Monthly Archives: March 2012

Square Up

If you are a small business owner and are wondering how you can accept credit cards, I have a mobile application for you. This tiny square device allows you to process Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover  transactions on your iPad, iPhone or  Android device.  Sign up for a Square Account at www.squareup.com - and they will send you a “FREE” card reader.

Once you receive the Card Reader, download Square to your mobile device from the App Store or Android Market. Sign into your account, setup your bank information and plug in your card reader.  You’re ready to start processing credit card transactions. It is just that simple.  Payments are sent nightly to your bank account.
Just a few highlights that you should know:

  • The credit card reader is “FREE”.
  • Fast Setup, Signup and install the application and you will be accepting credit cards within minutes.
  • Only 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • Next day deposits, take payments during normal business hours and Square will deposit your funds the next business day.

Increase your business!

Improve customer support!

Speedy transactions!

It’s all right here: https://squareup.com/square

 
Happy Credit Card Processing.  If you are using Square, we would love to hear from you!

Holly L Berlin
General Manager

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Filed under Free Applications, Phone Applications

Let’s “Talk” Texting

I might be the only living human being on the planet who doesn’t do texting. I know many people who text religiously. It’s part of their everyday routine, much like a having cup of coffee in the morning or reading the newspaper. I wonder if anyone remembers the time before texting existed. I use to be very proud of the fact that I can “LOL” via Instant Messenger. But now I found out that’s very passé. You don’t do the IM thing, now instead of “LOL” you can “ROTFLMAO” and “RUUP4IT” with you friends. Oh I forgot, it’s not “cool” but KEWL. I better get my texting together!

I did try to download a texting program for the iTouch.  Unfortunately I did not find anyone I can text to. Is there a chat room for texting??

Now texting has gotten so main stream that I’ve seen texting within regular emails as well. For instance, I wrote a “Thank You” letter and all I got back is a “YW!”.  I think I should have typed “TY, L8R”!, this would have increased my coolness factor quite a bit.

All kidding aside, texting does have many benefits, allowing us to live out our busy chaotic days with short spurts of communication. Also there are times when a conversation should be private. Texting becomes quite a blessing compared to the loud discussion via the cell phone. Texting also provides “simple” quick communications to get messages across. Another benefit is that texting can reach its destinations more often than not, even in places with very low cell reception.

The disadvantages of texting has stemmed from serious accidents involving texting while driving. Some have raised the issue of too much text can affect interpersonal skills in the younger generation. The State of Pennsylvania has just enacted a law to make it illegal to text while driving.

Ironically texting can be quite a conversation piece with the little toddlers. I can spell out “O M G!” to my 5 year old when I’m excited about something, and she giggles to no end. HCIT?

All comments are welcome for discussion!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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Filed under Social Networking

Spring Fever?

Spring is officially very close! It seems that the weather this week is giving us a preview of the warmth to come. Along with the nicer weather, our minds and activities start to turn toward the outdoors. In fact, on the Wednesday evening edition of the NBC Nightly News on March 13, anchor Brian Williams confessed that he didn’t think the following day would be very productive for New Yorkers. It was forecast to be a beautiful, sunny and warm day and he suspected that productivity would be low and absenteeism would be running high at the workplace.

A lot of people think that spring and summer is a time to leave the technology behind and get out and enjoy the weather. However, there is much that you can do outside WITH your technology. A lot of it involves physical activity that is good for your health. Here are some examples:

Geocaching – If you’ve never experienced geocaching, you owe it to yourself to learn a little about this treasure-hunting fun. Thousands of people enjoy this activity. The cost to get started is low as all you need is a decent hand-held GPS receiver and some good walking shoes. You can find new GPS receivers for under a hundred dollars and they go up from there. If you’re a savvy shopper, you can find a great used unit on eBay or similar sites for even less. Then, all you need is a free account with www.geocaching.com to get some coordinates for some hidden caches to load into your device and you’re on your way! There are caches hidden all over the world. Think your area is too secluded for geocaching? Think again. A casual search on www.geocaching.com will reveal more caches that you would ever have imagined. The health benefits of geocaching are obvious as you will be walking, climbing, and sometimes even swimming to find the caches. The website rates the level of difficulty for the terrain and the ease of finding a container. Geocaching is a great family activity as everyone is united in the search for that “treasure.”

Photography – Tired of all those indoor Christmas photos? Well, it’s time to take that camera outdoors. Have you ever taken an afternoon drive just for the purpose of taking pictures along the way? When my children were little, I remember a really fun afternoon when we gave them each a disposable camera, I took mine, and we went to Cook Forest on a “photo shoot.” It was a great family bonding time. Try it with your family!

Reading- Is it cheating to listen to an audio version of a book and call it reading? I don’t think so; not if you’re outdoors getting some fresh air instead of sitting in a hot stuffy chair at home. Load up your music player with a good book and go for a walk in the woods. Of course, some would prefer the walk without the ear buds to enjoy the nature sounds.

Motorcycling with Technology – If you’re a motorcyclist, it’s time to get the GPS out of the car and buy a motorcycle mount so you can go explore some new territory. You can also find mounts for your iPod, cell phone, camera, and more! Many couples enjoy communicating between each other using the in-helmet intercom systems. And motorcycle-mounted CB radios are a great asset when on group rides as they enable the leader and the tail rider to keep the group together.

There are definitely some things to keep in mind when taking the technology outdoors. The first consideration is for safety. If you jog with ear buds, you must pay particular attention to traffic and other hazards in your surroundings. In other words, don’t let your technology distract you from the task at hand. Secondly, there are times when you should stop and enjoy the beauty of nature. Don’t be afraid to take a break from your technology from time to time.

How do you use technology outdoors? Join the conversation by leaving us your comment. Fresh ideas are always welcome.

Your motorcycling, photographing, geocaching, music-playing, book reading, nature-loving friend,

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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Filed under Free Applications

Hot Air from Carol

One of the technologies that hasn’t changed in about 50 years is that of the heat exchanger. This cooling device moves heat from motors in home appliances (think air conditioners and refrigerators). We use the same type of cooling device in our personal computers.

Unfortunately, the current design (a box made of vertical metal fins with or without a fan sitting on top) is inefficient. Sounds good on paper, and looks great; but only about 5% of the air pushed around by fans creates a cooling effect.

The problem is that computer chip manufacturers have created chips that, if run at top speed, create more heat than can be removed. Gamers know this and try to get around it by adding elaborate, additional cooling systems to their computers.

Unfortunately, as gamers also know, it can be noisy, inefficient, and add to the cost of electrical usage, and still not let chips run at their full potential speed.

Sandia National Labs has taken a completely different approach to the current “fins plus fan” design. Instead of two units, (vertical fins with fan on top), they’ve created a single, combined device. The unit, pictured below, bends the heat removing fins into the shape of fan blades. The entire unit makes its own vortex of air movement, causing the fan/fins to spin. It floats on a cushion of air.

There’s a lot more technical information about the improvement, but the Air Bearing Heat Exchanger (the name for the gadget) can rotate at a very high RPM. This means it moves heat more quickly, more quietly, and with less energy usage than conventional coolers.

Which means current CPUs could run faster. At the moment, the new coolers are being considered for use in data centers and server farms. The result would be an immediate drop in energy usage.

Gamers would no longer have to purchase external, add-on cooling systems even when they overclock their systems. Come to think of it, gamers won’t need to overclock systems anymore.

For the non-gaming community, changing the way heat is removed from internal motors will make our refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. more efficient. The estimated reduction in national electric usage from appliances alone is 7%.

Meanwhile, IBM labs has developed a very small chip structure that is learning how to use its ‘brain’ much like a baby does. So far, it has taught itself how to get through a maze and how to play pong.

I’m waiting to see if it gets smarter than a 5th grader.

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Filed under Free Applications

A Fresh Apple and Some New Windows

Apple is in the news… again!

On Tuesday morning, February 28, Apple sent invitations to the tech news media inviting them to come to San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 7 for one of their famous “events.” All eyes are on Apple to announce the iPad 3. That is evidenced by the nature of the image submitted with the invitation; a definite iPad-looking photograph of a finger on the calendar app.

There is much conjecture about what new features might be released with the third generation iPad. The most prevalent is that it will include a tablet-sized version of their Retina display, offering the high resolution that can currently be seen on the latest generation iPhone and iPod Touch.

Another circulating rumor is that there will be a 4G version available for both the Verizon and AT&T cellular systems. While this is a nice convenience, it is one that comes with a cost as you would need to enter a contract to use the service. While some may need that kind of connectivity, my own personal style is happy with the Wi-Fi version. With the expansion through the years of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, I find that I am never disappointed that I didn’t splurge for the cellular model.

One thing is for sure; with Apple, we will never have things fully figured out prior to their event. They always seem to pull some unanticipated surprise from their hat. Does anyone remember when the iPod Touch was first announced? Everyone thought Steve was winding down to close the event when he said, “We’re not done yet…” and unveiled for us that slick, new media machine that fits in your pocket. Jobs was famous for his “one more thing” announcements that preceded some great new Apple products. So, whether the iPad 3 comes next week or not, you can still expect the unexpected from the post-Jobs Apple.

And more from Microsoft…

As we turn now to Microsoft, I am feeling more and more sure of my early predictions that this will be a good year for that company. This week, a public preview of Windows 8 was released for anyone to download. While it is readily available for anyone to test-drive; it may be wise to not jump in without exploring the ramifications. Microsoft was careful to emphasize that this is still a beta (test) version and there may still be issues with drivers and software compatibility. So, proceed with caution. Also, if you overwrite your Windows 7 OS, there is no option to turn back. You will have to continue to use the beta until the official launch at which point you will have to buy the new OS.

When the official release date is announced (expect it to be in the fall of this year), I anticipate a media publicity blitz as the folks at Redmond, WA promote the cross-platform convergence between desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

We’ve only just passed the two-month mark in 2012 and it has already shaped up to be a very exciting year for technology-minded people. Stay tuned for more as the year continues to unfold.

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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Filed under Computing, Phone Applications