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Former software engineer at Microsoft for 18 years, now sharing my passions, answering questions & helping folks with technology. (since 2003)

Wired, wireless, and dealing with growth.


Networking sucks.

There, I’ve said it.

But setting up a home network to share your internet connection need not be horrendous.

A home network allows you to share a single internet connection, as well as data and devices, between multiple devices. I’ll review the basics components of a home network and some steps to take as your network grows.

Let’s say you just bought your second computer. Perhaps you purchased a new laptop, tablet, new machine for your spouse, or another machine for yourself. Maybe you want to connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi when you’re at home, to reduce the…


I might just have something

I realized the other day, based on the occasional feedback I get and the number of subscribers to 7Takeaways, that there might be more to this little side project of mine than just an exercise for myself. Others seem to find value, which is pretty cool. Honestly, knowing you’re out there helps keep me on my toes.

All that leads to my asking that you consider sharing 7Takeaways with a friend or acquaintance you think might be interested. …

In short: Bladder management.

The author’s hand squeezing a rubber ball as an apherisis machine “borrows” his blood. (Image by the author.)

Several weeks ago I received a call from my local blood center asking if I could donate platelets in the next few days. This was unusual, but I was a match to a specific patient in need.

Platelets in your bloodstream help your blood clot. They’re nature’s way of keeping a paper cut from becoming a medical crisis.

For most people.

There are individuals who can’t make or don’t have enough platelets. For them that paper cut can turn into a serious situation.

A major reason for low platelets: Cancer. Platelets are made in bone marrow, something routinely destroyed by…

She’s who I want to be when I grow up.


Feeling like you’re “too old”? I’d like to introduce you to someone who inspires me.

One of the common refrains I hear, sometimes explicitly but more often inferred from the way people ask me questions, is being “too old”.

It’s not my favorite thing to hear, as I’ve written before.

If you feel you’re “too old”, I’d like to introduce you to someone.

Engaging with Aging is a blog authored by 99-year-old Doris Carnevali. She sets an inspirational example of three important lessons for us all: It’s never too late. We all have something to share. Never stop learning. …

If people can’t put you in the right bucket, you must belong in the wrong one.


Being able to see both sides of an argument is a curse.

People want black and white. If you’re cursed with an ability to articulate shades of grey, it’ll be taken as blanket disagreement no matter what your actual opinion.

Anything seen as less than 100% agreement is disagreement.

If we are to survive, that must change.

The curse

I’ve long had the ability to see both sides of just about any argument.

No matter how polarizing, I can generally at least understand where the other side is coming from, or at least why they might believe what they believe.

Democrats, you’re under the microscope

Photo credit: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr Commons

In a recent political discussion, I discovered something shocking: the person I was talking with attributed the same horrible fears to my side as I did to theirs.

The bullet lists were nearly identical.


I don’t believe there’s a short term fix. “How do we change their minds?” is not the question, because minds aren’t going to change any time soon.

The answer is both simpler and more difficult.

Show them they’re wrong.

Start by listening

The single most important thing you can do is listen with an honest desire to understand the answer to “how can you possibly believe THAT?”


When I was young I was a voracious reader. Lots and lots of books passed through my fingers. Once I discovered fantasy and science fiction the pace only increased. Being a socially awkward only child gave me lots of time to myself, and reading was one of the activities I thrived on.

At one point during my Microsoft career a manager turned me on to self-help and growth literature, and I was once again an avid consumer.

Fast forward <mumble> years and things have changed. I’m not the reader I once was. …

You might be tempted


Hacking into someone’s account may seem like an answer to a problem. In reality, all it does is open a much larger can of worms and put you at more risk.

I think my boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse is cheating on me. I want to hack into their email/WhatsApp/Facebook/other account and find out what he/she/they is doing behind my back. Can you help me?

Can you get me the password for ***** This person’s been saying really bad things about me and I want to hack in and teach him/her/them a lesson.

I’ve lost the password for ***** Could you please find it…

“No sound” can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.

Try as I might, I can’t get my computer to output sound. Nothing. I can’t figure out what’s wrong.

That’s a composite of questions I get often. Sometimes it applies to only specific applications; other times, it applies to the entire machine.

It’s a single silent symptom that can come from several sources.

So, let’s run down a bit of a checklist.

The obvious

Let’s start with the most obvious things. …

Domain names are simple in concept, yet can be constructed in ways that might fool you. I’ll look at some examples, and discuss what’s important.

Security when clicking onto a website confounds me. Some sites put the section of the site you are wanting ahead of the web address. Example and some put the section after example These examples are just made up but I hope you understand what I’m saying. How do I know if I’m on the secure website I’m supposed to be on? …

Leo Notenboom

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