Ira Wilsker's archive

In the 11 years that I have been writing this weekly column (more than 500 columns), I know that I have had some spelling and grammatical faux pas. I have used several versions of Word, Google Docs, Open Office and Libre Office as my word processor, and all have a reasonable spelling and grammar checker, which I have never failed to run, but still some errors slip through.

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Last week I wrote about the imperative to frequently and constantly back up our hard drives. I referenced the three most important words in computing: Backup, Backup and Backup! I warned about Murphy’s first law of computing: “A properly backed up hard drive will never fail, but the first time that you do not have a current backup, it will always fail at the most inopportune time.”

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We have all heard the common and trite clichés that the only things that are for sure are death and taxes. For computer users, regardless of operating system or brand of computer, there is a third “truth,” and that is that hard drives will eventually fail. Hard drives, regardless of brand and reputation, are electro-mechanical devices with a lot of very fast moving parts, motors and some type of electronic controller that makes it work.

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I am frequently asked about information and sources of free software, and my most frequent response has had something to do with Gizmo and his comprehensive Web site techsupportalert.com. Gizmo, also known as Gizmo Richards, is really Ian Richards, an Australian who has been active in the hardware and software industries for many years and has developed an enviable reputation as the senior editor of a major computer publication.

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You may have not heard of Spotify, but millions of Europeans are intimately aware of the world class online music service. Now, Spotify is available in the U.S., in free, premium, and mobile versions.

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