Very often I'm called upon to troubleshoot PCs belonging to friends and relatives. While poking around for problems, I almost always encounter the same oddity: a Web browser packed with toolbars. Sometimes I'll find two or three of them, sometimes even more.
Maybe it's a Yahoo toolbar -- for someone who's not a Yahoo user. Maybe it's a security toolbar from the likes of McAfee -- even though the user runs Norton anti-virus. Very often it's some weird shopping or promotional toolbar I've never heard of.
Invariably I ask the question: "Where did these come from?" The response is always the same: "I don't know."
My iPhone lives inside one of those extended-battery cases, which is good for power but bad for syncing. I've lost the special sync cable that came with the case, meaning I now have to take the case off (major hassle) whenever I want to sync with iTunes. This is driving me nuts. Is there some other way to sync?
Good news, Jed: there is! With the introduction of iOS 5, Apple made it possible to sync with your PC via Wi-Fi, meaning you don't need a dock, cable, or anything else -- just your existing home network.
In recent weeks my laptop has developed the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Actually, it's more of a Black Screen of Death: at seemingly random times, the screen will suddenly go black, forcing me to manually power down and reboot.
But make no mistake: this is still a BSOD, just without the blue error screen. Of course, if you've ever encountered one yourself, you know that it often disappears almost instantly. So much for writing down the specific error message, which could help in troubleshooting the problem.
Still, my Windows 7-powered HP mini-tower remains connected to my rec-room TV, where it continues to serve beautifully as a DVR. That's because I've paired it with a CableCard tuner. (Not familiar with them? Check out the tuner roundup I wrote last year.)
Regular readers know of my mad love for services like Boomerang for Gmail and FollowUpThen, which let you "snooze" emails you receive so they appear at the top of your inbox at a later time.
Boomerang in particular offers nifty integration with Gmail proper, adding a button that allows you to delay messages for hours or days with just a few clicks. Just one problem: It costs $4.99 per month, or $50 annually.