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Norm's Articles

On the technical side 12-25-2006

COMPUTER FOR THE HOLIDAY? What do you need to do to keep your computer running like new? Keep the boxes and packaging in the event that there is a problem and the machine requires servicing. The original packaging make it much easier to return or send your computer back for servicing. When you first power up your new computer, follow the instructions to complete registration with the manufacturer. Manufacturers usually warranty their product for a year.

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On the technical side 12-18-2006

BUYING ONLINE? Are you considering doing your holiday shopping online? A recent industry study estimates that $2B in online sales are going to be lost this year because of consumer's fear of theft and fraud. It is easy to understand why consumers are reluctant to buy online because we are constantly bombarded with scams. Are you being overly cautious?

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On the technical side 12-11-2006

SAVE THE BOXES: Don't immediately discard the boxes from holiday computer gifts. Wait about a month before you throw the boxes away. If there is a problem with a gift it is always easier to return it in the original packaging. If you have ever done any analysis of product failure, you would find the highest incidence of product failure is during the first few weeks of operation. After the first few weeks, products usually have few failures until the normal end of life of a product. What does this mean to the average computer user?

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On the technical side 11-27-2006

ONLINE SHOPPING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? There was an estimate that online holiday shopping will total $20-30 billion this year. It is expected that this year's purchases will be 20% more than last year. That's a lot of purchases! What do you need to know to do your shopping online?

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On the technical side 11-20-2006

INTERESTING WEBSITE: Have you heard about www.blackfriday.info? Black Friday sounds like a funeral or something bad but it is a good thing for consumers. Black Friday is a nickname given by retailers for the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers should be in the black from all the purchases made on the day after Thanksgiving. The creators of the site have some spies and informants strategically placed at major retailers. The spies provide information about the Black Friday sales before they appear in newspapers. The website has gotten the attention of some major retailers and has been threatened with lawsuits if listings weren't removed. Check out the site. Is the PREsale information accurate?

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On the technical side 11-13-2006

Q:My laptop keyboard is not acting correctly. When I type, the wrong characters appear on the screen. The laptop warranty has expired. What can I do to fix the problem. Haresh, Lowell

A:A broken keyboard will usually miss characters. If you have verified that no errant programs are running on the computer and odd characters appear when you type, it sounds like a serious hardware problem. The problem is serious because the hardware that is malfunctioning is usually on the laptop motherboard. Ok, so the motherboard has to be replaced. It will be expensive to fix but the system will be up and running, right? WRONG!

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On the technical side 11-06-2006

Internet Explorer problems? Have you ever had problems when you attempt to use Internet Explorer? Internet Explorer has settings that control access to the Internet. If the settings are wrong, your Internet experience can be extremely frustrating. You may not be able to connect to all websites. Internet Explorer is a browser. It allows you to browse or view the Internet. There are a few very good browsers that can be used instead of Internet Explorer.

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On the technical side 10-30-2006

DIGITAL PICTURES: Have you ever taken a digital picture and discovered that the picture wasn't just right? There is a great freeware program available on the Internet at www.irfanview.com. This program allows you to edit your digital pictures to make that almost perfect picture, picture perfect!

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On the technical side 10-23-2006

Q: I emailed someone a document that I composed on my computer. My friend received the email and document but can't open the document. What could be wrong?

A: This kind of thing happens all the time. Perhaps you purchased a computer that arrived with a lot of preinstalled software. Microsoft Works seems to the the popular preinstalled word processor on a lot of new computers. Microsoft Works has a really nice user interface. It almost does the work for you. There is one problem that people don't realize. A document created in Microsoft Works is not readable by Microsoft Word unless you know how to save it properly. When your documents are saved on your computer, there is format information that is saved in the documents. This information specifies the font, graphics, and other things about the document. This problem isn't unique to Microsoft Works. If you use Word Perfect, your emailed documents may also have been unable to be opened. How do you fix the problem?

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On the technical side 10-16-2006

MySpace lawsuit dismissed: At first glance, it appeared to be an interesting story but the MySpace founder's lawsuit against the venture capital that sold the company was dismissed. The judge didn't find any merit in the case. Perhaps the hp spy case will prove more interesting.. What is the big deal in the hp spy case?

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