Tech comes home for the holidays

While it wasn’t my intention, I had a tech-heavy 2016 holiday season, dealing with a number of new devices and systems, despite having aimed for a relatively simple, scaled-back holiday.

Coastal Point — now appearing in an app near you

Coastal Point • Illustration: The new version of Explore Coastal Delaware includes instant access to the Coastal Point newspaper, tides and more.Coastal Point • Illustration: The new version of Explore Coastal Delaware includes instant access to the Coastal Point newspaper, tides and more.Those of you who have already downloaded our Explore Coastal Delaware app got a major update in the last week or so — one that not only enhances the existing content in the app but offers a tremendous amount of additional up-to-the-minute information on the happenings in South Coastal Delaware.

Coastal Point newspaper is now built right into the Explore Coastal Delaware app!

That’s right — rather than having to navigate to our website in your mobile browser, now you can just tap on the Explore Coastal Delaware app, and the first thing you’ll see listed is “Coastal Point.” We’ve divided the newspaper content into News, Opinion, Sports, Weather & Tides and the ever-popular Yard Sales.

In each category, you’ll see a listing of our latest headlines, so you can pick and choose what you want to read first, and everything loads smoothly inside the app, where you can zoom in or out, rotate the screen, follow links and even open that page in your regular browser to use the enhanced features of your OS, such as sharing.

Pokémon – Give it a Go

This season has been a confusing time, clouded in mystery and unstuck in history. People have Clinton campaign stickers, the Backstreet Boys (or was it ’NSync?) have announced their latest tour, and Pokémon reigns supreme once more as the king of pop culture.

I am uniquely qualified to shed light on one of those things. My bona fides include my status as a ’90s kid. assures me this makes me privy to certain knowledge that I alone can understand. More important than that, I’ve been an avid Pokémon fan since I was an actual kid in the actual ’90s. My Poké-paraphernalia collection is worth more than my wife’s engagement and wedding rings combined. (To be fair, I’ve known Pokémon longer.)

More important than even that, my editor wanted someone to explain the new, hottest app of 2016, and I’m the only nerd in the office with a Bulbasaur figure on his desk. (And if you don’t know what a Bulbasaur is, it means I have at least one thing to teach you today.)

If you’ve been paying attention to people in town, or have been anywhere on the internet this summer, you know Pokémon Go. It’s the new game app that uses a GPS system to place your character in real-time virtual spaces to catch and collect Pokémon (“Pocket Monsters”) from the original 150-character set from the ’90s games. (There are currently more than 700 Pokémon in the franchise, which includes not only trading card sets, comics, collectables and video games, but its own animated TV series.)

No injuries in Wallops rocket explosion

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: The Antares rocket exploded seconds into its planned launch at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 28. Thankfully, there were no reported casualties at the scene.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: The Antares rocket exploded seconds into its planned launch at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 28. Thankfully, there were no reported casualties at the scene.The Antares rocket exploded seconds into its planned launch at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 28. Thankfully, there were no reported casualties at the scene.The horror of watching a massive rocket explode over the Eastern Shore on Oct. 28 was only mitigated by the fact that no one was reported to have been injured at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility on the nearby Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Only seconds into the 6:22 p.m. launch, the unmanned Antares rocket — carrying 5,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) — appeared to have successfully lifted off, but within seconds faltered and exploded back to earth in an enormous fireball.

“What we know so far is pretty much what everybody saw in the video. It looked like some disassembly on the first stage, and then it fell to earth,” said Frank Culbertson, executive vice president and general manager of Orbital Science’s Advanced Programs Group. “Most of this happened in the first 20 seconds of flight, and it was pretty quick.”

Heartbleed bug makes online accounts vulnerable

Coastal Point illustration • Shaun M. LambertCoastal Point illustration • Shaun M. LambertHave you changed your passwords this week? If you haven’t, you may want to consider doing just that, after the Heartbleed bug impacted an estimated two-thirds of the world’s websites this week, potentially exposing users to having their passwords and other information stolen by those seeking to exploit the flaw in the open-source OpenSSL protocol used by a vast number of sites.

Most Internet users have by now learned to recognize the padlock symbol and https:// address that are used to indicate that a website’s communications with their web browser is secure, encrypted and not subject to being easily intercepted by a hacker. We rely on those indicators to know we can safely do our banking online, buy items and services online with our credit cards and be assured that our personal information isn’t readily available to identity thieves.

Hamfest to welcome radio, electronics fans

Calling all ham radio lovers: the annual Amateur Radio & Electronics Expo will return to Georgetown on Saturday, Oct. 26. Electronics hobbyists, CBers, boaters and everyone with an interest in communications and electronics is welcome to attend the yearly “Hamfest” at Sussex Technical High School.

Library offers computer classes this fall, winter

The South Coastal Library is offering free, introductory computer classes. In addition, an iPad Users Group meets at the library on a monthly basis.

Sussex County students get robotic

Robots aren’t just for mad scientists and Jedi knights anymore.

Ashley Conroe, an Indian River High School senior, formed the Retro Robots team to compete in Delaware’s own robotics tournament.

WEB EXCLUSIVE - SOPA and PIPA: How these bills might affect you

The controversial SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act – “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011”) are set to be debated during upcoming committee hearings on Capitol Hill, and this week marked the peak of public debate about the bills, as Wikipedia, Google and other tech companies engaged in “blackouts” of t

The best device I'll tell you not to get

There was more than one fitness gadget on my holiday wishlist this year – perfect timing as we hit New Year’s and the season of resolutions. Near the top of that list was the Up, from Bluetooth headset manufacturer Jawbone, which incorporates the functions of a high-end pedometer, meal-tracking software and sleep tracker into a bracelet and associated app.

Apple gets Siri-ous with new iPhone

Last month, the world lost a man who may someday be considered one of the most influential people of our generation, at least in terms of how we, as individuals, interact with the world. Steve Jobs’ death was not unexpected, though it came surprisingly suddenly for those who were not in his inner circle – just more than a month after he stepped down as the CEO of Apple Inc. But his lasting legacy is likely to be the drive for consumer-friendly interfaces with technology that he used to cram so much innovation into his 56 short years.

Steven P. Jobs: Feb. 24, 1955 – Oct. 5, 2011

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 5, after several years fighting off pancreatic cancer and having received a liver transplant back in 2009. Jobs died just one day after the first major product announcement from Apple since he stepped down as CEO in August of this year. It seems almost fitting to his legendary personality. He just had to wait to make sure it would be a success.

Fraudsters use ‘local’ ties to pull in victims

A Frankford couple this week reported an online scam that they said took more than $200 from their bank account.

Are you vulnerable to a hack attack?

It seems a new hacking or security-breach story is erupting into the national and international headlines every week, lately. With people increasingly doing business and managing their personal lives online, it’s an issue that affects nearly everyone, whether they realize it or not. But should you really be worried about whether your information is safe?

Drivers, start your hands-free devices

Did you pick up some thumb socks for Dad for Father’s Day? If not, you may want to put it on the list for an early Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or Yule present later this year, because Delaware lawmakers on June 22 passed a bill that bans texting or use of a hand-held cell phone while driving in the state. And with an expected signature from Gov. Jack Markell, the ban could become law at the end of the year.

Biden teaching kids to be safe online

The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way we live our lives. It’s changed the way we learn, communicate and spend our time, especially for today’s youth. But there are risks out there, hiding behind the anonymity and ambiguity of the Internet. This past week, Delaware Attorney General Joseph R.

New software helps put Selbyville police on the map

Late last year, the Selbyville Police Department became one of the few local law enforcement agencies to utilize a computer service, called Nixle, to directly contact members of the community in the event of an emergency or other urgent concerns.

Calling all cell-phone losers

We’ve all had it happen: A co-worker or family member heads out for a few hours. You call them on their cell phone to relay a message or ask them to pick up a gallon of milk, only to hear the distinctive sound of their phone’s ringtone coming from down the hall.

Taking social networking to the next level

Twitter, Digg and Delicious offer other ways to get connected

We’ve had a great response in the last two weeks to our new Coastal Point Facebook page, with dozens of new “fans” and an ever-expanding network of “friends” for our staff. It looks like some of our friends and fans are relatively new to Facebook, and we hope you’ve been enjoying the experience, while the old hands at Facebook get to interact with us even more than usual.

Users flock to social networking site

Judging by the attention it’s been getting in the mainstream media lately, social networking seems to have come into its own. No longer are Facebook and MySpace the isolated bastion of college students. No longer is Twitter just the sound a bird makes for those who don’t consider themselves hard-core geeks.

Time ticking down on analog TV broadcasts

I received a recorded message from my satellite television provider a few weeks ago, letting me know that if I’d like to upgrade my equipment, I could receive the new digital television broadcasts right through my satellite box, with no additional converter box needed, all for a modest price.

Wii putting the ‘we’ in many holidays

After two years of short supplies that have sent many a parent heading to eBay or home in discouragement, supplies of the popular Wii video game console are finally showing signs of freeing up, just in time for the 2008 holidays.

Classic consumerism: Vintage favorites and retro specialties find a home on the Web

This voyage into some tips for the modern consumer started innocently, with a newsroom discussion of Nabisco Crown Pilot crackers that originated in topics unknown and probably better left that way.

Things you can do on the Internet

And you never knew it...

Periodically, we get requests from Coastal Point readers to expand our technology columns to offer tips to those who are just learning to use computers and other gadgets, or those who know the basics but want to expand their horizons, with some Tech 101-type pieces. For all of you who made that request, this is for you.

Coastal Point Health-Tech Challenge, Week 2

Keeping at it

Well, it’s the end of Week 2 of the Coastal Point Health-Tech Challenge, and I’ve been pleased with my ability to keep up my new exercise regimen using Wii Fit. On the down side, I’ve gained 4 pounds since starting the program two weeks ago. On the up side, even without verification with a body-fat calculation and with my diet unchanged, I’m positive that all of that extra weight (and probably more) is muscle.

Get rid of that old TV the green way

The average computer user replaces their computer every two to three years. New television technology is tolling the bell on millions of TV sets across the country, as viewers upgrade to sets capable of displaying high-definition signals. And millions of VCRs are being replaced these days will recordable DVD machines and digital video recorders. So, where do all these devices end up?

Introducing the Coastal Point Health-Tech Challenge

In our recent series of health stories on technologically-savvy ways to get (and stay) in shape, I noted the expected release of the Wii Fit game and balance board peripheral this month. Well, May 22 arrived late last week, and with it my very own copy of the game and my very own balance board.

Take some of that green and get greener

Many U.S. taxpayers will start receiving their 2008 stimulus payments in increments of $300 this week through direct deposit, with $300 or more for many single taxpayers, $600 or more for many couples and $300 additional for each eligible child.

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