Thursday, April 25, 2013

What a great combination! Running/walking and Beethoven! Thanks to Monika for passing this fun event along! Details below:

Can you?
Will you?.........
Beat Beethoven?

The Kennett Symphony of
Chester County Presents
1st Annual
Beat Beethoven!
5K Run/1 Mile Walk

Thursday, July 18th, 2013, 6:30pm
Radley Run Country Club

Have fun and support the Kennett Symphony at the same time!  Join us for our 1st Annual Beat Beethoven! 5K Run/1 Mile Walk.  The object of the race is to finish before Beethoven's famous 5th Symphony finishes.  Beethoven himself will also be running, so keep an eye out for him and make it your goal to finish ahead of him!  This event is for all ages and abilities of runners and walkers.  Be sure to bring your friends, family and fellow music lovers!

Save the date, register now, and plan to join us on July 18th!

For more details and to register, please visit

All proceeds to benefit the Kennett Symphony of Chester County.

PO Box 72
Kennett Square, PA 19348
(610) 444-6363

Creating ISO Images

Ok - so in the previous article we talked about some ways you can live without a physical optical drive in your new computer. However there are still some tasks that require a little trickery on your part. This is an example of when a human being must out think a mere computer. What do you do if the task you are trying to accomplish, such as installing an application wants a real - honest to goodness disc?   

The Solution is Creating ISO Images

You might think that software on a disc could be copied straight away. The disc contains the software, right?

Not exactly. Discs contain an installer, which isn’t the same as the software itself. To make matters even worse, some software installed from a disc will need the disc inserted to function. That will be a problem if the software is installed on a PC with no optical drive.
The solution is known as a disc image (or .ISO) file. It’s a single file containing everything that was on a disc and packed up so that it acts exactly like a disc when opened by the appropriate software.

Windows doesn’t have the ability to make and use .ISO files on its own, so you’ll need to download third-party software. There are some great free options available like ISODisk (to create .ISO files) and VirtualCloneDrive (to mount them). These utilities will help you make the .ISO and then mount it into a “virtual drive,” which tricks your computer into thinking the .ISO file is a disc in an optical drive.
Screenshot of ISODisk in action.
You’ll also need to use .ISO if you want to reinstall Windows. You can do this by using one of the above tools to make an .ISO of your Windows install disc, and then, using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, mount that file on a USB drive. Note that you must use the tool; simply dragging the .ISO file into the USB drive’s storage won’t work.

A Note about Storage Space
When you buy a new computer that lacks a disc drive you are forcing all of your data to your computer’s hard disk. This may or may not be a problem, depending on the size of your existing media and software collection.

An average Ultrabook on sale today comes with a 500GB hard drive. That’s a lot of space, but it can also go quickly. A drive of this size can handle just 60 uncompressed DVDs. Think about the size of your physical media collection and whether you want to rip all of it, or just some. An external hard drive will be necessary if your collection is large, and that adds another $60 to $180 (depending on capacity) to your tab.
Some computers come with small, fast solid-state drives. These score well in our reviews because of their incredible performance, but are hampered by limited capacity. If you purchase a new PC with such a drive, you should plan on also buying an external optical drive, an external hard drive, or both.

Ditching the optical drive is not for everyone. Consumers who don’t have and can’t access fast Internet will find them annoying, and budget buyers will find the necessary extras – like an external hard drive – irritating.

There are many advantages to going digital, but don’t forget the disadvantages. It’s important to not feel pressured to move away from discs because they’re considered outdated. Ditching the disc has hidden costs and can take more effort than some users find worthwhile.

Hey, There's No CD in There!

If you have purchased a new laptop recently, especially a notebook, ultrabook or even a good sized tablet you probably realized right away, "Hey there is no CD drive in there!"  CD drives are in fact starting to become less relevant as consumers demand smaller and lighter form factors from their computing devices. This desire for small devices in conjunction with fast and dependable network/internet connections makes this all expected and logical.

Physical Discs are in the process of becoming extinct.

Computers without a disc drive aren’t so different. Let's talk about why all of this is no big deal.
First. Can you really download everything? The answer is yes … if your Internet connection is up to the challenge. This is the first item to check before turning your back on physical media.

Let’s imagine that you want to watch a movie on a new Ultrabook. Since you have no disc drive, you decide to buy the movie from iTunes or Amazon. You opt for the HD version, so the file size is about 4GB.
If you’re on a 10 megabit per second (Mbps) connection, and the actual speed of the connection is close to what was advertised, the file will take about an hour to download. If you speed at home is 20 Mbps your download time will be reduced by half. The faster your internet speed the faster the download will be. That is not bad.

Reduce the speed to 6 Mbps, however, and the download will be closer to two hours. A connection of 2 Mbps extends the download to over four hours, and a person on a 0.5 Mbps line could start the download before leaving for work, only to find it not yet complete when he returns home.
Solving the Internet issue is an important step, but it doesn’t address the other big problem: What should you do with your DVD collection?

Second. Buy an external optical drive. Optical drives are boring commodity hardware and inexpensive. Before picking one up make sure that it supports "read and write". Also make sure the drive supports Blu-ray if you want to watch HD movies from a disc. These external drives connect via a USB connection and just about all of these computing devices still come with these connections, except of course for Apple's iPAD.

The second way to deal with physical CDs and DVDs is to create digital copies, or ISO images. This is a little more complicated so I will cover that procedure in a future article. 

To Be Continued...

Monday, April 22, 2013

CitySourced is Coming Soon!

Coming Soon......

It's about to get a whole lot more interactive around here!
There are some very exciting interactive and engaging tools just around the corner for the community in the Borough of West Chester.

IPad or Surface - Early Considerations

With the release of Windows 8 tablets the already crowded market for your tablet money just became a lot more confusing. So if you are thinking about investing in a new tablet should your choice be Apple’s iPad or something else? Well that is a good question and to make the decision even harder for you here are my thoughts regarding reasons to buty an iPad and reasons why not to.

An iPad or Surface? Tough Choices.

 Reasons You May Want an iPad

1.  I personally have never read an entire book on my iPad but I do read magazines with the Zinio app. I also read the daily newspapers with Press Reader app. Both of these work great on the iPad.

2.Gaming. The iPhone became a surprise hit among gamers, or at least expanded the market to include lots of previous non-gamers. The iPad is obviously optimized for the gaming experience.

3.The iPad makes it easy to share media. With Apple TV streaming movies and music to your television is seemless. It is also just the right size for sharing up-close and the lack of a keyboard makes the iPad easier to handle than a notebook.

4.Applications.  No one has more "apps" available then Apple. It seems eveyone has an IPad or iPhone app these days so if you like the simplicity of these apps the iPad will work for you.

5. The iPad is an obvious winner and one of the biggest success stories in the technology world, so it is not going anywhere.

Reasons You May NOT Want an iPad

1. The wrong screen. It’s not clear why Apple didn’t choose a 16:9 aspect ratio, the standard for widescreen entertainment, but not doing so makes the iPad much less interesting for watching movies. The Microsoft Surface as well as many Android tablets have much better displays.

2. It’s not much of a work machine. The Microsoft Surface is incredibly superior here. Maybe it isn’t even fair to ask a device so well-tuned for entertainment, like the iPad to work at the office too. The Surface Pro has the ability to run any Windows application inclusing of course Microsoft Office.

3. If you are primarily looking for an e-book reader and you do not need all the other features, a Kindle or Nook offer better battery life for e-reading.

4. The iPad is a “tweener,” in the best sense of the word. It is not a computer, laptop nor is it an ultrabook. The iPad lacks the functionality of a notebook and the convenience of smartphone. The iPad may be just one more thing to haul around if you already carry a notebook, which it doesn’t come close to replacing. Once again this is another area where Microsoft’s Surface shines. Earlier this year I was able to travel with only my Surface tablet. No laptop had to go with me for the first time in at least a decade.

There are many more reasons, both pro and con, regarding an iPad purchase but the best one may be the simplest: What do you want to do with your tablet? If it is basically for recreational use including basic functions such as email and internet surfing the iPad is probably a good choice. If you have bigger plans such as professional work, a Windows 8 tablet, especially Microsoft’s Surface may be the best consideration.

Cost Considerations

The iPad with Retina Display (128 GB) retails for $799 while the Microsoft Surface Pro with 128 GB goes for $999. Therefore is the extra $200 worth it to you? It all depends on you and what you are looking for from your tablet. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chairman Smitherman Tweets Bag of Deer Pellets Made in West, TX

Editor's Comment:  

We have no idea how tweeting a picture of a bag of deer pellets to the "Central Texas Sportsman" is supposed to provide any kind of comfort and help to fellow Texans in West, TX ~  following the catastrophic explosion that killed at least 14 first responders on Wednesday night. 

Here's the Tweet that Chairman Smitherman probably won't be making. 

Be sure to click on the Reuters link to read the story.



Thanks to GFLakeGasWatch, gardencatlady and Fishcreek Neighbor for tweeting about this with us today. We appreciate their concern and many others who retweeted and replied.  All of us want answers to what happened in West, TX.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cyber Criminals Looks Towards Mobile

Worms Like Mobile Too.
Symantec’s 18th annual Internet Security Threat Report is was issued yesterday. The report reveals that cyber criminals are increasingly scouring the Web for personal details in order to target their attacks. Armed with your information they can exploit security gaps in social networks and other sites to infect your system or steal your details.

It is no longer just your PC that’s at risk either; the report shows an alarming 58 percent increase in attacks on mobile devices with just under a third of these aimed at stealing data without the user’s knowledge. Android is the most targeted mobile platform as its open source nature makes it easier to hide malware in apps. Apple users receives a bas news as well because the report notes more than 600,000 Mac systems were infected by a single attack last April.

When it comes to the types of threat, the growth of ransomware continues with infections becoming more aggressive and harder to undo. I have written articles many times regarding ransomware threats and sadly I believe this trend will continue.

Another very scary statistic is that 61 percent of malicious sites are actually legitimate websites that have been compromised so you may be at risk even if you think you’re practising safe surfing.

Another alarming piece of information is the news this week issued by Microsoft that they believe 24 percent of all PCs are not protected by virus software today. This is bad for everyone because users who do not protect their PCs are the first ones to get infected and often complicate and threaten even PCs that are protected. I have written several articles in the past regarding free anti virus solutions so there is really no excuse for this.  You can learn about Microsoft's free anti-virus solution in my early article dated October 3, 2012.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Malware Alert

In an unbelievable turn of events and another example of just how far some cyber criminals will go to inflict misery on our computers it has been discovered that cybercriminals have exploited interest in the breaking news story of the explosions at the Boston Marathon by spreading malware.
Messages spammed out by attackers claim to contain a link to video footage of Monday's terrorist activity in Boston, with subject lines such as "2 Explosions at Boston Marathon".
Other subject lines used in the campaign include:
  • Aftermath to explosion at Boston Marathon
  • Boston Explosion Caught on Video
  • Video of Explosion at the Boston Marathon 2013

  • If you make the mistake of clicking on the link, however, you are taken to a website which - while showing you genuine YouTube videos of the horrific incident - attempts to infect your computer with a Windows Trojan horse that Sophos products detect as Troj/Tepfer-Q.
    If installed, the malware makes changes to the Registry and installs the following files, allowing hackers to gain remote access to infected computers:
    The file NPF.sys is registered as a new service named "NPF", with a display name of "WinPcap Packet Driver (NPF)".
    Clearly, there are no depths to which cybercriminals are not prepared to stoop in their hunt for victims.
    The sick truth is that malware authors and malicious hackers lose no sleep about exploiting the deaths of innocent people in their attempt to infect computers for the purposes of stealing money, resources and identities.
    Remember to be on your guard against such tactics. Maybe it's time to get your news from legitimate news websites rather than an unsolicited email which arrives in your inbox?
    If you would like to watch videos from the Boston tragedy you should go to a respected news source directly such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or CNN. Do not click on unsolicted links in your email.

    Contacting Loved Ones in Times of Tragedy

    Monday's tragedy got me thinking about different ways to contact our loved ones and friends during times like the one our country just went through in Boston. I especially thought about this when I was watching TV coverage of the event and and the reporters were reporting that the cellular network in the Boston area had been shut down.
    Disasters often strike without warning–and if you have loved ones in harm’s way, you’re going to want to get in touch with them. During tragedy’s like the one in Boston cell signals and land lines can be jammed with the massive amount of calls flowing in and out of an area. In addition just like on Monday officials may have the cellular service shut down.
    When tragedy strikes - just like in Boston we reach out to our smartphones.
     One of the advantageous of social media and smartphones is that there are more ways then ever before to communicate, outside of talking on the phone. Here are a couple of options for trying to reach out to others when disaster strikes.

    1.      First -Do not call! Leave the lines open for first responders.

    2.      Text.  Using text messages rather than voice calls helps to prevent network congestion. It requires a lot less data from the wireless networks as compared to voice.

    3.      Use Apps. While cell networks and phone lines are generally limited to one communication protocol, apps like Twitter and Facebook Messenger can reach out in many different ways.

    If you are the one in harm's way - what should you do?
    • Get to a hardwired data connection.If you’re in an affected area, a cable internet connection might be your best bet. These faster connections are made to handle large amounts of traffic.  There is also a long track record of reliable performance even during the worst of times.

    • Remember to contact someone! Email someone in your family, update your Facebook status or tweet your condition and whereabouts. Whether you’re totally fine or in desperate need of help, let the internet work for you.

    • Here is a great idea. Update your voicemail message. If you can make only one call, make it to your voicemail. Change your outgoing message, so when family, friends and co-workers try to contact you they will hear you’re updated voice mail message.

    Also – Always be Prepared

    When you are going out to a major event or simply traveling use a battery case for your smartphone. I use one of these whenever I travel. These batter cases or portable chargers will often provide you with 4x the battery life of the one in your phone. One of the best makers of all types and styles of battery cases and chargers is Mophie.

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    In Defense of Windows 8

    Even if you only vaguely pay attention to technology news you no doubt heard how PC sales are at an all-time low and that Windows 8 is the cause. I am here to defend Microsoft’s Windows 8 – sort of.

    It cannot be disputed that PC sales have been declining and in fact are indeed at an all-time low. Why this is a shock to everyone simply amazes me. If you look at this trend with a very broad scope – it is easy to explain and more importantly to be expected. Here are some facts to look at before reflecting on what is actually happening in the consumer market as we speak.
    Windows 8 appears in October 2012. As you can see PC sales were dipping long before that.
    During the early 1980’s the first low-cost home computers began to appear on the market. A price war began and home computers were soon showing up in homes across America. IBM PC clones began dominating the market by the late 1980’s. There were always rivals like Apple during this time period, however PC Clones were the easy choice for most people. By 2001 personal computers, running Microsoft’s Windows operating system were controlling the market. This dominance continued until the third quarter of 2008 when laptops made their first real (affordable) appearance in the consumer market. At the time computer sales had reached the one billion mark.

    Laptops date all the way back to 1976 however for the consumer these mobile computers became a true option in 2006 and 2007.  The appearance of truly affordable and usable laptops by mid-2008 is important because it marked the first time that personal computers had a true competitor, the laptop. Consumers now had a real choice when it was time to replace their old computer. Should they replace their PC with a laptop or purchase another PC? In fact the choice consumers were making regarding personal computers when provided options is clear as far back as this point in 2008. During the third quarter of 2008 laptops outpaced personal computers in sales.  Let’s be clear – Windows XP was the operating system at this time. Windows XP had nothing to do with the shift away from personal computers. I believe that the same can be said for Windows 8 today, but we will get to that later.

    The competition for sales is only beginning in 2008. Just like laptops, smartphones are older than you may think. The first actual prototype appeared in 1992 built by IBM. BellSouth than built one in 1994. Then Nokia premiered Nokia 9000 in 1996. As you can see smartphones have been around for quite awhile.  Companies including Palm, HP, Blackberry and even Windows were writing software for smartphones throughout the mid to late 1990’s. By the late 2000’s right around the time of the truly affordable laptop the popularity of smartphones was proven. Here you have the second competitor with personal computers.  

    Tablets like smartphones and laptops have a longer history then one might expect. Did you know that the first patent for a "tablet used for handwriting" was granted in 1888? That is not a typo. 1888 – Not 1988. For the purpose of keeping this article as short as possible lets jump ahead 122 years. You see it was here, in 2010 that Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s iPad. This was a disaster for personal computers. This is because many consumers simply do not need the complexity of computers. Many people only require the ability to access email, the internet, the ability to shop online, games and the ability to write letters and other documents. Apple’s iPad offered this. The operating system as this time running most computers was Windows 7. PC sales which had already been declining continued to do so. To make matters worse for PC sales Android tablets appeared in early 2011 followed by the Amazon Kindle in September of 2011 and in October 2012 Microsoft launched it's Surface tablet line. Tablets today are appearing in every size and shape imaginable.

    Fast forward to today as we near the end of this article. Today personal computers are at a crossroads and Microsoft is obviously very aware of this. Computing tools are all around us truly for the first time in history. Today consumers can choose personal computers, laptops, smartphones and now tabletsto meet their computing needs. Most consumers simply will not purchase “all of the above”.

    Microsoft also realizes that the way in which we use our computers is evolving, even if many consumers refuse to acknowledge it. Think about it. With the exception of most personal computers all of the devices I mentioned in this article have “touch screens”. There is no reason that computers cannot be used in this manner as well. This is why Windows 8 is designed in the way that it is. I believe that Microsoft sees a day in which we will use our smartphones, tablets and computers all in the same way and that all the devives we use will be synced together.

    Personal computers sales will never be what they once were. Let me be clear. In my humble opinion Windows 8 has very little to do with this so I really hope that people stop blaming it. Competition from within the digital market is the explanation. For many users a tablet or even a good smartphone meets their everyday digital needs.
    Windows 8 needs to and will improve as Microsoft’s development of it continues. But to blame the woes of computers sales on it is foolish, easy and wrong.

    So thereplease leave Windows 8 alone!

    WC Tech Blog @ Flipboard

    You can now subscribe to the "West Chester Technology Blog" through Flipboard. If you have an iPhone or IPad and you use Flipboard, simply click here (from those devices) to subscribe. Once done you can enjoy this fine technology blog right from the comfort of Flipboard.

    What is Flipboard? Flipboard makes use of iOS devices to transform blog posts, social networking feeds, images, video, and articles into an impressive layout that replicates the print reading experience, essentially putting traditional RSS readers out of business for most users.  If you recently heard that Google Reader was put out to pasture, know that this app and other similar ones are probably responsible.

    This is a great app for collecting material from topics you are interested in and placing them into a very readable - magazine like format. I am holding out hope that an official Flipboard app arrives to the Windows 8 store soon.

    The actual link to the West Chester Technology Blog for Flipboard connectivity is

    Yes - now you can enjoy this blog right from Flipboard!


    Clearing History & Cookies on iOS Devices

    It is important to keep your digital information secure - especially in this world of mobile computing. Did you know that mobile devices like iPhones and iPads store personal information in much the same way as computers do? If this is a shocking revelation to you don't worry it's not to late to do something about it.   

    It's Easy From Your Device (iPhone & iPad)

    Step 1: Open “Settings”.
    Step 2: Scroll down and tap on “Safari”.
    Step 3: Scroll down again and tap on each “Clear History”, “Clear Cookies and Data”.

    From this menu - simply select "Clear History" & "Clear Cookies and Data".


    Now that you did this - from time to time complete this simple task again. I would recommend especially doing this before lending your device to someone.

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    West Chester Connect

    Prepare to connect West Chester.....

    Connecting Is About To Get a Whole Lot Easier
    In the weeks to come an exciting new and engaging tool is planned for all of us.

    Stay tuned for more details shortly.

    Windows Blue?

    Windows 8 has been out for a short time and Microsoft has traveled a challenging and difficult road in it's attempt to get people to move from Windows 7 or even XP to it. This is simply because Windows 8 is a very different operating system from anything that came before. Windows 8 is built around the idea of "touch" and mobility. Windows 8 works best on tablets and touch screens. I have been using it almost exclusively since October 2012, both on touch and non-touch screens.

    For the most part I like it. However I am probably not the problem for Microsoft. I embrace change in technology and I quickly grow tired of using the same old thing. This probably explains why I dumped my IPhone earlier this year and moved to a Windows 8 phone.

    Anyway Microsoft obviously is not sitting on it's laurels with 8 and an upgrade is rumored to be arriving shortly. Details recently emerged regarding "Windows Blue", an upgrade to Windows 8.

    Early reports show the interface will allow for gesture controls and locking apps side-by-side.

    This seems to indicate the new version of Windows will once again be mobile-device centered.

    "Windows Blue" if that is it's final release name, demonstrates what I believe in the long run is a smart bet on Microsoft's side.

    And that is that computing is going mobile in the not to distant future.

    Passwords from the Federation

    If you are a regular reader of this fine tech blog or perhaps if you are a co-worker, a friend, an acquaintance or simply someone who runs into me regularly then your surely know I am a Trekkie. This love of all things Star Trek of course resulted in the use of countless Star Trek related passwords. Recently I made an effort to change all my passwords, as I have often recommended right here. One of my efforts is to not use Star Trek related passwords any longer. That being said there are many great ones out there and here are a couple very cool Star Trek passwords.


    Yes this is the most basic of Trek passwords. I have used this one fore more accounts then I want to admit. NCC-1701 is, of course, the registry number of the Constitution Class USS Enterprise.   


    Many non-Star Trek fans know “NCC-1701". Accepting this let's jump ahead a few years – and a few successful series – and use the registry of Voyager as a solid ship-based password.


    TNG's first season introduced the Bynars.  These weird Boolean-based li'l aliens strive at completing dangerous computer upgrades. 11001001 was the name of a file they stored within the Enterprise's computer to aid them in transferring massive amounts of data. It was also the name of the episode and, if someone isn't a Trek fan, it makes a pretty good password out of only two numbers.


    In the episode “Court Martial,” Captain James T. Kirk reads into the record his long string of commendations. In addition to these accolades, we learn his serial number as well.


    Earlier in the very same episode, we learn some great details about Mr. Spock. In addition we also discover his serial number (not quite as long, so perhaps not as secure).


    When find another great password from watching "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home". If you ever get caught red handed gathering photons from a nuclear wessel, this code is all you have to give the interrogating officer. When Pavel Chekov wasn't able to beam away from the USS Enterprise in time (no, not THAT Enterprise, a different Enterprise) he figured honesty was the best policy. He gave his name rank and service number – baffling everyone with talk of the United Federation of Planets.


    What we have here is the four-part spoken codes for the auto-destruct sequence of the Enterprise. As first divulged in TOS's season three episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” the first part is given by the Captain, the second section from the second in command, and the third part by third in command. Then, the last bit is given by the Captain to kick off the 30-second countdown.


    When Kirk and Spock beamed down to the mental asylum on Elba II in the episode "Whom Gods Destroy" for some reason they decided to create a secret code to communicate back with the Enterprise. It was almost as if they knew that Garth of Izar  would be there and that he would have mastered the Antosian art of cellular manipulation.

    Scotty's first part of the code is “Queen to Queen's Level Three,” a move in Tri-D chess. The proper response is “Queen to King's Level One.”


    You can't keep a Vulcan from the koon-ut-kal-if-fee during pon farr, and you can't keep a Soong-type android away from the call of its creator. The episode “Brothers” shows Data taking control of the ship and using Picard's voice to lock-out others from the computer. The above code, the most hardcore of alphanumeric codes in the history of television, would take 8.467×1080 combinations to break. This one should therefore be reserved for only the most important security measures.


    Nog was the first Ferengi in Starfleet, so this means he was the first Ferengi to memorize a number that didn't have to do with maximizing profit. In the episode “Rocks and Shoals” he begins blurting out his serial number but, by the time he gets to the second dash, he's told to shut up by none other than Elim Garak! As such, we never hear the end of his code. Therefore, it is up to YOU to finish it, hence making it the most unbreakable password ever.

    Ok that's a lot of very cool Star Trek passwords. I have used a couple of them myself in the past but you will never get me to tell you which ones.

    Original article and much of the content for this article originated at

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Don't Click That Link!

    It seems to me that I have been spending a lot of my time working on staff computers infected by Trojan horses and other cyber baddies. Why is this problem growing? I wish I knew. However I wanted to take the time to post one of the most important things you can do to avoid infecting your PC.

    Don't click strange links!

    If you get an email from a friend or other associate that has several people attached and the email contains a strange looking link, chances are they were hacked. I would contact your friend other then through their email and ask them if they sent it. If they did not, have them read this post and then change their passwords.

    I said passwords, as is in, more then one. That is because once someone has access to your email account, they could potentially gain access to your other online accounts.

    Here is just one example of what can happen if you email account is hacked. Once your email is hacked the hacker could gain access to your email account and browse through your emails to find an email from your bank. They then go to your bank's website. The first thing they'll try doing is using your email password in case you used the same password for your email as for your bank. If that doesn't work, then they'll try the forgot password feature and within a minute they could have access to your bank account. If this happens your computer problems could quickly turn into financial problems.

    I cannot stress this enough. If you are not sure of where the email came from and that it is legitimate do not click on any of it's links. Simply delete the message and take a deep breath.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    What's Taking Up All That Hard Drive Space?

    If you have a hard drive that is quickly approaching capacity, sorting through the files and folders for the ones taking up the most space can be a really time-consuming process. Finding large unnecessary files can be a trying and time consuming task.... and frustrating.  I found a free application that helps with this.

    Folders are sorted from largest to smallest in file size after the scan is complete. You can then browse through the folders looking for space eating hogs.

    For help identifying space hogs, turn to Jam Software's  TreeSize Free, which is available for Windows. Once downloaded and installed I would suggest selecting "Launch TreeSize Free as Administrator". Select "Finish" and Launch the program. The application will then go to scan automatically. If you have more then one drive you will need to select the drive letter you want to scan. and select the drive you want to take a look at. The application shows you, in gigabytes, megabytes, and kilobytes, how big each folder is, ranked from most to least.

    One of the nice things you can do with TreeSize Free is drill down into subfolders to see what sort of space is being taken up. If I want to right click on a folder and see what the files are like or delete them. 

    A word of caution friends. As always be sure you don't need the file before deleting it.

    Windows Phone & Facebook - Good Together

    Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg announced “Facebook Home,” a launcher for Android phones. It basically turns any Android phone into a Facebook phone, and they even announced a new phone called the HTC First that will run it out of the box. Mark Zuckerberg talked a lot about making phones about people instead of apps. Sounds like a good idea, right?

    First - It drives me crazy that companies like Facebook feel obligated to sell their product to only one company. This has been going on for years and I guess this is just the latest example of the problem. There has also been a rumor that Facebook is working on their own smartphone as well. I for one would never actually use a "Facebook Phone" and the new exclusive to Android "Facebook Home" app sounds like this could almost turn your smartphone into one.

    However you can have a nice trade-off between your social life and your smartphone without going all in on Facebook. I know this because I believe one of the things that the Windows Phone has gotten right is their "people integration". I don't think this is what Microsoft calls it but it is how I have started referring to it.

    Since it's launch Microsoft has made Windows Phone all about people. This has been a common point of emphasis from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8. By connecting your Windows Phone to your Facebook account your friends, recent photos, posts, and more are right on your home screen.
    Facebook on my Home Screen. Facebook Photos also appear on the "Live" Photos Tile. The Facebook tile here is in it's small form. The Photos tile in it's medium form.

    In Windows Phone you can pin friends to the Start screen. You can see Facebook photos right in the Pictures app. Facebook Messenger can be used in the same app as your regular text messaging. Plus, if you happen to use more than just Facebook for social networking (like most people) you can see all of that stuff too. Zuckerberg isn’t making Android phones about people, he is making them about Facebook friends. Most of us don’t just have friends on Facebook.

    The "People" app slides right or left allowing the user to easily go to sections such as "what's new", "recent", "together" and "all". "Together" is where you can create groups such as "family", "work" or "friends". This allows you to set up with the ability to send "group messages" quickly.
    The Windows phone also interrogates all of your social media accounts into your "People" app. This is where you can look up phone numbers, make calls, send text messages and even read through everyone's most recent activity on social accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

    Another place where Facebook is smoothly interrogated with the Windows Phone is "photos". Opening the "photos" app not only shows the "camera roll" but each of your "Facebook albums" as well. This is a great way if just want to browse you Facebook photos or if you are looking for something specific.

    So as you can see, the big "Facebook Home" announcement yesterday for the new Android phone is a big "blah" to anyone using a Windows Phone.

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    SkyDrive Gets a iOS Boost

    If you are looking for "free" cloud storage check out Microsoft's SkyDrive. I have been a fan of this product since it's launch in August 2012. You can sign up at The web interface is well designed and easy to use. Once you have a SkyDrive account you can link it to your Microsoft Office products for fast and convenient access anywhere. If you want more SkyDrive apps are available on most platforms. A free account will get you 7 GB of storage. You can upgrade from there if you want.
    Yesterday, April 3 Microsoft released a much needed upgrade for iOS. This upgrade was delayed due to legal haggles between Apple & Microsoft and I am glad to find that an agreement between the two huge corporations was found. SkyDrive is in many ways superior to Dropbox.

    Microsoft's announcement yesterday included:

    "Today, we're excited to release v3.0 of the SkyDrive app for iOS that includes improved photo features, an updated UI, and a number of other new features and enhancements. You can install or update the SkyDrive app for iOS now via iTunes," Microsoft stated in an official blog post.
    Microsoft has finally released this app for iOS after issues with Apple centering around a 30% revenue cut that Apple wanted if users were to purchase additional storage for their SkyDrive accounts via the SkyDrive app. Looks like Microsoft settled this issue but details of what took place behind closed doors remain a mystery. Who knows what Microsoft agreed upon to allow Apple to make this app happen.

    "We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers. The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app," Microsoft revealed in a statement.

    So what's new in 3.0? Microsoft has added support for the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, as well as updated the app icons and user experience. There is a better photo managing experience and improved opening and sharing of files. Microsoft has also made many other small changes, bug fixes, and performance improvements.

    I am holding out hope that Microsoft adds media player support so that music can ne played directly from your SkyDrive account. Rumor is that this is in the works so keep your fingers crossed.

    Check out SkyDrive at

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    "This Gas Is So Clean...It Goes Directly to the Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant in Dallas." ~ Tom Blanton, Trinity East

    Irving, TX City Council. Thank you.

    Go to 8:00 to Hear the Dr. Pepper Declaration from Tom Blanton of Trinity East/EXPRO Engineering/Keystone Exploration. Listen to ALL of this Irving, TX City Council Meeting Briefing 2 weeks ago ~ if you can. It may open your eyes to some gas-industry spin that has successfully managed to "get it done" all across North Texas.  We note how Mr. Blanton refers to "The Luna Site," [sic] as if it's already been approved by the City of Dallas. 

    (The day after this March 20, 2013 meeting, the Dallas City Plan Commission voted down the 3 Permits once again. 8-7; 9-6; and 9-6.  The Dallas City Council will now need to have 12 votes out of 15 to approve these permits. That vote has NOT been scheduled at this time.)

    This was by far some of the best questioning of the industry we've heard by a City Council in the Barnett Shale ~ and all of it in broad daylight!

    Note: Mr. Blanton refers to a "Perfect Seal" at around 20 Minutes. And how there is "no way that a fresh water zone could have been contaminated by a production casing failure."  Oh, and at 22 minutes be sure to hear Mr. Blanton tell Councilman Gallaway how many wells Trinity East has drilled IN TOTAL. Be amazed. It's all quite revealing. 

    According to Mr. Blanton, Trinity East wants to drill and frack 60 shale gas wells on 3 Sites at the borderline of Irving and Dallas in Dallas City Limits. This includes construction of a Processing Plant and/or a Refinery 1/2 mile from North Hills Prep in Irving and at the Northwest Entryway to the City of Dallas.

    In Summary:  Trinity East has drilled a total of 12 wells in the Barnett Shale and 100 wells in Texas.  Two (2) wells were drilled at the border of Irving and Dallas by Trinity East in 2008 and 2009, respectively.  The Dallas Lease's well FAILED. Trinity East now wants approval (from Dallas) to drill up to 60 wells (in the Trinity floodplain) after having that production casing FAILURE (during fracking) at 3400 Tom Braniff in 2009.


    See this previous Westchester Gasette blog post about the Trinity East "FRAC Job" casing failure.