Locked out?

Tech Talk #110 – August 17, 2019 We all use devices (smartphone, tablet, or computer) that contain information we don’t want strangers or thieves to access. To protect our privacy, we lock our devices with a username/password combination. Since we’re going to be unlocking our device 5, 10, 15, 20 times a day, we use our fingerprints, our faces, passcode or PIN, or a lock screen pattern to unlock our device instead of our username/password.

5G – What is it? I think I have it already, and will it hurt me?

Tech Talk #109 – August 3, 2019 If you don’t have time to read this whole column, here are the answers to the questions in the headline: it’s for cell phones, no you don’t have it (yet), and probably not. What is it? 5G refers to the fifth generation of cellular network. The current king-of-the-hill in cellular networks is 4G. So why do we need 5G? 5G is about speed, bandwidth, and low latency. Speed

A new Facebook scam, iOS 13’s battery optimization

Tech Talk #108 – July 20, 2019 A new Facebook scam Scammers have discovered that Facebook is a good vehicle for tricking people into giving them money, usually through the Facebook Messenger app but also using some Facebook games. The latest scam tricks people into thinking they gave money to a terrorist group, and now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is after them. Here’s how it works: The scammers contact their victim using

Major Windows 10 security problem, Cell phone robocalls

Tech Talk #107 – July 6, 2019 Major Windows 10 security problem Catchy headline, right? That’s what many tech and consumer-facing sites have been running lately, but it’s not quite true. While there IS a major security problem, and it DOES affect Windows 10, the problem doesn’t come from Microsoft, it comes from software pre-installed on many new computers. The pre-installed software is called the PC-Doctor Toolbox. While it sounds useful, PC-Doctor Toolbox has a

Delete your Google Home recordings, Clear wrong autofill entries

Tech Talk #106 – June 22, 2019 Delete your Google Home recordings If you have a Google eavesdropping device, I mean a Google Home product in your house, you probably know that Google Home is recording everything you say after the device’s wake word, which is usually “OK, Google.” Google’s default policy was to keep the collected recordings of you talking to your Google home for a long time. Like, forever. But why? The current

Netflix account sharing, previewing email, flooring your computer

Tech Talk #105 – June 6, 2019 Netflix account sharing, previewing email, flooring your computer The Netflix Terms of Use clearly prohibit you from sharing your Netflix account’s password with family members, neighbors, or friends. Yet, an estimated 24 million people do just that. That’s 24 million people not paying Netflix for their service, but Netflix doesn’t seem to care. Why not? Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said, “password sharing is something you have to

Windows XP security patch, more Intel chip problems

Tech Talk #104 – May 25, 2019 Windows XP security patch Remember back in 2014, when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP? Meaning no more security patches or Windows Updates for computers running XP? It turns out that Microsoft DOES still issue patches for XP, but only emergency security patches. In 2014 Microsoft issued a patch for vulnerabilities in all versions of Internet Explorer. Next, in 2017, there was another emergency patch to fix a

Fake tech support (still), Alexa or privacy (not both), Gmail features

Fake tech support (still) I know, I know. I can’t believe it either, but apparently, those fake tech support scammers are still out there. You know, the one where a window pops up on your computer telling you about a problem with your computer and making it sound urgent you call the number on your screen to get technical support. Or, if not a window on your computer, then maybe it’s a phone call saying

Windows 7 nagging, smartphone diagnostics

Tech Talk #102 – Apr 27, 2019 Windows 7 nagging Microsoft won’t stop supporting Windows 7 (Win7) until January of next year, but Win7 machines will soon start seeing popup messages warning of the end of support. After support ends, Win7 computers will be increasingly vulnerable to security problems. Developers will eventually leave those old PCs behind and stop writing software that works on Win7, as we’ve seen with Windows XP. The popup window has

Smartphone location data

Tech Talk #101 – Apr 13, 2019 Everybody wants the location data in your smartphone. Your carrier, your phone’s operating system, even the apps running on your phone. But why? Why does Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Google, or Candy Crush care so much about where you are? You ask the hard questions, don’t you? Okay, here we go. The carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and the rest) need to know where your phone is so they don’t drop