Apps for Messaging

Do you frequently text your friends and family members? Do you use different messaging apps for different people, or always the same app no matter who it is going to?

I use three different apps for sending messages, each for different reasons.  There are things I like about each one, and things I don’t.

  1. I use the basic texting app that came with the phone. I use this for most of my friends and all of my family.  I like it because it is easy and convenient to use.  I can use it to send texts or messages to multiple people.  I can send photos and emojis.  I can even send a handwritten message!  One thing I don’t like about the basic texting is that it’s not all that secure.Messaging using the iPhone Texting app
  2. I have also installed WhatsApp.  A few years ago a group of my friends were texting using the basic app and several people wouldn’t always receive the text messages.  It was very frustrating!  So we looked at several messaging apps and decided on WhatsApp.  I especially like it because it encrypts all the messages keeping your info safer.
  3. I finally broke down and installed Facebook Messenger.  I hadn’t wanted to use it because I just don’t trust Facebook to keep my info secure.  I also don’t trust them to not sell my information to their many advertisers.  But, several weeks ago I needed to get in touch with a Facebook friend but did not  have their phone number to text them.  And, so many of my friends are using it too.  I still feel like I sold out!

Which messaging Apps do you use?  Why do you like each one? Let us know in the comments below!

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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Is the Cloud safe?

A friend asked me a question today.  Is the Cloud safe?  She feels like a Luddite because she’s not using it, but she really doesn’t feel like it’s safe.  I’ve talked to a number of people who feel the same way. Some people think that their data in the Cloud will be stolen in some fashion.  Others tell they’re afraid that their data will be taken out of context and they’ll be hauled off to jail. So, what’s the answer?

Is the Cloud Safe?Is the Cloud safe?

Well, yes it is.

The Cloud is the safest place I’ve found to store my data.  This is because my data backup is on automatic pilot.  When I change a file and save it, it gets updated to my computer AND to Dropbox.  We’ve had several customers who use an external hard drive to back up there data once a week or once a month.  The trouble there is that people are fallible.  People don’t always remember to do a task.  They may have set up a calendar alarm to remind them to back up their data, but decide when it goes off that they will do it “later”.  And “later” never comes.  Those customers I mentioned earlier then had their hard drive crash, but hadn’t backed up their data in six months or a year.

So, is the Cloud Safe?

Well, no, it’s really not.

There have been several instances where the “bad guys” have broken into databases and stolen data.  One instance last year when a Password Manager was hacked and thousands of passwords were compromised.  (Which is why I am constantly harping on folks to change their passwords frequently!)

Another concern according to MalwareBytes that many people (and companies) have is: “It’s physically out of your hands. You aren’t saving to a hard drive at your house. You are sending your data to another company, which could be saving your data thousands of miles away, so keeping that information safe is now dependent on them.”

It’s really your call.  Convenience vs. keeping your data physically in your possession.  But, if you have precious data that changes frequently, I really recommend the Cloud.  Oh, and change your password!

 

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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How to break your Smartphone addiction

I’ve read several articles recently about how most of us have a Smartphone addiction.  Not to worry, it’s not your fault.  The apps on the phones are programming you to:

Never.

Put.

Your.

Phone.

Down!

Take a look at some of these recent headlines:

When I started looking into this, I got a little freaked out.  Technology companies really are trying to get us to interact more with their apps.  They really are enabling our smartphone addiction. The more we interact with various applications, the more advertisements we’ll see, and that is the whole point.  As Ramsey Brown, founder of Dopamine Labs says:

          “You don’t pay for Facebook.  Advertisers pay for Facebook.  You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold.”Smartphone Addiction

Mr. Brown’s tool, the dopamine api, allows any app to become addictive.  Brown explains:

          “The premise is really straightforward… people don’t just love that burst of dopamine they get from a notification, it changes the wiring of the brain.”

The whole premise is rather ingenious, and pernicious. It very slowly pulls you in, all the while giving you those dopamine hits.  When you don’t get that hit, you start feeling anxious and reach for your phone.

If you’re looking for more background, Anderson Cooper did an in depth report on smartphone addiction.  In the meantime:

What can you do?

  1. Be very conscious each time you pick up your Smartphone.  What is the specific thing you want to accomplish?  I can’t tell you the number of times I have picked up my phone to make a call or look up a quick fact. Unfortunately, when I unlocked the screen, Facebook was already on.  I then spent 15 or 20 minutes scrolling through my Facebook feed before remembering what I needed to do.
  2. Close any apps when you put down your phone.  That way, when you turn it on again, you’ll be presented with your home screen and won’t get distracted. (See #1 above.)
  3. Keep your charging cord away from your bedside for overnight charging.  And, whatever you do, don’t get the new Mophie Charging Base.  That one little device has made it so much easier for me to grab my phone in the middle of the night to check email (or Facebook!), then place it back on the pad without having to fuss with cords.
  4. Pledge to use only your computer to check social media, and to use your Smartphone for email and phone calls.
  5. Get a “dumb phone” for everyday use, and only use your Smartphone when you’re traveling. (This article talks about a dumb phone that can make this process more seamless.)

If these tips are helpful, please pass them on!

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.)

This article was cross posted on Medium.

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Mac OS Malware – What you need to know

It’s finally happened.  Mac’s have finally reached that magic threshold where more and more people are purchasing MacBooks and iMacs.  The “bad guys” have recognized that and are writing Mac OS malware, viruses, and ransomware.  Yes, they are specifically targeting the Mac OS.  They’ve had years of practice on Windows machines.  They know Mac users are a bit more discerning, so their malware needs to be even more subtle to trick those Mac users.  Their products look like the real thing – a real email from Dropbox, a real pop-up from Adobe.

It’s a jungle out there, so don’t think you’re immune just because you have a Mac!mac os malware

Two versions that are targeting Macs are MacSpy and MacRansom.  MacSpy does the usual data scraping, browser history harvesting, etc. MacRansom is a straight-up ransomware.  The cost to retrieve your data is about $650-750.  You can read more about them in this article from Dark Reading.

Another Mac OS malware that’s spreading is installed when you think you’re installing an Adobe upgrade.  You do get the upgrade, but you get a “snake” program as well.  For anyone interested in reading more, check out this article.

Another Trojan, named OSX/Dok, is also relatively new and spreads it’s program through a sophisticated phishing email.  So far, it seems to be targeting primarily European Mac users.  Checkpoint says that:

“This new malware – dubbed OSX/Dok — affects all versions of OSX, has 0 detections on VirusTotal (as of the writing of these words), is signed with a valid developer certificate (authenticated by Apple), and is the first major scale malware to target OSX users via a coordinated email phishing campaign.”

Have you learned something about Mac OS malware? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

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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