Why I Do Not Own A Smart Phone

I am occasionally chastised by friends and family for not owning a smart phone.  “Why would you not want one, it’s so convenient to have all your stuff right here on one device.”  Which may be true – until you drop that repository of everything you do, know, and need in the toilet and lose it all.  Or it’s stolen and someone else has access to all that info.

But the main reason I don’t want a smart phone is explained very well in the videos below.  Think it’s a conspiracy theory?  Well, there is a conspiracy, but it’s no theory.  This has all be proven through testing and scientific study.

This one does into depth on the How and Why of it all.

Assaulting A Battery

I was shopping for a replacement battery for my cell phone last night.  Not that my current battery is obviously bad: it holds a charge for 5 or 6 days easy, unless I use it a lot.  But every once in a while my phone just shuts off completely without so much as a by-yer-leave to me.  This is a problem because I’ve missed several calls from people I did want to talk to.  I don’t know it’s turned turtle unless I pull it out to check the time or something and find the screen blank.  No, I hardly ever make outgoing calls. Continue reading “Assaulting A Battery”

Apple 1: A Home-brew Computer

Here’s an interesting bit of computer history: the Apple 1 home computer.  This was the brain child of Steve Wozniac, who later became the co-founder of the Apple Computer Company.  But that came later.

Steve Jobs (left in image above) and Steve Wozniak both worked for Atari at the time and met in a friend’s garage in the late 1960s.  The two of them bonded over their shared interest in electronics and practical jokes.  Wozniak was a wizard at designing compact, efficient circuitry.  Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs debuted their prototype Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club in 1976. Continue reading “Apple 1: A Home-brew Computer”

The Power of the Dark Roast

I got up this cold, cold morning and found that while we still had water flowing, the internet was not. So I went over to my workshop intending to take a hair dryer to the router, melt the blockage, and get the electron flow moving again. But it turned out that there was nothing wrong with modem or router: our LAN is working perfectly, it’s just that my laptop does not feel like being conversational this morning.

So I settled into my chair, set my mug of hot, black coffee in its place next to the laptop and began working on a local writing task.  The scent of this invigorating elixir was, apparently, enough to change the laptop’s mind, for after a few moments of typing, it went “bing!” alerting me that new e-mail had arrived.

Coffee is great stuff, isn’t it?

The Future of Motor Vehicles and Travel

self driving cars transportationThis, supposedly humorous, picture has been making the rounds on Facebook. I imagine we’ve all spaced out behind the wheel of our motor vehicles once or twice. What is frightening is that this post has collected dozens of comments from people who say they’ve done it. Many say it’s happened several times. Some say it happens to them frequently. That is worrisome, and the biggest reason I can think of to push for the development of self-driving cars.

My Twin-Brother-By-Another-Mother and I have discussed this a few times, and the following is a melding of our ideas.

Self driving motor vehicles will be a novelty that catches on slowly. People described above will be the primary customers: people who, for whatever reason, cannot manage to pay attention to their driving will see self driving cars as a great convenience. As the vehicles on the road become primarily self-driving, society will be ready for the next step. Continue reading “The Future of Motor Vehicles and Travel”

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a boom in mobile device usage. The smart phone in particular is rapidly becoming the device of choice for internet browsers. This fact is of vital importance if you run a website or a blog: which is a specialized type of web site. Here’s why your site needs to be mobile friendly.

Mobile devices display a web page differently than a desk top or laptop browser does. In most cases it just isn’t practical to scale a web side down so it fits on a smart phone screen: everything would be so small the user could barely see it much less be able to tap on links accurately, especially in a list of links. Scrolling side-to-site and up-and-down to view the page content as through a keyhole is maddeningly frustrating. So mobile devices simplify your pages and present a lay-out optimized for the devices screen size.

The bad news is traditional web site coding does not have the capability to allow mobile devices to rearrange your page to suit the viewing device. The good news is, you may not have to build a new web site. Before we get into how, let’s talk about why you should. Continue reading “Make Your Website Mobile Friendly”

Grim Reaper Comes for Pop-ups

“Marketers will kill everything good.” – @GaryVee

grim reaper pop-upPop-up ads (in case you live in a cave somewhere) are those panels that “pop up” over the content you are trying to read on many web sites. Sometimes they tout products or services for sale, but more often they ask you to join a mailing list. They are the most annoying form of advertising I have encountered. And … they are very effective. Continue reading “Grim Reaper Comes for Pop-ups”

Little Lights in the Dark

little lights in the darkDo you think this thing has enough lights?  While almost unnoticable in the day, it really stands out in the dark.

That’s our network expander.  Its purpose is to bridge the gap between our network router (which is over in my workshop because that’s where the internet connection is) and the computers we use in our home.  It’s a device about the size of a deck of cards and plugs into a wall outlet for power.

Each light means something.  But remembering what means digging out the manual and reviewing the chart.  I remember that the left side reports on connection with the router over in the work shop and the right side reports on the connection with the computers connected via WiFi.  There is an Ethernet port too, that’s connected to our phone system via a cable.  Green lights are good, so all was well when I took this.  Each light can also turn yellow or red to indicate less than optimal (or horrible) connection status.  We’ve seen each of those at times.

Cochise likes to sleep in the den.  I think it’s because these lights remind him of a Christmas tree.  Especially when things aren’t connecting so well.

Internet Privacy and the Microsoft Invasion

Internet_Privacy-512x384A while back my computer, running Microsoft Windows 8.1, started popping up a small window inviting me to upgrade for free to Windows 10. That’s very nice of them. To my knowledge, Microsoft has never before given away a new operating system to the general public. Upgrading is usually quite expensive. I didn’t know much about Windows 10 – it had not yet been released, the invitation was to reserve my copy when it was available. I poked around in my favorite software review sites to see if any pre-release notes had been posted. They had. They were not good. There were major concerns about internet privacy. Continue reading “Internet Privacy and the Microsoft Invasion”

Machine Memory

We all know how memories are stored in the human brain, right? Well … no, actually we don’t, but we DO know how information is stored in machine or computer memory … right?

Well if RAM, DRAM, SRAM, SSD, and HDD (the language of computer memory) are just so many meaningless acronyms, here is a quick, low-tech lesson on how computer memory works. But first, lets look at some really old computer memory tech. Continue reading “Machine Memory”