Getting Comfortable With The Basics


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The Best Cell Phone Plans for Families

The Best Cell Phone Plans for Families by

Finding the right cell plan for you and your family can be a challenge. While many plans are simpler than ever before, the difference between carriers is still vast. Here are the plans that deserve a closer look.

Before choosing a plan, however, you need to figure out what your family needs. How many lines do you need? Is streaming king so you need as much data as possible? Do you prefer one video service over another?

Waze now works in standalone Android Auto

Waze now works in standalone Android Auto on your phone by

When Waze finally added support for Android Auto last year, it unfortunately required a proper Auto head unit, a discovery that tainted the good news. That's no longer the case as Waze recently started working in the standalone version of Auto, the one that uses your phone as a display and doesn't necessitate any other additional gear.

If you have both Android Auto and Waze installed on your phone, you can tap on the navigation icon in the Auto menu and you should see both Google Maps and Waze as options…

Set up Android Auto on your phone

How to set up Android Auto on your phone so you'll actually use it by

When Google first announced Android Auto, it was a fairly basic app that let you connect and display a limited amount of information from your phone to your car via a wired connection to an aftermarket in-dash display head unit. Automakers eventually supported the platform as more cars included touch displays in their interface, but unless you're driving a newer model car from 2016 on there's a solid chance the car you're driving isn't equipped to support Android Auto.

Prevent some spam calls from interrupting you

Google’s Phone app can now prevent some spam calls from interrupting you by

Google’s Phone app can now automatically filter out calls that it detects to be spam, sending them directly to voicemail. Your phone won’t ring, and you won’t even get a missed call notification for any calls that Google weeds out.

If the spam callers leave a voicemail — you know, like the usual spiel about charges being filed against you over back-owed taxes — that will still find its way to your voicemail inbox.

Add or Remove folders in a Library in Win 10

How to Add or Remove folders in a Library in Windows 10 by

To improve and enhance the working experience of users, Windows 10 allows folders from different locations in the Windows Library to be viewed and accessed from a single place. For instance, if you keep some audio/video content on an external hard drive or a shared folder on your network, you can include it in any of the default folders of the Windows 10 Library. In this post, let us learn the method of adding a folder to the Library in Windows 10.

Switching to a Chromebook – What You Need to Know

Switching to a Chromebook? Here’s What You Need to Know by

If you’re considering making the switch from a traditional PC (or Mac) to a Chromebook, you may be concerned about the transition. Not to worry—moving to a Chromebook is simple, and these tips will help ease the move.

First Things First: Is a Chromebook Right for You?

If you’re only considering making the jump over to a Chromebook, you may be curious whether a Chromebook is even feasible for you. 

What makes a Chromebook so secure? by

One of the things you'll see written whenever there's talk about Chromebooks is how secure the platform is. If you're into computers or software design or any type of IT you know a good bit about why, but most of the time the talk just stops after saying that Chromebooks are secure.

Google Unveils A Major Security Enhancement For The Chrome Browser by

The stable build of the Chrome browser (Chrome 67) has been upgraded with a major security enhancement called Site Isolation that protects users from malicious websites that steal sensitive data. The Spectre CPU vulnerability is an example. Site Isolation is currently operating in Chrome for Windows, the Chrome OS, Mac, and Linux. Google estimates that 99% of users on these operating systems are protected. Site Isolation hasn’t rolled out yet to Chrome for Android.

I barely noticed a difference using this $250 smartphone

I barely noticed a difference while I was using this $250 smartphone after using $800 phones for years by

I looked around the subway one day and noticed people with expensive smartphones, like the $1,000 iPhone X and $800-plus Galaxy S9, and I questioned whether those people getting more out of their expensive smartphones for their day-to-day apps than I was with this $250 device.

I was streaming my music via Bluetooth, streaming videos, browsing the internet and social media, sending emails and messages, video calling with family abroad, and using all the apps I usually use without a hitch on the Moto G6.

Backup: The Often Ignored Prep

Backup: The Often Ignored Prep by

Backup. It’s probably one of the most ignored preps against “everyday” SHTF disaster moments, and frankly there’s no excuse for electronics owners to not back up their equipment. None.

I get it, backup is totally un-fun!

It’s true, setting up a backup plan is not fun. Neither is going to the dentist to get that semi- annual cleaning, getting poofed in the eye during the yearly doctor’s exam or waiting in line at the DMV to get your vehicle plates updated.

PSA: Make Sure You Have a Backup for Two-Factor Authentication by

Two factor authentication (2FA) is generally a great security tool. But if you have it enabled on your Apple or Google accounts, this could really come back to bite you in the worst way. Here’s what you need to know.

What To Do If You Lose Your Two-Factor Phone by

Many websites send security codes to your phone number to confirm your identity when signing in. You may use apps that generate security codes on your phone, too. But what happens if you lose your phone?

How to Back Up Your Gmail

How to Back Up Your Gmail and View .MBOX Files by

There are many reasons you might want to back up your Gmail account, such as: It’s good to have a copy of your most-important data; you’re about to be fired from your job and you want to save everything you did; you’d just like a little extra protection in case someone hacks your account and takes it over (or deletes it).

While most of us probably trust that our Gmail accounts…

How to Manually Export and Back Up Contacts on Android by

Android does a great job of keeping all your contacts in sync with your Google account, so theoretically you should never lose all your contacts. That said, things happen, and keeping a backup is never a bad idea. Here’s how to export all your contacts on Android.

Google Chrome Say Websites Are “Not Secure”

Why Does Google Chrome Say Websites Are “Not Secure”? by

Starting with Chrome 68, Google Chrome labels all non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” Nothing else has changed—HTTP websites are just as secure as they’ve always been—but Google is giving the entire web a shove towards secure, encrypted connections.

In the future, Google even plans to remove the word “Secure” from the address bar. All websites should be secure by default, after all.

How to Make Your Phone’s Fingerprint Reader More Accurate

How to Make Your Phone’s Fingerprint Reader More Accurate by


Fingerprint readers on phones have made devices more secure and faster to unlock, at least when they work on the first try. If you have trouble unlocking your phone quickly, there are things you can do to improve your device’s fingerprint reader.

Biometric identification on phones has come a long way over the last few years, with both Apple and Google building…

How to log in to multiple Gmail accounts at once

How to log in to multiple Gmail accounts at once by

Have you found yourself rapidly accumulating Gmail accounts? Between work, school, and any personal or spam accounts you may have created, it’s completely reasonable to have three (or more) Google accounts that need to be checked regularly.

It can be annoying (not to mention time-consuming) to log in and out of each of your accounts every time you want to use them. Luckily, Google makes it easy to log in to multiple Gmail accounts at once and quickly switch between them on your phone and computer. Here’s how to make use of Google’s multiple sign-in feature.

Customize Swipe Gestures on Mail, Gmail, and Inbox

How to Customize Swipe Gestures on Mail, Gmail, and Inbox by

To be honest, I’m not sure what different swipes do on your favorite email app, because every app is a little bit different. And it’s possible that you don’t like how your favorite email app handles swiping. Maybe you’d rather delete messages than archive them; maybe you just like swiping in one direction over another.

Your password has probably been stolen

Your password has probably been stolen. Here’s what to do about it. by

Pardon the interruption, but your passwords are leaking.

You’ve probably become numb to all the headlines about data breaches. But a website called Have I Been Pwned will expose the horror they’ve wreaked on you.

Type in your email address and Have I Been Pwned lists websites and apps on which your passwords have been compromised. (“Pwned,” pronounced like “owned,” is geek speak for conquered.) Try your family members’ emails and your favorite passwords, too. Australian security guru Troy Hunt spends…

Browsing the web in ‘incognito’ mode

There are a lot of misconceptions about browsing the web in 'incognito' mode, researchers say by

Browsing the web in incognito mode isn't as private as most people think.

Researchers with the University of Chicago and the Leibniz University of Hanover recently published the results of a study that included 450 participants. It found that many participants thought "incognito mode" or "private mode" in a web browser protected their online activity much more than it does.

Chrome Tech Support Scam

Watch Out for This Chrome Tech Support Scam by

Even seasoned tech professionals can't help but react badly when lots of big, red text appears on a computer screen proclaiming your machine has been compromised. They are almost always a scam, but unless you know what they look like it can be easy to fall for them. Now a Google Chrome bug has presented scammers with a new opportunity to scare users into paying them to fix a non-existent problem.

Celebrating 10 years of Password Security

Celebrating 10 years of Password Security

LastPass launched ten years ago and was founded on a mission to provide seamless password security for individuals and businesses alike.

Share LastPass with friends

Trouble convincing your friends and family to finally use a password manager? Check out our new infographic for 10 ways to convince your loved ones to take control of their cybersecurity with LastPass.

Windows 10’s Backup and Recovery Tools

How to Use All of Windows 10’s Backup and Recovery Tools by

Windows 10 includes several different types of backup and recovery tools. And we’re going to take a look at all of them.

Sometimes, bad things happen to good computers. Fortunately, Windows includes a number of tools you can use to make sure your files are properly backed up and to recover your computer should you need to. On the backup side of things, File History is the…

How to remove third-party access to your Gmail inbox w/ Google Security Checkup

How to remove third-party access to your Gmail inbox w/ Google Security Checkup by

There’s been a lot of brouhaha this week about Gmail and the access that it’s giving third-party apps to your email. I already outlined exactly why this is not something to be particularly concerned about and how those headlines might be misleading to some. One of the key takeaways of my argument is that you still have control over your data and who gets to use it, so here’s how to do that…

Science Wants Your Data

Science Wants Your Data by

Eric Dishman wants your data. As the director of the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us research program, he’s trying to convince 1 million Americans to donate reams of sensitive personal information to science. Electronic medical records? Gimme. Genetic data? He’ll take it. Residence history? His inbox waits with open arms.

The future of health begins with you by

The All of Us Research Program has a simple mission. We want to speed up health research breakthroughs. To do this, we’re asking one million people to share health information. In the future, researchers can use this to conduct thousands of health studies. 

I handed over my genetic data to the NIH. Here’s why you should, too by

The National Institutes of Health recently launched the All of UsResearch Program to create one of the largest, richest public resources for biomedical research in human history. Its mission is to accelerate medical breakthroughs that personalize prevention, treatment, and care for all Americans. As the director of this unprecedented program — and as a cancer survivor, patient advocate, and participant in more than a dozen research studies — I want to share how we are safeguarding participant confidentiality and personal data.

The world needs more Data Donors. by

Believe it or not, a major challenge for cutting edge research is access to data. The data you donate will be used by scientists and researchers to further scientific understanding of mental and emotional health. If you are a suicide loss survivor, a person with lived experience of suicidal thoughts or attempts, or if you just want to help, please share your data and/or the data of a loved one. You can help by sharing what you know, your data helps.  

Benefits of Using Bitmark Donation App by

One organ donor can save 8 lives. One data donor can save millions of lives. Are you a data donor?

Your personal data is your most valuable digital asset. Bitmark makes it simple and safe for users to donate their data to health researchers. Through the Data Donation app, donors can safely connect their Health app data to studies that they choose, securely donate their data with full consent, and easily track all their donations. 

The Data Donor Movement – A Dateva initiative:

Appealing to people worldwide to donate their health data for research in a secure and privacy-mindful way.

Petitioning governments to make it mandatory for healthcare organizations to share their data.

  • Immediate Goal
    Create a streamlined repeatable process for accessing hospital  data for researchers and technology companies that know how to handle data safely
  • Long Term Goal
    Release all hospitals data in an Open Data format.  

Data donation after death  by David M Shaw1 , Juliane V Gross2 & Thomas C Erren2

A proposal to prevent the waste of medical research data.

What happens to your personal data after you die? Most of the discussion on this topic has focused on whether and how relatives should be given access to the media accounts and music…

You Can’t Hide Your Genes by Slate

Consumer genetic databases aren’t the only side door for police to get your DNA.

The arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo as the suspected Golden State Killer has both thrilled and worried watchers. Bringing the Golden State Killer to justice is a victory for law enforcement and public safety. But with his identification through a publicly accessible genealogical DNA database, there are serious questions about who now is subject to genetic surveillance by the government, and not just by the online commercial services that sequence or store DNA data for genealogical research. 


Factor Authentication (and Sync Your Codes Between Devices)

Factor Authentication (and Sync Your Codes Between Devices) by

Strong passwords are not enough anymore: we recommend using two-factor authentication whenever possible. Ideally, that means using an app that generates authentication codes on your phone or a physical hardware token. We prefer Authy when it comes to authentication apps—it’s compatible with all sites that use Google Authenticator, but is more powerful and convenient.

Google Photos: back up and organize your photos

Google Photos: how to back up and organize your photos by

Backing up and organizing your photos can feel like the digital equivalent of weeding your garden – it’s the job you put off until you’re overrun with nettles or, in this case, blurry dog photos.

Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to back up your digital or analog snaps, and one of the best is using Google Photos.

Ultimate guide to airport security options

Ultimate guide to airport security options

TSA Precheck, Global Entry, CLEAR can speed you through the screening process

If you fly, you’ve endured the chaos of airport security screening: long lines, wrestling to take off your shoes and jacket in the middle of a cranky crowd, and maybe even missing a flight.

As screening has become stricter to make flying safer, it’s become a huge hassle for travelers.

Pennsylvania REAL ID

Pennsylvania REAL ID? by      Real ID Frequently Asked Questions

The REAL ID Act is a federal law passed by Congress after Sept. 11, 2001, that establishes specific minimum federal standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards to be accepted for certain federal purposes, like entering a federal building or boarding a domestic commercial flight.

Note: If you are a resident of a different state check with your state's drivers license department.

Ultimate guide to airport security options by

TSA Precheck, Global Entry, CLEAR can speed you through the screening process

If you fly, you’ve endured the chaos of airport security screening: long lines, wrestling to take off your shoes and jacket in the middle of a cranky crowd, and maybe even missing a flight.

Chrome Cleanup Tool

Chrome Cleanup Tool by

The Chrome Cleanup Tool is a program written by Google that will scan a computer for programs that cause problems in Google Chrome. The targeted applications are potentially unwanted programs, malware, badware, and adware extensions that cause advertisements or other wanted actions to appear in Chrome.

Using the Chrome Cleanup Tool is very easy. Simply download it, run it, and let it scan your computer for unwanted programs. If it detects any unwanted programs, it will alert you and wait for you to remove them. Once the programs are removed, it will reset Google back to its default settings.

Browser Crashing Tech Support Pop-ups Are Back

Look Out: Browser Crashing Tech Support Pop-ups Are Back by

Those pop-ups that slow down PCs and tell you to call “Microsoft” at a sketchy 1-800 number are back, thanks to an newly exploited browser bug.

Chrome and Firefox users are both reportedly vulnerable to the attack, which disguises itself as a legitimate error message. The bug exploited here was thought to be patched, but scammers

MoviePass: Everything you need to know

MoviePass: Everything you need to know by

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, there's a good chance you've heard a thing or two about MoviePass. Although the company was founded way back in 2011, it's picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so with its too-good-to-be-true offer of allowing you to see one movie per day for just $9.95/month.

10 Phone and Laptop Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

10 Phone and Laptop Problems You Shouldn't Ignore by

If you own a phone or a computer (and we’re assuming you do) there are bugs and annoyances that you just have to learn to live with. On the flip side, there are also problems that hint at something much more serious going on with your device—issues you shouldn’t learn to live with, but should address at the earliest opportunity. 

Google Drive Can Help Power Your WordPress Business

25 Ways Google Drive Can Help Power Your WordPress Business by

Google Drive has saved my life (professionally, at least) on any number of occasions. I know that some people are wary of services like Google Drive or iCloud for fear of being locked into a single company’s ecosystem (or walled garden, as they’re usually referred to), but there are a lot of benefits to using Google Drive if you’re running a WordPress business. We use it here at Elegant Themes, and it makes putting things into your hands so much easier.

Third Party Gmail Apps Have Full Access to Your Email

Reminder: Third Party Gmail Apps Have Full Access to Your Email by

Remember that “cool” free Gmail app you installed years ago and then forgot about? It probably still has access to your email, and actual humans might be sifting through them.

Ensuring your security and privacy within Gmail by

We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail—like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) systems—so that you have options around how you access and use your email. We continuously work to vet developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before we open them for general access, and we give both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used.

Best Features in the New Gmail

The 8 Best Features in the New Gmail by

Google is changing how Gmail looks and works. They launched the new Gmail back in April, but until now it’s been optional. That changes in July, when the new Gmail starts rolling out to all users. Everyone will be switched over 12 weeks after the transition starts.

How the New Confidential Mode Works In Gmail by

After you send an email, it’s pretty much outside your control. Gmail’s new Confidential Mode tries to give you a bit of control back by offering message expiration dates and making it trickier for email to be forwarded on.

A Unique Username Can Add an Extra Security Layer

A Unique Username Can Add an Extra Security Layer

Create a random and unique username and password for each web service.  Use a "Password Manager" like LastPass to remember and store them securely.

Many people use the same online username across multiple platforms and websites, from Gmail accounts to banking websites. One exposure to a person’s username can open the door to identity theft.

Back in 2014 Snapchat has a data breach it affected 4.6 million usernames and mobile numbers, more recently Yahoo lost control of databases containing information of over a billion users. Even compromised government sites have leaked user data. Using a randomized username is like having two passwords for an account because it makes it harder for someone to guess your username and break in. These cybersecurity hacks are happening more frequently targeting both usernames, and email addresses.

For almost anything you do online you need a username. Rather than using the same email address to log into Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and other online sites, you can create a unique online name. 

Unique usernames can be useful in a few different ways. 

  • Using different usernames for some of your accounts makes it harder for hackers
  • If your username is something unique or funny, it is easy to remember
  • It makes your profile memorable on Facebook, blogs, and forums

Username tips from the pros

  1. Email usernames and bank account usernames should be different.
  2. Never use your SSN or financial institution account as a username.
  3. Decide if your username protects your identity or can be public.
  4. Create a username that is simple enough to remember but hard to guess – and store it in your password manager.
  5. Avoid using familiar numbers with your usernames, such as an address or birth dates. 

There are various ways that you can create usernames. You could sit down and brainstorm some fun things yourself. Another approach is to get a little help, try a free online username generator. 

Here are a few username generators to try.

After creating a custom username using one of the above tools save it safely in LastPass.

Things to Consider When Choosing Usernames

You could make a unique username for each website or do them in groups. For example, you could use one username for your professional interests and another for your email, services, and sites. Doing this creates some separation and makes it harder for people to track you online.

If using a username professionally, remember it can be the first impression a business associate or potential client will have of you.

Try to stay anonymous. In most cases, try to keep identifying info out of your username. JohnSmithOakDrive would give away to much information about the user.

Check out the rules for each site. Some sites have a limit for how long your username is.

Protect your Username with a Secure Password and store them in a password manager like LastPass.

When choosing a username, you should also give some thought to online security. You need to protect your usernames and passwords. If your username and password are stolen or hacked in a security breach, cybercriminals and others could access your financial accounts, use your info for identity theft, or hurt your reputation online.

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