Tech – for Everyone

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

Friday Good Stuff

Here are a few items for your Friday.

* Why TV is doomed: HBO Now and the new cord-cutting economics

The entire old-school television distribution system has been rocked by a quake of epic magnitude. Now I can watch whatever I want — and save hundreds of dollars a year.” Read more..

Related: Add Pluto TV To Your Internet TV Lineup

If you are looking for a FREE internet based TV like environment you may enjoy exploring Pluto TV where the amount of content is amazing.” Read more..

That number should be much much higher, IMHO. But.

That number should be much much higher, IMHO. But.

* I don’t care about the Apple Watch. Would never own/wear an Apple Watch. And as a family-friendly blogger, cannot print what I think about the Apple Watch. If you’re looking for info on the Apple Watch, well, every single tech website out there has oodles & oodles of drooling propaganda advertising hype articles on the latest Apple gizmo, so feel free togo to one of those. (To do so, click here.)

* Firefox helps you cover your assets with latest Tracking Protection feature

Did you know that not all websites honor Do Not Track? If privacy while browsing is at the top of your priority list, Jack Wallen offers up a Firefox tip that just might allow you to sigh a breath of private air.Read more..

[My best guess is that no website {0} honors ‘Do Not Track’, actually.. Why should they? Tracking you pays $$$.]

Today’s Important Message: As you know, tax season is a “prime cybercrime season”, and we are warned to be on the alert for bogus IRS emails/phone calls. Truth is.. it’s always “Prime Cybercrime Season”, and we must realize it. Operating with an ever-vigilant healthy paranoia has to be our day-to-day.

Today’s Poll:

Today’s Fun Video:

Today’s quote:For it is in giving that we receive.” ~ Francis of Assisi

Copyright 2007-2015 © “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 10, 2015 Posted by | Apple, browsers, cloud computing, consumer electronics, Firefox, how to, Internet, News, privacy, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things Change (And Heartbleed)

The fact that “tech” has changed our lives is patently obvious. And talking with people, it’s pretty clear that the rate of that change has not always been .. a comfortable thing.
(The “Average Joe” really doesn’t understand geometric growth, and/or Moore’s Law.)

I came of age back in the days when there were only 4 – 6 television stations (which were tuned in by moving “rabbit ears” antennas); before there were ATM machines or cell phones, and a bicycle with TEN speeds was kinda a new idea, so, yeah, I know. Things change.

So the following items do not surprise me, really.

Aereo signals cloudy future for broadcast TV

Whether the New York-based streaming remote DVR service lives or dies at the hand of the Supreme Court, the future for television programming is firmly seated in the Cloud.Read more..

No more (free) over-the-air TV?

Maybe not a bad thing.. they’re called “idiot boxes” for a reason.

The price of popularity: Cloud security threats near on-premise levels

Hackers are now targeting cloud-based apps and systems almost as much as on-premise environments, particularly with so-called brute force attacks and vulnerability scans.Read more..

[The line I found most interesting.. “found that 14 percent of malware collected through the honeypots was considered “undetectable” by 51 percent of the leading antivirus software providers“.. Not good.]

What can you do about Heartbleed? By now, the Poindexters in the basement should have ‘patched’ their ‘servers’. So we can now do the one thing to try to protect our ‘identities’ – change our login passwords at the sites that collect PII (Social networking sites, ecommerce sites, and online banking sites, for example.)
But first, verify the patches have been applied by visiting safeweb.norton.com/heartbleed and enter the URL of the website in question.

Today’s quote:We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill

Copyright 2007-2014 © “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.
And please, never forget – one person can make a difference.
Find a way to make someone’s day today.
(Best advice I ever heard? Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

April 23, 2014 Posted by | advice, cloud computing, computers, consumer electronics, hackers, Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

IE, Firefox, or Chrome – Which is best?* | Consumer as beta tester

I am frequently asked my opinion about web browsers: mainly, “which is best – Firefox or Chrome?” Yes, sometimes I am asked about IE or Opera too. Well.. what do you mean by “best”? And is your definition of “best” the same as mine? Fortunately, I don’t have to think too hard when I am asked, as web browsers all basically do the same thing –> show you websites.

I use Firefox as my “alternative” browser. And I have chosen it simply because of the many Add-ons available. If these “Add ons” were not available, I would not use Firefox. It’s that simple.

So, what Firefox Add-ons do I use? I’ll show you:

FF_addons

[addenda: I have recently added OptimizeGoogle (specifically to strip out the ads in Gmail) to my suite of defenses.]

With the exception of the Vimeo video capture-to-blog plug in, I would recommend this configuration. Why? Well, what do these things do? Look at them, and you’ll see that they are defenses – typically, blocking elements I do not want. And yes folks, your machine needs defenses on the Internet. (OK. The Java is not a defense. It’s a vulnerability.. see, Java, the new Adobe (+How To Protect Yourself).)

Adding Add-ons to Firefox is easy: click on the Tools menu, and then Add-ons. A window like the one pictured will open. In the upper left is the Get Add-ons button. Click it.
(If that seems like too many to you, I would say at a minimum you want NoScript, WOT, and Flashblock.)

*     *     *

Do you have a favorite TV show? Do you ever record movies?

I thought so. So I have a reading reco for you, a tutorial: How To Burn A Recorded TV Show in Windows Media Center

“Many people out there that have Windows Vista and Windows 7 based computers have never tapped into the Windows Media Center component that is right under their noses.”

* Orig post: 11/12/2010

Today’s reco’d read: Should we now expect to pay $500+ to be tablet beta-testers?

Tablet makers continue to fall short of the Apple iPad and roll out buggy and incomplete tablet devices, at prices of $500 or more, and I am getting tired of it. Aren’t you?Read More…

Today’s quote:Success is simply a matter of luck.  Ask any failure.”  ~ Earl Wilson

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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July 6, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Firefox, Google, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oops | Internet TV | Etc.

First and foremost, I need to apologize to my shamrock-influenced friends for failing to wish them a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry guys.

Next up, a short “Friday Fun” video.

Almost a year ago I wrote an article How To Watch TV On Your Computer, which mentioned Hulu, a “streaming media” portal. For those who make use of Hulu on a fairly regular basis, you may (if you haven’t already) want to download and install the Hulu Desktop app.
Hulu Desktop gives you a 10′, remote-controllable interface (for your TV).

And, for those of you who make use of Hulu on a fairly regular basis and also are using Windows Media Center on your Windows 7 PC, you can download and install Hulu Desktop Windows 7 Media Center Integration 2.0.

Hulu Desktop Integration 2.0 provides an easy way for users to go back and forth between Windows Media Center and Hulu Desktop. When clicking on HULU in Windows 7 Media Center, the software automatically closes Windows Media Center, Starts HULU Desktop Maximized in full screen. When you are done with HULU Desktop, click on Exit in the main menu, the software will automatically start Windows Media Center back up in full screen mode.

This software is aimed at people who want to have a easy way of switching with just their remote controls while sitting on the couch.

Please note.. while I did fiddle around with Hulu Desktop, I do not have a media center PC & TV hookup running, so I – personally – have not tested the integrator. However, I have seen it recommended in such reputable places as PC World magazine (so I am comfortable recommending it).
I would appreciate reader feedback on this one.

… rainstorm blowin’ in. Think I’ll stay indoors..

[related update: Wow. We just got a tornado warning.. We don’t get those. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Mateo-Co-Under-Tornado-Warning–118253114.html. I cannot remember ever hearing of one.. and I grew up here. They say the safest place is in your basement. Um.. basement? This is Kallyfornyah. Who has a basement?]

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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March 18, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, Internet, PC, software, tech, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commercial Free TV*

Using Your PC to Record and Watch TV is “Good”. No Commercials Is Better!

I used the switch to digital TV broadcasting as my excuse to stop watching TV.

Why have I stopped? Because I reached a certain Maximum Threshold of Tolerance. And, I don’t want to risk a RSI, (repetitive-stress injury) ala “carpal tunnel”, from constantly reaching for the remote so I can hit the Mute, Skip, Pause, Die You Stinking Commercial, Die !!! buttons. Also, I despise “reality TV”. I don’t think I’m alone.https://i1.wp.com/www.hrrc.org/Image/betamax.jpg

The usual method for defeating commercials is to record your desired program on a Betamax, VHS, TiVo, DVR, or Media Center PC, and then “fast forwarding” (skipping) over the commercial advertisements; which long ago failed to meet the most modest standards of taste and decorum. Or we purchase movies and watch those… a few trailers at the beginning we can tolerate.

There should be a better way, and there is.

Today’s free download: If you use Windows Media Center to record programs, there is a pure genius program, for which I would like to throw the author(s?) a parade, which will automatically strip the commercials out of your recordings. That’s right – remove. That results in smaller files, and more enjoyable entertainment.

Lifextender is a dead-simple commercial-removal application designed exclusively for Windows Vista Media Center users. There is ZERO configuration required, however, there are plenty of options if that’s your thing.

[note: Lifeextender is “donationware”, meaning you can “tip” the author any amount, if you so desire. I “tip” my geek hat, and that’s for sure!]

* Orig post: 6/17/09

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, software | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Free Online TV

This week the number one download on ZDNet is Free Online TV Player 2.0.0.8.

The Internet is awash in video content, both the kind that originates on TV and the kind only intended for online viewing. The amount of content available on the Web makes the hundreds of cable TV channels we’ve all come to expect look like a drop in the entertainment bucket. Free Online TV Player is an easy way to access streaming video in a variety of genres from around the world.”

Which doesn’t really surprise me – “free” and “TV” and “online” all being rather popular words. String them together and you have a winner, surely.

I am not a fan of TV (IMHO, it rots your brain) but I went ahead and downloaded this program anyway, so I could test it out for my readers. Since it says I can view channels from around the world, maybe I would find some show worthy of my time and attention?

Publisher’s description:
Free Online TV Player uses proprietary technology that took us over one full year to develop. Our technology locates and plays over 750+ free online TV channels right over the Internet. You get live TV broadcasts daily from around the world. No TV card or hardware to install. Just live TV streamed directly to your PC via your Internet connection.

I found that it is true that there is a huge selection of channels to choose from, and out of the 6 that I tried, 5 didn’t work and one (the SciFi Channel) showed me a commercial that I could not skip, mute, or fast-forward through. While I liked the large selection of channels, and the ability to sort through the multitude easily (by sorting them into categories.. such as genre), I do have an odd quirk, I want to see the listing by shows, not by channels, and telling me what’s-playing-right-now would be good, too.

Now I admit that my very quick testing and poking around is hardly a fair assessment. I found it installed quickly, and uninstalled smoothly and properly. Small and lightweight, it looks sharp and the menu is easy to figure out. Popular channels are listed, as well as obscure titles. C/Net’s Editors give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and as I said, it’s this week’s top download, so.. here you go: Free Online TV Player 2.0.0.8.

If someone is looking for an easy online TV viewing solution, this one is very good.” — Rick Robinette, What’s On My PC..

(Might be a great app for travelers and other road warriors… help pass the time waiting for the plane/train to board..!)

Related download: XBMC

Unrelated download:
Are you looking for a good way to sync your Outlook on multiple machines? One solution is SYNCING.NET.
PC syncing made personal

“With SYNCING.NET, keeping a desktop, laptop and notebook up-to-date in real time has never been easier or more cost-effective. We offer unique solutions for every type of individual and business. Secure data exchange solutions for your personal needs – and all without a server. 30-day free trial.”

  • Full Professional Edition functionality
  • 30-day free trial with no further obligation
  • Simple, user-friendly installation

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 16, 2010 Posted by | computers, dtv, Internet, PC, software | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Stream All Your Media – Free!

Turn Your PC Into An Internet Media Server

I came across an program that you can download and install on your PC which allows you to “serve” (aka “stream”) your stored media (recorded shows and movies, music, jpegs, etc.) over the Internet. Thus, when you are out-and-about (“mobile”) you can ‘log in’ to your “server” (your PC) and access your stuff; and/or you can share it with others.

It is called Orb, and it is feature packed and very simple to use.

“Orb MyCasting is a free service from Orb Networks that makes it easy for consumers to remotely view and share their live and recorded home and Internet TV, music, videos, photos, podcasts, and other digital media stored on their PC, from any Internet-connected device, be it a mobile phone, PDA or laptop.  MyCasting is the opposite of broadcasting, allowing you to stream your digital media when (time), where (place), and how (device) you want it.

Orb Networks is the first company to offer a single solution for enjoying virtually all of your digital media remotely, using the devices you already own.  There is no need to choose which technology path to go down to access your media remotely; other options are cumbersome and require an additional investment in yet another “cool” technology.  Orb is free and begins with one easy download: there is no hardware or software required, and no additional time needed to catalog and categorize your digital media.  You get instant access to the digital media that’s already on your PC.  Just download Orb and start MyCasting.”

I can see lots of uses for this technology whether or not you are a “road warrior” and often away from your PC. And it’s free. The folks there at Orb Networks get a big tip of my geek hat, and I encourage you to click here and visit their website. There is a short animation which demonstrates how it works, and screenshots of the many features.
(Also, you can view their Orb FAQ.)

All you need is a XP or Vista computer (to be the “server”) and a broadband Internet connection.

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

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, Simple File Sharing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment