Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Excellent Computer Security Article

I have mentioned Leo Notenboom in other entries on this blog.  He is far and away the best Windows technical writer for the non technical reader.  He just published an excellent article on computer security. Here is the Link:

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Safe Computing on a Mac - Waccamaw Mac Club Computer Safety Presentation

Friday, November 2, 2012 I will be doing a presentation entitled "Safe Computing on a Mac" at a meeting of the Waccamaw Mac club.  The club meets under the auspices of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted by Coastal Carolina University in their Litchfield SC location at 160 Willbrook Blvd.  I will be using a Powerpoint presentation which contains many hyperlinks to pertinent information on the Internet.

I have uploaded the presentation to Slideshare.  Here is a link to the presentation:


NOTE: For the hyperlinks to work, you must be in "full screen" mode while looking at the slides.  To put the slideshow into "full screen" mode, look at the bottom of the first slide.  You will see a gray horizontal bar with left and right arrowheads on it.  At the far right of that bar are four arrows in a square indicating that if you click here it will make the window larger.  Left clicking it will put you in full screen mode.  Once you are in full screen mode, you can use the right and left arrow keys on your keyboard to go forward and backward through the presentation.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Computer Safety Class Socastee Library 10/27/2012

For those who attended (and anyone else who might be interested) here is a link to the Powerpoint presentation.  Please note that there are plenty of hyperlinks on the slides that will take you, when you click on them, to additional information on the topic.

NOTE: For the hyperlinks to work, you must be in "full screen" mode while looking at the slides.  To put the slideshow into "full screen" mode, look at the bottom of the first slide.  You will see a gray horizontal bar with left and right arrowheads on it.  At the far right of that bar are four arrows in a square indicating that if you click here it will make the window larger.  Left clicking it will put you in full screen mode.  Once you are in full screen mode, you can use the right and left arrow keys on your keyboard to go forward and backward through the presentation.

Here is the link to the slides.  Click on it:   Computer Safety

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple's New Offerings

Wow!  A fantastic bundle of new products!  Here they are in brief:

1. A new generation of iMacs - an "all in one" desktop computer just 5mm (two tenths of an inch) at the edge with an incredible glare reduced high definition screen, see http://www.apple.com/imac/design/

2. The iPad mini - a new (additional) size with a 7.9 inch display that you can hold in one hand.  Runs all the apps that the current size runs but is less expensive and more convenient, see http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/overview/

3. The fourth generation of the standard size iPad, still with a retina display but now twice as fast, see http://www.apple.com/ipad/overview/

4. A new 13" Retina display MacBook Pro - see http://www.apple.com/mac/

Friday, March 23, 2012

Neat Things You Can Do On the Internet Updated

For the folks that were in our Internet class yesterday at the Socastee Library, you will remember that the slide presentation had lots of broken links in it.  My apologies, but they are now fixed.  You can either click on the link in my original post or for convenience, I'll post it again here:


Again, sorry for the inconvenience.

I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment to let me know you have been here.  You can do so be clicking on the word "Comments" to the right of my name at the very bottom of this post.  You could also ask me questions there about the class or the slides or anything on the slides and I will try to answer you in a following comment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Neat Things You Can Do On the Internet

On 3/22/2012 Shirley and I will be teaching a new class at the Socastee Library in Horry County SC.  The title of the class is "Neat Things You Can Do On the Internet".  I have uploaded the PowerPoint presentation for the class to Slideshare.  You can find it at


Many folks in our (ahem...) somewhat older generation wonder how we can spend as much time online as we do.  In a two hour trek driving back from Charleston a few weeks ago we began brainstorming a list of all the activities we engage in online and I "wrote" them down on my iPhone as Shirley was driving.  We were amazed at the size and scope of the list and decided to turn it into a class that would answer the question and give folks the opportunity to learn how we do what we do.  I created the PowerPoint presentation to use in the class and included many many hyperlinks that will take you to the sites we use.  95% of them are sites we have directly used ourselves, the other 5% are related to the same topics.

Following is a list of all the topics,  Most have multiple sub topics in the slideshow where all have multiple hyperlinks.

Category/Slide Title
Reference Sites
Find Entertainment/Buy Tickets
Real Estate Research
Health Research
Household Hints Decorating Ideas Appliance Repair
Read Magazines & Newspapers
Download and Read Books for Free
Horry County Online Services
Shop for New or Used Car
Travel (Air, Rail, Bus, Cruise)
Video - Search for and Play Video Clips on Youtube
Podcasts (Internet Radio) Find and Play or Download
Research Gardening Issues
Education on All Levels
Hunt & Apply For a Job
Shop and Buy Used Items
Shop for New Goods
Find a Church
Communicate (text, voice and video)
Share Pictures With Friends and Relatives
Weather for Anywhere on Demand
Track Packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS
Social Media
Community Involvement
News on Demand
Find Lost $Money$

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apple, I Expected Better

Well, my second HP laptop died in two years. The one before that did the same. So, I decided it was time to exit the windows world (at least partly) and buy my first Mac. I ordered my 27" iMac on Aug 5th, the day after my birthday, because that was the start of South Carolina's three day sales tax holiday. On the 16th of August, via Federal Express, my new machine arrived. I haven't been more excited over new hardware in years. I set up (which amounted to nothing more than unpacking it and plugging it in) and powered it up. Nothing. Oh, not quite nothing. I did get a screen and a half of desperate error messages the first two times I tried and after that I got a white screen with Apples little beach ball spinning round and round forever. Recognizing a critical problem, I called Apple support. This was the only good part of the experience. Although the first tech I spoke to could not diagnose the problem, after 10 minutes or so he passed me on to second level support. This tech had me do a few more diagnostic tricks then told me a critical part of the operating system was damaged or missing. He then instructed me in setting up a download of the entire operating system (OS/X Lion). We both hung up and about 3 and a half hours later the 4GB download was finished and installed and I was up and running.


OK, so now I was up and running. As a learning exercise in this new (for me) Mac world, I decided to make an iMovie of the picture and video clips I had taken on my iPhone at the 2011 Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Galax Virginia a few days earlier. I then intended to burn a movie DVD and give it to my Cousin, who had also attended the festivities. Working a bit here and a bit there I started to learn my way around the new operating system and iMovie and finally got to where I thought I had a worthwhile movie to share. Soooo..... in iMovie, I clicked on Share, then clicked on iDVD which I understood was the software that would burn my new movie on DVD. iDVD was one of the standard pieces of software included in iLife, a package that came standard on my machine. SUPRISE!! Apple decided, with NO NOTICE to stop distributing iDVD with iLife. It's still in the menu on iPhoto but no longer included in iLife. As far as I'm concerned this is just plain FRAUD. How can they change what is included in a package without changing the name of the package or at least giving some notice. I have called Apple and left a message with the tech who helped me on the first problem and have sent them a complaint through their web comment system. Let's see what happens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Computer Safety Class + Video Skype Chats May Include Ads

Hi All -
First, for those who were in our computer safety class at the Socastee Library yesterday and for anyone else who might be interested, here is the link I promised you to an online version of my slides:

Computer safety presentation

Second item: As you may already know, Microsoft is in the process of buying Skype. We have used video chat on Skype for a long time to stay in touch with family and friends around the country and the world. According to Bloomberg Business Week (May 16-22, 2011), "plans have been put in place to flank Skype video chats with advertisements". My prediction is that, since Microsoft already owns voice recognition software that works quite well, we can expect that in the future the Skype software running on our computers will listen to our conversations and use what it hears to choose the ads that begin to show on the border of your Skype window. You heard it here first!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Removing Personal Information Before Donating or Gifting Your PC

Several friends have recently told me they want to donate or gift an old PC but want to be sure they have removed personal data before doing so. Most of them realize that if they somehow remove ALL data from their hard drive the machine is totally unusable until someone reinstalls some version of an operating system. Many folks have no idea how to do this and don't remember, years after purchase, where they put the CDs with the operating system on them or if they ever got those CDs when they bought the machine. Here is a typical question on the topic that I just received in an email from a good friend who wants to donate his old machine to a charity:


If I reformat my C drive on my old computer I assume that everything is lost including the operating system. That means someone needs to reload my Windows XP, right?? Is there any freeware.... that allows one to “shred a file” so that it can’t be easily read? Also, if I decide to format, can/should I use the “quick format” option?"

Rather than answer in a one-on-one email I thought I'd share the information in this blog post.

General Source of Info on Tech Topics

There is a techie, Leo Notenboom, who keeps a website and blog called Ask Leo ( http://ask-leo.com/ ) where he takes computer related tech questions and answers them for the layman. I read him and refer many people to him and have never read a bad piece of advice from him. Go to that link and in the search box provided enter the words "erase hard drive give away" (without the quotes). The article I want you to read will be the first one listed. it's title is "How Should I Erase My Hard Drive Before I Give it Away?". Note that the title of the first article does not have the word "comments" after it. This means it was written by Leo, not by one of his readers who left a comment. I trust the articles written by Leo. As for comments by others, you're on your own.

In the article, Leo recommends two approaches, one for the paranoid (drill holes in the hard drive) and one for the not-so-paranoid (reformat the hard drive PROPERLY) and goes on to explain what he means by properly. He then goes on to point out that

1. drilling holes is the ultimate solution but leaves the computer unusable
2. reformatting isn't a great solution for the paranoid individual because at some expense data might still be recoverable

so how does the paranoid individual remove data more effectively than multiple unconditional reformats while not physically destroying the hard drive? One good approach is with a free software tool called "Darik's Boot and Nuke" which you can download at WWW.dban.org/download. Note - this is for the power user, not the novice. You will need to know how to burn the downloaded file to a CD (for help see http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Burn-a-CD-or-DVD-from-an-ISO-file and how to change the boot sequence of your machine so it will try to boot from the CD drive before it tries to boot from the hard drive (for help see http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/bootorderchange.htm

If you are less paranoid and want to leave your operating system on the disk as is but just want to effectively delete your own personal files, you might just drag and drop them into the trash and then empty the trash but you probably already realize that this just removes the entry for the file from the hard drives file index (the directory) leaving the file itself untouched. To actually destroy the file itself you might consider the free program known as Eraser which you can find at http://eraser.heidi.ie/index.php For example, if all the files you want to erase are in "My Documents" you're in good shape.

I hope this helps. Please leave comments here if you have questions and/or you use any of these suggestions.

If you would like to be notified when I add new material to this blog, scroll to the top and click on the "Follow" button.

An Effective and Free Tool for Wiping Your Hard Drive

Darik's "Boot and Nuke" is a free

Monday, January 31, 2011

An End to Passwords

It can't come too soon for me! I've been dreaming up / approving / disapproving / cursing at new password schemes since the 1970's when the company I worked for (a property/casualty insurance giant) formed a new department under me called "I/T Staff Services" that included, for the first time, computer security. Until then there were no passwords and our user IDs were our last names. My newly appointed security chief recommended to me that we create user IDs that could indicate what variety of user you were (making it possible to attach your user ID to certain rights and privileges) and that we make passwords mandatory, with standardized composition, and have them expire every six months.

Over the years I've watched password standards get more and more complex. No longer the creator of standards, like most of humanity I am on the receiving end. Each day one or more of my many online accounts informs me that my password has to be longer, more complex, and attached to a series of security questions and actions. All this to create a password that, in a year or so, can be broken by a 12 year old kid using free software on his/her game playing computer.

FINALLY the solution may be in sight! Biometrics, a set of technologies aimed at identifying humans based on their unique physiological and/or behavioral attributes has been long on promise and short on delivery for many years with the exception of expensive military installations and phony television scripts. At last a major player, Apple, may be poised to bring this "ease of use" technology to the masses. Check out the article in Computerworld here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Robot Computers" - You May Have One

Robot computers - bots for short - are simply garden variety home or business PCs that have been infected by malicious software that takes them over, on a command from the "bad guys", and directs them to do whatever the bad guys want them to do.   Two activities are most likely: 1. they turn your PC into a spam engine, sending advertisements (frequently in your name) to those in your address book and then to thousands of others.  In case you miss the point, let me give you a clear example:  your friends and neighbors receive eMail from you advertising medications to make the male Penis larger.   2. they use your machine to extort money from online companies.  If a given company does not give in to their demand for money, they attack the company's website with their bot army.  Your computer is one of the soldiers in the bot army.

Many people ask how the malicious software gets on their computer.  Typically a piece of malicious software known as a "Trojan" (from the story of the Trojan Horse) is first.  Trojan software typically gets into your computer because you either invite it in or go to some place that provides it.  Here are some common scenarios:

1.  You get an interesting piece of eMail from a trusted source (whose PC is already infected) that contains a hyperlink.  You click on it and it takes you to a web site that takes advantage of a bug (programming error) in your browser (Internet Explorer for example) that lets it download and run software.  The software it downloads is a Trojan which invites it's owners to download additional software anytime they choose. This is usually referred to as a "drive by" attack since it attacks you when all you were doing was visiting their web site.  Your computer would be less vulnerable (but not impervious) to this kind of attack if you are running Windows Update automatically.  To set this up, click on Start, All Programs, Windows Update.

2. Pop up link:  you are happily surfing the web when suddenly, from an infected web site, a popup window appears saying something like "BEWARE your computer is infected with a virus (actually it is not. yet.). "click here" the window says and we will download antivirus software that will clean it out.  You click and down comes the fake "antivirus" software which is in fact, a Trojan that installs itself and invites its creator to download through it any other software desired.

GUESS WHAT!   a major bad guy, owner of a "bot net" consisting of over 30 MILLION PCs has been busted by the police in Holland.  Here is a link to an article in Computerworld (an Information Technology trade newspaper): http://www.computerworlduk.com/in-depth/security/3246108/dutch-police-may-have-broken-the-law-taking-down-bredolab-botnet/

As you can see from the article, the Netherlands police are attempting to warn the owners of those 30 million PCs that their machines have been infected.  Problem is, many folks will ignore the warning, assuming it is bogus.  IT IS NOT!  Follow this link


to see what the warning looks like. If you have seen this on your compter, YOU ARE INFECTED!  What you are infected with is a Trojan.  Of course, the Trojan just provides an entry for the bad guys into your computer.  You can't know WHAT kind of software they have downloaded through the trojan into your PC.  It could be a spam engine, an extortion soldier, a key logger tracking and reporting everything you type from your keyboard, etc etc.  All the Netherlands police can do is tell you that you are infected with something.  You need to scan your computer or have it scanned by a professional.  Believe the warning, it is real.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

US government throwing free speech under the bus - Computerworld Blogs

When I was in college, I and six of my friends were thrown out because the administration caught wind of the fact that we were organizing a demonstration on campus where we would advocate for a number of things including the right to have, on campus, political, religious and social clubs. I know first hand what free speech means and how those in power in any institution would suppress it if they could. Lucky for the seven of us, a good lawyer got us back in within a week. Here are some good current examples of the suppression of free speech in this country. I don't know if we will all be so lucky this time:

US government throwing free speech under the bus - Computerworld Blogs

Friday, July 30, 2010

Information at Your Fingertips - WolframAlpha

Some time ago I (and many others) discovered a new kind of information site on the web, WWW.WolframAlpha.com. The function of this site was difficult to describe. It seemed to fit in the same category as indexed information like Wikipedia but it was much more.

Today I (and no doubt millions of others) received an eMail from the WolframAlpha team announcing the availability on their site of WolframAlpha "Widgets". Widgets, in the world of computer programmers are tiny programs that can either stand on their own or be incorporated easily into existing programs.

After playing with Widgets already existing on WolframAlpha for a while and building two WolframAlpha widgets of my own I finally understand and can explain the function provided by the WolframAlpha website and by it's new Widgets. Any data administrator and most programmers understand the difference between stored data and derived data. Most would imply the difference by calling the "derived" variety "information" rather than data. The implication here is that there is some added value to the information over and above the data actually stored in a database or dictionary or encyclopedia. The value added stems from manipulation of the stored data according to programmed rules and/or relationships implied by the structure of the database itself. In simpler terms, it is data plus intelligence.

Once you have either located a widget you like or have built one yourself, Wolfram makes it easy to "lift" the code and include it in your own blog or website. I created two Widgets:

this one shows you the effect of inflation on the value of the US dollar:

while this one allows you to locate (on a map and/or globe) where a particular country, state, city, lake, mountain etc is:

Give them a try and see how they work.

As you can see I included the two widgets right in this blog entry. I had to work a very little bit harder to figure out how to include the widgets in the text of this single entry instead of where my blogger template was set up but it turned out to be as simple as a cut and paste.

In the five or so hours I have been playing with this (on and off) 42 more gadgets have been created, stored and indexed on WolframAlpha by people all over the world. Any of them can be incorporated in a website or blog by anyone else, as I have done here with my own creations. This is Web 2.0 at its creative best!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Netflix Terms of Conditions

I just went to the Netflix site to order a new DVD to watch and discovered a notice that I once again had to review and agree to their terms of conditions. Well, I said, if they have changed at least they are letting me know. I then took a look at them - 14 PAGES of legalese. Incredible! Don't tell me it doesn't make any difference because no one reads them - that is a dangerous habit to get into. Red Box is looking really good to me - just drop in your cash when and only when you want to watch something, make your pick and your done - no need to feel you need a team of lawyers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Introduction to the Internet Class

Today, Friday Feb 12th 2010, Shirley and I will be teaching the Intro to the Internet class at the Socastee SC public library. Slides for the class can be found by clicking here or entering


into your browser's address window and left clicking.

The slides contain many hyperlinks to other resources, including some excellent Youtube entries on the subject. If you check out the presentation, or if you attend the class, I would appreciate it if you would leave comments, suggestions for improvements, etc by clicking on the word comments directly below this post.

Jim White

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Apple's Time Capsule Cooks Itself Dead

Apple has a fantastic, integrated, hands off software/hardware solution for backup. The software is called Time Machine and it is amazingly simple to use with a beautiful user interface. The hardware Apple sells to store the backups on is called Time Capsule. Today I bought my wife a Time Capsule to serve as backup storage for her MacBook. I didn't do quite enough research before buying. I have discovered a web site called http://timecapsuledead.org/ where you will find a database of thousands of users whose Time Capsules have died from overheating after an average of 18 months. Poor design for heat removal seems to be the problem. In a forum located here on Apple's site you will find an incredible history of frustrated users discussing the death of their units. Apple so far has refused to acknowledge the problem.

Here is a link to the product page on Apple's web site where they say "you never have to worry about backing up again" and "Its massive 1TB or 2TB server-grade hard drive". Server grade? I don't think so. I ran a data center that had REAL server grade hardware and this stuff would be laughed out of the room. Come on Apple, acknowledge the problem and FIX IT!

We bought our unit at Best Buy to be shipped directly to our house. I won't even take it out of the packaging - I'm returning it to Best Buy as soon as it arrives.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Online Banking Red Flag

To date, fraudulent online withdrawals from customers bank accounts have almost always been "made good" by the bank. The bank would try to recover the money but, if it could not, the bank would "make the customer whole", writing off the loss as a cost of doing business.

It looks like that might be changing. Read this article, then be sure to follow it up in the news. If the bank wins, you may be in real danger using online banking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wikis, Blogs and Podcasts: Part One of Web 2.0 Presentation

Well, the presentation of Part One at the Socastee library had to be canceled due to some glitches in the library computer infrastructure. I/T folks are now hard at work fixing the problem and the class will be rescheduled. In the meantime I will be giving the same presentation at the September 1 meeting of the Cypress River Plantation Computer Users Club, open to residents and property owners and their friends. Part one covers Wikis, Blogs and Podcasts, shows you what they are, how they can be useful, and, in the case of Wikis and Blogs, how to create and maintain your own at no expense. You can find the slides for the presentation here. There are many links on the slides, just run the mouse around on each slide to find them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Web 2.0 The Art of the Internet Possible

Well, I've been teaching computer related classes at Socastee Library for some time now, all of which have been classes already documented by library staff. Now I have developed one of my own, titled Web 2.0 - The Art of the Internet Possible. I intend to include blogs, podcasts. Wikis, social networks, folksonomies, and Mashups but decided to break it into parts one and two after doing the first three items in that list. I am sure that blogs, podcasts and Wikis will take us beyond the supposed one hour of a class. I will include the other three in a different class and give it later this year. I have already put part on up on Slideshare. You can find it on the web at http://www.slideshare.net/JimWhite/web-20-the-art-of-the-internet-possible-1856299

I did a "Computers 102 - Files and Folders" class yesterday at the library. I thought it went pretty well, got some nice comments. I didn't create a Powerpoint presentation for it because it was more of a hands on class. The Web 2.0 will be more lecture plus watch the presentation, not a lot of hands on. I have included lots of hyperlinks in the presentation to other sites on the web, including a link to a great film clip that beautifully explains wikis. I will be demoing the wiki I created to help our family plan our December drip.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

AVG Antivirus Free Download Site

In the class I taught yesterday at the Socastee SC Public Library I mentioned that AVG offers a free version of their excellent antivirus software but didn't have the correct link available where it can be downloaded. I promised to locate that and put it up on my blog, so here it is:


Click on the hyperlink above and it should take you there. If you are remembering what I taught you, you can confirm, before you click, that you are actually going to that web address by looking at the very bottom left of your browser window as you hover the mouse over top of the link.

After clicking on the link and going to the download page you will see three columns where AVG compares their free software with two of their for pay packages. The choice, obviously, is yours. To download the free antivirus, scroll down to the bottom of the columns and click DOWNLOAD under the "free for private use only" column. After downloading you will either have to choose SAVE and then run what you saved or choose RUN rather than save. This will install software.

Remember, if you have any questions you can use the comments link at the bottom of this blog entry. I try to look at it at least once a day and will answer to the best of my ability. Check back within a day to see my answer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Online Security

On June 24th 2009 at 6:00 p.m. I will be teaching a class in the Socastee Public Library on Online Security. Here is a link to the presentation:


There are hyperlinks throughout the presentation. Left clicking on them will take you to additional information, the back arrow at the top left of your browser window will bring you back to the presentation.

Sorry for the very basic usage info, I'm trying to make this useful for all users.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Maintaining Your PC

My wife and I volunteer teach some computer classes in the Socastee Public Library near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tomorrow, June 16th 2009, I will be teaching "Maintaining Your PC". I have created a Powerpoint presentation to accompany the course and have put the presentation up on the Internet on WWW.Slideshare.Net. You can find the presentation by going to Slideshare's home page at WWW.Slideshare.Net and doing a search using the presentation title OR you can go directly to the presentation by clicking here.

There are many hyperlinks in the presentation. They will take you to various articles or Youtube clips that illustrate points in the presentation. Recently Slideshare has made some changes so that the hyperlinks work even if you are not in full screen mode but if you have trouble, try switching to full screen mode by clicking the word full at the bottom right of the presentation image.

I hope you find the presentation useful. Feel free to use it yourself either from Slideshare or downloading it to your own PC.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Starting a Computer Club

Finally I am getting around to starting a computer club in our Myrtle Beach home. We will meet on a biweekly or monthly schedule. I will be the presenter at the first couple of meetings after which I hope other presentation volunteers will surface. I hope to present/have presented topics for beginners and more advanced at each meeting of the club. We will also have a "self help" session, with members presenting computer or networking problems that I or other members might have solutions for. At our first meeting I think I will do two short presentation, one for beginners on basic desktop and window management and one for all on problem solving via the web. Should be fun.

On another front, I continue to volunteer at the Socastee Library, giving a variety of Computer related courses in their computer equipped classroom. Tuesday June 16th I'm teaching "Maintaining Your Computer", Wednesday June 24th I'm teaching "Online Security" and sometime during the month (date not settled yet) will be "Computers 101".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Computing 101 - I'm Teaching Again

Well, I'm back to teaching again. I have volunteered to teach computer use topics at our local library in South Carolina. Oh, yes, we now live more there than we do in Randolph. We moved part time into our new SC home in January of last year. This year we plan to spend more time here. The library I'm teaching in is the Socastee Library.

Much to my surprise, this Myrtle Beach branch library is only five years old, is larger and much better equiped than the library in Randolph, NJ. In addition to some 18 or so computers on the floor, there is a classroom with a dozen or more computers plus a screen and projector to show the teachers screen to the class. Fantastic. I'll be teaching the beginners class, computing 101, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TV On Demand - The Web and TV Begin to Merge

If you have ever visited the web site of any of the major (or minor) TV networks you have discovered that they are beginning to make some of their past broadcasts available there. If you have a broadband (cable, DSL or FIOS for example) connection to the Internet from a computer less than five or so years old you can see shows that you might have missed or that you want to see again. All episodes of a very few shows might be available while others are missing completely or have a few recent shows available. To find this, you have to go individually to each networks site and hunt around. Now there is a better way!


I discovered this gem from a great article in the September 2008 edition of Wired Magazine and last night I watched a gem of an episode from a late 50's early 60's Western series (the hay day of the TV western) called "Have Gun, Will Travel". Fantastic! Hulu has struck deals with many (but not all, don't look for Oprah for example) networks and many film distributors as well to act as a hub for hosting and/or locating their content on the WWW. Enjoy!

Oh, and for a more recent development on the same topic, it looks like YouTube is now hosting and presenting widescreen HD video content. Now to view this you will need a high end broadband connection and a very recent medium to high end PC. Check out this example on YouTube. Give it a go to see if your broadband connection and PC are up to it.