ON COMPUTERS

Archaic floppy disks still used to update Air Force One

Floppy disks, a creation of the 1960s, will never die. Or will they?

In a video that went viral this month, a Chuck E. Cheese employee is seen loading a 3.5-inch floppy into a computer. The floppy is used to send data to animate Chuck E. Cheese and his robotic friends.There are many other entities that use floppies as well. Even our military does.

The U.S. Air Force operates six Boeing 747-200 airplanes, each 36 years old, that get updates from floppies. Two of these are Air Force One planes. Airbus, the European rival to Boeing, as well as some business jets, also use floppies. Why don't they upgrade to USB sticks, SD cards, or wireless transfer? It would cost thousands of dollars more.

If you've got floppy disks laying around the house, but no way to read them, consider a floppy disk reader, $20 on Amazon. Windows 10 still supports those. See "4 Archaic Functions Windows 10 Still Supports," from makeuseof.com. You can also send a fax from your PC, or use a dial-up connection.

WIRELESS CHARGING

"Wireless charging is wonderful," says a reader. "I bought an inexpensive Belkin charging pad from Amazon, which sits on my nightstand. No more flying phones, cords and lamps."

He's talking about the $18 Belkin "Wireless Charging Pad 15W," but there's also the $11 Anker "315 Wireless Charging Pad." Like the Belkin, the Anker is only compatible with certain phones and earbuds, mostly made by Apple and Samsung.

FINDING FILES FASTER

My files are a hodgepodge on Google Drive. But recently I discovered a quick way to find what I want.

Start at Drive.Google.com. Click the three stacked lines in the upper right. You'll get a wealth of searching options. Under "type," you can browse categories like photos, documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and videos. Under "has the words," you can choose the key words that make the file stand out. Under "Date Modified," you can choose "custom," to search through a range of dates, such as 2015-20.

SAVING A CHATGPT SESSION

I wished I'd saved some of the artificially-intelligent chat sessions I experienced on AI.com and Bing.com. But now I know how to do it.

At AI.com, the home of ChatGPT, you'll need to register for a free account. From then on, every time you log in, you'll see your previous chats on the left hand side of the screen. Click the trash icon to remove any you don't want.

On Bing.com, save your chat session by taking a screenshot. I like Windows' built-in "Snipping Tool" for that. By the way, as long as you keep Bing open or minimized in Microsoft Edge, all your chats will remain. But as soon as you exit, they vanish.

REMOVING PHOTO DUPLICATES

If you have one of the later iPhones with iOS 16, you can easily eliminate duplicate photos.

Here's how: Open the photos app and select "Albums." Keep scrolling down until you get to "Utilities," and from there, choose "Duplicates." Then select all.

On an Android phone, open the "Files by Google" app. If you don't have it, you can get it from the Google Play store. In the Files app, look at the bottom and select "Clean."

MAKING MONEY ONLINE

A woman I know is ordering a 3D avatar so she can run fitness classes on Twitch.com without showing her own body. When she moves, the avatar will move too. Besides fitness, she also gets money when people watch her play games or create art.

An expert streamer on Twitch makes around $4,000 a month playing 40 hours a week, according to businessofapps.com. According to Japan-101.com, the games that draw the most viewers include "League of Legends," "Just Chatting," "Doda 2," "Overwatch" and "Counterstrike: Global Offensive." The top eight streamers make over a million dollars annually, according to statista.com.

IMPOSTER SCAM

Imagine hearing the voice of your son and being told he needed $15,000 because he was in a car crash that killed a U.S. diplomat. This actually happened. The voice and the story were fake, generated by AI.

According to ArsTechnica, these so-called "imposter scams" were the most frequent kind of fraud reported in 2022. Out of 36,000 reports, 5,000 victims were scammed out of $11 million over the phone. So if your daughter's voice asks you for money, tell her you'll call her back.

SILENT MOUSE

Logitech offers a new "silent mouse" for those who hate the sound of mouse clicks. It's the "MX Master 3S." Get it for $100 on Amazon.

ANDROID BEDTIME ROUTINE

To set up a bedtime routine on your Android phone, tap the clock, then "bedtime," and choose what you want. You can set alarms, schedule soothing sounds to play all night, or just let it play for a few minutes as you nod off.

I chose YouTube Music. But unless I upgrade to the premium version for $12 a month, I'll get commercials. The same goes for Spotify, at $10 a month. Both have podcasts as well as music.

INTERNUT

You.com is a rival to ChatGPT and Bing AI. Type your question in the search box. Then, when the next page comes up, click on "Click here to talk to me," instead of clicking on links.

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at joy.schwabach@gmail.com.

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