Watch Out for Amazon Scams
Internet, Tech Talk

Watch Out for Amazon Scams

I've noticed an increased number of Amazon scams as of late. Some of my clients have been reporting fairly elaborate (and convincing) messages telling them that they have problems with orders, unpaid invoices, or orders pending delivery. The links in these messages are obviously not goint to take you to an Amazon website. These types of messages are a type of phishing message. Most of the time, they are trying to get into your Amazon account where you probably have your credit card information stored. Once they're in your account, they start placing orders using your name and credit card. When they place the order, they won't usually have it shipped to your home or business. Instead, they'll ship it to a drop point for pickup later. Recently, I uncovered just this situation happen...
Hard Drive Full? Here’s a Couple of Suggestions
Computers, Tech Talk

Hard Drive Full? Here’s a Couple of Suggestions

A full hard drive can actually cause your system to slow down considerably. If your hard drive is showing full on your computer, there are probably a couple of culprits. First of all, maybe you just have too many files stored on your hard drive. Photos and videos downloaded from your phone or camera can really eat up hard drive space, especially if you have a small drive. Consider transferring those files to another drive or using a cloud storage solution to get those files off of your system. Microsoft's OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, or a similar product will do the job. Secondly, it could be that you have a ton of temporary files on your system that you didn't even know you had. While Windows 10 does an excellent job of cleaning up those temporary files, I have noticed a l...
The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store
Internet

The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store

Google's Chrome web browser is a memory hog. It's been that way for a while and it's somewhat annoying. However, I'm still a big fan of Chrome because it integrates so well in my day-to-day operations. So much so that I find it hard to move away. I was using Firefox for a time, then switched back to Chrome, only to switch to Brave (which disappointed me when it stopped syncing), then back to Chrome. So it seems that I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. I'm even using Chrome on my new Mac Mini, much to the disdain of my intern who is frequently encouraging me to use Safari. But I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. Even though my main computer is now a Mac, I still use Windows PCs quite frequently, so Chrome helps me keep everything uniform and synced. I'm also a b...
Facebook, Google, and Twitter Are Tracking You
Internet, Tech Talk

Facebook, Google, and Twitter Are Tracking You

If you're online, you're being tracked. Simple as that. I think a lot of people are experiencing the illusion of anonymity. You may think that everything is private, but it's not. But it's not the government that may be tracking you. The vast majority of that tracking is actually being done by corporations seeking valuable data on what you're searching for and how you move across the world wide web. Online tracking is primarily used for marketing purposes and to make your online experience a more valuable one. Online tracking really doesn't bother me, but I can understand why some people would feel a little uneasy online. Everything you do is being tracked. The stuff you search for, the videos you watch, the posts you make on social media. This is, by all means, not meant to ...
Critical Bug Can Corrupt a Windows 10 Hard Drive with Little to No Effort
Computers, Tech News, Tech Talk

Critical Bug Can Corrupt a Windows 10 Hard Drive with Little to No Effort

The tech website BleepingComputer recently published an article discussing a strange and dangerous zero-day vulnerability in Windows 10. The problem is extremely critical and simple, according to the article: In multiple tests by BleepingComputer, this one-liner can be delivered hidden inside a Windows shortcut file, a ZIP archive, batch files, or various other vectors to trigger hard drive errors that corrupt the filesystem index instantly.https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/windows-10-bug-corrupts-your-hard-drive-on-seeing-this-files-icon/ This super-harmful exploit is so simple that almost anyone following the simple instructions outlined in the article and corrupt their NTFS-formatted hard drive without even opening a file. Commonly referr...
The End of Adobe Flash
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk, Websites

The End of Adobe Flash

I think everyone can agree that 2020 sucked. However, there was one bright spot on December 31, 2020. It was the end of Adobe Flash. Made popular in the early days of the internet, Flash made moving graphics a mainstay for websites. Movie studio websites and online games took advantage of the software, but it quickly became apparent that Flash had a number of security holes. Constant patching by Adobe couldn't stop the eventual adaptation of HTML 5. Goodbye, old friend.
Monitors are in Short Supply
Computers, Tech News, Tech Talk, Technology

Monitors are in Short Supply

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a difficult year. Especially for those of us who work in the information technology field. In late 2019 we were facing a shortage of processors. That was quickly followed by a shortage of desktop computer systems in early 2020 that lasted nearly half the year. That was followed by a shortage of laptops and webcams. And that was just the hardware difficulties. Now that we're finishing out the year, we're faced with another hardware shortage - this time with monitors. If you can get a monitor, it's probably more expensive. There's no doubt about it, we are in the midst of a monitor shortage and it's not going to get any better anytime soon. The most recent round of problems (they say) is due to a strong earthquake in Taiwan and a power o...
You Weren’t Alone – Google Was Down Yesterday
Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

You Weren’t Alone – Google Was Down Yesterday

If you were having trouble accessing Google services yesterday (Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, etc.) you weren't alone. Google experienced a widespread outage on December 14, 2020. It has since been reported that the issue was related to an authentication problem. According to Google's Cloud Status page: Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace experienced a global outage affecting all services which require Google account authentication for a duration of 50 minutes. The root cause was an issue in our automated quota management system which reduced capacity for Google's central identity management system, causing it to return errors globally. As a result, we couldn’t verify that user requests were authenticated and served errors to our users.https://status.cloud.google.com/incid...
Outages Caused Problems in 2020
Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Outages Caused Problems in 2020

The internet is a magical place. In fact, it's so magical that I don't think that any of us really understand how it works. Apparently, I'm not alone. Even the big guys have experienced outages throughout the year. Let's look back at some of the biggest outages of 2020. Microsoft Microsoft Azure had a failure on March 3, 2020, that lasted more than six hours. It impacted Microsoft's East US region and was caused by a "malfunction in building automation control caused temperatures in multiple rooms of a data center in the East US region to spike impacting Storage, Compute, Networking and other dependent services." This was followed up by another outage impacting European customers between March 24th and 26th. This "outage" was caused when Microsoft's system were overwhelmed by...
The New Apple M1 Processor Set to Change Everything
Computers, Tech News, Tech Talk, Technology

The New Apple M1 Processor Set to Change Everything

At Apple's event on November 10th, they unveiled the new M1 processor - a chip designed to replace the Intel processors previously used in their desktop and laptop computer products. The new M1 chip is debuting in new versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. The first of these products are set to start arriving today. You can watch the whole video event below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AwdkGKmZ0I&ab_channel=Apple I have some take-aways from the event... First of all, you could tell that Apple was excited. In fact, it almost seemed like they were surprised by the power of their first Apple Silicon processor. These processors are fast, packed with features, and a step above anything else Apple has ever offered. Indeed, it may be one of the most...