FUN WITH WEBSITE NAMES

We learned some interesting things about websites. For example, the minimum length for a website ending, which refers to the site’s “domain,” is two letters. There are more than one billion web sites and every possible letter combination has been taken. We went to GoDaddy.com to verify this and searched on tv.tv. Sure enough, it’s taken, though apparently it isn’t being used. (If you go to tv.tv, it just hangs there. It’s sort of a no-show show.) The domain name “tv” is for the Pacific island country of Tuvalu. Domain name sales are big business. HomeAway.com bought VacationRentals.com for $35 million back in 2009.  You can buy the website name “TV.xyz” for $3,250. “TV.lgbt” is $4000. We know a few […]

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CAR TECH

We had a gizmo attack. A gizmo attack is when some new gizmo comes out and you feel you have to have it. Normally you should lie down and wait for this feeling to pass. But not always. So we went for it. We spent $500 for a driving aid called “Navdy.” This is a hamburger-sized device that sits on your car’s dashboard and projects a head-up display that brings you directions, text messages, phone calls and many other now necessary aspects of the modern world. Think of it as the same kind of display fighter pilots see — at least while there still are fighter pilots. In our case, we fitted this device in our 17 year-old Honda minivan […]

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GIZMOS IN VEGAS

Here are a few items that appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Check YouTube for online demos.

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ROKU PLAYER VERSUS ROKU STICK

Why pay $130 for the “Roku 4 Player” when the Roku stick only costs $47?

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WORLD’S MOST RELIABLE HARD DRIVES

Backblaze, a backup service, used 41,213 hard drives to store customer’s data. The drives that were most reliable, they say, were four-terabyte capacity units from “HGST,” which was formerly a division of Hitachi. Only one percent of their drives failed. Western Digital, which recently bought the Hitachi unit, came in second and Seagate third.

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THE AGE OF CRYPTO CURRENCY

BitCoin is a much bigger deal than we thought. In the new book, “The Age of Crypto Currency,” by Vigna and Casey, two veteran Wall Street Journal reporters, we learned that Bitcoin is used all over the world where banking is a problem. An Afghani teenager, for example, traded her Bitcoins for an Amazon gift certificate and bought her first laptop. Without Bitcoin, her earnings would have disappeared into her father or brother’s bank account. In Mali refugee camps, people receive Bitcoins as text messages on $5 phones. Without crypto currency, workers often have to depend on strangers to carry money back home to relatives. “The Age of Crypto Currency,” $28 from St. Martin’s Press, also gives us a concise […]

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DRIVING APP HAPPY

The engine warning light went on in our 14 year old minivan, and the dealer said we should add some goop to the gas and that might make the light go off. We’re giving you the short take. Somewhere deep in there, the automatic sensors in the car’s computer didn’t like the engine exhaust, or the carburetor setting or something like that. This incited Bob to a fit of high dudgeon (which is common for him) because back in the old days when he drove a 1962 Morgan, he could tune the engine himself. Everything was accessible to the owner back then, but now you need a computer analysis. Well we have one. It turns out that every car made […]

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MEANWHILE… DEEP IN THE JUNGLE

If you’re deep in the Amazon jungle, in a hurricane, or traveling too far from a cell phone tower, your text message won’t go through. (Good luck dealing with the giant Anaconda.) A new device called “goTenna” fixes that by using radio signals.

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LIGHTNING FAST

We’re going to need a Thunderbolt connection just to share all those photos. Thunderbolt is lightning fast connection developed for Apple. Some new PCs from HP and Asus will have it too, and fairly soon there will be Thunderbolt cards you can plug into the motherboard of older PCs.

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COMPARING GADGETS

Engadget.com/compare lists every gadget category you might think of, such as printers, computers, fitness devices, game machines, phones, speakers, you name it. When you click on a category, you get a list of the brands with the best reviews, and comparisons between them, as well as user comments. Here we learned that “Jambox” speakers get the same high rating as “Sonos,” but are cheaper, at $132 to $220, compared to $200 to $300.

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