Category: Words of Hope

Done With Last Pass and Two Holiday Gifts

Before I get to the holiday cheer — i need to tell you about a serious SECURITY INCIDENT.  I’m just going to get to the point.  I can no longer faithfully recommend Last Pass as a password manager.  Never putting all the eggs in one basket, I have recommended Last Pass and 1Password over the years as paid password managers to manage your treasured credentials.  Last Pass has now suffered its 2nd security breach in about a month.  The first one was minor, however in the latest incident customer credentials were accessed.  I can’t sugar coat this.  As of right now your passwords were not breached but user names, e-mail addresses,  billing addresses were.  So if the bad guy has  your user name and e-mail address — while they can’t get into your accounts necessarily just yet — they are a lot closer.  Last Pass was a great company when Joe Siegrest ran it.  He sold it about 7 years ago to Log Me In.  They were still good for a while.  It’s gone really off track.

I really haven’t publicized it, but since February I have used a password manager called Bit Warden.   If you are using Last Pass, your credentials can be exported to either  1Password ($36 per year) or Bit Warden ($10 per year).  Don’t make the decision based on price either.  You will want to choose one of these and then delete your info off of Last Pass as soon as possible.  I am available over the weekend, Monday or Tuesday to help you with this.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

Here Are My Holiday Gifts For you

#1 Alternative Electric Supplier — Look at your last Eversource electric bill.  If you are using 400 + kwh (kilowatt hours) per month right now, you will save money by changing electric suppliers  via the website  .  You will still only get one Eversource bill per month.  

– Effective Jan. 1 — the Generation charge portion of your bill will double.  No joke  12 to 24 cents per kwh.

– Eversource does not profit off of generation.  They don’t care if you use an alternate generation company. 

– Unlike the “bad news” you might have heard about alternative suppliers 3 to 4 years ago, it’s a totally different ballgame now after laws were changed in 2020.  We the consumers are in control

-Best rates I was able to find right now are in the 16 to 17 range per kwh with 2 to 3 year guarantees on pricing.   It’s really a 1 way contract with the supplier guaranteeing you.   6 month, 12, or 18 months from now — if you want to change to another supplier or back to Eversource as your supplier — NO PROBLEM.  No penalty.

Examples of savings:

* I’m going to be saving $38 per month (use gas heat) by choosing Xoom as my supplier.

*My brother is going to be saving $50 per month (gas heat) by choosing Direct Energy as his supplier

*A client with electric heat in her condo (yikes!) is going to be saving $120 to $140 a month by choosing Xoom

*Just today – I saved a client $41 a month (oil heat) by choosing Xoom as his electric supplier.  This client’s annualized savings today paid for his Apple Watch. 🙂

And if Eversource’s new rate stays the same or goes up starting on July 1st — you could save even more in the summer months with that AC blasting.

No fees to switch  — one Eversource bill  —  – you can do this!!

#2 Gift:  Some of you guys think this is funny or do not cut this page into strips to put on your fridge, near your phone and on your computer.  Please do.  I had several clients  get ripped off this year or near ripped off with infected computers.    Do you think you are so smart that you wouldn’t fall for a scam e-mail or phone call?  Think again.   I am an expert in helping older adults learn.  Older adults need reminders and reinforcement.    I have attached a 1 sheet document to print out — my $1000 Holiday Gift.   Use it  — pass it on.  It’s been updated for 2022 with some newer scams that I’ve dealt with.

In closing….

This may be my last update of the year — so I’ll close with this.   We need to take a lesson from Actor Tim Robbins and simply be kinder to each other.   The past 3 years have been a hyped up, hopped up time with a lot of division and demonization.  We do business together, we shop together, we exercise together, and attend events together.  I don’t exclude clients because of medical choices, politics, signs in the yard or whatever.  Co-existence does not confer agreement, but what I am really saying is everyone around here should do a better job of tolerating others.   Paraphrasing health guru Max Lugavere — eat more protein, less sugar, exercise more, and turn off the news.

Those are my new year’s resolutions!!

Have a joyful Christmas and Hanukkah!

05/18/22 – What Is The Apple Card?

I paid $4.59 for gas yesterday.  According to a major bank, the average may be $6.20 by summer.  A discount grocer I shop at used to sell eggs for $1.19.  They are now $2.45.  I don’t think these issues are going away any time soon.  The valleys of life sometimes entail living with the consequences of others’ (poor) decisions.  2022 is going to be one of those times.

but there are — Stories of Hope

My 89 year old great aunt and 94 year old grandmother recently have recovered from Covid 19 after getting infected about 1 month ago.  Recovery is possible, common, and likely.  Both took the new anti-viral medications.  I believe early treatment is essential, whether you take conventional or unconventional paths.  Once again you are able to order 8 free tests for your household. It takes a minute to fill out the form.  Here is another tool for your tool bag. – Free at-home COVID-19 tests

Computer Speed Up Specialist

Do you have a 3 to 7 year old Windows computer that is starting to get a little slow?   Are you put off by the supply shortages and the cost of buying a new computer?   I think I may have an answer for you.   Unlike modern Macs, that have all soldered in unremovable parts — most Windows systems have a replaceable hard drive.  If your system seems that slow, you can likely benefit from a replacement with a solid state drive (SSD).  I make sure your files are backed up and then re-install Windows and your essential programs and copy your files back on to the computer.  This is a real jolt in the arm for your PC and it likely feels faster than when the computer was new.  These jobs can take as  little as 2 hours.  I just did one last week for a client that was 3 hours.   When choosing your next computer, only get one with an SSD in the future.  The Windows and Mac operating systems are meant for SSDs, in fact it is not possible to buy a Mac without one. 

Apple Card

Welcome to the world of high tech finance, I suppose.  For years, customers have always been able to finance an Apple product and get a certain number of interest free payments, at least on their first purchase.  Most recently, shoppers were offered a Barclays Apple Rewards Visa.  However, in 2019 Apple decided to take things in house and offer their own Mastercard called the Apple Card.  Apple is putting their name on it and demanding certain standards, but the banking back end is provided by the consumer division of Goldman Sachs. 

Why might someone want the Apple Card?

Well you get a card made out of titanium that is heavy and makes you feel important.  (Come on, that’s not a valid reason!) OK, getting serious here — the Apple Card seems like a valid choice for customers that regularly shop from Apple.  There is 3% cash back on all Apple purchases.  Interest free financing can also be used with all Apple purchases.  Furthermore, the card is automatically added to the Wallet app on the iPhone.   For any “tap to pay” situation, there is 2% cash back.   (There is also 1% cash back whenever you use the physical card).  The card can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted.  The full card number is not printed on your card.  It can be looked up in the Wallet app and a new number can be issued in the event of a security issue.

How to apply?

You apply using the Wallet app on your iPhone.  It’s very simple and takes about 5 minutes.

Who is this not for?

The Apple Card is not for someone who wants paper statements or to send in a check every month.  You really need an iPhone to be a card member.  You will make your payments through the Wallet app or by logging on to a website on the computer with your Apple ID and password. 

Healing And Unity In The Age Of Technology

I want to start off by saying that I don’t watch TV news.   It is my goal to be done with paid TV by the end of the year.  However I am very well informed of the unparalleled, distressing, and traumatic times we have lived through over the past week.  Through videos, photos, first hand accounts, discussion, as well as my own research and insights — I develop a perspective on life.  I normally would not touch a matter that is seemingly political in one of my weekly briefings, but the matter at hand squarely intersects with my domain — technology and its use or misuse.

Like many of you, I have gone through a whole gamut of emotions since January 6th.  Ultimately, I have tried to draw connections to the past and develop a balanced perspective.  Reflecting on the past week and really the past four years, I wrote what amounted to a 6-page essay over the weekend.  The problem is that it is not at the extreme end of either current major political philosophy and therefore, I don’t think anyone would publish it.  The problem with our TV news is that “Network A” only likes to pander to their viewers to mainly report on the extreme elements of the philosophy (and its practitioners) that they disagree with.   “Network B”, likewise, only likes to pander to their viewers to mainly report on the extreme elements of the philosophy (and its practitioners) that they disagree with.   It’s ratings driven. It’s sensational.   By and large the American people eat, sleep, and drink it all day long.   I need to be on a diet, but that’s not the diet I want to be on.

The past four years of our American lives have been an intensely political time with strong emotions.   This may surprise you if you have never had these interactions with me, but I would say that in this stretch of time clients have expressed some sort of political frustration 30 to 40% of the time.   I have learned to be a good listener.  At an appointment a client just said to me today, “I should just lay on a couch when you come over.  You are like a computer psychologist.”  Sometimes I just smile and nod.  I try to make clients feel comfortable.   Such a response should not signify agreement (from me or anyone in life), but I want to say that I am grateful for hiring me and I accept you sharing your frustration and pain.  A little under 10 years ago, I was accepted to a Professional Counseling Master’s program.  I ultimately dropped out, but I think I would have made a very compassionate psychotherapist.   I try to incorporate those therapeutic skills and the heart of a teacher (another career I didn’t quite succeed at LOL) in my client interactions whenever possible.  It’s what makes our relationship so unique.  I want to leave a legacy of changed and improved lives.

It takes two to tango.  The tides flow in and out.  I think to have true healing in unity in this country (or even a country like Indonesia where there is also a lot of division right now), we have to take time to listen to what others on the completely opposite side of the spectrum have to say.   We need to break bread and have meaningful dialog.  The organizing and actions of mob violence in all forms that we have seen on the American landscape over the past year are illegal and should be prosecuted.  However, when you step away from the fringes of both political extremes, you see neighbors, co-workers, and family members who just want to peacefully live their lives.   On numerous fronts, there a lot of hurt people out there.   (Something I learned from the therapeutic arena is…)  Hurt people, hurt people.   I’ll say it again: hurt people, hurt people!

So we have to decide, what do we want our legacy to be?  One thing is for certain, I am not letting mine be defined by the fringes of society or any TV network.

Thank you for letting me share this message.  I’ll step off my soapbox now.

Words of Hope 11/06/07

Dear Friends,

This is a special ‘Words of Hope’ message that I feel called to share with you today…

Not all readers of The Acronym are getting this via e-mail, but I have chosen to send it to you personally because I think it delivers a message of truth in love that applies to you.  I know you are concerned about relationship issues and may have had some bad experiences in the past — even divorce.  I pray that what I share can bless you in a powerful way.  Please feel free to share this message with others who may be in the same season of their life.  If it helps you, I know it can be a light for them.

I want to start off by saying that God speaks to me. What? You can’t be serious! Oh I am and very. I would say to anyone who claims to be Christian that if God isn’t speaking to you — something is very wrong. In this scenario it is very possible that you have gone through the motions of religion all your life or for part of your life and thought this meant you really know Jesus. It doesn’t. Trust me, religion stinks!! If you’re going to church because you think you have to or stopped going because it became routine or a burden — you’ve missed the boat. If going to church on a regular basis is the entire essence of your spiritual life, your life is only 10% full. Think of this message as a life preserver….splash!

I started a volunteer assignment yesterday by helping a friend with her college application essays. She’s a good kid, but struggles with a broken heart from the past and is really searching for a purpose to live for. I was jostled awake in my sleep by God, through the the Holy Spirit, with an important message to share with this young woman and all others whom I think could benefit from it. God made it clear that the message also applies to me and my own life.  Here it is:

God knows you have a past and have done things that you’re not proud of. He knows that you’ve acted out sexually or inappropriately, perhaps a little or a lot. No one close to you may know what you did, but God knows. He doesn’t want to punish you. He wants to love you. Jesus, who was God in human flesh, wants to wrap is arms around you. The Lord will take your burden and relieve of you of this dead weight.   By holding on to this pain, it just creates doubt within you.  It becomes a barrier to progress. Jesus wants you to call on him and ask for a new life and a second chance.   (If you’ve done this before, continue to pray and fellowship with other believers!! Ask God to fill you with his never-ceasing presence.  Perhaps your tank is a little empty right now.) He wants you to know that you can have a virgin heart, no matter how wrong your behavior was.  You can be forgiven! This is God’s free gift to you.  It’s called GRACE.  There is nothing you have to do, no level you have to buy into, and certainly no recognition you have to obtain. Pray for God’s purpose and direction to be revealed to you…and it will be yours.

I hope these Words of Hope have touched you.  If you’re confused about what I’ve shared, e-mail me back.  Contact me. My lines of communication are always open.   If you’ve never heard something like this in your life, but wonder ‘Could this guy be right? What does it all mean?’  Don’t be shy.   Speak — I think now is your time to really live life like you’ve never done before.