Archive for January 2012

Barnes & Noble Nook Color Reader for $139

imageIf you’ve been going back and forth trying to decide between the Amazon Kindle and B&N’s Nook Color, then this might make your decision easier.  Though I’m not a huge fan of refurbished gear, and when I do suggest one it’s usually because you’re buying from the manufacturer, I can make an exception in the area of tablets which other than a couple of buttons have no moving parts.  This means it’s probably going to work or it won’t.

The Nook Color is an Android based reader that has been highly customized for Barnes & Noble, is an excellent reader, handles pdf files Word files and is very well built.  If you’re wanting a fuller, a more “pure” Android experience in a tablet, it is not very hard to “root” the device (giving you full control over the operating system) and you can even replace their version of Android with the more current and standard Honeycomb.  But even out of the box, this is a great deal on a nice tablet.

Buy.com has it for only $139, WAY below the $249 list for a new one, here’s the link to their store: http://goo.gl/7NxOa.  At this price it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

If you want more information about the Nook Color, Engadget did a rather extensive review in November and you can read it here: http://goo.gl/mnVjZ

Your Router at Home May NOT be Protecting You!

imageA new flaw in how your average home router connects to other devices within the network has been discovered and may expose your entire home network (meaning all your computers) to a bad guy.

A “FEATURE” in newer routers is the ability to easily connect your devices like computers or printers to the network.  This feature is called WPS – Wi-Fi Protected Setup.  This problem is that you’re not so protected.  Because of the way it was set up, it is not difficult at all for someone to figure out how to connect to your “secured” network. 

The good news is that if your router is 3 or more years old, it probably doesn’t have WPS and you don’t have to worry, but many of the new routers have this feature.

To be safe you should log into your router and DISABLE WPS in the router, now you can keep the bad guys out (assuming you’re NOT using WEP encryption, but that’s another article.)

So if your router has a button on the front for easily connecting to another device you need to log into the router and turn that feature off.  If you’re not sure if you’re vulnerable or not sure, then call your favorite computer professional and have them turn off WPS on your router.  If they don’t understand why, then you need a new professional handling your computer issues.

A Reminder for Free Android Apps

imageThis is just a reminder that Amazon has a free app everyday (that you normally would have to pay for.)  I’ve downloaded apps that cost as much as $5.00 for free just by checking out Amazon’s site each day.  So if you have an Android-based phone or tablet be sure to check it out:  http://goo.gl/ek7fg

So Far Over 45,000 Facebook Users Hit with the Ramnit Virus

imageActually, Ramnit is a worm that steals your login credentials, then transmit malicious links to their “Friends” with the intent the link will get clicked on, infect the friend’s computer and continue to spread in the same fashion.

Since most people (hopefully not those of you who regularly read my blog) tend to use the same password for everything, the bad guys, after getting your Facebook login information now probably have your email login.  With your email they can find out a lot about you, like where you bank, your credit card holders, etc.

Facebook is downplaying the significance of Ramnit, however they do say “People can protect themselves by never clicking on strange links and reporting any suspicious activity they encounter on Facebook. We encourage our users to become fans of the Facebook Security Page (www.facebook.com/security) for additional security information.”  Since this is ALWAYS good advice, it’s hard to find fault with a response like that.

This is a variant of a virus that first appeared almost two years ago and is designed to steal information.  If you haven’t read my November, 2010 article on how to avoid viruses and malware, you can read it here:  http://goo.gl/bOCMF

Hollywood is Mad at Obama

imageIf there is any doubt as to whether Hollywood is driving the SOPA and PIPA bills in the U.S. Congress, just read this article published at FoxNews.com.  A former senator is threatening President Obama if he doesn’t support the bills.  Here’s the link to the article:  http://goo.gl/F6xRN

STOP CENSORSHIP!

I won’t spend much time on this.   You may have noticed a lot of web sites today looking different (like Google and Wikipedia), they are protesting today. 

What are they protesting?  There is a bill in the House of Representatives called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) that if passed will break how the Internet operates and will imagegive private companies (in the music, television and movie industries) the right to have your web site taken down if they don’t like it.  They went to Washington D.C. with BAGS of money saying “stop the pirates – we’re going broke.”  So the bill (and it’s sister bill PIPA in the Senate) takes due process OUT of the equation.  If they SAY you’re stealing – your site goes down.  If they don’t want you going to an overseas site, you won’t be able to get there.  That’s the practice in China, North Korea and Iran!   As an American I want the FREEDOM to go to any website I want to.  If a website is engaged in illegal activity, I want law enforcement dealing with it, not Hollywood.

Look, stealing copyrighted material is wrong, but this is like having your car taken away permanently  for going 5 mph over the speed limit – now you can’t work or make a living.  And this is the government giving the POWER to the media companies.  How would you feel if Randall’s had the power to prevent you from going to HEB for your groceries? 

This is not based in any one political party – pinheads on both sides are supporting it (money speaks Republican AND Democrat.)  I’ll stop by saying I’m totally ashamed and disappointed that my own Republican congressman here in Texas Lamar Smith is the HEAD of the committee that is pushing this.  There are plenty of sites to go to for more information, you can go to http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa, https://blacklist.eff.org/?action_KEY=8173.

Love a Good Rumor? How About the Next iPad?

imageNO ONE is better than keeping a secret than Apple, so NOTHING creates more interest than a rumor about what the next Apple device might be.  Bloomberg reported Friday about a fully HD iPad with a quad-core (that means FOUR built-in processors) and 4G wireless speeds.  Follow the link to read Bloomberg’s article.

http://goo.gl/DgPGq

Surprise Surprise!!!! Yes – Updates Are Upon Us!!!

imageI know this is the highpoint of your month, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.

Yesterday was the SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH!  CAN YOU STAND IT!!! 

OK, that was a little over the top, but folks, I’m trying everything I can to get you at least ONCE a month to think about the security of your computer, and be to install those updates when they appear on your taskbar tray.  Not once but TWICE today I heard people say they were AFRAID to install them.  If you’re reading this and know what legitimate apps look like, then you should really be afraid NOT to install them.  Delaying them even 2 or 3 days can leave you open to virus attacks that your anti-virus software won’t be able to stop or may not even know about.

imageSecond Tuesday of the month?  That’s when Microsoft pushes updates to Windows and other Microsoft products to you.  If you and auto-update turned on you may not even see the yellow shield (XP) or the blue box icon (Vista and Windows 7.)  Throughout the month you may see the Java coffee cup icon or the Adobe Acrobat or Flash icons – DO THE UPDATES!  It breaks my heart when my own clients get a virus when it’s totally preventable.  If you’re new to my site and haven’t read my article from a year ago November on how to avoid viruses, take a few minutes and read it here: http://goo.gl/F0DhL

Deal – Nook Color Tablet for $179

imageBuy.com has the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet on sale for only $179 (it’s being sold by Barnes and Noble.)  There has been debate back and forth as to which was the better tablet – the Kindle Fire for $199 or the B&N Nook for $249.  The Nook has slightly better specs but the Kindle has easy access to Amazon, so many felt it was a toss-up.  Well, at $179 it’s a pretty easy decision.  If you like to read and couldn’t decide, now you can.  The Nook has more internal memory and you can slide in an SD card to add more storage.  Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/2NwUP

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