Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Connectify.me Windows 7 Must Have!

Posted by geeknews at 8:07 PM on November 8, 2009

connectifyOn Saturday I was part of our monthly Tech Podcast Network Round Table and we had the CEO of Connectify in to do a demo of Connectify.me

Connectify is pretty amazing, it allows a Windows 7 machine to become a Wifi Hotspot in about 60 seconds. In fact one of our round table participants set it up while the presentation was underway and was pretty blown away.

You have to watch the demo. I am linking you to a Flash Video of the event the demo starts about 5 minutes into the Video it is worth the time to watch this. As Andy McCaskey says, what connectify.me has brought to the table is going to sell a lot of copies of Windows 7 and when you see it your going to want to upgrade you computers.

Yes as the image portrays it truly is that simple!

Customer Service – You’re Doing it Right!

Posted by susabelle at 9:41 AM on November 3, 2009

thumbs upAs a followup to my post from yesterday, I wanted to talk about customer service being done the right way. As tech-geeks who work directly with users, doing customer service the right way is something we should strive for.

Along with my trouble yesterday over and old purchase order, I had another one to follow up on. This one was for a software upgrade to an existing piece of software our audio/video engineer uses. His job is to take mountains of videotaped events and turn them into usable bits of digital uploads. One piece of software he uses is called Trapcode, from the folks over at Red Giant Software. The engineer needed to upgrade the product we already owned, and I put in the purchase order to do so. Turns out, the company only takes purchase orders for anything over $1000, anything less than that, and you need to use a credit card. Our purchase was going to be under $100. Well, this is a giant bureaucracy here, and we don’t have credit cards, or access to credit cards, so we were stuck. I explained the situation to the customer service representative I was talking to, and quickly received an email resolving the issue. They were offering us a complimentary upgrade to our existing product, since we weren’t able to purchase with a credit card. Of course, the email came with a little sales pitch at the end about how we could use the software in an academic environment, but I can’t complain about that.

The fact is, my problem was resolved, within minutes, without excuses, and with a resolution better than I could have ever hoped for. Resolving issues quickly, and satisfactorily, should be the goal of anyone serving an end user of any type. I now can go about my day worrying about other things, than waiting for an email or a phone call to resolve an issue. As of this moment, my request to the vendor from yesterday has not been answered. Guess which company I’m apt to be spending more money with in the future?

Customer Service – You’re Doing it Wrong

Posted by susabelle at 12:53 PM on November 2, 2009

"no" imageI spend a lot of time at my daily J.O.B. following up on orders with software/hardware companies. Most of the time, my experiences are good enough, even pleasurable, although I’m not really big on having to make phone calls in the first place. But today when following up on an order, I ran across something I thought was a bit unusual.

Two months ago I placed an order for a piece of software. It was relatively inexpensive, but highly recommended to me by some colleagues in my industry. I decided to give it a try, and sent off the purchase order per their website instructions. Two months later, I still don’t have the software, or anything from them saying that there is a delay or any other issue. So I trot off to their website and look for a customer service number I can call. To my surprise, there wasn’t one. Instead, on the page with their mailing address, was a clickable statement, “Why our phone number is not listed here.” Of course I clicked it, to be taken to a page that, in five paragraphs or so, said to this effect: We would love to talk to you but we are too busy and it costs to much to talk to people on the phone. So, email us, and we’ll get right back to you. And this quote pretty much sums it all up for me: “We think you’ll agree once you’ve tried us, we’ve decided to offer the best email support on the planet. Every email is answered within 24 hours.”

This does not bode well for me trying to figure out where our order is. It also does not bode well for me recommending this company, or their software, to others. Ironically, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the product, a text-to-speech software that can be used by disabled (or non-disabled) people to read email, web pages, text files, etc. I can give it no such reviews, as I’ve not yet been able to try the product, and don’t know when I will be able to. I don’t care how small you are, if you are offering something for sale, then you’d better be able to back it up with at least minimal customer support, and not some long, drawn-out excuse for why you won’t provide that service. As a busy tech-geek, I don’t have time for excuses when I’m trying to get the job done. It’s unfortunate that this company can’t see that their behavior now can hinder their future success. They’ve already lost me as a future customer, and I won’t be able to say anything good about them to anyone who asks, either.

It isn’t always about the product; sometimes it’s about how we get the interaction we need as we’re going along.

Software Bundles Prove Golden

Posted by GNC at 6:32 PM on July 22, 2009

So here I am working on a side web design job.  As I look at the programs I am using to get it all done I realized they were, for the most part, all from software bundle purchases.  If my memory serves me correct I have taken part in 3 different purchases from MacUpdate and Macheist.  The price was never above $59 and I usually received 8-12 different titles.

Big discounts and great deals on Mac software every day - MacUpdate Promo

“What is so golden as you certainly cannot have found all 30 programs as useful?”  I can read your mind and you are correct.  I am probably only using six or seven of them on a regular to daily basis and another ten of them occasionally.  Six of them I use all the time.

  1. MacHeist » Welcome1Password (Retail $40)
  2. Vector Designer (Retail $70)
  3. Pixelmator (Retail $60)
  4. CSS Edit and Espresso (Retail Package $80)
  5. Task Paper (Retail $30)

The total retail cost of those alone would be $280.  By my calculations that would mean by participating in the promotion I saved about $130 off retail of just these six programs. That does not include the programs I use occasionally such as AppZapper ($13), Snapz Pro X ($69), and a bunch of others.  Golden, I tell you golden.

All of the promotions send a substantial portion of the income to charities.  I am not trying to avoid paying for great software.  The developers chose to participate either to help the charity or to get the word out about their products.  So why not take a shot and try one out?

Please know that I do not participate in every promotion.  I look closely at the titles being offered to see what I have need of.  If the cost benefit is not at least the equivalent of 2 for 1 I don’t buy.  Chances are I can get along without it for a while.  But I must admit it is hard to resist such a golden deal!

ATT Passes on Free Commercial and Goodwill

Posted by GNC at 9:26 AM on June 12, 2009

ATT and Apple must be in a mini public war over the future of the iPhone.  At least I hope that is the case. Why else would AT&T have so botched their free PR opportunity at Apple’s recent unveiling of the iPhone 3G S? Let me set the stage of what I saw and heard. While watching the Apple Keynote address Scott Forstall was speaking about the new iPhone 3.0 software. He made the grand announcement that the iPhone will finally (emphasis added) have MMS. iphone3gsThen he added the caveat of “subject to the carrier support”. The next slide showed all the carriers ready to roll out the iPhone MMS service. As he transitioned he stated with a straight face (barely) “AT&T will be ready to support MMS later this summer. Next…” The audience booed.  AT&T has MMS on every other phone! Surely the iPhone implementation is close to the standards. Or is it as the recent Mac Roundtable podcast suggested, that the at&t system is so maxed out already that this new traffic would take it to the ground?

The second noted surprise came when Apple announced that iPhone 3.0 would make tethering possible. Once again the caveat was given about provider support.wireless-dsl-internet-digital-tv-services-and-phone-att Once again AT&Twas not on the list. This time Scott did not even mention AT&T . He simple started to transition to a new topic. The audience quickly noticed AT&T ‘s absence on the slide and from the speech. This time they laughed.

Even if AT&T will not be able to retain exclusivity on the iPhone, this was certainly a key event to be roll out ready for.  After all, no competitors are in the near future for the phone. Or is that exactly what AT&T is thinking? “We have no competitors so we will do no more than we need to.”

Another option is that this is a passive aggressive jab from Apple.  Pushing/bullying AT&T into compliance with their wishes certainly would be Apple’s style. Or perhaps Apple is simply paving the way to release the phone on other carriers while slowly working the AT&T partnership into publicity oblivian.   Seems wrong in that AT&T is still the only sanctioned US carrier.  And yet next time they may not even mention the first US iPhone company. Who did carry it first? Verizon? It’s such a distant memory.

Major PowerPress Podcast Plugin Update!

Posted by geeknews at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2009

We punched out the PowerPress update this evening, and as I promised last night I told you we would have some video for you to watch. I am going to send you over to a page that has two videos linked that will get you up to speed with what we released.

Before I send you over there let me run you through the update.

  1. We added a podcast statistics summary to the WordPress dashboard.
  2. Blubrry Podcast hosting customers can have their ID3 Tags written automatically.
  3. We added Category Cast, podcasters can now setup categories as independent podcast feeds.
  4. The final update which is the most important is our new 3 Step Podcast Publishing Process

Check out the New Feature in Action and watch the Video as a picture is worth a 1000 words!

Come back after the jump and let me know what you think!

The PowerPress Podcast Plugin is free and available at www.blubrry.com/powerpress.

Disk Inventory X

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2009

After we use our computers for awhile the hard drive starts filling up with all sorts of files and application. The problems is trying to figure what files are filling up the hard drive. Until you know what you have it is hard to organize and delete those you don’t need. If you have a Mac, there is a program that is called Disk Inventory X that gives a great visual representation of what is on your computer or any hard drive on the network. You can have it scan your whole hard drive or a specific folder. It is a free download although they do ask for donations.

Disk Inventory X.png

As you can tell from this picture it is really easy to read. Each color represents a type of file and the bigger the block the bigger the file.  On the right side it shows the size of folder and the number of files. It also tells you where the files are located.  If you click on desktop on the list on the left side. There appears a yellow highlight around the files that are on the desktop.   If you find something you don’t need you can delete directly from Disk Inventory X.   For example, I have a Imovie project that I no longer need.  I simply click on the purple color, it confirms the file. I hit command delete and its sent to my trash.  This is all that Disk Inventory X does, it just shows what’s on your computer or hard drive, but it does it very well.   It is one of those applications that I don’t use very often, but when I need it I am glad its there.

The Tech World Through My Eyes

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:52 PM on May 4, 2009

This is my first post for the Geeknews Central Network and I would like to thank them for this opportunity.  Since this is my first post I decided it would be a good idea to tell everyone a little bit about me.    I never saw or even heard of a computer growing up other then in science fiction books.  The ones that did exist were found mainly at the defense department and maybe some major universities.  There was no such thing as the Internet or the Worldwide Web and both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were still in short pants.  The first computer that I saw was when I went to college.  It was a large main frame computer, which you sat outside of and in put a program one line at a time.  There were no personal computers and you had to schedule time to use the computer room.  The first personal computer I had was a Compaq Presario 1400 with Windows 95 on it.  Like a lot of people my first introduction to the world wide web was through AOL and then Netscape.

Fast forward 14 years and you will currently find me using a Macbook or a Mac mini and my browser of choice is Firefox.  I can connect to the Internet at home or at my local coffee shop at speeds that allow me to listen to audio and even watch streaming video at a quality that was unimagined of ten years ago.   If you want to search for information you can find it using Google or Yahoo within a few key strokes.  Instead of reading about the news in morning newspaper or waiting to  watch it on the 7:00 P.M. news, we have RSS readers that bring the news we are interested in directly to our desktop often as soon as it occurs.   We can connect and have conversations with friends and strangers from around the world through applications such as Twitter or Friendfeed in real time.   For those of you who have just graduated college or high school this world seem perfectly normal and expected, however for us of an older generation this can be both mind boggling and amazing at the same time.  If you were to ask me the one attribute that I possess that has helped me keep up with all the changes, it would be curiosity.  If I am presented with a new gadget or application I have to try it, I am what you would call an early adopter.  With this background I hope to give an unique perspective on todays tech world, whether its the growing arena of the real time web, web applications or any technology that happens to raise my curiosity.  If you want to follow me on Twitter or Friendfeed, I am listed under klandwehr and you can contact me by email at kim.landwehr@gmail.

(Originally post 4/4 corrected on 4/5 editing error)

The Transition to WordPress Update

Posted by geeknews at 1:02 AM on April 22, 2009

I wanted to update everyone just a few days into the transition from Movable Type to WordPress.

  1. The web based editor has been the hardest to get used to. I like some of the things it does but I absolutley hate that it will not single line space in visual mode. I have to switch it to HTML mode to get the editor to behave correctly.
  2. Commenting is way up. The piece of crap commenting authentication system MovableType has is simply horrible.
  3. Website traffic is noticeably up.  Based on what we are seeing from Google the page updates have taken and this has resulted in better indexing thus traffic is up 25%
  4. I am still having challenges in external editors getting the tags to work correctly when posting externally. If someone has the secret sauce setting to Blogjet let me know.

So I guess you can say thus far I am a happy camper.  I am watching to see if we get a bounce in pagerank for cleaning up the duplicate content that was on the old site, only time will tell there but if we get a bounce then I will be pretty pumped.

Super Cool Browser add on

Posted by GNC at 6:48 PM on August 10, 2008

I don’t get too caught up in the “hot new thing” on the web. There is just so much stuff out there that is, well, a waste of time. Mostly I see new services and widgets that are neat but don’t help you do anything better than before. I found Piclens about 3 weeks ago and have been bragging on it ever since. Basically it is a “3D wall” of images or videos that runs on your browser. I use it on Firefox 3 but it is available on all the other major browsers as well. It makes viewing photos & videos smooth as opposed to the clunky way of I used to search for them one at a time. It works with google images, yahoo images, youtube, myspace, facebook, flickr, photobucket and more.

It’s nice to have all the photos in one place to just click through as you please. I can’t swear to it but the images look enhanced as well. Using it for youtube videos is even better as you don’t have to wait for another page to load before starting your next video. More sites are becoming compatible with Piclens everyday so it should only get better. If you have a giant screen for your PC or connect your computer to your bigscreen TV that just amplifies the experience. Oh yeah, it costs exactly nothing.

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