Friday, February 29, 2008

Alienware ALX - Tech Support

I've been testing out the Alienware for a month now and have not had any real major problems with it... It really is an awesome system and it's been working great for me. If I had the money, I would buy this big monster machine.

So speaking of BIG... my feet... LOL... by accident knocked into the power cord under the table that the Alienware is sitting on and shut down the system completely. Well, when I went to go start it back up, nothing happened. I shut down the computer and unplug everything from the back, boot it back up... Nothing.

So I'm thinking, "Great, I few more days with the Alienware... and I busted it!!" So, the next thing I do is call the "tech expert" - Andy. He tells me to do the same thing. Unplug, Plug. Still Nothing. The next thing he says is to look for the "CMOSS" jumper on the board. Well, hell if I can find it. I look and look. Can't see anything that says "CMOSS". He tells me to power if off and wait.

After that, I decide to call Alienware ALX tech support and PRAY I don't get anybody from that "place"... you know the one. Thankfully, I don't. The tech support gentleman walked me through finding the "jumper" to re-set the motherboard. That literally took about 30 minutes. (definitely need some glasses). After finally finding it, he told me how to re-set it. I did that. We plugged the power cord back in, booted the system and then he walked me through the BIOS set up and - viola!!, the computer came back up and is now running beautifully again.

I was on the phone with Alienware ALX tech support for 45 minutes. The tech support gentleman (Antonio from Costa Rica) that helped me was so patient and helpful. So, I'm not only a fan of the Alienware ALX, I am also a fan of their tech support. I asked Antonio if they had a "feedback" form to fill out about the tech support call. He told me to send it to and I would be able to send my feedback for the tech support call.

So, the moral of this story... if you have BIG feet, watch where you're stretching them!! LOL. But if you do happen to stretch them to far, hopefully, you'll get the same great help I did!!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Photoshop for Photographers and the Brown Potato

I always love going to these Photoshop seminars... Not for the freebies but to see what exciting things they are going to teach about Photoshop and to bring it back and learn it!

A couple of days before the class I kept thinking... I'm not a photographer, am I actually going to learn anything from this class? Ben Willmore totally "WOWED" me today! I went into the class expecting to gain some BUT not as much as I did.

I was so excited and wowed by the seminar today that I actually joined the NAPP!! Everytime we go, I say I'm going to join and never do and the number one reason... don't have the money... but this time I thought... I'll just make it up because it is totally worth the $99 to join. In reality, I only paid $29. They gave me a "free" DVD of my choice. I picked the one I would most likely get the most use from, Adobe Photoshop CS3 & Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 - Creative Integration. A $69.99 Value! With the $99, not only did I get the free DVD, BUT I also got a year's subscription to Photoshop User, access to NAPP's members-only online community, discounts on just about everything, and Photoshop Tech Support!! Wow! What an extra-ordinary value for only $99 for 1 year! If I could've joined for two years, I would have. With the two year subscription, you received a free DVD AND a free book of your choice, PLUS all of the above.

What I learned the most out of the class today was how to take a "background" image out of a photograph in a couple of simple steps. If I would have known how to do it the way Ben Willmore showed it today, I could have saved myself "hours" of time. Ben also taught me how to bring out the "colors" in a photograph in a variety of different ways.

The hour and a half drive too and from Phoenix for the Kelby Training class was well worth it!! Even the "brown" Potato I got at Wendy's for dinner. Well, okay, now I'm pushing it. THAT was not worth it! Hey, aren't Potato's supposed to be "white" on the inside? I know you're all answering "yes" to my question. Sooo... How come my potato was BROWN inside? Can you answer THAT one?!! AND the second potato was not that much different from the first one I sent back... That's right TWO brown potatoes. Where do they get their potatoes from? I was afraid to ask them... But hey, if I get sick tonight, can I sue Wendy's (j/k)... I'll definitely know why though!!

All in all it was a great road trip and a relaxed "break" from the daily routine and I came back with more knowledge than I had before...

Next road trip... Anyone?

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Photoshop for Photographers - Kelby Training

The entire crew, Slick, Carol and myself hit the road thusrday morning (02.28.2008) and were in Phoenix for the Kelby training, Photoshop for Photographers Workshop hosted by Photoshop Guru, Ben Willmore. To read our entire experience, please visit the website page at Be sure to check out Carol's Blog and her story of the brown potato as well. Photos and Videos also on the Website from the Event!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tech Tuesday - What Was That!

On todays episode of Tech Tuesday, we had Jim Barry from the Consumer Electronics Association stop by and show off some very cool products from CEA members. The Digital Answer Man tour takes Jim through 72 cities in about 52 weeks, thats a travel schedule! On this mornings episode he featured a couple of products that I have received quite a few emails about. The first was a Watch that could store about 200 songs or MP3 audio files, depending on the size of the file of course. The neat trick about this watch was that it can be easily paired to a bluetooth set of headphones and play the files in stereo. I tried these on and was amazed at the quality of the sound of these comfortable headphones.

For those that want to take a look, the product was the Gold Lantern BlueX Bluetooth Watch which can be found at I am thinking about putting together a segment where we take this technology out on the road and give you a chance to come out and try it out and give us your thoughts. Let me know if you would like to give it a listen! The picture on the right displays a Mens fashion watch, a womens model is also available.

The other product was a handheld High Definition video camera that fit in the palm of the hand. It was amazing at this years Consumer Electronics Show that had Panasonic with the largest plasma TV at 150" and the ultra small HD camera on the same stage! While the camera doesn't shoot at 1080p but instead 1080i, still high definition, the Panasonic HDC-SD9 records directly to SD Memory cards and features a 3CCD system for great video!

While it might not be too technical, the 3D film industry has been on a upswing lately with concert films such as Hannah Montana and U2. The technology has come a long way since the first 3D film shot in color Bwana Devil came out in 1952. One year later, Hondo starring the legendary John Wayne was released. Hondo was originally filmed in 3D and now Tucsonans get the opportunity to see it on the big screen at the Fox Theater. One of my favorite Directors John Landis (Animal House, Blues Brothers) is slated to be among other film industry icons at the screening on Saturday March 1st at 7pm. The director of Desperation , Mick Garris, is also slated to be on hand. I talked with Mick recently who told me he enjoyed Tucson so much when he was filming Desperation in downtown tucson that he makes it a regular vacation spot. It's a rare opportunity to see this classic on the big screen!
While John Landis has a regular trademark "See You Next Wednesday" in his films, I'll see you next Tuesday for Tech Tuesday.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

T-Mobile, $100/month unlimited (text included)

...This offer will be available beginning Thursday, Feb. 21...

...domestic roaming and long distance charges are included. Unlimited messaging includes text messages (SMS), picture messages (MMS) and instant messages (IM).

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

better than the clipboard

Stan called our radio show asking about an "autofill" program...

I'm using Ditto: "...saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items: text, images, html, and more.

"The program is available in English - Chinese - Croatian - Dutch - French - German - Italian - Japanese - Polish - Portuguese - Romanian - Spanish - Swedish - Turkish..."

There's an installable version, and a "Portable" one.

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Dell announces ProSupport for IT, and good news it is!

"Dell Breaks the Mold of Tradional Support" reads the headline out of Round Rock, Texas, as they announced ProSupport for IT in hopes of "Breaking the mold of tradional, one size fits all, services offerings..." (For the full Dell press release click here.)

As an IT professional whose employer uses Dell workstations, servers and other periphrals almost exclusively (we have a few Mac's, a workroom full of Xerox printers, etc.) it has been a love/hate relationship when it comes to getting Dell Customer Service Representatives (DCSR) to provide what I need and in the time frame I need it.

Either the experience is unbelievably easy and quick or I end up wishing I was chewing broken glass rather than spend another moment with an unresponsive, sub-human being whose singular goal appears to get me to hang up out of frustration. (The later scenerio has become quite rare in the BUSINESS world, but still prevalent in the HOME user enviroment.)

The ProSupport for IT website seems intuitive and rich in is my intent to report my personal experiences in depth as I 'test' the site AND when next I need IT support from Dell.Stay tuned!

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Get out the shovels...time to bury HD-DVD for good reports that Toshiba made it official today, HD-DVD has gone the way of the Betamax...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hands On: The Dell XPS One

The hardest thing with any review is being objective and impartial; usually I find myself emotionally attached – either positive or negative – and wanting to either rave or berate a product based on how I feel about it…and the Dell XPS One makes it very difficult for me to don a Mr. Spock-like attitude for this report.
The 20” XPS One , an All-in-One computer system, is the newest in the Dell XPS lineup, and debuted in November 2007, alongside another first, The Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC. (More on that when I can get my hands on one!)

The Techie's Techie Guy blog up and running

Diamond Dave, a long time friend, listener and contributor to Tech Talk Radio, has finally decided to 'go public' with his reviews on tech related tools, toys and more. To this end "The Techie's Tech Guy" blog was born and DD is looking for as many people to review and comment on his findings as care to add their two-techie-cents! Check it out and feel free to send suggestions of stuff that you'd like to see reviewed to DD as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

free RoboForm

During today's show we had a conversation about software that will fill in forms and such, and RoboForm was mentioned.

In the March edition of PC World, on page 60, I found an advertisement that states: " to download for PC World Readers". The website to go to is

I say a big "thank you" to RoboForm and PC World for providing this opportunity for us to try and use this product.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"sticky keys"

George called asking for help with a "locked keyboard": he had held down some keys, and now is having problems using the keyboard.

(We did not have a lot of time left in the show so we took his telephone number, and I called him at a later time.)

After talking with George and his wife, I thought "Sticky Keys" may have been enabled. I was correct.

Look for an icon in the system tray...

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Friday, February 15, 2008

cannot reply to e-mail messages

Mary said she was having problems replying to her e-mail: she cannot (in her reply) quote the message she received, and it is possible that the cursor does not appear in the message window when she is creating a message.

Her Internet Service Provider is People PC.

We were not able to get as much information from her as we would have liked...IF she is using a People PC e-mail account, she can try to use the People PC webmail interface.

(There are many more time consuming things I can think to look at...)


Windows Hardware Compatibility Lists

Use Internet Explorer to view the site...

"The Windows...Hardware Compatibility List is a comprehensive list of logo'd products – both Devices and Systems - that are compatible with Windows..."

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a now unemployed Yahoo!

He posted to Twitter; he has a blog...

(It brings back memories.)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

unable to uninstall (antivirus) software

Frank called because he was unable to uninstall his antivirus product...

My suggestion is to try to uninstall it from Safe mode...

Symantec has had removal information, and tools, available on their website...

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resume recommendations

Chuck, a "headhunter", called the show to remind us all that resumes need to be scannable (so they can be entered into a database). Here's some information I found:

Name ONLY on the top line. Address and phone numbers must be below your name.

No italics, bolding, underlining, etcetera (these tend to give the scanner gibberish).

Use standard 10 to 14 point fonts like Times, Palatino, and Helvetica.

It has been suggested to use a sans serif font, such as Arial or Tahoma. These are fonts that do not have the small markings on the edge of each letter (serifs).

Do not use a newspaper-style two column format.

Left justify all text.

Send your resume on 8.5" x 11", white paper only.

Fax on "high resolution" setting.

Avoid tabs (use the space bar instead).

Avoid parentheses, brackets, and compressed lines of print.

Resumes must make use of industry "buzz" words which will match what the computer has been trained to look for.


A couple of webpages I viewed were...



Note to Chuck: Have you found a job for us, yet?...

Windows Movie Maker files

Wayne called about converting (mov) files for Windows Movie Maker...

File formats supported by Windows Movie Maker in Windows XP
Supported formats for importing content
• Video files: .asf, .avi, .wmv
• Movie files: MPEG1, .mpeg, .mpg, .m1v, .mp2
• Audio files: .wav, .snd, .au, .aif, .aifc, .aiff
• Windows Media files: .asf, .wm, .wma, .wmv
• Still images: .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .jpe, .jfif, .gif
• MP3 format audio: .mp3
"Although you can play a file in Microsoft Windows Media Player, you may not be able to import the file into Windows Movie Maker even though this article lists that kind of file..."

Anyone have a (free) program to recommend?...

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Office Ultimate for $60!!!...

Jeff called the show and told us that, UNTIL APRIL 30, students can get Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for $59.95!!!...

"This offer is good only to eligible students who possess a valid email address at an educational institution geographically located in the United States. This offer is non-transferable. Limit one purchase per eligible student.

"The following conditions serve to define student eligibility for the Promotion:

"1. Individual must possess a valid e-mail address at a U.S. educational institution which contains the domain suffix .edu; AND

"2. Individual must be a student at a U.S. educational institution and must be actively enrolled in at least 0.5 course credit and be able to provide proof of enrollment upon request.

"...If documentation is not provided indicating that you are a current student, you will be liable to reimburse Microsoft for the full retail cost of the software ($679)."

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cannot install Microsoft Office 2000

During one of our shows, Kelly had called and said she was having problems installing Microsoft Office 2000 on Windows Vista...

Per (Description of the versions of Office that are supported on Windows Vista):
"Because Office 2000 and Office XP are in Extended Support, there have been no fixes for issues that occur when these products are run on Windows Vista..."

I recommend she:
uninstall ALL products related to Microsoft Office...
restart the computer...
and attempt to install Microsoft Office 2000.

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