Archive for the ‘Computer’ category

This Norton antivirus ad really cracked me up

August 3, 2011

I was immediately drawn to the sad guy eating a ketchup sandwich. Yuck, I thought. Why is he eating a ketchup sandwich? So I read the copy on the left.

Isn’t that hilarious, creative and effective? The message that a virus could ruin you financially is really communicated. If there hadn’t been a funny pic, I wouldn’t have read the copy in the first place. So go Norton for creating this great ad! By the way, it was in Wired magazine.

Some thoughts on how the Internet has shaped my life

February 15, 2011

It’s so weird to think that the Internet didn’t exist (at least on a mass scale) when my friends and I were born. With the onset of this technology, we’ve truly witnessed a revolution in how people get information and communicate. Facebook posts, Twitter updates, and Google searches have become second nature for many people. Today I was thinking about the excitement with which I first greeted the Internet. I remember in ninth grade my parents bought America Online for my sister and I to use.

America Online guy

I had heard about this novel World Wide Web idea, and even had some friends who used the Prodigy online service provider (including my sixth-grade crush who used it to communicate with another girl in our class…I was so jealous of this chica!). I installed the AOL CD-ROM, created my username (I can’t remember the first one but know that at one point it was “Amalthea66.” Amalthea after the “Last Unicorn” character, and 66 because my favorite number was 6.), filled out my profile, and started visiting chat rooms. To me, chat rooms were the coolest thing about the Internet.

I remember visiting some rooms that were game-based (e.g. users played anagrams together), others specifically for teenagers, and others promoting “general conversation.” Each time, I had a blast. I would ask people where they lived, what they did for fun, and whether they had siblings. Not only did I think it was awesome you could converse with multiple people simultaneously, and meet people from all over the country, but I also liked how the Internet made everyone equal. It didn’t matter what you looked like, what you had done in the past, or whether you were shy in real life. You started each conversation with a blank slate. (more…)

The Atomic Bean Cafe in Cambridge rocks

February 5, 2011

I’m always looking for new coffee shops with wireless Internet access. I’ve actually been going to the Atomic Bean Cafe in Central Square for over a year now (I mentioned the joint in this December 2009 post), but it was just recently that I tried one of their paninis. I had the Atomic Veggie panini, which is basically hummus, tomato, cucumbers, sprouts, and lettuce between two pieces of bread. Since it’s a panini, it was pressed in a grill just before service.

My Atomic Veggie panini meal

The sandwich cost $7.50, which is a big pricey. Still, it came with tortilla chips, salsa, and pineapple slices. Everything was scrumptious. I like the cafe’s coffee, and the banana mango smoothie I sampled wasn’t bad either (if anything, it was a little too sweet). Their muffins are to die for. Bite into one of their orange cranberry or pistachio chocolate muffins, and you’ll know what heaven tastes like.

I love online shopping!

September 9, 2010
My new power cord

My new power cord

Last week I was bummed to discover my laptop needed a new power cord. I only got the cord eight months ago, and it cost about $100.

Instead of returning to MicroCenter to get a new power cord, I decided to look for one online. I googled “power cord” and the name of my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1318).

One of the first results was for a power cord for sale on I clicked on the link, and saw the cord cost just $4! I couldn’t believe it! I read the product description to make sure the item had the right specifications (e.g. correct input and output voltages).

It did! I proceeded to order the power cord for $10 (includes $6 shipping cost). I received it in the mail three days later, and it works like a charm! Talk about bargain shopping! Oh how I love you right now, Amazon!

And I must credit Moon Tech, the seller, as well. Thank you!

How do you feel about “content curation”?

September 2, 2010

I recently learned about a relatively new start-up in Cambridge called HiveFire.

This company sells “Curata,” a “content curation solution.” Basically it’s a tool that finds relevant content on the Internet (often in the form of blog posts or articles), aggregates a list of the content, and lets you select which articles you’d like to highlight on your website or blog.

Once you make your selections, the articles’ first paragraphs are posted on your site (check out some examples in the “Featured Content Curation Articles” section of HiveFire’s blog).

The whole idea behind content curation is that it can save companies time and money. It’s not easy updating your site with new content every day, so why not borrow content from other sites instead? Or supplement your original content with borrowed content? That’s the philosophy.

Well this begs the question: Is it really ethical to curate content? I guess sites do it to some extent all the time by linking to other articles, or summarizing other articles. But that’s not as automated a process as having one tool seek out (like Google Reader), format AND publish the content. Plus, many borrowers don’t publish content word for word like Curata does.

I’m not a lawyer and do not know the legal implications of content curation, or at least the type of content curation conducted by Curata. I guess Curata’s method is better than automatic publication (there’s at least some human effort involved with the selection of the articles). Plus, it can give exposure to other people’s content.

But hopefully the content curators are not getting rich off of others’ original work. That’s what I fear. But at the same time the Internet is an open place where ideas are exchanged and shared all the time. When no one can curate anyone else’s content that openness become jeopardized.

I guess I’m sort of conflicted about content curation, or at least the type you can do with Curata. Anyone have any thoughts?

Thank you Andrew Cyr!

July 21, 2010

thank youThis is just a quick post to thank a friend (Andrew Cyr) for fixing my computer last week. He replaced my Dell laptop’s hard drive (which I damaged a few weeks ago), reinstalled Windows, and added the necessary drivers.

It took a little while for him to perform these tasks, but he didn’t mind. In fact, the thing that impressed me the most was his extreme interest in fixing the computer.

You know how some people work in the computer field but in their spare time prefer doing something else? Well he is passionate about working on computers regardless of whether he’s at work. So you don’t feel like he’s suffering as he helps you out.

Another great thing was Andrew gave me all sorts of advice about free programs available online. I said I didn’t know if I still had my Microsoft Office disk/verification number (I have since found both of these), and he recommended I check out Open Office, which is compatible with Word.

He also recommended using the Microsoft Live version of Office (you need a Microsoft Live ID and password to access it), though you must be online for it to work.

He also told me about Roxio, a free (or at least one of its versions is) program that allows you to take a DVD that only plays in one region and make a copy that plays in all regions.

In addition, he urged me to get an external hard drive to back up my data. He said they’ve really dropped in price, and that you can get one for as low as $50. Apparently LaCie offers good ones.

Another way to back up data, he said, is by using an online backup service like the one offered by Mozy. It’s free for up to 2GB of data, and $4.95 a month for unlimited data.

He also recommended a Brookstone “e-Pad” laptop desk. It keeps the laptop from overheating and getting damaged from lying at an uneven angle. Also, it improves your comfort and can be used as a laptop bag.

So as you can see I learned a lot from Andrew. Also, while he fixed my laptop he let me try out his Wii Fit! I had never played it before, and had a lot of fun (I especially loved the hula hoop games)!

Photo credit:

Back up your data

July 9, 2010

People always tell you to back up your computer data, but until you lose it you might not listen to them.

At least, that was my case.

I had extensive research and a PowerPoint presentation on my laptop, a speech for a friend’s wedding, and lots and lots of pictures. And of course more stuff, too.

But I accidentally dropped my computer and lost everything. My hard drive was ruined. There was no way to get the files without paying $500-plus (at least so I was told).

I had to do my research and presentation all over again. I still have to rewrite the speech. I will have to recover my photos from Facebook (thank God I post most of my pictures).

And of course I will have to get a new computer, or at least replace my old computer with a new hard drive. I’m not really sure what this latter option entails, and should take some time to research it. I actually have a computer-savvy friend who was willing to give me advice, so I think I will ask him about this.

Anyway, this week I’m thankful to my bf who is letting me use his laptop. But I’m frustrated with myself that a) I dropped my computer, and b) I hadn’t backed up my hard drive. Let this be a lesson to you computer owners out there!

Photo credit:

Unhappy with Micro Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts

June 2, 2010

Well, it’s been a few months since my bad experience with the Micro Center computer store took place, but I still think I should share it with the world (or at least the few people who come across this blog).

Late last year my Dell laptop stopped working, so I took it to Micro Center. I had bought the computer from this particular store, and it was still under warranty.

The woman at the counter told me it would take a couple of weeks for my computer to get fixed. Well two weeks rolled by and I heard nothing. So I called the store. Turns out the store hadn’t even shipped my computer to Dell at that point.

The guy I spoke with over the phone gave me some excuse about paperwork issues with Dell. Did I really care what the issue was? If it didn’t pertain to a mistake I made, please don’t tell me about it. Just tell me what your next step is. Well this guy didn’t seem to know.

I tried calling back a week later, and no progress had been made. I tried another week later, and it was the same story. After a couple of more weeks of no progress, I went into the store with my boyfriend.

We told them their delay was negatively impacting my work, which was true. They agreed to give me a free replacement laptop until mine was repaired. Still, they still couldn’t tell me when my laptop would be sent to Dell.

The next morning I went in to pick up my replacement laptop. What do you know? They gave me a hard time about it. I explained that I had spoken with such-and-such manager. They said it’s not their policy to provide replacement computers for free. I repeated what I had said about speaking with such-and-such manager.

Finally, the person I was dealing with went to make a phone call. He returned moments later with a laptop at hand. “Here you go,” he said, as if there had been no issue in the first place.

I was happy to have the replacement laptop (an Acer), even if it was really cheap, small and slow. I ended up having it for over a month. Finally I received the call that my laptop was ready.

I went to pick it up. They asked me nothing about the replacement laptop. If I hadn’t been honest, I might have been able to keep it. That’s how unorganized they seemed to be.

When I arrived home with my Dell, I immediately tried to use it. What do you know? I immediately got an error message about how the power cord wasn’t compatible with the computer. If I continued to use it my computer would be put at risk. (more…)