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November 2007 - Ask the Geek Ask the Geek

Archive for November, 2007

Interview with Zonbu CEO Gregoire Gentil

Zonbu is poised to become the de facto standard for hassle-free, environmentally-friendy,  secure computing. I’ve been using the Zonbu desktop unit since August and I’ve fallen in love with it. I recommend it to everyone I know who’s looking for a home PC or one for their children.

With Zonbu’s announcement of their new notebook, manufactured by Everex (which I will be testing shortly), I asked Zonbu’s CEO, Mr. Gregoire Genil, a few questions.

ATG: Mr. Gentil, The Zonbu concept is like every good idea in computing rolled into one. Who first originated the idea?
Gentil:  I don’t think that anyone is the owner of the idea. It’s more a
trend that customers don’t want anymore to bear the hassle of managing
their PCs, especially as US households have more and more PCs. Fixing
your PC could be fun because you may like to do it, but doing [it] for your
wife, girl-friend, kids or the second PC in the kitchen or in the living
room becomes a real pain. And I’m not sure that customers want to buy
fat PCs with an OS that is, in itself, more expensive than our full-featured
zero-maintenance product. We want to be to the PC what Japanese cars have become to the automotive industry: reliable, simple and affordable

ATG:  Did the problems inherent in Microsoft operating systems influence
the Zonbu concept in any way?
Gentil:  Definitely. Microsoft has done an amazing job in the 80s-90s but
much like the gas guzzlers of the 70s, the traditional PCs pursuit of
performance at all cost is having a negative impact on the environment and
is becoming a huge burn for customers. Our product holds on 700MB with
all the applications your need when Vista is already 30GB and you don’t
have everything you need.

ATG: Zonbu supports a wide range of hardware but only two MP3 players.
Are there plans to add more supported players?
Gentil: Actually, we support a lot of MP3 players, including all iPod, NJB
players and all players that store the music like a USB key chain.
Beyond this support, we intend to add more and more support for USB
accessories. We are constantly adding new drivers to increase the
support of our 1500 printers and 800 cameras. We have also just added
support for webcam.

ATG: Will Zonbu ever be available in retail stores or are you going with
a web-based sales model?
Gentil: For the moment, we are web-based sales only. We would like indeed to extend to retail next year.

ATG: What is the one best reason to buy you could give to a potential
Zonbu customer?
Gentil: One simple word: hassle-free. Aren’t you fed up to manage your
computer, finding the right plugin to watch such or such video, taking
care of your backup, fighting a malware? Fire yourself as IT
administrator of your home.

ATG: And go get a Zonbu and start enjoying computing again! Thank you very much, Gregoire, both for your excellent answers and the prompt response.
Gentil: No problem!

The Geek


New Zonbu Laptop: Affordable, Green, Hassle-Free Computing

small_zonbu_notebook_front_1 I just found out that Zonbu is announcing a new Zonbu Notebook (see photo), so Zonbu fans can be green and hassle-free on the go. Like the Zonbu Mini Desktop, the Zonbu Notebook is based on the same principles of hassle-free, environmentally friendly, and affordable computing.

Let’s take a look at what Zonbu has to say on these three points:

Hassle-free: The Zonbu Notebook works right out of the box. It includes 20 best-of-breed software applications, free automatic software upgrades, generous online storage, remote file access and sharing, automatic data back-up, unlimited online tech support, and free hardware replacement in case of damage.  Best of all it eliminates the need to spend any time on managing the PC, or spending money on anti-virus packages, back-up storage or firewalls.

Environmentally Friendly: The Zonbu Notebook uses less energy, reduced use of hazardous materials like cadmium and mercury, offers free recycling/take back programs and responsible packaging, meeting the EU?s strict RoHS standards and earning the Zonbu Notebook a Silver EPEAT rating.

Affordable: The Zonbu Notebook starts at $279 with a $14.95 monthly subscription fee with the same acclaimed hassle-free plan as the Zonbu Mini Desktop.

Having reviewed the Zonbu Mini Desktop, I have to agree it’s definitely hassle-free. In fact, it’s so easy, a seven-year-old can use it right out of the box (See my article at Ask the Geek, Too). I fell in love with it.

Now, we’ll see about the Zonbu Notebook–they’re sending me a review unit today. So, stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about it. (Chances are, I’ll fall in love with the notebook, too.)

The Geek

Filed in: Computers, Hardware

Dave’s Computer Tips has a new writer – me!

I’m proud to announce that Dave Hartsock of Dave’s Computer Tips has graciously invited me to write the Security Focus section of his excellent newsletter. Dave has done a great job of putting together a wealth of content. Check out this lineup from the November 1, 2007 issue:

#1 – Newbies Nook – Information for those who are new to computers and computing.
#2 – Problems in Paradise – Answers to reader problems and questions.
#3 – Security Focus – Computer Security by Kenny Hart.
#4 – Getting Starting with Linux – David Kopp points the way.
#5 – Creating Nested Tables – Carol tells us how to do it in Word and OpenOffice Writer.
#6 – My Recommended Software – Need software? Check this list first!
#7 – Useful Freeware – Useful programs that you may find useful. Did I mention they’re free!
#8 – Useful web sites – Websites I’ve visited lately that you may find useful.
#9 – The Lighter Side – Some humor to lighten your load!
#10 – Odds and Ends – A little bit of this and a little bit of that!

Recently, I had a long conversation with Dave and I can tell you that besides just being an all-around nice guy, he definitely has your interests in mind. He’s committed to providing the best information he can on a regular schedule.

It would be great if all of you wonderful Ask the Geek fans would hop on over to his site and subscribe to his newsletter.

And while you’re at it, take a moment to sign up to get my latest posts via email. That way, if you forget to check the site, you won’t miss out on the latest info.

The Geek


Noisy PC? Acousticpc.com will help you quiet it down

I recently had the pleasure of having a conversation with Eric Sivilla,
Acoustic PC Specialist and owner of Acousticpc.com – the leader in quiet PC cooling solutions. Eric knows his stuff when it comes to quieting down a noisy PC and he’s also quite a nice fellow, so you can be confident in doing business with him.

I never paid much attention to the noise coming from my PC, I just figured that’s the way it is and put it out of my mind. But when I decided to record some of the songs I’ve written, I was dismayed to discover that I could hear the PC noise in my recordings.

Where does all that noise come from? A lot of it comes from the cooling fans on your CPU and power supply. Some high-performance PCs also have a cooling fan on the video card and there may be another fan in the front or back of the case that draws outside air in. Your hard drive is also a noisy beast and difficult to silence, until now.

Check it out, will you? Eric has solutions for the most demanding quiet cooling applications including hard drive silencers, silent cases, acoustic case insulation, you name it. Here’s that link again:


Tell him The Geek sent you.

The Geek

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Filed in: Computers, Hardware, Links

Stay Tuned for Big Changes Here

Thanks to all of you fine folks who are regular visitors and the new traffic that keeps coming in from all over, Ask the Geek is growing. I’ll be adding new features to make this site easier to navigate, new downloadable content, improved feedback form and a completely new site design powered by WordPress. Because I’m a busy Geek, I won’t be able to do everything at once, but I’ll plug away and get it done over the next few weeks.

So, stay tuned.

The Geek

Filed in: Uncategorized
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