The book Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive provides a framework to answer the question, “Why do people trust each other and cooperate?”
I read this book with an eye towards improving my understanding of how people filter information, which is relevant to the focus of this blog and my recent interest in improving the trustworthiness and quality of crowd-sourced product information. I also knew of and respected the author, security expert Bruce Schneier, who is a source for parts of my password management series.
Filtering information effectively requires trusting your information sources as well as the people who recommend these information sources. If it were fully understood why people trust each other and cooperate, that might guide the development of much more effective and automatic systems to make online information sharing more trustworthy and relevant.
So what did I think of Schneier’s book?
Continue reading “Book Review: Liars and Outliers”
There are three major reasons to keep your iPhone plugged in. Here they are, followed by product recommendations if you need more charging options:
Continue reading “Keep iPhone Plugged In? Yes!”
Shortly after my son was born, we started burning through AA batteries. I didn’t like throwing out single use Alkaline batteries. I liked even less having to frequently recharge high discharge NiMH rechargeable batteries. So I was delighted to discover and write about low self-discharge NiMH AA batteries, which work better than both alternatives.
Buried at the end of that post was brief battery charger advice and several suggested models depending on your preferred price. However, I could have been clearer on two points:
- If you use a cheap, low quality charger, you may be motivated to abandon even the highest quality rechargeable batteries. You may end up with batteries that don’t fully charge, batteries that overcharge, or (in rare cases) batteries that overheat and melt.
- Out of several hundred battery charger models, there are at least a few dozen good ones. However, one brand of battery charger stands heads and shoulders above the rest: La Crosse.
In this post I describe why good chargers matter, why I like La Crosse chargers so much, and why the La Crosse BC-700 makes the most sense for the most people, even though the more expensive La Crosse BC1000 is arguably the best battery charger on the market. I also describe the minor differences between the 4 La Crosse models listed in the title.
Continue reading “La Crosse Battery Charger Review: BC-700, BC-900, BC-9009, and BC1000”
I replaced both my home and work desktop PCs during the past year. My previous home system was a noisy, energy hogging, budget 2006 Dell model that was preloaded with useless software while my work system was a 2004 Dell that was also noisy. I’m done with Dell.
More importantly, I’m done with noisy PCs. This time I was determined to get the cleanest, quietest PC I could get for less than $700.
Continue reading “Want the quietest PC? Just get the right chip . . .”
People tend to optimize their next purchase based on the worst feature of their prior purchase. That is clearly why I bought a Blackberry in 2008 after experiencing a phone with terrible voice quality and numerous dropped calls.
Blackberry delivered. I experienced voice quality comparable to that of a land line during my 3.5 years of Blackberry (8320, 9700) ownership. The siren calls from iPhone and Android devices had no effect on me during this time. By nearly all accounts, iPhones were great pocket computers with lousy phones and Android devices required too much fiddling to suit my tastes.
Then the iPhone 4s came out, promising decent voice call quality, improved battery life, and a better notification system. In other words, a great pocket computer and a great communication device. I decided to switch, and I wrote about this decision here.
Now that I’ve been using an iPhone 4s for nearly 2 months, I’d like to revisit my decision. Is the iPhone 4s performing as expected? How does it compare to the Blackberry 9700 I used for 2 years? Do I have any regrets? You may find some of my answers surprising.
Continue reading “Blackberry vs iPhone 4s (After Two Months of Use)”
I like my Blackberry 9700. It’s a great communication device with outstanding voice quality and messaging. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to submerge it in water once and drop it on sidewalks a few times. Remarkably, it has few issues so far. But given the water damage, I’m thinking this Blackberry may soon quit working altogether. Time to upgrade.
I briefly considered the impressive Galaxy S II, but I prefer smaller (single hand) devices and more polished operating systems. An inexpensive grandfathered plan gives me an incentive to stick with Blackberry on T-mobile, but the iPhone’s 336 PPI Retina display beckons. Blackberry Bold 9900 or iPhone 4s. Which one?
iPhone 4s. No contest. Here’s why.
Continue reading “Blackberry vs. iPhone: No Longer a Contest”
Just about everyone uses AA batteries. But few people use the best AA batteries, or have even heard of them.
What are these batteries? Why are they so great? Where can you buy them? What charger do you need to buy?
Continue reading “Best AA Batteries That You Never Heard Of”
Over the past few years, excitement has been growing for the idea of an “everything device” that you carry in your pocket. Why carry many separate physical and electronic devices for your phone, address book, calendar, planner, GPS, books, magazines, etc.? An iPhone, Blackberry, or Android-based smartphone will do it all.
There’s just one problem.
Continue reading “Smartphones: The Most Pervasive Interruption Technology Ever”
One of the biggest distractions of modern life is passwords. Many web services and forums require that you set up a separate user name and password. You have to develop and maintain a system to remember it all. And you have to enter these user names and passwords many times per day.
Even the lightest of users may have a dozen or so online accounts and heavy users have hundreds. How do you keep track of all these passwords?
Continue reading “A Guide to Using Passwords Without Distraction”
In early 2011, there have been major changes to four out of the five browsers that dominate the browser market: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. So it’s a great time for my third annual browser comparison, along with recommendations.
NOTE: In 2015 I posted a more current comparison of the latest browser versions, Best Browsers . . .
In last year’s browser comparison post, I noted that:
“Google’s Chrome browser was designed from the ground up to be good at running web applications, with an underlying architecture that is faster, more secure, and more stable than the competition. Chrome succeeded. The competition responded. Users have benefited.”
I also thought that Chrome deserved the “best browser” award at that time. However, the competition has since greatly improved. Though I again rank the browsers 1 through 5, the gap between #1 and #5 is narrow, as the current versions are all very good. Each browser is best for a different set of users.
Continue reading “Best Browsers 2011: Which Is the Best Browser for You?”