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November 30, 2011

ICE - In Case of Emergency on Your Cellphone

While this blog is a posting of computer related items, cell phones are in fact a computer and this is a potential life saving issue. I am doing this post that indirectly relates .

In case of emergency (ICE) is a program that enables 1st responders to identify victims and contact next of kin in case of an emergency.  Hence the acronym ICE.  All cellphones should have one or more ICE listings should the unfortunate happen.

That said, cellphones and particularly smart phones have password protection mechanism where your phone, ICE and all other information cannot be accessed without keying a password or drawing a pattern to unlock all of this.  What I am trying to get at here is if your phone is password protected, ICE is not able to be accessed.  Please have an alternate form of identification that lists an emergency contact(s).  Don't feel a false sense of security having ICE on your phone where there is password protection enabled.

November 18, 2011

The Wiki Family

The Wiki site describes Wiki as follows, "A wiki is a database of pages which visitors can edit live." While many people associate Wiki with Wikipedia, there is more to the Wiki family.  To name a few, there are Wikianswers (post a question you would like answered), Wikitravel (a travel guide), Wikihow (a how to site), and Wikibooks (textbooks).    

Wiki is open editing which means anyone can add and edit information freely. There is a staff that checks these for accuracy. Where there is no support for an entry it is noted. Nonetheless the Wiki sites are a good source of free information from the trivial to the important. For those who remember the "Dallas" television series of the 80s did you know that Patrick Duffy's nephew is former Cy Young award winner Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants? It's out there on Wikipedia along with other trivial facts.   

Wikipedia also was likely the final nail in the coffin for all those encyclopedias that took up much bookcase space.  Yes they still sell those encyclopedias just like they still sell vinyl records,cameras that use film and accounting ledger paper but they have been replaced for the most part by improvements in technology. 

In closing, a lot of good and useful information can be accessed by going to the Wiki sites.  From learning how to fit in while in London to planning your London visit a lot of good information is available just by logging in.

November 9, 2011

Take College Courses Online for Free

On the web there are many good sites for learning to put it mildly. 

But did you know you can take college courses online for free? For some of these you can listen online to prerecorded lectures/discussions. has a listing of courses online.  MIT has courses there as well on . Another good site is The latter has mainly courses on audio. Among other colleges having open courseware are Tufts, Notre Dame and Yale a pretty good selection to say the least.  Just do a google search for "opencourseware".  Best of all they are free! A lot also have downloadable handouts as well. You also can search on for lectures and courses.  Type the name of the college or university followed by lectures or courses and see the selection available. 

A good way to continue your lifelong learning with no admissions application, tuition, fees or other costs.

November 8, 2011

Make that Disk Sooner Rather than Later

It used to be when you bought a PC, a system repair disk was also included.  This was useful in the event you needed to rebuild your system.

During this holiday season, many will be getting a new PC as a gift. What you will not receive is a system repair disk. This can be used to boot your computer in the event you are unable to from your hard drive, need to recover windows from a system error.  You will need to make a system repair disk.  This should be done as soon as possible after purchasing your new computer.  It could end up being invaluable in the event of a system failure.

To create a system repair disk, click the "Start' button.  In the address bar type "Backup" .  Under "Programs"  select "Backup and Restore".  In the left pane is an option "Create a System Repair Disk".  Select this.  Insert a CD to create a system repair disk.  When you are done creating your system repair disk make sure to put it in a safe place but not so safe a place you forget where.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.