So what’s up with the geek? How come that Colby fellow is just plain lackluster in terms of content? Well, you can call it writer’s block, you can call it enjoying the summer months, or you can call it just plain busy elsewhere.
But the truth is, i’m a little stumped for relevant material. So this is a call to action. I am looking for some questions, direct or indirect, regarding topics that you think need covering in this column. I can of course go back and hit issues previously addressed and i suppose that’s exactly what i will do…
It’s summer, and it’s been a glorious summer here in Southern Vermont, but let’s not forget about lightning. Sure, it’s been a sunny summer and the gardens are lush and fruitful, but lightning storms crush computers and electronics in an instant. Uninterruptable power supplies are essential if your data is essential, and a quality surge protector will suffice for the rest of us. Let’s be smart and not just plug our expensive things directly in to the wall okay? Good.
Definitions. A while back I went about writing a couple of articles regarding the terminology of a handful of useful tech items so that perhaps we could all easily converse in a language that was mutually defined. No sense regurgitating that drudgery here, but rest assured there i an archive online. it’s at: http://www.vermontgeeks.com/blog
Shopping online. It’s huge. Well, for me it certainly is. I am a preaching locavore when it comes to food. And this year is a good year to be just that. Start simple, you probably have a neighbor within three miles that has chickens and fresh eggs. Make it happen, say hello. They’re probably cheaper and so much better for you than any factory farm produced junk that could have salmonella. Know Your Source! Then take it up another notch and get some milk. Did you know there are cows here? Milking cows? It’s true. Oh yeah, and you can get a CSA farm share from the Boyd farm that’s not only reasonable, but supports local farmers in the best way possible. Not to mention the fair number of roadside farmsteads with a plethora of fresh produce. Or just park your car somewhere near my house and leave it unlocked, there will be squash on your passenger seat when you return. So anyway, yeah, shopping online. I buy all kinds of things online. If you’re worried about internet security in that regard, you need to not be worried, as much as educated. Be sure that you are paying through a secure site and if a deal seems too good to be true, well, there it is…
Mac’s vs. PCs. Mac’s still win. But PC’s are cheaper. So go ahead, the economy stinks.
Home Theatre? Same as before. Things keep getting shinier and less expensive. HD content is becoming more and more prominent and it’s fantastic. Duncan Cable is working on a new HD distribution system with great promise and we’re eagerly awaiting it’s full rollout, we’ll keep you posted! 3D is still kind of a joke. Cool for gaming and animated movies, but the home experience is still in it’s infancy. We’ll see if this not new technology can somehow do what it has historically failed to do… Succeed.
SPAM, the delicious Hormel product, and ubiquitous junkmail that we all suffer from. I still say the best defense is to protect your email address and to have multiple email addresses for just that reason. One for family/friends, that you NEVER give to an outside company. One for online shopping, and another just for junk that you can use to ‘sign up’ for random bits of online information and otherwise ignore.
Word. Well, they’ve gone ahead and released Microsoft Office 2010, and early reviews are outstanding. It’s much snappier than 2007 and cleaned up a little, so if you didn’t bother with 2007, but upgraded your computer somewhere along the way, well, I say go for it. Especially if you’re running Windows 7.
I’m quite sure that everyone could use a reminder about the tragedy of data loss and the need for at least one backup if not two. Online backup solutions are convenient and inexpensive insurance. Having an external hard drive that backs up your data automatically is a no brainer with the cost per GB dropping daily. If you’re not backed up, you WILL lose your data eventually. So there’s fair warning.
Viruses morph and change constantly, but the basic tenets stay the same. we’re still a fan of Microsoft Security Essentials for free and while there are a number of fantastic paid solutions. ESET Nod32 has been consistently fantastic for a long time.
Recycling. Yes we still gripe about recycling. One good thing has occurred since that article. The WSWMD has gone forward with accepting pretty much all forms of recyclable plastic. I applaud their efforts greatly, especially as it is by no means a money maker to do so. As well, it’s gotten a bit less expensive to recycle your old computers and peripherals. Just bring them by your local transfer station and pay the fee, don’t dumpster them, that’s just bad karma.
So there’s a general recap of a number of topics we’ve covered in the past. Sure, I’m mailing it in with this article, but there’s some gems in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. If you have questions or would like a specific topic covered, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see about making everything better in your geek world.