Thursday, June 30, 2005

Data Recovery

© By Barry Stein

Every person who uses a personal computer will eventually face the challenge of data recovery. Computer hardware and software can be temperamental from time to time. Hard drives and other mechanical components of personal computers and servers do not last forever, and when they fail recovering your data can be difficult, time consuming and costly.

If you are working diligently away on a document or spreadsheet in Microsoft Office and the power goes out, you may still be able to recover the documents you were working on when the lights come back on. This type of data recovery is relatively easy and straightforward. Software manufacturers recognize that power outages are inevitable and unpredictable and most office applications incorporate what is known as autosave features. At set intervals, the documents you have open are saved to a cached file. They remain in that cached state and should be accessible once your power is restored. Simply opening Microsoft Word or Excel will usually bring these documents back. For instance, when you open Word after a power failure or a software error, you will be presented with a document followed by the word recovered in parentheses. This is the document you were working on at the most recent autosave point. You may still lose a couple minutes worth of work this way, but it sure beats having to go back and retype the entire document.

If the recovered document does not appear automatically, search your hard drive for files ending with tmp. Look for one created close to the time of the power failure or software error and open it. This is most likely the document you had open at the time. If this method of data recovery does not work, you may need to follow the steps listed below.

Of course not all data recovery is so easy and so straightforward. If you delete a file accidentally, it is a simple matter to recover it from the recycle bin. Once you empty the recycle bin, however, things become more difficult. The deleted file still resides on your computer somewhere, but the pointer that tells the program where to find the file is now gone. There are various software tools available that promise to help recover deleted files, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some of the major players are Norton, McAfee and Computer Associates. There are a great many smaller vendors as well.

Even if all these products fail to recover your data, you may not be completely out of luck. Data recovery services specialize in recovering data from failed and corrupt hard drives. These data recovery services have tools and equipment not available to the general public.

Government and law enforcement forensic teams will often make use of these advanced data recovery techniques to investigate cases of computer crime. Businesses also will turn to a professional data recovery service to recover mission critical data from damaged hard drives.

It is important to choose a reputable firm any time you need to have data recovery services performed. The firm you choose should be able to provide references from previous clients. You should make sure to follow up with the references they provide.

The cost for the data recovery service will vary according to the type of equipment and the difficulty of the job. You should get several estimates to make sure you are paying a fair price for the service you receive.

About the author:

Barry Stein is the owner of where he offers cutting-edge tips on all aspects of business. To find more advice, tools and resources to help you succeed in your business, visit:

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  • Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Apple Mac mini - Fits Anywhere - The Most Affordable Mac Ever!

    The Apple Mac mini will work with either Mac or PC-compatible peripherals, this makes it easier than ever to upgrade from and older Mac or PC system. All you have to do is connect your USB mouse and keyboard, then hook up your DVI or VGA display(our adapter is included). Then just plug it in, turn it on and your ready to go.

    This is power packed into a small package - Apple has outdone themselves! Under the sleek anodized aluminum styling of the Mac mini is a G4 processor, room for up to 1GB PC2700 main memory, a Radeon 9200 graphics chip, and a large enough hard drive, up to 80 GB, to store todays digital media.

    Using the mini connections you can hook-up your digital devices like cameras, iPod, printer, camcorder, and your keyboard. There is a audio/headphone jack.
    Customize this Mac with some great extra options!

    The choice is yours, use your own keyboard and mouse or choose the Apple Wireless keyboard and mouse and free yourself from the clutter of cables. You will need the Bluetooth module and with it you will also be able to have wireless access to printers, cell phones, PDAs, input devices and other peripherals. Or add a AirPort Extreme Card and have the freedom of wireless networking from anywhere in your home. Although you must have these features added when ordering your Mac or they will have to be added by an authorized service provider because they are not user-installable.

    A slot-loading SuperDrive added will let you play and burn both CDs and DVDs. So be sure to check out the most advanced, convenient, and affordable Mac in history!

    To learn more about the Mac Mini or to purchase one

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    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Offsite Backup Providers Can Provide Digital Peace of Mind

    by: Harald Anderson

    In todays fast data-centric world of personal computers and consumer/business electronics (such as PDAs and digital media players) we have, as a society, developed a reliance on digital data. We have particularly developed a dependence on data stored on various magnetic media such as hard drives, removable disks, and magnetic tape. While some computer users may never have had a problem with loss of data due to viruses, Internet worms or file corruption, most of us have at some time experienced the frustration and loss of productivity that comes with the loss of computer data.

    Maybe someone in your office deleted files off the network that your entire team had been working on for months. Or perhaps the corporate firewall did not stop the latest Internet-borne virus that has a penchant for overwriting '.doc' files with junk data. Like it or not, if you connect your computer to the Internet (and in some cases, even if you do not), your mission critical data is at risk. The question is: What can you do about it?

    One excellent solution is to employ offsite backups. Offsite backup solutions allow you to store critical data that is crucial to your business or personal computing experience. Offsite backup providers make it quick and easy for you to back up your most important files to a secure, offsite facility that offers redundant storage, and round the clock accessibility to your files in the event of a critical 'system meltdown'. When you use an online offsite backup provider, you can be secure in knowing that your files and important information will be available to you no matter what happens to the machines you work on every day.

    Even if your computer needs to be completely formatted or your laptop is stolen you can have the peace of mind that the most important part of your computing experience - the data you generate on a day-to-day basis - is safe and secure and always available to you.
    Your DATA is your Life. Protect it.

    About The Author
    Harald Anderson is a freelance writer and webmasterfor an online backup service. Download your free thirty day trial and experience the Digital Peace of Mind that accompanies a secure disaster recovery routine for your business.
    Copyright 2005 Harald Anderson

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    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Top of the Line Digital Cameras

    by: Warren Lynch

    If you thinking that digital cameras are for easy, recreation snapshots only, then you obviously haven't heard about SLR (Single Lens Reflex) digital cameras. SLR is a type of camera which has one lens for composing the frame and capturing the image. SLR cameras are also known as TTL (through-the-lens) cameras.

    The SLR camera displays an image through the viewfinder that is exactly the same image as the camera sees and is exactly the same image that the camera is going to record when you release the shutter.

    The SLR camera provides a much more accurate image through the viewfinder than a digital camera produces on its LCD because the LCD does not faithfully reproduce the colors and light intensity that is actually entering the camera.

    Top of the line SLR digital cameras rival the best film-based SLR cameras and are designed for serious hobbyists and professional photographers. Digital SLR cameras are much larger, bulkier, and heavier than traditional digital cameras.

    The SLR uses a mirror that is located behind the lens as well as an optical device known as a pentaprism to channel the light that enters the camera's lens to the optical finder. When you release the shutter the mirror moves out of the way and the image is captured in the same way as any digital camera.

    The 'better' digital SLR cameras let you mount different lenses just like their film-based counterparts do. Many of your existing 35mm lens may be compatible with a digital SLR. If you have a large lens collection then you should definitely look for a digital SLR that is compatible with them.

    Because the digital SLR cameras are more professional, they come with a hefty price tag. A 6-megapixel Nikon D100 runs around $2,000 and the 11-megapixel Canon 1D runs near $8,000. This is for the camera body only and does not include a lens! This is why I mentioned earlier that you should look for a digital camera that will mount your existing lens collection. Just a good quality zoom lens can run you at least $3,000 and can climb as high as $10,000 depending upon the features!

    Of course, there are also starter-priced digital SLR cameras available. The Olympus E-20N, a 5.0-megapixel SLR camera, which includes a non-replaceable lens that is capable of duplicating a 35 mm to 140 mm lens, runs around $3500.

    These prices are not out of line if you make your living shooting pictures. You can actually create additional revenue streams when you shoot digital pictures, instead of film-based ones, by offering image enhancement options and all sorts of digital FX options for thee prospective bride and groom's on their treasured wedding album.

    If all of this sounds a bit too expensive for your blood, then you'll probably find all of the digital camera that you'll ever need way down in the $99 to $500 price range and you'll never have to worry about buying extra lenses. Digital SLR cameras aren't for everyone but, if they're for you, then there are plenty of models to look at. Some of the best are made by Canon, Olympus and Nikon which are familiar names in the photography world.

    Warren Lynch has been shooting commercial photography since 1979. Clients include Makers Mark Bourbon, Heaven Hill, Yum Brands, GE, Fruit of The Loom and many more highly recognizable brands. Have him make your product more recognizable too. Visit his website at or just him a call at 1-502-587-7722 to quote on your next project.

    "Sign-up for his syndicated Digital Photography newsletter at The Digital Dose"

    About The Author
    Warren Lynch is a Professional Commercial Photographer located in Louisville, Ky. Sign up for "The Digital Dose" and receive Digital Photography tips every other week absolutely FREE!

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    Monday, June 13, 2005

    10 Must-Have Laptop Accessories

    by: John San Filippo

    You have laid out alot of money for your laptop computer, but you are not done spending just yet. There are a few must have laptop computer accessories you may want to consider to make the package complete.

    1: Laptop Case / Bag

    As the newest member of the mobile computing force, you're required to take an oath of safe computing. And that starts with investing in the most important of laptop accessories - a laptop bag. You can't very well go traipsing around the world with your laptop exposed to the elements.

    When it comes to laptop bags, you can spend $25 for a small case made from less expensive materials on up to several hundred dollars for one made of top-grain cowhide.
    However, in the end, the most important consideration is whether your case can hold your laptop, plus all the other goodies that go with it (like the ones described here).

    2: Software

    Did your laptop computer come with software? If so, did it come with the right software - the software you actually need to perform whatever tasks you need to perform?

    Don not just assume you have everything you need. You'll probably need to add some software, as well as go online to update the software that was included.

    3: A Real USB Mouse

    Trackpads and eraser nubs that fill an obvious need. However, given the option, most people would rather user a real mouse.

    If you stop and think for a moment, you're likely to realize that many places where you'll be computing actually are suitable for a real mouse.

    So one of the most useful laptop accessories you can buy is a USB mouse, keep it in your bag, and use it whenever you're able.

    4: A Cat5 Ethernet Cable

    Your built-in Ethernet port won't do you much good if you get to your hotel room, discover an Ethernet connection, and don't have a cable. Some hotels provide them; others don't. Always come prepared with the right cable.

    5: A Standard Telephone Cable

    The same holds true for your modem connection. If you don't have a cable to get you from your computer to the phone jack, you're not going anywhere in cyberspace.

    6: Disposable Cleansing Cloths

    Over time, the display on your laptop is going to get dusty, or even smudgy. You're playing Russian roulette with your laptop if you attempt to clean your display with paper towels and spray cleaners.

    Instead, use disposable cleansing cloths. These essential laptop accessories are designed specifically to clean laptop displays. Always have a stash on hand.

    7: USB Drive

    A USB drive is a storage device about the size of your thumb that plugs directly into a USB port.
    Capacity-wise, they're relatively small - usually well under 100 MB. However, they're very useful for moving files quickly and easily from one computer to another, e.g., moving a PowerPoint presentation from your laptop to your business associate's laptop.

    A USB drive also makes a great temporary backup medium for the really important files you create on the road.

    8: Blank CD-R Discs

    You've just finished your big sales presentation. Someone from the audience approaches you afterward and asks for a copy of the presentation.

    You'll make a better impression if you:

    a) ask the person for their email address and tell them you'll email the presentation later

    b) ask for their physical address and tell them you'll mail a CD later

    c) burn them a CD of the presentation on the spot.

    In case you didn't figure it out, the answer is c. Always be prepared with these inexpensive laptop accessories.

    9: Stereo Headset

    It's great to be able to watch DVD movies no matter where you are. Imagine watching your favorite flick at 30,000 feet.

    There's just one problem.

    The family in the row behind you has absolutely no interest in hearing the dialog from Pulp Fiction.

    Do yourself and everyone around you a favor. When you're watching movies or listening to music in public, use your headphones.

    10: Security Device

    Laptop security devices come in many shapes and sizes.

    For example, most laptop computers include a security dock that allows you to attach your laptop to some immovable object via cable, much like you'd lock up your bicycle outside the grocery store.

    About The Author

    Thinking of buying a laptop computer? 'How To Buy A Laptop' is the definitive online guide that will teach you everything you need to know. Don't buy the wrong machine! Check out ==>

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    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Internet PC

    Are you thinking of buying a new computer? Are you confused by all the different types (laptop, server, desktop, etc.)? There is one more option that is just becoming popular that could clear up things for many computer users, the Internet PC. Many of the large companies, such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq have released a new line of Internet PC computers that are revolutionary to the home computer market.

    The computers average about two feet tall by about a foot long, which is very small compared to a normal desktop computer. The specifications are also astounding; most contain at least 20 gig hard drives with 64 Megs of memory. They also have built in Ethernet cards with added keyboard buttons that hotlink directly to your email, the Internet, and your favorite websites. They even sport around a 600-megahertz processor. All in a package about the size of a shoe box. So you are probably thinking wonderful and it probably costs three thousand dollars, not so. Many of these units can be purchased with a monitor for only eight hundred dollars. If you already have a monitor, you can pick one of these up for around five hundred dollars.

    So what's the catch? With these computers you do give up some things common to the normal desktop. First the computers almost exclusively use USB ports. These ports have been around for a while but has only recently became popular and are being implemented into almost all the new hardware. The ports allow users to plug in anything from a printer to a mouse and unplug the device while the computer is on (hot swappable). Some come with serial ports but the amount of these serial ports are limited. The good news is that many of the older devices can still be run on these computers if you purchase the new USB cable. And since USB ports are small these Internet computers are loaded with them, most have five ports. You might be thinking I have more than five devices plugged in to the back of my computer. But the real question is how many of those devices do you use at once? Remember USB ports are hot swappable. Done with the digital camera and want to play a game? Unplug the camera and plug in the joystick. Some of the computer companies are still working out the problems with their hot swappable ports, so consult your users manual before you actually try this.

    Another disadvantage or advantage, depending on your personal computer needs, to the Internet PCs. Many do not have a 3.5-inch floppy drive. You may be sitting there and shock, but then think back, when was the last time you used a 3.5 floppy drive. You can still use a floppy drive with these computers, but you have to plug it in the USB port. On the other hand, the Compaq model, called Ipaq, comes with a DVD drive, CDROM drive, and a super floppy drive, which along with specific floppy disks, lets you save 120 megs to a floppy! There is only space for one drive in the computer at a time and they are traded much like they are on a laptop computer. Pop one drive out and put a new one in.

    These new Internet computers are great! At the very least keep them in mind when you are shopping for a new computer. If you love having 2000 devices plugged into your computer at once, or if your devices are more than a year or two old, Internet PCs might not be for you. But for the rest of us, these PCs are great! For more information Dells Internet PCs are called WebPCs ( Compaq as stated before released the Ipaq ( and Hewlett Packard released the eVectra ( For all you Mac fans out there, Apple has released New Power Mac G5, which is a cross between the Internet PCs and a desktop. It is a lot more expensive than the other Internet PCs ($3,499) but is a great machine

    Contributed by:The Boom! Magazine For more technology articles please visit The Boom! Magazine at 2000 The Boom! Magazine Email: president@theboom.wsWebsite: The Boom! Magazine

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    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Enjoy Low Cost Mobile Computing

    by: David Busick

    The Internet is a common source of information and with increased business and personal travel it is almost a necessity to have a laptop computer with wireless Internet access for easy mobile computing.

    New laptops that are built for WiFi and the WiFi Hub service providers are excellent but the cost can be a burden to those who have a budget and do not have a high priority need to justify that cost.

    Also, the effort of finding a WiFi Hub location limits the freedom of truly mobile Internet access.

    The solution is very simple for those who enjoy hunting for bargains.

    You can shop for one of the many high quality used laptop computers. These can have CPUs from 500 Mgz to 800 Mgz, they are very functional have can be found for very low prices.

    Then get a basic Cell Phone service plan from any of the major companies.

    Buy a Cell Phone Kit that provides software and a cable to connect the cell phone to the laptop for Internet access. There are several brands now available.

    This is a wonderful low cost way of enjoying the Internet anytime and anywhere. It is not as fast as a broadband provider but it is very functional and can be used where ever a cell phone call can be made.

    About The Author
    David Busick An Excellent source for PDA Accessories, MPEG Movies, Custom Business Software, Educational Software and Discount Computers.

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    Thursday, June 02, 2005

    Buying The Right Laptop Computer

    by: John San Filippo

    It is so easy to be intimidated by all the laptop models on the market today. There are literally dozens and dozens in every price range.

    The key factor to finding the right one is to step back and consider exactly how you plan to use your laptop. When you define what you need before you go shopping, buying the right machine becomes much easier.

    5 basic factors to be considered when buying the right laptop:

    1. SIZE
    In the world of mobile computing, size definitely matters. The size of a laptop affects two key areas: portability and display size.

    If you're always on the go and will be using your computer only in short bursts, a so-called ultralight will save you some shoulder strain.

    On the other hand, if you're going to spend hours in front of your laptop, a larger display may be in order.

    Today, some laptop displays exceed 17 inches, rivaling the display size of many desktop systems. The down side is that these monsters can easily weigh three times as much as an ultralight.

    Speaking of size, what about the size of the hard drive? One way to approach this issue is to ask yourself the following question:

    Will this be my primary computer, or will it supplement my desktop system? If the former, you should look for a bigger hard drive - 60 GB or more. If the latter, you may be able to make it with a 20-30 GB hard drive. But even this isn't absolute. If, for example, you plan to copy a huge MP3 library from your desktop system to your laptop to make your music library portable, you'd be well advised to err on the side of too big.

    In determining the right amount of system memory, or RAM, take a look at the ways in which you intend to use your laptop:

    If your needs are somewhat mundane - email, spreadsheets, word processing, etc. - 256 MB of RAM should be plenty. This is a common configuration for many laptops, so it means you probably won't need to spend extra for more RAM.

    3. MEMORY
    On the flip side, if you're an aspiring mobile digital photographer or videographer, you should stuff your laptop with as much RAM as it can hold.

    In fact, exactly how much RAM your laptop can hold may in part drive your purchase decision. Applications for editing and manipulating multimedia content are notorious resource hogs.

    Thanks in no small part to the Internet, computing in the 21st century relies heavily on being connected:

    Connected to the Internet, connected to a corporate network, connected to a wireless network, connected to a home network, connected to an online service.

    Your life will be easier if you buy a laptop that includes built-in means to connect to them all.

    5. PRICE
    If you're considering a laptop, you're probably wondering how much money you'll need to spend.

    A few years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find one for under $2,000. Today, there are plenty of laptops to be had for under $1,000.

    What's more, most of the major manufacturers offer a variety of financing options.
    Laptop prices have come down, to be sure. However, a laptop still represents a fairly major purchase for most people.

    If you take the time to search for a laptop that meets your specific needs, you should get many years of use and enjoyment from this important investment.

    About The Author
    The author, computer journalist John San Filippo, has created the definitive guide for buying a laptop computer. It's an easy read and explains everything you need to know. Check out ==>

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