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Tom's Inflation
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Inflation Calculator
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Computer Dictionary

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Tom's Guitar Cheat Sheet

Microprocessor Report
Networking Report
Mobile Chip Report
(article index)

BYTE Magazine Archive
(article index)

Unofficial BYTE FAQ
( R.I.P. 1975-1998 )

Shutterbug Archive
(magazine articles)

(JavaScript applet)

(Java applet)

(Java applet)

Tom's Oscar Contest

Tom's Oscar Contest
2015 results

Tom's Oscar Contest
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Favorite Web Links

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Recent Movies

Star Trek Beyond goes beyond anything imagined by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s, and that's not entirely a good thing. The characters' names are the same, and their starship is still the Enterprise, but the spirit of the classic TV series and feature films is gone. In its place is relentless violence, incomprehensible action, overcooked computer graphics, and silly videogame physics. Star Trek Beyond strives for relevance by offering a bioweapon plot to destroy the United Federation of Planets and its hug-me philosophy, but it's just drapery for the frequent fights. This "reboot" story arc needs a reboot.

Finding Dory is a cute sequel to Pixar Studio's Finding Nemo (2003) and has even better computer animation. It won't matter if you haven't seen or can't remember the previous film, because the plot is pretty simple: a memory-impaired fish named Dory (perfectly voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) tries to find her long-lost parents. She gets help from two clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence), a shape-shifting octopus (Ed O'Neill), and various other sea creatures. It's fun but repetitive and overlong for a kid's movie. Viewers young and old alike may get restless as each scene basically repeats the same theme.

The Jungle Book seamlessly blends live action with computer graphics to bring unprecedented life to Rudyard Kipling's story of a young boy raised by wolves in the jungles of India. Child actor Neel Sethi brilliantly plays Mowgli, the orphaned "man-cub" who can talk to animals and who wants to continue living among them. When menaced by the ruthless tiger Shere Khan, however, he reluctantly begins a journey to live with his own kind. Various animal characters are amusingly voiced by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, and the late Garry Shandling. To keep within a reasonable running time for restless children (108 minutes), the movie wisely condenses the novel. But it also contains several violent scenes that may frighten young children—much more so than Disney's 1967 animated version.

Eye in the Sky stars Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman as British military officers waging antiterrorist warfare—by remote control. Using real-time satellite links, they coordinate with drone pilots at a U.S. Air Force base in Las Vegas, intelligence officers at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., a national security adviser at the White House, a British cabinet minister visiting Singapore, and Kenyan Army special forces in Nairobi. Their joint mission to capture some high-value terrorists suddenly changes when they discover a suicide-bomber plot. Now they face a decision: Should the drone fire missiles at the terrorists despite the high probability of civilian collateral damage? This tense, well-made drama explores every aspect of this dilemma except one—it's nothing new. All weapons cause collateral damage, and all military commanders waging war from remote locations make decisions that will kill innocent people (including soldiers). Some historical context would have made this good film even better.

>> See more mini-reviews, including Hello, My Name is Doris ... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ... Anomalisa ... The Revenant ... The Big Short ... Star Wars: The Force Awakens ... Brooklyn ... Spotlight ... Steve Jobs ... The Martian ... 99 Homes ... Grandma ... Rikki and the Flash ... Inside Out ... Amy ... Jurassic World ... Love & Mercy ... San Andreas ... Tomorrowland ... Ex Machina ... Danny Collins ... Cinderella ... Chappie ... and many more!


 Tom's Inflation Calculator

Now there are two versions of Tom's Inflation Calculator—the original Java version and an all-new JavaScript version for wider compatibility with web browsers, smartphones, and tablets!

Tom's Inflation Calculator includes the latest U.S. government inflation data plus alternative data sets. Both calculators are free and should automatically run in your web browser after clicking on the links above. By using historical data and forecasts, they can adjust U.S. dollar amounts for retail price inflation either forward or backward in time for any years between 1665 and 2100. (The alternative data sets have narrower ranges.)

The JavaScript version has a new data set—the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, which the Federal Reserve uses to guide its monetary policy. In addition to using the U.S. government's official inflation data, both Inflation Calculators offer an alternative data set from ShadowStats, a private company. These are the best inflation calculators on the Internet!


Computer Dictionary
Common Terms Defined

Are you baffled by a technical term or acronym you've never seen before? Or just curious about the latest techie slang? Tom's Computer Dictionary may have the answer. From "AAC" to "zoo virus," it defines more than 800 terms in plain language. Learn to speak geek!


Guitar Cheat Sheet

Do you want to learn the most common major and minor guitar chords? Instantly transpose songs from one major key to another? Find out which major and minor chords go together? Play scales in any major key? Learn the notes on the fretboard? It's easy! And it's free! Just download and print Tom's Guitar Cheat Sheet.


Index to Tom's Articles  


Here's an index to more than 400 of Tom's articles in Microprocessor Report, Networking Report, and Mobile Chip Report, the insider's guides to microprocessors, networking chips, and mobile-phone chips. Learn about embedded processors, microcontrollers, digital-signal processors, and other chip-related topics. (Subscription required for most articles.)


Scramble Text With ROTator

ROTator is an applet that lets you encode and decode text in the popular Internet format known as "ROT 13." Lots of other programs do that, but my applet goes further by allowing you to encode and decode text in any rotational letter-substitution format. You can shift the letters left or right, and you can shift them by any number of letters from ROT 1 to ROT 26. Use my all-new JavaScript version (recommended) or the original Java version.


Test Your Java Security

How safe is your system from hostile Java applets? Find out with JSecure, one of Tom's free applets. JSecure harmlessly tests the security manager of your Web browser or applet viewer by trying to access information from your computer's operating system and hard disk. Try it today!


[ BYTE JUNE 1998 ] BYTE Articles

Here is an index to more than 180 of Tom's computer articles from BYTE Magazine published from 1992 to 1998. (BYTE ceased publication in June 1998.) Most articles are still available online and include the original photographs, figures, and screen shots.


And more stuff...
  • Tom's Mini Movie Reviews. Snappy reviews of recent movies, like those in the blue column on the left. Reviews that scroll off the column end up on the Mini Movie Reviews page.

  • Shutterbug Articles. More than a dozen of Tom's photography articles from Shutterbug magazine are now online. Learn how to personalize your film speed, banish dust from your darkroom, make professional-looking postcards, find the best deals on used cameras, create special effects with open flash, and more.

  • Fujifilm X20 Camera Review. An illustrated field test of a high-quality compact camera, the Fujifilm X20.

  • Tom's Oscar Contest. An annual tradition for 25 years, Tom's Oscar Contest is both entertaining and challenging. Hundreds of people have tried to guess who will win an Oscar in each Academy Award category. Competing against them is the computer brain of Tom's famed OscarCalc program, which sometimes wins the contest and always places near the top.

  • The Death of BYTE Magazine. In 1998, after 23 years of operation, BYTE Magazine was shut down by its new owner, CMP Media. A year later, CMP launched BYTE.com as a very different web-only publication. To learn the inside story about what happened to the world's second personal computer magazine, see Tom's Unofficial BYTE FAQ: The Death of BYTE Magazine.

  • Tom's Favorite Web Links. Find information about personal computers, microprocessors, Java, and other technologies. There are quite a few photography-related sites, plus some offbeat places you've never been. Lots of new links!

  • Tools for Web Builders. The hardware, software, programming tools, and books used to build this web site might be useful to you, too. Most of these tools are linked to their vendors' web sites so you can find more information.

Cool hobbies:   Phil's Old Radios
My guitar teacher:   Dave Creamer
Almost-forgotten history:   Commodore Computer
Family nutrition adviser:   Marsha Kunz, M.S., Give Me Five
World's foremost CPU authority:   Microprocessor Report
Kick-ass info about PCs:   Maximum PC Magazine
Practical photography:   Shutterbug
Contact the webmaster:   Feedback page

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Last site update: August 19, 2016

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