3G, 4G, And Life In The Rural Slow Lane


Sonoma County is a rural county. We look at Santa Rosa and our chests swell at our bustling urban metropolis (population 167,000), but make no mistake: to cell phone carriers, we are small-fry. In 2012 that has a very precise and painful meaning for your mobile devices.

We are inundated with ads touting the wonders of 4G Internet connections. […] continued

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Walled Gardens Postscript: Just Tell Me What To Do!

Walled Gardens - what to do

Walled Gardens, Part 1: Apple
Walled Gardens, Part 2: Google
Walled Gardens, Part 3: Microsoft

This is a transition year. There are no right or wrong answers. Buy whatever feels right and be prepared for some bumps and the possibility that you’ll replace a device or two in 2013 to consolidate everything in one garden. […] continued

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Lynda.com And The Joy Of Online Training


Lynda.com is a learning and training site with video tutorials to teach software skills. It has courses at all levels, from novice to expert, and it covers a wide variety of programs and subjects with something for almost everyone, from photography hobbyists to business and graphics professionals.

I’m frequently asked where to find help or how to get started with a program. […] continued

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Dell Inspiron Zino HD Home Media Center PC


The little box in the picture to the left measures eight inches across and just over three inches tall. It’s quiet and inexpensive. In this difficult world of technology, the best I can tell you is that it might be just what you’re looking for.

The Dell Inspiron Zino HD is a compact little computer that is best used for a single purpose: to bring your photos, music, and videos to the big screen TV in your living room. […] continued

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The Good And The Bad In Windows Live Essentials 2011


The good news is that Microsoft has released Windows Live Essentials 2011, an updated collection of free programs that are well designed and useful additions to Vista and Windows 7.

The bad news is that you almost certainly don’t want all of them, and Microsoft has released them in a way that makes it more likely that you’ll install them all by accident, with some side effects that you won’t like. […] continued

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Ze Frank And Connections Over The Internet


Ze Frank has been doing interesting online experiments for almost ten years. He delivered a talk about some of his projects to a TED conference a few months ago; if you can find 20 minutes to watch it, you might come out feeling a little better about community and sharing and connections and what to think about the person staring at their cell phone as they walk down the street. […] continued

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A Note For Subscribers About Ze Frank And Video

Now I know the answer to a lingering question: if I embed videos into a news post and send it out to my email subscribers, the video links will just vanish. Poof! Nothing to click on.

You’ll have a better idea of what the Ze Frank post is about if you visit the news page online, where the videos should show up quite nicely. […] continued

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Postscript – Some Notes About Skype


Understanding Google Voice
Fully Committed to Google Voice – Part 1
Google Voice Interlude – Background About Voice And Data
Fully Committed to Google Voice – Part 2

Skype is best known for its program that runs on a computer to call other Skype users for free anywhere in the world, but Skype is able to do several other things now – things you’ll recognize from what I’ve been writing about Google Voice. […] continued

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Ah, Avatar. Extraordinary movie-making, one of the prettiest movies ever to hit the screen. The perfect movie for your new Blu-Ray player and HD TV – it will look splendid.

Well, that’s if it will play. And if the disc in the stores now is the one you want to buy. […] continued

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Long time readers know that periodically I mention J River Media Center, the program I’ve used for many years to organize my embarrassingly large music library. If you’re not familiar with the program, then please go read my write-up a few months ago, where I tried to make it clear who it might appeal to – and more importantly, who should not consider it. […] continued

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Who Will Buy The Apple iPad?

ipadx4Who’s going to buy an Apple iPad?

Well, not you or me, anyway – not this version, not at $600-800.

It’s not going to revolutionize anything, it’s not going to replace netbooks, but it will find large and devoted audiences, particularly after the price drops and some features get added. […] continued

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What software do you use to listen to music on a computer?

Most people use iTunes. A few lonely folks have gotten the new Zune HD and use its software. Still others use Windows Media Player. All of them are just fine. They’re very attractive and they handle basic functions to help you buy and listen to music. […] continued

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Gadgets and services are flooding onto the market so quickly! It’s easy to find a “review” of a new product that recites its features from a press release. It’s much harder to get feedback from people who have actually used something and learned what works and what doesn’t work in the real world. […] continued

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One of the most important things you can do to keep your Windows computer running smoothly is to be conservative about what gets installed on it. Do custom installs of all new software, look at all the choices, and turn down the ones that don’t fit your needs.

I ran across a good example of the kind of bloated software that slows down our computers and causes conflicts. […] continued

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I don’t use iTunes and I don’t want Apple’s version of Quicktime on my computer. I have a pretty low opinion of Apple’s skills at writing software for PCs.

If you have iTunes, you also have Quicktime. Or perhaps you’ve installed it separately. This isn’t for you. In fact, this isn’t for any of you unless you specifically need it and you know with confidence that you don’t already have Quicktime installed. […] continued

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