timely backups, digital projections and the latest text messaging
Alan Zisman (c) 2009 First published in Business
May 19-25, 2009; issue 1021
High Tech Office column
Time to clean off the
stuff- for-review shelf. Getting to play with tech gadgets is one of
the perks of this column. Too bad I have to give ’em back.
fall, I mentioned the Clickfree line of backup products. Its first
generation included several portable external hard drives and blank DVD
discs, all with easy-to-use backup software built-in. Plug one in and
the software would pop up, letting you back up documents and more.
Anything that makes backup easier is good.
Corp. hasn’t stopped, however, and has been busy churning out new and
improved variations on the Clickfree lineup.
New: Mac support
along with the previous Windows backups. Larger capacity portable
external drives – now up to 500 gigabytes (US$220) and larger-sized
AC-powered drives up to one TB (1,000 gigabytes – US$250). Already have
a drive you’d rather use for backup? The $59 Clickfree HD Transformer
plugs into the drive’s USB cable and adds the same instant backup
capabilities. The DVD Transformer looks like a USB flash drive, but
converts any blank DVD disc into a Clickfree-style backup medium.
If you don’t have an IT department to do your backups for you, the
Clickfree stuff is worth checking out.
projectors have become commonplace and are must-haves for anyone doing
a PowerPoint-style presentation. In fact, many people have taken to
referring to them as PowerPoint projectors. Epson’s PowerLite models
are ultra-light. They’re aimed at people who want to pack a projector
along with their laptop or move from room to room, but don’t want the
compromised image quality or brightness that often mark portable
Its 1735W model offers 3,000 lumens of brightness in a 4
lb. package with high-resolution widescreen (1280 x 800) support and
the ability to connect to standard computer video and USB outputs, HDTV
and even connect wirelessly or be used computer-free by plugging in a
PowerPoint presentation on a USB flash drive.
An included Quick
Wireless Connection USB dongle simplifies WiFi setup on Windows
systems. Also nice: it throws a large image size even when quite close
to the screen or wall.
Its capabilities don’t come cheap, though: $1,649.
phones haven’t been used just for talking for a long while now. Rogers,
for instance, says its customers sent more than 1.2 billion text
messages in January 2009. The company is offering texters several Quick
Messaging (or Quick MSG’N) phones. I looked at a pair of Samsung
models: the Propel ($49 with plan) and the Gravity ($29 with plan).
Rogers also offers the LG Neon ($29).
Both Samsung models come
with slide-out QWERTY keyboards. The Propel’s slides down, the
Gravity’s slides out. Both have 1.3 megapixel cameras and built-in
e-mail and instant messaging applications. The Propel offers higher
data transfer rates and more (optional) storage capabilities; the
Gravity builds in more multimedia features.
plans, available with any of the three Quick Messaging models, start at
$10 per month. For customers frustrated typing onto standard mobile
phone keypads but not needing the power (or expense) of full-keyboard
smartphones, Motorola’s in the messaging game, too. Also featuring a
pull-out QWERTY keyboard, the Motorola Hint QA30 ($80 from Bell
Mobility with plan) makes texting, e-mail and web browsing easier.
Unemployed or a single parent? Microsoft-certified Rapid
downtown is offering one-day courses on Saturdays aimed at upgrading
computer skills for $100 each – half the regular price – from May
through August. Courses focus on Windows XP or Vista, and either the
2003 or 2007 versions of Word, Excel or PowerPoint. •