Never forget to back up your files ever again. Now it’s easy and automatic.

Seagate® Replica™

* Back up your entire computer automatically.
* Take the work and maintenance out of backup.
* Have easy, instant access to accidentally deleted files.
* Effortless, automatic backup for everything on your PC, including the operating system, programs, and settings.
* No tedious installation, nothing to configure.
* Up to 250GB capacity for single PC and 500 GB for multiple PCs.
* USB 2.0.

Every file is perfectly safe.

From a little mistake to a major catastrophe, your files will always come back.

* Easily retrieve accidentally deleted files.
* Restore your entire system in the event of a PC crash.

No maintenance. No hassle.

There’s nothing to forget to do. So everything is always safe.

* Password protection ensures that only you have access to your computer’s backed up files.
* Replica automatically removes the oldest versions of files to free space.
* Five-year limited warranty.
* Multi-PC version includes a convenient vertically standing dock.

Weighing in at less than a pound and only slightly larger than a pack of cards, this featherweight device manages to pack quite a punch.

The Replica comes with bare-bones software and strikes a good balance between peace of mind and individual-user control. Seagate provides a USB 2.0 cable, recovery guide and recovery CD.

After the hard drive is plugged in, it checks for updates to the Replica software, downloads the most current version and starts mirroring your computer’s content. The startup process is short, taking only a couple of minutes, though the actual backup is a time-gobbling endeavor taking about 4 hours to transfer 130 GB of data. A blue light on the top of the Replica’s case blinks continuously while data is being transferred, making it easy for you to go about your other business while it works in the background. It’s also stealthy for a hard drive, emitting only a quiet whir when working at full speed.

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/replica/

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Shop online? You may have been ripped off – OC Watchdog : The Orange County Register

Shop online? You may have been ripped off

November 18th, 2009, 12:06 pm · posted by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer

So you’re booking your flight, or ordering your movie tickets, or paying for your pizza online. It’s a mainstream web site. No worries.

You type in your credit card information, click the “purchase” button, and enjoy your flight/movie/pizza. But a few months later, mystery charges of $10 to $20 a month appear on your bank statement, for membership in a club you have no memory of joining.

Surprise! You’ve been a victim of consumer fraud – thanks to that web site you trusted.

The practice is pervasive, and has cost unsuspecting consumers $1.4 billion, according to “Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers,” an investigative report released Tuesday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. (You can read the full report here: online-ripoffs; and can find supporting documents here.)

Companies named in the report – and apparently profiting on the scam – include 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.; AirTran Holdings, Inc.; Classmates.com, Inc.; Continental Airlines, Inc.; FTD, Inc.; Fandango, Inc.; Hotwire, Inc.; Intelius, Inc.; MovieTickets.com, Inc.; Orbitz Worldwide, Inc.; Pizza Hut, Inc.; Priceline.com, Inc.; Redcats USA, Inc.; Shutterfly, Inc.; US Airways Group, Inc.; and VistaPrint USA, Inc. (But that’s not all of them; there are many, many, many more.)

How does the scam work? Consider the experience of Chris Steffen of Los Angeles, who bought movie tickets through Movietickets.com in April 2007.

“I‘m not sure how or when this happened and I‘m sure part of it is oversight or my own fault,” Steffen wrote in a complaint. ”But somehow through the purchasing of movie tickets through your site I was signed up for Reservation Rewards and charged 10 dollars a month membership for multiple months. This means that when I ordered tickets through your service, the cost to me was not only the price of the tickets, but the inadvertent cost of being enrolled in a service plan I was not aware of.”

Read the rest of the article here –  Shop online? You may have been ripped off – OC Watchdog : The Orange County Register.

Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say • The Register

Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say

No repairs for “biohazard” Macs

By Cade Metz in San Francisco

Posted in PCs & Chips, 22nd November 2009 06:13 GMT

A Mac user claims that Apple voided her warranty and refused to repair her machine because it was “contaminated” with cigarette smoke.

The claim mirrors a similar report from last year, when another user complained that the Jobsian cult wouldn't service a system due to the “health risks of secondhand smoke.”

Both complaints arrive by way of The Consumerist, a site obsessed with consumer empowerment. According to the site, the claims come from separate parts of the country and were reported more than a year apart.

In each case, the site says, an Apple service center agreed to repair a machine before telling the owner repairs were not possible because the system contained some sort of smoke residue. “They informed me that his computer can't be worked on because it’s contaminated,” wrote one woman in a complaint about Apple’s treatment of the iMac her son used.

“When I asked for an explanation, she said he’s a smoker and it’s contaminated with cigarette smoke which they consider a bio-hazard! I checked my Applecare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker. The Applecare representative said they defer to the technician and my son’s computer cannot be fixed at any Apple Service Center due to being listed a bio-hazard.”

Indeed, the warranty does not include mention of either secondhand smoke or biohazards. It does say that the plan does not cover “damage to the covered equipment caused by…extreme environment,” but both Consumerist claims indicate systems failures weren’t necessarily related to smoke residue. One user even says that smoke residue was falsely identified.

Both users appealed directly to the office of Steve Jobs. According to one, the office confirmed that the cult would not repair machines showing signs of smoke residue. “[A person from Jobs' office] did advise me that nicotine is on OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]‘s list of hazardous substances and Apple would not require an employee to repair anything deemed hazardous to their health,” the user said.

Apparently, the Jobsian office worker contacted the Apple Store in question to see about a possible repair – before calling back to say it was out of the question. “[The worker] called me earlier this week to deliver the ‘bad news.’ She said that the computer is beyond economical repair due to tar from cigarette smoke! She said the hard drive is about to fail, the optical drive has failed and it isn’t feasible to repair the computer under the warranty.

“This computer is less than 2 years old! Only one person in my household smokes – one 21 year old college student. She said that I can get it repaired elsewhere at my expense. I asked why my warranty didn’t cover the repair and was told it’s an OSHA violation.”

via Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say • The Register.

Online Holiday Shopping Tips

The holiday season is approaching quickly and many of us will be shopping online. It’s important that consumers understand the potential security risks and know how to protect themselves and their information.
The following tips are provided to help promote a safe, secure online shopping experience:

  • Secure your computer. Make sure your computer has the latest security updates installed. Check that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and receiving automatic updates. If you haven’t already done so, install a firewall before you begin your online shopping.
  • Upgrade your browser. Upgrade your Internet browser to the most recent version available. Review the browser’s security settings. Apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.
  • Ignore pop-up messages. Set your browser to block pop-up messages. If you do receive one, click on the “X” at the top right corner of the title bar to close the pop-up message. If that doesn’t work, close your browser. Never accept a pop-up window’s notice that your computer is infected. That should only come from your installed and updated anti-virus program. What? You say you don’t have an anti-virus program? Read my previous post on that here.
  • Secure your transactions. Look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and be sure “https” appears in the website’s address bar before making an online purchase. The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates that the webpage is encrypted. Some browsers can be set to warn the user if they are submitting information that is not encrypted.
  • Use strong passwords. Create strong passwords for online accounts. Use at least eight characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters. Don’t use the same passwords for online shopping websites that you use for logging onto your home or work computer. Never share your login and/or password.
  • Do not e-mail sensitive data. Never e-mail credit card or other financial/sensitive information. E-mail is like sending a postcard and other people have the potential to read it.
  • Do not use public computers or public wireless to conduct transactions. Don’t use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Criminals may be monitoring public wireless for credit card numbers and other confidential information.
  • Review privacy policies. Review the privacy policy for the website/merchant you are visiting. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be used, and if it will be shared or sold to others.
  • Make payments securely. Pay by credit card rather than debit card. Credit/charge card transactions are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Cardholders are typically only liable for the first $50 in unauthorized charges. If online criminals obtain your debit card information they have the potential to empty your bank account.
  • Use temporary account authorizations. Some credit card companies offer virtual or temporary credit card numbers. This service gives you a temporary account number for online transactions. These numbers are issued for a short period of time and cannot be used after that period. – Read a nice article here on the use of virtual credit cards. Additionally, PayPal offers free disposable credit cards numbers. You can read about that here.
  • Select merchants carefully. Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust. Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. If you have questions about a merchant check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Keep a record. Keep a record of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and copies of every e-mail you send or receive from the seller. Review your credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges.

What to do if you encounter problems with an online shopping site:
If you have problems shopping online contact the seller or site operator directly. If those attempts are not successful, you may wish to contact the following entities:

the Attorney General’s office in your state
your county or state consumer protection agency
the Better Business Bureau at: www.bbb.org
the Federal Trade Commission at: www.ftc.gov/

For additional information about safe online shopping, please visit the following sites:

Dangerous “unpatchable” flaw discovered in Adobe Flash – TechSpot News

A newly discovered flaw in the Flash suite could put both users and servers at risk, according to some recent reports. Adobe has verified the hole, which lies inside any Flash-based application that allows people to upload their own content. Though some details are omitted, the flaw would allow someone to upload a malicious Flash object to a site, which in turn would be downloaded and processed by people visiting the site. According to one security expert, any site relying on user uploads through Flash could be vulnerable.

Adobe is contending that it is not entirely their issue. Other active scripting could also be made vulnerable, such as JavaScript or Silverlight, along with any site that relies on these to provide a mechanism for users to upload files. Because of that, Adobe said the problem is not fixable through a Flash update. Instead, it is on the shoulders of administrators whose servers use Flash. Adobe also suggests it is the responsibility of app developers to be security-minded and prevent this sort of thing from happening.

This isn’t the first severe flash flaw to emerge this year. Only a few months ago, a “critical” vulnerability was discovered and published. Earlier in the year, Adobe was tackling a host of other security issues with Flash as well. This newly-discovered vulnerability could prove to be the worst yet — and it doesn’t help that Adobe is claiming the flaw is “unpatchable”. A solution must be discovered, but it may be something that has to happen on a developer, browser or OS level instead of through Flash.

The only current defense users can employ against such attacks is to stop using Flash, or failing that, restrict its use to sites known to be safe with tools such as the NoScript add-on for Mozilla’s Firefox, or ToggleFlash for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

via Dangerous “unpatchable” flaw discovered in Adobe Flash – TechSpot News and
Flash flaw puts most sites, users at risk, say researchers

The “Noteable” Mousepad

Such a simple idea, but a wonderful one. Not sure if you have to wipe out the marks left by the mouse but if you keep your mouse to half of it, you can scribble on the other half and then just lift the top sheet to wipe it out and start again. And, it’s under $15.00

The Noteable Mousepad – http://www.quirky.com/products/9

Scratch-n-Scroll is a standard mousepad with an added writing surface. This mousepad is for all those times you are working at your desk and cant find a pen to jot down that phone number or list item you know you will forget later on.

Simply, write notes to yourself on your mouse pad using just the pressure from your finger or the built in plastic stylus as a “pen.” Cool thing is, just like your childhood toy the magic slate, you can erase the notes at any time simply by flipping up the semi-transparent top sheet.

Scratch-n-scroll maintains the slim portable design and scrolling surface you’ve come to expect of a standard mousepad, and works in conjunction with any optical / ball based computer mouse. It features a non-slip back pad ensuring that it stays put on your desktop while in use.

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Nokia Recalls 14 Million AC Adapters – Gearlog

Anyone who bought a Nokia cell phone recently listen up: Nokia has just launched a recall program for certain Nokia-branded AC adapters.

“We have determined that the plastic covers of the affected chargers could come loose and separate, exposing the charger’s internal components and potentially posing an electric shock hazard if certain internal components are touched while the charger is plugged into a live socket.”

Sounds fun. Engadget Mobile reports that the affected chargers are models AC-3E and AC-3U, manufactured between June 15 and August 9, 2009, and model AC-4U, manufactured between April 13 and October 25, 2009. Check out Nokia’s dedicated recall Web site for more information on obtaining a free replacement.

via Nokia Recalls 14 Million AC Adapters – Gearlog.

What Did He Mean By That? SMS and E-mail Etiquette

The other day I was reminded of how important it is when e-mailing or texting that you make yourself “understood”. What I mean by that is when e-mailing or texting, what you write is left to the recipient to interpret the mood or intent of the words. Sometimes the words are taken the wrong way.

I received a request to do something via text and it was followed up a few minutes later with another request by the same person for the same thing. I hadn’t had time to reply to the first text so I jokingly sent out a reply to the second letting the person know that I’d get right on that request. Since it wasn’t anything important that needed to be done right away, and they knew that as well, I thought the reply would be taken good naturedly. Well, it wasn’t. Not sure if the person was having a bad day or not, but they let me know that they weren’t real happy with my flippant reply. When I let them know that it wasn’t meant to be flippant, they let me know that sometimes their phone sends messages twice when they only mean to send it once. Communication breakdown? Yes, but also a good reminder that when e-mailing and texting, there is etiquette to follow:

  • Be wary of the reply all button. Most of the time you would only want to reply to the sender, not to everyone on the list.
  • Don’t type in all caps. That’s the equivalent of shouting. Not nice.
  • Watch for excessive punctuation. There is no need to put 5 exclamation marks at the end of a sentence!!!!! And I mean it.
  • Acronyms. Don’t assume that everyone is going to know what ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) or TNSTAAFL (there’s no such thing as a free lunch) means. There are some common abbreviations, such as BTW (by-the-way) and FYI (for your information) but some of the others, well, write the words. If you need to find out what something means, check the Acronym List.
  • Let them know how you feel. What happened to me the other day could have been avoided if I had included a smiley with my reply. These need to be added with care, as in less is more, but in this instance, adding one would have let the other person know that I was saying it light-heartedly. Part of the nature of a good one-on-one conversation are the use of visual cues. Since there are no visual or auditory cues with e-mail or texts, users have come up with something called “smilies”. They are simple strings of characters that are typed in the e-mail text to convey your emotions or meaning. The most common example is :-).  Here are some more examples.  – Smileys and Emoticons. Use them to let the other person know what you mean. ;-)
  • When forwarding on an e-mail, remove the e-mail addresses that are on the original e-mail. Highlight and delete them before you send. That puts the text that you want read at the top of the e-mail and removes unwanted items. I don’t need to see who the e-mail was sent to before me.
  • Scan through your text or e-mail before you press Send. Check the recipients to make sure that it’s going to the right person(s). See if there are parts that shouldn’t be said or should possibly be said differently. If there needs to be a smiley inserted to clarify intent, do so.
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