Best AA Batteries That You Never Heard Of

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?

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Smartphones: The Most Pervasive Interruption Technology Ever

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.


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A Guide to Using Passwords Without Distraction

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?

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Best Browsers 2011: Which Is the Best Browser for You?

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.

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The Best Monitor Setup to Reduce Eye Fatigue and Distraction

For years I’ve struggled to find a monitor setup that allows me to be the most productive, without causing eye fatigue or eye strain. Here’s my best answer so far:

I now use a vertical monitor with high pixel density. It helps reduce eye fatigue, clicks, and distraction.




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iPod touch vs Kindle: Which is Best for Reading?

Do you spend hours reading computer displays each day? Does this tire your eyes? Me too. So I’m on a mission to find a device on which I can read anything. Ideally, it should be:

  • as easy on my eyes as a paperback book
  • as portable and convenient as a paperback book
  • simple to read for any kind of format
  • simple and free to get reading material onto the device

I tried reading anything on a second generation Kindle. The e-ink screen is easy on my eyes and Kindles are great for reading novels. But the software has many shortcomings for reading other material such as PDFs or long articles on the web. I devoted considerable effort to making my Kindle overcome these shortcomings, but in the end decided to try a more flexible device lacking an E-ink display.

An iPod Touch and a Kindle
An iPod touch and a Kindle

Enter the iPod touch, 4th generation (or iPhone 4), with double the screen resolution of prior models. Reading with the “Retina Display” is easy on my eyes and the software makes reading a breeze for a surprisingly wide range of reading material.

The iPod touch 4G works well for reading. It works so well for me that I stopped using my Kindle and sold it. Read on for details, including many tips along the way for using an iPod for reading.

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Best Browsers 2010 . . . Five Browser Comparison

Last year I wrote about the five most popular browsers, and how keeping your browser up to date helps speed, security, reliability, and compatibility (here). My order of preference in 2009 was Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer (IE), Chrome, and Safari.

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

In 2010, the same five browsers continue to dominate the market, but my order of preference has changed. Why?

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32 Million Skyrock Passwords Stolen and What You Should Do About It

On May 21, 2010, Skyrock informed users of their social network and blogging platform to change passwords (mots de passe), because of an intrusion detected on May 19. Skyrock does not know what the intruder accomplished. If the password list was stolen, then the passwords of all 32 million users were compromised because they were stored as plaintext.

What should you do if you are a Skyrock user? What should you do if you are not a Skyrock user?

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Password Management for the Average Joe

If you’re like most home computer users, you use the same 2 or 3 passwords for your various accounts and your passwords are easy to crack. As you keep reading news reports about hacked accounts and stolen identities, you think you should do something about your passwords, but you keep putting it off.

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Like personal security, password management is something most people don’t think much about until after something bad happens. Unfortunately, the Internet is not secure. Just as you need to be “street wise” when venturing onto streets, you need to be “net wise” – especially with passwords – when venturing onto the Internet. Because, like it or not, your passwords are currently the main barrier between you and the bad guys.

Most password management advice seems designed to torture you as opposed to help you. For the average Joe with average security needs, password management advice needs to be simple and usable, not just secure. Luckily, there is a reasonably secure form of password management that is simple and usable. Here it is:

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Which Password Manager?

There are dozens of password managers, including some built into browsers. Many of them do the basic job you need, which is to use a master password and strong encryption to securely store your passwords. More important than selecting the “best” password manager is to use such software wisely. I describe how to use a password manager here (basics and index to password series) and here (tips).

If you’re already using and liking a password manager not mentioned in this post, by all means keep using it so long as it offers master password protection in combination with strong encryption. While most password managers offer password import and export functions, the actual practice of switching password managers and learning a new one is cumbersome.

However, if you’re selecting a password manager for the first time or dissatisfied with your current password manager, you may as well benefit from my efforts to identify the best password managers for individuals. My efforts included extensive use of two password managers and poring through hundreds of reviews, forums, and comments about many others.

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