John Biggs


I live in Brooklyn, NY, and write about technology, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men's Health, InSync, Linux Journal, Popular Science, Sync, and I've written a book called Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age. You cand find more about me at

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    I've been writing online for a long time, and I thought I'd address a few questions I've had over the years about how the sausage gets made. Excuse me if this is a little insidery, but I wanted to talk a little about how and why we're now inundated with "You Won't Believe How This Smiling Baby Will Change Your Life!" and "35 Funniest Sidewalk Signs of All Time" posts on Facebook and Twitter.

    There are a few types of web content, the most prevalent of them being "online journalism." I wrote a book about it, and it's what I've been doing for most of my professional career. And I'm part of the problem. Let me explain.

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    As a dad, I'm always on the lookout for so-called dangerous toys. My kids were soldering at age 5 (really), and I bought them microscopes, model rockets, and robots just so they'd feel comfortable around technology and science. Now, I think, I've found something surprisingly cool.

    The 3Doodler is basically a toy gun that shoots a stream of plastic. The plastic hardens quickly after extrusion and can be used to create 3D shapes. Think of it as a glue gun that isn't designed to stick things together. Instead, it allows you (and your kids) to create structures out of hard plastic.

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    If you've been watching the news lately, you'll have heard rumors of the the fabled Apple iWatch. It can do it all! It has a curved screen! It can sense your blood pressure! It's powered by the sun! It will make phone calls! It will change your life!

    What is the Apple iWatch and why should you care about products like it? Well, wearables like the iWatch are pretty amazing. They can already sense your heartbeat, your blood oxygen level, and your temperature. They can tell you how you're sleeping and where you've been. They can gauge how fast you're running and how great you are at weightlifting.

    But what does it mean when we hear that Apple is trying to break into the wearables market? And what do we really know about the iWatch?

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    Zombies, creepers, and spiders, oh my! If your kids are like mine, you've probably suddenly become a Minecraft family. However, if you're like I was, you probably have no idea what the heck the kids are doing in their virtual world. Never fear: The Minecraft FAQ is here.

    Minecraft isn't new, but it's now reached the mainstream and is probably popular in many houses around the world. As kids grow out of Flash games and pounding the remote control against the TV, they will quickly discover the magic and addictive properties of Minecraft. I'm here to help you understand this new threat.

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    With the news that Target and Neiman Marcus revealed more than 70 million pieces of customer data to hackers, I thought it would behoove me to inspect my credit card bill. Sure enough, my card number had been stolen and used to buy $10 worth of something somewhere in Ohio. 

    I won't go into what to do when someone steals your credit card (cancel it immediately, report fraudulent charges, subscribe to a credit watch service, keep track of your bills like a hawk) or how to prevent it in the first place (use Paypal online, cut up your debit card, use one credit card for "unsafe" purchases at companies that have been compromised). Instead, let's look at how my credit card information was stolen and where it probably went.

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