Keeping your accounts and devices safe

Tech Talk #66 – Dec. 9, 2017 Keeping your accounts and devices safe During this busy Christmas season, it can be more important than ever to protect your personal information. Whether you’re shopping online, making travel arrangements, Uber-ing (is that a word?) around a different city visiting family, your data can be attacked from different angles. While you can’t control the security practices of major corporations (cough, Equifax, cough), you can minimize the chances of

You should change your Yahoo email password.

Tech Talk #65 – Nov. 25, 2017 You should change your Yahoo email password.   They call it largest known theft of user data in history. In an August 2013 data breach at Yahoo, all 3 billion account holders at Yahoo had their info stolen. What info, you ask? Oh, just user account information, including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5), and, in some cases, "encrypted or unencrypted security

Web browsers and extensions

Tech Talk #64 – Nov. 11, 2017 Web browsers and extensions Are you still using Internet Explorer (IE)? If so, we need to talk.   Are you tired of seeing “Web page not responding” errors? Tired of seeing “Could not connect to secure page” when you try to connect to your bank’s website? How about “An error has occurred in a script on this page,” tired of that one? You can fix all of these

And now for something completely different

Tech Talk #63 – Oct. 28, 2017 And now for something completely different With apologies to Monty Python, I’m taking a break from the doom and gloom of tales about security breaches and giant corporations collecting and selling our data and identity theft.   Let’s start with a question.   Why do smartphones get bigger every year? Seriously. In the beginning, smartphone screens were about 4” (measured diagonally, like TVs – for some reason.) Then

Smart speakers: how to protect your privacy

Tech Talk #62 – Oct. 14, 2017 Smart speakers: how to protect your privacy Smart speakers are voice-controlled WiFi-connected devices that are used as virtual assistants. They can look like a hockey puck, a large air freshener or a regular speaker. Amazon started things off with their Echo line and was successful enough that Google has entered the market with their Google Home devices.   The speakers work by listening for their wake word (Alexa

What’s important when you’re shopping for a computer

Tech Talk #61 – Sep. 30, 2017 What’s important when you’re shopping for a computer So, the time has come to replace your computer. You’re ready to start looking at the Best Buy ads and checking out Costco and Amazon for deals. But deals on what? Computer descriptions often include something like Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 - 1TB Hard Drive which can be confusing. Here’s what you need

How does my phone do that?

Tech Talk #60 – Sep. 16, 2017   How does my phone do that? Sure, your smartphone can count your steps, show you which way is north, and point out your location on a map, but how does it do that?   Sensors.   Your smartphone is a sleek slab of plastic, aluminum, and glass that’s packed with sensors. Here are some of the sensors in your phone and what they do.   Accelerometer. An

Passwords – the bad news and the good news

Tech Talk #59 – Sep. 2, 2017   Passwords - the bad news and the good news   First, the bad news.   Back in 2003, Bill Burr, a manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), wrote a paper about computer passwords that eventually became the password mess we find ourselves in today. Burr’s eight-page password recommendation document, titled NIST Special Publication 800-63. Appendix A advised people to use irregular capitalization, special

Time to replace that computer? Used might be the way to go.

Tech Talk #58 – Aug. 19, 2017   Time to replace that computer? Used might be the way to go.   But not a used computer like you’re probably thinking. I’m talking about a refurbished computer.   You can buy a refurbished computer direct from the manufacturer, e.g., Dell, HP, Apple, etc., or you can buy one from a company that specializes in refurbishing computers.   The refurbished computers that come directly from the manufacturer

Backing up your online accounts offline

Tech Talk #57 – Aug. 5, 2017 Backing up your online accounts offline   The internet is a weird and wonderful place and has become something way beyond what anyone thought it could be and something no one could have predicted. From email to videos, to messaging, to images, most people have a lot of their life posted on the internet.   All of your internet content is stored on servers, and mostly everything is