How to preserve a smartphone’s fastest-degrading component

It’s harder to replace your phone’s lithium ion battery than it is to treat it right in the first place. Many smartphones don’t provide easy user access to their batteries. That includes all iPhones and many flagship Android phones from brands such as…


Privacy-conscious friends prefer DuckDuckGo over Google

Person Using a Smartphone

Some of my friends are quite privacy and security-conscious. They put protectors over their desktop and laptop cameras. They worry about the cameras on their iPhone. An iPhone is already a more secure environment than an Android phone, I reassure these friends.

DuckDuckGo is…


Cached data in Safari can prevent pages from opening

My coworkers and I fill out an online covid-19 declaration before we physically enter our workplace. Many of us keep a link to the questionaire on our iPhones.

Occasionally, the page will not open on an individual phone, and Safari will…


My experience using the Amazon AI’s multilingual mode

Photo of Amazon Echo Dot 2, on coffee table with books

Amazon introduced a multilingual mode to its Alexa AI in 2019, starting in three countries: Canada, India, and the United States. …


Very nice! I am currently reading Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids. What a creative force! The book is giving me a window on... evoking a world I've not seen depicted before. Not so successfully anyway. The Chelsea Hotel in the late 60s. Max's Kansas City and the Andy Warhol crowd. Loving depictions of brilliant, damaged artists such as Jim Carroll and Janice Joplin.


“Lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia” in politics inspired cranky clear writing manifesto

Lauren Stephen, left. George Orwell, right.

The following is based on a presentation I give to students in a college writing composition course.


Photo of smartphone resting on appointment book

My work recently moved to a new online shift scheduling and calendar system. The work calendar can generate a URL linking to an .ics file — an iCalendar feed — making it possible to subscribe to my work schedule with calendar services such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Calendar, and Google…


A standup comic, I recently had a scheduled 7-minute set extended to 15 minutes at the last minute. Fortunately, I had just found my Grade 9 Book Report on The Stranger by Albert Camus. My teacher Mr. Gravelle gave me an A+. That grade, however, hides a shameful secret which…


Getting Started with Android Automation, Part 2

An easy but useful Tasker recipe that locates an Android phone by causing it to emit an audible beep when it connects or disconnects to a paired Bluetooth device. …


Nicolas Cage is ideal choice for Lovecraft story adaptation

Film poster for Color Out of Space

There is an episode of the TV comedy Community where Greendale College’s resident drama professor tells his class it is impossible to say if Nicolas Cage is a good actor or a bad one. Film student Abed, who has obsessive-compulsive tendencies…

Lauren Stephen

Writer, editor, college professor, software developer, stand-up comic, based in Hamilton, Canada.

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