Articles written by Robert Delaurentis

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  • Windows resets, text chats, and disk space apps

    Robert Delaurentis, Senior Wire|Jun 1, 2021

    Q. A pro tech friend tells me that reset is no longer needed because of the way Microsoft does updates. Why do you feel it’s beneficial, given the downsides? A. If there is one universal truth in technology, it is the idea that people often disagree. I prefer to believe that this is a feature, not a bug. Compared to the centuries that people have been building tools, personal technology tools are very young. Tech changes faster than just about any other aspect of our lives. As a result, different people will have very different experiences. T...

  • Clubhouse, new printers, battery cases

    Robert Delaurentis, Senior Wire|Apr 1, 2021

    Q. What is Clubhouse? A. Clubhouse is a new social network that connects people in audio chat rooms. It has become quite popular in the last couple of months and is by invitation only. If it continues to accelerate, it will only be a matter of time before someone invites you to join. But my advice is to tread cautiously. The Clubhouse app does a few things that old-time internet folks such as myself find distasteful. When you first sign on you are asked for permission to access your contact list. Say no and you are stopped cold. Say yes and Clu...

  • Chromecast, modern DVD apps, and iPhone status

    Robert DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Mar 1, 2021

    Q. What is the best way to dip my toes into the world of streaming TV? A. Many TVs have built-in streaming support for one or two services. If you have a TV like that, I would start there. However, if you want to explore the endless buffet menu of online streaming services, I recommend a Chromecast with Google TV. There are several different Chromecast digital media players, but the only one worth considering is the newest model. It sells for about $50 and comes with a remote control. What sets the Chromecast apart from its competitors is the...

  • Apple shakeup, smart speakers, wireless chargers

    Robert DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Jan 1, 2021

    Q. Why should Windows users care about Apple’s new M1 computers? A. When Apple revealed the first iPhone in 2007, there were people who thought the demo must have been fake. Engineers with knowledge of how cell phones work simply could not accept the idea that any company, let alone a company that had never built a cellphone before, could pack so much power into such a tiny device. We all know what happened next. Within a decade Nokia and Blackberry all but disappeared, replaced by iPhone and Android. History is likely to repeat itself in t...

  • Apple Watch SE, rechargeable AA batteries, VPNs

    Robert DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Nov 1, 2020

    Q. What is the one tech gadget you would miss the most if it were suddenly gone? A. Of all the gadgets I own, the one I use most often in my daily life is the Apple Watch. Here are the highlights: I use the watch to play music and podcasts. At most stores I pay without touching anything by waving my wrist above the card reader. The watch maps my daily walks and measures the distance I travel. When walking, I use the compass and altimeter to get a sense of the landscape. If the watch detected that I suddenly fell and was unable to respond, it...