Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Password Management and the Heartbleed Bug

You may have heard of the Heartbleed Bug. Here is the article about it on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartbleed_bug

The Heartbleed Bug could allow a hacker to access all of your passwords. Experts in cryptography have called it catastrophic and rated it 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. Big companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are plugging that hole and taking care of the bug, but since the problem has been around so long (maybe 2 years) your password may already be compromised.

In order to avoid any problems you need to change your password on all of the sites that you use. That is an overwhelming thought. 

PASSWORD MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

I looked into Password Management Software. This type of software is often called a vault because all of your passwords are stored behind one strong password which is the ONLY one you will need to use. The software automatically gets you into sites because it knows your passwords. NO ONE except you knows your Master Password. It is not stored on a server somewhere. Even the company does not know it so if you forget it you also lose all of your other passwords. 

I also decided to read about the safety of using this software. What if someone figures out my ONE difficult password?  Then they will have access to all of the others. The articles that I read said that this will not be an issue. Dealing with passwords this way is MUCH safer than using the same password for many sites. 

HOW I SET IT UP


With Dashlane I first went to their site and downloaded the program to my computer. Next the program looked through my computer to find any passwords that were automatically saved in the computer. There were several. It automatically added them to the list. I tried out each one and found that some of them did not work or were for old things that I do not use anymore. 

It was easy to click on the gear icon and then delete these with the trashcan at the bottom of the window that popped up. 

On the other sites I followed the directions for "forgot my password" and then did what they said in order to reset my password. When I clicked on the space to put in my new password a window popped up and Dashlane offered to generate a strong password for me.
I clicked to indicate that a secure password should be generated and then I closed up the site and tried to access it again. It was great! Dashlane did everything and I was logged directly into the site!

It took a while and some trial and error, but now I am set up with Dashlane for several websites. Now each time I go to a different site where I need a password it will be generated and added to Dashlane!  I just have to remember the one difficult password that I start Dashlane with. It is not saved anywhere, so if I forget it I will loose all of my other passwords and need to start again! I am going to put it somewhere I will not lose it.


Here are several Password Managers to choose from:

Dashlane - So far I like this one. It was recommended on many sites.
http://www.dashlane.com

LastPass - I think this one is the most common. It is very good and it is inexpensive to connect your accounts on your iPhone or iPad so that they all sync together.
https://lastpass.com/

Norton Identity

https://identitysafe.norton.com/

RoboForm Everywhere
https://identitysafe.norton.com/

1Password
https://agilebits.com/onepassword

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moving Documents to your iPad from your Computer and Printing Them

Now that a lot of us have iPads and use them all of the time we want an easy solution to getting our documents from our computers and to the iPad. Even better we want them to sync so that the same copy is on the iPad that is on the Computer.  Then we want to be able to print! We are demanding!

Luckily, there are lots of ways to move your documents from your iPad to your computer and to keep them in sync.


1.  PAGES - Using iTunes you can add documents from your computer to your iPad. They don't have to be .pages documents. You can even put .doc and .docx documents into Pages for iPad. In pages you can edit the document and then instead of "Saving As" you choose "Export" and export it as a .doc or whatever other format you can choose.
To add to your Pages App on your iPad:
  • Plug your ipad into your computer. 
  • Open iTunes 
  • Your ipad will show up on the list on the left side
  • Click on it and look for the apps tab on the top. 
  • The apps tab will show all of the apps that you have installed on your ipad. To get to pages slide down the page.
  • Click on Pages on the left side and on the right side it will show you all of the documents that you already have on Pages in your iPad. 
  • If you want to add a document click ADD at the bottom and find the document you would like to put up there.
Anything that is listed in the Pages documents can be edited with the pages application. You can then send it by email to your computer or use iTunes to move it back over or print it right from Pages if you have a WiFi printer (see below)


2.  GOODREADER -
Annotated PDF
GoodReader is an app that you can download to your iPad for free. Documents that you put here can be annotated. It is great for reading .pdf files or for teachers/professors who need to grade papers. After you have made the annotations that you want on the document you can send it by email. Goodreader always saves the annotated document and also the original that you began working with.








3.  DROPBOX - When you put a document into Dropbox you are actually putting it onto a server online. That server can be accessed by any computer that has the Dropbox app downloaded to it OR by logging in online at http://dropbox.com. Before you use Dropbox you sign up for an account. That way only you have access to your documents unless you specifically share them. When you work on the document and save it the changes are saved in Dropbox and so they are available on your iPad. You cannot edit a document in Dropbox, but if you have a word processing app on your iPad you can open the document into that app from Dropbox and work on it and then save it back into your Dropbox.



4.  MS OFFICE ON IPAD - Now you can get Office on your iPad. But wait! There are some drawbacks. It takes 450 MB of your iPad space just to load it. It is based on a subscription model that costs $99 annually.

5. GOOGLE DOCS - The great thing about Google Docs is that you can access them anywhere.  Google docs, also called Google Drive offers word processing, presentation, spreadsheet apps and others. When you type something in Google Docs it is saved on a server and you can access it through a browser anywhere that you have Internet access. If you need to access documents without internet access you can download Drive as a folder on your computer where you can access files even when you are not online. If you make changes they will upload the next time that you are online. 

PRINTING

You must have a WiFi printer and an app that can print in order to print from your iPad. You can print with Pages, MS Word, and there are many print apps (both free and up to $6.99). In my experience it takes a few times to get printing to work correctly, but don't give up. Search online for Printing with an iPad to get more information and quit when you are frustrated and start again when you are ready.


5 Things You Can Do to Make Being Online Meaningful (3-5)

The last post talked about the book NetSmart How to Thrive Online. It lists five skills that the author recommends for making use of the Internet meaningful. Last post I talked about two of the five skills. They were Attention and Crap Detection. In this post I will outline the next three. I know that this is very different from my "how to" posts, but please put up with me and we will get back to those.


PREFACE
Our cultural expectations have dramatically changed. A small example of that is telephone etiquitte. It used to be that you did not call anyone too early or too late. It was rude. You might be interrupting their sleep, or they might not be at home. Message machines seemed so impersonal at the beginning. 

Today rudeness on the phone means not silencing a cellphone at a concert or talking on a cell when other people are in hearing distance. The hour you call and even if a person answers does not matter. The caller just leaves a message or texts. If you call someone at 3 in the morning it is no problem because you can just leave a message that they will get in the morning. Just like cell phone etiquitte, Participation, Collaboration and Network Smarts are important changes caused by technology in our lives.

Participation
It has become possible for everyone to publish what is important to them online in one way or another. In Facebook you can "like" something, you can bookmark favorite websites, you can comment on blogs, or if you want to do more create you own blog or website. There are so many sites like Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, Etsy, Twitter, etc... that will allow you to publish your own thoughts and pictures on the web for the benefit of others.

If you participate you need to be aware of your digital footprint. Everything that you do online is permanent and you have no control of who reads it or copies and pastes it to their own computer. Hopefully you have all positive contributions that you are proud of. Your digital footprint shows you as a positive contributer. If you have posted some things that you are not proud of it is important to be active in publishing things that correct your digital footprint, so that anyone who views you online will more likely find your current footprint than what is history.

Collaboration
Collaboration used to be considered cheating, but now it is necessary. Wikipedia is a good example. When I grew up Encyclopedias were sources of fact. You had to have a special shelf for them and they needed to be updated annually. The speed of new information increased and Encyclopedias could not keep up. Wikipedia allowed anyone to write or add to an article there are now 30 million articles. Collaboration allowed extremely current updating of information. People in locations of a disaster can add an article to show what is happening right then. The article on Hurricane Katrina was very interesting to follow because it changed in real time. If something untrue were added someone could come and correct it right away.

Since just anyone can add to it Wikipedia cannot be trusted as a final resource for information (actually, even the Funk and Wagnels could not!) However, it is a great place to start researching a topic. Usually there are links to follow at the end of an article that will take you to other information also.

Wikipedia is just one example of how Collaboration can make use of the Internet more meaningful. The general term for sites that allow this type of collaboration is Social Media. There are hundreds of sites on the Internet now that fall under that category.

Network Smarts

The final skill that I am going to summarize is more difficult to explain. The new way of relating to people is in a network rather than in a group. Sometimes you do not personally know someone, but on a social network site you are able to help them with an answer to a question. Networks make paying something forward (doing someone a favor even when they have not helped you) really meaningful. By being someone who gives you build Social Capital and trust. 

Facebook can be an example of a network. You may see comments on your news feed that are not from people you know. You are connected to them only through someone else. How you respond to them can build Social Capital and trust.

It is important also for you to be mindful and to set your privacy settings so that you know who is seeing your contributions. You do not have total control and sometimes the privacy settings change, but it is important to know where you stand.

CONCLUSION
I know that these two posts have been more academic than most of my posts. It has helped me because at times I feel caught in changes that are going so fast. It helps to take time reflect and to be mindful of what I do online and how I help others. 


Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Things You Can Do To Make Being Online Meaningful (1-2)


In the book called "NET SMART How to Thrive Online" Howard Rheingold talks about five important skills that we need to have in order to use the Internet meaningfully (and that includes email).

The book interested me because for a long time I have felt that technology is overwhelming. It seems to change so fast and once you do email fairly regularly it tends to pile up faster than you can read it.  How does anyone deal with this? Then there is the issue of safety. How can you keep your identity safe online? What about viruses?

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is dealing with these questions. In the book he also discusses some other important questions.

  • What do you do if you have a bad reputation online when things that are online ever go away?
  • Why is it important to live mindfully?
  • How can I possibly keep up with technology?
  • Why should anyone use Twitter?
  • Is the Internet making us stupid?
  • Can everyone see everything on Facebook?

It is summed up in 5 important skills that we all need to develop in order to use the Internet in a meaningful way. These are new literacy skills that we all need to learn.

ATTENTION

I tend to avoid going to Facebook because a few hours after I have started looking at it I realize how much time has passed and remember (usually too late) why I was going there in the first place. I think we all have that type of experience when we go to the Internet and just follow interesting links from where we are to other interesting places and on and on.

Rheingold says that this is a good new way of learning, but only if you are in control of your own attention and choose to spend time this way. However, it is difficult and takes intentional effort to train yourself in attentiveness.

This section of the book is especially worth reading. He talks about the hoimportance of breathing and being aware of what we are feeling and also our body. It is not good to sit at a computer for too many hours without getting up and moving. Moving brings blood to our brain and helps us to think and learn better. He also suggests that we need to learn to put down the phone or iPad and look at the people we are talking to. Paying attention to others is important.

Multitasking usually causes a person to lose some effectiveness on each thing they are doing. Repetition is important. When you repeat good habits you instill them in yourself.

These skills are especially important for people under their 30's who have lived with technology all of their lives. I have not developed the habit of being caught up in my phone while not attending to people I am with, but you see it all of the time on college campuses. Some of the other literacy skills that he talks about are more important for us "older" folks

CRAP DETECTION

You can find almost anything you want to know on the Internet. The words you use to search are important. It is up to you to decide whether what you find is accurate, inaccurate or intentionally misleading. It helps to be skeptical first. Next you can do several "detective" activities to figure out if what you are seeing or reading is accurate.

Think about who wrote the page. Anyone can make a webpage pretty easily now. Try to find the author and search to find out if there is other information about them on the Internet. He suggests some really helpful ways to authenticate a webpage and learn more about it. One important word is TRIANGULATE. That means you should find three sources that agree on something before passing along a rumor.

Here are some websites that can help you to do this:

Snopes
http://www.snopes.com/
Snopes is a site where they do research on rumors that float around the Internet and post the source of the ones that are not accurate. If you receive an email offering a free flight on American Airlines is it for real. Searching Snopes will tell you that it is not and why.

Hoax Sites
http://teachbytes.com/2012/11/01/test-website-evaluation-with-10-hilarious-hoax-sites/
This is a page that gives you 10 websites that "look" accurate, but are actually made to fool people.

The Gallery of Hoax Images
It is very easy now to edit an image so that it looks just like it must be true!  This site shows images that have become viral (spread quickly- people sharing them with their friends) and explains why they are not  actually true.
http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/photo_database/photo_category/category/viral_images

The next three skills will be talked about in the next blog post.







Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Arranging the Icons on your iPhone or iPad

The iPhone and iPad are amazing. There are so many apps that eventually you have too many and it is difficult to find anything. In this post I will go over several ways that you can organize your apps so that they are easier for you to find.

ON THE PHONE

1.  Alphabetical Order

You can only organize the apps that you have downloaded and added to your iPhone or iPad. The ones that come with the phone cannot be changed.  Go to:
              • Settings 
              • General 
              • Reset 
              • Reset Home Screen Layout
Now all of your apps, except the ones that came with the phone are in alphabetical order. If you like it this way you will have to redo this each time you download an app because they download to the first empty space or to the end rather than in alphabetical order.



2.  Putting them in Folders

It is possible to put your apps into folders so that you can sort them into types. You can name the folders yourself.


        • Hold down one of the icons until they all have x's and shake.
        • Drag one of the apps onto another one that you want in the same folder.
        • Click the name at the top of the folder window and erase the name that is there and type what you want it to be.
        • It will be the same size as the icons before, but when you click on it the folder opens to reveal all of the apps inside.

3.  Pages by subject

At the bottom of the iPhone window above the bar with the programs that do not change when you go to a different page of icons there are dots. Each dot represents a page of apps. When you swipe the dot that represents the page you are on becomes bold.

Some people like to organize their apps by making each page one of their categories. They might put all games on one page or all music apps on another page.


ORGANIZING ONLINE


Probably the easiest way to organize the apps is in iTunes on your computer with your iPhone or iPad plugged in because the icons are larger and you can use your mouse. 

  1. Plug your iPhone or your iPad into the computer that you use for syncing.
  2. Go to the iTunes Program and you can see all of the pages of your apps at one time. 
  3. Now using your mouse you can do the same organizing that you were doing on the phone before. You can drag apps from place to place and create folders or pages with your organized apps. When you are finished click on apply at the bottom to make sure to  have the same set up on your phone.
  4. The only thing that is more easily done on the device than on the computer is alphabetize the apps. Remember that alphabetization will not reorder the default apps that came with your phone. 

ON THE IPAD

The iPad works in the same way that the iPhone does and so if you follow the directions above they will help you to organize your iPad

I cannot help you with your Android or Windows devices because I am not sure if they work in the same way or not.

RUNNING OUT OF SPACE? 

I recently had to do an update to my phone and the message it sent me was that it could not download the update because there was not enough empty space on the device. 


The way to deal with that is to open your phone and go to SETTINGS.  In SETTINGS choose GENERAL

In GENERAL choose USAGE. This will give you a list of all of the apps that are on your iPhone or iPad and then you can look through the list to decide if there are apps on there that you never use.


Remember that on your computer you have a comprehensive list of everything you have had on your iPhone.  It keeps track of the apps that you have removed. You can always add them back in without paying for them again if you paid or if they were free!  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The End of Windows XP

As I write this the end of Windows XP is soon and sure. The website where I learned about it (http://go.cmitfranchise.com/dump-xp) gave this time-
Countdown to the Death of XP
52:10:40:53
Day(s)Hour(s)Minute(s)Second(s)

When you read this more time will have passed.

They give many good reasons why you should make a change in your Operating System before then:
  • When the end comes Microsoft will not be sending updates. These updates are important because they often fill security holes and not having them will make your computer vulnerable to viruses.
  • The drivers for XP will not be updated, so if you get a new printer or other device the XP will not be able to connect and work with it.
  • The will also be ending their support for Microsoft Office 2003.
  • This is also the end of Microsoft Security Essentials.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE WINDOWS XP

Depending upon your current operating system you can check this in different ways. Right now there are mainly four versions: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows 8 or 8.1.  It is easy to know if you are using Windows 8 or 8.1 because it looks so different. Here is an example of what you will see when you turn on your computer:

If you have Windows 8 or 8.1 you do not have to do anything.

If your computer has a desktop with a picture and a START menu in the bottom left corner you have Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP. To find out which one of them you have you want to check the Properties. 

One way to do that is to open the START menu and find the word 'computer'. Right click on the word computer and choose Properties.

Another way is Click the Start button Start button, click or type Run at the bottom of the menu and then, type winver into the space that opens up


Press enter and a window will open up that will tell you the version.











IF YOU DO HAVE WINDOWS XP

It is time for you to make a change.

It is possible that your computer is old and slow and it is time to upgrade by getting a new computer. This may be the easiest solution, but I know that everyone cannot afford to do that.

If that is not true of your computer or you can't afford to buy a new one you can download the new Operating System by going to:

Look for the words  
  • Here is a summary of the requirements.  This may not be meaningful to you, but the Windows Upgrade Assistant will tell you if your computer can run a new operating system.
    • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
    • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    • Free hard drive space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • If your computer is too old it may not be able to run a different Operating System. 
If your computer can run a new Operating System the first step is always to back up all of the files on your computer. Backing up is a whole subject to figure out. Look at the link below for more information.


In order to upgrade you will have to remove your files and programs from your computer and put them back in after you have run the CD that will install the new version of Windows. This is a complicated process and it is made more confusing if you have lots of software downloaded onto your computer. It is not hard to back up your files and settings and then reinstall them (there is a program that will do that for you), but then when you are done you will have a "clean install" withouth any software that you downloaded before. You will have to find your CDs or look online for where you downloaded them and get them again. If you have old versions you may have to pay for newer versions.

If you have very little software or just want to start out over again without all of the programs you used to have the upgrade will work easily. You can upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows 7 costs a little less, but since it is not the newest version it will need to be updated sooner than Windows 8. 

Here are some articles on the web about upgrading your version of XP. 

This webpage has a step by step tutorial and a video to explain what you need to do.

A helpful article on upgrading to Windows 7

Recommendation to buy a new PC rather than just upgrade.

Comparison of Windows 7 and Windows 8

You will have to purchase the new operating system on disks. It will cost from $75-$125 depending on where you buy it and whether you by Windows 7 or 8. Since 8 is new it is a bit more expensive.

Here are some places online that you can order it. You can also find it at local Computer Stores and stores like Staples or Office Depot.

eValue Software

Microsoft Store

Amazon


WANT TO BUY A NEW COMPUTER?


My main advice is to start with a few questions:
  • What are you going to use it for?
  • How much do you have to spend?
I have a 13 inch MacBook. Even though it cost more at the beginning I felt it was a good value because it had a camera and microphone built in. Also, it seems to work without having to download lots of drivers or add on other components.

How to Buy a New Computer
http://www.wikihow.com/Buy-a-New-Computer

Finding the Right One for You -http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/best-computer-how-to-choose-the-right-one-935053

Buying a Refurbished Computer
http://www.computerhope.com/btips/desktop.htm

Helpful Laptop Buying Guide
http://reviews.cnet.com/laptop-buying-guide/

DESKTOP
PROS - stable, you might be used to having one and just want to replace it. If you do not use WiFi in your home and your computer plugs into the Internet with an Ethernet cord a desktop is a good answer.
CONS - With a desktop you are tethered to one spot. You cannot bring your computer with you anywhere.

LAPTOP
PROS - Can do everything a desktop can do. Is portable so you can work anywhere. If you have WiFi in your home you can sit in any room or even use it in the kitchen. 
CONS - The screen size is more limited than a desktop. Laptops are too heavy with a large screen. 

TABLET: Pad, Nexus, Surface, Asus, etc... 
PROS - Tablets have a touchscreen, which can be a good thing. Make sure to try it out at a store to see what you think about it. They are lightweight and easy to bring anywhere. They have a camera built in so you can take pictures and store them there or upload them to Picasa or another program online. There are a lot of apps that you can download for free.
CONS - For lots of typing with it you may want to purchase a separate keyboard. It is possible to print from these, but not easy to set up. 



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snapchat and Instagram




The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. It must be true if you think about how popular pictures are on computers and mobile devices. Today I am going to talk about two apps for download to your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. In some ways they compare to Twitter because in a very short time you can communicate to all of your followers. The main difference is that these apps both use pictures instead of text as their way of communication.





INSTAGRAM

Instagram has been around since 2010. In April of 2012 it was aquired by Facebook. Instagram is an instant photosharing app. When you open the app you can take pictures and instantly send them to one person OR to all of the people who follow you. You can set your profile to private so that only people you approve can follow you, or you can leave it open and anyone can follow you and see whatever photos you send out.


PROs

  • You can send photos you take immediately out to a bunch of friends at one time. So it is an easy way of sharing with friends or family.
  • A copy of each photo you have taken is kept in your profile, so you can go back and see what you took in the past.
  • You can delete pictures that you took in the past. At the bottom of each picture there are three dots ... When you click them a menu opens up that gives you the choice to delete, share the photo, copy and share the URL, email the photo and tag people who are in it. Each photo that is uploaded is kept on the Instagram server and can be accessed that way.


CONs

  • The photos you take and send are out of your control once someone else receives them. They have the ability of sharing it with someone else and even to put it onto their Facebook.
  • These pictures are not easy to print or even to save to your computer.


Why would people want to use this?

Receiving photos exactly when people have taken them is exciting and makes you feel more a part of their life. Teenagers like to send funny photos to their friends to make them laugh. It is also possible to edit the photo and write captions on it before sending it. (the picture at the top was taken when I was looking at a webpage on what age people should stop driving. I typed the words across it!)

SNAPCHAT

The guys who created SNAPCHAT were feeling frustrated by the privacy issues with Facebook and Instagram. The problem of photos being resent to others and downloaded and saved could cause a person problems. Even if you delete your account you never know if someone downloaded and saved one of your pictures and it will show up when you least expect it. These Stanford students (age 22 and 24) created an app very similar to Instagram, except that the pictures are only available for 10 seconds when the person who received them opens them up. The picture then vanishes and is removed from the server.  It is possible, but difficult to copy a picture that shows up for just 10 seconds.


PROs

  • A person can send a funny picture without worrying that it will be around forever. 

CONs

  • People can use it to send inappropriate photos (nude, etc...) that will not get them in trouble.


Why would people want to use this?

Like Instagram it is possible to send things immediately to friends or family when something is happening. You can send funny pictures that make you laugh without worrying that they might show up later and not be so funny.