to the
    Electric Brain

Site Directory

Tom's Inflation
(JavaScript version)

Tom's Inflation
(Java version)

Inflation Calculator
Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Dictionary

Mini Movie Reviews

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
Hall of Fame

Favorite Web Links

Tools used
to build this site

About the Electric Brain

Contact Me

Who is Tom?

Recent Movies

Anomalisa is an unusual independent film that uses puppet stop-motion animation to tell a rather bleak story of a man with a bleak life. The main character is a semifamous author of a business book on customer relations. During a trip to deliver an inspirational talk to customer-service reps, he has a potentially life-changing experience. Although he suffers from a disorienting brain disorder that makes every person's face and voice seem identical, he meets a young woman whose actual face and voice are distinct. To him, she's an anomaly, and her name is Lisa (thus "Anomalisa"). This interesting film was funded as a Kickstarter project and is thoroughly professional, but it's vaguely unsettling. Be forewarned that it's not an animated movie for kids. The language and sex scenes are definitely for adults.

The Revenant is a harrowing drama about an 1823 American frontiersman who struggles for survival after being left for dead by his buddies. Based loosely on a true story, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio in possibly his best performance to date—and certainly his most strenuous. Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, 2014) inflicted extreme conditions on his cast and crew in Alberta and Argentina to make this outstanding film. Better than almost any other, it captures the savagery of frontier life without sacrificing the humanity. At times, though, it tests our credulity. (Where is the frostbite and hypothermia?) But by the end, The Revenant earns its place in the modern re-examination of American frontier history that was shamelessly whitewashed by most Hollywood productions.

The Big Short recounts the Crash of 2008 from the viewpoint of maverick investors who bet big bucks against the fast-rising housing market. While almost all the experts ignored the growing bubble, these money managers bought credit-default swaps (in effect, insurance policies) that would pay off when the bubble burst. But this movie isn't a dry documentary. It's a fictionalized story based on true events from Michael Lewis's best-selling book of the same name. It actually makes complex financial maneuvers understandable and entertaining, and it even warns when the story deviates from reality. The stellar cast includes Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, and Melissa Leo, all of whom are Oscar winners or nominees. This film would make a great double feature with 99 Homes (2015), which recounts the crash from the viewpoint of a typical Florida homeowner.

>> See more mini-reviews, including 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 ... Jupiter Ascending ... 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

Visitors to this web site since August 29, 1966: [ 92594723961803476394125947239618 ]
Last site update: February 3, 2016

Hosted By Web Hosting by FatCow
 [ Windmill logo ]