Hardware Salvation: What Would You Do?
Published by Toronto Mike on April 1, 2014 @ 15:29 in Technology

Hardware Salvation: What Would You Do?When cleaning out my old office recently, I came across a dusty old desktop I hadn't used in some time. This week, I decided to set it up in my daughter's room.

The first thing I did was install all the updates to the operating system, Ubuntu 13.10. Then, I gave her a whirl. Everything is great, but once in a while, the screen will freeze in a trippy psychedelic state. That's no good...

I bought this desktop about six years ago for $250. I'd like it to put it back in service without graphic card crashes. Here's the specs:


If this was your hardware you wanted to breathe new life into, what would you do?

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Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Tablet in 2013
Published by Toronto Mike on December 30, 2013 @ 14:06 in Technology

Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Tablet in 2013While I'm knee-deep in Google Analytics for this site in 2013, I thought it would be interesting to see how people are visiting Toronto Mike these days.

This site is 11-years old, so there was a time when 100% of visitors came from a desktop / laptop. Today, that's definitely not the case.

Here are the stats for desktop, mobile and tablet visitors to this site in 2013:

  1. Desktop - 60.72%
  2. Mobile - 30.49%
  3. Tablet - 8.79%
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Top Browsers in 2013
Published by Toronto Mike on December 30, 2013 @ 13:37 in Technology

Top Browsers in 20132013 was the year of the Mac with a big change in the browser rankings.

Here are the browsers used by visitors to this site in 2013:

  1. Safari - 27.83%
  2. Chrome - 25.10%
  3. Internet Explorer - 18.08%
  4. Firefox - 13.14%
  5. Android Browser - 7.04%

There was a time when Internet Explorer absolutely dominated these rankings...

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All This Technology is Making Us Antisocial
Published by Toronto Mike on November 28, 2013 @ 10:01 in Technology


[via reddit]

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7 Tips for Online Shopping
Published by Toronto Mike on November 20, 2013 @ 20:41 in Technology

7 Tips for Online ShoppingI never buy anything unless I really, really need it. Most recently that's meant biking gloves and a rake. But my wife was recently in need of maternity pants, and hit the web in search of a deal.

Here are her 7 tips for online shopping, which originally appeared on her wonderful new blog.

  1. Make sure you’re on a legit site. This is an obvious one. If you’ve never heard of that company before, do some looking around first. Also, keep in mind that some vendors have different US and Canadian sites. This could change some of the inventory and shipping costs.
  2. Find out the shipping options and costs. If the vendor is local, you might even be able to pick it up yourself to save on shipping costs. Also, consider the shipping couriers they use, e.g., Canada Post, UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. If duty and handling charges are involved, these prices may vary depending on the courier.
  3. Find out the exchange/return policy and costs. There are some sites that offer free exchanges and returns, i.e., you don’t have to pay for shipping costs. There are also some that allow these transactions at stores so you don’t have to go through mail. Just make sure you don’t get stuck paying to return something. Most of the time, the initial shipping costs aren’t refundable so why would want to pay twice?
  4. Look for coupon/promo codes. RetailMeNot is a good site to check. Retailers also use social media to push promo codes, so check their Twitter feeds or Facebook pages.
  5. For clothing or shoes, try it on in a store first before purchasing online if possible. If you can’t, look for reviews. They will tell you if things fit small/large, the quality of the item, etc.
  6. Pay with a PayPal account. It’s free and it offers a good purchase protection for buyers.
  7. Check your payment account regularly, e.g. credit card statements or PayPal. Thankfully, my account has not been compromised with all the online shopping I’ve done, but it’s always good to check. Also, it’s good to verify the purchase charges.

Happy and safe shopping!

Comments 14 comments
Winamp, it really whips the llama's ass! (But no longer)
Published by Toronto Mike on November 20, 2013 @ 17:20 in Technology

Winamp, it really whips the llama's ass! (But no longer)After 15 years, Winamp is shutting down. I actually wrote the obituary for Winamp back in 2004 when it was widely beleived AOL was abandoning the player, but it seems I was 9-years early.

Winamp was my preferred player for MP3 files for years because it was so light on its feet. Before the bloat set in, there was nothing faster. I miss the old Winamp.

If you're running Windows, you can still download the old bloat-free versions of Winamp here.

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Feedly Wins My Google Reader Heart
Published by Toronto Mike on June 12, 2013 @ 10:20 in Technology

Feedly Wins My Google Reader HeartBack in March, Google announced they were shutting down Google Reader on June 30. I'd call myself a power user of Google Reader, so I started looking at alternatives.

I'm pleased to announce that Feedly has won the battle to replace Google Reader. In fact, in some ways, Feedly is actually better than Google Reader. I'm using it in the browser as well as the Android app.


And, if you want Feedly to look and bahave just like Google Reader, there's a Chrome extension called GGReader that will turn Feedly into a Google Reader clone.

But Feedly on its own is just fine. Which Google Reader alternative are you going with?

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Unable to Log in to Google Analytics and Adwords? Disable Adblock
Published by Toronto Mike on May 25, 2013 @ 18:07 in Technology

Unable to Log In To Google Analytics and Adwords? Disable AdblockI was having issues logging into Google Analytics and Google Adwords this week.

This is what I saw when I logged into Google Adwords.


This is what I saw when I logged into Google Analytics.


I logged out and back in, I restarted, I tried different machines with different operating systems and cleared my cache and deleted all my cookies. None of that worked.

Finally, I disabled AdBlock, a Chrome extension I use to hide ads. Voila! AdBlock was the culprit.

This is something I only started noticing this week. I believe it's part of Google's war against ad blockers, which I'll bet costs Google millions and millions of dollars every year.

If you're having the same trouble logging into Adwords or Analytics, now you know what to do.

Comments 4 comments
My First Gmail
Published by Toronto Mike on May 8, 2013 @ 09:50 in Technology

My First GmailIf you're a Gmail user and you visit this page, you'll get an error message and Gmail will redirect to a page that shows the oldest messages from your account. This is the oldest message from my account:


Gmail was launched on April Fool's Day of 2004 and that first email I sent from Gmail is dated June 12, 2004. That means I didn't get my invitation for over two months.

I'm willing to bet one of you was using Gmail before me. Does anyone have an earlier start date with Gmail?

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The Problem With Texting
Published by Toronto Mike on March 20, 2013 @ 15:08 in Technology

The Problem With TextingMy brother likes to text. I'm far more likely to get a text from him than an email or instant message, and there's no fear of getting a tweet or Facebook message from him, as he outright rejects social media. He texts me.

I'm not a big fan of texting. I use several devices throughout the day, including a PC, laptop, tablet and smart phone, and an email or Google Chat gets to all of them immediately. A text only goes to one of them.

So email me or Gchat me if you need something. Got that, broseph?

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