Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Get support for Quicken!

In the past, if you were a Quicken user, you were basically left to find support through the user community.

However, now you can contact Quicken Technical Support either via Chat or by Phone!


Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will be able to see the links for chatting and calling technical support.

For your reference, the phone number for Quicken Technical Support is: (650) 250-1900.  Their hours are Monday - Friday 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Watch TV Shows for FREE!

Yahoo has a new site which allows you to watch many TV Show Episodes for FREE!

You can check it out here: https://view.yahoo.com/

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Disney Movies Anywhere Contact Information

If you use Disney Movies Anywhere to view your movies online or on a variety of streaming devices, you may encounter a problem (as I did recently) whereby the online digital codes are either marked as already redeemed or invalid.

Unfortunately, if you visit the Disney Movies Anywhere site, there are not many options for contacting support: https://secure.disneymovierewards.go.com/contact-us.htm

Thankfully, though, by sending an e-mail via this Contact Us form, I was able to get the phone number for contacting a Disney Movies Anywhere representative which is (855) 347-3722.

After talking to a representative, I was able to get a replacement digital code and add get it added to my Disney Movies Anywhere collection!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chase Rewards Points and using Shop with Points on Amazon.com

If you are a Chase Rewards Points member through owning a Chase Credit Card or Chase Debit Card, you may have used the "Shop with Points" feature on Amazon.com quite frequently since Amazon.com allows you to link up your Chase Rewards Points with your Amazon.com account.

However, as of September 1st, you lose dollar value when shopping with Chase Rewards Points!

Starting September 1st, 2016, 125 Chase Rewards points = $1!!

So do you just live with the downgrade or is there a workaround to this Amazon-imposed limitation?

Well, fortunately, $1 = $1 when it comes to shopping for Amazon Gift Cards on the Chase Rewards site.  Therefore, for 2500 points, you can buy a $25 Amazon Gift card and likewise 5000 points can buy you a $50 Amazon Gift card.  You can then redeem these gift cards on Amazon.com just as you would with the Chase Rewards points .  On the downside, you have to wait 5-10 days for these Gift cards to be shipped to you, whereas the "Shop with Points" feature was available instantaneously when you checked out, but at least you will not lose any dollar value when you shop on Amazon.com!

The other alternative, of course is to get a Chase Amazon.com Visa card which also does not lose point value on Amazon.com.  Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to rack up points on the Chase Amazon.com Visa card even after spending hundreds of dollars vs. using either the Chase Freedom or Chase Unlimited Freedom credit cards, but it is yet another solution to this significant reduction in point value on the Amazon.com site!

Happy Shopping! :-)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Anti-malware solutions for Windows

I recently spoke to a friend that was infected with a new piece of Malware which prevents installing tools such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, so I thought that I would help him investigate other tools that help remove Malware.

Of course, there is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (which was not working for him in this case): http://www.malwarebytes.com

But there are other tools such as Lavasoft Ad-Aware: http://www.lavasoft.com/

Another tool which I have used often in the past is Spybot: https://www.safer-networking.org/

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware also has a tool called "Chameleon" which fools malware into thinking it is another tool instead: https://www.malwarebytes.com/chameleon/

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Host4ASP.NET is a scam!

Last year I decided to find a new hosting provider and came across this hosting provider for ASP.NET: https://host4asp.net/

Everything seemed to be going well until all of my users were complaining about site accessibility.

I had set up the site initially more than 30 days earlier and when I inquired about getting a refund for my service, because my 30-day trial period was over, they would not issue either a partial or a full refund for my hosting services.

So, since the service was unreliable, I ended up switching to another hosting provider for hosting my production site and instead used Host4ASP.NET as a test hosting site.

Unfortunately, this was even problematic as I was not able to log into the Control Panel any longer and I could never get a hold of the customer service team either through e-mail or through the provided chat on their website.

Needless to say, I lost my money on hosting with this ASP.NET Hosting Provider, so for all other customers out there--BUYER BEWARE!!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review of Netgear ReadyNAS

I have been using NAS devices on my home network for a very, very long time.  My very first NAS device was simply a USB hard drive plugged into a network sharing device making the hard drive available on the network.

However, once the Netgear series of ReadyNAS devices was released, I bought my very first ReadyNAS Duo device which was a 2 Hard Drive system supporting mirroring (RAID 1) using a file system format called X-RAID.

Of course, Netgear released new versions of their ReadyNAS devices nearly every year so I began upgrading my devices to larger devices supporting 4 disks as well as adding support for new features such as USB 3.0, X-RAID 2, faster Ethernet and disk transfers, encryption, antivirus, defragmentation, cloud support and support for Apps.

Well, my most recent purchase is the ReadyNAS RN214 device which is a 4 HDD system with a front LCD display and support for USB 3.0 as well as many of the other features mentioned above.

Whenever I buy a new Netgear ReadyNAS device this usually means that I have to migrate from one of my older ReadyNAS devices to the newer device.  In my case, this meant migrating from a ReadyNAS RN104 device to my RN214 device.

Unfortunately, in the area of migrating and re-using HDDs from one ReadyNAS device to another, the Netgear ReadyNAS devices pretty much fall flat on their faces.

If I take a single hard drive out of an older ReadyNAS device and move it to a newer ReadyNAS device, the newer ReadyNAS device cannot typically read it or format it because of different firmware versions or different architectures or different models.  ReadyNAS recommends moving an entire set of disks to the newer ReadyNAS device, however, this can only be done if they are the exact same model of ReadyNAS.  If they differ in processor architecture, once again this method is a no-go.  Therefore, many times I have to attempt to re-format the disk or disks in Windows and then attempt to add them to my new ReadyNAS device.

However, because of the proprietary file system format of X-RAID/X-RAID 2 in ReadyNAS devices, in many cases, I am not even able to read the file system in Windows which leaves me to resort to a full Factory Default of my ReadyNAS device!!

This is absolutely the worst solution EVER!!  A Factory Default of course means completely wiping out everything on the existing disks.  If you have an existing set of disks and you are simply adding another disk, this means losing ALL of the data that already exists on these disks!!

If you are unable to perform a Factory Default, then those other disks essentially become COMPLETELY USELESS!

In these cases, the only migration strategy available to you becomes purchasing a whole new set of hard drives for the new ReadyNAS system and then running a backup job to migrate from one ReadyNAS system to the other.  Based on the amount of data on your existing ReadyNAS device this may take several days or longer!!

Finally, once all of the data is migrated, you can then perform a Factory Default on your old device to completely re-format all of the disks or break the volume and then format them individually so that you can use them on a Windows system.

Needless to say, this is an ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE migration strategy and definitely the bane of using the Netgear ReadyNAS systems!

If you are just interested in setting up a ReadyNAS system for the first time and do not plan to go through migrations frequently, the ReadyNAS system is still a great NAS device for your home network and is highly useful in all other respects.

Below is an example of how the X-RAID system works on a Netgear ReadyNAS device (the RN214 system in this case):

When you have a single HDD in your ReadyNAS device, X-RAID formats the single HDD as JBOD format.

But, once you add a second HDD to your ReadyNAS device, you get the following:

Adding the second HDD suddenly switches over to RAID 1 which supports mirroring of your data and thus provides the true benefit of using a NAS device on your home network.

Finally, when you add a 3rd or 4th HDD to the system, you end up with a RAID 5 configuration which gives you server level data integrity for your NAS device!

You also get additional flexibility using X-RAID since you can easily swap out smaller hard drives with larger hard drives and end up with additional storage space on your NAS device depending on your RAID configuration.  In either a RAID 1 or RAID 5 configuration, you will need to replace at least 2 existing hard drives for the RAID configuration to "expand" to provide you with more data storage space.

All in all, if you just need reliable data protection with room to grow and expand your data storage needs, the ReadyNAS is a great device for your home network.  However, if you need to migrate to a newer device in the near future, prepare to spend lots and lots of time and money with the overall migration process!!!

With any luck, Netgear will improve the migration process in the future, but for now, the migration from device-to-device is what is is....