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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