Articles by Douglas Moran

Apple Listens to Suggestions! (Wish Fulfillment Edition)

So a few weeks ago, my daughter Maggie got all hot and heavy into Dr. Who.  (I think for her it boils down to “David Tennant is hot!”, but for a nerd Dad, any excuse to get into something like Dr. Who is a good one!)  Because not all the old episodes are available on NetFlix streaming, Maggie asked if she could purchase a season or two from iTunes.  So in…


Lessons on Privacy from the Adult Entertainment Industry at SXSWi

Yes, I know it’s been over for a few weeks now, but I still have some South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) notes about some interesting stuff that I encountered there that I would like to share with you all, so I hope you don’t mind. Note to Readers: This post discusses topics related to adult industries, and specifically the sex worker sector.  If this type subject matter offends you, please…


iTunes, the Cloud, and Forced New purchase Downloads

As more and more information storage moves into “the cloud” — that is to say, you aren’t necessarily storing all those movies, TV shows, books, and whatever else locally on your system, but pulling them in from the Internet at need instead, using other people’s storage instead of your own hardware — it’s interesting to me watching various companies adapt.  Amazon has of course been out in front with their…


Experience Rock and Roll Filtered Through Luna Lee’s Korean Sensibilities on Her Gayageum

I never really understood all the fuss over the Gangnam Style videos.  Seemed a bit too much like the Lambada craze of the late 90s for my taste, honestly.  I’m more of a rock kind of guy.  (We will diplomatically ignore my love of Tom Lehrer songs, show tunes, and classical and jazz piano music for the purposes of this post.)  And so when a friend of mine on Facebook…


Chevy Volt at SXSWi Review

Chevy Volt, loaned to me for the week of South by Southwest Interactive for review purposes When it comes to car reviews, Gear Diary has some experienced people to check things out for you. But this time, neither our intrepid (and superlative) car reviewer David Goodspeed — and how excellent is that a name for a car reviewer, right? “Goodspeed”? Awesome! — nor our fearless lead editor, Judie (who has done…


Elon Musk Keynote Address at SXSW Interactive

As South by Southwest Interactive (henceforth: SXSWi) approached I found myself a bit overwhelmed by all the choices of talks, panels, hangouts, meetups, and God only knows what else.  As an Austin resident, I didn’t feel the need to over-indulge on Sixth Street’s entertainment venues — I can do it any time — so I tried to concentrate on talks and events that I though I would find interesting, and you…


SXSWi New York Times Talk on Gated Content

In which Doug attends a talk by New York Times reporter David Carr (above) on gated content at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) One of the talks that I had really been looking forward to at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi)–as a contributor to an online site as I am–was David Carr’s talk, “Gates of Heaven, Gates of Hell”,on how media was adapting to the internet, and specifically about the…


SXSW Interactive: First Fumbling Steps

South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi)–my first foray into trade show/events in a while I don’t go to many trade shows or other events.  Gear Diary’s editors, such as Judie, Dan, or CarlyZ, are usually the ones who take on that burden/honor.  It’s not that I don’t want to; I rarely have the opportunity.  But Chevy is running a promotional event about their hybrid Volt during South by Southwest Interactive (i.e.,…


Unlocking Cell Phones and the White House Petition

It used to be that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) had an exception which allowed unlocking cellphones (i.e., unlocking the phone from carrier exclusivity through the use of an unlock code — purchased from a third-party or obtained directly from the carrier).  However, in October of 2012, the Librarian of Congress decided that this exception was no longer valid, and so unlocking cellphones would now be illegal and subject to…


How Well Do You Trust Online Reviews?

Image courtesy of XKCD I recently read a very interesting post by Andrew Leonard about online reviews, and attempts by software companies to (as we say in the high tech world) productize them.  The question is valid:  In an online world with an overwhelming wealth of information about almost everything, how do you weigh reviews and make a buying decision? Certainly the online world is swamped in reviews.  But in…


iPhone 5 Shell Holster Combo Review

Aside from something ridiculously expensive like the offerings from Vaja (which are beautiful and I love, but: money!), I am constantly looking for a good case for my iPhone.  I like a slim case, but with some protection.  I like having a bezel in front of the screen, so that I can lay it face down at need.  I also like cases with a little additional functionality — one with card…


Full Body Scans, the TSA and the Law: The Legal Maneuvers Continue

I used to travel a lot — basically once a week.  I had a job in California, but my family lives in Austin.  (it was 2008–I took whatever I could find.)  So I spent a lot of time in airports, eating, pulling luggage, searching for power outlets, unlacing and relacing my shoes, and getting scanned. Over that period, airports were transitioning from X-Ray-only to those “strip you naked” full-body scanners….


The WhaleTail Tablet Vacuum Dock and Handle Review

I do a lot of news items here at GD — just keeping you folks abreast of new offerings, deals, and the like.  Every once in a while an item pops up that makes me think, “Yeah, okay, I’ve gotta give that a try.”  Such an item was the Octa WhaleTail tablet stand/holder.  I mean, it just looked cool, and I have been in search of a decent “holder” for…


Making Siri Work for You; Some Gear Diary Suggestions

Image courtesy of headlondon.com Siri is an interesting innovation.  I remember back in my early days  in the tech biz, when I read about and heard plenty of people talking about a) how voice recognition was just around the corner, and b) how voice recognition was dang hard, and it was going to be a long ways out in the future.  Of course, in those days a 500 MB drive…


How I Fell for a Muscle Car

This is the story of how a sensible, middle-aged guy fell from sensible car grace.  Have mercy on me. Let me be honest right up front here:  I am most assuredly not a “muscle car” fan.  I was a nerd/geek/dork in high school (in spite of doing two sports–do you think being in Drama and the Computer Club had something to do with it?), and the guys who had, or…


Normincie’s Revolutionary Laptop Bag Review

I’m not much of a shopper, usually.  When it comes to clothes, the quicker I can get in and out of a store, the better, so far as I’m concerned.  Same with shoes, or cars, or appliances, or pretty much anything, really.  Although Judie has made some headway over the years in helping me to see the beauty of quality accoutrements for my gear.  Nice laptop bags.  Vaja cases for…


The Z-Connector iPhone Case (with Chain!) Review

I’m a pocket watch kind of guy.  I have asked for, received, and used nice pocket watches since I was a teen.  In fact, I managed to initially catch the eye of one of my pre-marriage gas with a pocket watch: at a party, she spotted the gold chain attached to my pants, came over, and said, “Is there a watch attached to that chain?”  (We dated for 3 years!)…


SBCGlobal Users, Are You Having Trouble Sending Your Mail? Here’s Help!

Image courtesy of OrganicKuwait blog Hi there, SBCGlobal users!  I’d like to speak to those of you who work on Macs or Macbook Pros; I’ve been off Windows for a while (wow; I make it sound like heroin, don’t I), so I don’t know if what happened to me today is true on Windows boxes as well as Macs.  Read on if you like, though, because maybe you’ve bumped into…


Is Pottermore Going to Change the eBook Market?

As Michael told you the other day, the new Harry Potter official site Pottermore has been launched with much fanfare.  Your source for all things related to the Potter universe, including (finally!) electronic versions of all the books.  (And your faithful Gear Diary team has discussed that a bit in other posts as well.) Now, this is a big deal, of course, because the Potter books are insanely popular and…


Hey Amazon, Can You PLEASE Let Me Change the Paragraph Justification in Your Apps?

Image courtesy of (believe it or not!) furnitureconsignment.com So as you’ve probably heard–Michael posted about it, for example–J.K. Rowling’s latest cash cow, the Pottermore web site, finally went live today (a mere 6-9 months after it was originally promised, but that’s a whole different ranty post).  For me what this meant was that, finally, I would be able to actually buy the eBook version of the Potter books.   Yay!…


App Avalanche! How Do You Deal with Constant App Updates?

For anyone in the tech biz, one of the scariest words is, “Upgrade”.  You’re bumping along just fine, things are going well, and you get that dreaded email from your IT department informing you that some critical change has been made (usually to security and networking software), and you are required to upgrade your system.  If you’re lucky, you can do it without stopping your work completely and rebooting your…