Self-quarantines and the internet, music for productivity

Tech Talk #126 – March 28, 2020 Self-quarantines and the internet So, through no fault of your own, ahem, COVID-19, you’re stuck at home. Now what? In the best-case scenario, the business you work for converted your office to Work From Home (WFH.) The worst-case is the company had to shut down entirely, and no one is working. Either way, you’ll rely on the internet to WFH, to entertain yourself and your family, or both.

Web browser notifications and about:blank

Tech Talk #125 – March 14, 2020 I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, letting web sites show notifications about new messages and emails, even when the browser is closed. But somehow, somewhere along the way, websites started abusing the notifications feature. If you visit a web page just once, to read an article or check on a sale, that site can pop up notification messages to you. Honestly, it can

Protect your social media photos, the last Windows 7 update

Tech Talk #124 – February 29, 2020 Protect your social media photos Did you know that your Facebook photos can, and are, being used by facial recognition software from companies like Clearview AI? Clearview AI sells its facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies and a big selling point is the more than three billion images in their database. Many if not most of those three billion images come from social media posts. Clearview AI

Clouds connected by cables, wet and dry

Tech Talk #123 – February 15, 2020 The internet. Billions and billions of devices loosely connected by copper wires, fiber optic cables, satellites, microwaves, and radio frequency networks. All these devices, whether doorbells, smartphones, thermostats, desktop computers, security cameras, laptops, streaming devices, or tablets, send and receive digital information through these networks. We know about wires in our neighborhood, WiFi routers and modems where we live and work, and cell phone towers. We may even

Windows 7, RIP – Sad emoji, etc.

Tech Talk #122 – February 1, 2020 Windows 7 has become the new Windows XP. Since Microsoft has retired support for Windows 7, it’s suddenly become the best operating system ever. As a technical person, I appreciated the better stability and hardware-integration-without-exploding that Win7 brought us. The menus were faster, and people seemed better able to navigate and get work done. Windows 8 (shudder!) brought even better stabilization and device integration but ruined the desktop

How much RAM do you need for Windows 10?

Tech Talk #121 – January 18, 2020 Before we get started with how much Random-Access Memory (RAM) you need, let’s talk about what it is. There are two types of storage in your computer, permanent and temporary. Your hard drive or solid-state drive is permanent storage, and RAM is your computer’s temporary storage. Your computer uses RAM for loading and running programs and temporarily storing and using data. The contents of your RAM are lost

How and maybe why to delete your Google history, more internet slang

Tech Talk #120 – January 4, 2020 How to delete your Google data Maybe you don’t want to watch any more of those “how to replace a toilet” videos you had to look up last summer, but YouTube is still recommending them. Or maybe you listened to Macarena by Los Del Rio on Google Play to prove a point, but now you’re over it. How do you make Google forget? We know Google collects lots

Online slang and acronyms

Tech Talk #119 – December 21, 2019 Online slang and acronyms Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and even plain old text messaging use slang and acronyms to reduce our character-count and save us from mistyping what we meant to say. Here’s your Rosetta Stone to online slang. DM: Direct Message. Initially used on Twitter to send private messages between users. When you want to share something privately, you send a DM. AMA: Ask Me Anything. Made

Put your iPhone on a diet, plus useful and interesting web sites

Tech Talk #118 – November 23, 2019 Put your iPhone on a diet Maybe it was after the turkey and the stuffing and cranberry sauce (homemade,) or maybe it was the pecan and mincemeat and Dutch apple pies with ice cream. Or any of the other pictures you took with your phone on Thanksgiving. Or maybe you downloaded Elf to keep your nephew/niece quiet during your traditional post-dinner food coma. Whatever triggered it, your iPhone

Spam from yourself, easy Windows 10 shortcuts

Tech Talk #117 – November 23, 2019 Spam from yourself Have you ever received an email that looked like it came from you, but you didn’t send it? Self-spam is happening a lot now, and it’s usually tied to a blackmail or shaming scheme. Forging, or faking, an email address is called spoofing. And it’s easy. Most email systems don’t have any security checks to make sure the person in the email’s “From” line is