Jan 31

Windows 8 Pro UpgradeWhen Windows 8 was released late last year, one of the novel aspects of the new operating system was its availability as an online download; even more impressive was the low price for this online version – $39 for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, a version of the OS normally priced $199.

But that promotion ends today.  If you want to snag up to five upgrade copies of Windows 8 Pro for $39 each, you’ll have to do so before the end of the day today

Tomorrow they’ll be an extra $160.

Jan 28

Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Gen

I had never given much thought to my home’s thermostat; it was there on the wall, turning on my heat when the house was too cold, or the air conditioner when steamy southern summers made it too hot. I’d adjust it now and then (mostly in the summer), but for the most part it was ignored.  And for good reason: the conventional thermostat is dumb-tech, doing what it’s told and nothing else, and offering nothing in the way of intelligent assistance or control.

But modern technologies – namely online weather information, Wi-Fi, smartphones, and intelligent software – have made it possible for the boring ol’ thermostat to become something else entirely.  Something smarter and better.  And something that can even save you money.

Meet the Nest Learning Thermostat.

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Dec 14

SugarSync Mac OS Dock IconA few weeks ago, SugarSync released new versions of its Windows and Mac apps.  I was happy with the new software, the SugarSync 2.0 Beta; the update streamlined the utility and made it much easier to add and manage synced folders.  It also has a generally improved UI.  But on the Apple side there was one annoyance:

SugarSync, which is preferably always running (so that your files are continuously synced), had an always-present Dock icon in the Mac 2.0 Beta version.  This was annoying because you rarely need to change the settings of the program – what you really need is to have it quietly running in the background to keep things synced with the Cloud and other computers. 

The Dock icon wasn’t present in the 1.x versions of the application unless you were changing settings.

But in the latest version of the SugarSync 2.0 Beta – Build 1.99.9 – while the Dock icon is still turned on by default, there is a way to hide it if it annoys you.

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Oct 23

win8proIf you’re running Windows XP (with SP3), Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39 starting on October 26th.  The upgrade is downloaded and upgrades your existing hardware in a few steps.

Of course, if your PC is running Windows XP, an upgrade is probably not advisable.  I would recommend that XP users just buy a new Windows 8 computer; but if you’re running Vista – and especially Windows 7 – the upgrade should be just fine, particularly if your hardware was high-end at the time of purchase.

Update 10/26/12: The $39 upgrade is now live.  You will download an upgrade assistant that will scan your PC, alert you to any possible conflicts with existing hardware or software, and allow you to purchase the upgrade.  You can pay with either a credit card or PayPal.

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