Tech – for Everyone

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

Considering A Tablet?

Folks, two very good reads for you today. The first puts into print my “spiel” when I am asked about tablets (such as the iPad), and also explains why I do not own one (yet). The second explains not only the “state of IT”, but also, indirectly, perhaps, the state of our nation..?
(If you are an ‘IT type’, or are thinking about working in IT, then the article is [IMHO] a ‘must read’. Perhaps a reader or two has been effected by this change..?)

Tablets are for people who hate computers

Tablets may be stealing some of the thunder from traditional PC sales, but that doesn’t mean they’re for everyone. If you’re already proficient with a PC, you may be disappointed by a tablet.Read more..

The future of IT will be reduced to three kinds of jobs The IT profession and the IT job market are in the midst of seismic changes that are going to shift the focus to three types of jobs.

There’s a general anxiety that has settled over much of the IT profession in recent years. It’s a stark contrast to the situation just over a decade ago. At the end of the 1990s, IT pros were the belles of the ball..Read more..

Since it has been a while..:

Today’s quote:Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.  Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.  Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.  Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.  Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.  But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”  ~ Buddha

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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July 28, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, mobile, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Online Job Hunting

A reader wrote in with a simply terrific question, asking about our modern way of finding employment. I think the answer(s) are important.


I was laid off earlier this summer and have been looking for new employment since day one of my termination. The method for job search is now the Internet. You no longer can knock on doors and submit resumes and fill out application in person.
My question to you is, I have filled out numerous applications online and a number of companies ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number, and some will ask also ask for your month and day but not year of your birth.
I can understand if they are asking for a cell number, and some other standard information.
How can you tell if these are legitimate job sites or persons who are looking for quick score of your personnel information?

I have run into a few sites that offer jobs that seem to good to be true, once you contact them, they ask for up front money. A legitimate job site will not ask for any money. If they get paid it is from the employer.

Thanks for all you great information and keep up the good work,

A: I would like to applaud your awareness. Identity Thieves (and other scammers) are not only posting phony job listings, but whole websites. They are taking advantage of our desire (desperation?) and the supplicant nature of the job seeker.

  • Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
  • Depending where you look, the stats say someone’s ‘identity’ is being stolen every second, or once every three seconds. (Either one. Where’s the outrage?)
  • This isn’t something that “happens to other people”: cybercrime is big business, costing our economy over a hundred billion a year. That we know about.

I have written many articles on cybercrime, as well as ID Theft. I won’t repeat myself here (but encourage you to use my ‘keyword’ Search widget). I will focus in on the sentence I highlighted in bold — how can you tell if it’s a real job opportunity?

Well, the short version is: you can’t, always. There is no magic formula. You simply must apply a double dose of “paranoid common sense”. And apply a protective self-policy. Because, yes, you will have entered a predator’s favorite hunting ground.

These scammers will post positions on legitimate employment-seeking websites. And those sites will make an effort to find and remove the scam postings. Do they succeed? Yes. Allatime always 100%? Instantly? Don’t make me laugh. These crooks post new ones as fast as their old ones are taken down. Faster.
The online classified services simply aren’t as equipped to try to sift out the bogus, having neither the budget, staff, tools, or.. motivation. You should apply a triple dose of “paranoid common sense” in the classifieds.

(My questioner points out that some ask for month and day, but not year of D.O.B.. Why? Because your year is published in tons of places. The crooks will simply research, then add two and two… With the amount of info about us already posted online, the crooks don’t have to research too much, or gain too many tidbits, to pose as you.)

A protective self-policy – Cyber Safe Resume: Let me remind you of a few early postings. The second one directly relates to this subject..
Identity Thieves Want Your Resume
Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed
A Top Site for Finding Work

All are great supplements to this article, and if you are currently seeking employment, well worth your time (it helps they are short, ha!).

Here’s one more: Scams & Schemes in Work and Employment Services

Review the following websites for additional recommendations on how to proactively protect your identity:

(You may also want to consider investing in an ID “protection service, such as, LifeLock.)

I know you want the job, and don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize your chances.. or get your application tossed before it’s even read, but in this world, today, you really have to leave the box blank, or put in “I will provide this to a real person, but not in this online form.” If you only click one link here today.. click this one: Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed.

Research the company using a search engine. Call them and ask them, when you have doubts and concerns. (And understand, the scammers will post phone #s, and answer them too. The con is not restricted to ‘online only’.)

I do wish you a  speedy and successful job search. (And no, I don’t live under a rock. I know it is dang tough out there. But don’t add to your troubles by becoming an ID Theft victim.)

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

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November 15, 2010 Posted by | Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Technical Training In Tough Times

Your Ticket To A Happy Life?

Perhaps you’ve seen those commercials on TV that encourage you to “get out of your dead-end job” and get yourself a wonderful life. All you need is some (expensive) “technical training”. Well, if it’s on TV, it must be true. Right? And.. computers are everywhere.. Right?

About a year ago, I was asked if I wouldn’t be willing to promote IT training. More specifically — IT training from a certain online “university”. I replied, “Certainly! I am a proud graduate of XYZ Online University! And I would be delighted to give my old school a plug!”

Actually, I’m sure the Promotions man was hoping to hear something along those lines .. but instead he got, “Dear Promotions Person,
1) I am not about to promote something I’ve never even heard of, and 2) I would advise the young people today to learn a traditional Trade — something not IT. Haven’t you heard of outsourcing? Or H1B visas? Orcloud computing“? IT jobs are going away. I mean, Microsoft just laid off 5,000. Microsoft!”
So.. he offered me $10 per link to the school. (Hmmm… 1 link a day.. for a year.. Shoot!)

In the last week, Tech Republic (an IT-centric site) sent me newsletters with these article titles in them:

* A 40-hour week? Not in IT
IT has always been known for its long hours, but according to a new survey by the IT Job Board, the situation is getting worse..

* Workplace suicide rate up dramatically
There was a 28 percent increase in the number of suicides committed in the workplace last year over the prior year. What’s behind this disturbing trend?

* Five job search tips for discouraged job seekers ¹
Authors of a new book encourage job seekers to never give up. Here are five of their tips for job search survival.
(¹ This was also sent out with the title, “Five Job Search Tips For The Hopeless.”)

Hmmm… Why does Tech Republic think IT types will look at those? Maybe because there’s lots of massively experienced and skilled IT people looking for work, and have been for a long time now. They’re now putting up fliers saying “will fix your PC”. I know this because I saw some right next to my old flier.
(I think, but couldn’t prove, that the more experienced and more skilled are being laid off first — because their salaries were higher.)

I personally know several great IT folks who have been looking for work in their field for over a year. And I know a few who have survived the rounds of layoffs — this time. And I know many who are back in the classroom hoping that a different Certification – such as Server Virtualization – will keep them working a while longer. (Which Certificate is “hot” is a big, big topic. Because it does make a difference, as “tech” is always changing {ask a Novell Administrator}).

I’m not saying that IT Training is useless; nor that there aren’t IT jobs. And I’m not any kind of analyst or expert². And I am not telling you how to live your life. But I am saying perception isn’t always reality, and that if you’re thinking about starting a new career in Tech there’s something to consider: in tough economic times, the IT budget is (usually) the first to get cut. And please click those links up there.. and learn about outsourcing. That won’t go away even in a boom time. I am suggesting please do some research. Maybe.. start here.

And, please, be very leery of online universities.

Today’s free links: (for job seekers)
* Online job listing an ID theft scam:
‘Background check’ used to steal full slate of personal info…
* Keep Your Dreams Alive*

Today’s free download: Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator 1.4
Ever wanted to quickly and easily define your own keyboard layout for a language Microsoft doesn’t support? Or define your own keyboard layout so you can quickly and easily enter your favorite symbols with a simple keystroke? Well, want no more: the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator is here!

² I wouldn’t mind getting feedback from those more in the know. Or, who are hiring…

[update: Best U.S. cities to find tech jobs]

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

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September 23, 2009 Posted by | tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Looking For Work? Caution

Identity Thieves Target Job Seekers

From Business Week: As the joblessness rate climbs, scammers are setting up fake Websites to trick job seekers into giving up sensitive personal information. A lot of unemployed people are eager to divulge information they believe will land them a job, and so become the target of scams.

In another popular scam, perpetrators pose as recruiters ready to extend an offer — who request Social Security numbers or other personal information to do background checks. “We’ve even heard cases of fraudsters posing as potential employers, asking for bank account numbers,” says Jeremy Miller, director of operations at Kroll‘s Fraud Solutions Practice. “They’re using the fact that a person is looking for a job and has that need, and counting on the fact that they’ll do anything to get that job.” (Please click the link to read entire article. It will open in a new tab.)

A few days ago I posted In These Tough Times, Could You Use Some Extra $$$’s ? which looked at various scams that land in your Inbox that are counting on the fact that you might be in need of income. The fact is, the more needy someone is, the less common sense caution they tend to exercise. The con artists know this.

There is a significant rise in the number of fake job openings on online classifieds sites, like CraigsList, and job-seeker sites, simply set up so that people will send their resumes. Many people still include their DOB and SSN’s in their resumes, which makes stealing their identities pretty easy!

There is strong evidence that if your social security number is harvested in this way, it will be sold to an illegal emigrant so that they can gain employment. In fact, someone may already be using your SSN and you wouldn’t know (see, A Dirty Little Secret).

Almost 10 million people in the US reported having their identity stolen, and this number is not going to shrink (see, report). So be cautious and do your homework. Make phone calls and verify the company, and that it’s hiring. Don’t mass mail your personally identifying information (“PII”) out to every job listing you see. And enter “ABR” (Available By Request) in some of those application fields.

And, I sincerely wish you you a happy and speedy conclusion to your job search.

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

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July 7, 2009 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, Internet, Internet scam, News, privacy | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The WWDC and MobileMe

For the sake of ratings, I simply must write something about the hot topic on the Web right now– a topic so hot (how hot is it?) that the amount of “buzz” has caused the social networking/blogging site Twitter to crash under the burden.
That topic is Apple’s WWDC (aka “Stevenotes”*).

The Worldwide Developer Conference has become (one of) the venues where Apple offers sneak peek (preview) at new products and technologies… A glimpse at what the immediate future holds.
(Personally, I find such teases annoying, but the iFanatics feel different, I guess.)

For instance, this year, we were told about OS 10.6 (aka “Snow Leopard”).. which won’t offer any new features and we might see it in a year. WooHoo!!! Yay!!! I mean.. yawn.
And we’re told about a new version (2.0) of the iPhone’s OS, which will affect every person on the planet. Not.

Can you tell? Even though this event is being held right up the road, and I am a World Renown Tech Journalist, I made no effort to attend, and am too experienced to get wow!-ed by the hype. I also confess, I am not a iPerson/iFanatic.

Yet, there are some interesting and relevant items to note: Namely, Apple’s investment in bringing to us the “wonders” of cloud computing with MobileMe and the 20GB iDisk (and they’re hoping.. the 3G iPhone). This video from the conference explains, and demostrates. (For some reason I can’t embed the video, so you need to click the link. Sorry.)

This $99/year service will work “cross platform” (Windows/Mac/Linux) and across devices.

Here we really are looking at “Web 2.0”, and the future of computing. People, before too long, will be storing their whole lives and all their personal information on the Internet. So that we can share it.
Has anyone considered the security implications?

I’m an old dinosaur, and I’m a curmudgeon to boot.. I think there already is too much personal information available about us on the Web, and I’m not about to go putting my address book and calendar (and.. my accounting program?) there.
But those of the Look At Me Generation will probably be clamoring for it.

[update 8/1/08: I have been following MobileMe in various user forums, and tech blogs– the general impression I get is that MobileMe doesn’t work, and is causing intense frustration amongst the public.]

* A reference to the fact that the keynote address is usually given by Apple founder Steve Jobs.

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

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June 11, 2008 Posted by | Apple, blogging, computers, Internet, iPhone, PC, Portable Computing, privacy, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment