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    July 28, 2015
    Rare, Collector’s Edition… VHS Tapes?

    You’d think that, these days, everything you’d want to see exists in some form in which you can reach it.  If it’s not on DVD, then surely it’s online or uploaded digitally somewhere.  However, that’s not the case.  Before there was the digital revolution, there was the tape revolution, as VHS tapes and home video devices made it possible for movies to get made and get to the masses like never before.  Staggering, right?  Lots of little companies and independent folks were able to make a surprising amount of money filling video store shelves.

    Sadly, video stores are gone.  Even the hold-outs, like my beloved Wild and Woolly Video, have closed down.  The shelves are bare, and where there are still shelves, you won’t find very many VHS tapes.  Still, there are a lot of things out there where VHS is the only way you can see it, including the original versions of the Star Wars films.  There’s a collector’s market out there, and the weird and obscure are rewarded with some serious financial compensation.  Here are 9 rare and valuable types of collectible VHS tapes.

    It’s kind of amazing, really.  I’m a physical media collector, and I admit that I have boxes of VHS tapes that are (I assume) difficult to find on digital media.  I might actually see if some of my tapes are valuable, or I might just hold onto them and enjoy them until my VCR finally kicks the bucket.  We shall see just how deep the goldmine goes.

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    June 23, 2015
    Google Adds “Undo Send” Feature

    One of the things I hate about sending email is the fact that once I send something, it’s gone.  All the time, particularly at work, I leave things out and have to send multiple emails on one subject, because I click enter too quickly, accidentally do the command to send, or just forget.  It’s tiring.  Fortunately, it’s also something Google is actively working on changing.  Google has added an ‘undo send’ feature to Gmail, for those that want an extra few seconds to think about what they’re sending before it goes out.

    It doesn’t actually recall a sent email, but it gives a delay.  Users who activate the feature can choose how long to wait, up to 30 seconds, before the email actually goes through and disappears from your control.  Of course, it doesn’t work for mobile users yet, but for folks using the browser version of Gmail, the feature is pretty easy to turn on.  Just look under the General tab in Gmail setting and configure to your inbox’s content.

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    May 4, 2015
    Microsoft’s New IE-Killing Browser

    Has there ever been a bigger announcement than the idea that Microsoft–who worked very hard and spent much harder–to win the original browser war versus Netscape decades ago,  Since then, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and dozens of other browsers have popped up and nipped away at Microsoft’s browser supremacy over the years, and they’re everything IE isn’t:  fast, light, clean, secure, etc.  Well, rather than giving up, Microsoft is giving in and rolling out a fast, light, modern browser of their own.  The rumored Project Spartan is now Microsoft Edge, and it’s shaping up to be an in-house IE killer.  Here are five ways Microsoft Edge will be a huge improvement over Internet Explorer.

    Honestly, anything is an improvement over IE at this stage.  Firefox might be sluggish, but it’s faster than IE.  Chrome might be very light, but it also doesn’t have all the security issues that routinely crop up on IE.  I can only hope that it lives up to the hype and that there’s pretty prompt corporate adoption, because I’m tired of being handcuffed by regular IE and not being able to use Google Chrome due to work requirements.  Then again, if Microsoft’s new browser won’t support a bunch of the necessary stuff in the background to run corporate software, this might be a big mistake.

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    April 15, 2015
    Google To Find Your Phone

    It’s the worst feeling in the world.  When you get up to make a phone call or get online or something, and… nothing.  Your phone is nowhere to be found.  Did you leave it in the car?  Did you leave it on the charger?  Did you leave it at work?  Did you check your pants pockets?  You have to turn the house upside down to find a missing phone, because once you’ve lost your phone you can’t rest until you find it again.  However, if you’re an Android user, then you’re worrying over nothing.  You can now use Google to find your Android phone.

    It all goes back to Android Device Manager, which was added to Android operating systems back in August 2013 with Froyo.  All you have to do is get to a computer, sign into your Google account, and then type “find my phone” into your Google search bar.  If your phone is nearby, Google will make it ring.  If it’s not close, Google will show your phone’s location on the map for you to find it.  If for whatever reason your phone cannot be found, you can safely wipe all your information from the phone to protect your personal facts from the consumption of unwanted persons.

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    April 9, 2015
    Surviving On One USB Port

    I depend on USB ports quite a bit, particularly at work.  My desktop computer has six or eight USB ports at last count, but there’s something on the horizon at work that’s troublesome.  We’re trying out some terminal systems–a miniature box that connects to a central server upon which all computer functions are performed.  The only downside to it, aside from an inability to handle YouTube and other streaming videos, is the lack of USB ports.  There are four, three of which are filled up with a keyboard, mouse, and printer.  When it comes to the new MacBook, you’ll have even less freedom.  The new MacBook will have one USB-C port to do everything.  Here’s how to survive with only one actual USB port to use.

    It’s good advice, particularly if you’re used to having a lot of USB ports available.  It’s going to be very inconvenient, unless you can use one of those USB hubs and plug that into your laptop.  Then again, if you do that, you won’t be able to charge your actual computer.  Maybe if you’re comfortable running off the battery… still, as useful as one standard port will be for Apple users and the rest of the world, it would probably behoove Apple to make a second port available, even if only as a premium add-on.

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    March 5, 2015
    Ways To Use A Dirt-Cheap Tablet

    There are a lot of very cheap touchscreen tablets on the market.  Hundreds of them, in fact, and all of them are running something Android.  So what kind of use can you get out of one of these dirt cheap tablets?  Well, if you’re looking for a use for the $38 Datawind Ubislate 7Ci, there’s a lot of fun uses there.  It’s not a very powerful tablet, but when you need a great digital clock, it’s a great choice.  Here are 12 uses for a cheap touchscreen tablet.

    I like the idea of using the tablet as a bedside clock, even if it is a bit expensive for a bedside clock.  I like the idea of using it as a digital picture frame, since those are pretty pricey even at this stage of development. Even if it’s not the best tablet in the world, so long as it can connect to the Internet and has some internal storage, you can find a use for it.  Maybe mount it to the kitchen cabinet and use it as a digital recipe storage device?  The cheaper the better, and the cheaper, the more uses you can find for it.

     

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    December 30, 2014
    The Worst Apps For Smartphones?

    Everyone wants the best of everything, especially if it’s free.  When it comes to smartphone apps, most people will take a free good app over a paid great app, if only because dollars still have values.  Even if it’s only a few dollars, we want to save what we’ve earned, and most apps just aren’t worth it.  Some apps really aren’t worth it.  Indeed, there are a ton of apps and no real way to pick through them.  That’s where experts come in.  Are these some of the worst apps out there?  CNN seems to think so!

    My favorite app of the bunch is probably the Be Kimd app, which you see above.  All it does is dim the screen of your smartphone.  Useful, yes, but there are already ways to do that using your phone’s current settings!  I guess if you don’t know how to use your phone that might be helpful, but the usefulness of that app is very limited in day-to-day situations.

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    November 11, 2014
    A Dyslexia-Friendly Font

    I don’t have dyslexia, which is fortunate for me since my main leisure and employment activities involve writing, reading, or otherwise using letters on pages.  I do routinely get numbers muddled up, turned around, or otherwise out of order, but that’s probably just my cluttered brain and not a real medical condition.  For those that suffer from dyslexia, there may be something to help you on the horizon.  A font called Dyslexie Regular is helping folks with dyslexia improve their reading and comprehension.

    “Traditional fonts are designed solely from an aesthetic point of view, which means they often have characteristics that make characters difficult to recognize for people with dyslexia,” writes font creator Christian Boer on his website. “Oftentimes, the letters of a word are confused, turned around or jumbled up because they look too similar.”

    Studies conducted by the University of Twente and the University of Amsterdam have verified claims that Dyslexie helps those with reading issues improve their comprehension and retention.  Even more worthy, the font itself is free to download for home use at DyslexieFont.com.

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    November 3, 2014
    Time To Buy: 8 Awesome Shopping Apps

    I saw my first Christmas commercial on October 26 during AMC’s Sunday night airing of The Walking Dead.  A week before Halloween, on a show about zombies eating people, I saw a commercial warning me to prepare for Christmas.  Well, it wasn’t a warning, more like a threat.  Either way, the holiday shopping season is approaching, and if you haven’t started spending your money on gifts quite yet,  you need to get yourself prepared for the inevitable.  Fortunately, technology is here to help.  Here are 8 great apps to make the shopping season a little less crazy.

    I rarely wait until the last minute to buy gifts, when I know what I’m going to get.  If I have an idea, I pounce on it.  If I don’t have an idea, well… then I end up dragging my feet and buying whatever comes to mind at the last minute.  I’m going to make an attempt this year to both buy my presents early and not give them early, but I can’t make any promises, no matter how many apps I might download onto my tablet.

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    August 20, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Email For Old People

    From a #TEDC14 talk by MailChimp’s John Foreman as taken by @jennstolen.

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