frankmontage

Practical Nerd: When Amazon can’t be trusted

Recently, I bought a new Android phone. It didn’t come with everything I wanted, so I turned to my default shopping resource, Amazon.com. I did a search, set the options to only show “Prime Eligible” shipping, found the accessory I wanted … And stopped dead. Instead, after reading several buyer reviews, I purchased from a… Read More

SWSEAedu_Logos

Practical Nerd: Irresistible startups, immovable education

I’ve advised a number of startups over the years and have been directly part of at least two. I discovered what many entrepreneurs know: it’s a maddening, exhausting, adrenaline-filled, glorious existence in which there’s never enough time, resources, sleep or toilet paper (when I was at iCopyright we brought our own). So when I heard there… Read More

A shirt promoting Microsoft Bob.

Practical Nerd: The hidden price of “free”

In tech, nothing quite equals the siren lure of “free.” I still recall a friend of mine from Microsoft being amazed at the continued appeal of the lowly t-shirt. She described, in an awestruck-yet-cautionary tone, trade show attendees who happily applied Microsoft tattoos to their faces in the hope of being spotted on the show… Read More

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The Practical Nerd manifesto

What does it mean to be a Practical Nerd? I mean, being a standard-issue nerd is no longer a challenge. Not like when I grew up, when “nerd” was a term of derision, a reason for even the art and drama geeks to shun you, and a near-guarantee that someone at junior high school graduation… Read More

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Practical Nerd: A plea for independence from bad accessory support

Editor’s Note: “Practical Nerd” columnist Frank Catalano spent three hours this Independence Day weekend struggling under the oppression of one technology company’s failed accessory support. The only positive result: This open letter to Léo Apotheker, president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard. In August 2009, I purchased an HP Mini 1151NR through Verizon Wireless. This was a… Read More

kingfm

Practical Nerd: When content is KING-FM

Is there a place for an old linear medium in a bright shiny digital media world? That is the question that you might think haunts Classical KING-FM Seattle. Not only is it an old mass medium — radio — but its core content comes from composers who are, in many cases, hundreds of years dead…. Read More

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Practical Nerd: Three ‘secrets’ of the digital classroom

If you think you understand what’s happening in digital education because you follow digital consumer or business developments, think again. Because there are three digital technologies changing K-12 education that you’ve probably never heard of. I’ve worked in both consumer and education digital technology for nearly 20 years. The prevailing wisdom used to be that,… Read More

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Practical Nerd: Privacy vs. stupidity, a case study

This one goes out to you, Herbert. And to you, Phil. And yes, even you, Correspondent-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named. I’m afraid you’re all idiots. Because you are case studies showing that no matter how fervent the hue and cry is about Facebook’s privacy policies or tracking cookie abuse by marketers, a major threat to individuals’ privacy — and… Read More

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Practical Nerd: A Norwescon vision of tomorrow’s tech

I have seen the future. And it wears goggles and Victorian clothing. At least, that’s the immediate impression you might get after visiting Norwescon 34, which was held this past weekend near SeaTac airport. More than 3,500 attendees sold out the 2011 iteration of the long-running regional science-fiction and fantasy convention, in which “steampunk” (a… Read More

digecor

Practical Nerd: Alaska Airlines’ digEplayer enjoys a long flight to obsolescence

[Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome Frank Catalano, a veteran of the Pacific Northwest technology scene, as a GeekWire columnist. His new "Practical Nerd" column will appear regularly.] If you want evidence of how single-purpose gadgets are converging on sleek tablet form, you need look no further than the lowly airline in-flight entertainment device. Last… Read More