Sunday, December 18, 2011

Automatic Updates - Things I ... Dislike

Ever wonder why your PC or laptop takes longer & longer to boot, seems a bit sluggish?  You may have a bunch of applications starting up automatically.  Worse, most remain active.  I have chosen Java as my application for this complaint.

Java's default setting, upon install is to automatically check for updates. 
So, after I installed Java the last time, I unchecked this option.  However, Java did not remove the app in the System Configuration's Startup list:
So, I had to reset that option, as well.

Now I have installed the latest update, the settings have returned.  And Java is one of those PESKY program installations that offer a toolbar for Internet Explorer.  Once upon a time, toolbars had some functionality that was useful and downright desirable.  Not anymore.

The only program I permit to update automatically is Norton.  Actually, Norton no longer puts items in the Startup list.  For real-time anti-malware protection, I strongly recommend permitting automatic updates.

I've disabled Windows Updates as well.  I do not need it to run every time I boot my computer.  I don't recommend this to others - as annoying as they are, they are worth installing.

Now, I know everyone screams when they see the Adobe Flash update notice when it appears.  But at least Adobe runs the install, cleans up after itself, doesn't change any user-defined settings, and does not try to upgrade you to a paid version or sneak a toolbar or home page change in with the installation process. 

And they've set it up to only run when booting your system.  You won't be interrupted while streaming a movie or writing in a document where you might accidentally trigger an action from an unexpected pop-up.  That's one thing I like about Flash;  and that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Ads are Gone from Facebook and Gmail

I hear Jimmy Fallon saying, "Thank you, AdBlock Plus, for removing those annoying, unnerving ads that read my emails before I do."  So have you ever noticed the advertising in Gmail or Facebook that "know" the keywords in the message?

Firefox was the first browser that had an extension (think, "App") that would prevent virtually all advertising as you surf the Web.  Chrome has had it since 2010 and similar AdBlock add-ons for Internet Explorer & Safari are available. 

I highly recommend adding AdBlock Plus to your browser.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chromebooks are Available, Prices are Dropping

The Google Chromebook has been available to consumers since late spring this year.  While the initial feedback was mixed, the improvements have been flowing steadily.  On Nov. 21st, the prices on Acer and Samsung offerings were cut.  

Sounds like early adopters will be party to the growing pains - but it appears that Google and its partners are not just idly standing by this novel Web appliance. 

And I mean "appliance," as the Chromebook looks and operates alot like what I've long imagined a laptop as a toaster.  No, not to make toast, but to grab it and it starts working in the time it takes your toaster to start heating up. 
Now, let me add that the Chromebook is a laptop-like device with a keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, a slot for SD flash memory cards and a 16 GB SSD hard drive installed.  The operating system is Google's ChromeOS, which gets updates automatically.  All sorts of Web apps are available online, like Netflix & Facebook.  The Chromebook will connect to the Internet via WiFi for free or the optional 3G upgrade (along with a contract with a 3G wireless provider like Verizon).

No antivirus software required.  Now do I have your attention?

The Chromebook boots fully in under ten seconds, and wakes up from sleep mode in under two seconds.  Do I still have your attention?  Oh, I had you at "no antivirus software required." 

Just to be sure, check Samsung's realtime video clip for evidence here (at 0:22 & 0:39, respectively - Samsung's clip found on

Need just a keyboard and the Web?  Here's what the world is saying about the Web-only laptop called the Chromebook.  Click on each image to go to the article or review.

1st, from Jason Gilbert at the Huffington Post online:

Dana Wollman at Engaget seems to like it:

For ZDNet, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols blogs about some key areas for improvement:

Joe Wilcox used a Chromebook exclusively for a month - August - "I shacked up with Chromebook":

Richard Lawler wrote, also for Engadget, Netflix Watch Instantly streaming now works on ChromeOS, when it's working.  His article illustrates how exciting when an anticipated feature becomes available, and how frustrating when it still needs a few tweaks.

Then Joe Wilcox announces I'm giving up Google Chromebook  where he succinctly states, "It's a bittersweet goodbye, but some journeys end so others can begin."

Safe to say that the current crop of Chromebooks are not the instant sensation & polished product that the first iPod was.  A fast enough and reliable wireless connection will make the Chromebook more pleasing to the user.

But the question remains - how much better can improve the overall Chromebook experience get by (a) upgrades to ChromeOS and (b) new and improved apps without having to replace the hardware.  You too?  Who isn't!   

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Done with Facebook? Click below....

Facebook has a waiting period after you request that your account be deleted.  But you need to request it, first.  Ready?  Click the image to shut down your Facebook profile.

Opens the Facebook "Delete Account" page

Your profile will not be visible during the waiting period.  You'll probably get a note as the time draws nigh from the wistful programmers at Facebook begging you to relent and maintain your presence in their universe. 

Have you developed any Facebook pages?  Something to think about before deleting that profile.  Confused by page/profile terminology?  Probably haven't created a page.  E-mail me at if you're not sure - before deleting your profile.

The millions of Facebook users will be sad to see you go...    :^(