Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Getting to Know You

Spending hours on the internet exposes all of us to seemingly endless swarms of advertisements on a regular basis. While acknowledging that many websites could fade away without ad revenues, the ever increasing aggressiveness, duplicity and disregard of privacy displayed by ethically challenged marketers has become a constant annoyance.

The introduction of Windows 10 with its detailed delineation of the depth and breadth of personal information routinely tracked, ostensibly to “let Cortana get to know you very, very well”, may well have rekindled public awareness of the relentless electronic surveillance routinely imposed on all of us.

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9 Steps to a Safer, More Secure Windows Computer

Let’s face it. Bad guys are out there; they are lurking on the Internet; and they are looking for YOU!

To protect yourself from muggers, pickpockets and thieves, you take certain steps. You keep your hands on your wallet or purse in a crowd, and you lock your door when you leave home and at night.

Similarly, you have to take certain steps to protect your cyber life. And these are a bit more complicated and involved that locking your door. But they are equally important if you intend to keep your computer, data, and even your identity safe. Here are 9 steps to a safer, more secure Windows computer…

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Use 10 Minute Mail for Spam Control

Did you ever want to sign up for a promotion that required you to submit your email to get the free offer? You know what happens then. You will start to get spam from the promoter, or even worse, your email address will be put on a list that is used by lots of companies to promote offers you have no interest in at all. And your email spam load starts to grow.

To avoid this, you can just give them a fake email address, right? Wrong. Frequently you will first get a confirmation email that requires you to respond or click to confirm that the email address you provided is really you. Even more frequently, access to the free offer is sent to you by email. If you sign up with a fake email address, you never get the offer.

But the offer is too good to pass up. What do you do?

The answer is 10 Minute Mail. When you go to the 10 minute mail Website  (10minutemail.com), you receive a temporary, throw-away email address that will last for 10 minutes. You can add another 10 minutes, if necessary. This should give you enough time to sign up for the promotion, receive an email confirmation link and get the offer, whatever it is. But after the allocated time, the email address will self-destruct and is no longer functional. YOU will receive no further communication from the promoter or spam from other people who might share the email list.

Windows 10: Naughty or Nice?

Although I have written about Windows 10 earlier this year, I’m still fielding questions on a regular basis. Although many computer users befuddled by the idiosyncrasies of Windows 8 welcomed the arrival of free copies of Windows 10 as if they were early Christmas gifts, electronics vendors are still wistfully longing for improved new computer sales this holiday season. Nearly 132 million computers are now running Windows 10; this represents about 8.8% of the 1.5 billion PCs around the world.

While the early adoption rate exceeded that of Windows 7, that initial surge of interest appears to be dwindling. Microsoft is changing strategies to encourage more installations of Windows 10.

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Amazon Prime Bundles New Premium Channels

 

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Amazon Prime just made two premium additions to their streaming TV bundle: Starz and Showtime. Amazon Prime started out to be just an expedited 2-day shipping option for a fixed price (now $99 a year). Then they began to add other services and benefits, including free streaming of a wide collection of movies and TV shows at no additional charge. Now they are offering optional streaming channels that has removed one of the last major objections to “cutting the cord” and ditching your traditional expensive cable or satellite TV service.

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Suppressing your Surges

Your home electronics are attacked multiple times on a daily basis by invisible threats. While we often warn about viruses and malware, an even more universal danger is electrical surging. Most of us recognize that lightning produces tremendous electrical discharges. The power of lightning is so great that even the best surge protectors simply fail to withstand the forces of nature. During a lightning storm, the only way to be absolutely sure that your devices won’t be damaged is to unplug them.

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Announcing the New Roku 4

Anyone that has followed this blog or attended any of my Streaming TV presentations knows that I am a big fan of Roku. I’ve had one ever since it was introduced several years ago, at that time streaming only Netflix. Now it has over 2,500 channels with 300,000+ movies and TV shows.

I could probably be called a TV junkie. I have TVs in my living room, office, bedroom, and oh yes, I can’t forget the motorhome. Each has a Roku attached.

I’ve had the original Roku, Roku 2, Roku 3, and now I guess I’ll have to upgrade to the latest and greatest, Roku 4.

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CuriosityStream – Streaming Documentaries from Discovery Channel Founder

New Addition to My Favorite Streaming Channels

A new channel has been added to programming lineup of the Roku streaming set-top box. CuriosityStream has been dubbed the “Netflix of documentaries,” and I think that’s a perfect description. I’ve added it to my favorite Roku channels list (right next to Netflix) and I love it. CuriosityStream has given me one more reason to abandon my expensive satellite TV service, full of mind-numbing, so-called “reality” shows and unending commercials.

I’ve only had CuriosityStream for about a week, but so far I’ve watched everything from shows on Quantum Physics (simplified) to historical documentaries on Greece and Rome, and a discussion of the “Curious World of Dreams.” Some of their programming is timeless; others cover quite current events, like the Pluto flyby and the confirmation of past liquid water flows on Mars, for instance.

CuriosityStream is not free. It has two subscription levels: a very reasonable $2.99 a month for standard definition and $9.99 a month for eye-popping 4K super HD. The standard definition option is available now. The 4K option will launch later this year. All programs are commercial-free.

They give you a free month to evaluate the service. I’m currently in my free month, but I have no intention of cancelling once my free period expires. To start your free month, go to: curiositystream.com.