Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Oblivious to Danger

She never saw it coming, had she looked up just once, she would be alive today.

Folks, October is the 10th National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which has the goal of, well, ‘raising awareness’ of the risks and dangers of the Internet. But I would like to ask everyone to also think about another danger our tech has put us in. Please see:

Absorbed in devices — and oblivious to danger

Digital distraction can invite robberies, even deadly situations

A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol.  He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away — but none react.” Read more..

I don’t know about you, but I see it everywhere — people’s heads/eyes are constantly down. Driving. Walking. Riding a bike.

Absolutely absorbed. (In what? Something important like curing cancer? No…)

It amazes me we aren’t constantly bumping into each other …………… or, are we? Read the article and find out.

Friday Fun Video

Today’s quote:The intelligent man is one who has successfully fulfilled many accomplishments, and is yet willing to learn more.” ~ Ed Parker

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

October 18, 2013 Posted by | advice, mobile, News, Portable Computing, tech | Leave a comment

Choosing the right computer for your student

This is the time of year when I am asked for advice on what computer “tech” to buy for students.

It can be daunting – shopping for a new laptop or PC – as the number of choices is immense. (And shopping for someone else isn’t as easy, either.) But the good news is that it is hard to find a laptop or PC that is not capable of (powerful enough for) ‘general use’; even the cheapest ones. And the other good news is that, because computers are just an assembly of parts, it really isn’t all that important to choose one brand over another. Better yet, almost everyone selling tech has super discounts this time of year.

parents/teachers may want to click this image

However, if your student is older, and their coursework requires taking (doing) processor-heavy stuff – such as Animation/Film, Music editing/Broadcasting, Video Game Design, Drafting/Architecture, etc. – you’ll want to look at mid-to high-end units; which have faster processors (with more “cores”), plenty of RAM (4 – 6 GB’s), bigger screens with a “graphics card” (or in the case of laptops/notebooks, what is called “discrete graphics”) of at least 1GB.

Laptop or Desktop?

For home (or the dorm) the Desktop PC is still the workhorse, and my first choice; but for students who need mobility to study in the library, take notes in the classroom, join collaborative “study sessions” at the Quad, and whatnot, it’s hard to beat a laptop. (Sorry, but no, an iPad or tablet is not really a productivity device.)

If you decide on a laptop/notebook, there are a few factors to consider – most do not come with a 10-key “numberpad”, so if your student is a math, or business major, you might want to choose a model that does. Also, you might also want to buy a (larger) monitor that can be plugged into the laptop when back in the dorm.

More essential accessories:

* I always add a wireless mouse to my laptops. If the laptop you select has Bluetooth, a Bluetooth mouse is a “must have” addition (IMHO). If it doesn’t have Bluetooth, I would recommend a small (aka “travel”) wireless mouse from Kensington.

* External backup (“storage”). Whether you opt for a 1TB “portable” USB drive, or signing your student up with a subscription to a “cloud” file storage/sync service like Dropbox or SOS, a place to store copies of their homework is essential (you wouldn’t want to have to write that essay twice, would you?) and can help prevent “the hard drive ate my homework” nightmares.

* A pair of decent speakers. Today’s world really is “multimedia”, and speakers are must-have’s. It’s just that simple. And I said “decent”, as in don’t buy the cheapest you can find. (Yes, laptops do [usually] come with some kind of ‘built-in’ speaker, but even the best of those are wimpy.) I consider headphones to be a supplement to a speaker set, but in environments with nearby roommates (such as a dorm room), headphones might be a better first choice than speakers.. (if you’re planning to use Skype to visit with your student [and/or they’re online gamers] a headset with a ‘built-in’ microphone would be a good choice.)

* Anti-theft/find-if-lost software (optional). I personally would feel better if my student’s new laptop were protected – and (possibly) recoverable – if misplaced or stolen, and software like Laptop Cop is a great addition, well-worth the added investment. (See, 6 Ways to Find Your Stolen Laptop, If your laptop is ever lost or stolen, this security software will work hard to protect your precious data and help you recover the device.)

I hope these thoughts will help you choose a unit that your student will like and get good use from. But if you were hoping for more info (such as, “what do those Giga-numbers mean to humans?” [aka “specs”]) you may also be interested in this article: What to Look for When Buying a New Computer, My Computer Shopping Guidelines (it’s older, but still pertinent and more detailed).

*    *    *

Are we ready to pay attention now? $1.5 million Cyberheist Ruins Escrow Firm

A $1.5 million cyberheist against a California escrow firm earlier this year has forced the company to close and lay off its entire staff. Meanwhile, the firm’s remaining money is in the hands of a court-appointed state receiver who is preparing for a lawsuit against the victim’s bank to recover the stolen funds.Read more

Today’s quote:I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~ Mark Twain

Today’s fun video (because it’s summer):

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, hardware, PC, Portable Computing, shopping for, tech | , , , , | 2 Comments

Items of Interest for Your Tuesday

I’m afraid I only have time today to post a few items you might want to be aware of..

* A 7″ Android tablet for $75. (Sale ends today) Check it out here.

* Five portable antivirus and antimalware tools to carry with you at all times

Let’s face it, one of the primary jobs a Windows admin does is keep machines free of infection. It’s inevitable – end users will open files, install cutesy apps, and go to sites they shouldn’t. When they do these things, their machines get infected. When their machines get infected, you could wind up fighting a losing battle – unless you have the right tools.” Read more..

* Stolen credit reports: What you can do to protect yourself

Patrick Lambert follows up on the stolen celebrity credit reports. You don’t have to be famous to be at risk. What can individuals and businesses do for protection?Read more..

* If Google were a hacker, it’d be going to prison

Instead, the megarich megacorp pays piddling price for Wi-Fi cyber spying, and corporate accountability remains MIA.” Read more..

[ Great read. ]

* SimCity Players Can Start Downloading Their Free Game

Those affected by the recent SimCity launch disaster can begin claiming their free PC game download this week, Electronic Arts’ Maxis Label said in a Monday email to players.” Read more..

* And here’s a picture you might appreciate..

lapel-pin-flag-thumb.jpg

.. oops, I didn’t mean that one.. Here’s the one.

Capture-2.jpg

Let’s be careful out there, and have a great day everyone!

… I should stop pulling Google’s tail. I think they are sending out the subscriptions later nd later (yesterday, mine didn’t come in until 9:20pm) and sending me less eyeballs… Or maybe I’m being paranoid.

Today’s quotable quote:The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, consumer electronics, free software, gadgets, Internet, mobile, Portable Computing, security | | Leave a comment

Tuesday Tidbits and Rude People

I found these recent items interesting and/or important.

* Not quite sure what this spells for the future of IT, but here’s an Android 4.0 7″ tablet for $80 (can you say “disposable tech”?)

SVP Android 4.0 ICS 7″ Tablet PC w/ Google Play Store, Capacitive Touch Screen, WiFi, A13 & 1.3GHz

Introducing SVP 7-inch Android 4.0 ICS Tablet PC with Google Play Store; Smart Pad with Capacitive Touch Screen, A13 1.3GHz CPU, WiFi Capability, Camera, 4GB Internal Memory. This is a recommended Tablet Computer in the market with superior design, easy application and top performance.

* CISPA pits privacy against security: A closer look at the issues

The United States Congress is once again considering a bill that could forever change how we as individuals use the internet. Michael P. Kassner looks at what those changes are.Read more..

* 8 basic options for mobile printing

Want to print something out using your tablet or smartphone? Although many mobile printing applications are still rather rudimentary, here are some applications you might want to research.” Read more..

* I find this funny. China’s foreign minister: Cyber space needs rules, not war

A Chinese government official, who called mounting claims about the country’s cyber spying on the United States “shaky,” charged governing bodies to devise global hacking rules – a feat much easier said than done, history has proven.Read more..

(That’s a bit like Hitler saying we need to give peace a chance..) (Oh. Wait. He did say that.. )

Spring flowers

* Have people gotten ruder? You bet. Here’s an interesting article: Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette

Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?Read more..

* They said this tech would free us up from menial labor, and give us all a life of ease. I think it has resulted in job loss (replaced by a robot!) .. but ease? Four Steps to the Cloud: Start By Firing Your Sales Team

Looking to get into the cloud business? Then fire your sales people.Read more..

Well, that’s enough for today. Hope you found something interesting in that assortment. (The bold emphasis were mine.)

Today’s quote:Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” ~ John Adams

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, cloud computing, computers, consumer electronics, Cyberwarfare, gadgets, hardware, how to, Internet, mobile, News, Portable Computing, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Like Fridays Better Than Mondays..

I do not have a lot of time today, but here are a few things..

* MediaFire Launches Android App With 50GB Free Storage

MediaFire is rolling out the red carpet for Android owners, unlocking 50GB of free storage along with its new Android-based storage application.

The app joins its iOS counterpart in providing on-the-go productivity for people who need to access and share files from anywhere.” Read more..

[update: for a review of MediaFire from a man I trust, click here.]

And sometimes, I do not know whether to laugh, or cry.. (but it is an interesting read): Facebook Posts Easier to Remember Than Actual Faces, Books

Your memory of Facebook posts is likely stronger than your recollection of actual faces or actual books, according to a new study.Read more..

After yesterday’s article, a reader wrote and asked..

Q:Hi Paul, How about some discussion on AV availability for smart phones, especially the new Windows phone I got during the holidays.” ~ Jay

A: Jay,
Well.. smartphones and tablets are not my area of expertise; but I have discussed that in the past, (and posted 15 Mobile Security Tools (smart phones/tablets) in my Blogroll links) but it has been a while.

I do not use iGadgets, so I don’t know what is currently available for iOS in the iStore (at one point, there was nothing). Same goes for the Windows Phone. But I use Lookout on my (Android) phone and am trying Norton Mobile Lite on my (Android) tablet (both are free). So far I have no complaints with either. (And I believe they have versions for the other mobiles.)
I haven’t looked to see if anyone has posted any efficacy tests recently, but your comment/question has prompted me to make a mental note to research that.

This may help too: Got a New Phone For Christmas? Don’t Forget These Safety Tips

Perhaps a reader can contribute more on this question..?

* A game-changing lawsuit? Free credit checks sought after ‘unprecedented’ data loss

Class-action lawsuit launched by N.L. lawyer on behalf of 583,000 CanadiansRead more..

(If agencies actually could be held liable for the data they lose… BIG changes will occur..! [Right now, it’s kinda just an “oh, well.”])

* Friday Fun Video

Today’s quote:Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, antivirus, Apple, computers, consumer electronics, gadgets, Internet, Microsoft, Portable Computing, security | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Thing I’ve Read In A Month

Folks, here is an article I consider the best “tech read” I have come across in a long, long while. Every single computer owner (which is, what, every adult and most children?) should read it (and get “mad as *heck*) but of course, maybe only 10,000 actually will..

* Why does crapware still exist? Follow the Silicon Valley money trail

If you followed security experts’ advice and manually updated Java this week to fix a critical vulnerability, you might have gotten more than you asked for. Oracle probably makes tens of millions of dollars a year from crapware, and big venture capitalists see it as a growth business. Read more..

… “monetize” …

And, I suggested removing Java altogether, (see, Remove Java (+ A Friday Fun Video )) but you should be aware of the general idea spelled out here: Why you shouldn’t always listen to security advice

You should update Java. Or uninstall it. Or not completely uninstall it, but disable it. Or not do anything at all because it’s not a problem. Whoever’s advice you take, the chances are it’s wrong.” Read more..

(.. but it’s kind of implied that you get savvy, too, and learn how computers function.)

.. Another busy day here. Have a good one everybody.

Bonus reading: Microsoft’s Surface needs a reboot: Here’s how

The mobile market needs a third player to keep iOS and Android on its toes, but as it stands Microsoft’s Surface tablets don’t cut it. But with a few tweaks the platform has a chance of being a serious player.Read more..

.. sexy ..

Today’s quote:One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” ~G.M. Weilacher

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

January 15, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, gadgets, Internet scam, Microsoft, News, Portable Computing | , | 2 Comments

A Couple of Quick Reco’s..

Folks, I only have time today to direct your attention to two interesting items..

First up, a free software tool..

* A Free Powerful Lightweight Image Editor That Is Portable

To find a good FREE image editor is one thing, but to find one that will run from the stick (your flash drive) is another. One of my favorite all-round system maintenance utilities is Toolwiz Care. While visiting their site, I happened to notice that they also have a product called Toolwiz Pretty Photo. What […]” Read more..

And then, a good commentary..

* How PC makers destroy the Windows experience

Building a PC should be easy. Design great hardware, add an operating system and any specialized tools that your hardware needs, and delight the user. So why do some PC makers insist on screwing things up?Read more..

I hope everyone is having a tolerable Monday.

Today’s quote:The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something that can be learned in no other way.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

November 19, 2012 Posted by | computers, Digital Images, free software, mobile, News, PC, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment