Technical debt and infrastructure, staying online when the power goes out

Tech Talk #116 – November 9, 2019 Technical debt and infrastructure Technical debt is a term used in the software industry. All the trade-offs, shortcuts, and patched-up mistakes made by the folks working on software are called technical debt. It’s called a debt because the cost of getting that software done quicker or cheaper creates a need to fix it later and that fix-it-later part is the debt. The United States, and indeed the world,

Wi-Fi – What is it, where did it come from, and how to make yours better

Tech Talk #115 – October 26, 2019 Wi-Fi – What is it, where did it come from, and how to make yours better Wi-Fi is a technology that uses a high-frequency radio signal to connect devices without wires. Because WiFi uses public radio frequencies, there must be standards and specifications. In 1997, a committee at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the technical standards for a section of public radio bandwidth. The

Duck Go, iOS 13 settings

Tech Talk #114 – October 12, 2019 Duck Duck Go If you want to loosen the leash Google has around your neck during your online activities, consider using Duck Duck Go (DDG) as your search engine. It’s a silly name, but a serious company with a serious purpose. DDG doesn’t track you, collect or share any of your information, or store your search history. You can search for something like “Philco TV parts” on either

One port to rule them all

Tech Talk #113 – September 28, 2019 The Universal Serial Bus, or USB. You know, that plug that can only go in one of two ways, but still takes three tries to get it plugged in? Yeah, that one. Where did USB come from, where is it going? And why? If you don’t know anything about PS/2 connectors, or parallel ports, DIN connectors, SCSI, Firewire, or 9-pin or 25-pin serial ports, you can thank USB.

iPhones and Windows10 – getting them to work together, Run Windows in Windows

Tech Talk #112 – September 14, 2019 iPhones and Windows10 – getting them to work together iPhones, from both a hardware and an apps perspective, have gotten so good that many people don’t need to use a laptop or a desktop. Social media, email, and shopping can all be done right on your phone. But what if you want to see the pictures from your iPhone on a bigger screen? Or work on a document

Tamper protection, PowerPoint > PDF, Pirated software = bad, Death and passwords

Tech Talk #111 – August 31, 2019 Windows Tamper Protection One of the features in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is Tamper Protection. Tamper Protection prevents malicious applications from changing your Windows Security settings. A good thing to have, right? So why is it turned off by default? Microsoft ships Tamper Protection turned off because it can break enterprise management tools that businesses use. No worries, though you can turn it on yourself. Here’s

Locked out?

Tech Talk #110 – August 17, 2019 We all use devices (smartphone, tablet, or computer) that contain information we don’t want strangers or thieves to access. To protect our privacy, we lock our devices with a username/password combination. Since we’re going to be unlocking our device 5, 10, 15, 20 times a day, we use our fingerprints, our faces, passcode or PIN, or a lock screen pattern to unlock our device instead of our username/password.

5G – What is it? I think I have it already, and will it hurt me?

Tech Talk #109 – August 3, 2019 If you don’t have time to read this whole column, here are the answers to the questions in the headline: it’s for cell phones, no you don’t have it (yet), and probably not. What is it? 5G refers to the fifth generation of cellular network. The current king-of-the-hill in cellular networks is 4G. So why do we need 5G? 5G is about speed, bandwidth, and low latency. Speed

A new Facebook scam, iOS 13’s battery optimization

Tech Talk #108 – July 20, 2019 A new Facebook scam Scammers have discovered that Facebook is a good vehicle for tricking people into giving them money, usually through the Facebook Messenger app but also using some Facebook games. The latest scam tricks people into thinking they gave money to a terrorist group, and now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is after them. Here’s how it works: The scammers contact their victim using

Major Windows 10 security problem, Cell phone robocalls

Tech Talk #107 – July 6, 2019 Major Windows 10 security problem Catchy headline, right? That’s what many tech and consumer-facing sites have been running lately, but it’s not quite true. While there IS a major security problem, and it DOES affect Windows 10, the problem doesn’t come from Microsoft, it comes from software pre-installed on many new computers. The pre-installed software is called the PC-Doctor Toolbox. While it sounds useful, PC-Doctor Toolbox has a