Blog

Have You Recently Left Corporate Life?

What You Need to Know

  • Have you recently left corporate life either by choice or the result of downsizing?
  • Do you have the right tools for your job search?
  • Do you have the most cost effective system for your home office?
  • Are you an effective “Road Warrior?” Does your technology support your mobile needs?
  • Since you no longer have a support desk, do you have someone to help you with maintenance issues?
  • What about security issues, backup, and a disaster plan?

Setting up a Home Office

  • Equipment selection
  • Software
  • Services
  • Maintenance and security

On the Road – Mobile Needs

  • Laptops
  • Internet access
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Minimizing communication costs
  • Online services (cloud computing)
  • Maintenance and security

Need help making the right decisions regarding your tech requirements for home and on the road? Contact me either by phone 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com for a free consultation.

About Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs (From the Archives – 2011)

It’s hard to start a technology program without taking a moment to reflect on the life of Steve Jobs and the impact he has had on all our lives. So much has been written about him since his passing. I can only reflect on the impact he has made on me personally. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t rely on a product or service that Steve Jobs did not have a hand in creating. Whether it is the computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, etc., try to think of a day that goes by that doesn’t include the creative genius of Steve Jobs. His vision has created many products and services that have been copied, but not successfully duplicated in performance. Look at iTunes and the iPad where everyone has attempted to emulate his genius with little success.

While I never met the man, he was truly one of the most remarkable people of the past century, if not history, and had a profound impact on my life. If not for Steve Jobs, I would not have discovered technology, which has become my passion, since I left a career in the corporate world.

It is only fitting that today’s program, which was planned before his death, is about the cell phone market. Without his vision, my show would not be possible, and my career change would probably have resulted in yet another unfulfilling job. Thank you, Steve, and today’s program is dedicated to you.

From The Desk to My Hand

It was the middle of 1982, and as my business partner and I were making our way through The Netherlands Schiphol Airport, we decided to stop by the local Duty Free Shop. One of the busiest stores in the terminal, they carried some of the most recognizable brands and designer items. As we made our way through their many aisles, we stopped at a new department featuring some of their latest products.

Our eyes were immediately drawn to a new electronic device which was getting a great deal of attention. And there it was, the Commodore 64 computer, the first of its kind. Up until that time, my partner and I had never utilized any technology for our business or personal lives. So, without hesitation, we both lined up and each purchased our first computer. We both struggled to learn how to use it and had no idea how this simple computer would start a revolution that would change our lives and how businesses would operate in the future.

For the past few years, I had been hopping around the world with only telephones and faxes (very expensive!) as a means to communicate with business partners. All meetings were conducted face to face. I was making monthly trips to Europe and at least 4 trips a year to the Far East. There were several instances when I would fly to a country, meet with associates in the airport to sign agreements, and hop on the next plane home.

As the ‘80s moved forward, Microsoft introduced their first Windows computer, while Apple launched its initial Macintosh unit. Companies started to provide their staffs with desktop computers for word processing. Computers started to pop up in homes. The Age of Technology was in full swing, and in the mid nineties, AOL started offering Internet access through telephone lines. However, it would take time before any work could be done away from your desk.

Moving through the ‘90’s, technology gradually crept into our lives. Computers became more powerful, and laptops became a necessary accessory. Toward the end of the decade, handheld devices started to enter the market. The blackberry became a staple as a pager, email provider, and a rudimentary means of access to the Internet. Starting in 2001, Apple entered the handheld market with its first iPod, offering music and other features, such as the ability to listen to books through Audible. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was a game changer. Google’s Android followed shortly thereafter, in 2008. Starting in 2010, tablets were introduced by both Apple and Google.

All of a sudden, we became a mobile society. No longer were we tethered to our desks. We were able to communicate and access information on the road. As we moved through the decade, it was possible to leave our computers at the office and home. Phones and tablets became mainstream, as handheld devices outsold computers. It is estimated that in 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year.

I have been writing this document on a number of different devices from several locations. In the past, this could only have been accomplished by saving the file on a “flash drive” and transferring it from device to device. Now, with the advent of “cloud storage,” it can be accessed on any computer I use, as well as a phone or tablet.

Growing up, television was still in its infancy. Listening to the radio was mainstream. We now have “Smart TVs” with Internet access. Why go to movies with the advent of “streaming?” Isn’t it ironic that radio has returned in the form of podcasts which lets us enjoy programs similar to how we relied on radios 70 – 80 years ago?

I often look at my life through a prism of “pre and post technology’s infancy.” I have written about my overall discomfort with corporate life, particularly the travel that was involved, prior to the Internet becoming mainstream. Having made the decision in the early 90’s to change careers, what would have happened if I hadn’t recognized the potential of the Internet and decided to be a computer tutor and technology consultant? At 52, where would I have turned. I had a successful corporate career, but needed another challenge. Looking back to nearly 30 years ago, the world of technology offered me the opportunity to pursue a second career, which has been rewarding and exciting.

As I complete this article from my handheld device in the park, thank you Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Case, and the many others who have made this ride so enjoyable.

Do You Have a Password Strategy?

One of the most common ways that hackers break into computers and mobile devices is by obtaining passwords. Although, I realize that it is easy to have one password for all your sites, this approach significantly increases your risk of identity theft.
 Here is my 10 top list of simple password rules:
 
10 – Do not share your passwords
 
 9 – Avoid using birthdays, family names, addresses, or any other obvious personal information 
 
 8 – Include letters (at least one capitalized), numbers, and symbols
 
 7 – Do not use the same password for your e-mail and web based accounts
 
 6 –  Do not reuse the same password for all your accounts
 
 5 – Change your passwords every 6 months or as soon as you suspect any unauthorized activities on any of your accounts
 
 4 – Do not respond to ANY requests (e-mails or text messages) for personal information
 3 – Do not enter password information at any free wi-fi locations such as coffee shops, public parks, hotels, airports, etc. 
 
 2-  Always log off when you leave your computer or device, and if you are using anyone else’s equipment
 
And my number one recommendation:
 
1 – DO NOT KEEP A LIST OF YOUR PASSWORDS ON YOUR COMPUTER OR MOBILE DEVICE
 
Some of you may already be using one of the many online password managers. However, the important point is that you have a strategy that you are comfortable with that reduces the risk of being hacked and a victim of identity fraud.

 

Are You Being Overwhelmed by Spam Phone Calls and Text Messages?

Unwanted calls and spam texts are annoying, but you can do something about them. The New York Times has reported that there are steps you can take to block and report spam calls and texts. Here are some basic recommendations.

– Block and report individual numbers.

– Don’t dial any numbers in an automated menu, don’t reply to any text messages with “STOP,” don’t even talk.

– You can put your number on the Do Not Call list and report unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission.

CLICK HERE to read the complete article in the New York Times and learn more about the action you can take to reduce the number of unwanted calls and texts.

 

What is Malware?

Wikipedia describes Malware as any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server or computer network.

PC Mag reports that the following are the most common signs that your computer has been infested with Malware.

Popup Ads Start Popping Up Everywhere

Your Browser Keeps Getting Redirected

An Unknown App Sends Scary Warnings

Mysterious Posts Appear on Your Social Media

You Get Ransom Demands

Your System Tools Are Disabled

In addition to having an anti-virus program (with the latest updates) installed in your computer, a strong malware program such as Malwarebytes must be installed as well.

Concerned about your iPhone battery life?

Business Insider reports on the 5 common myths about iPhone battery life

Myth #1: Closing apps you’re not using can save battery life

Myth #2: Charging your phone overnight can hurt the battery

Myth #3: Apple’s $29 battery replacements are guaranteed to improve your device’s battery life

Myth #4: Turning off settings like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will always save your battery life

Myth #5: Letting the iPhone adjust brightness automatically hurts battery life

Click here to read the entire article from Business Insider

Apple offers many suggestions for each of your Apple devices on how to increase your battery life. Click here to read the Apple post.

 

How to Review and Delete Your Alexa History

Alexa records everything you say and stores it all in the Alexa app.

Want to review what you’ve asked Alexa (and maybe delete some of the more embarrassing inquiries)? Here’s how.

Click here to read the complete article and the steps you can take to delete your Alexa commands.

 

How to Minimize the Risk of Identity Theft

What are the most causes of Identity Theft?

When someone obtains your personal information – name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, birthdate, social security numbers, driver’s license, credit cards.

While it is impossible to totally eliminate the risk of identity theft, here are some helpful tips on how to minimize the risk.

What about the Equifax Data Breach?

Call each of the three major credit companies and freeze your credit file.

Equifax  800 685-1111  Experian 888 397-3742  TransUnion 888-909-8872

Income Tax Fraud

Do not send your social security number by text message or e-mail. Respond to IRS requests received by mail only. File early. Send all tax reports and checks by certified mail.

Shopping

Use only credit cards when shopping. Credit card charges can be challenged. Do not use debit cards. On the Internet, make sure that the site begins with https.  Do not store credit card information with retailers. Remember the data breaches with well known retailers such as Target.

Traveling

Beware of free public wi-fi networks in hotels, coffee shops, airports, public parks, etc. Do not access sensitive sites such as your bank, financial institutions, and online purchasing sites requiring password information.  I use a private internet access service which provides the privacy you need in these public places. CLICK HERE to read more about VPN services.

Protect Your Computer

Update all anti-virus and malware programs. Download and install program updates as requested. Ignore phone call warnings about your computers. Hang up immediately. Delete popups warnings about viruses from unknown sources. Delete e-mails from banks and shopping sites asking to update personal info. Never respond to any requests for personal information over the Internet. To learn more about “phishing,” CLICK HERE. I would avoid requests such as “please rate my site or performance and winning a trip.”

Mobile Phones.

Password protect your phone. Do not include lists of personal information or passwords on your mobile phone. Do not download mobile apps from unknown sources or third parties.

Do Not Call Registry

The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number that you want to register. To register online (donotcall.gov), you will have to respond to a confirmation email.

What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft

Call your bank and cancel your ATM/debit card

Call your credit card companies and report your card has been stolen

Report your missing driver’s license to your local DMV and get a new one

File a police report

Call the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion) and have a fraud alert placed on your account

Debt collectors – Tell them you are a victim and provide them with documentation

Tax time is almost upon us, and each year, I rebroadcast an interview I conducted on my radio show with Steve Weisman, a lawyer, college professor, author and one of the country’s leading experts in cybersecurity, identity theft and scams. His website, www.scamicide.com, is updated daily and is one of the most comprehensive sites in the field of cybersecurity,

Below is a link to my interview with Steve on the subject of income tax fraud.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have You Recently Left Corporate Life?

What You Need to Know

  • Have you recently left corporate life either by choice or the result of downsizing?
  • Do you have the right tools for your job search?
  • Do you have the most cost effective system for your home office?
  • Are you an effective “Road Warrior?” Does your technology support your mobile needs?
  • Since you no longer have a support desk, do you have someone to help you with maintenance issues?
  • What about security issues, backup, and a disaster plan?

Setting up a Home Office

  • Equipment selection
  • Software
  • Services
  • Maintenance and security

On the Road – Mobile Needs

  • Laptops
  • Internet access
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Minimizing communication costs
  • Online services (cloud computing)
  • Maintenance and security

Need help making the right decisions regarding your tech requirements for home and on the road? Contact me either by phone 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com for a free consultation.

 

 

Page 1 of 2012345»1020...Last »