When It Absolutely, Positively, Ah… Skip It

Written by Christopher Null on July 1st, 2014

Today I Learned: If you take your FedEx door tags into a FedEx Office center and ask where your packages are, they simply can’t tell you. “Door tag number <> tracking number!”

PRO TIP: You can look up the tracking numbers on the spot using your phone by typing in the door tag numbers, then you can tell them to FedEx, and then they can help you. FedEx can’t manage this trick internally.

Good luck.


Why Not Take a Whole Hour?

Written by Christopher Null on June 4th, 2014

It’s not a huge waste of time, it’s HBO.



Overheard at the Cub Scout Trash Pickup Event

Written by Christopher Null on May 29th, 2014

“Ew, don’t pick that up. It’s got AIDS on it.”

(The AIDSy item in question was a spent Q-tip.)


Texas Monthly

Written by Christopher Null on April 26th, 2014

What I’ve learned in the last year of reading Texas’s premiere “lifestyle” magazine: Lots and lots of people have been horribly murdered in Texas over the last thirty years, and virtually none of the people incarcerated (or executed) for the crimes have been guilty. So, where are all the real killers?


Ho Ho Ho

Written by Christopher Null on December 16th, 2013

The worst thing the movies have ever done to Christmas is confusing the masses into believing the man in red’s name is spelled “Santa Clause.”


Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte

Written by Christopher Null on December 12th, 2013

New favorite feature on the iPhone: “Block This Caller.”


Don’t Ask About the Original Star Trek…

Written by Christopher Null on November 22nd, 2013

Me: What’d you do in school today?

Daughter (11): We watched Robin Hood.

Me: Which one?

Daughter (11): The original. From 1982!


Old Car, New Car

Written by Christopher Null on November 21st, 2013

I’ve never had much interest in building or rebuilding a motor vehicle — I can focus on a long-term project for weeks, but this seems overwhelming — but this photo essay of a “Volkswagen Ferrari” being put together is so much fun that it makes me want to try.



Written by Christopher Null on October 21st, 2013

So David Pogue is headed to Yahoo, eh?

Having spent 4 years at Yahoo!’s very first stab at a tech site (which was also planned to be “much more than a site”), all I can say is best of luck.

Someone poke me when Walt Mossberg starts at Microsoft, ok?


Choose Your Own Adventure

Written by Christopher Null on September 28th, 2013

So I’m in the parking garage and go to the elevator…



So I go to the stairs…



Cheap Thrills

Written by Christopher Null on September 11th, 2013

Here’s a fun trick you can try. Call someone (or Moviefone, if you are Forever Alone) on your iPhone, and put them on speakerphone. While they’re speaking, place the bottom of the phone (where the speakers are) against your lips. Have fun.


Now Celebrating 4013 Years Open!

Written by Christopher Null on August 20th, 2013

Google’s kinda funny sometimes.


Hey, Maybe We’ll Beat China After All…

Written by Christopher Null on June 23rd, 2013

Woman kills husband, self while learning to park

“Learning” is a stretch…


The Perils of Car-Based Advertising

Written by Christopher Null on May 30th, 2013

It’s not unusual to almost get run off the road while driving in San Francisco. What is unusual is to almost get run off the road by a car with an advertising wrap on it. Even more unusual was what I spotted on the side of the heavily-tinted car, its driver clearly yelling at me to get out of his way: A vehicle wrap for babysitting service urbansitter.

Now that’s a little interesting. I’m sure no one from urbansitter was behind the wheel, nor was the driver likely one of the service’s babysitters… and yet, I’m still a little put off. Would I trust my children to a company that employs reckless drivers to carry its advertising message? As a parent of two, I’m suddenly not sure how I feel about the company’s brand based on this one, isolated incident.

Just a cautionary tale should your business find itself considering vehicle wraps to carry its marketing message. In the case of urbansitter, which has to get across how extremely safe its service is, maybe it’s better to stick with promotional pencils.

Then again… I definitely saw your ad!

Update 6/4/2013 – Urbansitter and the company that provides its car ad services, AdverCar, have both followed up with me and taken great pains to address this situation. I’m really impressed by their response.


Copy Hard Disks in Windows for Free

Written by Christopher Null on April 22nd, 2013

I use Clonezilla regularly to clone disks, but if I can mount both disks in Windows, why deal with the command line? Macrium Reflect does the job, with a few points and clicks, for free. Perfect for if you have, say, two USB drives you want to copy more reliably than drag-and-dropping from within Windows Explorer. (Hint: It never works!)


This Is The Worst Press Release I Have Ever Received

Written by Christopher Null on April 5th, 2013


Monday night’s Dancing With The Stars episode will feature Pickler and dance partner, Derek Hough, performing to a very special song

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 5, 2013)- Country music’s Kellie Pickler announced today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she and her dance partner, Derek Hough, will dance to a very special song on Monday night’s Dancing With The Stars. In honor of the show’s theme of the week, “Most Memorable Year,” Pickler chose to dance to one from 2011— the year she married her husband, Nashville songwriter, Kyle Jacobs.

Pickler and Hough will dance the rumba to “Say I Do,” a romantic ballad written by Jacobs for Pickler shortly before their wedding day – and to top it off, Jacobs will perform the song in person on the show Monday night with the help of the Dancing With The Stars house band.

“It’s going to be an 100 percent emotional moment, and I’m just hoping I can keep it together,” Jacobs says. “Kellie’s doing so well on the show, and she’s having so much fun. The fact that she’s dancing to this song, our song, means so very much to both of us… it honors the love that we have so much.”

When asked how Jacobs feels about his wife dancing with Hough each week, Pickler sweetly told Ellen, “My husband knows he’s always going to get the last dance.”

Tune in to Dancing With The Stars on ABC on Monday at 8 p.m. EDT / 7 CDT to watch.

Stay tuned to kelliepickler.com for updates on tour dates and new music, and follow her on Twitter @kelliepickler.


A Double-Whammy of Movie News

Written by Christopher Null on March 30th, 2013

Have you checked out Film Racket yet? You should, because it’s awesome. Everything I learned from 20 years of talking about the movies is distilled into this new website, which just launched this week.

Have you read Five Stars! How to Become a Film Critic, the World’s Greatest Job? Oh, you have? Well maybe you should check it out again. The 2005 book is updated and reissued with new material in this revamped 2013 Second Edition. Check it out now in paperback or ebook format.



The New Math

Written by Christopher Null on March 14th, 2013

According to a letter from a KitchenAid warranty provider, this company suggests I pay $517 for a 5-year warranty on a 10-year-old mixer that now costs $340 new.

Who’s with me?


Topics of Conversation During My Comcast Telephone Call

Written by Christopher Null on March 2nd, 2013

(in rough order)

My job.
My children.
The Comcast rep’s children.
Where I live.
Children having cell phones.
Wireless routers.
Google Glass.
Whether mobile technology is causing us to disassociate from society.
Windows 8.
My Comcast service request.


Fixing an Unreadable Smart Card?

Written by Christopher Null on February 8th, 2013

Anyone have any tips on fixing unreadable smart cards with chips like those seen below? I’ve got $45 stuck on this parking card and nowhere to go with it because it gives a “card error” message every time I try to use it…

smart card