How to Force a Public Wi-Fi Login Page to Display

Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee shop chain, may not have invented free Wi-Fi, but they sure did popularize it. Starbucks rolled out the service back in 2010, and since then so many restaurants have followed suit it feels at times that the U.S. is blanketed in Wi-Fi (it’s not). Starbucks’ influence extended to a subsequent and related …

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The So-Called Death of the Headphone Jack

Until fairly recently, the 3.5 mm headphone jack was ubiquitous, a nearly-universal standard in portable audio equipment. It had been that way for decades, until September 2016, when Apple announced that none of its phones going forward — starting with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — would include an audio headphone port. With space in new …

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Are You a Mac or a PC?

We’ve all heard it said before: Mac users and PC users are just different. But is it true? Before we get to the crux of the argument, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way: we’ll define a “PC” as a computer manufactured by any of a dozen companies that runs on the Microsoft Windows operating …

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The Unlikely Case of the Brick-and-Mortar Store with Lower Prices than Amazon

AAmericans love Amazon, and have demonstrated this affection with their wallets, making the Seattle-based online superstore extremely profitable. Each year, in fact, Amazon gets bigger relative to other online retailers, as consumers award it a larger share of their total online shopping budget. This means that each year, Amazon amasses a little more power, and …

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How Amazon Tricks its Customers into Believing its Prices are Lower than they Actually Are

Why do U.S. consumers shop at Amazon in numbers that are orders of magnitude greater than any other online retailer? There are many plausible reasons consumers might prefer Amazon over competing stores: its vast array of products, free shipping policy, fast shipping practice, Amazon Prime benefits, and useful product reviews, for instance. But the primary …

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One Coloring App to Rule them All

Coloring Books Get a Makeover Coloring apps (sometimes called “coloring book apps” or “coloring apps for adults”) are having a moment. For the uninitiated, coloring apps are exactly what they sound like: coloring books, but without the book part. These app simulations of coloring books run on your mobile device of choice but are especially well suited to tablets. …

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Five Things Apple Got Wrong with the iPhone X (and How to Fix Them)

Cupertino, We Have a Problem — Actually, Make That Five. Prior to its launch, the iPhone X was being called “the most highly-anticipated version” of the phone to date, and with good reason. Almost two years before the iPhone X’s release, back when people still called it an iPhone 8, rumors of Apple’s plans for a major …

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An Appreciation of Popularity

The correlation between popularity and quality is tenuous at best. How often have excellent products died in the marketplace, while competing products of lesser quality have succeeded (I'm thinking Betamax, Kodak, and TiVo, to name a few)? How often, too, have movie stars achieved enormous popular success despite possessing little in the way of acting ability (my apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone)? Popularity isn't …

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It’s a Feature, Not a Bug: Inequality in Liberal Cities

At the November 10, 2015 Republican presidential debate, candidate Rand Paul said that inequality in cities -- the gap between the rich and poor -- "seems to be worst in cities run by Democrats." His comment received rousing applause from the audience, and much media attention. To be fair, Paul got the data right (for …

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Walkability and Transit Mean Independence in Golden Years

Most adults want to age in place; that is, grow older without the need to move from their home or community. As driving becomes a challenge, though, seniors can feel dependent upon others, or isolated and cut off from their friends or public services. Communities that have strong public transit systems and walkable amenities are …

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