The well-intentioned computer “friend” may be steering you wrong…


This guy doesn't know everything...

We’ve all got one, that nerdy friend who can help you with any technology issue you can dream of. From a computer virus to your car stereo this guys seems to know it all. For oh so many people I am him. So, as that guy, let me tell you something honest, I DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING!! Sometimes I can mess around, do a couple quick and nerdy Google searches and help you find the answer to your problems. Sometimes, I really do know, after all, technology is what I do, in general terms.

If you went to a pediatrician and asked him to take a look at your mole and he told you “I’m sorry, you’ve got cancer” you’d get a second opinion right?

So, when your nerdy friend tells you there’s nothing you can do and you’ve lost your files on your computer forever. Or that he wants to format your hard drive and re-install Windows because there isn’t anything you can do to remove that virus. Please stop, take a deep breath, don’t let your initial reaction get the better of you and go ask somebody else. I know we’re all loathe to spend money, but sometimes, even I have to call somebody else for help.

I’ll tell you a very quick story, to make my point. This very morning I get a frantic call from a consulting client. One of his employees called him in the middle of the night livid. See that employees personal laptop had been joined to the business domain at the employees request. This created a NEW user account by the same name on the laptop so all the stuff in Documents and on the desktop was “gone” (not really gone, just in another profile, but she didn’t know this). “My sensitive stuff is in there, I don’t have a backup, my most important personal info that I can’t live without is all gone!!.”

(side note: If you don’t have a backup service, as cheap as they are today, I have really little sympathy for you, it’s kind of like not having car insurance)

Here’s the best part,  her; and I quote; “Lawyer, computer engineer friend” (HUGE RED FLAG: THERE ARE LIKE TWO PEOPLE ON EARTH WHO HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE CALLED BOTH LAWYER AND COMPUTER ENGINEER AND NEITHER OF THEM LIVES IN ESCONDIDO, CA) had told her that all her old information was wiped out. Why? Because he right clicked the profile folder for the old profile went to properties and the size said 0.

Can anyone take a guess as to why it said zero? Yes, you in the back with the Hack The Planet shirt on? THAT’S RIGHT!! The new account isn’t an administrator of the laptop so it can’t see the size of folders belonging to admins. That’s just Windows doing what it’s supposed to do, keep your stuff SECURE.

Three minute fix guys, no need for tears or the freak-out. I don’t mean to make light of what was obviously a very scary situation. I just want you to know that you don’t have to accept everything the next smartest guy tells you. No matter how smart he looks with that pocket protector. Even if it’s me, I promise, I’m not always right. And to be honest, I will rarely say that I’m absolutely right. I’ll admit that maybe there is another solution if I can’t find one, and take it a step further and try to help you find the person that can offer support.

But please, go get a backup service. $59 a month for Carbonite. FREE to backup 2GB worth of stuff with DropBox. Google Drive will give you 5GB for free. You’ve got options. Nothing critical should live on any one hard drive. Thanks, I’ll get off my soap box now.

Night Snowboarding in an LED suit.. amazing video, must watch and try

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a gem on the internet. Not just because it inspires you but because it’s just utterly cool. Fashion photographer and filmmaker Jacob Sutton took to the slopes to film a night shot in France of William Hughes flying down the slopes with only his own L.E.D. powered suit to guide him. What an amazing job. “Filming in the suit was the most surreal thing I’ve done in 20 years of snowboarding,” says Hughes of the charged salopettes. “Luckily there was plenty of vin rouge to keep me warm, and Jacob’s enthusiasm kept everyone going through the cold nights.”

Jacob Sutton’s L.E.D. Surfer on

Thanks for sharing Jacob and Nowness… Much appreciated.

Even nerds go outside every now and then

I gained about 12 lbs while traveling over the last three months and I feel horrible about it. I know that toys and video games and sitting at a computer performing modern feats of magic is amazing and fun but it is important to watch your health too. I remember a few years ago there were a ton of stories of people dying while playing games for days at a time (mostly in Korea) and people losing their kids because of gaming addictions (here in the USA unfortunately). Let’s not let that happen to us please!!

On the other hand, exercise is so friggin boring!!! I can’t stand being a treadmill for an hour, it makes me feel like a gerbil. But if you have a goal, then you can make the exercise fun, competitive and worth every bit of your attention and energy. The goal has to be something fun though, like I don’t know, a competition where you run around a crazy game-show-inspired obstacle course dressed up as super hero zombies (this will be my teams costume this year). There are races like this in every city and they’re a blast. So I signed up for the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge in Del Mar California and now I have a reason to get my overused rear end on a treadmill.

Check out this video:

What more can you ask of your exercise. Great music, fun atmosphere and the added health benefits. I’m glad this is where we are today. Find something like this in your area, you won’t regret it.

One other suggestion before I go, so you don’t say I didn’t give you options is Urban Dare – a scavenger/amazing race type event that’s in about 40 cities.

2D Movies.. In 3D? What do you think?

Star Wars 3D Movie PosterHave you been fortunate enough to have one of your favorite movies converted to 3D yet? For some, it’s a great way to not just relive past favorites but see them improved. Movies studios are starting to realize that using a fairly simple technique (thanks for helping me understand converting 2D movies to 3D) they can make much more money from movies they’ve already done all the hard and expensive work on.

I just wonder if this is really a good idea. One glaring example is the new Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D. I wanted my money back after the first time I saw this movie. Becuase it wasn’t just bad in and of itself, it put a stain on a great trilogy (episodes IV, V, VI). What would making it 3D really do for this movie?

3D movies cost more to attend and I think in cases like this movie studios are using gimmicks to trick people into spending more money. With so many things these days if all decisions were left to people that have the consumer in mind things would be fine, but as you can see in this example there is much more self interest going on than necessary.

What are your thoughts on these conversions? Has one come out that you like? Here are a few movies I’d like to see converted.

  1. Lord of the Rings trilogy
  2. Hostel (not for the feint of heart)
  3. Fast and the Furious
  4. Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black
  5. Fifth Element (may have

I think I’ll stop here, because it seems I can’t even remove self interest. I’m certain you wouldn’t agree with my top five.

Why Fantasy Football is fun for the whole family

I’ll admit it, I’m a very competitive person. I love competing, I love watching competition, I enjoy winning and losing. This is why the whole concept of Fantasy Football attracted me. I watched some football but often struggled with the boring games between an 0-13 (zero wins and thirteen losses) Rams and a 13-0 (thirteen wins and zero losses) Packers. Snooooore right?

Now almost every game has something in it for me. It could mean the difference between beating my wife this week or getting trounced at yet another thing. All this while getting an education in statistics, NFL contract debates, weather patterns, rehabilitation cycles for injuries and much more… Let me put that last bit another way, let’s say you’ve got a 10 year old son and you’d like him to get a little more into math. What if you and the family started a fantasy league where each player gets points for a myriad of actions like 0.13 points for a run that is less than 10 yards. Now you and your son can work together to figure out the likelihood that will happen per player, argue about the finer points of which player is better, and enjoy family time while you’re at it.

I’m serious, fantasy sports can be a whole new bonding experience for families. It uses math, technology, psychology, sociology, all the major food groups for young student. In a way that won’t make them feel like they’re doing homework.

The best part, Yahoo fantasy football is 100% completely free. I started a league this year to tech my wife and all the other wonderful women in my life how to play and ended up in last place. I’m sure they’ll never let me forget it. But it was a blast. Give it a shot, and you finally won’t feel like spending all Sunday in front of the TV is a waste of time.