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See the highlights of the iPad 3 launch event Here!

See the highlights of the iPad 3 launch event HERE!

What does Google's new Privacy Policy REALLY mean?

In a nutshell...nothing new. Don't get worked up about all the link bait. The headlines that say things like "Google's new policy means the end of privacy." Because they are just there to get to to click a link and read their article. Why? so that you will see the ads on their website and make them money. Which makes those people no better than Google or anyone else.

You need to understand that for most web companies, their product is you! They make their money by advertising to you. Thats why you can use google, Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, etc. for free. When they can tell an advertiser they can show their ad to people with kids, or people over 65 or people who have dentures, or people with a certain health problem then that advertising with worth much more. To do this need to know about you. If you use gmail and are logged in and search for kids toys or what is the best brand of diaper then they know you have kids and that helps them sell ads. And lets face it if your a 50 year old man, wouldnt you rather see ads for a new car, vacation or viagra and not see ads for kids toys and diapers? This form of targeted advertising is good! It puts ads for things you might actually be interested in on your screen and keeps the things you would not want away.

Secondly you need to understand that they really dont know WHO you are. They collect information on your search habits or the things you write online but associate it with you as an account number. They don't want to log your social security number and blood type. They don't want to piss off their customers. If they did that why would you ever come back? They might also open them selves up to legal issues. Your just a statistic. A person who fits in a specific category like Men over 50 who have prostate problems.

Now as for Google's recent change that takes effect March 1, 2012. Google owns Gmail, Google search, Google+, YouTube and a bunch of other companies and services each of which until now has had a whole privacy policy written for each one that you agreed to (Yes you did!) when you joined. Its just like the rental car agreement you never read, or the agreement for the license on that new computer software that you would never spend 30 minutes reading before clicking "Agree". Google just made all their services have one uniform agreement and by using any of Google's services you now agree that the data from all of them will be kept together instead of them keeping several separate databases of information. This just makes it easier for them and allows them to have a single more detailed source of information on you and your online habits.

I don't feel this is a bad thing at all. Some people say things like if you search for medications and Google knows this, then when you search for life insurance, they might know things like that health problems you have and then the insurance company would give you a higher rate. I am not a lawyer but I don't think right now anyone would get away with that. Now its true the government might have legal reason to get this information and if your searching for ways to build a bomb they might use it against you but in my opinion that's a very good thing.

Lastly, you dont have to use any of these services. Close your facebook account, they are giving it to you free anyway. When searching online, make sure your not logged into your Google account first or use Private Browsing mode, all web browsers have them. Also, join the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). They are the best ones our there who support keeping the internet free, safe and watching our for your best interests.

Most importantly, don't panic. This is the way the internet works. It connects everyone around the world instantly. Which means information is everywhere and if your a very private person (which you have a absolute right to be) then you have to understand the internet is about sharing information and if you type it online somewhere, assume its not private any more.

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Droid Review

Review of the New Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android Phone.

There is always a new Android phone on the market and the Galaxy Nexus is currently the one to beat. Its the first phone running Android 4.0 a/k/a Ice Cream Sandwich. Android 4 is quite a change from previous versions and make take some getting use to. If you have an Android tablet running Honeycomb, the learning curve will be minimal.

First about the phone. Its has a Dual core 1.2 processor, Super AMOLED 4.65” 1280x760 screen (best on the market today!), 32 GB of Storage built in, 1GB of RAM, 5MP Rear camera, 1.3MP Front Camera, LED Flash, Zero Shutter Lag (Cool!), 1080p HD Video Recording, 2 Mics, NFC (Near Field Communication), and all the standard stuff: Bluetooth, WiFi, Accelerometer, Gyro, Compass, Proximity, etc.

First thing you notice is its thin, light and has a curved glass screen. The screen bright, beautiful and large, although since Android 4 does away with physical buttons and now has soft buttons on the display, they take up some of that nice new real estate. Personally, coming from HTC phones, the Samsung is a little different in that it has the power on the right side instead of the top, and the Volume on the left. It does have both the USB port and headphone port on the bottom which is great for in-car use and docking.

One thing I have seem many people complain about is that the battery door cover is flimsy or cheap. I disagree. it is a thin piece of plastic (whats not these days?) but when phones have the horrible battery life they do today you want to be able to get to the battery quickly to change it. This door snaps on tight, is not going to fall off and keeps the phone light.

The phone comes with a standard 1850 mAh battery. Which while normal, in my opinion is horrible as that would not me half way through the day. Since this is a new phone, there are no extended batteries with 2x or 3x the power so picking up a couple more batteries on Amazon for about $30 was a must.

Back to the display. Its clear, bright and beautiful. Samsung has been known for good displays that are easy to read even in bright light but this one is the best. Although lowering the brightness down a bit does help greatly with conserving battery power. Again, coming from HTC phones, the very easy on the eyes display is great. Its easy to spend time reading and working or watching video with. The feel of the phone is solid and light and I have no complaints about the design.

The new Android 4.0 is a nice step up with many new features and a better design but I am not going to get into a review of the latest version of Android here.

Aside from terrible battery life, I can only say one bad thing about the Nexus...The Camera. I came from a 8MP HTC Droid Incredible to a 8MP HTC Droid Thunderbolt and that was surprisingly a decline in camera quality. Going to this 5MP camera is even worse. Picture quality, which fine for every day use and occasional pictures, it not as good as either of my previous phones. Surprising because we expect things to get better, not worse. But I'm sure I know the reason they did this... 0 shutter lag! You open the camera and start taking pictures and it seems to take them as fast as you can press the button. Great when your trying to get some quick pictures, take a child or animal in which you might just have a few seconds to get that special moment. Most phones take 1-3 seconds to take and save a picture. Not the Nexus! Although forget about using the digital zoom as its absolutely horrible. Although panoramic picture taking is built in and works well so that's an extra bonus. The video recording also takes 1080p HD video and does an OK job at it. If your buying a cellphone to take great pictures then this is not the phone. If you want the best phone on the market, fast, packed with features and can live with just OK photos & video then this is the one for you.

My experience with Staples today

Had a very strange experience with a company today and thought I would share it.

I have been a staples customer for well over a decade. I have a reseller account with a tax reseller ID on file, which means I don't pay sales tax on items I intend on reselling. I also am a premier rewards customer which means you get better benefits, no wait customer service and free shipping on any order, not just the normal over $50. I typically spend between $10k and $15k a year with them.

Well I placed an order a few days ago and went online to see the estimated delivery date today and saw that order said Cancelled with no explanation why. I called up customer service who sent me to another department who after checking with someone else gave me this explanation... Basically they told me that they have the right not to sell to anyone they want and since I sometimes appear to be buying items to resell they have closed my account. Again, its always been a reseller account with a legal reseller tax ID linked to it.

Upon pushing and pushing them as to how this made no sense, The rep just kept repeating that its their privilege not to sell to resellers if they don't want to. First, they have had me as a reseller for over 10 years. Second, I am just a one man business, not Best Buy. Third, if I am buying it or if John Doe is walking in an buying it, we pay the same price and they make the same profit, I do not get any discounts.

I asking them to have someone higher up contact me back, which they said someone would do today, did not happen.
So I ask myself what was accomplished for them? Are these sales they would make anyway? No. As I will just have to purchase these items somewhere else. Are they loosing money by selling them to me? No. Their profit was the same no matter who buys the item. Did they loose money by doing this? Absolutely as that's 10-15 thousands dollars a year in sales they don't get.

I'm not Staples competition. I am not undermining their prices. I am a paying customer with a long history in good standing with them.

I used staples as one of my many suppliers because they sometimes had great deals. Offered free shipping. I got my items fast and the website was easy to order from.

So do I spend more time trying to clear this up with them or just take my business else ware?

Undecided at this time. But this has certainly changed my mind about a company I once liked and was happy to give my business to. Now all I can think about is the bad taste this ridiculous action on their part as left me with when I hear the name Staples.

The threats computer users face today.

We use our computers for everything. Communication through Email, Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Banking, shopping, research, entertainment. In Estonia, France, Spain, Finland and Greece Internet Access has been declared “A Basic Human Right” and it’s been proposed in the United States, although not approved yet. Let’s face it, you can survive without the internet still but it would put you at a disadvantage and eventually you won’t be able to get through life without Internet access as more and more services become online only.
The problem is there are dangers but most people don’t see them or don’t want to accept them. Would you walk down a dark alley in an unfamiliar neighborhood at night? Would you buy an expensive item at 80% off from the back of a truck and believe its legal? Well you can’t just go upon your way online with your eyes closed.
I wanted to discuss some of the things to be aware of. Knowing what the threats are is the first step in protecting yourself and not falling into the traps. For starters, the most common problem today is Viruses.

How to know if you have one.
Almost all consumer viruses today present themselves as fake antivirus software. They pop up on your screen saying your infected with multiple viruses. They might call themselves “Antivirus 2011”; “Antimalware 2011”; “XP Antivirus” or something similar. Once you see this…your infected. There is no closing the program or backing out of it. It’s too late. If you try to close it, it just won’t work. If you click it you will be told this is a trail version and you need to purchase the full version, then it will ask for a credit card (I should not need to say it but...Don’t Give It!). At this point the program is also steeling credit cards numbers, passwords, anything it can so pull the power plug and get professional help to remove it.

How did you get the virus.
99% of the time you got it because you clicked on a link in an Email. Again…Don’t Do That! You may want to play that funny video your friend sent you or read that joke but a large percent of the time it’s a virus. “But it’s from my friend who sends me these things all the time”, you say. And the virus writers know this so the first thing they do when infect someone’s computer is send out an email to everyone in that persons address book with a link like “Funny Joke…Click to Read” and you get it from the friend who always sends these jokes, so you click it. Now your infected and you just sent the same thing to everyone you know.
Some viruses immediately post on your Facebook wall “Check out this video”. Your friends see it and click it not knowing it wasn’t from you, it was from your new little friend…the virus. Don’t Click It!
Attachments is the next most popular way. You get an email from Staples saying “A copy of your recent order it attached”. You think “What order?” and click the PDF or Word Document attachment. Now you got a virus.
Tax season is coming. You might get one from that says “New 1040EZ Form Attached”. You think “Oh, I use the 1040EZ form” so you click it. Now you might have another deduction…A computer repair bill to remove the virus.
“But I need to click some links and some attachments are legit” you say. Yes, but use common sense. If you lost your password to Facebook or another site and click the “Recover lost password” link on the site and then they email you a link to reset your password 30 seconds later, well you just requested it, so it’s safe. Get somethinkg from your bank saying there is a problem with your account? Ok, but don’t click the link in the email. Open your browser and go to or whatever your bank is and log in that way. You know you get a certain document from a business associate or friend regularly then it’s probably fine. Just use good judgment.

There are too many to list but the most common is the “Family member out of the country” scam. Let’s say your son, daughter, friend has a Gmail or AOL Mail account and because remembering something more than 8 letters just proves to be too much work for them they use a password like “password” or their kids name. When the bad guys get into that account, they sit back and watch your emails. Once day they might see your traveling to Europe for that long awaited family vacation. Well when everyone is asleep in their hotel room, they send grandma an email explaining how the hotel room was robbed and everything was stolen. “Grandma,” they say, “Please wire us $4000 so we can get new passports and get home”. “Oh, how sad.” Thinks grandma as she clicks the link, enters her bank account information and just wired $4000 to some off shore account. Grandma would not give her credit card to someone on the street who asked for it and grandma needs to realize this is no different.

The Microsoft phone call
One evening you’re at home having dinner when a very polite gentleman or lady with a nice Indian accent calls and says he is from Microsoft and as part of the computer your purchased free monitoring from Microsoft is included. They have detected a virus on your computer and they want to help you remove it for free. “Please go over to your computer and click …” they say. So you do, what harm can there be in this?
“Do you see any red X’s and errors?” they ask. And wow! Look at that! A bunch of strange errors! They must really be from Microsoft your think. But these logs in windows show hundreds of entries, many of which are errors and are Perfectly Normal! But since they knew there were these errors on your computer they must be legit, so you continue to click whatever they tell you until you download software that allows them get every last bit of information from your computer now and whenever they want in the future. Solution…Hang Up The Phone!

Trade shows
Do you think because you’re at a trade show with people in your industry they are all really nice people? Would you also trust each and every one of them with your wallet? Your bank account information? Your Kids? Ever see those buckets full of free USB memory sticks that the vendors have for you to get information on their product or service? No more white papers. These days you just grab a cute little memory stick with their logo on it…and Yea! Its Free! It’s also free for the bad guys to take one or two or three, stick it in their computer and install a virus on it, then swing back and just drop it back in the bucket. Now you come along, grab the memory stick and plug it in when you get back to the hotel room. Now you have a virus! Congratulations!

There are MANY more scams out there. Back in the day, viruses were smart teenagers writing a virus so that when it made the evening news they could tell their friends “Yep! I did that.”. Now its organized crime. Usually in foreign countries doing this for what else? Money. And it’s a big business. Use common sense. Don’t click Links you were not expecting. Don’t open attachments you were not expecting. Always go to the website yourself by opening your browser and typing in the website. Do these basic things and you will be safe. Or, go ahead and click everything you want, watch that video, read that joke and just have our phone number handy so we can charge you to remove that virus when you get it. 
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