Upgrading Your Technology Isn’t Always A Good Idea

Every week I’m getting some kind of alert that some software application needs to be updated. Most of the time it’s just Microsoft, but things such as Adobe whatever, Flash, Java and even a couple of other programs I’m running here and there will pop up saying I should upgrade, and I always do.

However, not everything will alert you to the fact that there’s an upgrade. It is in that vein that last week I tried to do something different.

Linksys - RangePlus WRT160N 4-Port Wireless-N Broadband Router

After one more story about someone who had their wireless connection leeched by someone else who was downloading kiddie porn I decided it was probably time to close my connection. My neighbors aren’t all that close and in my area signals get degraded quickly, but my mind said let’s not take any chances.

I have a Linksys router and figured out how to get into the software settings so I could change things around. Then it alerted me that there was a firmware upgrade for the router. I checked it out, seemed like a good deal, downloaded the program, did the upgrade, and figured all was fine. What the upgrade was supposed to do was two things. The first was to protect some of the open ports better against intrusions, and the second was to boost the speed a little bit more. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with either of those things, and my computer still worked great.

The problem came the first time I tried to sync my Palm to the computer. Because of stupid Vista I can no longer sync the Palm via a USB connection; it has to be wireless, unless I want to take the time to go out and buy a Bluetooth connector for the computer, and I don’t. And the problem wasn’t the protection I had put onto the computer against wireless intrusions without a password either, as my laptop still accessed things fine.

The problem was that suddenly the upgrade had changed from 40-bit and 80-bit technology to 64-bit and 128-bit technology, but the Palm, being older, could only handle the older bits. I couldn’t get it to work with the computer in any way, shape or fashion. Talk about disappointing!

I worked on it for hours, then decided to shut it down and try again the next day. Same thing, couldn’t get it working, although this time I kept sporadically trying things. Nope, wasn’t happening. Then on Twitter I happened to mention it and someone said to try to do the upgrade again. I did that; as a matter of fact, not only did I do that, but I went in and turned off the wireless protection as well.

I’m not sure why but after the 4th time of running that upgrade I was finally able to sync my Palm; came out of nowhere, as I just wasn’t expecting it. I was elated beyond belief. Unfortunately, I still can’t access the internet on the Palm, but it’s more important to me that I can sync my address and date books again.

In a way, it’s a problem I should have thought about ahead of time based on the reality that many people have been trying and failing to upgrade the Flash BIOS on their Dell laptops and have found themselves with laptops that no longer work. There’s supposedly a class action lawsuit out there somewhere against them because it’s been found that many of their motherboards, estimated at around 12 million or so, are faulty and thus helped to cause the crashes.

Of course I could just go out and buy a new router like the one above, the N-series, and maybe that would help, and I may do that some day; just not now. 🙂

Either way, it does point out that whenever you’re thinking about upgrading your technology you might need to think about your older tech to see if it might cause you problems you don’t want to deal with.

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What’s The Problem With Palm?

So, what’s the problem with Palm, the company that brought us all the first real personal digital assistant? I remember back in the early 2000’s when everyone wanted one and needed one; now, you can’t even give away the Palm Pre, their version of a smartphone, and you can’t give away the company either.

This might make me a dinosaur among many of you, but I love having a Palm. Well, I love having one that works anyway. I got my first Palm back in 2001 when my dad first started getting really sick, and I realized I didn’t have any information with me if I were out of town and didn’t have access to my computer, since I didn’t have a laptop back then. Strangely enough, each of my parents had a Palm, way ahead of the game back in the day, but they were traveling a lot and, like me, wanted access to all sorts of information while on the go.

At a certain point in 2005, Palm went in the wrong direction, and that’s probably when things started to fall apart. I actually bought the latest Palm at the time, a heavy monster with a 4GB hard drive that was using technology that no one else was even working on, and that technology was unwieldy and, it seems, unnecessary. Everyone else who was in the PDA game was moving towards cellphone technology instead.

What ended up happening is the fancy Palm, which I actually had to replace twice in one year, just couldn’t support itself, and the entire company started tanking, even though Palm had slightly downsized its expectations and come out with the Palm T/X, which I ended up buying. Palm came into the cellphone game late, and its entry, the Pre, has never caught on.

Now word is that Palm has been trying to find someone to buy the company, but not only are there no takers, but many of the top brass have flown the coop. The guy who oversaw software and services, senior vice president Michael Abbott, is jumping to Twitter, which still hasn’t figured out how to make money off themselves; that says something to me. Palm’s stock price is dropping, 12% on Monday alone. At the beginning of the year Palm estimated it would have $1.7 billion in sales in 2010, but the first quarter only came in around $150 million; ain’t gonna happen.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what this means for me. I don’t know that any of the smartphones that are out there do what my Palm does, the way I want it done. I don’t know if there are any other PDAs on the market. I purchased a refurbished Palm T/X 10 days ago to replace mine, which lasted 2 good years, and I just sent it back today because suddenly last night the screen decided it didn’t want to play anymore; so much for refurbished stuff, although the guy said he would repair it for me.

Oh yeah, I did try to get the one I have repaired, but they said it was past the time and said I had to buy a new one, around $399, and I balked at that because the original only cost me $130; weasels!

What do I need? Here’s my deal. The main thing is I want something I can sync with my computer and laptop so that I never lose all of my information. I like my calendar feature. I like having my entire address book, with email addresses, birthdays, and any other information I want to add with me. I like setting all sorts of alarms to remind me of stuff (like today, without my Palm, I forgot I had something on the stove for over an hour, and luckily the smoke detector finally went off). The Palm can access wi-fi areas (I don’t have to pay for internet service), can play MP3 files, I can customize its look, I can take my Word or Excel files with me, I can read Adobe files, and it also came with some of the Franklin Covey things I like that let you talk about your values and goals and the like.

So, if you can recommend something that does all of that, I’d be interested. Oh yeah; I don’t want a phone if I don’t have to have one, and I don’t want to have to spend $500 for one either (though I’ll own up to paying almost $700 for the Palm that didn’t end up working out for me; never again). Information please!
 

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Is Your Tech Failing You?

I have an Epson Photo R200 printer. I like this printer a lot, so much so that I bought my wife one, and I even recommended it to my mother and a friend of mine, both of whom bought the same thing.

I do have a problem with it, though. It doesn’t like to print envelopes. Actually, the printing part is fine; it’s the feeding the envelopes through the printer part that it won’t do. I have to literally push the envelope into the feeder and hope that it takes it to get envelopes printed. If I’m only doing one envelope at a time it’s not such a big deal. But when I’m doing some of my marketing and I’m pushing through between 20 and 40 envelopes, it’s very irritating.

As I started to think back on it, I realized that every printer I’ve ever owned has been an Epson, and I’ve always had the same problems. That’s over 20 years of envelope problems, yet I keep buying the same thing. I know I’m the loyal type, but I’m thinking that’s a bit ridiculous in retrospect.

Then I started thinking about other tech things as it relates to my computing, or in some way interacts with my computer, and things I’ve tolerated over the years. For instance, I’ve had a Palm of some type since 2002. For the most part they’ve all worked pretty well. But every one of them invariably had an issue. And, oddly enough, I realized that at some point I sent each of them back to the company because something had failed; how weird is that? I love the fact that I can carry all my addresses and passwords and music and calendar and the like with me easily enough; but have I really gotten my money’s worth and had my time be really efficient in the long run with some of the technical issues I’ve had to deal with?

And then there’s my computer itself. Some of you remember my tale about getting my old computer fixed by the computer guy and the subsequent story the next day. The computer I had before that one was a terror as well. As a matter of fact, for all the complaints I’ve had about Vista, the truth is that this is still the best running computer I’ve had since the very first computer I ever had, my double floppy special back in 1987 that I never wanted, and look at all the trouble it’s led to in my life. 🙂 And I have had a few problems with this computer that I’m not sure are Vista related that makes me wonder what it is with tech companies to begin with.

I mean, is it that they’re all following what we know as the Microsoft Principle, which means put it out there even if it’s not perfect and we’ll try to make it better as it goes along? Yeah, I know, nothing’s perfect, but is there anything that any of us have bought that we can truthfully say we’ve never had even one little glitch with it?

I’ve had to replace my scanner four times. I’ve had to replace the battery pack to my laptop twice, and the hard drive once. My GPS unit just won’t update itself online through this computer, even though it’s supposed to, which means that was a waste of $65 to update the maps. I tried to update the software for the transfer of files between my cell and the computer and ended up losing access to my computer for a few hours until I figured out how to get back into it and do a system restore; thank goodness I could do that. I had to buy a USB headset because my previous headset and my microphone suddenly wouldn’t work. One of my external hard drives has bit the dust, and it was considered a highly ranked enclosure when I bought it. I can’t count how many hard drives I’ve lost over the years. And I’ve had to replace two monitors in my lifetime.

Am I expecting too much in my tech, or do many of you feel the same way? And, not that I’m going to change all that immediately, but is there a printer out there that’s not a HP (let’s not even go into why I’m not buying a HP) that will easily load envelopes so I can remove that bit of minor stress from my life in the future, that also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

SeeThru Hard Shell Case for BlackBerry Storm - Red

SeeThru Hard Shell Case for BlackBerry Storm – Red

Price – $25.99


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell