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 learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse.” And apparently, Netflix is doing fine without having to try and figure out who’s sharing their Netflix password a little too much.

So, for Netflix, at least right now, figuring out how to punish account over-sharers isn’t worth the effort or expense. Instead, Netflix offers premium plans that let one account stream on up to four devices at the same time. People are still sharing, but now Netflix gets more money without having to figure out who’s doing what.

If the financial cost of all those shared accounts affects the Netflix bottom line too much, there are companies with algorithms that can detect account sharing and ban the sharers. AT&T (owner of DirecTV) and Disney (owner of Hulu and Disney+) have both invested in a European company that has an account-sharing algorithm. Netflix could do the same.

Previewing your email

If you’ve been using email for a while, you probably remember hearing about how dangerous it was to preview your email. It was even recommended to turn off the preview pane entirely. But now, previewing your email before you open it is fine and encouraged even. So, what changed?

A couple of things.

All the major email client developers, Microsoft, Pegasus (remember them?), Eudora (remember them, too?), and Apple, rewrote the code so their email clients couldn’t run any code hidden in an email. But wait, what about Google? There wasn’t any Gmail back then, and when Google did get around to inventing Gmail, they followed the rule about not letting an email client run any code in an email. Additionally, all the major email vendors like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Yahoo! run antivirus and antimalware programs on your email before you even see it.

This doesn’t mean all email is safe. You still need to be very careful when opening email attachments, especially from people or companies you don’t know. That’s a way different thing than previewing an email.

Is it OK to keep your computer on the floor?

Your computer case has feet to keep it off the floor a bit, this helps the airflow around your computer, and it’s the airflow that helps keep your computer cool. If you place your computer on thick carpeting, it could block some of the airflow and heat could build up on the bottom of your case. Short carpet or hardwood floors probably won’t be a problem.

But dust might be.

Ventilation and dust are two main reasons people don’t advise keeping your computer on the floor.

Your floor probably has more dust, hair, and dirt on it than your desk does. The fans on your computer pull air through your computer to cool it off while it’s running. The fans also suck the dust, hair, and dirt around from wherever your computer is sitting and deposit it inside your computer.

If you keep the area around your computer clean, whether on the floor or the desk, your computer will breathe easier and run cooler.

It happens, folks…

I don’t always watch Netflix… But when I do, I always spend twenty minutes trying to find a movie I’ve already seen that I’m willing to watch again.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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