Posted in Fun, Funny, gadgets, Productivity Tools, Techie Tips

The gift of technology – My top 13 Gratitude List

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Doesn’t it feel so good to take time to focus on all the blessings in our lives?

One of my greatest blessings is being able to do work that I love and to be able to make other’s lives happier and richer.

You make this possible and I want you to know how much I appreciate you, your business and your referrals.

I love sharing my passion for technology and the many ways it can make our lives more simple, easy or fun.

Here’s A Baker’s Dozen of Techie Things I’m grateful for.  It’s not a complete list but it’s the things I enjoy almost every day.

What would you add to the list?  Share your suggestions in the comments section below and let us count the ways….

  1. The World Wide Web for education, communication and the answer to every question imaginable
  2. Google Search, Wikipedia, YouTube and all the researchers, educators, bloggers and writers that provide the information.
  3. Video conferencing apps that allow me to see my adult children who live far away and even tour their new homes, to offer remote Tech Support to frustrated clients and restore them to being happy campers and to share the joys of technology with more and more people.
  4. Email – It’s hard to remember what life was like before email
  5. Mobile phones, their amazing cameras and apps
  6. Photo sharing and editing apps
  7. Online shopping and online reviews of products and services
  8. Facebook – I don’t go there often but it’s always a good time when I do.
  9. Google Docs and OpenOffice – all the benefits of Microsoft office suite and it’s free
  10. Audiobooks and ebooks and all the amazing authors that provide education and entertainment on so many subjects.
  11. Google Maps and Google Earth
  12. Digital Music – iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify and others
  13. Digital video entertainment – movies, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and others

 

 

Posted in Passwords

Get control of passwords the simple, easy way with Keychain

Safari’s Password Manager Rocks!

Safari’s password manager is one of the many reasons that I recommend buying Apple computers. I know they seem expensive but when you see the value, you will find a way. I just bought a Refurbished MacBook Pro for only $475 and I love it almost as much as my Chromebook!

Safari offers to remember your passwords and log you in and, when you create a new account, it suggests a complex, secure password.

It works the same on your mobile devices too.

(There may be times when a website doesn’t allow autofill, for example, at public terminals or when a site has been coded to specifically block autofill)

Here’s How It Works

When you login to an account, Safari asks you if you want it to remember the password and you just click on “Yes”.

If it doesn’t ask, check the Preferences

  • Click Safari
  • Click Preferences
  • Click Passwords
  • The check box next to “Autofill user names and passwords” needs to be checked
  • Close the window by clicking the red dot.

Note: this is where you can go to see a list of your sites and their passwords too.

To see your passwords

  • Click Safari
  • Click Preferences
  • Click Passwords
  • Check the box next to “show passwords”
  • Enter your Admin/Owner password
  • Select the site for which you want to see the password.
  • Close the window.

Safari Autofill

Safari will autofill, forms on websites with account and credit card information and your contact information.

  1. Click Preferences
  2. Click Autofill to verify that these options are checked or to uncheck them if desired

It’s convenient features like these that make Apple products such a pleasure to use.

If you have questions about buying a computer or if you need help with Keychain or other apps, just call or send me an email and we’ll set up a time to get together — in person or via remote access.    Enjoy!

Posted in Techie Tips

Get control of passwords the simple, easy way with Chrome

Smart Lock Password Manager for Chrome

Google Chrome Smart Lock To The Rescue

Passwords are torture for everyone and I’m so happy to be able to share a solution that’s even easier than LastPass.

You can use Google Chrome “Smart Lock for Passwords.”  You just need to use Google Chrome and be signed into Chrome with a Google account.  (You don’t have to use the gmail address for anything else if you don’t want to.)

Here’s How It Works

If you don’t have a Google account:

  1. Go to google.com and create an account
  2. Download and install Google Chrome
  3. Follow the instructions to make it the default browser
  4. Allow it to import your bookmarks or favorites when it offers

To Connect Chrome to your account:

  1. Click on the three stacked dots (upper right)
  2. Click Settings
  3. Under “Sign In” click “Connect your Google Account”
  4. Close the tab.

You’re Good To Go

When you login to your sites, it will ask to remember your logins. You will give permission the first time and it will log you in automatically afterward. What a relief!!!

And, if you use Google Chrome on your mobile devices, it will log you in there also.

(There may be times when a website doesn’t allow autofill, for example, at public terminals or when a site has been coded to specifically block autofill)

Now that you don’t have to remember your passwords (Ah bliss!) you can create super secure (impossible to remember or hack) passwords instead of using the usual lame ones.

A good source for secure passwords is http://www.nortonsecurityonline.com/tools/password-generator.html

  1. Go to your accounts and login with your old password
  2. Find the place that says “change password” (it will be different for every site)
  3. Change the password using one that you copied from the Norton’s website

What If You’re Not Using Your Own Computer?

If you need a password when you’re not using your own computer, you can login to www.passwords.google.com and see all your passwords.

To see all the password on your computer:

  1. Click the stacked three dots (upper right)
  2. Click “Settings”
  3. Scroll down and click “Show advanced settings”
  4. Scroll down to “Passwords and forms” and click “manage passwords.”
  5. Click the dots by the link account you want to see
  6. Click “Show”

If you have questions or need help with Chrome or other apps, just call or send me an email and we’ll set up a time to get together — in person or via remote access.    Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, updates

My Bad….I Should Have Warned You!

Never let your computer know that you are in a hurry. Computers can smell fear.

Recent Microsoft and Apple Updates – Causing Stress And Confusion

I’ve had a rash of calls from people complaining that Windows Update is tying up their computers for hours and hours, or that their iPads or iPhones are suddenly looking and acting very differently. Don’t feel bad, I’ve had the same issues!

I knew changes were coming but I didn’t anticipate the upset they would cause. It might have been easier if I had warned you beforehand. You still would have had to deal with the inconvenience but it might have been less shocking. Next time I will give you a heads up.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update stalled and locked up my computer on two different days. I had to “pull the plug” so I could reboot. On the third try, it tied up my computer for more than six hours! It took over my PC at 6:00 PM, wasn’t finished when I went to bed at 11:00 PM. Fortunately, my main computer is a Chromebook!

Window Update Locking Up Your Computer?

If the Windows update gremlins have taken over your computer and it seems to be all locked up, check to see if the hard drive light is blinking. If it’s blinking, the update is working and you just need to be patient. If it’s not blinking, the system is locked up. You will need to hold down the power button to turn it off. Then turn it back on.

pc-working-lights

PC Running Slow?

If your PC is running slow, be sure you are up to date on your maintenance tasks.  If you are using Windows 10, you can turn off the “live tiles”, and disable Cortana. (Use right click on your mouse to see the options.)

Windows 10

New Features in Windows 10

I didn’t find any of the Windows 10 “new features” to be particularly exciting, but I like things simple.
Microsoft is trying to be more like Apple and Google products. This started with the Windows 8 debacle. Big Mistake! They are way behind and don’t do it well.   Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The Edge web browser still isn’t as good as Google Chrome or Firefox.

On the positive side, Windows 10 is a more stable and secure operating system.

If you need help with the update, new features or maintenance, just let me know.

The Apple iOS 10 update (A much better experience than with Microsoft)  photo.apple vs. windows

A message appered, letting me know that an update was available and giving me choices of “install now” or “remind me later.” (I always wait a couple of weeks, until I’m sure that any glitches have been fixed.)

In the software update screen, above the “Install Now” button, there was a brief introduction with an explanation of the reason for the update and a complete list of all the new features–in plain English!

I agreed to the terms of service and the update screen showed me a brightly lit screen with the Apple logo and a bar indicating the progress of the update. (No wondering what’s going on, no locking up.)

Things look a little different but there are some very practical and useful new features. The best one is that my fingerprint on the button works much better and I don’t have to swipe to get past the lock screen. I have to laugh because I’m still swiping after several days. Old habits die hard don’t

Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’ll tell you my faves if you’ll tell me yours….

Why are there fewer problems with Apple?

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One main reasons there are fewer problems with Apple products, is that Apple controls both the hardware and the software, whereas Microsoft is in control of only the software.

Microsoft’s new operating system has to be compatible with hardware from many different manufacturers, machines that are very old, and machines that have software from other companies that can cause conflicts.

When Apple’s operating system becomes a problem for their old hardware, they just let you know that your device has become obsolete and you’ll have to buy a new one. This is not good news, but it prevents you from limping along and being constantly frustrated.

It’s not your fault

light_at_the_end_of_tunnel

These issues are not the result of anything you have done. Technology is a full time job for me and I can barely keep up myself! My mission is to keep things simple, easy and fun for you in spite of the constant changes. Please let me know if you are having trouble.  If you have any questions, need tech support or moral support, I’m here for you.

You Can Help Others

Please share this to others so they can get help too.

If you received this from a friend and would like to receive all my Techie Tips directly, you can sign up here.

Journey together PictureLooking forward to knowing what you think.

Enjoy!

Mardi Boettcher

760 3 4tutor

 

Posted in Apple, Techie Tips

Fabulous Apple Event! But Will This Make You Truly Happy?

September 7, was the first time I sat through an entire Apple Special Event because my colleague Jonathan Gorman at The iCreative was hosting a viewing at his training center.  It was quite a production including pop music and dance!  

I was very impressed with Apple’s innovation and engineering expertise.  The new watches and the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus are pretty amazing.

On the other hand, I doubt that many people care about these innovations or are willing to pay the prices.  I know most of my clients aren’t.  They just want things simple.  I help them choose the best gadgets for their individual needs and budget.

I found myself wondering how different the world might be if this kind of ingenuity and money were applied to solving world hunger and poverty.  Sigh….  Maybe the children using the iPads in school will come up with an answer.

However, one of the main benefits of mobile technology, is that even inexpensive smart phones have cameras capable of taking great pictures and people in developing countries are able to buy them.  Photo sharing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are bringing the people of the world closer together.  

Apple’s market share is saturated here in the U.S. (that’s why they want us to upgrade every two years) and I doubt that they’re going to capture much of the foreign market with these high end products.

Perhaps Apple’s future growth will be based on products we don’t have yet, like robotic cars.  After all, they are famous for creating products we didn’t know we wanted until we had them.  We shall see…

If you need help to decide on the best computer or gadget for your needs and budget, just let me know.

Enjoy!

Posted in Techie Tips

Update Your Smartphones

Did you know that over 30 percent of the world’s PCs are infected with malware, worms, and PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs)?

The Android Operating system is used by many phone manufacturers and this leads to more security vulnerabilities than if Google had complete control over all the phones as well as the operating system.

iPhones are not perfect, but at least Apple has complete control over its products and their operating systems.  Its customers get the latest updates on a regular basis.

In either case, you have to say yes to the updates!  In my tutoring work, I see too many phones that have updates waiting to be installed because people are not aware of why it’s important.  Updates contain improvements and important security fixes (“patches”). I know some of the improvements can be confusing, but you really must install the updates! I’m here for you if you need help understanding any changes, and I’ll bet you will really like some of the new features once you learn more about them.

Here is an excellent article on the best phones of 2016.
Best 10 SmartPhones of 2016 So Far

Smartphone market share pie chart from fortune.com

Fortune Magazine reports that Apple is gaining market share overseas and losing a little in the US.

The new Samsung S7 phone has put Android in front.  

“The U.S. market continues to be very competitive as smartphone penetration reached 65% among mobile phone users and 84% of overall mobile phone sales,” she writes. “The pool of available new buyers is shrinking and Android’s wider price range helps them grab late adopters looking for their first smartphone.”

If you have an Android phone or are considering purchasing one, there is some important information you need to know.

To keep it simple for you, here are the highlights from a very informative article by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes on ZDNet about security vulnerabilities in Android Phones.   You can read the complete article here.

Google, in its latest Android Security Report, stated that about 70 percent of “all active Android devices are on a version that we support with patches.”

However the Android ecosystem consists of about 1.4 billion devices, so 30% equals 400 million devices.  The reason for this discrepancy is that Google is not the only manufacturer of Android phones–only the Nexus phones.

Google also reported that ” We have provided these regular updates directly to manufacturers since the release of these versions of Android.”  However, Google doesn’t say anything about the proportion of users that are actually getting the updates.

The infection rate with Potentially Harmful Applications (Malware) averages around 0.5 percent overall, with that figure dropping down to 0.15 percent for devices that only install apps from the Google Play store.  However, even a less-than-1-percent infection rate in more than a billion devices translates into millions of infected devices.

In any case, the report indicates that Google is doing a better job of finding and patching vulnerabilities than ever and that’s good.

How does that infection rate compare with PCs?

According to a PandaLabs report for 2015, over 30 percent of the world’s PCs are infected with malware, worms, and PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). It’s clear that the PC ecosystem is in more of a mess than Android is.  I found this 30% number to be shocking!  Do you and your friends have virus and malware protection on your PCs?

It’s much harder to draw a comparison between Android and iOS (Apple). While it seems to be much harder to get malware onto iPhones and iPads, it can’t be said that iOS is perfect.

So, what should Android phone users do?  Android Marshmallow OS

For Google Nexus users who install the regular trickle of patches, and who only download apps from the Google Play store, the chances of being exposed are small and, even if you are, there’s a good chance that Google will clean things up pretty quickly.

If you’ve bought a Samsung or BlackBerry product and you only download apps from Google Play and you install updates when they become available, the chances of things going bad are pretty low.

Keeping up with patching Android and keeping the Google Play store free of toxic apps is a tough job, and the author company thinks Google has certainly embraced the challenge. However, he thinks “there’s real work to be done by the third-party Android hardware makers, along with the carriers, to get patches to users in a more timely fashion.

The most serious problem is all the old hardware in use. Devices still running Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Gingerbread, (Android operating systems are named after sweets and are in alphabetical order like hurricane names) account for about a quarter of all active Android devices today.These devices way beyond ever seeing an update.  (Just like Windows XP)

If you’re an owner of one of these older devices, then you need to give serious consideration to upgrading. This is the real danger zone. While you might be able to dodge a lot of the bullets by being careful and only downloading from Google Play, you’re always going to be at risk from unpatched vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, Pileup and the like. You’re playing Russian roulette with your data and privacy.

I hope I have been able to simplify this information so it makes sense to you and that you will heed its advice.  If you have any questions, just let me know.

Enjoy!

Mardi

Please share this with the people you care about so they will be protected.

If you were forwarded this article and would like to subscribe, click here.

Posted in Android, Apps, Business applications, Classes, gadgets, iPad, iPhone, Learning, Lessons, Productivity Tools, Techie Tips, Tips & Tricks

Digital Calendars Rock!

Are you using the Calendar app on your computer or mobile gadgets? Perhaps you have considered using a digital calendar, but wonder if it’s worth the time and effort to learn?  Perhaps you are curious about some of the features you aren’t using now?

Digital calendars are one of the best uses of modern technology and they are easy to learn.  They have a lot of “bells and whistles” that you may not need, but you might be surprised at how many features you will enjoy.

7 Good Reasons to Use A Digital Calendar
Here are 7 Good reasons to use digital calendars and
2 great articles on how to use them

  1. You have a lot of appointments and it’s a challenge to keep up with them — social, medical, business, family

  2. You would like to be reminded via email or pop up screens so nothing falls through the cracks.

  3. You have a big project you would like to do but you can’t seem to get started.  Breaking it down into small steps and putting it on your calendar would get it done.

  4. You would like to be able to see your spouse’s schedule so you won’t schedule conflicting appointments.

  5. Many of your To Do’s on your To Do List have deadlines and you’d like reminders so they will get done on time.

  6. You would like to be able to see your appointments on your smartphone or tablet when you are away from home so you can know if you are available to schedule something — to get it done the first time, instead of having to say “Let me call you when I get home and am in front of my calendar.”

  7. You would like reminders to purchase birthday cards or gifts so you can get them in the mail in time for the big day.

Outlook syncs with Calendar Apps
Years ago, I used Microsoft Outlook but now I use the Google Calendar.  I have an iPhone right now and I downloaded the Google Calendar app to my iPhone. However, the Calendar App that comes with the iPhone can be set up to work with Microsoft Outlook and the Google calendar.

If you are in the Apple ecosystem, you can easily use the Apple Calendar App. It should be activated in your settings alread.

If you have an android phone, the Google Calendar is probably activated already.
You Can Easily Use the Calendar App on Your Phone

Here is a great article about the advantages of Google Calendar with some neat tips and tricks.  Click here

Here is a detailed article on all the features of the Apple Calendar and how to use them.  Click here

If these articles seem too daunting, consider hosting a playshop, or schedule some one-on-one time with me. You will be using your digital calendar like a pro in no time!

Posted in Computers, Laptops, Notebook Computers, PCs, Purchasing, Techie Tips, Tips & Tricks

Laptop VS Notebook?

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a laptop and a notebook computer?

The question came up last week when I was doing a purchase consultation and I thought you might want to know.  Here is a great article that explains and compares them.

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Laptop_vs_Notebook

Things To Consider When Buying a New Gadget

Mardi Speaks to Group about How to Buy The Right Gadget For Your Needs

Do you belong to a group that would like me to speak about Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Gadget?

Attendees receive a handy Needs Assessment Questionnaire, and have an opportunity to get their questions answered.

I do these presentations as a complimentary service because working with gadgets can be soooooo much easier when you buy the right equipment for your individual needs and you can save a lot of money by not buying features you don’t need.  Also, I appreciate the opportunity to connect with new people who might need my services someday.

Posted in Funny, Helpful Websites, Internet Security, Lessons, Passwords, Phishing, Security, Techie Tips, Tips & Tricks

You Can Be A Hoax Slayer

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Friday, I received a call from a client about a phishing scam that was very convincing. It’s time to review the guidelines again.

“Be wary of ANY message that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to upgrade account details, rectify a supposed account issue, or implement new ‘security’ measures. If you receive a suspect message, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains. Instead, login to your account by entering the address into your web browser or via an official account application.”

This particular scam was pretending to be from Microsoft Outlook Team but there are others for Facebook, Yahoo, dating sites, and more.

Here is a great resource for you: Bookmark http://www.hoax-slayer.com It has information about email, social media and internet scams. Many thanks to Brett for his voluntary service on our behalf.

Please share this with the people you care about and encourage them to call me whenever they have a question or need help with their techie tools and toys. My passion and mission is to help you and your loved ones more fully enjoy the many benefits of computer technology while keeping it it simple, easy and fun. Thanks!

Enjoy!
Mardi

Posted in Business applications, Client successes, Inspiration, Learning, Lessons, Tutoring

Facing Fears and Moving Forward

Victory laptopLearning new computer and gadget skills is as much about overcoming “fears” as it is about learning skills. Most of my clients express some version of “I feel so stupid, or I’m afraid I’ll break it, or I’m too old to be able to do this.” When we try new things for the first time we often experience fear of failure, but my clients inspire me everyday as they “step up to the plate,” face their fears and move forward! As they learn new skills they are empowered to take their personal lives and businesses to the next level:
  • consultants learn to use video conferencing

  • authors learn to blog

  • real estate agents learn to send contracts to clients for digital signatures,

  • coaches learn how to use Facebook groups to motivate and inspire their clients

  • Grandmothers learn how get grandkids photos from their smartphones to Costco for prints

These victories fuel my passion for my work and I’m so grateful for the opportunity!

Enjoy!

Mardi