Congrats to Shannon for winning the giveaway!

We all love (and have grown accustomed to), the swiftness of a new computer. It glides like a gazelle from one application to the next with nary a glitch. We expect it to go faster than a speeding bullet. But does anyone ever ask what happens to all the tech trash we eventually ditch?

U.S. consumers toss 10 million computers into landfills every year.  In fact, the average age of a US computer is just 2.4 years before it is discarded. Only 11% of all computers get recycled and, according to NPR, many of them are disessembled by workers in Third World Countries without any protective clothing to guard them against such things as brominated flame retardants.

Before you give cast off your PC because it’s simply too slow, consider a software optimizer that can return your PC to its original speed. System Mechanic** is one such software that, at a retail value of $39.95, can extend the life of your existing computer at a fraction of the cost.

But there’s more.

The developers at, the makers of System Mechanic, have offered to give away ONE software package that you can upload to every computer in your single family household for an entire year! They gave me three-year access to it myself so I could try it out. It has restored my kids’ laptop  to its like-new speed. My home office computer  has also returned to its initial speed. There is power in slow. But when it comes to computers, we take exception.

Enter to win by leaving a comment that tells me whether or not you have a gadget-free zone in your house? If yes, where is it and why? If not, that’s fine too.  The winner will be drawn from a hat and contacted via email by October 15th.


**Editors note: (System Mechanic 10.5 works on Windows® 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP. System Mechanic is designed to work on all recent Windows operating systems, and it is both 64-bit and 32-bit compatible. It also works on Windows 2003 Server. Support for Windows 2000, ME, and 98 is discontinued.)


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Email Smackdown

March 21, 2010

Little known fact: our human evolution has stayed roughly the same for the last 150,000 years. Your typical desktop computer changes every few months. Compared to our human reaction time, that old PC in your home office reacts 750,000,000 times faster than you. Yet we still try to increase the speed with which we respond.

It used to be we just wanted to keep up with the Joneses. Now we’re trying to keep up with our gadgets!

To master my email flow, for instance, I’ve taken the challenge. In fact, I have had a modicum of success. This week I’ve spanked my inbox into one monitor length. And it’s going to stay that way if it kills me. And it might.

Despite a grueling travel schedule that took me from Bethesda, Maryland to Charlottesville, Virginia, I have been able to manage my email influx. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I met with a lot of people in person with whom I normally correspond via email on a daily basis. Or perhaps it is because I have not been accessing my email as readily as I usually do.

Email is like a virus. It just keeps spreading. The more you write them, the more you receive them, or so it seems. While I am psyched to hear from that reporter or this one, I am not so enthralled with the spam, baby item giveaways that can only be sent within the lower forty-eight (I live in Germany) or other PR outreach that means I have to stop what I’m doing to pay attention to something else that most often serves only as a distraction.

Our hyperconnection is a blessing and a curse. It’s all about the filters you’ve put in place.

1. Designate times for information gathering. You don’t need to check your email every five minutes.

2. Use your tools. Autoreply is an often underutilized function that helps manage people’s expectations while you liberate your sfocus for what’s truly important.

3. Stop apologizing. If we think responding within 24 hours is unreasonable and we tag each email with an “I’m sorry for the delay!”, we’re teaching people how to treat us. Read: we allow them free license to expect anything sooner.

The truth is email is an information delivery system, like anything else. Just because it is instantaneous doesn’t mean we have to be.