Escaping in Texas

Articles, Personal No Comments

Texas is full of little surprises. One of them is a beautiful little bed and breakfast in Brownwood, Texas, called Star of Texas. My wife and I were happy to have discovered this place many years ago, and just drove down here today to celebrate our 20th anniversary (a tiny bit early). They offer, “…private cottages and other unique lodging experiences, and we deliver a full hot breakfast to your room each morning around 9 am.”

We were desperate for a get-away, and Star of Texas fits the bill nicely. It’s southwest of Dallas with zero “city” to contend with, and northwest of Austin so the “weird” doesn’t rub off too badly. 🙂

I can’t recommend the place enough for a quiet, secluded time away from the stress of every day life! Click below for a couple of pics, if you’re interested.

Read the rest…

Silverlight: You’ll probably want it

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

There’s a lot of gobbledy-gook on the Internet. There are new add-ons and plug-ins and toolbars being foisted on you by Web sites here and pop-up windows there. To top it off, you’re always told to be extra cautious about everything you click on, open, download, install or hover your mouse over. (When I write it like that, it almost seems paranoid.)

However, there’s one particular browser plug-in that you may have been wondering about. Maybe you saw it as an optional download on the Windows Update site or stumbled across a Web site that required it. The plug-in is called Silverlight, and it is an emerging technology by none other than Microsoft.

Read the rest…

OpenOffice turns 3.0

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

On October 13, OpenOffice.org, the beloved (and seductively free) office productivity suite, released its milestone version 3.0. The document-making, spreadsheet-calculating, presentation-presenting free open-source project boasts a few new features, a new startup routine, and a few bells and whistles to show off. Also, big news for Mac users: It natively supports Mac OS X now.

Read the rest…

Stalled at Startup

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

Sometimes you just want to buy toilet paper.  Yet, by the time you’ve found the kids, the kids have found their shoes, the dog has found something to chew on the couch, you’ve discovered the car is out of gas, the guy on the radio tells you that traffic is blocked between you and the store, and your youngest took off her shoes thirty seconds after she was in the car…the simple task of acquiring toilet paper seems painful.

And yet, you still need the toilet paper.

Read the rest…

‘Clickjacked’ in the blink of an eye

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

Imagine if, while you were merrily surfing on the net, someone figured out how to take your next mouse click and repurpose it for whatever he wanted. Say, for instance, you pointed your mouse to a link for a news article that caught your eye, but when you clicked the link, you landed on a Web site designed to trash your Web browser. You just got clickjacked.

It’s like signing your name blindfolded, not realizing someone slipped another piece of paper between your pen and the desk, intercepting your signature.

Read the rest…

Yes, it could happen to you

Articles, Ask the Geek 1 Comment

The hacked Yahoo account of Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin topped tech news for a week and I’m certain we’ve not heard the last of it. The story has stirred talk of online security, lurking knots of curious crackers (“criminal hackers” — not all hackers fit that description, you know) and the wisdom of using personal accounts for nonpersonal purposes.

Aside from the political implications of this event, the questions that should be foremost in your mind are simple: Could it happen to me? Could my online accounts be compromised? Could I wake up one morning to discover that someone has posted the contents of my Inbox out onto the wild, wild Web?

Read the rest…

Google’s multi-tool mentality

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

I remember when Google was simply a search engine. For me, it quickly filled a need I hardly realized I had. At the time, I frequently found myself torn between multiple search engines such as Yahoo, Dogpile, and Ask Jeeves (before Ask.com gave Jeeves the boot).

Then there was Google, with its simplistic front page and lightning-fast search results. I learned a few good Web-searching techniques and started finding almost anything I looked for.

Anyone who is much of a Google fan will tell you: Google is much more than a search engine.

Read the rest…

Wherever you go, there you are

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

It’s Saturday. You drove into the office today even though it’s beautiful outside. Your spouse gave you a dirty look when you said you weren’t quite sure when you’d be home. One of your kids gave you the stink eye. For one reason or another, there’s something you’ve got to get done, and everything you need is on your work PC. You pull on a pair of shorts and a ball cap — no way in hell you’re wearing office clothes on a Saturday— and slowly pull away from your home, forlorn.
Read the rest…

Giving Vista another chance

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

You shouldn’t be too closed-minded in the tech world. I try to keep an open mind when new versions of my favorite operating systems are released. Once upon a time, I had been excited about Windows Vista when it was still in beta testing. Near Vista’s release date, I installed a “release candidate” (one of the final testing versions) on my laptop and primary desktop computer.

Aside from the slick new interface and a few new features (like “Instant Search”) to drool over, my experience wasn’t wonderful. Boot-up times were sluggish. Programs took an eternity to load. Resuming from standby was torture. It wasn’t a difficult decision to remove it and wallow contentedly in the stability and friendliness of Windows XP.

Read the rest…

Windows ‘service packs’ and why you want them

Articles, Ask the Geek No Comments

If you use Windows XP and you’ve turned on “Automatic Updates,” you already know that Microsoft sends updates for Windows fairly often. Aside from “Update Tuesday,” the second Tuesday of every month when Microsoft releases important security-related updates, other patches and bug fixes trickle down throughout the month as well.

Read the rest…

« Previous Entries