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CalendarMay 25, 2019

Free Wi-Fi in Japan, 5 Years Later

Free Wi-Fi in Japan, 5 Years LaterI finally made it back to Japan last month, five years after my first visit. I say "finally" since I had hoped to return much sooner. Japan happens to be my favorite place in the world.

A lot can change in five years, especially with wireless technology. When I visited Japan in 2014, it was almost impossible to find free Wi-Fi. Fortunately, I purchased a 120 megabyte data plan from AT&T before leaving for my 2014 trip. This was my lifeline as traveled up north, where English signs disappeared and most people only spoke Japanese.

In April 2019, the Wi-Fi situation was completely different. I was able to find free Wi-Fi in nearly every city I visited, including Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. I even found several places with free Wi-Fi in Iwaki, located 2.5 hours north of Tokyo in the Fukushima prefecture.

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CalendarApril 1, 2019

Small Typo Sets Back Apple Design More than a Decade

Small Typo Sets Back Apple Design More than a DecadeOne small letter can make a big difference.

On March 19th, Apple announced the first update to its iMac line in almost two years. While Mac users were happy to see updated iMacs, even the most loyal Apple customers were left wondering — will there ever be a new design?

The "computer-on-a-stand" design has remained relatively unchanged since Apple released the iMac G5 in 2004. Despite growing complaints from Apple users, Apple has not strayed from the iPod-inspired design of the early 2000s. Finally, after more than a decade, information has surfaced as to why the company has been so reticent to update the design.

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CalendarMarch 26, 2019

Background Updates

Background UpdatesOK, so it has been a few months since my last Editor's Update. Instead of listing a bunch of reasons (a.k.a. excuses), I will simply distract from this fact by saying I've been busy making other updates to the site. I like to call these "background updates."

Notably, I have added several articles to the Help Center. In recent years, this section has become the most popular part of PC.net. I receive several questions a week, and while I wish I could answer all of them, I do answer the ones I can. Every once in a while I post an article based on something I learned, not user feedback. Yes, after all these years of working with computers, I am still learning new things.

One example is an article I posted yesterday about taking screenshots in macOS. When I'm doing graphics editing on my Mac, I often take screenshots of open windows and save them to the clipboard. I don't know how many times I've used the Command+Shift+Control+4 keyboard shortcut, but I'm sure it's in the thousands. The problem is macOS saves this annoying drop shadow around the window, which I often crop out in Photoshop when using the image in an web tutorial, for example.

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CalendarJanuary 1, 2019

PC.net 2019 Tech Stock Pick: WDC

PC.net 2019 Tech Stock Pick: WDCI have been investing ever since I was old enough to open a Datek Online account while I was still in high school. I've learned a lot in the past 20 years. While my early years investing were pretty painful, I eventually developed a strategy that has worked well. Several of my friends ask me for investment advice, which I'm happy to provide, with the qualifier that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the stock market.

Recently, I've enjoyed making a stock pick at the beginning of each year. I choose a single stock that I think will do well in the next 12 months. Last year, I chose AMD. It started the year at 10.98 and hit a high of 34.14 in September, for a gain of 311%. Like a lot of high-flying tech stocks, AMD came back to earth in the last quarter of 2018, but it still finished at 18.46, a 68% gain.

This year, for the first time, I've decided to share my annual stock pick on PC.net. For 2019, the stock is Western Digital (ticker symbol: WDC). If you're not familiar with Western Digital, its primary business is producing data storage devices, such as HDDs and SSDs.

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CalendarDecember 7, 2018

Switching to Dark Mode? Beware of Glossy Displays

Switching to Dark Mode?  Beware of Glossy DisplaysIn my recent monthly tip, I suggested trying dark mode on your Mac or PC. It's a dramatic change to the user interface, but it can be a great way to reduce eye strain if you sit at your computer for long periods of time.

I switched to dark mode in macOS Mojave recently, and overall, I prefer it. However, there is one downside that has been unexpectedly annoying — reflections. My glossy Thunderbolt displays reflect everything in the room behind me, including my paint trim, doors, artwork, and anything else that is not a dark wall. These things were unnoticeable when I was working with white or light grey backgrounds. But in dark mode, all of these objects are reflect clearly of the glass on my monitors. It can make it difficult to read text at times.

I never understood the "glossy display" trend from a few years ago, but now it is coming to bite those of us who have switched to dark mode. The reflections are bad enough that I plan to buy non-glare screen filters to minimize them. So if you decide to try dark mode – and you have a glossy display – at least now you know what to expect.

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