Sunday

Sunday Is Pun Day #1

I like puns. There, I said it - and the more groan-worthy, the better. I have been posting puns and other wordplay things on Facebook for a while, so I thought "Why let the blog readers off the hook?", and so here we are. These are mostly not mine (in fact, I can pretty much guarantee that about 99% of them are not mine), but are pulled from around the web and were created by more devious people than I....


Saturday

Remember This? "Bat Out Of Hell"

I'll be the first to admit I have, umm, eclectic musical tastes - I am all over the map, and I think I always have been. However, I know I am not alone in fondly recalling Meat Loaf's second album "Bat Out Of Hell", which after a slow start and mixed reviews in 1977 became one of the top-selling albums of all time, with over 43 million copies sold world wide. The album itself grew out of a musical, Neverland, and three songs from that show made it to the album. Bat Out Of Hell has some great vocal performances from Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley, and quite a bit of over-the-top production - but in a good way; this would include the old electric-guitar-pretending-to-be-a-motorbike gag (that never gets old). Bat Out Of Hell is alternately operatic, melodic, pompous, frantic and sometimes beautiful ("Heaven Can Wait", below). If you haven't heard this album for a while, revisit it - it actually holds up quite well. Oh, and the title track is almost 10 minutes long...


Apple OS X Yosemite Overview

Apple OS X Yosemite is the next version of the Mac operating system, and features a more iOS-like appearance, and tighter integration with Apple mobile devices too. MacRumors has a short overview video that gives a good idea of what to expect this time around. It's now available as a free upgrade for OS X users on recent Apple Mac products.


An Internet Time Capsule

The World Wide Web has been with us since the early 1990's - a little over 20 years - and yet it's hard for some of us to think of a time when we didn't have "the Internet". It's also hard to recall how web pages looked before all the animations, sounds, images, and ads that we have now. They were pretty bland actually, essentially pages of text with minimal formatting and occasional small graphics or static images. 

The two mains reasons for this were that first, the common method of access the early web was through dial-up modem and that was s-l-o-w even while it seemed wonderful, so things had to be kept simple. Second was the state of the new technology; web browsers were really only able to interpret and display those simple web sites at that time anyway. 

Thanks to the Internet Archive Way Back Machine, you can take peep "back in time" to snapshots of your favorite sites as they were in days gone by. It's a bit of an eye-opener, and a pretty remarkable site in it's own right.

Yahoo! from the late 1990's

Friday

Calm Down - There's An App For That. Oh, And A Website

An oft-used phrase I have used in recent months and years is: "There's an app for that". I am always impressed (and sometimes depressed) at how there seems to be an app or a website for just about every need, passion, occasion, illness, desire and so on. In this case, when you want or need to just calm down go to Calm.com - aptly named, indeed. Apart from the website itself, there are also apps for Apple and Android devices.
You can choose a period of 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes for your session. And you can choose whether you just get to hear calming music, or whether there's also a soothing voice too.  Combine those with the flowing, meditative graphics on the screen (or just close your eyes if you prefer) and you'll be back to a calm state in no time.
TechSupportAlert


Weekly Round-Up

Another Friday rolls around, and I have come up with another collection of good stuff. How do I do it so consistently? Just raw talent, I guess. Oh - and modesty.


A silver lining in the JP Morgan breach?

Space plane returns from secret mission - how did I not know about this??

OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars review - and a big honkin' review it is

Google reveals our embarrassing voice search habits

Five apps to help organize your personal finances

Ubi is a voice-activated PC for smart homes

6 apps for tuning your guitar - yep, there's an app for that, too

Best free Android apps - updated list from Gizmo's Freeware


This "Poodle" Hack thing - What The Heck?


You may have heard of the latest security snafu, dubbed "Poodle" (an acronym for a long string of fancy computin' words you don't really need to know and would immediately forget anyway - I know I did). Essentially, it only seems to affect an older version of the SSL protocol not much in use anymore (SSL version 3), so the risk is fairly low compared to some other recent exploits. SSL comes into play when you make a secure connection to a website like a bank. This is not a "Windows" thing, or an "Apple" thing, so everyone can and should check how they are connecting at present.

You can very simply check if your browser is currently vulnerable here:

https://www.poodletest.com/

If you don't see an image appear -refresh the page (press the F5 key) and also make sure that javascript is enabled.

If you see a Poodle - disable SSL v3 in your browser.

Disabling SSL 3 may break some older sites, but most browsers will likely be removing support from SSL 3 soon anyway, so those sites need to get with the program.