Weekly Feature Articles

Avoiding Sneakware

I see it all the time: PCs choking on gobs of uninvited software to the point where they barely function.  They may be Web browser toolbars or antivirus utilities or programs that promise to speed up your computer, when in fact they do exactly the opposite.  It enrages me to see programs like these on my customers’ computers because I know that they did not knowingly install these programs--these programs waltzed in with another that the customer did want.  This sort of software is referred to as “sneakware.” Here are some strategies to prevent this from happening to you!

Cutting Costs and Time--But Not Taste

Here’s a quick look at four cookbooks that offer very different takes on making the most of your food budget and your schedule. From true Brit to vegan to down home Southern, you’re likely to find that one of these books for cooks matches your palate and your wallet.

Scott Turow to Speak at the Fredericksburg Forum

Attorney and author Scott Turow is the writer of eleven works of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling Presumed Innocent and its sequel, Innocent. Mr. Turow will be speaking at the Fredericksburg Forum at the University of Mary Washington on March 17, 2011. Read on for information about the author and an annotated list of selected readalikes you might enjoy. For more information on Fredericksburg Forum lecture, visit http://www.umw.edu/forum/.

What Is Film Noir?

Film noir is not easily defined. The actual words come from French and mean "black cinema." It was in France during the post-war years that the term was used to describe a certain set of Hollywood films that were saturated with a darkness and cynicism that was not seen before. These movies included The Maltese Falcon (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), Laura (1944), and Murder, My Sweet (1944).

Philip K. Dick and History Unrealized

The late Philip K. Dick's works were one of the strongest influences on science fiction writers in the first decade of the 21st century, including the fields of alternate history and paranoid thrillers.

The Eye of Argon—Worst Story Ever Written?

Lists of the worst literature ever written tend toward the eclectic and diverse. Alongside such standards as James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth, people have been known to list authors as diverse as Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown, Christopher Paolini, and even (on one list) Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Compiling a worst-of literature list is highly subjective and dependent on individual tastes, but there seems to be one thing the literary world agrees on—the horrible high-fantasy novelette The Eye of Argon belongs at the top of the list.

When Your Child Is in the Hospital

If your family comes to the hospital because of a sudden emergency, there may not have been time to plan out every step as carefully as you would for something expected. But with just a little time to plan, a bit of organization should help the whole experience go much more smoothly. Hopefully this small article will help with planning.

Prenatal Care: Important for Both of You

If you have just discovered that you are pregnant or are thinking that you would like to become pregnant one day, you have a lot to consider. One of the things which you definitely should not ignore during pregnancy is your health. Prenatal care is everything you do to take care of your health and your unborn child’s health while you are pregnant. This should start with a doctor’s visit once you know you are pregnant or think you might be.

A History of Classic Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov

No discussion of twentieth-century science fiction writing can be complete without mention of Isaac Asimov, the biochemistry professor and visionary writer who was responsible for creating the popular characterization of robots and incorporating themes of social science into “hard” science fiction. His most popular works, the Foundation trilogy and the Robot series, are considered landmarks of science fiction to this day. 

A History of Classic Science Fiction: A.E. Van Vogt and E.E. "Doc" Smith

The period of time from the late 1930s to the end of the 1950s is commonly known as the "Golden Age" of science fiction.  The Golden Age was noted for the volume of science fiction produced due to the large number of science fiction-oriented pulp magazines and the depth of the creative talent involved.  Many of the writers working in this period established concepts that would have a tremendous cultural impact on their readers.