Living It: Dealing with technology in real life.
How to make your PC
I dig Benedictine monks. They have a secret liqueur recipe--I've always wished I could say the same--and they value silence. Would that I could make that latter claim about my main PC at home. Recently, it started sounding like a dishwasher mugging a vacuum cleaner, so I got out the tools. First, because the system's 1GHz PIII generates about as much warmth as a toasted bagel, I changed the CPU fan to a heat sink. I also installed a fancy new power supply with a quiet fan. So wasn't I surprised when all that barely made a difference! Hmmm.
Let's go, Treo!
I relish this almost as much as the 1990 Super Bowl: My beloved Treo 600 walked away with this year's March madness crown for cell phones. We noticed that in the finals you pitted a Palm device against a Windows phone. This is the first time we've seen such a clear-cut battle between phone operating systems. I think that could be a mere coincidence--but maybe I'm wrong: Have we actually arrived in an era where we select phones the way we select computers--that is, by OS first?
Cell phone faux pas
Some sort of reverse caller ID would have saved me the other night when I was running late to dinner. From my car, I called Terry, the friend I was meeting. When she picked up her cell, I hollered the sort of joshing, salty tirade that is amusing only when you've been friends since well before the Cold War ended.
Then she replied, "Pardon me?"
As my GI tract turned to water, I realized Terry must have changed her cell number long ago--and God knows who I just told to chill and keep her T-backs on. With my luck, it was probably Carly Fiorina.
Let your geek flag fly
I love old calculators (and that's saying something coming from an English major). My HP-33C has been a constant pal since high school. It's kinda chunky with really stiff keys, but it was one hot ride in its day. In Menlo Park, California, circa 1976, you could trade a 33C for enough Frampton tickets to go on a legendary double date. HP hasn't been that cool since. And of course my HP-11C is also fabulous. On CNET Radio a couple years ago, I mentioned that I had lost its manual. Two days later, a 3-inch ring binder arrived. Inside was a meticulously photocopied 11C manual, courtesy of a listener--the HP calculator brotherhood in action.
Brian Cooley doesn't really compute with earmuffs on--in fact, he's eager to hear from you. Tell him your gripes.
Why dirty PCs are better
When we test PC hardware and software for reviews, should we use clean or dirty systems? Brian has some answers from you and from our Labs folks. Plus: Does your phone company know its own rates?
Protect your privacy (and cook dinner, too)
Is your car's alternator the best hard drive eraser of all? Should our reviews favor fairness over realism? How do you get salad dressing out of your keyboard? Brian answers these and other burning questions.
Hammered hard drives and heinous headsets
In the first installment of his new Living It column, Brian Cooley looks at some tech that's driving him nuts and an unorthodox way to truly clean your hard drive.