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Ken Walker, Online News Editor

Ken Walker

Ken Walker came to the Times in 1998, first as a copy editor and later as a news page designer. Today he helps edit the home page and writes for the Gadgets & Gizmos blog.


  1. Curse descends over Chicago as sun turns to blood hours before Game 4

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay residents who've grown fond of Chicago — if there are any — during the first three games of the Stanley Cup final might look for a way to bottle some of the area's famous sunshine and send it up north.

    Smoke and haze from Canadian forest fires were blotting out the sun Wednesday morning, bathing the entire city in an eerie glow. Chicagoans took to Facebook, Twitter and Reddit to share photos of the "weird-looking," "unearthly" sight. ...

    A photo published on the Chicago Tribune's website shows a blood-red sun rising over the city Wednesday morning. []
  2. Is Apple stalling Pebble's smartwatch software?


    There's no question the Apple Watch is dominating the smartwatch discussion these days. I've worn a Pebble smartwatch since for about two years now and loved it, but it'll be an uphill battle for such a small outfit to compete with a company that has the design, materials and manufacturing chops Apple does. The first shipments of Pebble's second iteration, the Pebble Time smartwatch, is shipping now. Few are paying close attention, and so far it seems it won't give Apple much to worry about....

    An image posted to Kickstarter by Pebble shows an app update for Pebble Watch (the one that's been on the market since 2013) that has been awaiting review for more than a month.
  3. Can you tell Chicago from Tampa Bay? Use this handy online interactive guide

    Lightning Strikes

    As the Lightning and Blackhawks get ready to start a best-of-seven series for the Stanley Cup, you should be aware just how similar the two cities are.

    Oh, sure, it might be easy to tell them apart right now, what happens when there isn't a Blackhawks fan whining about the Lightning's playoff ticket policies within earshot? ...

  4. Google offers unlimited free storage of photos and videos for everyone


    It's all you want, really, isn't it? A digital equivalent of that shoebox full of photos in your parents' closet — a place you can store all the photos and videos you're taking, without having to worry about having enough space for them.

    Because here's the thing: Your parents' shoebox didn't cost them anything. If you decide you want a phone with more storage space, it could cost you a couple hundred bucks. If you can figure out how to get them off your phone onto a disk, you've got to buy that, too — and then you'll have to worry about what happens to all those photos and videos if it gets broken or lost. Storing them online seems like the best option, but storage space is always an issue. You can get the space you need, but you'll pay for it, every month, for as long as they're willing to store your stuff....

    Google Photos director Anil Sabharwal announces the new service Thursday during the 2015 Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Calif. The annual conference runs through May 29.
  5. Video: Gators introduce new basketball coach Michael White


    The University of Florida introduced new head men's basketball coach Michael White at a news conference this morning, streamed live both on SEC Network+ and on YouTube.


    Head coach Michael White gestures during a Lousiana Tech game against Utah State in Ruston, La.


    OMG, OMG, IT'S FINALLY HERE! IT'S … (ahem) uh, today's the day Apple begins accepting online preorders and try-on appointments(!) for the Apple Watch — exciting news for people with empty wrists around the world. The Associated Press is updating a live blog with bulletins from all over the globe....

  7. What everybody thinks about the Apple Watch in one big chart


    You can't buy an Apple Watch yet — you can't even preorder one until tomorrow — but yesterday was the first day Apple would allow reviewers to post their Apple Watch reviews if they wanted to be among the first ones to take one on a test drive. So yesterday was the day tons of reviews hit the Web.

    It was almost too much to digest. Fortunately, Mashable compiled about 20 reviews in one big table, with a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down for each (and links to the full review in case you wanted to read more)....

  8. Do you need to know what Meerkat and Periscope are? (Spoiler: Probably not yet)


    There's been a lot of buzz recently surrounding live video streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat, and you might be wondering what they do and whether they're another thing you'll have to learn about if you want to be able to understand what your kids are talking about today. Here's what the AP had to say about it yesterday:

    "Download Periscope, Twitter's just-launched live video-streaming app, and you'll find people broadcasting all sorts of mundane stuff: waiting for AT&T to fix their wiring, getting out of bed in Silicon Valley, looking outside their office window in Chicago....

  9. Why Yahoo's latest take on passwords could be a step down in security


    Yahoo recently announced it would offer an alternative to the passwords its users have always used to log into their accounts: temporary codes sent to your phone via text message every time you want to log in.

    That sounds a lot like the two-factor authentication you might know and trust from your bank or even from Facebook, but there's an important difference.

    Two-factor authentication is popular with services who want to show their concern about security. The two factors used to prove you are who you say you are are usually that 1) You know your password, and 2) you are the one holding your phone. Since Yahoo isn't asking for a password, they're back down to one-factor authentication — and that one factor belongs to whomever's holding your phone....

  10. So, should you order an Apple Watch? (w/video)


    Apple hosted their big shindig on Monday to announce new Apple Watch details, new MacBook laptops and more. The folks at MacRumors have some excellent roundups, if you're interested in the nitty gritty. The highlights:

    Apple Watch

    —Pricing starts at $349 for an alumninum Sport model and goes all the way up to $17,000 for the 18K gold Edition. Prices vary by material (aluminum, stainless steel and gold) and size (42mm and 38mm). Buyers can choose bands ranging in price from $49 to $449....

    New Retina MacBook models include a gold and Space Gray option. The solitary USB-C connector can be seen on the gold model at left; the port visible on the Space Gray model at right is a headphone jack.
  11. Apple releases iOS 8.1.3, which is no big deal — except …


    … that it addresses two of the very small, very irritating things about iOS 8:

    1) It addresses an issue that caused Spotlight to stop displaying app results. Spotlight is that search tool that appears when you put your finger in the middle of your iPhone's (or iPad's) home screen and drag it downward. If you've got enough apps on your iThing that you get tired of swiping through several home screens to find the one you're looking for (or if you've forgotten what folder you stashed it in), it's the quickest way to find and launch an app. Except when it failed to find any apps at all. Glad to see that fixed....

  12. I want this


    A Bluetooth keyboard that snaps apart to slip in your pocket? Yes, please!

    I've never tried one, but if it works as well as they make it look … well, I might have to put together $100 and buy one. Find out more at (Tip o' the hat to

  13. Ever played Monopoly? You might have played the worst game ever made


    Nate Silver's crunches numbers on a variety of topics, from politics and the economy to sports and, well, life in general.

    So it's not too surprising to find contributor Oliver Roeder using ratings on last week to examine that website's decision to name something called Twilight Struggle the best board game on the planet. ...

  14. Laying out the problems with Apple's Family Sharing


    I think I've written before about Family Sharing, Apple's solution for families that want to be able to share the stuff they buy in Apple's iTunes Store.

    The idea is that family members shouldn't have to buy a song, movie, etc., if someone else in the household has already bought it. In the past, most families accomplished this by sharing one iTunes Store account — everyone in a family could access the same stuff, because everyone was buying stuff under the same name....

  15. Apps that help you avoid sleeping at the airport


    Even if you're staying home this holiday season, there's a good chance you're going to be asked to pick someone up at the airport. And there's a good chance that's not going to be as simple as it sounds.

    With that in mind, Macworld put together a nifty list of the best flight-tracking apps for your iPhone or iPad. They got pretty hardcore, too, listing about seven criteria they considered, and breaking the results down by recommendations for frequent flyers, for airport pickup duties and for … well, people who just enjoy tracking flights, I guess....

    Just Landed's design is elegant both on your iPhone screen and under the hood.