Building your computer

Tech Talk #37 – October 29, 2016 When you buy your computer from a retailer – Amazon, Costco, Best Buy – you’re getting a system that was designed to meet most people’s needs. And also to make everybody involved (except you) some money. But if you build the computer yourself, you’ll probably end up with a better computer and you’ll learn some new skills.   Note: there are absolutely no soldering or programming skills needed.

Change your Yahoo! password

Tech Talk #36 – October 15, 2016 In case you missed it, late last month Yahoo! reported that in 2014 thieves broke into their servers and stole information on 500,000 Yahoo! email users. The information stolen included names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and some security questions and answers.   If you haven’t changed your yahoo.com, sbcglobal.net, or att.net password since 2014 you should put down this paper and change it right now. Really.  

Fake Tech Support – just hang up or reboot

Tech Talk #35 – October 1, 2016 They’re still out there, the fake tech support people. I know, and you know, nobody from Microsoft will ever call you to tell you there’s something wrong with your computer. It just won’t happen. The people who do call you aren’t from Microsoft and all they want to do is get your money. Don’t give it to them. Don’t talk to them and just hang up the phone.

Translating tech-talk so people can understand it

Tech Talk #34 – September 17, 2016 Computers are tools. We don’t need to know very much about our computer to check our email, play a quick game of Solitaire, or order ourselves a little something.   As part of my job fixing things that can go wrong with computers, I need to explain technical things about computers and how they work in terms I hope people can understand. Here are two of the most

Technology myths

Tech Talk #33 – September 3, 2016 Myth: For digital cameras, the more megapixels the better For normal viewing, megapixels aren't as important as having a good quality lens and a good light sensor. There’s more to digital cameras than just megapixels. If you want to blow up your photos for printing or do some detailed photo editing, you can get pictures with more resolution by changing the settings on your existing camera.   Myth:

Windows tools and utilities

Tech Talk #32 – August 20, 2016 Each version of Windows adds features and sometimes new ways of doing the same old things. But Windows doesn’t do everything by itself and probably never will. Here are a couple of utilities I use and recommend for certain tasks.   Reducing file size for pictures Digital cameras and smartphones take great pictures these days and those picture are huge in terms of file size. To email your

Windows 10 recommended settings

Tech Talk #31 – August 6, 2016 Now that you’ve got your free upgrade to Windows 10, here are some settings you should probably change and why.   If you don’t have a touchscreen and never want Windows 10 to run in Tablet Mode, click on Start > Settings > System and then click on Tablet mode about half way down the list. Turn off the touch-friendly setting at the top. Under When I sign

Ransomware – what it is and how to protect yourself from it

Tech Talk #30 – July 23, 2016 Ransomware is malicious software that attackers use to encrypt your pictures, documents, and other files for ransom; demanding payment from you to get them back.   The ransomware code encrypts files stored on local and network drives using RSA public-key cryptography, with the private key stored on the attacker’s command and control servers. The ransomware then displays a message which offers to decrypt your files after you pay up.

Google history

Tech Talk #29 – July 9, 2016 The more time we spend on the internet, the more advertisers and search engines know about us. But what do they know? And what, exactly, are they tracking?   When we use Google to search for something or use Gmail, or watch videos on YouTube or conduct any other type of activity through a Google product or service, Google collects data and establishes a personal profile which it uses to distribute

Start me up

Tech Talk #28 – June 25, 2016 We’ve had a Start menu in Windows since Windows 95. It’s changed a bit in every version of Windows until that darn Windows 8 came along. I think some folks at Microsoft took a look at PC and laptop sales and decided we’d all be using tablets or phones, so they created a way more mobile device friendly operating system and figured that’s what people would want.