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
--http://www.freeprintermanuals.com/PM/Apple 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 Intuit.com or TurboTax.com. 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) wmub.org [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