The End Is Nigh For Older Versions Of Internet Explorer

Microsoft is pretty aggressively steering users to make sure they are using the current version of the Internet Explorer (IE) web browser. After January 2016, support for IE 7 and IE 8 (on any version of Windows) will cease; no more patches or security updates. For many home users, this will not be an issue; by default Windows will install updates as they are available, and so most should have the current version of Internet Explorer already installed - currently IE 11. The latest version of IE for Windows XP is IE 8, but support for XP as a whole has been stopped for some time, so that's a moot point. If you still have Windows XP, by the way, you should probably do something about it sooner rather than later.

Sunday Is Pun Day

Pun rhymes with fun, and I enjoy silliness of all kinds - so here you go, courtesy of the 'web. This one skews a little more into my age group, and a when album covers were more of a big deal that they are now.


Virtual Reality Is Growing Fast

Virtual Reality (VR) is a bit of a buzzword these days, but the technology is real enough, advancing by leaps and bounds, and appears poised to be A Big Deal. It's a bit of an odd concept to get your head around, but if you ever used a View-Master toy, you are halfway there. In fact, View-Master is supposed to be bringing us a VR version later this year. Imagine looking into a View-Master 3D stereoscope at a scene of, say, a field with sheep in it. Now imagine if you move your head, your field of view changes just like you were really standing in the field and looking around in person. That's the basis of the VR experience. The ability of the viewed scene to change according to where you are looking is known as "head tracking".
What the View-Master VR device might look like

Useful Websites That Do Just What You Expect Them To

Many websites do several things, and often do most of them well. The World Wide Web is still a fascinating place to me, and quite often I will pause and think "How did we do this before the 'web?". There are other sites that do one thing - search engines, like and, and other sites that perform a task or offer a specific service like testing your network speed. Lifehacker has a nice list of such sites that would be a good thing to bookmark in your browser. 

A couple of examples:

Where's My Cellphone? Call your phone from this website if you have a "senior moment"

Down For Everyone Or Just me? Is xyz website actually down, or is it just me?


Not Your Mother's Mickey Dee's

Fast food restaurants are always looking for an edge, something different to help them win in a fiercely competitive arena. A Tampa area McDonalds is trying some pretty major changes in the way the food is ordered and prepared. First, it's a self-service setting with a touchscreen to make your order. Second, they are heavily emphasizing the ability to customize the food order, and it sounds more like a an actual restaurant setting than a typical McDonalds. This is all experimental of course, but who knows what the future may bring?
With burgers, for instance, customers can pick every individual item on a fresh-made quarter-pound burger, including the variety of cheeses and bun style, plus sauces, guacamole, jalapeƱos, grilled mushrooms, bacon, tortilla strips and crinkle-cut pickles among other choices. The Wesley Chapel site is offering both brioche style and ciabatta-style buns baked fresh on site.

After completing their order and making payment at the kiosk, customers pick up a digital “puck,” pick a seat inside the restaurant and McDonald’s staff then bring out the burger, served open-face in a metal mesh basket to display the various ingredients. The puck wirelessly tells the kitchen staff to which table to deliver food. (Customers paying cash can go to the typical counter cashiers.)


Google Search - For Cancer?

Google, as a company, originally built themselves upon their web search engine and has expanded into many other areas over the years. They recently filed a patent for a wearable device that would use nanotechnology to "uncover and fight off ailments such as cancer". While this sort of thing is nothing we are likely to see this year or next year, at some point we may well find ourselves wearing technology that augments our bodies defenses. It does seem odd that it might come from Google though, doesn't it?
A wearable device can automatically modify or destroy one or more targets in the blood that have an adverse health effect by transmitting energy into subsurface vasculature proximate to the wearable device. The targets could be any substances or objects that, when present in the blood, or present at a particular concentration or range of concentrations, may affect a medical condition or the health of the person wearing the device. For example, the targets could include enzymes, hormones, proteins, cells or other molecules. Modifying or destroying the targets could include causing any physical or chemical change in the targets such that the ability of the targets to cause the adverse health effect is reduced or eliminated.