July 29th, 2015

Windows 10


You have been hearing about Windows 10 and you want to know more before you dive in. Here are articles of interest compiled just for you:

  1. Review of the basics and new features. Review by a knowledgeable user, Brian Jackson, at ITbusiness when he first uses Windows 10: http://www.itbusiness.ca/news/windows-10-review-the-last-os-youll-ever-have-to-install/58355
  2. Once you figured out the basics, here are some added tricks and tips from PC World’s Brad Chacos: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2875600/windows/windows-10-the-best-tips-tricks-and-tweaks.html
  3. If you want to use Windows 10 on your MAC? Here is some advice from The Verge’s Micah Singleton: http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/29/9058825/windows-10-macbook-how-to-install-osx
  4. If you really want to know the “other side’s” view, here is an article from Appleinsider’s Roger Fingas about the new Operating System: http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/07/29/windows-10-launches-to-favorable-reviews-cautions-about-bugs-and-feature-gaps?utm_medium=twitter.com&utm_source=applenws.com.
  5. And now for some nostalgia, this is how CNet saw the launch of Windows 95, 20 years ago: http://www.cnet.com/videos/start-me-up-watch-cnets-early-coverage-of-windows-95-back-in-1995/ You just have to go to around 3:30 into the video, where you can find the original Start Me Up ad from Microsoft, courtesy of Mick Jagger and the lads from Rolling Stones.

Cedric Tetzel

January 8th, 2015

Day 2 – CES2015


Well, let’s start with what I thought was the sexiest tech item at the show I have seen so far: the new Sony XBR series with a screen so thin, it looks like it is floating 0n air. Yes, the on screen image is beautiful. Yes, the bezel is an example of minimalist design. Sony has done such a fine job over the years on producing great TV’s, such features are no longer surprising. However, when you check out how incredibly thin this TV is, you’d be amazed.
It’s art. It’s engineering. It’s both.


January 7th, 2015

Day 1 – CES2015


Arriving at Las Vegas.

Between Comdex and Consumer Electronics Show, this is my 31st year of electronics or computer trade shows in Vegas. If the first day is any indication, it could be a banner vintage.

OK, there is the usual share of weird stuff that leaves you scratching your head, so let’s get that out of the way. Sketchers is going to launch their kids shoe line that features a version of the “Simon Says” game on the shoe itself. Why? I have no idea. But just in case there are some kids out there that still lack stimulation and distraction, they can now play with their shoes.


March 8th, 2014

Protecting Yourself Online



If you are paranoid, you probably should stop reading right now. The internet is a dangerous place and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Don’t download pictures of sunsets and cute cats. Malware, using something called steganography technology, can be hidden behind the file and it monitors financial institutions like banks. Trend Micro has an excellent article on this: http://tinyurl.com/qz43abk
  2. If you are still using Internet Explorer 9 or 10, there is a good reason to update it to Internet Explorer 11. At least update your IE9 and 10. It is bad enough that even Microsoft has acknowledged that it is a problem and has issued a fix for the older browsers. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/advisory/2934088
  3. If you thought malware is just a Windows threat, think again. Here is a recent posting from Symantec on an Android Trojan Horse virus that steals informaiotn from your Android device: http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2014-030418-2633-99
  4. And nope, that famous operating system that is supposedly invulnerable? They’re not. You need to update: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/update-apple-ios-mac-software


July 26th, 2013

In the Beginning….

In the Beginning there were no geeks. The world was filled with Underwood typewriters and white-outs.

first_computerOut of that, the geeks arrived. Attracted by build-it-yourself kits, they built really ugly computers that blinked and squawked and did little else.

Then, came a couple of uber-geeks, in California, who made a desktop computer that actually ran a few programs that normal people found useful.

Around the same time, another couple of uber-uber-geeks, stuck in the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, worked out their own version of BASIC, bought an operating system and started a revolution by providing real life reasons to own and use a computer.

At that time, normal people had to buy computers from geeky types who spoke in a language foreign to all humankind.

It came upon a dark and dreary winter night, when the idea of having a retail store that spoke the language of the people; who was willing to teach geeky types they hired the importance of building confidence in the user; who took time to explain, to teach and to educate; who was available throughout the week and into the night to help solve problems and fixed things that went zap.

In fact, why set up in a shop designed to intimidate, which was the fashion of the day. Why not set it up in a drug store? Why not treat a customer like a normal person? Why not demystify the geekiness of the whole industry?

first_computer-2That was the genesis of the Computer Department of London Drugs. The year was 1983 and this is our 30th birthday. Many of my colleagues I met in 1983 are still working for the company, a little bit older, a little bit wiser, but just as nerdy as we ever were back in 1983.

Over the years, we saw Microsoft introduce DOS, Windows and even Bob. We were there when Apple brought out the iMac, the iPod, iPhone and iPad. We started with text based interface and morphed into the mouse and further transmuted into touch and gestures. We experienced the dawn of Space Invaders and the launch of Halo. We saw computers that were too heavy to move turn into tablets that fit into coat pockets. We saw phones getting smart. We felt the change from snail-mail to email to social media.

surface_proWe were there for the entire journey from uber-geekdom to everyday nerdiness. We can’t wait to find out what other nerdy stuff we get to lay our hands on for the next 30 years.




Cedric Tetzel
@cedrictetzel for @Londondrugs

July 9th, 2013

I am getting fit, bit by bit with FitBit

OK. OK. I am not campaigning to be the next poet laureate.

I am getting fitter though and that’s no joke.

I started with a target of losing 20 pounds last year, as I was getting backaches and other overall health issues. The first 5 pounds was easy. It just meant getting rid of some really bad eating habits. The next 5 pounds meant having to eat healthier foods: more veggies and fruit, a balanced diet.

The next ten was tough at first, because of too much data and not enough information. First, let me explain. I am a nerd. I am obsessed with keeping track of things. I need to know the glycemic index of every food I eat. That sort of thing. Reading diet books gave me ideas, but there was nothing to show for it except my bathroom scale. I felt blinded by too much and too little.

I needed feedback.

Then, I discovered Fitbit. I first started using Fitbit Ultra, the older version clip-on style monitor. It looked like a pedometer, but it did so much more. I started an account online to track my daily activity level, tracking the number of steps I took, the number of stairs I climbed, the calories I burned and the calories I ate. I started with the goal of just keeping a baseline fitness level. I then added a weight loss goal about 4 months ago.

That was when Fitbit got my attention from a bunch of different levels:

  1. It is easy to hit the baseline activity level. The default was 10,000 steps a day. It turned out that on a regular day at the office, I logged about 5,000 steps. By going for a walk every night after dinner around the neighbourhood, I can reach 10,000 without, literally, breaking a sweat. Being a goal oriented personality, those 10,000 steps became a focus of mine. The highlight for this year was reaching 30,000 steps in one day while I was traveling abroad. In fact, I achieved 29,700 steps at 23:30, so I walked around my extremely cramped hotel room in Hong Kong to reach 30,000 before midnight. OK, it was a tad obsessive, but it was fun to reach that goal.
  2. Eating right is also remarkably easy. Being given a daily “budget” of the number of calories to eat, I managed to make changes to my diet, without starving or giving up a lot of foods I like. It did mean adding more fruit and vegetables to my diet and it also meant reading labels of foods before I bought them. For instance: just like a large part of the population, I enjoy a Quarter-pounder once in a while, but a Quarter-pounder Meal meant I basically had to give up eating for the day!! Not going to happen. However, by changing my beverage to Coke Zero and eating only the Quarter-pounder without the fries, it is actually not a bad lunch, at 530 calories.
  3. The Fitbit database is phenomenal!! I used the US database and just about anything and everything you can eat would be there. Just click and log. If you have other foods that are not on the database, either use something similar with the same caloric count or add to the database yourself.
  4. The database also includes a wide range of activities, from golfing while carrying a golf bag to hiking with a 25 pound pack or simply mowing the lawn. With this database, I track my activities. Some days, when my brain tells me to stay home and watch NCIS, my Fitbit hints that a walk around the park means I can treat myself to a small sundae afterwards. NCIS’ loss is DQ’s gainJ

Just over a month ago, I upgraded to the current and newest Fitbit: the Fitbit Flex. I had to give up the stairs monitoring part, but I gained a much nicer interface and a great sleep monitor. The sleep monitor allowed me to gauge how long I sleep and how often I wake up. Like most people, I do not recall waking up during the night, but I do. Fitbit tracks all that. The Older Fitbit Ultra did it, but I had to wear a neoprene wristband which was a pain. The Fitbit Flex stays on me wherever I go. The battery seems to last almost a week between charges, so I even went on a short holiday without the charging strip.

OK, you want to hear the results? I managed to drop 25 pounds in total, the last 10 with the help from Fitibit. I am right in the “good” section of Body Mass Index. My rest pulse rate is around 60.

The basic concept here is simple. Fitbit provides me with information in context of my profile. Constant feedback from Fitbit via my computer and iPad is like having a coach next to me all day and all night.

Love it.

Cedric Tetzel
@cedrictetzel for @LondonDrugs

June 25th, 2013

Another reason to travel with a router

So, there I was, downtown Taipei with 100,000 or so of my geeky friends. Internet is available from the hotel, the city of Taipei, the tradeshow organizers. Life’s good, right? Think again.

The City provided free wifi for all trade show attendees, but coverage was not exactly universal.

The tradeshow, Computex, provided free wifi for anyone who happens to be standing at one specific spot in the cavernous exhibition hall. Tin foil hat apparently was the fashion statement of the event.

The hotel had Wifi all over the place, but with everyone having multiple devices hooked up at all times, the download speed reminded me of the days of the 300 baud acoustic coupler modem.

Luckily, I had my handy dandy Dlink Travel Router (DIR 505). I hooked that up to the hardwired internet connection and then broadcasted the signal to all my devices. My four devices shared a high speed Ethernet connection. No fall-out, no slow-down.

Bonus, I showed my boss the difference between his slow wifi and my high speed connection. He asked me to hook him up. I did. Serious brownie points. I live for brownie points.

Cedric Tetzel
@cedrictetzel for @LDComputers

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