Need Tech Help? Google it!

Modern hardware, software, and web services are loaded with useful and customizable features, but figuring out how to use them is usually time consuming. Traditionally, people learn new features or resolve tech issues by following some combination of these time-consuming steps:

  1. Tinker.
  2. Read help files or manual.
  3. Call the most knowledgeable person or relative you know.
  4. Call Tech Support, if available. Wait on hold a long time then talk to someone who may or may not be able to help you.
  5. E-mail Tech Support. Hope that the reply comes soon and actually resolves your issue.


Thankfully, there’s a much faster, more reliable way:  Google it.

Google for help first, and you can save yourself tens of hours per year. In this post, I provide specific examples and helpful tips on how to quickly get tech help using Google.

Continue reading “Need Tech Help? Google it!”

The Desktop or the Cloud?

A growing number of people are migrating much of their computing work from the desktop to the cloud, including myself. Why? What exactly is the cloud? What’s it like to work in the cloud? What are the pros and cons of the cloud? Who should consider (or not) migrating much of their work to the cloud?

Software resides on a server . . . in the cloud
Software on a server . . . in the cloud

This post is an attempt to answer these questions from a balanced perspective.

Continue reading “The Desktop or the Cloud?”

Best Upgrade? The Browser . . . Five Browsers Compared

The best upgrade you’ll ever make? It’s not a new computer. It’s not an operating system upgrade. It’s a browser.

NOTE: In 2015 I posted a more current comparison of the latest browser versions, Best Browsers . . .

Most individuals access the web using the browser initially bundled with their computer, and typically don’t update it. Accessing the information superhighway with an outdated browser is like driving today’s roads with a Model T—slow, unsafe, unreliable, and in many places not usable at all.

How Old is Your Browser?

In this post, I explain why it’s so important to use the latest version of Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari—speed, security, reliability, and compatibility. I describe each of these browsers, to help you decide which is best for you. And I lay the groundwork for the next post on cloud computing.

Continue reading “Best Upgrade? The Browser . . . Five Browsers Compared”

Filters for Distraction-free Writing

Is the pen mightier than the computer?

Distraction-free reading is not a fully solved problem–which is why the last article was so long. Distraction-free writing is a solved problem, which is why this article is short.

Continue reading “Filters for Distraction-free Writing”

Filters for Reading on the Web

Will reading on the web ever be as good as reading a book?

Will reading lengthy text on the web ever be as comfortable as curling up in your favorite chair with a paperback? In theory, computers offer some reading advantages such as fast look-up and infinite storage. In practice, conflicting priorities of site design and current display technology get in the way.

For people like me who read hours per day, there has to be a better way. Luckily, there is.

Continue reading “Filters for Reading on the Web”

Info Overload or Filter Failure? Introducing FilterJoe

Since 2001, I’ve noticed a trend: People are gradually getting less productive, efficient, and focused, caused in large part by an ever growing list of technology distractions.

Checking email. And facebook. And RSS, IMs, SMSs, Twitter . . .
email, facebook, RSS, IM, SMS, twitter . . .

To this point, many articles on the subjects of information overload, Internet distractions, and declines in reading and focusing abilities have appeared during the past few years. Some of the more interesting ones are here, here and here.

Continue reading “Info Overload or Filter Failure? Introducing FilterJoe”