Blog: Tech News & Tips

Hacked Password – Why I like Google Chrome now

Would you know if you have a hacked password? Well, Google does!

I’m relatively new to using Google’s Chrome, so when I want to do something that is second nature using Firefox, I struggle! I clicked on the three little buttons in the top right corner to open the settings. Then I tried to figure out what I needed to do.

Boy, was I surprised!

I got a warning message saying that two of my accounts had a hacked password. Of course, these two are the same account. The only difference is that the smile.amazon.com account gives my favorite charity a donation every time I make a purchase.  (Head over to https://nederlandfoodpantry.org/ and, if you can, donate too.)hacked password alert from Google Chrome

What I did after I found out I had a Hacked Password:

Once I saw that warning message, I quickly opened a new window on the Chrome browser and changed my Amazon password.

Then I reviewed all of my settings to ensure my payment and shipping information were still the way I wanted it.

If you want to see which passwords you have saved in your Chrome browser, click on the three little dots, select “Settings,” and then select “Passwords.”

What the Geek thinks of Google:

By the way, Chris is not a fan of Google. He thinks the company has too much access to our personal information. His preferred browser is Firefox, and his preferred search engine is Duck Duck Go. Also, he always has AdBlocker and NoScript turned on. These two applications help to keep your surfing experience much more secure.

Want to read more?

 

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

New Apple Watch 6 – Geek For Hire’s Review

I traded in my old Apple Watch for the new Apple Watch 6 a few weeks ago. I got the one with GPS and cellular. Now that I’ve gotten used to it and its functions, I think it’s time for a review. (As an Amazon Associate, and we earn from qualifying purchases.)

What I Like About My New Apple Watch 6:

Blood Oxygen:

The Apple Watch 6 measures your blood oxygen percentage. I never realized how important this measurement was until Chris’ mom moved in with us. Moving from Long Island, NY, at sea level to 8500’ was hard for her. She began having issues with breathing and low-energy in general. Then her new doctor recommended that we get a pulse oximeter. This would help us measure her O2 regularly and know if she was in trouble. Twenty years later, I sometimes have issues with my O2 levels as well. My new watch helps me keep on top of the measurement. I also like that it tells me that it measures in a “high elevation environment.” It also measures my O2 sat when I’m asleep, as long as I’m not moving around while I am dreaming!

Watch Faces:

The new iWatch gives me the option to have different watch faces. There are probably 50 items you can track on the Apple Watch, but not all of them will fit on the watch face at one time. I have one watch face that tells me the time and date, of course, but it also tells me the local temperature, the Air Quality Index, wind speed, elevation, my next calendar item, and the current time in Rochester, NY, where much of my family lives. Another watch face only tells the time and rotates through about 20 favorite photos and videos. Another one tells me what time the sun and moon will rise and/or set.

Exercise:

New Apple Watch 6 - Close Your Rings every day

 

I really like the way the Apple Watch tracks exercise. It gets me motivated each day to “close my rings.” There are three rings: One for active movement, one for exercise minutes, and one for standing each hour. I’m able to change the goals for each one to keep the pressure on. Apple has also added challenges each month. They’re always stretch goals, but not undoable. I’m looking forward to earning the October challenge by exercising a certain number of minutes this month.

Heart Rate:

The watch still measures my heart rate almost continuously. It tells me my high and low heart rate for the day, it tells me my average resting heart rate, and it tells me my heart rate recovery time after exercising. This is another way I can keep track of my overall health.

Hand Washing:

I get a “thumbs up when I’ve washed my hands long enough!Apple Watch 6 - Thumbs up for handwashing!

Sleep:

The new Apple Watch 6 still links with the Pillow app so I can check my sleep quality at a glance. I think the Pillow app is more robust than the sleep information provided by the Fitbit.

Colors:

Red is my color, and I love having a red watch. My second favorite is the blue one shown above. (But Chris said I could only get one!) Other colors include gold, graphite, silver, and space grey.

Charging:

The Apple Watch 6 charges WAAAAAY faster than my previous Apple Watch! I got this cute silicone charging stand to hold my Watch on my nightstand.

Watchbands:

The watchbands are interchangeable with my old watch. That’s a good thing. I really didn’t like the red shade the new Apple Watch came with. I was easily able to swap the weird red bands for basic black. And, it’s easy to order replacement watch bands to dress it up or make it sportier.

What I Don’t Like the new Apple Watch 6:New Apple Watch 6 - enable screenshots

  1. With my old Apple Watch, I was just able to take screenshots. With the new Apple Watch 6, I needed to enable screenshots before that function would work.
  2. Siri is pretty intrusive and is constantly asking me what I need help with now.
  3. Sometimes when I’m really active, the watch asks me if I’ve taken a hard fall. Now, in general, I like this feature, and I’ve heard some great stories of people in the backcountry that have been rescued, but it seems a little too sensitive for me.
  4. Blood Oxygen measurement is not always accurate. Sometimes I’ll compare the measurement from my watch to the measurement with the pulse ox. About 20% of the time, the measurements are substantially different. I’m hoping that the Apple engineers are working on this and will push out an update to make it more accurate over time.
  5. I have to stay really, really still in order for the Watch to take an O2 measurement. I can’t take it when I’m exercising or in a moving car or when I’m moving around in any way at all.
  6. There isn’t an option to make the text on the Watch Face larger. My older eyes sometimes have a problem reading the data, especially the elevation!

How-To Book:

There are so many features on this new Apple watch. I got confused and overwhelmed when I was setting it up. This book helped me a lot. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format. I downloaded it to my Kindle which was good, because I had access to the information right away. The downside is that there weren’t links to the different sections of the book, so there was a lot of scrolling involved.

Important!

If you need help setting up your new Apple Watch, let us know. Here are some important things to remember:

  • If you’re trading in your old Apple Watch, remember to delete all of your personal data. (That’s what I did and the AT&T store gave me a great deal when buying it back.)
  • Back up your iPhone before setting up the new Watch and make sure it has the latest iOS.
  • Make sure you set up a passcode. The Apple Watch locks every time you take it off, which this security conscious gal says is a good thing!
  • The Apple Watch interacts with three separate apps on your iPhone;

Watch Out For Phone, Text, Email, and Other Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now, there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

 

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Important Tips if you want a new Apple Computer in 2020

Several customers have wanted a new Apple Computer recently. Chris helped them with their purchases and learned a thing or two about the current Mac buying process.

Customer Experience #1:

About two months ago, I served a customer who has been a long-term loyal Apple person. He wanted to get the new Apple computer because his roughly 7-year-old iMac had become slow. He went to the Apple Store and got a new iMac. I prepped his new machine and transferred his data. I found it was slow at the time, and told him this. He said he would work with it.

Investigation:

About two weeks later, he called back, saying that his new iMac was very slow. I came to inspect the machine and confirmed that it was glacially slow. It was much slower than his previous iMac. I found that this beautiful looking new machine, unfortunately, had an 8th generation Core i3 processor in it, which is slow, and a 5400 RPM physical hard drive, which is also very slow. These are important specifications that a “forward-leaning” company like Apple should not be selling. The machine he bought at the Apple Store is the kind of computer you want someone you don’t like to have.

I called the Apple Store where he bought the machine, and there was no answer after many calls. The call eventually rolled over to Apple Corporate, and after about 1-1.5 hours on hold, I was able to finally talk with someone at Apple Corporate.

Initial Findings:

I learned that Apple has a 14 day “no-questions-asked” return policy. But since the computer was bought from the store, rather than ordered through Apple Corporate, the return or exchange of the computer must be done through the store. Apple Corporate would not handle a return for a purchase made at the store. It was as if each Apple Store was independently owned and operated. This was not what we expected.purchasing a new Apple computer at the Boulder Apple store - outside shopping only

Also, it’s the “Time of Covid-19”, and the local Boulder Apple Store is closed, or at least not answering their phones. (At least four attempts were made.)

(In my opinion, this new iMac, which the customer had purchased by himself at the Store, was unworthy for him to keep because it performed so badly. This was a violation of the basic Apple premise of good performance from your computer. You expect to love any computer you get from Apple.)

Field Trip:

We drove to the local Apple Store in Boulder and found that no one was inside. There was an EZ-Up popup tent on the sidewalk, with a couple of Apple people talking with citizens. There were marks on the sidewalk for social distancing. They also had two security guards there who were not doing Apple business but were there to take a forehead temperature. We put our name in and explained that we wanted to return this machine and to get another iMac today.

After waiting for about half an hour, we were approached by a young man who handled the return. The return process was pretty clean and easy and was completed in 5-10 minutes.

He was personally a little prickly, maybe because he was surprised. (Who in their right mind wants to return an Apple anything, ever?)

Well, this was one of those times, and it was for cause – a substantial technical failure by inadequate capabilities of a new machine, which was much slower than his current 7-year-old machine.

He was mildly contemptuous that anyone might say Apple wasn’t great. We again asked him to process the return because this product is not being kept and we’re getting it done on day 14 – within the 14-day return policy.

Replacement Mac:

After he received the return, we began to talk about getting a replacement computer. Long story short: the Apple Store only had iMacs with physical hard drives in them. If we wanted a Solid State Drive in the computer, it would have to be ordered from Apple Corporate, and it would take about two weeks to arrive. (This was in mid-August.) The Apple employee could not receive that order. We would need to order it online.

We left, placed an online order with Apple Corporate, and the new Apple computer arrived about 10 days later. The new iMac performs impressively well, and the customer is delighted.

Customer Experience #2:

The picture below is for a different machine than the story above. It was purchased at the end of September 2020 and shows the estimated arrival timeiMac wait time for a new Apple computer is Nov 2 – Nov 9. Now, four to five weeks is a long time to wait so that you don’t get a physical hard drive in your new iMac. (Apple and other manufacturers are delayed in shipping machines.)

The customer called back the next morning, saying that he had talked with his family in Denver. They had found the exact same machine that he had ordered at a local technology store. He could get it today! I walked him through the important points to make sure it really was the same machine.

  • Did it come with a solid-state drive, or did it have a “fusion” drive or a physical hard drive?
  • Does it have the better 8th generation processor?
  • Did it come with enough RAM? (RAM can’t be upgraded later.)

He talked with his family, and no, the store did not have the computer with the better equipment which /is/ necessary. He will continue to wait a month for the new machine to arrive.

UPDATE: The customer’s machine arrived mid-October!

Here are Chris’ specific tips for buying a new Apple computer:

One:

Make sure that your Mac comes with a “Flash Drive” which is a full Solid State Drive (SSD). Do not get a “Fusion Drive,” which is a large Physical Hard Drive with a small Solid State Drive, which acts as a cache. The performance increase is poor. Do not get a Physical Hard Drive because it is /much/ slower than an SSD. Spend the money. Take the longer view. Get an SSD.

Two:

Make sure that it comes with a Core i7 processor, and not a Core i3 processor. As of right now, the iMac can come with either an 8th generation Core i3 processor or an 8th generation Core i7 processor. Both processors say “quad-core,” but the performance of the Core i7 processor is so /much/ better than the Core i3. It really is worth the extra $200.NOTE: The current Intel processor generation is the 11th generation, but the 10th generation has been commonly available on the open market for the past year.
Intel makes four lines of consumer processors: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9.

    • Core i3 has low-end performance and low cost, do not get this processor unless your needs are really low
    • The Core i5 is a mid-pack processor that satisfies the needs of most normal people who want to use a computer and want to like the computer
    • Core i7 is a high-end, high-performance processor and will serve you nicely for most tasks
    • The Core i9 is uber-high-end and is expensive.

Three:

During the time of COVID, order your Apple computer from Apple Corporate, not from the local store. The Apple Store does not have the better computers. You have to go through Apple Corporate to get those. Also, getting access to the Apple Store during the time of COVID is impractically hard, and Apple Corporate will not help you return a purchase that you made at the Apple Store.

Four:

The current delay time (in September 2020) for ordering a new iMac from Apple Corporate is 4-5 weeks. IMHO: take the longer view, order the machine with the better features you actually want, bite the bullet, and wait for it to arrive.

Conclusion:

As most people already know, Apple has historically made really good computers. They aren’t cheap, and they tend to last a long time. I have several 10-year-old MacBook Pro and iMac computers that I’ve rebuilt with SSDs, and they perform competently in 2020. Granted, the speed of the SSD does nothing for the speed of the processor or the speed of the video card, but the operational speed of the old computer with a new SSD is definitely satisfactory in 2020.

But lately, I find that Apple has begun to cut corners on what they put into their computers. I see slow processors which are several generations old. I’ve also seen physical hard drives into the computer rather than a “Flash Drive” – which is also known as a Solid State Drive.

Computers are one of those “you get what you pay for” kinds of things. The Apple Premium is alive and well and has been for years. Apple offers discounts to no one. A recent customer wanted a new iMac. He is a long term professor at the local University. Apple offered him an Academic Discount of $50. (FYI, We get 35-50% discounts from Dell and a lower discount from other manufacturers. We always pass that discount on to our customers.)

If you need help navigating the process of getting a new Mac or PC, please let us know. This is just one of the services that we offer. And, if you’re wondering how to set up a new Apple computer, we can help with that as well.

 

Watch Out For Phone, Text, Email, and other Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America. We provide Apple & Mac computer repair onsite or remote.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Online Learning and the Technology in your Home.

A few weeks ago a customer called Chris and asked him how his kids would be able to get any schoolwork done given the school districts movement towards Online Learning.  As a single parent who works in an office, he’ll have to bring his children to work. The problem with that is they won’t be able to access the corporate network to connect to the internet. Chris recommended that he get a stand alone Hot Spot from his cellular company and bring that with him to work.

Another customer called last week. He was concerned his grand-kids would have to scrounge for computer time on their mom & dad’s computers to do their school work.  He decided to order a new computer for the older grandchild and re-purpose an existing machine for the younger one. This way they’ll both be able to log into their classes individually.

Online Learning at Home

Since Boulder County has decided on 100% at home learning because of the coronavirus, many parents are struggling with how they can best provide the technology resources their children will need. (In addition to all the other issues they’re dealing with!) Many other school districts all over the US are making the same decision. Parents throughout the country will have similar struggles.

Here are some of our Online Learning Recommendations for Families:

  1. Find out if your cell phone has hot spot capability. If it doesn’t, call your cellular carrier and get it turned on. (After asking about additional costs, of course.) That way if tHot spot for Online Learninghe WiFi in your house goes out, you (or your children) can still have access to WiFi via your cell phone. (You’re generally only allowed to connect one other device to your phone via its hot spot.)
  2. Consider getting a cell phone or separate hot spot from another carrier. That way if your carrier is down, you can still get online. With an independent hot spot, you can connect multiple devices.
  3. Is the WiFi adequate in the area where you’ve set up the desk for your kid to do school work and get online? Consider moving your router for better coverage, or getting a mesh router for greater coverage. Here’s a recent article about fixing your slow WiFi, or this one – Why Doesn’t My WiFi Work?
  4. Keep your laptops plugged in as much as you can. If there’s a power outage, you’ll be glad for those extra hours of “juice”.
  5. You might also consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply. It’s essentially a spare battery that gives you an additional half hour or so of power. If you plug your router and modem directly into the UPS, you’ll have some extra WiFi time, and it’ll give you time to get stuff saved on your desktop.

How can Geek For Hire help you?

  • If you’ve decided to upgrade your Router or will be adding a  new Mesh Router, let us know if you need help setting it up. Definitely call for help if you want to add separate bands for you and other users.
  • Gail was able to connect her new Verizon Jetpack Hotspot to her phone and tablet without help from Chris. She thought it was relatively straightforward. Connecting to her laptop was another story! Let us know if you need help with that.
  • Let us know if you’re thinking of getting a new machine. Chris routinely gets 35-50% discounts with Dell, and they’ve got some that are appropriate for your children. (Or get a new one for you and give the kids your hand-me-downs.)

Good luck this semester! In case you’re interested, here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

How Do I Fix My Slow WiFi (Internet speed)?

I keep having friends ask me what they can do about their internet speed. “How do I fix my slow WiFi?” they ask, or “I’m starting a new job, and I’ll be working from home. How do I know if my internet will be sufficient?” or fill in the blank with your own questions!

First, to fix your slow WiFi, what is your actual internet speed?

Head over to SpeedTest and run some tests.

Distance from Router Date & Time Download Speed
Computer with WiFi
Computer plugged into the modem
Phone with WiFi Next to Router
Tablet or Phone with WiFi Away from Router
Phone with cell signal

Does Your Internet Speed match what you expect?

If you have slow WiFi sometimes, but the speed is fine at other times, check with other members of your family. Is someone downloading a big file? That can skew your results.internet speed

Do you know what speed you are paying for? Look at your internet bill or call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out.  While you are on the phone with them, also ask what the maximum speed that is available for you and what the additional cost would be to upgrade.

For example, the maximum that our ISP can provide us at our location is 12 Mbps. If your computer is connected directly to the router, you should receive the speed you are paying for. Using WiFi, the speed will be degraded somewhat. For me, using WiFi, both my computer and phone averages between 9 and 11 Mbps.

Of course, you always want it to be blazing fast, but a small decrease in measurable service of 10% or so is acceptable.

If your speed is well below 15% of the rate you are paying for, do the test numerous times. Keep track and write down your results, time of day, distance from the router, etc. If it persists, call your ISP, report your results, and ask them to get it fixed.

Remember that with more people working from home and with kids learning at home, overall connection speeds are down. Try to negotiate for a discount if your ISP can’t provide the service speed they promised last year.

What Your Results Mean:

If your WiFi speed is adequate next to the router, but not so good as you move away from it, you may need to get a new router with a wider range.  For a larger home, consider a mesh router. Keep in mind that brick, stone, and metal are not good conduits for the WiFi signal.

If your WiFi speed is bad, regardless of where you are in your house, you’ll need to call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for help.

If your internet speed is terrible while connected directly to your modem, it’s definitely your ISP.

You can also check Downdetector to see if your ISP has run into more widespread service issues.

What to do:slow wifi is frustrating - here are some suggestions to fix it

Technology has changed a lot in the past few years, so if your router is more than 4 or 5 years old, it’s probably time to get a new one.  If you’ve determined with the activities above that the problem is with your router, it is definitely time to get a new one. (Here’s a link to Chris’ recommended routers and modems.)

If you’ve determined that it is a problem with your ISP, get them on the phone. And if the data shows that your router is fine, don’t let them blame your slow WiFi on the router! (Yes, they will try that.)

If you have an off-brand modem, your ISP will also blame any problems on that as well. Chris recommends getting the router that your ISP will sell to you. For example, our ISP is CenturyLink, and we purchased our modem from CenturyLink. This gives them one less thing to blame your WiFi speeds on.

When you call your ISP, give them the data you’ve collected. Let them know how long the problem has been going on. And be prepared to wait on hold for a while. If they do need to send someone out, be prepared to wait a week or more for your appointment.

Other Hints for slow WiFi:

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Facebook Hacking is on the rise! (It’s not your imagination.)

This is short and sweet – 5 steps to keep you safe from Facebook Hacking. If you want more tips, please sign up for our emails.

Chris has been getting a lot of calls recently about hacked Facebook accounts.  A lot of the Facebook hacking starts when you click on a video that a “friend” sent you via Facebook Messenger. It is most likely that your friend’s account has already been compromised, and it is the Facebook hacker sending you the video.

What to do:facebook hacking

Here are Chris’ suggestions if your Facebook account has been hacked:

  1. Change your password.
  2. Change your security question(s) and answers (in case they were reviewed by someone else).
  3. Log out of all locations where you are logged in.
  4. Confirm that your recovery email address and your mobile phone number is still yours and not set to someone else’s.
  5. Tell your friends not to open any videos or any other links that you have sent.

Doing this will help you keep your account yours after you change your password.

Facebook Hacking via Messenger:

It seems like we are all using social media more now than we did even a month ago. Try not to send any links at all via Facebook Messenger for the time being.  If you do get a video (or other links) on Facebook Messenger, don’t click on it right away. Instead, send an email to your friend confirming that they sent the video.

Facebook Hacking Service:

I also did a quick Google search to see what other advice is out there to make your account more secure. Boy, was I surprised when I saw links to a Facebook Hacking Service and an ad to Hire a Facebook Hacker!

Online Security:

Finally, we recommend ESET to keep ALL of your devices safe online.

Other Hints:

  • Also, please remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Likewise, there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

INFORMATION ABOUT GEEK FOR HIRE, INC.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Coronavirus Scams

We thought we just had to worry about phishing scams! But, whenever there is lots of news and alarm about a subject, the scams are sure to follow. It’s no different with Covid19, aka Coronavirus scams. Now is the time to be extra vigilant about the emails, texts, and phone calls that you receive.

Email – Coronavirus Scams:coronavirus scams

For emails, follow our standard guidelines.

  • Never open an unexpected attachment.
  • Never reply to the email if you have any questions about its legitimacy.
  • Never call the number that is listed on the email. Call or email the company with the contact information you already have.

You can forward the email to us too if you’d like our opinion about it.

Phone Call and Text Scams:

One common coronavirus scam is someone pretending to be your insurance company.

If anyone calls or texts you about your health insurance or other financial matter and says you need to provide your credit card FOR ANY REASON, confirm:

  • what company they are calling from
  • what the person’s name is
  • how you can get back in touch with them
  • you should also make a note of the number they are calling from
  • if they hang up rather than answering your questions, give yourself a pat on the back.

Next, call the company on a number you already have for them in your contact list. Ask them if this is a real problem. If it is not, report the scam. Provide them with all the information you have obtained.

Online Link Scams:coronavirus scams

Continue to be careful with online links as well. There will be folks out there that want to take advantage of a crisis.

Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.

Need Help?

Call or email us if you want a second opinion on any emails you’ve received. You can also take a screenshot of any text messages and send that to us as well.

And, of course, you can’t wash your hands too frequently! Stay safe and healthy.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Clean Your Phone – Staying healthy during the Coronovirus

Picture this:

You got a new puppy and your friend asks to see a photo.  You scroll through your pictures, find a great one, and give the phone to your friend. They “ooh” and “ahh” appropriately as they scroll through your other pictures, and then they sneeze.  Into their hand. Then they transfer your phone into the hand with all the germs and keep scrolling. And THEN they give your phone back to you.

Ewwwwwww…..

With all the winter germs around, and talk of the coronavirus (aka Covid19), I thought it might be time to find out the best way to clean your phone. And there’s a reason to be concerned. Studies show that our electronic devices have lots of germs. In fact, a recent study showed that an average of 17,000 bacteria (bacterium?) were found on participant’s phones. Another study (pdf here) found that only 40% of Baby Boomers wash their hands after using public transportation. The study went on the say:

“With the majority of people admitting to using their phone in the bathroom (88%), while cooking (89%) and while using public transit (80%), these devices are regularly exposed to everything from strep, to E. Coli, to strains of staph found in fecal matter! Our phones become dangerous when they aren’t regularly cleaned or sanitized, allowing bacteria to continue to breed and spread. With one in four (23%) having never cleaned their phones, mobile devices could host more bacteria than someone’s household bathroom (which four in five (80%) clean once a week). To make matters worse, when their hands are full, two in five people (41%) won’t hesitate to put their phone in their mouths, putting bacteria directly into their system.”

Double ewwwww…..

I had thought that carrying alcohol wipes and using that every day to clean my phone and keep it free from germs would do the trick, but the experts disagree.  It turns out that alcohol can damage the screen. Apple and Goole both have a page dedicated to how to clean their devices, which you can find here and here. The gist of it is:

To Clean Your Phone:

  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth—for example, a lens cloth.
  • To kill the germs, you’ll need to add a teeny bit of diluted soap into the mix. Do it carefully. Make sure the cloth is only slightly damp, not wet, and make sure not to get any water into any openings.

To Clean Your Phone, don’t use:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Windex
  • Vinegar
  • Makeup remover
  • Compressed Air
  • Undiluted Soap
  • Wet Lens cloth

All of those products can damage the screen on your smartphone.

Update:

I called our local AT&T store the other day to confirm the advice. The rep I talked with specifically recommended using Clorox Wipes or Lysol Wipes to clean your phone.

Bottom Line:

Regularly clean your phone, especially if you use public transportation, go through an airport, or go to other places where lots of people congregate. Don’t put your phone in your mouth. Cough & sneeze into your elbow. Don’t use your phone in the bathroom. Stay healthy, and wash your hands!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

3 Simple Steps – What Apple Is Charging You For

Are you bewildered when you check out your bank or credit card statement by the charge from Apple? It’s only $1.99 or $3.99, or some other very low number.  If you’re as busy as I am, it’s not really worth it to spend time figuring out. But it still makes you wonder. How do I find out what iTunes is charging me for?

Today I saw how those charges can easily add up.

This morning I went to check the weather on my iPhone.  A friend had mentioned that we would be getting a huge snowstorm overnight.  I had checked the Apple Weather app and Weather Underground (my favorite), and both said we’d be getting about an inch of snow today, none tomorrow, and another inch or so the next day. Since that didn’t square with what my friend had said, I thought I would try another app.  My iPhone has a plethora of Weather Apps.  Here’s a link to my favorite apps for weather.

Apple charging for apps - iphone tips

(If you’re looking for some adult humor, check out WTForecast. If you want to see where lightning is striking RIGHT NOW, check out RealLightning.)

I ended up opening up the NOAA app which I’ve used plenty of times in the past. This time, however, I was confronted with a screen that wanted me to sign up for a trial before I could access the weather information.  When I clicked on the Trial button I read the fine print. I learned that once the trial period was over, they’d be charging my Apple account $2.99 per week!

sneaky iphone charges

What Is iTunes Charging Me?

That got me thinking.  Have I signed up for other Apps without realizing there was a monthly fee?

I started hunting around on my iPhone to find what I might be paying for month after month. This was more confusing than I thought it should be.  It was not intuitive at all, which is very unlike most Apple products.

Three Easy Steps to find out what Apple is charging you for:

I looked at “Settings” with no luck.  Next, I opened up the “iTunes Store” but couldn’t find anything there either.

Step One: Then I opened the “App Store”.

Step Two: I pressed the icon in the top right corner which opens up my account.

Step Three: I clicked on “Purchased” and found all of the apps I’ve downloaded, most of them were free. Then I clicked on “Subscriptions” which shows all the apps which charge on a monthly or annual basis. I was happy to see there were only two:

  • Pillow – which I purchased last year to track my sleep.
  • Call Protect – which is supposed to protect me from scam calls, but doesn’t.  I canceled that one and will be saving $3.99 every month!

Remember that if you are sharing your Apple account with another person to check in with them before canceling a subscription.

Conclusion:

Once you know how, it’s easy to figure out what Apple is charging you for!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Internet of Things – IOT

Have you heard of the “Internet of Things” and wondered what it is? I know I have.  Every time I hear the term, I have to think for a second to remember what it is all about!

Internet of Things refers to things connected to the Internet, things you might not expect to be connected together.  Things as small as a lightbulb or as large as a refrigerator can be connected. Wikipedia has a good definition:

“The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

We have Kevin Ashton to thank for the term:

“Back in 1999, he coined the term “Internet of Things” before anything, except computers, was actually connected to the internet. In the last two decades, Ashton challenged businesses to imagine a world where the internet will permeate all aspects of people’s lives.

Following are some real-life examples of the Internet of Things:internet of things

  • Your watch tells you it is time to stand up and walk
  • You tell your smart speaker to play your favorite music
  • Your vacuum tells you to change its filter
  • You tell the thermostat to turn up the heat when you are ten minutes away from home
  • Your security system sends you an alert
  • You turn the lights on or off in your home – from your cell phone
  • Your front door opens when you’re on vacation, but only for the house-sitter

What’s next for the Internet of Things?

According to IoT Analytics, there were approximately 9.5 billion active IoT devices at the end of 2019.  And ThriveGlobal says that IoT will grow to 75 billion devices by 2025. Expect more of your devices to be connected to the Internet. You may move from simply owning a Smart TV to an entire Smart Home.

As always, Geek For Hire encourages you to be careful about what you share on the Internet! Here’s our article on how to delete your Alexa recordings.

 

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.