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Showing posts from November, 2016

Family Tech : Gifts for Geeks

The best kind of gift, someone once told me, is one someone wants and would never buy for themselves.
That theory works well in choosing gifts for the geeks on your holiday gift list.  I’m not using geek as a pejorative, but rather to refer to someone who enjoys technology, clever gadgets, superhero stories and science fiction.  When you look at how many people watch “Star Wars” and the movies with Marvel and DC heroes, you realize geeks are all around.
So how can you buy them gifts they will enjoy?
The good news is you can, and should, avoid the big ticket items. We geeks are extremely choosy about our phones and laptops.  We have to choose those ourselves.
And we will put more effort into that than we did into choosing a college.
The most expensive things I’d suggest would be an Amazon Echo or a Google Home. Both are small devices you place in your home. The device hears your commands when you call it by name, and you can ask it to do a variety of things: answer questions, set timers, te…

Visiting a B-17

A few weeks ago I toured the EAA's B-17 when it visited the Manassas Airport.



Of course I took our 360 camera.
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
I'd previously flew on the EAA's Ford Tri-Motor.

Family Tech: On a road trip to grandma’s, take up reading - November 11, 2016

“Over the river the and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go.  The self-driving car knows the way to carry us through the white and drifted snow.”
OK, so self-driving cars are still a few years away, and their ability to work on snow has yet to be proven, but there are some tech tools to make long road trips a bit less painful for families this time of year.
Grandma may have once lived two farms over, but now she’s more likely to be in Florida. Costs for flying a family of any size that far pretty much means a road trip down Interstate-95.
On my family’s road trips as a kid, my mother was sure reading would cause car sickness so we were not allowed to read in the car.  As an adult, I found out I could tolerate it better than expected. I found a few tips on avoiding car sickness while reading.  
Reading in the car is a good way for kids to pass the time, and it promotes literacy too.  And parts of the trip that have sporadic cell coverage are a good time to promote reading.
The b…

Waze needs to learn my ways

When I first tried to use Waze, the Israeli developed navigation app Google later purchased, I was not impressed and stayed with Google Maps.

On our visit in March to Israel I saw how every tour operator and taxi driver user loved their home grown app, so when I started my new job and new commute I began using it.

I run the app for the entire commute even though I know the way well.  It warns me of issues that arise since I hit the road and routes me around them.

Every morning though, it asks me to take a route through a small, congested, hilly little town instead of staying on the main route around it.  It makes no sense to me and I expected it would figure out in a few days my preferred route.

No.  It nags me every morning even weeks later.

According to Waze's FAQ :

Waze should always pick what it believes is, mathematically, the fastest or shortest route, depending on your settings. If, in your estimation, it doesn't, that means that there could be an error in the map somew…

LastPass multi-device support is now free

If you are not using a password vault, LastPass now gives you one less excuse. Their free level now lets you use it on multiple devices. Before you had to pay $12 a year for that feature.

I gladly paid the last couple of years. It made managing a multitude of passwords for my many sites easy when using either my PC or my phone.

LastPass is well regarded.  You should consider using it to help keep yourself secure.

Signup for LastPass

Family Tech: "You can get the best tech tools, but…" - November 5, 2016

If you are into tech as I am, it is a never ending cornucopia of new apps to try, new gadgets to covet and new capabilities to instill that “We live in the future” feeling.
Alas, like everything though, there is a certain amount of housework to do.  Without the drudgery of protecting our devices and networks from viruses and attacks, the fun soon comes to an end, and what should be a friction-free environment for work and fun gets bogged down and aggravatingly useless.
Anti-virus and their ilk are boring to think about. I’ve even put this column off for months as I found more entertaining things to write about.
If you are running an antivirus on your PC already, give yourself an atta-boy.  Then go check to see if it is indeed still running.
Many of us get a free 90-day subscription to McAfee with our PCs.  Problem is that after 90 days we get nagged to pay for the subscription and, instead of paying, often just turn off the nags.
If you did pay, find the McAfee app on your PC and check to …