Clouds connected by cables, wet and dry

Tech Talk #123 – February 15, 2020 The internet. Billions and billions of devices loosely connected by copper wires, fiber optic cables, satellites, microwaves, and radio frequency networks. All these devices, whether doorbells, smartphones, thermostats, desktop computers, security cameras, laptops, streaming devices, or tablets, send and receive digital information through these networks. We know about wires in our neighborhood, WiFi routers and modems where we live and work, and cell phone towers. We may even

Windows 7, RIP – Sad emoji, etc.

Tech Talk #122 – February 1, 2020 Windows 7 has become the new Windows XP. Since Microsoft has retired support for Windows 7, it’s suddenly become the best operating system ever. As a technical person, I appreciated the better stability and hardware-integration-without-exploding that Win7 brought us. The menus were faster, and people seemed better able to navigate and get work done. Windows 8 (shudder!) brought even better stabilization and device integration but ruined the desktop

How much RAM do you need for Windows 10?

Tech Talk #121 – January 18, 2020 Before we get started with how much Random-Access Memory (RAM) you need, let’s talk about what it is. There are two types of storage in your computer, permanent and temporary. Your hard drive or solid-state drive is permanent storage, and RAM is your computer’s temporary storage. Your computer uses RAM for loading and running programs and temporarily storing and using data. The contents of your RAM are lost

How and maybe why to delete your Google history, more internet slang

Tech Talk #120 – January 4, 2020 How to delete your Google data Maybe you don’t want to watch any more of those “how to replace a toilet” videos you had to look up last summer, but YouTube is still recommending them. Or maybe you listened to Macarena by Los Del Rio on Google Play to prove a point, but now you’re over it. How do you make Google forget? We know Google collects lots

Online slang and acronyms

Tech Talk #119 – December 21, 2019 Online slang and acronyms Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and even plain old text messaging use slang and acronyms to reduce our character-count and save us from mistyping what we meant to say. Here’s your Rosetta Stone to online slang. DM: Direct Message. Initially used on Twitter to send private messages between users. When you want to share something privately, you send a DM. AMA: Ask Me Anything. Made

Put your iPhone on a diet, plus useful and interesting web sites

Tech Talk #118 – November 23, 2019 Put your iPhone on a diet Maybe it was after the turkey and the stuffing and cranberry sauce (homemade,) or maybe it was the pecan and mincemeat and Dutch apple pies with ice cream. Or any of the other pictures you took with your phone on Thanksgiving. Or maybe you downloaded Elf to keep your nephew/niece quiet during your traditional post-dinner food coma. Whatever triggered it, your iPhone

Spam from yourself, easy Windows 10 shortcuts

Tech Talk #117 – November 23, 2019 Spam from yourself Have you ever received an email that looked like it came from you, but you didn’t send it? Self-spam is happening a lot now, and it’s usually tied to a blackmail or shaming scheme. Forging, or faking, an email address is called spoofing. And it’s easy. Most email systems don’t have any security checks to make sure the person in the email’s “From” line is

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