About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

June 10, 2014

December 19, 2011

2011-12-19 WSVA Show Notes

Hey there, I hope you got a chance to hear us on the show this morning.  But I’m looking out for you.  If you missed it here are the sites, news, etc. we talked about so you can take a look.  Also, below is a link to the podcast if you would like to listen in.

Check out WSVA Online too for even more into and here is today’s podcast.

Have a great month and I hope you will be listening and calling next month, Monday, January 23rd!


Tech News
U.S. agency admits massive data breach with SSNs
The U.S. government failed to tell nearly 32,000 people their Social Security numbers were inadvertently published in an electronic database, documents show.Scripps Howard News Service said it found 31,931 living Americans in a review of three copies of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, available for purchase on the Internet. The database contains names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.If the Social Security Administration’s estimate is accurate, the Social Security numbers of more than 400,000 living Americans have been released since 1980.

President Obama signed the CALM Act on December 15, 2010.
Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act requiring TV broadcasters to ensure that commercials air at a volume no louder than the programs in which they appear. Here are some facts you need to know regarding the CALM Act.

You bought that new computer and now you want to install all the standard applications you had on your old one.

Do you do to each site and download the apps individually or just one run application? Just run Ninite.

You choose from their large list of popular apps. Firefox, Chrome, Skype, Thunderbird, Google Talk, iTunes, VLC, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Dropbox, etc. It creates an executable file for you. You need those apps on a computer and just double click that file to install the ones you chose. Very quick and very smart.

The PC Decrapifier
Is your PC running slow? Even brand new PCs often come with LOTS of pre-installed software that can cause that new machine to come to a crawl. Not to mention all of the annoying pop-ups! Others may have a PC that’s a couple years old and we’re the ones that installed a bunch of junk! It happens to the best of us. We try a bunch of programs over time and forget to remove them.

The PC Decrapifier is here to help! It’s a free tool for you to use that helps remove programs, unnecessary startup items and icons that can slow down your PC. It takes you step by step, giving you recommendations on what to remove, many of which can be removed unattended.

Naughty Codes (from Kathy, Harrisonburg)
It’s fun to be naughty?!

Online stores send out discount codes to SELECT groups of customers, leaving the rest of us to pay full price! To that we say, NO! We find and list ALL of the coupon codes and promotional codes that can be found. If it’s out there, we have it! Be naughty with us by using these codes for added discounts when shopping online.

Internet Phishing Quiz
Think you can outsmart Internet scammers?

Ever wonder how good you are at telling the difference between a legitimate website and one that’s a phishing attempt? Take this quiz to find out.

Touchpad Blocker
Why doesn’t someone invent an application that will prevent your notebook cursor from jumping around the screen when you are typing and your thumb accidentally drags across the touchpad?

They have and it is called Touchpad Blocker.

Touchpad Blocker is a must have software for notebook owners who prefer to use touchpad instead of mouse or other pointing devices. Software helps the user to type text as fast as possible by locking mouse events during a small period after any key were pressed. The touchpad remains enabled all the time!

Waterpowered jetpack turns you into aquatic Aquaman or Flipper.

French water sports champion Franky Zapata’s Flyboard is basically a rotatable platform attached to a long hose and a hydrojet. It can lift the rider 30 feet out of the water while he or she pilots it with secondary, handheld jets.

The Flyboard’s thrust comes out below the user’s feet instead of a jet pack, so it’s more like riding a skateboard. It connects to any personal watercraft (PWC; aka Jet Ski, a brand) with an engine of 100 hp or greater.

For only about $6,500 + you need a Jetski.

VIPER SmartStart
Start your car or truck from most anywhere with your Smartphone. You can get these from somewhere around $200-$400.

I hope you are able to listen and call in next month year
on Monday, the 23rd of January, 2012.

August 16, 2011

Security in the Cloud

I was talking to my friend and realtor, Chris Rooker of Kline May Realty, about security of documents in the "Cloud".  I presented him with a thought that I voice often and that is, at this point in time, I do not put anything confidential online; including in my emails and online storage.  Never do I have my social security number, debit card number, bank usernames or passwords online anywhere.

A very basic definition of the cloud is (when talking computers and technology) the place where companies deliver many services online..  In other words the service is on a server somewhere in cyberspace and not on your local hard drive.  You can access these services from your computer. 

Some of the services include fully developed applications like Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail and even fun things like Pandora.  There are also many cloud storage services, for instance, DropBox (my favorite, Windows Life Mesh, Amazon S3, etc. 

There are a tremendous number of cloud services to choose from.  The list grows daily – probably by the minute.  Some of these services are free while others are not.  

One concern I have is where your information stored. I mean where geographically, as in what country?  What if your important data is stored on a junk (not one of the best available) server somewhere in a war-torn country where the costs are much less expensive?  Then what if that country has a military coup or is destroyed by some other country?  How do you get your data and/or what are the new guys doing with your information?

Next, what if the company that has your information goes bankrupt or is sold to someone else?  You would hope that proper provision has been made for continuous service, but what if it hasn’t?

Here is one last thought for you to lay awake at night and consider.  Where is one of the weakest links in any security?  It would be people, plain and simple.  More than likely your password is safe and won’t be compromised by people in the company servicing your online data but that isn’t my people concern.  Think about the "uncrackable safe" scenario for a bank.  Banks want to advertise their vault as one that no one, not even the locksmith can get into.  This gives their customers a great feeling of security.  But think about this…if even a locksmith can’t get into it, what happens during an emergency or some foul-up?   How can they get their money out?   It could be locked up forever.  So there has to be someone with the ability to get into that safe through a "back door".

The same thing is true for cloud storage.  Even though it may be ultimately and inscrutably secure, someone has to be able to get to the data on the servers in case of an emergency. This could quite possibly be their most dissatisfied and disgruntled employee.  Think about that for a minute.

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