Tech – for Everyone

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

People are waking up!

Somebody told me some good news.

And because I don’t trust anything I hear, I looked it up (I believe half what I read). Guess what? It’s true! Someone must have have put Get Smarter pills in the drinking water because Facebook numbers are – tighten your sealtbelt – declining. Yay!

Have people finally figured out that data mining, and the selling of their most personal information is actually an un-cool thing?!  That there’s advantages to Privacy?!

* Data privacy trends: Mining and socializing

2012 was a wild ride for cyber security and data privacy with no signs of reprieve as we slide into the New Year. So, how well did we do on our predictions from last year? At the end of 2011 I predicted there would be increased scrutiny of the third party data mining industry, and that has happened. A significant percentage of consumers continue to be concerned that data about them is being accessed and used for commercial purposes without their permission, with the potential for a variety of unhappy consequences.Read more..

[very interesting read.]

Well.. not really. That seems to only be a concern for a small group of the IT savvy. But it does seem to be true: numbers are declining..

* Facebook numbers in decline in the UK and US

Facebook numbers are falling in the UK and US, new research reveals.Read more..

[related: Facebook criticised over silent launch of facial recognition tool]

* Facebook Users Decline Along With Share Price: Competition from Samsung?

and for a look at the WHY of it.. Why Facebook Is Losing U.S. Users.

Has Facebook’s time finally come? Have they finally “gone too far”?

Or do the paid journalists grab at any straw, just to have some copy to submit?

I don’t know. But I don’t think anyone’s putting Get Smarter pills in the drinking water …

Today’s quote:The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel

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 22, 2013 Posted by | Internet, News, social networking | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The new Generation Gap

These kids today! They’re illiterate (how else do you explain ‘texting’?). They have no sense of shame (they post their diary, and their phone numbers, for the world to see). They all want to be famous.. just like Paris Hilton. They “hook up” by answering anonymous, texted come-ons, blue-toothed from across the room. Everyone under the age of 25 has at least one online “profile” — an All About Me webpage — and are proud of the number of their virtual friends. They aren’t in the slightest bit bothered by the fact that there’s surveillance cameras everywhere, but seem to relish the idea of “being on TV”.
And these kids have the attention span of a flea.

Ah! Don’t you just love blanket-statement generalizations?!
But seriously– there is a difference between those of us ‘older’ folks (say.. older than 27) and the younger set (the “kids today”).. a true Generation Gap.

Sure, us ‘older’ folks are on the Web, and we spend a fair amount of time there. But we (generally speaking) use it like a public library, and because e-mail is a lot cheaper than snail-mail, we use the Internet to send letters. Here’s a test:
* Do you have a Profile on Facebook and do you update it several times a week? If you answered “no”, the odds are good you’re 26 or older (or, you’re younger, but Facebook is so ‘yesterday’ that you’ve moved on to a trendier site).
* Have you ever shunned a website because it was getting flamed on all the right blogs? (There’s a hidden test in there.. don’t know what ‘flamed’ is?)
* Did you have to stop and think what ROTFLOL means?
* Are you concerned about your privacy? (or, more accurately, do you still think it exists?)
* Do you enjoy “reality” television?

I think the defining factor that determines which side of the gap you’re on is– how old were you when you  first used a computer.
I am an absolute dinosaur. I was already out of High School when the first truly popular personal computer (Apple’s Macintosh, 1984) hit the scene. When I was in my formative years, there simply weren’t traffic cams on every corner (or anywhere else); girls guarded their diaries with their lives; people wrote in complete sentences, and looked upon those of us with poor grammar skills as “low-bred”; Authority had no idea who I was unless they talked to me (or me to them); if you called someone a friend, you (probably) had been inside their home…
It was a different world… a pre-Internet world.

For those born after 1984, you have probably always had a computer in your home; and by the time you were old enough to appreciate telephones, you could carry one in your pocket. About that same time, everyone had the Internet, and Yahoo had made it simple. You were probably typing before you made your first letter with a crayon.
You realize privacy is an illusion, so you’ve taken control. All the world’s your stage.

…I don’t really know where I’m going with all this: to say, “the Internet has changed everything” is, well, um, stating the obvious. I guess, maybe, I’m just puzzled by some of what I see (and, maybe, I just woke up feeling “old” today…). I lament the erosion of privacy that technology has wrought (hey, I admitted I was a dinosaur!), and cameras everywhere bothers me; the chips (digital snitches) in my car bothers me; the fact that someone can use the information posted on the Web to assume someone else’s identity bothers me..
Sorry. I’ll feel better soon.

Today’s free link: There’s an article by Emily Nussbaum; Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy (subtitled “Say Everything”) that I came across that takes a real look at this.. phenomenon. An excellent example of real reporting, and a good read. Take a look-see, and let me know what you think.

***Folks, the little Search window on this site is not how you ask me questions (it searches past articles for the keywords you enter). Use the the Comments link at the bottom of this page. It is found next to the “Categories” and “Tags” (and usually says, “No comments”).

[Update 3/22: Newsweek just published a good article on this that is worth a read– The Look at Me Generation.]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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March 3, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, kids and the Internet, PC, privacy, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A rocket scientist falls for “social engineering” ploy

…and managed to render his machine unbootable. Today I got a call from a person I know very well,  who had lost his Internet connection (all of a sudden) and he wanted my help. I asked him what changes he had made recently?

He told me that when he ‘woke’ his new laptop this morning [an HP Pavilion running Vista Home Premium] he was greeted with a dialogue window “from Netscape” that informed him that he was usings Windows Firewall, and asked, did he want to “disable Windows Firewall and use Netscape firewall instead. Yes/No?” He, of course, clicked “Yes”. He is a Netscape user (the browser), and has been since Netscape’s browser was the #1 browser of choice.

This window/dialogue was a ploy. The click disabled Windows Firewall and allowed some kind of nefarious script to run. It caused major damage to his machine. I spent hours trying to recover his system (which I was able to do, without any data loss, but it was a near-thing). System Restore and even Safe Mode did not function.

I want to stop here, Dear Reader, and remind you of the title of this post: this man is not dumb. He started his career as a rocket scientist for Lockheed (technically, as an aeronautical engineer), and went on to get his PhD (from Stanford) in molecular physics. He has invented lasers. No. This man is not an idjit.

So why did he answer yes? For a product that doesn’t exist? Perhaps, as a long-time Mac user, he simply doesn’t trust anything Microsoft. Perhaps, he has become so conditioned to answering “yes, I want to continue”, “yes, I want to download that”, “yes, I want to view the “unsecure items” in the email I sent myself”, “yes, allow that program I just launched to run,””continue,””allow,””next” that he just automatically and without thinking hit the Yes button. I’m sure these things were factors, but his answer was (and I quote), “It looked official…and it was from the people I go to the Web on.”

I think there’s a few things in this tale that are worth meditating on. And yes, there’s a moral to this story, which is my Tip of the day: If you are presented with a pop-up, and/or a dialogue box that you have never seen before, please look it over…and think about what it’s asking you. In this case, a Google search would have revealed that there’s no such thing as Netscape Firewall.

The fact is, the bad guys out there have become incredibly adept at mimicking websites, corporate logos, and send very legit-looking emails…and more. They are very good at using us as our own worst enemy. Be cautious out there my friends. Be carefull. Do not click on links you receive in emails; instead, manually enter the URL in your browser. Learn what phishing and pharming are.

Today’s free link: Netcraft toolbar This anti-phishing protection is highly recommended, and works with both IE and Firefox. It clearly indicates “safe” websites (with a green indicator bar), suspicious sites, and blocks access to known Phishing sites. Get it today.

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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June 11, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, networking, PC, Phishing, security, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , | Leave a comment