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Getting Smart About Smoke Detectors

When is the last time you thought about your home’s smoke detectors? I typically change the batteries in our home’s smoke detectors around this time every year, usually on the same weekend when we “spring” our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time. Last March we lost my dad and all of my normal routines fell away for quite a long time, and so it came as no surprise a week ago when I discovered that my smoke detectors were a year past due for having their batteries replaced.

Like me, a lot of people lose track of their normal routines and some are unfortunate enough to experience a fire in their homes.  According to the National Fire Protection Agency: “In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.”

Keeping the batteries in your smoke detectors up to date cannot be stressed enough, but there’s one additional detail about these devices that I only Continue reading

Be Careful Using LED Replacement Lights in Enclosed Fixtures

1960s-era lightbulb enclosure

I’ve recently been helping my parents embrace the joy of replacing their beloved incandescent bulbs with LED equivalents. My biggest ally in this campaign has been the summer weather, as highs in the Southeastern United States have been consistently pushing above 90ºF (32ºC) for the past two months and show no signs of letting up any time soon. In an older, less well-insulated home it’s important to use every trick available to keep room temperatures low, and LEDs run so much cooler than incandescent lights that you can actually reach out and Continue reading

Google Asks “What Do You Love?”

A few days ago I wandered over to Google+ to see who in the heck was still posting there, when to my great surprise I encountered a shiny new Google tool (which has apparently been around since this past July). It’s called “What Do You Love” and it has its very own domain (www.wdyl.com). This special new website asks you to tell it what you “love” and in return it fetches everything that it can find about Continue reading

Sharing Photo Albums on Facebook

Sharing Albums on Facebook

I’ve recently uploaded several albums to Facebook of fantastic weekend adventures with my supermodel bikini girlfriends and tonight I noticed a phenomenon that’s new to me… some of the girls have gone through and tagged dozens of photos with the names of people who aren’t in the photographs!! This puzzled me so much I got up and finished off the bottle of champagne from the Lear jet. While I was polishing off the caviar I suddenly realized that the reason my friends were tagging people who weren’t with us in Paris was because this was the only way they could figure out how to share the photo album with people they thought might like to see the albums! If only they’d checked with me first I could have shown them this very simple trick! Continue reading

Make Facebook’s NEW Status Updates Group Your Default

News Feed is Confusing

Let’s face it, Facebook, you have managed to make me look like a fool twice this week and while that’s not terribly difficult to do, I’m getting tired of it. This time around I find out that you fulfilled my wish for a way to view status updates only. No application updates, no notes, no videos, no links to helpful articles like this one, just plain old status updates. So where did you put this fantastic new Feed View? Why, down at the bottom of my list of Feed Views. While this is probably not a big deal for most of your users, it’s a really big deal for me because I subdivide all of my users into different categories to help me wade through them a bit better. So, let’s see what we have to in order to see Continue reading

Fix Your Broken Facebook Feed

Fixing Your Live Feed

Jeepers, people. Has Facebook gone wanky (again) or what? Don’t worry though, it’s okay, I have a fix so that your Live Feed works nearly like it did before the weekend of the Great Facebook Flop of Late 2009…… but before I get to the fix let me first mention that I found these instructions on Continue reading

Facebook’s NEW News Feed

Facebook Changes News Feed

(note: be sure to read my newest post about Facebook’s undocumented transition)
I got tired of not understanding the NEW version of Facebook’s News Feed and went all the way over to their help section (tiring, this) looking for answers. Why they didn’t send the explanation out to its users baffles me (I’ve re-posted their answer Continue reading

Where Is Dragon*Con?

I understand that my pals The Cardboard Troopers had a wild time this past weekend. They arrived in Atlanta for the 2009 edition of Dragon*Con, but they couldn’t actually seem to find a trace of the convention and the hotel people kept looking at them funny. I sure hope that they come back for the 10:00am parade on Saturday, they always seem to enjoy that.

Which reminds me that last month the Fall issue of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine hit the stands and I was simultaneously delighted (97%) and mortified (3%) to read the article about me that staff writer Van Jensen composed after we met prior to my surgery this summer. Entitled “How Did That NERD on the Left Become That PIRATE on the Right?“, the article does a really nice job of catching people up with the kid who won the Batman contest back in the 80s… and the second page features a certain cardboard trooper standing in front of a line of “real” troopers at Dragon*Con.