GoodSearch – You Do The Searching And They Do The Giving

Do you have a favorite charity you like donating to? How about your local church for one of their ministries? GoodSearch is a way to generate revenue for your church, charity, school or organization every time you do a search using their search engine. Good Search is powered by Yahoo so you know that your searches will be what you are looking for, plus each search you do through Good Search generates revenue.

According to GoodSearch, each search you complete will generate approximately one cent to the cause of your choosing, and they provide this chart to demonstrate the amount of money that could be generated in one years time.

Charity or School SizeNumber of SupportersAverage Searches Per DayEstimated Revenue/Year

On their website GoodSearch has a database of charities you can select from or you can add your favorite church, school, organization or charity to the list. Your computer will remember which you have specified to receive the revenue. It is that simple.

So how do you generate even more revenue from GoodSearch?

GoodSearch also has sponsor sites in their GoodShop web site. When you select one of the participating merchants, such as Amazon, Staples, Petsmart, FTD florist, eBay, Best Buy and many others, part of the commission paid when you make a purchase goes to your selected organization etc.

So how do you spread the word about GoodSearch and generate revenue for the church, charity, organization or others that you wish to support?

You can do like I am doing and write a Blog post about GoodSearch. Others suggestions include sending emails to garner support, distribute flyers at your church or school, you can even place a logo on your website stating you support GoodSearch.

Get creative and come up with your own ideas on how to get the word out.

The best part is that you will be supporting a group of your choosing and helping the group in a time when they need monetary assistance more than ever.

What do you think of this idea? Is it something that interests you or your supporters?

Comments welcome.

Source – GoodSearch

Do You Own A Kodak ESP 9 Printer? Here Are Some Fix-It Tips

For those of you who own a Kodak ESP 9 Printer, reader Gail G. provided some great fix-it tips that may just solve some of the print issues you may be experiencing.  Gail even has recommendations about what paper worked best for her and why, plus she shares some of her experience about paper jams and what she has learned to correct the problem. In addition Gail speaks about how she keeps her print heads clog free.

Here is what she had to say:

For my newly minted home business, I purchased a Kodak ESP 9 back in April of 2009. Couldn’t find that model at a Best Buy or a Walmart or a Staples, so I got it directly from Kodak.

I run a 64-bit Vista operating system, and can’t complain about its performance with the Kodak. I have updated firmware at least once for the Kodak since I’ve had it; major upgrade back in January/February of this year. Took quite a while, but it went through successfully. No complaints with that.

I do use the Kodak to print small jobs every day, mostly black ink printing, and even with the color printing have found the quality of print to be quite good, with a quick-drying ink that lays flat on the paper, and doesn’t make the paper ripple-y, like the other inkjet printers. Nice. I dig that.

The cartridges are definitely cheaper, and I don’t need to wait two or three weeks to buy cartridges (as I used to have to do when I had a first-generation HP laser printer and later, an Epson inkjet). I mean, I literally had to wait to have the money in my pocket, and couldn’t print until then! I planned, upon researching printers for my business, to avoid this problem by getting the Kodak. Every freelancer has lean weeks, and I wanted to plan for them.

I also wanted the scanning, copying, faxing features, just in case such a thing was needed. By now I have used all of these features, although I don’t have to use them often. But they all work just fine!

Now, back to the printing specifics. As i said, the print quality is very good. However, with use, I have noticed the following problems that I was able to work through, and perhaps you will find these remarks helpful:

If, like me, you are a bit of space cadet and foolishly leave something sitting in front of the printer (like, say, a few pieces of mail or other seemingly harmless small obstacle sitting there) and you ditzily try to print anyway, you will find that as the gears are pushing the paper out, the piddling resistance offered by this very small obstacle will cause the printing to go awry ( the paper will become skewed), rather than simply causing the paper to rise up a bit on feedout and roll over the obstacle. This in itself is annoying, but other than compelling one to stop one’s work to try and find a lasting cure for ditziness, what problems can it cause?

Well…once you curse and print again, you will find the print quality will be affected.

Why? Because the printhead will be smeared with the ink that didn’t transfer to the paper. Once I genius’d this through, after unrewarding recalibrations, printhead cleanings, etc., I found that by physically removing and cleaning the messy printhead (carefully), THEN performing the steps of powering up again and recalibrating and clearing the nozzles, etc., I was able to forstall the “gotta replace the ink-clogged printhead” problem. All was seemingly well again. (Until the next time I did the same GD thing with something in front of the print feedout. Then, with the same required maintenance on my part to get things printing right.)

So, obviously, one should keep things away from in front of the printer…unread junk mail, one-inch-high stacks of dead bees, slim volumes of verse.

Other discoveries: find a paper that works well with the Kodak. Avoid getting either the cheapest paper or, inversely, an expensive, too-stiff paper that is literally too thick for the gears to work with. I found that Staples 98 Bright White Inkjet paper works well. During my year of ownership, before I arrived at this paper choice, I have also, at times of poverty, used papers that were too flimsy (gears would pull two at a time, and again, if the paper is not pulled correctly, you risk smearing of ink on printheads) and others that were a bit too slick or had a lower quality, roughened composition that, I believed, contributed to paper jamming problems due to “fuzzing up” (paper lint accumulation). So, once you find a paper that works well, stick to that one. I have found mine and I am staying with it.

As a general remark, I have found that paper jamming occurs but seldom, but I will say, once it occurs, it’s a real PIA to resolve. You have to pull out the paper tray and all but upend the printer to pull out the jam. And even then you end up with torn paper in there, so you have a legacy of shreds to clean out here and there. This can cause some printing hell, but with the right paper choice, not putting too much paper in the paper holder at a time, and a using paper that has been protected from curling in humidity (just keep the paper stored flat in its plastic wrapper, not out all naked in a big stack, where it can collect moisture from the air and curl), you will probably have a good result.

Maybe some of this stuff will help somebody out there. I like the Kodak ESP 9, and if it keeps chugging along, I’d buy another one down the line. But with comments like the ones I’ve read here, I will keep my eyes open to any situations that I can’t live with (like constant printhead replacement, mindless paper jamming I can’t resolve with some simple home fixits, and so on). I would go nuts if I had to contend with that crap all the time.

Good luck to all.

Gail was responding to an article I did back on 03/31/2009 which has received a large number of comments.

Original article is here.

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In many ways, editing audio isn’t nearly as complicated as editing video, but the tools that are used to accomplish the task can be overwhelming. For many users, audio editing simply means extracting a section of a song that they can use for a ringtone or for some other means. For example, there may only be a certain section of a song or other audio file that you enjoy, so why not make that section its own file? Instead of using complicated software to do this, just give mp3cut a try.

The service is so simple to use that you’ll probably find yourself editing more files than you thought you would. All you have to do is upload an MP3 file that you want to edit, listen to the file and drag the sliders to select the section that you want to extract, and then click the split and download button. Before you know it, you’ll have a new customized MP3 file on your computer. Like the Staples button says, “That was easy.”

Dell's New 'Studio' Brand Hits The Street

Today Dell introduces their new ‘Studio’ brand of computer designed for what they call ‘self-expression and creative living.’ The new models are the Dell Studio 15 and Dell Studio 17. Yes, you are correct. The number designate the screen size. Pricing for the new models are $799 for the Studio 15 and $999 for the Studio 17. Dell also states:

Dell today introduced “Studio,” a new consumer product line designed for self-expression and creative living. Studio products are highly expressive and personalized – inside and out – combining aesthetics and technology into a fresh approach to hi-def mobile lifestyles.

“People seeking stunning design, brilliant colors, and innovative new technology find inspiration in Dell’s new Studio brand,” said Michael Tatelman, vice president of Dell consumer sales and marketing worldwide. “These products are built for today’s digital nomad based on the millions of conversations we have every year on, Ideastorm and community forums. With Dell Studio we’re answering the call for personalization, connectivity and simplicity.”

The first Dell Studio products are two distinctively styled laptops, the Dell Studio 15 and Dell Studio 17. These laptops combine sleek designs, striking visual color elements and personalization options with features such as standard built-in webcam, capacitive touch media control buttons, slot load drives, and optional mercury-free LED displays and built-in mobile broadband. They are available today on starting at $799 (Studio 15) and $999 (Studio 17) and will be available at Best Buy and Staples stores in the next few days.

Naturally the pricing is for the base price of each model.  Adding more frills and accessories will make these systems a bit more pricey.:-)

Take a look and see what you think.

Comments welcome.

Dell Press Release.

Dell Studio website.

Who Provides Technical Support For A Dell Bought At Best Buy?

Back on January 14, 2008 I posted an article which attempted to answer the question of who provides support when a person buys a Dell computer from Best Buy. But according to DB, there is still some confusion as to who does what. In one of his statements he mentions that a Dell support supervisor stated that his purchase from Best Buy, and calling Dell support, would be like a HP customer calling Dell.

DB stated the following in his quest for customer service:

I bought a Dell XPS 420 desktop over the weekend at Best Buy, on a whim. The Dell scan said there were a few problems, I checked the link “tell me” and ended up (immediately) in a chat with dell. I was reprimanded for contacting Dell because– DUH– I had bought the computer from Best Buy. However, I had the printed warranty at my desk and there was absolutely no discussion of Best Buy or Geek Squad. Everything is about Dell support and how long it lasts after purchase.

Eventually the Dell chat support disconnected me and within a few seconds I got a call from Dell support, where a very nice indian lady told me there was nothing she could do for me.

I called back the number and reached somebody stateside and while talking to him I found the page on my Dell account website, based on my service tag, that said I had Dell support for the NEXT 500 DAYS. That’s phone support. Parts support was assigned to Best Buy for a few months, then transferred to Dell.

However, the sympathetic Dell employee told me that his supervisor told him I was the equivalent of an “HP Customer” calling Dell for service.

Well, let me see… I have been buying Dell for years, one of the reasons I picked up this machine was my positive experience with Ma Dell. The Best Buy rep even tried to sell me an addon warranty and I told him I would not need it because I was familiar with Dell’s service and have been very happy with it.

My bad, apparently. I was never even allowed to talk to the supervisor, who continued to insist I was no better than an HP customer asking for Dell support.

I thought Dell was on a mission from Mr. D himself to make service paramount. Where’s the beef?

One would hope that customer support would make some exceptions when contacted by a person who actually owns a Dell system and not an HP computer. I am not sure, but since Dell now sells through Staples, Wal-Mart and other retail outlets, who provides support for these systems? I don’t recall Wal-Mart having a computer service department.

I am also forwarding this to a Dell advocate as well.

Comments welcome.

Can The Major Chains (Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples) Really Fix Your Computer Problems?

While wandering around the Internet I found an interesting article by a television station in the Sacramento, CA area about an experiment done concerning PC repairs and three of the major chains. The TV station KCRA-TV had its own Manager of Information Technology (David York) create a problem on an IBM PC by disabling the hard disk in the BIOS. The station contented that the fix should have been an easy one and could be done in about 30 seconds with six or seven keystrokes.

It then took the PC to three of the major chains that advertise they fix computers, being Best Buy, Circuit City, and Staples for a fix of the problem. It reported the following:

Best Buy and Circuit City charged $60 up front to say what it thought was wrong with the PC.

Staples charged a $50 diagnostic fee.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad on Freeway Boulevard in Sacramento thought the problem was a software issue and asked for the Eventually, Best Buy found and fixed the problem, but it gave the worst customer service of the three chains. Best Buy promised five times to return Call 3’s phone calls but never did. It also kept the computer the longest amount of time. Windows restore disc. When that did not work, they asked to use their own Windows disc. York gave BB a letter grade of D.

Circuit City Firedogs in Elk Grove ran disc fitness and memory tests. The computer passed both. Circuit City said there was no operating system and charged an additional $129.99 to restore it. Later, they found and fixed the real problem. “You got charged $130. It wasn’t for fixing the real problem — it was for reinstalling the operating system. You also lost all your data. Any personal folder, files, pictures of the kids — it’s all gone. You’re not getting it back,” York said.York gave Circuit City an F.

Staples on Howe Avenue in Sacramento assigned Easy Tech Kevin Sakamoto to work on the Call 3 PC.But when that did not work, Sakamoto started poking around the system settings and hit on the real problem.”It was actually pretty easy because you could see in there that the boot device was turned off. It was just a matter of turning it back on, and then somehow it magically worked,” said Sakamoto.Staples found the problem the fastest. Sakamoto thought the hard drive was missing and charged an additional $139.99 to replace it. It returned the computer working in the same condition in which we gave it to them. Staples also said they initially misdiagnosed the problem and refunded the money for the hard drive.He gave Staples a letter grade B.

This makes for an interesting read. But how accurate is the information? Does it judge every store in the chain’s service department the same? Or should one take these findings with a grain of salt?

What has your experience been with one of the major chains? Were you satisfied or did you feel like you got ripped off?

Let us know. Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

Staples Recycling Program – $10 Fee

Staples has begun a recycling program in which consumers can bring in old monitors or computers for a flat $10 each to cover the cost of recycling the units. Keyboards, mice and speakers are accepted at no cost. The recycled items can be dropped off at any Staples store in the United States during normal business hours.

For the past four years, Staples as also offered a free recycling program covering such items as cell phones, pagers and digital cameras for free, regardless of the brand or whether the device was bought at Staples or not.  Staples thus has expanded the recycling program to cover computer systems as well, again  for any make or brand, whether bought from Staples are not.

With over 1400 stores nationwide, most consumers will have a Staples store hopefully within driving distance to take advantage of this programs. This will make Staples one of the first major retailers to offer a recycling program on a daily bases.

It is good to see that consumers will now have a choice and hopefully this program will help prevent old computers from ending up in the landfills.

Comments welcome.

[tags]staples, recycle, program, fee, [/tags]

Best Buy – Is It Using Bait And Switch Tactics?

Is Best Buy using bait and switch tactics by using an intranet and Internet pricing scheme? Could be, from the allegations being put forth by the state of Connecticut’s attorney general’s office.

Here is what is suspected. The consumer scans the Best Buy Web site and locates the product they wish to purchase with the online pricing. They than go to Best Buy in person to make the purchase at the specified pricing, but it is not available at that price. When the customer complains, the salesperson will bring up what appears as the Internet Web site, showing the higher price. What the consumer is actually looking at is an intranet site set up by Best Buy, which may be different than the Internet site the customer saw at home or from work.

Which made me wonder. How many other retail stores use this same or similar system? Case in point: Just before Christmas, Staples was advertising a digital camera on sale for a specified price. But when I arrived at the store, it was $20 more. So I asked the salesperson, who brought up what appeared to be the Staples Internet site, showing the $20 higher pricing. Now I know what I saw on the Staples site. I was told to bring in a copy of the Staples onsite ad and I’d be given the lower price, which I did. But this required a second trip back to Staples.

At the time, I didn’t think too much about it. But now it would seem we consumers should be aware of these possible deceptive practices. I will print out the advertised price from the Internet before going to the store to make a purchase. :-)

More information.

[tags]best buy, bait and switch,staples, intranet, deceptive sales practice[/tags]