Love Your Computer? 3 Quick Tips to Renew the Love Affair With Your Mac or PC

When it’s slow and sluggish, it’s hard to love your computer. Here are 3 quick tips to give your Mac or PC some pep.

  1. Make sure your Operating System is up-to-date. Are there any updates you need to download and apply?
  2. Empty the trash. If you haven’t done that in a while, you could free up a lot of space!
  3. A couple of times a year you should delete all of your cookies. Here’s a blog I wrote about how to delete cookies

We’ll often recommend products and services and sometimes we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase something through our links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you need to replace any of your equipment?Love Your Computer

Sometimes upgrading or replacing some of your peripheral equipment makes you love your computer even more!

You Can’t Love Your Computer if Your WiFi is Slow:

If your Internet seems slow, there are several things you can do. First, test the actual speed you’re getting. (This blog tells you how.) If it’s slower than you expect, contact your ISP.

If your home has radiant floor heating, you might consider a mesh router to distribute the signal more efficiently.

Monitor:

Even though I have a laptop that I can bring anywhere, I have two monitors on my desk. That helps me be more efficient when I’m working in my home office. Chris set me up with two Dell Ultra series monitors. They were really high end at the time and still do the job nicely. He set the monitors up so that I can drag a window from one monitor to the other which is helpful when I need to see both windows in full size. Sometimes, when I don’t need that additional “real estate”, I will put a live stream video on one monitor. I love watching the grizzlies catch salmon in Alaska, or the wild surf in Down East Maine.

Mouse and Keyboard:

Lately, some of our customers’ keyboards have stopped working and they need a replacement. Chris has been doing some research to get them a keyboard that works perfectly for them. Some of them even have multi-colored backlights!

Printer:

Sometimes you have lots of issues with your printer, and it colors your entire computer experience. More and more people are moving away from even having or needing a printer. If you think you need a replacement, check out our Buyers Guide.

Conclusion – It’s OK to Love Your Computer:

If you’ve tried but just can’t love your computer, it might be time for a new one.

But think twice before you get one off the shelf in a big box store! They’re made to fit the requirements of the average person. You are not an average person!

Chris has great contacts at Dell and can get you a substantial discount on a custom PC that you’ll love.

He doesn’t have the same connections at Apple, but he does know which options to go for and which to avoid, so you’ll end up with a Mac you’ll love for years! (One of our customers bought a Mac at the Apple store. Boy was he disappointed! Here’s his experience and how Chris helped him. Now he loves his iMac!)

 

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.

More Tips Here:

Book Review: Extreme Privacy

Many of you know that Privacy and Security are paramount to me. So when I saw Extreme Privacy on Amazon I was intrigued. Michael Bazzell completely updated the second edition of Extreme Privacy in 2020.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Extreme Privacy Overview:

At 566 pages, Extreme Privacy: What It Takes To Disappear, is a hefty book. There are so many topics covered, in so much detail, I wasn’t able to read it all the way through. In many places, the material was too dense for a layman to comprehend. One of my big complaints about the book is the Index on page 566. A one-page index does not do this 20-Chapter book justice.

Despite the length, I did thoroughly review the whole book. The first part of each chapter was interesting and was written at a pretty high level. I was able to get the gist of each chapter without having to read all the detail on subjects in which I wasn’t terribly interested.

This book is primarily targeted at high profile people who need to implement extreme privacy. (Think movie stars, CEOs, and billionaires.) It’s also directed at people who have been seriously threatened and need to disappear. But it also has some great tips for people who just want to be more digitally secure. Our information is EVERYWHERE, and even companies who say they will be careful with our information are subject to cyber-attacks. (Right now, we’re still waiting to see the complete fallout of the 2020 Solar Winds attack on US government systems.)

What I learned:

One of the big take-aways I got from this book is that hiding is not cheap. There is new equipment to buy, with cash. A trust to set up. Accountants and Lawyers to advise you on what is legal and what is not. A new home to buy or rent. Multiple online devices to purchase; one to use only at home, and another to never use at home. And then there is all the equipment that normal people use, like a VPN, Servers, and routers.

Another thing I learned is that all of the work you do disappear can all be undone with a little social engineering. For example, if you have your mail delivered to a private mailbox in another state, which then forwards the mail to you. An unscrupulous person finds the address and phone number of the private mailbox company. They call and say they are your brother or wife and ask for the address to which mail is forwarded. Boom! All your hard work for privacy is gone.

Another potential problem is hacking. You bring your pet to a new Vet and provide your real address and phone number. Many Veterinarians provide their customer data to marketing firms so they can keep in touch with their clients. Then the marketing firm gets hacked and your data is “in the wild”.

I also learned how I could go about removing my information from public databases.

What I liked:

I thought the book was well organized. Using the Table of Contents it was easy to find the sections that I was interested in. I learned about a lot of new tracking tools that are being used, and how to legally get around them. For example, license plate scanners: How can you legally get around having them scan your license plate.

Another thing I liked was that Mr. Bazzell has years of experience and he’s made a few mistakes. He discussed those mistakes openly – what the mistake was, and how he does things differently today.

I also liked that the book takes a proactive approach. It outlines the things you can do today before you run into issues with privacy and security.

 

 

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.

More Tips Here:

TECH TRENDS: A Look Back – 2020 Tech Review

What a year it has been! Technology in this year of COVID is all about designing new ways to socialize, new ways to work, and new ways to go to school. We are spending more time online and demanding faster internet speeds and more bandwidth. We’re working from home at the same time that our kids are learning at home. Who ever thought that we’d be talking to our insurance agent and hear a baby cry in the background?! 2020 Tech has been an adventure!

2020 Tech:

When I asked Chris what was new in Tech this year, he reminded me, while there have been few new things, it has mostly been a year of learning how to better use the tech we have.  For example:

Conference Services:

We’re using more face-to-face calling than ever. Between work and school and family – we want to SEE the people we’re talking to. But, because the technology is so new to many of us, we think it’s our fault when something goes wrong. Before you start tearing out your hair, check Downdetector.com to see if Zoom or Google Meet to see if they are the ones having a problem.

WiFi:

This year, it’s been a struggle getting adequate WiFi at home when everyone needs to use it at the same time! Some things you can do include:

  • Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to make sure your home is getting the highest rated speed for your area. (Yes, your monthly fee will probably go up.)
  • If your Smartphone comes with a personal hotspot, turn it on and tether your computer to it. That way, you’re not competing for WiFi resources with the rest of your family. (Keep an eye on your usage, though. When you reach certain thresholds, your cellular provider may start to throttle your coverage.
  • Check into getting a separate hotspot. I have a Jetpack from Verizon that can connect up to 15 devices.
  • If your home is large, consider a mesh router to reach every corner of your home. (Check out our Parts page for Chris’ recommendations.)

Streaming Movies:

We’re watching more movies and TV series too. Some of the streaming services let you download a movie or several episodes to watch later. Do that downloading late at night for the next day. That way, you’re not interrupting the workflow of someone else in your family.

2020 Tech – What Technology was new in 2020:

Battery Life:

After five or six years with the iPhone 7, Chris and I decided it was time for an upgrade. We are THRILLED with the battery life on the iPhone 12. We can go a full day and still have more than 50% of battery life left – even without an external battery case! 2020 Tech rocks!

M1 Chip:

Apple has developed a new chip for their MacBooks. Reviews so far are mostly raves.

5G:

The 5G network has been big in the news this year. It’s been touted as the next great thing. But right now, 5G is just a number. On my iPhone, I see “5GE,” which is very similar to (and might be identical to) 4G LTE. According to macrumors.com:

“Real 5G networks offer much faster connection speeds and better performance. … Actual 5G networks, when up and running with full coverage available, may be anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster than LTE networks …. 5G technology requires new modem hardware, so until there is an iPhone with a 5G modem chip, no iPhones will work with 5G networks. Your current ‌iPhone‌ will not connect to 5G networks and will be limited to LTE.”

So it might be a while before we get real 5G service.

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.

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.

Tech for Seniors – Resources

I’ll bet you didn’t know that October 1st has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Older People. (UNIDOP for short!) When I found that out, it got me thinking about Tech for Seniors.  Many of our customers are Seniors. Just like every other demographic, they are all different.  Some of them call and say “I’m in my late 50’s and too old to learn this new technology,” while others are still working and adopting new technology well into their 70’s and 80’s!

United Nations 60+ Counts logo - Tech for seniors

Tech for Seniors – Resources:

Over time, we have found some resources to help our older customers.  Here are just a few:

(Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

  • Set up your Alexa / Echo / Siri to call a trusted contact when you can’t get to the phone.  Keep in mind that it won’t be able to call 911 for you, but it could call a family member or neighbor. Check out this blog I wrote about why you can’t use Alexa to call 911.
  • At your next family gathering, ask your grandkids to show you how to use Facetime.  That way you can have a video chat with them very easily throughout the year.
  • You should also make sure your computer keyboard fits your needs.  I’ve talked to several people who have a separate keyboard and mouse even though they have a laptop.  Laptops are getting smaller and the keyboards are almost too small to type on!  After I made many (MANY!) fat-finger mistakes on my laptop, I got a wireless keyboard and mouse which helped immensely.  I wrote a post about wireless keyboards earlier this year.
  • Head over to your local bookstore or even Amazon and browse some of the “Dummy” or “Idiot” books for help with specific topics.  I also like David Pogue’s “Missing Manual” series.  I got turned on to them when I got my first iPhone and couldn’t figure out how to do anything.  It was very helpful!
  • Check with your local senior group, library, or Chamber of Commerce. They probably have classes on Social Media, photography, email, and other subjects that you may need help with. (Save the phone calls to your granddaughter for the tech emergencies!)
  • Then, cultivate a relationship with a tech expert that can come to you and fix problems and provide some training.  Ask your friends for recommendations.

Conclusion:

You know how they say that age is a state of mind?  Take your tech one step at a time.  Learn it in little bits and be open to finding out new ways to do things.  Before you know it you’ll be teaching your kids a thing or two!

Please share this with your “older” friends!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself 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.

Cell Coverage – Where to go to get the best signal

Ever since my post a few months ago about poor cell service, I’ve been wondering where the cell towers are. Is there a way to determine if one area has better cell coverage than another area? And then I realized, there must be an app for that!

It turns out it’s not as easy as that.  There are plenty of apps which show coverage, but not location.  And the apps which show coverage aren’t always accurate. I looked at the AT&T map and was very surprised. I regularly drive through Boulder Canyon and know that there is zero coverage. However, according to their legend where blue equals service, AT&T says the entire mountain region west of Boulder has full coverage.

AT&T Cell Coverage

Frankly, I’d prefer to look at an independent app that measures actual cell coverage rather than advertised coverage.

I checked out the OpenSignal app on my phone.  This app showed actual coverage reported by consumers.  Green dots indicate adequate or great service and inferior coverage is indicated by red dots. It also shows the location of cell towers.Cell Coverage from OpenSignal

Other apps I’ve tried which measure cell coverage include:

  • I like FindTower because it tells me who provides the service on each tower. That is helpful information. If you’re driving around looking for a good signal, you’ll want to head to a location near the tower that provides your service.  No good to park near a Verizon tower if you have a T-Mobile phone!Cell Coverage - FindTower
  • Coverage Map has colored circles to tell you where the coverage is.  Dark blue circles indicate superior service, red circles indicate service which will be problematic. No circle equals no coverage!
  • I also tried Site Locator US but found it confusing and not intuitive.

Reminder: as long as you know your location, you do not need to provide your location to the app on your phone or your computer.  Think: Privacy!

Recommendation:

I recently got a Verizon JetPack. This helps me extend my coverage it I’m out of range of an AT&T tower. Also, if I’m on a road trip, I can connect my computer, phone, and tablet which gives me WiFi on the go!

You can extend your cell coverage wit

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Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself 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.

Sim Card Swapping Scam – Three easy steps to protect yourself

I just heard about a new scam that I want to make sure you aware of as well.  It’s called the Sim Card Swapping scam. This is when someone decides to target you (who knows why – your status? your wealth? your position in your community?) and takes over your cell phone number.  From there, they can take over your social media, gain access to your financial accounts accessed via your phone, and any number of any other nefarious acts.

How does this scam work?

The process is relatively simple.  The scammer enters the physical store of your cell phone provider, or they call the toll free number, pretending to be you.  Then they provide a forged license or other personal information. The scammer will say they lost their phone.  They say they already have a new phone; they just need your service provider to transfer all of the information from the “lost” phone onto the SIM card of the new phone.

sim card swapping scam

…. and Boom!  Just like that, they have access to all of your contacts, their phone numbers, affiliations, birthdays, and any personal information you have about each contact.  They also have access to any apps you’ve allowed from your phone. Do you have the Dropbox app installed on your phone?  Now they have access to all of those documents as well.  How about Amazon? Does the Amazon app have your credit card information stored? Sounds like a fun shopping spree…

I called my local AT&T store in Boulder, where I’ve been a customer for years and spoke with one of their floor representatives.  When I asked him about the SIM card swapping scam, he wasn’t aware that it was a problem.  He said that as long as you have a photo ID with the correct address, you should be able to gain access to your account. That didn’t give me a lot of confidence! I then asked him about the PIN that we set up a few years ago.  He indicated that if an account has a PIN set up, they will ask the customer for that number in addition to verifying name, address, and photo. I then asked what the maximum number of digits were for the PIN which he said was six.

How to protect yourself from the SIM card swapping scam:

In all likelihood, the vast majority of the public won’t be targeted. But if you are known in the crypto-currency community, are wealthy, or have a high profile in your town I would recommend that you be extra vigilant.  Regardless, I would recommend doing several things right away:

  • First, enable 2FA or two-factor authentication. In the past, I’ve talked about two-factor authentication and why it is so important. Try not to use “text message” as an option to confirm your identity. Set it up so that they need to call a land-line with the code, or send the code to an email address that is not set up on your cell phone.
  • Next, talk to your cell phone provider and make sure you have a PIN set up.  Make sure it is a long as they will allow.  (Note to self: Change AT&T PIN from four digits to six!)
  • Then, log out of all of your Social Media accounts on your phone.  Set it up so that you need to log in each time.  Remember to log out every time! (This is something that Chris does.  He has never downloaded the Facebook app to his phone.  Instead, he accesses Facebook via Safari and logs in/logs out each and every time.)

Here are some articles to learn more about SIM card swapping:

Please share this on Facebook and Twitter!

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself 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.

Is It Just Me, Or Is My Favorite App Down?

Does this happen to you too?  I head over to a certain app, whether for business or just goofing off, and I can’t log on!  I try again and again, being very purposeful entering my password.  I shut down the application and restart it.  I shut down my phone/laptop/tablet and restart it, but the problem persists.  What is going on?!

In some cases, it could be the application itself which is having the issue.  Their servers are not infallible, despite what they might claim.

Application down - WordPress 1 cropped

But WordPress can go down.  And so can Facebook, Twitter, Quickbooks Online, and many other.  To check the status of your app when you are having issues head over to any of these sites:

  • Down Detector – I like the visuals of their graph.  Very easy to understand.  Down Detector tracks Facebook, Netflix, AT&T, Verizon, eBay, Twitter, and many others: http://downdetector.com/
  • Down Right Now – I like the visuals of this site as well.  They mostly track Social Media and email sites: http://downrightnow.com/
  • Outage Report – Not only does this site provide a graph of down times, but they have a map to show where the outages are occuring.  In addition to Social Media and entertainment sites, this site also tracks online gaming apps: http://outage.report/

If you are experiencing difficulties getting on to one of your favorite apps, remember to check one of the above sites. and record your problem too.

 

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, but I’m tempted!   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 when you sign up.)

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Wi-Fi Anywhere

Did you ever try to connect to WiFi and see a Hotspot choice like “Sam’s phone”? The fictional Sam has set his SmartPhone up to “tether” to the cell system so that his phone can send out a WiFi signal.

What is tethering? MobileBurn explains it this way:

“Tethering is the process of using a cell phone or smartphone as a modem for a personal computer of some sort – typically a laptop computer. The term gets its name from how a phone is attached, or tethered, to the computer via a USB cable, but wireless technologies such as Bluetooth can also be used for tethering. Typically the network carrier and the user’s account (contract) have to support tethering before it can be used. Many networks charge an additional fee for users that wish to connect their phones as tethered modems because it typically uses far more data than using the phone normally would.

There’s more information about tethering on Wikipedia.

Chris’ iPhone recently stopped working and he had to get a new one. (Just don’t ask him when the last time was that he backed up his old iPhone and please, please don’t ask him about all the photos on that phone!) He got a new cell phone with Verizon service. We wanted to know how the coverage differed in the Geek For Hire service area. He also had tethering turned on so that he can use his laptop in an area without WiFi. So far we’re pleased – not only with the WiFi tethering, but also with Verizon’s coverage. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be an extra monthly charge for the service, so long as we don’t use more than the 3gig of data we signed up for.

If you do decide to turn on tethering, remember that it will drain the battery of your SmartPhone much faster than just using that same phone for cell service. Think about getting a battery case. (Mophie and LifeProof are two that come to mind.)

Here are some other articles that describe tethering:

If your current SmartPhone allows tethering, you may have to call your carrier (or bring it in to a store) to get the capability turned on.

Do your use tethering? Are you using an app, or do you have your SmartPhone switched on to allow it? Let us know about your experiences 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.