Consumer Advice - News, Features, and Slideshows

Tutorials

  • Digitize your documents

    The space required to store paper documents can be a problem. Digitizing your documents renders them exquisitely portable--you can store an entire library on your e-book reader with ease. And because paper documents can be turned into editable computer documents, they become searchable. Compare typing "Roosevelt" in a search field with spending all day scanning microfiche and old newspapers by eye to research the Square Deal or the New Deal. The digital document is a boon to researchers the world over.

  • Digitize your pictures

    Today the digital camera is ubiquitous, but photos used to be taken by momentarily exposing something called "film" to light. Yes, film--the ode to photo-sensitive chemical reactions that produced all of the pictures made before 1990 or so. Those images were, and quite of­­ten still are, transferred to photo paper and pasted into coffee table al­­bums. Sometimes they were processed into transparent 35mm slides and projected onto white screens for everyone's en­­joyment (or boredom, depending).

  • Digitize your music

    In my lifetime, music has been delivered on vinyl, cassettes, eight-track tapes, CDs, and audio DVDs. How do I listen to it now? Usually with a PC or a smartphone, and occasionally with an MP3 or other media player. I downloaded much of that music or ripped it from CDs, but the rest of it came from LPs and cassettes.

  • Should I protect my tweets?

    When I signed up for a Twitter account in the summer of 2009 I spent some time thinking about whether or not I should protect my tweets. As a novice Twitter user, I had to decide whether the benefits of protecting my tweets outweighed the drawbacks. Looking back, I do not regret my decision to protect my tweets, and I'll tell you why.