technology

If you are like me, I carry my cell phone everywhere, carrying on voice conversations, sending and receiving text messages, utilizing countless apps, and surfing the Web. Until recently, I gave very little heed to the security of these external communications as our smart devices are supposed to be somewhat secure. GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile utilize encryption to make communications secure; CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon also claim to have secure networks.

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In recent weeks, at least two potentially frightening new vulnerabilities have been discovered that could threaten an estimated 95 percent of the one billion devices running the Android operating system. The good news is that as of this writing, there have been no documented attacks on Android devices that take advantage of these two security vulnerabilities.

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I have not heard from “Rachael, at Credit Card Services” recently, nor have I recently received the calls that I will receive a free medical call alert system. I am sorry to say that I will no longer be informed that I have won a free cruise, nor will I be told that I can save having my mortgage refinanced at super low rates, or that my computer is infected with hundreds of viruses. The reason is that I am using a free service connected to my phones that automatically blocks most robocalls.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about Microsoft’s commitment to officially release Windows 10 on July 29. Microsoft has emphatically stated that Windows 10 will commence its rollout July 29, but do not expect to get your copy on that date. Due to the sheer volume of Windows users that have reserved a free download copy of the PC version of Windows 10, along with the release of the tablet and phone versions of Windows 10, it may take quite a while for users to actually be able to receive their copies of Windows 10. 

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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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