Tag Archives: pattispathways

Cell Phones for Teens and Tweens

presentsSince the holidays are gift giving at its best, I know a lot of teens and tweens will be receiving cell phones.

Parents, aunts, and uncles…listen up!

Here’s a few important things to consider before gifting a cell phone.


This post is going to make me quite unpopular with the younger crowd, but I’d rather that than have them in danger. As their parent, you should be in this mindset also. If you aren’t, get there…now!


cellphone iconKids think of their cell phone as personal property so it’s off-limits to moms and dads, right? Wrong.

Think of it more like a car. Here’s the keys. you can use it, but I check the gas and where you’ve taken it.

It’s okay to check what your child’s been texting or tweeting, but tell them upfront they’re subject to snap inspections.

If you want to institute this kind of rule later, after a teen’s had their phone a while, sit down and talk it over with them. You’d be surprised; they’ll probably understand.

Oh, you’ll still get the proverbial shock initially.

“Don’t you trust me?”

Your answer to this? “Honey, cell phones are a tremendous responsibility. I love you too much to put you in danger. I’d feel horrible if anything happened to you because of a gift I gave you.” Practice this sentence two to twenty times (or more) until you’re comfortable with it.

Instead, your child might act the part of the angry rebel. If so, your approach is different.

“Man, you’re such a _________ _________[insert inappropriate names here]!”

Here’s your answer, “Um. I’m sorry you think that. I’ll be keeping your cell phone until you apologize.”

I know. I’ve read the news, too. Being a teen or tween is an emotional rollercoaster. Teens have committed suicide because parents take away cell phones. These poor kids probably were never told no, or how much they were loved and needed. Don’t make this mistake.

If you’re not sure how your teen/tween will respond. hold off on snap inspections, spend more time with your child, and fix the communications problem first.


Alligator thumbs upIDEA: Instead of working an extra two hours every few weeks, take your kid (or kids) to a movie. You won’t need to talk much — the usher will shush you if you do — and you’ll toss a huge wrench into your kids’ work-is-more-important-than-me mentality.

Set it up like a date. “Hey, Sam. How about I pick you up from school, and we go out for pizza and a movie next Thursday?”

Schedule it just like you would a business meeting or you’ll be tempted to skip it. And don’t be shy about telling co-workers or your boss you have a date with your kid. Your idea might just rub off on them. If the boss is less than enthusiastic, tell them even though you can’t work late tonight, you’ll be in early tomorrow.

You won’t believe the awesome dividends time with your kid pays. FYI: the next installment of The Hobbit comes out December 17. You can get tickets in advance any time.  😀


When is a kid old enough for a cell phone?girl with package

It’s more about responsibility and maturity levels than an actual age number.

Lori Evans, MD, director of training in psychology at the NYU Child Study Center, says. “Look for the developmental signs. Does your child lose his belongings? Is he generally a responsible kid? Can you trust him? Will he understand how to use the phone safely? The rate at which kids mature varies — it will even be different among siblings.”


What kind of phone to buy?

Younger children need only the basics: no texts, internet access, games, etc.  For now, their phone is about safety, not socializing. If you’re handing down your old phone, turn off these features.

Older children (a.k.a. high schoolers) can be allowed more bells and whistles.


Tips for Parents with “Cell Phone Kids”

Follow me here. I have a lot of tips, but they are all important. Don’t be afraid.

Tip One: Cell Phone Station

Station a basket or a cell phone charging center in a public area of your home. If you set it up by the front door noone forgets the phones when they leave.

Everyone — e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e., you too Mom and Dad — puts their powered-down cell phones in the basket for the night. Or if it’s a charging station, plugs them in.

Why? Cell phones taken to the bedrooms encourage texting and talking when adults and children should be sleeping. Did you know sleep-deprived drivers are as dangerous or worse than drunk drivers? Now you do.

Tdoctorshe only exception is a parent who is a nurse, doctor, firefighter, policeman, or other life-saving career person. They can keep their phone near at night, but not too near. See Tip Six.

By the way, life-saving career parents, thanks. 🙂


Tip Two: No GPS Tracker

Skip the GPS tracker on the phone. Unless your kids have shown dangerous and untrustworthy behavior, you don’t need it.

If it were me, I’d let them know I trust them enough to not use phone GPS; you’d be surprised at the child’s self-esteem boost. The downside of this is a lot of stolen phones have been located due to GPS. Talk it over with your kid. Decide together.


Tip Three: Be a Role Model

Be your kids’ number one role model. If you don’t check your texts or messages during __________ [fill in the blank: dinner, theatre, store], they won’t either.


Tip Four: Define Acceptable ActionsHelp

Kids are all about rules. They need guidelines. Help them out and give them some.

  • No gossiping. Gossiping is anything meant to hurt someone else whether it’s true or not.
  • No cyberbullying.
  • No talking to strangers…even if they sound nice.
  • No sending inappropriate photos of themselves to anyone.
  • No sending or posting photos of others without their permission.

Why? Sometimes kids don’t have the loving family yours does. A non-custodial parent might steal a child if they knew where they were. With court approval, these children’s locations are kept secret. They’re in kind of a witness relocation program, only for kids.


Tip Five: Set Limits

Set texting limits, talking limits, any limits you see fit. If your teen goes over the agreed limits, let him or her pay the extra cost. Actually, standard — in my mind there are no normal people, only standard and non-standard — high schoolers should be able to pay for all or some of their phone bill unless you have a reward system worked out, like grades for phones.


radiation symbolTip Six: Limit Radiation Exposure

This tip goes in the “Better Safe Than Sorry” column. Even though the studies are controversial, cell phones do give off a certain amount of radiation, no matter how slight. It’s best to keep radiation exposure to heads and reproductive organs to a minimum.

  • Use headsets. There are wired or wireless/bluetooth.
  • Don’t let your kids sleep with their phones under their pillows. See Tip One.
  • Don’t carry phones in front pockets. Studies show radiation can affect reproductive organs.

Tip Seven: Cyberbullying

Social interaction can be a positive thing. It can also be incredibly destructive. Cyberbullying is a real threat to our children. Many beautiful and talented teens have taken their own lives because they were cyberbullied to the point of no return.

Make certain you tell your kids how much you love them often and how important they are to family and friends. And ask periodically if they’re being harassed or sent nasty text messages. Then do something about it. Don’t ignore it. Sometimes a child can think they’re being bullied when it’s not the case, but the impact on that child’s mental health is no less real. Take it seriously.

Tip Seven A:

Parents! Pay Attention! Watch for signs your children are cyberbullies. Even sweet little Suzy can bully someone else when she thinks nobody is looking. Unfortunately, sometimes anonymity turns even nice people into unrecognizable beings. And no, Suzy’s not a horrible person. She just needs some guidance. See Tip Four.

Check out my blog post on The True Faces of Cyberbullying.


Tip Eight: Texting Jargon

I’m not accusing your child of doing these, but the best prepared parent is a well-informed parent. Watch out for these acronyms and codes.

        • CD9 = Code 9 = Parents around
        • PIR = Parent in room
        • POS = Parent over shoulder
        • 9 = Parent watching
        • 99 = Parent(s) gone or not watching
        • KPC = Keeping parent(s) clueless
        • CID or 420 = codes for drugs
        • ADDY = address
        • N usually means ‘naked’. GNOC = Get naked on camera; NIFOC = Naked in front of camera; IPN = I’m posting naked.
        • PRON = porn (FYI: Don’t freak out about this. Read the sentence and take it in context. Kids benignly joke about things adults wouldn’t with each other a lot. Hey, they’re kids.)
        • (L)MIRL = Let’s meet in real life
        • TWD Texting while driving

I’ve left the most important — life and death — issue to last: texting while driving.

Tip Nine: Absolutely NO texting and driving…for a.n.y.o.n.e.

I’m simply going to ask you to watch this video, then you’ll understand. The video is promoted on Facebook by Kunhadi, a Lebanese non-profit organization concerned with road safety.

If the video isn’t cooperating, you can find it here: Texting While Driving


I hope this blog has prepared you a little bit better for cell phones in the life of your child. More than likely, your parents never had to contend with this issue. You’re breaking new and exciting ground. Do it responsibly.

Today’s assignment: When you  see your child next, tell them how important they are to you and others. Then say, “I love you.” It’s not that tough. Look at a picture of your kid and practice saying “I love you” to it five to twenty times until you are comfortable. Try it right now. 😉


CAUTION: If your child has disabilities, chill out and approach them as is best for their situation. If you haven’t been the parent addressing their needs, talk it over with that person first.

Do not…I repeat, do not ride in like Wyatt Earp thinking you’ll clean up Dodge City. Never has, and never will, work. You’ll just make matters worse. Been there, lived that.

If you want to make a difference in your child’s life, now is a great time to start. See the idea at the top of this blog. Psst. It’s by the alligator.


puppy presentHave a safe and happy holiday season, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own. Any health related advice is what seems logical to me after research and investigation. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any medical degrees or certificates related to nutrition, psychological, pharmaceutical, or medical health.


 

Giving Out Credit Card Numbers

Happy Holidays! It’s the season of giving, peace on earth, Untitled-1and goodwill to man.

Unfortunately, wrapped up with all the holiday cheer is an upsurgence in unscrupulous people.

After all the looting recently in St. Louis, I wondered how many kids got stolen merchandise as gifts. And how many knew it was stolen?  Envision the exchange at a looter holiday. “Here, Johnny, I got you this sparkling new bike.” “Wow, you’re the  best uncle in the world!” Yeah, right.

Hey, Looters! Ever think of setting a good example, you thugs? You’re not protesters; you’re criminals who steal and destroy your neighbors’ hard work by looting and burning their stores.

dog snow tongueThen there are those who steal delivered packages off the front porches of others. Last week a few got their comeuppance. A couple in Washington, D.C. — tired of having their packages stolen from their front porch — rewrapped a special gift for the porch package pilferers. They videotaped the gift exchange so they could enjoy it for years to come, and share it with local law enforcement. The box they left was filled with dog poo. Ah, pooetic justice at its best.


Now for the real point of today’s blog: telephone scammers who ask for your personal information and credit card number.

Recently a friend received two calls in as many weeks asking for his credit card number. Both of these calls could’ve been legit, but he’s very smart and didn’t give out any information. The first caller identified themselves as from his bank; the second said they were from his new cell phone service.

The “bank” caller asked him to verify his social security number. He didn’t. Then they asked for him to verify his address. He said, “Um, you’re my bank. Shouldn’t you already know my address?” Then they asked for a credit card number and that tore it. He had a few choice words for them at this point and hung up.

shopping cart iconThe cell phone caller went immediately for the throat. They said his calling limit had been reached, and if he wanted to continue he needed to give them a credit card number. He just bought the phone the week before so he knew that wasn’t the case.


By the way,  it’s legit in our age of technology to charge items to your cell phone account much like you do to your credit card account.

In fact, this past October, the FTC reached a $105 million settlement with AT&T for adding unauthorized charges — technically known as “cramming” — to their clients billings.

The FTC has some great tips on protecting yourself from cramming and what to watch for on your telephone bill. Click here.


Today’s Important Lesson Number One: Never ever give out a credit card number to someone who calls you. Only give it out if you initiate the call.

Today’s Important Lesson Number Two: Never call back a number given to you by a caller then give them your credit card number. Scammers  can intercept calls and/or set up phone numbers to look like legit businesses.


Now you’re armed a bit better for scam callers. Don’t feel bad if the calls are actually from a company you do business with. You just did them a favor by advising them their policies need to be brought into the 21st Century.

Have a very blessed holiday season, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


RELATED POSTS: Microsoft Won’t Call You…EVER!Scammers Posing as the IRS.


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

 

♪ Somebody’s Watchin’ Me ♫

Now that you have the 1984 Motown hit single by Rockwell and M.J. blaring in your head, I’ll explain why I’ve cursed you thus.

Webcams. Yep, webcams are the reason you’re humming hip-hop in your head.


Webcams are wonderful devices. They allow us to video chatWebcam with relatives living far off — if you haven’t tried this, you don’t know what you’re missing.  There’s facial recognition software that allows you to log on to your computer via your webcam. They help us monitor the interior and exterior of our homes and businesses for security purposes.

In this blog, I’m not going to tell you how to use your webcam. Rather, I’m going to tell how to keep others from using your webcam without your knowledge.


This year thousands of unsecured personal and business webcams were hijacked and livestreamed to whomever wished to view them. The site streaming these was closed down a few days later when the world’s major media outlets broke the story six months after the site went live.

It’s a harsh reminder to us with all the newfound wonders of the internet, and the freedoms it gives us, also comes responsibility.

While yoeyeballu might think this behavior is criminal, it’s really only unscrupulous. Why? The webcams chosen had no passwords or the original factory password hadn’t been changed.

Many of cams seized were surveillance cameras. These webcams weren’t only in homes, but offices around the world.

I know what you’re thinking, “Hackers can’t do that to personal laptop webcams, can they?” Um, yeah, unfortunately they can.

Norton, the anti-virus software people, has a good security article on webcam hijackings. In it they mention a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against a school for using webcams on school-issued laptops to spy on students and their families. You can read more from Norton at Are Hackers Using Your Webcam to Watch You?


So other than viewing you in your natural habitat, Baby Peeperwhy do you care if some peeper watches you? You’ve got a boring, lawful life, right?

  • The obvious one: perverts abound on the internet.
  • The site livestreaming hijacked cams listed each webcam’s country and the owner’s last name.
  • If the person viewing recognizes you and your last name, they know exactly when you’re not home. This is especially bad if it’s a business cam.
  • From the picture streaming, the viewer knows exactly where the camera is should they intend to break-in and disable it.
  • Believe it or not, there are websites teaching people how to secretly hack into and turn on webcams.

Secure Your Life

Post-it notes

  • The easiest way to put the kabosh on ill-intended webcam infiltration is incredibly low-tech. Cut a square from the sticky part of a Post-It note and plunk it over the camera hole. Too easy, huh? I have a piece over mine.
  • Have security software installed and enabled on your mobile devices.
  • For any cam device you use (baby monitors, security cameras, etc.), always change the default password. And for goodness sakes, don’t use “12345” or “password” or “11111” … or any other easily guessed pass. See my blog Creating the Safest Passwords for help.
  • Secure your internet router. How? 1) Change the administration password from the default. 2) Use WPA2 encryption, and 3) switch off SSID which broadcasts the name of your router, or change the name to something generic.

Your router users guide can help you. Tip: If you’ve misplaced your router user’s guide, the internet is a spectacular place to find guides. Simply search your router brand and model number and “user’s guide”.


Feel safer? You should. You’ve just taken steps toward securing your life.

Best of luck with your newfound security confidence. Enjoy the independence, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

 

Scammers Posing as IRS

This quick post was necessitated by scam callers…again.phone handset

I wanted to make you, my faithful readers, aware of an ongoing telephone scam. This time the call was from people posing as the IRS.

Yesterday, a lovely recorded woman told me if I didn’t pay the money I owed, the IRS would come to my house, seize my property and sell off my assets to pay the bill. There were a few more sentences filled with aggressive and angry actions to be taken against me if I failed to comply immediately. Yada, yada, yada.

Then, being the super nice and helpful entity she was, she gave me a toll-free number — four or five times — to call to straighten this out. Because we all know, none of us wants to have our assets seized.


man coins falling outHOW SCAMMERS FAKE YOU OUT

From an article (IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam) at www.irs.gov:

“Other characteristics of this scam include:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.”

WHAT THE IRS SAYS TO DO

Tax docFrom the same IRS article:

“If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.”

If you wish to report these types of scams, you can at www.irs.gov by typing “scam” in the search box.


I hope you feel empowered now to deal with those annoying, and just plain mean, scammer phone calls.

Holiday Blessings, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


RELATED POSTS: Microsoft Won’t Call You…EVER!; How To Spot A Hoax Email


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Facebook: Changes Coming January 1, 2015

Guess what? The Facebook gods are messing with your Facebook universe again.FB logo

In my never-to-be-humble opinion, some of the changes are good, some are not, and some only a few people will care about (a.k.a. developers and programmers).


The Good Stuff:

Privacy Check-Up:

Dear Facebook, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Facebook is adding prompts to help you do just what I taught you in Facebook: Little Known Tips and Tricks, tips five through seven.

Make sure to use this new feature. It’s a great privacy tool. If you want a sneak peek, go here.

“BUY” Button:

In some markets, Facebook is testing a “Buy” button so you can purchase items without leaving Facebook. I have no clue if you’re in a test market, but January 1 you’ll know.

One-time Advertising Control:

You’ll be able to set up advertising options once and it will cover all your devices – mobile or otherwise. Prior to this, you had to set your preferences on each device.


 Neutral Stuff:

mapLocation Information:

Facebook loves to ask where you are and what you’re doing. Now when you tell them, you’ll be prompted with things you might like to do, places you’ll like to eat, and Facebook friends in the area. This might end up being good, but I’m still evaluating the needs for this kind of privacy invasion.

Facebook Family of Companies and Apps:

Facebook has expanded its reach over the years. New terms in January will explain what, and who, their family of companies are plus apps you can use to interact.

Developer Updates:

If you’re a developer, you must comply with Facebook’s Platform Policy. All your special provisions will be merged and linked to an external page. You can find more info here.


The Not-So-Good Stuff:frown face yellow coffee mug

Ad Cookies:

Facebook is jumping on the advertising bandwagon by adding to their cookies. I think you’ll see more ads on your Facebook pages.

“We offer a range of products and features that involve the use of these technologies to reach you based on your activity on and off our Services.”

 Advertising:

But the ads you see won’t be free ones.

“Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

That we understand and that’s good, but the next part…

“According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
1 Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
2.Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real  context
3.Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads”
Here’s what Facebook has to say about organic posts.

“Organic reach refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.”

Previously, creating and using a Facebook page for only advertising was a no-no. Now, they’ve narrowed it to individual posts.

What does this mean for home-based businesses,  book giveaways from authors, or using canned marketing packages?  I understand it to mean you can’t. I’m not sure of the consequences if you do. I would guess if someone turns in your post to the Facebook police, they’ll take it down.

An example of an organic post per Facebook is shown below. I certainly hope they don’t consider every post from bit.ly an ad. Some of the best recipes found on Facebook are there.
organic post1

What can you do to advertise your product on Facebook? You can pay.  Facebook says they are only trying to keep their subscribers happy and not make money. You decide.

For more information, go to Facebook’s explanation page: Organic Reach on Facebook. If you’re a business client of Facebook, you can find added info here.

 For updates to Facebook Terms and Privacy Policies, click here.

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of this magical season, have a great week, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways.


Related posts: Making Sense of Terms of Service


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

 

Have a Merry Techie Christmas!

Since this is a blog for everyday techies, girl angel
I knew you’d appreciate a post on 2014 gift gadgets.

Just so you know, I have zero technology budget other than my own pocketbook. It goes without saying I haven’t purchased most of these items. However, I’ve researched them, and used reviews from others. Psst. I get my best information that way.

Ho, Ho, Ho. Let’s go!


Let’s face it. If you have an unlimited bank account, your gifts are going to be more spectacular than the average joe. It’s sad, but true.

I’ve tried to find high-end and lower-end gizmos so everyone is happy.

The 3D PrinterXYZ Printing daVinci 3D Printers

Remember the 3D printer? It’s come a long way, baby.

Today’s printer is not only affordable — not the $20,000 of the originals — but is being used for making cool stuff like food-grade art, ceramic pots, animal prosthetics, and titanium replacement bones. Who knew, right?

Believe it or not, 3D printers are selling for as low as $600.  A decent example is XYZprinting’s daVinci 2.0 3D Printer. The reviews are good for this little unit. It’s size is 5.9″ x 7.8″ x 7.8″.Replicator Mini hero-shark

A higher-end mini unit being touted by techie magazines is made by Makerbot, the Replicator Mini. It sells for just under $1400. Dimensions are 3.9 x 3.9 x 4.7 inches. See, they weren’t lying about being mini.

The Replicator Mini’s big daddy weighs in at 35 pounds and measures 20.8 x 16.2 x 17.4 inches. For each inch you pay more. Makerbot’s Desktop Replicator has a price tag to go with its size: $2750.

Reviews for XYZprinting’s 3D printer are very good. Makerbot’s reviews vary. If you’re going to spring for one of these, do your homework.


 Smartwatches

Did you know James Bond’s watch was destined to become a reality? It is. But the new smartwatches don’t allow you to remotely ignite torpedoes…or do they?


What exactly is a Smartwatch? It’s a wearable wrist device that keeps a near-constant connection with your mobile device, usually a smartphone.

Smartwatches allows you to receive notifications of text messages, phone calls, or instant messages. It also tells you if you’ve gotten any social media updates. Those are the — um, how can I put this kindly — non-life-or-death uses,

But smartwatches do have some truly great features. You can download apps to track fitness (e.g. total steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, etc.), GPS navigation, weather updates, daily planner activities, control the music or camera on your phone, and more.


With so many styles — everything from the futuristic looking LG G Watch RiWatch to LG’s G Watch R whose best-selling point is its plain watch face — everyone should be able to find one to their taste.

Prices? Watches cost between $150 and $400, pre-Black Friday incentives.

Now for the bad news. This holiday season is won’t see the iWatch. You’ll have to wait until early 2015. Maybe you could ask for an Easter iWatchpresent instead?

From the looks of it, the iWatch will be worth the wait. It should be priced around $350.

And ladies, soon you’ll be able to buy designer bracelets with smartphone capabilities. It’s not expected for this holiday season. Let’s all say “aw” together.


Fitness Trackersfitness tracker

If you don’t really want all the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, but are totally in love with its fitness features, you can opt out and buy a fitness tracker. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range between $50 and $150. Some are compatible with mobile devices while some even tell time. Oh, did I mention there are also fitness trackers for Fido?


golf gpsGolf GPS

A few special individuals in my extended family are golf…um, connoisseurs. No, I didn’t even think “nuts”.

I’m sure they already know about this cool gadget, but I’ll Garmin golf wristwatchmention it for those who don’t. Garmin makes golf GPS. It tells precise distances to greens, layups and doglegs. Some models will help you adjust your shot for uphill or downhill.

Did I mention it also comes in a wristwatch?

These will set you back $200 to $400. Golf isn’t a game for lightweights.


UV Tracker

Being a redhead, UV exposure is important to me. It’s also a hot topic now we’re learning the importance of Vitamin D in calcium absorption, against fighting arthritis UV Trackersand cancer, plus too many more health benefits to list.

Enter the UV Tracker. There are several different kinds on the market. Some are sold by independent distributors and some from places like Amazon. They generally cost $50-$100, but in my opinion are well worth it. Check ’em out.

FYI: a new Microsoft fitness band, a bit different from a fitness tracker, has a UV tracker in it already. Before you spring for a solitary UV tracker, make sure the fitness tracker you have or are considering doesn’t include one.


 Noise MachinesNoise machine 1

I’ll leave you with one last item that’s been around for a while, but is definitely under appreciated: the noise machine.

I actually use one and own a couple. I love it. Let’s just say sleeping where I live is a challenge, and this little gadget makes my dreams come true.

Walmart has them for $25 to $30. Check the baby section, that’s where they’re usually stocked. And yes, I sleep like a baby with mine most of the time.

Noises on them include thunderstorms, rain, summer nights, white noise and more. Some have timers, some connect to your mp3 player, and include lullabies. Others let you count lighted cartoon sheep on your ceiling. No, mine does not.

If you have a loved one who struggles to sleep, this could be their ticket to dreamland.


Don’t worry if none of the above ideas fit your budget or grab your interest.
There’s always the old gift stand-bySanta notebooks.

  • Cameras and camcorders
  • Bluetooth speakers and headphones
  • Netbooks and notebooks
  • Tablets and smartphones
  • HDTV’s and movies
  • Gaming consoles and games
  • Gaming mice and keyboards
  • FOR KIDS: Radio Shack has tons of cool electronic building kits.

Plus what techie wouldn’t love a:han solo carbonite shower curtain

  • Back to the Future Flux Capacitor USB car charger
  • DC Comics coffee mug
  • Sonic the Hedgehog sweater
  • Dr. Who converse tennies
  • Minecraft plushy
  • Han Solo in Carbonite shower curtain

WHA!!? Nobody in your family wants these? You live a sad, sad existence.


Anyway, I hope I’ve helped add a few cool techie ideas to your holiday shopping list. Best of luck on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases.

Have a blessed holiday season, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Email: Turning off Auto-Complete

Sorry, my last blog wasn’t really as helpful as it could’ve been crocodile tearsregarding remembered email addresses. Okay, I’m crying crocodile tears; I’m not really sorry.

Why? Because the last blog is very helpful if you need to remove individual cookies to discipline a badly behaving website.

Today’s topic should be more helpful in getting rid of remembered email addresses. We’re going to talk about turning off the auto-complete function.


In any email program, before you’ll see the fruits of your disabling-auto-complete labor, you need to clean out the wrong or old saved addresses from the address database. That’s Step Number One.

After you’ve accomplished that (or before, just don’t forget to do it later), turning off auto-complete will keep those pesky erroneous addresses from sneaking into your email address list.

NOTE: This should work for any email program. I’m only listing a few of the most used: Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. If you don’t use one of these three, play with your email program settings until you find a box or radio button that automatically adds addresses to you contact list and uncheck it.

DISABLING AUTO-COMPLETE:

 In Gmail:

1) Click the gear icon in the upper right corner, and go to Settings,

Settings

 

2) Under the General tab scroll half to three-quarters of the way down to the area that says Create contacts for auto-complete: and choose the radio button I’ll add contacts myself.

turn off auto-complete

 

 

 

 

 

 


ADDING CONTACTS:

I know. I know. Now it’s work to add contacts.

Here’s a shortcut in GMAIL. Click on the dropdown menu arrow in the upper right of the email you want to save the address on, choose Add to my Contacts list.

add contact to list

In OUTLOOK, you need to 1) click on the top left grid, choose 2) People

Outlook to People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In the dropdown menu by New, Add contact.

Outlook Add to Contacts

Let me know if you find a shorter way in Outlook.

YAHOO is the easiest to add contacts. Right click on any email in your Inbox list, and at the bottom of the dropdown menu it says Add Sender to Contact List.

Yahoo Add contacts


Disabling Auto-Complete In OUTLOOK

1) Open Settings (gear icon in top right corner), then click Options

Outlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Advanced Privacy Settings

Outlook Advanced Privacy settings

 

One last step. Highlight the radio button that says Only suggest people in my contact list, and Save.

Suggest people on my list

 

 In YAHOO Mail

1) Upper right hand corner, click the gear icon, click Settings.

Yahoo mail

Select Writing Email, uncheck Automatically add new recipients to Contacts and Save.

Yahoo auto complete

 

Technically, you probably won’t have troubles with misspelled addresses popping up in your Yahoo To: field, but this will keep old addresses from sneaking into your contact list.


Hopefully, this trick makes emailing easier for you and will help clean up your addresses.

Have a great week-end, and thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

Browsers: Deleting Individual Cookies

UPDATE: This post was originally titled Gmail: Getting Rid of Remembered Addresses.

I have a dear aunt who’s having trouble with Gmail logothose pesky remembered email addresses. Well, as luck would have it, we tried deleting individual cookies; it didn’t work. Psst. Check out my next blog for getting rid of remembered addresses.

There is a time and place for deleting individual cookies. If you have trouble with a cookie-driven site or a specific site within a browser, deleting individual cookies can help the offending site function better.

First, let’s talk about what cookies are and why we need them. You’ve heard of computer cookies? Excellent.


What’s a cookie? Well, it’s not the yummy kind you dunk into milk or cookies santaleave out for Santa.

Cookies are “directions” downloaded into your computer memory by websites. These directions include telling your web browser where you left off on a webpage, your login information, and what ads you’ll benefit from most. Yep, that’s why ads for something you just searched on Walmart’s website pop up when you’re on a completely unrelated site. I call that the cookie curse. The cookie blessing comes when you check your Facebook page without having to log in each time.

Why do we need them? Web servers/sites have no memory. To remember who we are and what we like, cookies are kept on our computers.


Now that you know what cookies do, let’s talk about clearing them. What? You’ve heard about clearing cookies, too. See, you’re computer savvy and you didn’t even know it.

Say a particular website is not cooperating — it’s freezing or lagging — it may help to clear cookies. The problem with clearing all cookies is that while this does what you want, it also gets rid of all things that aren’t a problem: logins, passwords, and other helpful data.

But never fear, there’s a way to delete specific cookies without deleting them all. Clearing cookies is done through your computer’s browser.

As far as browsers go, they’re like jeans — each person holding hand-jeanshas their favorite. Levi 501’s anyone?

The best-known browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla’s Firefox. If you have a Mac, you probably use Safari. Yes, there are other browsers available, such as Opera, but we’re talking about the most used today. No hate mail, please.

DELETING INDIVIDUAL COOKIES

I’ve listed the how-to’s by browser. You’re welcome to read them all or scroll down to your specific browser. I’m using Gmail as an example, but you can do this for any problem site: Washington Post, Ebay, Amazon, etc.

TIP: Don’t save passwords for sites with financial consequences (i.e. Ebay, Amazon, your bank, your broker, and many others). Yes, you have to enter it each time, but trust me, if your computer is ever hacked, you’ll be happy you didn’t. So when your browser asks if you want to save a password at a site that has information on your money, say “Never for this site”. See my post Creating the Safest Passwords for help.

FIREFOX:

Open Menu (top right lines icon), then 2) Options
Firefox Settings Options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Click the Privacy tab, 2) click remove Individual cookies, 3) write “gmail” in the search box and highlight the first google mail cookie that appears, then 4) click Remove Cookie. The highlight will now be on the next cookie so if it’s gmail, delete it also. When you’re through with all the gmail cookies, close the window.
remove individual cookies-Firefox

 

CHROME:

With Chrome, you also have the three-line Menu icon in the top right. Click it then go to Settings towards the bottom of the dropdown menu.
Chrome Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you’ve opened a window that looks like the one below…kind of. You still need to scroll to the bottom and click on Show Advanced Settings. Don’t be afraid; you won’t mess anything up, it just makes the Settings list longer.

Scroll down to the Privacy area and click Content settings.Chrome Content Settings

 

 

 

 

 

If your next window doesn’t look like the one below, don’t worry. Just close it and try again. 😀

Click All cookies and site data…
Delete Cookies Chrome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type “google” in the search area and find mail.google.com. Press the “x” to delete only that cookie.
Chrome Search google-remove cookiesYou’re done.

 

INTERNET EXPLORER:

I must confess, I left IE until last of the PC browsers because I dreaded the research. To be honest, it’s the easiest and quickest of them all. Thanks, Microsoft.

Open the website you wish to delete cookies from; mine is Gmail. Then open Developers Tools (F12), click Cache, then Clear cookies for domain.
IE remove individual cookies

 

SAFARI for Mac

I don’t have a Mac, but since I mentioned it above, I researched how to remove individual cookies.

Open your Safari browser. In the top farthest left corner it says Safari. 1) Click Safari, 2) chose Preferences from the dropdown menu, and then — depending on your version — 3) click either Privacy or Security tab. 4) Click Details or Show Cookies. 5) Choose the website you wish to remove cookies from, and click 6) Remove. Click Done when you’re through.


Now you are a cookie aficionado. Well, maybe not quite, but you still know more than you did when you started reading this blog post.

A recommendation? Sure. I have a good one. I use a program called CCleaner by Piriform. It’s Free. It scans your computer for things you don’t need (cookies, surfing history,  temporary internet files, Windows log files, recycle bin contents, and more).  If your computer is slowing down, it could be due to miscellaneous saved stuff.

Now go have a cup of tea or something and relax. You’ve used a lot of gray matter today.

Have a great rest of the week, and thanks for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

 

 

Help for Slow Websites on Firefox

I’ve many great tips to post so I’m prioritizing. Today I feel the need for readable websites as the most urgent. By “readable” I mean less lag and loading issues.

I like to view Daily Mail Online. Yeah, it’s tabloidesque, but America’s still a free country. This website (among others) lags badly. I suspect videos or ads are trying to load in the background.

I’ve remedied the jerky scrolling and the lag by enabling a Java Script blacklister add-on.


java-iconWhat’s Java Script? It’s a computer programming language that’s used by almost every website to make it interactive.

What’s a Java Script blacklister? It’s a mini-program that stops Java from running on selected websites. Most websites load and run just fine, but there are a selected few that do not. You add these to your blacklist.

What’s an add-on? Add-ons, also known as extensions or plug-ins, are mini-programs to enhance functionality. They’re usually independently created — someone had a problem and solved it quickly for everyone — and if the add-on works well enough the developers may include it as part of their main program.


I use Firefox as my internet browser. I have no problem with firefox logodifferent browsers, but a few years ago an uncooperative update on a rival browser prompted me to go back to Firefox and I’ve never left.

Now for my recommendation on the Java Script blacklister.  I’m touting “YesScript 2.0” developed by Jason Barnabe for Firefox. Don’t confuse it with “NoScript” created by Giorgio Maone that stops Java Script on all websites unless you allow them via a dropdown menu for each site.

YesScript logoThe YesScript add-on lets you add specific websites to a blacklist. Unlike NoScript, its purpose is to lessen lag and freezing, not security.

Other browsers offer Java Script blacklisting add-ons. Chrome has NotScripts, and Safari’s is simply known as Java Script Blacklist. Those of you using Internet Explorer appear to be out of luck for now.

How to Find YesScript

1. Open Firefox, 2) select Tools, then 3) Add-ons from the upper-left menu bar.
Firefox Tools

 

 

 

 


Lost your Firefox menu bar? Don’t worry, Firefox menu barit happens to me too. Just tap Alt to find it.

You can leave it hidden and click Alt each time to use it, or you can keep it visible by clicking View, then Toolbars, and chose which bar you wish to pin to your browser page.
Make sure there’s a check mark by the bar name.



4)
Search YesScript under the Available Add-ons tab.available add-ons

5) Select YesScript, and 6) click Add to Firefox . Follow any further prompts.


Adding Websites to YesScript

There are a couple of ways to add websites to YesScript.

1) The easiest way is by opening the web page and clicking on the page icon in the top right corner of your browser.
YesScript paper iconjpg

 

 

 

2) The Hard Way.
Go to your Add-on page (Menu bar > Tools > Add-ons. The first illustration helps if you have trouble), choose 1) Extensions, 2) Options, 3) type in, or copy and paste in, the URL address you wish to blacklist, and 4) click Add.
adding websites to black list long way

 

What You Get with YesScript

UPSIDE:
Browsers, or websites, don’t freeze.
Less, or no, script-read errors or the dreaded crash icons.

DOWNSIDE:
No adding comments to sites you’ve blacklisted.
No viewing videos directly on the blacklisted website.
No sharing articles or videos on social media from the blacklisted site.

You can have all the up’s and downs listed above again if you remove the website from your blacklist.


Removing sites from your awesome new blacklist

Go to your menu bar on top of your Firefox browser window, click Tools, then Add-ons. There’s an illustration above.

In the Add-on’s area, click 1) Extension, 2) YesScript, and 3) Options. Highlight the website you want to remove, and click — you guessed it — 4) Remove.
YesScript Block List

See? Not hard at all.

I hope this helps your browser lag and freeze problems. It did mine. I’ve been using this add-on for a few months now and couldn’t be happier.

Have a great week-end! Thanks again for following Patti’s Pathways. 😀


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.

New Facebook Settings

First…cheering

let me show my appreciation to
the Facebook gods
for answering our prayers —

WOOHOO!!!


Disclaimer: as of this moment in time, my FB page hasn’t been updated—yes, I’ve tried relogging, no dice—so I can’t verify if the new Newsfeed settings work, but it’s too great a tweak to keep under wraps.


Yesterday Facebook informed the public that it’s updating Newsfeed settings. Why is this terrific news?

FB logoThe update primarily affects the kinds of posts people wish to view on Facebook.

You’ll be able to specify what you see and from whom.

Yep, you won’t have to view the one hundred baby pictures your new cousin uploaded…unless you want to; you won’t need to read about the latest trip your neighbor made to the grocery store…unless you wish to; and you won’t find out who your friends are endorsing for Congress…unless you want to.

You’ll be able to personalize your Facebook Newsfeed and limit what you view without unfriending or unfollowing.

See? It is great news.

The below video gives great information on how to apply and utilize the changes. While they’re demonstrated on a mobile device, but is reportedly available for desktops as well.

Enjoy your new Facebook independence and have a great week. Oh, and as always, thanks for following Patti’s Pathways.


 

DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.

I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.