Recent Comments


Comment by Paul on Here's How to Measure Your Internet Speed (October 19, 2019 05:08 AM)
Also it's best to check your internet speed through a wired (to the router) connection rather than a wireless connection if you can for the most accur...
Comment by Patrick Siler on Here's How: Strengthen Your Google Fu (October 18, 2019 10:38 PM)
Google has a free online class that goes into a lot a detail on how to use their search. You can find it by (of course) googling "Google search class"...
Comment by Doug Belfiore on Bob Explains: How Does The Internet Work? (October 18, 2019 05:06 PM)
Bob, thanks for sending all of those informative packets from your IP address to mine!...
Comment by bb on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 18, 2019 04:25 PM)
Bill: Bob Rankin has no control over the advertising that appears on his page. He sells space on his pages to an advertising agency who puts their ad...
Comment by Bill on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 18, 2019 01:02 PM)
why did the "Top best Free Antivirus 2019" window in your latest Geekly update trigger an Infection Blocked notice ? ...
Comment by AlanRC on How to Become Dangerous (and more productive) (October 17, 2019 11:24 PM)
I agree with a couple of previous posts that the first things you install on a new computer are a better browser (I use Google Chrome) and an antiviru...
Comment by Bill C on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 17, 2019 10:18 PM)
Funny comment about deep fake videos and CNN, BUT, I have seen several deep fake videos and they are going to cause real trouble for the world.........
Comment by Frank on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 17, 2019 11:52 AM)
I just put in the win 10 update and see they added the super useful feature of Blurring the picture on the screen when you enter your password at boot...
Comment by Jay R on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 17, 2019 12:54 AM)
I have little trouble identifying deep fake videos. I just check the channel. If it is CNN or that ilk, then I am sure that is exactly what I am looki...
Comment by Butch on Geekly Update - 16 October 2019 (October 16, 2019 10:16 PM)
It seems that the late Isaac Asimov realized the AI/robot mess a long time ago. So why haven't some of these real smart folks followed in his footstep...

Cool-Stuff Articles

 

[CES] The Best Gadgets Coming in 2019

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), like all others, gave us a “forward-looking” peek at products that may be available later this year. CES is more of a trend show than a trade show. This year’s trends include “smart,” “5G,” and “artificial intelligence.” Of course, there are also marvelously silly products that probably will never reach consumers. Check out walking cars, talking toilets, cat face recognition, and more. Here is a roundup of the CES 2019 highlights...

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[FREE] Websites Without Hosting

I am still stunned by the free gift that Nicholas Jitkoff has given to all Internet users! Appropriately released on the USA’s Independence Day, July 4, it’s a way to create websites that exist independent from any hosting service. The uses of Jitkoff’s gift, named “itty.bitty,” are many, and so are their implications for the privacy and freedom of all Internet users. Here is how it works, and some examples of what it can mean for you…

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Should Robots Have To Identify Themselves?

If you call a fine restaurant, talk to a maitre d’, reserve a table, and later find out “he” was a souped-up version of Siri, does it really matter? You got your reservation, and probably got it more efficiently than if you had talked to a human being. Well, to some people this scenario is the stuff of nightmares. Should humans get full disclosure when they're talking to a software robot with the ability to carry on intelligent conversation? Read on...

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[IFTTT] Here's Your Personal Virtual Robot

Life’s simple pleasures are the best. Simple tools give great satisfaction; the thud of a hammer, the growl of a handsaw, and the elegant execution of an IFTTT applet. Read on to learn how IFTTT can make your life a little easier by automating certain tasks...

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It's Going Viral! - Internet Classics

Ever since the Web went graphical in the early 1990's, there have been people motivated to create websites that exist only to be amusing, annoying or completely useless. And like a car wreck, we just can't keep ourselves from looking at these things... and telling all our friends. Consider these Internet Classics required viewing...

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[WOW] Millions of Free Ebooks

Since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs, libraries have offered access to the printed wisdom and folly of humanity, but only to “authorized personnel” in the beginning. Most people had to travel and pay for books, and that was hard on budgets. But now the Internet makes available more good books, old and new, than one person can read in a lifetime. Here are a few examples of where you can find quality reads free of charge...

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ASCII Art - An Enduring Internet Treasure

Long before the graphical Web, people were creating computer images that required no special hardware or software to view. ASCII art is composed only of plain text characters, and can be sent by e-mail without attachments. Take a stroll into Internet history, enjoy some ASCII art, and learn how to make your own...

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Something NEW is Coming Soon...

Today's issue is a bit different. I have an announcement about something new, and some tips to help you get more out of the AskBobRankin website. I think you'll really enjoy learning about both of them. Read on...

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What is Tesla Powerwall?

Elon Musk thinks you’ll get a charge out of his latest product: the Tesla Powerwall, a wall-mounted battery that stores up to 10 kiloWatt-hours of electricity. Musk calls it “the missing piece” in the puzzle of how to wean ourselves off dependency on fossil fuels and power grids. Here's what you need to know...

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IFTTT: Your Personal Virtual Robot

Life’s simple pleasures are the best. Simple tools give great satisfaction; the thud of a hammer, the growl of a handsaw, and the elegant execution of an IFTTT recipe. Read on to learn how IFTTT can make your online life immensely easier...

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Free Satellite TV on PC?

I saw a website advertising software that's supposed to give you free satelite TV on your PC. The program costs $40, but they claim it lets you watch hundreds of live worldwide channels free of charge. Sounds too good to be true... is this a scam?

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Do You Have a Gravatar?

A gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) is an image that appears alongside your name when you post on blogs and forums. If you're an active participant in online discussions, get a gravatar and get globally recognized! Here's how...

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Free Apps for iPhone and iPod Touch

I just got an iPhone and the number of free apps in the App Store is a bit overwhelming. I also find it hard to navigate through the apps. Can you recommend ten must-have free apps for iPhone?

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Internet Collapse

I've gotten some forwarded emails claiming that the Internet is doomed to collapse very soon, unless some big changes are made to the infrastructure. Is it true… is the Internet going to go poof and vanish in a cloud of greasy black smoke?

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Mechanical Turk

Can you explain what Mechanical Turk is all about? A friend of mine uses it to make money by doing small jobs, but I've heard some people say it's more like slave labor. What's the deal with Mechanical Turk?

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Ebay Tips for Buyers

I've tried several times to buy items on eBay, but the bidding options are confusing to me, and I always get outbid at the last minute. Can you give me some tips on saving money and winning eBay auctions?

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Internet Knowledge Quiz

How much do you know about the Internet, cyber-culture, the heroes and the villians of the online world? Find out by taking the Useless Internet Knowledge Quiz!

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Jott - Note to Self

Jott is a cool new service that will convert your voice into email or a text message. Just call a toll-free number from your cell phone, and leave a voice message. Jott will translate your spoken words into text, and then forward the text to an email address or send a text message to a cell phone.

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Downloading Ringtones

The ringtone craze started in Finland back in 1998 with a monophonic commercial ringtone service called Harmonium. The popularity of ringtones quickly spread throughout Europe and then into Asia. The U.S. was late to catch hold of this craze, however, today the U.S. is one of the fastest growing ringtone consumer markets in the world. Here's how to download or create your own ringtone...

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Are You a Slacker?

I just got a press release, pitching a product that's supposed to help managers identify employees who are wasting time online during work hours. The pitch says this: Contrary to popular belief, employees whom management considers the top employees are indeed many times the ones who waste the most time on their computers and online. My immediate thought was that they're looking at this COMPLETELY backwards...

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Specialized Searches

Everyone knows that you can throw a word or phrase at Google and it will return web pages that match. But Google is more than a search engine... it's a verb. Here are some very cool specialized Google searches that will save you time and make you wonder what Google doesn't know...

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What is Web 2.0?

I keep seeing articles that mention something called Web 2.0, but they never give a good definition. What is Web 2.0? How is it different than the one Al Gore invented, and when is Web 3.0 coming?

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What is Second Life?

Some of my friends are really into Second Life, they say it's the future of the Internet. Looks like Sim City on drugs to me... What is the big deal with Second Life -- who is playing and why?

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What is Broadband?

I see commercials on TV telling me to switch to broadband, but I'm not sure what that means. They talk about DSL lines, cable access, satellites and megabits, which further confuses me. I've had dialup access through AOL for years and I'm pretty happy with the service. What is broadband, and do I need it?

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AOL for Free?

I read somewhere that AOL is going to stop charging for their Internet service and make AOL access free. Is that true, and if so, are there any gotchas I should now about?

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Photo Printing and Sharing

To say that digital cameras have revolutionized photography would be an understatement. It's not just the way we take pictures that has changed, but photo printing, photo storage and photo sharing have all gone digital as well. Free digital photo printing, storage and sharing have become some of the most popular online activities, and a crop of websites have been developed to make all these digital photography tasks a snap. Let's put the lens on some of the best photo printing, photo storage and photo sharing sites...

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Google SMS

You've got a burning question... but you're stuck somewhere with no internet connection. News Flash... Google SMS lets you search the web from your mobile phone! Google SMS serves up answers to specialized queries, and it's as simple as sending a text message. Even if you DON'T have web access on your cell phone or mobile device, you can send your query as a text message and get phone book listings, dictionary definitions, stock quotes, sports scores, product prices, driving directions and more...

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Bad Stuff

The Web is just brimming with best of sites. But what about the bad, the ugly and the truly awful? In the spirit of admiring the atrocious, displaying the deplorable, and highlighting the heinous, let me present you with some Really Bad Stuff. Nothing dirty or illegal of course, but stuff so bad it'll make you laugh. Read on...

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Directory Information Overload?

Sure, there are lots of online yellow pages websites. But all too often, I find it frustrating to get the phone number or address for a business or public facility. Point, click, search, wade through multiple pages of search results, drill down into confusing category headings, and MAYBE you can find that phone number. Here's good news... it just got easier to do what should be a simple task.

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Computer Humor

Every day I get the same lame jokes in my email that have been making the rounds for years. Are there some websites you can recommend for really good computer humor?

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Web Moments That Changed the World

The folks at the Webby Awards are celebrating their 10th anniversary by compiling a list of 10 Web Moments That Changed the World. Some of them I agree are significant, others are ho-hum. And certainly there are some biggies missing from the list. Tell me what you think!

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Worst of the Web

Too much time on your hands? Then you'll be pleased to learn that there are still plenty of websites that have ABSOLUTELY NO REDEEMING VALUE. My scholarly research into the best of the utterly useless in the online world is now yours for the taking.

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A Dark and Stormy Night

I was just thinking back to the wonderful 'Bad Literature' parody that Saturday Night Live created years ago. Is there something like that in the online world?

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Who was the first Internet celebrity?

Long before the Numa Numa guy and the Star Wars Kid became the stuff of legend, the Internet was making unwitting celebrities of ordinary people. Let's meet four people who got a lot more than their 15 minutes of fame, and experienced the power of the Internet to change a life forever. You never know... the next cyber celebrity may be YOU. Read on!

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