Why I ditched my smartphone

Smartphones are nice, right?

They let you Do Stuff™, and you can even convert your entire social life to be run entirely via Google’s servers!

WOW!

Well, according to a recent investigation by the Tucker Carlson clan, it turns out Google is hoovering up far more data than previously thought.

So, I finally decided to take the plunge: I’ve switched to a dumbphone, and I’ve never been happier…

Read more…

Do SSDs make good backup hard drives?

A friend recently asked me about what backup hard drive to buy.

He mentioned an external SSD, which made me do a double-take. External SSD?!

Well, yeah. Apparently, they’ve been around for years already, although only recently have prices become a bit more reasonable.

And, until now, I hadn’t even seen an ad for one!

An external SSD as a backup drive has the primary benefit of SPEED!

But is it worth it? And are they reliable enough for use as a backup drive that might sit on your shelf for months or even years on end?

Read more…

A better Stylish Smartphone Faraday Box

9 months ago, I made this video: Make your own stylish smartphone Faraday Box in 10 minutes

Since then, I’ve learned a ton more about Faraday cages, and experimented a lot to make an even BETTER box.

It turns out that my original box was only so-so at blocking Bluetooth. My original testing of Bluetooth blocking was, shall we say, not very thorough. My primary focus was blocking cell network signals.

I also mistakenly assumed that if Bluetooth was blocked, WiFi at 2.4 GHz would also be blocked. Nope! WiFi is much harder to block due to the higher signal strength (among other things).

I’m fired!

To make matters worse, contrary to popular belief, we’re still learning about how Faraday cages actually work!

And so, I give you: Stylish Smartphone Faraday Box: Mark II

Read more…

Time to switch to a HomeGroup on Windows 10

Way back in 2009, I wrote this article:

How to Determine the Master Browser in a Windows Workgroup

I also released a tool called LAN Scanner that lets you see all the puters on your local network, their IP addies, MAC addresses, and which puter is the Master Browser.

That’s great… except that recently, it stopped working!

While digging into this problem, I discovered that the traditional “Network” browsing in Windows has kind of become broken since Microsoft has officially poo-pooed (and disabled) SMB v1.

What that means for you is that if you have a home network with Windows 10 machines, you’re going to want to switch to using a HomeGroup – but there’s a catch!

Read more…

Get your politics out of my tech!

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge upsurge in “political correctness” and certain “social movements”.

From James Damore being fired for speaking his mind in a very “leftist” corporate culture, to Amazon’s Alexa declaring that she is a feminist, to DNA testing services telling everyone they’re African to “combat racism”…

It seems that amidst all this political/social mayhem, our tech has essentially been weaponized.

We may still have separation of church and state, but it seems that the political and social views of tech corporations are being pushed onto people via their products.

I don’t think that’s a wise course of action…

Read more…

Windows 10 Buffet: Fixing a failed upgrade to the latest version

It’s been several months since Windows 10 1709 was released. Even now, not all puters out there have received the update. As with all versions of Win 10, Microsoft rolls them out slowly over time.

Sometimes, you might not get the latest version because of some incompatibility or other issue. Other times, maybe your internet sucks and it just takes a long time to download 3GB in the background!

In any case, you’ll get the update soon enough – but that doesn’t mean it will work.

The following is my collection of fixes that usually work to convince a puter to successfully install the latest flavor of Windows 10…

Read more…

Meltdown & Spectre: DO NOT PANIC! Yet.

By popular demand!

Meltdown and Spectre are the recently-publicized exploits that take advantage of flaws in modern processors.

These flaws are big news, but what’s the actual scoop?

It turns out that they ARE a big deal, but with a few important caveats…

Since the exploits themselves are so technically complicated, I have tried to explain them in a simplified way without sacrificing actual useful details.

That way, you can make up your own mind as to whether or not you should run for the hills!

Read more…

Is AI really here?

We hear a lot about A.I. – artificial intelligence – these days. But is it really here?

Should you be worried about Skynet and terminators and some little punk named John having to grow up and save the world?

Not quite. At least not yet, anyway…

While so-called machine learning algorithms are insanely powerful these days, they aren’t really true AI.

Then again, we keep changing out definition of AI with every advancement in technology…

Read more…

DuckDuckGo: Uh-oh! Search add-on goes nuts…

Lots of people are using the search engine DuckDuckGo these days.

It’s a bit more “friendly” than behemoth Google, and it still gives great search results.

In fact, you may have read my earlier article Search like a pro with DuckDuckGo: Better privacy + great search results.

In that post, I recommended against using the DuckDuckGo add-on.

Well, now there’s an even bigger reason not to use it!

Read more…