Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Visit us at LenoxCC!

[] [] [] Tuesday, October 31, 2017  
[] [] [] Tuesday, November 7, 2017  
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive.    
[] [] [] Tuesday, November 14, 2017  
Windows XP & 7 TIPs
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive.    
[] [] [] Tuesday, November 21, 2017  
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive.    
[] [] [] Tuesday, November 28, 2017  
"Bring In Your Box Day"    
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive.    
[] [] [] Tuesday, December 5, 2017
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive. 
[] [] [] Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Windows XP & 7 TIPs
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive. 

[] [] [] Tuesday, December 19, 2017
"Windows TEN " & LINUX Ubuntu Mate computers set up, available to try out, ~1-3pm Please sign in on the buddy sheet when you arrive. 
[] [] [] Tuesday, December 26, 2017
No Meeting, LenoxCC closed

"Bring In Your Box Day" (every fourth Tuesday!)    The first four Senior Computer Buddies to contact me may bring in their windows computer and get advice about using it. We can supply the ac cord, keyboard, mouse and monitor for your desktop or tower computer. It's helpful to tell me before Tuesday if you are bringing in your unit. Unfortunately, if your question(s) involve connecting to the internet using your dial-up ISP, we cannot help with that problem because we've no analog phone line available.   

Regular Meetings:
1pm Specific Topic or Open topics discussion [except bring in your box days]    
2pm Help session. Some help opportunities may be simultaneous as a buddy installs recommended software while another buddy asks a question.   

All Senior Computer Buddies will benefit from our best-effort attempts in solving unusual or common problems.     
Sometimes just emailing a detailed question about your computer operation problem can result in an answer which precludes the need to drag your box in.

The group is not a class in learning computer operation, but a discussion of topics for computer users, with best effort help available..   

Please review your Senior Program Newscaster Newsletter and the ISD 283 Community Education Catalog for Computer Classes.   

The buddies blog is back!
It's not fancy, and you can see it at

John McHugh
SLP City Hall Cable TV Office
Community TV Coordinator, ParkTV15/96
SLP Senior Program Mentor at LCC
5005 Minnetonka Boulevard
Jmchugh [at]
"We Believe Our Public Service Makes A Difference"

City Hall has free wireless internet, provided by City Of SLP. It's a "Park Public Wireless Spot"! It is also available at The Rec Center, Lenox Community Center [west end] and Westwood Nature Center! Bring your laptop and try it: confirm that your computer has detected SL-Public. Connect to it. Then open a browser and navigate to     
A "landing page" will appear where you must click "Accept" to the terms and conditions for free internet access.   
* * *
Did you find something other Senior Computer Buddies should read?   
Send a link to John!   


===Links from 10-20-2017 email===

How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy
VALUES & IDEALS The Library Freedom Project aims to train librarians in the basics of digital surveillance, adding to a long tradition of public libraries standing in opposition to state and corporate power.
By Eoin O'Carroll  Staff writer     
OCTOBER 17, 2017 —A group of privacy advocates want to help you protect your digital privacy using a public institution built for the analog age: your local public library.<snip>
<snip> “We’re anti-censorship,” Ms. West says of librarians. “We will sign onto legislation at a national level that impacts people’s access to information.”
Following the 9/11 terror attacks, Congress passed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, which gave US domestic intelligence agencies broad powers to obtain information about members of the public, including library records, with warrants or subpoenas from a secret court. A provision called Section 215, which expired in 2015, imposed a “gag order” prohibiting librarians from disclosing such requests.
The ALA opposed the provision. To circumvent the gag rule, West created and distributed “warrant canaries,” signs to be posted in prominent places that read “The FBI has not been here (watch very closely for the removal of this sign)” – the reasoning being that, while Section 215 imposed rules against disclosing the existence of secret subpoenas, it said nothing about disclosing their nonexistence.<snip>

The Equifax data breach is the national wake-up moment we expected  by Cameron F. Kerry  Wednesday, October 18, 2017
<snip>The Equifax breach looks different. Even though some involved larger numbers of records, none has touched so many Americans so closely, nor produced such widespread frustration. According to Equifax, some 143 million Americans have had at least names and Social Security numbers compromised. This puts identities and credit at risk in about half the households in America.<snip>

Get Rid of Cortana Completely

Four Options for XP Die-hards

Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive

How Do I Know If My Computer Has Been Compromised?

 Yes, You Should Give Google Your Mobile Number
There's one valid reason not to give Google your mobile number: if you don't have a mobile phone. Google, at least, seems to assume that everyone does, and that's not true. (Not to mention that SMS may not be available at all times, such as when travelling.)

What if My Security Software Vendor Gets Hacked?

197 Educational YouTube Channels You Should Know About
If you don't have a YouTube channel as an education provider, there's a good chance you're behind the times. Nearly every major educational institution in the world now hosts its own collection of videos featuring news, lectures, tutorials, and open courseware. Just as many individuals have their own channel, curating their expertise in a series of broadcasted lessons.
These channels allow instructors to share information and blend media in unprecedented and exciting new ways. From teaching Mandarin Chinese to busting myths about Astronomy, the educational possibilities are virtually endless pun intended!
Because we can now sift through thousands of resources while navigating a single repository, the potential for inspiration and growth in the field of education has reached a new height.<snip>

Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) handshake traffic can be manipulated to induce nonce and session key reuse
Original Release date: 16 Oct 2017
Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) handshake traffic can be manipulated to induce nonce and session key reuse, resulting in key reinstallation by a wireless access point (AP) or client. An attacker within range of an affected AP and client may leverage these vulnerabilities to conduct attacks that are dependent on the data confidentiality protocols being used. Attacks may include arbitrary packet decryption and injection, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, or the replay of unicast and group-addressed frames.<snip>

We discovered serious weaknesses in WPA2, a protocol that secures all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. An attacker within range of a victim can exploit these weaknesses using key reinstallation attacks (KRACKs). Concretely, attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.          This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on. The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. Depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data. For example, an attacker might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites.<snip>

Deception on the internet is nothing new, but you're right, it is getting worse
We’re just digesting and analyzing the impact to the nation of being exposed to untruthful news stories. (Note: I’m following Dan Gillmor’s advice and not using “fake news,” because that term has been hijacked by Donald Trump to refer to news he disagrees with.) And while this may be the most severe example of being misled by the Internet, it’s certainly not the only. In fact, the internet is filled with cases whose sole purpose is to trick and deceive us under the guise of offering useful information.
One pervasive example is when searching for ratings on various products. There’s a vast number of sites that purport to provide objective analyses and ratings of products. The sites are titled with names such as, but are often sites created to tout one product over another, or to just provide a list of products with links to buy, in exchange for referral fees.
The internet is filled with cases whose sole purpose is to trick and deceive us under the guise of offering useful information.
A search for “Best iPhone cables” finds one top choice (paid-for position), “BestReviews.Guide,” a site that reviews numerous products. There’s no explanation of how they rate, but in their disclaimer, they write, “BestReviews. The guide provides information for general information purposes and does not recommend particular products or services.”
But pseudo-reviews are not confined to mysterious companies. Business Insider offers reviews called “Insider Picks.” Many of these reviews are filled with words but do little to explain the basis for their ratings.
What’s motivating all of these review sites? The opportunity to monetize them by receiving kickbacks or referral fees when someone clicks to buy, primarily from Amazon. You can examine the link that takes you to Amazon to see the code added to the normal link. Commission range up to 10 percent, with an average of about 5 percent.<snip>

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet.
Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention
by Paul Lewis    San Francisco  Monday 9 October 2017
Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.
Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.
He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.<snip>
Attendees of the 2017 Habit Summit might have been surprised when Eyal walked on stage to announce that this year’s keynote speech was about “something a little different”. He wanted to address the growing concern that technological manipulation was somehow harmful or immoral. He told his audience that they should be careful not to abuse persuasive design, and wary of crossing a line into coercion.
But he was defensive of the techniques he teaches, and dismissive of those who compare tech addiction to drugs. “We’re not freebasing Facebook and injecting Instagram here,” he said. He flashed up a slide of a shelf filled with sugary baked goods. “Just as we shouldn’t blame the baker for making such delicious treats, we can’t blame tech makers for making their products so good we want to use them,” he said. “Of course that’s what tech companies will do. And frankly: do we want it any other way?”
Without irony, Eyal finished his talk with some personal tips for resisting the lure of technology. He told his audience he uses a Chrome extension, called DF YouTube, “which scrubs out a lot of those external triggers” he writes about in his book, and recommended an app called Pocket Points that “rewards you for staying off your phone when you need to focus”.
Finally, Eyal confided the lengths he goes to protect his own family. He has installed in his house an outlet timer connected to a router that cuts off access to the internet at a set time every day. “The idea is to remember that we are not powerless,” he said. “We are in control.”
But are we? If the people who built these technologies are taking such radical steps to wean themselves free, can the rest of us reasonably be expected to exercise our free will?
Not according to Tristan Harris, a 33-year-old former Google employee turned vocal critic of the tech industry. “All of us are jacked into this system,” he says. “All of our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”<snip>

80+ free classics for download
Welcome to Planet eBook, the home of high-quality — FREE — classic literature. All our works are entirely free to download, read and share. Get to it!
All are PDF files.

to be read on-line as html or can be downloaded

Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.
Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.
Standard Ebooks aren’t just a beautiful addition to your digital library—they’re a high quality standard to build your own ebooks on.

A site that branched off from Project Gutenberg Canada a couple of years ago is faded page:
Most books on the site are public domain under Canadian copyright law (death +50). Faded page has around 2,000 books at present and is adding more every day. Collections are devoted to such authors as Josephine Tey (Gordon Daviot), “Sapper”, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Dorothy L. Sayers, Gilbert Murray, C. S. Lewis, Patricia Wentworth, Nevil Shute , Ford Madox Ford, with Faulkner, Huxley and Hemingway in the pipeline. Books are available in epub, kindle, plain text, pdf and html versions.

University of Adelaide in Australia has a great selection of well-formatted public domain ebooks:

Six Sites With Truly Free eBooks
Posted on 16 March, 2014 by Nate Hoffelder in Freebies, Tips and Tricks
Free ebook sites are so common now that they are not just a dime a dozen, they're a dime a gross. All of the major ebook stores have free ebooks, and you can find even more free (and legal) sites with a simple Google search.
But sometimes I need a site that has ebooks worth reading, doesn't have DRM, and doesn't require an account. And that's why I put together this list of I go to when I need reading material and am in a hurry.

The Best 6 Sites to Get Free Ebooks  by  Joel Lee  January 9, 2017
Book lovers all over the world are starting to wake up and smell the coffee: ebooks are way better than paper books. The benefits are many, like not having to lug around a 10-pound doorstop, being able to bring your whole library with you everywhere, and backing up your entire library to the cloud.
But if you’re a voracious reader, buying ebook after ebook can burn a huge hole in your wallet. One option is to subscribe to an ebook subscription service that grants access to an entire library of ebooks for a monthly membership of just a few dollars.
The other option is to save your money and switch to freely available ebooks instead. You’d be surprised how many ebooks you can get without paying a cent, and that applies to both fiction and non-fiction. Where can you find these free ebooks? Well, we’re glad you asked…

Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC... Created by Project Gutenberg
Free  Online 
Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.
All available ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers and digitized by us with the help of thousands of volunteers.
All our ebooks can be freely downloaded: Choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats.<snip>

Download 800 free eBooks to your Kindle, iPad/iPhone, computer, smart phone or ereader. Collection includes great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including works by Asimov, Jane Austen, Philip K. Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Neil Gaiman, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf & James Joyce. Also please see our collection 900 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free, where you can download more great books to your computer or mp3 player.

Net Neutrality Activists Targeted in Phishing Campaign
By Kate Conger  9/27/17
Several prominent net neutrality advocacy groups were targeted in a spearphishing campaign, with around 70 attempts made to break into the accounts of activists at Free Press and Fight for the Future. The campaign, revealed in an Electronic Frontier Foundation report, used details about the activists’ personal lives and sexually explicit content to try to trick activists into clicking phishing links that would allow the attackers to take over their accounts.
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director, was one of the individuals targeted. According to the EFF, the attacker asked for a link to page where they could purchase Greer’s music. “Evan replied with a link,” the EFF wrote. “The attacker replied with an email in which they complained that the link was not working correctly, having replaced the link with a phishing page made to look like a Gmail login.”
In other attempts, the attackers created fake subscription emails for porn sites like PornHub and RedTube and embedded phishing links in the “unsubscribe” buttons on the emails.
The attackers targeted Dropbox and LinkedIn accounts as well as email accounts. The EFF believes that the campaign was professionally coordinated—its report notes that the attackers worked normal business hours, taking off Saturdays and Sundays.
“The attackers were remarkably persistent, switching up their attacks after each failed attempt and becoming increasingly creative with their targeting over time,” the EFF’s Eva Galperin and Cooper Quintin wrote.<snip>

Defining digital down  by Tom Wheeler   Monday, October 2, 2017
<snip> By quietly altering the measuring sticks, the Trump FCC is “Defining Digital Down” to reset the definition of acceptable behavior by the companies that control America’s networks. Instead of working to build the best possible future for Americans, the agency’s new definitions lower expectations, declare victory where there is none, and set the stage for anti-consumer consolidation.
Instead of challenging American companies to, for instance, raise average internet connectivity speeds to levels above those of Kenya, the Trump FCC is seeking to redefine downward what constitutes high-speed broadband. In preparation for the congressional-mandated annual report on the status of broadband deployment in the United States (so-called “advanced telecommunications services”), the FCC seeks to define downward the definition of broadband. Stealthily, this is accomplished by simply changing a conjunction.
In 2011, in a unanimous bipartisan decision, the FCC said Americans need access to both wired AND mobile broadband. Reversing that bipartisan unanimity, the Trump FCC now proposes to change “and” to “or” – a seemingly simple conjunction change with profound impact. Declaring mobile the same as fixed broadband defines broadband down from 25 megabits per second (mbps) to only 10 mbps, while defining up, via mobile data caps and higher prices, what consumer must pay.<snip>

On Tuesday, Microsoft released a big free upgrade to Windows 10 that brings new features to the operating system.
Officially dubbed the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the new software won't change your Windows 10 experience very much. Instead, the update brings a whole bunch of smaller and behind-the-scenes tweaks for PCs and tablets that include a few new settings, features, and apps.
Here's a quick rundown of the Fall Creators Update highlights:<snip>

Comcast to lead doubling of consumer broadband pricing, analyst says
by Daniel Frankel | Oct 2, 2017
U.S. cable operators, led by the biggest one of all, Comcast, are about to make a lot more on residential and business broadband.
That’s the conclusion of New Street Research, which just released a rather bullish report this morning on the cable industry.
Led by analyst Jonathan Chaplin, New Street concedes that the previously torrid pace of cable broadband marketshare growth has slowed a bit in recent quarters, due to factors such as aggressive triple-play promotions by AT&T.
But those headwinds will soon clear, the investment research firm concludes, and with that will be increased ARPU for cable operators.
“We have argued that broadband is underpriced, given that pricing has barely increased over the past decade while broadband utility has exploded,” New Street said. “Our analysis suggested a ‘utility-adjusted’ ARPU target of ~$90. Comcast recently increased standalone broadband to $90 (including modem), paving the way for faster ARPU growth as the mix shifts in favor of broadband-only households. Charter will likely follow, once they are through the integration of Time Warner Cable.”
New Street added that “broadband pricing could double from current levels.”<snip>

===Links from 10-4-2017 email===

How to Protect Your Information Online  SEPT. 7, 2017
There are more reasons than ever to understand how to protect your personal information, as major website breaches become ever more frequent. On Thursday, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, said that identifying information for 143 million customers had potentially been compromised.
If you must create your own passwords, try creating long, complex passwords consisting of nonsensical phrases or one-sentence summaries of strange life events and add numbers and special characters.
My favorite number is Green4782#
The cat ate the CoTTon candy 224%
Or, if you’re extra paranoid, consider mimicking this setup. Take the sentence:
One time in class I ate some glue
And convert it into this:  1TiC!AsG
One time in class I ate some glue ? 1TiC!AsG
In general, create the strongest passwords for the sites that contain the most sensitive information and do not reuse them anywhere.<snip>

Your Smartphone Reduces Your Brainpower, Even If It's Just Sitting There
A silent, powered-off phone can still distract the most dependent users.
I sit down at the table, move my napkin to my lap, and put my phone on the table face-down. I am at a restaurant, I am relaxed, and I am about to start lying to myself. I’m not going to check my phone, I tell myself. (My companion’s phone has appeared face-down on the table, too.) I’m just going to have this right here in case something comes up.
Of course, something will not come up. But over the course of the next 90 minutes I will check my phone for texts, likes, and New York Times push alerts at every pang of boredom, anxiety, relaxation, satiety, frustration, or weariness. I will check it in the bathroom and when I return from the bathroom. I don’t really enjoy this, but it is very interesting, even if some indignant and submerged part of my psyche moans that I am making myself dumber every time I look at it. As, in fact, I am.<snip>

Switching Your Browser Loyalty
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER AUG. 1, 2017
Q. How do I change the browser that opens when I click my desktop shortcut bookmark icons? I want them to open in Google Chrome.
A. The steps vary based on your operating system. To select Google Chrome as your default on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer, go to the Start menu and choose Control Panel. Select Programs, Default Programs and then “Set your default programs.” Select Google Chrome on the left side of the screen, click “Set this program as default” and then click O.K.

Taking Your AutoCorrect Entries With You
Tech Tip
Q. I have years of personal AutoCorrect data entries I have made for Microsoft Word. Is it possible to transfer these settings to another computer running Word?
A. It is possible to transfer your collection of AutoCorrect entries that you have been compiling over the years to fix habitual typos, insert characters and shortcut other keystrokes in Microsoft Word. Recent versions of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac store the customized data in two places, depending on whether the AutoCorrect entry is formatted or unformatted within Word. Unformatted entries are stored in AutoCorrect List files in a folder on the computer, and entries that have formatting are stored in the program’s Normal template, which contains your chosen default styles and other preferences for the Word documents you create.<snip>

Relocating an iTunes Library
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER  JULY 28, 2017
Q. My computer’s hard drive is overloaded, largely because of my huge iTunes library, which is scattered all over. Instead of paying for cloud storage, I would like to move all the multimedia files to an external drive so I can delete them from my PC. What’s the best way to proceed?
A. Before you move your media collection, start by backing up your computer in its current state to your regular backup drive as a safety precaution. After you complete the backup, make sure everything listed in iTunes is actually in your iTunes media library. To do that, open the iTunes program on your PC, and display the menu bar if it isn’t already displayed. Press the Alt key (or the Control and B keys) to reveal it.<snip>

Adding New Fonts to the Computer
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER JULY 17, 2017
Q. I want to buy a new font online for my Mac, but how do I get it on my system?
A. The Mac operating system includes a utility called Font Book that you can use to add, remove and organize the fonts on your computer. You can find the program in your Mac’s Applications folder.<snip>
Windows users can install a new font by right-clicking the downloaded file and selecting Install from the menu, or by double-clicking the font file and selecting the Install button.<snip>

Screening Out Malware with Microsoft Edge
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER   JUNE 28, 2017
Q. Google Chrome has malware warnings. Does Microsoft’s Windows 10 browser have similar protections?
In the latest version of Windows 10, open the Windows Defender Security Center in the Settings area to choose how the Edge browser should react to suspicious or malicious sites on the web. Credit The New York Times
A. Microsoft Edge, the browser created for its Windows 10 operating system, has a tool called the Windows Defender SmartScreen designed to thwart malicious websites, apps, downloads and other files that target PCs. The SmartScreen is optional, and you can set the level of protection you wish to have in the Windows Defender Security Center — like outright blocking potentially intrusive software, or opting for a warning that a site may possibly have malicious intentions.<snip.

TECHNOLOGY Daily Report: When Ransomware Isn’t After a Ransom
Bits By JIM KERSTETTER   JUNE 29, 2017
On Wednesday, the calls for the National Security Agency to address its role in the latest hacking attacks grew louder from victims and tech companies. Credit Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
We are two months into “ransomware as a mainstream news topic,” and we have quickly moved toward scrutiny of a new wrinkle in that kind of cyberattack: when ransomware is used as a smoke screen for something else.
On Tuesday, an attack that looked an awful lot like the WannaCry ransomware hacking in May started in Ukraine and spread throughout the world. But security researchers are beginning to infer that the attack was really about causing damage to computers. The money? Eh, not a big deal.
In fact, it would have been awfully hard for most victims of the attack to pay a ransom, since the lone email address connected to it was shut down by a German email provider.
So why bother? That’s the question that intrigues security researchers.<snip>

Squeezing More Battery Juice Out of a Smartphone
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER JUNE 29, 2017
Q. My smartphone isn’t that new, but it isn’t that old either, and the battery has suddenly started to burn through a full charge much faster than it did a week ago. Can age catch up with it that suddenly or might there be something else going on with the phone that’s causing it to drain the battery more rapidly?
A. Many factors can affect a smartphone battery, including environmental conditions, age and apps. Start by making sure your phone is up to date with all the available software for its apps and operating system, and restart the device.
The device’s Battery settings display information about apps and their power use. Credit The New York Times
Heat affects battery performance, and you may see onscreen warnings about the phone needing to cool down if things get too toasty. This issue can occur on a hot summer day — especially in an area experiencing triple-digit temperatures, like the western and southwestern part of the United States already this summer. Using and charging the phone in temperatures higher than 95 degrees can damage a battery’s ability to hold a charge, so try to keep your phone in a cool place as much as possible and consider shedding its case, which can trap heat, if you use one.<snip>

Traveling Internationally With (or Without) a Laptop
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER   JUNE 21, 2017
Q. We leave in July for two months in Europe. I can live with only an iPad, but my husband works as a consultant even when we’re overseas. He is a bit uneasy about taking his computer, but also uneasy about not taking it because of a potential laptop ban. Should we be concerned?
A. The Department of Homeland Security has been mulling an expansion of its current ban on laptops (and other large electronic devices) inside carry-on luggage aboard certain international flights. Such a ban would be disruptive for travelers and has not been enacted at the moment, but planning ahead and preparing for such restrictions is a good idea in uncertain times.
A Bluetooth keyboard can make a tablet (or a large smartphone) feel more like a laptop if you prefer to leave the computer at home when traveling overseas. Credit The New York Times
Before you leave for your trip, be sure to check with the State Department’s website for any travel alerts or warnings concerning Europe and the specific countries you plan to visit. The agency also has a Facebook page and Twitter feed. The United States Customs and Border Protection site has a Know Before You Go section, and you should check with your airline about items that are specifically restricted from the cabin on your flight. The Transportation Security Administration has its own online list of items approved for air travel in carry-on and checked luggage.<snip>

Trading in a Briefcase for a Drive in the Sky
Tech Tip
Q. What is the replacement or workaround for Briefcase in Windows 10?
A. Windows Briefcase, a file synchronization tool first introduced back with Windows 95 as a way to keep documents up-to-date between desktop and laptop computers, was demoted from active use in Windows 8 and removed entirely in Windows 10. Briefcase originally worked by connecting the computers or using a floppy disk as the transfer device back in the 1990s. However, online storage and synchronization services like Microsoft’s own OneDrive have largely replaced the older program. (Dedicated hobbyists have posted searchable instructions for restoring Briefcase to Windows 10 by editing the Registry, but you tinker at your own risk.)<snip>

Claiming Your Own Little Corner of the Web
Tech Tip  By J. D. BIERSDORFER   JUNE 16, 2017
Q. I am an emeritus professor and a bilingual writer of critical articles and novels. I’d like to set up a personal web page to preview my future publications and draw readers, but I am far from a computer expert. What is the most convenient and cheapest way to set up such a website?
A. Creating a personal site has become fairly simple. In the early days of the internet, the process involved finding server space, buying a domain name and knowing enough about coding to make pages. Today, you can get the server space, the domain name and easy-to-use page templates for just a few dollars a month — or even free.

Tech Tip
By J. D. BIERSDORFER   MAY 25, 2017
Q. How do I delete the list of things I’ve looked for with the Google search engine on Android?
A. If you have a Google account that you use with the company’s search engine (or other properties like Gmail and YouTube) you can delete your search history list in the My Activity area. The My Activity area is Google’s record of your interactions with its products, and holds not only your past search queries and browsing history, but any requested Google Maps directions, watched YouTube videos and more.
On your Android tablet, you can get to the My Activity area by opening the Chrome browser app and logging in at When you are on the My Activity page, tap the three-dot More menu in the blue toolbar at the top of the screen and choose “Delete activity by.” If you want to wipe everything, click the “Delete by date” menu and choose All Time. If you just want to erase your Google search history, select Search from the drop-down list below the dates.
To zap your past experiences with Google’s other sites and tools, select All Products from the menu instead. Tap the Delete button.
If you just want to delete the history of things you have searched for on the tablet using the Chrome browser, click the More icon in the top-right corner of the Chrome window and select History. Choose History from the top of the submenu and on the next page, click “Clear browsing data.” In the box that appears, select browsing history and any other data you would like to wipe and click the Clear Browsing Data button.
The steps are similar for erasing your Google account and Chrome history on a desktop computer.

Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts
Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts
SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn’t come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.
A link, attached to a Twitter post put out by a robot account, promised a family-friendly vacation package for the summer. It was the kind of thing anyone might click on, according to the official hit by the attack, who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.
That is exactly the problem, Pentagon officials and cybersecurity experts said. While corporations and government agencies around the world are training their staff to think twice before opening anything sent by email, hackers have already moved on to a new kind of attack, targeting social media accounts, where people are more likely to be trusting.
Pentagon officials are increasingly worried that state-backed hackers are using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to break into Defense Department computer networks. And the human error that causes people to click on a link sent to them in an email is exponentially greater on social media sites, the officials said, because people are more likely consider themselves among friends.
Once one person is compromised, attacks can move quickly through that person’s friend network, leading to what the officials described as a nightmare situation in which entire departments at the Pentagon could be targeted. And while officials know about the problem, training about how to spot an attack that comes through Twitter and Facebook remains limited.<snip>

Reality Check: What Does, and Doesn’t, Protect Your Smartphone
Tech Fix
By BRIAN X. CHEN MAY 24, 2017
Once you get a smartphone, what’s the first thing you might want to go along with the device? For many people, it’s probably a case.
That’s because carrying a smartphone without a case is like driving a car without bumpers — and no one wants a new gadget to shatter, crack or get dented. Spending on mobile phone accessories is expected to reach $107.3 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research, up from about $61 billion in 2014. Protective cases are the hottest sellers in the category.
Yet here’s the truth about those accessories: Some products that purport to protect your smartphones are useless. It’s unclear, for one, whether a screen protector — a thin plastic or glass film for your phone display — actually prevents glass from shattering upon impact. Sales clerks at cellphone stores also often pressure people into purchasing expensive extended warranty plans for their devices, many of which can be skipped.
So here’s a reality check on what does and doesn’t protect your phone. To reach our conclusions, we interviewed repair and warranty experts and teamed up with The Wirecutter, the product recommendations site owned by The New York Times, which tested screen protectors and cases.

How Photos Meant to Disappear May Not
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER    MAY 12, 2017
Q. Does Instagram notify the sender if you take a screenshot of a self-destructing photo?
Instagram's new "disappearing phones and videos" feature lets users share self-deleting clips and images, a practice popularized by its rival Snapchat. Credit The New York Times
A. The Instagram app does indeed notify the person who sent you a “disappearing” photo or video if you take a screenshot of the image or replay the message. This is similar to its competitor Snapchat, which also displays a special notification icon for the sender of a Snap if the recipient has captured a screenshot or replayed the message before the timer runs out and the item is deleted.
<snip>Among the various methods floating around the web, some Instagram and Snapchat users have been able to save copies of “self-destructing” content by checking their messages in the app, then flipping the phone into airplane mode in a quick-settings menu to make a screenshot while the app is deprived of a network connection. Other creative solutions and third-party recorder apps can also preserve a photo or video that was intended for only a quick single viewing.


How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks
Tech Fix
By BRIAN X. CHEN   MAY 15, 2017
In a recent ransomware attack, cybercriminals hijacked hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, locking up data and threatening to destroy it if a ransom was not paid. Credit Minh Uong/The New York Times
A decade-old form of malicious software known as ransomware has been making headlines after cybercriminals hijacked hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.
Ransomware, which is often transmitted by email or web pop-ups, involves locking up people’s data and threatening to destroy it if a ransom is not paid. The global cyberattack has affected 200,000 Windows computers in more than 150 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Britain.
Be wary of suspicious emails and pop-ups
Security experts believe WannaCry may have initially infected machines via email attachments. The lesson: Avoid clicking links inside dubious emails, Mr. Kamden said.
How do you spot a fishy email? Look carefully at the email address of the sender to see if it is coming from a legitimate address. Also, look for obvious typos and grammatical errors in the body. Hover over hyperlinks (without clicking on them) inside emails to see whether they direct you to suspicious web pages. If an email appears to have come from your bank, credit card company or internet service provider, keep in mind that they will never ask for sensitive information like your password or social security number.
In addition, ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that advertise software products that remove malware. Do not click on anything through these pop-ups, then safely close the windows.
Create backups of your data<snip>

XP update
Customer Guidance for WannaCrypt attacks
avatar of msrc-team MSRC Team May 12, 20170
Microsoft solution available to protect additional products
Today many of our customers around the world and the critical systems they depend on were victims of malicious “WannaCrypt” software. Seeing businesses and individuals affected by cyberattacks, such as the ones reported today, was painful. Microsoft worked throughout the day to ensure we understood the attack and were taking all possible actions to protect our customers. This blog spells out the steps every individual and business should take to stay protected. Additionally, we are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003. Customers running Windows 10 were not targeted by the attack today. <snip>
[scroll down page to or search for xp]

How to protect your computer from attack May 13, 2017
Computers across the world were locked up Friday and users' files held for ransom when dozens of countries were hit in a cyber-extortion attack that targeted hospitals, companies and government agencies. Here's a look at how malware and ransomware work and what people can do if they fall victim to attacks.<snip>

Global 'WannaCry' ransomware cyberattack seeks cash for data
LONDON — A global "ransomware" cyberattack, unprecedented in scale, had technicians scrambling to restore Britain's crippled hospital network Saturday and secure the computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in many other nations.
The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users spread so widely that Microsoft quickly changed its policy, making security fixes available for free for the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.<snip>

You can recite “good” password rules by heart: eight or more characters comprising a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and punctuation, and omitting the use of any words found in dictionaries, including substitutions (such as @ for a in p@ssword or 1 for lowercase l in fai1).
A typical list of “safe password” requirements
You repeat these rules to less-technical friends and family, and hope they are observing the same kinds of care, although you’re pretty sure they aren’t. As you type a new password (or one of your repertoire) into a website’s form field and see a little color bar go from red for a weak password to green for a strong one, you relax a little bit.

The password’s future may be brief and weird, but its history dates back to the Bible.
The Old Password May Soon Be Forgotten
BY BRIAN LENNON   05.04.17
In Western history, the concept of the password can be traced as far back as the so-called “shibboleth incident” in the 12th chapter of the biblical Book of Judges. In the chaos of battle between the tribes of Gilead and Ephraim, Gileadite soldiers used the word “shibboleth” to detect their enemies, knowing that the Ephraimites pronounced it slightly differently in their dialect. The stakes were life and death, we’re told, in a confrontation between Gileadites and a possible Ephraimite fugitive:<snip>

Modern Phishing Attempts Look More Legit, but the Methods Haven't Changed Much
by Thorin Klosowski 5-4-2017
You get a new email that looks like it’s from a friend, a company, a government official, or even a family member. All that’s in that email is a link. You click it, because, of course you do. You’re taken to a login page, where you enter your credentials. Then, that site turns out to be fake and collects your password. Congratulations, you’ve been phished.
Phishing is a time honored way to get your login credentials or access to one of your accounts. The idea behind phishing is extremely simple: it’s about tricking you into handing over your information so no actual hack is necessary. Historically, this means sending you an email and hoping you click on it. That link leads to a site the phisher has set up that’s supposed to look like the real site’s login page. Once you log in, the site saves your username and password. This has been going on since the ‘90s, when the warez community used phishing emails to snag people’s AOL passwords.
Back then, hackers could easily trick people into clicking on just about anything because that’s just how the internet used to work, but nowadays, we’re all more vigilant, right?<snip>
So, what’s an otherwise tech savvy person to do? Continue to not click on any weird links in your email, regardless of who you think sent it. Chances are your friends don’t just send you an email with a link in it, and if they do, you should probably ask them to change that weird behavior.<snip>
Here's What Happens When Broadband Companies "Self-Regulate"
by Thorin Klosowski  4/27/17
Net neutrality is on the chopping block, and one drum that FCC chairman Ajit Pai keeps beating is the idea that without government intervention, broadband companies like your internet service provider and wireless carrier will regulate themselves. Let’s see what history has to say about that.
Broadband companies are already some of the most hated companies in America, but if history is any indication, it’s possible to hate them more.<snip>
How to Clean Up and Optimize Your Sluggish Mac
by Thorin Klosowski  5-1-2017
Your Mac is running a little slow these days. It takes forever to boot up. You have to delete something just to download that file attachment from Carla in accounting. Any time you stream a video it seems to lock up for a few seconds. Let’s fix all that.<snip>
Checking a Website’s Security
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER   APRIL 25, 2017
Q. I was browsing online and noticed a small letter “i” in a circle. What does that mean? I use the Chrome browser.
A. The web is full of sites that do not use the strongest security, and some browsers — including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox — now warn users when the page they are visiting may put their information at risk. In Chrome, that “i” symbol indicates a site may not be secure because it is using an unencrypted connection to exchange data with your computer. When you click the “i” on the left side of the Chrome address bar, you can see more information about the site, adjust some settings and possibly see a “Your connection to this site is not secure” warning.<snip>
PERSONAL TECH Reading E-Books on a Bigger Screen
Tech Tip By J. D. BIERSDORFER   APRIL 12, 2017
Q. What do I need to read e-books and comics on a notebook computer? I like the fact that I can keep it on my lap and don’t have to hold up a screen to see the text.
A. Most of the major e-bookstores offer desktop apps or browser-based access to the e-books you have downloaded to your phone or other device. You can also shop and download new titles from your computer. If you already have an account with one of the popular electronic bookstores, check its website for a dedicated desktop app or instructions for reading your purchases in a web browser.<snip>
How to Prevent iMessages From Accidentally Appearing On Other Devices
by Thorin Klosowski
Wednesday 2:13pmFiled to: SECURITY
If you own multiple Apple devices, you’ve probably signed into all of them with your Apple ID. You’ve also probably noticed that when you get a Facetime call your computer rings, or when you get an iMessage your iPad beeps. For most of us, this is a small annoyance worth fixing. For others, it’s a potential privacy nightmare.<snip>
When Your Mail Moves Itself
Tech Tip
Q. When I check Gmail on the web, my messages all arrive in the inbox, but then move themselves to All Mail within a few minutes. What causes this?
A. Software glitches have been known to happen, but a mail filter or an account setting in your Gmail preferences may be causing incoming messages to move into the All Mail area.<snip>
Ditching Pop-Up Ads and Scareware Alerts on the iPad
Tech Tip

Q. In the column about fake security alerts that won’t go away, that was good advice for Windows and Mac users, but what about iPad users? There are no Option, Command or Escape keys on an iPad.
A. If an aggressive pop-up alert or ad invades your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch screen, you have a few ways to get rid of the intrusive window. In the iOS version of Safari, try closing the browser tab by tapping the pages icon in the toolbar. When the thumbnail images of the open pages appear, tap the “x” in the top corner of the page to close that tab. You can also press and hold the Done button in the corner of the window until a menu pops up inviting you to close all the open tabs.<snip>
A Quick Guide to Backing Up Your Critical Data
Setting up a system to keep your files backed up automatically is easy. Spending a little time today could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Credit Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters
It’s World Backup Day, which is another way of saying it’s a good time to safeguard your digital photos, videos, documents and emails by creating second copies, or backups, of them and storing them somewhere secure.
As headlines about hacking and cybertheft remind us daily, our personal devices are vulnerable. The good news is that setting up a system to keep your files backed up automatically is easy. Spending a little time today could save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Here’s a quick guide to the basics, with tips from our partners at The Wirecutter, the product review website, and J. D. Biersdorfer, who writes the Tech Tip features for The New York Times.
<snip> [saving computer and phone files and data to external storage or to "the cloud":]
Reasons Not to Dismiss GPS Devices for Your Car
Ask The Wirecutter
The smartphone has replaced so many other devices and tools — cameras, notebooks, tape recorders — that I thought the answer was obvious when I asked Rik Paul, the autos editor at The Wirecutter, a product reviews website owned by The New York Times, if buying a GPS unit for the car made sense anymore. Boy, was I wrong.
I rely on a cellphone with Google Maps to find my way around. Why would I ever want to buy a GPS unit?
The major maps apps are excellent, with awesome traffic information. If I’m going for a short jaunt around town, I’ll always grab my phone. But for longer trips, especially, dedicated car-GPS devices have some advantages.
Like what?
One big advantage is that GPS devices don’t rely on a data connection to plot a route. They have the map data stored inside. I’ve used my phone to navigate to a rural area — say, upstate Vermont — and since the app cached the original route, it got me there just fine. But when I went to navigate out, I didn’t have a data connection. So, I was out of luck.
There are some apps that let you download the route and map information so you don’t have that problem, but you have to plan ahead, whereas a GPS you keep in your glovebox is always ready to go.
To Lock or Not to Lock the Screen
Tech Tip by J. D. BIERSDORFER   FEB. 3, 2017
Q. How do I turn off the password protection on my phone? It’s annoying each time to re-enter it, and I realized that if I lose my phone and someone finds it, they won’t have a way to contact me.
A. If you added a passcode to your phone at some point, you can remove it by going into the device’s settings and disabling the feature (after you enter the passcode to prove your identity). Keep in mind that doing so makes the personal information on your phone accessible to anyone who might find it — and could make the phone easier to steal if the wrong person takes it.<snip>