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Fun again with your computer

Enough with all the doomsday stuff about people trying to hack your computer and having to clean up your passwords and security challenge questions to avoid identity theft, It is time to have fun again with your computer.

A big one here, take all those radio shows with you that you keep missing part or all because you are busy. If you use iTunes and have one of those i devices (iPod, iPhone) then you may be able to subscribe to your show if it has a podcast available listing in the iTunes store. Find your podcast by searching for it on the web, an example might be “Backstory with the American History Guys.” Once you are at the show site, look for the podcast link and you want to focus on whatever link is tied to iTunes. You will know you have clicked on the correct link if iTunes opens up to the iTunes Store with the listed podcast in front of you. Then click on Subscribe. The final step is learning how to transfer items to your i device, I will leave that up to you to figure out, maybe a web search for “transfer podcasts to ipod” might be the way to go. You find podcasts by asking, by searching for show names you like, or by browsing the iTunes podcast store.

Sometimes you want a simple basic 2D/3D model-drawing program, and SketchUp, formerly associated with Google and now owned by Trimble, may be just what you need. Look for the free version, SketchUp 8, not the Pro version, at sketchup.com. And, to learn it, they have both video and self-paced tutorials in their training section.

Some fun sites to check out include: workaway.info “[t]he site for travel, language and work exchange” and couchsurfing.org; ikeahackers.net to pull ideas for making from the flat-pack furniture; makezine.com and makeprojects.com to learn about what can come out of hacker-spaces and the maker movement; home and computer automation products like leapmotion.com, nest.com for a learning thermostat, and WeMo (belkin.com/us/wemo) to turn your smartphone into the remote for your house; fitsby.com to put money on the line for keeping fit; and the variety of gossipy news sites under the gawker.com house (scroll to the bottom of gawker.com to find sites like jalopnik.com, lifehacker.com, gizmodo.com and jezebel.com.) And, finally, I love boingboing.net, both for the name and the variety of things I would never think to look for.