• Apps for Health and Wellness
    Apps for Health and Wellness
    Our handy smartphones improve our lives in so many ways, from providing a source of entertainment to keeping us conveniently connected with loved ones and driving us to be punctual for our myriad of appointments throughout the week. Armed with a few handy apps, your smartphone could even help you to improve your health, wellness and general state of mind. I went on a wellness field trip without leaving home to check out some of the many health and wellness apps on the market. Here are a few of my favorites. Happify promises to "increase your happiness with real, life-changing strategies confirmed by scientific research." By participating in daily activities customized for your personality, the app teaches you skills to overcome adversities and develop habits for becoming a happier you. The games you play are designed to help you combat innate negative feelings and help you feel better about your life. For example, one game asked me to think back on my day and write down three things that made me happy, then evaluate how the activity made me feel. Another had me popping balloons in the sky, so long as I chose the balloons with "positive" words on them. According to Happify, they see some nice results, too, with 86% of members improving their life satisfaction in just two months of use. Access to the abbreviated program is free, with the full program running about $13/month, which drops to $6/... Read More
  • Amazon Kindle Unlimited Can’t Beat the Public Library
    Amazon Kindle Unlimited Can’t Beat the Public Library

    As a reader of three or four novels a month, purchased primarily through my Kindle Fire, I am always looking to save money on book purchases. When I heard about Amazon Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99/month service allowing you to borrow all the books you wish in a month, keep them as long as you like, and then return them when you’re done, it sounded like a smokin’ hot deal. Is it worth the hype? Not really. Here’s what I found out. I’ll start with the good things about the program – or at least the parts that got me to […]

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  • Nerd News: Watch Out for Fake GoDaddy Email
    Nerd News: Watch Out for Fake GoDaddy Email

    GoDaddy customers, beware! There is a new phishing scam making the email rounds this month. Here is an example of what to look for: Subject: Status Alert: Your account contains more than [number] directories. Body: Your account contains more than [number] directories and may pose a potential performance risk to the server. Please reduce the number of directories for your account to prevent possible account deactivation. In order to prevent your account from being locked out we recommend that you create special tmp directory. Or use the link below: [innocuous-looking GoDaddy link which really points to a Russian domain] If […]

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  • Finding Tech Bargains
    Finding Tech Bargains

    As a self-professed Nerd and spouse of a gadget junkie, I can attest to one thing: technology is expensive. Now that many back-to-school lists include computers, mobile devices or parts to rehab an ailing family PC, the fall has become a good time to find tech bargains since stores compete to get your business. You can save a few bucks, if you know some “insider” tips. 1. Comparison shop. There are some great bargain consolidation sites that gather all the best deals from across the Internet and post them in one place. Even if you have your heart set on […]

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  • Three Free Programs Every Windows PC Should Have
    Three Free Programs Every Windows PC Should Have

    You probably already know how important it is to have virus and malware protection on any computer that gets on the Internet, but with so many options it can be difficult to know what you need, and it’s easy to overpay. Here are three free programs that every Windows PC should have installed to stay safe and run smoothly. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program that comes pre-installed on Windows 8 machines and is available for download here: It’s compatible with older versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Once you install the program, […]

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  • Hiding from Social Media
    Hiding from Social Media

    Social media can be great: funny posts from your best friend about her new job antics, keeping up with your nephews in Des Moines, and impromptu get togethers – “John just posted he’s at Starbucks. Let’s go meet up!” But what about when you’d rather NOT be found by your Facebook followers? Or when you want to cut ties with someone you’ve purged from your life but they’re still ingrained in your Facebook history? It turns out, there’s an app for that. Location-based social-media sites like Foursquare and Social Radar are designed to make it easier to connect with your […]

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  • New PC Must-Do Checklist
    New PC Must-Do Checklist

    Whether your reliable old PC was finally beaten down by the kids this summer, or you are springing for a new laptop for your back-to-schooler, ‘tis the season of new computers. Before you plug and play that new PC, take these steps to ensure your computer runs optimally from the beginning and to protect your investment for years to come. Step 1: Get rid of the junk programs. Anyone who has booted up a new, off-the-shelf Windows PC can attest to the deluge of junk programs that come pre-installed to the average Dell or HP machine. Widely known as “bloatware,” […]

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  • Back to School Tech
    Back to School Tech

    As a new school year rapidly approaches, parents everywhere are pondering, “What tech tools do my kids really need to succeed?” Here’s a rundown of the most helpful computer and gadget choices for every age of student. College Co-Ed: When it comes to outfitting your college-bound kiddo, it’s all about reliable mobility. The most useful tool for any college student is a lightweight laptop. While a smaller screen usually corresponds with a lighter device, you want to be sure that the keyboard and screen are large enough to accommodate the strain of spending long, sleepless nights typing out a thesis […]

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  • How to Get Better Tech Support
    How to Get Better Tech Support

    Despite my “Nerd Chick” credentials, I’ve had to call technical support many times in my life, and I can’t say that it’s always been a pleasant experience. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things that can make the experience less painful. The next time you need to make that call, here are some ways to assure it’ll go more smoothly. Computers, routers, printers and, frankly, most electronic devices, can get buggy after long periods of use without a break. It never hurts to do a full system shut down and restart to see if that fixes the problem before […]

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  • Introducing Amazon’s Fire Phone
    Introducing Amazon’s Fire Phone

    Amazon has joined the smartphone circus.  Their Fire smartphone is set to be released on July 25th, and they’re betting that it can offer enough intriguing perks to carve out a piece of the already-crowded smartphone market including top contenders from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.  Is this untested newbie worth giving a chance? Starting with the basics, it’s only offered through AT&T (a sizeable limitation) and will be available July 25th for $200 (for the 32GB model) and $300 (64GB) with an AT&T cell provider contract, or $650 and $750, respectively, off-contract.  Phone purchase comes with a year free […]

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