How to abbreviate online

Tech Talk #152–Apr. 10, 2021 It started with shortening words to type faster by using fewer characters but has spread to Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and whatever the latest thing is. Since abbreviations and acronyms can make it hard to communicate if you don't know, or can't quite work out, what people are saying, here's some help. AFAIK: As far as I know. Use it when you're not sure or are guessing. Who can tell?

Scammers pretending to be Amazon or Apple

Tech Talk #151–Mar. 27, 2021 The calls started during the holiday shopping season when lots of people were shopping online. Scammers counted on people being in a daze about what they had ordered, for whom, and the delivery date for it (whatever it was). The scam calls tapered off for a few weeks but have been ramping up lately. Here's how the scammy Amazon calls work: The phone rings, and you hear an automated message

Covering your webcam

Tech Talk #150–Mar. 13, 2021 Video conferencing, whether we’re using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, BlueJeans, or another tool, has become a big part of our lives since you-know-what-that-must-not-be-named. Webcams have moved from a nice-to-have feature to pretty darn indispensable for lots of people. They’re how we go to meetings, attend classes, and hang out with friends and family far away. Whenever a critical mass of people uses a device or a technology, criminals figure out

Mailboxes and delivery tech, are you looking at me?

Tech Talk #149 – Feb 27, 2021 Mailboxes and delivery tech You've probably seen the term "last mile" used quite a bit lately. From flying drones to little robot cars delivering packages to our houses, many people and companies are working on the "last mile" problem. The term "last mile" actually comes from the telecommunications industry. The costs of building out a telephone network can be spread out over the whole system, but the cost

Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning?

Tech Talk #148 – Feb 13, 2021 The technologies and features we attribute to Artificial Intelligence (AI) are based on Machine Learning (ML). We currently don't have the technology to produce an artificial brain that thinks and understands the way our organic brains do. That kind of AI is called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). The keyword here is general. A true AGI can "think" about multiple things and apply what it "thinks" about to different

Google Docs tips, shut down or restart?

Tech Talk #147 – Jan 16, 2021 Google Docs tips Have you been using Google Docs more since COVID-19 changed our work and school lives? Here are a few handy tips for using Google Docs. Word count If you're working on an assignment with a word limit, you can set a word count to display in and trying not to go over; you can show the word count in your document by going to Tools

Browser privacy

Tech Talk #145 – Dec. 19, 2020 Browsers are the tools we use to get on the internet. Whether we click on the orange Firefox icon, the swirly blue Edge icon, the compass-y looking Safari icon, or the red "O" of Opera, the thing that opens is called a browser. And a browser is the thing we use on our computer or phone or tablet, that takes us to the internet to check our mail,

Death and passwords

Tech Talk #144 – Dec. 5, 2020 Along with wills, revocable living trusts, financial power of attorney, and the rest of the paperwork don’t forget your digital life when planning your estate. Your email accounts, social media accounts, PayPal, Venmo, or other digital payment accounts, any websites you own, as well as digital currencies are all considered digital assets and need to be part of your estate. What? Do you think you’re too young to

Notifications, blank Edge, why rebooting works

Tech Talk #143 – Nov 21, 2020 Turn off your notifications Whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer, notifications can cause a constant stream of beeps, boops, and ringtones at all times of the day. By default, notifications are on for built-in apps and anything you download from the App Store or Google Play. Think about it. Do you want or need your device (phone, tablet, or computer) continually letting you know that someone somewhere

DVDs gone bad, Apple charges

Tech Talk #142 – Nov 7, 2020 Before USB drives (also called thumb drives, USB sticks, and other less family-friendly names), most people backed up their computers and photos on CDs or DVDs. The U.S. Library of Congress and the Canadian Conservation Institute have each published a study estimating the useful life of data stored on CDs/DVDs at two to 100 years, depending on the disc's storage conditions. Ideal conditions were room temperature, 50% humidity,