IOGEAR Blog - Author: Brandon Orth

Brandon Orth

Brandon Orth

Brandon is a web developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, and jQuery and has been developing since 2005. Brandon has been with IOGEAR since 2010. He is recently married with one kid, a Chihuahua, name Cisco (he was adopted with that name). Brandon enjoys playing golf, baseball, programming, science, technology, movies, music, and much more. Always make a side dish without onions and cilantro; he's allergic. Isn't that weird?

Computer Productivity

Computer Productivity

Being more efficient while using your computer can save you time. When someone asks for help in doing research or just about anything else in general while at their computer, I will stand behind them with utter frustration as I see them using slow techniques. While I keep my mouth shut, I always want to show them shortcuts. In this post, I wanted to share some of the shortcuts I use and ways to be more efficient.

Depending on your usage with a computer, this post can be useless. For those of you that depend on your computer during most of your workday, this may save you time, keystrokes, and possibly carpel tunnel. Keep in mind that this post is for the PC and not Mac.

Freeways / Highways of the Future

Current Designs are Antiquated

The current designs of our freeway and highway systems are very antiquated. The speed at which technology is moving and our understanding of the challenges of fast population growth, our roads have not kept up with the times. We are relying on ideas from many decades ago that just don't work anymore.

Population and Geographical Challenges

I live in Southern California. If you've never been to California, you undoubtedly know we have horrible traffic problems grid-locking our roads. You've heard of the horrific Los Angeles traffic. I frequently have to travel on the 91 freeway connecting Orange County to Riverside County. This is one of the very few through-fares connecting the counties due to large mountain ranges dividing them to the north and south. To avoid the 91 freeway, you have to drive about 45 minutes south just to get on a dangerous and windy 2 lane mountain road. You can also drive another 45 minutes north to other freeways and eventually trackback to the south. With the population exploding in Southern California, CalTrans has their work cutout for them.

Carpool Lanes (HOV) and Toll Lanes

Carpool lanes may have been a great idea in the 70's and 80's to help reduce congestion by getting more people into one car and reducing the number of vehicles on the road. This just doesn't work today. There are far too many people traveling today that there sometimes is absolutely no benefit when it comes to keeping traffic moving. Don't get me wrong, we still want people to carpool, but these lanes are not a solution. On the 91 freeway, they have added Toll Lanes. As of now, they can cost up to approximately $10.00 per way during the busiest times. This is certainly not affordable to everyone. This is a luxury lane. I certainly don't want roads to be divided for the upper income earners and the lower income earners. I want a transportation system that works.

Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

Camping is one of my favorite vacation getaways. It's nice to get away from city life and take a breath of fresh air from nature. The sights, sounds, smells and relaxing qualities make it a perfect break from everyday life. For those of you city-folk, don't worry, you can have you're simple luxuries and still enjoy the outdoors.

Planning Where to Camp

If you don't put an effort into finding the right place to camp, your trip can be ruined from the beginning. Start off right by planning right. The first thing to do is find the general area where you want to camp. I recently camped in Big Sur, CA with my wife and our little dog. We specifically picked a campground that we've had a great time at with good facilities and access to necessities.

What Kind of Camper are You?

If you are a city-slicker and can't live without basic amenities, find a campground with cabins or consider renting an RV and camping at a place with RV hookups. There are plenty of campgrounds that tailor to your needs. If you decide to get an RV, just know that you will be required to learn to operate it correctly. It's not as simple as driving it to your destination and parking it. You will have electric hookups, water hookups, and waste disposal. Do some research and find out if it's right for you.

Planning a Vacation and Getting the Most

You Need a Vacation!

Here in the United States, people are overworked and overwhelmed by their day to day lives. It's harder to get away from work and keep your mind off of work. People are taking less time off each year and find it hard to unwind.

Plan Your Vacation

With less time being spent away from work and relaxing, it is best to make the most of what little time you do have. I've been on vacations with practically nothing planned and flew by the seat of my pants. This worked out okay, but my best vacations were planned. This does not mean I was always on a strict itinerary or any itinerary at all, but having at least an idea of what you want to do and where you want to eat makes your time much more enjoyable.

Christmas Decorations & Ideas

Christmas Village

Putting together Christmas villages is one of my favorite decorations for the holiday. Simply put, they are scale models of a small town in a winter wonderland. You will typically see a train running through these villages, but not all have trains. This is your chance to design what ever you want. Some villages can be placed under the Christmas tree or on a table. Which ever you prefer, you will have a wonderful time setting these up. If you do, it will be a memory your kids will talk about with their kids when they grow up and hopefully pass along the tradition. The video below is an example of what can be done if you put a lot of effort into it. It can get expensive, so start small and expand upon it every year.

Halloween Tech

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It's one that I wish would be more than just one night, but with the right decorations, you can make it last the whole month. The preparation of your decorations is a great bonding experience for your family and teaches your kids creativity and little bit of science and technology. I am going to share with you some techniques I've used over the years that fascinate Halloween goers and make your house the highlight of the neighborhood.

Window Projections

Difficulty: easy to medium depending on your setup

Last year, I tried digital window projections that had kids coming by saying ‘we had to come by the eyeball house' and parents asking how it was done. This can be accomplished with a projector, white sheet, laptop, and a scary video. I downloaded an eyeball video and a lightning video from Hallowindow and projected it onto a sheet in the second story of our house. To get two eyeballs in different windows, I transmitted my video wirelessly using the Wireless 5x2 Matrix. This allowed me to have the same video so the eyeballs look at the same place at the same time making it look real. You can also use the Wireless HD Digital Kit for this effect which also costs less.

Basic Internet Security Tips

In today's world, it can be very easy to find yourself with a compromised internet account. I would like to share with you some tips to reduce the chances of your accounts from getting hacked.

Email Setup

When setting up an email account on your phone, tablet, or other device, make sure you are correctly inputting the server details. Most devices these days have automatic email setup configurations, but those are only for popular email service providers. For other less popular email service providers or a work email address, this opens the possibility of a simple typo resulting in your email account being compromised. I could buy, for example, and wait for you to try and connect to your email with a wrong server name. Once you try and connect to the fake server, I've just stolen your email and password.

Example of a unsecure connection for Yahoo.

Predicting the Future?

Like the author Jules Verne and futurist Michio Kaku, you can take a look at current technology and technology on the cutting edge, and use that information to predict what the future may hold. You may at times think something is not possible, but as you read about innovators revolutionizing their industry, the possibilities start to open and anything is possible. As long as the laws of physics aren't broken, according to our current understanding of physics, the impossible can become possible with a dream and the hard work of those who dare to believe.