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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. 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....

  2. 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

  3. 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. ...

  4. 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....

  5. 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.
  6. Four ways Mac owners should keep them safe


    So, here's another in what seems to have become a series of links aimed at fellow Apple users: MacUser has a great article up today titled, "The four Mac security options everyone should know."

    From how to enable your firewall (and what it does for you), to how to enable FileVault (and what that is), to how your Mac can automatically make (and remember) secure passwords for you, to how to securely your Mac so you can log into it remotely while keeping the bad guys out, this is totally advice I'd give my mother....

  7. How owners of older Macs can get iWork for free


    I mentioned yesterday that most of the gadgets I've bought for myself (and my family) have been Apple products. As it turns out, I'm also a longtime subscriber to their online services, starting back when iTools was completely free. Remember iTools? It was what iCloud was before it was MobileMe before that was .Mac — we're talking 14 years ago, now.

    That goes for their software, too. I can tell you all about iLife — I'm even pretty sure there's a copy of iDVD installed on my Yosemite-driven iMac at home....

  8. How to help a stranger restore your faith in humanity


    MacWorld has some good advice today for anyone who owns an iPhone, iPad or a MacBook — any easily lost Apple device.

    (I know I'm always writing about Apple stuff here. For one thing, that's mostly what I own myself and it's what I know best. I don't feel comfortable offering you advice based on a week or two with a free loaner. For another thing, it's what my mom and dad own, and a lot of the tips I relate here are advice I'd offer them.)...

  9. On this day in 1968, a man stood on stage and predicted what your desk would look like today


    Computers in 1968 were big, clunky, expensive and rare. If your work day was typical, you probably never encountered one.

    And yet on Dec. 9, 1968, Doug Engelbart stepped onto a stage in San Francisco and started a 90-minute presentation that imagined something that sounded a lot like 2014. Eerily like 2014, in fact.


    SRI International (2005)
  10. 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....

  11. 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....

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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?"...

  15. 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?...