TechMan: Consciousness musings from Techman's mind

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Welcome to TechMan's tech texts short stream of consciousness musings from a tortured mind.

While traveling last week I wanted to listen to music through my SiriusXM iPad app. I couldn't remember the password, so I reset a new one.

Little did I know that I would disrupt my wife's listening. She was using the account on another device and when I changed the password, it just stopped working for her.

It took an hour or so to drill through the menus of her device to be able to reset it to the new password. Now all works as it once did.

The lesson: This "let's connect your devices through the cloud" idea has its downsides.

AppleInsider reports that Apple has filed for a patent for a "smart shoe" that features sensors that can track wear and usage and tell you when you need to replace them, via built-in LED lights, speakers or displays.

Speakers? The last thing I want is my shoes nagging me to replace them. ("Replace me, replace me. I'm losing my sole. I'm feeling down at the heel."

Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu, Mali, set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, the website of the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

Governments should redouble their efforts to digitize and back up such materials so a bunch of barbarian fanatics can't destroy unique treasures with a gas can and a match.

Microsoft has announced it will launch the Surface Windows 8 Pro, aka the Surface Pro tablet, on Saturday at the Best Buy in Union Square, New York City.

The Surface Pro is the business version of Microsoft's tablet. The consumers version, the Surface RT, has been available for several months, starting at $499.

Although Microsoft has not released sales figures for the Surface RT, it appears to be selling like cold hotcakes.

Microsoft is positioning the Pro more as an ultrabook than a tablet. It will have half the battery life of the Surface RT, due to its use of an Intel Core i5 chip. But it will be more powerful and have a better display than its Surface RT sibling.

The Surface Pro starts at $899.

"World of Warcraft" players have raised more than $2.3 million for Superstorm Sandy victims, according to Blizzard, the company behind the game,

Throughout December, players contributed by virtually adopting the "Cinder Kitten," available in Blizzard's pet store, for $10.

Maybe there's a future for in-game charity fundraising.

A simple but nifty idea: If your car has an auxiliary in jack to its audio system, as many do, you can hook up your smartphone through the earphone jack. Then download the Pandora app and you can play Pandora through your car's audio system.

Same works with the online version of SiriusXM radio. Of course, there is a charge, but doing it online allows you to have Sirius in any car you are driving with only one subscription.

It's not as nice as having it built in to your radio, but if you pay attention to driving instead of trying to change channels on your phone, it works fine -- even with a 3G data connection.

If you are a fan of techno thrillers like TechMan is, I recommend the novels of Daniel Suarez.

Mr. Suarez comes from the information technology world, so the tech parts of his novels are accurate.

His three novels are "Daemon," "Freedom" and "Kill Decision." I would recommend reading the first two in order. The last one, which deals with autonomous drones and anonymous warfare, stands by itself.

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Read TechMan's blog at post-gazette.com/techman. Watch or listen to TechTalk at multimedia.post-gazette.com.


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