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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Should I delete my Facebook Account?

See No Evil Monkey
Over the weekend I will be seeing my sister, who was a computer programmer and may know more about the lack of security while using technology. She will not start a Facebook page or sign up for online stuff. She has and uses an email address, but is very cautious about lots of things.

I, on the other hand, started signing up for stuff almost as soon as the Internet became a thing. I know nothing about programming or the secrets behind computers (except that there are some). I was always a teacher encouraging other teachers to use technology on their own and with their kids. I had to try things out before I told them to use them.

So, now that we are ALL becoming more aware of how intrusive technology can be into our lives and how much our data (all of the information about us) is being leaked in ways we can't control, what do we do?

thumbs down to FacebookI think that we will all deal with it in different ways. I respect those who decide to delete their Facebook pages ('how to' below). I think it is too late for me. What is out there does not go away and I think that if anyone wants to find my data they can do it. I am not claiming that I am so gullible as to think that my squeaky-clean life will not be misused to cause me trouble. I am just hoping it won't.

At the same time, I am tightening my privacy settings on Facebook and being more aware of what I am signing up for and in general how online stuff can be used. Even if your data was not stolen by Cambridge Analytica, they still put ads on Facebook that might have swayed an election. That is huge. So, I am very supportive of government actions that will tighten up regulations.
baby ducksI actually like Facebook. I enjoy perusing what my family and friends are doing. I enjoy looking at pictures of new grandchildren, etc....  In fact, I don't use it regularly because it steals my time. I start and a few hours later I realize that I have just spent a pleasant two hours on what was supposed to be 5 minutes. Honestly, I also like what they are doing with ads. I am not sure I would pay for it, so I am glad it is free and it is OK with me that they put ads on the page. I am glad that they have changed their model to aim ads at me instead of just putting up whatever ad paid the most, or whatever. I used to see ads for 'male-part' enlargement regularly. Now I just see stuff aimed at older women (how to lose weight, clothes to hide rolls, comfortable shoes, etc...) It is OK.

What I don't like and didn't realize that they were doing is following my search and browsing habits on the Internet. I think Facebook should stick to Facebook and not be gathering data from other locations.

So, here are things that I recommend you do whether you are Deleting your account or just being more careful about privacy:

  1. Go into your Facebook Account and click on the shadow of a triangle pointing down at the top right of the screen
  2. Choose SETTINGS (near the bottom of the list)
  3. Choose GENERAL ( it may just open to general)
  4. Click on the word EDIT next to Manage Account.
  5. From here slide down and you can choose to DEACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT. Deactivating allows you to go off of Facebook. However, if you change your mind in the future you can get back on again.
  6. If you want to DELETE your account completely you need to email Facebook and request that your account be deleted. Once this is done you cannot restore your account. Here is a link with more instruction for DELETING your account.
  1. Following the same instructions go to settings. There are several places to look for Privacy settings because it is complicated. You may want to check out all of your settings, but I will mention a few important ones.
  2. Security and Login - Check all of these settings. Make sure that you have them set in ways you are comfortable. Two-factor authentication means that every time you log in you will have to have your phone nearby to get a code to enter into the account. It is very secure because no one else can get into your account (knows your password) and has your phone.
  3. Privacy - Again, check all of these settings. They control WHO can see your posts and who can contact you. To change anything click EDIT and pull down the choices. I think that Facebook is meant for sharing, so it is hard for me to understand why someone would put "just me", but that is a choice. I guess you could use it as a journal.
  4. Blocking - You can block other users of Facebook from all sorts of things. Check here to see if there is anything you want to block.
  5. Face Recognition - maybe this is creepy, maybe not, but you can control it. It means that it will show you when someone posts a picture of you even if you are not mentioned in their post.
  6. Public Posts - This is more control for who can see your stuff. Even if you have locked up searching for you on Facebook people can go to Google and search for you.  
  7. Apps and Websites - Finally, this is one that was new to me, but I think is important. Often when you sign up for something it asks you whether you want to log in with Facebook. This is much easier than trying to remember yet another password. However, what it does is create a link between Facebook and that other website. It means that you are sharing information more widely than you thought. I went through and removed ALL of the ones that were there. Then I went about my regular business. I found that the one place that said it needed a Facebook login was this Newsletter. I post my newsletter on my business and personal sites. I decided I still needed to do that and that I trusted Mailchimp not to misuse my info. So I added it back on.
There are a few other settings that I did not mention. It does not hurt anything to click on them to see what they are about. I skipped ones that did not have a connection to privacy.

So, whatever you decide my wish is that you will feel good about it and enjoy life online as much as offline.

Let me know what you think about this!  I am curious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Favorite Program This Week

I really appreciate Google Drive this week. I am on the board of a Child Development Center and we have gradually been using it more and more to share documents and spreadsheets. We have a fundraiser every year where board members seek donations from various places for a silent auction. Google Spreadsheets has been a fantastic way to share what we have gotten donated so that we don't go asking the same place over and over again. Each year we have a record of what was donated to help us start the next year. Unlike using a spreadsheet and sharing it through email we don't end up with lots of different copies at different stages and have to compile them.

files in Google DriveIn another organization we use Google Docs to save Agendas and Minutes of meetings. Recently we are editing the Bylaws and it is a great way to allow a small group of people access to the document to work on it without having to be meeting all of the time. You can designate who has access to a document and what rights they have. You can set it so that many people can READ the document, but only certain people can edit it. You can highlight a sentence and then put comments that appear on the side of the document without actually changing the document. I highly recommend Google Drive as a workspace for any organization.

Friday, April 20, 2018

What is a .pdf?

pdf documentEvery file name has a three or four letter designation with a [.] in front. Most of us are aware that .doc is a Word Document. Word is a program created by Microsoft for Word Processing.

In the beginning if you had a Mac or a different Word Processing program anything made in Word would not open. This sometimes still happens, but not often. Different programs have adjusted and now open documents that end in .doc. I have a Mac and use Pages for word processing. If I just save a document it has .pages at the end of the name. If I send it to someone who does not have Pages they will not be able to open it. That is what .pdf is for!  Any type of word processor and any computer can open something that has .pdf. Not only that, but pdfs are compressed and easy to email.

One other benefit of a .pdf is that it cannot be edited easily by someone else. If you have an important document that you want to share with someone else and you want to make sure that it is locked so that they cannot edit it a .pdf is a good solution.
Adobe icon
The company that first created the .pdf format is Adobe and there is a free program that is probably on your computer called Adobe Reader. It will allow you to open ANY .pdf document. It gets updated occasionally and sometimes you will see a red A bouncing at the bottom of your screen. That is Adobe and if you click on it you can update the program for free, which is a good thing to do.

If you have a Word Document and you want to make it into a .pdf it is similar to saving it.
  1. After you have opened the document click on FILE at the top of the screen.
  2. Click SAVE AS and a window will appearSAVE AS MENU
  3. As usual check three things:
    1. The Name of the Document - change it if you want. It is OK to leave it the same. It will not erase the other one because it will have .pdf at the end.
    2. The Location - Indicate where you want it to be saved.
    3. The File Type - When you just click save it is a .doc or .docx. You need to pull down that menu and choose .pdf. The program will actually EXPFile format boxORT the .doc and make it a .pdf.
File Type Menu

If you receive a .pdf from someone else and need to edit it you can convert it into a .doc that will open in Word with a website converter. Just go to Google and search for ".pdf to word". Here is a link to one of the many.
The original will not be changed, but you will have a separate copy that you can edit.

There is also a program to create .pdfs that can do many more things. Adobe reader is free, but the editing program costs. I did not do research on this, but I am sure that there are many options available for software to purchase that will create editable .pdfs. Offices often use it to create forms that can actually be filled in, but cannot be edited otherwise.