What to do if you’ve been hacked

Pandemics bring out the best and worst in mankind, and this one’s no different. It may have been quiet for a little while, but hucksters and charlatans will be back with a vengence. In your digital life, this means phone scams, bank/credit card fraud, and online foolishness will be rampant. We’re frequently asked about security by our clients. Usually folks go from no concern whatever for years to sudden panic after seeing something they don’t recognize on the screen (or “hearing” about something from a questionable source). We can recommend … [continued…]

Working from home–welcome to remote access

As offices empty out from pandemic concerns, a whole new group of people are trying to work from home–and discovering the wonders of “remote access.” As veterans of the “tele-computing” wars since the earliest modems, we thought we’d give you a quick overview of some options. For those who vaguely remember connecting to work years ago, you were most likely connecting directly from one modem to another, using products like Carbon Copy, pcAnyWhere, VNC, etc. And then came the internet. Now accessing a work computer means knowing what internet address … [continued…]

Managing Google History

Our Google history is extensive; why not use Google itself to show us just how extensive our Google history is? By now most of us have heard the big internet players record nearly everything we do.  The business case for this is to match advertisers to us, and we’re assured of (some) anonymity. But you think it’s just your browser history?  Think again, bit breath! If you have an account with Google (for Gmail, YouTube, Android Play Store, etc.) you can get some idea of just what they collect if … [continued…]

The “Registry” Rant

An encounter with yet another old computer throwing a multitude of errors reminds us of a pet peeve–the Windows “registry.”  This bane of our existence has been around since the beginning of Windows. (Don’t feel so smug, Mac people–you have your own idiosyncrasies.) And what good’s a blog without an occasional rant…. In the simple days of DOS, software applications “kept themselves to themselves,” installing any extra bits and pieces they needed in their own separate areas. With the advent of Windows, however, someone had the bright idea to create … [continued…]

What is “Software,” Anyway?

We’re often reminded how many computer users are still a little “iffy” on some basic computing concepts—particularly those who were already out of school when PCs first hit.  We make no judgments…it’s all a matter of where one spent one’s misspent youth. Software is perhaps one of the squishier terms for people to grasp.  In a nutshell:  “hardware” is a physical product one buys to have a computing system (the stuff that comes in boxes—the tower or laptop, mice, printers, routers, etc.).  “Software” is the stuff that makes that hardware … [continued…]

Password Managers

When the ‘net was young, and accounts were few, we started jotting down our ID/password combos.  First one Post-It, then a dozen; we may have started a neat, spreadsheet print-out, but soon it was quickly covered with dozens of hastily-added handwritten additions.  As the number of websites requiring logins proliferated, even less-than-power users were overwhelmed. We re-used the same ones, at first, until each site started enforcing different criteria.  Then we were scared shirtless by media reports on how unsafe this was–but by then we had dozens (or hundreds) of … [continued…]

Tips ‘n Tricks

Here we’ll bring you bits of info average folks should know about their computers and phones—that you may not have seen elsewhere. We’re moving into new “digital digs,” so check back soon as we fill in this section.