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Computer Built-In Obsolescence (1-9-19)

Built-in obsolescence, also known a planned obsolescence, is not a conspiracy theory. It's a fact. We know this, because companies have been caught intentionally designing built-in obsolescence into their products. In fact, not only do we know that companies do this, we know who first came up with the idea. It was an American economist, Bernard London, who wrote a paper in 1932 called Ending the Depression through Planned Obsolescence... Read More

The High Cost of Technological Illiteracy in Our Society (12-31-18)

The vast majority of the world's population is technologically illiterate, and this has had a profoundly negative effect on people everywhere. Though this applies to every area of our lives in every country in the world, from the homes we live in, to the ways we transport ourselves, to the jobs we have, to the ways we think, I'll limit my comments to the computers we have in first-world countries and the ways we use them... Read More

My Computer and Me--A Romantic Comedy or a Tragedy? (12-25-18)

Over nearly 40 years, I've spent a lot of time with computers. Sometimes I've been amazed by what they can do. Other times I've wanted to rip them apart and light them on fire. It's difficult to say whether my changing feelings about computers have had more to do with some passive/aggressive streak in me or with something similar to Stockholm syndrome. Here's my story... Read More

What I Learned about the Internet by Creating My Own Website (12-19-18)

Throughout history the rich and powerful have always managed to pigeon hole the masses into the boxes they wanted them in. With the internet, we had a brief window of opportunity to change that, but now the window is closing... Read More

bwfForum : A Free Website Forum Script (12-16-18)

After creating the BabbleWeb website visitor comment PHP script, I realized that it could easily be extended into a website forum script. A week later, the result is bwfForm. The stucture of bwfForum software is so conceptually simple that anyone with a rudamentary knowledge of Linux and HTML should be able to install it in less than 15 minutes. If you would like to see it in action, you can see it running on Read More

BabbleWeb : A Free Website Visitors Comment Script (12-09-18)

I created a PHP script that enables visitors to a webpage to make comments. Then, I decided to give away the beta version of the script for free. Here's the story behind both of those decisions, and a download link... Read More

How to Host Your Own Website at Home for $2 a Year (11-30-18)

I haven't posted any articles in a few weeks, because I've been engaged in a project that has been taking up all of my time. I've been going through the exercise of setting up a website from my home on a Raspberry Pi 3. Despite the fact that this is not a project that I expect to appeal to the average person who is likely to peruse this website, I decided to post an article about the experience I went through. Hopefully this will benefit a few people who happen to stumble across it on the internet... Read More

Why I still Love My Dell Latitude E6220 (11-06-18)

The message of this article is not to suggest that everyone should rush out and buy the same computer that I own. Different needs and desires call for different computers. Some people see computers as status symbols. Some see them in terms of raw computational capability. Some see them as doorways to information. Some as a way of communicating with family and friends. Some feel about them something akin to the feeling they get when settling down in a comfy chair with a favorite book on a rainy afternoon. Some, perhaps many, hate their little electronic guts and wish they were dead. Some like to cover them with pink heart stickers. Some fear them. Some couldn't care less about them. I think I understand these feelings, because, at one time or another, I've experienced them all. With this article, I hope to encourage you to contemplate developing an attitude about computers that could possibly help you increase your happiness with the next computer you buy... Read More

Understanding File Transfer Rates (11-05-18)

The file transfer rates of a specific computer can affect its performance just as profoundly as its CPU speed. Just exactly what determines the file transfer rates of computers are not well understood by most consumers, and the advertising on the packaging of most computers, hard drives, SSD's, and flash drives only perpetuates this misunderstanding. For example, many consumers think that if they buy a USB 3.0 flash drive they will get the USB 3.0 transfer speed of the 625 MB/s advertised on the package. This couldn't be further from the truth... Read More

What You should Know about Passwords (11-01-18)

One of the issues surrounding computers and the internet that people seem to have the hardest time with is passwords. How long do they need to be? How do I a choose good passwords? How to I remember them? Can I write them down? Is it true what people are saying, that passwords are obsolete? While a password mistake can be very expensive in terms of time and money, people have turned passwords into a much bigger deal than they need to be. Here's all you need to know about passwords... Read More

Why I still don't use Windows 10 (10-31-18)

Since I've been using my own laptop for my work since early 2015, no one has forced me to switch to Windows 10. I can't tell you how nice it's been to work on a computer that I own. The fact is that I have no plans of ever switching to Windows 10. Here's why... Read More

The Importance of making Regular Backups (10-31-18)

I learned early in my career as an engineer the importance of making regular backups of everything I did. That was back in the days of floppy disks and 20 MB hard drives, when I would spend eight hours working on a document in Microsoft Office, close it at the end of the day, and find the next morning that I couldn't open it, because it had been corrupted. Apparently, for no reason at all. Nearly a day wasted... Read More

How to Fix a Slow Computer (10-30-18)

Many people can't help but notice that their one or two-year-old computer is running much slower than it was when they bought it--especially if it's a Windows computer. They start to wonder if maybe it may be time to buy a new one. Chances are good it's not. Here's why... Read More

Computers and Adulthood (10-29-18)

My mother and I have this on-going argument. She's been retired for a while now, so she's had plenty of time to learn how to use a computer. But she just hasn't. And it doesn't seem like she has any plans of ever doing so. This means that she's always asking her children to help her with anything she has to do with a computer. She can't even do a google search on the internet. I've repeatedly explained to her that she needs to know how to use a computer, and she's repeatedly made excuses for not being willing to learn... Read More

Should You Buy a Tablet? (10-29-18)

A few years ago, I let the general enthusiasm for tablet computers get the better of me. I bought a seven-inch Winbook W700 tablet for $60 that runs Windows 8.1. I almost never use it... Read More

Are Software Subscription Fees a Good Deal for Consumers? (10-28-18)

If you haven't been paying attention over the last five years or so, commercial software vendors are transitioning from allowing you to buy their software (which is now known as "perpetual licensing") to renting by the year or month (known as "subscription"). Businesses are much more affected by the licensing model than consumers, because business software is so much more expensive than consumer software. This website is consumer-oriented, so in this article I'll be addressing consumers. For the moment, we still have a limited choice about how we pay for software, but with most software the perpetual license is no longer an option... Read More

Why I've never owned an Apple Product (10-27-18)

I was in college back in the '80's when Apple first began offering discounts to students. Even though Apple would have given me a 50% discount on an new computer, I didn't bite the Apple lure. Here's why... Read More

How to make your Computer Last Longer (10-27-18)

There are only a few things that you need to remember to do to keep your computer alive as long as possible. They are simple and easy. If you do them, you may extend the life of your computer by years. Here they are, roughly in order of importance... Read More

Moore's Law is Dead: Here's the Proof (10-22-18)

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, wrote a paper giving his observation that the number of components on integrated circuits was doubling due to economic considerations roughly every year and that he expected that trend to continue for the foreseeable future. That's the same thing as saying that CPU performance is doubling every year. Sometimes we use the figure of 18 months, instead of one year, but the idea is the same. The thing that annoys me, is that people are still saying this, even though it hasn't been true for a long time... Read More

What's the Point of Cryptocurrencies? (10-22-18)

I've been thinking a lot about cryptocurrencies lately. The first time I heard about bitcoins was when one of my coworkers announced in casual conversation one day that he was mining bitcoins. "What are bitcoins?" we asked. He gave us a two or three sentence answer. "How much are they worth?" I asked. "About two cents each," he responded. "So, what's the point of that?" I asked. A little flustered, he said that they may not be worth much at that moment, but they could become more valuable later. Then his mining efforts would pay off. If he's kept the bitcoins he mined at two cents a piece, he's a multi-millionaire now. But I still find myself asking, "What's the point of cryptocurrencies? ... " Read More

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