About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 17, 2017

2017-07-17 Show Notes @ WSVA

Tech News

BIG news (April 3, 2017) as Android is NOW the world’s most popular operating system as it overtakes Windows

Android has now overtaken Windows to become the world’s most popular operating system, according to data from Statcounter. Looking at combined usage across desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, Android usage hit 37.93%, narrowly edging out Windows’ 37.91%.

“This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago.”

First, and more trivially, Statcounter only measures Internet-connected devices, which will exclude a small number of desktop PCs used for specialist tasks. Second, and more significantly, Windows still dominates PCs, both desktop and laptop, with an 84% share.

Congress just obliterated Obama-era rules preventing ISPs from selling your browsing history

Rules preventing internet providers from selling personal information, such as customer browsing histories, will be repealed, following a vote in the US House of Representatives this afternoon.

The Republican-led House voted 215-203 in favor of repealing the rules, implemented just a few months ago under the previous Obama administration.

The bill has been met with considerable controversy and anger from privacy and rights groups, for fear that internet providers, like Comcast and Verizon, would be able to gather and sell data about your browsing history to marketers and other companies, including information on where customers are, as well as information about customers, such as financial or health status, and what people shop and search for.

For internet privacy, a VPN won’t save you

…Congress voted to gut proposed internet privacy rules set out by the outgoing Obama administration that would have prevented your internet provider from selling your browser history to advertisers. President Donald Trump signed the bill a day after, making it law.

General Amazon Scams

Ron's personal Amazon scam
  • Know What Amazon Won’t Ask
  • Review for Grammatical or Typographical Errors
  • Check the Return Address
  • Check the Website Address
  • When in Doubt, Go Directly to the Amazon Website
  • Do not “Unsubscribe”
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Report Spoofed E-mails to Amazon

The Tile App
Where did you leave your phone, wallet, keys, purse, etc.? The tile can help. You can add the small “tile” to most any item, then use your phone to track it with Bluetooth technology. Did you misplace your phone, no problem use one of the tiles to find your phone.

Prices start at around $25 and go up for the more you buy.

Click here to watch how it works.

Have a great month everyone! The podcast was not available this month, so hang in there for next month.

Thanks for reading.


August 18, 2014

2014-08-18 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the Podcast/Show Notes from today’s show.  Make sure you listen here if you did not get a chance to hear it live.  Then read on for information about what we talked about…well most of what we talked about.

Tech News
‘World’s first’ braille mobile phone goes on sale in the UK
OwnFone, which launched a customizable mobile phone for kids and the elderly back in 2012, is now offering its stripped-down handset with braille or raised text contact buttons.

The 3D-printed hardware lets you select up to four contacts that can be assigned to the device, making it ideal for emergencies and people who need to stay in touch with family or carers on a regular basis. It’s available right now for a base price of £60 (about $100).

A hacker took over 30,000 computers in one hour
At the DefCon security conference this week, engineer Paul McMillan talked about a problem that’s been around for a while: remote access software without password protection. Having remote access to your computer with programs like LogMeIn can be really convenient, but it’s also really dangerous if you don’t have a password.

Which he proved in about an hour with 30,000+ computers.

If you are not doing so, PASSWORD PROTECT your login to Windows, MACs and Linux machines along with all phones!!!

Carriers have to let you text 911 by the end of the year
On any cell phone law required you to be able to call 911, even if you had no service contract or money left on a prepaid account. The service providers also allow you to call 611, usually the largest local carrier without a service agreement too.

You’ve had the option of texting 911 in a handful of US cities for a couple of months, thanks in part to voluntary efforts from bigger cellphone carriers. However, the FCC doesn’t want you to be left out solely because you’re on a smaller network. The agency has just adopted rules requiring that all American wireless providers have the capability for text-to-911 by the end of the year. You won’t necessarily get emergency messaging by that point, but carriers will have six months to implement it in a given region if a local call center makes a request.

You can now unlock your Motorola phone with a ‘digital tattoo’
Hate unlocking your Android smartphone so much that even Face Unlock or Skip feels like too much of a hassle? Motorola just came to your rescue. The company has partnered with VivaLnk to launch the previously teased Digital Tattoo, an NFC-based skin tag that unlocks your phone (currently limited to the Moto X) with a quick tap.

The tattoo can stay on your body for up to five days, and it should survive abuses like showers and sweat-laden runs. It’s a clever approach that might be appealing if you’re fed up with PIN codes and patterns, although the back-of-a-napkin math suggests that you’re paying a lot just to save a couple of seconds when checking your email. VivaLnk is asking $10 for packs of 10 tattoos, or enough to last 50 days — you’ll have to spend $80 to get through a whole year. It could be useful for those busy days when you’re constantly waking up your handset, but you might be better off rolling that money into a Moto 360 or your next big phone upgrade.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Pocket Lock (by William X)

Pocket Lock actually works exactly as advertised, with no fuss, and that’s what makes it such a cool app to have." Pocket Lock intelligently locks and unlocks your phone for you. Choose from three different locking modes: proximity sensor only, gravity sensor only, and a fusion of both sensors.

Just drop your phone in your pocket and it goes into standbye mode. Take it out and it comes on waiting for you code, pattern, etc. Pocket Lock is great for phones with broken power buttons or flip cases.

CCleaner by A great application for your windows computers. It cleans your browser caches, organizes your Registry file and even removes old applications better than the Windows apps that come with your computer.

Beer can Wi-fi Single Extender

See you next month!


January 20, 2014

2014-01-20 WSVA Show Notes

Welcome to the show for January 2014 and Happy New Year to you and yours!  Below are links to the sites we talked about today and here is the podcast if you missed part of the show.

Have fun looking around.

Tech News
Tablet ownership in U.S. surges
Thirty five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own and e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet {September 2013, 35 percent}. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This article sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It’s also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the U.S. started at age 18 and up.

Chromebooks Enjoy 21% of Notebook Sales in 2013
According to NPD (a major national market research company), Chromebook sales hit a total of 1.76 million units between January and November of this year, which is quite a bit of a jump from the 400,000 units that made it out in 2012. In total, NPD’s figures indicate that Chromebooks jumped from virtually nothing in 2012 to 21 percent of all notebook sales in 2013.A recent press release from Amazon itself confirms that Chromebooks took two of the top three spots for “holiday best sellers” – specifically, a Samsung Chromebook and an Acer Chromebook.

Spiders force Toyota to recall 800,000 vehicles
Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of some 803,000 cars due to airbags inadvertently deploying — and the blame appears to be spiders inside the air conditioning units. Toyota’s recall notice states that some 2012 and 2013 Camry, Venza, and Avalon vehicles are experiencing problems with their air conditioning condenser unit housing — apparently, condensation and water has been leaking into the airbag control module. In most cases, that’s just causing the airbag warning light to turn on, but a few times the driver side airbag has deployed without warning.However, according to CNN, the cause of the leak is rather unsettling if you suffer from arachnophobia. Spiders and their webs are apparently responsible for clogging the air conditioner drainage tubes, causing the water spillover onto the airbag control module.

To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create — a “one stop shop” for U.S. Government recalls.

The Door Lock of the Future is Here
Kwikset Kevo
Kwikset has rolled out the Kevo lock. A door lock that receives a signal from your Smartphone (iPhones only right this minute) or a coded key fob and can open when you touch the lock. If you forget your phone it will open with a regular key that you can find buried somewhere on your key chain.

Check out the video and see what you think, especially with a $219 price tag.

Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

Free available to most all types of phone OS’s.

Free Backup Software
Cobian backup,
Allway Sync,
Two good free backup applications for making sure you do not loose your important files.

Browser History
Check Browser History for all Browsers
Sometimes you may want to make a return visit to a website that you saw a day or 20 ago. You may use multiple browsers like many people and do not want to go view the history in each browser. With this app from you can check the histories of all of your browser at the same time and get a report of what has been seen.

If you have cut off your History feature on your browser you will not be able to retrieve this information.

Your Fingerprint may be your new Password
Biometric Scan Comes to Android 2014
The FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) has claimed in a new technology news statement, that the first Android handsets with biometric scanners will be released in the first half of next year, to help to remove the dependency on traditional app and web passwords.

This technology news was meant to be available for any web-based service or manufacturer so that traditional text-based passwords can be replaced with these biometric alternatives. Michael Barrett, the PayPal chief information security officer, and the president of FIDO, has explained that the increasing support and power of the group has meant that it will become possible for the mobile internet to become considerably safer to use in a very short period of time. That way, swiping a finger across the smartphone will be all that is required for the access of an individual’s own online accounts, but that they will remain safe from being accessed by anyone else.

If I Die
This website provides a way for you to write and store letters to your friends. Each letter, when finished, will be stored securely and encrypted with a special password of your choosing. No one will be able to read any of your letters while you’re still alive.

A couple of “safegaurds” are in place to keep them from firing off by mistake.

New ‘Bond gadget’ set to let us breathe under water Bond-like rebreather
It is the James Bond gadget on everyone’s wishlist.

A South Korean designer has taken inspiration from the movie spy’s “rebreather”, which allows the user to breathe under water.

Clipped on a diving face mask, the Triton device acts like a fish gill to extract oxygen from water so that the user can keep breathing while under the sea.

That is all for today.  See you again next month on Monday, February 17.

Keep those cards and letter emails coming!

December 17, 2012

2012-12-17 WSVA Show Notes

Here we are again, this time for the last show of 2012. I hope you can listen to the show, read these show notes or listen to any of the podcasts (like today’s) and learn (OK, and have some laughs along the way too).

See you next year and before then have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!


Tech Presents
You can probably get a MS Surface computer really cheap-soon!
Sorry, Microsoft (MSFT) — consumers just aren’t that interested in your tablet. Ipsos conducted a poll for Thomson Reuters last week showing that just 4% of people in the United States interested in buying a tablet were considering buying a Surface. This compares to a whopping 42% of prospective tablet buyers who were interested in an iPad mini, 16% who wanted a Kindle Fire and 14% who were interested in one of Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy tablets.

pivotHeadPivothead, Video Recording Eyewear,
Great looking sunglasses that have HD video camera and mic built-in so you can record all your adventures. Slick man-toy for about $299.

Check out videos filmed by others at the site.

hi-Call Bluetooth Talking Gloves

hi-Call is a Bluetooth glove that allows you to talk through your hand. The left glove has a speaker and a microphone sewed into thumb and pinkie, in order to speak to the phone, while protecting from cold.

A pair of warm gloves, perfect for every sport, from skiing to running, with hi-Call you can control the touch screen of your smartphone thanks to the capacitive technology.

Touchscreen gloves (less expensive)
With technological innovation comes unexpected challenges. Consider, as freezing weather approaches, the touch-screen device.

The sensors in A.T.M.’s, iPads and BlackBerrys are made to respond to the electric signals transmitted through the skin. Traditional gloves interfere. But you and your gadget-bearing loved ones need not go barehanded. Glove makers have devised ways to complete the connection even with a covered fingertip. A conductive thread attached to the fingertips of a pair of regular gloves. Now they work with touch-screen devices.

Ron: You can find these much less costly online and in local stores. My wife got a pair of knit gloves with touchscreen fingers for $5.

Apple iPad Mini
$329 for the 16GB model with Wi-Fi only, or $459 for the 16GB model with Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile data (with support for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint services in the U.S.). The 32GB and 64GB models are an additional $100 and $200, respectively.

Google Nexus 7 Available for $199 (16GB), $249 (32GB) or $299 (32GB with 3G/4G mobile data support from any provider).

LiveScrive Pen,

With a LiveScribe pen you can write your notes (if you remember how to write with pen and paper) on special paper and it will transfre it to your computer/tablet/phone along with audio notes when you tell it to record those also.

Automatically and wirelessly transfer your recorded notes and audio to your Evernote® account for playback on nearly any digital device. Enjoy the convenience of any time, anywhere access to your notes.

Government Deals,
A little late to get items by Christmas but GovDeals provides services to various government agencies that allow them to sell surplus and confiscated items via the Internet.

Just about anything the govenerment has confiscated at airport boarding gate up to cars, boats and the list goes on.

Similar to the eBay bidding system.

Logitech Washable Keyboard K310,
Designed to look and function like new – even over time. From a light dusting to a soak*, this washable keyboard with drainage holes is easy to clean and easy to dry.

Key characters are laser printed and UV coated to ensure the letters don’t fade in the wash.

*Hand wash only. Use mild soap and a soft cloth in warm water less than 30cm (11 inches) deep and less than 50°C (120°F). Do not wash in dishwasher. Do not use abrasives, alcohol, solvents or harsh detergents. Do not submerge the USB cable.

August 20, 2012

2012-08-20 WSVA Show Notes

Hey folks welcome back to the August edition of the Talk show/Podcast from WSVA (550 AM).

And as always here are the links and products we talked about today.  Have a great month and see you next time on Monday, September 17, 2012.

Tech News
Restaurant offers a 5% discount to eat without your phone (CNNMoney)
Cell phones often claim a spot on the table in restaurants, sitting right next to utensils, plates and glasses. One restaurant is trying to change that.

Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles offers diners a 5% discount for leaving their phones with the receptionist for the entirety of the meal. The new policy went into effect a bit more than a month ago, according to chef Mark Gold, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Alejandra.

He came up with the idea after a conversation about how annoying he found it that people were constantly communicating on their devices.

EBay bans sale of spells and hexes (CNN)
Sorry, love spell vendors: eBay is cracking down on the sale of magical wares.

Beginning in September, the site is banning the sale of "advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions, [and] healing sessions," according to a policy update.

The company is also eliminating its category listings for psychic readings and tarot card sessions. The update is a part of a "multi-year effort…to build trust in the marketplace and support sellers," eBay wrote in its company blog.

Jackets made from water-resistant down keep you warm, rain or shine
California-based mountaineering company Brooks Range is introducing what it calls DownTec, a down that’s treated with a nano polymer that makes it impenetrable by water. The down is also anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Brooks Range will introduce the DownTec technology in the Mojave jacket, an 800-fill down jacket that will launch next fall. The retail price is set at US$299.

"…two American apparel-makers are introducing similar technologies, an indication that water-repellant or hydrophobic down may indeed be the wave of the future."

Paper road maps no longer in fold
Here’s another icon to add to the endangered species list: the American paper road map.

With the advent of GPS, Google maps and Garmin navigators, the foldable and affordable paper road map is starting to go the way of the eight-track player, Betamax tapes and phone booth.

"Last year from January through June, we had an estimated 117,000 members come to our branches to request printed AAA maps, TourBooks and AAA TripTiks," said Nancy Cain, spokeswoman for AAA of Michigan.

"For the same period this year we dropped to about 110,000 requests for the same information. But at the same time, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of members going online to our website for this information and for our AAA mobile apps."

Paper road maps made their first American appearance around 1913 but really began to take off in the 1920s when they were offered free by oil companies through their gas stations.

Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(this app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
GrooVe IP

Voice without Minutes!

GrooVe IP Lite is an android app that connects to Google Voice using Voice over IP (VoIP). What this means for you is you can make free unlimited calls to any phone in the US or Canada without using your voice minutes. GrooVe IP Lite works on any android device, phone or tablet, and allows you to make calls using a WiFi data connection. If you have a smartphone with Wi-Fi connectivity but no mobile plan, you can use this app to convert it to a free, full-featured working phone.

I personally use this on my Android Tablet so that I can make calls from my tablet. No cost but calls as clear as you can get anywhere else. Drawback is that they cannot call you back.

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

I hope to see you back next month and also every Tuesday for the latest article!


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