Quick Tip: The Computer In Your Car

Starting around 1996, our automobiles entered the computer age. Sensors and microprocessors took up the task of monitoring, and in some cases adjusting, many of the functions of the engine, brakes, and other components that previously acted only as set by a manual tool and whose failure only became evident when the car stopped working.

This new electronic monitoring system also changed the way in which periodic state inspections for safety and emissions are done. Whereas previously the garage would stick a hose up the tailpipe to suck in fumes and analyse it for pollution, then visually inspect the lights, turn signals, etc., now much of that information can be transferred digitally from the car computer’s memory via a data port. With the right tool you can access much of this data yourself – for instance, I have a device from Automatic Labs that stays plugged into my car’s data port and communicates to my iPhone via Bluetooth!

All of this is great… until something happens to your car’s battery:
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How to Link to a Website Without Improving Its Search Engine Position

You’ve heard the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”? While not always true, it IS the case that any online mention of a website URL improves its “score” in search engines like Google and Bing.

This means that if you want to alert your web readers to a site that is promoting a scam, fraud, bad science, or other misinformation your very use of that site’s address will improve it’s “score” for searches on related keywords. For example, a site that claims global warming is a myth will appear closer to the top of searches on “global warming”.

So how do you discuss this site without giving it a search engine boost? Continue reading

What Are the Tech Specs For My Apple Product?

Apple releases so many slightly-tweaked models of their computers and other devices that it can be difficult to remember exactly which one you have, e.g., “is this an early 2008 or a late 2008 MacBook?”

This can be important when you are considering the purchase of an external accessory that requires a specific type of port to connect to your device – you cannot connect a Thunderbolt device to a Firewire port, and a device that wants USB 3.0 may not be happy with a USB 2.0 port (though the reverse is probably okay).

There’s an easy way to find out exactly how your Apple product is configured:

♦ Go to http://support.apple.com/specs/ 

♦ Click the Browse by Product button on the upper right.

♦ In the search field on the next page type your device’s serial number (for a Mac computer, click on the “Apple” at the top left of your desktop, Select “About This Mac”, then “More Info…” to find the serial number)

♦ The search result will be a link to the tech specs of your device.

How To Watch A Live Show On Concertwindow.com

Many of my musician friends are trying a new concert presentation model:                 Concert Window is a website that allows performers to broadcast their show live over the Internet, using only their laptop computer with a web camera and microphone.

What this means for you the audience is you can attend a concert literally in your pajamas if you want! In fact, singer/songwriter Christine Lavin broadcast her first Concert Window show in her fuzzy bathrobe because she forgot she had scheduled it.

It’s very easy to attend one of these live webcasts – almost as simple as a watching a YouTube video. I’m going to walk you through the few steps to create a login account and buy a ticket, then tell you a bit about how the show works and how you can actually participate and interact with the performer(s):

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