Changing passwords

Tech Talk #154–May 8, 2021 Yep, passwords again. Once upon a time, say a whole two or three years ago, “they” told us to change our passwords regularly. The thinking was that if someone had your Facebook or email password, they could log in to your account to, I don’t know, check up on your posts and emails? If they had your bank or credit union password, they could transfer money. The theory was that

Chip shortages, Windows tools

Tech Talk #153–Apr. 24, 2021 No, not delicious tortilla chips. I'm talking about semiconductor microchips. We have a global shortage of chips. These are the chips used in cars, laptops, refrigerators, gaming consoles, microwave ovens, smartphones, and even toys. There's no shortage of wires, circuit boards, or the other parts the chips need, just the chips themselves. So, why is there a shortage of chips? Few manufacturers have enormous warehouses full of the parts they

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

Uses For Old Smartphones and Unplugging USB drives

Tech Talk #146 – Jan 2, 2021 Uses For Old Smartphones Unless you're trading in your old phone or maybe reselling it yourself to help pay for your new phone, or your old phone has battery problems or a cracked screen, here are a few ways you can still use your old smartphone. Even without carrier activation or a SIM card, you can use your old smartphone to get online and to download apps over

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,