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Deal Alert: San Disk Cruzer Micro 4GB $8.95 @ BUY.COM

I can hear you now. “What! Why would Graves be recommending a plain vanilla USB memory stick? Not especially cheap nor especially large? He must be mad!” That may well be true, but it remains comfortably beside the point.

As you may know we do like our Polycom SoundPoint desktop phones around here. In fact, the IP650 has perched upon my desktop longer than another other single device. One of it’s great conveniences is the software option called the Polycom Productivity Suite, which I purchased for all my IP650s.

This software includes the ability to record calls locally on the phone with just one or two button presses. This has been tremendously useful for podcasting, technical and normal business applications.

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Deal Alert: HP Mini 5101 & 5102 Netbooks from $297!

The HP mini 5102 has only been shipping for a few months. I’ve only had mine for about a month. Even so deals are starting to show up.

These corporate class netbooks are head & shoulders better than the consumer offerings you’ll see at retailers. Today’s email list of overstock and refurbished systems from the HP SMB Outlet includes 20 different configurations of the 5101 & 5102…starting from only $297!

The SMB Outlet even have a number of systems that are not the Smart Buy configurations.The Smart Buy configs are kinda bland, but faster to ship. To get the more interesting options you had to order a custom configuration and have it made to order. This is why it took three weeks to get delivery of mine…and it cost just shy of $800.

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Beware The Ubiquitous Portable Hard Drive!

Here are some simple words of wisdom from one who has for decades made use of all sorts of portable magnetic media. Don’t trust it!

This simple message, a public service of sorts, was brought to mind when my wife recently came to me with a small portable USB hard drive in her hands. She had just plugged it into her PC which had responded by asking if she wanted the drive to be formatted? The implication being that it was not already formatted!

Of course, the unhappy little drive in question is a 320 GB 2.5″ USB drive that she had been using to shuttle all manner of valuable bytes from here-to-there.

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There’s an App For That: But Why?

As I’ve been using the new HP 5102 netbook these past few weeks I’ve been surprised at just how much I am able to accomplish with very few applications loaded to the machine. I have DropBox, Seemsic Desktop and FireFox loaded, also ThumbsPlus for managing images…and that’s about it. Even so I’m spending a lot of very productive time with this little machine, mostly reading (Google Reader) and writing (Google Docs & WordPress.)

So much of what I do these days is “in the cloud.” Actually, I suspect that “in the cloud” is a mischaracterization of things. Let’s just say that they’re based upon web services as opposed to locally installed applications. I suspect that the same could be said of many iPad users.

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The HP Mini Twins

I've been toying with my new HP Mini 5102 for a couple of days. It'll take a little longer before I can get into the details of it, but it's a nice little machine. Here's a pic of the Mini…

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Simple, Economical Ways to Refresh An Old Laptop

My primary laptop is an HP 8510w. It’s about thirty months old..and I don’t yet hate it…which is a sure sign that it was truly a nice machine when I first got it. This was my second HP laptop after a long history of using Dell models. Given any choice at all I won’t ever go back to Dell.

Under normal circumstances my employer would agree to replace the machine after three years (36 months) use. Some companies, like Exxon-Mobile where my brother-in-law works, would push that out to 48 months. When a laptop gets to be four years old it’s usually very slow & compared to current technology. It becomes a source of frustration. At least for my activities, which are graphics heavy, there’s a very real argument for a 36 month upgrade cycle.

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