Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 7th, 2012


with 3 comments

I’m not much of a DIYer.

I’d rather go out and buy a new something than try and fix an old something.

And I think it’s genetic.  The primary tools my father had in his garage while I was growing up were a driver and a three wood (golf clubs!).

But sometimes, one has no choice but to channel their inward Ben Franklin-ness because circumstance requires it.

One example: My beloved 55” Sony Bravia TV (which I bought way before the volume discounts kicked in, thank you very much) had a thermal fuse go out.  I knew inviting my friends from Sony to come fix it in my home was at least a $400 mission.

I did some research to find the heart of the problem, and found a Web post that generally explained how to replace the thermal fuse.  It wasn’t open heart surgery — but it wasn’t removing a cuticle, either.

One day, while the light was still good, and by following the instructions I found online (including very helpful pictures!), I had the TV in pieces in no time, the fuse replaced, and the cover back on, TV working, in about 90 minutes.

You’d have thought I had won the lottery, judging by the smile on my face.

Recently, I had a similar, if less dramatic, episode.  I hadn’t used my Acer Aspire Netbook in a while, but I’d recently moved my home office back upstairs so I thought the Acer would be a good “downstairs” computer (I know, I clearly have too many computers).

When I turned it on, I realized there was a problem.  Even though the battery indicator suggested the machine was charged, when I removed the AC power source, the computer died.


I immediately went online to look for a new, but cheap, replacement battery.  But as I entered the query “acer aspire one battery” and started glancing through the results, I saw links not only for replacement batteries, but for “fixes” for people having issues with the battery on that particular system.

Turns out, it was a long known and acknowledged problem, and it had a possible fix: Download the BIOS update onto a USB stick and reboot the machine with a special command.

Sounded easy enough.  And surprisingly, it was.  What took me about 5 minutes to research and implement saved me on the order of $30, along with shipping and handling, and also spared the planet the premature demise of a perfectly good laptop battery.

I checked the next morning, and the Acer battery (their 6 cell batteries are good for 6 hours or so!) was fully charged and raring to go.

More importantly, I got the satisfaction of solving a not-too-terribly-complex problem by doing a little investigating, and then following through.

Now if I could just find a similar article that would help me consolidate all my different iTunes libraries.

Written by turbotodd

February 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Happy Safer Internet Day

leave a comment »

If you either don’t have children or you don’t spend an inordinate amount of time online, or if you just missed the headlines these past few days, you may not realize that today is “Safer Internet Day.”

In conjunction, IBM is releasing free Internet safety training tools for students and will have thousands of volunteers working to help raise awareness and educate students and businesses on Internet safety and digital responsibility.

The three free volunteer kits that can help better educate students, parents, and teachers on Internet safety include:

  • Control Your Online Identity  – A volunteer education kit, it is designed to help teenagers learn to protect personal data online and reputation online. Teenagers are typically savvy about how to use the Internet, but often unaware about what happens to personal data once it’s shared. This presentation and volunteer information helps students learn how to protect personal data and control how they present themselves online.
  • Internet Safety Coaching – Aimed at teachers or adults working with children, this is a general primer on Internet safety providing basic information about common Internet activities by young people including instant messaging and social networking.   This kit is designed to raise awareness of Internet safety and how to have a meaningful and open dialogue with children on this topic.
  • Cyberbullying — Aimed at parents or adults who work with children, this activity helps adults learn about how young people use the Internet today and how to recognize cyberbullying symptoms, how to prevent online bullying from happening and how to intervene if it does happen.

“IBMers are committed to helping educate people on ways to safely and securely use the Internet,” said Harriet Pearson, IBM Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer. “The resources we are donating will help teachers and parents raise awareness that most Internet-based threats to individual and computer security can significantly be reduced by actions that informed users take themselves.”

In conjunction with today’s announcement, IBM volunteers around the world are educating communities about Internet safety. Some select activities include:

  • In Finland, IBM’s lead volunteer on Cyberbullying will participate in a national summit at Helsinki City Hall in conjunction with Safer Internet Day. 60 IBM volunteers have already run Cyberbullying workshops for parents in 100 schools across Finland.
  • In Germany, IBM will expand its partnership with klicksafe, the national partner of the Insafe network, focusing on the Manage Your Identity Initiative, Already more than 500 IBM, retiree and partner volunteers have delivered over 100 interactive workshops on the topic to more around 3,000 students around the country.
  • In Italy, an IBM team will conduct events in local schools using both the IBM materials and afilm from Safer Internet Day to discuss Internet safety and cyberbullying.
  • In Romania, IBM volunteers are partnering with NGOs APDETIC and Junior Achievement Romania to deliver an Internet Safety session to students focusing on controlling your online identity and Facebook usage.
  • In the United Kingdom, IBM volunteers will use the volunteer kits to promote online safety awareness in schools.  IBMers will partner with non-profit YPNGlobal on their initiative called Cyber Champions.

Last year IBM employees donated more than three million hours of volunteer service. The company has donated 34 volunteer kits to help both IBMers as well as community members have meaningful activities and dialogues in the community about various issues.

Since its inception in 2004, Safer Internet Day interest has grown to reach all five continents and almost 80 countries, from Canada to South Korea and Russia to Kenya, including all 27 countries of the European Union.

The goal of the day is to help make the Internet a better place for our children and young people.

Written by turbotodd

February 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

%d bloggers like this: