Steve Bass

TechBite: 12 Smart Firefox and IE Add-Ons

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By Steve Bass

Fix Up Your Browser
I can’t get enough of the handy-dandy freebies that clump onto Firefox (and Internet Explorer) and make the browsers smarter and easier to work.

TechBite: A Very Serious Threat

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By Steve Bass

You’re at Starbucks, busy working on your Facebook page. Bad news: The guy at the next table is a hacker, and he’s also working on your Facebook page. Sit tight, I have a few ways for you to make yourself invisible to hackers.

TechBite: Eliminating The Windows “Corrupt Files” Message

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By Steve Bass

I did the unbelievable — a beginner’s mistake, if I ever heard one. I unplugged of a USB-attached device without using the Safely Remove Hardware applet. And up from the depths of the system tray came the here-comes-lunch “Windows – Corrupt File” message.

TechBite: 2 Useful Gadgets & a Bass Rant

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By Steve Bass

Commercials are loud now, louder than I can ever remember…what can you do about it?

Worried your toddler (or for many of you, your great-grandchild) may reach up, grab your large-screen TV, and get bonked on the head? Or maybe you live in California or Nebraska (Nebraska?) and you’re frazzled thinking about earthquakes…what can you do about it?

TechBite: Oh, Bass, What Did You Do?

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By Steve Bass

On March 21, 1991, I stopped using Norton’s security programs.

But I like to see what the dark side is up to, so I recently switched back to Norton. And I’m really happy I did.
Of course, knowing how you always like to hear the dirt, I’ll tell you the back story.

TechBite: Two Monitors? Heck, Make it Three!

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By Steve Bass

Listen to this concession: “Okay, yes, once you’ve used a two-monitor setup, going back to a single monitor sucks.”

That from my wife who last year resisted using a second monitor. It’s so darn quaint when she admits she’s wrong.

Judy found that out when I brought home a friend’s PC for repair, needed a monitor, and borrowed hers. (First rule of computing: Use someone else’s equipment whenever possible.)

The repair was taking longer than I expected — funny how computers do that to you — and, my pobrecita was feeling deprived.

TechBite: Great Troubleshooting Tips and Tools

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By Steve Bass

Sure, there are God-only-knows how many Registry fixer-uppers that purport to get your computer back on track. And every few months, a slick magazine will promise that its 20 Secret Insider Troubleshooting Tricks article will restore your PC to  pristine condition. The nerve of those annoying insiders keeping secrets! (Here’s a revelation: I used to be one of those insiders)

TechBite: Google Voice is Cool & Free

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By Steve Bass

For the last year or so, Google Voice (formerly called Grand Central, a name I loved) was available only if someone invited you. Yeah, I know; I never did. It’s now open to everyone in the United States (stop whining) and I suggest you look at it.

TechBite: Why I Said No to Free Off-The-Air Reception

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By Steve Bass

No doubt, watching a TV show or mobile in high definition is miraculous. The picture is sharper than sharp (so much so that like it or not, you can see the pores on an actor’s face).

I’m a DirecTV subscriber, but I’m too cheap to pay their extra fee for high definition service, so I decided to try an HDTV indoor antenna.

TechBite: The Straight Skinny on HDTV Calibration

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By Steve Bass

A while back I gave you some advice for calibrating your PC monitor or high-definition TV. I thought it was pretty good stuff, but the very foundations of the Internet began to rumble and experts started writing. (I never know who’s reading my newsletter.) Here’s what I learned.

TechBite: Adios USB 2.0–Hello USB 3.0

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By Steve Bass

It’s not like I have anywhere important to go to, but I still hate to wait. That’s why I’m enjoying USB 3.0.

Let’s get the numbers out of the way; then I’ll talk practicalities.

USB specs are inflated… they always are. USB 2.0 is rated at 480 Mbit/s (about 57MB/s) while USB 3.0 is 4.8 Gbit/s (572 MB/s). In the real world, the only users getting these speeds are the marketing people who dreamed up the specs. On my PC, USB 2.0 moved files at 25MB/s and USB 3.0 can get up to 55MB/s.

TechBite: A Smart Printer with $4.99 Cartridges

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By Steve Bass

I think we’ve got the razor-blade method of marketing printers figured out: Sell the printer for a couple of bucks, then gouge and exploit us on cartridges. I hate it.

Lexmark makes its money the old-fashioned way. It sells printers at higher-than-competitor’s printers, but then sells the ink cartridges at reasonable prices.

TechBite: 7 Handy Firefox Add-ons & Tweaks

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By Steve Bass

Make Firefox Even Better

I know many of you still stubbornly use Internet Explorer (hello, Carl). I used to, as well. But Firefox, with all its lovely add-ons and tweaks, is just more fun to use.

TechBite: 10 Unusually Useful Web Sites; Password Revealer

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By Steve Bass

I spend lots of time patrolling the Internet, looking for sites that can help me with my life. Some are pin-pointed to something I might need right away, like Contact Help, a way to get the phone number of a company. Others are spots I know I’ll need someday, such as instructions for recovering a ring from a drainpipe or how to wrap an extension cord like a pro.