Best Phones for Seniors

You have to see this!  It’s the information you need and it’s not condescending.  So refreshing!  Thanks to Payette Forward  Good job!

Are You Still Frustrated by Passwords?

image of keys in a safe
Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

You don’t have to be frustrated by passwords! I’ve written about this several times before but I’m still encountering many people who are still not using password managers.

Google Chrome can save your user IDs and passwords and sync them across your other devices. This way you can set complex passwords for websites without worrying about memorizing them. Chrome can also automatically log you into these websites when you open them again.

Dinsan at Chrome Story has created a great how to article complete with screenshots.  https://www.chromestory.com/2020/03/chrome-password-manager/  

I used to recommend that you not use it, but now it’s all encrypted.  Be sure you are logged in to your google account in your Chrome Browser and be sure you use a VERY strong, secure Google (same as gmail) password and remember it.  It’s the “key to the Kingdom.”  

If you don’t have a Google account you can set one up.  That doesn’t mean you have to use the gmail address, you just get one when you set up an account.

If you live in the Apple World, the equivalent is Keychain.  

Be sure your Google and Apple passwords are super secure because they unlock access to EVERYTHING else.”  

If you need help, let’s set up a tutoring session ASAP. 

Enjoy!

Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

Text Message Scams

Screenshot 2020-03-10 at 7.38.51 AM

Text message scams are the basically the same as email scams. Trust your instincts. Don’t respond to people you don’t know. Don’t give out any information. Remember, it’s “social engineering” — they are skilled at scare tactics to short circuit your reason. Stop, breathe, and call up Your Higher Self and you’ll be fine. And remember… the benefits outweigh the risks. Enjoy!!

See this excellent article for details.
https://www.howtogeek.com/563906/how-to-spot-a-text-message-scam/

Happy New Decade!

image with Happy New Year 2020 with clock

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

As the decade draws to a close, have you taken time to look back on your life for the past 10 years?  It’s an interesting exercise.  We can feel proud of ourselves for the challenges we’ve overcome (or at least survived) and the progress we’ve made toward goals and get inspired to set new goals for the new year.

Can you believe how fast the decade has flown by? Everyone marvels at how quickly time passes and it’s not just older folks. Young people notice it too. Ask some young adults and see what they say.

I think it’s due to the fact that everything around us is changing and evolving so quickly. That’s especially true with technology.  Not only does it change rapidly, but it often radically changes the way we live our lives.  What was life like before email, cell phones and Facebook?  And now Uber, streaming video, Echo and Google Home?

I really enjoyed this article by PC Magazine and I think you will too.  
You may not have heard of some of them but that’s fine.  Enjoy the ones you do know, like iPads, smart watches, Windows 10 and Chromebooks.

The Most Iconic Tech Innovations of the 2010s  “As the decade winds down, we round up the most important and innovative products, trends, and breakthroughs that have shaped how we use technology.”

And this brings up the issue of feeling stupid…
So many clients tell me they are stupid when it comes to technology and I always tell them, “That’s not true! You just feel stupid because there is so much new information and vocabulary to learn at one time.”

“It’s not even a matter of not having learned computers in school.  Things wouldn’t be the same now anyway.  I can barely keep up!  If I were off the grid for 6 months or more, I’d probably feel stupid too.”

Here’s an inspiring quote from Seth Godin that speaks to this…

From What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn)

The Fear of Stupidity
“Stupid is not uncommon. Stupid is the way we feel when working on a difficult problem. Stupid is the emotion associated with learning—we are stupid and then we are not. The pre-learning state is stupidity. A scientist might work ten years on solving a problem of math or logic or biology. Or a lifetime. And until the problem is solved, she’s stupid. And then she isn’t. Which is all fine, actually. The problem comes with the emotion that we’re supposed to feel when we feel stupid: Fear. We are supposed to be afraid of stupid, to get stupid over with as soon as we can. Change, of course, makes everyone feel stupid, because change breaks all the old rules, inventing new ones, rules we don’t know (yet). And so the equation is obvious: Change —> Stupid —> Afraid. One way to avoid this is to avoid change. One way to avoid this is to avoid freedom. The best way to avoid this is to embrace stupid and skip the last part. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing except avoiding the feeling of stupid. And stupid is a good thing.”

May you embrace “stupid,” embrace change, embrace continuing education and have an amazing 2020!

Enjoy!
Mardi

What do you think about the changes in the past decade and are you over feeling stupid for feeling stupid sometimes?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments sections below…

Receive notifications about all my Techie Tips as soon as they become available by signing up here.

Alexa and Google Home Can Eavesdrop

photo of woman speaking to an Alexa Device

Photo from article on ZDNet website

Oh, dear…the challenges of being on the Leading Edge of technology!

If you are going to play, you need to be educated about how things work and what to look out for.  Hope this helps.  Enjoy!

If you have any questions or comments, please share them in the comments section at the bottom and I’ll be happy to reply.

From ZDNet: Hackers can abuse Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart assistants to eavesdrop on user conversations without users’ knowledge, or trick users into handing over sensitive information.

The attacks aren’t technically new. Security researchers have previously found similar phishing and eavesdropping vectors impacting Amazon Alexa in April 2018; Alexa and Google Home devices in May 2018; and again Alexa devices in August 2018.

Both Amazon and Google have deployed countermeasures every time, yet newer ways to exploit smart assistants have continued to surface.

The latest ones were disclosed today, after being identified earlier this year by Luise Frerichs and Fabian Bräunlein, two security researchers at Security Research Labs (SRLabs), who shared their findings with ZDNet last week.

Both of these attacks exploit the fact that while Amazon and Google verify and vet Alexa and Google Home apps when they are submitted, they do not do the same for subsequent app updates.

In an email to ZDNet, the SRLabs team said they reported the issue to both vendors earlier this year, yet the companies have failed to address the issue.

“Finding and banning unexpected behavior such as long pauses should be relatively straight-forward,” the SRLabs team told ZDNet. “We are surprised that this hasn’t happened since reporting the vulnerabilities several months ago.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from ZDNet prior to this article’s publication.

A Google spokesperson provided the following message:

“All Actions on Google are required to follow our developer policies, and we prohibit and remove any Action that violates these policies. We have review processes to detect the type of behavior described in this report, and we removed the Actions that we found from these researchers. We are putting additional mechanisms in place to prevent these issues from occurring in the future.”

Google also wanted Home assistant owners to know that their device will never ask them for the account password, and that Google staff are currently reviewing actions from all third-party apps.

Chromebook or iPad?

ZDNet logo on video screen

Microsoft says it will fix a lingering broken Start menu problem that’s been affecting Windows 10 users over the past few weeks. 

I’ve been using a Chromebook for about 5 years. My clients who are using Chromebooks and iPads don’t have to deal with these problems.

If they call me, it’s to learn how to do fun stuff.

Are you ready to join the party? Call me for a consultation and let’s get you started.

 

Great Solution for Robocalls

image of phone

Photo by Arun Thomas on Pexels.com

How are you managing robocalls these days?

I recently read a great article from How To Geek that validates my advice to not pick up calls from people who are not identified on your phone’s caller ID.

Did you know that if you pick up and answer a robocall, you are more likely to get called again?

It also explains why other commonly recommended methods don’t work.

And it suggested a great solution for those times when you might be expecting a call from your doctor or the pharmacy.

Here’s a great Techie Tip from the article:

If you’re continually expecting calls from doctors, customers, lawyers, or anyone else, add trusted businesses, customers, and professionals to your contact list. Ask companies for their outgoing phone number, and be sure to check if they use multiple outgoing numbers.

Then use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone. The Do Not Disturb feature allows you to choose which numbers can call you. If you’ve set up a detailed contact list, this feature can help you block out scammers without missing out on important calls from your family or your doctor. And, if you’re ever expecting a call from an unknown number, you can quickly turn off the Do Not Disturb feature until you receive the call that you’re waiting for and then turn it back on.

Apple Do Not Disturb for iPhones and iPads

Android Do Not Disturb mode .

Another method is to set your phone to not ring for incoming calls except for your Favorites which then allows specific numbers to bypass the block.

I hope you found this helpful and that you will share it with your friends and family.

And, as always, if you or someone you know, needs a helping hand or some compassionate techno-therapy, just give me a call at 760-348-8867 or schedule an appointment here.

In any case…

Enjoy!

Mardi

You Aren’t Too Old or Stupid For Technology

Screenshot 2019-04-30 at 1.30.11 PM

Do you feel still feel stupid sometimes when it comes to technology?

People often tell me, “I’m so stupid when it comes to technology and I’m always quick to say, “You’re not stupid, you just need a little education!”  I hate to see them so down on themselves or convinced that there is something wrong with them because of their age.  It’s not true!

Well, I recently, I discovered a new book by Seth Godin which gave me a new perspective on stupid.  I hope you find it as helpful as I do, put your thoughts in the comments below,  and share this post with your friends so they can feel good about feeling stupid too.

Enjoy!
Mardi

From Your Turn by Seth Godin

The fear of stupidity is not uncommon. Stupid is the way we feel when working on a difficult problem. Stupid is the emotion associated with learning—we are stupid and then we are not. The pre-learning state is stupidity. A scientist might work ten years on solving a problem of math or logic or biology. Or a lifetime. And until the problem is solved, she’s stupid. And then she isn’t. Which is all fine, actually. The problem comes with the emotion that we’re supposed to feel when we feel stupid: Fear. We are supposed to be afraid of stupid, to get stupid over with as soon as we can. Change, of course, makes everyone feel stupid, because change breaks all the old rules, inventing new ones, rules we don’t know (yet). And so the equation is obvious: Change —> Stupid —> Afraid. One way to avoid this is to avoid change. One way to avoid this is to avoid freedom. The best way to avoid this is to embrace stupid and skip the last part. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing except avoiding the feeling of stupid. And stupid is a good thing.

P. S. Who do you know that would feel better about themselves if they had a little computer tutoring.  Just send me their name and number.  I’ll follow up and take good care of them.  Thanks!

 

Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support Deadline

burial cemetery countryside cross

Photo by Mike Bird on Pexels.com

This month, Microsoft has started reminding users that the company will no longer provide free support for Windows 7 after January 14, 2020. This means no more updates or fixes, including security fixes after that date.

Microsoft’s March 12 blog post about the coming “courtesy reminder” about Windows 7’s end of support notes that users will see the notification “a handful of times in 2019.” The notifications will include a checkbox for “do not notify me again,” enabling them to not receive future reminders.

Note: Just closing the pop-up using the X in the right corner won’t prevent users from getting more of these notifications

Business users will be able to continue to get security updates beyond the January 14, 2020 date by purchasing paid Extended Support Updates and buying Windows Virtual Desktop (which includes Extended Support Updates for no additional fee) but this does not apply to regular users like you and me.

Please, please, please, don’t even consider using Windows 7 without updates!  It’s not just a matter of whether you have anything valuable on your computer itself.  You run the risk of hackers getting into your whole home network!

Do you have an exit strategy yet?  Now would be a good time for you to learn more about Chrome OS Devices (Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chromebases) and Google’s free Office Suite apps (GSuite). 

By the way…Google Chromebooks have captured 70% of the school market?  So if you want to keep up with the younger generation…

In any case, I encourage you to talk to me before making any new purchases.  I can help you get the most appropriate device for your needs and budget.

Do you have a Windows 7 and Office 2010 exit strategy?  Share with us in the comments below and post any questions or concerns for me to answer.

And please share this with your friends so they can benefit too.  Thanks!

Above all else…enjoy!

Mardi

 

Backups Don’t Have to Be Hard or Confusing

diagram of cloud and mobile devices

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I love articles by How To Geek because they often cover basic information that my clients should know.  The articles are written very clearly but sometimes I make them even simpler by providing a shorter version and definitions of technical terminology.

I’ve talked about backups many times, so I think most of you will be able to understand this article as it is:  What’s the Best Way to Back Up My

If you know me at all, you will know that I recommend Chromebooks and Google Drive as the best solution for most people.  My second choice for simple and secure would be an Apple iPad and iCloud backup.

As they say in the article: “Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomware could hold your files hostage, or a software bug could delete your important files. If you’re not regularly backing up your computer, you could lose those files forever.  Backups don’t have to be hard or confusing.”

Please just make a decision and do it!  And check monthly to be sure it’s working.

If you need help, you can make an appointment here or call 760-348-8867.

Let us know what you use for backups in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and for sharing with others. 🙂

Enjoy!

Mardi

 

 

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