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Saving Money on Technology in 2009

Buy manufactured compatible ink and toner for your printers – Did you know you can buy compatible ink and toner for your printers and it does NOT void your warranty? Only REFILLS void your warranty because of the potential damage they cause. But compatibles are like generic products or medications – the same ingredients for less money. You can save anywhere from 10% to 50% by purchasing compatibles at sites like Best Ink Store (

Replace your home and/or home office phone line with magicJack – Lots of us pay anywhere from $20 to $50 per month or more for a home phone line and/or a home office phone line with local and long distance service. Replace this line with magicJack ( and you can use the high speed Internet connection you already have to get unlimited local and long distance service for just $40 for the first YEAR and $20 a year after that. This is also a great solution for people with relatives overseas – just send them a magicJack and they can call to the US over the Internet FREE.

Consider a "netbook" instead of replacing an expensive, clunky laptop – Since most people who want portable computing capability really just need Internet, e-mail and a little word processing while on the road, why spend $600, $700, or even $1000+ for a full featured laptop? There's a new category of mini-laptops called "netbooks" and they start at just $299 each. Top-rated brands of netbooks include the Dell Mini 9 ( and the new 10-inch version of the Acer Aspire One (, as well as models from Lenovo ( and look for the s10) and MSI ( and look for the Wind). These netbooks aren't quite powerful or large enough to be your only computer, but at just over two pounds they're the perfect tool to pull out at Starbucks or Panera (see the next tip for the ultimate connectivity combination to use with a netbook…).

Get a cell phone that can also act like a modem for your laptop – Many realtors have advanced phones based on Blackberry, Windows or Palm systems, with e-mail and web access from anywhere they can get cell service. If you have one of these phones or have been thinking of getting one, you can turn on a service that most cell providers call "tethering". With tethering, you are able to use an Internet-ready cell phone as a wireless modem for your laptop. This will let you get on the Internet from your laptop anywhere that you have cell service, and save the $60 a month cost of having a separate modem for that purpose (sometimes, a charge of $10 to $20 a month is added to your phone plan for enabling tethering – still a considerable savings). For more info, Google "cell phone tethering" or ask your mobile service provider.

If you have questions about any of these issues, or any other computer-related matters, feel free to contact Geeks On Call. We are here to help you!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

     -- Arthur C. Clarke