All posts filed under: computers

Inventor of the bar code dies

computers

Flickr photo: Paul N. Joseph Woodland, the inventor of the ubiquitous bar code seen on virtually every consumer item, has died The New York Times reports. He and Bob Silver patented the idea in 1952, but it was ahead of its time. They earned $15,000 from the sale of the patent. The equipment necessary to read a bar code then was large and expensive. Now even the miniature camera on your smartphone can read and […]

Bloggin’ Milestones

computers

I’ve blogged since 1998, but two months ago, I decided to try something new. Instead of writing a post once in a while when I felt the urge, I opted to write everyday. Two months in, this experiment has been a resounding success! Posting each day is totally feasible. With WordPress’ scheduling feature, I’ve kept a consistent posting time. I’ve used the fullscreen editing mode exactly never. I have a tendency to write long posts, but […]

iTunes 11 and Remote 3.0

computers

Last week, Apple released a major new version of iTunes. They paired it with a new version of their iOS app Remote. I’ve been using both since Thursday, and my first impression was “it’s different.” The real difference is visual. Apple has increased the focus on cover art over the years. Cover Flow was a big step in that direction, but I always found it a bit fancy and not very useful. This new version […]

IBM shuts down the mighty Lotus

computers

Flickr photo: catzrule The first spreadsheet program for personal computers, what we had in my home growing up, was a program called VisiCalc. It was popular and sold 700,000 copies. In 1983 though came a product that killed VisiCalc and cemented the IBM PC as the platform of choice, Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus Development Corp. got its name from the far east. It made the career of Mitch Kapor, its founder. Kapor went on to co-found […]

Freedom from the internet

computers

One of the side effects of always-on internet connections is the constant distraction of Twitter, Facebook and email. As more research reveals the lie of multitasking, concentration is key. Being able to focus on the task at hand is important. There are ways to disable network connections, but it’s as easy to shut them off as it is on. Freedom is a small bit of software that fills this gap. It disables your network connection […]

Automating time management with RescueTime

computers

I’ve tested out RescueTime recently, which bills itself as time management and productivity tracking software. You setup an account on their website and download the client software. It stays in memory as you work on your computer. It uses a simple premise for time tracking. That is, it tracks what application is currently active. Since one window is in focus at a time, RescueTime tracks the time spent in that application. If you’re not active on your […]

Open source scholarship from Red Hat helps those who contribute

computers

The Fedora Project is the community-based Linux distribution shepherded by Red Hat. A new version of Fedora was released on Tuesday, which features the first updates to GNOME 3, the relatively new version of the classic desktop environment. Staffers at Red Hat manage some aspects of Fedora, but a lot of volunteers go into making the Fedora community what it is. The first billion-dollar company in the open source world, Red Hat established the Fedora […]

Password managers: cross-platform and browser integration

computers

Whitson Gordon of Lifehacker has an article today talking about alternatives to the online password manager LastPass. LastPass noticed a traffic anomaly on their network that they couldn’t explain, and they decided to be proactive. Just in case people’s passwords got stolen, some users were required to change their master password. It sounds like LastPass did the right thing. With recent articles detailing security questions about DropBox and cloud computing in general, people are a […]

Balancing usability and security with your passwords

computers

In 2007, Thomas Baekdal, a Dane, wrote a simple article on his website entitled The Usability of Passwords. It inspired a lot of debate. His main thesis was that complex passwords are difficult to remember and may reduce actual security if you have to write it down or have some other means of remembering it. He suggests using three or more unusual words separated by special characters as a more secure password strategy. According to […]

Fedora 15 with GNOME 3 due out soon

computers

Fedora, a community distribution of GNU/Linux shepherded by Red Hat, will be releasing a new version in a couple of weeks. Fedora has always been cutting edge, and it will be the first big Linux distribution with the newly-released desktop environment GNOME 3. As I’ve written previously, GNOME 3 is a huge update and break with the past. GNOME 2 was first released in 2002, and now it’s time to jump into the future. Notably, […]