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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NoScript – Another Key to Staying Safe

My NoScript stopped working yesterday so I had the chance to peek over Chris’ shoulder as he was reinstalling it.  I almost felt naked without it.  I know that NoScript protects me and ensures that I’m not sharing private data with entities that shouldn’t have it.

What is NoScript?

NoScript is a free extension that works with Firefox, Chris’ browser of choice. It blocks all web content that requires Javascript, Flash, and Silverlight in order to fully display content.  In order to display that content, you must specifically allow it by adding the website to your “white list.”

Why would I want to block Javascript?

Many of the bad actors out there use Flash and Javascript to install malware onto your machine.  There have been times when I have clicked on a website without realizing what it was.  Once the site opened, I realized I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  If I did not have NoScript installed, it would have run all of the scripts on that site without asking permission ahead of time.  Once the scripts start running, they can install all sorts of stuff on my machine.

How do I get NoScript?

Start by opening your Firefox browser and then follow these easy steps:

  1. On the top menu bar, click on “Tools”, and then “Add-ons”
  2. A new tab will open. Then click on “Extensions”
  3. In the search box, enter “NoScript”
  4. Click on “NoScript Security Suite”
  5. Then click on “Add to Firefox”

My websites look all weird now!

Once you’ve installed NoScript, you’ll notice right away that pages won’t load as you expect them too.  You’ll need to spend some time training NoScript about which web sites you trust.  Notice that at the top right of your Firefox window, you’ll see a red “S” that looks like this:

NoScript

Now What Do I Do?

Click on that button and you’ll see a list of websites that NoScript is not allowing to fully load. Then click on “Temp TRUSTED” or “TRUSTED” for each site that you want to load.  You’ll be surprised at the number of scripts that want to load for each web page!  Sometimes, you’ll need to do this another time or two until the page loads to your satisfaction.  Here’s an example for Facebook:

NoScript

Note that if you select “Temp TRUST”, you’ll need to redo this step each time you load that page.  Once you’ve selected which sites you’ll trust, click on the green circle to “reload”.  Once you reload, there may be additional pages that the website wants to load.  I’ve noticed that these are generally for tracking and ads.

I hope this keeps you safer on the Internet!

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 WhattsApp 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 in 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!

 

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 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 a 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.

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

Chris Ed

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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5 Easy Steps To Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone

You know how we always tell you to delete the history on your web browser on your computer?  Well, you need to delete browsing history on your smartphone too.  It helps speed up your interactions with the servers.  But it also helps keep your data more secure too, since it deletes any installed cookies as well as your entire history.

If anyone is able to hack into your phone they may be able to gain access to your login information for any number of websites.  It may also help to make you look like a new user to websites that track the number of times you’ve visited.  You’ve gotten that message – “You’ve logged on ten times for free.  Subscribe now!”  I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to provide my email address to another sales organization and an easy way around that error message is to delete browsing history.

It is really very easy to delete your history.  Just follow these 5 steps.

5 Easy Steps to Delete Browsing History on your iPhone

  1. Open up your SettingsHow to Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone
  2. Click on “Safari”
  3. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page
  4. Click on “Clear History and Website Data”
  5. Confirm that you truly want to delete browsing history.  It really will delete all of the open web pages on your iPhone. This means that every page you’ve opened in your iPhone’s browser will be gone!  This was a surprise to me because I tend to save my open tabs so I can reference them again.  If there are tabs that you have open on your phone that you would like to keep, it’s best to save them first, then wipe the history!

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 PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Facebook Followers Hoax

In the past few weeks, I have seen numerous friends posting about all of the “weird” Facebook followers they have.  They’ve been a little freaked out about the strange people who see all of their posts.  I keep getting asked questions like:

  • “Why are these people interested in me?”
  • “Are they trying to steal my identity?”
  • “How do I stop this?”

First things first:

Change how you are sharing. If you make all of your posts for “Friends Only”, and not “Public”, no one else can see what you’re posting.  Even people who are following you can not see your posts if you don’t set your posts to “public”.

Secondly:

It’s a hoax.  The instructions tell you to type “Following Me” into the search box.  What comes up is a whole list of names of people you’ve never heard of.  Facebook presents you with this list because they have names similar to “Following me”.  Just like if you were to search for “John Smith”, you’d get people with names similar to “John Smith”.

How to Find Your Facebook Followers:

If you really want to see who is following you without being friends with you, follow these steps on the Facebook app:

  1. Click on your name/ go to your own page.
  2. Just below your photo and name is a little line that says “Followed by xxx people”. Facebook Followers
  3. Click on that link and scroll through the list.  Most of these will probably be people who have sent you a friend request, but you’ve never responded.  Are there people you don’t know with no friends in common with you?  Feel free to block any of them that you don’t want seeing your public posts.

From the Facebook webpage, follow these steps:

  1. Click on your name.
  2. CLick on “Friends”.
  3. When the list of your friends pops up, click on the down arrow next to “Other” at the top of the list.  Then click on “Followers” to see the whole list.  Facebook Followers
  4. Scroll through the list.  Most of these will probably be people who have sent you a friend request, but you’ve never responded.  Are there people you don’t know with no friends in common with you?  Feel free to block any of them that you don’t want seeing your public posts.

Were you able to find your Facebook Followers?  Let us know if you still need  help!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you check it out.)

Spam Calls on Your Smartphone? How Can You Minimize?

Over the past few days I have been absolutely inundated with fraudulent callers, telemarketers, and just plan old spam calls.  But the good thing is that I know what they are and can choose not to answer!

I’ve been using a new app on my iPhone called Call Protect.  It works with my AT&T service and it seems to work very well.  Here is a list of the spam calls I’ve received today:

Spam Calls on your smartphone

It’s pretty annoying to receive all of those Telemarketer and Spam calls while I’m trying to work!  If you have AT&T service, you can head over to the app store on your Smartphone to download and install this app for yourself.

I’ve been looking to see if Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile have a similar app and haven’t had any luck.  If you know, please provide a link to the app 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 fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

Nature Apps to Help You Explore the Great Outdoors!

When you’re wandering around on a hike, you’ll sometimes come across a tree, or a plant, or a bird that you can’t identify.  There are nature apps for that!

Nature Apps for Trees:

Leafsnap is one of the nature apps for your mobile device – Smartphone or Tablet – that lets you identify trees from their leaves.  Take a photo of a leaf, upload it to the app, and voila!, they’ll tell you what kind of tree it is! For now, it only identifies trees in the north eastern part of the US, but they are working on adding the rest of the country soon.  Info is on their website: http://leafsnap.com/ (FREE)

Birds:Nature Apps

Sometimes identifying birds at the feeder or while on a hike can be challenging. This app lets you compare the bird in front of you to its photo on the app.  There is a good written description of each bird and a sound file too.  More info here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bird-guide-offline-bird-identification-app/id1122226312?mt=8 (FREE)

Mushrooms:

If you’re looking at mushrooms, want to identify them, and want to keep track of where you saw a particular species before, then Roger’s Mushrooms is the app for you.  The app includes tutorials so that you can learn about particular species.  More info here: http://rogersmushroomsapp.com/ ($4.99)

Noxious Weeds:

In Colorado, we have a lot of invasive species.  This app helps you identify a particular plant with photos of the plant itself, leaves, and flowers.  There is also a written description of each, including its height, habitat, and max elevation.  More info here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/colorado-noxious-weeds/id833042035?mt=8 (FREE)

Clouds:

Did you ever wonder what kind of cloud you’re looking at?  Is it likely to bring rain or are clear skies on the way.  Coton is the app for you.  It helps you identify the clouds you’re seeing, ventures a guess at your forecast, and gives you a little science lesson too!  More info on their website: http://cotonapp.com/ ($1.99)

What are your favorite Nature apps for exploring?  Let us know!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

Your New iPhone: How to Set it Up For Ease and Security

Did you get a brand new iPhone over the holidays?  There are some things you should do right away to make sure it stays secure and you keep being happy with it.  Even if you’ve had your phone for several months, make sure you’ve taken care of these.

Lock down your new iPhone:

First – you want to make sure your new iPhone can be locked down.  Go to “Settings”, and scroll down to “Touch (or Face) ID and Passcode”.  If you’ve already set up a passcode, you’ll need to enter it before continuing to these options. Decide if you want to use the Touch or Face ID, or if you just want to use a passcode.  If you do want to use a passcode, we recommend that you select one that is more than four digits.  You can select a custom alph-numeric code, or a custom numeric code.

Fine Tune Location Settings:

You’ll also want to lock down your Location settings.  Click on “Settings”, and then “Privacy”.  You can see which Apps get location data and turn off the ones that don’t really need to know where you are located.

Set up Siri:Setting up your new iPhone

When I’m on a road trip, I turn on “Hey Siri”.  This allows me to have hands-free interaction with my iphone.  To turn this on, click on “Settings”, and then “Siri & Search”.  Slide the button to “on” to allow for Siri to listen.  You can also select a language and voice for Siri on this screen.

Sharing Analytics:

Decide if you want to share analytics from your iPhone with Apple.  Apple collects usage data and location information.  To turn this off click on “Settings”, and then “Privacy”.  Scroll to the bottom and click on “Analytics”.  Make sure the button is turned off.

Targeted Ads:

Opt out of receiving targeted ads.  Click on “Settings”, “Privacy”.  Scroll to the bottom and click on “Advertising”.  Slide the green button On to Limit Ad Tracking.

Save Your Photos!

This is a good time to decide what to do with your photos. Do you have a plan in place for saving them off of your phone?  I have set up  Dropbox to save my photos onto the cloud every day.

Add Shortcuts for Favorite Websites:

Do you have websites that you go to frequently?  You can add them as an icon on your new iPhone screen by clicking on the up arrow at the bottom of your Safari screen.  Slide the bottom row of options over until you see “Add to Home Screen”.  Click on that, personalize the text, and then click “Add”.

What do you do to set up your new iPhone?  Share 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 fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

Year in Review from Geek For Hire, Inc.

It’s time for our 2017 Year In Review.  This year has seen some big changes in Technology.  But we focused a lot on keeping safe when you are using your computer and your Smartphone.  It’s primarily about using common sense.  Microsoft or Apple will not call you when you have a virus on your machine.  Trickier, though are the emails which look like they are coming from a company you use and trust.  We spent a good bit of time this year explaining how to protect yourself from scams.

Keeping safe on the internet has been our prime focus throughout the year:

  • We started the year with how to protect yourself from Phishing Attacks. “Phishing” is when someone tries to obtain your personal information to log into your bank accounts, or hack your email to send scam messages.  Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks
  • A few months later, we focused on phishing again in Phishing Expeditions
  • With the Holidays, everyone is just a little more vulnerable, and some people let their guard down when they are shopping online. Here was my guide to keeping safe online during the holidays: Holiday Phishing
  • Throughout this year, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of scammy phone calls our customers have been receiving. In the spring I wrote about how to tell if the person on the other end of the line is for real or not: 4 Ways To Tell if the Person Calling You is not a Scammer
  • Early this fall, we learned that the US Government has had software made and sold by Kaspersky Labs on their “Do Not Trust / Do Not Use” list for years. Here is my write-up about that issue: Kaspersky Anti-virus

Online Privacy

We wrote several times about online privacy.  Keeping safe on the internet isn’t just about not clicking on those bad links.  You also need to make sure that you are keeping your personal information private.  Here are several articles about Online Privacy and Social Media:Year In Review

We also talked about new technology:

  • With the new iPhone X getting so much attention with their new unlocking technology, we thought it was time to take a look at the history of Facial Recognition
  • And, Virtual Reality has made some strides in the past few years. We took a look at some of the changes: Virtual Reality Update

And the newest hot topic:

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)