Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's The Nature Of The Beast

* As our world continues to grow into a paperless environment, the importance of having our documents, pictures and other personal data preserved cannot be overstated.
* We're in the computer business. Nearly every day, we witness the disappointment on people's faces when we have to tell them that their stored information can't be recovered.
* If I can convince you of anything in today's blog, I hope it is this: EVERY hard drive fails. Some drives fails sooner than others, some seem to go on forever, but the real fact is that all hard drives crash. Even the new USB drives with no mechanical parts fail. In the last three months, I've had two 8GB USB drives crash. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, these drives were always unplugged using the proper procedure and were never left just sitting in the USB port.)
* I've said all of this to get here: backing up your personal data should be at the top of your list of things to do with your computer - right after installing critical updates.
* How you do backups is another question. Some people back up onto DVDs, CDs, external drives and all of these methods have their pros and cons. My two biggest beefs with these kinds of backups are: 1) can you discipline yourself to back up often enough that you won't lose critical data? and 2) when most people use these methods, they keep the backup right with the computer or nearby leading me to ask this question: what good are your backups should you have (God forbid) a fire or should someone break in and steal your computer and everything nearby?
* For us here at Keystone Computer Concepts (, although we have the knowledge, we simply don't have the time to perform backups. For this reason, plus our unwillingness to have our data go up in flames or out the door with a crook, we use strictly online data backup. (Just visit our website and you'll see how important we think it is.)
* The bottom line is this: whatever method you choose, just make sure you are backing up your data. There's almost nothing worse than losing an important file and having no way of getting it back - except maybe looking into the face or hearing the voice of someone who has.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today is not "everyday." February 3, 2009 is a significant date for those of us over the age of fifty-five. It was fifty years ago today that the music world lost three big names. Rock and roll was in its earliest stage - kids loved it, parents hated it - and these three young men were in the middle of it all.
Even you youngsters (any of you under 50) have heard their names - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P Richardson (the Big Bopper) - you have heard their music and you most certainly have heard others who were strongly influenced by what they wrote and sang.
I was nine at the time but I was already humming "Everyday," "Peggy Sue" "Chantilly Lace," and "Donna."
One of the great mysteries of life is how things would be different "if only..." Think just of the music industry: how would it be different if Harry Chapin (age, 38) hadn't died in a car crash; if Jim Croce (age, 30) hadn't also died in a plane crash; if Marvin Gaye hadn't died at 44; or if Janis Joplin didn't leave us at the age of 27?
We'll never know the answer to what might have been. Still, for today, let's remember what was.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why I Follow You In Twitter

Someone pointed out to me that most of the 200+ people I follow in Twitter are female. Guilty as charged. In the material world, I prefer to interact with women so why would it be different in the virtual world? I find my wife to be the most interesting and talented woman I know and I would rather go shopping with her then bowling with the boys.
In general, I find women much more interesting than men. I like to listen to what they think and feel. Some men I know say that understanding a woman is an emotional roller coaster. If that is really true, you should know that I practically grew up in Hershey Park and I love roller coasters. That makes me the perfect candidate to enjoy the female point of view!
Still, if being a woman was the only criteria for me following someone in Twitter, I'd be following thousands of people. There must be more to my selection process! Here's a breakdown:

Why I Follow Someone In Twitter
I follow someone in Twitter for one or more of the following reasons:
1) They appear to have knowledge in a field that I'm interested in but have no great expertise myself.
2) They write intelligently.
3) They have a link to their blog or some other page which tells me something important about them. Rarely do I ever follow someone who does not have a link in their Twitter profile.
4) They are involved in a business which might benefit my business; e.g., networking, marketing, etc. (Remember, I have a computer business.)
5) They know something about my business - computers, the Internet, web design.
6) They are artistic - a painter, a photographer.
7) They are involved with the legal profession. I once gave oral argument before the Pennsylvania Superior Court - one of a small group of non-lawyers ever permitted to do so - and I find civil law extremely interesting.
8) The person is in the TV media. They might be a reporter, an anchor, a weather person, or traffic. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I was close friends with a TV weatherman, a television producer and an anchor. Perhaps because there is so much electronics involved, this is just another area I find fasinating.
9) They speak a foreign language which I wouldn't mind learning or at least would like to be able to translate.
10) They openingly acknowledge their faith. Their beliefs may not be the same as mine but I can gleen from their Tweets that they have great hearts primarily because of their grounding in faith.

Why I Don't Follow Someone or I Unfollow Someone In Twitter
1) They use the "F" word. I can hear that everyday in places that I have to be; I'm not interested in hearing it in places I choose to be.
2) They are high school or college students whose only messages in Twitter involve how drunk they were last night or how much their hangover is going to affect their partying today.
3) They have thousands of people following them but only follow a few people themselves. I have made one or two exceptions to this rule but that's because there were compelling reasons to follow the person in question.
4) They continually issue politically-biased messages. I don't mind someone having a political view but I do have a problem with political mud-slinging.

In Conclusion
If I'm following you in Twitter, did you find yourself somewhere in my list of reasons? I hope so. If not, let me know and I'll reevaluate why I'm following you! LOL

Windows 7 Update

I continue to use Windows 7 in a production environment - something which Microsoft discourages, of course. However, I wanted to put this new version of Windows under an everyday trial using it as a "workhorse" in my business. So, I loaded it up on a notebook which I carry to every customer's home. I've been using it test their Internet connections when their own computer can't get online; I've demonstrated various activities on it for my clients; and, I'm using it to check in remotely with the main computer in my shop.

So far, I have not been disapointed in the performance of Windows 7. It is working so much better than the Vista beta that it's unfair to even put them in the same category.
Since my first report, I've installed a webcam, Adobe InDesign4, and Windows Live Messenger. They all installed without a hitch. Adobe InDesign didn't recognize Windows 7, naturally, and suggested I install a different OS but I ignored the warning and it loaded up perfectly.
Granted, I am a Microsoft Partner but I have computers in the shop running Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Ultimate, Ubuntu, and MAC so I'm not as biased as one might think. At this point, I think Microsoft has a winner in Windows 7.
Still, this is testing software, so keep looking for updates!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So Far, So Good

It's early yet but I have to say that I'm really impressed with Windows 7. Everything I've thrown at it, it's handled. I've installed two printers, Microsoft Office 2007, Cubase 4, Inspire 1394 Control Panel, Google Chrome, FireFox, Adobe Reader 9, Adobe Flash, Sun Java and TweetDeck.
I purposely installed it on an old laptop computer that I had in the shop - only 1GB of RAM and a single-core Intel processor. During the installation, Windows 7 recognized and installed every hardware item on the computer. Remembering what happened when I installed Vista beta - almost no hardware was recognized - this was a pleasant surprise!
This beta version of Windows 7 runs faster than Vista and, to me, has a "cleaner" feel.
I'm going to keep loading it up with programs and I'll update this blog as to what happens.