TechByter Worldwide (formerly Technology Corner) with Bill Blinn

Bill Blinn


TechByter Worldwide offers high-tech content in plain English. Programs are approximately 20 minutes long are listed by date and topic. (YYYY.MM.DD: Topic)

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820 episodes

TechByter Worldwide 2022-08-19: Excire Foto Helps Users Manage Huge Photo Collections. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

One of the best things about digital photography is that individual images cost nothing, so even amateur photographers routinely amass tens of thousands of images. Excire Foto can help when you're looking for one specific image. In Short Circuits: When something goes wrong, don't panic. Until you're sure what's happening, the best action is often no action at all. As first responders say, "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem." Let's see how that applies with computers. • There are reasons for using third-party protective applications on Windows-based computers, but the built-in Windows Security along with protections that are included with most web browsers are sufficient for most users. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): In 2002, we were beginning to contemplate not only editing video on our computers, but also the ability to make DVDs that could be played on standard TV disc players. The SCM Microsystems Dazzle DVD Creation Station was one of the players.

Aug 19
TechByter Worldwide 2022-08-12: Smart Watches Are Showing Up On More Wrists. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Smart watches aren't exactly new because they've been around in one form or another since 2004. Apple's introduction of a smart watch in 2015 gave the market a kick start, but only one fifth of US adults currently own one. Women are more likely to have a smart watch than men are. In Short Circuits: Many crypto-currencies have lost significant value in the past several months, but they still have worth. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation says 244 investors lost nearly $43 million worth of crypto-currency in the past six month. The scam has been traced back to a fraudulent app. • Most Wi-Fi routers can transmit signals in the 2.4GHz range and 5GHz range. Some of the newer devices also can communicate in the 60GHz range. Although channel selection is largely automatic in the higher-frequency bands, it's fully manual in the 2.4GHz range. Selecting the wrong channel can reduce your link speeds and those of your neighbors. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): I was excited about bargain prices for CompactFlash memory cards that were used by some camera manufacturers, but have virtually disappeared now in favor of memory cards that are physically smaller. Twenty years ago, CF cards were the primary choice and 2002's "bargain" prices are laughable now.

Aug 12
TechByter Worldwide 2022-08-05: Linux Is The Future And Always Will Be. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

You're using Linux right now because it's what runs the TechByter Worldwide website. But you probably aren't using Linux on your desktop or notebook computer. Linux may never take over the desktop market, but let's take a look anyway. In Short Circuits: People who are looking for a new notebook computer may forget to examine the list of ports on the computer, and that would be a mistake. • Adobe Max is back as an in-person event for 2022, but there are still options to attend some of the events online and for free. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Setting up a home network wasn't as easy as it is today and one listener asked for help with her frustrating system.

Aug 05
TechByter Worldwide 2022-07-29: Camtasia 2022 Means Never Having To Say "Cursors! Foiled Again!" Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Although the cursor may seem unimportant when creating a video to illustrate a computer-based procedure, Camtasia 2022 clearly shows that to be false and includes ways to improve your videos by enhancing the cursor. In Short Circuits: A heavy-duty cable with two types of USB connectors on each end can replace a lot of standard cables. One version is less than 6 inches long, the other nearly 5 feet. • Do you use COBOL? Although many people consider it to be an antique, outmoded programming language that's no longer needed, it is still being used by airlines, banks, government agencies, and a lot of big businesses. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Even with "huge" 40GB drives in our 2002 computers, there was a need for more storage.

Jul 29
TechByter Worldwide 2022-07-22: One Monitor Just Isn't Enough Any More. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

A single monitor was sufficient around the turn of the century, but that's no longer the case for enterprise users, and probably not for home users, either. In Short Circuits: DuckDuckGo is all about privacy and security, but there's more. Is it enough to justify dropping Google's search engine? If so, would you want to? • A clever utility called WhatRuns is for website developers, but it might be something any web user could benefit from. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): A proposed high-performance, low-power CPU dubbed "Crusoe" from Transmeta was running into headwinds in 2002.

Jul 22
TechByter Worldwide 2022-07-15: Social Fixer Reduces Facebook Frustrations. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Facebook gives users a way to keep in contact with friends and relatives, but it also can be intensely frustrating. An add-on application for browsers can tame the beast. In Short Circuits: Cameras in mobile phones have capabilities that often go well beyond what even an expensive camera can do, and apps give mobile users the ability to perform tasks that were once limited to computer-based digital photography programs. • Nearly 10 years after researcher Aaron Swartz committed suicide when he was charged, many say unfairly, with computer espionage, the Department of Justice has made changes in how it will handle future cases. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): A Bit of hope remained for Ventura Publisher as Corel prepared to release what would become the program's final version.

Jul 15
TechByter Worldwide 2022-07-08: Microsoft OneNote Is The Essential Organizer For Everyone. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Microsoft OneNote improves every year and continues to be an indispensable tool for keeping track of varied and disparate bits of information. Even better, it's free for anyone to use on Windows, MacOS, Android, or IOS devices -- as well as on the web. In Short Circuits: Although SnagIt is what I consider the best screen capture application, there's ShareX for those who can't justify SnagIt's cost. The open-source application is surprisingly robust, but it runs only on Windows. • A listener asked if I had a list of applications and services that have received five-cat ratings. I didn't, but now I do -- even though the list goes back only to the start of 2017. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Burning DVDs was time consuming, expensive, and prone to failure in 2002. Now it's none of those.

Jul 08
TechByter Worldwide 2022-07-01: Why GoodSync Is Indispensable At My House. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Not losing computer files is important to me because replacing lost files would be difficult and, in many cases, impossible. That's why having a solid backup system is crucial. In Short Circuits: Scammers are out to steal your social media credentials. Modifying a few settings will help, but the best way to keep accounts safe involves a bit of suspicion and lot of common sense. • If you have more than one computer on your desk, you might find a mult-computer mouse to be a good investment. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Being able to use an office computer from home was still a relatively new concept in 2002, but it caught on fast.

Jul 01
TechByter Worldwide 2022-06-24: Maybe These Tools Belong In Your Graphics Toolbox. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Those who must create flyers, web graphics, and posters even though they have no training in graphic design can use free and low-cost online services to avoid creating laughable, poorly executed results. In Short Circuits: Anyone who watches videos on a computer should have the VideoLAN Client. It's a strong competitor, even for players that cost $50 or $100, and it can perform some actions that even expensive players can't. • When the speed of your internet connection is disappointing, check with your internet service provider, but don't overlook possible problems that are closer to home. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Adobe had just released version 2 of InDesign and it was clearly a huge challenge to Quark XPress.

Jun 24
TechByter Worldwide 2022-06-17: Some Scammers Depend On The Appearance of Legitimacy. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Some scammers are smart enough to create legitimate looking ploys, but even well made scams are usually apparent following only a brief inspection. In Short Circuits: The Windows File Explorer can display thumbnail images of some file types, but not Photoshop files. This is an absurd shortcoming and there's an easy fix. • Is there a digital camera gathering dust around your house? The ubiquitous single-lens reflex camera seems to be nearing the end of its almost 100-year run. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): TechX NY was about to open. We didn't know it then, but the 2002 show was to be its final gasp. The number of participants dropped, the Javits Center wasn't close to being full, and some companies pulled out at the last minute.

Jun 17
TechByter Worldwide 2022-06-10: Two Thumb Drives That Should Always Be Nearby. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

I'd like to tell you about a couple of thumb drives that belong, if not in your pocket, at least on the desk with your computer. In Short Circuits: We'll look at expanding one of those thumb drives to make it even more useful with utilities that are helpful when there's a problem with the computer, or you just need information about the computer. • Belarc Advisor, which is free for home use, is the equivalent of an annual physical exam, X-ray, CAT scan, and psychiatric evaluation for your computer. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): In 2002, the electronics sector was being affected by the overall economic problems and Intel's sales were down significantly.

Jun 10
TechByter Worldwide 2022-06-03: Ditching Cable Television, One Year Later. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

My wife and I decided to eliminate cable television about a year ago. We wanted to save money, but not lose content. So, did we succeed? In Short Circuits: Firefox isn't the force it once was, but there are good reasons for every computer user to have the browser installed even if it's not the primary browser. • Cheap thumb drives are everywhere. You'll pay just pennies per gigabyte, but are thumb drives still important? Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Criminals had figured out how to steal domain registrations and then sell them back to the owners.

Jun 03
TechByter Worldwide 2022-05-27: Lightroom Classic Has Become The Go-To Application For Photographers. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

If some company other than Adobe had created Lightroom Classic, Adobe would have to worry about the future of Photoshop. As it is, Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and some mobile apps from Adobe play exceedingly well together. In Short Circuits: Whether you love or loathe Windows 11, there are probably some annoyances you'd like to fix. Windows 11 Fixer 2.0 is a brilliant solution to many of the annoyances. • As handy as public Wi-Fi hotspots are, they can be dangerous. A few easy techniques can tilt the odds in our favor. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): "" had launched in 2002 and was offering for sale gifts that were decidedly unusual.

May 27
TechByter Worldwide 2022-05-20: Everybody Seems To Hate Facebook, But Few Walk Away. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Facebook users seem to complain about the service frequently, but it's difficult to find a competing service that has all of Facebook's features. Perhaps it's impossible. In Short Circuits: Device drivers are essential. Without them, printers, mice, disc players, and keyboards would be nothing more than expensive paperweights. But device drivers are often the cause of problems, too. • The Windows 11 File Explorer sometimes stops responding. It' not a problem for everyone, but it is fairly common. The good news is that there's an easy fix. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): In 2002 I was looking at computer prices from 1982, so let's look back 40 years.

May 20
TechByter Worldwide 2022-05-13: Eliminating The Scourge Of Scanned Negatives. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Digitizing film negatives by scanning them will almost always reveal dust spots and may reveal scratches. Fortunately, there's a way to reduce or eliminate these if your scanner and your scanning software support infra-red scanning. In Short Circuits: When you're nervous about installing a new application, the Windows Sandbox offers a way to test the new application without concern, but only with Windows Pro or Enterprise editions. • Adobe Premiere Pro is used by professionals to create full-length motion pictures, but it's also a great choice when you're working with digitized home video tapes. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Batteries have always been a problem with mobile devices. In 2002, technicians were looking for answers.

May 13
TechByter Worldwide 2022-05-06: How To Use What's In The Windows System32 Directory To Your Advantage. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Of the more than 4700 objects in the Windows System32 directory, around 650 are applications. Some of these are useful tools that that you can use to maintain a clean operating system. But which ones? In Short Circuits: Windows 11 offers organizational techniques that might work better than what you're doing now to find and start applications. • Some Android phones can take a series of photos when they sense motion. This can be helpful, but it can also be confusing. In Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Compaq, the king of portable computers, was being absorbed into Hewlett-packard in 2002.

May 06
TechByter Worldwide 2022-04-29: Help! My Router Has Run Out Of Ethernet Ports! Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Most routers intended for home and small-office use have four ports. If that's not enough, you can add more with a hub or a switch. What's the difference and how much do these things cost? Let's look. In Short Circuits: Password managers are essential and LastPass offers a family plan that gives up to six family members their own separate accounts and the ability to share information between members, when desired. The most difficult part may be convincing people to use it. • The Vivaldi web browser, which is based on Chrome, has added some improved security features that I appreciate, and you may too. Like nearly all modern browsers, Vivaldi gives users control over cookies, trackers, and ads -- but Vivaldi now also reports results. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Video subsystems have changed much since 2002. Today's low-end graphics subsystems have two to four gigabytes of memory. In 2002, the top-end systems had much less.

Apr 29
TechByter Worldwide 2022-04-22: Three Helpful Hints For Using Windows 11 (Or Windows 10). Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Windows seems to have an infinite number of settings and controls. We all know that the options aren't really infinite, but a lot of them exist. Sometimes making a change can eliminate an annoyance and we'll consider three examples this week. In Short Circuits: When you need to create a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc, you can use the Windows Explorer. There's a better choice, though -- ImgBurn has been around since 2005 and was last updated in 2013, but it's still the best way to burn a disc. • If you're annoyed by the screen that appears before the Windows login screen, there's a easy way to make it go away permanently. Twenty Years Ago (only on the website): Few computer users had UPS units to protect their computers in 2002, and some found out the hard way that they could lose all their data in a flash.

Apr 22
TechByter Worldwide 2022-04-15: It's Time To Install Microsoft's Free, Useful Power Toys. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

The latest version of Microsoft's PowerToys is an ongoing project that receives new features regularly and adds useful functionality to Windows 10 and Windows 11. In Short Circuits: 1980s computers could run one program at a time. Then we got the ability to multitask programs and now it's easy to have so many applications running that we encounter the limit of human multitasking. • It's getting harder to tell truth from lies, but when Russia's former KGB agent and current president is seeing a lot of success in sowing distrust among Americans, searching for truth is important. Twenty Years Ago: Customer service is often the weak point for organizations, and I was encountering a lot of it in 2002.

Apr 15
TechByter Worldwide 2022-04-08: Buying A New Computer Is Like .... Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

It's a good thing that automobiles aren't sold like computers. Imagine bringing your new car home only to find that you'll need several aftermarket items just to make it work right. In Short Circuits: Microsoft 365 is what Microsoft wants you to use for word processing, number crunching, database operations, presentations, and email. It's the right choice for most people, but there are other options when it's not. • Being lazy is not a character fault. Laziness may help you find a better way to perform a repetitive task, and I do have a real-world example. Twenty Years Ago: The Federal Communications Commission had just proposed a schedule to convert television broadcasts from analog to digital. It was a seven-year process.

Apr 08
TechByter Worldwide 2022-04-01: Random Thoughts On Buying A New Computer. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

My wife and I both purchased new computers in March. Mine was 7 years old and ineligible for Windows 11. Hers was 5 years old, ineligible for Windows 11, and had a failing keyboard. The computers are both from the same manufacturer, but otherwise substantially different. In Short Circuits: A computer can be secure, but your privacy may still be at risk. You may be surprised by how little information is needed to uniquely identify an individual. • Usually I'm not a fan of percussive maintenance, but sometimes it gets the job done. Twenty Years Ago: VHS players and tapes weren't yet dead, but they were fading fast.

Apr 01
TechByter Worldwide 2022-03-25: How Fast Can Someone Crack Your Password? Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

You may have seen articles that claim a 7-character password containing numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols "could" be cracked in less than a minute. Longer passwords are better. Using upper- and lower-case letters along with numbers and symbols is also better. But less than a minute? Let's check the logic. In Short Circuits: When it's time to buy a new computer, you probably want it to have all of the programs and data from your old computer on the new one. The easy way to accomplish that is with LapLink's PCmover. • If you're the kind of person who enjoys sifting through population and demographic data, you're going to have fun on the World Population Review website. Twenty Years Ago: If you wanted a Bluetooth enabled device, you might be able to add the technology to an existing device, but it wasn't cheap.

Mar 25
TechByter Worldwide 2022-03-18: How To Scan Film Negatives With A Digital Camera. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Today we'll revisit the process of converting film negatives to digital images, but this time the main focus (Sorry!) is medium-format film. Even if you don't have any medium-format negatives, there's information that works for 35mm negatives. In Short Circuits: Are you frustrated by Windows 11's inability to display the day on the Task Bar? Well, surprise! You can restore the day name if you want to. • If crooks can associate a SIM card they have access to with your phone, they can drain your bank account. This is a good problem to avoid. Twenty Years Ago: Nobody had a GPS unit in their pocket in 2002, but direction-finding applications were beginning to appear.

Mar 18
TechByter Worldwide 2022-03-11: Forcing Microsoft Word To Work The Way You Want It To. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Whether you love Microsoft Word or detest it, you probably use it. It's possible to customize Word so that it works the way you want it to, but the settings aren't always obvious or easy to find. In Short Circuits: Just about everyone has seen the "we couldn't deliver your package" email scam that's usually intended to steal your login credentials or to install malware on your computer. There's now a multi-part scam that's intended to clean out your entire bank account. If you fall for it, there's no way to get your money back. • A Danish organization, the Human Library, says its goal is to eliminate stereotypes by making it possible for people to interact with others they might not normally encounter.

Mar 11
TechByter Worldwide 2022-03-04: Saving Facebook Posts And Conversations. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Sometimes there's a post or an IM conversation on Facebook that you'd like to save on your own computer. It's not always easy, but it is always possible. Let's see how. In Short Circuits: The DuckDuckGo search engine doesn't collect or sell user information. Maybe you already use it instead of Google, but there's more from from the duck, including an extension that can be installed in any browser to warn about privacy issues. • Using multi-factor authentication is supposed to ensure that crooks can't steal your credentials because logging in requires a user name, a password, and a code that's delivered separately. Crooks have noticed and they're developing ways to defeat the technology. Twenty Years Ago: New media had encountered some bumpy roads. Ezines were failing and ebooks weren't as popular as many thought they should be. That has changed in the past two decades.

Mar 04
TechByter Worldwide 2022-02-25: System Explorer Gives Users An Inside View Of Windows Computers. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

A free utility called System Explorer is like a combination of the Windows Task Manager and System Resource Monitor with an application uninstaller, security monitor, startup manager, and more tossed in for good measure. In Short Circuits: Domains housed on shared servers can be added to email blacklists if there's just one bad actor on the server. This can affect people who use their internet service provider's email system, too. There's a way to avoid the problem and it costs nothing to implement. • Four and a half years ago, Equifax suffered the largest data breach in history. Recently victims who signed up for free credit monitoring finally received instructions for how to use it. Twenty Years Ago: The Foveon digital camera sensor was intended to change everything. The technology is still in use, but not as a major player.

Feb 25
TechByter Worldwide 2022-02-18: Do You (Still) Need A VPN? Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Virtual private networks can protect your computer and your data, but they can also lead to a false sense of security. So, do you really need one? In Short Circuits: If you read last week's post, you know how to find out what Amazon knows about you. This week, let's consider what Google knows about you. There's no single form to fill out to ask for the information, but there are lots of places you can look. • What do you think we'll see in 2022 other than more variants of covid? Several technologies that aren't exactly new look like they're bubbling toward general acceptance. Twenty Years Ago: It seemed that just about everyone with a Palm organizer had downloaded Bejeweled.

Feb 18
TechByter Worldwide 2022-02-11: Saving And Sharing Memories With Digitized Film, Photos, Video, And Audio. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

The pandemic may keep us isolated for a while yet, so if you have old negatives, prints, movies, video tapes, and even audio tapes around the house, now would be a great time to start digitizing and sharing them. In Short Circuits: If you've ever wondered what Amazon knows about you, you can find out by just asking. Beware that you'll be buried under a huge pile of data that's seemingly designed not to be helpful • Changes to the user interface for Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 are minor, but there are some hidden gems. It's also easy to switch between the old interface and the new, so you won't be locked in if you object to the changes. Twenty Years Ago: Speech recognition, which was last week's main topic, was also a topic in 2002. It was primitive by today's standards, but we were beginning to understand how a well-designed automated attendant system could handle routine issues.

Feb 11
TechByter Worldwide 2022-02-04: Speech Recognition — Who Does It Best? Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

Speech recognition is getting better and even the systems that are built in to Windows, the MacOS, and Android do a remarkably good job. I've been wondering if there's a clear winner among the three, so let's look. In Short Circuits: People who make advertisements, entertainment programs, and other media that keep us from going berserk during the pandemic are also affected by the pandemic. What are their attitudes in 2022? • Liker, launched in 2018 to compete with Facebook, was hacked and shut down in early 2021. It's finally back as "Tribel", but it has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook. Twenty Years Ago: In 2002, a 1GB CompactFlash card for professional photographers was exciting, even at $1000. Now you can buy a secure digital card that's more than 100 times larger at one-tenth the price.

Feb 04
TechByter Worldwide 2022-01-28: Vivaldi's Valiant Versatility Is Verifiably Vigorous. Short Circuits. Twenty Years Ago.

The Vivaldi web browser is perhaps the most customizable browser available. If you'd like a browser that can be adjusted to work the way you want it to, take a look. In Short Circuits: When you need to use Safe mode in Windows, getting there can be a challenge. Making a few changes to some settings will provide immediate access at boot time. • If you think IBM invented the business computer, you're wrong. The first business computer was put into service a little over 70 years ago in England, several years ahead of US business usage. Twenty Years Ago: In 2002, tech pundits were saying that WordPerfect 5.1, the best of the DOS-based word processors, couldn't be installed on Windows XP. They were wrong.

Jan 28