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‘best practices’ Archives

What We Talk about When We Talk about Bandwidth

What We Talk about When We Talk about Bandwidth

Cellular carriers' competing claims as to what constitutes 4G (fourth-generation) cellular data networks got me to thinking about how speed is only one part of the story about why allegedly faster networks are being built. I've been writing about Wi-Fi since 2000, and that informs my thinking, because Wi-Fi has matured to a point where raw [...]

Zappos lost $1.6 million over-night due to pricing mistake… and honors prices

Zappos lost $1.6 million over-night due to pricing mistake… and honors prices

The deal is obviously dead now, but kudos to Zappos for honoring their mistake. Hey everyone – As many of you may know (and I’m sure a lot of you do not), 6pm.com is our sister site. 6pm.com is where brandaholics go for their guilt free daily fix of the brands they crave. Every day, the site highlights discounts on products ranging up to 70% [...]

HOWTO: Spot a handgun, the beautiful information edition

HOWTO: Spot a handgun, the beautiful information edition

Back in 2007, Edward Tufte featured Megan Jaegerman's NYT graphic on spotting a hidden handgun (click through below for the whole thing). It's not only informative, it's also beautiful. The same page features many of Jaegerman's other NYT graphics, each a little work of information art. (more…)

Test your broadband speed… help the FCC keep ISPs honest

Test your broadband speed… help the FCC keep ISPs honest

The FCC launched a consumer broadband test on their blog broadband.gov yesterday. Internet speeds in the US are often 50% to 80% lower than advertised and its vital consumers have reliable information on the actual performance of their connections. One of the two tools the FCC is using is the Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT), an open source tool [...]

Get a Credit Card Through Credit Unions and Small Banks to Save

Get a Credit Card Through Credit Unions and Small Banks to Save

Earlier this week the credit industry was changed by new consumer protection laws. They're hardly taking the cut in profiteering laying down, however, and it's up to consumers to protect themselves from new money-grabbing tactics. (more…)

Boring + Boring = Pleasant?!

Boring + Boring = Pleasant?!

I've read that Aristotle taught his students while they walked around. It seemed to enhance learning and make the activity more enjoyable. The self-experimenter Seth Roberts has found that doing two boring things together, like walking on a treadmill and studying flash cards, results in a pleasant experience... Fact 1: For the last few weeks, [...]

Bunnie Huang uncovers the mystery of Kingston MicroSD cards’ crappy QA

Bunnie Huang uncovers the mystery of Kingston MicroSD cards’ crappy QA

When Bunnie Huang was in South China overseeing production on his versatile ChumbyOne device, he discovered a major quality issue with Kingston's MicroSD cards. At first, he assumed that he'd gotten a counterfeit batch, but further investigation proved them to be legit. Kingston wasn't willing to give Bunnie any details on its QA process, so [...]

America’s Biggest Rip-offs

America’s Biggest Rip-offs

Text messages - 6,500% markup Text messages are short, quick and cheap to transmit. So why are they adding so much to your wireless bill? The messages are such a tiny piece of data that they cost carriers only about one-third of a cent to deliver, according to computer scientist Srinivasan Keshav, who testified before U.S. senators on the [...]

Craig Cunningham Has a Simple Solution for Getting Bill Collectors Off His Back. He Sues Them.

Craig Cunningham Has a Simple Solution for Getting Bill Collectors Off His Back. He Sues Them.

Craig Cunningham has made $20,000 from 18 lawsuits he's filed against debt collectors for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In fact, it's something a part-time job/hobby for him. To ensnare his first FDCPA-violating collector, with voice recorder running, he called back the number they left on his answering machine, and [...]

Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

Often, when we meet other game developers and say that we use OpenGL for our game Overgrowth, we're met with stares of disbelief -- why would anyone use OpenGL? DirectX is the future. When we tell graphics card representatives that we use OpenGL, the temperature of the room drops by ten degrees. This baffles us. It's common geek wisdom that [...]

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

In Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, author Ellen Ruppel Shell asks, "What are we really buying when we insist on getting stuff as cheaply as possible?" Her answer: a low-quality food supply, a ruined economy, a polluted environment, low wages, a shoddy educational system, deserted town centers, ballooning personal debt, and the loss of [...]

Power Supply Calculator figures out what size PSU to buy

Power Supply Calculator figures out what size PSU to buy

When building your own desktop computer from scratch, how do you know what size power supply to get? The Newegg Power Supply Calculator figures it out for you with ease. Simply enter your CPU, motherboard, video card, and the rest of your components into the form, click the Calculate button, and you'll see an estimated wattage for the power [...]

Reverse-engineering SSNs from publicly available data

Reverse-engineering SSNs from publicly available data

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have figured out how to predict Social Security numbers from publicly accessible birth data with frightening accuracy. The researchers analyzed a public information source known as the "Death Master File," which includes birth data and SSNs for people who have died. The scientists found that in [...]

Remember: freecreditreport.com is a scam from the credit bureaus, the one they’re required, by law to offer you, for free is AnnualCreditReport.com

Remember: freecreditreport.com is a scam from the credit bureaus, the one they’re required, by law to offer you, for free is AnnualCreditReport.com

AnnualCreditReport.com is free, mandated by law to provide you with one report from each of the big three credit bureaus once every 12 months. Note that you don't get your FICO score (aka your I Love Debt score), just the reports. FreeCreditReport.com is a business, selling worthless credit monitoring and tossing a free credit report in the [...]

Possible NSFW tag in HTML 5

Possible NSFW tag in HTML 5

A "Not Safe for Work" Tag has been proposed for HTML 5: One of the most common descriptive notes people have to write using text when they post links or images to blogs, comments or anywhere in HTML is to say “this link is not safe for work” or simply “NSFW”. By adding the <NSFW> tag, this could be made much simpler and [...]

TOSBack Monitors Terms of Service Changes to Google, Facebook, and 42 Others

TOSBack Monitors Terms of Service Changes to Google, Facebook, and 42 Others

Facebook's new terms of service brought to light the serious privacy concerns that changes to user agreements can bring about. Web site TOSBack monitors 44 web sites, including YouTube, Facebook, and others, and informs you as changes are made. (more…)

HideText Buries Your Text in Images

HideText Buries Your Text in Images

Eventually we'll all be at the mercy of robotic overlords. For now, though, the kind that steal your email address and personal info aren't great readers. HideText.com throws them off by turning words into images. Why go to such effort to make your text suitable for human eyes only? The principle reason is to keep information away from [...]

NoScript: Security or Malware?

NoScript: Security or Malware?

Attention NoScript users · by Wladimir Palant Recently I wrote about how not giving extension developers a good way to earn money might lead to very undesirable effects. The recent events give an impression of the kind of effects we should expect here. This is going to be about the popular NoScript extension which happens to make its money from [...]

Six Tips For Doing More Security With Less

Six Tips For Doing More Security With Less

Cybercrime is on the rise as organizations face the tough realities of a poor economy putting the squeeze on their security spending. But don't panic -- some creative ways to defend your data on a tight budget do exist. The discrepancy between security priorities and the money to fund them is becoming painfully obvious. According to a recent [...]

The Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

The Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

Last week, someone shared with me an article from Cracked.com about 9 words that most people use when they want to sound really smart, but actually almost always use them incorrectly. Misusing words makes you look less intelligent than you really are. If you misuse words in your writing, it can damage your credibility and diminish the point [...]

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