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Security Software from Your Internet Service Provider at No Extra Cost

Comcast now offers a free download of Norton 360 to install for the security of your PC. This replaces the McAfee Security Suite that they had offered. Comcast customers who are currently using the Comcast McAfee may need to switch over to Norton at some point.

AT&T and Cox continue offer the McAfee Security Suite. However,  AT&T no longer offers this to their lowest speed DSL customers. If you try to download the software, they'll offer to upgrade your DSL service so you qualify for the free download.

Note: You must uninstall any current security software before replacing it.

Music, Podcast, Radio on Your PC or Smartphone

There are a number of free websites and corresponding smartphone apps that you might want to look into for both your information and entertainment. Three of my favorites are Pandora, MediaFly, and RadioTime. A fourth you might want to look into is Stitcher.

Pandora is a free music service that can run on your PC or smartphone. Set up an account with Pandora at www.pandora.com. You can then set up your own customized "radio stations" to play the type of music you like. A radio station is created by specifying an artist or song.  Based on the artist or song you specified, Pandora will play songs with that title or artist scattered into music having similar attributes. You may create up to 100 stations and stream up to 40 hours of music per month at no cost.

RadioTime is a service that plays Internet radio stations over your PC or smartphone. Stations include many local, national, and international broadcast stations as well has Internet only stations. I was able to listen to KCBS news radio in San Francisco recently in order to hear local news there about an earthquake in northern California.

MediaFly is a website and app that enables you to listen to audio podcasts and view video podcasts on your PC or smartphone.  These include most NPR programs, the CBS Evening News, and Meet the Press, along with podcasts of all sorts. Stitcher is a similar but simpler website and app that deals only in audio podcasts focused primarily on news and talk radio.

Pandora and MediaFly apps are also included on the Roku TV box that is used to stream Netflix videos. They are also included on some BluRay players.

My HDTV Warranty Paid Off: Thank You Bernie's

You might remember that my Toshiba HDTV died at the beginning of the year. Fortunately, Bernie's had purchased an extended warranty on it. The TV went away for exactly 4 weeks and returned in great shape. The main board of the TV had to be replaced. The repair cost was probably around $500-600.  The current price for that model TV is now about $800. The repair company, Roche Services of Wethersfield, claimed it took a while for the insurance company to make a decision due to the high price of the repairs. In any case, Roche Services did a great job with the TV.  Someone delivered and hooked up the TV just a couple of hours after calling me to tell me the repairs had been completed.

Still Not Doing Backup: Get a ClickFree Automatic Backup Drive

When was the last time you backed up your data? If you're unsure how to or what to back up or if you're not getting around to it, there is a product that may be very good for you. It is the ClickFree external hard drive. You just plug it into a USB port on your PC and it automatically backs up your data. The software for the backup is actually on the external hard drive so there is no software installation to be done. If you like, it will install a weekly reminder on your PC.

Besides the ease of using the backup, I like a few other things about this backup system. It makes copies of each file rather than creating a single huge backup file that requires a program to restore your data. Since the hard drive isn't constantly running and connected to your PC, there's less of a chance that it will die along with your PC. Also, some models can be used to back up multiple PCs.

If you already have a good external hard drive, Click Free also offers a USB device that you can plug in between your PC and your existing external drive that makes it work like a Click Free drive.

ClickFree Automatic Backup is sold at Best Buy and Office Depot as well as at numerous online sites.