Cheap Computing

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June 7, 2013  4:25 PM

If One Free Malware Removal Program Costs $0.00, How Much do Three Malware Removal Programs Cost?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

virusOh, oh, oh. A friend’s computer isn’t working right. Could it be a virus? Or just as likely, a worm, which many people would call a virus even if it isn’t one? The traditional troubleshooting technique here is, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” But we’re smarter than that, right? We are immediately going to buy three of the highest-priced virus removal programs on the market. Or are we? Aren’t there useful free antimalware programs we can use? Why, yes! There are!
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May 27, 2013  11:13 PM

A $69 Android Tablet That’s Worth Buying

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

WalmartMy last post, Beware the Nearly Useless Low-End Android Tablet, was about my efforts to find a low-cost Android tablet that was worth buying. I mentioned that I was ordering a $69 Nextbook 7″ Tablet with 8GB Memory from Walmart. I’ve now been playing with it for a few days, and I like it. The main reason I chose this tablet is that it explicitly said it had Google Play preloaded. And it did. Last week I noted that some bottom-of-the-line tablets only had dorky, semi-useless proprietary app stores, not Google’s huge one — which many people (including me) consider the best thing about Android.

But wait! That’s not all!
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May 19, 2013  4:08 PM

Beware the Nearly Useless Low-End Android Tablet

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Curtis TabletI saw a Klu by Curtis 7″ 4GB Android 4.0 Tablet advertised by h.h.Gregg for $69.95, “In-Store Only.” Since they have a store less than two miles away from my house, I decided to go look at one. It was cute. The screen was more than clear and bright enough. But it didn’t include the Android appstore, “and you can’t download and install it unless you root it,” said the helpful and knowledgeable sales clerk. “Some other customers tried, and we tried here in the store. You get a notice about licensing, and then you go back to the little built-in app thingie that has, like, 50 programs, and not very good ones.”
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May 13, 2013  6:44 PM

More Graphics Editor Then Most of Us Will Ever Need — For Free

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

GIMP

What do you do with a graphics editor? What I mostly do is crop and resize photos, and sometimes take screenshots. Once in a while I overlay some text. That’s about it. I don’t do much with print, and haven’t for many years, so Photoshop’s ability to get ink colors just right means nothing to me. So what if I found a free program that would do all the graphics work I need to do? I’d jump on it, right? And what if it ran in Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X? Wow! I’d double-jump on it — and I did, long ago. It’s called the GIMP, for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and I use it almost every day. In fact, I used it to prepare the thumbnail for this blog post.
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May 6, 2013  10:25 PM

A Quick Reference Guide For the Linux Command Line — and Lots More

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

dad_son_chat-150x150I have been a bad blogger. Instead of writing something new and exciting for you today, I spent my time playing with the Quick Reference Guide For Linux Command and other cool, useful items at ExpertsLogIn.com.
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April 26, 2013  11:48 PM

Affordable Tablet Computers for Grandchildren (and Everybody Else)

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

leather-protective-case-with-keyboard-built-in-the-sliding-lock-for-8-inch-tablet-pc-red_lhbsux1316397469971Let me show you some pictures of my grandchildren. Aren’t they the cutest kids you ever saw — just like everyone else’s grandchildren? Sadly, our grandchildren may be cute, but they seem to break their
tablet, nook/kindle, and laptop computers at a ferocious rate. Even my wife’s laptop suffered a screen crack (that cost $105 to repair) when some of our grandchildren used her computer during a trip to Orlando. Which one broke it? The famous Not Me! Since Not Me seems likely to keep breaking computer-type equipment for at least another 10 years, I decided to shop for the least expensive tablets I could find. And guess what? I found a bunch that sell for under $100.
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April 21, 2013  8:52 PM

Auto Repairs are Another Area Where the Cheap Computing Mindset can $ave You Big Buck$

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

hyundai-serviceOur local Hyundai dealership was running a service sale: Oil and filter change, plus lube, inspection and tire rotation, for $20, along with a free diagnosis if your “Check Engine Light” was on. Since my wife’s Hyundai was due for an oil change and its “Check Engine Light” was on, she took it to the dealer instead of calling “Jesse the performance tune mobile mechanic,” who does most of our car repair work these days. But before my wife went to the dealer, I warned her: “No matter what additional parts or services they try to sell you, don’t buy. I’ll handle them or call Jesse — and save a bunch of money.” And it was a good thing I gave my wife that warning, because here’s the list of things the dealer shop people said our 2003 Hyundai Elantra needed:
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April 12, 2013  9:56 PM

A Little Last Minute Tax Software Talk

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

imagesI’ve used TurboTax Online to file my taxes for most of the last decade. Since my income is from multiple sources, and I take business deductions including a substantial one for my home office and more than a little for travel, I use the $79.00 Home and Business version. The good news for you is that, unless you freelance or get income other than through wages, you don’t need to spend anything near $80 to file your federal income taxes. Chances are, you can do it for free. And no matter how complicated or simple your taxes are, you can eFile a free extension through TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block, and other services in about 2 minutes, which you should do *right now* if there’s even a tiny chance that you won’t get your return filed by midnight on April 15.
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April 5, 2013  11:08 PM

You May Need a Text Editor, Not a Word Processor

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller


Since LibreOffice is free and incudes a robust word processor, today’s post is about saving time, not money. I’m talking about using a text editor instead of a word processor when you write for the Internet, as I’m doing now. Specifically, I use a text editor called Bluefish that is just as free as LibreOffice. It’s small, it’s speedy, it has every feature I could possibly desire, and it runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac so I can move from one computer to another with ease.

Please note that Bluefish is not a “does everything for you” editor like Dreamweaver and others purport to be. But if you’re writing plain text, HTML, CSS or a whole lot of others (check the list on the left side of the page), and you know what you’re doing, Bluefish is a great tool.
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March 28, 2013  6:43 PM

Psst! Wanna Buy an Apple Product Real Cheap?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

There are different levels of cheapness, and it’s hard to use the words “cheap” and “Apple” in the same sentence. But not necessarily impossible. In this case I started by looking at a large infographic (at the bottom of this story) sent to me by dealnews, publisher of a “get stuff cheap” newsletter to which I’ve subscribed for a long time.
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