Is your computer hyper tense? Does it suffer from anxiety, mood shifts, lethargy or even narcolepsy? You can get a free checkup at Belarc Advisor tells you about your dear machine’s hardware, software, security settings, and whether or not you need updates. Our diagnosis: updates of six programs were deemed “critical.”

But updating programs in intensive care is a hassle. Have you been to the Adobe site lately? It’s hard to find the update section. We had two copies of Adobe Flash, which is built into Chrome; we got rid of both. We also got rid of something called “Adobe Air.” Then there’s “Java.” Do we really need Java? We looked it up and the answer came back “No!” We looked up Apple QuickTime. The answer came back as “crapware.” This is a technical term among programmers and refers to programs that come installed as trial versions or worse when you but a new computer. We uninstalled all.

And the result? Our computer runs just the same as before, still playing YouTube videos and doing all our other activities. All is fine, and we’re safer than we were. In fact, we feel downright chipper. If we need to reinstall something it will be the latest version.

Talking to Dr. Who

As long as we’re on the subject of professional care, we might listen to Dr. Who. The “Doctor” is a science fiction radio and television series produced by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and if you’ve never heard of it, ask a kid.

Dr. Who is one of the longest running and most popular shows in the world. It has 830 episodes, and still going, and draws about 60 million viewers worldwide. All his adventures begin with the materialization, somewhere, of a British police call box, which looks like a blue phone booth. Inside is “The Doctor,” not a medical man, but sort of a general fix-it for the galaxy.

Bob is a huge fan of the series, and now, courtesy of Microsoft, you can get clued in to the ways and means of a man who can move through time and space. You get it through Skype, a free program that lets you make free phone calls and video chats form your computer or cell phone. If you Google the phrase “Dr. Who bot,” you’ll get a link to a page about it from Microsoft, which owns Skype. From there you can click to add Dr. Who to your contact list and begin the adventure. You’re supposed to be able to add the Dr. Who Bot by just clicking the “add bot” icon within Skype. But that didn’t work, so we just “Googled” it.

Joy felt like she was really talking to Dr. Who. He called her by name and responded to her choices in the Skype chat window. Occasional short video clips show you what Dr. Who is seeing as he roams the galaxy. The dialogue is clever and funny, and we learned some astronomy. Even Bob, who is a nut on astronomy programs, didn’t know that the reason you can’t place something on Neptune is because it would sink like an icy rock into the methane ocean that covers the planet.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the six segments of a key that keeps the universe stable -“ish.”


  • “Top Ten Unexpected Dance Scenes in Dance Movies.” Search on that phrase (or click on it) to find some of the best dance numbers of all time. That search also turns up the best unexpected dances in non-dance movies. Our favorite is Frankenstein doing “Putting on the Ritz” in “Young Frankenstein.”
  • 10 Genius Ways to Use Legos.” Search on that phrase or click on it to find Lego aquariums, lamp shades, chess sets, etc.
  • 25 Spectacular Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen.” Search on that phrase or click on it to find some interesting recommendations. We’ve seen “Midnight in Paris”and “The Big Lebowski, which were both excellent but had no spectacles. So why were they spectacular? (The use of language continues to degenerate.)

Station 307, Where Are You?

Ever want to share a big file, one that’s too big to email? If you’re a Gmail user, you’re prompted to upload it to Google Drive and send a link. But here’s another way:

Go to Click “Add a file.” After you add one, you get a link to it. Click “copy url” so you can paste it into an email or text message. To paste that into a text message, press your finger down for a few seconds until the word “paste” pops up. Then tap “paste.”

Liquid Cooled Computers

Just like a car engine, computer chips run hot. This does not matter unless you are a maniacal game player. Then running hot can be bad for your system and slows things down.

For those who care about firing off as many shots as possible before the monster or the bad guys get to you, Corsair makes an $800 liquid-cooled graphics card for your desktop computer.

Didn’t know you could get liquid cooled computers. Sure, you can. The price is stiff, but the results are grand prix. Corsair’s $110 liquid cooler for CPUs: the “Corsair Hydro Series H100i,” is the number one best seller on Amazon in the liquid cooling category, and users have answered over a thousand questions about it.

How do you liquid cool a computer? Very carefully. It’s done with a pump, tubes and a liquid that is not going to short-circuit anything if something goes wrong. In other word random-access memory." But you probably alreadys, not water. Another factor is the amount of memory. Where the typical graphics card like yours or ours might have 1.7 gigabytes of integrated memory, which is not as good as so-called “discrete” memory, Corsair’s new “Hydro GFX GTX” has 11 gigabytes of “GDDR5x”memory, which stands for”graphics double data rate type five synchronous random access memory.” But you probably already knew that.

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