technology

On one of the morning talk shows earlier this week, guest “Kurt the Cyber Guy,” also known as Kurt Knutsson, discussed “5 Apps That Can Help You Earn Extra Money.” All of the apps that he mentioned were free, and available for both Android and iOS devices.

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At a recent meeting, I was asked to put together a presentation on my favorite Android apps. While all of the people present had a smart phone of some type, about three quarters of those present had some form of Android phone, while about one-fourth had an iPhone of some type. What brought about this request was a discussion that we were having, and using selected apps on my phone, I was able to come up with answers and resolve problems faster than anyone else present.

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I have a gaggle of grandkids scattered across the country. When my own kids were little a few decades ago, the little Golden Books were among their favorites, and over the years, we accumulated quite a collection. Now, three of my granddaughters, each age 5 or under, have their own Android tablets with Wi-Fi access. All three can tap, pinch and swipe the screen with a degree of expertise that could put many adults to shame. Good or bad? That could be debated, but these kids are quite at home using technology.

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Most of us are familiar with Google as the ubiquitous search engine, even to the point that the term “Google” has become synonymous with the term “search.” Google is much more than a search engine, making frequent announcements about new hardware (such as Google glasses), new software (the recently announced “Android M”), and new Web based services (Google translate, Google Maps, and many more). In San Francisco late last month, Google held its annual developers conference, which it calls Google I/O.

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You have likely noticed that the banner ads and other forms of advertisements on many of the webpages you visit appear to “coincidently” be for many of the same items that you have recently searched for online. In some cases, you may also see online ads for direct competitors of previously visited websites, offering many of the same or similar products that you have looked at on other sites.

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The much-ballyhooed release of Windows 10 is nearing, as Microsoft polishes its features and adds devices to the list of compatible hardware that can run the new operating system.

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Weeks ago in this column, I reviewed several Android and iPhone apps that can be used to possibly locate lost or stolen phones and tablets. While several of the apps were free, most were limited in capabilities without a paid, usually nominal, subscription fee. Now Google, known for its innovation and services, has offered a pair of very simple and free ways to locate almost any lost or stolen Android device, totally for free. 

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I have been vehemently advocating for many years that all computer users (including Mac users) absolutely need a comprehensive security suite in order to protect them and their machines from the malware that has become endemic. While I have one of the top rated commercial (paid) comprehensive security suites on all of my computers and other smart devices, I am also cognizant that for a myriad of reasons, there are many who prefer one of the numerous decent security suites that are available for free.

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As many of you have seen firsthand, I have been doing a series of free presentations for local and national groups titled “Are We Under Cyber Attack?” With the constantly increasing volume of information that has indicated that we are indeed under an increasing level of cyber attack, it has been difficult for me to keep my presentation up-to-date without it becoming excessively long.

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Over the past several years, I have written columns praising Google for its Herculean efforts in digitizing and compiling massive amounts of historical data, digitizing and archiving millions of pages of old newspapers, creating an outstanding historical resource that could be searched as easily as today’s Web pages. In more than one column, I documented the enormous library of millions of old books and magazines that had been digitally preserved by Google, making them freely available to the public.

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