Idea Of The Day. A new Idea Each Day. Some Don't Suck.

We post an all new idea every day. If you find an idea you like... do something about it. Make it happen.

Our Latest Posts About: Computing

Why's My Computer So SLOW?

Why do computers "get slower" over time?

People come to me all the time with their technical questions, and the most popular question of all time is "Why is my computer so SLOW!?". It doesn't sound all that complicated. You own a computer. The computer USED to be fast, so why not ask what went wrong, and how you can make it fast again? Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that.

First, let me explain one simple fact. The speed of your computer chips doesn't change over time. It can still do the same number of transactions per second that it did the day you bought it. Chances are, the real problem is that computer software and web sites get bigger and more complicated every day, and your older computer is simply not powerful enough to run the latest software.

For examp... [More]

Continue...Why's My Computer So SLOW?...

We Need Better iCloud Sharing

We need a better way to share files with friends, family, and co-workers.

I love the way iCloud lets me share my files between all my devices. I can create a file on my iMac, and the same file automatically appears on all my other Macs, plus my iPhone, and iPad. It's like magic.

The only problem is, it's not easy sharing files with other people. You can share individual files, but there's no way to share an entire folder.

Hacking in the 21st Century

Here's what you need to know to protect yourself from today's hackers.

When most people think of "Hacking", they envision a genius programmer hammering away at the keyboard in a attempt to break into your computer. The truth is, most hackers aren't like that at all. In fact, many hackers today aren't even computer savvy. They're just good at tricking people into giving away their passwords and other personal information.

That's because today's hackers know that it's much easier to trick somebody into GIVING them their password than it is to try to hack it. All it takes is a few cut and paste skills to put together realistic looking emails and web sites that fool people into thinking they're the real thing. Then it becomes a numbers game. If they send a realistic looking... [More]

Continue...Hacking in the 21st Century...

Why Is There No Calculator App On The iPad?

Apparently, Apple does't think people with iPads need to do math.

Apple does a great job of integrating all their devices into one friendly ecosystem. Just about anything you can do on your iPhone, you can do on your Mac or your iPad. However, for some reason Apple still doesn't have a Calculator App on the iPad. Why is that?

This has bugged me for almost 10 years. Although there are a number of free or paid Calculator Apps in the App store, there's no reason for Apple to leave it out. The Calculator App is one of the few things that Apple has included in every platform since the original Macintosh in 1984, yet here it is nearly 10 years after the introduction of the iPad, and they still don't have a Calculator App.

I love cloud backup, but it's slow and takes up too many resources.

There are countless advantages to using a cloud backup service, however, speed isn't one of them. Cloud backups are notoriously slow, in some cases taking weeks or even months to make the initial backup. Conversely, local backups take only a matter of minutes. Here's an idea for an invention that gives you the advantages of both.

My idea is a to combine the two into a single, external drive. When the drive is connected, you can use it like any other hard drive, as either primary storage, or as a backup. In either case, the drive would be blazing fast.

Unlike a traditional external drive, this drive would also have a WiFi or Ethernet LAN port, so it can be connected to the Internet and handle your cloud... [More]

Continue...Local Attached, External Cloud Backup Invention...

Why iPhones Run Out of Space

It's Apple's fault that iPhones run out of space.

When people run out of space on their iPhone, the first thing they do is start deleting photos, videos, and Apps. While that may free up space for a while, it doesn't address the true cause for running out of space in the first place, and it's Apple's fault.

I created a popular video on the subject of fixing the problem, today I'm talking about the cause.

Photos and videos are definitely part of the problem, but what most people don't realize is that the real problem is WHERE those photos and videos are stored. That's because Apple stores photos and videos in two different places on your iPhone. The most obvious place is in the "Camera Roll" of your Photos App. That's where all the photos and videos you shot with your iP... [More]

Continue...Why iPhones Run Out of Space...

The Problem With Browser Home Pages

It's time we got rid of Browser Home Pages.

If you're reading this from a desktop computer, chances are there's a little "Home" icon somewhere in your browser that takes you to your default "Home Page". Just about every desktop browser has one, and they've been there since the first browsers were developed in the early 90s. Meanwhile, have you ever noticed that the browsers on your mobile devices don't have one? There's a good reason for this. They suck.

For what its worth, there's absolutely no reason for todays browsers to have a Home Page anymore. Desktop browsers should do exactly what mobile browsers do... take you to the last page you opened, nothing more, nothing less.

The problem with Home Pages is that web sites and software programs often exploit browser Home... [More]

Continue...The Problem With Browser Home Pages...

Why Trial Anti-Virus Programs Suck

Free anti-virus programs cause more viruses than they prevent.

Contrary to what most people think, you are far more likely to get a virus on your new Windows PC if it comes with a "Free Trial" anti-virus, than one that doesn't come with one, because sooner or later, the trial will end, and you'll be completely unprotected.

The trouble is that when the trial ends, the computer doesn't automatically remove the trial version and enable Microsoft's built-in protection program, "Windows Defender". More often than not, what happens is the trial simply ends, and protection is turned off, with an occasional reminder to pay for a renewal.

My advice is simple. As soon as you get a new Windows PC, go to the control panel and remove every trial program, including the free anti-virus... [More]

Continue...Why Trial Anti-Virus Programs Suck...

Why We Need Real Email Signatures

Just about every major security breach starts with a fake email.

We've all been told that we shouldn't click links in emails from people we don't trust. The trouble is, most viruses are sent in emails that look like they came from somebody you already know and trust. This is because it's nearly impossible to confirm who actually sent the email.

At the root of the problem is the fact that you don't have to hack somebody's email account to send an email that looks like it came from them. In fact, all you need to do is change the name and address in the "From" part of your email program and it will look like it came from them. This means you can sit in a coffee shop anywhere in the world and send an email that looks like it comes from anyone else in the world, without needing... [More]

Continue...Why We Need Real Email Signatures...

Stop Unwanted Software Bundles

I hate when software companies ram unwanted software down your throat.

As a tech guy, one of the things that drives me nuts is when I see a software installer that includes unwanted software, or that makes changes to your browser home page and search engines. Meanwhile even the largest software companies like Microsoft and Oracle do it every day.

Replacing Batteries Too Soon?

Replacing batteries too soon is a waste of money.

Sometimes it's the little things that can drive me crazy, like when my Mac tells me to change the batteries in my wireless keyboard and trackpad, just because the power level drops under 20%. That's a huge waste!

The batteries in the Mac keyboard are good for months, so changing them too soon is a complete waste of money, especially since I get get several weeks of use with the remaining 20%. It's like throwing out 20% of the price of the batteries.

I hate when I have to lose text on my Clipboard because I need to copy a file.

The Clipboard is one of the most frequently used features, yet it has one weakness, they use the same clipboard for everything. This means that whenever you want to copy a file, any text or images on your clipboard will be wiped out.

Generally, when you copy something, such as text or images, you can only paste it into programs that handle text and images. Most programs don't let you past files into them, and the operating system itself doesn't let you paste text, images or other data as a file, so why not have more than one clipboard?

Having multiple clipboards isn't really new, but neither Windows or MacOS have built-in support for such a feature. I think its about time they expanded the cli... [More]

Continue...Windows and Mac Should Have More Than One Clipboard...

Why iPad and Mac Should Never Merge

A lot of people would love to see iPad runs Mac Apps and vice versa. Here's why that's a bad idea.

One of the most talked about things in the Apple community is the potential for the Mac and iOS platforms to merge, After all, they both share the same foundation. It's easy for a Mac developer to port their Apps from the Mac to iOS, and vice versa, so why not make it official?

First, let me make one thing clear. There's absolutely no reason why a Mac shouldn't have the ability to run iOS Apps. After all, every App designed for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and even Apple Watch starts on a Mac. Mac developers create and test every App on a Mac using a simulator that can run every Mac App on the market. If Apple ever gets around to producing a touch screen Mac it would be a p... [More]

Continue...Why iPad and Mac Should Never Merge...

Microsoft Office Needs Changes

Why are there so many different versions of Microsoft Office?

What is Microsoft Office? Well, it depends on what version you buy. If you buy the "Home and Student Edition", it costs about $150 and it includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote.

By contrast, if you spend $99 (per year) for the "Office 365 Home" version, and it includes the same four programs... PLUS Outlook, Publisher, and Access, along with Skype and OneDrive services. That's odd. It's still the "Home Edition", but it costs you $50 less (up front), and they give you 3 more programs and 2 online services.

Meanwhile, if you're a business, you can't pay an upfront price, you can pick from 6 different monthly prices, and you get all sorts of combinations of software and online services, but once again..... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Office Needs Changes...

File Names Aren't Enough

I wish Macs and Windows had a way to attach notes to files, instead of relying on the filename alone.

Naming files is a bit of an art. You create a file on Monday and give it a name. By Tuesday, you've changed it a few times, and potentially created a second or even third version with slightly different names.

A week later, you look for the file, but you can't figure out which one you want, because your filenames simply aren't enough to distinguish them. What I'de love to see is an additional note area that's linked to each file, something like a Sticky Note that you can use to give each file a detailed description.

Mac Function Key Lock

There needs to be a quicker way to toggle Mac Function Keys.

There's an option in the System Preferences on a Mac that lets you toggle between using the Function Keys as "Standard" Function Keys, or use them for the "Special" features printed on the keys such as brightness, LaunchPad, Pause/Play, and volume.

While this seams like a no-brainer, it's actually a pain in the neck for people like me who run Windows using VMWare or Parallels, because a lot of Windows Apps use them for things like Search, Refresh, and closing windows and Apps.

Rather than going back and forth into the System Preferences to change modes, I'd love to see a "Function Key Lock" that lets you toggle between the two on-the-fly. Rather than adding a key, a simple solution would be to double-tap the Fn k... [More]

Continue...Mac Function Key Lock...

Paying as much as $130 for an "Upgrade" of Windows is just plain wrong.

One of the biggest mistakes Microsoft made over the years their policy of charging enormous prices for upgrades to Windows. This policy has stagnated the industry for decades as PC owners need to decide whether or not to pay for each upgrade. More often than not, they choose not to, which means that the majority of Windows owners are running outdated software.

By contrast, Apple's upgrades continue to be free.

While some may argue that Apple can justify giving MacOS upgrades for free, because unlike Microsoft, they rely on the sales of their Operating System as their primary source of income, but that's the wrong way to look at it. While it may be true that Microsoft makes the majority of their incom... [More]

Continue...Free Windows Upgrades For The Life of Your PC?...

What's Missing From Recovery Console?

The Recovery console is missing one critical feature, the ability to ACTUALLY recover YOUR files.

Windows PCs and Macs both have a feature that let you boot into a special Recovery Console, whenever your system has trouble. The idea behind the Recovery Console is to give the owner some options to fix their system.

Unfortunately, the Recovery Console doesn't always work, and you have no choice but to format the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. When that happens, you'd better have a backup, because the Recovery Console doesn't have any options to backup and recover YOUR files. That's pretty stupid!

Reinstalling the operating can be scary, especially without a backup of your own files, so what Apple and Microsoft need is an additional option that lets you back... [More]

Continue...What's Missing From Recovery Console?...

I wish Microsoft had a way to install Windows from the cloud.

Re-installing your OS on a fresh drive is so much easier on a Mac than on a Windows PC because Apple has the ability to install MacOS directly from the cloud, instead of fumbling around for either the original Windows CD or USB Flash Drive.

As a tech guy, this is something that drives me crazy, because whenever I need to replace a hard drive for a client, most of them don't even have the correct version of Windows on any media whatsoever. Since you can't use the Windows CD from another brand of PC, you waste your time trying to download it from the manufacturer (some don't even offer that), or buy a fresh copy of Windows.

I think Microsoft and PC makers should do what Apple does, create a way for the BIOS / Firm... [More]

Continue...Windows Should Have Cloud Based Installers, Like Apple...

That STUPID Windows Key!

File this under: "What were they thinking?".

When Microsoft introduced Windows 95 over 22 years ago, they also introduced their first major hardware idea... the Windows Key, and I've hated that stupid key from the first time I saw it.

Windows 95 was radically different from all the Windows versions before it because it introduced the concept of the "Start Menu" as a way of finding and running programs. It was a big deal for Microsoft. They had a huge campaign to drive attention to the "Start Button" on the bottom of the screen, even going far enough to use "Start Me Up" from The Rolling Stones in commercials to draw attention to the new way to run programs.

The make the Start Menu even easier to find, Microsoft went one step too far, when they introduced a new key on the... [More]

Continue...That STUPID Windows Key! ...

My Solution to Missing Windows Drivers

I hate when I have to reinstall Windows, but I can't find all the drivers.

Reinstalling Windows can be a real pain in the neck if you can't find drivers for all your components. In some cases, you can't even look online because one of the missing drivers is for the networking components. Even if you can get online, you may not even know where to look.

I think the solution to this is for computer manufacturers to have a small flash storage area built into the computer specifically for the purpose of storing copies of the original driver installers for every component in your computer.

If nothing else, it wouldn't be a bad idea for people to create their own version of this idea by proactively copying all their drivers to a USB flash drive. Having it built-in makes it even... [More]

Continue...My Solution to Missing Windows Drivers...

Backup Windows System Folders

I WISH Windows had a way to keep backup copies of the Windows Boot Folders.

As a tech guy, people come to me all the time with their computer problems, and one of the most common problems is a system that won't boot because of a corrupt Windows system folder.

Wouldn't it be great if Microsoft kept a second copy of the entire Windows system folder from a snapshot taken when the system was working? The process would be pretty simple to implement. Basically, when you install a fresh copy of Windows, it creates two exact copies of the System folder. As you install new programs and drivers, those changes are only done to the "current" version.

If the system boots okay, those changes are then mirrored to the backup version, but if there is a problem, the system can boot from t... [More]

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Mac vs Windows PC... Part 2

If you can't decide whether to get a Windows PC, or an Apple Mac... get the Mac. Here's why.

One of the most popular videos on my YouTube is about why I think a Mac is a better choice than a Windows PC. I received quite a lot of comments about that video, so I thought it would be a good idea to clarify my thoughts.

While the comments varied quite a bit, there were a quite a few people who were huge fans of Windows who wondered why I would want to run it on my Mac if I hated it so much. It's an interesting thought, but it's not accurate. I DO like Windows, and I DO run it every day, but I ALSO run a lot of Mac Apps and that's the essence of my point. I own a Mac because it is the only way I can (legally) run both Windows and Mac Apps on the same computer.

Simply stated... [More]

Continue...Mac vs Windows PC... Part 2...

I Wish Windows Updates Were Like Apple's

My MacOS is version 10.12.3. What's YOUR Windows version?

Microsoft and Apple have two entirely different ways to handle operating system versions and updates. Every time Apple updates iOS, MacOS, TVOS, and WatchOS, they update their version numbers to reflect the changes. This means that EVERY iPhone with version 10.2.1 has EXACTLY the same system files, and every MacOS version 10.2.3 has the same system files and capabilities.

This is particularly important for Application Developers. All they need to do is check the version number to know if their software is compatible, because they know every device with that particular version has the same capabilities and system files.

Microsoft on the other hand uses an altogether different approach to version numbers and update... [More]

Continue...I Wish Windows Updates Were Like Apple's...

A Hidden Windows Security Problem

One of the default settings in Windows is pretty dangerous.

Microsoft's default setting in their File Manager is to "HIDE the file extension of known types". While this sounds harmless, it's actually one of the most common sources of computer viruses, because it makes it hard to tell what kind of file you are actually opening.

Every file has an extension, and by now, most of us recognize the most common ones, such as:

.JPG for pictures
.PDF for printable documents
XLS and .XLSX for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
.DOC and .DOCX for Microsoft Word files
.EXE for executable programs

Since those are "known types", Microsoft's default behavior is to "Hide" the extension. So a file called "FunnyCat.JPG" is shown simply as "FunnyCat". While that sounds harmless on the surf... [More]

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The 10 Cent Windows Solution

Why don't most Windows PC makers include a reinstallation CD in the box? It costs them pennies.

When a hard drive fails, it's a quick fix. A new drive costs about $50 - $100, and it takes seconds to install. You pop open the cover, unclip or unscrew the old drive, then plop in the new one and re-connect the cables. Easy peasy. Unfortunately, that's when your nightmare begins, because most PC manufacturers don't include the Windows reinstallation CD in the box, and without it, you can't restore your computer.

When you spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on a new PC, there's no excuse for the manufacturer to exclude the reinstallation discs in the box. It costs the manufacturer about 10 cents or less for the disc, and it saves the owner from the frustration of pay... [More]

Continue...The 10 Cent Windows Solution...

Why is a Mac More Secure Than a Windows PC?

If most Mac owners don't use an Anti-Virus, why do they have fewer viruses?

Billions of dollars are spent each year on Anti-Viruses and other Internet Security programs, yet almost none of it is from Apple Mac owners. Based on that, you might think that Macs would be less secure, but that's not the case. Even without anti-virus software, they rarely have to deal with viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, and all sorts of nasty security problems.

While I can name quite a few reasons, there is one particular feature of a Mac that stands out above every other reason. There is a built-in feature in Apple's MacOS that specifically prevents you from installing programs from unknown publishers. Here's how it works.

When you buy a new Mac, the default setting in the s... [More]

Continue...Why is a Mac More Secure Than a Windows PC?...

Apple FaceTime is Missing One Thing...

Why doesn't Apple's FaceTime have a way to leave a Voice or Video Message?

Ever since the invention of the telephone, people have dreamed of the day when video calling will replace regular calling as the most common way to communicate with friends and family. Although many companies have tinkered with various video conferencing platforms, Apple's FaceTime was the first one that caught on. The problem is they left out one important feature that is a central part of regular calling, the ability to leave a message when the other person doesn't answer.

There's no reason why somebody calling using FaceTime Audio, or even Video shouldn't have the same functionality as a regular phone, and be able to leave a voice, or even a video message.

A "Close All" Option

Don't you wish there was a quick way to close all your programs and documents at once?

At any given time, most of us have a lot programs, documents, and windows open at the same time. This can not only be distracting, but it can eat up a lot of resources, making your computer slower.

Sometimes the best solution is to shut everything down and restart, but that can be time consuming too. I think the best alternative would be for Microsoft and Apple to give people a quick option that simply says "Close All", that systematically closes every window, program, and document, just like it does when you select the Restart, Shutdown, or Power Down in Widows or MacOS, except that after closing everything, it keeps running. This saves the time waiting for it to re-boot.

The Print Screen Key... That Doesn't Print?

Shouldn't the PrintScreen Key... print the screen?

One of the most confusing things on a Windows PC is that stupid, Print Screen Key. People ask me about it all the time. It seems to just take up space, so why is it even there?

Ever since the first IBM PC in the early 80s, the keyboard has had a PrintScreen key. Back in those pre-Windows days, whenever you hit the key, the computer printed whatever was on the screen. It was pretty simple, and you didn't need to load any software to do it. It was built-in, so every DOS program could use it.

When you hit the Print Screen key in Windows, it doesn't print the screen, make any sounds, or even give you a message, so a lot of people assume it doesn't do anything at all, but what it actually does is COPY the screen to the CLIP... [More]

Continue...The Print Screen Key... That Doesn't Print?...

Is Apple at the Cutting Edge?

The trouble with buying a new Mac is it might be old, before you even take it home.

One of the great things about Apple is they tend to be at the cutting edge of just about every new technology, which often leads to a longer shelf life. I've got 5 Macs right now, including a 17 inch 2011 MacBook Pro, which still outperforms just about any Windows laptop sold in stores.

That said, having a long shelf life is only possible if you get your Mac at the start of a new "product cycle", which is the time between the launch of a new product, and it's subsequent replacement with a newer model.

In my case, I bought my 2011 MacBook right after it was released so it took a while before some of the components became outdated, but some of Apple's current Mac lineup haven't been updated i... [More]

Continue...Is Apple at the Cutting Edge?...

The Problem With Apple's Keyboard Choices

Apple spent a lot of time on their new MacBook Pro TouchBar, but they're still overlooking their other keyboard choices.

Apple makes exactly two keyboards. One is wired, the other is wireless. Clearly the Wired Keyboard is a much better keyboard. Why is that?

Apple's Wired USB Keyboard is a full sized keyboard with larger, more distinct arrow keys, a traditional numeric keypad on the side, and dedicated keys for home, end, page up, page down, etc.

The Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard, is nearly 6 inches shorter, has poor arrow and navigation keys, and no number pad. This is the keyboard that comes standard in just about every Mac, except the MacBook.

I can't understand why Apple doesn't have third option, a full-sized, Bluetooth wireless keyboard.

Bye Bye Email Lists?

Why is it so hard to unsubscribe from some email lists?

One of my Internet Pet Peeves is the frustration of clicking a link to unsubscribe from an email list, and seeing a web page that tells me it can take several weeks to be removed from the list. Several weeks? Are they kidding?

Email is instant. Signing up for an Email list... is instant, so why on earth would unsubscribing from an email list take three to four weeks? The entire list is in a computer database, so there's absolutely no reason why an unsubscribe should take less than a fraction of a second.

When I click an unsubscribe link and see a message like that, it makes my blood boil. Instead of simply deleting the original message, I make sure I hit the "Report Spam" button, because I know it hurts the sender... [More]

Continue...Bye Bye Email Lists?...

Why are File Searches So SLOW?

Why does it take so long to find a file... even when you know the name?

I'm a database guy, so it drives me crazy when it takes as much as 5 or 10 minutes to search for a file name on my computers. That's because most computers these days can have as many as a million or more files, and there is no real database storing all the filenames.

Because there's no built-in, always on database of filename, whenever you search for a file, the operating system needs to literally scan through each and every directory to find the file you're looking for. That's pretty crazy, considering how much larger today's hard drives are getting.

By contrast, if filenames were stored in a REAL database like SQL Server, you would be able to find any filename in a fraction of a second, even if the... [More]

Continue...Why are File Searches So SLOW?...

Internet Cookies... Explained

What's an Internet Cookie?

As a tech guy, people often ask me about deleting their "Cookies" because they really don't know what they are, and they often think they're harmful.

The simple answer is cookies are harmless text files placed on your computer by a website. They don't contain any programs, so they can't harm you computer. Most of the time, they only store a bunch of random looking numbers that the web site uses to know you were there.

Here's how it works.

As soon as you visit a web site for the first time, the web site asks your browser software if it has a cookie from a previous visit. If not, it generates a unique number and stores it in a Cookie file that your browser saves on your computer. It also keeps track of the number it saved in a database in... [More]

Continue...Internet Cookies... Explained...

How Hackers... Go Phishing

Real hacking is nothing like what you see in TV and movies. Most of it is done through Phishing.

When most people think of hacking, the image that comes to mind is of a computer expert banging away at the keyboard tearing down firewalls and security systems at a breakneck pace, just like they've seen a thousand times in movies and TV shows. The truth of the matter is that REAL hacking is nothing at all like that.

Computer security is very sophisticated, so it's not easy for a hacker to break into your accounts using those kinds of techniques, especially since most online accounts limit the number of failed attempts so that they can only make a few wrong guesses before they're blocked for a while. Because of that, Hackers use another approach... Instead of trying to crack yo... [More]

Continue...How Hackers... Go Phishing...

Apple Touch Bar Wish...

I love the Touch Bar on Apple's new MacBook Pro, but I have one problem. I have a desktop Mac.

When I first saw the new MacBook Pro with the integrated Touch Bar, I immediately wanted... the Touch Bar. I've already got about a half dozen Macs, so while I don't need to replace any of them right now, I'd love to start using the Touch Bar. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't make a standalone version of the Touch Bar Keyboard.

I realize Apple wants to give people a reason to upgrade to a new MacBook, but many of us have a pretty good one already, so all we need to get this new technology off the ground is an external, Bluetooth version of the keyboard.

The Top Of My Mac Wish List

I LOVE my Mac... but I'd love it even more with a Touch Screen!

Touchscreen devices have been around for decades, but somehow Apple has never released a Mac with a touch screen, which is strange, because it seems as if the majority of computers and tablets on the market today have a touchscreen interface.

This is especially strange because Apple is normally one of the first companies to pioneer groundbreaking technologies. When the original iPhone came out, it was the multi-touch display that set it apart from other devices, yet nearly a decade later, they still haven't brought that same technology to the Mac.

I've tried third-party touchscreen adapters on the Mac, but they're not as reliable as one that is designed in from the beginning, so it's about time they finally re... [More]

Continue...The Top Of My Mac Wish List...

Is Google Chrome... Spyware?

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. It's also the world's most popular spyware.

According to Wikipedia: "Spyware is software that aims to gather information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent." That's exactly what Google Chrome does.

Every time you use Google Chrome, it sends information back to Google about everything you've done online. This means that Google not only knows what you search for using their own search engine, but searches done on other search engines like Bing. It doesn't stop there. Google also knows every site you've ever visited, how long you spent on each site, and everything you've ever shopped for or purchased online. When you... [More]

Continue...Is Google Chrome... Spyware?...

A Quick Way to Hide Text

Here's a quick and easy way to hide text without using encryption.

The best way to hide something you've written is to use some kind of encryption password, but some programs don't have a way to do it.

Once you've finished writing your text, look for an option to select all the text, then go to the font menu and select a font that contains symbols instead of letters, such as "WingDings", "Dingbats" or "Symbols". That's all there is to it. Your text is no longer readable.

Next time you load the file, the text will remain hidden until to reverse the steps by selecting all the text again, then selecting a regular font.

While this isn't as secure as a real encryption password, it at least gives you a way to hide text in programs that don't have an encryption option.

... [More]

Continue...A Quick Way to Hide Text...

Better Software Subscription Ideas

The new trend in software is subscription based pricing, but is it right for everyone?

The software industry has changed quite a bit in the last few years. The biggest change is a shift from one price ownership to a monthly or annual subscription, which basically translates to software rentals.

Microsoft was one of the first companies to make the move, by giving customers two main pricing options, a one time price of $150 for one PC, or $99 per year for up to 5 PCs. The lower option for multiple PCs made the choice easier for households with multiple computers, giving Microsoft a good starting point for building their base of subscribers.

Around the same time, Adobe started selling their $2000 Creative Suite for an introductory price of just $49 per month. Like Microsoft,... [More]

Continue...Better Software Subscription Ideas...

What's a Microsoft Signature Edition PC?

Want to know how to get a Windows PC that doesn't SUCK? Get a Microsoft Signature Edition PC.

One of the most frustrating things about buying a new Windows PC is having to deal with all the bundled JUNK that comes with it. It doesn't matter what brand you buy. HP, Dell, Lenovo and just about every major brand today includes worthless programs that clutter your screen, and slow down your computer.

Unfortunately, most PC buyers are stuck with all that junk because they lack the skills to do anything about it. Even if they know how to uninstall programs, they can't tell which programs are safe to remove. For example, most of them come with a trial version of a major anti-virus, which they assume is essential, and they are warned they shouldn't remove them because they have a... [More]

Continue...What's a Microsoft Signature Edition PC?...

Standardized Windows Installer Discs

Why can't I use a Windows CD from a Dell on an HP and Vice Versa?

This has bugged me for years. If I have to replace a hard drive from an HP, Dell, or Lenovo, why must I somehow find the original HP, Dell, or Lenovo Windows Installation Disc? As it stands now, with most major brands whenever you need to reinstall Windows, you have to find a copy that matches the brand of your computer, or it will tell you it can't activate it with your serial number.

As long as it's the same version of Windows, you should be able to use ANY OEM Windows disc, regardless of the brand.

The problem was bad enough when each new PC at least came with a physical CD or DVD. Back then, you were told to put in a safe place, just in case you ever needed to reinstall Windows.

Unfortunately,... [More]

Continue...Standardized Windows Installer Discs...

What is ScareWare?

ScareWare is one of the biggest problems in the computer industry, but so many people have no idea what it is... or what to do about it.

If you're surfing the web, and all of a sudden a window pops up telling you that you've got some sort of problem or a virus on your computer, and it suggests that you click a button to remove it right away, what do you do?

When many people see a message like that, they immediately click the button to "remove" the problem. Unfortunately, they don't realize that the message is a complete fake. You don't actually have a virus. It's just "ScareWare", but if you are fooled into thinking it's real, and actually click the button to "fix" the problem, you are actually installing the real virus.

In some cases, they claim to be giving you a free... [More]

Continue...What is ScareWare?...

I HATE Captchas!

Don't you hate when websites use Captchas?

One of my favorite quotes from the original Star Wars is from Ben Kenobi who said "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.". He was talking about the Mos Eisley Spaceport, but you can say the same thing about the Internet. There has never been a place with more con artists, scammers and thieves on the face of the earth.

In an effort to slow down the millions of people who try to abuse the Internet, a lot of sites need to create roadblocks that make it harder for a scammer to access their sites. Unfortunately, this led to the creation of "Captchas", the distorted text you see whenever a site needs to confirm that you are actually a real person sitting at your computer.

For what it's worth, I have a hard eno... [More]

Continue...I HATE Captchas!...

Here's how to take advantage of a little known Gmail feature that can simplify your inbox.

Did you know that Gmail ignores periods in Gmail address? So is the same as, and

You may not think much of this, but it opens the door to a whole bunch of cool tricks, including the ability to Automatically organize your inbox and cut down on Spam.

The premise is simple. Since Google ignores the periods, you can use multiple variations of your email address on business cards and whenever you sign up for things online, then create simple filters based on where the periods are.

For example, if you use periods in specific positions whenever you register your email address for sites like Ama... [More]

Continue...A Hidden Gmail Feature That Can Organize Your Inbox....

Adjustable Mac Startup Volume

I hate when I turn on my Mac and the volume of the startup sound is way too loud.

This has bugged me for years. Every now and then, I forget to lower my volume before I shut down and that means that it will play Apple's famous Mac Startup chime at full blast when I turn it on the next day. What a pain in the ass.

You would think that if they don't give you a way to turn that sound off, they would at least give you a way to adjust the volume to a preset default level.

Having only 4 digits for photo numbers is a real problem.

We take it for granted that whenever we take photos, our devices assign a unique filename. Most of the time, this consists of a prefix and a number. The iPhone for example uses the prefix IMG_, and a 4 digit number, for a total of 8 digits, including the underscore in the middle.

Sounds simple enough, but now that people can take hundreds of photos at any given event, that 4 digit number can cause a lot of problems down the road as we approach the 9999 mark.

To compensate for this, whenever you delete a photo, Apple takes advantage of the missing number and it will eventually re-use it, breaking the sequence. So when you bring your photos into your computer and sort by filename, the sequence of photos is completel... [More]

Continue...Photo Numbers on the iPhone Should Be At Least 5 Digits...

Hard Drives With an Undo Option

When mistakes happen, wouldn't it be great to undo them?

As a tech guy, I get a lot of calls from people who managed to make a complete mess of their computers. Sometimes, it's because they accidentally moved or deleted an important folder, or in many cases, it's because they managed to download a virus that has the potential to render their computer useless.

In some cases, all I need to do is remove the virus, but in the case of Ransomware viruses, the only way to fix the problem is to completely erase it and restore from a backup that was made prior to the mess.

A while back, I posted an idea for Microsoft and Apple to put a rollback option into Windows and MacOS (OS X), but today's idea is to take it one step further, and build the rollback into the hard drive itself.... [More]

Continue...Hard Drives With an Undo Option...

A new way to think about Flash Drives.

Until a few years ago, I needed to bring my laptop with me whenever I went to see a client. At the time, this was the only practical way for me to have full access to my files in the field. Prior to that, it was even harder, because I had to bring backups of the files with me, then merge any changes and additions with the ones on my desktop computer. It was a real pain in the neck.

Thankfully, as USB Flash Drives got bigger and faster, I found an easier solution; I started using them as my PRIMARY STORAGE. This means that instead of using flash drives as a backup of my data, I use them as the main location of my files.

This means that at any given time, I have the newest version of all my important files right in my pocket. It als... [More]

Continue...Why I Use a USB Flash Drive As My Main Storage...

It drives me crazy that I can't read the text in the Reminders App.

I have a hard time reading the text in a lot of Apps, especially the Reminders App, which is funny because I have a 27 inch monitor. You'd think that with a monitor that large, the text would be as large as a house, but for some reason the text is super small, and you can't do a thing about it.

Changing font sizes should be a fundamental feature in any App that uses text, but for some reason the Reminders App still doesn't have an option to do it. This is a real pain in the neck for me, because I use the Reminders App every day to keep track of my ideas.

The ability to roll back and undo unwanted changes should be a built-in option on Windows and Mac.

Personal Cloud vs Real Cloud Explained

Most people still don't "Get" the cloud.

In this video, I explain the differences, and why you really should focus on the real thing.

Why iPads Need User Profiles

Sharing an iPad with family members is a pain in the neck.

If you've ever tried to share your iPad with a friend or family member, you know the frustration with trying to keep your Apps, Email, settings, and Photos private.

Microsoft really, really, really wants you to run Windows 10.

Over a year ago, I created a post about why Microsoft should offer Windows Subscriptions, with free updates for life.. The main argument is that it's pointless for Microsoft to sell "upgrades" of Windows because the upgrade price wasn't worth it. To pay $100-$200 just to get the latest version of Windows was completely pointless.

As I mentioned last year, because of the high price to upgrade, most people stick with the version that came with their PC, until they get a new one. Because so few people have the latest version, there is little incentive for software and hardware companies to release products specifically designed for the newest versions of... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Shouldn't Force Windows 10 Down Your Throat...

Daisy Chainable Monitors

Wouldn't it be great if you could plug multiple monitors into one device with only one cable?

Most laptops have only one HDMI port, which means you can plug exactly one monitor into them. Handling multiple monitors means your laptop would need additional HDMI ports.

My idea is to build monitors with expansion ports, specifically to add additional monitors. Technically, with a system like this, each additional monitor you add increases the number of total pixels, but not the number of monitors, so the computer will still see it as one monitor... just a bigger one.

So the computer, cable TV / Satellite converter won't need any special cards or drivers. The host system will see it as one screen with a resolution directly proportional to the connected monitors.

This also... [More]

Continue...Daisy Chainable Monitors...

The NumLock Key Should Be Eliminated

The Numlock key is a pointless key that should be eliminated.

In the early days of computing, keyboards didn't have s dedicated arrow keys. Instead of dedicated keys the original IBM PC keyboard had a number pad on the right side, and the "Numlock" key was used to switch between using those keys as numbers vs arrows.

Today"s keyboards have their own dedicated arrow keys, but for some reason, to this day, most keyboards still have a Numlock key.

That stupid key causes so much confusion because many people hit it by mistake, then wonder why the numbers aren't working. This is especially frustrating when entering passwords, and you can't see what your typing.

Because of this, whenever somebody calls me to tell me they can't get into their computer because it won't accep... [More]

Continue...The NumLock Key Should Be Eliminated...

Here's a gadget I'd buy, if it existed. A USB connected drive that connects to DropBox in the background, so it's always updating, even when the computer is off.

As a bonus, you wouldn't need to install Dropbox software on your computer, so it won't use any resources.

The concept is simple, but I've yet to see a device that can pull this off. I've seen some NAS boxes that have a feature that lets you install plugins that include things like Dropbox, but they're way too complicated for most people to set up, and they have one big downside... Compared to a USB connected device, they're much slower.

What would be best is a USB or Thunderbolt based box that has fast transfers to and from the host computer, and also have a WiFi or Ethernet connection to sync with Dropbox in th... [More]

Continue...A Dropbox BOX - A FAST USB Box That Syncs Even When Your Computer Is Off...

Fewer Temp Files = Faster Computer

Many people know that getting rid of temporary files is one of the quickest ways to speed up your computer. If that's the case, why are they there in the first place?

In the early days of the Internet, most people connected to the web using slow dial-up connections, so browser software would save a copy of every page you visited, including every picture and graphic on the page, so that the next time you visited the page, it didn't need to re-download them. It was a simple solution to a problem and it made the computer seem faster. What could go wrong?

The trouble is, browser software took a percentage of the drive to allocate to storing these "Temporary Files", and as drives got bigger, the number of temporary files increased dramatically. As Internet connections got faste... [More]

Continue...Fewer Temp Files = Faster Computer...

I can't understand why there is a debate about which is better... Mac or Windows PC? The Mac is clearly better, and I can prove it.

Some people insist that Windows is better than a Mac. Really? There's no debate. Mac vs PC? Mac wins every time.

In today's Vlog, I talk about why the Apple Mac is DEFINITELY Better than a Windows PC. To me, the Mac is clearly a better choice for one simple reason. With a PC, you can only run Windows Programs. With a Mac, you can run Windows Program... AND Mac Programs.

I can go on and on about how fast my Mac is, how much better OS X is, or how rarely you see viruses on the Mac, or how well it integrates with my iPhone and iPad, etc... etc... but the bottom line is that a Mac can run every Mac program... and every Windows program.
... [More]

Continue...Apple Mac vs. Microsoft Windows PC? Why Mac is DEFINITELY Better...

Can't get your team on the same page? Why not start by sharing a monitor?

It's not easy getting a team to work together. The larger the team, the harder it is for people to fully communicate ideas. Because of this, anything that improves communication is guaranteed to increase productivity.

My idea is to have shared second monitors, which means that each team member would have a second monitor that is shared, in real-time with everyone else on the team.

The second monitor could be centrally located on a large screen... or mirrored on individual monitors at each team member's desk. You would work with it just like a second monitor, except that whenever somebody interacts with it, everyone on the team sees it.

To make it happen, the each computer would have a virtual m... [More]

Continue...Shared Second Monitors. A New Spin On Collaborative Computing....

Read Only Boot Mode


For people who only surf the web and read mail.

As a tech guy, people come to me all the time with all sorts of viruses and other problems that could've been avoided if they had a way for them to surf the web and read their mail without it saving anything to the hard drive when it's done. By booting in a read only mode, there's zero chance of getting a virus because nothing you do or download is actually saved to the local hard drive.

Technically, the computer would still need to save some things, but the Operating System can save those changes to a temporary folder that is deleted automatically when you shut down, so for all intents and purposes, the original files are completely protected from change or deletion, which guarantees that when you reboot, everything will be exa... [More]

Continue...Read Only Boot Mode...

Automatic File Version Numbers


An easy way to keep track of revisions.

Right now, if you modify a file, the operating system deletes the old version and replaces it with the new one. Some newer operating systems can keep track of previous versions, but the process of retrieving older versions isn't exactly intuitive.

A better approach would be for programs like Microsoft Office to save the new file with a version number, and store previous versions in another folder somewhere, so you can easily locate previous versions in the event you need to find them.

The main premise is that you'll always be able to refer to a file by the filename and the version number, and so insure previous versions aren't deleted unless you are sure you don't need them anymore. It also insures that when you email files to oth... [More]

Continue...Automatic File Version Numbers...

Periscope For Windows and Mac


Bring the fun to your desktop!

Twitter's new Periscope service is amazing. It lets people from around the world create live video feeds to share whatever they're doing at that moment. Since it's essentially a live service, almost everything is real-time. When you launch Periscope and share your moment, anyone from around the world can tune in and make comments. That's pretty slick... and it's catching on very quickly.

The only problem is that Periscope doesn't work on Windows or Mac... you can only use it from a mobile device. While I understand their original intention is for people to get outside and share what you're doing, I think there's an even bigger potential for a traditional desktop or laptop experience.

Why not let people choose whether they want to use a

... [More]

Continue...Periscope For Windows and Mac...

How To Protect Yourself Against RansomWare

Unlike regular viruses, this one can't be fixed by an Anti-Virus alone.

The first major "RansomWare" attack was a virus called "CryptoLocker". I created this video a few years ago to help people understand and prepare for this new breed of virus that can permanently destroy every file on your computer.

Before CryptoLocker, the goal of most viruses was to either make money by displaying pop-up ads, or in some cases trick you into giving them a credit card number by asking you to pay for an Anti-Virus. Once you give them your credit card number, they usually make a bunch of purchases until the credit card company cancels the card and they need to use another victims card number. As bad as that is, RansomWare is worse.

Instead of pop-up ads and fake anti-virus links, Crypto... [More]

Continue...How To Protect Yourself Against RansomWare...

Motherboards Should Store Drivers In Flash Memory


Don't you hate when you can't find drivers for your computer?

One of the hardest things about setting up a computer is finding drivers for all your hardware. A typical computer not only needs a driver for the main motherboard chipset, it also needs separate drivers for just about every component such as video, sound, networking, USB, and even the hard disk controller.

Even if your computer was pre-configured, there may come a time when you need to replace your hard drive or re-install Windows from scratch. When they happens, you need to re-install a bunch of drivers to get it to work again.

Sometimes Windows may find built-in drivers for some of the components, but more often than not, there are multiple drivers that you need to find on your own.

When drivers aren't bui... [More]

Continue...Motherboards Should Store Drivers In Flash Memory...

Install Windows From OneDrive (Cloud)


There should be a way to install (or re-install) Windows from the cloud.

One of the my favorite things about the Mac is how you can install a brand new hard drive and install the entire system from the cloud. There's no need to find the original CDs, or even a USB drive. The firmware has everything it needs to download and install the entire operating system. All you need is an Internet connection. Why can't Windows do the same thing?

The concept is pretty simple. By adding simple networking to the firmware / BIOS of Windows PCs, even a system with a brand new hard drive should be able to connect to a server to download the Windows Installer that matches whichever version you use.

The main problem for Microsoft is financial. They want to be sure people download the

... [More]

Continue...Install Windows From OneDrive (Cloud)...

Screen Savers Are Cute, But Useless


Maybe we should call them "Away Screens"

One of the strangest things about today's computers is that they still have "Screen Savers" even though they don't have anything to do with saving your screen.

Other than taking up space, looking cute, slowing down your computer, and wasting electricity, they don't do anything at all.

It wasn't always that way. There was a time when Screen Savers were an absolute necessity because in the early days of computing, one of the biggest problems was that screens were easily damaged whenever the same image was displayed for a long period of time.

If an image remained in the same spot too long, the coating would wear out unevenly, leaving behind a burned in image where the image used to be. Eventually programmers realized that the... [More]

Continue...Screen Savers Are Cute, But Useless...

Microsoft Office Should Be Licensed By Activity


A lot of people are paying for Office licenses that they rarely use.

For consumers and small companies, there are two ways to buy Microsoft Office. You can pay $150 and install Office on one computer, or pay a $100 annual fee and install it on up to 5 computers.

A lot of people who have a laptop and a desktop select the 5 computer license because paying $100 to install it on both is cheaper than paying $300 to get 2 copies, but in reality, they're overpaying, because chances are, they're only using it on one computer at any given time.

Big companies pay for Microsoft licenses based on the number of simultaneous users, but they don't offer that option for consumers and small businesses.

The corporate licensing model makes a lot of sense, because you are only paying... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Office Should Be Licensed By Activity...

Why App Stores Need Upgrade Pricing


Why Upgrade Pricing is important to the future of App Stores.

When Apple introduced the App Store for the iPhone, it change the way people buy software. Before App Stores, only a handful of software companies had the resources to get distribution into brick and mortar stores. Although they could sell their Apps through online sites, it wasn't easy for customers to even know they existed.

The App Store was groundbreaking because even an independent developer could earn millions of dollars by reaching customers from around the world. Apple made the entire process completely seamless. All a developer has to do is write the program, decide on a price, and submit it to the App Store. Once it's accepted, Apple takes care of everything. They collect the money, make it easy to d... [More]

Continue...Why App Stores Need Upgrade Pricing...

Linkable Screens


Computers with multiple monitors are pretty common, but you never see TVs linked together in a living room.

Connecting multiple monitors to a computer is relatively easy, but if your computer doesn't have the ability to plug in additional monitor, you need to use unreliable USB adapters that can be sluggish.

A more universal solution is to build monitors and TVs that can be linked together. You would simply plug one computer into your computer or cable converter, and then link additional screens to the first one using a wireless connection or another cable.

Your cable TV box or your computer would see your linked screens as one screen with a much higher resolution. So, two side by side 1920x1080 screens would look like one 3840x1080 screen... or if they are stacked top to... [More]

Continue...Linkable Screens...

Relative Speed CPU Naming


Why is it so hard to understand CPU names?

In the early days of computing, it was pretty easy to tell the difference between computer speeds, based on the numbering system used on the CPU. For computers with an Intel CPU, you only needed two things, the CPU series, and it's clock speed to know how fast your performance would be, relative to other CPUs.

Other than some oddball numbering issues in Intel's early days, it was common knowledge that an Intel 80386 family was faster than an 80286, but not as fast as the 80486. Within each family you knew a 32 MHz CPU was twice as fast as the 16 MHz version.

To further simplify things, even competing companies used the same numbers as Intel for comparable chips. That's when things started to change. When Intel released their s... [More]

Continue...Relative Speed CPU Naming...

Multiple Boot Folders


It's frustrating when a Windows PC won't boot.

I can't tell you how often clients contact me with a computer that won't boot. It's frustrating because in many cases, the only thing wrong with the computer is a missing or corrupt file in the Windows boot folder. It's a real mess. Not only can't you boot the computer, but you have no way to know which files are missing, deleted, or damaged.

Microsoft has some utilities that attempt to repair damaged boot files, but more often than not, they don't work. Most of the time, the only option is to do a complete re-installation, which normally means you lose everything on your drive.

One solution is for Windows to install multiple boot folders, each one with a fully functional copy of the operating system. Unlike the Recovery Pa... [More]

Continue...Multiple Boot Folders...

Sticky Notes Linked to Files


Do you have trouble remembering what some of your files are?

I'm a digital packrat. I've got more files than I can count, and that means I often have no idea what a file is until I open it. In many cases, I have so many versions of the same file, I still have trouble figuring out which is which, even after opening the file.

I love the way Apple's Mac OS X lets you "Tag" files, making it somewhat easier to categorize files with tags like "Draft", "Final", "Personal", or "Urgent", but I would like to create full fledged notes for each file. This would allow me to say much more about a file without opening it up.

Unlike a Tag or even a Live Preview of the file, the notes could allow me to say things like "This is the older version before adding the new logo", or "Rejected pr... [More]

Continue...Sticky Notes Linked to Files...

Driverless Printing


Every printer should be capable of printing without drivers.

In the early days of computing, you could plug any brand of printer into a computer and it would print. Drivers weren't needed. You just plugged it in and it simply worked... sort of.

As newer models came along with support for fonts, graphics and various paper sizes, each manufacturer created their own proprietary ways to support their specific features, which led to the creation of printer drivers. This made everything much more complicated. If you use the wrong driver, you can't print. What a pain in the neck.

To make matters worse, whenever a new operating system comes out, the old drivers are often incompatible, and the manufacturer may decide not to create an updated driver, forcing you to buy a new pri... [More]

Continue...Driverless Printing...

Computer Hardware Subscriptions


For people who always want the latest computer hardware.

One of the most talked about features of Apple's newest iPhone 6s phones has nothing to do with the phone itself, it's Apple's new "iPhone Upgrade Program", which allows you to pay a fixed monthly rate, then trade in your old phone every 12 months.

The iPhone Upgrade Program is perfect for people who want to get their hands on the latest models as soon as possible. It's a win-win for everyone. The customer gets the next generation phone in one year, instead of two. Apple gets the old phone a year sooner, while it still has a strong resale value, especially in international markets.

Apple should consider creating an Upgrade Program for other hardware, especially Macs.

Several computer companies have had mixe... [More]

Continue...Computer Hardware Subscriptions...

H. 265 Video Playback Support


Why is there so little support for H.265 video?

Chances are, most of the video files on your computer are stored in the H.264 file format. This is because the H.264 format (also known as MPEG-4 AVC) compresses high definition videos to a fraction of their original size. Without H.264, the files needed to play high definition videos would be too large to fit on a single Blu-Ray Disc, or to stream on the Internet.

Even though hard drives continue to get larger, and Internet connections continue to get faster, it's still important to make video files as small as possible, especially if your are streaming over a cellular connection.

That's why I'm so excited about H.265, the successor to H.264, which has the potential to shrink video files to nearly half the size of H.264, wh... [More]

Continue...H. 265 Video Playback Support...

Website Info Files. For Better Search Categorization.


Sometimes search engines make big mistakes.

One of the great things about search engines like Google is how they've managed to index and categorize just about every web page in existence. It's not an easy process. Search robots need to scan every page they can find, then use the words on the page to try to determine what it's about.

For most sites, search engines are pretty accurate, but sometimes they aren't even close.

There are many reasons a search engine will incorrectly categorize a site, but the biggest problem is a lack of clear information on the site itself. For example, if you created a national review site and the search engines saw the address of one of the restaurants you reviewed, they may think that you are a local site, and that the address of the restau... [More]

Continue...Website Info Files. For Better Search Categorization....

Close All Programs at Once.


Why isn't there a quick way to close all programs at once?

Some programs like Microsoft Excel have an option that lets you close all spreadsheets at once. When you've got a dozen or more files open at the same time, that's a real time saver. It makes you wonder why they don't have a similar option built into Windows and OS X on the Mac that lets you do the same thing with open programs.

When you shutdown your computer, it closes all your open programs. Why can't they create an option to close all open programs, without shutting down?

In fact, it would be great to not only shut all open programs at once, but also all unnecessary background programs too, which is good for those times when you need some extra speed.

A DropBox InBox. A One Way Link To Drop Files.


DropBox is an amazing concept. Here's how to make it even better.

DropBox was one of the first cloud storage systems that actually worked, because they found a way to make it easy. All you have to do is install their software, then everything you place into your DropBox folder on your own computer is automatically backed up to the cloud.

If you install the software on multiple computers, every file you put into your DropBox also gets copies to every computer linked to your account. They also lets you create links to individual files or folder, so you can share with friends, family, or collaborate with coworkers.

Taking it one step further, it would be great if you could share links that limit people to just "Dropping" files into your account, without letting them see or

... [More]

Continue...A DropBox InBox. A One Way Link To Drop Files....

Why is Windows so bloated?

Since I mainly use a Mac, I don't have ANY documents, photos, music or videos stored on my Documents folders on my Windows systems, yet my boot drive is reporting that it's using over 62 GB of data.

Each day, it keeps growing and growing, even though I never add any new programs or data.

Since I rarely install programs, and I don't have any data stored on my Windows systems, you may be wondering why it takes up so much space. It's because the c:\Windows folder takes up almost 50GB. That's 50 GB just for the operating system. That's crazy.

The reason for this is that every time Microsoft does a software update, it downloads the update to your computer in compressed form... after it archives the older versions, it expands the compressed downlo... [More]

Continue...Windows Updater Files Should Remain In The Cloud. They Take Up Too Much Space!...

What were they thinking?

As a tech guy, there are many times when the only way to fix a client's computer is to boot in Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a feature that disables most startup items and special effects, giving you a chance to at least access to things like the Control Panel, so you can fix problems.

Getting into Safe Mode has always been very easy. All you need to do is hit the F8 button right after you turn the computer on, and it bypasses the regular startup. The only hard thing was making sure you hit the F8 before Windows starts the regular boot sequence, or you'll have to start over.

For technical reasons, the newer versions of Windows no longer use the F8 key to enter Safe Mode. They didn't get rid of Safe Mode, but they did eliminate the F8 Hot Key.


... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Should Bring Back The Safe Mode Hot Key....

When people drop off their computer for repair, it's crazy that they often have to give them their password too.

It's standard practice that when you drop off a computer for repair, you need to remove the password first. But what if the computer is having trouble booting? That means you have to give the technician your password too.

For newer systems that password is often their Microsoft or Apple ID and password, which not only unlocks the computer, but it's also used for private things like email, or even making purchases. That's pretty messed up.

The solution to this is for the system to have a second password, with limited access, specifically to give to a technician so they can unlock the computer and make backups, adjust settings, etc. This way, they can gain acce... [More]

Continue...Valet Passwords - Limited Access Passwords... For Technicans...

More often than not, the Recovery Partition is useless.

As a tech guy, people often come to me when their computers start acting up. Most of the time, I can fix their problems by removing a few programs and adjusting some settings. However, sometimes the problem simply can't be fixed that way, so the best solution is to simply wipe the computer clean and put everything back to the factory settings.

Sounds easy enough. After all, most Windows computers today have a Recovery Partition that is specifically designed to put everything back to the way it was from the factory.

Once I determine that they need to do a factory reset, my first question is always the same "When was your last backup?"

Sadly, the answer is always the same "I never back up."

That's when things ge... [More]

Continue...A Recovery Partition With Backup Options...

Yes. I realize Windows already does automatic updates, but it's incomplete, and sloppy.

As a tech guy, it bugs me when I come across a Windows program that has a bloated and complicated installer that needs to install all sorts of runtime packages before it runs. There's no reason for this, especially when the system is running the latest version of Windows. Those runtimes should've been baked in from day one.

Windows is complex. Each program could potentially require a variety of technologies that may, or may not be built into the version of Windows you are running, so before you can run a new program, it's up to the installer program to determine if it needs to install additional runtimes. This could include various versions of the .Net Framework, Silverlight, or C++ lib... [More]

Continue...Windows Runtimes Should Be Built-In... and Automatically Update...

Certified Email


Are you sure you sent those TPS Reports on time?

The post office handles countless mails every day. A small percentage of those mails are from people who are willing to pay extra to have their mail "Certified".

Certified Mail doesn't mean their mail will get there faster, it just means they will have proof that they sent something, and that the recipient received it. This is critical for many legal issues.

Now that email has become widespread, it stands to reason that there should be a similar service that allows people to sent Certified Emails, that offer tangible proof that something was sent and received.

Although some email systems support "Return Receipts", most of those only work when sending and receiving within the same company server, so there's a big opportun... [More]

Continue...Certified Email...

A Virtual Computer... Computer


Why not build a computer specifically designed to run virtual computers?

Although it sounds odd, the fact is I would love to buy a computer that doesn't have an operating system... just virtualization software.

For those unfamiliar with Virtualization...

Virtualization software created a revolution in the way people looked at computing. Using a virtual computer, your computer can run multiple operating systems at the same time. What that translates into is completely isolating each operating system session so that anything that you run on one session is incapable of corrupting the other sessions, and it allows people to simultaneously run programs designed for entirely different operating systems.

For example, my current computer is an Apple iMac. Whenever I write Win... [More]

Continue...A Virtual Computer... Computer...

Apple Should Put More RAM in Base Models


Why is Apple using only 4GB of RAM in their base models?

One of the biggest complaints people have with their computer is that it's too slow. More often than not, the best way to speed it up is by adding more RAM, because it allows your computer to read and write information directly into chips, rather than writing them on your hard drive, which is much slower.

When I explain this to people, the next thing they ask is "How much RAM should I get?". My answer is always "As much as you can fit", because as far as I'm concerned, adding memory is the most effective way to speed up any computer, and it's foolish to use anything less.

For many years, the maximum amount of memory in a desktop computer was limited to only 4GB because older 32 bit operating systems couldn't addres... [More]

Continue...Apple Should Put More RAM in Base Models...

Why the heck do printers still ship with driver CDs? That's totally stupid on so many levels.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Back in 1994, Microsoft announced their upcoming Windows 95 would finally eliminate complicated drivers and switches for some devices by introducing what they called "Plug and Play". I had high hopes that this concept would eventually not only eliminate configuration switches and jumpers on cards, keyboards and mice, but eliminate drivers for common devices like printers. It's been 21 years, and I still haven't seen much progress when it comes to eliminating printer drivers.

Printer drivers are a pain in the neck.

As a tech guy, I help a lot of people with their computer problems. The strange thing is that most of the tech calls I get... [More]

Continue...Plug and Play Printers - Printers with built-in drivers....

The Windows Logo Key is Annoying.


The most annoying thing about Windows PCs is the stupid Windows Key.

When Microsoft introduced Windows 95, new PCs started to ship with a brand new key... The "Windows Logo Key". A dedicated key just to get the Windows Start Menu to pop up.

At first, I thought to myself, what a cool idea! Instead of moving your mouse to the left corner, you just hit the Windows Logo and the menu opens... But then again, you didn't save any time, because you still need to move your mouse to the corner to pick from the menu... so what's the point?

I wouldn't complain if it was just useless, but when you hit the key accidentally, your cursor moves from the window you were working on and the menu to launch programs pops up.

With some programs, it's beyond annoying. To many people, th... [More]

Continue...The Windows Logo Key is Annoying....

Isn't it strange that desktop computers lose information in a blackout?

For as long as desktop computers have been around, one thing has never changed, if you lose power, even for a split second, you usually lose whatever you were working on.

Unlike laptop computers, which have a battery that lasts for hours, a desktop computer has no internal battery whatsoever, not even enough to handle the loss of power for even a fraction of a second.

My solution to this problem is to integrate two additional components directly on the motherboard, a small battery and a bit of flash memory. The battery would be very small, because it doesn't need to power anything but the motherboard itself. That's it. Both parts are small and inexpensive Here's how it would work.

If the motherboa... [More]

Continue...A Desktop Computer That Can Survive A Blackout...

An Expandable SD Storage Drive


An easy to expand, solid state storage system.

SD cards are dirt cheap these days, so a lot of people don't even bother re-using them. When a card fill up, they pop in a new one. But, wouldn't it be great if you could just drop your old card into a box along with all your other cards? The firmware could make all your cards look like one big one, with each individual card showing up as a folder. This would be the easiest way to implement this, but there are other, even more exciting ways to build such a device.

An even bolder design would be to implement a RAID system, which not only would let your computer see these SD cards as one big drive, but spread the data among new drives to provide increased performance and data protection.

The best way to compensate for mixed... [More]

Continue...An Expandable SD Storage Drive...

Yes... it's true. They're finally making some Windows PCs that don't suck, but you need to know how to get one.

Until recently, if you told me you saw BigFoot coming out of a store, holding a new Windows PC that didn't suck, I'd have an easier time believing that you saw BigFoot than actually believing he was holding a new Windows PC that didn't suck. After all, every new Windows PC I've seen for at least 20 years has sucked, so why would I think otherwise.

As it turns out, a good friend of mine actually saw one. At first, I didn't believe him. But when I did my homework, it turns out he was right. It wasn't BigFoot, but it was actually a way to get a Windows PC that doesn't suck.

There is actually a way to get a Windows PC that doesn't suck... From Microsoft. Yes,

... [More]

Continue...How to finally get a Windows PC that doesn't suck!...

Thunderbolt Display Is Out Of Date


When Apple released the Thunderbolt Display, it was groundbreaking, and expensive. Now, it's just expensive.

It's been quite a while since Apple has updated their "Flagship" monitor, the Thunderbolt display, so it's showing it's age.

When you look at the list of features, you have to wonder why they haven't replaced it with a new model by now. By the name, you know it's connected via Thunderbolt... meanwhile Thunderbolt 2 has been available for quite some time, and it's twice as fast.

The most obvious problem with the current Thunderbolt Display is that it uses USB 2.0, not USB 3.0, which is over 10 times faster.

As of today, the Apple website still proudly says: "The fastest, most flexible I/O ever lets this display do things others simply can't." and "... With tw... [More]

Continue...Thunderbolt Display Is Out Of Date...

Wouldn't it be great if two or more people could use the same computer... at the same time?

In spite of their massive computing power, Macs and Windows PCs both have one odd limitation. They were designed from the ground up for one person to use at a time.

If Windows and Mac OS X had support for multiple keyboard and mouse pairs, each pair of keyboards and mice would be able to independently launch applications giving them the ability to truly collaborate together in ways that have never been imagined before... On the same computer... even the same monitor... at the same time.

If the computer has multiple monitors, each user would simply sit at their own desk and have their own desktop, however since they would be using the same computer any interaction and file sharing... [More]

Continue...Multiple Independent Keyboard / Mouse Pairs. Collaborate In Real-Time On The Same Computer....

TouchScreen Macs


Isn't it strange that Apple still doesn't make a Mac with a touchscreen?

Sometimes when I post a new idea, it takes me quite a while to explain why it makes sense. After all, I'm the guy that says we should be able to drop a package off at FedEx, UPS or the Post Office, with nothing more than your email address or phone number on the box. Yes, I still think that's not only possible, but will eventually be mainstream. Let's just say, you read it here first.

Anyhow, do I even need to explain this? Touch screen computers have been around since the early 80s.

While it may be true that they were mainly used on things like point of sale computers and kiosks, when the iPhone and iPad came out, touch screens are now mainstream. Every SmartPhone and tablet on the market us... [More]

Continue...TouchScreen Macs...

Even though the CPU is the heart of every computer today, I think there's another way. A computer with NO CPU. Modular. Scalable. Better.

In the early days of computing, it was common for computers to have the ability to upgrade them as new technology came along.

Over the years, the concept of upgrading a computer faded away. I think with today's technology, we can not only build computers that are upgradable, but completely modular, making it unnecessary to upgrade an entire computer.

In fact, by leaving the CPU out of the computer itself, it opens up an entirely new design which can allow you to add as many CPUs you want down the road. Here's how it would work.

To understand my idea, think of your existing computer. It has a screen, video card, memory, hard d... [More]

Continue...A Computer With NO CPU. Just Add As Many As You Need Later....

A USB Hard Drive Duplicator


For people who like to make backups... of their backups

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of backups. As somebody who's been in the tech industry for over 30 years, I've seen a lot of computers and backups systems fail, so I can't stress enough how important backups are to me. So, I make a lot of backups, and yes, backups of my backups.

Here's the thing. When you back up your internal hard drive, naturally, you are tying up your computer. But, there's no reason why you need to tie up your computer to back up an external drive, but that's exactly what you do when you back one up.

To me, a simple solution is to buy a USB hard drive duplicator. But wait! There's no such thing.

If you look around, you'll find hard drive duplicators, but those devices only work wi... [More]

Continue...A USB Hard Drive Duplicator...

Location Sensitive Passwords.


Sometimes you need a strong password. Sometimes you don't.

Wouldn't it be great it you didn't have to enter a password to unlock your devices whenever you were home... but still had the security of a complex password whenever you were away from home? That's what a location sensitive password would do.

Let's face it. If you share your tablet at home, you don't need a complex password. In fact, if you have a small child, you may not want to create a password in the first place.

However, if you leave your home, a good password is essential.

So, you need to decide... do I want to make to make this device easy enough for a todler to use, or secure enough for the real world? I guess you can't have it both ways. Maybe you can.

A location sensitive password could allo

... [More]

Continue...Location Sensitive Passwords. ...

Portable, External Home Folders.


If you have more than one computer, or share your computer with other people, you need a Portable, External Home Folder.

Portable, external drives have come a long way in the past few years. A $25 flash drive can can store hundreds of times more information than the best home PC could store just a few years ago, but most people consider them nothing more than a simple backup device.

Right now they are completely underutilized by today's desktop operating systems. When you insert one into a typical computer, there isn't an option to use the device for anything more than a place to store a backup.

I used to think of USB devices that way, but about 8 years ago, I made the switch. I decided that my USB devices were now large enough to store most of my day to day documents, s... [More]

Continue...Portable, External Home Folders....

Before tabbed browsers were first introduced in the late 90s, our desktops were filled with dozens of windows. Why don't we see tabs in other mainstream places, like Office and the desktop itself?

Before you read any further, look at the top of your browser. If you're like most people, you most likely have at least 4 tabs open in your browser. This window, your email, Facebook and / or Twitter, and possibly a blog or two. Could you imagine going back to the days before tabbed browsers, when each of those windows took up a separate space on the desktop?

But when we open more than one document in Excel or Microsoft Word... we don't have tabs there too? It's a pain in the neck moving from document to document in Office without tabs. Sure, they have tabs at the bottom of an... [More]

Continue...Tabbed Documents in Microsoft Office, Tabbed Desktops in Windows and Mac OSX...

It bugs me that I need to buy third party software to access Windows drives on my Mac and vice versa.

Here's the issue in a nutshell.

If you own a Mac or share portable drives with somebody who has one, you need to buy third party software to fully access the drive. To me, that's pretty strange. It's not like there isn't a need for such a feature. Apple and Microsoft just don't want to pay a license fee to cross license their file systems. How petty.

Back in the old days, there was a happy medium. You could format your portable device using and extended version of Microsoft's older FAT, like FAT32 of exFAT. Both systems can read and write to disks in this format, but as portable drives got bigger, people like me stopped using it because it's not as robust or fault tol... [More]

Continue...Apple and Microsoft Need Better Support for Sharing Portable Drives....

2 Simple Reasons to Buy a Mac.


Windows vs Apple Mac. Why is there even a debate?

Ever since I can remember, people have been debating Windows vs Mac. There are people passionate about both sides, but the funny thing is, in my opinion there simply is only one answer that makes sense.

Apple wins. There is nothing to debate. Here's why.

Rather than run down a long list of reasons why I use a Mac, I can end this debate once and for all by giving just two simple reasons.

Reason #1 - You can run Windows on a Mac, but you can't run Mac on Windows

If you had to chose one of these options, which would you choose?

1. A Cheeseburger.

2. A Cheeseburger AND French Fries.

To me, there is no logical choice but option #2. Because you get both.

Believe it or not, that's exactly what the c... [More]

Continue...2 Simple Reasons to Buy a Mac....

Session Undo. Groundhog Day For Your Computer.


Can I use your computer?

For many people, that's one of the scariest questions since cavemen first asked... "Does that tiger bite?"

Put it this way, even if you restrict access to your private files, there's a strong chance that giving access to your computer to a stranger, or even a close friend or family member can lead to more trouble than it's worth.

An inexperienced user may accidentally change settings, install unwanted programs, and even completely crash your system by moving or deleting system files.

Apple has a great "Guest Login" option, that pretty much gives your guest access to the Internet and not much else. I applaud them for that, because for many guests, that's all they need. However, some guests may require access to other programs and features. That... [More]

Continue...Session Undo. Groundhog Day For Your Computer....

Got backups?


A few hours ago, my computer totally crashed... But I'm not freaking out.

As someone who's been in the computer business since the 70s, I get a lot of calls from people in a total panic. Most of them start with "My computer crashed. I lost everything!"

"Lost everything?"

"Yes... Everything."

"You don't have a backup?"


"I guess you're right. You lost everything."

Thankfully, as a tech guy, I've been able to salvage data from most of those situations, but the truth is, it's not always easy, and there is never a guarantee everything will be intact. Even if your computer isn't used to store important business files, most home computers have thousands of irreplaceable family photos and videos.

The bottom line, every computer will eventually break. E

... [More]

Continue...Got backups?...

Hard Drives with a Built-In UNDO Feature.


I'm spoiled. I use a virtual PC running on a Mac. Even if I totally mess up, I can roll back to where I was yesterday. Most people can't. A hard drive with Undo features built-in would solve a lot of problems.

To be clear, I know there are some software solutions out there. Apple has Time Machine, and some third party programs were on the market more than a decade ago to allow you to undo changes to your hard drive, but the truth is, nothing is better than a hardware solution.

Because most people only use a fraction of the space of today's massive hard drives, it would be quite easy for a storage company to build a simple undo feature into their storage solutions. The premise is simple. Without using any special software, the hard drive would create a change tracking fi... [More]

Continue...Hard Drives with a Built-In UNDO Feature....

This has been driving me crazy for years. I like full sized keyboard with a number pad, but I hate wires. The trouble is, Apple still doesn't make a wireless full sized keyboard.

I love the feel of a genuine Apple keyboard. It took a while to get used to, but the slimline design and tactile feedback are perfectly tuned for speed and comfort. So, although I can find third party wireless full sized keyboards, I've patiently waited for Apple to release a wireless full sized keyboard.

The trouble is... I've been waiting since 2007. Every time they have a big launch event, one of the first things I do is skip the big news and jump to the accessories page of the Apple website, hoping to finally see a wireless Bluetooth keyboard. Time after time, nothing new.

We'll never see b... [More]

Continue...Why Doesn't Apple Offer a FULL SIZED Wireless Keyboard?...

Top 25 Posts

* Note: The ideas on "Idea of the Day" were posted without any formal research into existing inventions.

In some cases, patents may already exist for these ideas, in other cases, there may not be any existing patents and you are free to develop and explore the viability of developing and patenting the ideas.

The authors make no claim that any of the ideas are safe, practical, or suitable for any particular purpose. You are responsible for the results of trying, developing, patenting or using any of the ideas on this site.

For some people, our ideas are just an interesting read, but our goal is to encourage you to take action. If you see an idea that you like, do something with it... Take action.

- Joe
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