Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - April 2005

 
Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs in the past.  This is my monthly customer newsletter, containing tips that I hope you'll find helpful and interesting.  This month's topics are Internet radio, buying a new computer, what to do with an old computer, and improved service and special offers from Comcast.  Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, please let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list.  If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new address. 

As always, I invite you to contact me with your computer questions.  I want to help you get the most from your computer.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd, Boulder Computer Maven

Phone: 303-444-8247
Web Site: http://www.bcmaven.com

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years



Internet Radio

Internet radio services play through your computer's speakers and offer hundreds of  channels of music, talk, sports, and other programs -- a much wider variety than AM and FM broadcast stations.  The services that I like best are:
Other popular services include Live365, Shoutcast, Musicmatch, and MSN Radio Plus


Buying a New Computer

While oil prices are reaching new highs, computer prices are reaching new lows. Complete setups (computer, monitor, and printer) are available for as little as $300 (after rebates) from computer and office supply stores and from manufacturers like Dell.  Any new computer that you can buy is more than powerful enough for everyday use such as E-mail, web browsing, instant messaging, word processing, and viewing pictures from a digital camera.  Spending $100-$300 more can buy improvements such as more memory, more disk space, an LCD monitor, or an additional CD or DVD drive. If you play high-end computer games or edit digital photos and movies, consider spending even more to get additional memory and disk space, a faster processor, improved audio and video etc.

With new computer prices so low, it can be less expensive to buy a new one than to fix an old one that's having problems.  I can help you transfer your important information (documents, pictures, music, E-mail messages, address books, Internet Explorer Favorites, etc) from your old computer to a new one.


What to Do with an Old Computer

What can you do with your old computer after you get a new one?  Here are some possibilities:
  • Keep it for use as a backup to your new computer, or give it to a friend or family member.
  • Sell it. Computers generally have very low resale values, because they become outdated quickly and new computers are so inexpensive.
  • Donate it to a school, religious organization, or charitable organization.  If you want to donate, check with the organization to find out if your computer meets its minimum requirements for computer hardware, and ask whether the computer needs to have an operating system installed.
  • Recycle it. 
These web sites list computer recycling companies and organizations that accept donations of computer equipment: Colorado-Recycles.org Earth911.org, Governor's Office of Energy Management and  Conservation, Boulder Community Network, Jared Polis Foundation Community Computer Connection, Eco-Cycle, National Christina Foundation

Before selling, donating, or recycling a computer, I recommend reformatting the hard disk to erase all of your personal information.  If the recipient of the computer needs to have an operating system installed, reinstall the operating system from the CDs that came with the computer, then install all available Windows updates from Microsoft to bring it up to current levels of performance and security.

As a service to the community, I'll do the following work for free if you're going to donate a computer to a tax-exempt school, religious organization, or charitable organization: reformat the hard disk, reinstall the operating system, and install Windows updates.  Here's how it works:
  1. Contact me for an appointment.
  2. Bring the computer to my office, along with its original software CDs, product codes, and certificates of authenticity.
  3. I'll do the work, usually within a week.
  4. I'll contact you to arrange a time for you to pick up the computer.

Improved Service and Special Offers from Comcast

Comcast, the cable TV and Internet service provider in the Boulder area, has increased the speed of cable Internet service to its existing customers.  To get the increased speed (4 Mb/second down, 384 Kb/second up), all you need to do is unplug your cable modem from the electrical power for one minute and then plug it back in.

If you don't have high-speed Internet service, this is a good time to sign up.  Through April 15, Comcast is offering six months of service to new customers for $19.99/month.  After six months, regular rates (currently $42.95/month for cable TV customers who own their own cable modem) will apply.  For details, see this Comcast special offers web page.