never forgottenOne of our best friends passed away recently, and we were reminded of the digital afterlife: Facebook accounts and email that just keeps going.

Fortunately, there’s a form on Facebook that lets you memorialize a person’s account. That way, other people won’t get requests to “friend” the dead person. To find the form, do a search on the words “Facebook Memorialization Request,” or click here. You’re asked to provide a link to their “Timeline.” Just search on the person’s name while you’re in Facebook and click “Timeline.” Then highlight the web address with your mouse, and use the copy command (hold down the “Ctrl” button and tap the letter C) to copy it. For the Mac, use the “Cmd” button.

If you’d like to download the deceased person’s photo collection and data, go to Facebook.com/settings and click “download a copy of your data.”

For information about closing down Gmail, do a search on the words “Google Inactive Account Manager,” or click here.  For other accounts, you can find info in the book “Your Digital Afterlife,” by Evan Carroll and John Romano.



doctor clipartAt Crowdmed.com, doctors, patients and researchers offer opinions on the correct diagnosis for medical conditions that have hitherto defied analysis and treatment. This is, in its way, the ultimate value of the Internet: the idea that if you can query the whole world, someone, somewhere, may know the answers to very difficult questions.

So far, the site’s founders claim there have been significant results in the first few months. Medical detectives have so far solved over 460 cases of difficult to diagnose illnesses. Some of these had previously eaten up more than $100,000 in tests and consultations over many years.

The site charges users for its premium service, but claims that this kind of crowd-searching is roughly 300 times cheaper and 50 times faster than the traditional medical system. What it boils down to is this a new approach to one of the most difficult jobs in medicine, reaching the correct initial diagnosis, and sometimes even the ultimately correct diagnosis.



Joy's niece and great niece

Joy’s niece and great niece

Our niece has a baby and was looking for a way to generate some income without leaving the house. So she went to a website we’d never heard of, Flippa.com, and bought a business for $365. She’s already $100 ahead.

It’s called JollyGoodGarden.com, and it sells specialty plant holders for herb gardens. The website was created using the Shopify service, so it’s easy to alter. The seller was from Germany and the products ship from Italy. She sells products in Euros but the manufacturer uses British pounds. How’s that for global?

Besides websites, Flippa.com sells apps and web addresses. For instance, you might already have a business and need the perfect web address but find it’s been taken. In that case, you can often buy the address or “domain” you want.

If you buy a website, the business generally comes with it. Some are relatively expensive. CyberEditions.com, an ebook publisher, sold recently for $7,500. Our niece says buying sites is addictive and she’s considering buying some more. Regular businesses, like a car wash or a restaurant, are often listed for sale in the newspaper.



car hacks30 Useful Car Hacks that Every Driver Should Know. If you’re driving an unfamiliar car, look for the arrow next to the tiny image of a gas pump in the fuel gauge indicator. It points to the side the gas tank is on. Soak a newspaper in warm water and place it over hard-to-remove window stickers. Use the car’s floor mats for traction to get out of mud or snow.



blast motion basketballFitness tracking has hit basketball. Now you can measure the height of your jump and how long you hang in the air before dunking that shot. Users say cheers are in order if you can climb air for .7 of a second; one user claimed doing 1.2 seconds. Sign that kid up.

It’s called “Blast Basketball” and it’s a $149 motion sensor clipped to the waistband of a basketball player, measuring jump height, rotation and hang time. There’s a video on YouTube showing it in action. The company, “Blast Motion, also sells motion sensors for golf and baseball.

If you want a movie of your moves as well as a sensor to keep track of them, Blast Motion also sells a $150 “Action Cam,” a special motion sensor which attaches to a GoPro camera, which in turn attaches to you doing loops on your skateboard, skis, or bicycle. A smartphone app creates video highlights and overlays the player’s jump and rotation statistics right on the video.



chalkboard art“Visual Canvas, Chalkboard Riot” has incredible art, all done with chalk, chalk dust. and erasers. Each one includes a saying, from Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, John Lennon, Coco Chanel and others. Impressive!



password protection

Courtesy of Getty Images

A reader shared her computer disaster and we want to pass on the warning.

Her iPhone broke and she spent five hours at the Apple store before the guys at the “Genius Bar” (they really do have a “genius bar”) suggested she get a new one. Fortunately, she’d copied her contacts and appointments from her phone onto her Windows PC. Unfortunately, during backup, she didn’t notice a small box that was already checked and automatically encrypted the contents. Later, she didn’t remember the password to undo the encryption. “Keep trying to think of the password,” said the guys at genius bar. (Don’t think we need a genius for that advice.)

Frustrated, she tried the $29 “iPhone Backup Extractor,” from Download.com, hoping it would in fact extract her data. But she still needed the password. The company suggested she try the $59 pro edition, which is refundable if they can’t get back her valuable appointments and contacts. What they’re trying to do is guess the password. The National Security Agency could probably do it.

We agree with her conclusion: Apple should have a pop-up message before you back up, something like, “Are you sure you want an encrypted backup?” Should this ever come up for you, write down the password — since you won’t be able to get your stuff back without it!




Satechi bike mountThere are several makers of cellphone holders for bicycles and motorcycles. We got one from Satechi, $30, because it was beautifully engineered and we couldn’t resist.

Now what is the point of attaching a cellphone to your handlebars? At first we had a wild image of hundreds of cyclists running into telephone poles as they tried to tap text messages on their phones. As a practical matter, you can’t text while you’re riding. You could conceivably talk to someone but the traffic noise around you would often make it near impossible. So what is the most likely use here? Directions!

Joy is one of those people who gets lost easily – even when she’s going to places she’s been to several times before. Bob used to think this was pretty strange but has since learned that there are many people who seem to be “directionally challenged.” There are mild cases — like trying to find your car in a big parking lot, and serious cases – like not being able to find your way back to a building you left just a minute ago.

Bob tried to help by buying Joy a compass but it turns out they work best if you’re a Boy Scout. But so far, a cell phone with GPS beats any compass ever made; Google Maps with their turn-by-turn directions is the way to travel. You needn’t look at the screen, because a friendly voice tells you when you go off track. When you get there, or stop for a sandwich, you can remove the pouch from its clamp and carry on.

Joy found the turn-by-turn directions easy to hear and follow. This turned out to be necessary, because tapping through the tough plastic cover is, well, tough. She listened to music while pedaling, which unfortunately was still blasting away as she reached our apartment building; she couldn’t work the phone’s volume control through the plastic.

A more costly way to go is the $120 “MountCase Bike Kit” from Bike2Power. It lets you charge your phone as you peddle. (It takes two and a half hours at 12 miles per hour to fully charge a phone.) A basic phone holder, without the charging device, starts at $50. Bob, who cycled through Britain, feels he should point out that a device that generates power in this way does so by rubbing against a wheel to turn a tiny dynamo, and this takes noticeably more effort from the cyclist.



Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney washing dishes35 Rare Candid Photos Of Famous People Together Like You’ve Never Seen Them.” Google those words for some rare photos, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger riding a toboggan with George Bush senior or Paul McCartney washing dishes with Michael Jackson.



Winnie the Pooh and PigletNews.distractify.com/culture/winnie-the-pooh/ has19 great truths from Winnie the Pooh, with great drawings. Example: “How do you spell ‘love?'” asks Piglet. “You don’t spell it, you feel it,” says Pooh.