Articles about Digital Lifestyle

Stephen Hawking and me


I only met Stephen Hawking twice, both times in the same day. Hawking, who died a few hours ago, was one of the great physicists of any era. He wrote books, was the subject of a major movie about his early life, and of course survived longer than any other amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) sufferer, passing away at 76 while Lou Gehrig didn't even make it to 40. We’re about to be awash in Hawking tributes, so I want to share with you my short experience of the man and maybe give more depth to his character than we might take away from the evening news.

Several years ago I was booked to speak at a (pre-Intel) Window River Systems event at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland. The Claremont, like the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, is a huge old hotel built entirely of wood. Creaky old elevators and creaky old staircases connect all the floors but stairs are faster and I was in a hurry to give my speech because Jerry Fiddler was waiting. So I took the stairs two at a time then burst through a set of double doors and straight into…

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Passwords are stronger in Minneapolis

combination lock

New research reveals the US cities that are best at password security, with Minneapolis topping the list.

The study by password manager Dashlane scores cities based on several metrics, including average password strength and average number of reused passwords.

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On the dark web your identity could cost less than the price of an iPhone X

identity theft

What's your identity worth? Not very much according to research by VPN comparison service

The site has released its first Dark Web Market Price Index which reveals that an entire personal identity can be bought for just $1,200.

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The rapid growth of digital data

Digital data

The volume of digital information in the world is growing at a scarily fast rate. In fact 90 percent of the digital data that exists worldwide today was created within the last two years -- and 2.5 quintillion bytes of extra data are created each and every day.

We browse websites, stream music and video, and post on social media all of which contributes to this deluge. But how did data get to be such a key part of modern life?

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Wireless routers seen as essential as smart devices take off

The back of a Wi-Fi router with antenna mounted

The wireless router is the number one technology US consumers can’t live without for more than day, according to managed services provider iQor.

A working router is necessary for consumers to enjoy smart devices and the connected lifestyle, including smart TVs and streaming devices, multiplayer gaming, tablets, voice controlled virtual assistants and smart speakers, IoT-enabled security systems, and more. According to the survey 64 percent of US adults say they couldn’t be without Wi-Fi for a day.

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Why consumers love shopping online

While the majority of shopping is still done offline, it's the internet retailers that are growing at a three times faster rate.

Online retail portal has produced an infographic comparing the online and brick and mortar shopping worlds. It looks at what people buy where and what factors drive their decision to shop online.

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7 things you could do instead of CES

The annual scourge is upon us, as tens of thousands of attention seekers descend on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Nowhere else can you watch bloggers and journalists in a constant chase of their public relations foibles, who desperately hunt for all the attention they can get their clients. Think a thousand kids in a small room, calling for mommy and groping her dress. Then multiply ten times.

My last CES pilgrimage was 2008. That's right, I haven't gone in 10 years. No-o-o-o regrets. Nothing important ever comes out of the show, even though each year the hype suggests otherwise. Most new unveiled products won't ship until second half of the year. If ever. There's more vaporware at CES than hot air—and that's no easy feat. Surely the Las Vegas Convention Center installs extra carbon dioxide scrubbers so that participants don't asphyxiate. If there was an alarm for toxic babble, it would sound incessantly.

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Amazon pulls the plug on uploading your own music to its cloud

Amazon music app

As well as being a handy way of storing items you've bought from the site, Amazon Music also allowed you to upload your own tracks and stream them from its cloud.

Now though the company is quietly pulling the plug on this aspect of its service. Previously you could store 250 tracks for free, or 250,000 if you paid an annual subscription. But the ability to upload new songs is now being withdrawn.

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Android users more likely to work over Christmas

Christmas smartphone worker

In many businesses Christmas is seen as a quiet time when things slow down and staff get the chance to relax.

But according to enterprise file sharing company Egnyte that's not necessarily the case.

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ZoomGo unveils its own media stick with extras

Streaming media sticks have become an in-thing these days, with big releases from major players like Amazon and Roku. They plug into an HDMI port on any TV and bring you all sorts of entertainment goodness. The one drawback is that they aren't exactly mobile.

Now one company aims to change that, giving you all of your media on the go and just in time for a big travel season.

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DIY data recovery -- challenges and alternatives

Modern laptops and desktops can hold a massive amount of information, including tens of thousands of pictures and millions of pages of text. Despite their storage capacities, these devices should not be used as a means to permanently store digital information because they’re prone to breakage and data corruption. Recovering data from one of these failed devices is difficult, and requires a high-level of expertise that’s not always accessible to the person that likes to fix things themselves.

Older laptops that were constructed with traditional hard drives were fairly simple to pop open and fix. You could unscrew a few screws holding the case together, and then plug into the drive via a universal SATA port to retrieve the data. Opening the actual drive itself is not without risk or advisable as dust could and will enter the drive causing contamination and it can always cause additional damaged during the process. 

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Technology killed my imaginary friend

The use of technology is harming children's imagination and leading to a reduction in the numbers of imaginary friends according to new research.

The study by face paint company Snazaroo finds only 17 percent of children have imaginary friends, a steep drop from 2001 when nearly half of British kids had invented an invisible playmate.

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After a brief absence, CBS returns to DISH

For those who have cable or a satellite TV service, you may be used to the occasional channel, or a few of them, disappearing. This is most frequently due to contract disputes as large conglomerate networks attempt to prop up channels that aren't doing so well. It's usually worked out, though it can take some time.

That scenario recently played out between CBS and DISH. The former yanked its channel package off of the satellite provider's service in an effort to extort more money.

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Amazon knocks big discounts off Nest products for Black Friday, deals start now

Feeling cold, hot or insecure? There are many solutions provided by the Internet of Things, from lights, cameras, locks, thermostats and much more. You need to choose carefully though as not all work as claimed, and some have rather glaring security problems. But, if you're up for the challenge, then you can set up a fairly cohesive and secure system in your home.

One of the top purveyors of some of these products is Nest, part of Google/Alphabet. If you have been looking for a smart thermostat or security camera then this may be a good time to pull the trigger.

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CBS blocks its network from DISH subscribers

While many people opt for cable there are also a fair amount who go against that grain, subscribing to a satellite provider for various reasons -- maybe it's location, perhaps it's NFL Sunday Ticket. There are two major players in that market -- DirecTV and DISH.

All sorts of problems can interrupt service, both to an entire system, or just certain provided networks. One of the biggest reasons for providers and customers alike is contract disputes. That's something we see all too often. The mess is generally sorted out, but it sometimes drags out for too long.

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