Reviews


Hardware




Color coordinate with Electronics & Accessories at

Which Computer?

Many people ask me which brand of computer I recommend and which I use. These are two different questions, because I generally build my own computer just for the experience that gives me with hardware and things that can go wrong.  But for the rest of you I recommend Dell computers.  Why?  Dells tend to be reliable, with few proprietary parts, good service and reasonable prices.  My first laptop was a Dell bought in 2000 and still going, my second PDA was also a Dell.  If you are a business client, I recommend Dell's business website.   However, if you are buying a computer for your home, Dell's home computer website is for you.  But whichever site you go to, make sure your computer has 2 or more GB of memory, a large fast hard drive, and the software you need.  You will also have to figure out how risk adverse you are.  You may want to buy a long warranty if you do not like to take risks and I always recommend the best and longest warranties for businesses, because no business can afford computer down-time. 



Software


Best Internet Security Products

In the past, I have recommended only one internet security product.  Now, I am recommending two.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses, which I will discuss. Norton 360 First, Norton 360.  Norton 360 is Norton's first consumer product containing all necessary internet security plus backup.  I am recommending Norton 360 because it's a "set it and forget it" product.  No need to call me about obscure messages, just one red "Fix" button for any action you need to take.  Tops in tests for antivirus, antispyware, and web browsing security.  Will store passwords for you and warn you of fraudulent websites.   Easy on the system.  And it will back up your important files.  So, what are its problems?  Only one. Its spam filtering is abysmal.  Windows Live Mail and Microsoft Outlookboth do a better job at filtering spam. 

Next, is Zone Alarm Extreme Security.   I have long recommended  Zone Alarm for its excellent firewall and spam filtering.  The later editions have also added parental controls and fraudulent website warnings.  In addition, I appreciate its extensive logging.  And now, it's even better than ever with many of the same features as Norton.  This is a top-rated product that I use myself because I want to see the warnings and because I am paranoid!    So, if  you're running Zone Alarm Extreme Security or any Zone Alarm product, be assured that I consider it a product worth having.  But if you want something that's just easy, go with Norton 360. Why am I not recommending other security products like McAfee, Computer Associates, Panda, Nod32, or Trend Micro?  Because they're not the best.  The cheaper price you may pay for these may end up costing you more when you have to call me to remove a virus.  I have seen both Trend Micro and CA products leave viruses undetected on computers.  I later had to remove the viruses with Norton 360 and Zone Alarm.



Parental Control Software

I like effective and easy to use parental control software.  The easiest to use comes bundled with internet security products like Norton 360 and Zone Alarm.  These provide limited protection based on the subject matter of web pages.  Stand-alone parental control software does that and more. It allows you to see when and what your children are viewing and doing and allows more controls.  The one I recommend is CyberPatrol.  For cost-effectiveness, ease of use, ability to keep kids safe, and good reporting, this is the one!

CyberPatrol Parental Controls



The Best Backup Software

The best backup software I have found is Acronis True Image.  It reliably backs up your data to an external disk or hard drive.  It is easy to setup and will run unattended.  If you need a new hard drive or just want to protect your entire system, you can also use it to clone your existing hard drive.  Just the best at the best price. 
Acronis True Image 2009 Home



Best Business Accounting Software for Small Business

QuickBooks is the best accounting software for small business because even a novice can use it.  I personally started using it years ago.  It provides me with an easy to use acconting interface for non-accountants.  It allows me to password protect the file for my security and that of my clients.  It integrates with Paypal for secure credit card processing and with my bank for easy online tranactions.  It allows me to easily transfer my file to other computers as needed and provides timely updates.  For these reasons and more I recommend it.



 Google Chrome Web Browser

I have been using Google latest browser "Chrome" as well as Firefox and Internet Explorer .   Chrome has very fast rendering web pages even on a slower connection.  It' is also great at importing from my Firefox browser.  And now there are add-ons like the ones for Firefox.  But what is best about it is its security.   It runs in a virtual box that keeps malicious web items from your computer.   I have to hand it to Google for building a browser which does most things well. 



Once You Know, You Newegg

Everything Else


The best online electronics store is Newegg.com. Newegg has the best customer service, the best selection, the best product reviews, and very good shipping prices.  Customer service has always gone far beyond my expectations.  In fact, once they forgot to honor a coupon so they grave me 50% off my next couple of orders.  You can't find any other seller that would do something like that!  So, purchase from Newegg and you will be happy!



Free Delivery on most orders over $50

Best Office Supply Store

Staples is the best office supply store.  Not only are they all around us for easy access, but their delivery is fast and free for purchases over $50--and that's almost everything I buy.  Easy to order printer ink, paper, whatever.  I get all my printer ink from Staples because it is fast and easy. So whatever it is, get it from Staples.  



Best Book and Music Site

Amazon:  Take my suggestions (or check my Blog for Music and Book Reviews.)

Tim Downs Books/ Charles Martin Books/Angela Hunt Books  or Search for your favorites!



More Shopping: We all want to save and for general shopping, Smart Bargains is a good place to do that.

SmartBargains.com



Best Auction Sites:

  1. Ebay, of course.
  2. Bid4Assets--for buying US Government Seized Real Estate and other property
  3. Any you like?