28 October 2012

RIP Newsweek

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1723

NewsweekLast week Newsweek announced that they would no longer be publishing a print version of their magazine. They are trying to spin this as just entering a new era of an online only version of Newsweek. I personally see it as the end of an era and the end of the line for Newsweek. Now, I fully understand that I’m a big part of why print media is fading from existence. I seldom pick up a magazine and I never pick up a newspaper or news magazine. By the time a print version of the news, whether it is daily or weekly, hits the newsstand I’ve already read all about it on one of many online news outlets. If its breaking news, I’ve probably also already recieved e-mail, text message and push notifications.

So, will I miss Newsweek or any other weekly news magazine? Probably not. However, I feel a lot of weird nostalgia for this particular casualty of the online news revolution. Besides the fact that the magazine has been in publication for just about 80 years, it was a staple in our house when I was growing up. My father had a subscription and it was his favorite source of national and world news analysis. Every school project that my sister and I ever had which involved clipping pictures of things and gluing them to something included items clipped from Newsweek (and perhaps the Sears catalog). In the pre-desktop publishing world nothing spruced up a report like pictures of world leaders clipped from the pages of Newsweek. As we grew older, Newsweek became the source of topics for current events assignments and history reports.

And that is why I feel a bit of nostalgia for a magazine that I haven’t bought or read for around a decade.

Read more about it from the AP at http://bit.ly/RiV9q4.

01 September 2012

See who has permission to your accounts

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2207

We all have accounts on various web-based social media services and we all use various apps to access them. This means that at some point we’ve given each of those apps permission to access our accounts for the purpose of reading our data or posting on our behalf. What most of us have never done is go through and prune off the apps that we no longer use or that we didn’t mean to authorize. Every service has a page where you can manage those links, but finding them can take some searching. That’s where mypermissions.org comes in. It provides a direct link to each of these. It’s a simple page of links, but it’s useful. You’ll be surprised how many apps you’ve given permission to!

One word of advice… If you’re someone who has already deleted their Facebook account, do not try to access the settings of your former account as I’ve read that Facebook will automatically reactivate your account. They’re… umm… “helpful” that way.

24 August 2011

I Joined Google Plus

Category: Life,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2343

I had no plans to sign up for Google Plus until I did it on a whim a few days ago. I never used Friendster when it was the big social site. Then when MySpace and its animated GIFs and embedded MIDI files came along, I never signed up. Then Facebook showed up and despite the fact that many of my friends and family are addicted to it, I never signed up for an account and don’t plan to do so. In general I’ve never seen a need to provide a forum where my coworkers can contact my family or my high school friends can contact my former employees, etc. If want to talk to a friend or family member, I can send an e-mail, send a text or call them.That being said, I do use Twitter and pipe my posts back to my own website. This is an important fact because I think I’ll use Google+ much like Twitter or my own site. I plan to make everything public even though Google+ offers some very granular and really easy to use privacy options should I ever want to use them. One of the main reasons I’ve avoided Facebook is their disastrous history of making people believe their posts are private and then violated their trust by somehow accidentally making their posts public. I’m not naive enough to think place blind trust in any company, but unlike Google’s “Do no evil” motto, Facebook seems to go the exact opposite direction!

Up til now, I’ve loved almost every Google product I’ve used in the past, so I do have high hopes for Google+.

Who knows how much I’ll use it, but you can find me on Google+ right here.

20 February 2010

Medals have tech in them

Category: Randomness,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1939

Vancouver Gold Medal

The medals being presented at the Vancouver Winter Games have the distinction of being “first” in several ways. It’s the first time they aren’t flat. These medals are of an undulating design. Basically, that means they look wrinkled. Personally, I’m still not sure if i like that feature or not.

They also are the first medals that aren’t all the same. Each medal is etched with a randomly cropped portion of a piece of Canadian First Nation artwork representing orca whales.

However, the part that most caught my attention is the fact that the Vancouver medals have technology in them, but not in the way that you think. They don’t have chips in them. They actually have old technology items in them! Some of the metal used to mint the medals came from recycled e-waste. E-waste is a huge problem. I deal with it at work and at home. Old computer equipment and electronics build up at an astounding rate. I know that recycling a small amount of gold, silver and copper and reusing it in Olympic medals isn’t exactly going to solve the problem, but it’s nice to see an opportunity to better publicize the issue. I’m just sorry that I haven’t seen more about this in the media coverage or even on the VANOC website.

You can read more about this on Bloomberg. You can also take a look at all of the past Olympic medals at the IOC site.

18 January 2010

New Virus & Spyware Guide Update

Category: Site Updates,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2349

At long last, I’ve updated the Spyware & Virus Prevention and Removal section of Michael’s Guide. The last update was several years ago and things have changed drastically in the past few years. Malware is nastier than ever. It poses as your anti-virus program, it blocks you from  removing it and much more. Hopefully this updated guide will assist you in preventing and maybe even removing this stuff. One thing that seems to have changed as well is that the average user may not always be able to remove these things without professional help, so prevention is stll the best policy.

You’ll be seeing many more updates to the site in the next few days. I’m slowly bringing it up to date and making it more useful.

18 June 2009

Bing advertisement on Google

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 0619

Bing Ad on Google

We all know Microsoft is trying desperately to get some traction for their new Bing search engine. While looking for some images on Google, I just noticed that one of the avenues Microsoft is using is by buying adds on… wait for it… Google!

Click here to see the whole page.

24 January 2009

Twenty-Five Years of Macintosh

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1138

Lately most of the news about Apple has been about Steve Job’s health and the future of the company. However, todays a good day to look back at Apple’s past. Why? Because it was 25 years ago today that Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh computer.

Since that time, a lot has changed. THe Macintosh has consistently stayed one step ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies. The mouse, 3.5″ floppies, firewire, USB are just a few items that apple was early to adopt. Of course, who could forget the first iMac. Not only did it revitalize Apple’s sales, it impacted a wide range of consumer products. We saw brightly colored translucent plastic on everything from staplers to office furniture to floppy drives.

So, take a moment and relive the Macintosh introduction on YouTube…

15 January 2009

Back on the Apple Roller Coaster

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 0623

It’s been a tough month for Apple enthusiasts. A few weeks ago Apple announced Steve Jobs would not give the Macworld Expo keynote and that Apple would pull out of next year’s Expo. Besides basically assuring the impending demise of Macworld San Francisco it raised fears about Steve’s health. Then he announced that his health issues are related to a hormone imbalance and that he’s gonna be ok. The stock price rebounded and the masses were again happy. Then yesterday the roller coaster took another BIG turn for the worse when Apple released this press release.

Most people think that Apple fans like me are nuts for taking so much stock in the health and well-being of a CEO, but unlike most companies, Apple’s CEO IS the company. The company moved solely on his direction and ideas. He’s a complete totalitarian (I mean that in the nicest possible way!) who built the company, and later rebuilt it.

Hopefully we’ll see him back at the helm in a few months before too much damage is done to the company.

24 December 2007

Track Santa with NORAD

Category: Interesting Links,Randomness,Technology — Posted by Michael at 0715

When you you hear about Cheyenne Mountain Complex, you probably think about a super secure military facility, men & women of our Armed Forces protecting us from attack from the sky, and maybe even the TV show Stargate SG-1 (a personal favorite of mine).

On this special day every year, the men and women of NORAD that serve 2400 feet under the ground add a very special mission to their other critical tasks.

As they have for the 52 years, NORAD will follow Santa Claus on his flight around the world. This year it’s greatly enhanced by teaming up with Google Earth to make it fun and educational. (But mainly fun!)

Track Santa at noradsanta.org.

08 December 2007

Commodore 64 lives forever

Category: Interesting Links,Life,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2253

Commodore LogoYou probbaly know that I’ve worked with computer’s all my life. What you might not remember is that the first computer my parents bought for me many years ago was the venerable Commodore 64. With it’s 64 bytes of RAM we played games like Choplifter, Tooth Invaders, Clowns & Bruce Lee. I also wrote my first computer programs in BASIC. And should I even mention the Datasette? Gee, loading computer software onto audio cassettes seemed like such a good idea at the time!

It’s amazing how 25 years later, all of those hours sitting with my mom and trying to fix the syntax errors in the tapes my Uncle Ott would send her actually seem like fond memories when at the time we wanted to throw the machine out the window.

Yes, the Commodore 64 is 25 years old now. I still have mine packed away. I could never get rid of it. CNN has a great article about the historic anniversary of everyone’s favorite home computer. Read CNN’s article here.

24 November 2007

Now with tagging goodness

Category: Site Updates,Technology — Posted by Michael at 0940

In version 2.3 WordPress addedtagging to their blogging software. I finally have updated my custom template to support this new feature. So now you can search my blog by tag. I’ve been slowly going back through old posts and tagging them. You can see the tag clod right there oever on the left side of this page. 🙂


07 November 2007

Ask a gas pump for directions

Category: Interesting Links,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2045

Road SignBack “in the old days” when you were lost you’d stop at a gas station and ask the attendant for directions. Here in New Jersey we still have the luxury of having an attendant come to our car when we pull in, but in the rest of the states where they have self-serve gas, you’d be hard pressed to find an attendant. You swipe your card, pump your gas and go.

Luckily, getting lost isn’t much of a problem now that we have GPS, cell phones and Google Maps. But now things have gone full circle. If you leave home and forget to map your route first, you can pull into a gas station and ask the pump for directions thanks to an internet connection and Google Maps.

read more on Engadget | digg story

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10 October 2007

100,000 Spammers

Category: Randomness,Site Updates,Technology — Posted by Michael at 2241

My little website reached another milestone today. I received my one-hundred thousandth piece of comment spam.

Spam is a problem on the Internet. I’ll give you a minute while you recover from that shocking revelation. If you think spam in your inbox is annoying, you should try dealing with comment spam on a blog. I get thousands of them per day. It is debilitating because you can’t possibly find any real message in the pile of crap. Thanks to Akismet spam filtering software, it’s more of an amusement than an annoyance.

What I wonder is why they bother. This blog isn’t exactly the most popular on the web and no comments get posted without moderation. So of the 100,256 comments that have been caught so far, ZERO have been seen by any human being. Oh well, if it gives them something to do instead of e-mailing me viagra ads and bank scams, then maybe it’s a good thing.

And in case you’re wondering, 44 more pieces of spam were caught in the time it took me to write this. 🙂

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11 August 2007

No Apple Key?

Category: Technology — Posted by Michael at 2252

Back when I first starting using computers in third grade it was on an Apple IIc. There were two keys on each side of the space bar. One was the open apple key and one was the closed apple key. The closed apple key long ago went the way of 5.25 inch floppy drives and monochrome monitors. The open apple key has however, lived on for a few more decades on the command key.

Then on Tuesday Steve Jobs unveiled the newest Apple keyboards. The little cloverleaf symbol is still on the command key, but the open apple was replaced with the word “command.” It’s the end of an era. It’s kind of sad.

Derik DeLong of MacUser thinks otherwise.

13 June 2007

Farewell Mr. Wizard

Category: Life,Randomness,Technology — Posted by Michael at 1909

Mr. WizardYesterday the guy who got me interested in technology passed away. Mr. Wizard, whose real name was actually Don Herbert, created and starred in a show in the 1950’s called Watch Mr. Wizard. That show went off the air more than a decade before I was born.

If you grew up in the 1980’s, you more than likely grew up with your eyes glued to the only TV channel for kids, Nickelodeon. Most people loved Nickelodeon for You Can’t Do That on Television. However, I was way more excited when 1983 rolled around and Mr. Wizard returned to TV on Mr. Wizard’s World. Sure it was kind of campy and those kids were just a little too excited about helping out Mr. Wizard with his experiments, but at the the time, I would have given ANYTHING to be one of those kids!

Mr. Wizard had a way of making science make sense by using everyday household items with the random really cool items thrown in like a Jacob’s Ladder, a Van de Graaf generator or even a computer with a black and green screen that ran BASIC!

You can learn much more about the man who inspired so many kids at his website www.mrwizardstudios.com. You can even purchase DVD’s of his shows on the website. I’m tempted to order them all.

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