The WHO Radio Wise Guys
Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to

Now you can text-message us in the studio at 515-745-7887. Right now, it's for our access only -- but if listeners like it, we might encourage other WHO hosts to try it too.

We've talked many times before about the ways in which the Internet changes our notions of privacy. One author offers some very sharp observations about how the Internet completely overturns the notion of controlling one's reputation. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter whether you maintain your own online presence or not -- practically anything you do, as long as someone else is there or can see it, may find its way online.

A question came in via text message about relaying Internet access via WiFi routers. The problem is that the listener is trying to send the signal two miles, and WiFi signals generally only go a few hundred feet outdoors. The best answer may be to bury your own cable, since you'd probably need some repeaters to make it a full two miles, which would require getting power to different places anyway.

Google celebrated the 48th anniversary of the laser with a funky logo this week. It was invented in 1960 at the Hughes Research Library in California. The laser has led to a bunch of technologies that we wouldn't have otherwise, like CDs, DVDs, and eye surgery. The list goes on and on -- we use lasers in home security and construction surveying, too.

While we're still waiting on the personal jet pack of the flying-car future, we already have a jet wing and flying-squirrel skydiving suits.

Speaking of flying, the British air authorities think that the January crash at Heathrow was caused by fuel that had nearly frozen in the Boeing 777's tanks.

Dan predicts that the CD and DVD will be obsolete in 10 years. Brian thinks it might take a few more years to do away with the DVD, but probably not that many. The rapid improvements we've seen in flash drives -- sizes rising and prices falling -- probably make it likely that we'll use fewer and fewer CDs in the not-too-distant future. That, of course, brings up the question of whether USB flash drives will be the leading form of portable memory or SD cards. Both, of course, are a lot more convenient for most purposes than CDs.

A caller asked about a common problem: Getting broadband Internet access in rural areas where DSL and cable aren't available. She was using T-Mobile's wireless broadband service, but was having problems getting fast download speeds. Fortunately, other options like service from competing providers (like Verizon, for instance) are available, as are options like satellite-delivered Internet access.

A text message came in from Marshalltown, asking what software we would recommend for Web authoring. Dan likes Adobe's Dreamweaver, but it's costly -- around $400. Brian prefers to build pages using HTML, which is easy to learn and can be combined with cascading style sheets (CSS), which let you create a layout for your site with ease. In fact, there's even a long list of free CSS templates that you can use to get started without having to design the page yourself. Or, if you're a Firefox user, you can get the Seamonkey package, which includes an HTML editor.

Listener e-mail question of the week:
I would like to create a survey to send to select individuals for a one time event. I have tried an e-mail format but the tabs do not hold. I have a newer laptop with Vista system and Microsoft Student Word 2007. My concern is what will work for the survey that would be easy for others to input information for answers. Some questions will be multiple choice, some yes/no and others provide space for them to provide their opinion. What would you suggest?

If the survey has to be completed electronically, you'll have to build a form from scratch and put it on a website. You can't really forward an online survey form by e-mail. Or you can use SurveyMonkey, which does the programming work for you. If you're trying to distribute a form that you want people to print out and return to you, you'll want to create it in PDF format. The best way to do that is to either create it using OpenOffice and export it directly to PDF, or to use PDF Creator. Both OpenOffice and PDF Creator are free.

Another question via text message:
What's the most accurate self-updating GPS system that doesn't require the purchase of new current maps?
While this isn't something we have a lot of personal experience with, we're not really aware of any source for free automatic GPS updates. There are lots of lists of software and map files that different sources have put up on the Internet, but we can't verify whether they're any good or not. Use them at your own risk.

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