ONE REAL FAST PHOTO SCANNER

Our new Epson “FastFoto” scanner sucked in photos so fast it made us laugh. Put a stack in, and the photos jump through the scanner like they’ve been shot out of a cannon. Typical speed is one a second. Then we asked ourselves the big question: Why get a photo scanner when ScanMyPhotos.com will do it for you?  For instance, they’ll currently scan a thousand 4- by-6-inch photos for $50. No muss, no fuss. So here’s why your own scanner might be more useful: A scanned photo, sent by email or shared on Facebook, is often a spur of the moment thing. Reach your hand into an old collection, pull out a stack and put them in the FastFoto scanner. […]

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MISSING AND NO ACTION

A reader writes that she doesn’t hear from her son. She can send messages but she doesn’t know if he’s getting any email. She may be able to find out what’s up with that by using an email tracking program. ReadNotify.com (free to try, $24 a year for regular use) can let you know when the emails you send are opened, if they are opened. To get that response, tack “ReadNotify.com” on the end of an email address. For example, if your friend is JoeDoe@aol.com, you’d write “JoeDoe@aol.com.ReadNotify.com.”  When Joe Doe opens the email, you’ll get a message in your inbox saying when and where he opened it. It works with any email service, from Gmail to Yahoo. When Joy […]

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TRUTH FINDER

We now know people who are married, or about to be, to mates they met online; it’s becoming normal. But if any of these meets make you nervous, you can make preliminary checks. A friend of ours turned down a match from an online dating service because the guy had “too many relationships.” Truthfinder.com told her. The scope of the information was amazing. TruthFinder not only knew how many online relationships the guy had, but how many business filings he’d made with the government (they were for McDonald’s franchises), what his house was worth, how much he paid for his mortgage, and so on. The service, which charges $28 for a one-time search, or $23 if you go monthly, also […]

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GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

It seems like a lot of the people we meet want to be writers. And they have a great subject for a novel: it’s about them. A good start might be finding an agent. Nowadays, you can find them online. QueryTracker.net lists over 1500 literary agents, with brief information about each. It’s free to sign up, and the site can keep track of how many pitch letters you’ve sent, where they went and when. This could prevent some embarrassing moments, like sending the same letter to the same agent several times. Click on any agent’s name to find out the kinds of authors they represent. Some prefer pitch letters by email, others ask you to fill out a form online.  Click […]

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GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

Our attention was captured recently by a Wall Street Journal article about executives playing video adventure games. One was 34, another 49. Their ages were apparently meant to surprise us, but in fact it’s normal. There has always been an assumption that only kids play video games. It depends on the game. In fact, in the decades we have been writing this column — and it is the oldest and longest running technology column in the known universe (and parts of New Jersey) — the great majority of video game players have ranged from their mid 20s on up. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average male player is 35, the average woman 44. We’re talking about complex games […]

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BUYING A USED NEW COMPUTER

Buying a new computer is fun and they’re pretty cheap now. But watch out for the online reviews; trust no one and don’t speak to strangers. When searching for “how to buy a desktop computer,” you’ll find articles steering you to computers costing $1800 and up. These are fast and mean but appropriate mostly for people who edit videos or play games. Lots of memory and lots of processing power are important in those areas; for most of us, not so much. Searching for “budget desktops,” you get some strange picks, not all of them ready for prime time. PC Magazine shuttled us to the “Shuttle XPC Nano with Windows 10.” It weighs only one pound and goes for $221 […]

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THE MATCH GAME

Is online dating the worst way to find a mate, or the best? In any event, it’s much more popular than we ever thought. According to a Consumer Reports Magazine survey of 115,000 subscribers, 44 percent are in a long-term relationship or got married through online dating.  Yet reader satisfaction with these sites is lower than for any other service the magazine rates. They even rate lower than tech support. Now that’s the pits. As chance would have it, we know four women (no men) who have used online dating services. Two are happily married to the men they met this way, a third is happy in her new relationship and the fourth is still looking and not at all […]

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FINDING A PEN PAL ONLINE

A reader described himself as “an over-the-hill guy” who remembers having a pen pal in his youth and he liked it. It was great fun, he said, but how would he find pen pals these days? Well … PenPalParty.com has international pen friends. You can specify adults who speak English, are over a certain age, or use any criteria you like, by going to penpalparty.com/lookforpals.html. You could also go to favorite websites, such as your favorite newspaper or magazine. If there’s a topic you’re interested in, comment on it and include your email address so people can write you back. When Joy was in her 20s, she loved the pen pals she met through “Single Booklovers,” which still exists at […]

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TWITTER MOMENTS

Until now, news on Twitter was only as good as the services you subscribed to. You could search for a topic, click “follow” and from then on see posts on that topic whenever you went to Twitter.com. Now they’ve added “Moments.” Moments are more like traditional news headings. Click “Moments” at the top left of your screen any time of the day or night to see what’s going on. When we clicked,  we saw travel stories, music, sports and political news. Usually there’s not much going on.

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HIDDEN FACEBOOK FEATURE

Bob clicked on a hidden Facebook feature and discovered an old pal from Philadelphia. Turns out there’s a Facebook button called “Other.” It’s faint and hard to see, but that just makes it more mysterious. It’s there you may find mail from people who aren’t on your friends list, also ads for things you never wanted.

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