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Debugger
Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

Dear Omar

In Debugger. More on Medium.

Dear Omar

I mean, that’s what we heard… from other people. Not because we did it. (Ahem.)

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga. If you have questions for Omar, send them to debugger@medium.com with the subject line “Dear Omar.”

There was a kind of boredom that happened during the pandemic shutdown in 2020 that we may never feel again. It felt like you couldn’t go anywhere or do anything that didn’t involve puttering around your home like a 70-year-old. Knitting was suddenly hot. Home improvement projects abounded. Gardening was suddenly something a lot of us began to dig as a new hobby. We became more comfortable with puns.

It…


DEAR OMAR

Ring doorbells see all, but know nothing

Do you remember, way back about six or seven years ago, when Ring just made video doorbells?

This was after the small startup company competed on Shark Tank but before it was swallowed up Amazon, which made the now-ubiquitous doorbells the center of a universe; last time I checked, that universe now includes stand-alone security cameras, driveway lighting, car alarms, home and business security systems, smoke alarms, and mailbox sensors.

I was an early fan of Ring: It felt like a piece of hardware whose time had come. Riding on a wave of increasingly useful smart-home gadgets, the Ring doorbell…


Dear Omar

In its highly experimental 2021 edition, South by Southwest shows how Zoom conferences can be done

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga. If you have questions for Omar, send them to debugger@medium.com with the subject line “Dear Omar.”

It must have been around July 2020 when I decided I was officially done with virtual conferences.

They were a noble effort, a way of cleaning up the mess Covid-19 was making, as it caused the cancellation of one major event after another, whether it was conferences about mobile phones or annual corporate tech summits or video game expos. …


Dear Omar

And what to do about it

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga. If you have questions for Omar, send them to debugger@medium.com with the subject line “Dear Omar.”

A little over 10 years ago, when I worked as an entertainment editor at a newspaper, I learned firsthand the feeling of futility that meetings can create. I was in a conference room with a yellow legal pad and pen with a few other staffers, ready for a meeting to begin to discuss our coverage of South by Southwest.

The meeting began, and after some initial small talk about our…


Dear Omar

Honey, Rakuten, and Capital One shopping could help you find a better price

A tip scale with one box on each scale. The box on the left of the scale is labeled “Amazon” and the box on the right is labeled “Honey.” The scale is tipped toward the Amazon box. Above the image is the “Dear Omar” column name.

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga. If you have questions for Omar, send them to debugger@medium.com with the subject line “Dear Omar.”

My kids, who are 11 and 13, are too young to buy things online, so when it comes time to enter the credit card digits and place an order, they come to me, and I usually say, “No!” and on goes a cycle of parenting that will lead to decades of retail resentment on their part.

They’ve shopped at other online storefronts, but 99% of the time, it’s an Amazon…


Dear Omar

He served in the Air Force. I write about video games.

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga.

“You’re too low. Pull up.”

“Okay.”

My dad replies, “Up. Pull up.”

“I’m trying. It’s not pulling up,” I answer. I really am trying.

“Pull the yoke and increase the throttle. You don’t have enough power.”

“I’m trying to turn, but it’s going down.”

“You’re stalling. Pull up!”

“I CAN’T!”

“PULL UP!”

And that’s how I crashed my virtual Cessna 152 in Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s probably a costly vehicle to crash in real life, but in the world of the 2020 version of Flight Simulator


Dear Omar

But I’m still awaiting my utility bill 😬

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga answering all the gadget and technology questions you were afraid to ask.

We knew a blackout was coming, had known for a while, but when it finally hit, my daughters and I still stood silent for a moment, shocked and in the dark.

It was about 7:30 p.m. on Monday, the second day for many of what became an unexpectedly severe “Epic Winter Storm” in much of Texas. We lost electricity after many other families did. We knew rolling blackouts were part of the plan, in…


Dear Omar

I saw the light, but I can’t tell if it’s keeping me safe

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga answering all the gadget and technology questions you were afraid to ask.

It’s been almost a year since we became obsessed with germs, with viruses, with our filthy hand-washing habits, suddenly unacceptable when Covid-19 came knocking.

I wonder sometimes if we’ll forget that helpless feeling we had circa April–May 2020, when so much early uncertainty about the workings of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, led to extreme changes in behavior. …


Dear Omar

Five family gaming rigs reveal that graphics performance is largely in the eye of the beholder

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga answering all the gadget and technology questions you were afraid to ask.

Sometime around mid-December, parts of my family abandoned their game consoles and went very, very PC.

It’s not that we don’t love our game consoles: I’m finally getting around to building out island homes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch with my daughters. My brother Pablo scored a PlayStation 5 against all odds before the holidays were in full swing. Mario Kart Live was on some of our wishlists.

But several nights…


Dear Omar

The Harbor app promises to aid reluctant preppers

A phone’s emergency alert with the text “THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR” on top of a picture of a dark cloud.

Welcome to Dear Omar, a weekly Debugger column from tech expert Omar L. Gallaga answering all the gadget and technology questions you were afraid to ask.

Panic as a lifestyle choice became a mood in 2020. Suddenly, it began to feel like doomsday preppers were making a good point.

As Covid-19 caught the country flatfooted and as stores ran out of toilet paper and other essentials, basement-stocking and bunker-building began to gain more mainstream attention. The preppers were kind enough to share their knowledge and not add, “Told ya so.”

What I have wondered, as I’ve been browsing survivalist websites…

Debugger

Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

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