Tech – for Everyone

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

December Tuesday Tidbits

Folks, here are a few items of interest for your consideration.

Click on image

* In a newsletter article titled 100 Stress Relief Tips for IT Pros, I found one of those always-on “live’ webcam feeds.. I liked it, but it made me feel twice as cold.

NSA amasses nearly 5B cell phone records daily for location-based tracking

The National Security Agency (NSA) is using a sophisticated analytics tool that deciphers sweeping amounts of cell phone location data gleaned from worldwide mobile users, new reports reveal.Read more..

Related: “Tower dump” of consumer mobile data a popular police snooping tactic

New reports have revealed the extent to which local law enforcement engage in mass collection of consumer cell phone data to aid in their investigations.Read more..

* Discovery of two million hacked credentials, ‘123456’ is again the common password

Researchers with SpiderLabs, the advanced security team with information security company Trustwave, discovered a treasure trove of nearly two million pilfered credentials from a variety of companies, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and payroll service provider ADP.” Read more..


* Yahoo! Mail Outage. Anyone else?

Top 3 weirdest news items of 2013

We’re all used to hearing about the typical threats and outcomes, but here are three extremely bizarre news items that stood out to us this year.See slideshow

Jingle bells, jingle bells … 

If you just have time to read one, read the ‘tower dump’ one.

Today’s quote:If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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.

December 10, 2013 Posted by | advice, cellular, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet, mobile, News, privacy, tech | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attention all cell phone owners: Important news

Attention all cell phone owners

(well, GSM phone owners, any way..)

Important news: Unlocking Your Cell Phone Is Now Illegal

As of Saturday, it is illegal for you to unlock your phone without permission from your wireless carrier.Read more..

Now, understand, I am not really into all things cellular, but my understanding is: if you ever want to (re)sell your smart phone, or switch it to a different provider’s service, or travel without “roaming charges”, you want an “unlocked” phone. So you may want to call your current provider and request the unlock code before Saturday.
(I also understand, but may very well be wrong, that “unlock”-ing is different than “jailbreak”-ing or “root”-ing. [I’ve never cared to hack a phone.])

And you may want to sign the White House Petition and (try to) get the new law changed, as well (the link is at the bottom of the [referenced] article).

They keep trying…

Um.. One problem: I have not ever Facebooked.

Today’s quote: Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” ~ Cynthia Nelms

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 28, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, Apple, cellular, consumer electronics, gadgets, hardware, iPhone, mobile, News | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

LinkedIn. Privacy. Tuesday Tidbits. Free Software.

• Last week I posted an article about the Zuckerbergs, and why Facebook users should pay special attention to their privacy settings (see, One More Reason I Don’t Facebook) and included a How To. The very day I posted that I saw a question on a forum that led me to conclude that Facebook slurps up all the phone numbers stored in your phone (when you sign in on a Blackberry/smartphone) and makes them visible.. and subject to spamming.
Which led someone to post: Facebook security help!!

“Here’s the question:  If I log into my Facebook page on someone else’s Blackberry, will their contacts automatically be synced to my Facebook contact list?  My ex boyfriend’s contact list appears in my Facebook contact list.  I used his phone one time to check my Facebook and I made sure I was logged out when done.  I have never synced my own cell phone to Facebook and he’s never had access to my computer or passwords.  Any ideas how his stuff is in there and is my Facebook secure???  HELP!!Read more..

• Today I noticed that Michael Kassner had posted a similar “privacy concern” about LinkedIn. And I am glad I read his article, as they changed the game without telling me, and opted me in. Boo! Hiss! LinkedIn: Surprise changes to defaults affect your privacy

“Do you know what Social Advertising is? If you use LinkedIn, you may already be part of it. Michael Kassner sorts out LinkedIn’s privacy policy and suggests settings you may want to change.” Read more..

(Since I do have a profile on LinkedIn, I did make those changes. Thank you Mr. Kassner!)

• Guess I ain’t the only one getting concerned: today I saw How To Remove Yourself from People Search Websites

People search services provide the general public with a dangerous amount of personal information about you. Here’s how to opt-out of most – for now. Read more..

(I strongly urge folks to read this one, even if you think it may not apply to you. In fact, I am finding this true enough about Violet Blue’s writings, that I have added her to my blogroll.)

• Speaking of smartphones.. Tips for a Malware-Free Android Smartphone

“Since more and more malware is emerging for the Android platform every day, you must pay strict attention to what is happening on your phone or tablet. Smartphones are essentially computers–and all computers are vulnerable to viruses, phishing, and other attacks from malicious software. Here are five quick tips to help you keep your Android phone or tablet free of malware.Read more..

Tails: One more distro for the privacy-conscious

Tails stands for The Amnesiac Incognito Live System — a new Linux distribution for users who want to leave no trail on the Internet.Read more..

Today’s quote: “Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.” ~ Josh Billings

Today’s “Don’t miss out“: on the chance to enter my latest software license giveaway drawing!

*** Win A Valuable Prize! ***

The folks at Softland have generously donated ten licenses for Backup4all Professional to me, to award to my readers.

“Backup4all is an award-winning data backup software for Windows. This backup utility was designed to protect your valuable data from partial or total loss by automating backup tasks, password protecting and compressing it to save storage space. This backup application is feature rich and offers an intuitive interface making all features easily accessible for both beginners and professionals.“

To enter the drawing, please see: Backup4all License Giveaway Drawing

Copyright 2007-2011 © “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. <<

August 16, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, how to, Internet, mobile, News, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Tips For Parents

Today I have some Tech Advice for Parents to share..

Parents, in this “digital age”, are faced with questions and challenges new to us humans. Tech, and the World-wide Web have changed the landscape. I have assembled a quick listing that I hope parents will find helpful.

Cyberbullying – A Negative Result of Technology

“I know I am from a generation of past; however, I have been fortunate enough to keep up to speed with technology and all the good and bad that is associated with it.

Today, I happened across a website that is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.”

Practical Advice for Parents: Computer Use

“A home computer can be a great tool for helping your child learn many skills. However, computer use by young children is very controversial, and even older children and teens will need your guidance in using this powerful tool in appropriate ways. You can help your family make better use of your home computer by doing the following:

Norton’s Free Safety Tool For Parents

“Easy-to-read activity reports give you the inside scoop on what your kids do online. In just minutes, you can find out what sites your kids visit, what they search for, who they chat with*, and what social networking sites they spend time at. You’ll get to know your kids better and gain a deeper understanding of their online interests, so you can protect and guide them.”

Parents, Is Your Child Asking For A Cell Phone?

If you are a parent concerned about what your child is doing with their mobile phone– whether or not they’re talking to strangers, for example– you may want to keep reading. This topic was spawned by a question from such a parent.”

A Rant on Cyber-Bullying or ‘They’re 11. You, the Parent, Take Responsibility!’

This is partially a rant and partially a list of resources to help protect your children safe online. I was “inspired” to write this post for two reasons, I was already accumulating the list of resources for keeping kids safe online and secondly, Good Morning America had an interview with a family that was victimized by cyber bullying where they got it all wrong. Here’s my two cents as a guy who isn’t as far out of the American public school system and isn’t too old to be baffled by the technology that kids (I hate the word ‘tweens’ and won’t be using it in this article.) are using.

Safety, Kids, and the Internet

“When considering how I wanted to approach this important topic, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed. I began to think that the best policy was to put up an Internet Age Limit — no one under 18 allowed.” | In the home

“Is your home network secure and your family protected online? Most households now run networks of devices linked to the Internet, including computers, laptops, gaming devices, TV’s or set top boxes, and cell phones that access wireless networks. To protect your home network and your family while they’re online you need to have the right tools in place and confidence that family members can surf safely and securely. Make sure you know the basics of securing your home network and your family’s privacy.”

October is National Cybersecrity Month, and the theme is STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Protect yourself and help keep the web a safer place for everyone.

[Note: If you would like to send this article to some parents you know, Copy this and Paste it into an email.]

Copyright 2007-2010 © “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. << 

Share this post :

October 29, 2010 Posted by | computers, Internet, kids and the Internet, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Transfer Videos to the iPhone…

I am the last guy in America who hasn’t turned his phone into a pocket movie theater.”

I have a certain kind of fun reading other tech websites, because I watch them for hype and “pack journalism”.. of which there is plenty. Part of that is due to how search engines (Google, Bing) operate, and the hopes that by using “hot keywords“, readership numbers will be better.

Movies-on-the-iPhoneHot keywords seem to be: iPad, iPhone, Android, download, smart phone, movies, videos, YouTube, and latest. So.. the “smart” tech sites will on Monday have an article “Download Movies To Your iPhone”; and on Tuesday, “iPhone Basics: How to Transfer Videos to the iPhone“, and on Wednesday, “Android And YouTube videos: Meant For Each Other”. Almost every tech site will mention the YouTube downloader app (“which supports iPhone, iPod, PSP, cell phone..!)

Now.. I look at the 1.75″ x 1.5” screen on my phone, and I think, “Don’t be ridiculous. No way am I going to try to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on that.” And I wouldn’t even if my whole phone was a screen (like an iPhone)(the more you mention these “hot” keywords, the more readers you’ll get)(Android)(iPad)(iPhone).
I wondered if I was alone in this? From the sounds of the tech sites, I am the last guy in America who hasn’t turned his phone into a pocket movie theater.

A little while ago, I conducted a casual reader survey — my thanks to all who participated. Well, the survey results suggested that I wasn’t alone at all, with almost two thirds of respondents saying they had never watched a video on their phone. The other third: “a few times a month”. And one person, a “few times a week”. (To the one person who responded “everyday”, may I suggest, shouldn’t you be studying?)
To me, such a never-to-very rarely score makes me think these tech websites are hyping a non-function to sell more gadgets.. But I am a bit cynical. I could be wrong.

Now, I am sure that this website’s demographics play a significant role; and I know that the yuppie-gotta-have-the-latest-iGadget-types gravitate to other sites. There are – such as the article referenced in today’s title (above) – websites dedicated just to smart phones; and I admit, sometimes I think I should talk about smart phones more. They are becoming miniature PC’s after all. (And, camcorders..) And, WordPress (host of this site) will let me post articles, written on my phone, directly to the ‘net. Isn’t that cool?!

All I have to do is learn how to squint, and type with my thumbs.

** Software License Giveaway Drawing Ends Tonight**

Put plain and simply, Sandboxie gives me a secure feeling when traveling around the Internet, and I feel ‘naked’ without it. For the details (such as how to enter), click here.

Sandboxie’s creator, Ronen Tzur, has graciously and generously donated five licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank him for that. So I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter” my drawing. The contest will end midnight Thursday, July 15th, and the winners announced Friday the 16th.
A “registration” license is “lifetime” and can be used on as many computers as you own.

Act now! Deadline nears… Midnight, tonight (Pacific).

Today’s reading: More people are losing their jobs due to online missteps
It’s the kind of story that those who use Facebook and Twitter don’t like to hear. Despite warnings from career experts around the globe, employees persist in posting personal and sometimes inappropriate information on their personal online accounts.

Today’s free download: Large Scale Giveaway of PDFtoWord
Get it while you can – AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter 3.0.0 (worth $29.95) for FREE.

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

>> 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. <<

Share this post :

July 15, 2010 Posted by | Apple, cellular, digital Video, gadgets, hardware, mobile, Portable Computing, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Quick Smart Phone Survey

Video On Phones – A Usage Survey

Folks, today I would like to ask a favor from those readers who own a smart phone. I hope you will answer this one-question survey. Thank you.

Comments are welcome too.

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

>> 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. <<

Share this post :

July 2, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Monday, Monday, Monday

I suppose I should start today’s by telling you that I will not be holding a software license giveaway this week.

Okay. Okay, okay – settle down (and please put down that rotten tomato). I understand your disappointment.

But the fact remains: both of the products I had lined up proved to be in need of some refinement before I will recommend them here. I do try to look out for you guys. So..

I know that many of my readers like my giveaways, so, instead, let me mention that my friend, and fellow tech blogger, Rick Robinette has found a “limited time” giveaway of a fine PC tune up (optimization) program that retails for $50. Not a contest or drawing, but a straight-up giveaway! Don’t delay. I checked just now and it was still up, but I don’t know how long this offer will last. To get yours see, Get WinUtilities Pro for FREE (while it lasts).

Mondays are great, aren’t they? Great things happen on Mondays. So, I can’t offer a contest today. I will “get over it”. Yesterday was my kind of day. It was 100° in the shade. Occasional light breezes. Almost no humidity. The kind of day that makes one think of swimming pools.

And when I think of swimming pools, I am reminded of a story.. which I posted here. It goes…

How To Rescue A Drowned Devicecellphone2

From time to time I do something stupid — like  stub my toe or knock over my coffee mug or blurt out a blaspheme in the general vicinity of women and small children.
On my better days, I sometimes do all three at once.

This Saturday I went swimming, and I had my cell phone in the pocket of my shorts. Like I said, stupid. To my credit, I noticed that sad fact quite quickly. But the damage had been done. The phone had suffered not just a spill, but total immersion–submersion–and it was wet. In my defense, it was over a hundred degrees. In the shade.

It is a simple and a natural fact that electronic devices and water don’t ‘play well together’. It would not in the least be unreasonable to assume that total immersion of an electronic device (such as my phone) would render it – to use a technical term – kaput.

Quick action on my part, good fortune, and the fact that I wasn’t using the phone underwater (it was “off”) combined, in this particular case, for a much happier result, and my phone seems to be no worse for its adventure. (The fact that my make and model phone is very low end probably, to my way of thinking, helped a bit too. It has always struck me that the more costly to replace something is, the more delicate and fragile it is. A cosmic law, perhaps?)

Tip of the day: Rescue your drowned device with quick action.
Should you be suddenly struck with a case of bad luck and/or fumble-fingers, and you spill your drink right onto your keyboard, or you find some other creative way to get liquid onto your digital device, all may not be lost. The quicker, and more effectively you do the following, the better your chances of saving your device from the recycler’s heap.

1) The first and most important thing is to turn it off and remove any power source. Shut it down, yank the cord, remove the battery, isolate the dilithium crystals! And do it fast. Some devices, such as those connected to your PC by USB cables, and keyboards, get some voltage through their connecting cable, so also remove any attached cords or cables. Turning it off is not enough. You need to open the cover and remove any batteries. Remember, it is not the moisture which will ruin your device, it’s “short circuits”, and those are an electrical phenomenon.

2) Get as much of the moisture out as quickly as possible. Pick it up and let gravity drain it as much as possible. You should have the battery cover off already, now open up the device as much as possible. If we’re talking about a laptop, remove any PCMCIA cards (PC cards), release and remove the optical drive, and turn it upside down and with a screwdriver remove any access panels — such as the one covering your RAM chips. If your model allows, release the spring-latches and remove the keypad.

If we’re talking about a cell phone or PDA or MP3 player, try “popping” its case with a flat-head screwdriver or large coin. If the Web is available on another nearby machine, go online and look at the manufacturer’s instructions for opening the device’s case. Now that it is opened as much as possible, gently blot with a paper towel, or whatever absorbent material is handy.

[Note: If the liquid you spilled is the kind that dries sticky, such as a soda, you have more work to do. If it’s available, use rubbing alcohol (the “purer” the better) and cotton swabs to clean it up as much as you can. If rubbing alcohol is not handy, use water. Yes, water. Distilled if possible.]

Removing the moisture is key: drain and blot what liquid you can see. When that’s done, rest assured that there is still more liquid lurking in your device. Now is when absorption and evaporation become our friend. Since it was a hundred degrees outside, I simply left my phone in the sun for several hours. If sunshine is not an option, you can try using a hairdryer set to low (this will take a while), or if you’re brave (and ready to stand by, and keep a close eye), place it in a conventional oven set no higher than 150 degrees (°C), for an hour. In the case of a PDA or phone, you can also carry it, wrapped in tissue or a hanky, close to your body in a pocket. Another trick is to place the device in a sealed plastic bag with a handful of uncooked rice. Replace the rice every couple of hours or so.

3) Regardless of the method used, I strongly advise you to not reassemble and power up your device until the following day. Give evaporation and/or absorption every chance.

If you are lucky, your device will power up and function just fine — good luck and how quickly you removed the power being the key contributors to your success. If, however, you power up and your device functions strangely, or not at all, you may be able to isolate and replace the malfunctioning component (if you’re an experienced troubleshooter type). Or you may want to take it in to your friendly neighborhood repair shop and have them do it.  Sometimes it is more cost-effective to simply replace the device — your particular situation will vary.

jaws movie poster[note: I re-post this article each year, and someone will inevitably write in a comment about the ocean and salt-water; informing me that salt-water is very conductive and this practically guarantees a ruined device. To them I say, “Ocean? Didn’t you see Jaws ?”]

Today’s free download: Super Mario Bros 3 : Mario Forever 4.4
Hearkening back to the heyday of Nintendo, this game faithfully reproduces the classic Super Mario Bros. Although Mario Forever’s graphics and sound aren’t identical to those of the original, they’re so close most users familiar with the game won’t be able to differentiate.

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

>> 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. <<

Share this post :

June 28, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments