Tech – for Everyone

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

New! A Practical Use For Your Xbox

Great News For Couch Potatos!

The feature article in this week’s Windows Secrets caught my eye, and I’m very glad it did, as what seemed frivolous at first pointed to a glimpse of our (soon to be) future. And it seems everything in our future assumes we’re sitting in front of a big screen on our couch..

The article is: Pizza and tech: An app creates the perfect combo

See? Frivolous, right? But what it means is you can now order a pizza from your Xbox (no need to interrupt that game).

But wait! There’s more (scarier) stuff thanks to the coming Xbox One (and the second generation of Kinect). The (article’s) ‘blurb’ reads…

“There’s an app for that! We’re now well into an era of mini-apps — created for smartphones, adopted by Windows 8, and now rapidly making their way onto entertainment systems and other digital devices. In a preview of things to come, a Pizza Hut app lets you order your favorite pie right from your Xbox 360 gaming/entertainment system.

.. and frankly, I almost didn’t read the article (I mean, I have a life). But I read all the way through, and that’s where it got interesting.

Xbox One will include a dramatically improved Kinect built in. It can track heartbeats, muscular movement, and even your facial expressions — which is already generating discussions about personal privacy, as reported in a June 13 Rolling Stone article. It’ll even know when you’re bored, frustrated, or scared while playing a game.

What? A box will be watching my face? And monitoring my emotions???

The new Xbox includes a built-in, 1080p camera that can “see” you more accurately — whether good or bad, your Xbox persona might actually look like you. The system’s facial recognition automatically signs you in to a specific controller. It’s said that the Xbox One/Kinect combination can even track your movements in a completely dark room (for what purpose remains to be seen).

Holy jumpin’ Jehoshaphat. Does that sound good to you? If not, this should sell you on the new Xbox One..

Xbox One’s enhanced Kinect has new voice commands, enabling such real-world tasks as calling others on Skype and ordering movie tickets. You can also open multiple screens, letting you play a game or watch a movie and chat with friends or family at the same time.

Wow. Yes. That’s what we want. No need to interrupt the Amusements.. for any one or any thing. Insane. Scratch that. Let me just leave you with this idea: hal.jpg

To read the entire article yourself, click here.; and for the “privacy concerns” article, click here. (Both are Reco’d)

Today’s quote:Open the pod bay doors, Hal.


(I am reminded of the “Chucky” movies. I mean, all you do is bring a toy (a doll, in this case) into your house… and the nightmare begins.)

* Facial recognition (and analysis).
* Listens for patterns.
* Voice recognition.
* Sees in the dark.
* Always on.
* Reporting back to the mothership (Microsoft).

No potential for problems there.
No sir.

So here’s yet another Microsoft product I wouldn’t touch with a 10′ pole. (Did I mention? I’ve been a Microsoft user since Windows 3.11?) Things are indeed changing..
Read the articles. Find out about the Xbox One.

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.

June 20, 2013 Posted by | computers, consumer electronics, Gaming, hardware, Microsoft, News, privacy, security, tech, Xbox 360 | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Questions Answered plus You Might Want To Know

For today’s Grab Bag, I am going to answer some reader questions, and point out a couple of items of interest.

Samsung E2420L 23.6" LCD Monitor - 70,000:1, 5ms, 1920X1080, VGA/DVI

Samsung E2420L 23.6″ LCD Monitor – 70,000:1, 5ms, 1920X1080, VGA/DVI
*When you use Promo Code 51D1AAE for $20.00 off

First up: we all know bigger is better (in tech, anyway). And nowhere in your “computing experience” is that more evident than the size of your monitor. There are three ways to really improve (aka “upgrade”) your computing:
1) buy fastest Internet (aka “speed”, aka “bandwidth”) and,
2) have a big, bright monitor and,
3) add RAM.

I spotted a deal today that makes upgrading to a 24″ monitor hard to resist (VGA, DVI).

Reader Questions Answered:

Q:Can you recommend some cooking games for girls?

A: I am sorry, Dear Reader, but I cannot help you out with that question. Perhaps people in the audience can help us out with some suggestions.

Q: How can I get more wifi than my roommate?”

A: Well, short of planting limiting software on their machine, you really can’t (short of bringing in your own Internet line..). But there are some ‘tweaks’ you can make to your router which can help you get as much as is possible. (See, How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth)

Q: How can I attract all the bandwidth to my Xbox via a laptop?”

A: That really isn’t how networking works. If you really want the fastest online experience, whatever the Internet-connected device, you want to use wires (aka “Ethernet cables”). If you’re using Wi Fi, you want the fewest devices accessing the ‘net as possible.. so turn off your laptop’s wifi when Xbox-ing. Unless .. you are “tethering” your Xbox to the laptop to gain a Internet connection, for some reason.. which is the worst way to do it and will have serious lag. (See, Wired or Wireless?*)

Q: Does Gigabit router multiply megabit Internet speeds?”

A: Again, that isn’t how networking works, so no, it doesn’t. Purchasing a higher service level from your ISP is the only real way to increase your Internet speed. (See, Gigabit Ethernet Didn’t Make Internet Faster)

Q: Can you put more than one virus protection on a tablet?

A: Well, you could.. but you do not want to. Antiviruses most often do not play well together. (And spend more time fighting each other than protecting you.)

Google Nexus 7" 32GB Slate Tablet - NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA ULP GeForce Graphics Card, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Google Nexus 7″ 32GB Slate Tablet – NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA ULP GeForce Graphics Card, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

SAVE 17%

Q: Is there any way to look at logs of what website my kids visited through a linksys router???

A: I know you can blacklist (block) websites but, I have not looked that deep into Linksys router config’s since, basically, when Wireless N came out (i.e. all the Linksys models I own, and support, are older) so I’d have to look up “DNS lookup logging” or “domains accessed logging” to answer that specifically. (If you set your DNS server to OpenDNS, they do free DNS logging.) You can look for a “Logs” tab in your (router’s) Control Panel. Generally speaking, I doubt your router creates logs that you could easily see where they visited.

But, if your child has erased their browser’s History, my (technician’s) advice is to install parental control/monitoring software; such as the excellent and free K9 Web Protection or Norton’s Family Protection services (Norton Family is free).

And finally.. Not a bad price on a higher-end 7″ Tablet..

That’s all I have time for today.

Today’s quote:At sixty, I know little more about wisdom than I did at thirty, but I know a great deal more about folly.” ~ Mason Cooley

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

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

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

March 25, 2013 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, performance, security, shopping for, software, tech, Xbox 360 | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Privacy Concerns Hit Facebook For $10 Million Settlement…

And Other Items Of Interest

* Facebook settles Sponsored Stories suit for $10 million

Facebook will pay $10 million in a settlement over its “Sponsored Stories” feature, which had some users up in arms about their privacy.” Read more..

* Facebook Scoops Up For $100M To Bolster Its Facial Recognition Tech

After about a month of speculation, Facebook has finally announced its acquisition of Israeli facial recognition technology” Read more..

(I see nothing creepy about websites using recognition technology.. Nothing at all.)

We’re All Abuzz Here! Department:

* Microsoft Media Event hits at 3:30PM PST in Hollywood

This morning the folks at Microsoft are releasing the details for the special media event that will take place tonight revealing no less than a spectacular surprise the likes of which we’ve not yet heard, but certainly have been tipped off about.Read more..

Yes folks. I can hardly wait for this.

I’m on the edge on my seat.


* Mozilla creates Firefox Junior, an iPad browser

Mozilla at a recent presentation unveiled what it believes is the browser of the future, Firefox Junior, which it built for the iPad.Read more..

(I hope not everything “for the future” is going to be a ‘watered down for the iPad’ version… But.)

* Xbox leak reveals Kinect 2, augmented reality glasses

If a leaked document (part of which is shown above) is to be believed, the next Xbox will make use of augmented reality glasses. This much we know: Despite their silence on the subject, Microsoft is working on the next incarnation of the Xbox.” Read more..

(“Augmented reality” eyeglasses?? Hmmm…. I see possibilities..)

Off-topic (but important):

* Think you know about crime in the U.S.? Think again

Forget, for a moment, everything you think you know about the crime rate. Because it’s probably wrong.Read more..

(Highly reco’d read.)

Today’s quotable quote:If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

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

June 18, 2012 Posted by | computers, consumer electronics, Internet, Microsoft, News, tech | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grand Theft Auto IV unleashed

There are many happy people out there today. They’re happy because the long wait for the next Grand Theft Auto is over. GTA 4 is now available for the Xbox and Playstation game consoles.

Developed by Rockstar North, and distributed by Take-Two Interactive, GTA 4 is the ninth release of this hugely popular title, and the first of its “fourth generation”. This reworked and ‘new’  generation of GTA’s features a new environment (modeled on NY city) and has graphics and gameplay that the gaming magazines and review sites are giving their highest scores. (Some have called the game “nearly perfect”.)
IGN rated the game a 10 out of 10 in nearly every category, and awarded it its Editor’s Choice… and a reviewer says, “Every facet of Rockstar’s new masterpiece is worthy of applause.
It is Rated M (for mature).

* This will put parents in a tough spot– your kid will want this game.. really, really badly.

You may have heard of “Grand Theft Auto”.. the name may be ringing some bells. Why? Because Grand Theft Auto (particularly the title San Andreas) is the poster child for video games being too violent, leading to the erosion of civic morality, and being a cause of the increase in crime.
Grand Theft Auto has been called a “murder simulator”.. and “How to be a gangster 101”. When some ultra-Right winger calls for the banning of video games, they invariably trot out Grand Theft Auto– San Andreas as their cause célèbre… and point out that in the game, you gain points for killing policemen.

* If you’re a parent, and you have a kid not old enough to buy this game themselves, and they’re begging you to get it for them, they will show you articles about how Rockstar has changed its ways and toned all this down in GTA IV. Such as, “it’s gone legit. Oh sure, you’ll still blow up cop cars, run down innocent civilians, bang hookers, assist drug dealers and lowlifes and do many, many other bad deeds, but at a cost to main character Niko Bellic’s very soul. GTA IV gives us characters and a world with a level of depth previously unseen in gaming and elevates its story from a mere shoot-em-up to an Oscar-caliber drama.” (from IGN)

Folks, I have not played any of the GTA series; they simply haven’t appealed to me. I am not going to label it “good” nor “bad”. I will tell you this, GTA 4 is expected to set new records for game sales.

I am not going to tell you how to raise your child.

I am not going to speculate, nor debate, whether there’s too much violence and realism in video games.. and whether or not this has some detrimental psychological effect on those who play them.

I am just going to say this: in this particular instance, there are very good reasons why there’s a “Rated M” on the box.

Today’s free link: for those of you who need to replace the expired “trial” antivirus, and want a free replacement, Avira AntiVir Personal Edition is a good choice (if for some reason you’re not happy with the new AVG, for instance).

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

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April 28, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, Sony PlayStation, tech, Xbox 360 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments