Tech – for Everyone

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

The Year In Tech

Folks, since my earliest days as a geek, I have been a fan of Ziff Davis, and enjoy reading the tech blogs on their website(s). ZDNet is a great source of tech news and trends, downloads, and more. My “tip of the day” and “today’s free link” today are to suggest to you that you click the link and look around the ZD website.. it is literally a geek treasure trove.
Here is a sample of what you will find there.

The five biggest stories of the year

It’s almost time to close the books on 2008. But before we start singing “Auld Lang Syne,” ZDNet correspondent Sumi Das and Editor in Chief Larry Dignan dish out the tech industry highlights from the past 12 months.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “The Year In Tech“, posted with vodpod

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

January 7, 2009 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future Is Now

Folks, I like to make my articles a little more fun on Fridays, and so my article on the recent report that shows more people than ever are being fooled by phishing e-mails will just have to wait for another day. If you really want to learn more about ID Theft and phishing, you can click this link and read more.The Dilbert Future

Today I’m mostly going to talk about a book I was lucky enough to find in my local library’s Free Bin; The Dilbert Future– Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century™ which was published a little over a decade ago (in 1997). In this book he dared to predict the future, which strangely enough, is our “now”.

Before I proceed, I probably should take a moment to explain that Scott Adams is the creator of the immensely popular Dilbert™ comic strip. As popular as Dilbert™ is with the general public, it is my understanding that Dilbert™ is ginormously popular amongst the “tech crowd” (aka “Geeks”).
This must be true, because I’m a geek and I am a huge fan.

I thought it might be kind of fun to look at a few of the predictions Scott made, and see how they compare to today’s reality. (And please remember, he made these years before the Y2K  Bug.)

  • In the future, life definitely won’t be like Star Trek.
  • There will be a huge market for technological products  which help workers goof off and still get paid.
  • Your clothes will be smarter than you.
  • Computer-using men will be the sexiest males.

Not bad! He scored a 3 out of 4 in that sample. Our clothes are not smarter than us.. at least, not yet. But who knows? In 10 years they probably will be.

A very interesting says the following, “In the next few years, we might be filling our closets with smart shirts that can read our heart rate and breathing, and musical jackets with built in all-fabric keypads. Thin light-emitting diode (LED) monitors could even be integrated into this apparel to display text and images. Computerized clothes will be the next step in making computers and devices portable without having to strap electronics to our bodies or fill our pockets with a plethora of gadgets. These new digital clothes aren’t necessarily designed to replace your PC, but they will be able to perform some of the same functions.”

Yes.. an “e-wardrobe”. Nanotechnology is really just beginning to be explored, but some “smart clothing” is already here– as this article on tells us, “smart clothes that can repel insects and mask nasty odors such as cigarette smoke have proved successful and are already being marketed.
Last year, a design student at Cornell University designed a garment that can prevent colds and flu and, crucially, never needs washing.
We can expect to see, in the not-too-distant future, fabrics that have in-built cooling, deodorant, moisturizer and even vitamins.”
And, underwear that can detect cancer in its earliest stages.

I have to admit, that’s pretty smart.  Maybe I should give Mr. Adams more credit, and mark him a perfect 4/4.

I have run out of space to talk more about The Dilbert Future, but I will say it still an excellent and enjoyable read.. and it’s still .

Today’s free download: Did you ever drop a quarter in to play a game of video poker? (If you’re like me, it was more than one quarter..) Put a video poker game on you PC with Draw Poker for Windows. [note: I have run this on Vista, and didn’t need to use Compatibility mode.]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix.

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September 5, 2008 Posted by | gadgets, tech | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The new Generation Gap

These kids today! They’re illiterate (how else do you explain ‘texting’?). They have no sense of shame (they post their diary, and their phone numbers, for the world to see). They all want to be famous.. just like Paris Hilton. They “hook up” by answering anonymous, texted come-ons, blue-toothed from across the room. Everyone under the age of 25 has at least one online “profile” — an All About Me webpage — and are proud of the number of their virtual friends. They aren’t in the slightest bit bothered by the fact that there’s surveillance cameras everywhere, but seem to relish the idea of “being on TV”.
And these kids have the attention span of a flea.

Ah! Don’t you just love blanket-statement generalizations?!
But seriously– there is a difference between those of us ‘older’ folks (say.. older than 27) and the younger set (the “kids today”).. a true Generation Gap.

Sure, us ‘older’ folks are on the Web, and we spend a fair amount of time there. But we (generally speaking) use it like a public library, and because e-mail is a lot cheaper than snail-mail, we use the Internet to send letters. Here’s a test:
* Do you have a Profile on Facebook and do you update it several times a week? If you answered “no”, the odds are good you’re 26 or older (or, you’re younger, but Facebook is so ‘yesterday’ that you’ve moved on to a trendier site).
* Have you ever shunned a website because it was getting flamed on all the right blogs? (There’s a hidden test in there.. don’t know what ‘flamed’ is?)
* Did you have to stop and think what ROTFLOL means?
* Are you concerned about your privacy? (or, more accurately, do you still think it exists?)
* Do you enjoy “reality” television?

I think the defining factor that determines which side of the gap you’re on is– how old were you when you  first used a computer.
I am an absolute dinosaur. I was already out of High School when the first truly popular personal computer (Apple’s Macintosh, 1984) hit the scene. When I was in my formative years, there simply weren’t traffic cams on every corner (or anywhere else); girls guarded their diaries with their lives; people wrote in complete sentences, and looked upon those of us with poor grammar skills as “low-bred”; Authority had no idea who I was unless they talked to me (or me to them); if you called someone a friend, you (probably) had been inside their home…
It was a different world… a pre-Internet world.

For those born after 1984, you have probably always had a computer in your home; and by the time you were old enough to appreciate telephones, you could carry one in your pocket. About that same time, everyone had the Internet, and Yahoo had made it simple. You were probably typing before you made your first letter with a crayon.
You realize privacy is an illusion, so you’ve taken control. All the world’s your stage.

…I don’t really know where I’m going with all this: to say, “the Internet has changed everything” is, well, um, stating the obvious. I guess, maybe, I’m just puzzled by some of what I see (and, maybe, I just woke up feeling “old” today…). I lament the erosion of privacy that technology has wrought (hey, I admitted I was a dinosaur!), and cameras everywhere bothers me; the chips (digital snitches) in my car bothers me; the fact that someone can use the information posted on the Web to assume someone else’s identity bothers me..
Sorry. I’ll feel better soon.

Today’s free link: There’s an article by Emily Nussbaum; Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy (subtitled “Say Everything”) that I came across that takes a real look at this.. phenomenon. An excellent example of real reporting, and a good read. Take a look-see, and let me know what you think.

***Folks, the little Search window on this site is not how you ask me questions (it searches past articles for the keywords you enter). Use the the Comments link at the bottom of this page. It is found next to the “Categories” and “Tags” (and usually says, “No comments”).

[Update 3/22: Newsweek just published a good article on this that is worth a read– The Look at Me Generation.]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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March 3, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, kids and the Internet, PC, privacy, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments