On vacation? Check for hidden cameras

Tech Talk #178–Apr 30, 2022 Yay! You’ve got some vacation time, and you’ve found the perfect place for you and your family to stay. Whether it’s for security reasons, industrial espionage, or just because people are weird, you can find another article about people finding hidden cameras in their accommodations every few months. People find surveillance cameras in fake smoke detectors, bedside alarm clocks, behind A/C vents, USB hubs, and even embedded walls. There are

Hiding people and pets, Google Doodle games

Tech Talk #177–Apr 16, 2022 Hiding people and pets Google Photos can automatically make "Memories" from the photos you store with them. But maybe the memories they make for you aren't necessarily good memories for you. What can you do? Thankfully, there's a straightforward way to make Google forget certain people and even animals. Open the Google Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or tablet. (The Memories feature doesn't show up when you

DuckDuckGo vs. StartPage

Tech Talk #176–Apr 2, 2022 Have you switched to DuckDuckGo to escape the relentless data gathering Google does? But do the search results from DuckDuckGo seem to not reach into the deepest darkest corners of the internet to find what you want? There’s a solution, sort of. StartPage.com is a Dutch company with privacy policies like DuckDuckGo. That means StartPage doesn’t store your IP address storage or your search data. But, in 2009, StartPage agreed

What’s a G between friends?

Tech Talk #175–Mar 19, 2022 If we’re talking about Wi-Fi, then the G stands for gigahertz. Wi-Fi networks are like radio stations in that they broadcast signals to be picked up by other Wi-Fi devices. Like radio stations, Wi-Fi radios broadcast on radio frequencies, either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. That whole GHz thing stands for gigahertz, which is one billion hertz. A hertz is one cycle (of something) per second. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz proved

Is it time to ditch free email?

Tech Talk #174–Mar 5, 2022 Billions of people have email addresses ending in Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or many others. These email addresses are easy to get and easy to remember. Moreover, those email providers do a reasonably respectable job securing your email, offering industry-standard security like two-factor authentication and encrypting the connection between your computer and their server. So, why would you want to switch to something else? Privacy. You know those big

Something (s) old and something new

Tech Talk #173–Feb 19, 2022 Something old #1–Fake tech support scams I know we’ve talked about this before, but the fake tech support scammers are still out there. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, the FBI, or anyone else will not call you about your computer. So you know that when-not if-someone calls you, it’s a fake tech support scammer trying to take your money. You also know that while you’re on the internet, any screen or web

Death and passwords

Tech Talk #172–Feb 5, 2022 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 worry about

What’s an NFT?

Tech Talk #171–January 22, 2022 You may have heard of people and companies selling NFTs. For example, Marvel, William Shatner, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Grimes, and many more. But of what? Seemingly nonsensical things like clips from videos, JPG art, tweets, baseball cards, and even pet rocks. Seriously. You probably have some questions. Let’s start with the NFT part. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck non-fungible means? If we

The worst passwords of 2021 and how not to be on the list

Tech Talk #170–January 8, 2022 After years of security breaches at the companies we trust with our data and zero-day security exploits against the back-end systems those companies use, you might expect that we’ve gotten better at picking passwords for our financial, shopping, email, and gaming sites, right? Wrong. Researchers go through the stolen user databases and compile lists of the most common passwords every year. One of the best lists this year comes from

Wi-Fi Extender vs. Mesh Network, and Closing Android Apps

Tech Talk #169–December 18, 2021 Wi-Fi Extender vs. Mesh Network Don’t give up if your home Wi-Fi signal doesn’t reach the other side of the house, upstairs, or out to the garage. Wi-Fi extenders and mesh networks can improve the Wi-Fi signal coverage in your home. How did it get this way in the first place? The installer from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) probably installed their connection and your Wi-Fi router next to your