Years ago when we first wrote about PC Relocator, it was called Alohabob, and we have a recollection that it was written by a guy whose dad, name of Bob, lives in Hawaii.
Every time Bob bought a new computer, he would ask his son to fly in from Florida to help him transfer things over.
Well, enough of that, the son said.
Somewhere along the way Alohabob mutated into a more businesslike title, but it’s still the best program you can get for moving from an old computer to a new one. It’s called PC Relocator Ultra Control now, and it does someneat things.
First you install the software on the old computer, then the new one. Then you connect the two with a USB cable provided in the box. If the two computers are networked, everything will go a little faster.
PC Relocator started out by recommending we shut down any programs running in the background of either computer. We didn’t have anything visible running, but we strongly suspected there were things going on in the back room; there always are.
A screen message asked us if we wanted PC Relocator to shut down the background programs for us. OK, we clicked. It then shut down 25 programs running in the background of the old computer and 22 in the new one. Now mind you, as far as you could tell from looking at the screen, there wasn’t anything running.
The next step was synchronizing the names of the two computers. Did you know computers identify themselves by the name of “”the administrator of theuser account?”” The computer puts in “”owner”” if you don’t select a name. PC Relocator suggested we use the same name for both computers. Joy figured out how to do this by doing a search in Windows XP’s Help and Support subject in the Start menu.
The main screen offered the choice of transferring everything automatically, on a case-by-case basis or standard, which turned to be the best way to go. Using the standard transfer method we got to choose whether we wanted to move programs, files, settings or any or all of the above.
A list appears telling you what programs are available for transferring to the new computer. It turns out that not all of them can be transferred. Programs that can be transferred easily show a green bar. Those with possible problems show a yellow bar. Ones not likely to transfer show as red and “”there’s no way this is going to go”” shows as black. After you’ve moved what you want, a feature called “”data cleaner”” permanently removes all data from the hard drive of the old computer.
This is not an absolutely perfect solution to moving everything to a new computer, but it’s the best you can get. It transfers all your e-mail with no trouble, and for a lot of people that’s a big part of what they want done. Thank heavens for a dad in Hawaii. PC Relocator Ultra Control is $70 (all prices U.S.) from www.alohabob.com; the standard version is $30.
INTERNUTS: ARE THEY PULLING OUR LEGO?
– www.henrylim.org: Personal site of a guy in California who builds fantastic things out of Lego blocks. His full-size Lego harpsichord can even be played.
– www.amyhughes.org/lego: Amy has built a Lego cathedral, and it looks fabulous. It’s 7 feet long and 5 1/2 feet wide and made from 75,000 pieces. The interior will seat 1,372 Lego people. Gotta see it.
A FLICK OF THE WRIST
Now here’s a gizmo whose time has come. It’s a wristwatch PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) from Fossil, the watch company.
The wrist PDA uses the Palm operating system and has 8MB of memory. It can store thousands of addresses, years’ worth of appointments, memos and other programs, like games. An infrared transmitter and receiver allows you to beam information to somebody else’s wrist PDA, or anyone elsewith a device using a Palm-compatible operating system.
The watch supports both Mac and Windows data transfer through a USB cable, which comes with it. The price is $249 from Fossil, (www.fossil.com), your choice of metal or leather watch band. And oh, by the way, the wrist PDA also tells time.
A similar wristwatch PDA is made by Abacus. It’s a little cheaper, $199, from www.abacuswatches.com. Both have calendars, to-do memo lists, and a tiny stylus with which you can tap on letters and numbers to enter new information. The stylus folds up and fits into the watch strap buckle.
Both these watches come with batteries and AC adapters that can recharge the batteries. They even come with an extra stylus in case you drop the tiny thing somewhere and never find it again.
And how’s this for a kick? You can beam your business card to anyone else with a similar watch or Palm-compatible PDA.
– “”Show Me QuickBooks 2005″” by Gail Perry CPA; $20 from Que (www.quepublishing.com).
A professional accountant guides the reader through the sometimes difficult complexities of QuickBooks. This is part of Que’s “”Show Me!”” series, which are all lavishly illustrated and show the reader what he should be seeing on the screen as he goes through each step of a lesson.
– “”Windows XP Home Edition, the Missing Manual,”” by David Pogue; $25 from O’Reilly Press (www.missingmanuals.com).
Another volume in O’Reilly’s popular “”Missing Manual”” series. The reason they’re so popular is they’re great, much better than regular manuals. In fact, we have never seen a manual from a computer company that was as good as a separately published book on the same subject.