Four Bad Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time

window-550648_640Way back, a long time ago, in the Golden Age of Movies, a group of kids could overcome almost any obstacle with the following incantation, “Let’s Put On A Show!” Today, the IT equivalent is “I have a great idea. Why don’t we _________?” Some new ideas are fantastic. They change the world. Others, no so much, even if they seemed like good ideas at the time.

A really bad ‘good idea’ has certain characteristics.

  • It takes a little know-how to understand and more to implement.
  • It seems like it solves a big problem and / or opens the door for more solutions that piggy-back on to the initial effort.
  • It takes a fair amount of effort to complete.
  • Afterward, you discover it creates more problems that it solves, and the problems can’t be painted over. If you’re lucky you can be like Thomas Edison and try the next variation. If you’re like almost everyone else, you have to toss out the whole mess and walk away. (If you’re a giant corporation with a lot of market power, you might be able to force your bad idea down your customer’s throats, but only one or two companies are big enough for that. The rest that try become ex-companies.) Read More –>

Advanced Computer Security and Password Theory old-wooden-door

Every few months, one or another major site for articles on technology will tell you that something as obvious as running with scissors is a bad idea and then go into great detail with instructions about how to not run with scissors.  For example, being looked directly in the eye and being told not to use the word password (or abcdef or 123456) as a password in a tone that makes such advice sound as if it’s wisdom from the Mount is stunningly difficult to listen to.

You will never get banal advice from me. Just blunt advice that I will try to make interesting to read. I’d rather give you something to think about. After that, it’s up to you. Read More –>

Learn a Content Management System

computer-and-schoolNever build what you can buy, unless your business is building the item in question.

Never pay for something you can legally get for free.

To this wisdom we can add, don’t build a website from scratch if all you want to do is add content.

A lot of the publishing world on the internet does not build from scratch. They use a framework of their choice. Many different ones are available. They’re commonly referred to as content management systems, each of which is called a CMS. They provide the framework, you supply the content and a format you like. To a large extent, you can make the finished product look any way you want. Read More –>

DD-WRT + Old Router = 5GHz Client Bridgebridge

Marketing is cool. A good sales pitch can make you really want something you otherwise don’t know anything about, don’t know how to use, and you don’t know where to begin. 5GHz and dual frequency routers are a case in point.

Raise your hand if you own one and have almost no idea how to use 5GHz. Now, raise your hand if you know how to use 5GHz, but not without spending a lot on bridges and / or dongles.

How would you like to take an old dual frequency or inexpensive refurbished router, replace the firmware on it with a free open source replacement from the internet, add a little know-how, and turn it all into a secure 5GHz wireless bridge that your media devices can access via a reliable wired connection? Read More –>

Upgrade A Netgear AC1450 Router to AC1750 (R6300V2)

handymanThe best opportunities are not always obvious opportunities. Sometimes you have to put together pieces that appeared in different places at different times. Having a memory for minutia is helpful. Today’s lesson in making your own good fortune comes courtesy of Netgear and a refurbished router model it offers, the AC1450. For reasons not known to me, Netgear decided to offer one router model under two different model numbers. They differ only in the firmware that controls router operations. One model, the AC1450, was initially offered only by Costco. The other model, the R6300 V2 / AC1750 is offered everywhere else. Read More –>

TeamViewer Remote Desktopmirror mirror

I know what you’re thinking. “It sure would be nice to build a secure VPN without having to be a Braniac.”  Well, with TeamViewer, you can. And it’s free for personal use. About 200 million computers use or have used TeamViewer, according to their website. It’s secure from end to end.

TeamViewer is a full featured remote desktop application. It supports file transfers to and from the server computer. You can connect from a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone. Unlike many other remote desktop applications, the version you download is not crippled in any way, except for occasional nag screens that remind you it’s free for personal use only. Read More –>

Free Softwarefree

Christmas is two days from the day this is being written and the holiday tradition is to give, give, and then give some more. So, being a traditionalist, let me jump in with both feet and join in  the giving. And, as a cheapskate extraordinaire, let me offer each and every reader a heaping pile fine, free software. It didn’t cost me anything and it won’t cost you anything. It’s the best kind of giving.

It’s not hard to find free software. Unfortunately, some of the older and more familiar sites have gone into adware supported software in a big way. Even some of the programs you will find on the sites listed below will try to load junkware on your system. Unless you choose the custom install option and carefully read each page, many will succeed. Read More –>

Easy Home Theatertheater

Some really great ideas aren’t complicated and they don’t take a lot of words to explain. This is one of them.

Your Objective: Turn your existing or spare tablet or laptop into a media streaming device far more powerful than the little black media streaming boxes that all seem to cost about $100. You want to control it from across the room on demand. It must not cost much to run. You don’t want to have to get all edumacated in anything complicated to set it up or use it.

Well, I have it right here.


To me, the Holy Grail of media servers is one that will stream both local and internet content to any DLNA renderer on the home network. The renderer doesn’t have to  be in the same room as the media streamer. Only one media streamer is needed to serve the entire house.

Every DLNA media server available can do this with locally stored content, such as videos and music on a home hard drive. Several common programs can be loaded onto a PC and stream internet content to that PC only. If that computer can be physically connected to a TV, then you have big screen entertainment.

Only one can stream audio and video content, both local and internet, from one home server to any DLNA player in the house. The registered (paid for) version adds the ability to stream over the internet from your home server to a remote computer. Read More –>

Intro to the Dark Webmask

Have you ever wanted to visit the bad part of a nearby large city, park your new SUV on a side street with the keys conveniently hidden under the front seat, dress like you live in a penthouse on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, and then, just to be sociable, start knocking on random doors so you can meet the interesting locals and make some new friends? If the answer to that question is “Yes!”  then a lot of people on the dark internet would love to be your new friend. Read More –>

How Fast Is That Computer?race-to-the-finish

It’s Sunday morning and some of the flyers in the newspaper implore you to look at the laptop computers they have to offer. You decide to take a look because the family workhorse is starting to act a little geriatric. Even the kids would rather go out and play than use it. Two things stand out immediately.

  • All the laptops look the same
  • All the prices are different

How do you decide which is best for you? You need features. You need capacity. You need speed. You don’t want to depend on the sales staff at the electronics big box store to decide for you. Nor can you understand much in the internet ads on your favorite superstore site. How do you decide? Read More –>

How Fast Is Your Network?speed

You finally did it and you’re proud of yourself. The old internet connection is gone. The new one runs at 50Mb or better. It cost a little more but you deserve it. The old wire coming in ran at 25Mb. Maybe later you’ll take your ISP up on a bundling deal and get a free upgrade to over 100Mb. Life is good.

I’m terribly sorry to be the bearer of possible unhappiness, but you may be paying for an internet service upgrade that’s barely better than the one you just upgraded from. No, your ISP is great. They’re delivering everything they promised, and sometimes more, at a price that is a fraction of what the same service would have cost a few years ago. Chances are they will improve it more as time passes and not charge you for it.  Read More –>


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