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Issue #396: Feb 22–28, 2015

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Q: Are you aware of instructors locally, not the Samsung web site who can teach the operations of the Samsung S5, whether fee for service, classes, or home service. We have an S5 that is giving us fits. Almost impossible to solve all problems over the telephone with Samsung.

– Walter D.
Miramar Beach, Florida

 A: This sounds like a good question for my fellow Geeks to answer, since I personally do not know of anyone offering Smartphone classes locally, much less classes specific to your model.  If anyone knows of such classes available in-person in Walter’s local area, reply to this article over on ItsGeekToMe.co below.  Not only will you help-out Walter, you’ll automatically be entered in the February contest.

In the meantime, Walter, how about some online training?  Lynda.com is an online learning company that offers subscription-based training courses, taught by industry experts, and they just happen to offer a series on the Galaxy S5.  There are 2 courses with 80 video tutorials.  Check it out at tinyurl.com/nr7bf3w.

Q:  I love your column, the advice you provide, and well, your humor along the way. That said, I think it’s time to lay off the “thanks, Bill” (hear me out, make that read me out). Bill in this case we all know is Bill Gates and we should be thanking him in front-end loader buckets full every hour of every day we’re using a Windows-based device. I can’t get into the number of lines of code make up Windows/DOS now but we both know if you put the ones and zeroes end to end you could walk to the moon on the string, and get halfway back home. Perhaps a “thanks, Bill” here and there when you cite one of the OS’s virtues? I guess I’m just in an ornery mood, my coffee machine having overflowed while I was in the shower, instead of it putting its hot, aromatic, life-giving beverage in the carafe where I expected it to be for me this freezing cold morning (thanks, Sir Isaac).  It’s very cold this morning and I’m having to brew a second pot of coffee and clean up one heck of a mess.

– Bill R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 A: I don’t completely disagree with you, Bill, but you’ll never get me to agree to give-up my little jabs at that larger-than-life person, Bill Gates.  He made being a Geek cool, founded an empire upon which countless millions of careers are based (including my own), and advanced the cause of technology more in a shorter span of time than arguably anyone in our modern time except for maybe Steve Jobs.  He also tolerated idiosyncrasies along the way that didn’t have to be there, and therein lies the source of “Thanks, Bill!”  Who remembers how every single version of MS-DOS used to reply “One file(s) copied” as if figuring out whether it was more than one would over-tax the processor?  Who (including Bill Gates himself) hasn’t had a BSOD for no apparent reason other than that they were in a hurry to get something done?  Who ever thought it was a good idea to label the button that you click to shut your computer down, “Start”?  It goes on, and gets much worse, but my space is limited.  Suffice it to say that speaking as someone who has worked as a computer professional since around 1985, and who sits in front of a PC for as many as 15 or 16 hours per day, it can probably be measured in years the time I have wasted working around problems which, by all rights, should never have been in software that is released on such a large scale.  So, thanks, Bill!  And sorry about your coffee, but don’t blame Sir Isaac.  He didn’t invent gravity, he just discovered it.

Reader Tip of the Week:  Reader Robert H. wrote to me this week to tell me that I had been cited by the website Snopes.com for my article on Flashlight Malware on smartphones (I.G.T.M. #392, Jan 25, 2015).  You can read the Snopes article at tinyurl.com/l6l4gnv.  Snopes is a widely-used website for confirming or debunking urban legends, myths, and other Internet lore, so I consider it an honor for I.G.T.M. to be noticed and cited by them!  Special thanks to you, Robert for taking the time to write-in and let me know!


Bonus Web-only content:

I mentioned in this week’s column that Bill Gates himself has fallen victim to a BSOD on occasion.  Here’s your proof.  This happened on April 20, 1998 at COMDEX, during a live demonstration of what was then a new feature in Windows — Plug and Play.  To make matters worse, the demo was being run on a beta version of the as-yet unreleased Windows 98. 

So, if this happened to Microsoft’s own CEO on stage during a very-public demo at one of the industry’s largest trade shows, one can’t help but wonder how many times it happened in the lab during product development and testing.  And still, someone blessed this software for the big man himself to help demonstrate.  No surprise then at some of the stuff they’ve thrown to the masses, hmm?  Thanks, Bill!


The Geek’s Website of the Week!

Name: JibJab

Nominated By: The Geek

URL: http://www.jibjab.com

Description: Now you can embarrass your friends and family all year long!  All it takes is a couple of headshots (pictures), a few minutes online, and this week’s website of the week: JibJab.

JibJab will take your uploaded pictures, and embed them in photos, and real full-motion videos, which can e sent as eCards for birthday, holidays, special occasions, etc.  It’s a bit of pure fun for people with the right sense of humor.  There are also funny e-cards designed to feature you, and even ones that don’t have any embedded pictures at all.

There are dozens and dozens of  e-cards available, covering a wide range of occasions and everyday situations.  Among the categories are such oft-overlooked necessities as “Office Fun”, “Profile Pics”, and “Random”.  The media ranges from single-person pictures to multi-person videos, so you can embarrass your co-workers en-masse!

I would, of course, be interested in seeing any examples of your work.  Feel free to e-mail or upload them!

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4 Responses to “Issue #396: Feb 22–28, 2015”

  • spikes89 says:

    I believe Best Buy offers free classes on the galaxy S5.

  • robhirsc says:

    BestBuy has a Samsung desk with Samsung employees. They offer just the course requested which I took last month. Go to Samsung’s website to sign up for this and other courses (tablets, etc.).

  • supersleuth says:

    1. Verizon store at Beale Parkway/Mary Esther Cut Off intersection offers 2- hour classes every other Saturday, rotating between Samsung and I Phone technology. Suggest calling there and seeing what the exact schedule is.Tom, the instructor is one of the most knowledgeable individuals I’ve met on smart phones. He has a unique capability to wipe out any intimidation factor for the user.

    2. In addition, an Instruction Book is now out on the S5, complete with large print and color how-to illustrations. Title is: “My Samsung Galaxy 5: by Steve Schwartz. Check the bookstores. Found mine at SAMS.


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