Category Archives: Product Reviews

Updates are driving me crazy

Microsoft generally allows users to exercise a reasonable level of control over when and how updates are checked, downloaded and installed. However, most other software vendors have so far not followed Microsoft’s lead. Many will check for updates at the time of their choosing, regardless of what the user is doing at the time. This can be disruptive to a user who is trying to use their computer for productive work at the time, or who may be using the computer with a limited speed dialup or wireless connection when the update process is triggered.
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VPNs, the real deal

I recently clicked on a Google ad for WiTopia’s VPN service. The purpose of a VPN, or virtual private network, is to encrypt communications between two end points. It is typically used by remote users to access corporate systems from home or on the road. However, a number of companies now offer public VPN services that permit subscribers to encrypt their communications when using their laptop in a hostile environment such as a public Wi-fi hotspot. Since their destination probably doesn’t support encryption, these VPN products re-route the communications (Instant Messanging, Web browsing, VOIP, etc.) to one of their data centers and then send it unencrypted to the destination. The purpose is to protect the data stream from being intercepted from the user’s immediate environment.
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Cool Product: OQO model 01

The OQO model 01 looks to be one of the smallest handhelds out there that is capable of running Windows XP.

The original 01 model featured:

– 256 megs of RAM
– 20 megs hard disk

The 01+ model adds:

– 512 megs of RAM
– 30 gig hard disk

As well, it features:

– wifi and bluetooth
– 14 ounces
– 1 Gig Transmeta Crusoe processor
– 800×400 screen
– Qwerty keyboard
– battery life of up to 3 hours
– USB 2.0 and firewire
– headphone jack

Neat Product – PCExpanion from DoubleSight

Doublesight offers an nifty way to share a single computer among multiple users. Its called PCExpanion and consists of “terminals” which are connected to a keyboard, monitor, mouse and speakers, and which connect back to the “server” PC using Ethernet cabling. The server computer runs the PC Expanion software, which appears to include Windows Terminal Services, and shares its CPU processing power and peripherals with the various terminals that are attached.
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