Past Shows - 2008
Table of Contents

Monday, December 22, 2008

Internet Resources for Helping Families Survive and Thrive the Realities of a Difficult Holiday Season

At a time when things are tough for so many families, children may wake up to a tree with fewer presents beneath it. In my last show I shared my 5 favourite ideas for creating holiday memories on a tight budget. It was ironic that as I was preparing this column my own husband came home to tell me that he had just been terminated from his job of many years in the struggling automotive industry. I know a number of our listeners are facing this reality at the moment, so I thought it might be helpful to share some of the better resources I've found on the Internet for helping families cope with the reality of hard times. They offer ideas on everything from how to have difficult conversations with young children, and sitting down with your family and creating some shared expectations about what you want to get out of the holidays, to taking some unconventional approaches to how and when you give gifts, from the "Secret Santa" approach to a shared family outing to buy each other gifts after Christmas.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Big Heart but a Tight Budget? 5 Favourites for a Heartfelt, Homespun, Tech-Assisted Christmas

With the economy spinning out of control and many families facing one or more members losing their job, it's an unusually difficult holiday season for many people this year. I wanted to share some tech-inspired ideas for gift-giving and festivities that fit a big heart on a tight budget. The only thing I love more than receiving a gift that truly came from the heart is giving one. Here are a few ways to make the holiday incredibly personal without breaking the bank.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

James Bond Gadgets for the Guy Who Has Everything this Christmas

So you've seen the latest James Bond flick and have gadget envy? Not to worry. You can, in fact, ask Santa to tuck some of his cool new toys into your Christmas stocking this year.

Chances are that sexy Aston Martin DBS V12 either doesn't fit under the tree or into the stretch of your wallet. While none of Bond's gadgets tend to come inexpensively, there are a few that come a little closer to fitting the bill.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Use an Inkjet Printer to Print Yourself a New Heart

Two years ago scientists at Carnegie Mellon unveiled a "Bio-Ink Printer" capable of transforming stem cells into muscle and bone. This fall the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University in North Carolina put those same printers to work creating human tissue capable of generating healthy new organs and body parts.

Seems a little like something out of Iron Man or Star Trek? The truth is that this melding of man and machine is now more science fact than science fiction.

Researchers have successfully used the cartridge of an inkjet printer, and instead of filling it with ink, filled it with biological stem cells to regrow tissues and organs.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Using Web Surfing to Inexpensively Couch Surf Your Way Around the World

If you're looking for a fun way to add a little adventure to your life without the big cost you might want to turn web surfing into couch surfing. A young man who used the Internet to book a cheap flight from Boston to Iceland for a "weekend trip" on a whim found himself desperate for a place to stay, and in turning back to the Internet wound up creating both a successful and highly rated alternative travel experience web site.

While you've probably heard about "hostels" as an inexpensive way of launching a soul trek, chances are you haven't considered "exotic couches". This week I'm going to share a bit about an interesting web site community called the Couch Surfing Project and how it might be an inexpensive way to experience new cultures and people around the world.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Google Chrome - The Ugly Duckling with a Swan Under the Hood

When it comes to the experiences you have on the internet your browser is the most important tool you have. While there are a handful of industry standards that define people's window on cyberspace, the trend tends to be more bells and whistles and a sexier interface. So why the radical departure from Google Labs, generally known for their cutting edge innovations, as they release what most people agree is a lightweight ugly duckling in the browser pond?

If you're one of the people that took a look at Google Chrome and brushed it aside as a waste of time, you might want to look under the hood. There are two things that distinguish this browser inspite of it's seemingly feature-poor veneer: 1) performance smarts, and 2) security. In the wake of increasingly menacing browser exploits, having something that's battoned down and keeps unwanted people out of your bank account and your private affairs becomes more important for many of us than the slick new add-ons that other browsers might offer.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Clickjacking: Serious New Net Threat and Three Free and Easy Ways to Protect Yourself

This week top Internet security experts issued a dire warning about a new cross-browser threat called "clickjacking", suggesting it's not only one of the most virulent Internet threats to evolve but almost impossible to solve. What makes this particularly troublesome is the "gag order" that top Internet organizations put on analysts in order to buy time to come up with patches and solutions for the exploit. While some people suggest that warnings about the clickjacking threat are merely speculation and fear-mongering, key security analysts at WhiteHat Security, SecTheory and Kaspersky Lab stepped forward and offered just enough information about the nature of the threat and the potential damage it may cause and why it should be taken seriously.

I've got three free powerhouse tools to help you lock down the fort without hobbling your Internet adventures.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Computer-Assisted Care in Nursing Homes: Intel Improves Safety and Quality of Life for Residents with Dementia

As our parents age we are often faced with difficult decisions about how to care for them, especially when challenges like Alzheimer's Disease set it. Sometimes the decision includes choosing alternate care in a nursing home or other assisted living facility. Some people feel guilt over the choice, and sometimes even fear, so it's comforting to know that computers have offered an innovative new way to improve the quality of life for the people we love.

There are a lot of ways in which computers can make our lives better, and one of them arrived as a gift when technology titan, Intel, helped provide a nursing home in Ireland with an effective way of keeping patients with dementia safer and happier.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

NASA's giving armchair scientists and students alike a front seat in monitoring climate control through an interactive new web site

You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to notice the unusually early and blistering start we had to summer this year, but you -can- have rocket science at your finger tips to help understand why it may have happened. On today's show I shared how NASA has unveiled a simple, educational tool for tapping into some very sophisticated equipment and data, including satellites and the information they provide that show some rather dramatic realities about how we are personally impacting our climate and earth.

For folks who watched Al Gore's award winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth" the global warming wake-up call seems distressing and still sometimes largely unheard. When it comes to a problem as big as the climate, it's hard to imagine that as individuals it will either matter in our lifetime or that we truly have the ability to personally impact it. NASA's new web site offers some rather simple visual cues and links to resources that help us understand our role in changing what may otherwise be the very unhappy fate of our planet, and yes, within our lifetime.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

"Mindomo": Collaborative Mind Mapping and Project Planning for Free

On July 21st I shared a really handy new tool that I have been using for both business and personal reasons. In addition to being reasonably easy to use and having a broad range of applications, it's also free of charge. Earlier this year I shared tools that were helpful for people starting home-based businesses, with an emphasis on tools that were affordable and in many cases free. This is another tool that not only helps in a home office, but can actually be a fun way to connect with family members and friends across a variety of personal projects.

"Mindomo" is "mind mapping" tool. These tools are designed to allow you to do a brain dump of ideas and related pictures, spreadsheets and word files, web sites, videos, music and other media and so on. Mind maps are terrific collaborative research tools, allowing people to come together around a shared goal or project and create very powerful knowledge bases and resources. These have been used to fuel everything from customer service applications in business, to rich media curricula in education and medical databases in healthcare, and even movie and music databases.

Mind maps are powerful tools for brainstorming and gathering together the best resources around almost anything that you are interested in, while making it easier to share these with others if you choose.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

"The Morph": The Ultimate Technology Mash-up

On July 7th I talked to listeners about an emerging technology called The Morph, which promises to be the ultimate mash-up of cell phone, mobile computer, your camera and more. It even promises to clean up after itself. (Now there's a tool a girl could learn to love!)

Imagine folding up your cell phone and slapping it onto your wrist after using it to take a picture of the funky Hawaiian tourist shirt you are wearing to "skin" it as a matching accessory. That's just one of the things that a partnership between technology manufacturer, Nokia, and Cambridge University in the U.K. will make possible through a new nanotechnology called The Morph. What looks like a thin presentation film you might slap down on an overhead projector is actually a stretchable portable computer covered by millions of nanotechnology sensors. Unfold it and slip it's clip over your ear, and it's a cell phone or music player. Type on it's transparent QWERTY keyboard and you can check your email, surf the Internet, look up directions or buy tickets for your favourite movie. Touch it against an item of food and it will tell you if it's spoiled. Spill your coffee on it and it will clean itself. Fold it, stretch it, bend it, tuck it into your back pocket or slap it on your wrist and it's good to go.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Technology that Reads Your Mind

On June 23rd I shared an emerging technology called The Audeo which creates an a human-computer interface for communication without the need of physical motor control or speech production. By positioning a small wireless band near the vocal chords, The Audeo intercepts and processes the signals that your brain is sending to your larynx, interpreting these signals and turning them into electronic spoken word. The device literally "reads your mind", and while it does not output your thoughts without your permission, the implications of this even being possible and that throttle removed has some people more than a little rattled.

Malicious sci-fi style abuses aside, this is a promising breakthrough for the very people it's being designed to assist: ALS victims and other people who have lost the ability to speak and move. While the current release only recognizes about 150 different words, the creator behind this technology hopes to have it recognizing phonemes before the end of this year, making it possible to express literally any word and thought.

The Audeo might be used for giving people a voice again, and for allowing them to operate an electric wheelchair and other appliances even though the cannot speak or move.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Five Terrific Father's Day Gifts

With Father's Day just around the corner I thought I'd share some of my very favourite tips and toys to help families honour dad this year.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bootstrapper's Bible for Reinventing Yourself at Home with the Help of Your Trusty Old Computer

Last week I talked about some of the free Internet-based resources that you can tap into to help set up your home office. This week I shared some kickstarts to help you find projects and advice. Here are the resources that I offered on the air, and a whole lot more …

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Supercharged Home Offices: Mobile, Collaborative and Free!

Whether you're a senior looking to rejuvenate a lifelong career, someone facing the loss of your job, or simply itching to breath a little entrepreneurial spirit into your life, you might find yourself in the company of many clever people looking for practical and inexpensive ways to reinvent themselves with the help of the net. The web can be a powerful way to kick-start a new career, and you don't have to spend a bundle to do it.

During the next few columns I'm going to take listeners through the steps of finding a new calling, identifying markets, collecting the best free tools, and starting up a home office through their personal computer. I'll be sharing some of the web's best kept secrets to help virtually anyone set up an instant home office with tools that rival the pro's, without spending a dime. From the untapped power of wikis, Google notebooks and docs, calendars and a handful of truly savvy collaborative tools, you can turn your know-how into a personal business, tapping into instant markets, connecting with customers, and collaborating with allies who can give you a presence much bigger than yourself.

If you caught today's show, you may be here to find out where you can pick up an instant "basecamp" to start brainstorming your reinvention. I shared a few web sites where you can connect with other people who have faced this challenge before and who have some truly useful tips to share. I offered a heads-up on a free calendar to keep yourself on track, and even free office software for budgeting and planning. The best part? There's no cost. The tools are simple to set up and use, and will give you a good foundation to lay the groundwork for a very powerful home office. Ready for the highlights from today's show, with links to the resources I shared?

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Silentbanker: Standing Between One the Net's Most Tech-Savvy Viruses and Your Bank Account

Canadians have been waking up to find that one of the most problematic viruses ever has arrived in their own back yard, and that it's posing a troublesome and rather unconventional threat to their bank accounts. "silentbanker" is a "sleeper" virus used to launch a "man-in-the-middle" attack. Like most spyware it's designed to record your keystrokes, capturing things like passwords and personal information, but this one is much more insidious than traditional malware. Cultivated by tech-savvy criminal gangs for the purpose of draining bank accounts, it's one of the most sophisticated computer viruses ever released, and continues to evolve at the hands of professional software developers, afflicting more than 400 banking sites in Canada in the past week.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Supersized New Year's Resolution: How Oklahoma City is Using the Internet to Win by Becoming the Biggest Loser of the Year

Most of us are guilty of making and breaking the cliché New Year's resolutions. Some of us even turn to the net for a little help, but this year Oklahoma City Mayor, Mick Cornett, is betting big, and using the Internet to reach out to citizens to turn a city's fate around, one pound at a time. The goal? Lose one million pounds in one year!

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