Tech – for Everyone

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

Big Brother is Facebook — Here’s what EVERYONE needs to do

Whether you ever had a FB account or not, you need to read this and do these things now.

* Stop Facebook tracking you across the web, change these settings

Facebook member or not, the social networking giant will soon follow you across the web — thanks to its new advertising strategy.Read more..

* * *

Weird: It was 9 years ago today that I posted my first ‘How To’ here.. My, my.. almost a decade.

Today’s quote:Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” ~ Peter Marshall

Copyright 2007-2015 © “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.

June 7, 2016 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, how to, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to block ads on Android

Folks, on Monday I told you the alarming (and revolting) news that Google has removed ad-blocking apps from the Google Play app store. Fortunately, Neil Rubenking at PC Magazine has just published a How To for installing AdBlock Plus on Android devices (aka “the workaround”).

abpI just did it on my Kindle Fire, and I did not have to do the “manually set a proxy” steps. It’s so nice to view ad-free webpages! (And it’s safer, too.)

Here’s the 4-1-1. How To Block Ads on Android

Yesterday, the venerable adblocking company Adblock Plus (ABP) announced that Google had blocked their enormously popular app on the Google Play store. While Google can slam the door through their app store, Android’s open nature means that users can still “sideload” the app.“” Read more..

It really isn’t hard, and I think you’ll be glad you did it.

[Update: a reader has suggested an easier method in the Comments section, here (below).]

*     *     *

Tip of the day: Advertising really works!! And is a GREAT!! investment!! See?

spam3_20_13

And unicorns are real.

Today’s quote:In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” ~ George Orwell

First Day of Spring (Yay!) I just heard. Today is the calendar’s equinox, or solstice, or sumsuch, and they say Spring is now playing in a theater near you. Yay!

Today’s Spring quote:When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

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.

March 20, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, free software, gadgets, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Quick Reco’s..

A few items worthy of your consideration.

* Proposed amendments to ECPA would make Orwell squirm

George Orwell wrote his famous book about Big Brother in 1948. What would he think about the Electronic Communications Privacy Act? Changes to the act are being voted on this week in the U.S. Senate.Read more..

Computers (and “high tech”) are fundamentally changing.

* Windows 8: It’s only one part of Microsoft’s brave new world

Just how do you completely rebuild a company? Windows 8 is important but it’s just one step towards the future for Microsoft.” Read more..

* A new checkbox (aka “option”, aka “setting”) Skype users may want to un-check..

They snuck that in during an “update”…

* Do you have more than one “device” on your network? Free, from Sophos: Network Security Scan

Scan for threats on your network — up to 200 machines

  • Finds viruses and other threats your antivirus missed
  • Works alongside your existing antivirus
  • Includes free security updates for 30 days

See all the threats on your network

Want to see what your current software might have missed? Try our free scan on up to 200 computers.

It’ll find malware, suspicious devices and apps

You’ll be able to see threats in all their forms. It could be removable media, games or other peer-to-peer software that are your biggest risks. Read more/download..

* Photographers, I recently came across two websites anyone thinking about buying a digital camera should (IMHO) take a look at:

* Cyber Monday: Can The Internet Be Taken Down By Massive DDoS Attacks?

 “A security expert from Arbor Networks says bandwidth and performance increases combined with increased sizes of botnets have got service providers worried that large scale DDoS attacks could cause massive Internet interruptions.Read more..

(… I won’t tell you about the planned hacker “blitzkrieg” attack on US banks… But you can ‘google it’..)

Today’s quote:Today, you always know whether you are on the Internet or on your PC’s hard drive. Tomorrow, you will not care and may not even know.” ~ Bill Gates

(Sorry, Bill, but I will care [and I will know] ‘cuz I’m not a sheeple.)

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 27, 2012 Posted by | advice, cloud computing, computers, consumer electronics, Internet, News, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Support A Good Cause

aka “An Open Letter To CNet, et al”

A reader wrote in and voiced a complaint about a Tech Industry “way of things” that they find.. um.. er, well, “not right”. They asked if I could help. Since I find this type of thing as repugnant as I do the ole add-a-toolbar-to-the-installer trick (see, An Open Letter To Sun Microsystems) I will share their letter with you.

“Tech Paul,
I am getting really sick of these download websites that try everything possible to get you to download the wrong file, usually a registry editor, but downloads.cnet.com has pushed my button for the last time…

I’m starting a campaign… personal emails come first. Any help you want to add would be appreciated.

I had advised my brother to download MBAM, and he got on to Cnet. Those shameless money grubbers have no less than 4 links to the wrong file on the page.

Top left: “Recommended Download”,
Top right: Big red “Download Here” button. (Both for Spyware Doctor);
To the right of the MBAM screenshot: A green right-then-down arrow pointing to a big green “Click to Download” button, actually for Advanced Registry Optimizer;
To the left of the screenshot: A green “Special Offer” link to a purchase MBAM page.

My brother clicked all of those before I finally got him straightened out. OK, my brother is not tech savvy, but this is absolutely ridiculous… My mother had 5 of those *darn* registry optimizers last visit.”

It only takes one glance to see why a person might click the wrong download link.

But.. as angry as this type of thing makes me, I have to play fair and point out this is not so much a thing CNet’s download.com is doing — they are just selling advertising spaces — it is the advertisers (who design their ad knowing it will be on a “download site”). In this case, PCTools (of which I am a fan) and a few somebody else’s.

Which is why I run Firefox with the plug ins AdBlock Plus, Flashblock, and NoScript. When I go to the page it looks like this… (Listen up, all you advertisers)

And, advertisers? When I go shopping? I choose the product who doesn’t bombard me with unwanted ads. Guess what else? I am not alone. And I have been that way my whole adult life.

People, you have to slow down, and be super careful what you click. You need to read the words. You have to exercise some attention. Why? Because they only made the Internet “public” so they could show us ads. And the cybercriminals are poisoning websites, posting their own websites, and more, to steal Billions from us each year (often, they need us to click the link to do their evil deeds).

And, yes, CNet.. you can do a better job of ‘regulating’ your advertiser. (Maybe .. redesign things so your [proper] download link is the most prominent.) Maybe say “no” to some? Revenue isn’t everything, you know. You have to be able to sleep at night too.

Related:
* Top Tech Tip #2: Leave Registry Cleaners Alone
*
Good-bye YouTube. Enjoy Your Ads.

* The letter’s writer used stronger words.. (I don’t blame them.)

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 7, 2011 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Commercial Free TV*

Using Your PC to Record and Watch TV is “Good”. No Commercials Is Better!

I used the switch to digital TV broadcasting as my excuse to stop watching TV.

Why have I stopped? Because I reached a certain Maximum Threshold of Tolerance. And, I don’t want to risk a RSI, (repetitive-stress injury) ala “carpal tunnel”, from constantly reaching for the remote so I can hit the Mute, Skip, Pause, Die You Stinking Commercial, Die !!! buttons. Also, I despise “reality TV”. I don’t think I’m alone.https://i1.wp.com/www.hrrc.org/Image/betamax.jpg

The usual method for defeating commercials is to record your desired program on a Betamax, VHS, TiVo, DVR, or Media Center PC, and then “fast forwarding” (skipping) over the commercial advertisements; which long ago failed to meet the most modest standards of taste and decorum. Or we purchase movies and watch those… a few trailers at the beginning we can tolerate.

There should be a better way, and there is.

Today’s free download: If you use Windows Media Center to record programs, there is a pure genius program, for which I would like to throw the author(s?) a parade, which will automatically strip the commercials out of your recordings. That’s right – remove. That results in smaller files, and more enjoyable entertainment.

Lifextender is a dead-simple commercial-removal application designed exclusively for Windows Vista Media Center users. There is ZERO configuration required, however, there are plenty of options if that’s your thing.

[note: Lifeextender is “donationware”, meaning you can “tip” the author any amount, if you so desire. I “tip” my geek hat, and that’s for sure!]

* Orig post: 6/17/09

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, software | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Use Media Center to Watch TV?

Using Your PC to Record and Watch TV is “Good”. No Commercials Is Better!

Recently, the US transitioned to the transmission of digital signals for over-the-air television; which we are told, went “smoothly” (see A Smooth Transition?).

That “smoothness” is probably due to the fact that the majority of people no longer get their TV from the airwaves, but buy subscriptions to Satellite, Cable, or IPTV providers. Some people simply purchased and connected a analog>digital converter box.

While not widely reported, no doubt some others are still fighting to get their antenna positioned just right.. And still others (such as myself) used the transition as an excuse to simply stop watching TV.

Why have I stopped? Because I have reached a Maximum Threshold of Tolerance. AND, I don’t want to risk a repetitive-stress injury (ala “carpal tunnel”) from constantly reaching for the remote so I can hit the Mute, Skip, Pause, Die You Stinking Commercial, Die !!! buttons. Also, I despise “reality TV”. I don’t think I’m alone.https://i1.wp.com/www.hrrc.org/Image/betamax.jpg

The usual method for defeating commercials is to record your desired program on a Betamax, VHS, TiVo, DVR, or Media Center PC, and then “fast forwarding” (skipping) over the commercial advertisements, which long ago failed to meet the most modest standards of taste and decorum. Or we purchase movies and watch those… a few trailers at the beginning we can tolerate.

There should be a better way, and there is.

Today’s free download: If you use Media Center to record programs, there is a pure genius program, for which I would like to throw the author(s?) a parade, which will automatically strip the commercials out of your recordings. That’s right – remove. That results in smaller files, and more enjoyable entertainment.

Lifextender is a dead-simple commercial-removal application designed exclusively for Windows Vista Media Center users. There is ZERO configuration required, however, there are plenty of options if that’s your thing.

[note: Lifeextender is “donationware”, meaning you can “tip” the author any amount, if you so desire. I “tip” my geek hat, and that’s for sure!]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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June 17, 2009 Posted by | computers, digital Video, dtv, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Google-hoo — a world run by ad revenue

The headline reads “Google and Yahoo team up on search ads”, but it really isn’t a partnership. Yahoo has sold a large percentage of its ad space to Google for hard cold cash.. and become a puppet.
Now, GoogleAds will appear on the #1 and #2 most popular search engines.

In my prior writings, I have made reference to “GigantiCorp”, which is meant to invoke images of a mega-company and trigger concern about a monopoly. Sadly, most people thought I was referring to Microsoft… or maybe Wal-Mart.
For a very long time now, Microsoft has been perceived of as being in monopoly control of the tech industry, and that Bill Gates ran the world. Microsoft has been sued under anti-Trust laws.

And then came Google.

Folks, if you think Google is just a place you go to look up websites, well.. you just aren’t paying attention. Google is into everything “tech”, and is a monster just as big as Microsoft (bigger?), and a battle is being waged between the two giants. A tech/economic version of Risk™ (or, Rock’m Sock’m Robots?).

Poor little Yahoo recently declined a take-over bid from Microsoft ($44.6 billion was insufficiently lucrative [yes, that’s a “b”]) and has now climbed into bed with the other giant.

That’s how you do it in today’s world.

You create some little tech doohickie that people like and use– like YouTube — and then sell out to one of the giants.

I wonder; do they even teach about monopoly-ism and Anti-Trust in the schools any more? Seems to me we had a little problem with that once before in our history… but, now it’s global. Hmmm.

A more detail analysis, posted on C/Net, can be read here.

Attention Google and Microsoft: I love you guys! You’re the greatest! Keep up the good work!
Can you do a devoted fan a little favor? Can you send just a few more viewers to https://techpaul.wordpress.com? Thanks!

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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June 13, 2008 Posted by | Internet, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment