It wasn’t long ago that only business road warriors needed laptop computers and bags to carry them in. My — how things have changed! Now retirees are using laptops when they hit the road, and people of all ages are toting their laptops along so so they can connect to the Internet when they travel.
With security screening at airports, toting a laptop has become problematic because with most cases, you must remove the laptop from the bag and put it on the conveyor belt. The new ScanFast laptop bags are different. They are TSA approved so you don’t have to remove the laptop from the case. You simply open the case and send it through the x-ray machine. It’s one way to make air travel easier.
Since this January, I have used Mobile Edge ScanFast Messenger bag for several flights. Each time it went through security quickly and easily without removing the laptop saving a lot of aggravation. Best of all, after you get through security, you can simply zip the bag and go. I feel a lot more comfortable about having control over my laptop when it travels down the belt.
I am using the Mobile Edge Checkpoint Friendly Messenger style bag. Mobile Edge has obviously put a lot of thought into the design of this bag. It has a small handle plus a comfortable shoulder strap.There are four outside zippered pockets. One is the perfect size for airline tickets and travel documents. The area for the computer is padded and marked “Computer Friendly”. The bag is not over-sized, but it can easily handle my 16″ Sony laptop. There are also several inside pouches and pockets, including ones that are perfectly sized for paper folders, USB drives, CDs & DVDs, pens, memory cards, and business cards. Everything is easily accessible. I now have no excuse for not being organized when I travel.
I am also impressed with the quality of the bag, itself. It is sturdy. The zippers are strong. Best of all the bag is eco-friendly. It is made from corn. Specifically, it is made from DuPont Sorona, a material derived from corn, requiring 30% less energy to manufacture and reducing greenhouse emissions by 63%!
This bag retails for $99 and is worth every penny. Mobile Edge also has a briefcase bag and a backpack in the same model line.
Let’s face it, I have a lot of laptop bags to choose from. I started off using this bag for air travel, but it has become my “go-to” bag whenever I need to take my laptop along!
Smartphones like the iPhone and the Droid are great, but some of us just want a basic phone that can keep our telephone numbers handy and can easily make and receive calls. One such phone is the LG Accolade SX5600, which is sold through Verizon. I say it is sold through Verizon, but the fact of the matter is that if you sign up for a two-year contract, you can get it online through Verizon for free. You can probably also talk the Verizon store into doing the same thing. Oh, and you can get this phone from Verizon on a pre-paid basis, as well.
The LG Accolade VX5600 is a good basic phone. It only has a numeric-type dialing keyboard, so it is not great if you want to text all the time. However, it will do for an occasional text message. The dialing keyboard has big white letters and white backlighting. Pressing each key gives a nice tactile feedback. It’s easy on the eyes. The menus are easy to navigate. I advice going into the Settings & Tools menu and choosing Main Menu Set, then choosing the “Tab” layout for the Menu Display. This makes the phone much easier to navigate and I wish that LG had set it as the default menu setting. The phone itself is pretty easy to use.
This Accolade is small and lightweight and fits easily into your pocket. Although made of plastic, it is a sturdy phone that feels good in the hand. Call quality is excellent and so is battery life. It also has an excellent keypad with good backlighting. It is both easy-to-see and easy-to-use. You can also set the text to a slightly larger than normal size, so it’s a pretty good phone for those of us with aging eyes. The feature set that focuses on the basics and provides everything you need to make and receive calls including voice dialing, speed dialing, Bluetooth, speakerphone, and a good phone book. While you can use this phone for email, Internet, and texting, other phones may be better for that functionality.
The Accolade has a 3.1 megapixel camera, but the internal memory is so limited that it won’t hold many pictures. You will only want to use it to snap an occasional picture. Also, there is no easy way to get the photos out of the camera. Yet, the camera is there if you happen to need it in a pinch. No music player. No video camera. Yet, this is what you expect from a basic cell phone.
This is an inexpensive phone that gives you all the fundamental features you need to make and receive calls. It’s a good choice for those who don’t need more.
If you want to check out another easy-to-use phone simply for making calls, see my review of the Jitterbug phone.
It’s marketed as a cell phone for seniors, but it is a great phone for anyone who just wants an easy-to-use and easy-to-see cell phone for placing and receiving telephone calls. The Jitterbug J is a phone that anyone can pick up and start using immediately. The numbers are large and the on-screen prompts are put in the form of a question that you simply answer using the “Yes” or “No” buttons. The Jitterbug J is a sturdy and very well designed phone that is made by Samsung.
Seniors will find this phone very comfortable. The flip-open design make it very easy to use and when open it has the feel of a regular old-fashioned telephone. There is even a comforting dial tone when you open the phone. The part of the phone that goes against your ear is padded and formed in such a way that the large speaker is properly placed on your ear every time you use it.
The Jitterbug J also comes with special services. There is an operator available 24-7, 365 days a year . The Jitterbug operators are patient, knowledgeable, friendly and U. S. based. They can be used to place calls, to update the address book, and to perform just about any tasks related to your Jitterbug phone. You may not ever have to call the operator or you may want to use them to place all your calls. The decision is entirely yours.
You can also decide which services you want on your Jitterbug. You can get daily health tips, a weekly personalized wellness call, and/or access to a live registered nurse for 24-7 answers to health-related questions. You can also subscribe to MyWorld which gives you customized weather, sports, stocks, trivia, horoscope, and lottery results. These special services carry an extra$4 a month charge with lower-priced plans, but are often included in the higher-priced plans.
Rate plans range from $14.99 to $79.99 a month. Jitterbug uses the cellular service from other major carriers, so coverage is very good. You can only use the Jitterbug service with the Jitterbug phone. Rate plans are either comparable or just slightly more than those with larger carriers like Verizon. A big difference is that Jitterbug doesn’t require a 2-year contract. In fact, you don’t have to sign any contract at all. For that reason, you do have to incur a $35 activation fee. Although I don’t like that extra fee, I can understand. Without that, people might be turning on and off their service every week.
The cost of the Jitterbug J was recently reduced from $147 to $99, making it very attractive. It is also a great phone for those with vision or hearing impairments. It comes in a pearlized white, black, and red. It makes a great present for a parent or grandparent. Be sure you check it out.
The Bottom Line:
The Jitterbug cell phone was designed for seniors, but it is a good phone for anyone who doesn’t need a camera or an MP3 player and who doesn’t want to sign a two-year contract.
It is also a good cell phone for the millions of people who have a decline in vision, motor skills, or hearing. Since there is no contract and there are small rate packages available, it is also a good phone for those who only want a cell phone for emergencies.
The Jitterbug J not glitzy, but it is comfortable, easy to use, and sturdy. There are no nested menus or confusing icons. It is nice to have extra features that can be turned off if you don’t need them. Its similarities to a regular old telephone will make it comfortable for older people, while its ease of use will appeal to everyone.
One of the easiest ways to speed up your computer is to add more memory. This is especially true of older computers that were built when memory was expensive. Many of these old XP computer have less than 1 GB of memory. If you own one of these machines, there is no doubt that adding more memory will help.
Purchasing computer memory can be difficult because there are so many different types of memory and only one specific type of memory can be used in your computer. Also you need to know how many empty memory slots your computer has to know how much memory you need to purchase. You can open your computer and try to ascertain all of this, but there is an easier way. Just use the Crucial Memory Advisor Tool. It takes the guesswork out of upgrading.
This simple tool will tell you exactly how much memory you have in your computer and how it is configured. It will also tell you how much and what kind of memory your should purchase. You can click right from this tool to make the purchase from Crucial. Crucial is a well-respected name in computer memory. I have used them for years and years without any problem.
For even more information on purchasing and installing memory, see my article entitled How to Purchase Computer Memory.
Studies indicate that 43% of computer users lose irreplaceable files each year. I know that is true because I have had clients who have paid thousands of dollars to retrieve their data and others who went home crying because they had lost all their financial records or years of work on a family tree. If you don’t want to be one of them, click on the ad below and try Carbonite or read on and find out why you should do just that!
Those of you who have followed my past articles and reviews know that I consider backing up important data an essential task for all computer owners.
I’ve also told you about the various backup techniques that you can use. Today, I’d like to give you a little more information about a backup methodology called “online backup”. I’ll also tell you why you should try it and which backup service you should use.
Online backup is one of the easiest ways to back up because you don’t have to think about it. Since the backup is done over the Internet, you will need to have a broadband connection. After you sign up with a reputable online company, your files are backed up automatically to one of their servers. Every time you change, add, or delete a file, the backup is also changed. You don’t have to do a thing. You can think of this type of backup as an insurance policy that gives you peace of mind. After you pay for it, you don’t have to think about it unless you have a catastrophic event. Then you simply cash in on your insurance policy, or in this case, restore your files from the backup servers to your computer.
There are many companies providing online backup. However, this is a good time to stick with a trusted name. At the current time, the company I recommend is Carbonite.
I have been using Carbonite for my own data and I have interviewed David Friend, the president of Carbonite on my podcast, so I can highly recommend them. Carbonite can be used for Windows XP and Windows Vista. A Mac version is due soon.
There are many things that I like about Carbonite. One is that they offer a 15-day free trial with no credit card necessary. So you can backup some of your files and even try to restore them to test the program and see how it works. The second thing that I like about Carbonite is that it is easy. They have spent a lot of time to develop a clear and clean interface that is extremely easy to use. Every step of the backup process is explained in plain English.
Here’s a brief overview of how Carbonite works. After you install the program, the default backup will choose all the files that it thinks are important including email, data files from applications like Quicken, as well as your personal documents and photos. You can then add any other files that you feel you want to backup.
Once the backup begins, it runs in the background and doesn’t interfere with your using your computer. If you have a lot of data, the initial backup can take a day or even several days. It is best to leave your computer on during this time so that the backup can be accomplished as quickly as possible. After that, every time you change or add a document to the desktop or a folder that is marked for backup, it will be backed up. This is done quickly while you are working on other things.
The beauty of online backup is that you don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to do anything. Everything is backed up as you go. Carbonite has no limit on the amount of data that can be backed up, so you can back up as much as you like.
Carbonite puts a small colored circle in front of any file to show that it is already backed up or is in the process of backing up. So you can always see at a glance that the backup is working properly and if the file in question has been chosen to be backed up. You can right-click on any file or folder in Windows Explorer or My Computer to add it to or remove it from you backup.
Carbonite encrypts your documents as they leave your computer, and stores them on encrypted servers, so you don’t have to worry about having your data vulnerable at any time during the backup process. Carbonite has proven itself to be a company that you can have confidence in. As of the beginning of 2008, they were storing over 3.1 billion files on 2.7 petabytes of disk. They receive more that 30 million new files every day. Their service is also trusted enough to be the built-in backup service used by Microsoft Money.
If you ever have a hard drive crash or a problem with your data, it is easy to restore any or all files. Carbonite also keeps several versions of every file, so if you happen to need a version that you previously created, but have overwritten, you can usually retrieve just what you need. You can restore one or two files or, if your computer crashes or is stolen, you can retrieve all your data to another computer.
The only downside to this type of backup is that if you need to restore everything and you have a lot of data, that restoration can take a day or more to complete.
That makes online backup unsuitable as the only backup for a business that needs to get up and running quickly. However, it is usually perfect for a home user.
Even if you have to replace your hard drive, you can quickly restore your email, financial data, and files that you may need immediately, while the program slowly restores your photos and other documents that you don’t need right away.
Carbonite charges $49.95 a year or 2 years for $89.95, if you prepay. If you are lackadaisical about backing up, compare that cost to the amount you pay for your home or car insurance, and consider it a cheap insurance policy.