Apr 25 2016

Fixing a Jumpy Trackpad

You know what’s annoying? Computers. Specifically when something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Like, say, your pointing device. Want to know how to fix a jumpy trackpad on your Macbook?

As they say in The Pajama Game, we figured it out… with some help from The Google.

Macbook Trackpad from Wikipedia

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17″ Trackpad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So your trackpad is just kind of… doing stuff. Without you touching it. That’s really annoying. You’re watching a YouTube video and then suddenly iTunes opens and starts playing, say, the soundtrack to The Pajama Game.

(Hey, it’s in our heads now. “Seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a heck of a lot, seven and a half cents, doesn’t mean a thing…” Great song. Also remarkably relevant today — heard about the Verizon strike? Yeah, it’s about more than seven and a half cents, but inflation and stuff. And OK, it’s not a pajama factory. But there were no cell phones in 1954! OK, back to the point… no pun intended.)

To resume after that parenthetical, your trackpad/touchpad, whatever you want to call it, is making it seem like your computer is possessed by a poltergeist. A ghost in the machine, if you will. (Will not… get… sidetracked… again… no pun intended… we mean it…) What do you do? Thanks to someone on Apple Support Forums, we found this possible solution:

Press down on the left side of your trackpad kind of forcefully, and try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook. Apparently it can get kind of stuck on the left side and needs to be unjammed essentially.

You know what? For us, this worked. No more jumpy trackpad. I should point out that in my case, I pressed down on the left side of the trackpad more forcefully than usual but not so forcefully that I would break it. So be careful. While still holding it down on the left side, I then repeated the action on right side. Reading the suggestion quoted above, I’m not 100% sure what “try to push your trackpad (the actual component of your computer) to the RIGHT side of the macbook” means. Although now that I’m re-typing the words I suddenly do… maybe.

Whatever you do, be careful not to press too hard, because computers are kind of delicate, at least on the inside (and sometimes on the outside). And as always, caveat doer. That means (a) be careful and (b) if anything goes wrong, it’s not our fault. We’re just (a) repeating what someone wrote on a forum and (b) telling you what worked for us. That’s a disclaimer. Get it? Got it? Good.

Happy computing!

Source: Trackpad is jumpy | Apple Support Communities


Jan 19 2016

Teach Your Children About Proper Passwords (Tips)

This article from ZDNet about the worst passwords of 2015 reminds me to remind you that it’s important to teach your children about proper passwords.

What is a proper password? Pretty much anything not on ZDNet’s list.

PCs All-in-One For Dummies

No, we’re not calling you a dummy. But computer security is important, and it’s never too early to start talking to your children about it. Well, maybe toddler age is too young. But as soon as they have any sort of online account, they need to understand that importance of strong passwords.

(Aside to parents of younger children: don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school with an account on a website you’ve never heard of. Nothing nefarious. But a lot of educators are using online resources these days, and many of these sites require a login, and therefore… a password.)

Not sure what we mean by bad passwords? Here are a few examples.

Good stuff like 123456. Or the still popular password.

Apparently, Star Wars themed passwords became popular last year, because of that movie you probably heard a thing or two about. (Something about a force waking up? You know the one I mean.)

Anyway, bottom line, and our DaddyTip for today is to teach your children to use good passwords. For examples of bad passwords, hit the link below.

Many of the new entries are dictionary-based words, but many of the passwords from the year prior are increasing in popularity.

Source: These were the worst passwords of 2015, and they’re only getting worse | ZDNet


Jul 20 2015

Tip: Update Windows Now

From ZDNet, a tip: update Windows now.

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista...

Upgrade paths from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Dotted lines indicate that a “clean install” is required; otherwise, an in-place upgrade is possible. Black lines indicate upgrade paths between Vista versions. Windows XP Professional x64 and Windows 2000 both require clean installs for every Vista edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously. I don’t use Windows anymore (see the image above), but apparently this is one of those really bad things that has the potential to screw up your computer.

The flaw, which also affects Windows 10, allows a hacker to take over a machine.

Does that sound fun to you? It’s doesn’t to me. “All versions,” according to ZDNet, means “Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1” and based on the quote above, Windows 10.

I haven’t used Windows regularly since XP Pro. That was a fine OS. It helped that I bought a Thinkpad, one of the last models made by IBM before they sold that part of their business to Lenovo, and the computer came with very little pre-installed crapware. Crapware, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is stupid software that comes installed on many Windows computers. Usually all the stuff does is cause your OS to slow to a crawl and make you want to throw your computer out the window. (No pun intended.) I have spent… let’s see… carry the 1… a boat-load of hours uninstalling crapware from the PCs of friends and family.

Anyway, this isn’t a crapware problem, at least not as far as I can tell. Assuming Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 still work somewhat similarly to Windows XP, updating your OS should be fairly easy. As Nike used to say, just do it.

Source: Microsoft releases emergency patch for all versions of Windows | ZDNet


Apr 26 2015

Stop iTunes Song Pop-up

Starting with some version of Apple‘s iTunes software, the song title will pop-up over whatever you are doing. If you’re like me and can be distracted by, well, everything, this is annoying.

This is one of those features that was never necessary, or at least shouldn’t be turned on by default.

Luckily there is a simple way to turn it off. From Apple’s Support website:

Click iTunes -> preferences -> General -> Under “Notifications”, uncheck “when song changes”
What a relief!

Here’s some screenshots for ya:

BEFORE (GRRRR):

iTunes When Song Changes - checked

AFTER (YAYYYY!):

 

iTunes When Song Changes - unchecked

Thank you carpetfiber101 for the tip.

new song pop up window in iTunes | Apple Support Communities.


May 11 2014

Smaller Raspberry Pi Has Us All Excited About Kids And Computers Again

I’ve said before that the tiny little computer called Raspberry Pi could create a generation of tinkerers. Now there’s an even SMALLER version of the Raspberry Pi.

(Note: this photo below is of the original Raspberry Pi, not the new one. But isn’t it cool looking?)

Lovely single-board computer running Linux and...

Lovely single-board computer running Linux and capable of HD video with a price-point making it very disruptive. Seen here at TransferSummit 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So how small is the new Raspberry Pi? It fits in a DIMM slot. In other words, it’s the size of a stick of RAM. Which is very much not big. It’s quite small. Read more »


Aug 14 2013

This Is Why You Have Passwords

I object to the use of the term “hacker” in this story. I prefer “schmuck.” That said, I suppose it’s not unfair for CNN to call the schmuck who… OK, fine. Someone HACKED into a baby monitor and said nasty things to a little kid. This is why you have to password protect everything.

I don’t want to be unkind to the parents involved; the above image is meant to be a little joke. According to the CNN story, the family whose monitor was hacked (I wish I could think of a better term) did have passwords turned on. I don’t know what that means. Is it possible that the alleged schmuck/hacker was so desperate to insult this little kid that he (I believe the CNN story said it was a he) worked extra hard to crack the codes and deliver his foul-mouthed message?

Perhaps there is more to this tale than meets the eye. Or not. Either way, have good passwords.

Foul-mouthed hacker hijacks baby’s monitor – CNN.com.


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May 29 2013

48 Hour Computer Deals From Tiger Direct (DaddyDeals)

TigerDirect always has cheap prices on computer stuff. This particular pile of computer components is only on sale for 48 hours. Here’s the link to the DaddyDeal:

48-HOUR COMPONENTS CLEARANCE! (TigerDirect)

There’s a lot to choose from, including (as of this writing) a refurbished 27 inch LCD monitor for under 200 bucks. So go forth and shop! ‘Tis a wise human who saveth money on purchases.