Category: Current Events

Weekly Technology Update

A. Privacy:  GDPR and Oath.   You may have received a bunch of notices recently detailing the updated privacy policies of various services that you use.  The European Union’s new privacy laws take effect on May 25th.  These regulations are known as GDPR.   They are taking customers’ data a lot more seriously than we are on this side of the pond.  International companies such as Facebook and Google are adhering to these standards even for their American customers.  It’s a solid business practice.  Did you know that you can download all of your Facebook (or Google) data in a single file?  Did you know that you can control how Facebook advertises to you?   GDPR = Good.   To find out more

Additionally, some of you who have a Yahoo or AOL account may have received notices about policies from an organization known as Oath.  (My joke is — “zero authorization to violate your privacy,” but I’ll get back on topic.).  Oath is a division of Verizon that oversees both Yahoo and AOL.   Yahoo users may have even been asked to accept the new terms.  You really don’t have a choice if you want to keep using the account.   As a quick primer for those new to the VIP Computer Care family — my favorite free e-mail accounts are Google and   Customers may choose a paid e-mail account if they want to get actual customer support.  My favorite choices  here are Fastmail ($20 per year), G (G Suite a paid Google account, $5 per month), or Office 365 (a paid e-mail account from Microsoft, $5 per month).

B.  Windows:   I’m still compiling reports of horror stories from users that had bad experiences with the latest version of Windows 10 (version 1803), released on April 30th.  Whenever possible, I have set your Windows computers to a 120 day delay schedule.   Unfortunately, I had to help a customer last weekend who couldn’t delay Windows version upgrades.  He purchased a consumer grade Windows desktop.  I offered the next best thing.  I managed the upgrade for him.  It took 2 hours, which is about what I expected.  With fingers crossed, there were no hiccups.  I am not recommending that I do this proactively for others, at this time, if you have already been set up for a delay.  Ultimately, Microsoft will iron out the wrinkles.  After all, hundreds of millions of business customers rely on Windows.   Version 1803 should be ready for prime time in a few months.  In August, lets talk about upgrading your computer. 

C.  Mac:  Apple’s big annual event, the WWDC, is happening on June 4th.  While it’s not specifically a new hardware event, Apple has been known to release new Macs at this event.   We can only hope that they offer a mea culpa on the Mac Book Pro and their awful keyboards.  At the very least, they could update the Mac Book Air with 2018 innards.  (The 2017 Air, while still my #1 choice at this date and time, features 2015-era parts.)   Additionally, the Mac Mini needs a major refresh.  It has not been updated since October 2014.  Apple needs to keep a $500-600 Mac on the market to welcome new customers into the family. 


Facebook and Google Privacy

If you are a Facebook user, I would encourage you to tweak your privacy settings or get some help doing so.  From the computer, when you are on you need to click the triangle in the upper right corner of the Facebook page.  From there click on Settings.  Then click privacy.  Those settings can be tweaked to your liking. I  think the most important one is the setting all the way down at the bottom.   Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?  That should be set to “No.”   After you have adjusted those options, you will also want to look at Apps and Websites from the Settings page.   There you will see all of the websites and apps that you have given access to using your Facebook account.  Some of these may be valid, but there may be some that you want to revoke.   In the Security and Login section you can turn on two factor authentication for your Facebook account.   I highly recommend it if your Facebook account is important to you and you want to prevent unauthorized access.   Finally, you need to go to your Facebook profile page by clicking on your name at the top of the screen.  You should go through each entry in the About section and decide whether info like your birthday, employers, Likes, and so on are shared with Only Me, Friends, Friends of Friends, or the whole world.   It’s time for a tune up!   You may need to put the same effort into your Google account as well. 

A President Respects Those Who Gave Their Lives

Present Obama does not respect people who gave their lives or were tortured for their country.  Case and point:  Libya.

Present Nixon never forgot our POW’s in Vietnam.  In 1973, he held the largest dinner in the history of White House gatherings.

Our present day leadership should take notice.  Cutting deals with Iran and apologizing for America does not honor those who gave their lives in Libya.



Acronym Update – June 26 2010

Going back to print for this week’s update…..
1. Back by customer demand — GoToAssist remote troubleshooting sessions.
Several customers did take advantage of the GoToAssist service that I began offering last fall as a way to troubleshoot mild to moderate software issues. However, the volume of virtual appointments I was getting did not justify a monthly / unlimited subscription.
However, the service provider is allowing independent computer consultants to subscribe on a pay per use basis.
The good news is, I will resume offering virtual appointments IMMEDIATELY. My direct cost for GoToAssist on a per use basis is $7. Therefore, I will simply add $7 to my minimum 1 hour charge. You, the client, still makes out better than if you were charged a travel charge. As I have shared before, most of these virtual appointments likely will not last more than 1 hour.
2. Attention iPhone 4 shoppers:
I was in the spirit of iPhone season this week as I was helping someone purchase their first iPhone. Thursday the 24th was supposed to be a special day, but it far from it for us. My one conclusion from this day is that the retail operations at AT&T Mobility are “Mickey Mouse”. They just didn’t have their act together. The person that I brought to the AT&T – Westfarms Mall store had pre-ordered her iPhone on June 15 and was promised to be able to pick it up at the store on the 24th. First, we got the excuse that it had not arrived yet. Secondly, we were told that the order was never completed successfully. AT&T had major iPhone ordering problems on the designated pre-order day, June 15. Thousands upon thousands of customers (nationwide) were not able to place their orders for the iPhone 4. Finally, my customer received a call from AT&T saying that she could pick up her iPhone on Tuesday, the 29th. There was no apology and no admission that the Westfarms Mall AT&T store had really goofed things up. Let’s just hope my client gets her iPhone on Tuesday. It’s almost not worth it.
To wrap up this adventure, I will say that AT&T is the weak link in the iPhone chain. Apple is a great company. They design cutting-edge products. Their choice of AT&T to be the sole carrier of the iPhone back in 2007 was a logical choice, but clearly one that does not match up to Apple’s high standards. If you want an iPhone now, order yours from or your local Apple Store. You will still be a customer of AT&T Mobility, but you won’t have to deal with AT&T personnel directly. If you are willing to hold out for about 6 months, there may be a Verizon iPhone on the horizon. However, this is pure speculation even if the rumors were published by legitimate news sources. AT&T’s monopoly on the iPhone in this country may continue indefinitely.

Remembering 9/11

I can’t let this day pass without making a remembrance of this day.  9/11 is always a very hard one for me….often the most difficult day of my year.  I cried several times today contemplating the events of 9/11/01 — a day that changed my perspective on the world.   Rather than writing an article for you on why I know Islam is not a religion of peace and raise your level of alarm even further, I am going to leave you with the words of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.    We are still in a time of war.  The long term picture is not a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a war of of ideology and global domination.   Those who carried out the attack and their supporters would love to do it again and are not relaxing their vigilance because there is a new sheriff in town or a new party in power.   Some forces cannot be reasoned with and seek no common ground.   9/11 was not an accident or an anomaly — it was an attack.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

ABC Nightline – Face Off Debate

Tonight on ABC’s Nightline program (1130 PM – 12:00 AM, Eastern time),
there will be a debate on the existence of Satan.

This debate is part of their Face-Off series that has aired over the past two years.

Arguing for the traditional Biblical position will be
Mark Driscoll, a Pastor of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA
Annie Lobert, an ex-prostitute turned evangelist who runs the ministry Hookers For Jesus

Arguing against the existence of the devil / satan will be
Deepak Chopra, a philosopher and published author
Bishop Carlton Pearson, Pastor of the New Dimensions Worship Center in Tulsa, OK

Whatever side of the argument you are on, I think you will find it to be a very interesting dialogue.    It’s important to remember that this is a made for TV event, so there may be a very high entertainment value but little of substance discussed.

If you miss Nightline you can watch the entire debate here on ABC’s website.  It’s already posted.  (Note:  The discussion is split into several clips on the website.  You will have to click on each one.)

3rd Party Candidates Presidential Debate – Tonight 9 PM – CSPAN

If you’re sick of what the two major political parties are offering for Presidential Candidates this year……
There are other choices on the menu……..

Third Party Presidential Debate to be Aired Live by C-SPAN

Watch tonight (Thursday, October 23) at 9pm ET

Check your local listings for the channel.

The Third Party Presidential Candidates Debate will be held at 9 p.m. (EST) at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C.

A total of six presidential candidates who are on enough state ballots to be eligible to win the election have been invited to participate.

Invited candidates are Chuck Baldwin – nominee of the Constitution Party, Republican Party nominee John McCain, Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama, Independent Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney, and the Libertarian Party’s Bob Barr.