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People who talk to computers are idiots

If Web Watch were to mention the name Randy Pausch to you, chances are you wouldn’t know who we were talking about off the top of your head.

But if we were to mention that Randy was the Carnegie-Mellon professor who wrote the book The Last Lecture, then maybe that would help ring a bell for you.  If you haven’t taken the time to read the book or watch the phenomenal documentary on The Last Lecture, then Web Watch strongly encourages you to stop whatever you’re doing right now and do so.

We’ll wait.

Just let us know when you’ve gotten back and we’ll continue…

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The Internet is for Porn

Admit it – you’ve looked at naked people online, even if it was only accidentally.

And there are some of you who purposefully go out of your way to look for online porn photos.  It’s okay, we won’t report you — looking at naked adults of consenting age and profession is perfectly healthy… or so we’ve been told by the collegiate Human Sexuality 101 class we took a few years ago.

But it seems that everywhere you look online, you have to be wary of running across Yet Another Porn Site.  Heck, just turn off Google Safesearch while viewing image search results, and you’ll be inundated with naked bodies across your screen no matter what your original search term happened to be.

Which brings up one question that Web Watch was asked recently:

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The Worst Passwords for 2011

Post-it Notes
Post-it Notes

Web Watch was visiting an office a few weeks ago when the people we were visiting were trying to log onto the shared computer in the conference room.

They thought they knew the password, but something wasn’t right.  After about 20 minutes of trying, they called their IT guy for help.  He walked in, went over to the computer, and read the correct password off of a Post-It Note that had been taped to the machine specifically for this purpose.

This was in a high-security building, in a room that only a few people had keys for — and the password was taped to the machine for anyone to use.  It probably wouldn’t be a problem, as many people would need to use that same computer, but we’ve been told for years not to post passwords on Post-It Notes.

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How big of a nerd are you? Try taking the 2011 Geek Test

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth:
Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

Web Watch knows that we’re a bit of a computer nerd.  Some would say that “geek” would be the more appropriate term.  To paraphrase a recent episode of CSI, a “freak” is someone who is naturally talented in unusual ways; a “geek” is one who learns how to do the same things.

So we’ll go with “geek”, as all computer knowledge is learned – whether it be via formal school education or by tinkering around with gadgets and on the Internet for hours/days/weeks/years on end to see how things works and to make thinks work better.

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were nerds, and they’re proud of it.

Which brings us to our initial question: How big of a geek are you?

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Possible takeover target TiVo has awesome customer service (not to mention easy TiVo upgrades)

TiVo Premiere XL

TiVo has been taking it on the chin lately.

The recent blog post in the New York Times entitled TiVO, Nice Service if You Can Get It, is the typical drivel written by somebody who hasn’t taken the time to properly research and use the product they’re talking about. 

As an example – the writer, Joshua Brustein, says that TiVo has an expensive fee of $19.99/month.  He doesn’t mention that you could purchase a lifetime subscription for $499.  If you’re planning on keeping your TiVo for longer than 24 months, the lifetime subscription is the way to go.  (Web Watch won’t mention the number of deals that are on the TiVo website that may lower the overall cost even further.)

The article goes on, with the writer’s cable company trying to pimp their own DVR over a TiVo — hey, that happens. Same thing with the account of what he went through to get a cable card, involving multiple trips, phone calls, and a service tech who never showed up.    Obviously not an issue with TiVo, but with the cable company the writer is using.  For our TiVo service, Web Watch drove over to our local Cable Shoppe and picked up the cable cards directly.  Installed them into our new TiVo ourselves, and were up and running in just about an hour or so.

Obviously each user’s experience is going to be different, but none of what the writer included in his article is specific to problems with TiVo.

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How to maximize your gadget shopping dollar

Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU BX80623I72600K
Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB CPU

Have you purchased a computer lately?

Once you get past the initial “MAC vs Windows” discussion, the choices typically come down to price variations.  Web Watch has always said — and it’s been holding true for the past 20 years or so — that the “ideal” computer that any computer nerd would want will cost about $2,000.

You’d be surprised that the $2k number holds up, even in today’s retail environment where a decent home computer can be had for around $500.  Note that we said that this was a computer ideal for a computer nerd, not just any machine that would get somebody through the next two years of English class at the local university.

And that’s because that $2000 computer is one that is going to last for a number of years because it has all the bells and whistles for today, and will likely not need to be upgraded anytime soon.

But Web Watch understands that not everyone has $2k in their back pocket. Which brings up that more important question:  if you had limited funds with which to buy or outfit a computer, WHAT SHOULD THE MONEY BE SPENT ON?

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Bad Computer Habits can Lead to Problems

Any problem can be screwed up more by computer
Any problem can be screwed up more by computer

A few years ago, one of Web Watch’s computer hard drives crashed.

We’re not just talking about a minor “ooh, we lost a boot sector” thing, where we could boot to a different drive and copy the files off.

No, we’re talking an extreme catastrophic event where we lost the entire drive. It was physically unable to spin up, making data recovery rather impossible on our own.  Luckily, we made a few phone calls and found a data recovery company that was able to rebuild the drive’s data and copy it to a new disc.

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More proof that you suck at choosing passwords

Password Reminder Notebook
Password Reminder Notebook

It seems to be one of those regular “create a public panic” news event.  “OMG!  Look at how silly people are with their passwords!”

Except this time, the people being silly about their passwords are kids.  And with kids, it really is a good time to teach kids THE IMPORTANCE OF SELECTING A GOOD PASSWORD, because it ends up that kids really don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to protecting their personal online spaces.

The survey found that: