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The TechnoPeasant Review: Mail Call!
Jeff Pasternack

This month's topic is banking? Banking? Are you for real? Didn't I already spend months writing about banking? Ok, not banking, per se, but banking on the fact that banks are having their security systems compromised in ever-increasing rates, thereby placing our valuable identity information into the hands of criminals. I know I wrote about that. And it hasn't changed since, then, either.

Did you see the headlines this past May? Personal account data on nearly 680,000 customers who bank at Wachovia, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services Group and Commerce Bancorp was allegedly acquired by a scam artist who reportedly paid assistant branch managers for the data. Ok, I know, you're tired of reading my columns that deal with identity theft, so I'll spare you this month and not seek to scrape away the illusion of privacy and security.

Instead, I'll share some choice gems from the TechnoPeasant Review Mailbag with you.

Dear TPR,

It seems like every item I buy has a large adapter on the end and this makes it very difficult to use surge protectors. Electricity was invented more than 100 years ago, you'd think that we wouldn't have to use adapters, but what do I know, I'm just an accountant. Any help?

Ill-adapted in Houston

Dear Ill-adapted,

There is a product called Liberator that will serve you just fine. Basically a very short extension cord, you can buy a 5-pack for about $9 from Numbers were invented thousands of years ago and we still have accountants, but what do I know, I'm just a technopeasant.

Dear TPR,

My friend knows someone who works at SARC who sent her the email below. Knowing how many people read your column, I figured I'd send this to you so you could post this warning so no one else gets hurt by this virus. God bless!

Saved by a Friend in Miami

<Contents of threating email not shown for the sake of brevity>

Dear Saved,

As you forwarded your friend's email address, as well as those belonging to all the people to whom you and she sent this email, I am obliged to tell you that both of you are already infected with a virus that cannot be detected by anti-virus software: gullibility. But more importantly, I can tell from your email that you are also infected with the Teddy Bear Virus and need to delete a file also undetectable by anti-virus software called Jdbgmgr.exe. But before you follow my advice, do a search on your friend's friend's virus letter and on mine and see what you should do next. Here, I'll give you a hint: NEVER FORWARD VIRUS WARNINGS UNLESS YOU CHECK THEM OUT YOURSELF! And if you forward this to your friends, my friend Billy Gates will pay you $1 for each friend you send it to because his company tracks my emails...

Dear TPR,

My friend told me about a Nigerian billionaire who belongs to an organization called Society of Charitable African Millionaires. I was trying to find them. Can you help?

Desperate in DC

Dear Desperate in DC,

You must be looking for Esenam Ayele, the Nigerian businessman who made his money in property and oil and thinks that keeping all of his money in an economically unstable country like Nigeria is unwise. Last I heard he had given $12 million to some guy named Thomas Hutton in St. Louis. Maybe you should look him up, as I am sure he'll be able to help you contact Mr.Ayele and/or his organization. Once you do so, please tell Mr. Ayele to send me my 3 percent referral fee.

Dear TPR,

I often work in the field and don't always have the ability to recharge my laptop and other accessories in hotel rooms. Can you recommend a product for the truly mobile worker?

Getting a Charge Outta You

Dear GCOY,

There are a few different chargers that you can connect to the lighter in your car or truck. The one I have is the Xantrex Statpower Portawatz 300, which provides 300 watts of power. It has two plugs, so you can charge your laptop and your phone at the same time. For the truly desperate, there's also the SideWinder from IST Designs, which is a portable hand generator that works by turning a handle. 2-3 minutes of turning can give your cell phone 5 minutes of talk time. If you're really ingenious, you could probably hook this up to some sort of pedal device and burn a few calories as well.

Dear TPR,

I was considering some sort of data backup strategy for our home network and wanted your opinion on whether I should go with a new server, a portable hard drive or DVD. Thoughts?


Dear Mon'Back,

None of your thoughts have merit for one reason: Any accident in the house, be it a fire, flood or a break in, will likely result in losing all the data. If the backup media doesn't go off site, then its just not sufficient. For the past two years, I've been a happy customer of All one has to do is simply download a small program to each computer and create a backup set of all the directories or files you want to backup. If you configure the program to backup nightly, it will do so on an incremental basis. This means that whenever there's a change to the file, or a new file is added to the directory, will replace the old file with the new or add the new file to its space. For a lousy $100 a year, they will provide 10gb of space. A few more dollars will allow you to have sub-accounts as well.


Jeff Pasternack is the president of Dynamic Consulting Group, a franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of the TechnoPeasant Review. If you have questions or comments about this column, please write to him at

Jeff Pasternack is the president of Dynamic Consulting Group, a franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of the TechnoPeasant Review.
If you have questions or comments about this column, please write to him at