Startin’ on the Dock of the bay

Tech Talk #77 – May 12, 2018 Startin’ on the Dock of the bay   To use your computer, you need to use either the Dock (macOS) or Start (Windows.) The Dock and Start are how you interact with your operating system and your applications. By default, they both work pretty well, but there’s always room for improvement, right?   Windows   We’ve had a Start menu in every version of Windows since Windows 95,

Spring cleaning

Tech Talk #76 – Apr. 28, 2018   Spring cleaning   Don’t forget your phones, tablets and computers while you’re doing your spring cleaning.   Clean your phone and tablet   Spring cleaning your phone or tablet is all about getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and getting your organization on.   Delete the apps you don’t use regularly – What do I mean by ‘regularly?’ If you don’t know the last time

Useful software and tips

Tech Talk #75 – Apr. 14, 2018 Network activity   The network icon we've had since Windows 7 is useless because all it does is tell if you’re connected to the internet or not, which you probably figured out because you've been searching Google for 55 Chevy alternator brackets. But man, Windows XP had a network icon that did something. Like what? Oh, it blinked in time with your network traffic, and you could right

Should you #DeleteFaceBook?

Tech Talk #74 – Mar. 31, 2018 Should you #DeleteFaceBook?   Without turning this column into a link-fest, I’ll try to summarize this whole kerfuffle about Facebook for you and give you some options.   In 2014, a developer created a personality quiz for Facebook. More than a quarter of million people installed the app. Just like any other Facebook developer, this guy had access to data about the people that installed the personality quiz,

Your digital legacy and before Google

Tech Talk #73 – Mar. 17, 2018 Your digital legacy and before Google Part of being a grown-up is facing the fact we won’t be here forever. Most people are familiar with wills and family trusts as instruments of helping your loved ones know what do when you die. Wills and family trusts make it clear what your wishes are.   You do have a will, right? If not, get one. While you’re at it,

How (and why) to measure computer performance

Tech Talk #71 – Feb. 17, 2018 How (and why) to measure computer performance How do we tell if a computer is fast or if it’s faster than that computer over there? What’s fast anyway?   We need an objective way to measure a computer’s speed overall, and it would be nice to break down the major parts of a computer and get ratings for them, too. That’s where benchmarking comes in.   Gamers have

Switch from Chrome to Firefox

Tech Talk #70 – Feb. 3, 2018 Switch from Chrome to Firefox I’ve been a fan of Google’s Chrome browser for years. When it first launched, it was fast and very configurable. The sync feature made it easy to have the same bookmarks on both my desktop and my laptop, and there were lots of extensions that made it better and safer than browsing without them.   Lately, though, Chrome has started helping itself to

Meltdown and Spectre, oh my!

Tech Talk #69 – Jan. 20, 2018 Meltdown and Spectre, oh my! It’s unusual when extremely technical problems make the news, but by now you’ve probably heard about Meltdown and Spectre. Multiple teams of independent researchers have discovered (and named!) these design flaws in computer processors. Meltdown and Spectre are in the news because these flaws result in vulnerabilities in every computer chip made in the last twenty years.   The Windows, Mac, and Linux

Helping your new gadgets live a long life

Tech Talk #68 – Jan. 6, 2018 Helping your new gadgets live a long life Here are four things you can do to give your new gadget, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer, a long life.   Keep it clean and protected Keeping dirt and grime out of your devices helps keep them running. Getting your computer up off the floor will help it breathe cleaner air and last longer. Getting a