Friday, May 30, 2008

Paid To Search, Peek At Windows 7 & Revisiting Vista

Tech Expert Segment for 30 May 2008

Focusing on Microsoft for my weekly radio segment on KXL, we took a look at Microsoft's new Live Search Cashback program, took a peek at early features of the next version of Windows, and a second look at Windows XP woes.

Live Search Cashback
The program is pretty simple. Use Microsoft's Live Search to find products you're looking to buy from hundres of merchants and get a rebate. Now of course, there are screens and screens of terms and conditions but as a marketing promotion to entice users into giving Live Search a try... it's about as rudimentary as you get.

Sites such as have similar offers, fueled by a vendor's affiliate program. Microsoft's offering takes this to the next level. Hit $5.00 and you can request a kickback from your purchases. Score!

Learn more about Live Search Cashback by visiting the website or read the comprehensive FAQs.

Windows 7: Early Peek
If I could put the word early in 4-foot letters on your screen for added emphasis, I would... this should not, by any means, be taken as a thorough look at the next version of Microsoft's flagship operating system -- rather a peek at what's going on at the Redmond, Washington headquarters. With that caveat...

The transitioning Bill Gates and his successor Steve Ballmer demonstrated a multitouch feature of the new Windows 7 operating system. Similar to the iPhone's touch interface and the Microsoft Surface (among others), it sports pinching, twisting and touching the screen. If this dream comes true, soon all computers will have touchscreens. (I can hear users everywhere saying... does this mean I need yet ANOTHER computer upgrade?) Don't worry -- it's not due out until late 2009 (and then if history repeats itself, likely delayed).

Check out a video of Windows 7 multitouch preview in a previous post on this blog.

Windows Vista: User complaints
Also on today's show we chatted about user feedback to XP. In chatting with users it seems some are starting to give the plagued operating system a second chance. What has your reaction to Windows Vista been? Did you load and rollback? Ready to give it a second try? Drop me a line.

Listen to this report, originally broadcast on KXL-AM Friday May 30: kxl_techexpert-microsoftcashback&news_20080530.mp3 (MP3)

Microsoft Demonstrates Future Windows: Multi-Touch Interface

At the "D: All Things Digital" conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Microsoft Executives demonstrated the new multi-touch interface being built in to the next verison of Windows (for now known simply as "Windows 7"). Watch the video for a demo of Windows 7's iPhone-like controls:

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7

Friday, May 23, 2008

Coming Soon: Tech Trip 2008

For more details on Tech Trip 2008 including the gadgets onboard the two month road trip, check back later today... (or to have updates emailed automatically, sign up in the right column!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stimulus Check Spending Tips: Do Your Part

Tech Expert Segment for 16 May 2008

Sure you could pay down your credit card debt. Perhaps a great plan to toss it into a savings account. Likely good idea to pay bills or even high gas prices with your federal bonus. But who wants to do any of these sensible things?

Go ahead, blow it! Throw caution to the wind, spend your bucks on a new gadget...

First, some sites to check out:
  • -- product reviews from folks that have bought the product they're talking about, all brought together by the folks that provide product review technology to some big-name websites.
  • -- a great site if you're looking for that gadget you didn't know you needed... The online retailer sells one gadget a day, when it's gone, it's gone!
  • -- This site will help you stretch your stimulus check as far as possible... coupon codes, discounts, and a guide to the best online savings.
And beware of the scammers...
The IRS has set up this website to check progress on your stimulus check, and tools to determine if you're even eligible. The FBI is warning about a new scam targeting those patiently waiting for the extra money. The key message? Don't fall prey to scammers purporting to be the IRS scamming your personal information!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DVR Full? Add Drive and Keep Recording!

It's a problem I hear far too often... those households that have made the leap to digital video recorders (DVRs) such as TiVo, ReplayTV or those built-in to receviers from Comcast or satellite providers, all end up with the same quandry: What shows should I delete to make room for more favorites? (And those households that haven't lept really ought to discover all the commercial-skipping, show-recording glory we've all had for years.)

Enter hard drive maker Western Digital with a solution in a box: a 500GB external hard drive for DISH Network's ViP Series HD DVR. This low-power gizmo plugs into the DISH Network DVR receiver and adds 60 hours of High Definition recordings.

While the DISH Network DVR version is new today, a previous version works with many TiVo DVRs, including our Series 3. One caution: the TiVo version uses an eSATA interface and (as of Christmas 2007) did not come with the right interface cable. (Order online early, eSATA cables aren't, as I discovered recently, exactly corner store items.) Fortunately, WD's DISH Network DVR expander lists an external USB cable as an included accessory. Unfortunately for me, while a happy DISH subscriber, I don't have their DVR receiver -- though it seemed a less-expensive, yet quite acceptable, substitute for a separate TiVo device.

The new DISH DVR Expander (500GB) lists at $149.99. The Western Digital MY DVR Expander series for both DISH, TiVo and Scientific Atlanta DVRs can be found on their website at (and presumably all the usual outlets soon).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day: Tech & Tips

Tech Expert Segment for 9 May 2008

With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, there are a few things you might be wondering... what to get, where to go, how to honor the mother in your life. Today on Newsradio 750 KXL we talked Moms, here are some ideas:

Mother's Day Gifts
A great opportunity to get Mom that digital camera or photo printer to capture and print the family memories, think also of photo books and digital photo frames. Two items you might not have considered:
  • The Amazon Kindle eBook reader came out last Holiday season, but is now readily available. Perfect for the reading Mom on-the-go, new bookes and magazines can be downloaded right to the device.

  • For the power-shopper Mom, check out the SmartShopper grocery list organizer. Speak the item you need to add to the list into the magnetic-mount organizer and it will sort and categorize your shopping list. When you're heading to the store click "Print" and the device dispenses a list, sorted by aisle, to save time at the store.
  • There are, however, some devices to avoid according to a clever list on DVICE. (We do disagree on the SmartShopper, though their observations are valid.) Nothing says "I Love you Mom" quite like a ... surge protector?! *sigh*

Mother's Day Tips
Opting for a non-tech holiday? Use the web to make brunch reservations at, they've got lots of restaurants in the Northwest with space-available on Sunday. Or perhaps you'd like to spend time with Mom showing her how to make the most of her computer, camera, or that gadget that seemed like a good idea last December.

With the holiday comes a reminder of the dangers of e-greeting cards. Clicking a link that looks like a friendly note could in fact be looking or your personal information -- be cautious. Especially troubling, emails circulating to high-level executives purporting to be subpoenas from the FBI. Law enforcement will not send a subpoena via. email. Toss 'em in the trash.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms and thanks again for listening!