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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Found a lost Cell Phone – What should you do next?

Do you ever wonder what to do when you find a lost cell phone?  You could wait for it to ring and hope it is someone who actually knows the person and is not a sales call. Or you could bring it into the nearest police department and hope for the best.  We’ve got some other ideas that are quicker and probably more effective to reunite that lost cell phone.  (Plus the cops are busy.  They’ll probably just toss in the lost and found box under their admin’s desk!)

First – check for contact information:

  • Hopefully, they have their phone password protected. (You have a password for your phone, right?!) But the lock screen should have a way to make an emergency call.  Click on “ELost Cell Phone - Call Mommergency” to see if they have set that up with an emergency contact.
  • If that doesn’t work, very carefully remove the phone case if they have one. Sometimes people will tape a contact number on the inside of the phone case.

If they don’t have easily accessible contact information, try this next:

  • Press the “Home” button on the lost cell phone until you activate the phone’s voice assistant.
    • Say “Ok Google” for an Android
    • “Hey Siri” for an iPhone
    • For a Samsung, hold the Bixby button and say “Hey Bixby.
  • Once it has responded, say “Call Mom” or “Call Dad”.
  • If the phone is off, it may need to be charged a little before you can make the call.

If none of that works, the next thing to try is to turn that lost cell phone in:Lost Cell Phone - Carrier

  • Don’t bring it to the local police department. As I mentioned above, they will probably just toss it into their lost and found box and wait for someone to call looking for it.
  • Check the phone to see who the carrier is. You should be able to see AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.  Drop it off at the local store.  They will be able to figure out whose it is and reunite it with the proper person.

Be a Good Samaritan:

  • Before you drop it off, give it a full charge.  It may be a few hours before the rightful owner can pick it up.

How to set up the Emergency Information on your iPhone:

  • Click on Settings
  • Then click on “Emergency SOS”
  • Then select “Edit Emergency Contacts”
  • From there you will be able to enter your emergency contact

Share this widely so people know what to do when they find a lost cell phone!

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 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 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.

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Electronic Recycling and Buy Back Programs

UPDATED: 20 May 2019

I received an interesting email the other day from Staples telling me about their recycling program.  I always assumed I could walk into any big box store with my old electronics and pay a fee to recycle it.  This email told me that I could bring it there for free.  That made me start to wonder what other options are out there for our customers, not only to recycle but also, to possibly get a discount on their next purchase.  We frequently get calls from folks wondering about electronic recycling.  Here’s some helpful info.

If you’re thinking about fixing your older equipment, take a look at this article.

What to do first:

Once you’ve decided to get rid of your older devices, you must remove all of your sensitive data.  Deletelectronic recyclinge all of your apps, all of your contacts, your emails, your texts, photos, etc.  Many of the Electronic Recycling Programs say that they will do this for you before they sell it to someone else, but why take the chance?  (Yes, we can help you with this if you’d like.)

Why do you want to Recycle your Electronic Devices:

Many of the components in our electronic devices are toxic, so it’s really important to make sure they get recycled properly. If you just toss your laptop battery in the trash, many of those toxins will leach right into our water supply!

Electronic Recycling Options:

You have a  whole bunch of options for getting rid of your old stuff:

Sell It

Rather than electronic recycling, you can try to sell your old phone, tablet, or computer. (Remove your personal data first!) You could start with eBay or Craig’s List.  You can also try buy-back programs at places like Best Buy, Amazon, AT&T, Sprint, Staples, and Apple.  You’ll get a little less money for your device, but it’s really easy to do, with much less hassle than finding a buyer, shipping it, etc.

Donate It:

Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. But, first of all, remember to remove your personal data!

Give It Away:

Put the item on your local Facebook page, or post it in your local Freecycle group.  But, please make sure that you have removed all of your personal data first!

Recycle it Properly:

If you’re not able to sell your equipment or give it away, bring it to an authorized recycling center. Head over to this website and enter your zip code to find the nearest place to you.  This is sponsored by DirecTV, but I took a quick look at the recycling centers in my area. It seems like they take more than just TVs. Expect to pay anywhere from $5-$50 to recycle your equipment.

What to do first – Yes, the very first thing you do!

Before you sell, give away, or donate your equipment, remove your personal data!

(Originally posted on 6 November 2018.)

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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 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 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.

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Poor Cell Phone Service – Some Tips to Remedy

Even with all the improvements in cellular technology I still run into areas which have very poor cell phone service. There are the times when I’m the passenger in a car and the cell phone quality just gets worse and worse.

Does this ever happen to you?  You’re talking on the phone and the quality of the call keeps decreasing.  You keep waiting for your call to switch to the next cell tower but that never seems to happen.  What should you do?

We used to drive up and over a section of the highway that we dubbed “The Hill of Cellular Death”.  It was pretty much guaranteed that when you got about two-thirds of the way up the hill on either side, your cell call would drop.  It got to be that I wouldn’t even answer my cell phone when the vehicle I was traveling in was within a half mile of that hill.  Thankfully they now have a low profile tower on that hill and my calls don’t get dropped anymore.

What should you do when your smartphone gets really poor cell phone service?

This is what that pesky “Airplane Mode” button is for!  Put your phone into “Airplane Mode” so that it turns off your cell service, your WiFi, and your Bluetooth. Leave it off for about five to ten seconds and then turn it back on.  This will force the phone to search for the strongest cell tower in the area.

bad cell service

More Info:

Please forward this to your friends who complain about their poor cell phone service.

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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) 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.

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iPhone Shortcuts and Tips

The other day I was watching a friend use her iPhone and I was surprised that she didn’t know a few iPhone Shortcuts and tips that I take for granted! I showed her some of these tips, and thought, well maybe she’s not the only one who doesn’t know about them.

iPhone Shortcuts Scenario 1:iPhone shortcuts

You’re texting with a friend and decide it might be easier to have a verbal conversation. You might switch from the texting app to the phone app, look up the contact, and then press the call button.

OR…

You can tap the little round button with their photo or initials, and then tap “Audio” or “Facetime”.iphone shortcuts - email

iPhone Shortcuts Scenario #2

You’re reviewing your email, and you’ve received an email with a link. You tap the link and it opens up in Safari. When you’re done reviewing the page, you close Safari and reopen your Mail app to continue reviewing emails.

OR…

You look at the top left corner where it says Mail, and you tap that to quickly return.

iPhone Shortcuts Scenario #3

You want to take a photo so you turn on your phone, find the Camera App, and open it up.

OR…

From the lock screen, you quickly swipe from right to left which automatically opens the camera app

iPhone Shortcuts Scenario #4

Your coffee is brewing and you want to quickly set a timer. You open the Clock App, select Timer, and then set the timer for your perfect brew.

OR…iphone shortcuts notifications

You swipe up from the bottom and select the little timer icon and very quickly set the proper amount of time.

iPhone Shortcuts Scenario #5

You’ve been in a meeting and want to see what notifications you’ve missed while you were out of touch. You open each app separately to see what emails, phone calls, texts, and other messages you’ve received.

OR…

You swipe down from the top of your screen to see all of your notifications at once.

iPhone Shortcuts from the Swipe Up (Control Center) screen

You have a slew of options for quick access from the Swipe Up screen.iphone shortcuts swipe up

  1. Turn Bluetooth, WiFi, Airplane mode, and Cellular Data on and off
  2. Restart or pause your music
  3. Adjust the volume
  4. Adjust screen brightness
  5. Lock the screen so that it won’t turn sideways unexpectedly
  6. Turn on your flashlight
  7. Open your calculator
  8. Take a photo
  9. Click the little moon so that your phone is in “Do Not Disturb” mode

(By the way, you can customize what appears here from Settings. Click on “settings”, then “Control Center”, then “Customize Controls”.

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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 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet. I’ll try that next! Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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Screen Time – How much time do I spend playing games on my phone?!

Several months ago I checked out the beta version of the newest Operating System for my iPhone. (Check out my blog on the subject.)  I did this primarily because I had heard about Screen Time, a new app that helps you track the amount of time you are spending on your Apple devices.  I only signed up for the trial on my iPad, because, if they were to release a beta OS that crashed the system, I didn’t want to be without my phone.

Although Screen Time says "Gail's iPhone", it's really data from both my phone and tablet.
Although Screen Time says “Gail’s iPhone”, it’s really data from both my phone and tablet.

Well, now that they’ve fully tested the software and released it to the public, I’ve installed it on my phone, and updated my tablet. (By the way, I’m using iOS 12.0.1 on my iPhone and 12.1 on the iPad.) So, now there’s no getting around it.  I spend a LOT of time on my devices playing games and checking social media.  But, I’m also happy to see that I do actually spend more time reading, researching, and other productive activities.  (Check out the grey bars!)

How often do I…

The App also tells me how many times a day I pick up my phone (54 times a day), and how my notifications I get (71 per day).

How to install Screen Time:

Screen Time is easy to activate and use once you’ve upgraded to the newest iOS.  Simply go to Settings, and scroll down about one screen until you see Screen Time.  Click on Screen Time, then “Turn on Screen Time”.  Read the introduction, then click on “Continue”.  Next, it will ask if this phone is yours or for a child.  It will allow you to set up a downtime for the phone, and other parental permissions. (You may also notice that I have VPN activated on my phone.  Here’s my blog about that subject.)

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

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

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 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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WiFi Calling

Did you know that you can use WiFi calling to make phone calls with your SmartPhone even when there is no cellular service available?

Like many of us, I have one friend who lives in the mountains where there is really spotty cell coverage, at best. When I arrive, I quickly connect to her WiFi so that I can receive phone calls and text messages from our customers. (Hey, just because I’m having lunch, doesn’t mean your computer will continue to work perfectly.  If you need us, I like to be available!)

Why you should use WiFI Calling:

But even if you don’t have friends with sparse or non-existent cell service, you still want to know about WiFi calling.  We’ve all gone to that coffee shop with lots of brick and metal and maybe one bar of cell service.  Or that place in the shopping center whose entrance faces north, AWAY from all the cell towers. Or, true story, the wind blows down the primary cell tower at your house and it WiFi Calling - setting up on your iphonetakes them three months to put it back up.  Where ever you have WiFi, you can continue to make phone calls.

How do I turn on WiFi Calling?

  • On your iPhone, head over to Settings -> Cellular -> WiFi Calling -> then toggle the button to “on”.
  • On an Android, tap on Settings, then “Networks”, and then “Call”. You can turn on WiFi calling from there.

Anything else I should do?

I wouldn’t recommend updating your Emergency Address unless you ONLY use WiFi at home.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

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 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 days 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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Secure Texting with the Signal App

I know I’m a little behind the times, but I just found out about Signal, a secure texting app that provides a higher level of data encryption than any of the other texting apps out there.  I’ve been looking for something different ever since I found out that Facebook acquired WhatsApp.  (And, again, a little behind the times since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014!) But, then again, even the founder of WhatsApp thinks that it is time to dump Facebook as this tweet reflects from earlier in the year.

Secure Texting with Signal

What’s wrong with WhatsApp? I thought it had secure texting:

And, while WhatsApp says it provides secure texting, it is still owned by Facebook.  From the WhatsApp website:

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.”

And, in my view, a for-profit company known to sell private data to the highest bidder is not on my “to be trusted” list.

Why is Signal better:

When I found out about Signal a few weeks ago I downloaded it right away.  I was surprised to see who of my contacts are already using Signal.  Even some of my family are on that list!  Signal is a secure texting messaging app.  It is free for the download from iTunes (you’ll need iOS 9.0 or later), or the Google Play Store (you’ll need Android 4.0 and up). Because it provides end-to-end encryption no one can view the messages you send except you and the recipient.

From the Signal website:

“Signal messages and calls are always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered to keep your communication safe. We can’t read your messages or see your calls, and no one else can either.”

“Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first.”

In addition to secure texting, you can also use Signal for phone calls and video chat.

Here’s what Mashable has to say:

“By allowing you to have truly private conversations, Signal changes that equation. Why is this so important? This year, perhaps more than ever, we’ve seen just how asleep at the wheel tech giants are when it comes to nefarious actors using their platforms to sow discord and incite violence. Taking your conversations, and, by extension, valuable data about your so-called social graph off those platforms is one way to fight this.”

And more from Wired about secure texting:

“There’s one messaging app we should all be using: Signal. It has strong encryption, it’s free, it works on every mobile platform, and the developers are committed to keeping it simple and fast by not mucking up the experience with ads, web-tracking, stickers, or animated poop emoji.”

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

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) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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Secure WiFi on Vacation

secure wifi on vacationGrowing up with a Dad who was a psychiatrist, August was always the month for vacations.  (As I got older I used to worry about his patients who were left alone for an entire month!)  There are some things you can do to make sure you have secure WiFi wherever you are in the world.  The most important is keeping your WiFi use safe and secure.

Here are some steps to take before and during your vacation:

  • Set up a throwaway email before you leave.  While you are gone, you will be asked numerous times for your email address.  Lots of times, they just won’t take “no” for an answer.  Head over to Google’s Gmail sign up page for a new (free) account. Remember the password, and be sure you set up auto-forwarding to your main email address.  You’ll want your smartphone to be able to receive any access codes that may be sent.
  • When you’re going for free WiFi, try to use well-known companies.  For example, Starbucks or the Hilton are well known for their secure WiFi and aren’t likely to steal your info for nefarious use.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to connect to WiFi with names like “TellMy WiFi LuvHer”, or “FBI Surveillance Van” or  “Hacker 547”.  (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)  Remember the old adage – “If it’s free, YOU are the product”.  Think about what they might be getting out of the transaction to provide you with free WiFi.
  • Sometimes the rest stops on the Interstate highways will have free secure WiFi, but only if you provide them with your email address and zip code.  This is where that new throw-away email comes in handy.  If they do ask for your name and zip, remember that you don’t have to give them your real info.

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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) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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