Roam for the holidays? You'd better watch out
Despite an economy that's still wobbly, Americans are traveling for the holidays, and an informal poll I conducted by asking pretty much everyone I know appears to indicate that holiday travel has increased this year, with more people traveling, but going shorter distances.
Yes, Santa can bring the game to a soldier
I received an e-mail from a Sandwich woman who has a grandson serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, asking me for advice on how to best handle a Christmas present request from her grandson.
The encyclopedic approach to organize life
A few weeks ago I spent a frustrating afternoon looking for a phone number that I knew I had somewhere. That fruitless search caused me to sit in quiet frustration, contemplating the miserable state of my information management abilities.
Technology gives new shape to the humble T-shirt as a marketing tool
It's not uncommon for visitors to describe Cape Cod as an escape from reality, and I can understand that, because it's a laid back place where fun happens. Ever since reunification with America in 2006,
Technology and the corner office
When the polls open next Tuesday, for the first time, a generation of voters who quite literally grew up on the Internet will cast their ballots.
Tech puts a network in your reach
The Greek philosopher Epicurus spent a great deal of time thinking up the sort of bite-sized quotes that package ideas in easy-to-understand ways.
Hey Google, where are you going?
The most recent round of excitement centers upon the new search scheme called Google Instant Search that the company unveiled last month that alters the basic search process on the site.
Upgrading your computer's brain and heart
At a recent dinner party, the topic of upgrading or replacing your personal computer came up. As the discussion centered on how difficult it is to make sense of the dozen models of processors (and the many variants of each model), and which is the best choice, I was asked what I thought was the best CPU.
Surviving a week without technology
Last month, in the midst of what was otherwise a pleasant conversation with my editor, I heard him say the words, "Next month, I want you to spend a week without modern technology, then write about it for your column. It will be fun!"
High-tech treasure hunt on Cape
Every day, all over the world, an estimated five million people hunt for and hide caches just like this, each one playing a game that officially began 10 years ago, when Dave Ulmer of Beaver Creek, Ore., placed the first geocache (then called a GPS stash) off of a hiking trail near his home.
Upgrading? Now's the time to seize power
Canadian economist, writer, and humorist Stephen Leacock once observed that "electricity is of two kinds, positive and negative. The difference is, I presume, that one comes a little more expensive, but is more durable; the other is a cheaper thing, but the moths get into it."
The elephant in the TV room, watching HD
Today, I'll tell you about HDTV, but it is not going to be one of those columns where I get all technical. In fact, my goal in this column is to demystify what is, according to a plethora of surveys and studies, a very confusing issue.
A couple of case studies in cool computing
Many options when buying a computer center on the type of CPU or video card, how much RAM is installed, or whether it has Ethernet built-in.
Future shocker: predictions were wrong
Even being something of a pack rat, I was surprised to learn just how many boxes of old magazines I had in the storage area next door to my home office.
During the past two months, Facebook and its founders have faced numerous challenges over privacy issues that have had significant impact on the users of the social networking site, as well as calling into question the ethics of Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, company co-founder and CEO.
The right accessories make all the difference
Every few years, the folks who make video game consoles release a new version, and the folks who make and write about video games revisit the notion that PC Gaming is dead.
Think it's a private post? Think again
Naming names and making money on the Net
Not too long ago, experts thought that English would one day grow to become the international language, imagining that the influence and prominence of business superpowers would directly influence language trends in their regions.
Computer upgrades: The right keyboard is ... key
There are other ways to improve both your computer and your computing experience something that will serve as an occasoinal series of Digital Grind columns.
Answer cyberbullying with silence
According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team Web site, "Cyberbullying refers to the new, and growing, practice of using technology to harass, or bully, someone else."
Battle lines drawn in the tablet wars
In January of this year, the iPad garnered a great deal of media coverage as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs sat on a stage in California and introduced a product that he is certain will fill a gap in our lives that we do not even know exists.
Is that thing on? Better assume it is
Chances are very good if you are reading this in a public place, you are being watched "» No, not that guy with the cup of coffee on the corner look further up see that camera?
When memories are stuck on tape
I was aware that data tapes had a finite life span, just as I was aware that CD -R media has a ticking time limit. But somehow I never made the connection when it came to our videotape collection.
Save the date … it's time to clean your PC
A little digging online revealed that the Institute for Business Technology was behind designating the second Monday in February as National Clean Out Your Computer Day.
Google got targeted, so why not you?
I have explained in some detail why Internet Explorer is not safe to use, covered the fact that because it is embedded in the Windows operating system, malicious code can get it to do things that security software cannot detect, and explained why its main interface to the computer is a bad thing.
Untangling solutions for resolutions
Let us talk for a moment about the month of January - which is named for the Roman god Janus. The ancient Romans thought of Janus as their god of gates and doors, and he was highly regarded for the good fortune he could bestow upon you...
Got a gamer? Give a good gadget
The recent trend in gaming gadgets has matured in the past few years, from the usual peripherals like console cameras for video chat, game pads, and joysticks, to special controllers for specific games.
The 12 games of Christmas
The holiday season is upon us, and you probably managed to take care of the lion's share of your gift list on the weekend kicked off by Black Friday but those were the easy gifts. Selecting just the right video game to give can be difficult...
At tech show, the future comes calling
In a nutshell, the New York show, CES Unveiled, provides the press and analysts an opportunity to get an early peek at what is going to be popular with consumers for Christmas and beyond, and I must admit that this year's event featured some tech I believe you are going to like.
Nokia ahead of the Curve
That familiar smart phone format may be on its way out as the industry recognizes that consumers want more from their phones. More finger room on the keyboard, more screen space, more networked features
Fool's gold? Think twice before rushing into this
Chances are, you have seen the commercials for a company called Cash4Gold, a frequent advertiser on daytime and late-night television
Give - but take note of who's taking
While searching the Web the other day for information on Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," I accidentally ended up on a page hosted by a Web site called Digital Charity (www.digitalcharity.com) that allows people to request donations via PayPal.
How to thwart digital Armageddon
In this day and age, everything is on computer bank records, medical records, data of every sort, and these computers exist on networks that are connected to other networks. It is an Achilles heel that until last year was never seriously exploited. Unfortunately if you will allow me another analogy Pandora's Box has been opened, and we cannot put the evil back inside.
How printer companies stay in the black
My printer ran out of ink today. I was in the middle of printing a spreadsheet and it beeped at me in a forlorn, pay-attention-to-me way that I know from past experience means trouble.
Schadenfreude, in five-minute doses
If that sounds like the plot of a few movies you saw this summer, or the theme used by one of your favorite comedians, that is no coincidence. Regardless of how inappropriate it may feel, this staple of amusement is so ingrained into our psyche that I would be surprised if Schroedinger's cat did not laugh at Pavlov's dog!
Call centers - and collaring some help
In a perfect world where problems actually are simple, a well-designed IVR system would be a boon to mankind. Sadly, this is not a perfect world
There's much more than cup holders inside
Significant progress has been made in the area of automotive technology over the course of the last decade, and I am happy to announce that cup holders are no longer the first thing people ask about when they look at a new car.
Steps for parents to help ensure safe surfing
Now let us discuss what steps we can take to protect our children and ourselves from the idiots online, shall we? While this may seem like a complicated issue, it really is not, and I will keep it as simple as I can.
The global village online has its idiots
Last Thursday in Los Angeles, US District Court Judge George Wu overturned the verdict in the case of the United States vs. Lori Drew a case you may have heard of.
Good heavens! You want to name a star?
Recently, my friend Justin asked me for my opinion about what star he should pick as a gift for his brother and soon-to-be sister in-law. He had found a Web site that sold you the right to pick a star out of their online catalog and name it. For a paltry $89.95
Video games contain not-so-good grief
With increasing profits and expanding franchise opportunities, you might think that game studios have a pretty good handle on what their customers want high-quality gaming entertainment is an obvious point though a negative trend is appearing in video games that may be a symptom of the cost-cutting and downsizing.
Making good work for idle computers
Have you ever heard of distributed computing? It is a technological approach for processing complex and large data sources that harnesses the idle CPU cycles of computers connected to the Internet to preform tasks that are both essential to scientific research and almost always a purely volunteer effort.
Think your car's secure? Ask Kam
Last year on a trip into Boston, I locked my keys in my van in the Braintree commuter lot. After a few minutes of hunting through my pack, jacket, and pockets, my wife thought to look in the van and there they were, happily snugged in the ignition socket.
In new Windows, Microsoft makes the switch
Microsoft's recent release of an early version of Windows 7 has revealed that the new operating system contains a kill switch that will allow the user to disable certain programs that come installed with the OS most notably, Windows Internet Explorer, DVD Creator, and Media Player.
Way-out plug-ins for your computer
Anyone stuck in a cube farm or chained to a desk surrounded by their coworkers can appreciate the need for a computer-controlled personal missile launching system like the Laser Guided Missile Launcher
The scouting report on netbooks
PC manufacturers are a predictable lot, interested in finding new and innovative ways to expand their customer base and improve both the technology that they sell, and its ergonomic form.
You should back up if you want to stay ahead
Anyone who regularly uses a computer and the Net can tell you that information piles up, from e-mail to programs even the bookmark files on your Web browser can become unwieldy after a few months of surfing the Net
Teens, phones and some common sense
Teenagers often do dumb things - for a variety of reasons - though I suspect that the leading cause of regret among teenagers is their natural inability to foresee consequences for what they are about to do.
Questions from the electronic mailbag
For nearly 30 years, personal computers have existed often peacefully within our homes, providing us with services from the mundane to the fantastic
Memory failing you? Try a tune-up
As I gained a better understanding of how Windows functioned or did not function, depending upon how you look at it I stumbled upon online posts that related to the memory stack and a little thing called "Resource Management."
Weather or not? The Web can tell
Harsh wind whipped the snow and sand as Samuel O. Fisher lit the oil lantern that he would use for the first half of his patrol, heading down the dunes to the beach at Race Point near Provincetown
Ready? The future is almost now
In 1965, Gordon Moore, an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor who would later be one of the founding partners in a little shop called Intel
Tops on this year's tech wish list
Married - in a galaxy far, far away
Technology's future comes calling
The fox monitoring the gamers
Candidates come in two speeds on the Web
Warm, fuzzy world on the Web for kids
Ordinary people with a Super goal
On the Web, a prescription for disaster
Rendering 'Fair Use' fairly useless
Keeping away from digital regret
Giving new life to old computers
The Blue Screen of Death just got deadlier
Don't let your Inbox be a crime scene
It's wise to check the fine print online
Bride scams: From Russia with ... felonious intent
Heard any good books lately?
All's fair? Not in the music industry
Meet Mr. Malware, and see how to avoid him
Prepaid cards limit exposure when shopping online
Keeping 'wardrivers' away from your Wi-Fi
Two gracious and helpful LAPD Officers outside of UCLA's Galen Center for the Microsoft Press Briefing at E3 2013.
The Digital Grind Column was born from a suggestion by Cape Cod Times Business Editor Bryan Lantz that a bi-weekly tech column would fit in very nicely with the new voice and presence that the Business Section was carving out.
Sometimes, there's fun in funding
Global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter gets used and sometimes abused...
What to watch with Windows 10
Clearly interest is high with respect to the new OS, and while I cannot answer all of the questions that I have received, I will cover the most common....
In the cloud, the forecast always calls for caution
The recent celebrity nude photo hacking scandal has drawn attention to the fact that most of the people who use technology like iCloud aren't really sure what it is. Or how it works.
Change your iPad - or boost its storage
The ever-increasing demands of new apps means that poor performance is usually behind any decision to replace the device. Despite the wide number of models available, the aging technology makes the decision about replacement a lot easier.
Need storage? Think outside the box
In my last column, I covered things to look for when shopping for a laptop. That brought a fair response of people asking about PC upgrades, and it seems the biggest need is adding hard drive space.
Some notable qualities to seek in notebooks
Over the past two weeks, I've experienced a sharp increase in the amount of email seeking advice about what to look for in a new PC.
Connections to the unexpected
The concept of "the Internet of everything" is all the rage lately. Not everything can be connected to the Internet "» yet. But here are some cool things that can via Wi-Fi.
Getting to know Siri and friends
While Apple was first to bring the voice assistant into the market, it is no longer unique to Apple's products. It is becoming a standard smartphone feature.
Wi-Fi? Games? TV? Airlines say, we got that
Between June 1 and Aug. 31, an estimated 210 million passengers will fly on U.S. carriers, according to the trade organization Airlines for America. That's an increase of 1.5 percent from the same period last year.
Rumors of a new iPhone bring questions
For Apple, product secrecy is a serious issue. When details about a next-gen iPhone leak out, it can have a chilling effect on sales for the current generation.
Ask and you'll find it online
What makes the Internet good is knowing how to ask the right questions. Doing that will invariably lead you to a positive Internet experience.
Search and seizure in the age of smartphones
Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case of a South Boston man whose 2007 arrest on simple drug charges turned into a much larger drug-distribution case because of evidence found on his cellphone.
Be very wary of the DarkNet
The source for all of these is something called the DarkNet, or DeepWeb. While it exists as part of the same Internet you use every day, it cannot be reached via normal Web browsers.
Password protection that passes muster
Each year security company Splashdata releases its list of the most common (and by most common they really mean overused and insecure) passwords culled from password files stolen each year and posted online. This year, the list contained a surprise.
Solid firewall is key for staying secure
Keeping your systems patched and up-to-date and surfing responsibly are a good start. But the foundation of your network security is found in a device called a firewall-router.
Cape's present in a winning presentation app
In the business world there are two types of presentations: ones that explains how things will be from now on, and ones pitched by people who hope to convince that whatever they're promoting is best.
XP set to Expire - Sort of
If your computer is running Microsoft Windows XP and that's roughly 30 percent of the PCs in use today, according to website NetMarketShare you need to be aware that on April 8, Microsoft will withdraw all support for XP.
Cool gadgets at Show
This year, the dominant technology includes a hydrogen-fueled car, wearable personal tech, a new video game platform called Steam Machines. . .
Are private messages going public in ads?
Being the absolutely reliable perennial source for controversy that it is, Facebook has recently been accused of yet another privacy-violating profiteering tactic this time, involving private messages.
Data theft doesn't need to be in the cards
The black market for stolen credit card data is huge worldwide, with card numbers usually sold in large blocks, and valued at anywhere from 10 cents to as much as $4 each, depending upon the issuer, the card type, and credit limit available.
Tech: Holiday gifts for your geek
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, you have very likely managed to get the easy gifts on your list by now.
It's virtual: Can Bitcoin ever be viable?
In very simple terms, Bitcoin is an online currency that is the face of a decentralized financial network, through which people send payments to each other.
In update, Microsoft feels - and eases - your pain
Last month Microsoft released the first major update for its newest operating system, Windows 8, appropriately named Windows 8.1.
A drive for safety with a teen at the wheel
That soothing voice is available at the touch of a button, offering assistance in many forms, from directions to emergency services, and even dining advice.
Innovations, brought to you by individuals
The typical crowdsourced product creator is a tech-savvy individual or small group seeking to solve small problems. By going directly to consumers for funding they've created a very different sort of advance in tech; one far more personal, accessible, and visible.
iPhone upgrade like a new phone
Recently, Apple unveiled two new models, and sure enough, there was a shortage of the gold-cased version of the more expensive iPhone 5S.
Here comes a new Grand Theft Auto - prepare for backlash
Like clockwork, within weeks, a media backlash flares up, taking the game to task for its excessive and very graphic violence, its focus on perpetrating victim-based crime, and central themes that celebrate drugs and alcohol.
Smartphones, long live the revolution
Some time late last year the number of smartphones in use surpassed 1 billion worldwide, according to technology analysis firm Strategy Analytics. By my math, that works out to a user base of roughly 16 percent of the global population.
Making sure hard drives don’t make driving harder
In modern cars, computers play a central role in everything from braking and timing to climate control and on-board entertainment. And computers, of course, draw hackers.
Personal history lessons on the Web
The first step to discovering your family tree starts with calling upon parents and grandparents for information to get you started. This we did, and they were a valuable source not just for names and dates, but for stories that added to the narrative. Once we exhausted their knowledge, though, it was time to hit the 'Net.
Benefits add up with prepaid cellphone plans
The basic model for cellphone ownership and service today is very similar to what it was back when the phones was relatively new and a lot more expensive: a multi-year contract, a subsidized phone and a credit check before service is offered.
Many paths of perils on the Web
Yahoo recently announced plans to "recycle" old email account names, despite concerns by security experts that the move could place the original owners of the accounts at risk.
What does PRISM mean for your privacy?
In simple terms, the PRISM program officially known as US-984XN is one of a series of data gathering programs that partly operates under the shield of the “Five-Eyes Alliance” of 1946,
For Windows, a greater 8
At an industry event in Boston last month, Microsoft told us about the first major, free upgrade to Windows 8, which they are calling Windows 8.1, and announced that the upgrades path for the system will be annual, rather than several small upgrades throughout the year.
Web wizardry comes easy these days
When the Web was first being created at CERN, its author, Tim Berners-Lee, predicted that it would take six months for all users to have the ability to author pages on it. More than 20 years later, we're just about there.
3D printing: Leave gun, bring creativity
In Texas, a startup called Defense Distributed has managed to create a design for a printable gun for 3D printers. After testing it, the company put the design files online so that anyone can download them and, presumably, print their own plastic handgun.
Making way for a digital executor
It wasn't that the (often outsourced) help desk agents did not want to assist. They were unable to do so because death was not an option "» at least in the process-resolution software being used. The best help came from account-security teams at corporate headquarters not the help desk.
A milestone in how we see the world
Yesterday, a tireless worker and entertainer who's touched most of our lives turned 20 years old, but nobody threw a party. It's the graphical user interface to the World Wide Web better known as the Web browser.
Max Headroom was just the start
The basic premise for Max was of a dystopic and depressed near-future dominated by TV and mega-corporations, a terrible thing to experience. In an ironic turn, Max was signed as the celebrity spokesman for New Coke: "Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-catch the wave!"
No cable, no problem
. . . nearly 7 million consumers across the country dropped their cable and dish service in 2011, opting for either much less expensive Internet-based TV, free over-the-air programming, or a combination of the two.
Google Glass: You can see the future
Brin began his talk by using some of the precious little time provided each speaker at TED gets 18 minutes by ignoring the audience while he read his email on stage.
Tech: A crime scene in your hands
The difference between TV and real life is that, today, the crime scene for most Cape Codders is more likely to be your computer or your phone, and crime scene tape doesn't come in that size yet.
Gifts with heart - and a tech twist
There is no reason why you cannot have a little fun in executing your plan for a romantic repast,
Protecting kids online: It's all about the data
Today, the most common question is still how to make Internet surfing safe for your kids, but the answers are a lot more difficult. In just five years, the very nature of what we mean when we say "surfing the 'Net" has changed radically.
Some cool but warm accessories
Winter in New England comes with special effects like visual breath, shivering, and numb fingers conditions that can make using your phone a challenge when you are out and about, particularly if you have a smartphone with a capacitive touch screen, because that nifty piece of tech actually detects when it has been touched by a finger or fingers.
What to get your geek
It used to be so much easier to shop for your geek. Twenty years ago, you could get by with the newest revision of the "Dungeon Master's Guide" and a few Dungeons & Dragons scenario packs.
Dealing with death in the online world
A good friend of mine started out in the newspaper industry writing obituaries, and when I asked her what that was like, writing about death all the time, her reply surprised me: "We don't write about death, we write about life; it's just that someone has to die for us to do it."
Microsoft's Windows 8 got game
Much of the media coverage of Microsoft's new operating system fixates on its touchscreen capabilities and based on the volume of worried emails I've gotten, that's got many people concerned.
Tech winter driving kit
With winter approaching, there are certain chores that have to be done. Naturally, my list included things like swapping screens for storm windows and winterizing the lawn mower.
Don't let Internet security fade away
If there had been an Internet in 1940, MacArthur might have been a hacker as well as a general, because that observation perfectly frames the philosophy of most hackers. (A note on terminology: Hackers are largely benign, if curious. Crackers are the ones who want to steal your money or identity, are content to watch the world burn, and might even light the fire themselves.)
Boots-Faubert: Reviews new iPhone 5
When Apple launched the iPhone 4S last October, there was great excitement despite the fact that the 4S was really just a minor upgrade, offering so little in improvements that buying it made more sense for people who didn't already own an iPhone.
Don't fault Amazon for buy-the-book
In April, the U.S. Justice Department and 15 states filed suit against Apple and a group of major book publishers, alleging that they conspired to fix the price for e-books.
Power without power
The 70,000 people who gathered in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention had to deal with an uninvited guest Tropical Storm Isaac which grazed the city with drenching rain on its march across the Gulf of Mexico.
Clouds roll in … storm to follow?
The inspiration for the term "cloud computing" originates from the symbol commonly used in network flowcharts to represent the Internet. In simple terms, cloud computing describes storing data and running programs or computing environments remotely,via the Internet.
These days, anyone can be a star
More than 50 years ago, tech pioneer Leonard Kleinrock wrote a paper describing how to build a communications network that could spread pretty much everywhere and that could survive pretty much anything.
Thumbs up for thumb drives
These days, many people think nothing of walking around with several gigabytes of data in their pocket. That's the equivalent of rooms full of books.
With large files, it can be better to wing it
Today, creating a home network takes about as much thought and effort as doing your weekly grocery shopping. You go to your local electronics store and pick a router and the devices you require, and take them home.
Industry gives the game away - sort of
Each June, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is where the game industry goes to reboot and get ready for a new gaming season. Upcoming titles are revealed, and the industry shares its vision for where gaming will go for the next year and beyond.
How the game is played
In the realm of video game development, there is an established pattern historically dominating the industry as new players emerge. This generally begins in a modest birth, often in the garage or basement of one of the founders. That is generally followed by the development of its first game. If that succeeds, it leads to the establishment of more formal facilities and as success piles on top of success the creation of a proper campus and corporate offices.
State takes on a Web of lies
White-collar crime is a criminal activity that the FBI defines in very simple terms: lying, cheating, and stealing. The term, reportedly coined in 1939, is now synonymous with the full range of fraud that destroys companies, devastates families, and costs us billions of dollars each year and, increasingly, the Internet is the venue of choice for the new white-collar criminal.
Tech and the art of golf
Its widely accepted that golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century, and in its earliest form involved hitting a pebble with a stick amongst sand dunes. After a few hundred years of hitting pebbles around the beach, golfers began to experiment with hitting different objects...
Making a case for iPad functionality
In January 2010, when Jobs made that introduction, the new industry of iPad peripherals and add-on devices did not exist, obviously and even today the vast majority of iPad cases are little more than storage sleeves that offer at least some protection.
Ghosts in the machine
By the time that the operation came to the notice of the FBI, an estimated 4 million computers in over 100 countries had been compromised by DNSChanger, and 500,000 of those infections were in the United States.
An unwelcome, pricey feature on cellphones
Last month, Cape resident Maria Galvao discovered first-hand what cramming is when she opened her Verizon Wireless bill and discovered that the total was more than she was expecting. It was a lot more, as it turns out, because her phone bill had been growing each month. . .
Is three the charm for Apple's iPad?
There are three questions on your minds, it seems: Should I sell or give away my iPad and buy the new iPad? Should I give away or trade in my iPad 2 for a new iPad? And the last question is should I buy a new iPad?
Wi-Fi security really isn't rocket science
Did you hear about the laptop that was stolen from NASA containing codes that control the International Space Station? The unencrypted notebook computer went missing sometime last March and, according to testimony by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, "resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station."
In new media, Dewey still defeats Truman
When things get too boring in the news business, you can always get a chuckle by submitting a story with Wikipedia as a source. The reason that is funny is because we don't source from Wikipedia or Twitter because over the course of the past decade it has become very clear that you cannot rely upon either.
What sank SOPA is the problem with PIPA
If you break it down to its bare essence, SOPA is overly broad and wide-reaching legislation proposed to solve ills that have been with society for a long time and while the primary goal of the legislation is to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods, the means that this law presents are simply too vulnerable to abuse by intellectual property owners and the associations that represent them.
Driven to limit distractions behind the wheel
Strictly speaking, I suppose that the real issue is all of the devices that we bring with us into our cars, and the stuff that is built into them, but let me ask you something: Would you drive your car into a flooded road because someone told you to?
Boots-Faubert: Not exactly gamed by a gaming system
Back in the days when I was a slave to corporate culture, when we would find a way to get around some petty stumbling block that policy would put in place to make our jobs harder, we called it gaming the system.
This year, try some ultramodern ideas
A little digging on the Web produced some conflicting versions, including the Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia. But none of them told me what I wanted to know: Why do we do the things we do each Christmas?
What to get your geek
Each year, after my annual column with gift suggestions for the techno-nerds in your life runs, I invariably get email commenting on how silly/useless/insane some of those gifts appear to be.
Giving thanks for electronic savings
I'm happy to say that I now know the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It's the official day when merchants can legally put out Christmas decorations. Kidding! Just kidding. (They put them out in June these days so, clearly, they never got that memo.)
Avoid 'bargain' iPad deals sure to go bad
The economy's funk has brought bargain-hunting even more to the forefront this holiday shopping season. And the latest wave of consumer electronics has made many covet the latest in gadgetry.
It's like Facebook, minus the annoying bits
As the ongoing and, so far, lopsided tug-of-war between Facebook and Google Plus continues, most of the pundits online have already declared the "threat of Google Plus" to be a non-threat, despite the fact that it has only attracted around 40 million users so far.
Wring out the old before selling devices
It might not be the iPhone 5 that most consumers were hoping for, but the iPhone 4S is still a major step up in the eyes of most fans of Apple's wonder phone.
Facebook earns an 'F'
The changes that Facebook rolled out last week include a redesign of the news feed that did several things the users were not expecting changing the contents of the feed based upon the last time the user checked it, and adding a news ticker to the feed that allows users to see updates from their networks in real time.
Keeping a smarter eye on kids' 'Net use
It seems that in addition to protecting our children from online predators, pornography, and keeping track of their activities online, there is now another threat that we have to guard against: mad fiction that is being presented as fact; that is designed to turn our children against the government.
Technology in motion
While media player integration has been at the forefront of developing features for the past five years, the real news in gadgets and tech is no longer purely focused upon entertainment. That does still feature high up on the list, though, and capabilities continue to expand.
Camping in the digital age
A firm believer in multitasking, I decided that a week at camp would be an excellent opportunity to take a look at and test out some of the new technology that can make camping easier. I am happy to report that I have found four pieces of technology that made our experience at camp more convenient and entertaining than it might otherwise have been.
3D printing advances give added dimension to Xbox avatars
In the 1990s, belonging to Generation X was something of a big deal and the only requirement to be a part of it was to have been born some time between 1960 through 1981. It's not an exclusive club, but it's one with members that have a lot in common some of my best friends are Gen-X'ers after all.
Businesses and the heat of a humble tweet
In 2009, social media sites exceeded email as a primary online activity for most Internet users, with the fastest growing age group being users age 35 to 49. Coincidentally, that happens to be the same age range for the group of consumers who spend the most money
Would you let your kids play with this man?
Last week, the Supreme Court declared California's law on violent video games invalid on Constitutional grounds. By doing this, the court extended First Amendment protection to games. This decision was celebrated by the games industry, and condemned by parenting groups and California state Sen. Leland Yee, the man who wrote the law.
Network attacks: cracking that's not so wise
After a well-publicized and major breach of its PlayStation Network exposed millions of accounts and credit cards including mine Sony is engaged in a desperate battle to protect its networks around the world, dealing with dozens of successful attacks that are happening on a scale never seen before.
In air travel, online takes over from opulence
Asked about the impact that the personal computer has made on the world, Bill Gates of Microsoft offered this understated reply: "I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user."
Play ... and learn to play
As my friend John pointed out, "Just because you can play 'Stairway to Heaven' on Guitar Hero doesn't mean you can play 'Stairway to Heaven.'
Striking a bargain on computers for students
As I sit at my computer, my eyes naturally wander to the window, to a scene that has remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years, the stand of scrub pine, scrub oak, and red cedar that occupies my back acre.
A library that fits in your hand
The correct way to spell Apple's incredibly popular music playing device is iPod. Its phone? iPhone. And of course, there's the iPad. Even the operating system these devices use is spelled iOS.
With spring in the air, gadgets galore
Long time readers of my column will recall that spring leads me into fits of whimsy "» and invariably, I find very odd items to buy online. While these items are not always silly some are downright useful the people I work with fear this time of year because of it.
Stolen gadgets that can help catch a thief
When a thief breaks into your home or car, they're likely to steal consumer electronics such as laptops, desktop computers, cameras, and digital electronics especially flat screen TVs and personal audio devices simply because these are very easily converted to cash.
There's a degree of gaming at one Mass. college
This past weekend, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center played host to a massive video game and gaming expo called PAX East which stands for Penny Arcade Expo East, and is arguably the largest event of the year for games.
If the Verizon iPhone had a Facebook page I imagine that the details would look something like this: In a relationship … born on February 10, 2011 … lives on a 3G network … from Cupertino, Calif.
Here's why I approve of UL approval
Have you ever heard of William Henry Merrill? No? Well, I am not really surprised, because while I was attending the Consumer Electronics Show last month I asked 100 random people if they had ever heard of him.
E-mail @ 40
When you turn 40, people say and do things that are theoretically aimed at making you feel better about your life being statistically half-over but, I suspect, contain just a smidgen of schadenfreude as well.
At CES, the future takes on a new dimension
At 9 p.m. on June 30, 1941, an event occurred in New York that really was the tip of the iceberg. It was the first part of something big. And cool. And right in the path to the future.
Outsourced papers become school problem
This past fall, two students in a high school honors English class in Cambridge confessed to cheating admitting to purchasing essays online and handing them in as their own. The pair drew attention to a new problem, but the faculty had no idea how widespread the cheating might be, or how complex.
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