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PC Rescue Newsletter September 2008

We've a busy month ahead with the NSW Small Business Month just starting and the Victorian one just complete so this month's newsletter is short and sweet.

The month has kicked off with a few new products on the market. Google have a new browser and Apple have released a new iTouch and an upgrade to iTunes.

Apple's new products

The industry generally goes into a collective faint when Apple release new products and it's no different with the latest iTouch and iTunes software.

So far the reviews have been good, but we'd caution, as always, to be careful when buying the latest model on the market. As we saw with the iPhone It's best to wait a few weeks until the hype as died down and any bugs have been found. You'll usually find it's a bit easier on your wallet as well.

Computer services

Need a computer tech? We can get technicians to help you with your home and office computer problems anywhere in Australia.

If you need a new computer set up, a virus removed or would just like to make sure your computer is running as it should be, we can help you.

Call 1300 798 957 and our call centre can arrange a visit or online service.

Google Chrome

Another company that brings out hot flushes with the tech crowd is Google. Their long rumoured web browser was finally released last week with a very unusual press release.

As experienced web surfers know, leaving a web browser open all day slows down your machine and if you have several pages open and one of them crashes, all of them go down.

Google Chrome has been designed from the ground up to avoid all of these problems. Naturally it takes advantage of all of Google's services.

While we're using it, and have found it to be fast and efficient, we have discovered a few sites don't play ball. The Australian is one that regularly crashes the browser.

This software is a beta and our policy is not to recommend test products to users. If you do choose to use it, be aware it may not have all of the bugs ironed out as yet.

Computer books

Who says you can't get a good computer manual? Our Dummies books are available online. If you want to learn more about your computer, we have the answers.

The current version of PCs for Dummies covers Vista computers and the earlier version covers Windows XP. So we can help you get the most from both versions of Windows.

Computer shops failing

Sydney's SecretNet is the latest of a string of computers dealers who are failing. This is because the industry is changing with consumers and business choosing either cheap systems or top end, high powered units. The dealers in the middle are getting cut out.

If you're looking at buying a computer. Right now it's probably best to stick with brand names, it's fine to buy them from the local small dealer.

One trap though are the warranties. A store bought warranty is only as good as the store itself. Make sure the warranty is provided by the manufacturer of the system

Speaking Services

PC Rescue's Managing director, Paul Wallbank, can help your business or community group get more from their technology. Contact us for more details

Topics include

Web 2.0: How you can get more on the net for free
The elder guru; exploding the myths of the digital divide.
Ten ways to revolutionise your business IT

What does it all mean? cutting through computer jargon.

Powerpoint disasters

Presentations almost always have some tech hiccups, most are trivial but some are major catastrophes.

Whether youíre doing it in front of 600 people at the Melbourne Town Hall or six of your nearest and dearest, you donít want the computer distracting from your message. Hereís 10 things to check before you stand up in front of an audience.

  • Check the power: Is the laptop plugged in and is the power on
  • Disable power saving and screen savers: A system kicking into sleep mode is irritating enough, but Iíve seen a presentation stop when a password protected screen saver came on and no-one in the room knew the word to unlock it.
  • Turn off all the power saving features or crank up the time settings to the maximum.
  • Turn off updates and scans: Run virus scans and system updates before the presentation. Turn off all scanners or update tools while you are presenting.
  • Donít run any unnecessary programs: Constant ďyouíve got mailĒ type noises are distracting, also you do not want an embarrassing instant message from your idiot brother-in-law popping up as you give your call to action.
  • Keep it simple: Exotic fonts and rare graphics increase the likelihood something will go wrong. Watch your image sizes too as well as many computers struggle with big graphics.
  • Test your presentation: Get to the venue early and test your show on the venueís system. Just because it works on your computer doesnít mean it will on someone elseís. This is particularly true if the venue uses a different presentation package to yours.
  • Clean up your system: If you are using your own system, give it a good clean out the day before. Clear out the browsing history just before the presentation.
  • Test your equipment before the show: If you are bringing your own technology such as mouse/pointer combo device, install it before you take the stage. The famous Bill Gates Blue Screen of Death when showing a preview of Windows 98 is the poster child for what can go wrong when you donít test beforehand.
  • Check your connections: Personally I like to avoid accessing the net during presentations, but if you need net access, check you have it before putting your show together and test it at the venue. Call for help: The moment you notice something not working right, raise the alarm. If something starts beeping or spewing toxic smoke, itís probably a good idea to let the organiser know about it before the sprinkler system goes off.

Of course good old Murphyís law applies whenever you stand up in front of an audience so you canít anticipate every glitch that can happen. But at least with these points you reduce the chance of something distracting the audience from that killer presentation you worked so hard preparing.

Jargon of the month: What is a blog?

We can't believe we haven't mentioned the word blog in our jargon buster. We've also added RSS, uPnP, port forwarding and updated a few other tech terms

A blog, or web blog, is simply an online diary. At first these were mainly sensitive souls describing their love lives or their cat's strange behaviour. But blogs have now evolved into a major news source.

The great advantage with blogs is they are quick and easy way to set up and publish a web page. Sites such as Wordpress and Blogger give everybody a quick and cheap way to get a web page running.

ABC Radio Spots

Our next Sydney 702 Weekend spot will be at 10am on September 14 where we'll be looking at the costs of a new computer. The next Nightlife is on Friday, September 19 at 10pm where we'll be talking about the new Internet domains.

If you'd like to offer any suggestions about topics or improvements to the shows please contact us.

Next month on the website

In October, we'll be looking at what you should be paying for a new computer and what specifications you should be looking for. If you have a topic you'd like us to discuss on the websites, Smart Company blog or the radio spots please contact us.

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©Technology Publishing Australia, 2008