Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I remember way back when Norton products were actually a good thing for your PC. Okay, I suppose that’s a little too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that Symantec has gotten awful fat over the last couple of decades. By fat I mean that their flagship products (Antivirus & Internet Security) have become more of a resource drain than they are of assistance to a small business or home user.

In the corporate world these products still dominate, and don’t seem to be as useless as I feel they’ve become for the small office or home network. As a matter of fact, Symantec claims to have 99% of the Fortune 1000 companies as customers. Pretty impressive, huh? Remind you of anyone??? You see where I’m going here.

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If you have a PSP and aren’t using its video playback capabilities other than via UMD, you’re missing out on one of its best features. The PSP can basically serve as your personal wide-screen video player, which comes in quite handy for those who travel frequently. A 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card can hold several hours of good quality video and still have room for your music, pics, etc…

The only problem with this is that the PSP is very finicky with regard to MP4 files. It’ll balk on image sizes, frame rates, bit rates, file names, file locations, and just about anything else you can think of. And to top it all off, each firmware release for the PSP seems to handle things differently. But then again, I suppose if it were a simple standard process that remained consistent, Sony wouldn’t be able to market and sell software to manage this process for you (a.k.a. PSP Media Manager).

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Maybe it’s just me, but it seems every other week someone’s releasing a new “SmartPhone” that’s going to “change the way you do business” as a mobile professional. But in my opinion, when you peel back that slick new protective plastic and fire it up…it’s the same old thing. No new killer apps, nothing really new as far as functionality or capability, and more often than not each new “exclusive release” seems to have more bugs than your local landfill on a hot summer day.

How long have they been making “Smartphones” now anyway? Well, to be honest, that I don’t really know. I can tell you this, my first Smartphone was a Kyocera QCP6035 that I picked up in 2000 or early 2001. I can’t remember for sure, as I think I might have killed those brain cells banging my head on my desk while trying resolve the plethera of issues I’ve been having with the latest generation of Smartphones. Either way, I’m pretty sure it was one of the first available, and can remember how giddy I was to be able to toss my cell and my Palm Pilot for one device.

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I gave up my dream of one day owning a single remote control that could replace my basket of “universal” remotes several years ago. As you can imagine I lived in extreme sadness for quite some time, constantly criticizing myself for being so naive to believe such a device existed. As time passed however, I forgave myself for setting such an unrealistic goal and eventually moved on. Then yesterday the delivery man arrived, unknowingly carrying the answer to this long forgotten dream.

Okay, to be honest, I haven’t actually gone out and bought any universal remotes until just the other day. With that said, each time I’ve replaced a component in my entertainment system I end up with another “universal” remote that just doesn’t cut it. Either it won’t even work with one or more components or, as is more often the case, you loose a ton of functionality and have to keep the original remote close by anyway. While advanced universal remotes are nothing new, in my opinion finding one within a reasonable price range (below $100) is. If you’re willing to invest $80-$100 in a universal remote that will actually replace all of your other remotes, so far I am very pleased with my Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360.

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Improper cabling is the most common mistake made when setting up home theatre systems. Periodically I’ll get a call or email from a friend or family member who just brought home thier new HDTV, and the picture just doesn’t seem right. More often than not, the obvious difference in picture quality from when you watched it in the store to when you set it up at home is the direct result of improper cabling. So here’s the skinny, short and sweet.

ALWAYS USE COMPONENT VIDEO CONNECTIONS
Component video provides the best quality image, as it seperates the video signal into three channels (red, green, blue), subsequently providing more bandwidth per channel. Audio is carried seperately, usually via stereo RCA connections. For true HDTV you’ll need to use the component connection, and it’s obviously ideal for other video sources as well (such as DVD players/recorders).

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