Ducking iPhone! How to change your auto-correct settings

My friends and I joke about the auto-correct feature on our Smartphones. (We call it “auto-cucumber”.)  I don’t use the “F” word often, but when I do, I never mean to type “ducking”!  Then there are the times when you have to type in your email over and over again, and you wish your iPhone could just remember it.  And, there are words that you ALWAYS misspell.  How many times have I typed in “Boukder”, and had to go back and change that “k” to an “l”?!

This is easy to fix!

First, click on “Settings”, then click on “General”, scroll down to “Keyboard”, and finally, click on “Text Replacement”.

Once you’re there, check over the existing auto-correct list that the iPhone may have already created for you.  Do they all make sense?  Delete the ones that you don’t want to keep by swiping the word to the left.

Now it’s time to add your customized auto-correct words and phrases!iPhone Auto-Correct

Click on the plus sign in the upper right corner to add new words and shortcuts.  In the “Phrase” field, type in what you want to appear on your screen.  In the “Shortcut” field, type in the shortcut.  Some suggestions:

  • Type in the first few letters of people in your family as a shortcut
  • Type in a common misspelling and it’s correction
  • Add your email address
  • I added the shortcut “ty” for “Thank you!”
  • I added the shortcut “omw” for “On My Way!”
  • And “GFH” becomes “Geek For Hire, Inc.”

Think about the words and phrases you commonly use on your iPhone and add them to your Auto-correct.

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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Stop using the Internet! 4 ways to maintain your online privacy

The other day I was thinking about new shoes.  I went to Google and typed in “Keen Mary Janes”. Now, all I see when I’m on my computer (and phone!) are ads for Keens and ads for Mary Janes.  So much for my online privacy… I keep wondering if I do decide to buy them will the ads disappear and I’ll start seeing ads for a different product that I’ve Googled.

I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy lately, ever since the House & Senate passed a bill last month in favor of blocking internet privacy rules.  You can read more about that here.  This bill essentially gives Internet Service Providers more leeway in selling our searching info to advertisers.

There are ways to keep our data more private, one of them being setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). That’s a little over my head, so I’ve asked Chris to write a blog about that.  In the meantime, there are four pretty easy ways of keeping your searching history more private.

Online Privacy – What can you do?

You could….

Well, you could just stop using the Internet.  No more email. No more Facebook and other Social Media. No more online shopping sprees.  No more checking the news online.  Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!

Or, you could….

Do all of your shopping in person.  With cash.  Without signing into the store’s reward program. A good friend of mine once went to a store and bought a pair of pink Ugg boots for a friend with cash.  Unfortunately she did use the store’s reward card.  For weeks afterwards she got ads on her computer for Uggs!

Or, maybe….

You can go to your local library.  As long as you don’t sign in to your email or any other account, your online privacy is maintained.  You can search for anything while you’re there without worrying about what your ISP will see.  You can print off the relevant pages, fork over 10¢ or 20¢ per page,  and be on your way.

Realistically….DuckDuckGo helps protect your online privacy

You can use apps that protect your privacy.  Two that come to mind are DuckDuckGo for Internet searches and What’sApp for texting.  I like What’s App’s description of their end-to-end encryption:

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use the latest versions of our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them.”  Here’s the link to download WhatsApp to your Smartphone or tablet.

It’s easy to change your default search engine on the iPhone to DuckDuckGo.  Click on the Settings icon, then scroll down to Safari.  Click on Safari and select your preferred Search Engine. On your computer, just bookmark the DuckDuckGo page and use it whenever you do a search.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and am not noticing a difference in the quality of responses to my searches.

Using DuckDuckGo and WhatsApp doesn’t protect you 100% but it does help you maintain some online privacy.

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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4 Ways to Tell if the Person Calling You is Not a Scammer

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I don’t think you should always answer your phone.  More and more, the person on the other end isn’t someone you know.  They just want to sell you something, or scam you, or they just want to see if they’ve got a working phone number on their call list.

So, how can you tell if your caller is legit?  Spoiler Alert: I saved the best one for last!

1. Their name and phone number pop up in the caller ID, and you recognize the name.

Many times I receive a call from “Unidentified Caller” or “Number Blocked”.  Why should I answer those calls? I primarily use my cell phone but my carrier only sends me a number, not the full caller ID info.  That is why I always add every caller to my contact list.  If it ends up being a sales call or a scammer, I block the number from being able to call me in the future.

Sure, this means I sometimes miss a call from my kid when she’s lost her phone and had to borrow a friends.  But then, she always leave a message.

What a Scammer will say to you: "We just want to make sure your machine is okay."

What a Scammer will say to you

2. When you don’t answer, they leave a voice mail.

Legitimate callers leave a message. It’s a friend or family calling from a new number.  It’s your Dry Cleaners calling to let you know you left a credit card in your shirt pocket.  To be sure, this isn’t a sure-fire way to filter out the junk calls.  I get plenty of messages that start with “If you want to make $1000 each and every day then please listen to this entire message.” But, for me at least, it works 90% of the time

3. Their phone number doesn’t show up on 800 Notes.

There are several websites that let you check the caller information.  I’ve found that 800 Notes generally has current info. You won’t always find out exactly who is calling you, but you can tell, if a lot of people are reporting the same number, that it’s not someone you want to talk to.

4. They don’t tell you that your computer has malware or isn’t up-to-date. (Scammer for sure!)

Recently, we’ve had several people call us to repair their computer after they’ve had a conversation with “Microsoft” or their “Internet Service Provider”.  There are variations, but it comes down to the same basic thing:

a) “Microsoft” or “Dell” calls to let you know that your Operating System is out of date and you need to update it right away.  The caller would be happy to update it for you, if you’ll just give them remote access to your computer.

b) Your “Internet Service Provider” or ISP calls to let you know that you have a terrible virus and you are spreading it all over.  Again, they’d be happy to remove all the malware.  You just have to give them remote access to your computer, and generally pay between $75-500 for the privilege.

Unless you’ve have already signed up for a service where you have asked a company to scan your computer on a regular basis, no well meaning person is going to call you to “help” you with your computer.  When someone remotely accesses your computer, they will generally add malware to it, not remove it!

If you’ve given a cold caller remote access to your computer, and now you’re worried that they installed a virus or other malware, give us a call.  We’ll do a complete scan of your machine and remove all the malware we find.

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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Two Factor Authentication

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication (TFA or 2FA) or Multi-factor Authentication refers to a practice commonly used by financial institutions and other sensitive applications to make sure that the person signing into an account is really that person and not a hacker. It is used above and beyond the usual login credentials. You may have used 2FA without realizing what it was called.  Like me, when I first encountered it a few years ago, you may have been annoyed that your bank was asking you to prove your identity when you’ve already entered your username and password.

Can you explain that again?Two Factor Authentication Code

Your UserID and Password together make up the first factor of authentication. The second factor is a code that is known only to you.  For example, when you receive a six digit code on your cell phone to provide after you’ve entered your password.  Another example is commonly used with credit cards.  The credit card number, expiration date, and the sneaky code on the back are all available to someone with the card in their hands.  2FA would ask you for your billing zip code.

Why is 2FA important?

Two Factor Authentication provides another level of protection for your accounts.  It will work with your computer, your tablet, and your phone.  It helps to ensure that your sensitive information isn’t available to hackers.

According to Secure Envoy: “With standard security procedures (especially online) only requiring a simple username and password it has become increasingly easy for criminals (either in organised gangs or working alone) to gain access to a user’s private data such as personal and financial details and then use that information to commit fraudulent acts, generally of a financial nature.”

Want to learn more?  Check out these articles:

  • https://www.cnet.com/news/two-factor-authentication-what-you-need-to-know-faq/
  • http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2456400,00.asp
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication

We recommend that you enable Two Factor Authentication for all of your email, financial, and other sensitive accounts.

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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