Frequently Asked Questions

In combination newspaper and web publication since 2002, the Digital Bits® Technology Column is a consumer technology and computer-related information and advice column by Andy Kaiser. The focus is on current and new tech, how it works, and how people can use, understand and benefit from it. Topics include new technology information, tech reviews and help with computers and the Internet.

What does Andy Kaiser do for a living?

Andy Kaiser owns Kaiser IT Group, an IT consulting firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which focuses on IT, networks, servers, computers, phones, and pretty much anything you plug into a wall.

What’s up with Andy?

Andy Kaiser here, with a few pieces for those interested in who I am as a person.

I was born in 1975 and raised in Michigan, USA, Earth. I had a traditional suburban upbringing along with my three younger sisters. Ever since I could waddle around, I had always been getting into things and taking things apart, sometimes to my parents’ dismay (don’t ask about my father’s camera). I’ve always been interested in how things work, and have always been talented in using my hands for non-sports-related activity. Whether it’s juggling, doing mechanical work or video games, I enjoy being able to work with tools and play with gadgets. Now, add to that a fascination with technology. Tools plus technology equals computers. My family bought its first computer when I was six (I still remember that first day with the creatively-named “TI-99/4A”) and I took to it immediately.

I went to college way up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If my state was holding a pinwheel, my school would be located at very top of the stick. You guessed right: Michigan Technological University! I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a minor in Humanities. I’ve been interested in and took electives in everything from circuit board design to creative writing to video game programming to Shakespearean literature.

After graduation, I moved back home with the intention of marrying my high school sweetheart. Luckily, I succeeded.

I worked at i3 Business Solutions, a technology consulting firm, from 1998 to 2015. Since 2015, I run Kaiser IT Group, a company that helps other businesses with their computer and network needs. I do directional IT planning, IT projects, administrative support, systems design, installation and troubleshooting. Many smaller companies use Kaiser IT Group as their sole means of tech support. Many bigger companies use Kaiser IT Group for more specialized projects.

When I’m not working, I’ve got plenty of hobbies. I’ve always been a hands-on guy, and I enjoy things that require manual and mental dexterity. I also crave variety. This list contains just a few of my hobbies in no particular order: Video games (strategy games are preferred), reading (mostly science fiction), juggling, multimedia work, board games, and rock climbing. Please keep in mind I make no claim to actual talent for any of the above.

Gadgets and Fun Things I play with often: Multiple computers and parts, wireless networking, the Internet, homemade and gym climbing walls, handheld PCs, multimedia editing, handheld GPS units, and other miscellaneous devices and games.

You may notice one thing missing from my lists is the Digital Bits Technology Column! The column is different – It has its own category, and its own website.

In addition, I run Digital Bits Skeptic and maintain The Backyard Arthropod Project and Ally’s Toy Box. I write the Dev Manny IT mysteries, “The League of Scientists” books and keep track of Nightmare Fuel and everything that is awesome. For those who camp in Michigan and study its history, I also host ManitouIslandLady.

I am a person who believes strongly enough in things that I’m willing to change my life for them. One example is that after doing a bit of research, I no longer eat fast food. Part of this is because I’m grossed out by what goes into it, and another part is that it’s my own personal protest against how the food is made. Another example is that my wife and I have disconnected the cable TV at our house. We did this because even though we loved TV, we realized we were wasting hours every day when we could be improving ourselves and spending more quality time with each other. (Sounds noble, doesn’t it? However, after the cable was gone we noticed a huge increase in DVD rentals.)

And that, for good or bad, strange or boring, is Andy Kaiser.

How was the Digital Bits Technology Column created?

I decided to create the column after visiting many of my clients. It got to the point where I was noticing that many people shared the same problems. If I could make a common place to store information on common problems and issues, people could really benefit. Based on that, I decided to create the Digital Bits column. Originally intended as a computer-only column, its scope has grown to include technology in general.

Where does the Digital Bits Technology Column appear?

Andy Kaiser self-syndicated the technology column to multiple newspapers and on the Internet at AndyBrain.com. Due to the state of the newspaper industry, Andy chose to stop self-syndication after four years doing so. The Internet presence remains, and is the focus of current and future efforts. His articles have been featured on high-profile technology news sites like Slashdot, Geek Speak Radio and Techdirt, and in magazines like 2600 Magazine. He has many contacts within notable technology companies (including VerizonWireless, Nintendo and Radio Shack). Andy Kaiser’s interviews include supervisors at NASA’s JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and David Pogue (technology columnist for the New York Times and CBS News correspondent).

How can I contact Andy Kaiser?

Contact Andy Kaiser at this link.

Do you work for or are you in any way associated with companies whose products you review? Are you a software promoter or any type of financial beneficiary of these companies? Do companies pay you to review their products?


All reviews are as unbiased and honest as I can possibly be. I’ve given products glowing reviews, and I’ve recommended against other products sent to me for review. My goal is to be an impartial reviewer, working to increase the knowledge of readers of this site. As far as income, I get money by showing the ads you see on the site, and from some of the links that point to items at Amazon.com. I refuse any money or financial relationships from all other companies.

Is everything on this site original? How much of this site is Andy responsible for?

Unless specifically noted (usually by quoting or indenting), everything on this site was written by Andy Kaiser.

Why are so many posts on this site from January 1st?

In early 2011, andybrain.com underwent a major design change. Unfortunately, much of the archival timestamp data could not be migrated. While the publication dates of articles in 2009 and later were preserved, anything from 2008 and earlier was not. To keep things simple, Andy chose to use January 1 as the date meaning “this exact publication date is unknown, but it was definitely years ago”.

Why is the domain called “AndyBrain.com”?

AndyBrain.com? That’s odd, isn’t it? Is it all ego, where I’m declaring my superior intellect to the world? Or does it state confidence in my technical ability? No. The truth, as usual, is embarrassing:

I was in the fourth grade. In my class, when we did our homework we were required to sign our full name at the top of the paper. After a few assignments were turned in, my teacher took me aside. “Andy, your middle name is ‘Brian’, isn’t it? You’ve been spelling it wrong on all your papers. ‘Brian’ is your name, and ‘brain’ is that thing in your head. You don’t want me to call you ‘Andy Brain Kaiser’, do you?” So, one red face and many years later, a website was born.

Can I reprint things I see on your site? I’m really, really bored, so please tell me all about your legal and privacy policy!

You asked for it. Here’s the legal and privacy policy:

All content here may be copied and printed for personal use only. Copying content for mass distribution and commercial use is prohibited, and is fee-based. Contact Andy Kaiser for details.

The Obligatory Legal Disclaimer:
Please understand that while Andy may not be able to personally answer your email, he appreciates you writing him, and may use your message in a future Digital Bits Tech Column or on this website. Your email may be edited for purposes of clarity and size. Understand that Andy is not liable for anything bad happening as a result of his advice on this site or in his column, and is not responsible for the content of external links. Due to the constantly changing nature of technology, certain articles here may be out of date or obsolete. Privacy policy: Andy does not (and will not allow any third party to) track or collect personally identifiable information of Internet users. IP addresses are logged, as this is a standard in most web hosting applications. This site also uses cookies for collecting anonymous traffic data.

What is your code of ethics for reviews?

My code of reviewing ethics is short but important, both for readers as well as for companies that send me their products:

1) Be honest: I judge an item based on how well it does what it’s supposed to do. That means I may give an item a bad review. Don’t assume all reviews will be good.

2) Respect the reader’s money: Function is big, but so is value. Cost is an important factor in a review.

3) No direct advertising for other companies: While I may advertise my own creations on my own site, I will not accept any direct advertising proposals from other companies. If an advertiser wants to advertise on my website, I advise them to use the “site-targeting” feature in Google AdWords, and their ads will appear here with no involvement from me.

4) No freebies: This keeps my reviews as unbiased and honest as possible. I do not keep any reviewed items for my own personal use. If I personally own any items I review, it’s because I’ve spent my own money on it. I may advertise my own products, however. But if you send me a product and you don’t want it back, I will donate it or give it away for free.