Thursday, September 10, 2009

Question about Windows version

The Help Desk is still not recording new shows (yet), but here's a question from a listener. If you have an answer, please Comment:

I have a 5.5 year old home-built PC running XP Pro. In addition I have a Vista running laptop and a 6-month old iMac.

I still have a great use for a Windows machine but don't think I really want to build again or buy a ready-made box. Instead I'm thinking about using the iMac in a dual boot mode or using software like Parallels. The problem is that I don't know which MS OS makes the most sense.

XP, while older, is tried and true and should be supported for some time thanks to its use in netbooks. Plus, there would definitely be no comparability issues because all the software I currently run works on XP (obviously).

Vista, also a known entity, is newer and more secure, but doesn't bring much else to the table.

Windows 7 is an unknown quantity, but is what I would install were I to build a new machine, so it should clearly be in the running.

So what would be the best choice for dual booting on a Mac? Dollars and cents are in favor of XP and Vista, but 7 is the future.

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Help Desk on hiatus

As most listeners know, the last live Help Desk was on June 30, 2009. Now that Miami has ceased operating WMUB Public Radio, Cleve Callison and John Hingsbergen no longer have access to the WMUB studio facilities. We have had some conversations with other entities about a recording venue, but nothing concrete has come to light; and Cleve and John are busily engaged in job searches.

In short, we don't know if the Help Desk will be back. Cleve and John offer thanks to Ted Beerman, Guy Moore, Bryan Powell and Wayne Stone for serving as PC and Mac experts on the show for many years.

We will let you know through this blog and email lists if we are able to resume live shows at some point.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sync Mac with BlackBerry?

Longer than usual post:

I’ve just spent an irritating 48 hours trying to figure out how to sync my Calendar and Contacts/Address Book data between my Mac and my BlackBerry. When I was on the Miami University BES server, I used Entourage to do this. But Cincinnati Bell’s advice was to use PocketMac to sync my Apple iCal and Address Book data to the BB.

I found PocketMac to be of no use on my current Mac, an older iBook G3 running 10.4.11. I installed and Uninstalled it several times, following BlackBerry’s advice to the letter, but I never got it to open right. And it seems to have corrupted my .Mac settings to boot. Judging from a Google search, I'm not alone in this frustration.

Why would Apple and RIM push such a piece of junk forward? I suppose Apple has no interest in helping a competitor to its iPhone. But why wouldn’t RIM do better helping out a non-negligible base of Mac-loving BlackBerry users?

I finally found the solution, thanks to one frustrated poster on BB’s message board: scrap the Apple programs and use Google Calendar and Contacts. Just:

  • save the data from both iCal and Address Book
  • set up the corresponding Google Calendar and Google Contacts
  • upload your data
  • add Google Sync to your BlackBerry
  • do initial syncs (takes a while)
I ran into one problem with Google Contacts. I'd forgotten that I had previously set it up long ago. It added my new uploads, most of which were duplicates of existing names. I could see their existence via the record count but they didn't appear on screen. Google Sync worked fine for my Calendar but Contacts crashed. I signed out, Quit Firefox and opened Safari. Safari showed the duplicates, so I selected and Deleted them all. Problem solved.

Another irritant: PocketMac is “free” on the PocketMac site -- but they charge a fee for downloads! It’s truly free on the RIM/Blackberry site, though. PocketMac does have a semi-cool Mac-like theme for a couple of bucks extra if you download (above).

I may forget about iCal and Address Book. I could Export the Google data and import it back to the Apple apps, but that may be more trouble than it's worth.

I have cross-posted this on Cleve Callison's blog.

7/7/09 Help Desk delayed

Help Desk users,

In our last "Live" show of 6/30/09, I said a new Help Desk podcast would be posted on 7/7/09 discussing social media. Unfortunately, leaving Miami, vacation and other delays have held that up. I hope to add it soon. That's likely to be the last one for a while.

--Cleve Callison

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Messages from 6/30/09

Today marks (possibly) the final show for the Help Desk, at least as recorded in Oxford. For the time being at least new podcast/ feeds will be on hiatus. June 30, 2009 was the last day for the staff of Miami University's former WMUB-FM.

We aren't certain if we can continue with the show/podcast. Keep checking this space.

In addition to the long-term site of the podcast at Miami, here's a link to an alternate site.

Thank you for your support of the Help Desk!

--Cleve Callison
--John Hingsbergen
--Guy Moore
--Wayne Stone


Apple's silence on Steve Jobs' health may have broken federal securities rules

Future iPhones will adopt Mini USB Port in 2010

Apple Running Short on iPhones

From: Lisa Haneberg
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 15:44:14 -0400
To: "WMUB 88.5 FM"
Subject: RE: Question for 7 July 2009 Show With Guest Lisa Haneberg


I agree with Mark – this is not a good idea for employers. We need to do the best we can to evaluate candidates, but asking for personal information to get into hidden pages of a social networking site is not appropriate. We need to make sure that we are treating candidates fairly and this practice would put those who are hip (with it, technologically) at a disadvantage – not a message I think we want to send.

I have never heard of an employer making such a request.

I suppose there might be some top secret government jobs that require a complete and thorough background check for reasons of national security, but I assume these agencies will have separate and distinct job requirements and employment processes.

I think it will die a quick death.


------ Forwarded Message
Subject: Question for 7 July 2009 Show With Guest Lisa Haneberg

Thanks for the opportunity to put forth a question to Ms. Haneberg.

On or about 23 June I read an article posted on ( regarding how the city of Bozeman, MT will ask potential employees for their user name and password for social networking sites such as facebook, Myspace, YouTube, etc.

Their reasoning is that they wish to perform as thorough as possible a background check on a prospective employee. For my own part, I find this to be a completely outrageous idea and potentially a violation of the First Amendment.

First question: how do you personally feel about such matters? And second, do you think this endeavor will meet with too much resistance and die a quick death or is this the future of employment and social networking?

Thank you for the opportunity to ask.
Mark, Englewood, Ohio


Comments from listeners to the 6/30/09 show:
Yes, yes, yes! Keep me on the mailing list. I want to know not if, but WHEN you find a new manner by which to provide the Help Desk. I'm trying to be optimistic here....
~Mark, Englewood

First of all, thanks for all the support and entertainment you guys have given me in the past. I wish you luck wherever you land.

Robert, Hebron, KY

I don't have a question this morning but would like to thank all of you for invaluable advice over the years; I can't list all your accomplishments, but most importantly thanks to your suggestions I'm virus-free for about ten years now. Best of luck to all of you and hope to hear you somewhere soon.

As luck would have it I was on vacation in California and only saw this email late on Monday night when I arrived home here in Niagara Falls. If you were to call me I would just mumble my thanks for your efforts and for the information you have shared with me both on the show and on your blog. There's no way I can repay you all for taking the time and trouble to help with the puzzling world of computers - even though to me as a Microsoft Windows slave I am sometimes curious about this thing called a "Mac" that you mention on the program. I'm sure it isn't a "Big Mac" since you mentioned that some of the new ones have a metal case.....

Best wishes to all of you. Hopefully the show will pave the way for a really interesting and rewarding job for those who can use one - if you need a reference from a listener I'll surely be happy to give one!
Manchester House Bed and Breakfast
653 Main Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14301 USA
email: mailto: manchesterhouse(at)
Telephone: (716) 285-5717

Monday, June 29, 2009

Milestone show on 6/30/09

June 29, 2009

Dear Help Desk listeners,

The podcast/ of Help Desk for June 30th, 2009 will be a milestone of sorts. It will be the last one recorded at WMUB in Oxford. I’d like to ask you to help commemorate the event.

At this point we don’t know when the podcast will continue on a weekly basis. Part of it is geography — Guy, Wayne, John and I all live in different communities and we won’t all be in Oxford anymore — and part of it is our continuing search, not just for a recording home, but possibly for a broadcast home. There’s also the fact that John and I will be looking for jobs, and one or both of us may be moving out of the area soon.

To find out more about WMUB, visit Cleve Callison's blog and click on the WMUB link in the right hand column.

For all these reasons, it seems the best course is to take a hiatus from new productions of the Help Desk at this time. We’re very grateful to you for listening to the radio show, and now the podcast.

Let’s make this one memorable. We have been limiting the podcasts to 30 minutes, but if we get more calls on 6/30 we may go longer. We encourage you to plan to join us for your thoughts about the show even if you don’t have a specific question.

The catch is that we have to call you. Please send us a phone number where you can be reached around 9 am ET on Tuesday June 30th, and we may very well call you.

Email questions to:


Thank you for your support of the Help Desk!

--Cleve Callison
--John Hingsbergen
--Guy Moore
--Wayne Stone

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

URLs from 6/16/09

Listen for today’s show as a podcast and on
Today’s archive is


Macbooks becomes Macbook Pro

Twitter downtime gets delayed for Iranian election news

iPhone 3G S



FireFox Loading Extremely slow the first time

Can you see all email accounts at one place?
--POP Yahoo Mail
--Forwarding Yahoo Mail
--Listener Rich recommends the Palm Pre and its Synergy email app
--Listener Lee says: go to Gmail > Settings > Accounts and set up other addresses & services

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

URLs from 6/9/09

Listen for today’s show as a podcast and on
Today’s archive is


Sprint breaks its sales record with Palm Pre

--Pre vs. iPhone:

Apple WWDC Keynote


Deleting a user in Vista

Installing Unix/Linux on Asus Netbook

UPDATE: see the reaction from the author of this question, Dan

Google Chrome Freezing with lots of tabs open
UPDATE: see the reaction from the author of this question, Mark

Imaging a lab of dual boot Macintoshes

Response: Asus netbook

[In reference to the podcast of 6/9/09]:

Good show today, but why is it only 30 minutes instead of the 60 minute show it was when it was on the air.

Thanks for using my question about creating a dual boot system on my Asus netbook. One thing that wasn't clear, and maybe you can clear this up with an e-mail response is couldn't the Linux OS be obtained online? The guys seemed to be focused on the problems with getting software onto the netbook with the absence of a CD/DVD drive. I assumed I could download the OS from a web site and then install it from there. Maybe not. And, on the issue of not having a CD/DVD drive, as you know jump drives now are really big for a reasonable amount of money. Additionally, my netbook also has an SD port for an SD card, and those are available in large capacities. So I don't think the lack of a CD drive is an issue because of these options.

--Dan, Hagerstown IN

Reaction to answer about Chrome

[Listener Mark called in on the show for 6/9/09]

This Google Chrome issue is a pain and has pushed me back to using Firefox all the time. Not that this is a big issue; I love Firefox, but Chrome is quicker and I like the way it will open multiple tabs every time I start the app.

Just want you to know....I've very much enjoyed listening to your show on WUMB since I first discovered it in early 2007. I have called in a number of times over the past years and always enjoyed getting help (when you had it) and listening to other folks problems and the advice given.

I certainly wish the show could have gone on, but with the demise of WUMB (at least in its former guise) I don't know what it all means for you and the show. Regardless, I sincerely hope you find a solution that allows you to continue the show if you find it both meaningful and useful. In the interim, thanks for finding solutions (such as podcasts and live streaming) that help keep the show running!

--Mark, Englewood OH

One listener's reaction to the Palm Pre

[Help Desk listener Rich of Liberty Township, OH purchased a much-talked-about Palm Pre last weekend. Here’s his first impression:]

So far so good ... but a bit of a learning curve on the Palm Pre; I'm not the best person to ask about initial impressions since I don't do 'change.' well ... an age thing perhaps? After many years of Palm OS devices, making a PDA/smartphone change is going to be challenging. (BTW, heard Palm may have sold 150,000 Pre's this weekend and media believed they could have sold twice as many if they had the inventory? Rumors were than outlets like Best Buy only had a few units per store and wouldn't release inventory numbers to customers ahead of time ... ouch!)

On the plus side, one could not asks for a more elegant smartphone. It has a near perfect (although smallish) screen comparable to the iPhone. The bluetooth pairing is a vast improvement over the Treo/Centro models, in my opinon. The WiFi as been the biggest surprise for me since I didn't really think it was that big of a deal, but it works seamlessly in switching from cell 3G network to broadband. The new Web OS, backbone of the phone, uses the Internet to pass data to and from apps and to synchronize using this wireless connectivity. Fast broadband connections are best, EVDO 3G better and slow cell connections the worse (mine did a first day 70+MB systems update in a few minutes -- glad to have WiFi).

GPS has been another surprise and works great with Google Maps or Sprint Navigation software -- both included. The Palm Pre even fit into my Treo windshield holder for traveling and reads very well in the bright sunlight on about 40% brightness. (see link - but don't laugh at the packing skin still protecting my screen).

Perhaps the major reason I opted for the Pre over the iPhone was the slideout physical keyboard since I couldn't type very well on the iPhone or my daughter's iTouch. Nevertheless, the keyboard is small and they made a few key changes from the Treo/Centro models ... again learning curve. I miss the 4-way navigation for mistakes (must use the touchscreen) and would have enjoyed a roller ball option like the Blackberries, but no room.

And although I teased about the iPhones need for additional apps and the crazy stuff at the app store... I found after downloading a few for the Pre (and that's about what are available currently) that I'll be eating crow. The downloadable Pandora music apps is fantastic as is the Accuweather app which uses the GPS locator. Having the ability to 'flick' through the hour by hour forecast is really neat as are the radar images. Its also apparent that every news organization will be looking at the NYTimes app which feeds their content in an easy to read way -- it works well and loads into a single "flick-able card." I didn't see a Slingplayer apps just yet to run my home TV, but Sprint TV did a great job of streaming programming ... no uStream for MUB livecasts either, but they say it is in the works with Adobe and a Flash player. YouTube mobile encoded videos run well though. I haven't tried syncing my iTunes yet, but it is suppose to work well.

The biggest improvement and lead over the iPhone as I see it is in in running multiple applications ... something we do all the time on our computers. Traditional Palm OS would run one at a time (as does the iPhone), but with the "card" method I was able to run 9 apps cards before running out of memory. It was great to have my Pre mounted in my car running the GPS and talking on the bluetooth headset at the same time; a huge improvement over the Palm OS. Now if I could only find a way to rig a Touchstone-like 'induction charger' on my windshield mount I'd be ready to hit the road. (Touchstone is a magnetic mount that sticks the Pre on a desk puck that charges the phone without wires. The only 'port' not covered on my Pre is the 3.5mm headset jack which reduces pocket lint in the mini USB slot)

  • Running multiple apps shortens battery life, but a spare can be carried and put in for long trips.
  • No SD cards ... stuck with 8GB internal memory
  • Design crazy graphical apps waste screen space with fancy icon requiring more scrolling than I would like, but they look nice.
  • Camera takes good photos for cellphone, but no zoom and flash is worthless
  • No video or audio recording currently. Palm OS had both.
  • Super sharp screen is great but pushes aging eyes to the limits by cramming a lot on a page ... thankfully the pinch-zoom and rotating of the page to landscape view works well.
  • :-)
Enough to give you something to talk about!

[Thanks, Rich!]

Monday, June 08, 2009

Special program June 9th, 2009

Dear Help Desk listener,

Since early March, the weekly Help Desk podcast has originated from the WMUB studios on the Miami campus. But that will end on June 30th, which is the last day at Miami for Cleve Callison and John Hingsbergen. We are actively investigating ways to keep the program going. Tomorrow (June 9, 2009) we hope to make a special recording that will not only be a regular podcast but will be a pilot of what could be the next step in the show.

You can help us out by sending us a question and letting us call you to put your voice on the show.

If you have a question about computers and are available to be on the phone around 9 am on Tuesday, June 9th, please send an email to: helpradio(at) and send the following information:

--Your question:

--Your computer operating system (i.e., Vista, XP, Mac OS X, etc.):

--A landline number where we can call you around 9 am Tuesday:

We can’t guarantee a callback — it depends on the number of entries we receive.

Please help us out, and see the right-hand column for information about live streaming and archiving on

Thank you!

The Help Desk crew

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

URLs from 6/2/09

Listen for today’s show as a podcast and on
Today’s archive is


QuickTime 7.6.2 & iTunes 8.2

MSI laptop using the CULV-Consumer Ultra Low Voltage core 2 processors from Intel

Mac OS X 10.5.7

Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) June 8-12 in San Francisco
--WWDC 2009 Keynote Address on June 8th 10am Pacific, 1PM EST
--WWDC Stream:


Fixing Mac external hard drive (won’t mount after power surge/dip)

Printing from web sometimes flaky in XP, from PDF OK
--Update the printer driver; update Adobe Reader or Acrobat to the latest version.
--Print PDF as Image

Does my daughter need a special adapter for her netbook when she is in London this summer?
--Generally, no. Check the labeling on the unit or on the power supply. If it says 50-60 cycles, 120-240 volts she will not need a converter. She will need a physical adapter since European plugs are different from American. These are widely available from discount and electronic stores.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Thank you for the Help Desk

Thanks for keeping the Help Desk active, I cannot tell you the number of ways that I have benefited from this tremendous resource. Whenever I have a pesky computer problem, whether at home or on the road, there is NO BETTER SOURCE, than the Help Desk show blog for a solution. I do hope the powers to be at Miami University will permit and allow this resource to continue without interruption. All of you guys are certainly the kings of the computer world in my opinion. Thanks again.

--listener, Preble County, OH

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

URLs from 5/26/09

Listen for today's show as a podcast and on
UPDATE: today's show is


Lenovo gets real with new lineup


Drive-By "Gumblar" Download Poisons Google Search Results


Safari Beta 4 Security questions

Iphone 3.0

QUESTIONS: live stream on a Mac
--As of 3/1/09, Miami University no longer programs WMUB or operates the web site It's now operated by Cincinnati Public Radio. Mike had reported he was unable to get the stream to air on his Mac. We experienced the same problem. CPR will need to solve it, and we have contacted them.

Audio quality of podcasts
--Joe reported problems when burning our podcasts to CDs. It's true that we keep the specs on these low so that the files aren't large; with the ubiquity of broadband connections, perhaps it's time to revisit that. We don't have an answer as to why Joe's Toast 7 software on his Mac treats these files as .aif; they should be .mp3. We recommended to Joe that he use iTunes to handle the podcasts, and burn from that.

How to change your icon in OS X
--Joe also asked why his SENT folder in Apple Mail shows a picture of him as a gingerbread man. Joe needs to update his listing in his Address Book. The gingerbread man is one of the defaults, but you can sub a picture in any of several graphic formats.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

URLs from 5/19/09

Note: the podcast of today's show was a little late getting on the air; we did not get a recording as we normally do and had to take other measures to recover the audio. You can listen to the Archive recording on -- search for "mub help desk".


Palm PRE to launch in June:

Virtual climb of Mt. Everest:


HP printing in landscape mode takes a very long time:
--We didn't find a definitive answer for this. Suggested she check HP for new drivers for her model (an all-in-one, C5280). Lee suggested that "The reason for slow in landscape may be that it is converting the text to graphics in that mode." Other suggestions: convert to PDF, then print from that (but this may take longer); print a master copy and take to a print shop.

Can't listen to the "new" WMUB online (Mike):
--Cincinnati Public Radio (WVXU), which has operated WMUB since March 1, does not use mp3 streaming as we used to do. At the site, you can download the Mac version of Windows Media Player (version 9.0).

Ants infesting a UPS:
--No guarantees on this, but an old friend of Cleve's suggested using crumbled-up tansy around what you want to protect. Let us know the results!

Can we check our bank account securely using Wi-Fi in a campground?
--Yes. Just make sure:
  • Don't visit a site by clicking a link in an email
  • Type, all by yourself, the URL you need
  • Double-check the spelling
  • Use a secure password
Can get a wireless card for an old Compaq Presario 7594?
--We think so, but if you're trying to save money you might want to check out the new lower-priced netbooks. The Compaq would probably run slow with a wireless.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Poll results: Computer buying 5/18/09

This week's question was "Are you planning to buy a computer in the next 12 months? (multiple answers OK)"
  • Desktop PC (8, 40%)
  • Desktop Mac (3, 15%)
  • Laptop PC (3, 15%)
  • Laptop Mac (3, 15%)
  • Notebook PC (1, 5%)
  • Not planning to buy (5, 25%)
Note: the category "Notebook PC" really should have read "Netbook PC." But once poll answers start coming in, it's impossible to change the questions. As of today there are no Netbook Macs on the market.

Thank you! We'll discuss on the show for 5/19/09.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

URLs from 5/12/09

In addition to the podcast of today's show, we were able to get a recording going today. Go to UStream and search for "help desk".


NVIDEA Law Suite Apple, Dell & HP

Ibook G4 Graphics chip problem

MIT Engineers create Cone of Silence

Chip decline eases; AMD gains on Intel


Should I build my own computer? (Rich)
--Jim Keen and Wayne Stone have done this. You can get the exact model you want but it's time-consuming and takes some expertise. SW Ohio users can check MicroCenter. Another good source is this weekend's Dayton Hamvention.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

URLs from 5/5/09

Today's show was broadcast live on, but for some reason the archive does not seem to be available. Even though it was audio-only, we think this should be possible. If you have an idea about what to do, send us an email to
  • helpradio(AT)
News and views:

Blogging: Blogger vs. WordPress
--Comments from HelpDesk listener Rich

Waldo Spotted on Google street view

Rumors of Apple Netbook


Low sound volume even though it is turned up (Thomas)

Alphabetizing folders and Applications in Start folder (Liz)
--Liz asked why applications always followed folders, rather than a mixed alpha short. We had said last week that we didn't think the order could be changed. Bob from Madeira wrote:
--Re the question last week about the Windows Start menu, with its folders and files in random order -- The Start menu is a special case of a folder. If you right-click on the Start button, then select Explore, you can manage the Start menu with Windows Explorer, the same as any other hierarchy of folders. You should be able to re-sort the folders and files as you wish. (List view is probably more useful than the Icon views for this purpose).

The sort order of the Start menu is, I believe, affected by any global changes you make to the sort order in Explorer. So if, like me, you have Explorer set to show all folders first before individual files, then then the folders should show up in the Start menu before individual item shortcuts.

This is made more complicated by the fact that there is a separate list of Start Menu items for All Users, and a separate one for each individual user. The items in the All Users list appear first, then the items for the currently-logged-in user are appended. So there will usually be two sections in the Start menu. You can administer the start menu items for All Users by clicking the Start button, then select Explore All Users.

There may be ways to reconfigure the Start menu, either through Registry hacks or through the TweakUI power toy, which is a free download from Microsoft.

Thanks for the podcast, and for the MUBsters update. Good luck to you all!

More on blogging: Blogger vs. WordPress

On today’s show, listener Rich offered the following Top Ten Tips about blogging:

Although I'm far from an expert in blogging, I've learned a few things over the past 4 years of keeping a personal blog and contributing to several others. I've been thinking about offering up a Top Ten list of advice that has worked for me.
  1. Platform: To basic types - online blogging service or private server install. This is where Wordpress shines in my opinion since you can start using free and move it to a private server install -- keeping the look and feel very similar. There are thousands of premade/designed themes available or you can create/modify your own with minimal programing skills. Plug-ins extend the power of Wordpress and make it the prefer platform for most growing blogs. Content Management Systems (CMS) like Joomla and Drupal are probably better for multiple user and business use, as most of them include full website development along with the blogging components. (all mentioned above are open source and free -- unless you use the extended services available through
  2. Use a theme with a masthead and fixed items that don't take up all that much screen real estate (particularly vertical pixels). With wide screens and netbooks becoming popular, scrolling down every visit -- especially past ads -- is frustrating for readers. Blogs are a dime a dozen so you want to keep readers not send them to other services. (personally speaking I think that may have been one of the reasons Facebook is moving past MySpace in Social Networking)
  3. Include reduced sized graphics and photo thumbnails so pages don't contain huge image files that need to be downloaded every time the url is accessed, then use the "click on feature" for a larger view. (plug in for Wordpress is called Lightbox 2)
  4. Extend the power of the web by hyperlinking where you can. Think of it as if you were footnoting a paper. Another great plug-in that might help with this on Wordpress is Cross-linker.
  5. Keep posts short, but post often IF you audience is the normal web surfer. Be sure to set up an RSS feed and read up on Google syndication -- have your pages crawled by search engines so content is publicized.
  6. Most blogs are topical, so work to promote you blog by referencing it when you visit other sites that discuss the same subjects -- linking to particular posts is better than linking to just you home page.
  7. Consider using Twitter or other social networking sites to connect with people interested so they know when you post new information.
  8. Credit other people (bloggers, authors, etc) and link to them ... many will do the same for you.
  9. Consider moderate use of Google Adsense or the like as money can be earned to support your site.
  10. Moderate comments and use a spam comment blocker like Akismet. Comment spam can be a bigger problem that even email spam.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Poll results: Blogging 5/3/09

Not too many took part in our recent blog poll. The question was "For bloggers: which of these do you use? You may choose more than one answer."
  • Blogger (1, 16%)
  • WordPress (5, 83%)
  • Other software (0, 0%)
  • I host the blog (1, 16%)
  • I use a hosting service (0, 0%).
Thank you! We'll discuss on the show for 5/5/09.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

URLs from 4/28/09


Live streaming returns to the Help Desk today!

FaceBooking while out sick gets employee fired


Pirate Bay operators face sentencing

iPod Touch for Military?

Listener questions:

Archival Media

Making .zip files on a Macintosh

DVD as an archiving medium?

Live streaming returns to the Help Desk

On Tuesday 4/28/09 we launched an experimental live stream of that day's Help Desk on This was an audio-0nly stream that we got working just prior to the broadcast. We sent out a notification via Twitter and picked up a couple of listeners.

Once we figured out a couple of problems, we were pleased with the results and plan to do it again on the show for 5/5/09. Here's how to locate the show on that day:
  • Go to (you do not have to log in)
  • Click the "All Live" button in the upper left
  • Search for 'mub help desk' (no quotes; note, 'mub' not 'wmub')
  • You should see the Help Desk icon; click on it
It's not clear if we'll be able to archive any of these broadcasts since they're not video, but of course the podcast is always available. Stay tuned for an update on archiving. We will plan to put a notice on Twitter just before the show starts so if you're following us you'll get that. Our Twitter address is:
Note that this does have 'wmub' in the name, unlike

Thanks for listening!

--the Help Desk Crew (Cleve, John, Guy and Wayne)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Poll results 4/27/09

This poll asked "Which OS do you use most often?"
  • Windows 7 beta (2, 4%)
  • Windows Vista (5, 10%)
  • Windows XP (20, 41%)
  • Other Windows (1, 2%)
  • Mac OSX 10.5x (13, 27%)
  • Mac OSX 10.1-10.4x (7, 14%)
  • Other Mac OS (0, 0%)
We don't deal with Linux on the show, but we got one vote for it, plus mentions of DOS and Ubuntu.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Other choices for the OS poll?

We've received some feedback from Help Desk users who wonder why we didn't have more choices on the 4/20/09 poll "Which OS do you use most often?" Specifically, why didn't we have "Linux" or "Other"?

Frankly, not having Linux was partially an oversight. But as a practical matter, our gurus Wayne and Guy work for Miami University, which does not support Linux, so they haven't spent much time with it and would have to beg off answering most questions. However, it would be helpful to have an idea of how many in our audience do use it.

So we suggest that if you are a Linux (or Other) user, please leave a Comment with this message and give us the information.


--the Help Desk crew

'Thanks for the WMUB Blog & Podcasts'

I was a frequent listener to the Helpdesk and hated to see it go. I had received e-mails about the podcasts, but only just recently got around to listening and working with them. Having finally tuned in, I'm very excited about what you are doing. Frankly, I'm finding them more useful than the original broadcast. The latter was easier, but not as convenient and I frequently missed them. Now I can tune them in at any time. My thanks to you and the others involved in your efforts to extend this service. They are very much appreciated.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

URLs from 4/21/09

The podcast of today's show is now available.

Conficker Worm still infecting PCs
--700 computers at University of Utah were infected:

Swimmers' heart rate monitor:

Laptop won't retain date and time settings:
--The problem is most likely the CMOS battery (not the main power battery). It's probably dead. To find one, go to the manufacturer's web site and get a schematic or parts list. Such batteries are cheap, and available online, or perhaps even at a local electronics store.

Dual monitors on your laptop
--Matrox External video adapter for notebooks:
--PCMICIA Video card:

Apple water sensor not so reliable can void warranty

Apple iPhone App store a hit

Apple leads in customer satisfaction

from Wayne Stone -- interested in computer training?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poll results 4/20/09

This poll asked "Overall, which best describes the answers on the Help Desk podcast?"
  • Too technical (0, 0%)
  • About right (6, 100%)
  • Too simplistic (0, 0%)
  • Other (0, 0%)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

URLs from 4/14/09

Thanks to Don Moeller for sitting in for Don Guy Moore on today's podcast.

Backup your data! Don recommends the following Internet-based approaches:
--Evernote (
--Windows Mesh (
--DropBox (

Internet-based fax services (this started as a thread in a recent Yahoo group spotted by Cleve). Some are free, some have monthly charges:
--Start at
--LinkedIn members recommended:
--Kinko's was recommended; now called FedEx Office, it's not clear if they still offer the service
--One responder, a sole proprietor, was so turned off by unwanted faxes that she no longer receives incoming faxes.
--One idea was to stop faxing and start scanning documents which then can be sent as PDFs (fax being a dying technology). But it is definitely more of a hassle for senders and receivers, and many people will not open attachments even from trusted sources.

How to set defaults in Word 07:

Wireless security: is a home network really safe from those who might try to read data, or piggy-back on a wireless access point?
--Yes, say Wayne and Don. New routers have very robust security and encryption settings.
--Don says a surprising number of users don't take even minimal precautions, but if you do, you'll be fine.
--Make sure you understand the router's instructions on password-protecting and encrypting your wireless.
--WPA is a more secure protocol than WEP.

Are solid-state (flash) drives a good idea?
--Maybe, say Wayne and Don. They faster and lighter (good for laptops) and prices do seem to be dropping. There's some concern about whether they will give out after a number of write-cycles.
--Samsung defends flash reliability in solid-state drives:

Badwarebusters: this is a site, co-created by Consumer Reports, designed to help spread awareness of, and fight, malicious software:

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Twitter worm

This article from PCWorld magazine outlines a recent problem with a Twitter worm, and how to fight it.

Poll results: podcast problems?

Thanks for replying to "Are you using the Help Desk podcast?"

--Listen with no problems: 16 (84%)
--Would like to, but have problems: 2 (10%)
--Not interested: 1 (5%)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

URLs from 4/7/09

The Help Desk Podcast of 4/7/09 is now available:

Windows 7 will allow downgrade to other OSs


iPhone 3.0 set for summer release?

Steve Jobs Plush Doll! (warning: not for the squeamish!)

Will USB Printer adapters work with Mac OS X?
Diconix 150 Macintosh Printer driver --

Adding Signatures in Outlook
Adding Signatures in Entourage

From our correspondents:

Cheap ultra-fast broadband -- in Japan:

Britain tussles with Google Street View:

Twitter notification of new blog posts:
--"If it were me, I'd set [the wmubhelpdesk Twitter] up to 'tweet' when you post to your blog. I currently do this for [my personal blog], but should have included it for my personal Twitter account. There is a concern that having on only to update your blog post is sort of spamming, but then everyone has a different opinion as to what to use Twitter to do. (I'm wondering when the burn-out will start to kick in?) BTW, to do this automatically can use a service like"
--We're looking into this. Right now there aren't enough Twitter followers to make this useful. -- Ed.

Friday, April 03, 2009

We're on Twitter

The Help Desk now has a Twitter account: wmubhelpdesk

We don't expect to use it a lot. Maybe YOU could help us figure out what to do with it!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

URLs from 3/31/09

The Help Desk Podcast for 3/31/09 is now available.

Caller recommendations for Mac & Windows and Cell phone syncing -- files, podcasts, etc. on either platform, at home & on the road

--NEW: See this helpful blog entry by Help Desk listener/caller Rich

Conficker virus MAY cause problems on April 1, 2009

Sophos Warns about new Mac Trojan RSPlug-F Trojan

--Sophos web site

Caller recommends Sugarsync for Mac & Windows and Cell phone syncing -- files, podcasts, etc. on either platform, at home & on the road

Laserwriter 16/600 "Paper Empty" light
-- LaserWriter 16 600 PS Service Source.pdf
--Paper Sensors are photo sensors. Paper sensors consist of an actuator, a U-shaped photo interrupter, and circuitry. Sensors are tripped as the actuator swings against movement of paper and blocks the gap of the U. An actuator can be passive (governed by gravity) or spring-loaded.
--Note: Sensor failure can be either mechanical or electrical. When troubleshooting sensors, first confirm that the arm Photointerrupter or lever moves freely without snagging, that any springs are applying correct resistance, and that the actuator is not broken. Then check that all cable connections are secure. If you have eliminated mechanical issues, proceed with electrical troubleshooting.

Can't change background color in XP Desktop/May be damaged Profile in Windows

Thursday, March 26, 2009


From Cleve, 3/26/09:

Those of you, like me, who have used the tax preparation software TurboTax by Intuit in the past may have been frustrated and surprised trying to find the 2008 tax year version at either or From the options given, it may appear that TurboTax has migrated to become an online-only product. Not true; the desktop version, which I much prefer, is still available, but it's not easy to find.

I realized a desktop version must exist after reading through a number of posts in the Technical Support section (which wasn't easy to find, either; it's buried at the bottom of a page trying to get you to sign up for tax advice at $29.95 per session). Some of the posts referred to either the Online or Desktop version. I Googled a few phrases and finally got best results by searching for "turbotax desktop" (no quotes). To save you the trouble, here is the link you need:
Not only is the desktop version my preference (more on this below), it's also a lot cheaper. For the Deluxe version, the online cost starts at $29.95 but only IF you file by March 27; after that it's $49.95. Add a state and you pay another $34.95. But the desktop version, which includes both federal and state, is $59.95.

In my view there are other compelling reasons to choose the desktop over the online:
  1. It's much faster, especially if you're trying to do it over wireless. I downloaded the desktop over a DSL Ethernet connection in less than 3 minutes.
  2. It doesn't require you to upload your sensitive personal or financial information.
  3. In theory you can upload your old information from your 2007 TurboTax. However, that's not clear in the online version. And once you start entering ANY data, including your name, you can't go back and overwrite it with the 2007 data.
    But WAIT; THERE'S MORE . . .
  4. Intuit does a terrible job of letting you know about problem #3. It's there in a user forum as the advice voted the best by the thousands of others who asked this question. And what is the advice? Essentially, "Well, you can't do that, even though they say you can." In my opinion, this is woefully unsatisfactory customer service on Intuit's part.
I've used TurboTax since 1998 (when it was called MacInTax). With a couple of exceptions, each year it's gotten better and easier. Now that I've finally figured out how to get the desktop version for 2008 running, I guess I'll stay with it, but you can bet I'll look at other options, and start a lot earlier, next year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

URLs from 3/24/09


The podcast is recorded each Tuesday morning at 9 am ET and available shortly after that time. Send us your email question.

Questions from 3/24/09:

Scott Morse's unofficial WMUB fans site

Slow loading of podcast reported in iTunes, Juice
--We still do not know what the answer to this is. Not everyone experiences it. We seem to be doing everything correctly in preparation. See our Podcast Frequently Asked Questions for suggestions on workarounds:

IE 8- Does not get a great rating

Mac Gest hacked

Problem with Magic Jack & Roxio

Juice Newton

OnLive could threaten Xbox, PS3, and Wii

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

URLs from 10/17/09

The Help Desk podcast location, including 3/17/09's show, is:

Send your Help Desk questions to:
--helpradio (AT) [substitute @ for (AT) -- address altered to foil spammers]

Questions from 3/17/09:

De-authorizing iTunes accounts
--You can de-authorize all accounts from any computer with iTunes
--Then re-authorize one at a time

Beefing up a wireless router

Will Windows 7 beta expire in August and leave users hanging?
--It appears not. Rumor sites have suggested that Windows 7 may be released as early as July. If not, we believe Microsoft would extend the valid period for the beta release.

Apple's Mighty Mouse
--Programming your Mighty Mouse (Mac)
--Two 3rd party software application that allow you to program your mouse (Mac) based on the application
--Steermouse (Mac)
--USB Overdrive (Mac)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Podcast Questions and Answers (3/16/09)

Our new podcast-only format has generated a lot of questions. Here are the most common, and our best answers:

I've never listened to a podcast. How do I get started?
--There are several ways. One place to start would be pasting the podcast URL into your web browser:

--You should see a screen that displays the individual elements. Shows before 2/28/09 have 4 segments each; beginning with 3/10/09, 1 segment each. Different browsers display differently, but you may have the following options:
  • Simply play an episode by clicking it.
    You'll need to revisit the URL each week, though.
  • Add the podcast to a podcast reader.
    You might have choices such as Apple's free iTunes, and might be prompted to select other readers in your system. Once logged in, the podcast should update each week.
  • Manually subscribe via iTunes.
    Go to Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast and paste in the URL above.
  • Subscribe via an RSS feed.
    This lets you set a bookmark in your browser, which automatically updates.
My browser displays gibberish at the podcast URL.
--This is usually the sign of an older browser. Modern versions if Firefox and Safari for both the Mac and PC, and IE for the PC don't seem to have any problems.

How can I get the podcast into my iPod?
--See instructions above for gettting the podcast into iTunes. When you set up your syncing preferences, make sure that podcasts sync.

My reader will not completely download the podcast.
--A couple of people have reported problems, one with iTunes and one with Juice. We don't really have a good answer yet. It's possible there is a firewall issue with your ISP and the Miami University server which houses the podcasts.

Are you streaming live on the web?
--No, the podcast is strictly a volunteer labor of love among the creators, and we don't have the funds to purchase streaming bandwidth. When Miami operated WMUB, that was part of the service.

What happened to "Duke of Earl" and the other music?
--The simple answer is that we no longer have the rights to use commercially-recorded music. When we were broadcasting live on WMUB, music copyrights were paid which allowed streaming and podcasting of programs that originated on the air. Since we are no longer on the air, those rights don't apply. The question of internet rights is very complex right now, with negotiations between broadcasters, podcasters, representatives of songwriters and of artists each staking out different positions.

Thank you for the podcasts! (3/16/09)

Since announcing the new Help Desk Podcast (details here), we have received many messages of congratulations, thank-yous, and best wishes. Here is a sample:

Count me in! -- Mike

I just listened to your first [podcast-only show] and it was great! I thought I'd never hear that up-beat banter paired with good technical advice again and it was the one WMUB program I missed most. . . . Keep up the great work! -- 'fariswheel'

Even though I left the Oxford area (for Columbus) going on two years ago, I have fond memories of WMUB and especially the Help Desk Show, and I "tuned in" occasionally via the 'Net. -- Bill from Columbus

I will continue to look for wacky tech news from you! -- Lee

It sure is good to know that you are still in the business of helping those of us who get stuck with computer questions. Thanks for doing this for us. It's sure a shame that you had to had to go off of the air but I understand as the dollar dictates what happens these days. -- David

I am so glad you guys are still galloping to the rescue of of neophytes out in the boondocks. I miss you and am glad to continue monitoring the blog when I can. Thanks for the memories and good fellowship and yes the advice too. -- Jim

Sorry for the loss of "The Help Desk" as it has been. Glad to hear of an effort to get at least part of it back. Please keep me on the e-mail list. -- Don from Richmond

Thanks for the info re: you new help desk blog. Not sure if I'll be able to listen on my computer as we have dial-up only service out here in the country. ... Wanted to take this opportunity to say how much I enjoyed listening to the Help Desk these past 8 or 9 years. You provided all of us out here loads of computer info and quite a few chuckles, also. Frankly, I miss listening to all of you at WMUB. Your "hometown" flavor and wonderful personalities helped make each day brighter and we came away better informed and happier as a result. ... Here's to all of you at the Help Desk Blog a great big wish for much success with your new show. You deserve all the best. -- Betty

Great news about continuing the show via podcasts. Now I'll have to figure out how to use them. But who can I call? -- Chris from Brookville, OH
--[See our new page of Podcast Questions and Answers. --Ed.]

Thanks for continuing your show via podcast. I am thrilled you are on the air for now. I have found out how to listen online through my web browser. Is there a way to find it and download it in iTunes so I can put it on my iPod? ... Thanks so muich for putting all the old archives up on the helpdesk blog. -- Kris from Richmond
--[See our new page of Podcast Questions and Answers. --Ed.]

Great to hear that you are going to try to keep the Help Desk going. ... I will try to get into scheduling getting to the podcast during lunch on Tuesday. -- Stan

Good to hear that you are going to keep the Help Desk going. ... I'd like to help out if I can . . . with LINUX-related questions. Send them my way and I'll send you back an answer. -- AJK from Miami U.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

URLs from 3/10/09

--It will be available sometime on Tuesday 3/10/09. Click on this link, or type it in your Podcast aggregator:

Rugged laptop by Dell

Screen going blank when switching users

Sansa disk won't ply from USB hub

POP mail from your hotmail account


Push to make iPhone available from other carriers ( The Consumers Union, the New America Foundation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

New Mac Mini released

The Help Desk URL

How to manage drive letter assignments in Windows XP

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bookmark this URL!

Although the last Help Desk has aired, WMUB will continue to add blog posts from time to time.

Please bookmark this blog!

Thank you,

The Help Desk Crew (Cleve Callison, Guy Moore, Wayne Stone)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

URLs from 2/24/09

Why Steve Jobs can't save GM

Best Buy Offes iPhone Discounts

MacBook SMC Update

10 ways the Microsoft stores will differ from the Apple stores (humor)

Party like it's 123456789

Tips for buying a new laptop

Apple Clone maker (Pystar)

Talk Like Pirate Day

'Virtual Memory low' Message

Apple Numbers Freezing header Row & Columns
--There are 3 little icons under the media button. They allow you to freeze row and columns.

URLs from 2/17/09

Gaming Board in Vegas warns about card counting apps for iPhone

Microsoft to Open stores

How to setup sub-accounts on your Verizon accounts


Where to find older games for Vista
--Possibly run non-intensive games under XP using Virtual PC (You will need a legal copy of XP)

Digitizing Record & Tapes on your Macintosh
--Since the emailers to this show had so much to digitize they may want to consider one of the devices that will convert your records directly to CDs without involving your computer. I do not have a lot of experience with these or the quality of what they produce, but it might be another option. --Guy Moore
--2 Crosley models: