DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 29, 2016

The Party is Not Quite Over

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:44 am

Santa under packagesI hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and visits to the stores on Black Friday to get the very best deals.  By-the-way, it is said that the phrase “Black Friday” started in Philadelphia when the heavy traffic after Thanksgiving Day disrupted traffic around 1960.  Then in the early ’80s it started being used for the same day but demonstrated the point in the retail year when business owners began making a profit…moving from being into the “red” then moving into the “black.”  I.E., profits were made in many businesses that day and the weeks following for the entire year.

Then yesterday was “Cyber Monday.”  This one was started by Ellen Davis with the National Retail Federation, to influence people to shop online to get even better deals than the Friday before.  Whether that is true or not I cannot say, that is for you to determine.

But now they are both over so I guess you should have finished all of your Christmas shopping by now and not buy anything else. NOT!

The sales will continue on.  Stores both brick and mortar and online have lots of “stuff” they need to get rid of.  But today I have a few techie words of advice for you.

First, continue with most of your shopping in the local stores.  That way the money stays in our area not going to who knows where for the online shop owners.  Online shopping many times will be sending your money to other countries.

Online SantaI think one of the most important things to keep in mind while shopping online, which most all of us do occasionally, is to use major retailers and well-known online retailer sites.   Of course, I cannot mention them all but you know the ones.  The large stores you see in all the shopping centers all have websites and they should be considered safe.  They spend a huge amount of money to make sure that your transactions are performed as safely as possible. They make a lot of money on them and do not want to jeopardize the public trust and lose any time not making more money from the sites.

But what about the “only online” stores?  For instance, Amazon, Audible.com, Ebay, Overstock.com, New Egg, PayPal, Vista Print and many, many more.  Again, these should also be safe and trustworthy.

But what about RonsDeals.xyz?  First thing to do for the “iffy” sites you have never heard of is to search for reviews of them.  I would go to Google.com and search, “review ronsdeals.xyz” then read reviews from other sites – not from the reviews at the actual site. Read them carefully and consider what you see before you purchase…do not impulse buy from unknown online sites, or anywhere else for that matter.

I have discovered a couple of good sites that way.  Blinq.com is a site I found which has some good discounted prices on occasion.  Then ShopGoodwill.com which is pretty much what the name implies.

Last two tips.  Always know what you are looking at and are considering what the retail price usually is so that you will not overpay.  And last, make sure whenever you are dealing with money online that the URL for the site starts with, “https://.”  That “S” is very important meaning that the site is secure and protected from prying eyes.

September 24, 2013

Online Buying Safety Tips

Over the years I have received many emails from readers in regard to making online purchases.  They often ask if I make any online purchases, and if so has it worked well?  How about returns? But the number one is, "How do I shop securely online?"

Today we will look at a few thoughts I have about online shopping and how I do it securely.  I say securely only because I have not had any problems.  That does not mean it will be that way forever. 

My first piece of advice is to shop with reputable, well-known online retailers.  They are trusted, tried and true.  Do not shop at a site you have never heard of or where you do not have a friend or two who has successfully shopped there before.  In addition, read ALL of the information concerning your purchase in each screen.  Next, print the "receipt" page that is shown at the end of every online transaction, you may need it for returns later.

Secure Browser ComparisonAnother very important item to check for is a little lock-like icon somewhere in your browser’s window when shopping.  The small lock indicates that you are shopping on a secure site.  NEVER enter your charge card or any other personal data regarding your finances on a site without that lock.  The lock indicates that your information can only be seen by you and the retailer with which you are dealing.  You can also check for the URL of the site.  It should start with, "https:" since the letter "s" at the end stands for secure.  They both indicate that your information is encoded when you submit it and is not readable until it reaches the seller – so no one can read your info in between. 

Next here is one of the most important rules!  NEVER EVER click a link in an e-mail to order something.  I don’t care how proper the e-mail looks, no matter whom it is from, don’t do it.  Always type in the address (URL) of the site you wish to purchase from.

Now for "Ron’s Steps to (Hopefully) Safe Online Buying."

Get an email address to use only for online purchases and nothing else.  Do not give it to friends or relatives, do not sign up for anything else with it, do not post it online in Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard or anywhere else.  Other than online purchases you only use it with your PayPal.com account.  If you are ever notified on one of your other email accounts about a purchase you KNOW it is a scam and can delete it. I have never gotten spam on my "purchase only" email account; at least up to this point.  

Whenever possible use PayPal to purchase online items.  PayPal is in the business of making safe and secure online transactions and they are good at it.  They have built in security you cannot get on your own.  Google, "PayPal security" and click one of the PayPal links for more details.

Now for my number one tip.  Open a new account at your current local bank.  Open it with the full intention of never putting more in it than whatever you may spend on an impulse online purchase.  I usually keep about $25-$50 in mine.  It is the one that I connect to my PayPal account.  I only use the debit card connected to that account for any non-PayPal online purchases.  That way if someone hacks it they can never get more than that amount. The bank usually has built in limits, too.

If I am going to purchase something for more than the amount I have in there I transfer it in from my "real" checking/savings account. 

August 27, 2013

Google Keep

Welcome back to another week of Double Click!  I would like to remind you to shoot me an email with your tech/computer questions when you run into them.  I am always glad to hear from you guys any time. 

If you read the column regularly you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with Google.  I love many of their products but I hate it when they have a really good one that they decide to remove from their cadre of apps.

So let me share a little love and hope that Google does not decide to kill it in the next couple of years.  The app/site is called, "Google Keep" and it works really well.  Google even added a very good feature to it this week, so it will be around for a while…well, I guess.

It is presently available for all Android devices.  Sorry iPhoners, it is not an app yet; however, it is available as a website for one and all. 

imageBasically, Google Keep is a note taker/keeper.  I know you have been doing one thing with your phone/tablet (device from here on out) and think of something you need to get to later.  Yes, you could email yourself, write it on a piece of paper or do it the ancient way…remember it.  But with Keep (yes, I shortened that one too) you open the app with a click and add your note.

There are similar apps out there but they are not as simple to use or available everywhere electronically.  Evernote is one of the others I have used.

You can type in a note, create a list, add a photo with or without notes and even leave an audio message.  The speech to text transformation is smooth and fairly accurate but not perfect.  For instance, with audio I recorded the previous sentence and it was all correct, except for "smooth and" which was changed to "moving."

All of your "notes" are added to your Google Drive so you can log into, "google.com/keep" and see your notes there.  Then you may edit, delete or create new ones online.  In just a few seconds they will be available on your device too. 

Tablet ScreenNow let’s discuss the recently added feature. It can mark an existing or new note to alert me at a specific time.  Yeah, neat but not extraordinary.  However, I can also set it to alert me at a specific location, if I have a data or Wi-Fi connection at that time.  For instance, I set an alert the other day to notify me to write a column about, "Google Keep" the next time I went to my favorite coffee shop.  When I arrived here this morning, ding-ding, I received the reminder to write the article.  I don’t even need a brain anymore.  Hmm. 

Think about this, since you can create lists in Keep, how about your grocery list?  Set it to alert you when you get to the grocery store.  When you arrive at the store, there it is, ready to read from your phone or tablet.

Keep in mind this new feature may not be available to you right this second since they are adding this through the end of the month.  So make sure you do your updates.

Yes, I know the brain and paper are probably just as easy but not as cool…

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