Posts Tagged ‘Diagnosis: Technology’

  • Word play: Change your passwords … again1234!@#$

    By Paolo Chlebecek Happy Password Day! Well it’s that time of year again for all of us to celebrate our collective need to try to protect our digital lives with yet another holiday. What?! You mean you haven’t heard of password day? Well I must admit I just made it up, but maybe there’s something to this idea. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t celebrate holidays, but this is one I’ll take the time for. Why? Well, you don’t have to buy anyone anything, you set any date, and all you have to do is stay home for a little while and change ALL of your online passwords. Doesn’t sound fun? Anything can be as fun as you make it, but this “holiday” may be mandatory as we keep hearing of all of these massive password and hacking breaches. The frequency of this so called holiday should probably be more than just once a year. In fact, most large corporations have an obligatory policy to change your passwords every 60-90 days. Sound extreme? Perhaps, only as long as you change your passwords to a completely new and complex one. A report from a study published in 2010 by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that frequent mandatory password changes caused users to use a pattern called “transformation” meaning; using their old password, then change

  • Just drive: How to remain (relatively) anonymous

    By Paolo Chlebecek What if I told you that you could take your computer with you anywhere and use it in safety and convenience anywhere in the world? Too good to be true? Last year, in this column, I mentioned a Live Boot Environment or Live CD or USB. With all of the concerns with privacy, security, and tracking, a Live Boot Environment may be a viable solution. But as we get in to a few of the details, you’ll have to decide if it’s for you. So just what is it and how can you use it? Essentially, a Live CD or USB is a way to use a computer another way than how the operating system that came with that computer does. When you power on a computer, it’s programed to look for an operating system, then whatever is loaded inside is what starts. There is a simple way to interrupt that process and start your own operating system. When you do, and if the computer had that option unlocked, then you can load whatever you like. Meaning, it’s impossible to prevent what could be called unauthorized use of a computer. So be warned, use this method at your own risk. While this is an ideal way to compute and surf privately at a library computer for example, it may not be allowed. That being said, it absolutely

  • What about BOB? A good backup comes up front

    By Paolo Chlebecek You hear a report from the news that an impending crisis is heading your way. You have only moments to react. What do you do? Far too often these days, we hear of various instances all over the world where people must flee their homes to avoid serious consequences. Sadl,y many are not prepared for such events and thus suffer more than they might’ve. Can you avoid the last minute panic? If you had to go now, what would you grab? Many people say photos or photo albums. But is that practical with all of the digital media now prevalent in these times? Does your smart phone have all of your data? I have often extolled the virtues of off-site backups of your data. While there are many to choose from, there are only a few worth mentioning. Carbonite and Mozy, while not the only ones, are among the most recognized and reliable on the market today. I have been using them faithfully for backups and restoration of data for years. There are others to be sure — Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive from Microsoft, iCloud, and Evernote to name a few. In any case, it’s time, my friends, to stop what you’re doing and make a choice. Thankfully, if you have either an Android or Apple smartphone, there’s a built in backup that you can use right

  • Diagnosis, Technology: January 2017

    By Paolo Chlebecek x ***** Paolo Chlebecek is founder and owner of PaoloTek, which he started in 2003. He loves to be helpful to people and our animal friends. Feel free to contact him at Paolo@PaoloTek.Com

  • Computer forensics … in 1988?: Some things just can’t be trashed

    By Paolo Chlebecek Let’s step back for a moment to June of 1988. While essential today, back then computers were rarely in people homes and only a few were used to conduct business professionally for small business owners. Sadly, there was a man who used his computers to plan and execute a murder. He typed and printed notes and lists on his work and home computers to himself and eventually for the ransom letter that was delivered. He deleted those files from both of his computers thinking that the evidence was destroyed. He was wrong. But how can evidence be retrieved from a hard drive even if you delete it? Can you recover it if you do delete? Yes, with the right software you can. Now, it’s an easy method to search for many different programs that employ various methods to retrieve deleted data. I have successfully done so for many clients. Even, in one case, to help convict a criminal based on the recovered data found on the hard drive. How is this possible? What was the evidence that eventually lead to the conviction of the perpetrator of this horrible crime? A standard hard drive that most every computer has works on the principle of magnetism. Much like a record player, the spinning metal disk gets written or magnetized in a very specific method like tracks on songs on

  • That’s smarts! Thinking about thinking tech

    By Paolo Chlebecek Smart Phones, Smart Watches, Smart Speakers, Smart Cars, Smart Homes, and Smart Stars. Well, maybe not the latter. Anyway, what’s all this emphasis on “smart” things? Am I so dumb that I need to have all these so-called smart devices? What’s the big deal anyway? You are not alone, my friend. Anyone who knows me knows I favor tech gadgets. I have most of those items listed in the paragraph above. It’s my job, after all, but not my entire life. As I’ve said many times: Take advantage of technology, don’t let technology take advantage of you. Ahh, but how? That’s the trick. Back in 1971, a Greek-American engineer, inventor, and businessman by the name of Theodore “Ted” Paraskevakos first came up with the idea of transmission of electronic data through telephone lines, later known as Caller ID. That concept of intelligence, data processing and visual display screens into telephones continued to evolve. By 1994, we had the IBM Simon. The Simon was the first commercially available device that could be referred to as a “smartphone,” although it was not called that back then. Not just for placing and receiving cellular calls though, Simon could also send and receive faxes and emails. In addition, a calendar, address book, appointment scheduler, notepad, world time clock, and calculator — the ol’ Simon could handle it all with its touch

  • BOOM: An explosive conversation about batteries

    By Paolo Chlebecek OH NO! My phone just exploded! Let’s hope you never have to say that. But it seems, from all the news coverage, amid the other disasters, that exploding phones, laptops and “hoverboards” and even cars, are indeed a hot topic. (Pun intended.) Why? How can something seemingly harmless become so dangerous quite spontaneously? First, you need to understand what’s in a typical cellphone or modern battery-operated device. Most rechargeable devices use a lithium-ion or li-ion, or even ‘ion battery. (Is it a coincidence that “lion” is used for these roaring exploding batteries? I think not. …) There are literally hundreds of millions of these types of batteries produced every year, so, of course, issues are bound to arise. These batteries were proposed by M. S. Whittingham while he was working for Exxon back in the 1970s. But it wasn’t until 1991 that the first commercial lithium-ion battery was produced by Sony. There are several types of lithium-ion batteries with different chemical compounds and construction to reach their desired voltage, size, recharge ability, and longevity. As you probably know, all batteries have a positive (+) and negative (-) connection. The negative electrode of a typical lithium-ion cell is made from carbon. The positive electrode is a metal oxide, and the electrolyte, or capacity for holding a charge, is a lithium salt in a solvent. Guess what? Under the

  • In the fast lane: Phone in faster internet speeds

    By Paolo Chlebecek Recently, while waiting for a download of the new Microsoft Office 365 at a customer’s premises, I realized something: Some Internet Service Providers are painfully slow. I already feel likemy life is just a progress bar, slowly inching across the screen. Then it hit me; why not use my 4G cellphone to connect the laptop to the internet. I did, and it was blazing fast by comparison. Why should you care? Because the world of the internet is about to get much much faster, thanks to 5G. What’s 5G? For that matter what’s 4G? I can’t say it’s a very imaginative explanation, but most tech nomenclature isn’t. The “G” after the number just means generation. A new mobile data system has developed approximately every 10 years since the first 1G system was introduced in 1982. The first 2G system was deployed in 1992, and the first 3G system appeared in 2001. 4G systems, like what is available in most smartphones today, were released in 2012. Move over 4G, it’s time for 5G. What’s the difference? Back in the ’80s, the speed of 1G wasn’t even considered for mobile data use, only up to 2.4kbps. At that rate, it would take almost five hours to download a 4MB MP3 song. By the time 2G and 2.5G came, we topped speeds of 64-144 kbps. The same file would then

  • Installation nation: Hard talk about software

    By Paolo Chlebecek Picture this: You get a new computer and it doesn’t have your beloved, and sometimes hated, Microsoft Word. What do you do? How do you know when it’s time to buy software or not? Will the free ones work just as well? What if you’ve already bought it but your computer crashed and now you want to reinstall it again or on another one? Is that even legal? Years ago, the software you needed to be productive usually came with the computer. Some software suites like Microsoft Office were purchased but pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, etc. Then, to browse “the Interwebs” you had Internet Exploder — ahem, I mean Explorer. And those were the mainstays for most people. But that hasn’t been the case for many years. Now there’s a different story. If you need to reinstall Microsoft Office, you’re allowed as long as you have a software key. But there are limits to how many times you can reinstall it and how many computers you can install it on. You’ll have to look at that boring EULA (End User License Agreement) that came with the software to find out specifics. There’s a lot of variation therein. For some people, free alternatives are effective and simple. For example instead of buying a Microsoft Office subscription for $70-$100 per year or $150-$400 outright, there are

  • Screen with a view: Considering Windows renovations

    By Paolo Chlebecek “Should I upgrade to Windows 10 or not?” Since last July, I’ve been getting that question a lot. The answer isn’t as clear as you’d probably like. Let’s take this one step at a time. … Microsoft Windows has been adopted as a desktop platform operating system for nearly 30 years with the introduction of Windows 1.0. Now with over 85 percent of market share worldwide, Windows — in whatever version that’s out there — has kept its lead over competitors thus far. Today, Windows 10 (or, simply, Windows) has nearly 14 percent of all computers worldwide. That number keeps climbing, probably due to the fact Microsoft has made it available for free to all Windows 7 and 8 users until July 29, 2016. After that date, you’ll need to purchase a license or computer with Windows 10 already installed. To be Win 10, or not to be Win 10? That is (still) the question. Indulge me a personal anecdote or two. I have a nice Dell Latitude laptop that had Windows 7 on it. It’s not my main computer, but when I’m away from the office, I take it with me. As I mentioned in a previous column, I prefer a solid state drive, and this one has it as well as other features that makes this a competent and capable business workhorse. I decided

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