Sharon and Jacques' Excellent Blog

Our travels and comments on life

Sharon and Jacques' Excellent Blog header image 3

Technology Recommendations

People often ask me for recommendation on technology related items. Here’s my current list of items that I highly recommend. The list will be updated on a regular basis as I add new entries, so please check back on occasion. Updated or new entries are colour coded light green.

Category Link
Anti-SPAM Software
Cloudmark Desktop Banner
Cloudmark Desktop is a plug-in for Outlook and Outlook Express that filters spam. Rather than using keywords to filter SPAM, it uses a database of all the emails that have been marked as SPAM by its users when checking emails. The result is very few false positives. Each time you classify a message as SPAM, information gets shared with all the other users.I’ve been using it for a few years and it is hands down the best SPAM tool I’ve used. It routinely saves me about .5h per day. It is so good that I leave a computer on that filters the emails that go to our PDAs. That alone pays for $39.95 USD cost per year.If SPAM is making reading your email a chore, please try this out.
I’ve tried most of the major anti-virus products and finally settled on AVG Anti-Virus. It doesn’t consume all your system resources (like Norton) and actually detects all the viruses and malware and effectively deals with them. It includes a real-time file scanner, email scanner, automatic updates and a simple user interface. On at least 5 different occasions, I’ve fixed computers that are behaving very strangely yet Norton says there is nothing wrong with them. As soon as I installed AVG, it started detecting and removing viruses. They offer a whole suite of products which can be viewed here.

AVG Internet Security


AVG has updated their products to Version 8. If you are looking for an all-in-one security tool that contains anti-spam, firewall, virus scanner and MS Office scanner and a link scanner, this is the product for you. One of the most interesting features is something called the link scanner and Active Surf-Shield. It installs a toolbar into IE and as you surf pages, it checks the links to make sure they don’t lead you to spywire or viruses. Its especially handy for search pages.
Web Hosting Banner I’ve been hosting my Linux based web site for about 4 years with Its dirt cheap, has a good uptime record and an easy to use web interface with full control of your web site. For between $3-10 USD you can get a web site with your own domain name, hundreds of email addresses, web stats and Gigs of disk space. The list goes on and on of the features you get.They also host Microsoft Exchange Server accounts for $6.99/month if you have a Windows Mobile device and want to get real-time email for it. I do this for my email and it works like a charm.
Bluetooth & Data Loggers GPS is a small company located in Markham, Ontario that specializes in Bluetooth, SD, CF and other small format GPS devices. If your phone doesn’t have a GPS but does have Bluetooth, these folks have the widest range of devices in Canada.The are the only people that I’ve been able to find that sells GPS devices especially designed for geo-tagging (encoding pictures with GPS location).I’ve purchased 3 or 4 devices from them and they have worked well and order processing has been smooth and reliable.If you mention my name (Jacques Giraud) in your order comment, they may give you a small discount.I use an i-Blue 747 Bluetooth GPSfor collecting geo-tag data. It is an older model but works extremely well and has been replaced by Qstarz BT-Q1000 Bluetooth Data Logger.They also have a good selection of software for use on mobile devices like Pocket PCs and Blackberry.
Automotive GPS I’ve had lots of GPS devices and after trying a variety of brands, I picked Garmin as the best. They are easy to use, have good maps and you can buy topographic maps that work on them as well.I currently use an older Garmin 2820 in my car with Topo Canada v2 and City Navigator NT 2008for regular driving. It also acts as a hands-free device for my phone, an XM Radio and will automatically route me around traffic problems in Metro Toronto.The Garmin nuvi range are their current line and are considerably cheaper.
Topographic Maps for Garmin GPS If you really need detailed maps (1:20,000 or 1:10,000) on your GPS, these folks make very detailed maps for Ontario and Quebec.If you drive off main roads or outside cities, you will find that the default maps don’t have a lot of the concession roads. Garmin’s Topo Canada is better with smaller roads but it lacks important items for birders such as sewage lagoons, small rivers and elevation information.The maps from take over where the Garmin maps leave off and offer incredibly detailed maps with all the features that are normally found on paper topographic maps.
Garmin GPS and Map Dealer (Toronto) RadioWorld is located in the Hwy 400 and Steeles area of Toronto. They also have a good web site for larger GPS units and stock all the Garmin and GPS Quebec maps.I’ve purchased 3 GPS devices from them and they have been good with their after sales service.

 Birding ID Software


Guide to Birds of North America v3.5

Good software with photographs and fieldmarks for identifying birds of North America. Also includes range maps, distribution, sounds, id tool and games. Works on both Windows and Mac.

 Geo-Tagging Software

RoboGeo is an excellent program that will take a tracklog file generated by a GPS or Data Logger and encode this information into the EXIF header of the photo. Once this is done, you can use Google Earth or Google Maps to see exactly where in the world you took the picture.

 Photo Catalog and Processing Software

I use Adobe Lightroom to handle about 90% of my digital photographic needs. I use it for catalogging all my images and making corrections such as exposure, tone, colour and leveling the horizon. It has let me replace about 3 programs that I was using to do the same thing. It works especially well with Raw images of all types.

 eBay Aution Sniping


I frequently purchase items from eBay and one of the techniques that I use to ensure that I have a good chance of winning auction is to use You enter your highest bid and it waits until the very last moment before the bid closes and enters a winning bid. Very handing and saves hours of times.


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Monica // Jan 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    About Bluetooth and Data Loogers: GlobalSat has a new product which is good for geo-tagging photos, BT-335. I’d also have to differ with you about availability for these kinds of products in Canada. I work at GPS Central in Calgary – we stock the i-Blue also. Check

  • 2 RoxieM // Nov 10, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Check out the new Garmin Nuvi lineup such as the Nuvi 265T, which allows you to add your Geo-Tagged photos to your GPS! It will give you directions to the location of the photo, and allow you to view the image on the map or through the photo viewer.
    You can compare these units and more at

Leave a Comment