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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More on Passwords

Once again. You are much better off using a password management program that using the same password on multiple websites.  Here is a good video to help you come up with a GREAT master password. Take THAT hackers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Insurance Inventory

We recently changed insurance companies (USAA is highly recommended, if you qualify).  That started to make me think... we have "replacement cost" coverage on our homeowners policy instead of a "actual cash value policy". In that manner, it saves us from getting a pro-rated replacement cost instead of a true replacement cost.  It also got me thinking.  Do I actually KNOW what I own?  We walk through our home daily. Do you know what you have in the closets or how much software is on your computer?    We pay for insurance to replace the contents of our home in case of a disaster or theft, but if we can't identify the contents,we might end up getting less of a settlement than we would otherwise, because we just didn’t report everything. 

A software program wouldn't necessarily help if you don't keep the results offline or away from your home, so I recommend a cloud-based program.  Know Your Stuff  is a free online program to record your home inventory.   It has full instructions and videos to help you.

There are also home inventory apps you can get for your phone. One advantage is that you can use the barcode to record books and movies for example.

Screenshots courtesy of Visual Inventory/MoveInsure via iTunes.
Visual Home Inventory lets you take pictures and tag your items. It records a large amount of data including the name, type, purchase place, support phone number, important dates and serial numbers.  It is available free for Android and iOSFree is good!



Get Belongings is another free online cloud app which allows you to record your home inventory and manage your belongings.  According to the website,
"Belongings is a cloud-based smart phone application that allows you to keep track of everything you own." 


Some insurance companies even offer their customers various online or app inventory options which I would prefer over actually paying for a service but if you change insurance companies, that could be messy and time consuming. Independent services might be better in this instance.

Best practices include updating your inventory yearly, and be sure to record large ticket items promptly. During your yearly inventory, remove items you no longer own. Consider adding a room by room video to "show" that you actually own the items you are claiming. You never know, you might realize that you are under insured after taking a complete inventory. Better to know that information before the disaster strikes!  ☺

Monday, April 21, 2014

Maintenance Monday: The Recycle Bin

While working on a unprotected PC computer plagued with viruses (which is content for another blog entirely), one thing I noticed about the user. They never cleaned out their recycle bin. EVER! Is that really a good decision?

You can set it up to bypass the recycle bin automatically, but I really don't recommend that. There are a times that you need to rescue something you accidentally deleted.

Bottom Line: If you intended to delete it, why use the recycle bin as a storage area when it could be filed properly on your computer and less likely to be accidentally erased.  After all, emptying the Recycle Bin permanently deletes all items in just a couple of clicks.

So you need to clean out your recycle bin to open up space on your computer and improve performance.So, for Maintenance Monday, clean out your recycle bin, usually found on your desktop. Right click and select "Empty Recycle Bin".

But what if you don't have a recycle bin on your desktop?  Well, let's go find it!

In Windows Vista,
  1. Click Start, and then click the "Control Panel".
  2. Click "Appearance and Personalization", click "Personalization", and then click "Change desktop icons".
  3. Click to select the "Recycle Bin" check box, and then click OK
With Windows 7:
  1. Click the Start button, type "desktop icons" into the search box, and then click Show or hide common icons on the desktop.
  2. In the Desktop Icon Settings dialog box, do one of the following:
    • To hide the Recycle Bin, clear the Recycle Bin check box.
    • To show the Recycle Bin, select the Recycle Bin check box.
  3. Click OK.

With Windows 8:

  1. Go to the Desktop app from the start menu. 
  2. Right click on the desktop. 
  3. Click on "Personalize"
  4. Select "Change desktop icons" on the left.
  5. Click to select the "Recycle Bin" check box, and then click OK.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Remotely Log out of Gmail

This PC World Tech Tip is well worth checking out if you use a Gmail account.
Have a Happy EASTER! ☺

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Protect Yourself from the HeartBleed Bug

The big internet news is the HeartBleed bug that isn't on your computer but a security risk found on some websites that use a certain type of encryption called OpenSSL. As I suggested last week, you might want to change your passwords on the websites you use, especially if you use the same password for many of your sites (that is a NO-NO!). But which sites are still affected? Are your passwords still at risk? Hopefully, I can help you with some of these issues to give you a little peace of mind.

So, how do you know if the website you are visiting used the OpenSSL or has updated their security? Browser helpers called extensions are now popping up to alert you to websites that have not updated. For the Chrome browser you can ChromeBleed extension and with the FireFox browser, you can get the HeartBleed Checker or the FoxBleed Add-on. As of this writing, Internet Explorer and Safari have yet to have an add-on, so I encourage you to consider using a browser with the extension for a little while. 

Of course, changing your password on a site that hasn't updated their security means your information is still vulnerable. There may be situations where you just wish to remove your information. That may not be as easy as you think. Sometimes you may have to search and search a website trying to find out how to remove your information.  Just Delete Me is a directory that gives you removal information on a wide range of websites just in case you cannot find out where to delete your account. At the very least, change the password to something unique to that website only so your sign in information on other websites is not at risk.

The last thing is something I have already blogged about in the past. Many people have the browser save their passwords but there are some issues related to this. If your computer dies or the hard drive fails, you are out of luck and all your passwords are gone, as in totally GONE!  Then there is the security issue. If someone has access to your computer, they have access to ALL your passwords in a couple of clicks. You can also choose to write down your passwords (which isn't a bad thing if you can lock it up to protect it from theft) but if there is a fire, your book may not be available when you need it most. Also, weeding through hundreds of passwords can be time consuming in a book.  I recommend using a software program like Last Pass, Password Genie, SplashID or many of the other password management options that are available these days. With hundreds of websites and all of them with different passwords, a manager is a must. It also encrypts and saves your information so it can be accessed with ONE, hopefully very strong, master password from any computer. If you are concerned about the security of a password manager, the companies can't open your password data.☺

Monday, April 14, 2014

Basic Computer Security | Staying safe on Facebook

"Be cautious about using Facebook apps. Many of these Facebook apps
require access to your personal information. Do you really want to hand
this information over to a complete stranger who might be an identity
thief?"  Click the link below.

Basic Computer Security | Staying safe on Facebook