Q&A: Computer Data Storage or “My computer is running out of space!”

We frequently get questions from our customers. Here’s one about saving files and computer data storage:

Question:

My computer is running out of memory.  I have been using Dropbox on my computer for a while now. 

I have files in Dropbox and they are also under “This PC”. I am thinking that the files under “This PC” should be cleaned up and then merged with Dropbox so that it isn’t using so much space.  They are mostly duplicates. They will still be available on the computer any time and backed up and free up lots of space. Am I right.?

So paranoid about losing my files, mostly photos. 

Answer:

The only thing I don’t like about Dropbox is that I cannot figure out how to save files in “the cloud” that are not also on my computer. So, yes, I’m paranoid about deleting things too. I would bet that there is a way to do it, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

I love Dropbox because it is a stress-free way to make sure that if my computer crashes, I still have all my files. But running out of space is a definite concern. Over the years, I have gone onto Dropbox a few times to see how I could delete a file from my computer but have it still stay in the Dropbox “cloud”. There is a way to do this. But, each time I look it up, I realize that it is too convoluted a process and there’s a non-zero risk I could lose my files.

So I keep everything…

Your Computer Data Storage Options:

When you’re running out of space on your computer you have four options:

Keep Everything:

This is by far the easiest option. Get a new larger Hard Drive or Solid State Drive and install it into your computer. This is my kind of option! My current laptop has a 2 TB SSD that is just under half full.

Delete files from your computer but not in the Cloud: 

There are several cloud storage services to choose from. Figure out how to delete files from your computer but not from Dropbox. (If you’re more confident than I am, here’s the solution from two separate sources; one from the Dropbox Forum, and the other from Windows Report. (Or, of course, Chris could help you do this.) Dropbox also has something called “Selective Sync“.) If you’re wondering how to delete files on Dropbox, that’s easy! Just delete it from your computer, and it’ll be gone from Dropbox too.

Prune your files:

Start deleting the files you’ll never use again.

  • Do you really need those nine awful selfies you took? Why not just keep the one you posted on social media?
  • Do you need to keep the 17 drafts of the document you wrote for work in 2014?
  • When was the last time you emptied the “trash” folder?

Move data to an external SSD:

Back up all of your data to an external Solid State Drive (SSD), test that the files are really there, then delete them from your computer. Write the date on the SSD, and maybe print out the directory file, and put that all into an envelope. That way you can see later which drives have what data.

Please note: We often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Some of these are affiliate links, and we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

You might wonder why I specify a Solid State Drive. SSDs are more robust than standard physical Hard Drives or other computer data storage options like thumb drives. And, they are faster; much faster! Chris put together a list of recommended computer data storage devices.

You can also save all your photos from a trip to an SSD. Then you can bring it with you when you visit family and friends to show them too!

Back-Up Your Data:

But don’t forget! You should still be backing up your data on a very regular basis. A friend once told me: “Data doesn’t exist unless it is stored in three separate places.” In my case, I’ve got stuff on my computer, the cloud via Dropbox, and an external SSD that I back up to about once a month. Here’s a link to the SSD I use for backups.

(Are you still wondering what the cloud is? Here’s an article I wrote in 2018.)

A reminder to back-up your data to a computer data storage device

 

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 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:

  • Are VPNs worth it? More here.
  • Are you interested in learning more about Extreme Privacy?
  • We have seen a lot of Facebook hacking lately. Here’s what you should do ahead of time to keep your account safe.
  • And here are the 10 Password Mistakes you don’t want to make!

Leaves of Change or Colorado in the Fall

It’s Fall in Colorado, aka leaf-peeping season. Right now, there are a few yellow leaves here and there, but by mid-September, many of Colorado’s scenic byways will be blazing with color from our signature aspens and cottonwoods. And I’ll bet you’re wondering if there is an informative fall foliage map out there that will guide you to the best views.

I’m supposed to be writing about Tech Tips. So what do Leafers*, Fall Foliage Maps, and Peak Foliage have to do with technology? Well, there are websites and apps out there to help you find the best places and times to go for the tree color. Here are my favorites:

Predictive Peak Foliage Map:

I think this peak fall foliage map from the Smokey Mountains is the best one.fall foliage map from SmokeyMountains.com

Even though the Smokeys are on the East coast, they’ve got an amazing predictive Fall Foliage Forecast map for the entire lower 48. David Angotti from SmokyMountains.com, who developed the map with his team says:

“The fall leaf map is intuitive and easy to use. When you visit the page, you will see a slider at the bottom. The slider will be set to the current week. You can slide the slider to the right to see the predicted progression of fall. The green indicates the trees in that area of the country have not begun to change colors. The brown color means that the leaves are past their peak. The remaining colors show a colorful depiction of the progression of fall.”

One big downside to this map is that you can’t zoom in to see your particular region or county.

Colorado Fall Foliage Map:

If you’re looking for a fall foliage map with only Colorado, I think the map from KDVR is spot on. It looks like the Peak to Peak region will peak mid-to-end of September.Fall foliage map from KDVR.com

Weather:

You can’t go leaf-peeping in the rain! Check the forecast a few days before, and then on the morning that you are setting out. If it looks like it’s going to rain or be very windy, see if you can rearrange your schedule to go leaf-peeping before the weather. I’ve got a couple of favorite weather sites. Simply enter the zip code or city name of where you’re going:

Driving tips:

  • If you find a great view and want to take a photo, pull all the way off the road.
  • If you notice someone driving up behind you really fast, they may have an emergency, or just need to get to work. Pull over and let them pass. Then you can continue taking in the view at your own pace.

Cell Service:

Several years ago, I published a guide to cell service along the Peak to Peak Highway. There has been some expansion of coverage, but it’s still fairly accurate.

Colorado Map:

I don’t know about you, but cell service isn’t always available. And I need to know where I am! I like this laminated folding map. (You should know that as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)

Weird Definitions:

* Leafers? Yes, it’s a word. According to the Urban Dictionary:

“A leafer is any American who travels north to see the leaves change colour. Also known as a wanna-be Canadian. Hogs your bars and parking spots.”

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 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 Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

More Tips Here:

  • Are VPNs worth it? More here.
  • Are you interested in learning more about Extreme Privacy?
  • We have seen a lot of Facebook hacking lately. Here’s what you should do ahead of time to keep your account safe.
  • And here are the 10 Password Mistakes you don’t want to make!

What to do if your Facebook account has been hacked?

Lately, my inbox has been overrun with cries for help. Folks are telling me that their Facebook account has been hacked! The hackers are out there using a little social engineering to figure out your password and get total control of your Facebook.

  • “Someone hacked my Facebook and changed my password”
  • “Someone hacked my Facebook and changed my password and email”
  • “I was hacked on Facebook Messenger”
  • “My Facebook keeps getting hacked”
  • “Opened message from hacked Facebook account”

And, my favorite:

  • “My ex hacked my Facebook Can I press charges?”

Here’s just a small sample of some of the messages I’ve received:

Examples of cries for help when someone's Facebook account has been hacked

Unfortunately, once you’ve lost control of your Facebook account, it’s awfully hard to get it back. We’ve tried to get accounts back, but, the hackers know what they’re doing. Once they take control, they lock the account down pretty tightly. They have already proved to Facebook that they are you, and once they’ve changed the email address and phone number, you’re not going to get it back.

What should you do right away if your Facebook account has been hacked, your password and email are changed, and you’ve lost control of it?

There are a number of things you should do right away. Think about your finances, online security for other accounts, your email, and other personal data like photos and notes.

What if my credit card or bank account is connected to my Facebook account?

The first thing you should do is contact your bank. If you have your credit card, debit card, or bank account connected to your Facebook you should cancel them right away. Period. Don’t even think about this. If the hacker has full control of your Facebook, they can go on a spending spree with your money. Until your bank officially cancels the card, keep a very close eye on your online banking activity.

Should I change my password on other accounts?

When your Facebook account has been hacked, you should change the password on these accounts right away:

  • Change the password on your email. If your Facebook uses multiple emails, change it on all of those accounts
  • Any account where you are using the same password as Facebook

Once you’ve changed the password on your email and any account using the same password as Facebook, change the passwords on all of your other accounts. (Yes, I said ALL!)

We recommend that you change your password on social media and your financial accounts at least monthly. Use a password that is at least 12 characters. (Longer is better.) Here’s an old blog on how to create a secure password that you’ll remember.

Use something like: “MyNewF@ceb0okPW!”, or “NewFB@ccount1nfo”. Both are 16 digit passwords. Notice that there is a mix of capital and small letters, numbers, and special characters. (I’ve replaced the “A”s with the @ symbol, one of the “o”s of Facebook is actually a zero, and the “I” of Info is actually the number one.) Change it at least once a month going forward.

Can they hack my email too?

Double-check your email settings. Have they changed? You should look especially at the “Reply-To” address. And change your password too!

I’ve been using Facebook to log into other apps. How do I get into them now?

If you’ve used another way to log into those apps, you can probably still log in with a password reset. If you only used Facebook to log in, you may be out of luck. Contact Customer Service for the app. Let them know what happened and tell them your email. They may let you back in. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, you’ll probably have difficulties there.

I’m embarrassed. Should I tell my friends?

Absolutely! After you speak to your bank and change your password, call your friends. They should be on the lookout for messages that are not from you, especially if the message is asking for help or money.

How do I get all my photos back?

If you set up your account as “Public”, and the hacker hasn’t changed the settings, you may still be able to get access to your photos, albums, notes, etc. If you can’t, ask someone you trust (who is still a “friend” of the account) to download all of your data.

What about my Facebook business account?

If you’ve lost access to your personal Facebook account, you’ve lost access to your business account too. Make sure your customers know. If you’ve ever purchased advertising on Facebook, contact your bank and cancel that card or account.

Setting up a new Facebook account:

What should I do to securely set up a new personal Facebook account?

  • Set up a new email account to use only for Facebook
  • Set up Two-Factor Authorization with the new account.
  • Make sure your password is at least 12 characters long and contains a good mix of numbers, letters, capitals, and special characters.
  • Go through the Privacy and Security settings on your new Facebook and lock it down as much as you can.
  • Change the password on your new account monthly.
  • Don’t provide any financial information to Facebook. If you want to purchase something on the Marketplace, negotiate a different means of payment with the seller.

How should I set up a new Facebook Business account?

  • Create another new email account to only use with your Facebook business account. (You’ll need to set up a personal account first. And, yes, you’ll end up with two personal accounts.)
  • Follow the same steps outlined above for setting up your new business account.
  • If you advertise on Facebook, ask your bank for a separate credit card with a minimal spending limit. (Don’t use a debit card!)

How do I “Lock Down” my new account(s)?

If figuring out the Privacy settings on your new Facebook page is more than you want to do, let us know. We can set up a remote appointment with Chris to go through all of your settings to make sure another hacking is less likely. (Unfortunately, there are never any guarantees when it comes to protecting yourself from hackers.)

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 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:

  • Are VPNs worth it? More here.
  • Are you interested in learning more about Extreme Privacy?
  • We have seen a lot of Facebook hacking lately. Here’s what you should do ahead of time to keep your account safe.
  • And here are the 10 Password Mistakes you don’t want to make!

4 Ways to Tell if the Person Calling You is Not a Scammer

Is the caller a scammer? I wrote this blog way back in 2017. The tips still apply, but I have updated this post for 2021.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I don’t think you should always answer your phone.  More and more, the person on the other end isn’t someone you know.  They just want to sell you something, or scam you, or they just want to see if they’ve got a working phone number on their call list.

So, how can you tell if your caller is legit?  Spoiler Alert: I saved the best one for last!

1. Their name and phone number pop up in the caller ID, and you recognize the name.

Many times I receive a call from “Unidentified Caller” or “Number Blocked”.  Why should I answer those calls? I primarily use my cell phone but my cell phone carrier only sends me a number, not the full caller ID info.  That is why I always add every caller to my contact list.  If it ends up being a sales call or a scammer, I block the number from being able to call me in the future.

Sure, this means I sometimes miss a call from my kid when she’s lost her phone and had to borrow a friend’s.  But then, she always leaves a message. Scammers generally won’t leave a message.

What a Scammer will say to you: "We just want to make sure your machine is okay."
     What a Scammer may say to you

2. When you don’t answer, they leave a voice mail. A scammer generally won’t.

Legitimate callers leave a message. It’s a friend or family calling from a new number.  It’s your Dry Cleaners calling to let you know you left a credit card in your shirt pocket.  To be sure, this isn’t a sure-fire way to tell if it’s a scammer or to filter out the junk calls.  I get plenty of messages that start with “If you want to make $1000 each and every day then please listen to this entire message.” But, for me at least, it works 90% of the time.

3. Their phone number doesn’t show up on 800 Notes.

There are several websites that let you check the caller’s information.  I’ve found that 800 Notes generally has current info, especially for scammers. You won’t always find out exactly who is calling you, but you can tell, if a lot of people are reporting the same number, that it’s not someone you want to talk to.

4. They don’t tell you that your computer has malware or isn’t up-to-date. (Scammer for sure!)

Recently, we’ve had several people call us to repair their computer after they’ve had a conversation with “Microsoft” or their “Internet Service Provider”.  There are variations, but it comes down to the same basic thing:

  • “Microsoft” or “Dell” or “Apple” calls to let you know that your Operating System is out of date and you need to update it right away.  The caller would be happy to update it for you if you’ll just give them remote access to your computer.
  • Your “Internet Service Provider” or ISP calls to let you know that you have a terrible virus and you are spreading it all over.  Or, they tell you that your email has been hacked and your account is sending scam emails. (If you think your email has been hacked, here are some tips to follow.) Again, they’d be happy to remove all the malware.  You just have to give them remote access to your computer, and generally pay between $75-500 for the privilege.

Unless you have already signed up for a service where you have asked a company to scan your computer on a regular basis, no well-meaning person in a legit company is going to call you to “help” you with your computer.  When someone remotely accesses your computer, they will generally add malware to it, not remove it!

Conclusion:

Phone call scammers are more subtle and convincing than ever. Be very careful about which phone calls you answer. If you’re not sure about a specific caller, let it go to voice mail.

If you’ve given a cold caller remote access to your computer, and now you’re worried that they installed a virus or other malware, give us a call.  We’ll do a complete scan of your machine and remove all the malware we find.

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 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.

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. Way back in 1999 he coined the term:

“I knew I wanted to get the word ‘internet’ into it, because then I could get some buy-in,” says Ashton. “All these old, white-guy CEO types were very excited about the internet, but at that time it was still just the dot .com revolution. It was all websites. For most people the internet was still dial-up. The Internet was something you got on via CDs from AOL.”

“No one was talking about the Internet of anything.” 

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.

Is it Time to Trade In Your Old Kindle?

kindle
My Kindle, along with the cover I made from one of my daughter’s old T-shirts.

I frequently get emails from Amazon, letting me know about new products or exclusive sales that they have that I may want to pass on to our customers. Recently I got a funny one. Amazon wants you to trade in your old Kindle, and they’ll give you a discount on a new one, plus, give you a gift card!

However, I’m a fan of older technology. I remember the “good old days” when things just worked, and I didn’t need someone like Chris to come in and fix stuff for me. In fact, this morning, I was talking with a customer about our 30-year-old Hewlett-Packard printer that still works today. Why don’t they make things like that anymore?

That’s part of the reason that I love my 1st generation Kindle. I got it as a Christmas gift way back in 2010. I especially remember it because we had traveled to Oregon, where our daughter was working at Hood Meadows for the ski season. We packed all the gifts, three people, two dogs, and a cat into the Volvo for the thousand-mile drive. And then there was that Amazon box under my daughter’s tree waiting for me!

I love that Kindle, and I still use it today. I love that it has a very long battery life and isn’t too heavy when I’m reading in bed and holding it up in front of me. What don’t I like? The first generation Kindle doesn’t have a backlight, so I can’t read it at night.  It doesn’t have a touch screen, and I have to type on the teensy-tiny screen when I’m searching for something or trying to get to the Table of Contents.

Please note: We will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Sometimes we’ll receive an affiliate commission for at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’ve got an older Kindle that doesn’t work, I’d suggest getting a new one.  Get 20% off a new Kindle E-reader. And if you already have a Kindle and L-O-V-E to read, you need to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. You’ll get a free month, and then for $10 a month, you get free access to a million books. Books that you’ll want to read, including the latest best-sellers.

 

Check out the new Kindle if you want one you can read at night!

 

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.

Microsoft Security Warnings for Windows and Internet Explorer

It’s been a busy week for Microsoft Security.  First, they took down all support for Windows 7 on January 14th. And, if you are still using Win7 you saw this warning message pop up on your screen that Tuesday morning:

microsoft security - Windows 7 end of life warning message

Microsoft Security – Windows 10:

And then, also on January 14th,  the National Security Agency or NSA tells us that Windows 10 has a major security breach.

“On January 14, Microsoft released a set of patches for the Windows platform. While all of the issues addressed in the patch release are serious, this article will discuss one of them: CVE-2020-0601. Above anything else, we urge everyone to take action and patch their systems. CVE-2020-0601 is a serious vulnerability, because it can be exploited to undermine Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) trust. PKI is a set of mechanisms that home users, businesses, and governments rely upon in a wide variety of ways. The vulnerability permits an attacker to craft PKI certificates to spoof trusted identifies, such as individuals, web sites, software companies, service providers, or others. Using a forged certificate, the attacker can (under certain conditions) gain the trust of users or services on vulnerable systems, and leverage that trust to compromise them.”

I don’t pretend to know what this security breach does, but I do know that if your Operating System is Windows 10 and you haven’t downloaded and installed the latest Windows 10 updates, you’re crazy!

Internet Explorer:

And, now we find out that Internet Explorer also has a major vulnerability. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reports:

“Microsoft has released a security advisory to address a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer. A remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. According to the advisory, “Microsoft is aware of limited targeted attacks.””

And, from Newsgram:

“Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date. The vulnerability was first reported by US Homeland Security on Friday evening, although the issue is not limited to American devices.”

Since 2014, CISA has recommended that people not use Internet Explorer, but use a different browser instead:

“US-CERT is aware of active exploitation of a use-after-free vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer. This vulnerability affects IE versions 6 through 11 and could allow unauthorized remote code execution. US-CERT recommends that users and administrators review Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983 for mitigation actions and workarounds. Those who cannot follow Microsoft’s recommendations, such as Windows XP users, may consider employing an alternate browser.”

Our recommendation?  Use Firefox!

Is Your Machine Infected?

How can you tell if you have a virus or other malware? Here is a description of some possible malware symptoms you may be experiencing.

Remember, with software, you get what you pay for, so don’t use a free anti-virus. Do you have a great anti-virus?  We like Eset’s NOD32.

Conclusion:

Make sure you have your anti-virus set to automatically check everything you do.  At least once a week, you should also run a virus scan to make extra sure that your machine is good to go.

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.

Confessions of a Neophobe – 6 Surprising Reasons to Keep Windows 7

Believe it or not, Geek For Hire is recommending that you keep Windows 7.  Even though there’s some scary language coming out of Microsoft like “UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10 NOW!” and “WINDOWS 7 ISN’T SECURE!”, we believe that you should be okay. But, here is the exact wording from the Microsoft website.

“The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.”

Call us crazy, but at Geek For Hire, we don’t think this is really the end of the world. And, at least for right now, we’re not recommending that you go out and purchase a new Windows 10 machine or migrate to the newest version of Windows.

keep windows 7?

Here are our reasons to keep Windows 7:

  1. Change is bad. (You were wondering what neophobe meant, weren’t you!)
  2. Your older machine probably can’t handle the memory requirements
  3. You don’t like to learn something new
  4. A new machine with Windows 10 is expensive, especially if it comes with all the storage and speed you need.
  5. Your old software may not work with Windows 10 – you’d have to buy a whole new software package.
  6. But, the Most Important thing to know if you keep Windows 7:
    Windows updates consist primarily of security and protection updates. As long as you use a very good AntiVirus software package AND keep it up to date, you should be fine.  We like ESET’s NOD32.

If you’re looking for more detailed information, we published this blog several months ago about what your options are with Windows 7.

Keep an eye on this page.  As the year progresses we may recommend an upgrade to Windows 10.

Conclusion:

If you decide to keep Windows 7, you must keep your Anti-Virus software up to date!

Please note: We will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like. Sometimes we’ll receive an affiliate commission for at no additional cost to you.

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.