Sharing Your Social Media Identity with the Government

Every once in a while I read a story that makes me say:

WHAT?

Today was one of those days.  According to this article in arsTechnica, the US Customs and Border Protection is considering adding a new field to their Visa application process.  They will be asking visitors to the US to provide their Social Media Identity.  Apparently it won’t be a required field, but if you leave it blank, it will look very suspicious.

“The agency says travelers coming to the US…. won’t be forced to disclose their social media handles, but leaving it blank obviously could raise red flags.”

Additionally, the verbiage associated with the request is very nebulous.  According to the article:

‘Here’s what will be asked: “Please enter information associated with your online presence—Provider/Platform—Social media identifier.”‘

So, someone who is not paying attention may provide not just their ID, but might also provide their login and password info!

I have a couple of thoughts about this.

First, of course, is that anyone can find anything online, so adding a box on their form will just make the process a little easier for Customs to get your info.

Second, how will Customs keep this info safe?  How will they insure that someone can’t hack into their systems and capture the info – especially if some of those applications may contain ID’s and passwords?

why

Lastly, how will this help?  Call me cynical, but I don’t think someone entering the country with malicious intent is likely to be providing their “real” social media identity.

It is far too easy to set up multiple identities online.  Just look at me.  I’ve got an email for business, an email for personal stuff, an email for networking, and an email for signing up for stuff online.  It was easy to do this.  And once you have different emails, you can set up different social media accounts.

No, those folks will be providing their ”professional” social media account; the identity they use for LinkedIn to show that they are an upstanding citizen of their home country.  I fail to see how this new field on the visa application will keep out the “bad guys”.

What are your opinions about online privacy and multiple identities?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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iCloud – Valued Apple Feature or not?

iCloud

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Apple’s iCloud recently.  iCloud is something many of us have been using for years.  But are you sure how to best take advantage of it?

If you have multiple devices – an iPhone, iPad, and iMac, for example, you can listen to your music whether you’re at home, a coffee shop, in your car, or on a trip.

If you don’t have an Apple computer, you can still access some of the iCloud features from your Windows computer.  Head over to www.iCloud.com and sign in with your user ID and password.  Some of the features available at the website include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Photos.  Access to your music is not available here.

20160621 iCloud image

The “Find My iPhone” feature is available at the iCloud website.  Take a minute now to sign in.  Navigate around the site briefly, but especially take a look at the “Find my iPhone” feature so that if you do lose your phone, you’ll know how to use it.  (Make sure any folks in your family who are challenged in the area of knowing where their possessions are, have this feature turned on!)

When you sign in to the iCloud, your user ID is probably your email.   If you’ve forgotten your password,         it’s relatively easy to reset it.  Remember that the password for your iCloud account is different from the security passcode you may have set up to access your iPhone or your iPad.  If you have set them up to be the same, please change one of them now!

Another feature I’ve just learned about on the iCloud is the ability to share photos with other people.  When you click on the “Photos” icon, your pictures appear.  At the bottom of the screen there are three buttons – Photos, Share, and Albums.  Your Photos shows all the pictures you’ve taken from a given point in time organized by date.  Albums arrange your photos by different categories like Selfies, Panoramas, Videos, and Screenshots.

To share photos, click on “New Shared Album”.  Give it a title, and select who to share it with by entering their emails.  Once the structure is set up, you can then add photos to the album.

If you need help setting up your iCloud properly, check out Apple’s Help pages or the Genius Bar at the Apple store.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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Summer Fun with Raspberry Pi!

Raspberry Pi

Are you looking for a fun summer project?  How about seeing what you can do with a Raspberry Pi? The Raspberry Pi has been around for a few years and, for the technologically inclined, it provides computing on the cheap.

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, TechRepublic provides this Executive Summary about the Raspberry Pi:  http://www.techrepublic.com/article/raspberry-pi-the-smart-persons-guide/

  • What it is: A credit card-sized computer that costs as little as $5 that spawned a community of millions of home makers and programmers.
  • What it does: A lot. Despite its low-cost, the Pi can be run as no frills PC, a pocketable coding computer, a hub for homemade hardware and more.
  • Why it matters: The Pi is a great machine for stoking interest in programming among schoolchildren worldwide and helping create the next generation of developers.
  • Who it affects: Anyone with the inclination to pick up a Pi and start tinkering.
  • When is this happening: Right now. More than eight million Pi boards have sold since the machine’s launch in 2012 and demand was reinvigorated by the recent release of the Raspberry Pi 3.
  • Where is this happening: All over the world, with the Pi’s official forums supporting a community of more than 150,000 active users.
  • Who is making it happen: A not for profit charity on a mission to get the world interested in how computers work.

More info and resources are available on the Raspberry Pi website. https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Technical Specs from Element 14

Technical Specs from Element 14

Reviews:

Most of the reviews like the older Pi’s better than the new Pi 3, but do like the built in WiFi.

  • IT-Pro: Older Pis are still better for embedded systems and others projects where the lowest possible power consumption is paramount, but for other uses, especially as a Windows desktop PC replacement, the Pi 3 is a cracking upgrade.  http://www.itpro.co.uk/desktop-pcs/26315/raspberry-pi-3-model-b-review-1
  • Top New Review: The new Raspberry Pi is faster than the previous model, but it’s not the same step up as the transition from the Pi 1 to the Pi 2, when we saw a six-fold increase in performance. The 30-40% speedup over an overclocked Pi 2 is noticeable, but it’s not enough to really change the usage of the device.  For us, the onboard Wi-Fi is the biggest feature of the new device. Unless you’re specifically having performance problems, the Pi 3 doesn’t offer enough new features to recommend abandoning a Pi 2 for it. However, if you’re in the market fora new single-board computer, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B should be the first device you consider.  http://topnewreview.com/raspberry-pi-3-review/
  • Stuff: The Raspberry Pi 3 B is an almost perfect update to the Pi 2 B. We get loads more power, integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And, the best bit, no price increase. It has all the bits we wanted, none of the elements we don’t care about. A winner.  http://www.stuff.tv/in/raspberry/pi-3/review

If you’re looking for some projects to do, there are a plethora available!  A quick search came up with a whole bunch of projects:

You can find a complete kit on Amazon for under $75:   CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – 32 GB Edition

Check out my previous blog about free productivity software to load onto your Pi.  http://geekforhireinc.com/free-substitutes/

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

If you’re looking for a geeky recommendation for Father’s Day, Chris loves DeWalt tools!  Shop Amazon – $20 off $100 DEWALT orders