inbox by gmail“Gmail Inbox” organizes your email to save time. If you already use Gmail filters, you won’t need it. Right now, it’s by invitation only, but you can request an invite at



dictionarySlovoed” offers one free talking dictionary each month for every kind of smart phone. This month it’s Russian to Arabic. It includes flash cards, common phrases and other learning tools. You can purchase any other dictionary from within the app. There’s a long list of dictionaries for $8 to $28. PC and Mac versions cost more.



Kick ass has a huge variety. In “history’s bad asses,” we learned that French Marshall Ferdinand Foch said the Versailles Treaty ending World War I was not a peace accord but an armistice for 20 years. World War II broke out 20 years and 65 days later. On the home page, we read of a Game of Thrones actress who got stuck on a different kind of throne (a toilet seat) because she was covered in so much fake blood.



80 year old non-bathing man on collects curiosities: photos, for example, of an 80 year-old man who hasn’t bathed in 60 years.



win patrolIn a recent column, we suggested using “msconfig” or Windows 8’s task manager to prevent too many programs from loading at start-up, slowing down your computer. A reader pointed out that a free program called “WinPatrol” from does the same job and provides more information.

The reader said he liked it so much he bought the “Plus” version because it gives a thorough description of mysterious files. That solves the problem other readers have brought to our attention: How to decide what should and shouldn’t run in the background. One reader said he disabled too many programs and lost his audio. Of course he was able to get sounds back on quickly by simply checking “enable all” in the list of start-up programs.

As an alternative to WinPatrol, msconfig or Task Manager, another reader wrote to recommend  Type in the name of a process running on your computer and get an explanation. If in doubt about what it means or whether or not you need it, the safest path is to leave things alone. If you make a mistake, however, you can always click “start,” run” and “msconfig” (or in Windows 8, use Task Manager) to re-activate any start-up item you disabled. Task Manager is available by right-clicking the task bar at the bottom of your screen.



never forgottenOne of our best friends passed away recently, and we were reminded of the digital afterlife: Facebook accounts and email that just keeps going.

Fortunately, there’s a form on Facebook that lets you memorialize a person’s account. That way, other people won’t get requests to “friend” the dead person. To find the form, do a search on the words “Facebook Memorialization Request,” or click here. You’re asked to provide a link to their “Timeline.” Just search on the person’s name while you’re in Facebook and click “Timeline.” Then highlight the web address with your mouse, and use the copy command (hold down the “Ctrl” button and tap the letter C) to copy it. For the Mac, use the “Cmd” button.

If you’d like to download the deceased person’s photo collection and data, go to and click “download a copy of your data.”

For information about closing down Gmail, do a search on the words “Google Inactive Account Manager,” or click here.  For other accounts, you can find info in the book “Your Digital Afterlife,” by Evan Carroll and John Romano.



doctor clipartAt, doctors, patients and researchers offer opinions on the correct diagnosis for medical conditions that have hitherto defied analysis and treatment. This is, in its way, the ultimate value of the Internet: the idea that if you can query the whole world, someone, somewhere, may know the answers to very difficult questions.

So far, the site’s founders claim there have been significant results in the first few months. Medical detectives have so far solved over 460 cases of difficult to diagnose illnesses. Some of these had previously eaten up more than $100,000 in tests and consultations over many years.

The site charges users for its premium service, but claims that this kind of crowd-searching is roughly 300 times cheaper and 50 times faster than the traditional medical system. What it boils down to is this a new approach to one of the most difficult jobs in medicine, reaching the correct initial diagnosis, and sometimes even the ultimately correct diagnosis.



Joy's niece and great niece

Joy’s niece and great niece

Our niece has a baby and was looking for a way to generate some income without leaving the house. So she went to a website we’d never heard of,, and bought a business for $365. She’s already $100 ahead.

It’s called, and it sells specialty plant holders for herb gardens. The website was created using the Shopify service, so it’s easy to alter. The seller was from Germany and the products ship from Italy. She sells products in Euros but the manufacturer uses British pounds. How’s that for global?

Besides websites, sells apps and web addresses. For instance, you might already have a business and need the perfect web address but find it’s been taken. In that case, you can often buy the address or “domain” you want.

If you buy a website, the business generally comes with it. Some are relatively expensive., an ebook publisher, sold recently for $7,500. Our niece says buying sites is addictive and she’s considering buying some more. Regular businesses, like a car wash or a restaurant, are often listed for sale in the newspaper.



car hacks30 Useful Car Hacks that Every Driver Should Know. If you’re driving an unfamiliar car, look for the arrow next to the tiny image of a gas pump in the fuel gauge indicator. It points to the side the gas tank is on. Soak a newspaper in warm water and place it over hard-to-remove window stickers. Use the car’s floor mats for traction to get out of mud or snow.



blast motion basketballFitness tracking has hit basketball. Now you can measure the height of your jump and how long you hang in the air before dunking that shot. Users say cheers are in order if you can climb air for .7 of a second; one user claimed doing 1.2 seconds. Sign that kid up.

It’s called “Blast Basketball” and it’s a $149 motion sensor clipped to the waistband of a basketball player, measuring jump height, rotation and hang time. There’s a video on YouTube showing it in action. The company, “Blast Motion, also sells motion sensors for golf and baseball.

If you want a movie of your moves as well as a sensor to keep track of them, Blast Motion also sells a $150 “Action Cam,” a special motion sensor which attaches to a GoPro camera, which in turn attaches to you doing loops on your skateboard, skis, or bicycle. A smartphone app creates video highlights and overlays the player’s jump and rotation statistics right on the video.