Roam for the holidays? You'd better watch out
Print / Digital
December 21, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Despite an economy that's still wobbly, Americans are traveling for the holidays, and an informal poll I conducted by asking pretty much everyone I know appears to indicate that holiday travel has increased this year, with more people traveling, but going shorter distances.

Yes, Santa can bring the game to a soldier
Print / Digital
December 7, 2010 Cape Cod Times

I received an e-mail from a Sandwich woman who has a grandson serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, asking me for advice on how to best handle a Christmas present request from her grandson.

The encyclopedic approach to organize life
Print / Digital
November 23, 2010 Cape Cod Times

A few weeks ago I spent a frustrating afternoon looking for a phone number that I knew I had somewhere. That fruitless search caused me to sit in quiet frustration, contemplating the miserable state of my information management abilities.

Technology gives new shape to the humble T-shirt as a marketing tool
Print / Digital
November 9, 2010 Cape Cod Times

It's not uncommon for visitors to describe Cape Cod as an escape from reality, and I can understand that, because it's a laid back place where fun happens. Ever since reunification with America in 2006,

Technology and the corner office
Print / Digital
October 26, 2010 Cape Cod Times

When the polls open next Tuesday, for the first time, a generation of voters who quite literally grew up on the Internet will cast their ballots.

Tech puts a network in your reach
Print / Digital
October 19, 2010 Cape Cod Times

The Greek philosopher Epicurus spent a great deal of time thinking up the sort of bite-sized quotes that package ideas in easy-to-understand ways.

Hey Google, where are you going?
Print / Digital
October 5, 2010 Cape Cod Times

The most recent round of excitement centers upon the new search scheme — called Google Instant Search — that the company unveiled last month that alters the basic search process on the site.

Upgrading your computer's brain and heart
Print / Digital
September 14, 2010 Cape Cod Times

At a recent dinner party, the topic of upgrading or replacing your personal computer came up. As the discussion centered on how difficult it is to make sense of the dozen models of processors (and the many variants of each model), and which is the best choice, I was asked what I thought was the best CPU.

Surviving a week without technology
Print / Digital
August 31, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Last month, in the midst of what was otherwise a pleasant conversation with my editor, I heard him say the words, "Next month, I want you to spend a week without modern technology, then write about it for your column. It will be fun!"

High-tech treasure hunt on Cape
Print / Digital
August 17, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Every day, all over the world, an estimated five million people hunt for and hide caches just like this, each one playing a game that officially began 10 years ago, when Dave Ulmer of Beaver Creek, Ore., placed the first geocache (then called a GPS stash) off of a hiking trail near his home.

Upgrading? Now's the time to seize power
Print / Digital
August 3, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Canadian economist, writer, and humorist Stephen Leacock once observed that "electricity is of two kinds, positive and negative. The difference is, I presume, that one comes a little more expensive, but is more durable; the other is a cheaper thing, but the moths get into it."

The elephant in the TV room, watching HD
Print / Digital
July 20, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Today, I'll tell you about HDTV, but it is not going to be one of those columns where I get all technical. In fact, my goal in this column is to demystify what is, according to a plethora of surveys and studies, a very confusing issue.

A couple of case studies in cool computing
Print / Digital
July 06, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Many options when buying a computer center on the type of CPU or video card, how much RAM is installed, or whether it has Ethernet built-in.

Future shocker: predictions were wrong
Print / Digital
June 22, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Even being something of a pack rat, I was surprised to learn just how many boxes of old magazines I had in the storage area next door to my home office.

Making faces at Facebook privacy policy
Print / Digital
June 8, 2010 Cape Cod Times

During the past two months, Facebook and its founders have faced numerous challenges over privacy issues that have had significant impact on the users of the social networking site, as well as calling into question the ethics of Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, company co-founder and CEO.

The right accessories make all the difference
Print / Digital
May 25, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Every few years, the folks who make video game consoles release a new version, and the folks who make and write about video games revisit the notion that PC Gaming is dead.

Think it's a private post? Think again
Print / Digital
May 11, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Recent changes to personal information privacy policy on the massive social networking site Facebook has Congress concerned — and users confronting the startling fact that they may have suddenly lost control of their personal information

Naming names and making money on the Net
Print / Digital
April 27, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Not too long ago, experts thought that English would one day grow to become the international language, imagining that the influence and prominence of business superpowers would directly influence language trends in their regions.

Computer upgrades: The right keyboard is ... key
Print / Digital
April 13, 2010 Cape Cod Times

There are other ways to improve both your computer and your computing experience — something that will serve as an occasoinal series of Digital Grind columns.

Answer cyberbullying with silence
Print / Digital
March 30, 2010 Cape Cod Times

According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team Web site, "Cyberbullying refers to the new, and growing, practice of using technology to harass, or bully, someone else."

Battle lines drawn in the tablet wars
Print / Digital
March 16, 2010 Cape Cod Times

In January of this year, the iPad garnered a great deal of media coverage as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs sat on a stage in California and introduced a product that he is certain will fill a gap in our lives that we do not even know exists.

Is that thing on? Better assume it is
Print / Digital
March 2, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Chances are very good if you are reading this in a public place, you are being watched "» No, not that guy with the cup of coffee on the corner — look further up — see that camera?

When memories are stuck on tape
Print / Digital
February 16, 2010 Cape Cod Times

I was aware that data tapes had a finite life span, just as I was aware that CD -R media has a ticking time limit. But somehow I never made the connection when it came to our videotape collection.

Save the date … it's time to clean your PC
Print / Digital
February 2, 2010 Cape Cod Times

A little digging online revealed that the Institute for Business Technology was behind designating the second Monday in February as National Clean Out Your Computer Day.

Google got targeted, so why not you?
Print / Digital
January 19, 2010 Cape Cod Times

I have explained in some detail why Internet Explorer is not safe to use, covered the fact that because it is embedded in the Windows operating system, malicious code can get it to do things that security software cannot detect, and explained why its main interface to the computer is a bad thing.

Untangling solutions for resolutions
Print / Digital
January 5, 2010 Cape Cod Times

Let us talk for a moment about the month of January - which is named for the Roman god Janus. The ancient Romans thought of Janus as their god of gates and doors, and he was highly regarded for the good fortune he could bestow upon you...

Got a gamer? Give a good gadget
Print / Digital
December 22, 2009 Cape Cod Times

The recent trend in gaming gadgets has matured in the past few years, from the usual peripherals like console cameras for video chat, game pads, and joysticks, to special controllers for specific games.

The 12 games of Christmas
Print / Digital
December 8, 2009 Cape Cod Times

The holiday season is upon us, and you probably managed to take care of the lion's share of your gift list on the weekend kicked off by Black Friday — but those were the easy gifts. Selecting just the right video game to give can be difficult...

At tech show, the future comes calling
Print / Digital
November 24, 2009 Cape Cod Times

In a nutshell, the New York show, CES Unveiled, provides the press and analysts an opportunity to get an early peek at what is going to be popular with consumers for Christmas and beyond, and I must admit that this year's event featured some tech I believe you are going to like.

Nokia ahead of the Curve
Print / Digital
November 10, 2009 Cape Cod Times

That familiar smart phone format may be on its way out as the industry recognizes that consumers want more from their phones. More finger room on the keyboard, more screen space, more networked features

Fool's gold? Think twice before rushing into this
Print / Digital
October 27, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Chances are, you have seen the commercials for a company called Cash4Gold, a frequent advertiser on daytime and late-night television

Give - but take note of who's taking
Print / Digital
October 13, 2009 Cape Cod Times

While searching the Web the other day for information on Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," I accidentally ended up on a page hosted by a Web site called Digital Charity (www.digitalcharity.com) that allows people to request donations via PayPal.

How to thwart digital Armageddon
Print / Digital
September 29, 2009 Cape Cod Times

In this day and age, everything is on computer — bank records, medical records, data of every sort, and these computers exist on networks that are connected to other networks. It is an Achilles heel that until last year was never seriously exploited. Unfortunately — if you will allow me another analogy — Pandora's Box has been opened, and we cannot put the evil back inside.

How printer companies stay in the black
Print / Digital
September 15, 2009 Cape Cod Times

My printer ran out of ink today. I was in the middle of printing a spreadsheet and it beeped at me in a forlorn, pay-attention-to-me way that I know from past experience means trouble.

Schadenfreude, in five-minute doses
Print / Digital
September 1, 2009 Cape Cod Times

If that sounds like the plot of a few movies you saw this summer, or the theme used by one of your favorite comedians, that is no coincidence. Regardless of how inappropriate it may feel, this staple of amusement is so ingrained into our psyche that I would be surprised if Schroedinger's cat did not laugh at Pavlov's dog!

Call centers - and collaring some help
Print / Digital
August 18, 2009 Cape Cod Times

In a perfect world where problems actually are simple, a well-designed IVR system would be a boon to mankind. Sadly, this is not a perfect world

There's much more than cup holders inside
Print / Digital
August 4, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Significant progress has been made in the area of automotive technology over the course of the last decade, and I am happy to announce that cup holders are no longer the first thing people ask about when they look at a new car.

Steps for parents to help ensure safe surfing
Print / Digital
July 21, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Now let us discuss what steps we can take to protect our children and ourselves from the idiots online, shall we? While this may seem like a complicated issue, it really is not, and I will keep it as simple as I can.

The global village online has its idiots
Print / Digital
July 7, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Last Thursday in Los Angeles, US District Court Judge George Wu overturned the verdict in the case of the United States vs. Lori Drew — a case you may have heard of.

Good heavens! You want to name a star?
Print / Digital
June 23, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Recently, my friend Justin asked me for my opinion about what star he should pick as a gift for his brother and soon-to-be sister in-law. He had found a Web site that sold you the right to pick a star out of their online catalog and name it. For a paltry $89.95

Video games contain not-so-good grief
Print / Digital
June 9, 2009 Cape Cod Times

With increasing profits and expanding franchise opportunities, you might think that game studios have a pretty good handle on what their customers want — high-quality gaming entertainment is an obvious point — though a negative trend is appearing in video games that may be a symptom of the cost-cutting and downsizing.

Making good work for idle computers
Print / Digital
May 26, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Have you ever heard of distributed computing? It is a technological approach for processing complex and large data sources that harnesses the idle CPU cycles of computers connected to the Internet to preform tasks that are both essential to scientific research and almost always a purely volunteer effort.

Think your car's secure? Ask Kam
Print / Digital
May 12, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Last year on a trip into Boston, I locked my keys in my van in the Braintree commuter lot. After a few minutes of hunting through my pack, jacket, and pockets, my wife thought to look in the van and there they were, happily snugged in the ignition socket.

In new Windows, Microsoft makes the switch
Print / Digital
April 28, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Microsoft's recent release of an early version of Windows 7 has revealed that the new operating system contains a kill switch that will allow the user to disable certain programs that come installed with the OS — most notably, Windows Internet Explorer, DVD Creator, and Media Player.

Way-out plug-ins for your computer
Print / Digital
April 14, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Anyone stuck in a cube farm or chained to a desk surrounded by their coworkers can appreciate the need for a computer-controlled personal missile launching system like the Laser Guided Missile Launcher

The scouting report on netbooks
Print / Digital
March 31, 2009 Cape Cod Times

PC manufacturers are a predictable lot, interested in finding new and innovative ways to expand their customer base and improve both the technology that they sell, and its ergonomic form.

You should back up if you want to stay ahead
Print / Digital
March 17, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Anyone who regularly uses a computer and the Net can tell you that information piles up, from e-mail to programs — even the bookmark files on your Web browser can become unwieldy after a few months of surfing the Net

Teens, phones and some common sense
Print / Digital
March 3, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Teenagers often do dumb things - for a variety of reasons - though I suspect that the leading cause of regret among teenagers is their natural inability to foresee consequences for what they are about to do.

Questions from the electronic mailbag
Print / Digital
February 24, 2009 Cape Cod Times

For nearly 30 years, personal computers have existed — often peacefully — within our homes, providing us with services from the mundane to the fantastic

Memory failing you? Try a tune-up
Print / Digital
February 3, 2009 Cape Cod Times

As I gained a better understanding of how Windows functioned — or did not function, depending upon how you look at it — I stumbled upon online posts that related to the memory stack and a little thing called "Resource Management."

Weather or not? The Web can tell
Print / Digital
January 20, 2009 Cape Cod Times

Harsh wind whipped the snow and sand as Samuel O. Fisher lit the oil lantern that he would use for the first half of his patrol, heading down the dunes to the beach at Race Point near Provincetown

Ready? The future is almost now
Print / Digital
January 6, 2009 Cape Cod Times

In 1965, Gordon Moore, an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor who would later be one of the founding partners in a little shop called Intel

Tops on this year's tech wish list
Print / Digital
December 23, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Speaking of lists, I've been compiling a list of my own — mostly from when I attended the 2009 International Computer Electronics Show press unveiling in New York last month

Married - in a galaxy far, far away
Print / Digital
December 9, 2008 Cape Cod Times

I was expecting a wedding invitation to arrive from Holland, where two of my online friends were in the process of organizing their wedding, and it did arrive but it was not what I was expecting at all.

Technology's future comes calling
Print / Digital
November 25, 2008 Cape Cod Times

When I approached the table I was greeted by Kazuhiro Kitagawa, the head programmer from PUCC, the P2P Universal Computing Consortium, and Anh Nguyen, the Project Coordinator from JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization.

The fox monitoring the gamers
Print / Digital
November 11, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Our Reynard is not a fox — in fact, it is the name of a government project that was revealed earlier this year in a declassified report to Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,

Candidates come in two speeds on the Web
Print / Digital
October 28, 2008 Cape Cod Times

There are a lot of reasons for complaining about the Internet, from slow speed to spam to online fraud, and now I almost caught myself complaining about a political ad appearing in my online video game.

Warm, fuzzy world on the Web for kids
Print / Digital
October 14, 2008 Cape Cod Times

They each have their own computers — our old-model laptops that we handed down to them — computers that are fine for school work and casual Web surfing, but then this is not about that, it is about logging into Webkinz

Ordinary people with a Super goal
Print / Digital
September 30, 2008 Cape Cod Times

A few days ago, I finished an audio book, "Book of Lies" by Brad Meltzer, and at the very end was an author's note that took me on a journey of discovery

On the Web, a prescription for disaster
Print / Digital
September 16, 2008 Cape Cod Times

"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,'"

Rendering 'Fair Use' fairly useless
Print / Digital
September 2, 2008 Cape Cod Times

The Sky is Falling! There, I did it. I told you and you've been warned. Well, maybe it's not exactly falling — more like, maybe going to fall if a handful of Congressmen have their way

Keeping away from digital regret
Print / Digital
August 19, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Have you ever heard of a Reputation Management Consultant? It was a new one on me but, as it turns out, it is one of many new careers that sprang into existence due to problems that were created by the Internet.

Giving new life to old computers
Print / Digital
August 5, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Technology is a funny thing, especially when it is driven by an industry that leverages social interests and trends to dictate the rate at which it declares new standards. The PC industry is a perfect example of that trend.

The Blue Screen of Death just got deadlier
Print / Digital
July 22, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Is Microsoft Internet Explorer your preferred Web browsing program? If so, you need to be careful when you surf the Web. Let me put this another way: If you use MSIE, you are being targeted. . .

Don't let your Inbox be a crime scene
Print / Digital
July 15, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Like most people, I have a routine that I practice each day; get up, feed the cat, make the coffee, and check my e-mail. Checking my e-mail actually involves several accounts. . .

It's wise to check the fine print online
Print / Digital
June 24, 2008 Cape Cod Times

In July 2000, President Clinton signed into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. . .

Bride scams: From Russia with ... felonious intent
Print / Digital
June 10, 2008 Cape Cod Times

With California good looks, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Lillu offers what many lonely men are looking for: "I am sociable, kind, responsive, respectable. Also I am good interlocutor and polite," she declares on a Russian bride Web site.

Heard any good books lately?
Print / Digital
May 27, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Traffic between the Otis and Bourne rotaries has come to a halt, moving in car-length spurts every minute as tourists unfamiliar with the rotary cautiously nose in to make room for the next car.

All's fair? Not in the music industry
Print / Digital
May 13, 2008 Cape Cod Times

"Beware of strange faces and dark dingy places, be careful while bending the law; and the house you live in will never fall down if you pity the stranger who stands at your door." The lyrics above are from a Gordon Lightfoot song called "The House You Live In" and I cannot think of a more appropriate way to begin this column

Meet Mr. Malware, and see how to avoid him
Print / Digital
April 29, 2008 Cape Cod Times

Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov has nothing to worry about, certainly not the police or authorities in far-away America. Known by some as the Godfather of Credit Card Fraud, Golubov was briefly arrested in July 2005 at the ripe old age of 22, his arrest hailed as a great victory in the war on computer crime

Prepaid cards limit exposure when shopping online
Print / Digital
April 15, 2008 Cape Cod Times
April 17, 2008 AARP Bulletin

In a Moscow apartment rented under a false name, the systems administrator of a small organized crime group sits before racks of computers minding the store...

Keeping 'wardrivers' away from your Wi-Fi
Print / Digital
April 1, 2008 Cape Cod Times
April 5, 2008 AARP Bulletin

The blue minivan eased to the curb, its engine idling, its driver glancing around and then picking up the notebook computer propped on the passenger seat. Nobody in the neighborhood gave it a second glance...

Two gracious and helpful LAPD Officers outside of UCLA's Galen Center for the Microsoft Press Briefing at E3 2013.
The Digital Grind Column was born from a suggestion by Cape Cod Times Business Editor Bryan Lantz that a bi-weekly tech column would fit in very nicely with the new voice and presence that the Business Section was carving out.


Sometimes, there's fun in funding
Print / Digital
October 28, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter gets used and sometimes abused...

What to watch with Windows 10
Print / Digital
October 14, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Clearly interest is high with respect to the new OS, and while I cannot answer all of the questions that I have received, I will cover the most common....

In the cloud, the forecast always calls for caution
Print / Digital
September 30, 2014 Cape Cod Times

The recent celebrity nude photo hacking scandal has drawn attention to the fact that most of the people who use technology like iCloud aren't really sure what it is. Or how it works.

Change your iPad - or boost its storage
Print / Digital
September 16, 2014 Cape Cod Times

The ever-increasing demands of new apps means that poor performance is usually behind any decision to replace the device. Despite the wide number of models available, the aging technology makes the decision about replacement a lot easier.

Need storage? Think outside the box
Print / Digital
August 19, 2014 Cape Cod Times

In my last column, I covered things to look for when shopping for a laptop. That brought a fair response of people asking about PC upgrades, and it seems the biggest need is adding hard drive space.

Some notable qualities to seek in notebooks
Print / Digital
August 5, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Over the past two weeks, I've experienced a sharp increase in the amount of email seeking advice about what to look for in a new PC.

Connections to the unexpected
Print / Digital
July 22, 2014 Cape Cod Times

The concept of "the Internet of everything" is all the rage lately. Not everything can be connected to the Internet "» yet. But here are some cool things that can — via Wi-Fi.

Getting to know Siri and friends
Print / Digital
July 8, 2014 Cape Cod Times

While Apple was first to bring the voice assistant into the market, it is no longer unique to Apple's products. It is becoming a standard smartphone feature.

Wi-Fi? Games? TV? Airlines say, we got that
Print / Digital
June 24, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Between June 1 and Aug. 31, an estimated 210 million passengers will fly on U.S. carriers, according to the trade organization Airlines for America. That's an increase of 1.5 percent from the same period last year.

Rumors of a new iPhone bring questions
Print / Digital
June 10, 2014 Cape Cod Times

For Apple, product secrecy is a serious issue. When details about a next-gen iPhone leak out, it can have a chilling effect on sales for the current generation.

Ask and you'll find it online
Print / Digital
May 12, 2014 Cape Cod Times

What makes the Internet good is knowing how to ask the right questions. Doing that will invariably lead you to a positive Internet experience.

Search and seizure in the age of smartphones
Print / Digital
April 29, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case of a South Boston man whose 2007 arrest on simple drug charges turned into a much larger drug-distribution case because of evidence found on his cellphone.

Be very wary of the DarkNet
Print / Digital
April 15, 2014 Cape Cod Times

The source for all of these is something called the DarkNet, or DeepWeb. While it exists as part of the same Internet you use every day, it cannot be reached via normal Web browsers.

Password protection that passes muster
Print / Digital
March 18, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Each year security company Splashdata releases its list of the most common (and by most common they really mean overused and insecure) passwords culled from password files stolen each year and posted online. This year, the list contained a surprise.

Solid firewall is key for staying secure
Print / Digital
March 4, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Keeping your systems patched and up-to-date and surfing responsibly are a good start. But the foundation of your network security is found in a device called a firewall-router.

Cape's present in a winning presentation app
Print / Digital
February 18, 2014 Cape Cod Times

In the business world there are two types of presentations: ones that explains how things will be from now on, and ones pitched by people who hope to convince that whatever they're promoting is best.

XP set to Expire - Sort of
Print / Digital
February 4, 2014 Cape Cod Times

If your computer is running Microsoft Windows XP — and that's roughly 30 percent of the PCs in use today, according to website NetMarketShare — you need to be aware that on April 8, Microsoft will withdraw all support for XP.

Cool gadgets at Show
Print / Digital
January 21, 2014 Cape Cod Times

This year, the dominant technology includes a hydrogen-fueled car, wearable personal tech, a new video game platform called Steam Machines. . .

Are private messages going public in ads?
Print / Digital
January 7, 2014 Cape Cod Times

Being the absolutely reliable perennial source for controversy that it is, Facebook has recently been accused of yet another privacy-violating profiteering tactic — this time, involving private messages.

Data theft doesn't need to be in the cards
Print / Digital
December 24, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The black market for stolen credit card data is huge worldwide, with card numbers usually sold in large blocks, and valued at anywhere from 10 cents to as much as $4 each, depending upon the issuer, the card type, and credit limit available.

Tech: Holiday gifts for your geek
Print / Digital
December 10, 2013 Cape Cod Times
December 10, 2013 New Bedford Standard-Times

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, you have very likely managed to get the easy gifts on your list by now.

It's virtual: Can Bitcoin ever be viable?
Print / Digital
November 26, 2013 Cape Cod Times

In very simple terms, Bitcoin is an online currency that is the face of a decentralized financial network, through which people send payments to each other.

In update, Microsoft feels - and eases - your pain
Print / Digital
November 12, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Last month Microsoft released the first major update for its newest operating system, Windows 8, appropriately named Windows 8.1.

A drive for safety with a teen at the wheel
Print / Digital
October 29, 2013 Cape Cod Times

That soothing voice is available at the touch of a button, offering assistance in many forms, from directions to emergency services, and even dining advice.

Innovations, brought to you by individuals
Print / Digital
October 15, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The typical crowdsourced product creator is a tech-savvy individual or small group seeking to solve small problems. By going directly to consumers for funding they've created a very different sort of advance in tech; one far more personal, accessible, and visible.

iPhone upgrade like a new phone
Print / Digital
October 1, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Recently, Apple unveiled two new models, and sure enough, there was a shortage of the gold-cased version of the more expensive iPhone 5S.

Here comes a new Grand Theft Auto - prepare for backlash
Print / Digital
September 17, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Like clockwork, within weeks, a media backlash flares up, taking the game to task for its excessive and very graphic violence, its focus on perpetrating victim-based crime, and central themes that celebrate drugs and alcohol.

Smartphones, long live the revolution
Print / Digital
September 3, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Some time late last year the number of smartphones in use surpassed 1 billion worldwide, according to technology analysis firm Strategy Analytics. By my math, that works out to a user base of roughly 16 percent of the global population.

Making sure hard drives don’t make driving harder
Print / Digital
August 19, 2013 Cape Cod Times

In modern cars, computers play a central role in everything from braking and timing to climate control and on-board entertainment. And computers, of course, draw hackers.

Personal history lessons on the Web
Print / Digital
August 13, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The first step to discovering your family tree starts with calling upon parents and grandparents for information to get you started. This we did, and they were a valuable source not just for names and dates, but for stories that added to the narrative. Once we exhausted their knowledge, though, it was time to hit the 'Net.

Benefits add up with prepaid cellphone plans
Print / Digital
July 23, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The basic model for cellphone ownership and service today is very similar to what it was back when the phones was relatively new and a lot more expensive: a multi-year contract, a subsidized phone and a credit check before service is offered.

Many paths of perils on the Web
Print / Digital
July 9, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Yahoo recently announced plans to "recycle" old email account names, despite concerns by security experts that the move could place the original owners of the accounts at risk.

What does PRISM mean for your privacy?
Print / Digital
June 24, 2013 Cape Cod Times

In simple terms, the PRISM program – officially known as US-984XN – is one of a series of data gathering programs that partly operates under the shield of the “Five-Eyes Alliance” of 1946,

For Windows, a greater 8
Print / Digital
June 11, 2013 Cape Cod Times

At an industry event in Boston last month, Microsoft told us about the first major, free upgrade to Windows 8, which they are calling Windows 8.1, and announced that the upgrades path for the system will be annual, rather than several small upgrades throughout the year.

Web wizardry comes easy these days
Print / Digital
May 28, 2013 Cape Cod Times

When the Web was first being created at CERN, its author, Tim Berners-Lee, predicted that it would take six months for all users to have the ability to author pages on it. More than 20 years later, we're just about there.

3D printing: Leave gun, bring creativity
Print / Digital
May 14, 2013 Cape Cod Times

In Texas, a startup called Defense Distributed has managed to create a design for a printable gun for 3D printers. After testing it, the company put the design files online so that anyone can download them and, presumably, print their own plastic handgun.

Making way for a digital executor
Print / Digital
April 30, 2013 Cape Cod Times

It wasn't that the (often outsourced) help desk agents did not want to assist. They were unable to do so because death was not an option "» at least in the process-resolution software being used. The best help came from account-security teams at corporate headquarters — not the help desk.

A milestone in how we see the world
Print / Digital
April 23, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Yesterday, a tireless worker and entertainer who's touched most of our lives turned 20 years old, but nobody threw a party. It's the graphical user interface to the World Wide Web — better known as the Web browser.

Max Headroom was just the start
Print / Digital
April 2, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The basic premise for Max was of a dystopic and depressed near-future dominated by TV and mega-corporations, a terrible thing to experience. In an ironic turn, Max was signed as the celebrity spokesman for New Coke: "Ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-catch the wave!"

No cable, no problem
Print / Digital
March 19, 2013 Cape Cod Times

. . . nearly 7 million consumers across the country dropped their cable and dish service in 2011, opting for either much less expensive Internet-based TV, free over-the-air programming, or a combination of the two.

Google Glass: You can see the future
Print / Digital
March 5, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Brin began his talk by using some of the precious little time provided — each speaker at TED gets 18 minutes — by ignoring the audience while he read his email on stage.

Tech: A crime scene in your hands
Print / Digital
February 19, 2013 Cape Cod Times

The difference between TV and real life is that, today, the crime scene for most Cape Codders is more likely to be your computer or your phone, and crime scene tape doesn't come in that size yet.

Gifts with heart - and a tech twist
Print / Digital
February 5, 2013 Cape Cod Times

There is no reason why you cannot have a little fun in executing your plan for a romantic repast,

Protecting kids online: It's all about the data
Print / Digital
January 22, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Today, the most common question is still how to make Internet surfing safe for your kids, but the answers are a lot more difficult. In just five years, the very nature of what we mean when we say "surfing the 'Net" has changed radically.

Some cool but warm accessories
Print / Digital
January 8, 2013 Cape Cod Times

Winter in New England comes with special effects like visual breath, shivering, and numb fingers — conditions that can make using your phone a challenge when you are out and about, particularly if you have a smartphone with a capacitive touch screen, because that nifty piece of tech actually detects when it has been touched by a finger or fingers.

What to get your geek
Print / Digital
December 4, 2012 Cape Cod Times

It used to be so much easier to shop for your geek. Twenty years ago, you could get by with the newest revision of the "Dungeon Master's Guide" and a few Dungeons & Dragons scenario packs.

Dealing with death in the online world
Print / Digital
November 20, 2012 Cape Cod Times

A good friend of mine started out in the newspaper industry writing obituaries, and when I asked her what that was like, writing about death all the time, her reply surprised me: "We don't write about death, we write about life; it's just that someone has to die for us to do it."

Microsoft's Windows 8 got game
Print / Digital
November 6, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Much of the media coverage of Microsoft's new operating system fixates on its touchscreen capabilities — and based on the volume of worried emails I've gotten, that's got many people concerned.

Tech winter driving kit
Print / Digital
October 23, 2012 Cape Cod Times

With winter approaching, there are certain chores that have to be done. Naturally, my list included things like swapping screens for storm windows and winterizing the lawn mower.

Don't let Internet security fade away
Print / Digital
October 9, 2012 Cape Cod Times

If there had been an Internet in 1940, MacArthur might have been a hacker as well as a general, because that observation perfectly frames the philosophy of most hackers. (A note on terminology: Hackers are largely benign, if curious. Crackers are the ones who want to steal your money or identity, are content to watch the world burn, and might even light the fire themselves.)

Boots-Faubert: Reviews new iPhone 5
Print / Digital
September 25, 2012 Cape Cod Times

When Apple launched the iPhone 4S last October, there was great excitement despite the fact that the 4S was really just a minor upgrade, offering so little in improvements that buying it made more sense for people who didn't already own an iPhone.

Don't fault Amazon for buy-the-book
Print / Digital
11 September 2012 Cape Cod Times

In April, the U.S. Justice Department and 15 states filed suit against Apple and a group of major book publishers, alleging that they conspired to fix the price for e-books.

Power without power
Print / Digital
28 August 2012, Cape Cod Times

The 70,000 people who gathered in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention had to deal with an uninvited guest — Tropical Storm Isaac — which grazed the city with drenching rain on its march across the Gulf of Mexico.

Clouds roll in … storm to follow?
Print / Digital
August 14, 2012 Cape Cod Times

The inspiration for the term "cloud computing" originates from the symbol commonly used in network flowcharts to represent the Internet. In simple terms, cloud computing describes storing data and running programs or computing environments remotely,via the Internet.

These days, anyone can be a star
Print / Digital
July 31, 2012 Cape Cod Times

More than 50 years ago, tech pioneer Leonard Kleinrock wrote a paper describing how to build a communications network that could spread pretty much everywhere and that could survive pretty much anything.

Thumbs up for thumb drives
Print / Digital
July 17, 2012 Cape Cod Times

These days, many people think nothing of walking around with several gigabytes of data in their pocket. That's the equivalent of rooms full of books.

With large files, it can be better to wing it
Print / Digital
July 3, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Today, creating a home network takes about as much thought and effort as doing your weekly grocery shopping. You go to your local electronics store and pick a router and the devices you require, and take them home.

Industry gives the game away - sort of
Print / Digital
June 12, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Each June, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is where the game industry goes to reboot and get ready for a new gaming season. Upcoming titles are revealed, and the industry shares its vision for where gaming will go for the next year and beyond.

How the game is played
Print / Digital
June 5, 2012 Cape Cod Times

In the realm of video game development, there is an established pattern historically dominating the industry as new players emerge. This generally begins in a modest birth, often in the garage or basement of one of the founders. That is generally followed by the development of its first game. If that succeeds, it leads to the establishment of more formal facilities and as success piles on top of success the creation of a proper campus and corporate offices.

State takes on a Web of lies
Print / Digital
May 22, 2012 Cape Cod Times

White-collar crime is a criminal activity that the FBI defines in very simple terms: lying, cheating, and stealing. The term, reportedly coined in 1939, is now synonymous with the full range of fraud that destroys companies, devastates families, and costs us billions of dollars each year — and, increasingly, the Internet is the venue of choice for the new white-collar criminal.

Tech and the art of golf
Print / Digital
May 8, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Its widely accepted that golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century, and in its earliest form involved hitting a pebble with a stick amongst sand dunes. After a few hundred years of hitting pebbles around the beach, golfers began to experiment with hitting different objects...

Making a case for iPad functionality
Print / Digital
April 24, 2012 Cape Cod Times

In January 2010, when Jobs made that introduction, the new industry of iPad peripherals and add-on devices did not exist, obviously — and even today the vast majority of iPad cases are little more than storage sleeves that offer at least some protection.

Ghosts in the machine
Print / Digital
April 10, 2012 Cape Cod Times

By the time that the operation came to the notice of the FBI, an estimated 4 million computers in over 100 countries had been compromised by DNSChanger, and 500,000 of those infections were in the United States.

An unwelcome, pricey feature on cellphones
Print / Digital
March 27, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Last month, Cape resident Maria Galvao discovered first-hand what cramming is when she opened her Verizon Wireless bill and discovered that the total was more than she was expecting. It was a lot more, as it turns out, because her phone bill had been growing each month. . .

Is three the charm for Apple's iPad?
Print / Digital
March 13, 2012 Cape Cod Times

There are three questions on your minds, it seems: Should I sell or give away my iPad and buy the new iPad? Should I give away or trade in my iPad 2 for a new iPad? And the last question is should I buy a new iPad?

Wi-Fi security really isn't rocket science
Print / Digital
March 6, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Did you hear about the laptop that was stolen from NASA containing codes that control the International Space Station? The unencrypted notebook computer went missing sometime last March and, according to testimony by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, "resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station."

In new media, Dewey still defeats Truman
Print / Digital
February 14, 2012 Cape Cod Times

When things get too boring in the news business, you can always get a chuckle by submitting a story with Wikipedia as a source. The reason that is funny is because we don't source from Wikipedia — or Twitter — because over the course of the past decade it has become very clear that you cannot rely upon either.

What sank SOPA is the problem with PIPA
Print / Digital
January 31, 2012 Cape Cod Times

If you break it down to its bare essence, SOPA is overly broad and wide-reaching legislation proposed to solve ills that have been with society for a long time — and while the primary goal of the legislation is to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods, the means that this law presents are simply too vulnerable to abuse by intellectual property owners and the associations that represent them.

Driven to limit distractions behind the wheel
Print / Digital
January 17, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Strictly speaking, I suppose that the real issue is all of the devices that we bring with us into our cars, and the stuff that is built into them, but let me ask you something: Would you drive your car into a flooded road because someone told you to?

Boots-Faubert: Not exactly gamed by a gaming system
Print / Digital
January 3, 2012 Cape Cod Times

Back in the days when I was a slave to corporate culture, when we would find a way to get around some petty stumbling block that policy would put in place to make our jobs harder, we called it gaming the system.

This year, try some ultramodern ideas
Print / Digital
December 20, 2011 Cape Cod Times

A little digging on the Web produced some conflicting versions, including the Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia. But none of them told me what I wanted to know: Why do we do the things we do each Christmas?

What to get your geek
Print / Digital
December 6th, 2011 Cape Cod Times

Each year, after my annual column with gift suggestions for the techno-nerds in your life runs, I invariably get email commenting on how silly/useless/insane some of those gifts appear to be.

Giving thanks for electronic savings
Print / Digital
November 22nd, 2011 Cape Cod Times

I'm happy to say that I now know the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It's the official day when merchants can legally put out Christmas decorations. Kidding! Just kidding. (They put them out in June these days so, clearly, they never got that memo.)

Avoid 'bargain' iPad deals sure to go bad
Print / Digital
November 8, 2011 Cape Cod Times

The economy's funk has brought bargain-hunting even more to the forefront this holiday shopping season. And the latest wave of consumer electronics has made many covet the latest in gadgetry.

It's like Facebook, minus the annoying bits
Print / Digital
November 1, 2011, Cape Cod Times

As the ongoing — and, so far, lopsided — tug-of-war between Facebook and Google Plus continues, most of the pundits online have already declared the "threat of Google Plus" to be a non-threat, despite the fact that it has only attracted around 40 million users so far.

Wring out the old before selling devices
Print / Digital
October 11, 2011, Cape Cod Times

It might not be the iPhone 5 that most consumers were hoping for, but the iPhone 4S is still a major step up in the eyes of most fans of Apple's wonder phone.

Facebook earns an 'F'
Print / Digital
September 27, 2011 Cape Cod Times

The changes that Facebook rolled out last week include a redesign of the news feed that did several things the users were not expecting — changing the contents of the feed based upon the last time the user checked it, and adding a news ticker to the feed that allows users to see updates from their networks in real time.

Keeping a smarter eye on kids' 'Net use
Print / Digital
September 13, 2011 Cape Cod Times

It seems that in addition to protecting our children from online predators, pornography, and keeping track of their activities online, there is now another threat that we have to guard against: mad fiction that is being presented as fact; that is designed to turn our children against the government.

Technology in motion
Print / Digital
August 30, 2011 Cape Cod Times

While media player integration has been at the forefront of developing features for the past five years, the real news in gadgets and tech is no longer purely focused upon entertainment. That does still feature high up on the list, though, and capabilities continue to expand.

Camping in the digital age
Print / Digital
August 16, 2011 Cape Cod Times

A firm believer in multitasking, I decided that a week at camp would be an excellent opportunity to take a look at — and test out — some of the new technology that can make camping easier. I am happy to report that I have found four pieces of technology that made our experience at camp more convenient and entertaining than it might otherwise have been.

3D printing advances give added dimension to Xbox avatars
Print / Digital
August 2, 2011 Cape Cod Times

In the 1990s, belonging to Generation X was something of a big deal — and the only requirement to be a part of it was to have been born some time between 1960 through 1981. It's not an exclusive club, but it's one with members that have a lot in common — some of my best friends are Gen-X'ers after all.

Businesses and the heat of a humble tweet
Print / Digital
July 19, 2011 Cape Cod Times

In 2009, social media sites exceeded email as a primary online activity for most Internet users, with the fastest growing age group being users age 35 to 49. Coincidentally, that happens to be the same age range for the group of consumers who spend the most money

Would you let your kids play with this man?
Print / Digital
July 5, 2011 Cape Cod Times

Last week, the Supreme Court declared California's law on violent video games invalid on Constitutional grounds. By doing this, the court extended First Amendment protection to games. This decision was celebrated by the games industry, and condemned by parenting groups and California state Sen. Leland Yee, the man who wrote the law.

Network attacks: cracking that's not so wise
Print / Digital
June 21, 2011 Cape Cod Times

After a well-publicized and major breach of its PlayStation Network exposed millions of accounts and credit cards — including mine — Sony is engaged in a desperate battle to protect its networks around the world, dealing with dozens of successful attacks that are happening on a scale never seen before.

In air travel, online takes over from opulence
Print / Digital
June 7, 2011 Cape Cod Times

Asked about the impact that the personal computer has made on the world, Bill Gates of Microsoft offered this understated reply: "I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user."

Play ... and learn to play
Print / Digital
May 24, 2011 Cape Cod Times

As my friend John pointed out, "Just because you can play 'Stairway to Heaven' on Guitar Hero doesn't mean you can play 'Stairway to Heaven.'

Striking a bargain on computers for students
Print / Digital
May 10, 2011 Cape Cod Times

As I sit at my computer, my eyes naturally wander to the window, to a scene that has remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years, the stand of scrub pine, scrub oak, and red cedar that occupies my back acre.

A library that fits in your hand
Print / Digital
April 26th, 2011 Cape Cod Times

The correct way to spell Apple's incredibly popular music playing device is iPod. Its phone? iPhone. And of course, there's the iPad. Even the operating system these devices use is spelled iOS.

With spring in the air, gadgets galore
Print / Digital
April 12, 2011 Cape Cod Times

Long time readers of my column will recall that spring leads me into fits of whimsy "» and invariably, I find very odd items to buy online. While these items are not always silly — some are downright useful — the people I work with fear this time of year because of it.

Stolen gadgets that can help catch a thief
Print / Digital
March 29, 2011 Cape Cod Times

When a thief breaks into your home or car, they're likely to steal consumer electronics such as laptops, desktop computers, cameras, and digital electronics — especially flat screen TVs and personal audio devices — simply because these are very easily converted to cash.

There's a degree of gaming at one Mass. college
Print / Digital
March 15, 2011 Cape Cod Times

This past weekend, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center played host to a massive video game and gaming expo called PAX East — which stands for Penny Arcade Expo East, and is arguably the largest event of the year for games.

iPhone basics
Print / Digital
March 1, 2011 Cape Cod Times

If the Verizon iPhone had a Facebook page I imagine that the details would look something like this: In a relationship … born on February 10, 2011 … lives on a 3G network … from Cupertino, Calif.

Here's why I approve of UL approval
Print / Digital
February 15, 2011 Cape Cod Times

Have you ever heard of William Henry Merrill? No? Well, I am not really surprised, because while I was attending the Consumer Electronics Show last month I asked 100 random people if they had ever heard of him.

E-mail @ 40
Print / Digital
February 01, 2011 Cape Cod Times

When you turn 40, people say and do things that are theoretically aimed at making you feel better about your life being statistically half-over but, I suspect, contain just a smidgen of schadenfreude as well.

At CES, the future takes on a new dimension
Print / Digital
January 18, 2011 Cape Cod Times

At 9 p.m. on June 30, 1941, an event occurred in New York that really was the tip of the iceberg. It was the first part of something big. And cool. And right in the path to the future.

Outsourced papers become school problem
Print / Digital
January 04, 2011 Cape Cod Times

This past fall, two students in a high school honors English class in Cambridge confessed to cheating — admitting to purchasing essays online and handing them in as their own. The pair drew attention to a new problem, but the faculty had no idea how widespread the cheating might be, or how complex.

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