

  • No-brainer – Remove From Boot
  • Potentially removable – Advanced Users
  • Required – can not be removed

The No-brainer setting setting is the easiest to follow. The user just dumps this junk. The Potentially removable stuff allows the user to make a decision. The decision can be made easily by the suggestion that Soluto provides, or the user can make their own choice whether to delay or pause the application from running at boot. Of course the Required must not be changed.

What I need to try Soluto on is a PC that is running slowly and see what happens. I have a perfect candidate and will do a follow-up report once I have tried the software on this slow running PC.

Comments welcome.

My original article is here.

TechCrunch Disrupt award

Robert Scoble interviews Soluto founders

Download Soluto from here

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Google Has A Secret Plan To Save The Newspapers

According to the chief economist at Google, a newspaper’s strength is in how many subscriptions the newspaper has. Google also wants to counter the thinking that it is Google that has destroyed the newspaper industry. Instead, Google states that since 1947, subscriptions have declined dramatically at all major newspaper publications and cites these figures to support its claim that it is not at fault.

In 1947, each 100 U.S. households bought an average of about 140 newspapers daily. Now they buy fewer than 50, and the number has fallen nonstop through those years. If Google had never been invented, changes in commuting patterns, the coming of 24-hour TV news and online information sites that make a newspaper’s information stale before it appears, the general busyness of life, and many other factors would have created major problems for newspapers.

I have to agree. The day of the printed newspaper is ending because, by the time the print paper hits the news stand, the news is stale. In addition, all of the major retailers have their sale notifications online and are more than happy to send email alerts when items go on sale. The major advertising I see in our local newspapers are auto dealerships, who also are slow to grasp the power of the Internet.

In addition, companies such as eBay and Craigslist have also drained off substantial amounts of advertising dollars that the newspapers once relied on. Why would I want to spend $50 or more to try to sell my car with a newspaper ad when I can use Craigslist for free?

With this in mind, Google has what appears to be a secret plan to save the newspapers. Secret, because Google has not gone public with its proposals and, instead, has sat back and let people like Rupert Murdoch rant and rave, spit venom, and basically act like a cry baby. So what is Google’s plan?

That goal is a reinvented business model to sustain professional news-gathering. This is essential if the “crowd sourcing” and citizen journalism that have already transformed news coverage—for instance, the videos from inside the Iranian protests last summer—are not to be the world’s only source of information. Accounts like those are certainly valuable, but they will be all the more significant if they are buttressed by reports from people who are paid to keep track of government agencies, go into danger zones, investigate and analyze public and private abuse, and generally serve as systematic rather than ad hoc observers. (I am talking about what journalism should do, not what it often does.)

Google’s likely route toward this destination, however, differs in crucial and sometimes uncomfortable ways from the one the existing news business would probably choose on its own. The differences are natural, given the cultural chasm that separates a wildly successful, collectively cocky, engineer-dominated, very internationally staffed West Coast tech start-up from a national news establishment that is its opposite in all ways: East Coast–centric, liberal arts–heavy, less international in staff and leadership (more Brits and Australians than in the tech industry, fewer Indians, Chinese, and Russians), dominated by organizations founded in the distant past, and at the moment strikingly downcast and even panicked.

I must admit Google is pushing back at the newspapers and is calling it like it is. Different coasts with different cultures. So now it is time to put these differences aside and get back to business. Hopefully most of the major newspapers will jump on the Google bandwagon before it is too late for them to bail themselves out.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source

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JetBlue & United Use Twitter To Sell Airline Seats

Tweeting could get you a cheap seat on one of JetBlue or United flights and may fill up those seats that otherwise would go empty. Both airlines are trying what they call ‘cheeps’ to fill those empty seats at bargain pricing. The first ‘cheep’ seat was advertised by JetBlue on July 6th when they offered a flight from JFK to Nantucket for a only $9 one way.

According to an article over at USA Today it also states that:

In addition to filling empty seats, the sales can introduce new customers to the airline, he says. “Those first-time customers trying Cheeps … we know they’re going to come back.”

United’s Twitter-only fares, also known as “twares,” started in May. The airline’s sales tweets can come at any time for a flight leaving on any day, and fliers have had to pounce quickly because the offers are usually available for only one to two hours.

“Twares are all about surprising our customers with low fares for a very, very limited time,” says Robin Urbanski, a United spokeswoman. And, she says, they “sell extremely fast because the prices are unbeatable.”

Many airlines continue to offer e-fares, notifying fliers about last-minute sales via e-mail. But travelers usually have a few days rather than a few hours to book their tickets.

With Twitter fares, Johnston says, “You really have to act fast. Because people watch Twitter in a real-time manner, the ability for someone to … come in and immediately act on it is a unique phenomenon to the culture of Twitter.”

Twitter is new enough that businesses likely are still trying to grasp who uses it and how that audience can benefit their enterprise, says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com.

“They’re experimenting with it to see what the value is,” he says. “Is it better to send an e-mail with a $9 fare or better to Twitter it?” Still, he says, “I think absolutely airlines and all travel companies need to get in the game and see how it plays out.”

This could turn out to be a win-win situation for both the airlines and consumers. What do you think? Would you be willing to grab a flight on Twitter?

Comments welcome.

Source.

CoTweet

My line of work requires me to help run a few companies’ Twitter accounts, and while this can be a lot of fun, it can also be challenging. Since I’m not directly employed by the companies and serve as a consultant, I only know so much. This means that when certain questions are asked, I have to turn to people internally to help me answer them. If you’ve ever tried to have multiple people run a Twitter account, then you know how complicated it can be. I’ve always just used the main Twitter site to manage everything, but I think I’m going to start using CoTweet whenever I have to operate an account for a company.

Just like with Twitter, you can tweet directly through CoTweet and monitor keywords, but this service takes thing up a notch by enabling you to manage multiple accounts and multiple users. I’ve already started using CoTweet with one of the companies that I work with and the user management makes it possible to assign tweets for certain people to respond to. This helps to make sure that things don’t get lost in the shuffle. I also like the ability for users to classify themselves as being on duty when they’re available so that messages get directed to them. Twitter is certainly becoming chaotic, but CoTweet will help us calm down and catch our breath.

[rsslist:http://ah.pricegrabber.com/export_feeds.php?pid=hjehfab&document_type=rss&limit=25&topcat_id=all&category=topcat:all&col_description=1&form_keyword=twitter]

TypingWeb

As much as I use the computer, you’d expect me to be able to type quickly, and I can. The funny thing about it is that I don’t actually type in the conventional way. I’m one of those people who only uses the keyboard with their index fingers. When I was young, I started to learn how to type, but I guess I never really kept up with it. Old habits die hard, and my broken style of typing has stuck with me through all of these years. I’ve become so good at it that I can keep up with people who type in the traditional way, but I need to make it a goal to actually learn how to type and do some practicing. It looks as if I’ve found some motivation through TypingWeb.

This free interactive online typing tool helps you to progress from being a novice to an expert. In fact, even if you know how to type, you’ll still find TypingWeb to be useful because it will assist you with honing your skills. As you progress, you’ll see your progress and statistics so that you know just how far you’ve come. Schools and companies can also use the service internally to improve the typing skills of students and employees.

Meetsee

The popularity of working with distributed teams has increased exponentially over the past several years, and speaking from experience, I can say that it’s the way to go. I’ve worked in a real office before, but for the last six or so years, I’ve done all of my work from home with companies all over the world. If you’ve ever done it, then you know how effective it can be, but despite this, a lot of companies are hesitant to make the jump to distributed teams because they feel like they’ll lose something in the process. More often than not, the lack of personal interaction in an office environment is the main roadblock. Meetsee has tried to eliminate this issue to some extent with their virtual office solution.

You’re probably already familiar with virtual worlds, but Meetsee helps you create a virtual world for your office. Employees have personalized avatars and their own customizable office space, and team members can quite literally walk into rooms and talk to one another. When it comes time to have a meeting in the virtual meeting room, files can be shared, presentations can be viewed, and webcams may be used so that everyone can see each other. This may seem foolish to some of you, but this type of thing does help everyone to feel like they’re working in the same place no matter where they are.

Why Was The Chevy Driven Into The Levee?

Don McLean sang the song “American Pie’ in which one verse says:

So bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry

But with GM having to file bankruptcy just to stay afloat, it makes one wonder who drove the Chevy into the levee?  It is easy to point fingers and blame the GM executives who may have mismanaged the company. Or to can blame the UAW for draining the company dry in demanding excessive perks.

We can blame the Republicans for their allegiance to corporate America in which they appear to be in bed with each other. Or how about the Democrats for being anti business in appearance and who want to tax the heck out of businesses. The only ones we can’t blame are the Libertarians and Independents.

We can’t blame China since they haven’t started exporting cars to the U.S. Nor can we blame Tibet since they manufacture no cars for themselves. We could blame the Japanese for building a better car than America car builders could. But how about the Koreans, Germans, Swiss, and all of the other car companies?  Should we blame them as well?

Who do you blame?

After all: isn’t it the new wave of thinking? Blame everyone except for yourself?

Drop a note and let me know what you think.