The Best Way to Learn Code is Your Own Way

Keisy, a newly registered member of our community-powered Q&A resource, wants to learn code:

What would be better? …continue reading

Wedding: Matching Tablets for the Honeymoon and Beyond

Christopher Smith writes:

I have a question for you and was hoping that you can help. I plan on using my tax return this year to purchase a new tablet (or possibly two, but more on that later) or similar device. The problem I have …continue reading

Why Would I Want to Consider Apple’s Ecosystem over Microsoft’s?

Jaren Lopez writes:

Although the Microsoft ecosystem is young and completely different from Apple’s, what are the major benefits of investing in Apple products instead of Microsoft products? I would prefer to keep myself in one ecosystem rather than having one Microsoft product, one Apple …continue reading

Questioning Office 365: Do I Need It?

Chris writes:

With the release of Office 365, I’m still a little confused. If I buy Office 365 Home Premium, it says I can install on up to five machines. This is great, but does that mean I can connect each machine to a different …continue reading

What Career Path is Best for a Geek?

Bridgit writes:

Hi, Chris!

I’m an aspiring Web/app programmer trying to plan for an uncertain future. How can I make sure that the things I spend time pursuing are going to be relevant five to 10 years down the road? With the rapidly changing tech …continue reading

What is Internet Content Worth?

LockerGnome reader and viewer Gary writes:

I watch your TLDRs and vlogs because you give a unique spin to the tech world, which is quite rare these days.

I grew up with technology that, to me, was fun. We had to battle to get Windows …continue reading

Why I Do Not Buy E-Books

Five reasons why I do not buy e-books:

You cannot buy; you license (although the Amazon page does refer to buying?) Amazon deleted more paid-for books without notice after promising not to do it again DRM They are impermanent They are often tied to a …continue reading

Yahoo! Toolbar Removal for Firefox

Yep, you read the title correctly. Yahoo! can become your default search engine without your knowledge. After finishing my recent piece on fighting Incredibar, I innocently looked at all the browsers on my computers and was surprised to find that the default search …continue reading

How to Remove Incredibar and IB Installer

How do we get infected computers? Most attacks are thwarted easily, but if you snooze, the bad guys are waiting to pounce. That happened to me recently. A lapse in my attention span got me an infection of the Incredibar hijacker and adware …continue reading

Moving Back to Windows 7 from 8 without Really Trying

To keep up with my clients’ needs, I have machines with various editions of Windows and Linux installed. Switching from one to another is a bit like a jazz musician switching instruments. The underlying song is still being developed, but the implementation changes a bit.

…continue reading

Which Tablet Should You Buy as a Gift?

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are already thinking about buying gadgets for our loved ones. One of the most popular products currently on the market is the tablet computer. This marvel of technology has been a huge hit and now the selection …continue reading

Harvesting Power for Fun and Profit

What limits gadgets? Often it is power consumption. The lower the power needed to run a gadget, the more applications are available. Early computers less powerful than my phone took massive cooling towers to operate. Another major limitation is cost. Both cost and power requirements …continue reading

Could a Geek Run the Country?

Could a geek run the country? That is, assuming a geek could be elected (unlikely), would the country survive or even thrive with a geek at the helm? Since geeks tend to be at the higher end of the IQ spectrum, we might think one …continue reading

First Laptop Computer: Test Before You Buy

While it was about 20 years ago that I bought my first brand-name desktop computer system (ordered from a computer warehouse magazine), I am still amazed about how much they have influenced my life. My first computer was ordered, however, without following the advice from …continue reading

Internet Use Shortens Attention Span – So?

Internet use shortens attention span. Nicholas Carr has a lot to say on this subject, but we will get to that in a moment — you can wait, can’t you?

I ask you to wait, knowing that a one-second delay in page load …continue reading

Organizing Photo Collections: Why No Transportability?

Organizing your photos in a filing system with tags greatly enhances their value. Simply being able to locate immediately a particular photo — say your graduation picture or a friend’s wedding pictures — among the hundreds or thousands of digital images you have stored in …continue reading

Video Editors: Which is Best?

Microsoft’s Movie Maker was my introduction to the struggle of creating an interesting and coherent video. This is a good piece of software, but once you get the idea of a storyboard presentation versus the time line, then the limitations of Movie …continue reading

Looking for a New Smartphone – But Which One?

This is both a study and a plea for help from the community. Which smartphones should we buy? Currently we have aging BlackBerry Storms. We chose BlackBerries because they integrated nicely with Microsoft Outlook, which we use for business. Having the calendar and contacts easily …continue reading

Fluoridation Lowers IQ – Significantly?

The argument about whether to fluoridate municipal drinking water is far from over. This is not for lack of study. At the results of 193 separate studies are given. Of those, 74 were sponsored by industry — mostly toothpaste manufacturers. The …continue reading

US Patent and Purpose: Does Apple Own Rounded Corners?

Have we lost sight of the original purpose of patents? The Samsung/Apple patent fight has me shaking my head. An issue that gets a lot of play in the press is Apple’s patent that essentially covers putting round corners on things, and Samsung’s phones have …continue reading

How Much Does a Soul Weigh?

Classic Bayesian decision theory helps us make the best decisions assuming we have knowledge of several things. For instance, to decide if a given sample is good or bad, we need to know the expected fraction of bad samples in the whole population. We also …continue reading

Those of Faith and the Faithless: How We Make Decisions

Two events happened recently that made me more aware of the importance of considering how we make decisions. Notice that I did not say “make decisions,” but rather “considering how we make decisions.” In formal life, we might use logic and decision theory to make …continue reading

Cooperate or Compete?

Competition or cooperation? One of the continuing dilemmas we face in making decisions involving other people is to compete with them or cooperate. Competition often gets good press, particularly when promoting economic theories or sporting events. And there is no doubt that we are all …continue reading

Are You Antisocial if You Do Not Tweet?

Do we decide how to behave?

Maybe I have decided to be an antisocial misfit, or simply a stuck-in-the-rut, crusty old man. Today for the first time I logged onto my Facebook account and scrolled through a few interesting, and mostly uninteresting entries. Eons ago …continue reading

Is Cyber Vigilantism Ever Justified?

How do we decide if a cyber action is good or bad? If hackers attack a major site like Visa or MasterCard as part of an extortion attempt, most people would consider that to be an evil act — maybe even the people who do …continue reading

Making Babies and Religion: is That Controversial?

Making decisions is greatly affected by the way in which we display the data necessary to understand the situation well enough to make a valid decision. Too much data presented in a dry, formal way can be worse for decision making that no data at …continue reading

Daddy, What Did You Do During the Educational Revolution?

When you are in the middle of a revolution, the best way to go is not obvious. Recently an opinion article in our local newspaper explored the problems faced by schools in educating young people in an era of “No Child Left Behind,” charter school …continue reading

Painful Decisions: Should I Cheat?

If you were burned over 7% of your body and needed to have your dressings changed daily, would you rather have the nurse pull the old ones off quickly, causing intense, but short-lived pain, or would you rather have the nurse ease them off, taking …continue reading

Simple Security Tips: from Car Registration to Keyloggers

The registration renewal for one of our vehicles arrived in the mail today. As usual, I immediately scanned the registration and modified the copy. California requires a current registration or copy to be carried in a vehicle at all times. But this presents a security …continue reading

Education and the Open Internet: Good Mix

The changing face of education and the power of the open Internet come together for me in Udacity. If you have not seen this site, check it out. With the cost of traditional education rising faster than the CPI, students are faced …continue reading