Ira Wilsker's archive

I have to admit that the most frequent sources of ideas for this column are interesting questions asked by callers on my weekly radio show on KLVI (6 p.m. Mondays, 560AM), and e-mails from readers of this column. In a somewhat unusual move for me, I will respond to two of those inquiries in this column.

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Over the years, I have written about several free alternatives to Microsoft Office. Many of my students cannot afford the roughly $100-plus that it costs for a student version of Microsoft Office, and a lot of senior citizens, small businesses and individuals that I work with cannot afford the $250-plus for a commercial version of Microsoft Office.

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In the past few days, there has been some controversy in the media and on the blogs about Google’s new privacy policy, Google overriding the Safari browser’s “do not track” feature, and other potential privacy issues. While many Internet users are aware that the “free” online services such as Google and Yahoo!

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I plead guilty. I admit that I have sometimes deleted files that I should not have deleted. Often, I realize the mistake fairly quickly, but sometimes I am unaware of my error for several days. Since its earliest days, Windows has had a trashcan or “Recycle Bin” where deleted files are stored until the trashcan is emptied.

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This past week, three of my family members had birthdays. Rather than send them traditional paper birthday cards, or canned e-cards, I decided to do something a little different. I created a series of humorous musical videos using their faces in the videos. Some of the videos I e-mailed directly, while others were posted on Facebook as a public celebration of their birthdays. The Web site that I used to create these videos is JibJab (jibjab.com).

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