August 29th, 2013

The Ultimate Gaming Computer

Only one cat poses. My other cat disdains

Only one cat poses. My other cat disdains

If you’re like me, your household is divided when it comes to computer usage. I use my computer for page layout, photo editing and light video production, which is what I do for a living. I use a MacBook Pro, and I love it like it was my third cat.

An actual kid winning $10k at the ASUS ROG Summer 2013 StarCraft II Tournament. Image from rog.asus.com

An actual kid winning $10k at the ASUS ROG Summer 2013 StarCraft II Tournament. Image from rog.asus.com

When my gaming daughter was shopping for a computer, she stopped me at “You should buy a Ma…” Apparently, my wonderful MacBook is not ideal (or in some cases, not capable) of running the games she plays. I can’t scoff at this, because kids these days are wining prizes in the neighbourhood of $10,000 at gaming tournaments, while I’m still working by the hour.

The Right Choice

Stickers on laptop = love

Stickers on laptop = love

Taylor did her homework and bought an ASUS (pronounced “ay-soos”) laptop. How do I know it was a right choice for her? One, I never hear her exaggerated sighs about lag time or delays; two, she lovingly tattooed her personality all over it with stickers.
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July 3rd, 2013

SurfEasy Mobile is here!

Your smartphone is a modern marvel. It’s your banker, your friends, your spouse, your work, your recipe book, your tour guide, your photographer, your personal shopper and so much more. With all that access to everything in your life in one place have you ever stopped to consider how secure your connection is? You may usually connect to cellular data which is secure for the most part. When you connect to WIFI, especially open hotspots with no password, you don’t really know how safe it is. Most people just trust that they have nothing important to steal. You might say “I’m not that interesting to a hacker.” Just imagine if someone got the password to just your email account. They could use it to reset the passwords on all your social media accounts. Then they could spam your friends and business contacts that looks like it’s coming from you. That alone is just embarrassing. If they get hold of your banking information that can cause you gross inconvenience while you fix the problem and hopefully insurance covers your losses.

There is a solution that can protect you from this. SurfEasy Mobile VPN.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s an extra layer of protection that routes everything through a secure server. The connection between your device and the server is encrypted which means it’s only visible to you and no one else.

SurfEasy Mobile VPN is a service you pay for. It costs $29.99 a year available at London Drugs. It works on Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) and Android. It installs a service within your device that routes all internet traffic through a secure connection run by SurfEasy. The connection is not only encrypted to make sure no one is looking in at what you’re doing it also hides the physical address of your phone. There’s a little bit of magic that the SurfEasy conjured up to give just enough information to location aware apps like Maps and Foursquare so they still work.

The SurfEasy Mobile VPN also makes your device make it look like it’s in another country. That means you can get US Netflix or other blocked content not normally available in Canada. There is no bandwidth cap on the paid SurfEasy Mobile VPN so you don’t have to worry about how much you use the security and location changing.

I tried it out for a few weeks on my iPhone 5 with LTE. I was impressed at the speed. You don’t want anything slowing down your data connection. If SurfEasy slowed me down I would just turn it off most of the time. I have left it on for almost a month and have never turned it off. Other free ones I tried in the past have been notorious for being slow. That’s mostly because there are so many people using it. SurfEasy is paid so there’s less people on it and they maintain a very fast server with a limited number of users per connection. You don’t have to worry about the server filling up because you have priority on it at as a paid user.

I noticed a couple interesting things when I was using it. First when I went to search for something Bing or Google would ask me to fill in a human verification check because I was ‘changing locations so quickly’ which means it’s working well! I also had to re-verify my user name and password on a few of my social media apps. Once I did it once I was fine. They just want to check that you are who you say you are even if you traveled 10,000 km at the speed of light.

Available in store and online: http://www.londondrugs.com/SurfEasy-Mobile-VPN-with-Unlimited-Data-Protection/L7725906

Still not sure SurfEasy Mobile VPN is right for you? They have a free trial and more information available here http://www.surfeasy.com

Check back for the recently release SurfEasy Total VPN for Mac and PC review I just started playing with it.

Julian Sanders
@saskajules
in @LD_Saskatoon for @LDComputers



October 4th, 2012

Video Demo Microsoft Wedge Keyboard and Mouse

Works with Android, iPad and Mac but works best with Windows 8.

Follow us @LDComputers



September 29th, 2012

Running Windows on Mac with Parallels

Listen to Steve Dotto and Julian Sanders talk about running Windows on your Mac with Parallels.

Dotto interviewing Julian about running Windows on a Mac with Parallels



July 31st, 2012

Twelve South – PlugBug and Compass Stand

While a lot of companies these days claim that they are Mac friendly, Twelve South designs exclusively for Apple products. After taking the Mac accessory market by storm, this little company of less than twelve employees has produced some of the most beautiful and functional products. After success with the BookArc, they set out to disrupt the iPad market. After many iterations, Twelve South released the PlugBug and Compass, both of which we are taking a look at today.

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July 13th, 2012

3 Products to Make a Recording Studio

As a customer, you may be surprised that our Computer Departments carries a category of music recording devices and software.

Today I will be talking about three high quality devices that can turn your computer into a recording studio. Whether you are a podcaster, YouTube performer, hobby musician or DJ enthusiast we have everything you need.

The three products I am going to talk about is the Yeti microphone by Blue, the Avid Recording Studio and the Avid Key Studio. 

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July 2nd, 2012

Uninterruptible Power Supply – Savior when the grid goes down

I have worked years with computers and one thing that is overlooked by many is a UPS. They can give you substantial cost savings and protection so I thought I’d share my explanation with all of you here.

A UPS, or Uninterrupted Power Supply, is at its basic a power surge bar with a battery backup built in which supplies power to some of the plugs should a power failure occur while your computer is running. The intent is to give you enough time to shutdown your computer safely and prevent any data loss or corruption. Throw in some extra connections like phone and cable modem protection and that is it.

But what about all of those extra things mentioned on the box? What do they do and why should I pay extra for those? Also good questions and here is my answer on what those extras are:

VA Number: This is really easy. The larger the number means a larger battery and thus the longer the battery will last when your power is out. Most UPS boxes will have some chart giving an estimated run time for different computer combinations to help you choose.

USB Connection with Auto Shutdown: This means that, once setup, your system will execute a system shutdown automatically for you after a power failure. A great feature for people that need, or want, to leave their computers running all of the time.

LED Indicators: A great way to see the status of a unit at a glance. Better than just a little light. Not an absolute necessity but very convenient.

Phone/Network/Coaxial Filtering: The UPS has these ports to filter potential power surges coming from these connections. This is actually extremely important as many power surges come via phone or coaxial connections causing damage to a system.

Number of Powered / Non-Power ports: While a UPS is intended to provide power for shutdown not every device needs that power. Usually you need just the monitor and Desktop so UPS units will only have part of the ports powered by the battery. Make sure to choose a unit that covers your total powered and non-power plug in needs.

Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR): This is a very handy feature for those who experience brown outs or power fluxes caused by our devices in your home. UPS units with AVR will monitor power for these dips and “top” up the power if necessary. Power dips can cause miscalculations resulting in errors in your software popping up.

As you can see investing up to a few hundred dollars to protect your new purchase and future purchases from power surges, costly software repairs, and the frustration of important data loss or time is worth every penny.
I hope that this information will give you the knowledge necessary to choose the right level of UPS for your needs.

Damion Gilzean
London Drugs Computer Manager
18 years experience




images courtesy of APC http://www.apcmedia.com/prod_image_library/index.cfm?search_item=BE650G-CN#



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