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The Way to Survive Frustrating Tech Failures (and What that Says About Masks)

By Timothy R. Butler | Sep 15, 2021 at 12:32 PM

I told my friend Dennis E. Powell that I’m starting to believe in Skynet. Over the last week, virtually everything that could go wrong with the technology I depend on for work has gone wrong, as if it has actively turned against me. Having spent a fair number of years wrangling information technology, one thing has always provided a path to survival in those times: redundancy. Redundancy masks problems in the best of ways, much like the physical masks that are such a lightning rod in our culture today.

Here's How to Get a Lot More People Vaccinated Against SARS-CoV-2

By Dennis E. Powell | Aug 03, 2021 at 11:42 AM

Here’s something that I bet you know, but that it seems our government and news media — in large measure that’s redundant — don’t know: A lot of people are afraid of shots. They head the other way when the needle comes out. You know such people. Maybe you are such a person.

The Ending Platform Monopolies Act is Dangerously Misinformed

How Politicos' Low Tech Understanding Threatens High Tech Harm

By Timothy R. Butler | Jun 23, 2021 at 11:43 PM

Probably all of us have some frustration with one or more of the Tech Giants who are being targeted by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is tempting to cheer on efforts to offer a cure to common Big Tech disease, checking their power over us. But, like a layperson coming up with the wrong treatment for a serious illness, this and other similar proposals, dangerously operate on oversimplification that threatens to make our technology much worse while ignoring the genuine Big Tech problems staring us down.

Emergency Computer Repair Brings Potential Legislation to Mind

By Dennis E. Powell | May 12, 2021 at 11:52 PM

In the spring of odd-numbered years, it’s my task to upgrade the operating systems on my computers. It sometimes goes uneventfully.

Leaving the Social Media Stockyard

The Promise of the Internet was Decentralized Content. Let's Return to It.

By Timothy R. Butler | Apr 23, 2021 at 4:59 PM

Though we hardly ever call it by name, the “World Wide Web” is fantastic metaphor for what the Internet is meant to be: a vast, interconnected realm free of central government. In the social media era, unfortunately, we have willingly ceded that freedom to our detriment. It is time we reconsider the Faustian bargain we have made.

Buzzing About the Neat Worker Bee

A High Quality and Affordable Microphone

By Timothy R. Butler | Mar 06, 2021 at 9:56 PM

My work has become highly dependent on live streaming since COVID hit. I wanted a good quality microphone to improve live stream quality without breaking the bank. I found a lot of options that were of uncertain quality, but affordable, and plenty of well known quality with a price to match. Then, I found something neat: the Neat Worker Bee.

Sitting on the Dock, not at the Bay

We Test Three Thunderbolt Docks

By Timothy R. Butler | Feb 27, 2021 at 5:06 PM

After years on the periphery, Thunderbolt docks are finally becoming a mainstream peripheral. They not only simplify bringing a laptop to your desk by reducing the number of separate things you need to plug in, but provide a means to pump more data from more sources into a laptop than possible otherwise via the limited number of ports on modern, slim laptops, such as a MacBook Pro. More like a drive bay or card slot of yesteryear’s computer towers, docks provide flexibility as we all push our computers further in the post-COVID world. Today, I look at three of the best and what they can offer you.

On the Generic Router Highway

Testing the ECPN AX1800 Router Against the Name Brands

By Timothy R. Butler | Feb 01, 2021 at 12:09 PM

I’ve been curious about the proliferation of what we might call “generic” wi-fi routers on Amazon from brands other than the big names that are immediately recognizable. Have routers finally reached a point that they are so basic that pretty much anyone can produce a decent one? I decided to take a router from ECPN — a company so generic that it doesn’t even have a live web site — out for a spin.

Parler's Tragedy of Ineptitude

The Social Network Died of Its Own Fatal Flaws

By Timothy R. Butler | Jan 16, 2021 at 12:13 PM

While I have previously argued against deplatforming in general, when I blogged the other day about the demise of Parler, I defended Apple, saying it had earned the benefit of the doubt with its years long record of responsible action. I think this is important, because if we genuinely want to champion free speech, it is crucial to focus our energies on the genuine threats to free speech and not to waste effort on incidents that are really something else.

Sounds Good

The Budget Headphones that Replaced My Beats

By Timothy R. Butler | Aug 18, 2020 at 5:45 PM

While traveling last year, I lost my trusty pair of Beats Solo 2 headphones I had used for years; while I had been given a set of AirPods Pro for Christmas and they quickly became my all time favorite headphone option, some situations work better with over-the-ear headphones (for example, audio mixing and recording work) and I found myself in the market for a new pair to replace my Beats. That led me to the Vankyo C750’s; they may just beat my Beats.

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