How to: create a full system backup in Windows 10.

It’s an oldie but goodie: Creating a system image of your Windows 10 PC in case your hard drive goes belly up and you need to recover your files, settings and apps.

BY Matt Elliott of CNet

It’s been around since Windows 7 ($22.95 at Amazon.com), and Microsoft hasn’t touched it since. You won’t find it in the Settings app where you likely first turn when you need to perform a bit of system maintenance on your PC. Instead, it’s hiding out in the the old Windows Control Panel. What it is is the ability to create a full system backup, which you can use to restore your PC should it fail, become corrupted or otherwise stop operating smoothly.

Because the tool to create a system image is somewhat buried in Windows 10 ($149.00 at Amazon.com), let’s shine a light on where it’s located and how to use it.

Steps to create a backup system image

1. Open the Control Panel (easiest way is to search for it or ask Cortana).
2. Click System and Security
3. Click Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

4. Click Create a system image in the left panel
5. You have options for where you want to save the backup image: external hard drive or DVDs. I suggest the former, even if your computer has a DVD-RW drive, so connect your external drive to your PC, select On a hard disk and click Next.

 

 

6. Click the Start backup button.

 

After the system image is created, you’ll be asked if you want to create a system repair disc. This puts your image on a CD or DVD, which you can use to access the system image you created if your PC won’t boot. Don’t worry if your laptop doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive; you can skip this step and boot the system from the system image on your external hard drive.


How do you back up your computer(s)? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: Master Microsoft Word

 

 

By Thorin Klosowski of Lifehacker

Microsoft Word is easily the biggest, most popular word processing program available, but it does a lot more than just edit text and TPS reports. If you’ve been telling yourself that you’ll finally learn Word’s ins and outs, now’s the time to actually learn how to edit styles, add a table of contents, and more.

Get Up and Running with Word Quickly

 

Of all of the Microsoft Office programs, Microsoft Word is probably the simplest from a user interface perspective. If you’ve ever used a word processing program in your life, you’ll recognize the menus for opening and creating files in the top left corner. The larger menu that runs across the top of the document Microsoft refers to as the “ribbon.” The ribbon has all the formatting tools you’ll need, as well as a few contextual commands that change depending on which tab you’re on.

For this series, we’ll assume you know the basics, but if you want a refresher, Microsoft’s quick start guide for Word gets you through the basics.

How to Do the Most Common, Essential Tasks in Microsoft Word

Of course, everyone’s needs are a little different, but considering most people use Office in an office setting, we’re willing to bet you’ll need to do things like edit styles, compare two documents, prepare a table of contents, and more.Let’s go ahead and cover some of those common tasks.

How to Apply and Edit Styles

A style in Word is a preset formatting for your document. This is what the document looks like, so it includes the font, font size, paragraph style, and so on. Creating or changing a style makes it possible to alter the look of a document all at once so you don’t need to go through and highlight individual sections and make specific changes. You can do things like set a universal heading style,or change what the default bulleted list looks like.

For example, if you’re working on a book, you might get a list of style guidelines from a publisher. Or if you’re working on weekly interoffice memos, a style is an easy to way to create a format guideline so every one you make looks the same way every time. Plus, you get the flexibility to change styles at any time, so if one department likes their memos one way, but your boss prefers a different style, you don’t have to change a bunch of formatting every time you open a new document.

To apply a style, make sure you’re on the Home tab, select a block of text in a document that you want to alter, and then click the Style menu in the ribbon. For example, if you want to make a heading in the middle of a block of text, you’d select the text you want as a heading, then click Styles > Heading 1. It’s as easy as that.

Making your own specific styles is pretty easy too. This is useful when you’re writing something consistently, like a newsletter or a book, and want a specific set of rules you can easily apply to a document as a whole. For example, you might want to change the font size of the default heading option, or change how creating a list works. Here’s how to do it:
From the Home tab, click on Styles Pane.
Click New Style or select the style you’d like to edit.
You’ll get a pop up window to edit a number of parameters here
including type, basis, and formatting.
Click through the options you want to change.

If you’re confused about what each term means, don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward. Paragraph styles determine the look of the text on a paragraph level.

When you apply this style, it’ll change the whole paragraph. Character styles determine the look on a character level, so you can make one word stand out. Table styles alter the look of tables, like the header row or how the grid lines work. Finally, list styles alter the look of a list, such as bulleted lists or a number scheme.

How to Add a Table of Contents to the Beginning of a Document

 

If you’re working with a big document, a table of contents adds quick navigation. Thankfully, creating a table of contents in Word is easy and it’ll update itself automatically as you add more to the document.

Word’s automatic table of contents generator takes each heading you add to a document, and then creates the table of contents based on that. If you plan on creating a table of contents, make sure you style each of your section titles with a heading.
Click an empty paragraph where you want to insert the table of contents.
Click the References tab.
Click Table of Contents and then select the appearance you want to use.

That’s it. Word automatically updates that table of contents any time you add or alter a header.

How to Compare and Merge Two Documents

If you have two versions of a document, whether it’s because someone did edits in their own copy, a cloud backup failed, or if you’re just trying to hash out what exactly changed between two versions of the same thing, you’ll need to use the compare and combine functions.

If you just want to see what changes exist between two documents, you can compare them. Here’s how to compare two documents:

Open one of the two documents you want to compare.
Click Tools > Track Changes > Compare Documents.
Pick your original document and revised document files.

Type in a name under “Label changes with” text field so you can tell the difference between the two documents. This way, Word will add a note telling you where each change comes from.

Combining a document works the same way, but the end result is a single document that merges the contents of both documents together so everything that’s the same is overwritten:

Open one of the two documents you want to combine.
Click Tools > Merge Documents.
Pick your original document and revised document files.

When the documents are merged, the differences between the two are highlighted. From here, you can go in and pick what you want to keep in the final version.

How to Format a Document Properly with Tab Stops and Indents

If you’re the type who formats a document by pressing spacebar or tab a bunch of times, it’s time to learn how to do it the right way: Using indents and tab stops. The video above shows off how tabs and indents work so it’s easy to understand, but let’s just sum up what the two terms actually mean.

Tab stops: A tab stop is the location a cursor stops after the tab key is pressed. In Word, it’s a way to easily align text. When you click the ruler in Word, a tab stop appears as a little curved arrow. When you tap the tab key, the cursor and text will jump to that arrow. If you add in multiple tab stops, you can make it so you can format text by simply tapping the tab key a couple of times to get it in place and perfectly lined up.

Indents:
As the name suggests, indents determine the distance of the paragraph from the left or right margin. On the ruler, you’ll see two triangles that adjust the indentation. You can click either triangle and move it to change the indentation. The top triangle adjusts the indentation of the first line of a paragraph. The bottom triangle adjusts the indentation for subsequent lines (aka the hanging indent) in the paragraph. You can also click on the square below them to move both at the same time.
Learning how to use these indents and tab stops can make creating a document like a resume or academic paper a lot easier.

How to Add Citations and References

 

Academic papers are a beast to write, but Word makes creating bibliographies and citations super easy. Once you’ve created a new document and you’re writing that paper, you can add a citation with just a few clicks.

Click the Reference tab.
Click the Dropdown arrow next to Bibliography style and select the style
you’re using for that paper.
Click the end of a sentence or phrase where you want to add the citation.
Click Insert Citation. In the Create New Source box, enter in all the info you
need.

Once you enter a citation once, you can add additional citations from the same text by selecting a sentence, then clicking the Citations box and selecting the reference you want to insert. When you’re all done, click the Bibliography button and select either Bibliography or Works Cited to automatically generate the reference page for your paper.

The Best Features in Word 2016

Word 2016 is a word processor—that means it doesn’t have to make giant, revolutionary leaps over its previous versions. However, Word 2016 does have a few improvements worth noting:

You can search the ribbon: In Windows, above the ribbon, you’ll see a “Tell me what you want to do” box. Here, you can type in any question you have and Word will tell you how to do it. For example, you can ask it how to insert a picture, how to format text in a specific way, or how to create lists. It’s basically a boring version of Clippy for the 21st century. For whatever reason, this isn’t included in the Mac version.
You can see collaborators edits in real time like in Google Docs: You’ve been able to work on Word documents as a team for a while, but Word 2016 adds in live edits, so you’ll see other people’s notes and updates instantly.
– Smart lookup makes research a little easier: Word is now a little more connected to the web than it used to be. In Word 2016, you can right-click a word, then select “Smart Lookup” from the menu to look up a word’s definition, the related Wikipedia article, and top search results from Bing.

Other than those minor improvements, if you’ve used older versions of Word you’ll be right at home in Word 2016 within minutes.

Work Faster in Word with These Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft has full lists of every keyboard shortcut in Word for Windows and Word for Mac that are worth bookmarking,, but let’srun through some of the big ones you’re likely to use every day, and a few specific to word that are really useful:

CTRL+N/CTRL+O/CTRL+S: Create, Open, and Save a document.
CTRL+X/CTRL+C/CTRL+V: Cut, Copy, Paste
CTRL+B/CTRL+I: Bold, Italic
CTRL+A: Select All
CTRL+Z: Undo
CTRL+K: Insert a hyperlink
CTRL+P: Print a document
CTRL+H: Open Find and Replace
Shift+F3: Toggle Capitalization options
CTRL+SHIFT+C: Copies the formatting for selected text so you can apply
it to another set of text with CTRL+Shift+V
CTRL+Shift+N: Applies the normal style to the selected text

Beyond that, Word supports universal text editing keyboard shortcuts like Shift+CTRL+Up/Down arrows to select whole paragraphs. These can make navigating and highlighting text a lot easier, and we’ve got a list of all of them here. If you use Word heavily, get to know these shortcuts, they will make your life better.

Additional Reading for Power Users

Word’s a big program and we can’t cover everything here. Here are a few more guides to help you push the boundaries of what Word’s capable of.

Six tips for better formatting: Formatting is a big deal in MS Word, and if you want to get better at skills like showing hidden characters, dealing with sections, and more, this post should help.
Select all text with the same formatting: This hidden little menu in the ribbon lets you select blocks of text based on its formatting.
Everything you need to know about collaboration: Collaboration is a big part of Word. From tracking changes to learning how to use markup, this post covers everything you need to know about working on documents as a group.
Create your own keyboard shortcuts: Word has a ton of keyboard shortcuts as it is, but if you want more, you can make your own.

Word might just look like a boring old text editor at a glance, but as you can see, it’s a lot more complex than most people give it credit for. Mastering it can take a long time, but once you have the basics and understand what’s possible in Word, you’ll be well on your way to being a Microsoft Word ninja.

What are your best practices for Microsoft Word? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 1/12/18

 

 

Again?! Steve Jobs may have been a tyrant when it came to the details but, this sh*t rarely happened on his watch.

Yet another macOS High Sierra bug: Unlock App Store system preferences with any password.


With all the Technology surrounding these guys, you’d think they’d pay better attention to the world around them. I mean, I know they live in a bubble, but c’mon!
Data Sheet—Darkness Hits CES Amid the Tech Backlash.

 

And my hometown made the list! Charlotte NC for the win!
Tech’s New Hotbeds: Cities With Fastest Growth In STEM Jobs Are Far From Silicon Valley.

Wait, does this mean no more Jitterbug?!
Tech for the elderly is a growing area, but founders should think more about whether their gadget will be used.

 

I think Steve would be more worried about the lack of leadership in his company right now, actually.
The ‘father of the iPod’ says tech addiction would worry Steve Jobs if he were alive today.

 

What, bribes don’t work on Congress anymore? Since when?!
Tech executives join more than 100 business leaders calling on Congress to move quickly on DACA.

 

You know, when I was a kid, I remember my parents writing to Captain Kangaroo and asking him to cut his programming in half so I’d watch less. SMH
Kids and Smartphones: Should Tech Companies or Parents Set the Limits?

App of the Week – Tripit

 

 

By Jeff Richardson of iPhone J.D.

 

Review: TripIt Pro — notification of travel delays and cancellations, and other travel assistance

 

I’ve been using the free TripIt service for many years. I reviewed TripIt back in 2013, and while the service and the app have improved since then, the basic idea is the same. When you make a travel reservation and receive the email from the airline, hotel, rental car agency, train, etc., you simply forward that email to TripIt. The service recognizes you from your email address, reads and understands the content of those emails, and prepares an online itinerary for your trip. With the free TripIt app on your iPhone (or iPad), all of your travel info is in one place. Thus, if you are in the middle of your trip and need to find the name or address of your hotel, or a reservation number, everything is in one place in the TripIt iPhone app. It is a like a virtual travel agent which provides all of the core basic features. I love the service and recommend it to everyone.

 

TripIt Pro costs $49 a year, and it adds premium services to look out for you before and during your travel, much like a more sophisticated travel agent might do. The company gave me a free demonstration account earlier this year so that I could try it out, and I’ve used the service in connection with several trips over the Summer, Fall and Winter of 2016. I enjoyed the service, and I think that it is worth it for any frequent traveler. Here are the key features of the service.

Alerts

 

TripIt Pro constantly monitors your travel reservations, and if anything changes, you are notified immediately. The value of this service to you will of course depend upon whether anything goes wrong during your travel. If something does go wrong, TripIt Pro is incredibly valuable and the service can pay for itself with just one alert.
In June of 2016, this feature was incredibly valuable for me. I was traveling to Miami along with many other attorneys at my law firm, and I was on an early morning flight. When I woke up, I saw an email from TripIt Pro alerting me that my direct flight had been cancelled.

The email gave me a link to get a list of alternative flights, and included phone numbers for the airline to make changes.  Even though the airline itself never sent me a notification of the cancellation, TripIt Pro gave me the information that I needed to call and book an alternative flight.  The alternative flight was inconvenient — to go from New Orleans to Miami, I had to first fly to Dallas — but at least I was able to (barely) make my meeting in South Florida later on that day.  Many of my partners didn’t find out about the cancellation until they got to the airport, at which time many of the alternative flights were already taken, and some of them missed the meeting entirely.

TripIt Pro gives you other flight alerts as well.  It tells you when it is time to check in — something that most airlines tell you too, but the TripIt Pro email usually arrived before the airline one did, if that makes a difference to you. 

 

Flight delays and cancellations happen far more often than any of us would like. But with immediate notification of any problems, at least you can be one of the first in line to make alternative arrangements.

Connection Summary

Because I don’t live in a city with a major hub airport, a large number of my flights involve connections through cities like Atlanta. When I land, I want to know information such as the time of my next flight, the gate at which I will be landing, and the gate out of which my next flight will leave. Of course virtually every airline has its own app or website that you can manually access to load all of this information, but sometimes those apps are slow to use. TripIt Pro sends you an email immediately upon landing on your first flight with all of the information that you need to make your connection, including gate information and whether the next flight is on time.

 

I found it very convenient to have this connection information pushed directly to me so that I didn’t’t have to do any extra work to find the key information that I needed.

Seat Tracker

I’ve been lucky enough for the past few months to get a good seat at the time that I booked my flight. If you are not as lucky, TripIt Pro includes a Seat Tracker service. Tell the service what kind of seat you are looking for (exit row, aisle, window, specific cabin, front of the plane, etc.) and TripIt Pro will notify you when that seat becomes available. You’ll have to contact your airline to make the change, but at least you will know when it is the right time to do so.

Etc.

TripIt Pro offers other features that didn’t appeal to me, but maybe they would appeal to you. A Point Tracker service lets you track your travel points in one spot. (I find it more useful to just manage this through each specific airline, hotel, train, etc. service.) A flight refund service alerts you if a cheaper flight becomes available and you are ever eligible for a refund. (Does this ever really happen for anyone?) A sharing feature let’s you share travel information with others. (Even with the free TripIt service, I just use the TripIt website “print” my travel itinerary to a PDF file and then I share that PDF file with others, without using the Pro sharing features.) And there are some discounts for other travel services if you use TripIt Pro.

Conclusion

It is nice that TripIt Pro offers additional features, but I think for most people the question is whether it is worth $50 a year to you to get immediate notification of delays or cancellation in your travel plans. If you travel often, and mentally divide up that $50 price among each of your different flights, then I suspect many frequent fliers would consider this a bargain. Even just one cancellation can cause a lot of distress for you, and with an immediate alert at least you can start working on a solution to the problem ASAP. The other TripIt Pro features are not in themselves worth $50 to me, but they are nice bonuses that increase the overall value.

Everyone who travels should check out the free TripIt app. If you are a frequent traveler, I encourage you to consider adding the TripIt Pro service.

Click here to get TripIt (free) – iOS
Click here to get Tripit (free) – Android

Do you have a favorite travel app? Tell us about it in the comments about it in the comments below!

App of the Week: OmniGraffle

 

A refresh of the long-time Mac drawing app from the Omni Group now pulls in images and text from other apps.

By Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher of Apple Insider

Like its fellow Omni Group apps OmniFocus and OmniPlan, the drawing and charting software OmniGraffle 3.2 has been updated for iOS 11. All three now take advantage of the new operating system’s drag and drop features to change and improve how you work with the apps.

If you’re an AppleInsider reader, you’re already aware that The Omni Group’s software dates back to the dawn of the PowerPC era. More than 20 years later, the company is still updating its suite of software, with OmniGraffle getting a new iOS version for iOS 11.

It’s a drawing application but not for art or sketching. Rather, it’s for making illustrations specifically to explain things. So OmniGraffle is often used for organization charts or for floor plans. You can get very elaborate and detailed, so much so that app designers can mock up in OmniGraffle how their software will look.

OmniGraffle is also meant for just explaining things quickly so it has tools and features to make drawing fast. It’s also got an extremely dedicated following among its users who share and sell collections of templates called Stencils.

If you’ve used MacDraw II, or LucidChart, you’ve got a pretty good handle on what OmniGraffle can do for you. What it can do for you now with iOS 11 is speed up how you can compile a drawing from other people’s Stencils or your own previous documents.

 

This is done by iOS 11’s drag and drop. It’s the same new drag and drop that has been added to the OmniFocus To Do app where it’s made a significant improvement. It’s the same feature that’s been added to OmniPlan and fixed an issue there that’s been dogging that project management software from the start.

Drag and drop doesn’t make as big a change to OmniGraffle, though. It’s a nice addition and one that when you’ve tried it, you won’t want to go back yet it doesn’t dramatically transform the app.

There are three aspects to how OmniGraffle exploits this new feature. You can now drag items in to your drawing, for instance, and you can drag elements between your drawings. Say you’ve got a floor plan for your house and are now doing one for your office: that sofa shape you spent ages drawing would work fine as a couch in the office plan so you just drag it over.

Similarly, if you’re planning out a bigger office with lots of cubicles then you can just draw one and duplicate it.

In theory you can also drag cubicles or pot plants in your drawings out of OmniGraffle and into other apps but currently that’s limited by how many other apps support this feature. This has long been an issue with OmniGraffle and really all such drawing apps like Lucidchart and Microsoft Visio: the way they play with other apps. You can get drawings from any of them into the rest but typically with some difficulty and actually OmniGraffle’s drag and drop may ultimately improve that. Once other apps are also updated to accept dragged and dropped items.

These most common uses for OmniGraffle —the floor plans, charts and app design —all tend to be jobs where you will reuse elements over and over again. So while everyone will be different, the odds are that you’re most likely to drag elements from one OmniGraffle drawing to another and we can see you building up a library of often-used elements.

Dragging these around is quick and handy, but only once you know how. You could spend the next week stabbing wildly at buttons and options without discovering how to drag an item across multiple documents. That’s really an aspect of iOS 11, however: OmniGraffle uses the same multi-finger approach that the system does.

 

Press and hold on an item you want to drag and then with a different finger, tap at the button to take you out of the current OmniGraffle document. That’s a Library icon which needs finding: rather than to the top left of the screen, OmniGraffle places it in the middle and just to the left the document title.

When you’re back in the Document Picker, as the Omni Group calls it, you can tap to open any other drawing. So long as you’re still holding that element you’ve dragged from the first document, you can now drop it anywhere in the new.

Once it’s in that new drawing, though, you can use exactly the same technique to drag it between different layers of the document.

We keep saying that you’re dragging elements of a drawing around but those elements can be text as well as shapes or re-used templates. You can drag text in from OmniFocus or OmniPlan, for instance. That’s not going to save you a lot of time unless you’re dragging a lot of text but it could be a way to make sure you’re consistent across many documents.

It’s the same process for dragging text or graphics out of OmniGraffle into other apps. We had most success doing it with the app’s stablemates OmniPlan and OmniFocus but even that success was limited.

When we drag to OmniPlan, any text in the item we’re dragging goes into that project management app’s list of tasks and a bar appears representing it in the Gantt chart. When we dragged the same item into OmniFocus, it was entered as a new task called “PDF document.pdf” with an attachment of that name which has the graphic item in it.

You’re not going to do that. Maybe you’d drag the elements from an org chart over to OmniPlan so that you had every member of staff listed but that’s a stretch. Project plans tend to start with what needs to be done rather than who you’ve got to give work to. So really the dragging out of OmniGraffle won’t become hugely useful until other drawing apps adopt iOS 11’s new features too.

OmniGraffle aims to be a complete drawing package. It also aims to make it quick for you to create detailed and technical drawings. So the ability to quickly re-use elements fits in perfectly with that.

It’s not the kind of update that you go wow at or that you know you will rush to use. What is, though, is the kind of update you’ll become so accustomed to that previous versions will seem slow. OmniGraffle is all about making clear, professional drawings with speed and without fuss, however. So this is an update that makes good use of the new iOS 11 features.

OmniGraffle 3.2 for iOS has a free trial version on the App Store and then costs $49.99 for the Standard version. A Pro version is a further $4.99 upgrade or you can go straight from the trial to Pro for $99.99.

 

Do you have a favorite technical drawing rule? Tell us about it in the comments below!

WIT: Ellen Ullman’s New Book Tackles Tech’s Woman Problem

 

 

 

By J. D. BIERSDORFER of NYTimes

LIFE IN CODE
A Personal History of Technology
By Ellen Ullman

As milestone years go, 1997 was a pretty good one. The computers may have been mostly beige and balky, but certain developments were destined to pay off down the road. Steve Jobs returned to a floundering Apple after years of corporate exile, IBM’s Deep Blue computer finally nailed the world-champion chess master Garry Kasparov with a checkmate, and a couple of Stanford students registered the domain name for a new website called google.com. Nineteen ninety-seven also happened to be the year that the software engineer Ellen Ullman published “Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its
Discontents,” her first book about working as a programmer in a massively male-dominated field.

That slender volume became a classic of 20th-century digital culture literature and was critically praised for its sharp look at the industry, presented in a literary voice that ignored the biz-whiz braggadocio of the early dot-com era. The book had obvious appeal to technically inclined women — desktop-support people like myself then, computer-science majors, admirers of Donna J. Haraway’s feminist cyborg manifesto, those finding work in the newish world of website building — and served as a reminder that someone had already been through it all and took notes for the future.

Then Ullman retired as a programmer, logging out to go write two intense character-driven thriller novels and the occasional nonfiction essay. The digital economy bounced back after the Epic Fail of 2000 and two decades later, those techno-seeds planted back in 1997 have bloomed. Just look at all those smartphones, constantly buzzing with news alerts and calendar notifications as we tell the virtual assistant to find us Google Maps directions to the new rice-bowl place.

What would Ullman think of all this? We can now find out, as she’s written a new book, “Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology,” which manages to feel like both a prequel and a sequel to her first book.

Don’t panic, non-nerds. In addition to writing code in multiple computer languages, Ullman has an Ivy League degree in English and knows how to decode her tech-world adventures into accessible narratives for word people: “Time went on; I graduated from Cornell and moved to San Francisco, where, one day in 1979, I walked past a Radio Shack store on Market Street and saw in the window a microcomputer called the TRS-80. Reader, I bought it.”

Her work as an active programmer spanned about 20 years, ending in the 1990s, but some experiences stay with you forever. “The role they assigned to me, translator, is perhaps the most accurate description of everything I have ever done concerning technology,” she writes of one gig. As I’ve found in my own scribbling about tech, language skills and accurate translation are essential to understanding in both human and computer systems. The most useful bit of prep I had for that came from the two years of Attic Greek I once took to fulfill a curriculum requirement for a theater degree. Converting text into plain language for the inquiring masses is vital, whether it be wrestling Xenophon’s “Anabasis” or Linux engineer notes into English.

The first three-fifths of “Life in Code” is primarily composed of essays published elsewhere between 1994 and 2004, while newer material from 2012 to early 2017 fills out the rest. The technology mentioned within those early chapters often recalls quaint discovery, like finding a chunky, clunky Nokia cellphone in the back of the junk drawer. The piece on preparing computers for the Year 2000 has a musty time-capsule feel, but the philosophical questions posed in other chapters — like those on robotics and artificial intelligence — still resonate.

While the electrified economy had yet to complete its first dramatic cycle of boom and bust when her first book came out, a 1998 essay in “Life in Code” shows Ullman, Cassandra-like and ever the pragmatic pessimist, already bracing for the coming storm. “I fear for the world the internet is creating,” she wrote. “Before the advent of the Web, if you wanted to sustain a belief in far-fetched ideas, you had to go out into the desert, or live on a compound in the mountains, or move from one badly furnished room to another in a series of safe houses.” These days, she’s still concerned about the damage the internet is doing to culture, privacy and civility.

What hasn’t changed in the past 20 years is the dominant demographic of the technology industry and its overall lack of diversity. Ullman addresses these topics in the latter part of the book, as she observes online classes for newer programming languages like Python and feels put off by the “underlying assumption of male, white, geeky American culture” with science fiction TV shows woven into the course material. She worries that this approach may alienate people who aren’t familiar with it, and imagines a time when the general public is writing their own code for the world they need.

“What I hope is that those with the knowledge of the humanities break into the closed society where code gets written: invade it,” Ullman writes. But, she warns, be prepared for an environment of “boyish men who bristle at the idea of anyone unlike them invading their territory.”

She has many stories of her own to share on the topic of gender relations in the office and points out that not all of them were bad. In one case, she tolerates frequent comments about her hair from one addled man in order to learn more about various aspects of computing from him. “I did have pretty hair; I went on to become a software engineer.”

As then, not all men today are hostile to women and many are quite accepting, but the misogyny Ullman experienced in her programming days seems to have escalated in some places. Perhaps this is because of the antler-whacking nature of today’s hyper-driven culture, as illustrated in the situations of women like Susan J. Fowler, who set the executive dominoes cascading at Uber earlier this year with a blog post detailing overt and unchecked sexual harassment by her male manager. A recent 10-page internal memo (by a male Google engineer) that lambasted the company’s diversity efforts also shined a light on workplace culture for some. The abuse of women, the L.G.B.T. community and racial, religious and ethnic minorities on social media is also well-documented — and much more vitriolic than flare-ups like the recent bout of androcentric caterwauling over the casting of a woman in the lead role on “Doctor Who.”

As noted by Anna Wiener in an interview with Ullman for The New Republic, Twitter “would look a lot different today if it had been built by people for whom online harassment was a real-life concern.” When reading “Life in Code” later, I thought of Ullman’s musings about interface design in general: “To build such a crash-resistant system, the designer must be able to imagine — and disallow — the dumbest action.” Let’s face it, a queer female gamer of color is going to have a very different idea of “the dumbest action” than a 23-year-old white brogrammer and we need that perspective. (As for Twitter, Ullman considers the service a broadcaster of “thought farts.”)

It may take a generation, but progress to find balance and representation in the tech and tech-driven world is happening. And the invasion is underway, with women-in-tech groups like Girls Who Code, Project Include and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (the latter named for the Navy rear admiral, herself a programming pioneer) striving for diversification on multiple fronts. Because, as Ullman observes, “the world of programmers is not going to change on its own.” One hopes she’ll check back in 20 years to comment on how it’s going.

Any women in the tech field who get your vote of confidence? Tell us about them in the comments below!

WIT: Sexism in tech impacts women everywhere. YouTube’s CEO just made that clear.

“Is it true?” Even Susan Wojcicki’s own daughter is grappling with that Google memo.

 

 

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has spoken out about her experience with sexism in Silicon Valley in response to the controversial memo circulated by now-former Google employee James Damore and the broad ideological debate that has ensued.

Wojcicki has been with Google since its humble beginnings — the company’s first office was her garage. She became the CEO of YouTube in 2014, eight years into Google’s ownership of the video-sharing platform and after 15 years of overseeing various aspects of the company’s marketing departments and advertising services.

But Wojcicki, the woman who oversaw the development of Google’s now-ubiquitous AdSense product, spearheaded the implementation of Google Doodles, and suggested that Google purchase YouTube to begin with, has experienced seemingly all of the now well-known stereotypes of women in tech. Now Wojcicki has detailed a few of those experiences in a short essay for Fortune.

“Yesterday, after reading the news, my daughter asked me a question,” she wrote. “‘Mom, is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?’”

The topic has been the subject of much debate since Damore’s memo — which argues that women are biologically less capable or willing than men to perform a wide range of engineering and tech industry jobs, and that’s why they are underrepresented in the field — first became public.

“Time and again, I’ve faced the slights that come with that question,” she wrote, explaining:

I’ve had my abilities and commitment to my job questioned. I’ve been left out of key industry events and social gatherings. I’ve had meetings with external leaders where they primarily addressed the more junior male colleagues. I’ve had my comments frequently interrupted and my ideas ignored until they were rephrased by men.

No matter how often this all happened, it still hurt.

Wojcicki then offered a succinct and clear bird’s-eye view of how she suspects many women in tech are feeling right now:

When I saw the memo that circulated last week, I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others. I thought about the women at Google who are now facing a very public discussion about their abilities, sparked by one of their own co-workers. I thought about the women throughout the tech field who are already dealing with the implicit biases that haunt our industry (which I’ve written about before), now confronting them explicitly. I thought about how the gender gap persists in tech despite declining in other STEM fields, how hard we’ve been working as an industry to reverse that trend, and how this was yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science. And as my child asked me the question I’d long sought to overcome in my own life, I thought about how tragic it was that thisunfounded bias was now being exposed to a new generation.

Wojcicki ultimately echoed Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s message to all Google employees (in which Pichai stressed that parts of the memo violated Google’s code of conduct), noting that “while people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender … the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.”

Significantly, Wojcicki did not attempt to offer solutions, or to praise Google effusively for doing the right thing in firing Damore. Her essay primarily seems to be an attempt to show solidarity with her fellow women in tech. And her underlying message is clear: Silicon Valley’s sexist culture impacts women at all levels of the industry — and even their daughters.

Tales From The Orchard: Apple Isn’t Building 3 Factories in the U.S., No Matter What Trump Says

 

 

ByJake Swearingen of New Yorker Magazine

Despite Donald Trump’s claims to The Wall Street Journal, Apple won’t be building three factories in the United States anytime soon. Why? Well, for starters, Apple doesn’t build factories anymore. In the entire world, Apple now owns exactly one manufacturing plant: its plant where it assembles iMacs in County Cork, Ireland.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Trump claimed that Tim Cook had promised that Apple would be building three manufacturing plants here in the U.S.

“I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants — big, big, big,” said Trump. “I said, you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

While it’s touching to think that Tim Cook would worry whether Trump considers his presidency an economic success, Apple, again, doesn’t build manufacturing plants. (In fact, before he was CEO of Apple, Cook was in charge of winding down Apple’s factories and warehouses in the U.S., closing Apple’s last American factory, based out of Elk Grove, California, in 2004.)

Apple manufactures its high-end Mac Pros, a tiny slice of its overall business, here in the U.S., but the work is done through a partnership with Taiwanese firm Flextronics — and that factory has struggled to keep up even with the tiny demand for Mac Pro towers, causing Apple to consider shifting production over to Asia. Apple has pledged to invest $1 billion in American manufacturing, but that money will filter to American companies like Corning, which produces the glass used in many Apple displays. It also uses many U.S.-based suppliers — including 3M, Caterpillar, and Lapmaster — to build various parts of its hardware, in the same way it uses many other suppliers not based in the U.S., most famously Foxconn.

So why would Trump brag about three new plants from Apple in the U.S.? It’s possible Trump is simply fabricating the story out of whole cloth. More generously, it’s possible that Cook talked to Trump about Apple’s reported efforts to get its Asian suppliers to manufacture some iPhones in the U.S. Indeed, Foxconn seems poised to open factories in the States, and Foxconn produces nearly a half million iPhones a day when in full swing. Apple’s rumored expanded lineup of iPhones could see that number go even higher in coming years.

The most likely scenario probably falls somewhere in between that. Realistically, it wouldn’t cost Apple a tremendous amount to bring a few jobs back to the U.S., mainly because foreign labor costs are starting to rise. The MIT Technology Review analyzed Apple’s supply chain in 2015 and determined that the retail price of an iPhone made entirely in the U.S. would be about $100 higher than it is now — a price jump, but not a catastrophic one.

We may see more jobs and new plants in the U.S. as Apple’s suppliers, from Foxconn to Samsung, continue to expand their manufacturing footstep here. But it won’t be Apple that will be building them, regardless of what Donald Trump claims Tim Cook told him.

What do you think Apple should tell the Trump administration about it’s manufacturing plans? Tell us in the comments below!

5 troubleshooting tips for fixing your own computer

 

 

 

 

By David Nield of Popular Science

DIY computer repair.

Many of us are so reliant on our computers, that when something goes wrong it’s a serious problem—like the power going out or the water getting cut off. Of course you want to get your system back up and running as quickly as you can, but that’s often easier said than done. It’s no exaggeration to say an almost limitless number of things can go wrong with a computer, because everyone’s system and settings are different. It can seem almost impossible knowing where to begin when it comes to troubleshooting your way back to a working machine.

That said, you’d be surprised by just how many issues have the same simple root cause. Before you get professional help—which we’d still advise in a lot of cases—run through these simple measures to see if you can get the problem fixed yourself.

1. Run a thorough virus scan

It’s obvious, but it’s effective: Fire up your virus scanning software, launch the deepest and most thorough scan available, then leave it to do its work. Note that the most comprehensive type of scan (which looks at the most files and takes the longest time to complete) may not be the scan that your computer is set to run by default, so have a check through the program settings to see what’s available. You’ll also want to make sure it’s totally updated before running the scan so it can catch the most recent wave of bad code.

Antivirus scanners can sometimes miss threats or get disabled by them, so it’s worth getting a second opinion. A lot of antivirus developers make lightweight, on-demand scanners you can install alongside your main security software as a second layer of protection—applications like Kaspersky Security Scan for Windows or macOS, or Microsoft Safety Scanner for Windows, or Emsisoft Emergency Kit for Windows.

You’ll find more antivirus programs around for Windows because it has a history of being attacked by the greater proportion of malware. While macOS is quite comprehensively locked down, especially if you stick to the Mac App Store for your applications, you can never be 100 percent sure of staying safe, so it’s always worth having an antivirus program or two on hand to troubleshoot system problems.

All kinds of computer crashes and slowdowns can be caused by viruses and other malware. It’s worth running a scan if your system has become sluggish, or is suddenly behaving strangely, or seems overrun with advertising. If threats are found, your antivirus program will know how to combat them; or if you get a clean bill of health then you can try some other troubleshooting options to fix whatever issue you’re having.

 

2. Update your software

Many computer problems are caused by outdated and un-patched software, from outbreaks of ransomware to glitchy keyboards that refuse to spit out the correct letters when you tap them. Fortunately, many updates are now applied automatically, because they’re so important—which is why your computer might suddenly reboot when you weren’t expecting it to.

Focus on your operating system first. In Windows you can look for updates by opening up Settings then clicking Update & security; on macOS, launch the App Store from the dock or the Applications screen in Finder, then switch to the Updates tab. Make sure you apply any updates that are pending.

It’s important to check for updates to your other applications, including your web browser and your antivirus program, though again this is often handled automatically so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The update feature should be fairly prominent in any app, but consult the built-in help if you get stuck.

After applying all the updates you can find, your issues might well be fixed, though this is as much of a technique for preventing future problems as it is for fixing existing ones. Make sure as many of your installed applications are updating themselves automatically in the background, and you should run into fewer computer issues as a result.

3. Cut down on the bloat

You might think that leaving older, unused programs on your hard drive is pretty harmless, but as more and more applications mount up, it means your operating system has to work harder, and the files on your computer get broken up more often and spread out further as your computer tries to save them—something known as fragmentation. As a result the amount of free storage space can quickly become limited.

If you’ve noticed your computer is running more slowly, crashing at odd times, or showing some other kind of buggy behavior, it might be that it’s simply creaking under the weight of all the software you’ve got installed. You can uninstall applications you no longer need from the Apps section of Settings in Windows, or by dragging the app shortcut down to the Trash on macOS. Some macOS apps can be removed from the Launcher by clicking and holding on an icon until it shakes, then clicking the cross icon.

The same goes for your browser—having too many extensions and add-ons installed can lead to a serious slowdown or some erratic behavior, so limit your extensions to the ones you actually need and use. In Chrome, go to More Tools then Extensions from the main app menu; in Firefox choose Add-ons from the main app menu; and in Microsoft Edge, choose Extensions from the main app menu.

If your computer is running low on disk space then it can lead to a number of problems, including occasional crashes and slow performance. As well as removing unneeded apps, try removing unneeded files too, like movies you’ve already watched or duplicate photos you’ve got safely backed up somewhere else. Generally speaking, the less bloated your system, the fewer system problems you’ll run into.

4. Test your Wi-Fi connection

Of course this troubleshooting technique only applies to internet-related problems—one very specific category of issue. The key to getting your internet up and running again is to work out where the problem lies, and the detective work isn’t as difficult as you might think. Once you know what’s wrong you can go about trying to fix it.

If you can, plug your laptop or desktop computer straight into your router with an Ethernet cable. If you still don’t get internet, and nothing connected to Wi-Fi is getting internet (like phones and tablets), then the problem may well lie with your router hardware or the service provided by your internet service provider—just about your only option is to get on the phone to the company and ask for assistance.

If some devices can get online and others can’t, then that points to problems with those specific devices. We can’t cover every conceivable issue here, but rebooting those devices, updating the software installed on them, and switching Wi-Fi off and then back on again to establish the connection from scratch are good first steps.

If your computer can get online when plugged directly into the router but not when it’s browsing over Wi-Fi, you might well be looking at a problem with your Wi-Fi network. We’ve written before about getting the strongest possible signal around your house, but if that doesn’t get you anywhere, then reboot your router and dive into its on-board settings—a quick web search based on the router make and model should surface some information about troubleshooting tricks you can try.

5. Reinstall the operating system

Reinstalling Windows or macOS and starting again from scratch is a more extreme version of the “cut down on the bloat” solution we mentioned above. It wipes out troublesome programs, erases many viruses and types of malware, resets your internet connection settings and generally gives you a blank slate to start from again.
You’ll want to make sure that you have all your data backed up before starting the reinstallation process.

What makes this worth trying is that Microsoft and Apple have made reinstalling their operating systems so straightforward now. On Windows, you can head to Update & security from Settings and then choose Reset this PC to get started (more here), whereas on macOS you need to hold down Cmd+R as you press the power button to turn on your Mac to launch the Utilities program (more here).

By setting your system back to square one, you’re theoretically wiping away whatever was causing the issue you’re having, though there’s no guarantee it’ll work. You also need to weigh up the hassle of getting all your applications and files back on the system afterwards, so it’s not the right choice for everyone in every situation. In our experience though, we’ve found it to be an effective fix for a lot of computer ills.

We can’t promise that these five tips will solve every problem you’re having but they at least enable you to rule out some basic possibilities as far as root causes go. We’re also not trying to diminish the importance of your local PC repair shop—and that should be your next port of call if your computer’s still struggling at the end of this guide.

Weekly Round Up 6/2

 

Me too, Woz. Elon Musk is ‘the man’!
Apple Co-Founder Bets on Tesla for Next Tech Breakthrough

A strongly worded letter isn’t going to do it, guys. Drumpf only has a third grade reading level and the attention span of a gnat with a lobotomy.
Lab Report: Tech Leaders Fight for Paris Accord

Any progress in this fight is good. We need to up the survivor rate numbers for most gynecological cancers.
New tech promises easier cervical cancer screening

I don’t know if this country can survive another bubble bursting…
Another tech bubble in the making? Many signs say yes

I applaud any gadget that motivates us to get off binge watching butts and work out.
The Best Health Tech 2017: Gadgets That Make You Fit And Healthy

Please be true!Please be true!Please be true!Please be true!
This guy wants to use tech to create a “Wizarding pub” in London.

Did they make this so all the nerds living in their mom’s basement will have something to wear when meet their Sex-bots for the first time?
Fashion and tech collide in this VR-friendly connected shirt

Let’s see if Apple has any love for the Mac Pro and iMac users out there.
Apple WWDC 2017: What to Expect

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