More often than not, the best way to solve a problem is to Google it in the same words you would use when describing the issue to your techiest friend.

Recently we were trying to digitize our CDs so we could play them on our computer, but Windows Media Player couldn’t identify any of the tracks. We were stuck with “Unknown Album” and “Track 1,” “Track 2,” etc.  Windows Media player is supposed to name your tracks automatically, but it didn’t.

The Windows Troubleshooter popped up to tell us that our media player was corrupted but offered no solution. It dumped us out on a general Microsoft page where we could search vast reams of info from other users. So we searched the web on the phrase “fix corrupt Windows Media Player.”  The first website we went to told us which files in the Windows Media Player folder to delete, and then told us to reboot the computer. That’s a trick we’ve noticed many times. If you delete something that’s not working, it gets reinstalled the next time you reboot if it’s part of the operating system.

App Happy

Coming up are tracking systems from Google, Apple and M.I.T. to tell whether you’ve encountered someone who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Of course, in order for this thing to work, you have to have tested a lot of people. In the first quarter of this year, approximately one million people were tested in the U.S. Since there are about 320 million people, 320 quarter periods would take 80 years at the same rate of testing. One begins to see the nature of the problem.

At the heart of this is an effort to create a kind of national health database. This seems like a really good idea, though the people who worry about their privacy will no doubt protest. The problem is so large and difficult, it may never happen.

A Virtual Tech Show

We recently video-conferenced with the founders of  tech companies who were showing off their latest products. Here are a few products that caught our eye. You can get more details at Showstoppers.com.

  • The “Envoy Pro EX” is a new four-terabyte solid state drive (SSD) from OWC That’s a tremendous amount of storage you can slip into your pocket and plug into your computer when you’re ready. It can hold 800,000 photos, 166 hours of video footage in 4K resolution or 1,437 hours of videos in standard resolution. Cost is $1,129. If you don’t need that much storage, you could get a flash drive from Sandisk with 128 gigabytes for around $19. Because solid state drives have no moving parts, data transfers from an SSD are almost instantaneous.
  • The $25 “Mountie” is a clip from TenOneDesign.com. It allows you to expand your computer’s screen size by connecting your iPad, Android tablet or phone to your computer screen so that you get an extra wide side-by-side display. Or you might want three screens, by using a clip on both sides. If you have a larger tablet, such as the iPad Pro, you’ll need the Mountie+, for  $35. This lets you watch the stock market, a sporting event or your favorite show while doing your work.
  • The new “Evolve2” headphones from Jabra.com let you work at home without worrying about disturbance from your dog or kid while you’re on an important call. They have three built-in microphones to make your voice heard over any background noise, and they make it easier to hear the person on the other end. What’s more, their software lets the company’s IT department monitor how good the sound quality was during your call. The Evolve2 40 is $139 for the stereo version. The Evolve2 65, a wireless version with stereo, is $299.


We came across a noise-cancelling headset with a microphone, the Rifleman Bluetooth Communication Hearing Protection, for $41 on Amazon. Joy put some Rachmaninoff music on real loud and then called Bob. The music was dampened to a whisper while the headset was on. It was easy to hear each other. This was initially designed and intended for hunters. This kind of cross-matching of technology is interesting. Several years ago, Bob noticed that hearing-enhancers for hunters, allowing them to track game, cost less than hearing aids. A national testing service rated them as almost equal to hearing aids. Some users say they like them better than hearing aids. We saw “Walker’s Game Ear” on Amazon for $144. But of course Medicare probably wouldn’t cover it.


  • How to Make a Mask with a T-shirt.” Search on that phrase to get some clever suggestions. Joy had the idea of putting advertising on the face masks. For instance: “”Back off Buster,” “Hi, I’m Single,” or “Joe’s Pizza.”
  • View from Missoula, Montana

    View from My Window.” Type those words into the Facebook search box for some remarkable photos. People from all over the world are sharing what it looks like from the inside looking out and adding comments, during this Covid-19 crisis when we’re all staying home. We just looked at the view in Calarca, Columbia. Pretty nice.

  • Scullinsteel.com/apple2 has a virtual version of the old Apple II machine, which was sold new until 1993. You can try programming it in BASIC. It reminded Joy of why she decided she’d never be a programmer.



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