Online and Facebook Privacy – Is It Possible?

Lately Chris has been forwarding articles to me about online and Facebook privacy.   Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, I know you know that I don’t think anything is private on the internet.  These articles seem to solidify my opinion.  The story that piqued my interest early this week was this one in Gizmodo.  In this case you had people who had to keep a part of their identity secret, so they have set up a separate online identity.  So they have a different emails, phone numbers, social media, etc., which may be connected to each other, but are not in any way connected to their “real” identity.  In this case, the people are sex workers, but they could just as easily be someone who was in an abusive relationship or another situation that requires real-life, general online, and specifically, Facebook privacy.

Here are some excerpts from that article:facebook privacy

“Her “real identity”—the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics—joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila (a name I’m using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

“Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.”

and:

“Darling used to have a second, private account under her legal name for connecting with people she knew in her normal, vanilla life, but it was getting recommended to her fans, revealing her “real” identity to them. Some of them began harassing her and trying to track down her family.

“We’re living in an age where you can weaponize personal information against people,” Darling said. She’s not sure how Facebook linked her porn identity to her legal identity, but it meant one had to go. She deleted her private account a few years ago, leaving only her public, porn one.”

You might think that, as people who have chosen an alternative career and life style, that they somehow “deserve” to be outed.  But imagine if you had an ex-spouse who had been stalking you and a restraining order wasn’t working.

Facebook Privacy How To:

Here are some suggestions if you need to keep your identity secret, but still want to use Facebook:

  • Set your posts to “Friends Only”, and don’t tag anyone in your status.  (When you tag other people, then their friends can see your post as well.)
  • Don’t allow other people to post on your page, and, if they tag you in a post, make sure you approve (or not) it before it posts.
  • Make sure any personal information stays private. Don’t allow Facebook to share your birthday, phone number, email, etc. –
  • You should also lock down your Online Facebook Privacy Settings
  • Finally, all of these options are available to you under Facebook Settings.

Other Strategies:

  • Because people can recognize your face, make sure there are no photos of you on your account.  Use a beautiful photo or a meme or cartoon to represent your profile picture.
  • After a post has been up for a week or so, consider changing the privacy level to “only me”.  You’ll keep a historical record of what you posted and who commented, but it will be invisible to everyone else.

Are there other strategies you’re using to manage your Facebook privacy?  Please share those in the comments!

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 check it out.)

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Is the Kaspersky Anti-virus safe?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about Kaspersky.  Is it safe? Why has the US government banned it?  Should I keep on using it?

In doing a little bit of research to answer these questions, I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer.  Yes, the US government has taken the software off of their list of recommended software.  And, yes, Best Buy has removed the product from their physical (and virtual) shelves.  But is there any logic behind the removal other than general suspicion about Russia in general?kaspersky Labs

According to this article in Bloomberg: “While the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed any evidence of the ties, internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public.”

The NY Times reported that:  “The F.B.I. has also been investigating whether Kaspersky software, including its well-regarded antivirus programs, contain back doors that could allow Russian intelligence access into computers on which it is running. The company denies the allegations.   The officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiries are classified, would not provide details of the information they have collected on Kaspersky.”

Kaspersky has responded by saying: “Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime.”

This seems to be a reasonable response from an international company.

PC Magazine thinks this is all a bunch of hogwash and reached out to one of it’s experts, Graham Cluley, for his opinion.

“I’ve seen no evidence of Kaspersky having any inappropriate interaction with the Russian government,” said Cluley, “and no one seems to have presented any evidence of its software putting its US customers at risk. What I have seen are non-Russian security companies taking advantage of the current smear campaign against Kaspersky to promote their own solutions, which I find rather distasteful.”

If you’re interested, here are some additional articles on the subject:

  • BBC – 9/14/2017 – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41262049
  • Moscow Times – 7/12/2017 – https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/kaspersky-lab-denies-claims-of-cooperation-with-Russian-spy-agency-58368
  • Slate – 7/11/2017 – http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/07/11/how_worried_should_we_really_be_about_security_firm_kaspersky_lab_s_ties.html
  • The Hill – 7/2/2017 – http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/340420-kaspersky-willing-to-turn-over-source-code-to-us-government

By the way, I did ask Chris for his opinion about Kaspersky.  He said that it is a “perfectly good anti-virus, but we don’t recommend it.  It isn’t designed in an efficient manner and tends to put a drag on the overall operational performance of the machine.”

The anti-virus we do recommend is ESET’s NOD32.

Was this explanation helpful to you? Please forward to a friend!

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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Digital Currencies and Bitcoins

We’ve been hearing about Bitcoin and other digital currencies for years now.  For a long time these digital currencies were used primarily for people transacting business that they wanted to stay “under the radar”.  We didn’t realize that initially, and thought it would be cool and cutting edge if Geek For Hire could accept payment in Bitcoins.  Then when we wanted to be certified by the Better Business Bureau, they nixed the whole idea.  Bitcoins have come a long way since then.

First of all, what is Digital Currency?Digital currencies

Digital currency is, essentially, virtual cash.  It’s not backed by gold or the full faith and credit of any government.  A good definition comes from Wikipedia:

“Digital currency (digital money or electronic money or electronic currency) is distinct from physical (such as banknotes and coins). It exhibits properties similar to physical currencies, but allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer-of-ownership. Examples include virtual currencies and cryptocurrencies.[1] Like traditional money, these currencies may be used to buy physical goods and services, but may also be restricted to certain communities such as for use inside an on-line game or social network.[2] … Digital currency is a money balance recorded electronically on a stored-value card or other device.”

More recently, companies and individuals have been using blockchain software to create their own digital currencies.  This article describes how Robert Hackett, writing for Fortune magazine creates his own Petsdotcoin and why companies all over the globe are creating their own, as well.

If you’re looking for an analysis of current pricing for some of the major currencies check out CoinTelegraph.

But, in spite of (or because of) the success, and extended use of digital currencies, larger financial institutions are still threatened by them as evidenced by this comment by Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan.  (Read the full article here.)

“Bitcoin is a fraud that will ultimately blow up, according to JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon, who said the digital currency was only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in places such as North Korea.   Speaking at a conference in New York, the boss of America’s biggest bank said he would fire “in a second” anyone at the investment bank found to be trading in bitcoin.”

In response, “Yann Quelenn, an analyst at the online bank Swissquote, said bitcoin “still has great potential” ….  “Cryptocurrencies are a new asset class, one at war with fiat [paper] money, and that war will be fought on regulatory issues. Central banks are keen to preserve their monopoly on money, something they will not let go of without a fight.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and other digital currencies to see where this goes.

I hope you found this interesting.  Let us know your thoughts 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 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.

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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Virtual Reality Update

Virtual Reality has been out for a while.  I last took a look at the technology in this post from April, 2016. In terms of technology, that might as well have been 100 years ago!  It’s time to take another look at the changes and upgrades.

Microsoft and Virtual Reality

Microsoft has jumped in the game with it’s “Mixed Reality” device.  No one is sure why they’re calling it “mixed”, when it really is “virtual”, but it’s due to come out later this year in the under $400 range.  Tom Warren wrote his review in the Verge  earlier this month. He’s not that enamored with it, but does see how it could work in the future:Virtual Reality

“It’s a lot more fun than the mundane environment of my Oculus Rift at home, and Microsoft clearly wants this to be your hub for running its universal apps. If this gets good enough one day, I could see it replicating a multi-monitor setup for when you’re mobile. …. Microsoft is clearly aiming to bring virtual — sorry, I mean Mixed Reality — to the masses, and it now needs to convince game developers and all headset makers to support its platform.”

Time’s Lisa Eadicicco also took a look at the Mixed Reality technology.  Like Mr. Warren’s review, Ms. Eadicicco also feels that what will make a platform successful or not is dependent on the developers who support it:

“What will truly determine whether these Windows-powered VR headsets are successful is the quality and variety of apps they’re compatible with, of course. Windows Mixed Reality will support apps and experiences from Sony, Jaunt and Hulu in addition to games like Rec Room (a VR social club that supports multiplayer paintball and other sports games) and Dreadhalls (a horror-themed dungeon crawler). Microsoft is also bringing popular games it owns to Windows Mixed Reality, including Halo and Minecraft…”

Facebook & Virtual Reality

Facebook is looking at how its Facebook Live feature can embrace VR.   Fast Company’s Daniel Terdiman took a look at the Facebooks new Space platform in this article from July.  Mr. Terdiman writes:

“The idea is fairly simple. Spaces allows up to four people–each of whom must have an Oculus Rift VR headset–to hang out together in VR. Together, they can talk, chat, draw, create new objects, watch 360-degree videos, share photos, and much more. And now, they can live-broadcast everything they do in Spaces, much the same way that any Facebook user can produce live video of real life and share it with the world.”

Since Facebook acquired Oculus in 2012, this seems like a logical step.

Dell & Windows

Dean Takahashi of Venture Beat writes about Dell’s new Virtual Reality Visor and controls. He really likes the physical aspects of the new device set to hit the shelves in October:

“The Visor sits comfortably on your head because it has well-designed cushions. It also has a small rubber flap that fits over your nose. That flap keeps the headset from irritating your nose, and it also keeps light from getting in. There is a small opening both at the bottom and the top of the headset that allows air to flow through so that you don’t have sweat or fog building inside. The ventilation is unique compared to other headsets on the market.”

 

I hope you found this information helpful.  Let us know your thoughts 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 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.

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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Interesting Webcams

If you’re like me, sometimes you just want to look at other places.  Not in a voyeuristic kind of way, but just because of a sense of curiosity.  Some webcams are co-located with a personal weather tracking system for a household, some webcams are in cities and you can look at the street views, some webcams are at ski resorts and allows you to look at the snow conditions before plunking down a small fortune for a single day lift ticket.  ($120 at Vail for Thanksgiving Saturday!)

Ski Resort Webcams

Traffic-Cams

I like these sites because you can click on the location you’re interested in, and can see the current conditions:LA Webcams

Cities

People watching is one of my favorite activities, and where better to people watch than in a city?  Here are just a few people watching webcams:

  • Brooklyn Bridge http://www.cruisin.me/cruise-port-webcams/united-states/new-york-new-york5.php
  • Navy Pier Chicago https://www.lookr.com/lookout/1418071578-Chicago
  • San Francisco http://parksconservancy.org/visit/web-cams.html

 National Park Webcams

We have some amazing parks to visit throughout the United States.  Here are webcams from just some of these National Parks:

Beaches

In a landlocked state like Colorado, sometimes you just NEED to see the ocean.  Here are some webcams with beach views:

Was this info helpful?  Please share it with your friends!

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.)SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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Big Data & How it is Used by US Companies

I have been hearing the term “Big Data” for the past year or two, and I keep wondering exactly what that term means.  As I’ve done with other columns, we’ll find out together.Big Data & Starbucks

I started with an article from Bernard Marr which describes Big Data from a beginners point of view.  This article says that “…almost every action we take leaves a digital trail. We generate data whenever we go online, when we carry our GPS-equipped smartphones, when we communicate with our friends through social media or chat applications, and when we shop. You could say we leave digital footprints with everything we do that involves a digital action, which is almost everything. … Data is generated and shared when our “smart” home devices communicate with each other or with their home servers. … The term “Big Data” refers to the collection of all this data and our ability to use it to our advantage across a wide range of areas, including business.”

How does it work?

Again, quoting from the Bernard Marr article: “Big Data works on the principle that the more you know about anything or any situation, the more reliably you can gain new insights and make predictions about what will happen in the future. By comparing more data points, relationships begin to emerge that were previously hidden, and these relationships enable us to learn and make smarter decisions.”

How is Big Data used?

Many companies use the data they collect about their customers to improve services and products.  Starbucks, for example, uses the data they collect from their Rewards program as explained in this article“In the words of Starbucks CTO Gerri Martin-Flickinger, “With about 90 million transactions per week we know a lot about what people are buying, where they’re buying, and how they’re buying. If we combine that information with other data like weather, promotions, inventory, insights into local events, we can actually provide better, personalized service for customers.” This ultimately creates a positive feedback loop. Starbucks uses data to improve its product offerings and customer experience, leading to increased sales from both existing and new customers, as a result more customers sign up to become Starbucks Rewards memberships, Starbucks captures more data from its large user base and the cycle repeats itself.”

Companies do need to be careful in how they use Big Data.  The New Yorker lists several points in their article..  For example:

  • “Remember that correlation doesn’t imply causation. A correlation between two variables (ice-cream consumption and shark attacks) may well be due to a third variable (summer weather). These days, spurious correlations often emerge from data mining, the increasingly common practice of trawling large amounts of information for possible relationships. For instance, there is a statistically significant—but, one hopes, meaningless—relationship between the annual divorce rate in Maine and the annual per-capita consumption of margarine in the United States.
  • “Beware of Big Data hubris. The Google Flu Trends project, which claimed, with much fanfare, to anticipate seasonal flu outbreaks by tracking user searches for flu-related terms, proved to be a less reliable predictor of outbreaks than a simple model of local temperatures. (One problem was that Google’s algorithm was hoodwinked by meaningless correlations—between flu outbreaks and high-school basketball seasons, for example, both of which occur in winter.) Like all data-based claims, if an algorithm’s abilities sound too good to be true, they probably are.
  • “Know that machines can be racist (or sexist, or otherwise prejudiced). Computer models designed to predict individual criminal behavior have shown bias against minorities, possibly because the data used to “train” their algorithms reflect existing cultural biases. Machines are as fallible as the people who program them—and they can’t be shamed into better behavior.”

If you’d like to learn more about Big Data, check out Bernard Marr’s latest book Data Strategy.

Was this explanation helpful to you? Please forward to a friend!

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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“Range Anxiety” and Your Electric Vehicle – or how I learned to stop worrying and love four hour charges

I heard a new term recently – “Range Anxiety”.  The feeling you get when your electric vehicle has 20 miles left but you’re 21 miles away from home.  We’ve been tossing around the idea of getting an electric vehicle, but always bump up against that nagging feeling that we’ll need to carry an extra battery around “just in case”.  Now I know that our nagging feeling has a name!

electric vehicleAs I learn more about electric vehicle s though, I’m almost certain that our next car will be an EV.  There are already a bunch available with estimated ranges of 80-300 miles depending on the vehicle weight, the terrain, and whether you have the AC on.  My research has shown me that almost every car manufacturer is making at least one EV, and that list is sure to grow before the decade is over.  And, almost by default, the price will come down, and the driving range will increase.  Until then, it’s best to always have a plan. Sunita Halasz lives in the Adirondacks, and, in her words: “When we really go anywhere, I have a whole list of phone numbers of friends who live all over the Adirondacks,” Halasz said during a charging stop. “So that at a moment’s notice I can call somebody and be like, ‘Hi, I’m going to pull into your driveway. And do you have an outdoor electrical outlet?’”

As more people get their own Electric Vehicle, more charging stations are being built.  Even our little touristy town of 1100 people has a charging station for visitors. If I had an EV, I would keep this page bookmarked on my phone in addition to a list of friends and their phone numbers!

I hope you found this information helpful.  Let us know your thoughts 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 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.

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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Leaf Peeping Websites To Find the Best Spots

It’s almost autumn and time to start planning our leaf peeping treks to view the leaves as they change.  We’re in the mountains of Colorado so we get to see aspens and that’s about it.  But before you start feeling sorry for us, you should know that they are gorgeous!  (And that’s coming from someone who grew up in the Northeast with the variety of New England trees practically in my backyard.)

Of course, we all have our favorite spots to “leaf peep”, but here are some websites with info on locations and timing, and some news as well.Leaf Peeping

  • My favorite site is from Weather.com.  This one shows a map of the US and when each region will be at its peak.  The mountains in Colorado show late-September, but some of the lower elevations of Colorado show a peak of early to mid-October.
  • I like this page from New England Today.  It provides a good list of what you should bring with you.  Besides the obligatory map and camera, there are other items that you’ll want to have as well.  One thing it doesn’t mention that you should have is your good manners!  Remember to pull all the way off of the roadway when you stop to take pictures.  Not everyone on the road is on a leaf peeping vacation.  Some of them are trying to get to work or appointments!
  • This website from the Smoky Mountains gives some of the science behind the leaves color-changing.  It also has some downloadable pages for coloring!
  • For those in Colorado, The Denver Post put together a list of hikes where you can also enjoy the changing aspens.
  • And if you’re planning on heading out to the Maroon Bells, the Forest Service is gearing up for hordes of leaf-peepers!
  • This page was a surprise.  Apparently lots of folks take train rides through scenic areas to view the foliage.
  • MSN has put together a list of 16 great places for leaf peeping throughout the US.  This page is worth it for the photos alone!
  • If you’re in the Eastern US, you’ll want to check out this page.
  • The Boston Globe put together a list of the best New England towns for viewing the foliage.

Was this list helpful?  Please share it with your friends!

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

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Product Review – Rotating Outlet / Surge Protector

Recently I saw an ad for something called a “rotating outlet”.  What madness was this?  Something that allowed more than one ginormous plug to be plugged into one surge protecting strip at the same time?  Amazing!  I had to have one.  But which was the best one?

I purchased three of these Rotating Outlet Surge Protectors to check them out.  Two are made by Belkin, and the third came from SurgExpert.  Of course, when the box arrived, Chris mentioned that he had installed one in his office three years ago.  I had just never seen it – or noticed its awesomeness.

When I took them out of the box, I noticed that two of them were virtually identical, right down to the cable management clip to keep the cords out of the way.  To test them, I used the same big plugs; one from a router and one that charges multiple USB devices at the same time.  On the two power strips, they easily fit side by side, rotated to opposite sides.  With the wall outlet, I had to put one on either side.  It didn’t allow enough rotation to put them next to each other.

Rotating Outlet – I review three

Belkin – with 8′ cord and phone protection

I paid $27 for this one.  Included with the purchase price is $150,000 or “Connected Equipment Warranty”, so if a lightning strike fries your router or printer, “Belkin will spend, to repair or replace the damaged connected equipment, at Belkin’s option, an amount equal to the fair market value of the damaged equipment…”

Belkin Rotating Outlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belkin Wall Outlet

I paid $16 for the wall rotating  outlet and it comes with a $50,000 “Connected Equipment Warranty” as described above.  This one was easy to install, and, for a wall outlet, I think it works pretty well.  And in the past few days, I’ve thought of other places that needs this as well.

Belkin Wall Rotating Outlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SurgExpert with 8 Outlets

This Rotating Outlet was also $27, but doesn’t have the phone line protection, and also doesn’t have a “Connected Equipment Warranty”. But it does have a rotating plug which gives you more flexibility when plugging it in.  Like the Belkin above, which it is virtually identical to, it also has a cord maintenance clip to help keep your cords organized.

SurgExpert Rotating Outlet

 

Rotating Outlet with Rotating plug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, I liked the SurgExpert the best.  It had a more neutral color, and I really like the rotating plug.  The Belkin is a better value though, as it comes with the ability to protect a phone line, as well as the warranty.  I will also be purchasing another of the Belkin wall outlets.  There are places where you don’t need an 8′ extension cord and do want all of your plugs to go to the same place.  I can think of several places to install another one of those.

I hope you found this review helpful.  Let us know your thoughts 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 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.

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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Easy Fixes for Your Mac or PC

Every once in awhile we get called to someone’s home about a problem that has been perplexing them.  We get there and, for us, these are easy fixes, and we have the problem resolved within 15 minutes.  Of course, I try to screen those calls when they come in and talk the caller through a potential solution, but it doesn’t always work out.  Plus, sometimes people just want to have someone else take care of it for them!

Easy Fixes for your Mac or PC

Vintage Geek For Hire – make your computer really cook!

Keep these easy fixes in mind when you run into computer troubles:

  • The screen on my laptop has cracked and I can’t see anything:
    • For the short term, you can plug a monitor into your laptop so that you can see what is on the screen.
    • For the long term, you’ll need to decide if you want to replace the screen, or just get a new laptop.
  • My wireless mouse (or keyboard) isn’t working:
    • Check the back to make sure you didn’t accidentally turn it off
    • If that doesn’t work, make sure the little dongle you have plugged into one of your USB outlets is plugged in all the way.
    • If that doesn’t work, change the batteries.
    • If that doesn’t work, plug in a wired keyboard or mouse, or get a new one.
    • And if that doesn’t work, there is probably an issue with your machine and it’s time to call in the pros
  • The keyboard on my laptop isn’t working, or one of the keys doesn’t work.
    • For the short term, you can plug an external keyboard in, or use a wireless keyboard
    • For the long term, you’ll need to decide if you want to replace the keyboard or just get a new laptop
  • All of a sudden, I can’t print from my phone or tablet:
    • Make sure your phone or tablet is connected to the WiFi
    • If that doesn’t solve it, turn everything off and back on again, including the router
    • If that doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the pros
  • My laptop won’t charge
    • Does the charging cable sit firmly in the plug/outlet on your laptop?  If it doesn’t, you might need to have the plug/outlet replaced on your laptop.  You might also consider getting a new machine.
    • If you always have the laptop plugged into the same outlet, check that the outlet still works.  Plug a lamp in and see if it turns on.  If it doesn’t, call your electrician.

Are these Easy Fixes helpful for you?  Please forward to a friend!

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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