Save Money On Your Tablet Purchase

tablet_hotspotTablets are hot! Sales of the Apple iPad, the Google Nexus 7, and others are quickly outpacing laptop sales as consumers begin to realize a full computer is overkill for most of the things done on the Internet. With their compact size, simple interface, long battery life, and relatively inexpensive pricing, tablets are making Internet use more accessible and convenient for a wider range of people. Unlike PC’s, there are not a lot of technical options that you have to deal with when purchasing a tablet. Basically you make sure the screen looks good, it’s responsive, and there is enough storage space for your needs and you’re all set. Tablets are mainly designed to be “viewers” to a content provider’s offerings, and to reach this content, you need an Internet connection.  That’s where an important decision comes in: should you get a Wi-Fi only tablet, or spend more and get one with built in 3G/4G access? Read more of this post

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Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview now available to Windows 7 users

Microsoft posted a “preview release” of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7 on Tuesday, with hints that a final release will be made available in December.

The  “IE10 Release Preview,” as it’s called, appeared on Microsoft’s site early Tuesday and is only available for Windows 7. The newly released Windows 8 already has a full version of IE10 integrated, and the word on the street is Windows Vista (and obviously Windows XP) will not be supported for this release. If this proves correct, it will make Microsoft the first web browser maker to drop Vista support, just as it was the only developer to drop support for Windows XP when IE9 shipped last year. Read more of this post

Happy 11th Birthday Windows XP – Not Quite Dead Yet

Today Microsoft is in New York starting its festivities for Windows 8, its latest operating system that promises to merge tablet and PC computing into a brand new environment. However, in the back room Windows XP is quietly celebrating its 11th birthday. October 25th, 2001 was the day Windows XP was unleashed, becoming the most successful operating system in history.

I’m sure Microsoft hopes to have the same success with Windows 8, but its track-record has been hit and miss…history shows the “odd” number releases are usually the good ones. We’ll have to see if Windows 8 breaks that mold.

Windows XP was so successful because it solved a lot of pain-points for PC users at the time. Hardware installation, file limitations, memory management…all of these issues made computers more of a complicated tool rather than the appliance-like device it is seen as today. Windows XP is the product that made that possible. Its so well made that even 11 years after its introduction, XP is still used 41% of the world’s personal computers as of September 2012. Only the much newer Windows 7 has a larger share, and it didn’t surpass Windows XP until August! Read more of this post

Security Alert for Internet Explorer Users

Microsoft URGES everyone to install security tool

UPDATE: Microsoft has released a patch to fix this security issue as of 9/22/12. Please run Windows Update to make sure you are patched.

 

This week, Microsoft is urging Windows users to install a security tool to protect against a newly discovered bug in Internet Explorer.

This security issue may allow hackers to take control of infected PCs and affects all versions Internet Explorer browsers. Microsoft is currently working to patch the flaw, but their security tool should protect users in the meantime.

The free security tool, called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit,  is available from Microsoft.

The malicious software,  known as Poison Ivy, was discovered last Friday and has the capability of stealing data and assuming remote control of infected PC’s. Being a “zero-day” infection, there are not any effective patches or protections available against it as of yet. Antivirus manufacturers are working on updates to protect against Poison Ivy, and are expected to have them available later this week.

In the meantime, be sure to install any Windows updates as soon as they are available. Check for the latest updates from Windows Update.

For free antivirus software, visit TOAST.net’s Software Page.

Update 9/20/12:

Microsoft has announced a patch for this vulnerability will be made available on Friday, Sept. 21st via Windows Update.

Conserve Data: Getting the Most Out Of Your Wireless Plan

TOAST.net’s new wireless hotspots are flying off of our virtual shelves, giving previously “dial-up” only areas a much needed burst of speed as well as providing mobility to use the Internet anywhere you go. Payment on wireless systems works a bit differently than traditional land-line based Internet service in that wireless uses a “pay for what you use” model, where land-lines use a “pay a flat rate for service” model. Similar to the way electricity or water is billed, the more you use the more you pay.

This leaves customers with the question “How much data do I need per month?”

Data is an abstract term, and it can be confusing. Just like using electricity in a new house, it may take a few months to discover your usage patterns to see which level of service will be best for you. There are ways you can keep your data use in check, however. Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your wireless connection: Read more of this post

If your technology isn’t transparent, it’s not working.

I was driving home from the office the other day and felt the urge to blast some tunes. Without even looking, I hit the power button on the radio, hit the scan button several times, and adjusted the volume just loud enough to blast away all thoughts of the TPS reports and stapler requisition forms due the next day. If you think about it, a car radio is a perfect example of “transparent technology.” They are all designed to fit the car’s environment, the controls are easy to use, and they work without having to put much thought into it…the radio is a part of the car rather than its own special-needs device. All technology should work this same way. Its whole purpose is to make lives easier and more efficient, not complicated and expensive. Many tech-curmudgeons will say “All modern technology is complicated!”, and that’s a true statement. The trick is to make sure you’re using appropriate technology. Read more of this post

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