Category Archives: Helpful Websites

Leo Laporte, The Tech Guy from techguylabs.com

Love The Leo Laporte Show

Do you know about the Leo Laporte Tech Show?

I’m a huge fan. He’s taught me a lot about how technical things work, keeps me up to date on new developments, and I really enjoy his sense of humor. We have the same opinions about a lot of things too, and it feels good to have my opinions validated by someone so knowledgeable.

I just roared when he said recently:

“I think a lot of what I do here in the show is I’m like Dr. Laura. It’s more emotional support– like I don’t know if I can fix your problem but at least I can let you know you’re not alone and and we all have to suffer with this. ‘Now go take on the day’ — that kind of thing. You know it’s just kind of relaxing and it’s, you know, ‘misery loves company.’ So if you listen to the show then you know we all suffer to some degree from technology. You don’t want to put up with these annoyances but we do. There’s the big annoyances which you fix but then there’s the little annoyances, like that chair that squeaks — they’re just little ones and there’s a lot of them with technology.

His advice is, to the degree that you can maybe set aside an hour a week to make a note of the little annoyances and set aside a little bit of time, not a lot, every week to kind of trim them, because it’s like death by a thousand paper cuts. No individual annoyance by itself is gonna drive you nuts but in aggregate — when you combine them all, in sum total, is a pain and the stress could shorten your life. (chuckle)

I loved hearing that because it explains exactly what I do! My tutoring is a lot about emotional support and letting clients know that we all suffer from the “squeaky chairs” of technology. I encourage people to make a list of all those little frustrations and then have me show them the solutions so they won’t suffer “death by a million paper cuts.” It’s so important for people to get over these little hurdles so they can have more fun, and it’s so rewarding to be able to help.

If Leo’s show is “TMI” (too much information) for you, I totally understand. Sometimes it’s too much for me too. No worries, I pass along the information that I think you need and I trust that you will let me know when you have questions you want answered.

Leo’s shows are available on his YouTube channel, are available as podcasts and are posted on http://techguylabs.com/ with show notes and time stamps.

Don’t suffer “death by a million paper cuts.” Make that list and call me if you need help.

Enjoy!

Mardi

P.S. Who do you know who could use my help with a list of little frustrations? Just send me their name and number. I’ll follow up and take good care of them.

Advertisements

You Can Be A Hoax Slayer

Displaying Displaying pasted image 0

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

Plan Your Year

Great tools here…especially for business owners that already have a lot “on their plates” and more they want to contribute.  Sometimes paper is as better than digital.  Yes,  I did say that.  LOL  However they will have “an app for that” too.

No More Password Hassles with LastPass

No More Password Hassles!

Treat your password like your toothbrush.
Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.

Clifford Stoll                                      Read more at brainyquote.com

maxresdefault

Are you ready to put your password hassles to rest once and for all?  I’ve got a great solution for you!   Get LastPass password manager.  It’s free! It will generate secure passwords for all your accounts and insert them automatically. You only need to remember one master password.  Everything is encrypted and safe.

No more updating pages and pages of accounts and passwords or going through a bazillion steps to reset the ones you forgot!  LastPass even let’s you know if you have an account with a company whose data base has been compromised so you can change your password immediately.

I’ve been using the basic features of LastPass for years, but I just took a class on it to learn more and I am very impressed.  I had the opportunity to teach a client how to use it this week and she is so happy and relieved that she’s telling all her friends.

You can learn more about it here  www.lastpass.com  I urge you to use it.  The little bit of time it takes to install and learn how to use it, will be minimal compared to the time it takes to clean up a mess if someone hacks any of your accounts.

Please share this with everyone you know so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident with their computers and techie gadgets.

Please post your thoughts or comments below….

Thanks!

Phishing Alert: Watch Out For This!

I thought you should know about this right away.

After seeing my Techie Tip about phishing on Saturday, my daughter sent the following email about a phishing problem with Anthem Insurance.  Even if you don’t have Anthem Insurance, this will reinforce what I said about “phishing. ”

Heh Mom, Did you know about this?

Last week, Anthem announced that data might have been accessed about Anthem Healthcare clients.  Apparently, hackers are taking advantage and sending emails and making phone calls asking to verify information.

Here is the email from the Human Resources Department where she works.

“Anthem notified us today that members who may have been impacted by the cyber attack should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members.  These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring.  Anthem DID NOT send these emails.  If you receive one of these scam emails like the one attached:

  • DO NOT click on any links in email.
  • DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
  • DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you clicked on a link in email.
  • DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.

Further, Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and Anthem representatives are not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.

This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers.

Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.

For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website:http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.

Anthem has created a website (www.anthemfacts.com), and a hotline, 1-877-263-7995, for its members to call for more information.”

Please forward this to everyone you know so they can be safe too.
Thanks,
Mardi

Looking for Work On Craigslist – Safety Tips

CRAIGSLIST-large570

Hi Mardi,

I am still in Brazil.

I am trying to put an add for a new job on craigslist and I can’t do it.

I open the craigslist page but I can’t find the right place.

Could you help me doing that?

I will try to call you.

I recently received this message from a client and it reminded me to let you know about a couple of hazards to avoid when you, or someone you know, is looking for work online.

When I first moved to the Desert, I was looking for work on Craigslist and encountered two potentially dangerous scams.

The first and most obvious scam, was an email from a company offering me an interview and requiring that I get a credit report to bring to the interview.  They said I needed to get it from the company they recommended and the link to the website was included in the email.

I couldn’t imagine why someone would need a credit report before an interview or expect me to divulge financial information to a company I didn’t know, so I knew it was a scam.

facebook login

The second scam almost got me!  A company said they were interested in me and I could learn more about them at their Facebook page.  At first, I thought it was strange that they didn’t send me to their company website, but then I thought they might be trying to be hip and leading-edge by having a company Facebook page.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a page that looked exactly like the Facebook sign-in page.  I signed in, but had a weird feeling that something was off.  I looked up at the address bar to see exactly where I was and it said “fakebook.com/….”  I thought oh my gosh, they just captured my Facebook login and password!

I immediately opened a new window and went to my Facebook page and changed my password.  Luckily I got there, before they were able to changed my password and lock me out.  Whew!

craigslist banner

There are good jobs available on Craigslist and I actually found one at that time.

You just need to be careful and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Please forward this to everyone you know who is looking for work so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident while using Craigslist.

Thoughts or comments about this topic?  Please share in comments below.

Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

I know you hate having to use so many passwords.  It’s a big pain to keep track of them.  You might even be using the same password for multiple sites and allowing your web browser to save them so you don’t have to login every time.

A recent article by Kim Komando, inspired me to encourage you to take the bull by the horns, do some house cleaning and start using a password manager. This will make your online life so much simpler and safer.
Here are some great tips based on her article, One secret about online accounts every computer user needs to know

You may have created dozens of accounts that have only been used once. Just think of how many times you’ve created a username and password just to read an article, play a game or download something.  This can be dangerous because your information is floating around on dozens or hundreds of websites that may or may not be secure.  Even worse, if you have used the same username and password for every site, every account you have is in danger.  A hacker who gets your account information from one site can use it to get access to your other accounts as well.

The solution is to hunt down and close any accounts you are not using and then change the passwords to your existing accounts so that each one is unique.

A simple browser trick

1) When you create a new online account or log in to an old one, your browser stores the username and password. This makes it easy to log back in later.  It also means you can go now and see what accounts you’ve created.

2) After you locate your accounts, you can close down the accounts you are not using and create unique passwords for the sites you are keeping.

3) Then turn off “password storing” and erase the existing passwords in your browser. The option to erase the passwords is in the same place you view the saved passwords.  (The Instructions are below.)

Use A Password Manager

LastPass, The last password you will ever need

 

 

 

 

 

I know this seems like a lot of work but you only have to do it once.  Then, If you start using a password manager like LastPass all your unique passwords will be stored in a vault and you will only need to remember one master password.  The password manager will even generate secure passwords for you so you don’t have to think them up. You will love it!

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass, I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.
Thoughts or comments about this topic? Please share in the comment section below.

Instructions for web browser applications:

FIREFOX

To see your login information in Firefox, go to the Firefox menu – it’s the icon on the right with three horizontal lines – and click Options.

Under the Security tab, click the “Saved Passwords” button.

Then click the “Show Passwords” button and click “Yes.”

CHROME

In Chrome, click the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper right and choose “Settings.”

Choose “Settings” on the left, and then click the “Show advanced settings” link at the bottom of the screen.

Scroll down to “Passwords and forms” and click the “Manage saved passwords” link.

If you want to log back into your old account, but don’t remember the password, then you can click on a password and click the Show button next to it.

To see the password, you will have to enter your Windows account password, which does make it harder for casual snoops to get in.

INTERNET EXPLORER

You can’t view saved usernames and passwords directly in IE. You would need a third-party program like IE PassView.  However, I recommend that you don’t use Internet Explorer anyway.  It is easily invaded by spyware. I use Google Chrome but Firefox is good also.

SAFARI

In Safari, go to Safari>>Preferences>>Auto-fill. Click the Edit button to view the saved passwords.

Need Help?

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass,  I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.

Great Apps for Computers and

Apps are not just for smartphones and tablets. Many apps are web based and accessed through your web browser. You don’t have to have a smart phone or tablet to use some of the most popular apps.

However, when people buy smartphones or tablets, they often ask me what apps they should know about.  I’m always happy to make suggestions based on antheir lifestyle and interests.

Since you may have received a gadget as a holiday gift, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a few of my favorites apps and programs. You may already be using some of these but you may discover some new ones to try. Enjoy!

Entertainment and Media:   

NetflixNetflix let’s you watch an unlimited number movies and television shows online for only $8.95 mo. You can train it to make suggestions for you based on the movies you watch and how you rate them.  You can even set up separate profiles for individual family members!  And, there are no commercials!!!

You can connect your gadget to your TV and watch movies on it too.

chromeCast

 

Chromecast from Google $35


roku

Roku Streaming Stick $50

 

appleTvApple TV $99


spotify

 

Spotify let’s you listen to music for free.  It even has playlists by subject or genre. The variety is astounding and there are no commercials!!!

 

YouTube

 

YouTube is a must for doing research on any topic that can be best explained with a video.  Think recipes, repairing things, movie previews, songs, lyrics, instructional videos, and answers to absolutely any question under the sun.

shazam

Shazam listens to songs on the radio, TV or movies. It identifies the song title, shows you the performer, album, lyrics and links you to sites where you can purchase.

 

 

Productivity:

dropboxDropbox is a great app for cloud storage and sharing.  When you put files in there, you can access them from anygadget or computer.  I use the phone app to play audio files of lectures and seminars. It’s super easy to learn and you get 2GB of storage for free.  By referring your friends to Dropbox, you can earn up to 16GB of additional space.  Sign up here

 

office 365

One of the most popular productivity tools for home and business is Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, Office documents don’t always play nice with third-party apps. Now Microsoft has released the Microsoft Office Mobile app.   It lets you open, create and perform basic editing on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files no matter where you are.

 

mintMint.com and its app  (Free, and available for Android and iOS) links to your all your bank accounts, credit card accounts and loans so you always know just how much money you have and how you are spending it. You can set up spending categories and create a budget for each category. I love it for keeping track of my income and expenses for paying my taxes.

 

The weather channelThe Weather Channel app and weather.com show you the current temperature, the hourly forecast and the next 10 days of weather.  Also you get a customizable radar map, video clips, severe weather alerts and beach conditions. It’s better than your gadget’s built-in weather app.

 

 

free wifi finder

You don’t want to burn through your cellular data plan when you are out and about or on a trip, so you need to useWi-Fi whenever possible. You can find free Wi-Fi locations with the Free Wi-Fi Finder app.

 

Dating:

match

 

Match.com app has earned the top spot in dating apps and is my favorite.

 

 

pof-logo

 

POF.com (Plenty of Fish) is very popular here in the desert and is free.

 

google mapsNavigation:

Google Maps is my favorite navigation app.  I especially appreciate that it invites you to submit corrections.  Youget an email thanking you for your help and then a follow up email when the corrections have been made.

uberUber is an app-based transportation network that uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests, and then sends these trip requests to their drivers. Customers love using the app to request rides and to track their reserved vehicle’s location.  Uber’s drivers use their own cars and there is a variety of types of vehicles available, from Town Cars to SUVs and more.  One of my friends is a driver for Uber and just loves it.  It’s a win-win for everybody.

Other Popular Apps

Here are some other popular apps that I don’t find the time to use very often, but you might enjoy.

Save Money  

RetailmenotThe RetailMeNot app helps you find promo codes and coupons for more than 50,000 physical and online stores, including grocery stores. You can save and store coupons for later, and share the savings with your friends through social media.

 

 

Photo EditingSnapseed-icon-medium

Snapseed is the top app for photo-editing and VSCO Cam is gaining ground in popularity.

Social and Sharing

Pinterest

 

Pinterest, WhatsApp and Snapchat are the top apps in messaging and texting.

 

instagram

 

Instagram and Facebook are considered the must-haves for social sharing. The Facebook app got me interestedin using Facebook more often because it is so easy to use.

Sports

watchESPN

 

WatchESPN.com is the most popular app for sports fans.

 

 

 

Fitness

MyFitnessPal is the top fitness app.my fitness pal

 

 

 

 

Do you have any favorite apps to share?

There are thousands of apps and recommendations from friends is the best way to sort through the maze.  Do you have some favorite apps not mentioned here?  Post your comments below so everyone can benefit from your ideas.

A Small Gift With A Huge Benefit

The Gift of Knowledge  

 

At this holiday time when we focus on our desire for more peace and joy in the world, it seems fitting to tell you about a techie tool that is changing the world for the better — Wikipedia

 
Jimmy Wales

 

I love Wikipedia!  I use it all the time to find answers to questions and the meaning of new terms.  When I think about how this extensive body of knowledge is available to everyone in the world at no cost, my heart just leaps with joy.  What an amazing resource!  This is modern technology at its best. If you have never used it, please take a look here . You will love it!!!

 

 

This time of year, Wikipdia.org puts up a banner asking for donations so that it will not have to resort to posting ads.  Since we all complain about ads on websites, it would serve us to make a donation now.  The good news is that if everyone who uses it paid only $3.00 the fundraising goal would be met!

 

Features and BenefitsWikipedia

Here are the reasons that Wikipedia, one of the world’s five most popular web properties, asks for financial support from its users and why you might want to participate. (Adapted from an appeal letter by Founder, Jimmy Wales.)

  1. Has a small number of paid staff, just twenty-three.
  2. Wikipedia content is free to use by anyone for any purpose.
  3. Annual expenses are less than six million dollars.
  4. Wikipedia is run by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, founded in 2003.
  5. At its core, Wikipedia is driven by a global community of more than 150,000 volunteers – all dedicated to sharing knowledge freely.
  6. These volunteers have contributed more than 11 million articles in 265 languages.
  7. More than 275 million people come to the website every month to access information, free of charge and free of advertising.
  8. Wikipedia.org is committed to a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.
  9. Your donation helps cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet.
  10. Funds also help improve the software that runs Wikipedia — making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for.
  11. Wikipedia.org is committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning.
  12. Wikipedia.org is the largest encyclopedia in history, written by volunteers.
  13. Your donation will help keep Wikipedia free for the whole world.

Gratitude

world peaceBelow is the thank you email I received after making my donation.  It will show you the scope of their amazing work in the world.  I hope it will inspire you to use the service, if you haven’t already, and motivate you to donate.

 

Thank you for your invaluable gift of bringing knowledge to every human around the world. My name is Lila Tretikov, and I’m the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Over the past year, gifts like yours powered our efforts to expand the encyclopedia in 287 languages and to make it more accessible all over the world. We strive most to impact those who would not have access to education otherwise. We bring knowledge to people like Akshaya Iyengar from Solapur, India. Growing up in this small textile manufacturing town, she used Wikipedia as her primary learning source. For students in these areas, where books are scarce but mobile Internet access exists, Wikipedia is instrumental. Akshaya went on to graduate from college in India and now works as a software engineer in the United States. She credits Wikipedia with powering half of her knowledge.
This story is not unique. Our mission is lofty and presents great challenges.Most people who use Wikipedia are surprised to hear it is run by a non-profit organization and funded by your donations. Each year, just enough people donate to keep the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Thank you for making this mission possible.

On behalf of nearly half a billion people who read Wikipedia, thousands of volunteer editors, and staff at the Foundation, I thank you for keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free this year.

Thank you,  
Lila

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director,
Wikimedia Foundation
donate.wikimedia.org

OpenOffice.org

Sometimes I Feel Stupid Too!  Computer User Feeling Stupid

 

One of the biggest challenges for me in my work is that so many of my clients say they feel so stupid.  No one is stupid!  One of my goals in my work is to help my clients feel better about themselves.

 

No one is born with all the information they need in order to navigate life.   We either educate ourselves or we “wing it” based on what we are told by others (who may or may not have the best information).

 

Even those of us who take the time to do research, study and practice, will make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process.

 

My goal is for you to benefit from my mistakes and those of my clients.

 

Here are some really useful tips based on my work in the field this past week.

 

Great Money Saving Tip

OpenOffice.org

There is a great free office suite called Open Office that looks very much like the apps in Microsoft Office and has many of the same tools.  You don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office suite.

 

The Pitfalls

The address for Open Office is www.openoffice.org not “.com”  There is another site, http://www.openoffice.us.com that looks reputable but will download a bunch of malware programs on your computer.

firefox-os_logo-wordmark_RGB-vertical-300dpiThe Solution    Google Chrome

You should be using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

 

If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer as your web browser, you are at risk of getting add pop ups installed on it and having your home page changed to something you don’t want.  This is called “hijacking your web browser”.

Norton Internet Security

 

If you have installed the W.O.T (Web of Trust) extension on your web browser or if you are using Norton with Internet Security, you will see a notification that http://www.openoffice.us.com  is not safe.
(Buy Norton from Dom at Desert Cow Computers and save $20.) www.mydesertcow.com

 

 

 

Do a Google search for reviews of any app you are considering downloading before you proceed.

The Rules In Review

  • Use the right web browser and search engine
  • Have safety extensions on your browser
  • Do your research
  • Be sure you are going to the reputable site

 

If none of his makes sense to you, just call for an appointment.

The promise of successEverything will be OK.   We’ll do it together.

 

Hope this helps you “make peace with the ups and downs of modern technology.”