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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. I guess you can now hack your lawn, or something


    Rachio, the company that markets a smartphone-enabled lawn sprinkler controller called the Iro, announced today that they've made updates that can cut your water use by up to 30 percent. Now get a load of's description:

    "Version 1.7 of the free Rachio app uses enhanced evapotranspiration (ET) algorithms to move even closer to calculating the absolute minimum amount of watering required to keep a lawn or garden nice and green....

  2. Older iPhone owners: Whatever you do, don't follow this awful advice


    If you live in the Tampa Bay area, there's a decent chance your cable TV provider is Bright House. And if your cable TV provider is Bright House, there's a decent chance you spend some time watching Bay News 9. And if you spend a lot of time watching Bay News 9, there's a good chance you're familiar with Angie Moreschi's Consumer Wise segments.

    They're usually pretty good. She did one recent installment on store credit cards that I thought was especially useful....

  3. Is the government getting privacy backwards?


    AppleInsider posted today about FBI director James Comey's complaints about encryption on Apple's new iPhone models, repeating his opinion that it allows users to "place themselves above the law."

    First, I should say I'm not really on the angry privacy crusade I see from some folks. David Pogue's argument that privacy concerns are unlikely to change his behavior because most of what he does is just too boring really resonated with me. I'm certainly more boring than he is....

  4. How to check your Mac for 'iWorm' malware


    A new piece of Mac malware discovered Monday might be affecting around 4,200 Macs in the United States, researchers report. Fortunately, there's an easy way to tell if you've been infected.

    Go to the Finder, click the "Go" menu, then click "Go to Folder…". In the window that pops up, copy this path and paste it into the text area: /Library/Application Support/JavaW — then click the Go button. If you just get a beep and a message that the window can't be found, you should be okay....

  5. Dan Ruth's take on the iPhone 6 Plus 'crisis'


    Today's Dan Ruth column rants about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus:

    "Let's review. The nation's foremost producer of highly engineered communications devices spends hundreds of millions of dollars on a new thingy, which is supposed to be marginally better than its old thingy, and the entire project is put at risk and Apple's stock craters because gelatinous consumers wearing tight clothing can't pry the cockamamie widget into a pocket. Is it too late to bring back the Princess phone?"...

  6. What's phishing, and how can you stop it from happening to you?


    You've probably heard the term "phishing," the technique where scammers send emails that seem to be from your bank, or from an Internet service you use, asking for your account information. Sometimes they're so bold as to request a Social Security or credit card number; others are much more subtle, perhaps offering a link they say will take you to sign in to your email provider.

    So. When you get an email that seems like it's from your bank, how can you tell whether it really is? What do you need to look for to keep from getting fooled?...

  7. Apple to take second stab at updating iOS 8


    So that's reassuring, I guess.

    Meanwhile, there are still users out there — just iPhone 6 and 6 Plus early adopters, from what I can tell — who managed to download and install the iOS 8.0.1 upgrade in the roughly one-hour window when it was available. (For my part, I saw it in time for my iPhone 5s to download it but not to finish installing it. So now my phone either thinks there's an upgrade ready to install or doesn't think so, depending on where I look.)...

  8. This is not the iOS 8.0.1 you're looking for


    When Apple rolled out the new iOS 8, they pulled some features broken by bugs discovered at the last minute. Remember hearing about HealthKit, that thing that was supposed to make your iPhone a secure lockbox for all kinds of wellness and medical info? That was one of the features pulled. Apple promised a fix by the end of the month....

  9. What's better than free Kahwa Coffee?


    Maybe I'm the last one to know about this, but Kahwa Coffee introduced its own smartphone app this week.

    Kahwa's pretty well known to … well, pretty much anyone who lives around Tampa Bay and likes coffee. Kahwa Coffee Roasting Co. opened its doors in St. Pete in 2005, and still roasts all its beans in St. Pete. The first cafe opened in 2008 in downtown St. Pete, and now have six of them in St. Pete and Tampa. I mean, Starbucks does a great job, but Kahwa has a much more local feel....

  10. 'Burritos are the best thing about being in love'


    So, you might have heard that Apple released iOS 8 yesterday, the latest version of the operating software that runs iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. Lots of new features, lots of new stuff to learn how to do, traditional first-day hiccups (All that stuff about Apple's new HealthKit for managing your fitness data? Never mind, for now.) — but my favorite thing I've read about the new hotness is this:...

  11. Warning: Dropbox isn't playing nice with iOS8


    A Dropbox company blog notes that iThing users who've updated to iOS8 today are reporting problems uploading photos and videos. There's a support document available here. (Tip o' the hat to

  12. Will you be an iOS8 early adopter today? You'll need to get this important question right


    (TL;DR — For the time being, the answer to "Upgrade to iCloud Drive? Not Now?" is Not Now.)

    The next generation of iOS — the software that runs Apple's iPhones, iPads and iPod touches — comes out today, with release set for 1 p.m. Florida time. There's no real reason you need to download it immediately, and a couple pretty good reasons to wait until the dust settles a bit. But there's always a rush of folks who want to get their first look at the new hotness on the first day....

  13. Hope you were having a good hair day Friday


    If you blinked, you’re probably out of luck for a while: Astronaut snaps, tweets quick pic of 19.32 million Floridians.

  14. A couple quick links for iThing users


    Remember how bent some folks were that Apple bought them U2's new album — then essentially walked over to their bookshelf and stuck it in their CD changer? Well, Apple heard their complaints, and they're here to help. They released a special Songs of Innocence Removal Tool yesterday to help you get it out of your iTunes Library, if it bothers you so much. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing you'd need instructions to use, but they gave it its own support document, too....

  15. Microsoft is buying Minecraft


    Do your kids play Minecraft? (Or do you?) It's a popular open-ended game that lets users explore a Lego-like virtual world. It's been dowloaded 100 million times to PCs around the world, it's the most popular game on Xbox, and it's the top paid app in Apple's and Google's online stores — and the company that makes it (Mojang) is being purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion....