July 2008

Cleaning your Computer, Mouse

Computers can become very dirty and dusty because of the static. You can cut static by wiping the exterior of your monitor and the surrounding wires and pieces with a cloth dampened with vinegar. Vinegar will de-static these pieces thus preventing dust from clinging.

A half and half mix of ammonia and water or vinegar and water can clean the dirtiest portions of your keyboard. This mixture will get the grease up that has accumulating from your skin. Using alcohol with a cotton ball or q-tip on your keyboard can give an even more thorough cleaning.

If your mouse ball is not running as smoothly as it once did, then it’s time for a cleaning. You will find that it has become clogged with dust. Underneath the mouse you can slide the ball cover counter clockwise and release the ball. You will see several rollers that help the ball to run. Remove the dust on these rollers with a pair of tweezers and blow clean. You can also use alcohol on a smooth cloth to clean the rollers. Once reassembled you will find that the mouse runs smooth again.

I need a good media player. How good is RealPlayer? Looks like it plays a number of multimedia formats including MP3, MPEG-4, QuickTime, Windows Media, and multiple versions of RealAudio and RealVideo formats. And there is a RealPlayer Plus version that allows you to download Web videos supposedly with one click. I can then transfer them to my iPod or burn them to my DVD.

The website says that the RealPlayer Plus supports video transfer to video-capable iPod Nano and iPod Classic devices but the RealPlayer Plus features are only available on Windows. This sounds like a pretty good and versatile player. Anyone know just how good it is?

July and it’s the middle of summer, what a great idea it would be to go for a several day short driving trip. Short here is the optimum word. For several years I was a fly out to the west kind of guy but we all know what a hassle flying has become so I have rediscovered the pleasures of driving.

We drove to the Watkins Glen, New York and stayed a few nights at a great bed and breakfast called Echoes of the Glen B&B. Watkins Glen is right on the SENECA LAKE WINE TRAIL which surrounds Seneca Lake’s perfect blue waters. There are about 36 wineries on the trail and you can experience the history, beauty and production of world-class, local New York wine.

A definite “don’t miss it” is Watkins Glen State Park in the village of Watkins Glen, at the southern tip of Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen contains several small waterfalls, and is a really amazing place especially for those who like the sight and sound of rock and water.

The park includes a campground, a large picnic area, swimming pool, etc. The main attractions however, are the trails through the Glen, particularly the gorge trail. This is not a rugged wilderness experience, but a very tourist friendly adventure. The park is right in the middle of town, across the street from a sub shop.

A great day trip from Watkins Glen is just a short drive to the
Corning Museum of Glass where you can watch live glassblowing and learn how to make your own glass this year at the Corning Museum of Glass.