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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drivers? We don't need no stinkin drivers! (maybe)

So you've decided to upgrade your operating system to Windows 7 or you are one of the lucky individuals whose pc just went on the fritz and you've had to re-install your Operating System.  You were able to install your OS without a hiccup and now your pc is good as new, right?  Maybe, maybe not.  One of the first things I recommend after a clean installation of any OS is to double check your system properties (right-click on My Computer and select properties) and check your Device Manager to see if you see any dreaded yellow exclamation or question marks (a.k.a Unknow Devices).  If you do, then this means you don't have the proper drivers (just a piece of software that tells your hardware what to do) installed for some piece of hardware in your system.  I've found that Windows 7 does a pretty good job at finding most of the drivers, but you still run into a specialized piece of hardware or one that is just too old.  Sometimes Windows doesn't gather the correct version of the driver that is needed by your particular piece of hardware.  Ah...the wonderful nightmare that is Driver hunting.  Luckily, there are some good tools out there that can make this task a bit easier and less stressful.  One such tool is a program called Driver Pack Solution.  This helpful program has saved me numerous times and is quite user friendly.  Previous versions used to come up in Russian, which would automatically make one think it was some sort of intrusive program or virus.  (Afterall, the Ruskies don't exactly have the best reputation in history when it comes to being trustworthy.)  After some updates (it's up to version 11.8 now), it is now much better.  It does tend to change your homepage to it's own, but this is easily remedied by your browser options.

As all good pc techs know, you can never back up data too many times.  Especially when it comes to your system's drivers.  There is one utility that has eliminated numerous headaches for us when it comes to backing up a machine's drivers or re-installing drivers after upgrading or re-installing the OS.  Double Driver is a simple, effective utility that allows you to do all of these tasks.

So if you guys ever have trouble with some drivers or if some of your hardware just isn't cooperating, try these utilities or send me a message and I'll be more than glad to try and help you out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Android Update

Well, first of all, I would like to apologize for seemingly abandoning my duties as a fellow blogger.  Life sometimes has a way of dragging you away from your hobbies.  But alas, I am back and have made a resolution to myself to try and dedicate at least one night per week to my blog.  After all, no dedication usually produces a poor product.

Okay, now on with the show....the drama with my HTC Sensation 4G Android phone and FedEx has officially come to a close.  I am sorry to report that FedEx truly disappointed me in this situation.  They never resolved my complaints and concerns.  They denied my claims and never even called me back to explain why or try and compensate me.  I am glad to report though, that WireFly did not show such bad customer service.  They actually helped me to try to resolve this matter with FedEx and ended up sending me another phone.

In the end, I am happy with my phone and will surely return to WireFly for my next purchase of a cell phone.  This phone is truly a powerhouse.  Take a look at these specifications and see for yourselves at all the bells and whistles this little marvel has.  The 8 MP camera will keep all you shutter flies happy.  I love the convenience of having WiFi as well as a WiFi Hotspot available whenever I want it.  TMobile might not like the fact that you can use the WiFi feature for free whenever you want, but I look at it like this:  I am paying for unlimited data, so I should be able to access that unlimited data however I see fit.  Granted, they limit my speeds according to my data rate plan, but even regular 3G speeds are better than the speeds I was getting on my old Blackberry running on the Edge network.

I love all the useful apps that one can download from the Android Market.  It has a front camera as well as a 8 MP back one.  Once you find a browser that you like, the internet is a cinch to browse.  I chose Dolphin HD and am quite happy with it.  There are quite a few available.  One thing that I do have to warn you guys about is that most of these new Android phones require you to have a Google account in order for various features to work properly.  I know some folks aren't too happy with the way that Google keeps information and how it can potentially be hacked.  Another warning is that the battery life can be quite short, depending on what apps you have running most of the time.  If you tend to use WiFi and GPS features a lot, then make sure you always have a wall charger as well as a car charger handy.  Now a days you can find some sort of handy universal charger that can accommodate both car and wall outlets.  Another thing that I'll have to get used to is the virtual keyboard.  I was quite proficient at the actual physical Qwerty keyboard that the Blackberry has laid out so efficiently.  I could type complete text messages with my eyes closed.  These virtual keyboards are nowhere close to comfort of the real ones.  There is an app that you can download called The Hacker's Keyboard that makes the virtual keys a little bit better to work with and gives them a bit more functions.  All in all, I would say I'm quite satisfied with my new phone.

Here are a few pics that I took of the new phone as I unboxed it.  Enjoy and as always, your questions, comments, and rants are always welcome.

Finally my hands.

Still in the box.
Nice, sleek design.

Not terribly bulky.

Fits nice and snug in my hand and the grip on the back allows it to feel secure.