Plex Media Server is a rare kind of app. It is desktop software, but is completely controlled by your web browser. Because of this, it works no matter which browser you choose to use, but more importantly it also works on any operating system platform — be it Windows, Mac, or Linux — and even NAS devices can run this software.

Plex will serve up media to virtually any device, from DLNA boxes like a Google TV and Roku to Blu-Ray players, DVR’s and even mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. I personally stumbled onto this great free service after replacing our HTPC with a Vizio Co-Star Google TV box. It will play almost any format and you can use it to push video, pictures and music around your home. Let’s take a look and see how it works.


When I get to take time off from being a tech enthusiast and writer there is generally one thing I want to do — be in the woods and mountains. While my wife and daughter do not share this enthusiasm, my son at least does, and we head out for single and multi-day hikes.

One service I find indispensable these days is the web resource AllTrails, an app that could be described as the Facebook of hiking, and more. Let’s take a look and see if this is what you need to get you in the great outdoors more. (more…)

By now you likely know that Google has made its popular Reader app an upcoming victim in the company’s infamous Spring Cleaning massacre of services. The news spread around the internet like wildfire and generated quite a bit of bad publicity and hard feelings against the search giant.

It also generated a ton of new traffic that suddenly began swamping alternative apps such as Feedly, which had to add ten-times the bandwidth and additional servers to keep up with its new-found popularity.

Another service, The Old Reader, has also been under heavy pressure since the Google announcement. In fact, as of this writing, there is a wait time of almost one week to import your OPML file into the service. In fact, when I first signed up, I received the following message on my screen:

I finally got a in, though, so let’s take a look at it together and see what The Old Reader brings to the RSS reader market. (more…)

While I need multiple browsers for my job, Chrome is my daily go-to choice. Its where I spend my days working, though I sometimes open Internet Explorer, Firefox or Opera for certain tasks. Why? Well, its fast, handles multiple tabs easily and has a great selection of extensions that make my job easier.

Extensions may sound like icing on the cake to most people, but when you make your living in a web browser some of these little add-ons can become rather important parts of your life. I was recently asked by a colleague which ones I thought helped me the most and that I thought were essential to my daily functions as a tech writer, and I did not have much problem rattling off a few answers. So, with that said, here is a list of my five favorite extensions that I use every day.


I am a runner. I have been running since high school cross country and track. Back in those days we kept logs of our distance and times in a notebook, but, like all things, technology has made sweeping changes to all of that. Ten years ago, perhaps a little more, Garmin teamed up with Timex for a GPS watch that could track your runs — I spent something like $300 on one and it was cumbersome to wear, plus had spotty coverage.

Fast forward to today and things have changed dramatically — GPS watches do not require that big armband transmitter I once wore and data can be uploaded directly to fitness programs and web sites without the user needing to even lift a finger.

While there are multiple solutions to handle this, the one I have chosen to use in recent times is called Map My Run — the maker also offers similar services for bicyclists, walkers, hikers, triathletes and general fitness gurus. Registration is free, though there are premium services available for a price. All of these services also offer mobiles apps that are available for both Android and iOS as well. (more…)

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