Category Archives: Technology

Is Apple Still Innovating?

Patron Joey Bianco is curious about my thoughts on Apple. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

What is your opinion on the idea that apple has been slipping in their ingenuity of products since the loss of Steve Jobs? Do you think they have what it takes to create more groundbreaking cohesive hardware/software as they once did?

I think they’ve done their best, but that their best is also yet to come.

They have what it takes: a good brand with a loyal following and tons of cash + cash cows.

I hated all of the “Can Tim Cook Replace Steve Jobs?” posts that went out at the beginning. No… he can’t. No one can replace anyone, in my opinion. Tim isn’t a carbon-copy of Steve, and definitely never wanted to be. Tim brings his own style and ideas to the table. Will those things pan out as well as Steve’s did back in the day? That’s the question that remains to be answered. I don’t think it’s fair to judge him just yet. After all, it took Steve just a *couple* of years to get to a place where he was hugely successful and hailed as a groundbreaker.

Cut Apple – and Tim – a little slack for now. Let’s see what happens over the next few years before we condemn the entire company.

Is Apple Still Innovating?

What Do You Do With Old Computers That Have No OS?

I recently received an email from a new community member named Michael Neary. I don’t know for sure how to answer this one, guys, so I’m throwing it out to all of you for help! What would you recommend he do? Be sure to read his entire email, so that you know his options. Please don’t just say “OMG buy a new Mac” or some dumb thing like that! Let’s show Michael what a great community of minds we have here!

My fiancé used to work for a video game company that went under and it sold her two Dell XPS600s with no OS installed. Currently, all of my computing is done on my iPad mini, but I would like for at least one of these Dell systems to work. I would do the right thing and buy an Apple Computer, but it’s a little too rich for my blood right now (unless you know someone selling one cheap. Hell, a MacBook Air first generation would be great at this point).

Anyways, for the the Dell XPS600s, here are my questions; which is the best option?

  • If I buy Windows 7, will it be a simple process to make this beast work again?
  • Since I have two identical computers, what do I do with the other one? Can I morph the two into one bad ass computer? Do these have any value to sell?
  • Instead of trying to salvage the Dell, is it even worth my time to try and sell them to get a Mac, or should I just buy Windows and deal with it?

I know this is a lot of info, and I know you are probably busy, but I don’t trust any retail stores or Geek Squad for advice.

What do y’all think? What’s the best option here?

What Do You Do With Old Computers That Have No OS?

What NAS Storage Device Are You Using?

Jason sent me an email to ask about NAS Storage Devices. I sadly don’t have any particular recommendations, so I’m throwing it out to all of you. What do you recommend?

My wife’s company was hit by one of the devastating tornadoes last week. I’m trying to help them rebuild their IT infrastructure.

We were able to salvage the desktop PCs from their office, and I have been working on not only ordering new computers for them (the owner wants laptops now), but also backing up all data from the various PCs.

The single common, and striking, thread as I’ve gone through this is… all of their data stored is on single hard drives across various desktops. No server, no redundancy at all. I’m actually shocked that the “IT guy” before me allowed the storage of data in this manner. It’s actually quite scary. (Company financial records, payroll, tax information, customer PII and records, billing, receivables, etc.)

I need to present to my wife’s boss that she has single points of failure, across several desktops, for significant data loss, and we need to implement a storage solution that provides redundancy but also centralized access and management.

I considered an SMB server, but the price point may be too high, and at this point, they are now working out of her home; at least for now, an NAS device may be more suitable for their needs?

Do you have any recommendations for a quality NAS device that you have tested/used?

I’ve read several reviews from several sites and write ups, and have narrowed my preferences down to devices from Buffalo, Lacie, and possibly even ioSafe. But I trust your judgement and am open-minded to other manufacturers.

I would prefer a four-drive NAS system to support RAID5, as opposed to a two-drive RAID1, but am still open-minded. Also, seeing as this data contains PII, at least 128-bit encryption is very much desired.

The storage capacity requirement is not that large: 1-2 TB would be more than adequate. As far as budget? I’m thinking $1000 would be the limit on what the owner may be willing to spend.

I just wanted to write you in hopes that you may recommend a quality NAS device that you or your team has used and would recommend to someone in our situation?

What is the Best Piece of Tech You Have Bought?

Patron John Whittaker is curious about the best tech I’ve ever purchased. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

Hi, Chris! What’s the best piece of technology you have bought over the years that has given you the best value for your money?

Hi, John! I guess the pieces of tech that have lasted the longest and caused the least amount of frustration?

My dual 30″ monitors have performed quite nicely, as has the Mac Pro they’re connected to that’s been sitting behind my desk for several years. Expensive? Sure. But they’ve lasted, they’ve worked, and they haven’t caused undue grief.

That, to me, is value.

Spending $10,000 on a desktop computer that has lasted without major incident for over half a decade (and kept pace) is value; spending $100 on a piece of junk that provided a lackluster-to-horrendous user experience out of the box is not a value.

Value has nothing to do with an actual dollar amount.

My time is more valuable than anything I own.

What is the Best Piece of Tech You Have Bought?

Can You Recover Photos Deleted From Your Camera?

James Tison had a major freak-out not long ago:

I accidentally deleted photos from my camera, how can I recover them? Help!!!

Calm down, young grasshopper! All is not lost – hopefully! The first thing you need to know is DO NOT USE THE MEMORY CARD at all until you’ve recovered your photos!

The most important thing to do is to never write to the card after you deleted the picture you want back. The more you write to it, the more chances there are that it will write over the picture, thus making it even harder to get back.

There are a couple of different things you can do to try and recover your photos. One is to use Tune-Up Utilities. The other is as follows:

  • Download Undelete Plus from Snapfiles.
  • Extract and run Undelete Plus. Choose the drive letter for your SD card and click “Start Scan.”
  • Select the deleted files you wish to restore from the SD card and click “Start Undelete.”
  • Close Undelete Plus and navigate to My Computer to open up the SD card drive letter folder.
  • Verify that the deleted files have been recovered.

Keep in mind that I personally have never had to use this method or software. However, the reviews I read were great and this utility seemed to work really well!

What about all of YOU out there? How have you managed to recover deleted photos?

Can You Recover Photos Deleted From Your Camera?

What if Computers Were Never Invented?

Patron Chris is curious what our world would be like if we never had these glorious boxes. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

What do you think the world would be like now technologically speaking if the computer had never been invented?

You could make an argument that we’d be either further behind OR further ahead.

Our culture will forever remain shackled to past products and experiences – that’s just how it goes. As much as mainframes of yesteryear inevitably yielded control to these pocket computers every geek has on them at all times, I think if those mainframes didn’t exist…

…someone else would have come up with the idea of merging some kind of hardware with some kind of software and enabling experiences we otherwise would not have had. And that idea could’ve sparked a completely different set of products, services, and solutions.

Perhaps someone would’ve been able to do twice as much with half as much… which (assuming progress happened at a similar pace) would likely put us 2x ahead of where we are today.

Or, perhaps Steampunk wouldn’t just be a sub-genre of sci-fi… but true a way of life for most people in westernized societies.

Who knows? Maybe I’d be headlining in Vegas!

What if Computers Were Never Invented?

What Was Your First Computer?

Patron Jeremy Abad is curious about my first computer build. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

What was your first computer build and do you remember the specs?

Can’t remember.

Not to say that the custom-built PC was forgettable, mind you. I remember getting all the parts, putting it together, booting it up for the first time, and using it daily for several years.

It was fast and it got the job done. That’s what I always wanted a computer to do, and (largely) what I will likely want my future computers to do for the rest of my life.

I’m not being flippant, either. Some people care about specs, but I only care about them so far as how they’ll enable me to have something that I want. The speed of a processor is insignificant compared to what you’re able to do with it.

“What you’re able to do with it” doesn’t really have a sexy label, though.

I think it was an Intel something-rather?

What Was Your First Computer?

Which Device Did You Want to Destroy?

Richard Smith asked via Facebook:

What device have you owned that frustrated you so much that you wanted to take it out to a field and destroy it (like the printer in Office Space)?

I’ve had too many to count.

For whatever reason, I usually choose to hold onto old gadgets even though there’s a slim chance I’ll ever use them again. I mean, I feel that I’ve wasted so much money on products that totally suck that I figured I might as well keep them indefinitely.

This is one of the reasons I don’t keep a lot of gadgets around (or rely on too many of them at one time). Inevitably, they’re prone to breaking and disappointing me.

Maybe I’m long overdue for a spring cleaning? I just hate to think I’ll get rid of something only to find out that someone would’ve paid a few bucks for something that I was no longer finding valuable… even if the implementation of said product’s idea totally sucked.

I’ve wasted more money on poor products in my life than I care to admit.

Sadly, I’ve owned very few that I wouldn’t care to shoot.

Note: this particular device wasn’t broken on purpose!

Which Device Did You Want to Destroy?

Is Visual Design Important When You Choose a Product?

Patron Liz is curious about visual design. Remember: you can become a Patron and receive priority answers to all of your burning questions!

I just got the newest update to Safari – it’s all rounded edges and clean-looking. How important is visual design when you decide to use software, or when you are buying a product?

This is definitely something that falls under “to each his own.” Some people aren’t very picky about how something looks as long as it works well and does whatever it is they expect from the software or app. For me, personally, I really can’t stand to have to use something that’s just ugly.

When iOS 7 first started floating around in beta version and photos began showing up online, I nearly tossed my cookies. I just… couldn’t make myself want to use it. I love my iPhone. It does what I need it to do exactly how I need it all to be done. But damn if those icons and stuff weren’t flat-out hideous looking! As time went on, I grew used to them. I still am not a huge fan overall, but I live with it. Most of them improved from that beta version to now and what we’re left with grew on me enough that I don’t really even notice them anymore.

I’ve had to use computer software that’s so ugly and poorly-designed that I stopped using it and looked for an alternative.

So yes, when it comes to MY preferences – things have to look as good as they work for the most part. What about all of YOU? Does design/looks matter?

Which Mobile Battery Booster Are You Using?

Just after I recorded TLDR last night, Patron Jenny Propis sent this to me in an email. Don’t forget: you can become a Patron and get priority answers to your questions either here in my blog or in a video!

I just wanted to tell you that today’s TDLR was great! I especially like when you unbox new items, even though you said you don’t like to. I was wondering if you could put links to those items in your description box of your vlogs? Reason being, is my brother always seems to call me when his cell phone battery is low, and then has to hang up before I’m finished talking with him. So I wanted to send him a link to that small battery booster you had on your phone. Honestly, I think its just an excuse to get off the phone with me! 🙁

Thanks for asking, Jenny! The “battery booster” that I featured yesterday is the Phonesuit Battery Case for iPhone 5. This was recently sent to me by the company to try out — and try it out I am! I’m on the go a lot and I need extra go-go juice! (NOTE: this is totally not the same thing as unboxing juice!) You’ll find this little baby packs a 2100 mAh battery inside to charge your iPhone, which has given some users an additional 120% on their battery life. That’s a huge increase!

In reading reviews for this case on Amazon, many people are claiming that the “marketing hype” on Phonesuit’s website for this product is absolutely accurate. How often do we see that these days?

I’m sorry I can’t put the link to the product in the video description anymore, so I hope this will suffice! (Yes, I will put this link in the description!) YouTube no longer allows us to do that with Amazon affiliate links, so boooo!