Tech Tidbits

Tech tidbits - news during the pandemic slowdown

As we enter into the twentieth year third month of the global pandemic, technology news has slowed down as much as everything else. There aren’t many things to tell you about! Here are a few bits of tech news that have caught my eye in the moments between bouts of weeping about the dismantling of our democracy – pandemic shortages, VR and Half-Life Alyx, the latest phones from Google and Apple, Comcast upgrades, and more. […] continued

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Outlook Tip: How To Turn Off “Top Results”

Outlook - top results in search appear out of order

When you search your email in Outlook, you might see three messages chosen as “Top results” by sophisticated AI & machine learning algorithms.

Well, it’s supposed to be smart algorithms. At the moment, the three “Top results” appear to be chosen by a roomful of monkeys throwing dung at the screen. […] continued

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The Benefits Of Location Tracking

Location tracking is the best thing ever!

Having big companies track our locations is awesome. It improves our lives in ways big and small with services that are only possible because tech companies know where we are. The benefits of location tracking outweigh the risks.

Location tracking improves the world in two ways: it allows companies to provide services specifically to you; and it lets them combine your movements with information from other people and deliver services that benefit everyone. […] continued

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Location Tracking: Who’s Following You? How Do They Know Where You Are?

Location tracking - Google Maps timeline

Previously:

Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

Location Tracking: LA LA LA I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOU

Our phones track our movements every minute of every day. We carry around beacons that continuously broadcast their location. Our phones are remarkably efficient surveillance tools.

But it’s not just our phones. […] continued

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Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2020

Computer and online safety 2020 - only your vigilance will protect you!

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2020. You can download a copy here.

Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continued

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Google Real-Time Transcription Is The Coolest Technology Of 2019

Google real-time transcription - ancient version

You can record speech on a Pixel phone with Google’s new Recorder app, and it will transcribe the words into text in real time. You can save the text and search for words later.

You can see captions on any video or spoken audio on your phone. (Not phone calls or video calls – those bring up thorny privacy issues.) […] continued

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Why You Should Be Skeptical About 5G In 2020

5G antenna - one of the small ones

Previously: 5G Will Be Important, But Not In 2020

The carriers’ 5G upgrade will change our world over the next ten to fifteen years.

That’s not the message you’ll get from the onslaught of advertising in 2020, which will urge you to upgrade your phones and your mobile plans now now now. […] continued

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5G Will Be Important, But Not In 2020 (Despite What The Ads Say)

5G will be everywhere (but not in 2020)

We are about to be assaulted. An overwhelming advertising blitz will begin in earnest in 2020, trying to convince you that you should upgrade your phone and your mobile service contract to 5G now now now.

Maybe you’ve already begun to see advertising by phone manufacturers and mobile carriers for new 5G technology. […] continued

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Pixel 4 And Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Google Pixel 4 phones are not as terrifying as the reviews would make you think

Google has two new phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. They’re quite nice. If you had one, you’d like it. They might not tempt iPhone users to leave the Apple world, but anyone with an Android phone should consider a Pixel 4, now available through all the carriers. […] continued

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Install Google Lens, Then Remember To Use It

Google Lens - visual search with your phone

I’m going to give you a difficult assignment. I want you to install Google Lens on your phone. That’s the easy part. Then I want you to remember to use it until it becomes second nature. You’re flinching, right? We’re maxed out on technology and it’s tempting to use what you already know and not worry about the latest and greatest thing. […] continued

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Say Goodbye To Outlook Clutter

Focused inbox will replace clutter in Outlook on January 31, 2020

On January 31, 2020, there won’t be any more clutter in Outlook. Oh, you’ll still get just as many unimportant messages as before, but they won’t be sorted into a Clutter folder. Instead, you’ll use Microsoft’s replacement, Focused Inbox, to read “Focused” and “Other” messages.

This only applies to a few people. […] continued

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Google Wants To Surround You With Invisible Assistants

Ambient computing - surrounded by invisible devices

Part 1: Ambient Computing – Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

You don’t notice an automatic door when it opens.

Google, Amazon, and Apple want to make it so natural to interact with their devices that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it. We’ll be surrounded by devices. The more there are, the less we’ll notice them. […] continued

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Ambient Computing: Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

Ambient computing AKA ubiquitous computing

(Sonoma County fires: we have evacuated to a safe place and our house is not threatened. All of our thoughts and best wishes go out to those in danger or suffering losses.)


Hey Google . . .

  • What time is my flight today?
  • How long will it take to drive to Oakland Airport?
[…] continued Read more

Grammar Are For Winners!

Grammar checking made easy with Word, Outlook, G Suite, and Grammarly

Need help with spelling and grammar? Of course you do!

You already get help with your spelling. Microsoft Word and Outlook automatically fix common errors on the fly as you type, and flag possible misspellings with the familiar wavy line. Your phone auto-corrects your errors, which of course works flawlessly.

Artificial intelligence now allows grammar to be checked just as easily as spelling – on the fly, with instant feedback. […] continued

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