What Is "Hexadecimal" Anyway?

Computer people are weird, at least to many non-computer people. Computer people sound like they don't speak the same language, and they sometimes even count differently, for heaven's sake. Instead of just using the numbers 0 through 9, they sometimes use just 0 and 1 (called binary) and sometimes use a mixture of number and letters (called "hexadecimal" or "hex" for short).

The latter looks really odd when written down - for example the decimal number 26 is the same as the binary number "11010", or the hex number "1A". What?? Yep.

Bicycles, Guns And Healthcare

The United States has some of the best medicine in the world ... and a bloated and sometimes prohibitively expensive and inequitable healthcare system. It has become a mess, and everyone knows it whether they admit to it or not.

The Affordable Care Act was an attempt to fix some aspects of the problem. The result was unfortunately a predictable "big government" approach; fiddle with the parts that were already working, then throw tax dollars at the really broken stuff.

A recent article describes the visit of a US healthcare researcher to the European country of Denmark (population around 6 million), and glowingly reports upon their healthcare system. 
How is it so much better that ours? Well, you may not like the conclusions - it's our culture, stupid.


Repurposing An Old Android Tablet

It's a little hard to believe, but we have gotten to the point where some of us may have an old, outdated Android tablet laying around; it could have a bad battery, or it's old enough that it was replaced by something more spiffy.

Things that still have some utility should not just gather dust, they can be repurposed. In this case, HowToGeek has a step-by-step guide on rejiggering such an old tablet as a nifty WiFi connected, updating photo display frame.’s one you can set up at a family member’s house, update remotely, and never have to think about again.
Pretty cool - and no tools required.


Weekly Round-Up - Dec 8

I have gotten into the habit of coming up with a list of interesting links on a more-or-less weekly basis and posting them on this little corner of the web.

My goal is to try to mix it up between informative, funny, ridiculous, etc. and so I hope many of you will at least enjoy a couple of these...

Howard Stern comes to Apple TV

Voyager 1 - the Energizer bunny

Southern California wildfires as seen from space

Nvidia's $3,000 graphics card - I could buy a "work car" for that

10 best ugly Christmas sweaters on Amazon

YouTuber cements (his) head inside microwave
"Last Jedi" trailer - the budget version - #CheapAndCheerful

Should you delete online accounts?


Mobile Payments In The US: Slowly, Slowly

Mobile payments - using your smartphone to pay for things instead of swiping a credit card - has been slower to adopt in the US that over in the UK. Quite a bit slower.

I'll be honest and say I have never paid for anything from my phone (not by using the phone as the actual method of payment, anyway). That's on me though, I am slow to adopt in some areas...