Getting Comfortable With The Basics

How it works

Chromebook vs Laptop

Chromebook vs Laptop by tech.co

If you’re working to a tighter budget for your next laptop – say, under $400 – then it’s a decision between an entry-level Windows laptop or a Chromebook.

The key thing to know about Chromebooks is that they aren’t as versatile as a Windows laptop

Credit freeze: A freebie that you actually want

Credit freeze: A misunderstood freebie that you actually want by freep.com

On Sept. 21, the three big credit reporting agencies will have to give consumers credit freezes for free.

Just one year ago, consumers woke up and discovered that hackers had one heck of a field day with their Social Security numbers and other information in a massive data breach at Equifax. 


Credit Freezes Will Soon Be Free by lifehacker.com

With the one-year anniversary of the Equifax breach just behind us, here’s a reminder that you will be able to freeze your credit reports and sign up for year-long fraud alerts for free starting Sept. 21 thanks to a federal law passed earlier this year. 


Know the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze by komonews.com

It's been one year since Equifax let us know that hackers stole the personal information of half the adults in the country. But a surveyshows most of us have not taken steps to freeze our credit reports.

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory by petapixel.com

Deep Sky West is a remote astrophotography observatory in New Mexico, USA. It offers the opportunity for any astrophotographer around the world to use the site to access clear skies without the need to travel there, and to use advanced astronomy and photography equipment without the need to own it themselves.  DeepSkyWest

Why Your Router Has Two Wifi Bands and How They Work

Why Your Router Has Two Wifi Bands and How They Work by gizmodo.com

Few devices are as essential to the smooth running of a modern-day digital household than a wireless router, so it’s strange that this black box is so little understood. Here we’ll outline one of the key features of many modern routers, dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support, so you know exactly what it is and how to take advantage of each.

Google’s New Gmail Features

Gmail’s biggest redesign is now live by theverge.com

The world’s most popular email service is getting a big overhaul today. Google is making official the changes we saw leaked earlier this month, with email snoozing, nudging, and confidential mode making their debut alongside a substantial visual redesign for Gmail on the web. The new Gmail begins a global phased rollout today, which is to say that it won’t be available to every one of Gmail’s 1.4 billion users right away, and the first to get it will be invited to opt in rather than being able to just turn it on themselves.


Google’s New Gmail Features and How Best to Use Them by tech.co

This year, Gmail’s 1.4 billion users are getting their first major upgrade since 2011. From a game-changing “snooze email” function to the exciting option to make sent messages “self-destruct”, we run through the key features of the new Gmail upgrade.


How to Find Contacts in the New Gmail by howtogeek.com

The new Gmail started rolling out last week, and it’s awesome. But many people are asking the same question: where did Contacts go?

The previous version of Gmail, now called “Classic Gmail,” had a drop-down at the top-left for quick access to Contacts and Tasks.


Google will force you to switch to the new Gmail whether you want it or not — here's when you'll get it by businessinsider.com

Google recently announced a massive update to its popular email platform. So far, it's given personal account holders and company admins (who run company's G Suite accounts) the choice to leave their Gmail inboxes as-is, or to opt into the new Gmail, which comes with a new look and a lot of new features. If they don't enjoy the experience, users and admins are welcome to opt back out.

That's no longer going to be the case in a matter of months, as Google announced


How to undo the Gmail update – and what features you'll miss if you do by independent.co.uk

The new Gmail update features a snooze email function, a fresh design and a 'confidential mode' that protects outgoing emails.

However hundreds of Gmail users took to social media to complain about Google's new design. Fortunately for them, there is a way to switch it back to the old version, but only for a limited time.

 

Create virtual cards that protect your money

Create virtual cards that protect your money. at privacy.com

Privacy is the safest and easiest way to shop online.

Freeze, unfreeze, and set spending limits. Get real cashback rewards. Take control of your money.

Privacy provides a service that allows you to checkout online without sharing your real credit or debit card information online. We allow you to use any name and billing address with the merchant you would like, so your private information remains secure and private.


Privacy.com Review by echeck.org

When you pay for something online, you are putting your financial and personal details at risk. No matter which form of payment you use, there is always a risk, and there is no way for you (the consumer) to know just how big or small the risk is. The sheer number of massive hacks and leaks over the last ten years is proof enough that we have no idea how safe our payment information really is. Privacy.com adds another layer of privacy.


Privacy.com's virtual Visas are burner debit cards that keep online shoppers safe by pcworld.com

Slinging your credit card information all over the web may be the norm when you’re online shopping, but playing fast and loose with those precious numbers is just begging for identity theft to happen. A new company dubbed Privacy.com thinks it has a solution to the problem. Instead of handing out your actual debit and credit card numbers, Privacy.com lets you create “virtual” debit cards that are locked for use with a single vendor, or “burner” cards that are valid only for one-time use.


One Response to Privacy.com Review: Get Virtual Card Numbers which Allow Using Any Name & Address by doctorofcredit.com

Privacy.com allows consumers to make payments online safely and anonymously. For security or privacy reasons, people don’t always want to use their regular payment methods online and expose their card/bank details, name, and address to random online vendors.


Privacy.com is a VPN for credit cards by theverge.com

In 2016, it’s remarkably hard to buy something anonymously. Bitcoin would be the easiest way, but most places don’t accept it. Even walking into a store and paying cash, there’s a decent chance you’ll be asked for your name and zip code. Paying online is even harder. Use a credit card or a traditional payment service and the odds are your purchase will end up in an anonymized database, used to target you the next time advertisers want to find someone who’s bought a burrito, a pair of jeans, or a lamp in the last month.


 

Understanding Mesh Networking

UNDERSTANDING MESH NETWORKING, PART I by https://inthemesh.com

Mesh networks are an integral part of the burgeoning decentralization movement, and critical to realizing its vision. In this two-part article, we will provide a broad introduction to the concept of mesh networking: what are mesh networks and how did they evolve, why are they technically challenging, and what are the protocols that make meshing possible. Understanding mesh networking conceptually can help us make sense of the products on the market and to appreciate the operational constraints. Although mildly technical, the article will not assume any background in mesh or even general networking. 


UNDERSTANDING MESH NETWORKING, PART II

mesh networks are an integral part of the burgeoning decentralization movement and critical to realizing its vision. In Part I we discussed the history of mesh networks and some challenges in making them work. The basic multi-hop mobile wireless mesh networking concept has been around since the 1970’s, under different names such as “packet radio networks,” “mobile ad hoc networks,” and “sensor networks” and has found applications in the military, first response, and recreation amongst others. Challenges specific to mesh networks include managing the link performance tradeoffs (e.g., throughput vs. range), decentralized access control and decentralized routing.

How Does File Compression Work?

How Does File Compression Work? by howtogeek.com

Software engineers have always developed new ways of fitting a lot of data into a small space. It was true when our hard drives were tiny, and the advent of the internet has just made it more critical. File compression plays a big part in connecting us, letting us send less data down the line so we can have faster downloads and fit more connections onto busy networks.

Your Ultimate Guide to Password Security

'12345' Is Really Bad: Your Ultimate Guide to Password Security by pcmag.com

In a recent PCMag survey on passwords, only 24 percent of respondents reported using a password manager. The rest of you have a serious problem. It's almost certainly true that you are using passwords that are easy to remember, which makes them easy to crack. Furthermore, the plethora of sites you visit that require logins probably means that you recycle the same passwords over and over, too. Maybe you think that securing your online accounts is unimportant, or too much trouble. Trust us, that's not the case. Using bad passwords can have serious consequences.


Google Advanced Protection Program: Everything you need to know by androidcentral.com

Google takes account security very seriously. You may be giving up more of your privacy than you like by using Google services and hardware, but that's not the same thing as account security — and Google takes some pretty big steps to keep unauthorized users out of your account. The company also has some tools and policies designed to keep youfrom letting an unauthorized user in, like Chrome blocking websites that host malicious content. Google depends on you trusting them with your personal data as its business model. Playing fast and loose with security is a great way to lose that trust and Google knows it.

Want better customer service? Don’t call

Want better customer service? Don’t call. Text. by washingtonpost.com

Here’s how much I hate calling customer service: I wasted $120 over six months just to avoid calling AT&T to turn off data service on two iPads I was no longer using.

Customer service calls are excruciating. But what is the alternative? I asked an executive in the industry and he recommended … not calling. Instead, last week I opened Facebook, searched for

What is an Operating System?

What is an Operating System? by howtogeek.com

An operating system is the primary software that manages all the hardware and other software on a computer. The operating system, also known as an “OS,” interfaces with the computer’s hardware and provides services that applications can use.

Manage Multiple Email Accounts in Gmail

Manage Multiple Email Accounts in Gmail – Save Time!  Video by ​dottotech

Did you know that you can manage multiple email accounts and addresses in Gmail? Discover how to sync your Gmail and other accounts like Yahoo, Outlook and Hotmail for one productive experience. Because with Gmail, you can manage all your email accounts through one single inbox and save yourself a lot of time.


p>

* Turn Your Smartphone into an Early Warning System

How to Turn Your Smartphone into an Early Warning System for Almost Anything by gizmodo.com

Our phones affect our lives in all kinds of ways, from socializing to travel, but these ever-present pocket gadgets can also act as early warning devices for a host of important alerts—from life-saving notifications to convenient warnings about your commute. Here we’ll show you what’s possible, and which apps you’ll need. 

Best live TV streaming services for cord-cutters

Best live TV streaming services for cord-cutters by cnet.com

Whether you're considering cutting cable to save some money, or you've never had cable but want to augment your video diet with some live TV, you've come to the right place. Live TV streaming services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now may be relatively new, but they signal a much-needed shakeup of the TV establishment.

Tired of Pasted Text Messing Up Your Formatting? Try This

Tired of Pasted Text Messing Up Your Formatting? Try This by howtogeek.com

You paste text into a document and for some dumb reason the formatting comes with. Gah! Here’s how to stop that.

Pasting text without formatting is possible on both Windows and macOS, assuming you know the correct keyboard shortcuts—typically Ctrl-Shift-V on Windows and Command-Option-V on macOS.

* Stars Circle the Milky Way’s Monster Black Hole

Stars (Including 1 Daredevil) Circle the Milky Way's Monster Black Hole (Time-Lapse) by space.com

Spectacular time-lapse footage from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile captures stars orbiting the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, including one daring star that circles incredibly close.

A monster black hole called Sagittarius A lies at the heart of the Milky Way, about 26,000 light-years away from Earth. The footage, taken during a 26-year-long observation campaign, revealed that a small group of stars orbit this gravitational monster at high speed.


Stars orbiting the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way by space.com – This time-lapse video from the NACO instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile shows stars orbiting the supermassive black hole that lies at the heart of the Milky Way over a period of nearly 20 years.


Simulation of the orbits of stars around the black hole at the centre of the Milky Waby space.com – This simulation shows the orbits of a tight group of stars close to the supermassive blackhole at the heart of the Milky Way. During 2018 one of these stars, S2, passed very close to the black hole and was the subject of intense scrutiny with ESO telescope. Its behaviour matched the predictions of Einsteins's general relativity and was inconsistent with simpler Newtonian gravity.

* Is it Safe to Use a Password Manager?

Is it Safe to Use a Password Manager? by techlicious.com

 

Most of us know the rules for good password hygiene – make them complicated, don’t reuse them and change them every so often. But with nearly every site and app requiring users to sign up for an account, remembering an ever-growing stable of fiendishly complex passwords becomes a herculean task.

Enter password managers, which not only do the remembering but can also generate the random strings of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols required to protect your online accounts from hackers and scammers. 

* The Value of Two-Factor Authentication

Save the Embarrassment: The Value of Two-Factor Authentication by tripwire.com

These days, it’s not a matter of if your password will be breached but when.

Major websites experience massive data breaches at an alarming rate. Have I Been Pwned currently has records from 295 sites comprising 5.3 billion accounts. This includes well-known names like LinkedIn, Adobe, and MySpace.

VirusTotal Review

A Full Review of VirusTotal, the Best Online Virus Scanner by thebalanceeveryday.com

VirusTotal is the best online virus scannerbecause in addition to scanning URLs, IP addresses, and files against several different antivirus engines, it can also be used over email or from a desktop to scan running processes.

Dozens of different antivirus engines are used to scan files sent to VirusTotal, which means several different perspectives are used to determine whether or not a file is…


Click to launch VirusTotal to analyze suspicious files and URLs to detect types of malware, automatically share them with the security community.


How it works by virustotal.com

VirusTotal inspects items with over 60 antivirus scanners and URL/domain blacklisting services, in addition to a myriad of tools to extract signals from the studied content. Any user can select a file from their computer using their browser and send it to VirusTotal. VirusTotal offers a number of file submission methods, including the primary public web interface, desktop uploaders, browser extensions and a programmatic API. The web interface has the highest scanning priority among the publicly available submission methods. Submissions may be scripted in any programming language using the HTTP-based public API.

As with files, URLs can be submitted via several different means including the VirusTotal webpage, browser extensions and the API.

Two-Factor Text Authentication Isn’t Enough to Keep Your Accounts Secure

Two-Factor Text Authentication Isn't Enough to Keep Your Accounts Secure by lifehacker.com

Just last week, Instagram confirmed reports that it’s modifying its two-factor authentication setup to allow users to log in with passcodes from security apps—like Google Authenticator. While this isn’t the sexiest of news, it’s great to see this practice growing in popularity: using a token-based app, rather than a text message, to authenticate into other apps and services. 

End-to-end encryption and how does it work

What is end-to-end encryption and how does it work? by protonmail.com

End-to-end encryption is the most secure way to communicate privately and securely online. By encrypting messages at both ends of a conversation, end-to-end encryption prevents anyone in the middle from reading private communications.

Until recently, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) was the sole domain of the tech savvy because of the complicated operations required to use it. 

The Best Cell Phone Plans for Families

The Best Cell Phone Plans for Families by reviewgeek.com

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?

Switching to a Chromebook – What You Need to Know

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

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 androidcentral.com

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 forbes.com

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.

Backup: The Often Ignored Prep

Backup: The Often Ignored Prep by beansbulletsbandagesandyou.com

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 howtogeek.com

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 howtogeek.com

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?

Browsing the web in ‘incognito’ mode

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

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 Cleanup Tool

Chrome Cleanup Tool by bleepingcomputer.com:

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.

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.

Google’s data-saving app can now set daily limits

Google’s data-saving app can now set daily limits and show a map of nearby Wi-Fi networks by theverge.com

Google is updating its data-saving Android app Datally to give you more ways to control how you and others use data on your phone. The app is getting several new features including the ability to set daily data usage limits and a guest mode to control how much data a friend uses when they borrow your phone. Datally was first launched in November to help people in emerging markets with limited data.

Five new features to try in Messages

Five new features to try in Messages by blog.google

Over the past few years, we’ve been working on improving the messaging experience on Android—from working with carriers to upgrade their networks to RCS to building new features. With Android Messages, we're creating a messaging experience that's available on multiple devices, lets you share whatever you want to share, and makes it easy to take action on your messages with Google AI.

Make Fake Email Accounts for Website Signups

Make Fake Email Accounts for Website Signups Using the 'Burner Emails' Extension by lifehacker.com

Chrome and Firefox: There are plenty of reasons you might not want to give out your real email address when signing up for a site or service. Maybe you’re really big on privacy; or, more likely, you just hate spam, and figure the fewer places that know your real email address, the better.

What is Google Smart Lock, Exactly

What is Google Smart Lock, Exactly? by howtogeek.com

Google does this thing where it uses bad names for products. Then it re-uses those names for other products, confusing everyone. Such is the case for Smart Lock, which is technically three different things, depending on whether you’re talking about Android, Chromebooks, or passwords.

Here’s are the three different things that are housed under the Smart Lock name:

This is What a Moonset Looks Like with an Ultra-Telephoto Lens

This is What a Moonset Looks Like with an Ultra-Telephoto Lens by petapixel.com

Using lens compression to capture a giant moon is nothing new, but photographer Daniel López has taken things to a whole level. He set up an ultra-telephoto lens about 10 miles (16km) away from a volcano and captured this mind-blowing 2-minute video that shows a moonset in real-time.

How to Use PayPal via Google Pay on YouTube, Gmail, and Google Play

How to Use PayPal via Google Pay on YouTube, Gmail, and Google Play by lifehacker.com

You can already use your PayPal account to make purchases through Google Pay. Now, Google and PayPal are extending their partnership to allow you to use your PayPal account to pay for things across the Google ecosystem, including Gmail, YouTube, and the Google Store. Better yet, if you link your PayPal account to Google Pay, you won’t have to keep signing in to PayPal every time you want to make a transaction. 

Why you shouldn’t worry about radiation from your Wi-Fi router or iPhone

Why you shouldn't worry about radiation from your Wi-Fi router or iPhone by forums.appleinsider.com

There's a lot of bad "science" floating around about radio frequency and electromagnetic field exposure from Wi-Fi routers and the wireless network that your iPhone accesses. AppleInsider delves into the subject, and the actual science behind it.

First and foremost, RF radiation is not the same as ionizing radiation generated by decay of radioactive isotopes…

Cutting the Cord: Streaming Instead of Cable TV

I Haven't Paid for Cable in Years — Here's How I Keep Up With TV Without It by businessinsider.com

My cord-cutting strategy has evolved over the years. Here, I go through the hardware and software that does and doesn't work for me.


How to find the best TV antenna for free HD channels by Engadget 

The best option for you will depend on where you live and where those signals are coming from. You can stream a lot of TV…


Cutting the Cord: Streaming Instead of Cable TV Means Complicated Choices, and Some Trade-offs by Seattletimes

(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times) Xfinity vs. CenturyLink, Roku v.s. Hulu vs. YouTube TV and others — cutting the cord requires planning, decisions and…

Tech News by Topic