Productive Convergence of Technology and Life

Tending to contribute to, encourage, or bring about an enjoyable technically enhanced life.

Archive for June, 2008

Clueless no more! Wirewize takes the confusion out of your home entertainment setup

Posted by conducivetechnology on June 27, 2008

It doesn’t do any good to have that new HD receiver plugged into your plasma with an s-video cable.  If you have a new system and just not sure how to hook it up properly don’t call Geek Squad or Firedog, log onto wirewize.  Still in beta wirewize brags the following features.  Need cheap cables?

  • See which cables you’ll need for best picture and sound
  • Get customized hookup instructions for your specific components
  • Add new components anytime with no connection hassles
  • Save money over unnecessary in-home service calls.
  • Catalog of thousands of electronic devices
  • Detailed product information
  • Downloadable user manuals
  • Product image galleries
  • Manufacturer and industry resources

How does it work?

    • Step 1: You enter your electronics by brand and model
    • Step 2: Wirewize lists the cables you’ll need for best picture and sound
    • Step 3: The Setup Wizard gives you exact setup instructions
    • Remember for your cable needs don’t be ripped off at the electronics store.  Order high end cables by clicking the link below at 80% off retail price.

      Posted in Home theatre | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

      Little known Phone tips, fun, and hacks Part 1

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 24, 2008

      Grand Central

      Dream up a phone with the following features:

      • 1 number that never changes and that rings all your phones
      • Screen callers
      • Listen in on a call before picking up or listen while voice mail is being left and jump in.
      • Record calls on the fly and access online
      • Block unwanted callers
      • Email or SMS voicemail notifications
      • Have 1 number that rings different phone numbers based on whos calling
      • Personalized greetings
      • Personalized ringtones
      • Ability to have someone call you through a webpage without showing your number
      • Switch phones in the middle of a call
      • More, more, more

      Grand Central which was aquired by Google is your answer and its FREE!  Still in beta if you are able to get in is well worth it allowing you ro regain the simplicity of one phone number while retaining the features you enjoy.

      Magic Jack

      For those still paying for landline phones I ask why oh why oh why?  One of the best VOIP (Phone through your internet) solutions is Magic Jack.  Unlike its competitors Vonage, & Sunrocket it is only $20 a year… no that wasn’t a typo its $20 a YEAR!  It is a rather clever device that offers unlimited VoIP calling over the Internet in North American for $39.95 for the first year and $19.95 for subsequent years, and includes voice mail, 911 support, caller ID and free 411 service.  The magicJack is a USB dongle about the size of a box of matches. The phone jack on its side allows a connection to regular telephone handset. Windows XP and Vista are supported, and also a beta firmware for OS X.

      Posted in Mac, productivity, software, Windows | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

      Best Remote Support Tools

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 22, 2008

      Over the years I have used a variety of remote support tools from basic vnc to the built in Windows Remote Support tool. Below are 2 that I have found to be not only FREE but the easiest, and most useful.

      Crossloop is a simple secure screen sharing service.  Great for a quick remote session that is easy enough for Grandma to use.  Here is a video tutorial.

      Web based Remote Desktop Support Service
      Control any PC without pre-installing software on the remote side.

      IRemotePC by far has the most features of any remote support tool I have come across yet.  Not only does it have file sharing service but you are able to sync folders as well.  This use to be a 100% free service but now is worth the subscription and pay per use fee.  Take a look at IremotePC in action with their free trial and you won’t be dissapointed.

      Posted in software, Windows | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

      Firefox 3 Better Photo Quality Hack

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 22, 2008

      Firefox 3 has blazing speeds but at a price.  For you photofanatics out there you may notice that your pictures don’t look as rich as they should be.  The culprit is Firefox’s advanced color profile support.  It is not enabled by default.  If quality is more important than speed than take advantage of the hack below to enable this feature and begin browsing in rich color once again.

      To enable it, type about:config in Firefox 3’s address bar.  You will see the following message below and just go ahead and click the “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button.

      In the Filter field, type gfx.color_management.enabled and set that value to true (its default value is false).   You will need to restart Firefox for this to go into effect.

      Posted in Mac, software, Windows | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

      Firefox 3 has been released!

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 18, 2008

      I have been beta testing the new Firefox browser for a while now and have been anticipating its final release.  Even the IE team from Microsoft celebrated the day with a cake for the Mozilla team.

      I have to admit that I have been quite pleased with IE7 and preferred it over Firefox 2 but I feel as though once again I will be switching favorite browsers.  I have also been beta testing IE8 as well as Opera releases but this post is a celebration meant for only one browser Mozilla Firefox 3.0  With over 3 years of testing and development the final release has finally arrived!

      IE7 celebrates Firefox 3 release with a cake delivered to Mozilla team.

      Here are some new features that are beneficial:

      • Speed and performance:  Firefox3 by far is alot faster than IE7.  They are using a new rendering engine that reduce memory leaks or cycles.  I am not one to believe performance graphs provided by review sites but I can personally see a difference in speed with Firefox 3.  This is of course once the browser is open.  The startup times from a cold start in Firefox unfortunately are still slow compared to IE7
      • Frecency:  This I have found to be one of the neatest features.  As you are typing an address in the address bar it uses a a combination of frequency and recentness—to determine the best suggestions.  I have found this to be quite helpful and can even type just a part of the URL into the browser and be taken directly to the site.
      • Updated bookmarks bar, smart bookmarks, download manager.

      Don’t take my word for it though, try it yourself! Firefox can be downloaded below.

      Posted in Mac, software, Windows | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

      Delicious Library 2 Not your ordinary library.

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 3, 2008

      Mac Only:  Imagine just holding a CD or DVD or video game or book or whatever up to your webcam, and it magically reads the UPC and downloads that item’s cover and all pertinent information about it, and displays all my stuff on photo-realistic shelves?  Wake up cause its now better than you imagined.  Whether for insurance purposes, inventory management, or just plain organization Delicious Library 2 seems like a great program to help catalog those hundreds of cds, dvds, books and a whole lot more.  Loaded with many features it is no wonder that Delicious Library 2 was rated Best Mac OS X Leopard Application. Unfortunately this one is a Conducive Technology rarity, as it will set you back $40.  For you mac heads out there let us know how you like it.

      Visual Cataloging at its greatest.

      Posted in Mac, software | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

      Top Tech Tools Collection

      Posted by conducivetechnology on June 3, 2008

      Diagnostic Utilities

      Hitachi Drive Fitness Test:
      Use this to test the integrity of you Hard Disk Drives.  Works with most but not all drives.  This file is in iso format and will need to be burnt onto a CD.  This is used by booting from the cd.

      Windows Memory Diagnostic
      Use this to test the integrity of your system Ram.  If you are running Windows Vista this utility is built in. Simply type in memory into the start menu, and you should see the first option will say Memory Diagnostics Tool.  If you are not running Vista or need a bootable version, download the file above and it will create a bootable CD for you.

      An advanced System Information for Windows tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings and displays it in an extremely comprehensible manner.  I mainly use the secrets function to find saved passwords that have been forgotten.

      Ultimate Boot Cd
      UBCD4Win is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer problem.

      Mac Only: Do you have a shiny new flash drive in your pocket ? Or perhaps a small portable hard drive ? Now you can turn it into a Mac OS X diagnostic, repair, and maintenance tool. DasBoot allows you to take any third party boot CD and quickly create a bootable diagnostic device that contains any of your own utilities you may wish to install.

      Data Recovery
      This one is not free but highly recommended.  Out of all the data recovery software I have used this one is by far the most successful.  I have had success recovering files from some pretty bad drives and flash devices.  Before you spend thousands on clean room recovery try this first.  True story I used this to recover files off of my backup drive that was physically failing and in bad shape.  Note:  If your drive is not recognized by the bios then most likely this will not recognize it either.

      CD/DVD Burning Utilities

      Burnaware Free edition Note: The free version is no longer available after being sold
      BurnAware covers all of your most common burning tasks, from burning audio CDs and video DVDs to disk images (like ISO files) and regular data discs. (Windows Only)

      Mac OS X only: Free, open source application Burn lets you burn almost any kind of CD or DVD on your Mac.

      Spyware & Virus Removal Software and Tools

      Note:  Virus and spyware removal can be a time consuming and tedious task.  I am a professional and yet a full manual cleaning af a system can take me anywhere from 30 min to an couple hours.  Most of the utilities noted below are most effectively used on a clean system for preventive proactive protection.

      Webroot Spysweeper with Antivirus
      Out of all the security suites, freeware applications and online scanners.  Webroot Spysweeper by far has been the most effective in prevention and protection against malware.  It for the most part compared to other security suites is very lightweight.  It can conflict with other security suites so remove any existing security software.

      Posted in Mac, software, Windows | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »