Are You Still USING and PAYING FOR a Proprietary Word Processor?

With all the zero-day exploits and other hacks on the DOC format, as one example. it’s amazing people still use it. Who feels comfortable double-clicking a “.DOC” file received in an email? Ahhh, well, ahhh, ….

Instead, why not just use a really great text editor? Text is the common denominator. No company can stake out “text” as proprietary and then hold you over a barrel to extract higher and higher fees with more and more restrictive Terms and Conditions.

What Ever Happened to Critical Thinking?

In the world where “opinions” travel through the Internet at light speed often presented as “facts”, how do you know what you can believe? If there is a single skill that is necessary for day to day living it’s being able to think critically. That is, being able to separate the silly from the factual, the rational from the irrational, and the biased from the unbiased. Of all the skills taught in schools, critical thinking never takes front stage. Thus, sooner rather than later, you’re on your own to think, or to try and think, critically.

The Sad State of Professional Search Tools on the Mac (and what you can do about it!)

Currently (December, 2016), there does not seem to be a single professional-level search tool for the Mac that will search EVERY file and includes professional search options. Most search tools on the Mac only use the Spotlight index to find files. And, professionals quickly realize that Spotlight doesn’t index every file. Key point: If Spotlight doesn’t index a file, then it won’t find a matching non-indexed file during a search. Similarly, the tools that rely on Spotlight will have the same search limitations.

Are Email Hacks Inevitable? NO! NO! NO!

What’s up with Email Hacking?!

With so many stories about email hacking, you’d have to think it’s inevitable, right?


The Problem:

We Have The Technology — Telecommute NOW!

It’s fascinating watching the endless, and worsening daily traffic backups on the local news, which begs the question —why don’t more people telecommute - at least a day or two a week? Why isn’t there a national telecommuting initiative?

Although telecommuting isn’t for every job, there are so many jobs where telecommuting can work (also called “teleworking”), telecommuting could make a huge difference not only in traffic congestion, but in other areas as well.

Below is a brief list with both the benefits and the challenges that exist.

How to Be a Better Technical Writer (and Have Your Readers Better Understand What You Write)

It’s difficult to understand exactly why technical writing is often mostly gobbledegook. But it seems that when people write, for example, regular emails, those emails are often short and concise. Yet, those same writers, when writing technical documents, often end up writing gobbledegook. Sadly, this phenomenon seems to also be true with (non-trained) technical writers. Unfortunately for their audience (readers), technical writers are often document “assemblers” and take for granted the “boilerplate” and other poorly written text they receive and sometimes even write.

Ask Your Wallet if “Forced Software Subscriptions” Are Right For You!


Many computer users are too young to remember mainframes typified by large cooled rooms with raised floors, dumb terminals. and the data center overlords who “granted” you access to data, memory, and applications. Control was the key. And the computer overlords had it.

Fast forward to today.

Conceptual Database Application Example: Getting Rid of Junk Mail

One of the questions we often get in our intro to databases (conceptual intro) course what kinds of real world problems could we use a database? One answer is consider using a database to help track a lot of data or complicated data, or both.

We wrote a recent blog on stopping junk mail so we won’t duplicate that, but instead expand on it to explain how you might use a database to track contacting companies to opt out of mailings and other activities.

Your Data Has Been Hacked! (Probably)


The data you entrust to third parties like colleges, your credit card processor, or data you have no control over (OPM, IRS, or other "organizations") has likely been compromised. In fact, there have been shocking data breaches reported in the last ten years. So many breaches that you may no longer really pay attention to the newest breach on the news.

Are Community Colleges Pricing Themselves Out of the Market?

Not too long ago, a community college might charge up to $100 for all the classes you might want to take after the “full load” of classes. Today, a single 3 credit class can cost over $500!  Then, you have to buy books, parking, and possibly pay other fees previously not charged.

Various studies have shown that college tuition increases have outpaced other costs of living such as housing.

Without examining the causes of constant tuition increases, what are some of the effects these increases have?


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