JCopia Software Review

Once again I’ve been asked to write a review on a piece of software called JCopia by the Jiteco Corporation.  This software captures flash video and audio streams from any website to your computer as files.

When I downloaded the program it required a windows .net framework 4 to be installed which wasn’t a big deal.  That took sometime to download. Afterwards the JCopia program downloaded and installed, but the part that bothered me a little was the fact that upon opening the software it required another program to be installed.  A little troubling but once again, no big deal. Although everything took a little time it did install without any problems.

With the downloads done and once the software is active on your system it will automatically download any video or audio from the website you happen to be on.  I tried it on YouTube and it downloaded the movie without a problem.  The software is extremely easy to use. The cost of JCopia is $19.60 Canadian which isn’t too bad.

Although it isn’t something I need in my opinion this is a nice, easy to use piece of software.  If you require software to download media files from the internet then check this one out. For more information visit their website at JCopia .

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Extended Warranties, Are They Worth The Money?

When looking for a computer or other house hold appliance the first place you go to is a big box store like Future Shop or Staples. You are then approached by a salesperson and you listen to their sales pitch on the product you’re looking at and then they try to sell you on the extended warranty.  Is the extended warranty worth the extra money? It depends on how you look at it and your past experience with them.  Extended warranties are like insurance policies, you may need it and you may not.  But why do the stores push them so hard? The bottom line is they make big money on them.

As a former Staples employee (Senior Technology Consultant) I’m very familiar with extended warranties, both the good side and the bad.  When you purchase your warranty it doesn’t take effect until after the manufacturers warranty ends, naturally.  There are several types of extended warranties available depending on what company you’re shopping at.  The two main types are Replacement Warranty and Repair Warranty.

If you got a replacement warranty and something goes wrong with the product they give you what you paid for the product usually in the form of a store credit.  This can be a great idea on digital cameras or printers that tend to break down after a year. The down side of that is you have to wait “X” number of days or weeks to get that credit.  In my opinion the replacement warranty is a good idea if you’re not in a hurry to receive your credit.

The other type of warranty is the repair warranty which extends the manufacturers warranty an extra year or two.  This type of warranty will cover the cost of repairing a computer or laptop if something fails, like the motherboard or hard drive.  The down side of this type of warranty is that the computer has to be shipped out, usually at your expense and could take weeks to be repaired.  If the system can’t be repaired they usually offer you a very small percentage of what you paid for the system to begin with.  It’s my opinion that these types of warranties are not worth the extra money you spend on them.

So in a nut shell, are extended warranties worth the money you put into them?  It’s my opinion that they are a waste of money.  It’s far less hassle to just go out and replace whatever breaks down then it is to get it repaired or replaced through an extended warranty.  Sometimes even getting something repaired under a manufacturers warranty can be a hassle. So save yourself the head ache and put that extra money towards something else.

Storm Season Are You Protected?

Now that winter is over with our next season is what I like to call Storm Season.  This is the time of year when we get some violent storms.  Although we get some bad storms during winter I’m talking about storms that produce lightning and power outages or power surges.

During this time of year it’s most important to protect your computer with a good surge protector.  Most power bars will have some kind of surge protection but they’re not enough to protect your computer.  The kind of surge protector you should have should be rated for a minimum of 2600 Joules.  Keep in mind the higher the Joules the better the protection.  A good surge protector will cost approximately $40.00 on up.  Think of it this way:  you just spent close to $1000 on your new computer system, why not spend the extra money and get a good surge protector?

The other type of protection you could get is called a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply or commonly known as Battery Backup.  These units will give you anywhere from 3 minutes to 65 minutes of battery backup to properly shut your system down.  If you live in an area where you get brown outs (where the power drops but doesn’t go out) then the battery backup system can help to regulate the power, so it doesn’t affect your computer.

What size of UPS do you need?  That depends on your system and how many watts your system is using.  The average computer system could get away with a 550va UPS which would give you about 4 minutes to shut your system down properly.  I would recommend that you get a 650va or higher UPS as that would give you better protection and a longer run time.

So if you take my advice and purchase a good surge protector or UPS and the next storm hits then you should have peace of mind knowing that your investment in your computer should be protected.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me at Scott’s Computer Emporium 519-802-2721 or email me at scott@computeremporium.ca

Microsoft Phone Scam!

Known as the Microsoft Scam or virus/spyware scam, many people are receiving phone calls from a company or companies sometimes claiming to be from Microsoft.  They will inform the person that their computer is badly infected with viruses or spyware and that they can tell because they tracked your IP address.  The company goes on to say that they need to fix your computer right away or you will lose everything.  They proceed by getting you to download software or visit a website that would allow them access to your computer.  If you allow that to happen then they have you.  The cost for such access turn’s out to be around $150 to $200.  The company in question does a few things in your computer to appear as if they’re fixing your virus infestation. In all cases that is not what they are doing, instead they are gathering your personal information including passwords, credit card information, etc. As you know this can and will lead to identity theft.

First of all Microsoft would never call anyone up out of the blue like that so don’t waste your time with them just hang up.  I’ve included a YouTube video for you to watch on this subject.

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Software Piracy

How To Tell If You Have A Legal Copy Of Windows

We all like a good deal now and then especially when it comes to expensive software.  That’s why most people turn to software piracy.  Software piracy is the unauthorized copying of software. Most retail programs are licensed for use at just one computer site or for use by only one user at any time. By buying the software, you become a licensed user rather than an owner. You are allowed to make copies of the program for backup purposes, but it is against the law to give copies to friends and colleagues.  Often people and some computer repair shops will try to sell you Microsoft Windows Operating Systems such as Windows 7, at a greatly reduced price.   This is where you must stop and ask yourself is this a legal copy of this software.

So how do you tell if it’s a legal copy of the software?  Microsoft affixes a sticker to each piece of software they sell.  This sticker is called a COA or Certificate Of Authenticity.  A COA is not a software license – it is a visual identifier that assists in determining whether or not the Microsoft software you are running is genuine. However, without it, you will not have a legal license to run Microsoft software.  It must also be noted that it is illegal to sell just the COA without the software it authenticates.  Examples of COAs and previous versions can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/howtotel

If you receive offers for COAs as stand-alone items, be aware that these offers are highly suspect and can put you at risk. To fall victim to stand-alone COAs offers means that you may have wasted valuable money and you will not have a legal license to run the software. The best way for you to protect yourself is to purchase software from a familiar, reputable reseller. The Anti-Counterfeiting Act of 2003 makes it a criminal offense for dishonest resellers to distribute stand-alone COA labels.

Software piracy results in lost wages, lost jobs, and unfair competition.  You can help stop this illegal and harmful activity by knowing how to spot and avoid illegal software.  Reporting suspected violations when you encounter them, can have a positive impact on the fight against piracy.  There are three ways to report someone suspected of software piracy:

1:  By Email at piracy@microsoft.com

2:  Call the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline at (800) RU-LEGIT

3:  Fill out an online reporting form

Microsoft takes all leads seriously and will investigate, although they can not tell you the outcome of your lead.

I hope this will help someone to identify illegal software and give you resources to do something about it.  Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns or visit my website at www.computeremporium.ca

Resources:

http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/reporting/default.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/

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