Beware Toast.net Review NetZero.net

A couple of nights ago I had problems logging into my Toast.net account. I kept getting a bad username/password error. I called their technical support and discovered Toast.net is NOT a customer friendly company.
They said my account was exceeding normal usage, so they locked me out. At the end of the month, they would unlock it, but watch the usage very closely. Apparently, their terms of use say normal internet usage is 10 hours per WEEK. Who in this day and age only uses the internet for 10 hours a week? I work mostly at home and keep my internet connected for an hour or two at a time throughout the day. It’s my lifeline. Dial up is all I can get for internet service. No internet or DSL is available. I think mobile broadband will work for me and I am getting close to signing up. I just don’t really need the extra charge at the moment.
Well, once the Toast.net support guy told me about my excessive usage, I told him I was thinking of cancelling my account and signing up for Verizon’s mobile broadband. You know what he said? He said ok, we can take care of that right now. lol. No trying to talk me out of cancelling. No offer to lower my monthly payment. Nothing. Let’s just say I was in shock. Oh yeah. The best part. They refused to unlock my account. So glad I never used that Toast.net email address.
A few years ago I was using NetZero as my dial up internet provider. I got annoyed because it was just really slow. I did some research on dial up internet providers and signed up with Toast.net because they had good reviews for a speedy connection. Well, now I know why. They won’t let anyone actually use the internet connection. You’d think they would be glad to have a dial up customer now that high speed internet is so widely available.
After I initially signed up with Toast.net, I called NetZero to cancel my internet service. You know what they did? They kept lowering my monthly payment until I agreed to not cancel my service. I had the NetZero High Speed service and was paying $14.95 a month. They lowered it to $6.95 a month. I never use it, but luckily I still have it.
After Toast.net was so kind to cancel my account, I downloaded the latest NetZero installer and got hooked back up. I’ve been using NetZero for a few days now and surprisingly enough it’s not so bad. It seems faster than it used to be and it even seems faster than the Toast.net connection I had. I always had problems with Toast.net’s accelerator turning off and on and sometimes having trouble connecting to it’s server. NetZero’s High Speed accelerator is great so far. NetZero even has a setting to reconnect if it becomes disconnected, so no issues with excessive usage when you connect to the internet using NetZero.
In the end, I guess Toast.net did me a favor in that I rediscovered NetZero. A company who cares about it’s customers and also has a much faster internet connection. I do not recommend Toast.net. Go for NetZero instead.

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HP Pavilion dv5t Review

My new laptop, 14.5″ HP Pavilion dv5t, arrived 2 days ago. It’s very nice, very sleek, very light. I like it.
It has Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-460M Dual Core Processor (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz, 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm), 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive and webcam, bluetooth which works great sending pics from my cell phone.
The display is very clear and kind of shiny.
One major complaint and a few minor ones.
For the major complaint, I tried playing a Netflix dvd and got a message from the HP dvd software that the dvd player is set to region 0 while the dvd was region 1. I could change regions in order to play the dvd, but only 5 times. I guess I’ll have to look into this to see if there is a way to override this region setting. For now though, Videolan’s VLC Media player plays the dvd just fine.
For the minor complaints:
Audio is a bit low, even at the highest setting. Probably won’t be cranking it up, so I can live with it.
On my old 14″ Dell Inspiron 1405, the screen had 800 pixels in the height. The HP Pavilion dv5t only has 768 pixels. If I’d read the specs a little bit closer and done some comparison, I might have realized there were fewer pixels in the height. I checked the specs on a few other HP laptops and it looks like they are all like that.
The home, delete page up/down keys are on the side of they keyboard instead of at the top. Just takes a little getting used to.
The keyboard is layed out so that there are spaces between the keys. Apparently, it’s similar to a Mac. I like it. Hopefully it will cut down on the amount of crumbs and dust which tend to collect if not cleaned regularly.
A lot of the reviews I read at the HP site complained about the touchpad being difficult to use. I do like the actual buttons better than the touch pad buttons. The touchpad with touch buttons isn’t so bad now that I have figured out how to use it.
Here’s a few tips on using the HP touchpad:
Tapping anywhere clicks links, puts the cursor where you need it. It’s your basic left click.
To scroll or highlight text:
Put the cursor on the scroll bar, double click with one finger and don’t lift it up, use another finger to actually move the scroll bar. If you double click in the left touchpad button area with the index finger and scroll with the middle or ring finger, it kind of simulates using a touchpad with a real button.
To right click:
Push down, not tap, on the right touchpad button area.
There’s no modem, but the laptop works great with my Wiflyer. It was really slow when I first tried using it. I was pretty sure it had to do with the Norton antivirus. I poked around and discovered Norton had found a couple of problems already, tracking cookies from hp. Got rid of those and it’s running great.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the HP Pavilion dv5t laptop. Hopefully it will hold up better than my Dell Inspiron 1405.

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Verizon Ends New Every 2 Upgrades

So Verizon announced the other day, it will be adding the Apple iPhone to its lineup. Cool!
However, there was a change in Verizon’s upgrade policies that wasn’t announced too loudly. With Verizon, every two years when your contract expires, you can upgrade to a new phone at a discounted price. These are very nice, deep discounts. Some users are also eligible for early upgrades at 13 months. Well, guess what? Verizon’s getting greedy and doing away with the new every two upgrades and early upgrades starting January 16. My current contract ends in 10 months. I have the Samsung Alias 2 and was planning on going with a Droid. Now if I want to do that I’ll have to shell out a couple hundred dollars. For someone who’s cell phone has fallen into the toilet twice, I’m not sure I want to do that. I’m sure I will, but I really don’t want to. I’m hoping by then, Verizon will realize their mistake and offer some sort of discount pricing.
As I write this, I just checked out this link at CNet and apparently Verizon will be announcing a new upgrade program later this year.
If Verizon is smart they will make it even better. A lot of people want the iPhone and a lot of people say Verizon has better service, so I bet a lot of people will be switching over to Verizon. Good deals will draw even more people over and make current customers even happier.

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How to Find Lost Cell Phone

Tons of times I’ve misplaced my cell phone in the house. I usually call it from my land line phone or have someone else call it. Kind of sucks when I leave it on vibrate, but I’ve always been able to find it.
If you don’t have a land line phone or someone who can call your cell phone, there is a website, at http://www.wheresmycellphone.com/, you can go to to call your lost cell phone. Just enter your phone number and listen for your lost phone to ring. It’s all free too.

Dell Inspiron E1405 HP Pavilion dv5t Laptops

3 1/2 years ago I bought my first laptop. A Dell Inspiron E1405. Nice, little portable machine. Intel Core Duo T2350 1.83GHz, 2gb RAM, 62gb hard drive, which pales in comparison to the disk space available these days. I mainly use it for blogging, updating websites, email, Facebook, Twitter etc. Once in a while I test some code on it. Only downfall is it came with Windows Vista, which was standard at the time. It still runs great, but hardware wise, it is falling apart. I’m missing 4 keys from the keyboard, the left click button for the touchpad lost it’s spring a long time ago. The killer: now the display won’t stay up. The hinge went. Really sucks trying to sit on the couch and type. At the moment I have it set on the counter with a pack of BBs propping it up.
Well, the hinge was the last straw. I sucked it up and bought an HP during HP’s after Christmas red tag sale.
I went with the HP Pavilion dv5t because it has a 14.5″ display. My Dell has a 14″. I wanted something a little bigger, but not really as big as a 15.6″ display. I got it for $806.45 with tax. There was a $100 instant rebate, free shipping and $25.00 off with HP Coupon code SVMB39487. I also saved an extra 5% by clicking through to HP using Ebates. That saved me another $40.32, bringing total cost down to $766.13.
It has Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-460M Dual Core Processor (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz, 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm), 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive and webcam, bluetooth. Just Intel integrated graphics which is what my Dell has. Good enough for what I do since I’m not a gamer.
I’m a little uncertain as to how the HP’s touchpad is going to work out though. Apparently it’s a multitouch and lots of the reviews complained about it. The whole thing is touch, including the left and right click buttons. I guess it’s more difficult to use than a touchpad with actual left and right click buttons.
After I ordered the HP, I had second thoughts. I didn’t want another Dell since my old work one was a Dell that died and my home, falling apart laptop is a Dell. I went over to their site though and checked out what they had. Apparently, they no longer let you customize a system. They have a bunch of different machines, but you are stuck with how they are configured as far as processor, memory, hard drive size etc. One that came close to the HP I ordered was an XPS 14, but it costs more than what I paid for the HP, so I guess I’m satisfied with the HP I ordered. Hopefully it works out ok.
One thing I discovered though is laptops don’t come with an internal modem anymore. Since most people are going wireless, the modems are no longer needed, except for us poor saps who live in a rural area and can only get dial up or satellite. I am going to look into Mobile Broadband. I should be able to get reception and it should be pretty fast. Verizon’s 4G package is $50 per month with a cap of 5gb. It’s more than the $10 a month I pay for my Toast.net dial up, but I think it will be worth it in the end to look into getting a faster connection. Until then, I can use my good old WiFlyer, which turns a dial up internet connection into a wireless dial up internet connection, or my Zoom bluetooth modem. I may look into getting an external modem too. You can pick one up fairly cheap on Amazon.com.

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