Tag Archives: technology

How I Keep Technology From Ruling My Life

Ironic note: I wrote this article entirely on my smartphone. It was originally a comment on a Connie Schultz Facebook post.

I am an IT professional. My work computer has SIX monitors so I can have multiple dashboards up showing me the status of my department and our clients. I also own a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone (the one with the stylus), a Samsung Chromebook Pro laptop (also with a stylus), and my home laptop which has a 50 inch HDTV plugged into it so I can watch movies online or from my personal collection.

In short, I’m a geek. I make a living and have an obsession with technology. I’m the guy my family turns to when they can’t get their tech to behave. Continue reading How I Keep Technology From Ruling My Life

How To Follow The Australian Open Online

We’re barely halfway through the first month of 2018 and it’s already time for the first Grand Slam tournament of tennis, the Australian Open! As the geeky tennis fan I am, I want to stay on top of the Open as much as possible. While that mainly entails turning on the TV and watching the actual matches, I’m not always going to be home or, for that matter, where a television is. Fortunately, there are many ways to follow the Australian Open and tennis in general online.
Continue reading How To Follow The Australian Open Online

The First Apps To Install On Your New Android Device

Christmas season has come and gone, but those of us who got new Android devices as gifts now get to play with their toys!

For Christmas, I got hold of a Samsung Chromebook Pro. This device has the ability to run Android apps similar to a tablet and is becoming my productivity device of choice for both personal and work uses. Since I already use many Android apps on my smartphone (also a Samsung, in fact), I have a stable of apps I already use which also will run on the Chromebook. Here’s my list of apps which I recommend you install on your new Android device. Continue reading The First Apps To Install On Your New Android Device

Every Day Is Backup Day

There are three non-traditional holidays which I acknowledge. Sweetest Day is definitely not one of them (damn you, American Greetings).

Those three are:

1. March Fourth (a day to celebrate the marching arts)
2. May the Fourth Be With You (Star Wars Day)
3. World Backup Day (TODAY!!!)

By now, you’re realizing that I am a complete and total nerd/geek/dork. Of course, if you’ve met me even once, you knew that already, so, if you are coming to this realization now, then this is most likely the first time you’ve ever heard of me. Welcome to my website, hope you enjoy your stay.

Now, the real reason I’m writing this article is because, as stated earlier, today is World Backup Day. This day is exactly what you think it is – a day to focus on keeping your important data backed up, whether it is on your computer, your phone, your tablet, or some other device which stores information important to you. March 31 is World Backup Day because nobody wants to be an April Fool and lose their data. Being an IT professional, I preach this gospel to anybody I can whenever I can. This is why I say to you that every day is Backup Day!

Here’s how I recommend you backup your data:

3) Keep THREE copies of your data, the original copy on your computer and two backups copies.
2) Your backup copies should be stored on TWO different types of media. You should not backup your data to the same external hard drive, for example.
1) ONE of your backups should be stored outside of your home or office. Thanks to the many different online backup options like Carbonite or CrashPlan, this is easy to do.

It is commonly referred to as the 3-2-1 backup method and is the best way to guarantee you always have a copy of your data no matter what happens. Don’t be like Francis Ford Coppola, whose laptop and backup hard drive were both stolen, resulting in the loss of 15 years of work, including the script he was working on at the time of the robbery. The offsite backup copy is crucial to preventing data loss.

Personally, I back up my data to a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive and to the CrashPlan online backup service. Thanks to the free software provided by CrashPlan, my backups run continuously, ensuring that everything I have is on that hard drive and in the cloud. The cost of the drive is under $100 and is sometimes on sale for as low as $50. CrashPlan’s individual backup service for a single computer is $5/month or $60/year, well worth the cost. The simple fact is that, with all of the photos, videos, and other personal and professional documents we now keep in a digital format, the cost of losing that data is beyond a dollar amount. Start backing up your data today!

Thoughts on Apple and the FBI

Before all of the recent security and privacy hullabaloo between the FBI and Apple, Apple tried to help the FBI. Apple could have recovered the data from the San Bernardino shooter’s phone if it was connected to a known wifi network and allowed to back up to iCloud.

The problem is that the FBI told the San Bernardino police to reset the password on the user account. This prevents access to the backups.

What the FBI asked Apple to do at that point was write a custom firmware update for that phone. It had to be made by Apple and digitally signed by them, otherwise the phone wouldn’t accept it. The firmware would remove the limitation of 10 incorrect password attempts before the phone would wipe itself. They also wanted Apple to remove a limitation to how fast they could enter passwords.

Here are the problems with that request:

1) No matter how careful the FBI or Apple are, there’s no guarantee that firmware won’t get hacked and reverse engineered. Imagine every iOS device made vulnerable because somebody lost their thumb drive.

2) How much time, money, and effort would Apple have needed to develop the firmware hack? That’s not Apple’s job. They’re not a forensics company.

3) One of Apple’s major selling points is their security. By hacking their own security, they severely damage their own reputation and their sales.

4) There are other iPhones in the hands of state and federal authorities. The FBI picked this particular phone because they knew the emotional impact it would have. They wanted to set legal precedent. They failed.

I’m glad they did.

Beware These Facebook Hoaxes

Two Facebook hoaxes are making their regular rounds on people’s profiles today. Before you copy/paste either of those into your status, take a little time to read through these Snopes articles as to why both are false.

The first involves a legal disclaimer users are pasting into their status which is supposed to protect their copyright and privacy rights. The simple fact is no status update, regardless of the legal mumbo jumbo, will override the Facebook Terms of Service we all agreed to when we joined.

http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/privacy.asp

The second is the threat that Facebook will require a monthly subscription for users to keep their profiles private. This originally was a trick to get people to a site where they would end up installing viruses and malware.

http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/fbcharge.asp

Basically, anything which you see in multiple friends’ statuses should be taken with a grain of salt and a little research to make sure it’s for real.

iOS 6 Review

For Apple fans around the world, this week is about as close to an international holiday as a non-religious event can get. The fun starts this Wednesday, September 19, as the latest iteration of the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad operating system, iOS 6, is made available for public download. As with each previous release of the OS, iOS 6 promises many new features and one interesting omission. I have had the chance to load the Gold Master of iOS 6, which is pretty much the final version of the operating system released to developers, on my iPhone 4 and have been playing with it for the past few days, so I can give you an idea of what to expect when you pull the trigger and upgrade your iDevice in the near future. Continue reading iOS 6 Review

How To Transfer Contacts From An Android Phone To A Yahoo Account

One of my high school classmates emailed me recently with a question regarding their contacts on their Android phone. He keeps his contacts in his Yahoo account and wanted to know if there is a way to import his phone contacts to Yahoo. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.

As Android is Google’s mobile operating system, one of the first steps new Android users take when setting up their phone is to set up a Google account, if they don’t already have one, then associate that account with their phone. This is very convenient as your phone automatically syncs just about every piece of information you enter on the phone, including your email, calendars, photos, AND your contacts. This is great news if you want to get your contacts into another web account like Yahoo as you don’t even need to do anything on the phone to make it happen.

Here’s what you do:

1. Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log into your Yahoo account.
2. Click on the Contacts tab.
3. Click on the Import Contacts button.
4. Click on the Gmail button.
5. In the fields provided, enter your Google account username and password.
6. Check the box to grant Yahoo permission to access your Google contacts and click continue.
7. Select the contacts you wish to import and click the Import button.

That’s it! Your phone contacts now also appear in your Yahoo account.