California, (January, 2014) – Have you ever had this happen to you:  Often you receive emails from people who haven't contacted you in years, with a subject line such as "check this out!"  You open the email and contained within is simply a web link.  When you get emails like this don't click on the links – they usually contain malware that will infect your computer.  If the person sending the malware is you, here are some steps you can take to fix the problem, and hopefully assure that it doesn't happen again. First, determine where the message came from.  Messages sent from your email or your Facebook account should show in your Sent Items folder, so check there first.  If you see messages that you didn’t send in your Sent folder, you know that someone accessed your account and sent the message to people from your address book.  Change your password immediately, and if you use the same password on any other accounts, change every potentially compromised site to a unique password. If you don’t see the spam message in among your sent items, it’s likely that the culprit “spoofed” the sender address to hide the actual sending account and make it look like the message originated from you.  Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to rectify someone impersonating you.  Even if you manage to track down the IP address it was sent from and report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, they won’t be of much assistance. It’s importan... Read More

    California, (January, 2014) – In April 2012, Microsoft announced that it would stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014.  After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer write software patches and push out updates to fix software vulnerabilities, leaving those still utilizing the Windows XP Operating System vulnerable to malware, viruses and worse.  With the date of support termination rapidly approaching, here’s why you should bite the bullet and ditch Windows XP. Windows XP was released in 2001.  Since then, Microsoft has released several new versions of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8. […]

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    California, (December, 2013) -The Internet provides a wealth of resources to find information, but sometimes you need a little one-on-one assistance for a specific question.  Launched in November, Google Helpouts joins a host of online resources, including Just Answer, and eHow Now, that connect people who have questions to experts in a multitude of fields.  Here’s how to get live help online for just about any question, problem, or learning opportunity. Google Helpouts (https://helpouts.google.com/) links experts in a myriad of fields (from plumbing to pet care) with users in need of assistance using video chat.  Google Helpout is the only major […]

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    California, (November, 2013) – There’s a new and nasty “ransomware” virus called CryptoLocker sweeping the web, taking computers hostage and demanding that users pay an exorbitant “ransom” to get their data back. Here’s what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim of this malicious software. Ransomware is the term adopted by those in the tech industry to describe malware that infects a computer and then demands a fee to reverse its own ill effects. CryptoLocker is spread most commonly through an infected email attachment, though it can be imbedded in hacked or malicious websites. Users that happen upon the compromised […]

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    During the holiday shopping season California, (November, 2013) – As the holiday shopping season gains momentum, those looking to swindle online shoppers get creative in their attempts to lure victims.  I consulted with Scambook (www.scambook.com), an online complaint resolution website, about the top scams from last holiday season – they’re likely to appear again either in the same form or with slight variations – and what consumers can do to avoid falling prey. Last season, many Scambook users received a text claiming that they’d won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card – I received a text like this myself.  The text directed […]

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    California, (November, 2013) –We all struggle every day with the desire to do the best for our kids (Crafting! Healthy meals! Limited TV!) juxtaposed against the demands of working, chores and straight up exhaustion: “how bad is a half hour of iPad games so I can take a shower?” Screen time can offer educational benefits, particularly when there’s parental involvement and age-appropriate content.  However, there are some definite dangers, not only to your children’s ability to develop non-electronic coping skills, but in your family’s ability to connect with each other.  Here’s why you should consider pulling the plug, at least […]

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    California, (October, 2013) –It’s nearly impossible to impress on children the permanence of things they share online through social media, emails or via text.  Once they click “send,” that text message, photo or video is out there, available for sharing, forwarding and re-posting by anyone who gets a hold of it.  A recent law passed last month in California is aimed at giving kids a chance to delete their digital mistakes, but there are some pretty big loop holes. In September 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 568 which, among other things, requires that operators of […]

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    California, (October, 2013) –Have you noticed a curious phenomenon on Facebook? Suddenly it seems like your friends are posting ads for companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Tide in your newsfeed. “Why would your friend Jennifer post an ad for Tide? Does she want everyone to know how much she loves clean sheets?” It turns out Jennifer probably had no idea that her profile photo was linked to an advertisement on your newsfeed, and what’s more, she is probably seeing ads that look like they were posted from your profile on her newsfeed as well. It’s called “social advertising.” According to […]

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    A Top Contender in Video Streaming California, (October, 2013) –There are bevy of devices on the market aimed to allow you to stream content from the Internet to your TV, most notably Roku and Apple TV set-top boxes. Google has officially entered the fray with their $35 Chromecast device (www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast), leaving many to ponder how it’s different and whether it can serve their streaming needs. The Roku (www.roku.com, $50-100 depending on model) and Apple TV (www.apple.com/appletv, $100) are “set-top” boxes that connect to your TV with a cable and connect to the Internet or compatible devices over your home’s WiFi. […]

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    A Nerds-Eye Review California, (October, 2013) –Apple released iOS 7, an update that CEO Tim Cook called the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced. Available for free for every iPhone after the iPhone 4, the latest iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and later versions, and the iPad mini, millions will be seeing iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect. The most dramatic change is visual: everything looks different. Icons for core functions like Photos, Settings and Newsstand have new images, there’s a new palette of colors and everything looks brighter. Icons appear […]

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