Monday, February 22, 2021

GSE351 Locked Down

🗒 Complete show notes are here:

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash
🎙Hacking and scamming incidents are on the rise. It’s a sad fact of pandemic life now, but on episode 351 of Geekiest Show Ever, we’re here to tell you that you can take back some control if you know what to look out for and how to implement best practices. We will give it to you straight because we believe that online security should be a regular part of our overall well-being. It’s why we so frequently discuss security issues and using password managers. Tune in to hear us share our field experience for ways to help your loved ones become safer in our digitally connected world.
⏯Audio file is here: 🎧
🦉Follow us for even more helpful information: Listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Did you ever have one of those flashbacks where you think you remember something that happened, but then you're no longer sure if it really happened or not? I have this memory from Kindergarten and now I'm not sure if it actually happened or if it's just a dream I remember. Either way, it's a super cute story even if it's not true.

Mrs. Trowbridge's Kindergarten class, 1979

I was wearing one of my favorite shirts. My was in two long pigtail braids. My shirt had a print on it that resembled lined notebook paper. Printed on the shirt was a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Mrs. Trowbridge asked me to volunteer in the front of the class and we proceeded to follow the instructions on my shirt, put the ingredients together, and then bake cookies for the whole class. I was a human recipe book. I remember feeling very special that day, like I was a big helper. I think it was a lesson about following instructions — something very important for kids to do.

I don't know if this happened or not, but I have been able to recall this story for some time. It's the kind of story I'll probably still know how to tell when I have dementia. So, to whoever my future handlers are, I'm sorry if I tell you this story over and over, but please have fun with it and bake some cookies for yourself!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Uncomfortable, but Do-able is My New Mantra

Passwords for kids — this has been one area where I’ve had to compromise & it’s been uncomfortable, but do-able. It’s part of my job to teach cyber security to people, yet schools insist —and subsist— on using terrible passwords, but I get it. I don’t like it and I don’t agree with it, but I get it and I accept it even though I’ve worked very hard to teach my family the value of digital security and password hygiene.

When they have to use a site or platform that doesn’t allow for password changes, I remind them that it’s not how we do things, but for the type of educational service and limitations, we can compromise.

My kids have been using a password manager app since they were very little. But when it comes to using school laptops where personal apps can’t be installed, and for when they were too young to have their own smartphone to use as a look-up tool, we devised a plan. 

Normally, I advise against re-using passwords, but as in this case of compromise, I allow it to a degree. For each child, we come up with a password that is something unique, hard to guess, but easy for them to remember and develop muscle memory for typing. Once we’ve picked & practiced the base password, for each new site or platform they register, we use an abbreviation or short name for the service or product and tack it into the end.

MyGr8password becomes: MyGr8passwordGoog

I still have them keep these logged into their password managers then, when necessary, we can print out a screenshot instead of hand-writing them each time to save on guessing whether someone wrote a 1, l, i, 0 or O. A spreadsheet or word processed document could work too, if that’s an accessible tool for parents. Be sure to choose a font that makes letters and numbers distinguishable from each other. Courier font is a good choice.
Tips for Surviving Remote School by Devorah Heitner
Here are some really terrific tips I love to share from Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise. If you haven’t read her book already, I highly recommend it!


Friday, November 29, 2019

It's The Great Sale Sporting Event

I obsess when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales because I save and research all year long for these days to come! My sister is the hard-core brick and mortar in-store shopper and I'm the caffeine dosing all-nighter online shopper. Both of us treat this time of year like it's a goddamn sporting event!

Well, I thought I'd share my findings here on my blog in hopes that some of you could benefit from it. Sharing is caring :)

It's iPad Stylus Comparison Time!
Did you get in on the Black Friday sale on a new iPad yet?

These newer iPads work with Apple Pencil, but those things are really, really pricey, so I set out to look at alternatives. 🤑

Lots of styluses are on sale now and choice paralysis is setting in. Maybe these considerations could help YOU decide so have a look:

✏️Compared to the Adonit Note, the Crayon can make thick and thin lines because it supports tilt, but I'm still not yet sure if that means you can make shading in sketches happen or not. None of the sub-$50 stylus models seem to support pressure sensitivity, so you'll need to pick and choose from their other features. Reviewers on Amazon for the Adonit Note report a better on/off/connection experience compared to the Adonit Crayon. Both have nibs that wear out over time and need to be replaced, but they are soft on the iPad's glass and don't scratch. I still think it sucks that they don't come with replacement nibs. You'll need to factor in the replacement pricing towards the total cost over ownership.

✏️Then there are the lesser-known (or not really known at all) brands like FoJoJo — which is just fun to say. Styli made by these makers all seem to be knock-offs of each other and it's difficult to tell from the reviews how well these models will hold up over time or if they'll be supported with new firmware down the road when needed. (Hello, FiftyThree Pencil, anyone? :(

✏️The thing that frustrates me about the "carbon fiber" nibs is that I can't seem to determine whether or not they can or will scratch the iPad's glass. The details are sketchy at best. (See what I did there?) In some of the product details they recommend that you put a screen protector on your iPad, but they don't want to admit it's because their nib could potentially scratch the glass like some buyers reported. It says on other product details that the nib is smooth and won't scratch, so which is it?! They all seem to provide replacement nibs, which is handy. but compared to the cost of having to get a screen protector, we're then back to factoring in yet another add-on to the total cost. There is a 5-minute auto-shut off feature which, at first I thought was cool, but then I thought about how frequently I get distracted by interruptions and then I imagined that it would feel like it was constantly losing the connection, so now I'm not so sure if that will be a good feature. One last thing to consider is power button placement. Some look like they would get pressed by accident while others are a tap on the top which might be better.

🛍Either way, these are all great alternatives to the pricier Apple Pencil if you don't need the additional bells and whistles. If you can keep your expectations reasonable for whether or not the money you save is worth the lack of longevity and future support, then one of these might get you creating more with your fancy new iPad!

Here are the three I've been comparing: (The Adonit went on sale again while I was writing this!)
✍️Logotech Crayon:

✍️Adonit Note:


Go Clean Your...Mac!
You've heard me brag about how much space I save on my Mac by using Mac Cleaner X, right?
Wait...NO? Sheesh! You're worse than my kids!! Go check out this Sale on the MacPaw Store

(Thank you kindly if you've considered clicking my affiliate links in this post.) 🙏

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Right at Home with iPhone 11 Using AR

They finally listened to me! The iPhone 11 has a purple finish available!

Want to see something really cool? You can use the AR feature on Apple’s website to place the iPhone as an object on a surface nearby. I tried it out this morning while eating breakfast. The beautiful lilac color of the iPhone 11’s purple finish compliments my purple Ello water bottle nicely.

Then scroll down to here:

Next, tap the AR symbol.

When the page opens up, use one or two fingers to pinch and push onto the image to turn it around and enlarge it. The detail is amazing. Next, tap the AR button.

It will place the iPhone object on a surface.

You can manipulate the object in the space to swivel and enlarge. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to rotate from the bottom or top, only the sides, but you get the idea.

Tap in the center of the screen and you’ll see the options to snap a photo or share.

Because who wouldn’t love a ginormous iPhone 11 in their living room on a coffee table?!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

CleanMyMac X Has A New Space Lens Feature

I am really looking forward to trying this new feature out on all my external hard drives! MacPaw makes some of the most beautifully designed interfaces on the planet and I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this version of CleanMyMac X.

Here is a peek at new feature called Space Lens.

One of the toughest parts of my job is trying to help my clients move their data around and optimize it so they can access it. So many times they have external hard drives loaded with stuff and they don't know what's on them. I'm going to scan a bunch of my own drives with this new tool.

I'll report back with new features as I discover them, but two features that look really interesting are the built in malware detection scan and the Menu Bar status. (It's a bit like iStat Menus.)

Download a free trial and check it out for your Mac.

Friday, January 25, 2019

How to Block Your Caller ID

Today I helped a client who needed assistance disputing a charge on their credit card. They were duped into purchasing a piece of software considered to be malware. (More on that later.) During the process, the credit card customer service representative instructed my client to call the phone number listed on the transaction. They said the rules are that the customer has to make an attempt to contact the solicitor to cancel the charge. I told the rep that I did not think it was a good idea for my client to call the number and risk having her number added to yet another robo call list. The rep was resourceful and looked up the instructions for blocking caller ID. I have not had this need so I wasn't familiar with the process, but I was happy to learn about it.

Dial *67

We first tested it out by having my client use their landline to dial *67 and then my phone number. I showed them my screen so they could see what it looked like. Once we were confident it worked, we dialed the toll free number of the malware company. I really did not like this part, but the credit card rep told us that it was a standard protocol that needed to be followed in order to dispute the transaction and that this happens a lot. They said they see this a lot and don't expect there to be a live human on the other end. Sure enough, it was only a recording when we called it. Now, if ever it would need to be investigated again, there is a record of the steps taken to dispute the charge.

I hope this helps should you find yourself in this scenario.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Geekiest Show Ever - Episode 301

It was just Mike and I this time and we like to call it "The M&M Show" for fun. This time we geek out about the Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse, how we can't remember shit but want to and then we have fun being distracted by goofy gear for our pets. We talk about whether or not we'll watch Black Mirror's Bandersnatch and on which of our many devices.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click here to listen in your browser or download the audio file. Please note this podcast is explicit.

Show notes for apps and stuff we talked about are here: Geekiest Show Ever 301 – All Your M&M Belong to Me