News, information and commentary about technology in any of its many forms.

Posts in the Technology category

Cheap SSL Certificate For Single Domains - 09 Apr 2014

First off, if you already run an SSL-enabled server, update your SSL certificates immediately. You can use this tool to see if your site is vulnerable to HeartBleed, a serious issue in OpenSSL. If you want to enable SSL for your web site or to spend less for your SSL certificates, read on. There are […]

Newton’s New Discovery - 08 Apr 2011

If Apple had existed before Newton was hit by the apocryphal apple, his theories on calculus, optics and the law of gravitation may not have had time to germinate. Something to think about between games of Angry Birds. (via Cagle Cartoons)

Wordnik Bookmarklet - 09 Dec 2009

Wordnik recently acquired wordie, where I’ve kept words I want to become more familiar with for the past few years. The process to add a word to my list took too long so I wrote this bookmarklet to add a word. You need to be logged in to Wordnik, then select a word and hit […]

Fastest Public DNS Servers - 08 Dec 2009

With Google’s announcement that they’re providing free public DNS, I was curious if it would beat OpenDNS in speed. Fortunately, there’s a tool called Namebench to test that very thing. It queries a set of nameservers and recommends the fastest configuration based on lookup speed. I ran it and found that neither OpenDNS nor Google […]

10 Ways to Find Beta Invites Online - 30 Apr 2009

If a new web site becomes too popular too soon, it can suffer from the thundering herd problem. To slow the stream of new users, many institute an invite program, where users need an invite code to sign up. Knowing how to get an invite can be eminently useful. Why, you ask? To register your […]

Average Age for a Kid’s First Cell Phone - 18 Feb 2009

Guess the average age a child gets their first cell phone. I’ll wait. Got it? Let’s see how you did. A study of 1,425 people in the UK (where cell phone plans are cheaper than in the US, possibly skewing the results) found the average kid gets a cell phone at age eight (!) Crazy. […]

Beware the Inventor - 15 Feb 2009

Futility Closet posted a great quote from a Boston newspaper in 1865 declaring a guy trying to sell telephones a criminal. This was especially interesting to me as I’m currently reading How to License Your Million Dollar Idea where he discusses the process of licensing your new inventions. I read in another book that a […]

Add Features to Your MP3 Player For Free - 01 Oct 2008

I own a Sansa MP3 player. A few months ago I learned about RockBox, a replacement firmware for various MP3 players. I tried it and loved it. It’s like putting Linux on a computer. It’s more customizable and you have new features galore. The other side of the coin is that, like Linux, it’s not […]

Video Conferencing Like You’ve Never Seen - 05 Jun 2008

This video is impressive on several levels. Cisco CEO John Chambers is in India live and has an on-stage conversation with a life-size representation of Cisco SVP Marthin De Beer who presented to the assembled crowd from San Jose. He was clearly visible, easy to hear and the two were able to interact. I’m curious […]

Get $40 and HDTV on Your Old TV - 07 Apr 2008

We don’t have cable or satellite at our house, setting us apart from the majority of the US population, but that’s fine by me. We barely watch any TV, certainly not enough to warrant paying $50 a month. On the rare occasions we do watch, our powered indoor antenna gets around 5 clear channels. That […]

How to Get 50GB of Free Online Storage - 12 Mar 2008

Online storage is the ideal solution for off-site backups. I’ll be writing an in-depth article about how to set up an automated home backup solution in a future post, but this post is to let you know about a storage site called ADrive that gives you 50GB (!) of free storage space online. Here are […]

Did You Know? - 05 Mar 2008

I hadn’t seen this video before, but it’s already at version 2.0. It provides some sobering and surprising statistics about the economy and the world. (via Joel Dehlin)

Vonage not doing so well - 19 Apr 2007

I’ve been using Vonage for quite some time now. The service has been adequate and I’ve seen no reason to switch until hearing about recent news involving patent infringements. It’s especially concerning to read quotes like, “its legal woes could lead to bankruptcy . . . possible interruption of service”. I don’t want to be […]

How to avoid SSH timeouts - 05 Mar 2007

I’ve had my Netgear router for over two years and it continues to work well, with one exception. It times out idle connections after 15 minutes. This is how it was designed, so it’s not a flaw in the product, but it’s frustrating because I often have terminals open to other machines, and if the […]

Thank you Bill Joy - 30 Jan 2007

Bill Joy’s Greatest Gift: vi. Why learning vi/vim still makes sense in 2007 (via reddit)

Statistics about the internet in the US - 03 Oct 2006

CNN compiled some interesting facts about the growth of the internet in the US and its adoption by different age groups. The growth has been phenomenal. In June 1995 only 14% of adults were online and in June 2004 it was up to 66%. Internet use is about even between men and women now (66% […]

How to watch TV on the internet - 26 Sep 2006

In an article announcing Cisco’s acquisition of Arroyo Video solutions, it talked about the growing IPTV market. I had never heard of Arroyo Video Solutions, nor IPTV. Having used Vonage, I’m quite familiar with VOIP so it wasn’t too hard to guess that IPTV was quite similar. It’s the technology to watch

need a reminder? - 25 Jul 2006

Do you ever forget to do something and wish you had gotten a reminder about it? It’s quite common to become so involved that you forget about other tasks you were supposed to complete. You’re not the only one, and you have a few options if you want to improve in that area. Here are […]

open dns - 19 Jul 2006 – Providing a safe and faster DNS. I heard about them from Matt Mullenweg and have been using their service without any problems. In fact, I’ve noticed DNS looks are faster, and it’s already fixed several of my typos in domains which is handy. Previously, my DNS lookups were kind of slow, but now […]

zero energy home a reality - 09 Jun 2006

A for-profit builder built a home for $200,000 that uses zero energy. That’s some sweet energy saving action. I thought those types of homes would have cost several times that amount and while this one is 1650 sq feet, that’s still a good deal. The house actually needs to borrow some energy from the power […]

technology and the lds church - 31 Jan 2006

Back in 1984, five years before Tim Berners-Lee had invented the Internet World Wide Web, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was already busy putting computers to work to help further the mission of the Church. As technology has continued to progress, the church has adopted different technologies to reduce repetitive, administrative tasks […]

the digital age - 17 Jan 2006

In the book, “My Side of the Mountain,” Sam Gribley runs away from home and lives in a tree in the Catskill Mountain range. A vicious winter storm rips through his forest home, tearing down branches and trees. At first he thinks the forest has been destroyed and wonders how he can repair it. Then […]

backing up your hard drive - 30 Aug 2005

I’ve often said it’s not a matter of if your hard drive will fail, but when, so following that logic, if your home computer has information that you don’t want to lose, it’s wise to back it up. My first backup solution was to copy the files I wanted to save to my web server, […]

usb device not recognized - 18 Jul 2005

I bought a 512MB SanDisk Titanium Cruzer and whenever I tried copying a directory of about 300 files (about 140MB) it would give the following error (click on it for a larger version). I tried it on another machine running Linux and it worked fine, but nearly every time I tried copying that directory on […]

super pogo stick - 20 Jun 2005

For the low price of $299.99 you can buy a pogo stick that bounces over five feet high! Why, you could leap small houses in a single bound. It’s called the Flybar 1200, and is developed by Flybar (an incidental coincidence I’m sure). There are a few demo videos on the site (although they don’t […]

voice over IP with Vonage - 16 Jun 2005

I had heard the term ‘voice over IP’ dozens of times before I made any effort to learn what it was. Then I clicked on an ad (which I rarely do) from Vonage, advertising the use of your broadband internet connection to replace your phone line. Having had a horrific time with AT&T, I was […]

100 best products of 2005 - 13 Jun 2005

We’re only halfway through the year, but PC World has already assembled a list of the 100 Best Products of 2005. Maybe they’ve decided that nothing else will be coming out in the next six months that will be worthy of their list. Whatever the deal is, here’s what I have to say about it. […]

what to do with an old computer - 31 May 2005

PC Mag has an article listing 10 things to do with an old computer. I tend to upgrade existing machines so I don’t have any old machines laying around at the moment, but I’ve been wondering what to do with old computers when I end up with one. Before reading this article I was thinking […]

fake error message on windows - 16 May 2005

On a Windows XP machine that has never been connected to the internet, the error dialog below was displayed. It has a modem to dial in to a centralized server to transfer data, but I don’t see how any other nefarious machines could contact it while that’s happening. In any case, the dialog appeared while […]

xm satellite radio - 17 Apr 2005

I’ve heard about XM radio for a while now, but I hadn’t entirely understood what it was or how it worked until I learned firsthand by driving a rental car that had it. My one sentence summary for it is: It’s like cable TV for your radio. You pay a monthly subscription fee ($12.95/month) and […]

google maps has outdone itself - 05 Apr 2005

Just a few days ago I wrote about how Topofusion was more impressive than Google Maps. Well, I’m less inclined to make such a statement now that Google Maps has added color satellite images in addition to the map view. It doesn’t have the .25 meter resolution that you get with Topofusion, but it’s still […]

troubleshooting wireless networks - 04 Apr 2005

For those trying to configure a wireless network, this article about troubleshooting wireless networks may be helpful. Like most things, sometimes it’s as easy as could be, while other times it takes hours of troubleshooting. If it’s the latter, here’s a tip I learned after spending quite a bit of time trying to get one […]

topofusion - 30 Mar 2005

When I first used Google Maps, I was spellbound, but the novelty has worn off. It’s still extremely useful technology, but there’s a new technology that predates Google Maps that has caught my attention. The technology is satellite and aerial photos of the United States, wrapped into a neat little package by a program called […]

8 years of e-mail reviewed - 16 Feb 2005

Marc Eisenstadt at Corante has been using e-mail since 1972, and has begun an analysis on the last 8 years of it. I have e-mail archives from back in 1995, but I’ve also deleted a lot of e-mail, especially when I used Yahoo Mail because I didn’t have enough room to store it. I’d like […]

no more cell phone - 04 Feb 2005

I had a cell phone for several years but I’ve just ended my contract. When an older friend of mine (who has lived without cell phones for over fifty years) heard the news, he said, “I know it sounds silly, but I can’t imagine not having one.” It’s interesting how some technologies get such a […]

bebo’s central address book - 02 Feb 2005

I’ve received two e-mails in the last two weeks from people I haven’t been in touch with for ages. They’re using a service called Bebo to try to keep in touch. The e-mails had the same content. Here’s what they said. Hi I am updating my address book and it would be very helpful if […]

no one needs a computer in their home - 21 Dec 2004

Most of you have probably heard about the president of a large company saying that no one would have a computer in their home. According to Snopes, that person was Ken Olsen, then president of Digital (also known as Digital Equipment Corporation, or DEC), and although it’s true, it is taken out of context. He […]

elegance in open source software - 17 Dec 2004

An article about the usability of open source software like Mozilla, Firefox, Gnome and Nautilus gave me something to think about. He says programmers don’t have to design for either the power user or the average user because even a power user doesn’t always want to configure everything; sometimes they just want it to work […]

windows xp booting issue - 08 Dec 2004

A friend of mine had some booting problems with their computer; it wouldn’t boot. Here’s what happened. The error displayed during the boot process said, “\System32\Drivers\FastFat.sys missing or corrupted.” I found a web site touting the benefits of checking the knowledge base first. In his case, the error was displayed because of bad memory, however […]

i like the sound of silence - 16 Nov 2004

Scott Bradner, a columnist at Network World Fusion wrote an article that I agree with 110%. His question is similar to the one I asked about cell phones, but he’s asking about operating systems, applications and web sites – why can’t we get quiet by default?

plucker - 11 Nov 2004

I hadn’t done much with my PDA for a while, but I learned about Plucker and decided to try it out. Plucker allows you to download web pages to your PDA so you can read them offline. I gave it the list of links from my blogroll and it downloaded each of their front pages, […]

what will the future bring? - 26 Oct 2004

It’s interesting to think about what life will be like in the future. Watching The Jetsons as a kid made me wonder if we would fly instead of drive, have a robot take care of our every need, watch holographic TV in our living room and have a computer run the house. So far those […]

why must cell phones be so annoying? - 19 Oct 2004

I now have a new cell phone and besides vibrate mode it doesn’t have a single, normal ring that I’m willing to use. Of course it has a cat meowing, a horse neighing, jazzed up versions of all your classic music and gobs of other rings that will annoy and distract others with ease. Another […]

blackburn burnin’ - 17 Sep 2004

I had heard that the Dvorak keyboard being better than Qwerty was an urban myth, but Barbara Blackburn types dang fast, but only on Dvorak keyboards. I wonder how you explain that. Maybe she is Dvorak’s secret marketing weapon? Whatever the reason and however she does it, her top speed is 212wpm and it’s in […]

robo mower - 11 Aug 2004

A few weeks ago I suggested that a friend invent an automatic lawn-mowing robot like the Roomba (but for grass instead of carpets). I’m too late. For a hefty $1,800 you can get your very own Friendly Robotics RL1000 Robomower Mower and Docking Station. It’s back to the drawing board for me. (via Andre)

a patchy web server - 29 Jul 2004

I had always been under the impression that Apache (the web server) got its name because they patched the NCSA web server and affectionately called it “A PAtCHy” server. I recently told some friends about the etymology and they didn’t believe me, so I went to the FAQ to show them and was surprised to […]

forgotten technology - 27 Jul 2004

I’ve heard that as a society we don’t fully understand how the Egyptian Pyramids were built and that even with our modern construction equipment it would be a herculean task. I don’t know how true that is, but Wallace T. Wallington (odd name now that I write it) claims that using the methods he has […]

eye blaster - 08 Jun 2004

A new form of advertising is being produced by an aptly named company: Eye Blaster. (flash required). They offer several different types of advertisements ranging from full page ads to ones that float over the text you’re trying to view. Compare that to Google’s advertising solution which uses unobtrusive, context relevant text ads. One of […]

rot13 - 23 Apr 2004

While working on a brain teasers in a community on Orkut a few people were nearing the answer, and others were still working on it. Instead of posting the correct answer in plain text and ruining it for those who were still figuring it out, it was posted in rot13 format. It reminded me of […]

saul’s glasses - 25 Feb 2004

A new device, about the size of a drum, can create glasses quickly and for very little money. The inventor? Saul Griffeth, a Doctoral candidate at MIT. His ingenuity is impressive by itself, but even more impressive is his effort to provide eyeglasses to those in poorer countries who can’t afford them now. (via /.)