Understanding Ransomeware & Tools

It seems to me that every time a Ransomware attack occurs, it usually appears that we are once again incredulous that it happened, and we believe the AV (Anti-virus) companies should have figured this out by now. Right?  In reality, these cyberattacks appear to be something we will have to learn to live with.

I often go to PCWorld for advice when I want guidelines for dealing with a computer related problem.  Over the years I have found PCWorld to be succinct in their description of problems, and how to solve them. In addition PCWorld provides suggestions for computer software, PC equipment etc.

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Big Data Questions & Some Answers

How is BIG DATA described in your experience with ‘searching’ for answers on how to protect ourselves from the ‘Big Brother‘ invasion into our lives?  Below are two definitions of big data, which I found on the Internet. As you may notice, the spelling is not the same.

  • Datafication is a modern technological trend turning many aspects of our life into computerised data [1] Source: Datafication – Wikipedia …Ok – Wikipedia doesn’t quite explain it for you.  Here’s a VERY good explanation:
  • Datification is about taking a process or activity that was previously invisible and turning it into data. That data can then be tracked, monitored, and optimized, leading to new opportunities — and new challenges. It’s similar in some ways to the notion of “dark data” –  data that has been ignored up until now because of technology limitations. Only in this case, it’s more like “dark activities” that are now being pushed into the light. Source: Business Analytics & Digital Business | The Datification of our Daily Lives
  • These are some examples of how BIG DATA is gathered:  Facebook, Fitbit, Twitter, SmartPhone, purchasing on-line.  Are you getting the picture?

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Best Bet Phone Plans for 2017

Whom do you talk to about the best mobile phone plan to buy? Are you secure in your current choice, or do you sometimes think that there might be a better plan out there for you?  I imagine we all feel this way, and many of us could use a source to help us with determining how to select one.  In a recent Personal Tech article in the New York Times (NYT), it was said that plans, which were recommended a year ago, are now possibly obsolete because carriers change their offerings!

The terminology alone is confusing. For example,’Unlimited Data’, do you know if it really is unlimited, what does it mean, and more to the point do you need it? Are you aware of  The Wirecutter, a site owned by The New York Times, which gives recommendations for the best gadgets, services, smartphones? It’s probably worth your visiting it.

  •  At your very next opportunity take a look at the NYT article by Brian X. Chen.  He has done us all the favor of breaking down the New Best Phone Plans for Single Users, Single Power Users, Average Couple, Power Couple, Family of Four, Occasional Traveler. Click the pic below.

Google Home & Artificial Intelligence

hand-1571849_1920I started writing this post innocently enough just to report on the  newest tech gadgets that are available and have become ‘useful’ in assisting us with our ‘day-to-day’ chores. Those of you who follow tech4boomers know that I pretty much give you the pros and cons of the ‘experts’ advice about new devices.

As I think about these newest, ‘cute’, robotic gadgets, I am reminded about 2001: A Space Odyssey and the famous HAL 9000, the spaceship’s computer, which is capable of speech, speech recognition, automated reasoning,  and a host of other capabilities. For those of you who don’t already know, HAL 9000 malfunctions and decides inappropriately to kill the astronauts!  Yes! It’s a pretty scary film, much more so than vampires, zombies, etc. At least you may be able to handle vampires when the daylight comes.

Have you thought about how much we humans rely more and more on artificial intelligence devices to ‘help’ us out? I don’t know the last time I even looked at a map to get me somewhere, and the truth be told, in most cases if Siri takes me in the wrong direction, I am pretty much lost – LOL.  I started wondering: what are humans doing about paying attention to their increasingly all-purpose uses of  Artificial Intelligence?

CNET has a lot to say about Google Chrome and Amazon Echo with a side by side chart, which compares the two devices. You can also view the videos. Click the source link below.

  • Given the surprising success of the Amazon Echo — a smart speaker that responds to your voice commands, plays music, and controls your smart home — competition was inevitable. With Google Home entering the arena, complete with the backing of the company’s ubiquitous search engine, the Echo’s place on top is no longer secure. Source: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Alexa takes round 1 – CNET

Click this picture to see more robots available.robot-1758402_1280

♠  In the long term, an important question is what will happen if the quest for strong AI succeeds and an AI system becomes better than humans at all cognitive tasks. Click the Source: Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence – Future of Life Institute

 Black History Month
Celebrates

mae-jemisonMae Carol Jemison … She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. After medical school and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 until 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to found a company researching the application of technology to daily life. Source: Mae Jemison – Wikipedia

Fake News Savvy

fake-1909821_1280Recently the phenomenon of FAKE NEWS‘ has generated an upset among social media users and the press.  However, we can admit that ‘fake news’ has been around for many years.  Tabloids represent the first iteration of ‘fake news’. Stories about celebrities, with their faces prominently placed on the front page of the papers available at the supermarket cashier line have been noticed and read by many of us lined up to pay for our groceries. These ‘news’ stories are notorious among celebrities who have been known to sue these Tabloids for their ‘fake’ stories.

♦ Supermarket tabloids are particularly notorious for the over-the-top sensationalizing of stories, the facts of which can often be called into question. Source: Tabloid journalism – Wikipedia

I searched the www for information on how to identify ‘fake news’.  Use the sources below for guidance. And, for more perspective, some of you may want to look at the information on so-called “Satirical News” as well.

  1. A man named Paul Horner created several such sites.  He owns several real-sounding URLs including nbc.com.co, and abcnews.com.co
  2. Note the extraneous.co” at the end of those sites.  None of these are associated in any way with the news organizations they’re named after, but if you don’t look too closely at the link you click on, they appear legitimate. Source: How to Spot and Debunk Fake News

This is a list of fake news sites. These sites intentionally publish hoaxes and disinformation for purposes other than news satire. Some of these sites use a URL that ends in a .co or otherwise resembling genuine news sites. Source: List of fake news websites – Wikipedia

 Click-bait and “truthiness” are just as bad. By Melissa Zimdars November 18, 2016. Melissa Zimdars is an assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College. Source: My ‘fake news list’ went viral. But made-up stories are only part of the problem. – The Washington Post

Best Tech Gift Ideas

canstockphoto7515092 You don’t have to spend a fortune on a cool tech gift. We have some real deals for less than $50.
Source: 13 Must-Have Tech Gifts Under $50 – Slideshow from PCMag.com

Shopping for a gadget-obsessed friend or family member? Tech gifts are some of the most popular and sought-after gifts out there, yet many electronic gifts come along with a big price tag. But if you’ve written off any and all devices this year because of the fear of sticker shock, you might think twice after seeing our editors’ creative picks.
Source: Cool Gifts for Tech-Lovers | Real Simple

♦ With holiday approaching, everyone is getting into the holiday spirit.  While you are busy getting everything ready for the holiday, here are 8 free Christmas apps for kids. Most apps are good for all ages to enjoy, hope they bring joys to your home in this busy holiday season. Source: 8 Christmas Apps for Kids That Cost Nothing | iGameMom

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Happy Holidays !

Text Message Savvy

senior-textingDeveloping technology skills can be challenging for many of us. However, these everyday skills are necessary tools to assist us.

Texting has been around since the 1990s, nevertheless, it may still be difficult for some of us to comprehend how to use it.

GCF Learn is a free computer training website, which I urge you to visit for help.   Click the links below for guides on how to text.

  • Introduction
    You’ve probably heard people talk about text messaging, or texting. Text messages are short messages (usually 160 characters or fewer) sent from one mobile phone to another. It’s similar to instant messaging, except that you won’t need to log in—you’ll just send messages directly from your phone.Typically, texting is not free, although your mobile carrier probably offers service packages that include a certain number of texts per month (or even unlimited texts).
  • If you don’t have a texting plan, you’ll generally be charged whenever you send or receive a text message.  Source: Text Messages Tutorial at GCFLearnFree