Normally I try to provide thoughtful commentary in the Common Sense Tech column, with solutions to problems that I raise when I can find them. But indulge me in rant. Because, once again, I've had it with printers.
I hate printers. They never seem to work. I don't care the model. I don't care the operating system talking to them. I don't care if it's printing through wireless or USB. Printers don't work.
I print far less than I ever used to, but the odd occasion still comes up requiring it. Often it's that there's some form that requires an actual physical signature be written on it, because some bank, government agency, or other bureaucracy is still operating in the paper age.
With a sigh, I push print and hope that the form actually comes out of the printer. Sometimes it does, which leaves me in dread of the next step -- will I be able to scan it with my signature, in order to e-mail it back. Or worse, can I get the fax to work, if that's the only way to send it? Where's my phone cord again?… Read more
Readers keep asking me for an update. When's Verizon going to make its Samsung Galaxy S3 phones capable of global roaming, as I wrote about in an earlier column. Bad news: Verizon's still not saying when, though it promises the capability will still come.
Let's go back to what I was told by Verizon in June, from my column about using the Galaxy S3 to roam both within and outside the U.S.:
The Verizon model of the Galaxy S3 will be global ready for GSM roaming after a software update that will … Read more
I've written before that one of the hardest things about moving to the Mac from Windows was leaving behind the Windows-version of Outlook, in particular its calendar.
I greatly miss two key features: ample space for making notes related to an event and the multiweek view to see events split across two months. Alternatives for the Mac from Apple, Google, and even Microsoft's own Mac-version of Outlook fail to measure up. That's too bad.
Room for notes Let me start with the importance of allowing room for notes within events. When scheduling a meeting or an appointment, … Read more
I may write a CNET column called called "Common Sense Tech," but I can't say that I or any of those who were in line with me today for iPhone 5 are showing much common sense. But the iPhone, perhaps more than any other device, illustrates how important a feature that fashion can be, in addition to function, when it comes to tech purchases.
Note: I wrote this article before pre-ordering kicked in, and I got an entirely new story when I called AT&T today around 9:30 a.m. PT. I was told I could do an early upgrade on my iPhone 4S for an extra $250 fee on top of the two-year contract price, so that a base model 16GB version would be $450 total.
I was transferred from the initial customer service rep who told me this to an "upgrade specialist" after over an hour wait (so be forewarned, if you try today). At first, she … Read more
The biggest game changer from Amazon's Kindle Fire announcement yesterday wasn't the pricing, dual WiFi antennas or Dolby Digital Plus sound. Rather, it was that Amazon became the first major tablet maker to allow different people to have their own accounts on the same device.
Think how commonplace this is for traditional personal computers. Mac or Windows, both platforms allow multiple people to use the same machine, logging in with different accounts that are linked to their own settings, data, applications and perhaps even special restrictions. But for tablets, it's been the dark ages.
I've found … Read more
It's been just over two months since I shifted from Windows to the Mac. Overall, the transition has been pretty painless. Amazingly so. But there are some things I really miss, so I thought I'd describe my experience.
Before I go further, I'll repeat my constant refrain in this column. Whatever works for you, works for you. There is no wrong phone, computer, or device. If whatever you use does what you want, more power to you and your choice!
Perhaps more than anything else, I miss Outlook 2010 for Windows. Its counterpart, Outlook 2011 … Read more
I like buttons on my devices. Buttons you can press, buttons that click -- not "soft" buttons that only appear on screen.
There's a place for real buttons, and I hope they don't die off.
I don't know if there's an actual trend of physical buttons disappearing. I sure hope that's not the case. But I got to thinking about the benefits of "hard" buttons when I was using my Nexus 7 Android tablet recently. (Hang on, Android fanboys, I'll have some words for Apple about buttons, too.)
In … Read more
Store your data in the cloud and have it accessible to you from any computer, anywhere. That's the pitch we hear more and more from companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft. So how is it that all of these companies allow Outlook for Mac 2011 to remain absurdly earthbound?
I'm a long-time Outlook user on Windows, now working with Outlook full-time on the Mac. Even though Gmail is my email provider (the Google Apps version of it), I find Outlook a better way to interact with Gmail than using Gmail directly through the … Read more