Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why We Test Our Products before Selling Them

This fire resistant bag from US Patrol looked like an ideal product for full time RV'ers like myself. It's small enough to put in your safe or hide in an appropriate place, yet it's fiber glass construction is claimed to withstand temperatures of up to 1000 degF. An ideal safety precaution for your important documents.

At TechnoRV, we always test products all our products before we sell them, or make them available to the Product Testing Team for more in depth testing and feedback. Below is a video of how we got on testing the US Patrol fire resistant bag. I think you'll like it.

TechnoRV US Patrol Product Test

Needless to say, we won't be selling this product!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Belkin PocketTop Product Review

It looks like the majority of you loved the PocketTop! In fact, the scores are some of the highest for any product we've yet tested.

  • 81% of you rated it useful or very useful with an average score of 4.2 out of 5.
  • 68% would considering giving one as a gift
  • 43% likely or very likely to purchase
There were many great comments about it's usefulness and innovative nature, some of which I've listed below. Regarding it's features, there were three main topics that were discussed - color, size and price.

Some of you were okay about the colors, some of you not (especially the 'bile green'!). I probably didn't do a great job of explaining, but there are actually three colors to choose from. The pea green (tarragon as it is called), Khaki, or Steel. You can look at these different colors on our website. Okay, so they're not exactly going to set the world alight, but at least there is a choice. If you're looking for something a little more lively and 'out there', why don't you check out our Designer Sleeve laptop bags.

Although not specifically mentioned, the PocketTop is designed to fit laptops of all different sizes. It will comfortably fit a 15" and 17" laptop (in fact on our website you can see a photo of it with my 17" Sony Vaio). A widescreen laptop such as my Apple PowerBook is a bit of squeeze, but everything else should fit fine.

This is always a good one. While most of you thought the price of $39.99 was about right, a number of you felt that it was a little pricey. I did a little research online and the price obviously does vary as a lot depends on who you buy it from, what their guarantees, shipping and return policies are, but we were around the middle ($30 - $50). The other thing to consider is our flat $4.80 Priority Mail shipping. Since these bags weigh just over 3lbs, they cost us $12.29 to mail, which is a loss of $7.49. Because of that, we're not able to do anything on the price, but as a special Holiday Season thank you to our Product testing gang, we would like to offer a FREE USB Computer Light with any Belkin PocketTop purchased before 19th December.

I thought I'd share with you all some of the great comments we got about the PocketTop.
"MUCH better that my current carry bag. This would be all I need to be truly portable AND protect my laptop, which is my primary worry. I'm a klutz, and if I drop the laptop, it could be toast without some kind of usable protection. My current bag may protect it very well, but it's NOT usable. Lug-able, maybe. Not convenient. And to use my laptop now, I have to pull it out of the case - and promptly drop it. Keeping it in one of these AND being able to use it IN THE CASE is a great idea."

"Great product to use while traveling as a passenger in a car or bus!"

"It is the perfect thing for someone like me. I use my computer the entire time Dave is driving. We travel on planes & cruises often and it would be perfect for traveling."

"It appears that it would be durable enough to withstand a variety of situations. As a geocacher, I could see this product being of great assistance to those of us who take our laptops out on the hunt with us."

"This looks to be a fantastic bag for anyone who travels or doesn't have a permanent spot for their laptop. I love the idea that you finally use your laptop on your lap!!"

"I like the idea of the tilt to keep it cool. The ability to keep the computer plugged in, yet the cord not hanging loose, appeals to me. I think being able to stay connected on the road would be a positive aspect. "
So there you have it. I think in summary, the PocketTop is ideal for those people who like to use their laptop while on the go, need a little extra something to help protect their laptop and keep organized while using it on your lap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Rebuild a Windows XP Machine

During my Computer Safety and Security Seminar, I often mention the fact that Windows machines tend to slow down over time, and the best way to cure this is to rebuild the machine. It's not a small job, nor one to be considered by anyone who isn't somewhat computer literate. It'll also take at least 2-3 hours, sometimes a lot more depending upon your internet connection speed or if you encounter any problems. You should only really attempt this if you have another computer, or as a last resort on an old computer, as if anything goes wrong, you'll be left with an inoperative machine. Finding a friend who has done it before to help you is definitely a good idea.

The first and most important step is to back up all your data onto an external back up drive such as the TechnoRV Executive Style Backup Drive. 160Gb should be ample for most older laptops although 320Gb is worth the extra. After that, you'll need the Windows XP installation disks unless your computer has a seperate partition containing a copy of the operating system, and an internet connection. If you don't have the Windows disks, try contacting the computer manufacturer or looking for a cheap replacement set on E-Bay (make sure to buy the disks for your exact machine, otherwise you won't have the correct drivers etc).

To actually perform the re-install I've provided a link to an excellent article on WikiHow. It covers pretty much everything you'll need to do, although you probably won't need to install all the software they recommend, think of that as more of a reference.

Best of luck, and remember, this operation will destroy everything on your computer, so make doubly sure you have everything you need backup up, and preferably copied to a different machine so you can verify it.

Good luck.