Are You Thinking of Using a Password Manager?

I am of two minds when it comes to an online password manager.  On the one hand, I think it would be a great way to keep multiple passwords secure.  On the other hand, I worry about hackers gaining control of my data.

That being said, if your keyboard (or monitor) looks like this, it’s time to find another solution!

Is this your password manager?!

Luckily, there are several online password managers to choose from:

  • 1Password
  • Dashlane
  • LastPass
  • KeePassX
  • mSecure
  • Sticky Password

Most of these have the same or similar features.

  • Manage passwords over multiple devices
  • Generates ultra strong passwords
  • Stores banking and other sensitive information
  • Most are free but do have an annual or monthly fee for certain upgrades
  • Some utilize the iPhone fingerprint to confirm your identity

Even with a secure password manager, you still need to be careful of “spoofing”, where a fraudulent web page is displayed to trick you into providing your super-secure password key as described in this article:

Which password manager do you use?  What are its best features?  What don’t you like? Let us know in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

 

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Top 10 Ways to Use Siri

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays.  With New Years Eve just around the corner, I’m giving this post another go!  Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve had a number of friends tell me recently that Siri is worthless and never gets anything right. “And besides,” they say, “I can just do it faster myself than asking Siri!”

Granted, Siri had her challenges when she was first rolled out, and many of them remain. But if you just ask her to do simple tasks, she’ll generally get them right.

Here are ten things I frequently use Siri for:

  1. Call people:  For example, ask Siri to call your Mom. (If you haven’t set up relationships within your contact settings, here’s an article that teaches you how to do that.)
  2. Email people
  3. Text people:  I especially like this feature. I will dictate the message to Siri and she’ll type and send it.
  4. Set timers and alarms Just be aware that Siri sometimes hears “60” as “16”. I will instead ask for a timer for “61 minutes”.
  5. Check on the weather
  6. Show most recently received email
  7. Search emails:  You can find emails with specific text in them or emails from a specific person
  8. Find out the time and weather in another city:  Don’t forget, these are two separate questions!
    1. Siri, what time is it in London?
    2. Siri, show me the weather forecast in London.
  9. Search for a local business When you ‘re looking for a specific business, ask Siri to look it up for you. She’ll generally respond with a map and all of their contact information.
  10. Open an application on your phone:  Simply ask Siri to open the map application or the FitBit application, etc.
  11. Tell you a bedtime story:

Tell me a bedtime story

Siri still has her flaws, but if you know what they are and can work around them, she’ll serve you well. (In a limited capacity!)

How do you use Siri?  Let us know if the comments below!

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.

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A Look Back at 2015 in Technology

Every year there are new developments in the Technology world, and 2015 was no exception.  Here are just a few:

VR Headset – At the CES 2015 show in January, no one expected Virtual Reality for the masses to be available this year.  They were wrong!  Announced in time for Black Friday, Oculus as released a headset that works exclusively with the Samsung Galaxy smartphone.  More info here:

iWatch – Apple has been developing their watch since 2011 and it was finally available in the spring of this year.  Reviews on the different tech sites that review these things have been mixed.  Reviews by Amazon consumers are much higher.

Intel Skylake – Chris is pretty excited about the new 6th generation Intel Core Processor.  He says it will run better on mobile technology.  Do you know what the 1st generation was?  Check out this article and astonish your geeky friends!

Tesla – Chris is also excited about the new Ludicrous upgrade to the Tesla Model S P90DL.  Well, anything that takes you from zero to sixty in under three seconds has got to be worthy of some salivation!  Here’s a link to DragTimes video.

Car Hacking – This was a big story this past spring.  Computers in cars are pretty ubiquitous now and are just as susceptible to hacking as other computers are.  The difference  here is that car manufacturers don’t seem concerned and are not doing what they could to make their systems more secure.  A previous blog about a report released by Senator Ed Markey has more information.

DieselGate – Earlier this year we found out that VW and Audi installed software on many of its 2009-2015 diesel models that would essential “cheat” emissions tests.  From this NYTimes article The software sensed when the car was being tested and then activated equipment that reduced emissions, United States officials said. But the software turned the equipment off during regular driving, increasing emissions far above legal limits, possibly to save fuel or to improve the car’s torque and acceleration.”  There’s more info here: Late last month, VW announced their fix for the diesel engines.  Automotive News describes the modifications that will need to be made here

What do you were the most significant technology announcements in 2015?  Share in the comments below!

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.

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How To Keep Your Online Presence Safe During the Holiday Season

With the holidays coming up, people are doing lots of online shopping.  It is very important to keep your online presence safe!  Last week I heard the Amazon website may have been hacked and user IDs and passwords may have been compromised.

Now is the time to change your password for all of your online accounts.  Especially accounts where you have credit card or other financial information stored!

When you change your password, make it a STRONG password!

Use each type of character that the website allows. For example, some websites only allow you to use letters, capital letters, and numbers.  Others allow you to use special characters like “@”, or “&”, or “#”.  Always use the special characters unless the website doesn’t allow you to. One of the best ways to make a strong password is use a word that is familiar to you and change some of the letters.  For example, you can change “a” to “A” or “@”.  You can change “o” to “O” or “0”.  An “s” can become “5” or “$”.  You get the idea.  It’s also important to use a long password.  Most websites require eight characters, but you should use at least 16 characters wherever the website allows you to.  Adding a date to your familiar word will add another eight characters to your password

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use letters and capitals
  2. Use numbers
  3. Use special characters
  4. Replace letters with capitals, numbers, and special characters
  5. Make the password at least 16 characters long, or as long as the website will allow you

So a good strong password could be “1_lIk3-$un5ets_1215” instead of “Ilikesunsets”

When you change your password, make it a UNIQUE password!

Use a different password for each site.  When you use the same password on multiple sites it makes it that much easier for hackers to get into your accounts on other sites as well.  Each site where you have stored credit card information or other financial information should have a different and unique password.  So, yes, you’ll need a different one for Amazon and eBay.  And, you’ll need a different one for Fidelity and  Charles Schwab.

What’s the best way to do this?  Add two or more characters to your strong password to indicate which site it is for.  For example, you could use  “1_lIk3-$un5ets_F1d”, or  “1_lIk3-$un5ets_eby”

Phishing is also a holiday issue!

Phishing is where someone tries to trick you into giving them your sensitive and private information.  Generally, they’ll send you an email.  (They might also call you on your phone.)  They tell you that there is an issue with your Amazon or Charles Schwab account and you need to update your password immediately.  The email looks legitimate and you are tempted to click on the “Log into your account now!” button.  Even if it is a legitimate email, you should always go directly to the official website and log on from there.

 

Do you already use strong passwords?  What tricks do you use?  How do you remember them all?  Share your tips with your fellow readers in the comments below!

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.

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Patch Tuesday

A couple of years ago, when I started leaving my computer on all the time, I noticed that my computer would be turned off in the morning. Since I knew I hadn’t turned it off, I turned to the most likely culprit. I asked Chris why he had turned off my machine without letting me know so that I could save all of my stuff first!

That’s when he told me about Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has been sending out monthly updates, generally on the second Tuesday of each month, for a long time. They formalized this process in October 2003. According to this article:

“Microsoft has a pattern of releasing a larger number of updates in even-numbered months, and fewer in odd-numbered months.[7][8][9] Minor updates are also released outside Patch Tuesday. Daily updates consist of malware database refreshes for Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Sometimes there is an extraordinary Patch Tuesday, two weeks after the regular Patch Tuesday. Some updates could be released at any time.”

Although Microsoft has changed the name to “Update Tuesday”, the new name hasn’t gained wide acceptance in technical communities. The patches generally include code to update your Operating System to fix known bugs and to plug up any vulnerabilities from malware.

Most people notice a “Patch Wednesday” more than Patch Tuesday. Since the updates are generally installed overnight, you might be prompted to turn off your machine on Wednesday morning to finish the installation. And, occasionally you’ll experience glitches with your machine on Wednesday.

Patch Wednesday is also called “Crash Wednesday” since your computer is more likely to crash after the Patch Tuesday updates have been installed. We frequently hear from customers on “Patch Wednesday” who tell us that all of a sudden they can’t print, or their internet isn’t working. Lots of times the fix is as easy as turning off the machine and turning it back on again. But sometimes they need us to reinstall drivers or re-configure their router.

It’s also been called “Exploit Wednesday” since there have been times when the Microsoft patches have left machines more vulnerable to malware. In fact, a recent blog by UK engineer “Zeros & Ones” is a bit of a rant about the whole Patch Tuesday process.

“Security is not ‘my bag’ as such – but the people at Microsoft seem to be in a fantastic situation where security issues only arise on Tuesdays. How do they do they seem to manage to get the ‘bad man’ on side?”

If you’re interested in all the patches over the past ten years, check out this website, or this one for the past five years.

What do you think about Patch Tuesday?  Share in the comments below!

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.

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How to Take the Headache Out of Asking for Computer Repair

Many people call in a panic about their computer. They’ve been living with something for awhile, but all of a sudden, it’s broken and they don’t know what to do.  Now they’re in crisis mode and a little bit flustered.

Last week we got a call from a customer who wasn’t able to print.  I asked a few questions to determine what the problem might be.  With printers, it can be any number of problems.  Sometimes when you get a new WiFi router, the printer stops working.  Or, your Operating System gets updated overnight and now the printer won’t work. With this gentleman, it turns out that it stopped working months ago.  He had no recollection of what happened before hand, just that it stopped working sometime during the summer.  Now, he was taking a trip and needed to print the boarding pass … no later than tomorrow!  Could we help?

You really don’t want to be in that position.  So, what can you do differently?

  • Probably the most important thing to do is to get your computer serviced regularly.  We recommend getting a tuneup once a year.  During the tuneup, Chris will check for viruses, extra files, update your anti-virus, as well as any other things that might need to be completed.
  • During the year, if you start noticing a problem, grab a piece of paper and start a list. Remember to add the date.
  • Tape it to the side of your monitor, or another easily accessible place.
  • Every time you have another question or problem, write that down too.
  • Some of these you may be able to fix yourself, or get your nephew to fix the next time he’s visiting.  If that’s the case, just cross them off!
  • When it’s time for your annual computer tuneup, or if something is really starting to bug you, give us a call and schedule your appointment.

What tips do you use to make sure you don’t forget about the little annoyances?  Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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The Biggest Lie in the Computer Industry?

What’s the biggest lie in the Computer Industry?  It’s the myth that Apple’s don’t get viruses.

Geek For Hire has been out there fixing computers since 2001 and we’ve seen just about everything. When someone tells me they have a Mac, or are switching from a PC to a Mac because Mac’s don’t get viruses, I have to respectfully disagree.

As early as 2012, Apple changed their stance about viruses on their machines. According to the Huffington Post, in June of that year, they changed their verbiage from:

“Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.”

To:

“Safety. Built right in.”

In the last few months, we’ve been seeing more and more viruses on Mac machines. Everything from lots of adware and pop-ups, to “a lady’s voice keeps telling me to run my virus scanner”, to what’s commonly being called “scare-ware”.

What’s out there?

  • Malware is the general term used for any malevolent or bad software that can get loaded onto your computer.
  • Spyware is software installed on your tech device without your knowledge or consent. It collects information about you and relays it to an external person or organization.
  • Adware is frequently called pop-ups. This is where you get lots and lots of pop-ups with advertisements. Lots of people just live with this type of infection not realizing that it’s often accompanied by other more malicious malware.
  • Virus is the most common term used by “real” people for all of these types of infections.
  • Scareware is similar to Adware in that it generates a pop-up. In this case though, the pop-up tells you that your machine has an infection and you need to visit a particular website RIGHT NOW to get the virus removed.

How to keep your computer safe? Be careful what you click on! Don’t open attachments in emails. Don’t click on ads on the websites you visit. Above all, make sure you select an anti-virus program that continually upgrades their software and pushes those changes to your computer. We recommend ESET’s NOD32 anti-virus protection for Mac’s and PC’s.

Did you think Apple machines were impervious to viruses and other malware? What steps do you take to keep your machine safe? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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Internet Searching Tips

Do you ever find yourself frustrated when searching for something on the internet?  You either get too much information, or it’s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for.  Here are some tips that I use to streamline my searching:

EXACT MATCH:
When you use quotation marks, you only search for what is inside the quotes.  For example:

Coffeehouses “live music”

will bring up all the coffeehouses that have live music.

EXCLUSION:
When you use the minus sign, you’ll exclude that information from your search.  For example:

“Republican candidates” -“Donald Trump”

will bring up information about all the Republican candidates except Donald Trump.

WILD CARD:
When you use the asterisk with another word or phrase, you’ll get lots of different options. For example:

Hollywood *

will provide results like “Hollywood Bowl”, “Hollywood Blacklist”, and “Hollywood movies”.

SPECIFIC WEB SITE:
Do you want to search within a specific web site?  Use “site:website”. For example:

“Jerry Lewis” site:nyt.com

will bring up articles relating to Jerry Lewis on the New York Times site.

MORE:
Have you used Google’s Search Tabs? Underneath Google’s search bar, there are a number of options:

WEB     NEWS     IMAGES     VIDEOS     BOOKS     MORE     SEARCH TOOLS

NEWS:
If you are looking specifically for a news story that occurred in the last 24 hours,  follow these steps:

  1. Enter your search terms in the search bar.
  2. Click on the News tab.
  3. Click on the Search Tools Tab
  4. Click on “Anytime” and select “24 hours” from the drop down menu

IMAGES:
If you’re looking for an image, enter a description in the search bar and click on the Images Tab.  If you want to fine tune your search, you can add other criteria.  Click on “Search Tools” and select the color, type of image, usage rights, etc.

LOCATION:
If you want to find something in a particular location, click on “Search Tools”, then click on “Location”, then type in where you would like to search.  For example:

“Hot Springs” California

will bring up a list of all the hot springs in California.

Have you used these tips before for searching?  Are there other tips you use?  Please share them in the comments below!

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

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Chris’ Favorite Websites

It’s important for Chris and Geek For Hire to keep up new technology, different trends, and any up and coming changes in technology.  That’s why Chris is constantly reading and learning about what’s going on in the tech world.  Some of his favorites include:

Ars Technica – http://arstechnica.com/ – Founded in 1998, it caters to the “alpha-geeks”.  Their vision was to be “technically savvy, up-to-date, and more fun” than what was currently popular in the space. ”  One of their current articles is about Google’s new OnHub router.

Fast Company – http://www.fastcompany.com/ – Launched in 1995, Fast Company has “a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design.”  FastCo has the technology news that the other sites have, but that’s not their only focus.  Here’s an article about comic books turned into movies.

Morning Ticker – http://www.morningticker.com/ – is relatively new Founded in 2014, MorningTicker covers the latest news, offering breaking news and analysis of the biggest trends and happenings around the world.  Chris has been following the Jeep hacking issue and was interested to see that Uber seems to be taking advantage of this flaw.

Slate –  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology.html?wpisrc=burger_bar –  is a daily news magazine founded in 1996.   With so many people still insisting that Mac’s and Apple iPhones are impervious to malware, Chris found this article very interesting.

Wired – http://www.wired.com/ – We’ve been receiving Wired Magazine since the very beginning – 1993.  They made the jump to the internet early on and is one of Chris’ go-to sites for news.  More Uber news – this time involving the NYC taxi system.

Where do you get your technology news?  Please 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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at www.GeekForHireInc.com. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area. They can provide remote service throughout North America.

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Top Ten Ways to Use Siri

I’ve had a number of friends tell me recently that Siri is worthless and never gets anything right. “And besides,” they say, “I can just do it faster myself than asking Siri!”

Granted, Siri had her challenges when she was first rolled out, and many of them remain. But if you just ask her to do simple tasks, she’ll generally get them right.

Here are ten things I frequently use Siri for:

  1. Call people:  For example, ask Siri to call your Mom. (If you haven’t’ set up relationships within your contact settings, here’s an article that teaches you how to do that.)
  2. Email people
  3. Text people:  I especially like this feature. I will dictate the message to Siri and she’ll type and send it.
  4. Set timers and alarms Just be aware that Siri sometimes hears “60” as “16”. I will instead ask for a timer for “61 minutes”.
  5. Check on the weather
  6. Show most recently received email
  7. Search emails:  You can find emails with specific text in them or emails from a specific person
  8. Find out the time and weather in another city:  Don’t forget, these are two separate questions!
    1. Siri, what time is it in London?
    2. Siri, show me the weather forecast in London.
  9. Search for a local business When you ‘re looking for a specific business, ask Siri to look it up for you. She’ll generally respond with a map and all of their contact information.
  10. Open an application on your phone:  Simply ask Siri to open the map application or the FitBit application, etc.

Siri still has her flaws, but if you know what they are and can work around them, she’ll serve you well. (In a limited capacity!)

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.

Please follow and like us:
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