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December 24

A Community Christmas Album

A deliciously lush, free Christmas album to download.

December 22

Beyond the Track-able Cellphone

Scary-good ideas from a reader.

December 21

The Netiquette Diaries

Last week, I wrote in this weekly e-column that the nastiness online seems to be intensifying. If Digg, Slashdot and my own blog are any indication, there’s less and less meaningful discussion, and more and more jerkiness and backstabbing.
Over 450 of you posted or e-mailed your reactions—450 of the most intelligent, articulate comments ever typed. […]

December 21

Photo shop CS3, Beta is Free

Hallelujah! Adobe has posted a free beta of the next Photo shop (due in the second quarter of 2007). You need a Photo shop CS2 serial number to make it work.
If nothing else, it means that people who use Intel-based Macs can now have a full-speed Photo shop again (because it’s a “Universal binary”), and people who use […]

December 19

Myth-Busting, Part XXVII: Hospital Interference

Do cellphones really interfere with hospital equipment? Pogue asks his Expert Squads to debunk this one.

December 18, 2006, 8:01 pm

The Redmond Copying Machine?

My recent video, which tweaked Microsoft for crowing about its “innovation” in Windows Vista (without acknowledging its huge debt to Mac OS X), triggered plenty of reaction. It probably comes as no surprise that your comments quickly devolved into “which is better” bickering, which will probably never end.

Some of you claim, with much anger and swearing, that Apple steals from Microsoft just as much as the other way.

My response to one such response: “You’re right–very few things were actually invented wholesale by Apple. The mouse, menus, overlapping windows, the CD drive, Wi-Fi wireless, and so on–all of these things were developed elsewhere….

December 16, 2006, 5:18 pm

Set Sarcasm Detector to On

Oh, my lord. Oh, sweet mother of all that is holy.

I am actually getting hate mail in response to my Times video from last week , in which I spend a few minutes, DRIPPING with sarcasm, “proving” that Microsoft didn’t steal ideas in Windows Vista from Mac OS X.

I “prove” this by demonstrating (for example) how the new Sidebar is exactly identical to the Mac’s Dashboard, but isn’t really the same thing! Why? Because Microsoft calls its little mini-programs “gadgets,” which are obviously not the same thing as “widgets” (Apple’s term). And so on.

But a few people have already written me, saying, “You must be the dumbest man in America. You think that’s a DIFFERENCE? Who the @#*#*#** cares if they use a different term? It’s EXACTLY THE SAME THING!”

And here I though in the post-Letterman age, our irony detectors were finely honed…

December 11, 2006, 4:37 pm

The Airplane-Treadmill Conundrum

OK, this one’s driving me crazy. This brain-teaser is ripping around the Internet, plus I actually overheard it THREE TIMES in airport conversations on a recent trip to Canada.

Here’s how I found it presented at 8452:

“Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway. The conveyor belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels,

November 23, 2006, 3:32 pm

Waiting for Moderation

From today’s mailbag:

“David: I enjoy your blog a lot, and when it started, I agreed with your enthusiasm for the range of intelligent comments your posts attracted.

“I assume that now your blog gets greater traffic, since the number of comments has escalated also, often to the point where it becomes rather tedious to read through them all.

“Just today, I read your post about the mega pixel test you did for digital cameras, which as I write has attracted 200 comments, too many of which were “me too” remarks repeating points made by other comment posters (e.g. more mega pixels are good if you are cropping the photo heavily)–and several made by people who did not appear to have read your original post!

“I don’t like the idea of comments being heavily moderated, but could you perhaps put in a plea by the comments box, asking people, as a matter of courtesy to others, to read the previous comments before posting, to see if their point has been made already.

“I would just like the debate in your comments section to remain intelligent and sparky.”

November 6, 2006, 5:46 pm

Yet Another TV-Show Guest Search

And the last one for a long time, methinks.

Next week, we’re filming an episode of “It’s All Geek to Me” that’s all about rescuing old recordings: LPs, cassettes, data on floppy disks, scanning old photos, and so on.

We’re looking for a guest–in NY, CT, or NJ–who’s got some old home movies on FILM REELS who’d like them converted to a DVD, at our expense. We’re ESPECIALLY interested if there’s someone — a mother, grandfather, whatever — who hasn’t seen these videos in years, and might react positively when you surprise him or her with a sparkling-new DVD of them!

If you wouldn’t mind letting us interview you and then film the unveiling for the delighted older relative, then email me at!

Update: Thanks to all the volunteers–the position has now been filled!

November 1, 2006, 2:26 pm

A Faster Web–for Free

Is it just me, or are the freebies starting to blossom once again on the Web? Feels like it’s 1999 all over again.

I’ve got yet another great free one for you today, and it’s a doze. I read about it in PC World, and couldn’t believe it: a service that purports to speed up your broadband Internet connection. It’s called Open DNS.

Works great, at least for me. Once I plugged the Open DNS addresses into my router, the wait time for a complex Web page went from 3-4 seconds down to 1-2, on both my Macs and PC’s.

October 24, 2006, 4:12 pm

Dream Applications

If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. And sometimes, that involves writing the software.

This is the most interesting online contest I’ve seen (or judged) in a long time:

Macintosh-based dreamers were invited to submit their best ideas for a program that doesn’t yet exist. Round by round, viewers voted for their favorites. Celebrity judges weighed in, but the people were the only ones allowed to vote.

Now only a handful of entries are left—and they are REALLY wild and interesting ideas for programs. (My fave: Blossom.)

Voting is winding down. Everyone who votes gets free licenses for cool shareware programs; the last 24 finalists get iPods, Mac Minis or laptops; and the winner—of course—gets to see his fantasy program actually written and released to the world.

Now how ‘bout a similar contest for Windows fans?

October 21, 2006, 7:23 pm

Another Help-Wanted Ad for TV

Here’s another chance for Pogue readers to wind up on national TV…

I’m trying to help out some producers for an upcoming segment about technology. I mentioned to them the incredible luck I’ve had getting answers and volunteers by posting requests on this blog!

So here’s what they’re after:

“We’re looking for a first-time buyer of a flat-screen HDTV in late October / early November, who doesn’t mind having a TV crew in tow while they buy it and set it up. If that’s you… please contact Thanks.”

I’ll let you and your agent take it from here.

Now, in fact, you can contribute your computer’s idle time to more pressing issues. “Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research. It’s safe, secure, and easy,” says the home page of BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).

It *is* easy, and worthwhile. After all, how often do you get to feel good about doing something for your species–without actually having to do anything at all?


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