Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Web Secret #37: Corsair Survivor Flash Drive

I am a fan of the reality show Survivor. But though my past includes mountain climbing in Switzerland and trekking through the Andes, I no longer routinely expose myself and my possessions to the elements.

That said, I am constantly dropping my purse, spilling coffee on my desk and otherwise inflicting accidental harm to my electronic devices.

So for this reason, I use the Corsair Survivor Flash Drive (which comes in handy 8GB, 16 GB and 32GB sizes). Corsair’s web site promises “Flash Survivor™ is an extremely durable, water resistant, drop-tested flash USB memory drive. By design it is perfect for transporting valuable data such as personal files, photos and applications without having to worry about damage or loss of data due to the elements.”

And it seems that people enjoy putting the Survivor to the test. Testimonials from satisfied users boast of putting the drive through the washer, running it over with a car, hitting it with golf clubs, dropping it in the pool for days, etc. and it keeps on ticking.

Other pros:
  • Looks cool
  • Comes with special hardware so you can keep the flash drive on your keychain
  • 10 year warranty
On, you can buy the 32GB size for around $61.43 after rebate, the 16 GB for $43.99 and the 8GB size for $35.62.

Most people tend to be lazy about backing up their stuff. The Survivor flash drive provides an inexpensive and secure way of doing it. Or you can put it to the test and try to blow it up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Web Secret #36 - GetHuman

Last week's post was all about using online resources to fix hardware, software and cellphone technical problems.

That said (or written), sometimes I hunger for the guidance and emotional support that only an actual person can provide. I want to hear a voice, I want to have a conversation, I want

The sad truth is that the Linksys wireless router company does not want you to talk to helpful Sanjay in Mumbai. Linksys wants you to spend hours desperately clicking the "Technical Support" and "Customer Service" buttons on their website, fruitlessly searching for a phone number, until you give up and read an online manual or attempt to use their often inoperable LiveChat system.

Thank God for the gethuman database. The database features company phone numbers that connect you to people and instructs you on how you can bypass automated answering systems. At the top of the home page, you will find helpful categories including hardware, internet, mobile, and software.

Clicking on "hardware", you can find that sought after Linksys phone number: 800‑326‑7114 and the instructions "Press 1; at prompt press ###". Brilliant! Within seconds Sanjay is solving my router interference problem.

Click on "internet" to find the famously unfindable customer service number ( 800‑201‑7575 "Don't press or say anything").

You get the picture. Can't live without it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Web Secret #35: Online Tech Support

Did you get a new laptop/iphone/blackberry or other geeky gizmo for Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus?

Well its three weeks post holiday and by now you have probably experienced your first gadget technical meltdown.

You can:
Read the manual.
Call technical support – you and ten million other desperate souls on hold together.

Or you can get online and start outsourcing your tech support needs.

Online fixes for PCs (aka Tech Support, Manuals & Troubleshooting for Consumers)
Just fill in the text box "Help me with _________" typing in either your product name or question, hit the search button, and a list of solutions will pop up.

Online fixes for Macs (aka your own private Mac genius)
This site features a variety of forums, reports and tutorials.

Online fixes for BlackBerrys (aka the #1 site for Blackberry Users and abusers)
This site features device help and forums. Problems are broken down by model.

Online fixes for iPhones
The iPhone Blog (aka iPhone Help and How-To Guides)
This site uses screen images and other visual aids to help you solve problems. They also feature many video tutorials.

Fix on...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Web Secret #34: Web 3.0

I spend a significant amount of time writing about and lecturing on the power of Web 2.0. Unsurprisingly, some smart-ass in the audience inevitably asks "What about Web 3.0? What will that be like?"

First of all, if you forgot the definition of Web 2.0, press your internal refresh button by reading my previous post on the subject.

Now back to the subject at hand. For a while, there were mostly incomprehensible definitions of Web 3.0. (Well at least incomprehensible to non-geeks). Take for example, Wikipedia's esoteric entry. Pretty much all I got out of reading this article is that we won't see evidence of Web 3.0 until 2010.

Then one day, I came upon's actually understandable "How Web 3.0 Will Work". Briefly, this is what it says:

Web 2.0: You've decided to go see a movie and grab a bite to eat afterward. You're in the mood for a comedy and some incredibly spicy Mexican food. Booting up your PC, you open a Web browser and head to Google to search for theater, movie and restaurant information. You need to know which movies are playing in the theaters near you, so you spend some time reading short descriptions of each film before making your choice. Also, you want to see which Mexican restaurants are close to each of these theaters. And, you may want to check for customer reviews for the restaurants. In total, you visit half a dozen Web sites before you're ready to head out the door. This may take a while...

Web 3.0: Instead of multiple searches, you type a complex sentence or two in your Web 3.0 browser, and the Web does the rest. For example, you type "I want to see a funny movie and then eat at a good Mexican restaurant. What are my options?" The Web 3.0 browser will analyze your response, search the Internet for all possible answers, and then organize the results for you.

­That's not all. Many experts believe that the Web 3.0 browser will act like a personal assistant. As you search the Web, the browser learns what you are interested in. The more you use the Web, the more your browser learns about you and the less specific you'll need to be with your questions. Eventually you might be able to ask your browser open questions like "where should I go for lunch?" Your browser would consult its records of what you like and dislike, take into account your current location and then suggest a list of restaurants.

Is that cool or what?