Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Christmas 2.0

This is a very funny video – new technology meets old:

Internet and TV

While wading through much information, I came upon this handy chart from Tivo that provides a good summary of the key offerings that are hot right now:

Tivo vs Google TV vs Apple TV

Now this is from Tivo, so you have to keep that in mind, but it does highlight some differences.  Tivo does provide most of the same functionality as Google TV and Apple TV, but what do they offer instead.  Google offers Apps, better and more familiar web integration (although it seems that they are still working out all the kinks).  Apple TV is cheaper ($100) and smaller, and offers iTunes integration (including the iPhone remote application to run it), but what probably turns out to be greater cost over time ($1 per show or $10 per movie).


  • Tivo – $20/month for 2 years or $99 + $20/month for 1 year
  • Cable DVR: additional $2 to $5/month
  • Google TV: about $400 (which includes a BluRay player)
  • Apple TV: $100

The Secret to Technical Support

Likelihood of a computer issue being solved

How to Convert .pages to text or Word

Pages '09 logoOur high school has apparently started using iWorks for documents, and in particular the Pages word processor and layout tool.  We were unable to open a .pages file at home using Microsoft Word and other programs.  A quick search on the internet provided a helpful solution: export the file in Word format from the Pages program.  So that will work next time – but didn’t help for the file on hand.

So the trick is to move the file to a PC, then add .zip on the end of the file name.  Then double click to open the file, and there should be several files, including

  • Thumbnail.jpg
  • Preview.pdf
  • index.xml

These files can then be extracted.  Thumbnail.jpg shows what the document looks like.  Preview.pdf provides the document in Adobe PDF format.  From there, you can simply select the text, then copy and paste it into Word, or any other editing program.

Thanks to Experts Exchange for the tip.

Portable Hard Drives: Toshiba vs My Passport

Toshiba DrivesPortable hard drives are now very affordable.  These are the small USB-powered drives that have become my preferred backup method.  They don’t require a power supply, and usually work seamlessly with any PC or Mac.

Today, I purchased a Toshiba Canvio 320 Gb drive for $70 from Best Buy.  No special installation software, and the included backup software was simply deleted without any problem.

I mention this last issue because I recently tried some Western Digital My Passport Essential drives.  They come with backup software (“WD Smartware”) that can’t be removed.  The drives are preconfigured with a partition that operates as a virtual CD drive (with the backup software and disk drivers), and another partition for the removable drive that operates as you would expect.

The “CD drive” automatically installs a program that then runs from the taskbar.  To disable this activity, you need to download a special program from the company website, install it, connect the drive, and then reconfigure it to disable the CD drive functionality.  Note that the CD drive files remain – they just stay dormant.  What were they thinking when they designed this?

Or you can just get the Toshiba drive and save yourself some headaches.