How do tech writers spend their stimulus check? They buy software.
For $30, we got a bundle of 14 Windows programs from Stardock.com, called “Object Desk.” One program Joy really likes is “CursorFX” which gives you a choice of 23 cursors. She chose the hand, which has gestures, like tapping its fingers when it has to wait for a program to load. Here are some other parts of the bundle we’re having fun with:
“Deskscapes” gives you animated wallpapers for your Windows computer. Right now, we’re enjoying one that shows a vintage diner, motorcycles and a blonde talking to a guy in what looks like a 1950s Ford Fairlane. Her skirt blows slightly in the breeze.
“Fences” lets you corral your desktop icons into clutter-free groups, such as your most frequently-used programs or your recent documents. You can also make them disappear, except for the title of the group, by double-clicking or dragging them to the edge of your screen. Get the icons back with a click. That way they don’t clutter up the magnificent wallpaper you’ve chosen to fill your screen.
“Multiplicity” lets you control two PCs with one keyboard and mouse.
“Start 10” gives you the familiar Start Menu of Windows 7 in Windows 10.
Bitcoin, the digital currency, was in the news recently when miners got the announcement that they could only produce half as much, as happens every four years. A digital currency exists on a computer memory bank; there is no physical coin. There are 3,000 varieties. Another popular one is Ethereum.
Today, there are just 3 million Bitcoins left to be mined. By 2040, Bitcoin miners won’t be able to make any new currency. By then, the world will have reached the 21-million-coin limit, established by the shadowy founder Satoshi Nakamodo.
Joy invested in Bitcoin three years ago and lost money on it by continuing to buy it as the price went up and selling it after it crashed. We can’t say whether it’s a good deal now. It rose from around $3,400 per coin in February 2019 to $10,000 on May 7. (Note: You can buy partial coins.)
We read about a guy who gave away the computer where he’d stored his Bitcoin super password, called a key. Without it, he lost access to his account. His 7.5 million Bitcoins, bought for less than a penny each, would now be worth over $71 billion. So remember this: If you buy Bitcoin, write down the key and store it in a safe place. Joy put hers in a book but then gave away the book. However, Coinbase, the site where Joy bought her Bitcoin, lets you regenerate it if you lose it.
Five years ago, Ben Horowitz, of the venture capital firm Andreeson/Horowitz, bet an NPR reporter that by now, 10% of Americans would be using Bitcoin to buy stuff. Instead, according to surveys, it’s only 3%. Even that number is fishy, because many of those surveyed used Bitcoin only to buy other cryptocurrencies. Or they claimed they used it at stores that in reality don’t accept it, so perhaps they traded it…