Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

And now for something completely different

Folks, in the course of this busy day, someone shared with me an item that captured my interest; and I thought a few of you might appreciate it, too. The item pictured represents a lifetime of one person’s unique interests, and puts me in mind of something I wrote about some time ago, now.

Here’s the item..

arrowheads_sm

Personal collection of Native American arrowheads: the owner found each and every one on the ground. The ones made of obsidian were found in California, and the rest in the Ozark hills of Arkansas and Missouri (and are made from flint).

Now there’s a hobby I haven’t run across before! And I think that is pretty darned kewel. My thanks to the owner for showing it to me, and for letting me share it.

And, loyal Readers may remember a non-tech article I wrote a couple years back. (Kind of fits in with this, a wee bit.) I received rather positive feedback from this one, and invite you to read:

The cigar box

The other day I came across a dusty, ratty, old cigar box, in a pile of junk, and fixtures, and fittings, outside a home that is being gutted for renovation and sale. It rattled when I picked it up.” Read more..

Don’t worry, I’ll get back to the tech tomorrow. But for now, outta time. Hope you enjoyed the detour.

Today’s quote:Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.” ~ Charles Caleb Colton

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 15, 2013 Posted by | blogging | , , | 4 Comments

Sunday Beauty #120

Here is another pretty picture for your Sunday.

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Click on image to see more by this artist (reco’d)

“P1140106, Steward Island 2012” by Meutman, courtesy of Flickr Commons

Reminder: Tomorrow is the deadline. If you need help getting your taxes finished, this might interest you: Free Tax Software, TurboTax, and e-Filing | April is here…

Today’s quote:How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.” ~ Zall’s Second Law

‘Tis also the season for sunglasses.. and I found a sale going on for “vintage” styles. $50 marked down to $14, w/free shipping/returns (and I love their ad image.. that’s one “cool cat”!).

giant_vintage_sunglss

click on image to see the sale.. (if you want)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 14, 2013 Posted by | Digital Images | | 8 Comments

Homemade Lizard Cages

And Some Friday Fun

I have had a very.. um, interesting week. And I am glad it is TGIF day.

* This past week blog Comment spammers have been very active.. Which has amused a few of us.

spam4_10_13

.. and the tech press has been very active proclaiming the Desktop personal computer obsolete and dead.

Also this week, the US Air Force declared six of its “cyber tools” as “weapons”. (Software that packs a real punch, I guess..) If you’re interested, click here.

… But, truth is, the sum total of the week’s news just made me (even more) tired (take control of an airplane with a smartphone app?!?!?!). But there was one item I saw that those of you who are actually trying to use your touchscreen tablets to do some constructive, productive, things with might want to see (as, you know how pointless trying to be productive on a tablet is) CloudOn brings Microsoft Office® to your Tablet Computer and Phone for FREE

Appears in today’s world of computing we are definitely moving away from the desktop form of computing to the more mobile form of computing, such as tablets and smartphones.Read more..

I’m in a mind to get this week over with.. it is Friday, so here is your Fun Video (to help pass a few cubicle minutes).

And here’s a cheery thought: you aren’t stuck in a traffic gridlock right now.

And for those of you who want a good tech read, this may be the best “review” of Windows 8 I’ve read in a while.. Microsoft’s Windows 8 approach: Bold, arrogant, or both?

Microsoft has done many bold things in Windows 8. No one in their right mind would accuse this release of being timid or overly cautious. But plenty of perfectly sane critics have attacked Microsoft for being arrogant, stubborn, and dismissive of legitimate complaints. They might be right.Read more

Today’s quote:For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.” ~ Doug Larson

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 12, 2013 Posted by | Android, Apple, computers, Internet, Microsoft, tech, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Free Tax Software, TurboTax, and e-Filing | April is here…

IRS Program Lets Taxpayers Use Popular Tax Preparation Software Free, and e-File For Free

I am like many Americans in that I have become somewhat reliant on my computer to help me do my Federal taxes. It all started, years ago, with a CD I received in the mail — a free copy of H&R Block’s TaxCut. I tried it. And I found it just a wee bit easier to use and figure out than the 1040A user manual our government provides.

Nowadays to access the free version of TaxCut (or TurboTax), I would have to first go to to the IRS website.

IRS banner

On the IRS site, there is a page called “FreeFile”, and here you will find the “partnership links” to the free versions of 19 accepted tax prep programs — of which TaxCut (and also TurboTax) is one.
To qualify, you must have an Adjusted Gross Income of $56,000 or less.

Today’s free link: FreeFile at the IRS

Note: there are two buttons on the page; “I will choose” and “help me choose”. Though all of the programs there are accepted by the IRS, I would recommend clicking the “I will choose”, and then selecting either H&R Block’s Free File or TurboTax.

Today’s quote:The only difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse each time Congress meets.” ~ Will Rogers

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 9, 2013 Posted by | free software, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Sunset

(aka “Sunday Beauty #119”)

What goes up, must come down.

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Click on image to see more by this artist (reco’d)

Skyline Sunset IV” by Jeff Pang, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

Tip of the day: I’ll say it again: If you do not recognize the Sender, delete it (unopened). If you do recognize the Sender, still don’t trust it implicitly — email accounts get hijacked and they also can be “spoofed“. Most of us have learned this, I know. But it’s still news to some.

Today’s quote:Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ~ Groucho Marx

My sincere thanks to you faithful friends who ‘chipped in’ and helped me keep advertisements off of this website this past year! (Time flies, doesn’t it?)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Digital Images | , , , , | Leave a comment

Back in the saddle

wrapping up another week

A few items of interest, and a funny video

Walter Lantz Studios

Walter Lantz Studios

* Update: Facebook phone? Been there, done that, and nobody cared

Facebook is generating buzz with the unveiling of Home, but it seems everyone has forgotten about the Facebook phone nobody wanted.Read more.

[related: Why Facebook Home will blow Android into smithereens

You think Google’s Android OS is hopelessly fragmented now? This is just the beginning.Read more.. ]

* The state of malware 2013

A short slideshow that (I suspect) will open your eyes to the risks of the Internet — even if you think you’re already aware of the risks.

CISPA: Not Just Dangerous, but Also Useless

Civil libertarians are loudly protesting Congress’s renewed deliberations of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). The bill is intended to facilitate sharing cyberthreat information between government and the private sector to protect the nation from cyberattack.Read more..

The love affair with Windows 8-powered hybrids is over before it started

Microsoft built Windows 8 around the new touch user interface, but it seems that consumers are quite attached to their keyboards and mice.Read more..

[ And I don’t think M$ didn’t know that was going to happen. If they didn’t, they didn’t read their “feedback” during the beta. Nor ever notice how little-used the red “eraser” on ThinkPads are.. or how many people plug mice into their laptops because they hate the touchpad… ]

Surprise?  Survey: Finance chiefs not thrilled with IT ROI

A new CFO Research/AlixPartners survey reveals that finance leaders are not happy with their IT spending return on investment, with just 3% describing ROI as excellent. Most rated their company’s results with a C grade or lower. “The message from CFOs and other senior finance executives is loud and clear — companies are spending too much on IT, and they’re not getting the business information that they truly need,” said AlixPartners’ Meade Monge.” Read more..

[ Yes. But. It’s employed a lot of people.. ahem. ]

Bitcoin’s Wallet Service Instawallet Hacked, suspended indefinitely

The digital currency Bitcoin has suffered yet another hack. Bitcoin wallet site Instawallet has been taken offline after a security compromise, has suspended its service indefinitely. Instawallet didn’t say in a notice on its website how many bitcoins were stolen after hackers fraudulently accessed company database. “The Instawallet service is suspended indefinitely …” Read more…

ITC judge rules Samsung infringed Apple’s text-selection patent

Things have taken a nasty turn for Samsung in its worldwide battle against Apple with a new ruling from the International Trade Commission.Read more..

Sigh. It’s almost like watching an amateur circus, or toddler talent show, isn’t it?

* A laser printer for $50?! Yup. If that interests, click here.

Friday Fun Video: You do want to double your Internet speed for free, right?

I am a little surprised he only got 6 million views with that …

Today’s quote:What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?” ~ George Orwell

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories. Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Android, Apple, computers, consumer electronics, Google, hackers, Internet, Microsoft, networking, News, security, tech, Windows, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

Folks, I need a vacation. The tech headlines are making me jaundiced.

There are some things happening that show just how snafu this thing we call “the Internet” really is.. a house built on sand. For example..

1) This week, one guy almost broke the Internet. How? Why? He didn’t like the fact that some whitehats (good guys) did something that affected his ability to send spam (obviously, a lowlife *scuzbucket*) so he decided to punish them. See, Misconfigured, Open DNS Servers Used In Record-Breaking DDoS Attack

Biggest-ever distributed denial-of-service attack originally aimed at Spamhaus escalates and hits other corners of the Net

This was not your typical hacktivist DDoS attack: a massive, 300 gigabits-per-second traffic attack against volunteer spam filtering organization Spamhaus spread yesterday to multiple Internet exchanges and ultimately slowed traffic for users mainly in Europe.

[ I chose that particular write up due to some stellar quotes cited in it.. ]

And just one more “another item” (there are several recently) …

2) DHS Warns of ‘TDos’ Extortion Attacks on Public Emergency Networks

As if emergency responders weren’t already overloaded: Increasingly, extortionists are launching debilitating attacks designed to overwhelm the telephone networks of emergency communications centers and personnel, according to a confidential alert jointly issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.”

And the sheep lower their heads and continue to graze. (‘Cuz that Internet, she’s a real money maker! And Facebook is fun!)

I’ll be absent for a few days. I need to recoup.

If you care, Microsoft’s forced “upgrade” to Outlook.com was the straw that has ‘forced’ me to switch from my long-time favorite browser, Firefox, to Opera (with the NotSripts, WOT, AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, Gmelius, KeyScrambler, and AdFree YouTube “extensions”).

Oddly, I’ve been using Opera for a week, and haven’t been prompted (read: “interupted & annoyed”) once to “update to the latest version!” … feels weird. Feels nice!

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | cyber crime, Cyberwarfare, hackers, Internet, News, security | , , , | 4 Comments