Is my Internet connection ok?

This past week, I was having problems with my home Internet connection.  It seemed slow and sluggish to respond.  Normally, when I type in a website address in my browser, it appears within about a second or so.  This week though, it was taking a few seconds at least for a website to appear.  Here’s some troubleshooting steps I took to figure out where the problem was: 1 – Reboot your computer – Was it just my laptop?  Often a computer reboot can do wonders to solve simple problems.  In this case though, it didn’t help my problem.  After reboot, I … Continue reading

‘Resetting’ your old Smartphone fails to truly erase your personal data

In a study by security software vendor Avast, they purchased 20 Android smartphones from eBay and were able to recover from the phone – 40,000 photos – including 250 nude selfies, along with 750 emails and text messages, 250 contacts, identities of 4 previous phone owners and one completed loan application. Users THOUGHT they were doing a ‘clean’ wipe and factory re-install on their phones.  It turns out though that after doing this wipe and re-install, your private data can often be quickly retrieved using generic, publicly available software. With all of the personal data we store on our smartphones, … Continue reading

ebay hack drives home need for Password Manager – here’s a good free one

Here’s the problem The bad guys steal a large password list.  ok. no big deal you think if they access my ****.com account.  BUT – Since you use the SAME password on about a few dozen websites, the bad guys now have access to lots of your accounts.  not good. SOLUTION – do NOT RE-USE passwords.  Use a different password for each different website. PROBLEM – How the heck do we remember dozens of different complex passwords and what websites they go to? SOLUTION – Use a password manager.  These programs/services keep your ‘list’ of usernames/passwords and make it easy … Continue reading

Help. I’m stuck in Ukraine and I need you to send me money!

Yesterday I received an email like this: Subject:  Help….Sender’s Name       (the ‘Sender’s name’ is usually someone you know) Good Morning, I hope you get this on time!!!sorry to disturb you but i had to send this message to you due to an unforeseen circumstance that my family and i encountered. My family and i traveled to Yalta (UKRAINE) for a short vacation but unfortunately for us, we had an accident of which i dislocated my right arm and my head got bruised. The driver of the cab passed on due to internal bleeding and the injuries he sustained … Continue reading

Today is not the only day to Hunt for Easter Eggs

In the world of computer coding, techs often create entertaining pieces of code that shouldn’t really be there and are referred to as ‘Easter Eggs’.  You can find them in many websites or programs by searching for specific words or pressing certain keys.  You won’t find these in the ‘official’ documentation, but they are there and sometimes people stumble across them.  Google has many of them.  Here’s a few cool ones: Searching for “Zerg Rush” in Google will transform your results in to a game. To stop your search results from obliteration, prevent the letter “O” from going too far … Continue reading

Great, Free alternative to Microsoft Outlook

One of the reasons many users have stuck with the Microsoft Office Suite instead of using one of the free Office alternatives has been because there has not been any/many good alternatives to Microsoft’s email client, Outlook.  Now, there’s a new version of a full-featured email client called eM Client version 6.  Like Outlook, it not only gives you access to your email, but also Calendar and Contacts.  It supports major email servers like GMail, Exchange, iCloud, etc.  Like many Office alternatives, this one is very similar in features, capabilities and look to Microsoft’s Office products and is FREE (for … Continue reading

How to keep your Windows XP relatively safe when Microsoft stops creating security patches

At least every month, Microsoft creates and releases security ‘patches’ to exploits it finds in it’s various operating systems and applications. April 8, 2014 is the last time Microsoft will release these for Windows XP. If you’re one of the millions of people that are screaming that they’ll have to pry your Windows XP PC “from your cold, dead hands” (ok, I’m probably exaggerating here, but there are many XP die-hards out there), there ARE some steps to take that can keep your computer relatively safe in the post-support era. Will there be any serious exploits found after 4/8/14 (security … Continue reading

What should I do about the end of support for Microsoft Office?

There has been much talk and worry about the end of support for Microsoft Windows XP.  I and most security experts have warned about the potential security problems that could occur after the last patches are released on April 8, 2014. This is a problem that should be taken seriously. Now, you may have also heard that Microsoft will discontinue support for it’s Office 2003 on the same date. Should you seriously worry about this also? In my opinion – NO! When’s the last time you’ve updated Microsoft Office anyway? When’s the last time you heard me (or any other … Continue reading

Run Android & Apps on your PC!

There are a TON of great apps that are made for your Smartphone.  Like any other program though, apps can only be run on the operating system they were made for.  So you cannot run Windows applications on a Mac, for example, and you cannot run Android apps on a Windows PC.  But what if you have an app that was made for a smartphone, but you would rather use it on your computer (with full physical keyboard access, unlike on most smartphones)?  Maybe you want to try out a new version of Android or develop and test an app … Continue reading

Send large files that are too big to email

Most email services limit the size of files you can attach to your emails.  Typical limits are from 5 to 25 mb (megabytes).  So what do you do if you have a file to send that’s larger?  Here’s a great new service that lets you send large files to others.  They’ll allow you to send files up to 1GB (that’s 1000 megabytes) for free.  What’s better is that you don’t even need to register or setup an account.  You just drag and drop your large file, enter the ‘from’ and ‘to’ email addresses and you’re done.  Here’s the link: Files … Continue reading

Tech Habits you should adopt

UPDATED Security Software If your antivirus software is not updated (you should have the latest version of the software and the latest virus definitions), it does NOT offer basically any protection.  If you don’t want to pay for one, there are many free choices that offer good protection.  If you have an old, outdated one installed, you must uninstall it first, before installing a new one. SCHEDULED Backups If you have any important data on your computer (pictures, music, documents…), you should be backing up the data to either an external hard drive or an online backup service – or … Continue reading

Don’t buy this brand of laptop/PC.

You have many choices on the shelf if you’re out looking around for a new computer.  Here’s a popular brand you’ll want to avoid, even if you spot a great deal.  Sony recently announced that they’re getting out of the PC business.  They’re selling their VAIO line to a Japanese investment firm and after this spring, you probably won’t see any more laptops from Sony selling outside of Japan.  They say they are doing this to focus on their smartphones and tablets.  Historically, consumers who are in this situation of buying a computer from a company that is no longer … Continue reading

Should you upgrade your older PC to Windows 7?

I received an email from a listener, Doug, about what he should do about the upcoming Windows XP support deadline: “With the pending issues coming down with the discontinuance of support for XP are there options that we can use for older computers (10 yrs)which will enable them to be used for years to come yet not be vulnerable to computer hacking.  Windows 7 is available for a short time to come, but is it worth switching over to it?  Are there benefits to switching as well, like computer is quicker?…” Great question Doug.  There are a LOT of people … Continue reading