News Ticker

New Online Services Showcased At Demo Show

February 6, 2007

by Larry Magid   Palm Desert, Calif., Feb. 2, 2007         Every year, about 700 tech industry insiders gather in the desert to look at new products. The event, which is in its 17th year, is called Demo because it’s an opportunity for companies to demonstrate their wares. Before they make it to the Demo stage and exhibit hall, companies and their products have to be [...]

Turn a PC into a Personal Video Recorder

February 6, 2007

By Larry Magid Special to the Mercury News TV tuners for PCs have been around for more than a decade, but until recently they have been of questionable use. When I first reviewed a PC tuner back in the early 1990s, I wondered why anyone would want one when all they did was turn an expensive computer into an inexpensive TV set. But things have changed and they’re about to change even more. [...]

What Parents Can Do About Online Safety

February 6, 2007

November 13, 2006 It should come as no surprise that parental involvement is the key to keeping kids safe online. You can lecture your kids, you can install filters to block objectionable websites, you can spy on your kids and you even can try to keep your kid off the Internet, but none of those tactics are as effective as engaging them in conversation about what they’re doing online. This [...]

Looking At Microsoft’s New Vista

January 23, 2007

Jan. 23, 2007 V-Day was Tuesday, Jan. 30. That’s the day Microsoft ships its consumer versions of Vista, the latest iteration of Microsoft Windows. I know the 30th is a Tuesday because I just typed the word “calendar” into the Vista search box and up popped Vista’s new calendar program, which along with its e-mail and contact management software is almost like getting a [...]

Gadgets and Services To Get You Organized In 2007

January 1, 2007

Jan. 1, 2007 Another year, and another chance to get organized. Whether you’re getting ready to prepare last year’s tax return, planning to keep better records this year or just want to avoid a potential data disaster, the good news is that there are tech products that can help you. Let’s start with financial record keeping. If you’re not already using online banking, give it a try. I [...]

SoonR helps link your cell to computer

December 25, 2006

by Larry Magid Special to the Mercury News December 25, 2006 As I’ve said in the past, cell phones are evolving into pocket-size computers. But now, thanks to a free service from Campbell-based SoonR, you can use any Web-enabled cell phone to access data and some applications that are running on your regular-size PC or Mac. SoonR, which you can access at, allows you to use [...]

How Much Is That Cell Phone?

December 19, 2006

by Larry Magid Dec. 19, 2006 Cell phones are popular holiday gifts but before you buy a friend or family member the latest cool phone, think about what your cell phone gift can give (i.e., what can it do?) and what it can take away (how much will it cost to own and use).Carriers can give you a subsidy if you bundle the phone with service or extend your (or your recipient’s) contract, [...]

Navigating The HDTV Jungle

November 28, 2006

by Larry Magid Nov. 28, 2006 As prices for high definition television finally begin to descend from the stratosphere, the question for many people this year – rather than whether to buy one – is which one to buy.That’s not an easy question to answer because, along with many brands, there are many types of high-def technology from which to choose. There are high-def versions of [...]

Fusion lets user share digital world

November 27, 2006

By Larry Magid Special to the Mercury News November 27, 2006 If you work for a big company, chances are there is a computer server somewhere that lets you share files with colleagues and, perhaps, gives you remote access through a virtual private network. With Maxtor Solutions’ Fusion ( you can do the same for your home network. Fusion is a network storage device, [...]

Here Comes Vista

October 22, 2006

Like it or not, Windows users are going to have to adapt to a new version of the ubiquitous operating system. Of course you’re not required to upgrade your existing PC to Windows Vista when the operating system comes out early next year, but if you get a new PC, chances are it will come with [...]
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