10 Websites Geeks Of All Stripes Should Bookmark


websites for geeksWe geeks know what we are and revel in our existence as our place in society grows ever stronger. We are geeks, we are proud, and we’re not going anywhere. As the Internet becomes a bigger part of everybody’s lives, we are the ones who they, the non-geeks, will turn to for help and advice. And we will offer that help and advice without hesitation.

There are some fantastic resources on the Web for geeks, of all ages and all kinds. Be it computer geeks who like to mess around with the insides of machines or those more mainstream geeks (as I consider myself) who approach things from a more basic angle but then delve as deep as they need to in order to understand. The following are 10 websites for geeks that you should bookmark.

Lifehacker

websites for geeks

Lifehacker is a website which does exactly what its name suggests – provide life hacks. These are anything which can help solve an everyday problem in a new way, or aid productivity and efficiency. Within those boundaries, content on Lifehacker is diverse, with everything from personal finance to health, from cooking to photography. This is geekdom for those who want to better themselves.

How-To Geek

websites for geeks tech

How-To Geek is completely dedicated to computers and how they work. There is a constant stream of articles related to the topic, as well as forums with sections dedicated to all the major operating systems and specialized topics such as building your own PC. This is geekdom for those who know a little but want to know more.

TechRepublic

websites for geeks tech

TechRepublic is a vast resource with sections dedicated to blogs, downloads, galleries, and discussions, amongst others. Content is also segregated by the field of technology it belongs to; development, IT support, networks, etc.

This isn’t a site for everyone but rather those who already have some kind of connection to the tech sector. This is geekdom for professionals.

Ozzu

websites for geeks tech

Ozzu labels itself simply as ‘Webmaster Forum‘ and that’s a fitting description. This is news, information and resources for developers, programmers, and designers. There are forums for those with a passion for each of these professions, with a considerable amount of crossover included. A marketplace offering job opportunities in this field also features. This is geekdom for webmasters.

Neowin

geek websites

Neowin has tech news, reviews, features, and forums. It was once all about Microsoft and its products, but it has now evolved to cover Mac and Linux amongst other things.

It’s fair to say there is still a pro-Microsoft bias on the site though, which isn’t a bad thing considering all the pro-Apple bias on other sites. This is geekdom for fans of Windows.

Protonic

geek websites

Protonic is a site offering an invaluable service. If you need technical support for your computer, be it hardware- or software-related, then you can get it for free on Protonic.

You simply ask a question and a volunteer will answer it for you, offering assistance completely for free. This is geekdom for those in need.

ITProPortal

geek websites

ITProPortal delivers “24/7 Tech Commentary & Analysis.” This is around-the-clock news with a British bias, with different sections dedicated to different sectors of technology.

What differentiates ITProPortal from so many other sites is the added commentary, with a different spin often put on stories you may have already read elsewhere. This is geekdom for tech news junkies.

Gizmag

Gizmag is the place to spy on invention and innovation. While we all know about the new iPador Windows 8, we don’t always get to hear about the slightly zany, out-there gadgets in development. Which is where Gizmag comes in.

We’re talking flying cars and suction-cup shoes. Things that we may or may not all be using in the years to come but which are already out there now. This is geekdom for those who love gadgets.

Stackoverflow

Stackoverflow is a constantly updating stream of programming-related questions. If you’re the kind of person who likes reading questions about programming and on topics completely incomprehensible to ordinary people then Stackoverflow could be your nirvana.

I’ll be honest and admit I haven’t a clue what most of the questions on Stackoverflow are pertaining to, but James Bruce may well do. This is geekdom for those who are bigger geeks than me.

MakeUseOf

websites for geeks

MakeUseOf is awesome, obviously. If you’re reading this then you already know MakeUseOf is THE place for geeks to hang out. With more than 20 writers, all of whom have different interests and expertise in different fields, MakeUseOf will have something for everyone.

I myself,consider ” makeuseof ” the best!

There are Best Of Apps for a host of platforms, Guides and Cheat Sheets, a vast Directory of websites, and a forum for Questions and Answers. This is geekdom for the masses.

Conclusions

The 10 websites above represent geek heaven. These are where all geeks or would-be geeks should be hanging out on a daily basis. When combined with the 10 websites where cool computer geeks reside you should never be left needing a place to visit on the Web to gain your geek credentials.

As always we want to hear from you. So please let us know your thoughts on geeks, geek culture, and websites for geeks. If there are you visit on a regular basis that you feel should have made the list then link to it in the comments section below.

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5 Tech Myths: Cell Phones Don’t Cause Cancer & More


tech mythsMyths are more common than most people will admit. They perpetuate because they sound like they could be true – and nobody has time to fact-check every last detail. Eventually, as the myths are repeated time and time again, they sound more factual than the truth.

Technology is as susceptible to myths as any other niche. The complexity of the subject, combined with the rapid introduction of new, unfamiliar innovations, creates a perfect breeding ground for misunderstanding. Let’s set these tech myths straight.

RAM Usage Is Bad

tech myths

MakeUseOf will occasionally receive a question from a reader that asks about how to reduce RAM usage on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Their alarm is understandable. A user browsing the web in Windows 7 might open their task manager to find over six gigabytes ofRAM used. “Ack!” they think, “no wonder my computer is so slow!”

In truth, this relationship should be flipped on its head. RAM is very, very quick. Mechanical hard drives and some forms of flash storage (like most SD cards) are slow. By storing data that might be needed in RAM, a computer can increase the load speed of frequently accessed software. If RAM is not full of data, it’s effectively doing nothing, so why have it sit empty?

Smartphone users shouldn’t worry for the same reason. Background apps can negatively impact performance on an Android phone, but this usually isn’t because of memory. Instead, the culprit is usually an app that’s running in the background. Clearing memory appears to improve performance only because the offending app is closed to free up space.

Improperly Unmounting A USB Drive Will Delete Data

tech myths busted

Windows has long sounded the alarm about improperly unmounting disk drives. To this day, you may still receive warning messages when you remove a drive that you haven’t properly disabled through the operating system. Given the alarm, you’d think that the consequences of disobeying would be disastrous.

Not true. USB drives can be freely removed from a computer without issue in most situations. I can attest to this personally. As part of my work, I often have to move flash drives from one PC to the next, and I’ve never lost data from a drive because of it.

So why the warning? Microsoft is playing it safe. Data corruption can occur, but only if a USB drive is actively in use at the moment it is unplugged. Most users don’t do this. Still, Microsoft doesn’t want to be on the hook for the 1-in-1000th  time it does occur. And that’s why the alarm is raised even when there’s no fire.

You Don’t Need An Antivirus If You’re Careful

tech myths busted

Whenever I write an antivirus article I inevitably receive a reply from some smart-alec who claims that you don’t need an antivirus if you’re careful. Viruses come from infected files, right? So just don’t download them! You’ll be fine.

Well, actually, that tech myths couldn’t be more wrong. A decade and a half ago, most viruses were distributed through infected files, but they’ve become far more sophisticated since then. Worms, a specific class of virus, can infect any vulnerable computer through networking exploits. Other viruses spread using browser vulnerabilities. And still more are designed to spread via USB drives or local networks.

Clever users might respond by claiming people don’t have to worry if their software is up to date. This too is no guarantee. Zero-day exploits are common and even a patched system is a sitting duck. An antivirus may be able to stop such an attack (even though it’s unknown) by using heuristic detection to raise the alarm when a file behaves suspiciously. Those without antivirus, however, have no defense.

Cell Phones Cause Cancer

tech myths busted

Many consumer technologies rely on energy and therefor emit or use some form of radiation. Even radio waves are a form of radiation, and since cell phones use them, there’s been concern that having a source of radiation close to our heads could cause cancer. This has been backed up by an alarming report from the World Health Organization which labeled cell phones a “Class B Carcinogen”.

You’d expect that to be based on some fairly hefty evidence, right? Actually, the WHO report is less damning than it sounds in headlines. Class B simply means that a study has indicated that there might be a link, but the link is too weak to be definitive. Meanwhile, numerous other studies have found no link. This includes a massive Danish study involving 350,000 people that was released in late 2011.

Further evidence against the risk of cancer can be found in what we know of physics. Radiation comes in multiple forms, and humans only need to worry about radiation energetic enough to damage DNA. Ultraviolet rays from the sun, which can cause skin cancer, are over 400,000 times more energetic than those emitted from cell phones. Low energy waves like radio can’t hurt DNA, and that means they can’t cause cancer.

Everything Electronic Causes Cancer

tech myths

This means that what holds true for cell phones should hold true for other wireless devices, as well. The rise of wireless networks has caused distress about what all those waves bouncing through the atmosphere might do to our cells. The answer is simple – nothing.  Sleeping on a bed made of wireless routers would be uncomfortable, but it’s not going cause cancer.

Some users become concerned because of another alarming effect. Heat. As electronics are used, they put out heat, and that heat is absorbed by our bodies. That’s why your thighs are warm after using a laptop.

Computers can be harmful if they’re too hot, but the problem isn’t limited to electronics. Dermatologists have long known that constant exposure to heat can cause scaly, discolored skin which is often permanent. A hot computer can cause this – as can a heating blanket, seat warmer, fireplace or oven.

While skin discoloration and minor burns can be a problem to a handful of people, there’s no evidence that normal, intermediate use of a computer will cause cancer. The lesson from dermatology is simple. If something is hot, don’t hang around it too long.

Conclusion

This is merely a handful of tech myths. There are plenty more out there, ranging from the believable to the utterly outrageous. Have you heard a tech myth that you later found out wasn’t true? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

By Matt Smith makeuseof.com