Acronym Update 07/24/07

Dear Friends,

Today’s topics: “Greeting card” e-mail scam and new TiVo boxes

Part 1

I had mentioned a few weeks ago that there was a “greeting card” e-mail scam going around. I mentioned that these messages included links to suspicious addresses where you were supposed to retrieve your card and it was not clear who the sender was. Legitimate e-card services like Blue Mountain or Yahoo! Greetings are very upfront about who is sending you their cards. As it turns out, this situation was more serious than I initially thought. The FBI is involved now. Check out this article from Saturday’s Washington Post….

If you use an e-mail program installed on your hard drive (such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, anything other than web mail, etc.), please turn off your automatic preview pane.

In Outlook Express, this can be done from the View menu. Click Layout and un-check “Show Preview Pane.” In Apple Mail, simply double click on the gray divider line between the message list and the preview pane. In both of these set-ups, you will now have to double click on your messages to open them. It may be an extra click, but it will help you avoid unwanted attachments and links. You should be able to determine if a message is JUNK by looking at the sender and subject from the message list. If you are unsure, about a message. Do not open it! Delete it!

If you need instructions for other e-mail programs let me know.

Part 2

I read recently in the Wall St. Journal that by the end of this year, 37% of American households will have an HD-TV set. Having an HDTV, generally requires you to rent an HD cable box from your cable provider. Yes, some TV’s have a Cable Card slot built in, but most people do not buy those models or rent a box anyway because Cable Card technology is inferior. Some of my customers recently asked me where they could buy their own cable box because they did not want to rent an HD converter box at a cost of over $8.00 per month and even more if they wanted to record video. In the past, I explained that there really was not a market for digital cable boxes that you could buy outright. Even if there was, the cost would be $400 to $500 for an HD box. The cost was prohibitive and the conversations usually ended with the price tag.

Yesterday TiVo announced that they are introducing TiVo HD, a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) with an HD cable box built in at a cost of only $299. You will be able to buy the box online or at major electronics retailers. It will have a Cable Card slot which a technician will have to install for you. Comcast, the largest cable co. in Conecticut, does not charge a monthly rental fee for the card, but as of last check they charged $16.95 (one time) to install it. One of Cable Card technology’s major limitations is that it does not support the On Demand programming that most digital cable customers cherish, but TiVo makes up for that by allowing you to plug their box into your broadband Internet connection to purchase downloaded movies from, watch free Internet videos, and share videos throughout your house. It sounds very similar to Apple TV. TiVo HD does have a monthly fee of $12 to $15 per month depending on how you pay for your subscription. Currently digital cable customers who rent an HD cable box / DVR from their service provider pay upwards of $20 a month for the device.

You can find out more by reading this article discussing the launch of the new TiVo HD.

Always willing to answer your questions,