Don't go nuts trying to figure out why Microsoft ruined Windows; not even Microsoft knows that.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Cable TV costs and other stuff

March 31, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

A quick run through a few lingering topics:

CHEAP CABLE TV. The "Basic" cable TV plan your cable provider offers probably seems like the least expensive way to get cable TV. But it might not be. Assuming that "basic" means "cheapest" is the problem. It might mean "low-cost, but not cheapest."

I'm not criticizing the naming habits of cable companies. After all, lumber yards still call shrunken boards "2 X 4s." I am, however, urging you to skip the advertised "package" rates and ask for the very cheapest rates. "Basic" in our area costs twice what we're paying. (Our cost is $10 a month.) And, oddly enough, our "plan" doesn't have a name. It's just the cheapest rate, and we get HDTV channels and more. Without the need for a cable box, too.

WINDOWS HATE. If you have a new PC and it came with Windows 8, don't go nuts trying to figure out why Microsoft ruined Windows; not even Microsoft knows that. Just be glad that there's a much better and more normal version hidden in that PC. I tell you how to switch off the Tinkertoy part of Windows 8 in this article: www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec011313.html.

SPEAKING OF ARTICLES: Every now and then I hear from someone who clipped out an article and wants me to email them a past column. Relax, column clippers. You can browse through all my columns -- from 1983 to now -- at my website, the longest running online consumer tech resource in the world. (Yup. I could learn to be a little more humble, though.) Go here: www.technofileonline.com. Current columns are also on the Syracuse.com site, too.

EYE-EYE, CAPTAIN. If you or your aging relatives have a small Android tablet, check the setup (under "Display") to see if you can make the font size bigger. No, you can't do that on an iPad -- what's Apple's problem, guys? -- but you can do it on Android. At least on the ones I have.

MOUSE DROPPINGS. I keep meeting people who have laptops but hate trackpads. It's no big thing to plug in a mouse. Any mouse will do. A desk or table helps, too.

FLASHERS. Every modern camera is sensitive enough to take pictures in low light. Yet I see people taking flash pictures both indoors and out. Flash ruins most photos. You get a deer-in-the-headlights look. Turn off the flash.

POWERLESS. The bad guys who send spybots into your PCs hate it when you cut off the power to your desktop computer. Their little drone apps can't phone home when your computer can't be turned on remotely. So always use a switched power strip between your desktop computer and the wall plug. Turn the power strip off any time you're not using the computer.

UNFRIENDLY. I'm annoyed by all the requests I get to be a "friend" of someone I'm already a real friend of, or, much worse, to be a "friend" of someone I'm not a friend of and don't even know. I'm also asked if I want to "link" with someone I don't know either. I love everyone. I do! But give me a little space.