Tag Archives: Internet

What is Your Favorite Technology?

While I was in Hawaii last week, I had the opportunity to record a “Question of the Day” video with Traci Toguchi. I decided to ask the question: What is your favorite piece of technology?.

Traci stated that there’s no way she could live without her cell phone. Not only is it used for calls, she also relies on it heavily to be able to check her emails and take care of her various online duties while she’s on the go. Today’s technology trend is pushing ever closer to being “all” mobile. We are busy, and we need our gadgets and gizmos to help keep us connected while we’re running around.

My answer was simply the Internet. The Internet has changed my life, and that of many others. We can do anything there, from research to connecting with people. I’ve been online since 1992, which is quite awhile now I know.

The world of the Internet has exploded since I’ve been online. In the future, it will become even faster and easier to access. It will also be more ubiquitous. It’s evolutionary, and there isn’t a question as to whether the Internet will continue to “be there” in the future. It’s going to be a huge part of our daily lives in years and decades to come.

Let’s turn it to all of YOU now. What one piece of technology could you not live without – and why?

How long have you been living with it?

What would make it better?

Do you consider yourself a tech addict?

Challenge a friend to answer the question, too:


What is Digital Culture?

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I may not look it, but I am 35 years old. This means I grew up with things like Merlin, Speak n’ Spell, and Atari! I surround myself with toys even to this day, including on the Internet. There are people my age, however, who don’t use mobile devices or even the Internet. In this day and age, that’s unheard of!

We are now living in a digital age – the age of information. I’ve been online since 1992, and doing so professionally for 12 years now. This IS my life. I received an email from a guy named Chris, who is taking a course named Digital Culture. They are learning about how digital culture is changing every arena of human experience. For their final project, they were creating a website devoted to digital culture and its influence. One component of the site features thoughts of people like myself, who are immersed in the digital lifestyle. They wanted to know what exactly digital culture means to me.

I think that digital culture is pervasive technology. What I mean by that is just assuming a solution is going to be there. Back in the days of dial up when I would travel, I would have to carry with me some type of telephone cable. I had to dial in to the Internet, and usually pay for the time I used that line. These days, you take it for granted. If you go to a hotel, you expect you can get online. It’s a given, right? You know it’s there!

Could you sit in front of a computer today and use it without an Internet connection? You could – but what would you do? The Internet unlocks so many experiences. It’s there, and it’s pervasive. It actually helps with the flow of things. Imagine not having email, or knowing someone who doesn’t have it. It’s frustrating. You’ve potentially grown up with it, and you’re just used to the convenience of it!

When I think of digital culture, I think of it as a part of ourselves, and an extension of society. What it means to me is a step in mental evolution, and social responsibility. The phrase that explains the idea that technology connects us as humans which I coined is “Human Circuitry” – which is now the theme of my Gnomedex conference.

Digital culture is amazing to me today as it was back when I first began my journey. It gives rise to a different kind of relationship between people – and it’s one that I treasure.

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Is DSL Really Broadband?

troy_w_banther: Not all of are fortunate enough to have anything better than DSL. 😛

about 54 minutes ago

Paradigms: the Linux distro or the communications technology?

about 4 hours ago

BenjaminPrice: I wasn&#39t either until I got fed up with Comcast metering broadband, so DSL is it now

about 13 hours ago

Foxxchasser1: i had cable internet and loved the fast upload speed but the company kept blocking ports on my service so i had to go to DSL

about 13 hours ago

identityTBA: Same here

about 15 hours ago

wwejason: Don&#39t like DSL, huh? 50,000 times better that cable. Don&#39t believe me? Listen to Leo: www.twit.tv/ttg539

about 16 hours ago

kpslover007: I have DSL at the moment. Do you recommend getting broadband/cable internet back?

about 16 hours ago

CodyMcGrew: why not beats dial up

about 16 hours ago

gmaendel: How about truck stop WiFi?

about 17 hours ago

htnguyen: what!?!?!? DSL > Cable!

about 17 hours ago

adamfield: some of us have no options. It&#39s not unbearable.

about 17 hours ago

tadrow: It&#39d be nice if all the fiber that was supposed to be carrying our calls actually was here. “We don&#39t care. We don&#39t have to.”

about 17 hours ago

jptacek: Can you explain Microsoft&#39s M for us?

about 17 hours ago

TreyRust: dialup FTW!

about 17 hours ago

tadrow: I wish we had options. My mom can&#39t even *get* DSL yet, and my aunt can barely get phone service, much less dialup.

about 17 hours ago

Joshrath: Found the link for the CNN video, Check your email.

about 17 hours ago

morontown: who is? No srously

about 17 hours ago

drmacpro: Damn slow Linux?

about 17 hours ago

lemasney: how are you on Fiber to the Home? I&#39m a fan.

about 17 hours ago

garrigus: Why not? What do you use… cable? Do you think that&#39s better? Much more expensive though, right?

about 17 hours ago

ktoddstorch: understatement of the year?

about 17 hours ago

Tofur: DSL as in the broadband connection or DSL as in broad&#39s d sucking lips?

about 17 hours ago

Darkfalz01: I loved my DSL (beat Charter Cable) but they just couldnt compete (speed or price) and we have only those 2 choices here :{

about 17 hours ago

millettepc: Dryloop DSL is awsome.. no silly phone company to deal with!

about 17 hours ago

thattalldude: I might be, but I&#39d have to experience it with more than 3Mbps theoretical top speed. Only choice here though, no competition.

about 17 hours ago

1only: I don&#39t think there are a lot of DSL fans anymore, I could be wrong.

about 17 hours ago

StephenCraig: me neither, but we get it for free, my mom works from home 🙂

about 17 hours ago

Memoriestolast: you&#39re kidding- seriously? Film?

about 17 hours ago

KerwinStewart: What about Fios?

about 17 hours ago

AnoxiA425: No one is ever a fan of DSL

about 17 hours ago

MikeKukielka: U-Verse by AT&T is better.

about 17 hours ago

chrispirillo: I&#39m just not a huge fan of DSL.

about 17 hours ago

How to Use Chat Room Etiquette

Geek!This is Ashryne’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

The chat room is a wonderful place where people can unite and maybe even help one another. With everything that is good, bad follows closely behind. This guide will explain proper chat room etiquette and provide examples.

  1. Excessive Exclamation or Question Marks – One of the common problems in a chat room is the need to emphasize certain questions, or statements by included 2 billion question marks, or exclamation marks. As an example, Johnny has a question for Chris. Johnny asks Chris “oh no my pet monkey stuck a banana in my PC and now it is broken!!!!????? Help !!!” What would be the proper way for Johnny to ask this question? Well, Johnny could try to ask the question in a much calmer, more relaxed manner. The real question is how did Johnny’s pet monkey get the banana in the PC? Instead, Johnny should ask Chris “my pet monkey stuck a banana into the computers fan and broke my PC. Can you help me?” As we can see by the proper method, Johnny is much calmer and actually explains how the monkey got the banana into the PC.
  2. Foul Language – The second problem that comes up in a chat room discussion is the need to compensate for a lack of who knows what by excessive swearing. Excessive swearing not only causes the chat member to look foolish, but can also be quite annoying. For example, the chat at live.pirillio.com censors filter words and replaces them with (censored) so anyone who swears has that word replaced. This example will be using (censored). Johnny is now angry at Chris because Chris has not responded to his question within 2 seconds. Johnny tells Chris “(censored) your teeth (censored) because you are so cool (censored) my (censored) hug.” Obviously Johnny has a lot to compensate for in this example. By this point in time, an op or halfop would have already removed the issue at hand. Johnny could have kept his cool and used proper chat room etiquette to have addressed the problem. I guess now Johnny will not know why his monkey likes to stick bananas in fans. The proper way to do this would be for Johnny to wait a minimum of ten minutes for a response before speaking and say something like “Chris my good fellow, is there an email address at which I can send you my question in case you were unable to view it in the chat?” As we can see by the proper method, the attitude of Johnny is still a calm and relaxed one.
  3. EXCESSIVE CAPS – The last situation I will address is that of caps lock. Caps lock is a button that makes all your letters appear uppercase. Caps lock can be considered rude, and yelling. For example, Johnny says “MY PET MONKEY TOTALLY ROCKS.” Okay Johnny, I think we get the idea. You have just yelled on the internet, how sad. The proper way to say this would be “My pet monkey totally rocks”. This method gets exactly the same point across, without you getting kicked from the chat.

Remember, always use proper chat etiquette.

Internet Karate – Defending Your PC Against Malware

This is Matt Wilkinson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Several years ago, I thought it might be a fun project to develop a presentation that could be delivered to non-technical PC users about the basics of PC security. I’m not talking about a simple “Dumbing-Down” of a very complicated topic, but rather an approach that would allow the average PC user to gain a better understanding of the everyday threats their PC faces. In other words, give them a fighting chance at keeping malware at bay.

The catch phrase “Internet Karate” quickly came to mind, combining the famous Martial Art with using the Internet. Karate is a means to defend yourself in the physical world — Internet Karate is a way to defend your PC from the never ending parade of bad guys that would otherwise attack and overwhelm it.

So I set out to develop a presentation that met these criteria:

  • It can be delivered in less than two hours, which leaves plenty of time for Q and A.
  • Keep it as non-technical as possible, while still keeping it as informative and engaging as possible to the target audience.
  • Make it as interactive and fun as possible; get people interested in a topic that would normally bore them to tears.
  • Not to push any specific security products or brands; warn people about the many fake security products out there.

Like most people, speaking in front of an audience is a personal phobia, and I freely admit that I am using this project as a means to overcome that phobia. But more importantly, I am doing this as my little contribution to combating malware. My philosophy is that the more educated people are about PC security, the more likely they are to stay on top of it. I have personally profited from malware — though not in the way that malware developers themselves do — but rather by earning cash from rebuilding PCs that have been gutted by malware. I like to think of it as my own little way of giving back (I don’t charge anything to present the material, but I don’t turn down lunch if offered).

I’ve delivered the Internet Karate Presentation to several groups since I first developed the material, and it’s been very well received. Keep in mind, if you are a registered user on geeks.pirillo.com, the material is anything but earth shattering. Nor is it particularly hard for anybody with web access to find out on their own (remember one of my goals is to get people interested in it) . I am not claiming to present anything revolutionary with Internet Karate, just to package a complex (and dry) topic in a way normal people can understand. If I could, I’d cultivate a small army of like-minded IT professionals that would offer similar presentations to small audiences in their particular neck of the woods (think “Dojo”).

If you’ve been in the IT game anywhere near as long as I have, I’m willing to bet that people often turn to you for advice on all things technology and computer related. This is your audience calling you. As far as groups go, there are PTA’s, professional organizations, church groups, community colleges, public library programs, the possibilities are endless.

Now, without further adieu, I bring you Internet Karate. (Requires Google Account)

Could you Live Without Email or the Web?

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How many people do you believe have used email? If you had to give a percentage off the top of your head of US citizens that you believe have used email, what would you say? According to a survey, about 20% of US heads-of-household have never sent an email. About 18% (20 million) of households don’t have Internet access. Approximately 30% of people have never used a computer to create a document. Wow. I had no idea! I wonder why Internet access isn’t considered almost like a public utility of sorts. Think about it. We have access to the public library, and there are computers there. We have the ability to grab television and radio broadcast signals over the air. We have water and trash services that we pay for as a standard. It just seems like it would be a detriment to any household not to have Internet access today.

If we look at Technology as an enabler, rather than a cost, we may be able to get further ahead as a society. This is what I suggest to people when they ask me about Broadband options. I always recommend that people get online to save money. Imagine saving a portion of your monthly bills. When you start buying things online, you’re no longer confined to the selection on your local store shelves. You can save serious amounts of money on goods this way. You’ll save time, by shopping online or even just to communicate in general. Everything boils down to a cost. What is your time worth?

I look at text messaging in the same way. I could pick up the phone and call someone. What if I just get sent straight to their voice mail? To me, it’s more convenient and time-saving to just send a text message much of the time. I look at paying for that unlimited texting service as a cost of convenience, and of communication. The less communication options I have, the more I feel like I’m just not connected.

If you don’t embrace a new way of communicating because you can’t, that’s one thing. If you don’t embrace it because you won’t: That’s something else entirely. Technology is becoming increasingly pervasive. Email is anywhere and everywhere, literally. It has its downfalls, certainly. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it to literally everyone.

What do you think about all this? Do you think this much of a digital divide should exist, between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’? Is a computer and Internet access so difficult to get? Or, is this more of a fear that people may have? Send me an email to [email protected], or leave me a follow-up comment on this post and let’s hear your thoughts.


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Could you Live Without Google?

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Do you use Google? Could you get along without it for a week? I tried it, and dubbed it Google Fasting. There’s no way I could do that again. It was really tough, believe it or not. I got an email from Mike recently, that raised a thought-provoking question about Google’s power.

Do you feel the power of Google is good for the Internet? With one search engine being used so often, there becomes a potential for abuse. As we become a society who gets our news and history over the Internet, is Google in a position to filter what we know and how much? I read awhile back that a pre-condition of China using Google was that search results could not return any information about the Tiananmen Square incident. More recently, China blocked access to YouTube in the wake of a Tibetan protests. If governments and search engines can weild such power over the Internet, they can effectively remake history, and shape issues of the day.

It’s interesting: we’re at this crossroads. Forever, we’ve lived in a world that had borders. The Internet is a world that has no borders. When we have such an open society on the Internet and try to get that to fit inside existing infrastructures… it’s really scary in a way. It’s potential for anarchy, and breaking down borders. I can guarantee people in power are scared, both in business and in government.

What happens when we transcend our physical presence to connect with other people? Again, I’m telling you… we’re at a crossroads between hierarchy and no hierarchy. Does Google have the potential to limit what we see? Certainly they do. However, if they did something new and open would crop up. I don’t see Google doing anything like that.

If we elevate Google to the position where we can’t live without them, we run the risk of letting them run us. The Internet is pretty big though. Google hasn’t been around forever. Eventually, something could even replace Google. It’s the ebb and flow and ideas of human identity and connections.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. How do you define society? How do you see this playing out? How do you see us moving beyond today?


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How do You Deal with Information Overload?

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The problem today isn’t that there’s not enough information. There’s too much. It’s not there aren’t ways to publish content on the Internet – there are an abundance. A lot of noise comes with that signal. So we’ve got different problems than we used to have. Information used to be handed to us from “on high”, as recently as a decade ago. Nowadays, information is just literally everywhere. It’s overwhelming at times. It’s impossible for me to keep up with the news aggregator, the email, the social networks…

Where does it end? How do you keep up with this information overload? It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to start actually closing my system down. I love information. I’m an information junkie! I love teaching, learning, consuming, producing… I love it all. Imagine billions of people like me, though. How do we deal with all of it? I received an email recently about this very subject:

As it relates to hardware, Moore’s law does a good job of explaining the limitation of transistors in relation to the exponential growth of such systems. Is there an equivalent to Moore’s law for searching and assembling all of the information that is found online? What are we to do when the content becomes so overwhelming that we may have to design better tools just for managing and viewing information?

Are we relying too much on the machine to figure out what’s good and what’s bad? I think we are, and that’s where information overload is getting to be overwhelming. A few years ago, I was able to deal with it much easier. I think that’s because the tools just weren’t as good at putting the information together for us. It gets bigger and bigger.. and worse and worse… every day.

I believe the future of information overload is to go back to classic mode: humans and machines. The Internet is the connection between us. If I have a question about something, I’ll turn to someone I know, and who will have the correct information. What’s the answer to all of this information overload then?

I’m interested in hearing your opinions on this. Leave me a follow-up comment here, or send me an email to [email protected]


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Tips for Internet Newbies (and General Reminders)

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As we get older, the world wide web gets newer. We find ourselves not able to keep up with the new world because we’re still stuck spending senseless hours checking 20 emails and trying to figure out how to install a program on Vista. For those of you like me, going on 21 for the 9th year in a row, here are 5 tips to help you get through the old stuff so you can stay hip with the new.

  • Book it before you book it. Now let’s say you are in the bored surfing mood, and you come across a cool website that you like. You think you would like to go back to it. The little “favorite” button or “bookmark” button will remember it for you. That way, you don’t spend 30 minutes to an hour getting frustrated, trying to figure out the website. So just book it before you book it. If it was just a “mood” website, you can always right click and delete it later!
  • You have the “best” pop up blocker installed and are certain nothing that shouldn’t is getting through. If it does… you just hit cancel… and what the heck you’re at their site!4. So, not only does crap still get through, you also have to read it before you click it. For example some will say, “to continue to the website click ‘cancel’.” Them sneaky sons of www dot coms did it again! Don’t waste another 15 minutes of what you have left of your life playing click that pop-up!
  • The dreaded Email. You always check your email when you get online. Yesterday, even though it took you two hours, you got your email down to 0 and now it’s back up to let’s say 20 new messages. Now, you don’t want to waste another two hours checking and replying and wondering who that “Jim” is that says he knows you and has been looking for you. So, you probably didn’t know this like the “hip” kids do… but not all spam messages make it into the spam folders. Them sneaky sons of www dot coms can sure sneak them in there. Trust me, 9 times out of 10 you are not the lucky winner in a drawing, or have been selected in a special giveaway. And honey… even though your memory’s going… you don’t know Jim! I personally hit the little spam button on those emails and eventually after a couple times they go away.
  • Not that this has ever happened to me before… you find yourself in let’s say Chris’s chat room. And let’s say the topic is gadgets. Now all the “young’ns” in the channel are chatting and swapping gadget ideas, and you find yourself lost asking “hey, what is an iPod?” or “hey, what is a 3g card?” Of course, nobody answers you. They are busy thinking, “You gotta be kidding me right? They’re just messing around.” Well, here’s a tip: make Google your new best friend. When you are lost, Google will help you find your way. Taking a few minutes to google something is a lot better than looking dumb or like an old fart in chat.
  • Watch your links. You’re chatting with one of your online buddies and they send you a link to lets say rnicrosoft.com. Earlier, you had Googled some new software that just came out, and you would like to buy it. So, you click on the link, find the software and give all your info. Weeks later… your CC is maxed out! If you carefully look at the link it’s r n i c r o s o f t . c o m. The r and the n are pushed together to look like m. This is just an example. though I’m pretty sure with your protection maybe something that drastic won’t happen, but that is one way your passwords and info. can get stolen. Sometimes, you are better off to type in the link yourself that way your not wasting even more time online and off trying to get this mess resolved.


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Cruise Ship Internet

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I’m sorry about the bad image and sound quality. We are on a cruise ship in Hawaii right now. I’m using the Internet via a connection provided to me from Ustream.tv. This is, of course, a mobile broadband connection. I came up with some tips to help you deal with this type of connection, if you ever happen to be on a cruise.

  • Buy larger packages of time. Most cruise ships have Internet available. The company will have packages available for sale. Always go with more minutes.
  • Find a friendly cruise ship. All companies work differently with their connectivity. This company was pricey, so I’m not using their connection.
  • Get a sponsor if you can. I was lucky to have Ustream.tv sponsor me for this connection.
  • Turn it into a business expense. This will minimize the impact of the out-of-pocket cost. So long as I stream live from the ship and do some videos like always… it’s a business expense.
  • Do what you can do offline. Write the blog post out offline, then post it once you get online. Or… get your emails ready to send, then get online. This will save you a lot of time and expense.
  • If you can, rely on your existing phone for your connectivity. Some devices do work as a modem, and will work very well.


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