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 tampabay.com home page and writes for the Gadgets & Gizmos blog.

E-mail: walker@tampabay.com

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  1. In which I briefly test your patience by just rambling about another of my favorite things

    Blog

    Yesterday, I gushed about The Wirecutter; today, it's something else entirely.

    I always felt like there's a fine line between talking about technology and talking about science, in the sense that appreciating one means, on some level, appreciating the other. You really can't love your smartphone, for example, and believe the moon landings were a NASA hoax....

  2. The Wirecutter's summertime gear list looks like good advice year-round

    Blog

    I'm a relative newcomer to The Wirecutter, Brian Lam's project that maintains regularly updated best-of lists curated by qualified reviewers — but I'm becoming a big fan.

    Despite the intense soldering-iron-and-safety-glasses tone of the site's title, it offers simple guides to finding the best headphones, or TV set or camera, of course, but also guides for finding a good water bottle, weather app (Android or iOS), yoga mat or surge protector. You get a full explanation about the reviewers' preferences, why the top pick was chosen (which often helps you realize you might be better off in your circumstances with their second choice) and what torture they put their gizmos through. They even provide price alerts when one of their picks goes on sale....

  3. Your phone might take a dive, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's dead

    Blog

    Rob Griffiths (@rgriff) posted a story to Macworld early this morning describing the dip his phone took in a 10-foot-deep lake last weekend — and how he brought it back from the dead.

    His method was pretty extreme (he eventually completely disassembled the phone, dried everything with compressed air and reassembled it), but it's good to know some simpler ways to salvage a phone that's taken a dunk....

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  4. How to check your browser for Photozoom malware — and remove it

    Blog

    Macworld posted an item today from senior contributor Ted Landau (@tedlandau) describing his realization that malware on one of his computers was inserting ads into Web pages where they didn't belong. There are likely many folks out there who might see this malware every day and never realize it. His computer was a Mac, but you can likely follow his instructions on any computer you own....

  5. While you were sleeping: Smyly solid in his debut in Oakland, but Rays shut out 3-0

    Blog

    A's 3, Rays 0: The Rays' bats were apparently still on East Coast time last night, and stayed stubbornly asleep whenever a hit in a key situation could have driven in a run. Add in some sloppy defense (three errors) and questionable baserunning, and the result was the Rays' fifth loss in their last six games, bringing their season record down to 54-59 — and dropping them farther in the standings....

    Left-hander Drew Smyly makes his first appearance for the Rays in Tuesday night’s late game against the Athletics.
  6. 10 clever tricks you can do with your iPhone earpods

    Blog

    That's what Apple calls them, by the way — "earpods." At least, that's what they call their newest ones. But John-Michael Bond's list of 10 things you can do with earpods (TUAW) will work with any of Apple's three-button headphone remotes. Fast-forward and rewind, handle incoming calls and more, all without pulling your iPhone from your pocket....

  7. Dozens of iPhone tricks you've probably never heard of

    Blog

    Boy Genius Report called attention over the weekend to a pair of articles ticking off tons of iPhone tricks and features that you might not know are actual things — but that would save you tons of time and headaches, impress your friends and family members, make you the life of your next cocktail party, etc., etc....

  8. Before Saturday night concert, Joan Jett fills in as PA announcer

    Blog

    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were scheduled as the postgame entertainment Saturday as part of the Rays summer concert series — but Jett went in for the full game experience, taking over as PA announcer as well. "Joan Jett's doing pretty well announcing batters," tweeted Fox Sports Florida's Andrew Astleford (@aastleford). "I think she has a future behind a microphone."...

  9. Sooner or later, it all comes down to power

    Blog

    There are a couple interesting posts out there today about gadgets that can help power your phone or tablet when you're traveling or your home Internet during a power outage. I can't vouch for either of them personally, but I'm definitely intrigued.

    The Wirecutter picked Cobra's CPP 300 SP as its best solar battery pack: "It gives you more power, faster charging, and a better-designed chassis than anything else currently available. Thanks to its dual-folding panels that you can angle towards the sun, it charges quickly in bright light and continues to charge late in the day, even under partly cloudy conditions and when obstructed from direct light. It also conveniently has built-in cords for input and output and the ability to charge two devices at once. What’s more, it was the only model equipped with a 2.1-amp port capable of charging high-draw devices like a tablet at full speed. Basically, it had the best design and the most complete feature set."...

    When closed, the CPP 300 SP has a footprint a little larger than a large smartphone.
  10. If you need something like Dropbox that's not Dropbox, here are a few ideas

    Blog

    I love Dropbox. I've tried a few competitors — Google Drive, Box.com, SugarSync, SkyDrive (now OneDrive) — and I still use Box.com. But Dropbox is the only one of those services I'm willing to pay for. I just haven't found an easier, more reliable alternative for saving something on one doohickey and opening it on that other one over there.

    All the same, Macworld's excellent Christopher Breen offers his thoughts today if you're looking for an alternative. One caveat: iPhone, iPad and iPod users might want to consider iCloud Drive — even though they won't get a gander at how it works until they see iOS 8, Apple's next operating system software upgrade due in the fall....

  11. World Cup: TV? iPhone? iPad? What you'll need to watch USA-Belgium today

    Soccer

    Team USA plays Belgium today in Salvador, Brazil, as the World Cup switches from a confusing round robin to a more straightforward playoff.

    There will be no lose-to-Germany-but-still-advance-to-the-next-round scenario this time. Either the Americans advance to the Round of Eight, or the Belgians do; the loser heads home.

    But one aspect of today's game is similar to the U.S. team's final match in group play — it happens at less-than-optimal time for the home television audience. ESPN will air it live at 4 p.m. on the East Coast, 1 p.m. out west....

    Jermaine Jones celebrates after scoring in the United States' group stage match against Portugal at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil. [Getty Images]
  12. World Cup: What you need to see USA-Germany today

    Blog

    Posted a story this morning about what you'll need to watch the USA-Germany World Cup match that starts in about 10 minutes. Not much I haven't mentioned here before, but check it out.

  13. World Cup: TV? iPhone? What you need to watch USA-Germany

    Soccer

    Team USA plays Germany today at Recife, Brazil, in a game that will decide whether the U.S. advances to the 16-team elimination bracket in this year's soccer World Cup.

    The U.S. team's first two games kicked off at favorable times for watching on television back home; today's group finale will be smack in the middle of the workday — noon on the East Coast, 9 a.m. out west.

    The game will air on ESPN, and many ESPN subscribers will be able to watch a live Internet video stream for free at WatchESPN.com, or using the WatchESPN app on their phones or tablets....

    Soccer fans gather in Chicago's Grant Park to watch Saturday's  U.S.-Portugal game. Fans were turned away from the free event after the park's 10,000-person capacity was reached. [Getty Images]
  14. Old but still so good: Everyday technology we're getting wrong

    Blog

    This BuzzFeed video is, like, four months old — but @NewsBreaker tweeted a link to it on ora.tv today, makes it worth mentioning. Some are already pretty well known (the BuzzFeed folks would have a lot less trouble with that four-finger pinch gesture on their iPads if they tried a five-finger pinch instead), but there were some I'd never heard before this (OMG HOW TO COIL CABLES). It's short, and I've embedded it below. And you won't lose anything by muting the goofy music:...

  15. World Cup fans: Here's a full schedule with TV listings and legal streaming options

    Blog

    David Pogue just tweeted a fantastic link to liveschedules.net. The streaming options are pretty simple if you're an English speaker in the United States with a cable subscription that includes ESPN, but there's still a lot of useful info here....