bill-shockDear Reader,

I wound up switching from an unrestricted Internet Provider to a restricted plan because I needed a better connection.   For the first time I encountered datashock.   Once I called up my provider and increased my data for the month, I had to figure out which device was the guilty party and how to manage my errant devices.  For those of you who don’t know data-saving tactics, here is a brief run-down:

  1. Close all your apps. If they are left running in the background they will use data while you are not watching.
  2. For a machine running Windows 8, you can set your metered data settings. Tutorial available here.
  3. Windows 8 also has a built-in function to show estimated data use.  Pull up your networks in the charm bar, right click your network and show data use :Screenshot (19)
  4. For Mac users, its a bit more elusive.  Groovin’ on apps wrote a great post here.
  5. There are a couple free apps in the Apple store Mac users can download to monitor data usage including Onavo:

Screenshot (20)

  1. Make sure apps are not updating automatically if possible.
  2. Video streaming of any kind is your worst enemy.
  3. Make good use of public networks if possible.  Now is the time for a coffee shop or restaurant with free wifi.   The price of the meal is less than your data plan.

Happy surfing!


Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” 1

For those of you familiar with Linux – the other operating system – the Ubuntu distribution (version) encapsulates this concept. For those of you who only know Windows or Mac OS, Ubuntu runs on PCs and Apples.  Linux is open source – not commercially owned and free for all and supported by the development community.

BNj2NmdCYAAU5zUI bought my first ever Apple to expand my development skills.  In addition to trying to make me a Mac convert with the fevered enthusiasm of cultists, the Apple store showed me the app that would allow me to utilize my new iPad to remotely connecCAM00019_editedt to my Windows 8 Lenovo Yoga. It was surreal. Apple and PC in harmony through TeamViewer. I took control of my PC and posted to Facebook and rebooted my PC … utilizing my iPad as a remote control. I decided to try this from my Asus Tablet. TeamViewer installed no problem, but I ran into a totally unexpected issue. Due to the fact that Windows 8 and Windows RT (Windows 8 for a tablet) are both touch-controlled and both operate the same way, I could only get into my tablet functions.   The tablet intercepted the touch commands and none of it made it through to my PC.  I eventually outsmarted the tablet to control my pc, but it was awkward at best.  The iPad worked much better because the touch functions on the iPad work differently than the PC. The differences actually made the functioning possible — not the similarities.

Generally any software / hardware compatibility issues are non existant or very low if you stick with one one manufacturer — hence the secret behind Apple’s stable platforms. Also, that is why all Microsoft software is as easy as Mac software to install and use when its all new and staying within Microsoft. In this case, I happened upon an emergent property. Ubuntu. I am what I am because of who we are. Totally unexpected capabilities based on the combination of separate components. I wonder if this is the start of something new or a one-time fluke? Time will tell.


1. From a definition offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee.

Dear Reader,IE10

After bravely trekking into the undiscovered country of Windows 8, I decided to add to the adventure by buying an Asus tablet running Windows RT.   So….   while setting up my environment, do you think this tech-savvy diva can set her IE10 homepage??   Nope.   I know I set it on my Lenovo Yoga … three months ago.   Now that I’m fluent with Windows 8, I figured no problem — I’d have this changed.  So I swipe from the top & bottom to vivoleadget into the settings.   No luck.   Swiping from the right to get into the charms bar.   No luck.   Bleeping computer.   So I Google it.  No luck.   Finally, memory resurfaces!  (Whoever said it was all over after 40?).   I went into the traditional desktop.   Opened IE in the desktop.   Went into the internet settings — low and behold, it was there!!   Hallelujah!

Dear Reader,

I used to pat myself on the back…   I was an intelligent user of the internet!  No viruses for me!   I ran antivirus, didn’t download, didn’t visit online porn….   Until…..
It attacked from out of nowhere…   eating up my resources, my drivers, my operating system…   Ok evil enemy of users everywhere…  I’m technical and I can rid myself of this menace.   So…  I ran all my scanners and virus removal tools… to no avail!  This one was stubborn!   With my work schedule I did not have the time to fix this… so I finally admitted defeat and took my computer to a specialist… a friend of a friend… that kind of thing…   turns out I had a rootkit virus, which I kind of figured.

For those of you who don’t know, a rootkit virus attacks computers at the operating system level.   They put themselves on your computer at the lowest level and take over and do all kinds of horrible, awful, yucky things.   I had thought of just backing my information up and then reloading the operating system.   The problem with that was I had no way of knowing if I would also back up the virus and then reload that as well!

Plus I was hoping to save my existing system.   Dave (from D.A. Computer) dug in and removed the virus… ran in-depth scans to fix the computer and make sure it was ok, paid attention to his intuition when he knew something was still wrong, and fixed my computer!   Horay!

The moral of the story?   Run antivirus, don’t be an idiot, back up your system, and go to an expert when you need one…

Dear Reader,

I was working with a new client who has his own business from home and has a home network setup.   He needed an extra pair of hands integrating his new computer running Windows 7 into his existing setup with an older XP computer.   I was fighting with some odd behavior, hidden issues, and lo and behold the new compuer connected wirelessly and printed!   He was thrilled and so was I.

That hairy problem having been resolved after much fighting and frustration, we were moving on to other issues.  All of a sudden, nothing was responding!  Ugh!!  My worst fear… did I accidentally mess something up on the new computer while I was configuring everything?   It seemed to straighten itself out very slowly.   I subscribe to a few professional blogs.   I logged in the next day to learn that the Internet barfed  at the very time I was working with my client.   That’s my official technical diagnosis.  It barfed.  For more, read the article “Who Broke The Internet?”  Probably the same practical jokers who found it funny to crash the computers in school while I was working on my final project.

What are the odds that the day I’m doing intensive Internet work, the Net actually dies?   Urgh….

Dear Reader,

Ok, so it’s not IE9.

Rockmelt is continuing to evlove nicely.   I downloaded the latest incarnation and it runs beautifully.

Click to download rockmelt

At last week’s conference; Microsoft’s President of the Online Services Group, Qi Lu, described the ongoing evolution of the Information Superhighway into our Digital Community. With the advent of social networking we are seeing hybridization of man and machine, of real human experience digitized.   Rockmelt, is the first generation of browsers and future apps that will begin to marshall this new rising global cyborg  – its bones composed of servers, routers, and switches – its life blood coming from the websites and applications – the “connective tissue” being the myriad web of hyperlinks through cyber space.  What doesn’t it have?  Developer tools.   I suppose it would be like a surgeon operating on himself.  Perhaps that is best left to the workhorses of browsers.



Dear Reader,

Last week on Monday, I posted a puzzle — identify the web browser by the screen shot I took… before I answer the question… lets look at this:

First… Firefox!   Sleek design, great developer tools… fast… most people swear by Firefox as the best browser out there… can it be outdone?  At least one blogger thinks so HERE

Now… Google Chrome!   Customizable sleek design… compatible with the tour de force of cloud computing — Google, GMail … not as strong on developer tools… fast browsing .. can it be outdone?

Now… up and coming…. RockMelt… Similar to GoogleChrome in design – sleek… working on being compatible with everything… no developer tools yet… fast browsing… yet with an added punch!   Social networking while you are at it — complete connectivity to Facebook and the ability to interact real-time sharing and IM….   Still in Beta version…

… And finally, the web browser from last week….   Drum Roll HERE

IE9 !  Yes, that’s right — Internet Explorer from Microsoft.   New, sleek design that matches Windows 7 and Vista Aero.   After seeing it in action at Microsoft’s District office in Waltham, I decided to give it a test drive.   Does it deliver?

I found the old, cludgy browing to be a thing of the past.  It was moving fast.  Developer tools?   They are there and in spades creating a great rival for Firefox’s Firebug for those of you developers.   I’d check it out if you have the inclination… any drawbacks?

The bitter battle between Microsoft and Google became evident when I couldn’t open a document from a link.   It was a Google Doc and I got a page error.   I opened Google Chrome and had no problem.

Made me feel like an innocent bystander caught in a crossfire.   My word of advice to the big guys — drop the egos and bury the hatchet and work with us developers.   I don’t care who did who wrong first.  I just want to get my work done.

It reminds me of a moment out of Star Trek — yes, the original Star Trek and I am a nerd.   Spock had romanced the Romulan leader during war to win a victory.  The Federation was seeking the mystery of the cloaking device.

“You realise that very soon we will learn to penetrate the cloaking device you stole… Military secrets are the most fleeting of all.”[1]

In time, competing companies will learn to penetrate the technical secrets of the competing companies. Perhaps, like military secrets, technical secrets are the most fleeting of all.

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