Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Homeland Security Employee Database Breached

Okay. Is it just me, or is this the ultimate in irony?

The Department of Homeland Security has notified employees and others with DHS clearance that their sensitive information may have been compromised due to a vulnerability in the database software. Potentially affected parties were just notified that their names, social security numbers, birth dates and other sensitive information has been exposed for almost 4 years. The potential impact is widespread, affecting current and past employees, contractors and applicants.

The Department of Homeland Security! Why do I feel a little less safe right now?

Roku gets PBS channel

If you’ve been following my Internet TV articles and posts, you know that of all the devices that can play streaming TV on your living room set, my personal preference is Roku. Actually that’s an understatement. In my humble opinion, it has no competition for its diversity in free and paid programming.

They’ve just given me one more reason to say that … PBS. This last week, the PBS channel was added to the extensive Roku channel list. That brings programming such as Antiques Roadshow, Great Performances, History Detectives, Masterpiece, Nature, and the venerable Nova to your streaming entertainment menu. And there’s much more besides that.

If you have a Roku, be sure to add this channel to your My Channels list. If you don’t have Roku, check out the Roku page here and read about the latest Roku 3.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Computer Curmudgeon 2/2010


Mardi Gras, where the good times roll freely, is February 16 this year. Experienced New Orleans visitors quickly become familiar with the Cajun version of Carnival and the custom of lagniappe – the “little something extra” like the trinkets tossed to the crowds attending the parades or the extra beignet tucked in your bag at the bakery.

A little internet searching will provide you with a bounty of lagniappe in the form of abundant free, useful software from a wide variety of sources. A simple Google search for “free software” yields 265,000,000 matches. The sources below are ones I regard as reliable and which I use and recommend frequently. Continue reading

Retiring an Old Computer? Computer Curmudgeon 12/2009

If you find a new computer under your Christmas tree, just what do you do with the former occupant of your desk?

Many households find that one computer per person effectively provides convenience and avoids conflicts over usage. A surprising number of families have both a desktop and a laptop computer. You may simply continue to use your old computer – as a standby system, as a test platform, as a “loaner” for guests, as a dedicated workstation for record keeping or a multitude of other purposes.  This may be a prime time to speed up that old PC by cleaning out old or unnecessary programs, cleaning up and defragmenting the hard drive as a thorough tune up can often restore a satisfying level of improvement to an aging system. For some basic information see “Optimize  Your PC” at Continue reading

Are You a Mac or a PC ? Computer Curmudgeon 11/09

In some circles, this question will launch a spirited discussion which may occasionally progress to fisticuffs. In other settings, observers may wonder just what sort of mental derangement makes people think they are electronic devices.  This question is regularly posed as part of a long series of attention seeking advertisements painstakingly crafted by TBWA Chiat Day of Los Angeles for Apple. Continue reading