Posted in FYI, technology

Last Minute Back to School 2018 Deals & Advice

If you’re still looking for last-minute back to school deals for your school supplies and laptops,  I’ve searched around and found one or two suggestions, which may help you.

I’ve always gone to Wirecutter for their observant and expert advice on all sorts of products.  Whether you are in college, grade school, or going back to school yourself, it’s a good place to start. Scroll down through the menu screen to find the products you’re looking for.  Then, select the filter option. And while you’re at it, sign up for their Newsletter to stay on top of good purchases. https://thewirecutter.com/deals/

You will also want to look at https://Inkgrabber.com, and https://www.inkjets.com, to find the best deals on toner for your printers.

  • As soon as you start to get the “jitters”, as you send your young college students off to fend for themselves, you may want to take a look at this set of suggestions, published by US News. It is an article about wellness for Parents no less! Click this link, and “breathe” US News for Parents
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Posted in FYI

Browser Safety & Privacy: Is it possible?

I often look to Brian X. Chen’s, New York Times articles for Tech Fix when I really want to know about a product.  And,  I must say, his articles are very helpful.  In a recent personal search for information using Internet Explorer, I once again found my computer attacked by Spyware.  I have some experience with this, as some of you who follow my blog, already know.  Remember when I was held hostage in October 2017?
I wrote about it on this blog post: Malware-safety-requirements/

It’s very scary, time-consuming and costly.  Just a few days ago, the same thing happened again! Yes!  As Brian X. Chen says, “the web has reached a new low…annoying, often toxic and occasionally unsafe place to hang out.”  I managed to catch myself before I panicked and made a mistake.  I turned off my computer; logged back on, and deleted the Internet shortcut I had on my taskbar to the browser.  I then looked at the tools on my Internet Browser toolbar, which allowed me to go into my Internet options, and delete the history.  Once again I was saved! Whew!

Do you always know how to protect yourself from Spyware?   In this instance, I switched to my Google Chrome browser to check if my computer had been compromised. I had no problem, and continued my work.

 Just in case, however, there are other Browser options.  Does anyone remember Firefox??  Or, you may know it by the name Mozilla.  Mark Mayo, Mozilla’s chief product officer resumed his thinking about different tools and architectures and different approaches. Now there is a new Mozilla version.  The code-name is Quantum.  Here are the changes according to Chen:  sleekly designed, fast; consumes less memory than the competition.  This allows you to have lots of tabs. But, the real attraction are the privacy tools: built-in feature for blocking ad trackers…. tools to prevent Facebook from monitoring activities to name just a few.  There is much more covered in the article all about the normal Firefox browser, and Firefox Focus.  You can read all of the reasons for considering this new version of Firefox.  Apparently, the privacy features are substantial.  Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/technology/personaltech/firefox-chrome-browser-privacy.html

 One more thing, learn about Firefox Quantum at this link: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/11/14/introducing-firefox-quantum/

Be careful out there!

Posted in FYI

No such thing as FREE APPS

Ok Folks, let’s review this again for ourselves:  We all know now that information is always being collected about us when we use apps on computers and phones, as well as, the free online services. For example, tax preparation software. This is not a secret. We are being watched, and information is collected about us if we are using internet connected audio speakers, thermostats etc.

  • The regulation of these services and how these services are using our personal digital information are not regulated as in the food industry.
  • An article I read suggests that we still should take extra steps to be careful with ‘obscure’ tech brands.  Don’t sign up for every app that is available, or take every quiz if you’re a Facebook user.
  • None of these APPs are free, and they often give you the details of what their collecting in their privacy policy.

Continue reading “No such thing as FREE APPS”

Posted in FYI, technology

Virtual HELP Wanted?

I don’t know about you, but the idea of an assistant to help me keep my projects on track or, moreover, get them done, seems rather attractive these days. Well, it turns out that those virtual assistants are out there, and they are available 24 hours a day!  Yep!

According to a recent article in the New York Times, these services are for people who want help managing their lives, but don’t need a full-time assistant.  Does this sound like you?  Well, read on to find out what’s out there. And whether you can fit this type of help into your budget.  The article suggests a price range of $81 for an app, to as low as  $20 an hour.  So, what do the various services do?

The first website I visited is Fin https://www.fin.com/,
Some of the claims are as follows: email; text; schedule; research.  24 hour service, 7 days a week. They are more flexible, highly educated, and you only pay for what you use.  That’s pretty impressive.  According to the article I read about this service, the experience with the company was a little confusing: the charges they accrued; how those charges were accrued; and the service was not what was expected. Although they eventually worked it all out.  My suggestion is to be perfectly clear what services you are asking for, and make sure to use those services one request at a time, instead of mixing them.  Use this link to review how the pricing works – https://www.fin.com/pricing

Continue reading “Virtual HELP Wanted?”

Posted in FYI, technology

Stolen Laptop Protection & Encryption

In today’s world with mobile devices, PC’s, and laptops,  we are inundated with the concerns of protecting our personal data, which is stored in files on these various pieces of equipment.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, by Whitson Gordon, if your laptop is stolen, your personal information is not protected even if you have a password on the device. The article states the following:

Passwords on the computer only protect access to the device.  There are other techniques to copy files from your devices. For example, if the hard drive is removed, they can put it onto another computer and access the files.  Geez!  I never thought of that!  Hackers/thieves have ways to reset the password on your PC, allowing access to your personal information, emails, passwords etc.

Although this information may be disconcerting, there are steps you can take to protect your data and to protect your devices; some of these options for ‘Encryption” that protect your hard drive are already available on your laptop for free. Windows 10 devices have encryption defaulted.  Check your laptop in Settings/About and look for ‘Device Encryption”.  Use your Microsoft account to activate this free feature. If you do not have this feature available on your laptop, look for the free program VeraCrypt. The NY Times article is quite detailed with information about Mac laptops, iPhones, Android phones, and information on which devices are automatically encrypted.

 There is a caution to be aware of when using encryption. You must NOT forget your password!  Source article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/smarter-living/how-to-encrypt-your-computers-data.html

Other sources for encryption information can be found at the following websites:

https://www.wikihow.com

https://www.lifewire.com

 

 

 

Posted in APPS, FYI, technology

Parking Apps! What a Relief!

How often do you find a parking space quickly?  When you’re not in your home town do you have someone, or “something” that can help you in finding a space reasonably quickly?

Imagine if you did not have to worry about that all alone?  Well, if you did not know, (which I didn’t) there are parking APPS – over two dozen! Yes!  These Apps help you find parking that is inexpensive in various cities, and airports!

Below are some links to some of the best apps available.  You can read the source documents for more selections.

   https://www.bestparking.com/

  https://spothero.com/

Read more here:
https://solutions.softonic.com/what-are-the-best-parking-apps

Parking Woes? There’s an App for that

 

 

Posted in APPS, FYI, technology

Savoring ♥ Technology Time Out

June 29, 2007, is when the first iPhone was released.  Yes!  And, we have not been the same since.  For one thing, so many mobile phones have been created/released. Many of us wonder, what did we do before the mobile device revolution. 24 hours a day we can be connected to an Internet universe, live vicariously via YouTube, and various Apps.  How can we control being ‘wired’ all the time?

When my son was a youngster I occasionally suggested that he take a ‘time out’ to have him calm down, in the event the behavior he was exhibiting was not desirable.  This was not something that was looked on by him as a ‘good’ thing.  Flash forward, and it seems that it was not all that bad an idea.  There’s a conversation going on about appreciating stillness; savoring moments away from the computer, email, and mobile device madness, which can keep many of us “plugged in” 24 hours a day.  Not good! 

I searched around to find some tools that could help us, in the event we just can’t tear ourselves away from those cute little toys :). Here is what I found: Moment, which is an iOS app that keeps track of how much you’re using your phone. There is also Moment Family, that allows you to monitor the entire family from your phone. Samsung user can use ‘Thrive Mode, which gives you the option of creating at VIP list, which disallows being interrupted by calls and texts from those not on the list. Continue reading “Savoring ♥ Technology Time Out”