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Staying Safe When Downloading Files From the Internet

  1. Never download anything from the Internet unless you have up to date antivirus/malware running on your computer or network
  2. Keep your operating system and other software up to date
  3. Be especially cautious when downloading free software, shareware and any software that someone has “modified”
  4. Google the name of the software and/or download site to see if they are listed as scams or web sites known to distribute viruses and malware
  5. If you get a virus or malware warning when downloading stop the download. Disconnect your computer from your network and scan for viruses or malware
  6. Don’t download software from email links unless you know the source is safe
  7. Check the download options to avoid downloading software that you don’t want
  8. Periodically check your “Programs and Features” to see if any software has installed that you don’t need or want

How to Protect Your Wireless Network

  1. Change the Administrator password on your wireless router and use a Strong password.
  2. Don’t use your last name or address for the SSID for your wireless router.
  3. Use WPA2 AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) authentication/encryption to secure your wireless router. The devices connecting to your router will also need to use WPA2 encryption.
  4. Use a Strong password for wireless user passwords.
  5. Set up a guest user if you want to allow friends to connect to your wireless network and use a Strong password.
  6. Turn off Remote Access (Management) on your wireless router.
  7. Limit the number of users or devices that can connect to your wireless network.
  8. If you want additional security you can limit the devices that can connect to your network by MAC (Media Access Control) Address.
  9. Turn on the firewall function on your wireless router to prevent cyber security threats. On most routers the firewall function is on by default.
  10. Implement security on all devices connecting to your wireless network.
  11. Keep your operating system and application software up to date.
  12. Install and maintain antivirus/malware software on wireless network devices that can run antivirus/malware software.
  13. Update your wireless router’s software/firmware when new software is available.
  14. Update the drivers, software and firmware on the devices connecting to your wireless network when updates are available.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017: Innovation Awards

    • Best Accessibility Tech – Whill Model M Electronic Wheelchair
    • Best Startup – Amber Agriculture Crop Sensors
    • Best Digital Health and Fitness Products – Will Smart Breast Pump
    • Best Automotive Technology – Honda Riding Assist
    • Best Home Theater Product – Dish AirTV
    • Best Connected Home Products – Zera Food Recycler by Wlabs of Whirlpool
    • Best Mobile Devices – ASUS ZenFone AR
    • Best TV Products – LG OLED W-Series
    • Best Gaming Products – Razer Project Ariana
    • Best Offbeat Product – Fisher-Price Smart Cycle
    • Best Maker-Friendly Technology – Lego Boost
    • Best PC – Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
    • Best Robot or Drone – Uvify Draco HD
    • Best of the Best – LG OLED W-Series

Things You Should Know About Computer Warranties

  • Read your warranty and register your warranty if required.
  • Every warranty expires at some point. If you have hardware problems, get them resolved before the warranty expires.
  • Warranties do not cover Acts of God like lightning, floods, tornadoes, theft or fire.  Check your insurance coverage and deductibles to determine if you need an insurance rider to protect your computers and related equipment.
  • Warranties do not cover reloading operating software, computer specific software or application software.
  • Warranties do not cover removing malware and viruses.
  • Warranties do not cover recovering data that is lost due to power problems, hardware failure, malware, viruses, software updates or user error.
  • Warranties do not repair things you tried to repair.
  • Warranties do not cover physical damage unless you have an extended warranty that specifically covers physical damage.
  • Extended warranties have the same provisions unless they include Accidental Damage Protection.
  • Most Accidental Damage Protection warranties cover one damage claim per year. Many have per incident deductibles.
  • There are some hybrid warranties that seem to cover everything, but be sure to read the fine print. There are exceptions, and these warranties are typically “depot warranties” that mean you could be without your computer from four days to several weeks.
  • When you set up your computer, create “Rescue Disks.” Back up your data, operating system and application software on a regular basis. You should have a primary and secondary backup solution.
  • Keep your software and license keys in a safe place. You will need to re-enter them after some repairs.

Stop Social Media from Draining Your Data

With new video features across the board on social media apps, change your settings in each app to avoid using up all your LTE data.

  • On Facebook, turn off auto-playing when you’re not on Wi-Fi.
    • iPhone: Tap the three lines in the bottom right corner. Select Settings > Account Settings > Videos and Photos > Autoplay > Autoplay On Wi-Fi Connections Only.
    • Android: Tap the three lines in the upper right corner. Select App Settings > Autoplay > On Wi-Fi Connections
  • On Instagram, limit loading photos and don’t pre-load videos in the Stories section while on your mobile network. Tap the person icon in the bottom right hand corner. Hit Settings gear in top right corner > Cellular Data Use > switch on Use Less Data.
  • On Snapchat, use Travel Mode to keep stories from auto loading when you’re using data (instead, tap to load stories). Tap the ghost on the top of the screen. Tap Settings gear icon in upper right corner > Manage Preferences > switch on Travel Mode.
  • On Twitter, turn off auto-playing when you’re not on Wi-Fi. Select the Me tab, then the Gear icon. Settings > Data > Video autoplay > Use Wi-Fi only.

(Adapted from a WSJ article by Joanna Stern (joanna.stern@wsj.com)

What Brand of Computer Should I Buy?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the show. However, the first question should be:

What are you going to do with the computer, short term and long term?

  • Will it be a home computer used primarily for email and web browsing, a business computer, or used for both?
  • What software applications will you need to run?
  • Does the computer need to be portable?
  • If portability is not a requirement, is your space for a desktop limited?
  • How important is battery life?
  • Do you need Wi-Fi on your desktop?
  • Do you need more than one monitor?
  • Do you have special data storage needs?
  • Do you require data redundancy (data is stored in two different places)?
  • How close do you live to a reputable computer service and/or support provider?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can focus on computer brands, specifically leadership brands. Here are the 2016 computer share of market statistics for the United States:

  1. Lenovo – 20.7%
  2. HP – 19.4%
  3. Dell – 14.6%
  4. Asus – 7.6%
  5. Apple – 6.9%
  6. Acer – 6.8%
  7. Other – 24%

Leadership brands have the best engineering, highest quality and the most models to meet your needs. They stand behind their products, and the major software manufacturers work with them to produce the highest compatibility. They also have multiple options for warranty and out of warranty service.

One of the most frequent mistakes computer buyers make is purchasing a consumer model when their needs require a business model. Consumer models are not designed for constant use.

Another big mistake is buying a computer with Windows 10 Home rather than Windows 10 Pro. Windows Home has limitations and is usually the wrong choice for advanced home or business use. See this post for more info on Windows 10 Home vs. Pro.