Thursday, January 23, 2014

QuickPic and a bunch of shoes

2014-01-14 19.00.52

See that shoe over there to the right? Like it? I had about 19,000 copies of that hogging up 12GB of space on my HTC One. Considering the phone only has 32GB on board, that was a problem.

A couple of months ago my wife was out shopping for shoes, see, when she found a pair that I might like. So, she snapped a picture of the dandy shoe to the right and texted it to me. She also sent along a photo of another shoe that I liked better so I asked her to get me a pair of those.

Apparently, my phone really liked the gray shoe as it saved 19,000 copies of it somewhere on my phone. The stock, Android Gallery app was no help in tracking down the rogue photo, but the free QuickPic app was able to find it (and all the copies of it) in a hidden folder called “Encore” for some reason. It took about 10 minutes to delete the “shoe copy” photos, but it was easy enough to do that with QuickPic and I freed up a ton of space, to boot (pun intended).

The point? Get QuickPic as such apps are sadly necessary when it comes to dealing with the quirks of Android. I’m glad the app is free as I’d hate to have to buy something to correct a problem that should never have happened in the first place.

Damned if I don’t miss my iPhone.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I absolutely hate Windows 8


There’s no getting around it – Microsoft’s decision to make a uniform operating system for phones, tablets and computers stinks. While Windows 8 may work fine for a tablet or a phone, it’s a counter-intuitive piece of crap on a computer.

The bad thing about Windows 8 is that it has become standard equipment on new computers. Well, you could grab an Apple Macintosh or try a Linux distro (Linux Mint is a particularly good one, by the way), but there are a lot of us who have been using Windows for years and have grown accustomed to it. Honestly, one of the best operating systems I’ve used is Windows XP and Windows 7 was on its way to being a great OS until Microsoft decided it needed a modern user interface.

Apparently, “modern” is code for “a confusing bunch of icons thrown all over the screen like a monkey flings poop at a wall.” The “monkey poop throw” description may be accurate, but it’s hard to work that description into a marketing campaign, isn’t it?

Over the past year, I’ve bought two computers loaded with Windows 8 – one for my office and a laptop for use at home. Rather than dealing with Windows 8 and its moronic interface, I took a simpler route – I grabbed a copy of Classic Shell and like the heck out of it.

Why? Classic Shell is a free download that takes but a few minutes to install and doesn’t throw a bunch of spam and other garbage all over my computer. What you see is what you get – an interface that can be configured to look like Windows 7, XP or even 98 (assuming you didn’t learn to hate Windows 98 after dealing with that buggy piece of trash). Instead of a screen full of goofy, flashing icons, you get a start button and a traditional desk top. It’s just the thing for those of us who are more interested in getting some work done than trying to figure out a new, weird operating system that makes no sense in a “keyboard and mouse” environment.

Give Classic Shell a shot if you hate Microsoft’s latest foray into strangeness. While you’re at it, make sure to configure “Default Programs” from your control panel so that “old” Windows apps are used to open media instead of those new, bad Windows 8 apps.

So, what’s the best way to deal with Windows 8? Find ways to get rid of the new interface and go for something that is actually intuitive and easy to use.

Can you lower your utility bills and be more comfortable?


Here in scenic Arkansas, utility bills can cost a heck of a lot of money during the hot, humid days that seem to start around April and end sometime in late September. Why? This are of the world is tolerable with good air conditioning and hard to take without it. People run their air conditioners hard in the summer because, frankly, one can suffer in a hurry without them.

There are similar problems in some parts of the world, of course, with frigid winters. Regardless of where you happen to live, the chances are good your utility bills are high for several months a year as you struggle to keep your home comfortable.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, if you could stay comfortable and still save money on utility bills? That’s all very possible through a home energy audit – a process through which a professional analyzes your home and suggest way to make it more energy efficient.

In addition to the money savings, an audit can help you on resale value of your home through the wonder of home improvement marketing. Real estate markets are still very competitive, so everyone’s looking for something that’ll make their homes more attractive to buyers than other similar ones in the area. Offering a potential buyer some energy savings can be quite attractive.

Ready to start saving money? Click one of the aforementioned links and find out how that is possible.

Need help with Oracle?


Here’s a bit of trivia – what’s the second largest software company in the world? That would be Oracle Corporation, which is second only to Microsoft.

Oracle has been around since the mid-1970s and is perhaps best known for its extremely reliable and flexible database management systems. Oracle makes great stuff that has met the information storage and management needs of corporations for years, but it can be difficult to set up and use.

In fact, a good number of businesses finding it necessary to implement Oracle software and/or hardware also find they need a little help through Oracle consulting services. Having Oracle dba support services on hand can, indeed, make the transition to dealing with Oracle’s complex and powerful products a little less daunting.

Ready to jump into the wide, wonderful world of Oracle but need a little help? Click one of the aforementioned links and help will be on its way.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Come on, eBay


Over the past decade or so, I’ve had a lot of dealings with eBay. I’ve bought a lot of items and have sold a lot on the Internet’s largest auction site and have managed to compile a 100 percent user rating after 289 completed transactions.

My experience with eBay has largely been pleasant. I’ve bought a lot of items that just aren’t much sold around here (mainly vintage video games) and have sold quite a few items I had lying around that turned out to be worth a buck or two. In short, I’ve been a fan of eBay for years and love the notion that the site caters to those of us who might collect things that are out of the ordinary and hard to find locally.

Over the past couple of months, however, my eBay experiences have been less than pleasant. Perhaps I’m snakebit and unlucky at times, but things seem to be going wrong over there.

Let me explain. Back at the first of December, my son kept hinting that he’d love to have the Xbox 360 that’s been in our living room since 2009 back in his room. I figured that request was reasonable, so I decided to pick up an Xbox 360 Elite for the living room and give him the faithful, old 360 that’s entertained us for a few years. So, I used the “buy it now” feature on eBay and picked up one for a good price.

The seller said he didn’t have it anymore, cancelled the transaction and refunded my money. Fine. I bought another 360 Elite and the same thing happened – the seller didn’t have the item anymore so he cancelled the transaction and refunded my money. The third time proved to be a charm and I was able to finally get someone to take my cash and send me a 360 Elite.

Two weeks ago, I bought a Sega Genesis game for a few dollars and that transaction was cancelled, too. Why? Of course, the seller no longer had the item. Around the same time, I sold the Samsung Galaxy S4 on eBay for $420 and the buyer didn’t pay me. I contacted the buyer and agreed to give him another week to pay. I opened a “non-paying buyer” ticket on eBay last night since I’ve not gotten my money.

Here’s the main problem I’ve had with all of these cancelled transactions – they were all with people who had high user ratings on eBay. It would seem the site’s attempts to self-police its users has fallen short. It’s irritating to buy items and find out later they are no longer available and it’s infuriating to see an auction go a week, end and then have to deal with a buyer that doesn’t have the cash to complete the deal.

One of the things that has made eBay so effective over the years is that transactions tend to go smoothly. Buyers and sellers close transactions with little trouble. Should the day arrive when that is no longer the case, then what use is eBay?

My situation may be unusual, but I hope the folks at eBay are doing what they can to make sure that buyers and sellers both will hold up their ends of transactions.

Looking to boost your Web presence?


Ah, the Internet can be a rough and tumble place, can’t it? You can have the snazziest site in the world, but that won’t matter one whit if no one bothers to visit.

How can you attract those visitors? By ranking highly in search engines, of course. How can you rank higher than your competitors and sites that are similar in scope to yours? By a little discipline called “search engine optimized” – making sure that relevant terms are on your site that attract the visitors you want.

You can work on improving your SEO yourself, of course, but wouldn’t it be more efficient to hire someone who knows what they are doing to accomplish that goal for you? To that end, you need a good SEO reseller. Click on the aforementioned link to find one of the better SEO reseller programs out there – HubShout.

That bunch has been around for awhile and was founded by people who have experience with such heavy hitters as AT&T, Ford, Coca-Cola and Verizon (perhaps you’ve heard of those little companies). Click the link and put HubShout to work for you.

Looking for Calgary real estate?


If you’ve every been a home buyer or seller looking for some good real estate information on the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly run across a disturbing fact – a lot of real estate sites are downright terrible.

Sloppy design. Confusing search engines. Awful and out-of-date advice. All of that is out there as there are more than a few real estate companies that view Internet sites as minor parts of an overall marketing strategy.

If you’re looking for Calgary real estate, you’re in luck – click the aforementioned link and you’ll find a site put up by a company that understands a lot of people search the Internet for real estate information and treat those potential customers seriously. Instead of a simple list of Calgary real estate agents and the typical “call us today!” junk, you’ll get some tools that are actually useful.

Give it a shot. You can thank me later.