Off the Hook – Are they running us?

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 Sometimes I call the computer my brains, because it helps me find the word I’m looking for or the fact I need. I also have a friend who spends a lot of time on the computer. Do you know anybody else like that? Because of my job here with the Journal-Tribune, I use the computer a lot. My version is an iPad to create the columns and I love how it works … that is, when it works. Every once in awhile there will be a little glitch that drives me crazy.
 The friend I am referring to has shared some of his favorite tips about smooth operation of all kinds of computers and smartphones from a site run by Kim Kommando. He feels she is reliable and easy to read and takes on outdated tips that some IT person may have given you years ago, or maybe you just had bad advice and still go with that. Our tipster says today’s technology is pretty much foolproof. Oh my gosh, I didn’t think I would say that. One little wrong button pushed can mess things up. Even if you don’t use a computer or a cellphone often, maybe you could help some of your friends with these tips.
 Myth 1 – Macs don’t get viruses.
 This is only slightly true. Apple computers do get viruses, but far fewer than the PCs running Windows do. It seems that a Mac computer has its own built-in security and there are also far less of them than computers running the Windows program.
 So, it’s simply a numbers game for those hackers who want to get in, screw up your life and steal your stuff by messing with your computer. They might as well develop viruses for PC users with Windows because there are so many more of them.
 Since I use an iPad and an iPhone, I just can’t imagine anybody using the android system. It’s also the numbers game again between iPhones and androids. It seems that almost 99% of the malware attacks on mobiles target android devices. I was shocked to find out that so many more people had android than iPhones.
 Myth 2 – Airport x-ray can damage your laptop or smartphone.
X-rays actually damage biological tissue and your phone and laptop have no DNA. They cannot be damaged by the x-ray. When you’re headed to the plane just put them in the container with everything else and feel secure.
 Myth 3 – Don’t charge all night.
 New technology has turned this statement into a dated myth. When new batteries reach a maximum charge, they have a mechanism to prevent additional charging. This holds true for tablets, smartphones and laptops.
 Our new friend, Kim Komammdo, says it is still not smart to keep them plugged in all the time, because there are some batteries that can overheat and possibly cause a fire. Just don’t tempt fate.
 Myth 4 – you should reboot daily
 Many of us remember a time when good practice dictated shutting down your PC every evening before you left work. Now you should only completely shut down your computer if it needs an update, is acting sluggish or freezes, or you aren’t going to use it for a few days. Otherwise, just put it into sleep mode. This goes for laptops and desktop computers, too.
 It takes a lot of power to restart a computer. Every time you power back up after a full shutdown, there›s a power surge that jolts your hard drive and forces fans and other components to spin. The older your computer gets, the more stressed its components become. Leaving it on and avoiding extra reboots helps relieve some stress on those aging parts. (Oh, they have aging parts, too?)
 Myth 5 – Just trash it and it›s gone.
 “If the Securities and Exchange Commission is knocking at your door, or you need to hide some incriminating evidence from a significant other, moving the files to your computer›s trash or recycling a file is not the answer. Just because you trashed it doesn›t mean you actually got rid of the file.”
 Everything you put into your computer stays on your computer, even if you can›t see it. The file will only be deleted when it›s overwritten by new information. Frankly, I’m not even sure what that means, but to erase serious data forever, use tools like Eraser or Blank or Secure for Windows. These can be loaded online.
 Here might be your best tip. Myth 6 – All chargers are the same.
 Kim reminds us, “Many of us pay thousands for a phone, but don’t think twice about buying a cheap off-brand charger for it. A charger is a charger, right? Wrong. The charger that came in the box with your fancy new phone is the one specially designed for the product.” I have purchased one when in an airport after realizing I forgot my charger.
 It has been reported, “Cheap chargers are one-size-fits-all and often don›t have the voltage required to work with your specific device. Your battery may end up not getting the juice it needs to fully charge, or even worse, it could permanently damage your battery over time.”
 I hope these tips will make your life better, but who would have thought even 10 years ago these devices would be, often, running our lives!
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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