Years ago, when I was making do with the limited computer equipment that I could afford, I never dreamed that I would one day be able to login to a website, plug in a few specs about the machine I wanted and then, a few minutes later, log into that machine remotely and run whatever programs I needed to. Yet, that’s exactly what today’s cloud computing resources enable me to do.
Once again, I’m reducing my presence on Facebook and trimming the Friends List. If you find yourself dropped from it, don’t take it personally – it just means that I decided there wasn’t a specific reason for us to be connected on Facebook. You are welcome to contact me through other means or through my sites at …
Unlike social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sites such as Meetup.com and EventBrite actually focus on bringing people together in person and helping them find other like-minded people they might never have met otherwise. While book groups and church clubs existed long before the Internet, these sites provide a set of tools that make it much easier for you to bring a group of people together and continuously promote that group. For people moving to another area or developing new interests, it’s easier to find new friends by looking up local groups they might like to join.
Several months after joining Meetup.com and making a few friends, I checked out a new programmer’s meetup group in Gainesville, Florida, Frontend Awesome. Ocala had no active computer clubs at the time and I’d been thinking of ways to put together an organization of some kind for local I.T. experts, independent programmers and others in the field. That’s when I made the connection and decided to do it through Meetup.com.
A few months ago, Facebook introduced that “cool” new feature where videos your friends posted would automatically start playing as soon as you scrolled to them on your newsfeed. I don’t know why they thought this was a good idea or if it was part of their philosophy that people are incapable of choosing what they want to see without some kind of automation involved but they must have finally gotten enough complaints about it because there’s now a new feature that will stop it.
In your Settings panel (click the ∇ in the very top-right part of your FB page and choose “Settings”), click on Videos and then set the “Auto-Play Videos” setting to “Off”. That’s it! Now scroll through your news feed and verify that that videos are no longer automatically starting.
I keep trying to come up with new projects that have less to do with technology and more to do with just improving myself or coming up with great content. It’s not easy given how long I’ve been immersed in the tech world but I decided to start another one.
One Thousand Choices is my new Twitter feed where I will be posting inspirational thoughts and quotes to brighten your day and inspire you to take the next step on whatever path you’re choosing. I claim no special expertise other than my varied experience and willingness to attempt to pack as much positive feeling into 128 characters as possible.
We exist in our effects on others’ lives and those effects last long after we’ve moved on. What effect are you having today? #community
So check it out and if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter! If you prefer the technical side of things, I still have my original Twitter feed at @ComeauAndrew and I run a feed for the Ocala I.T. Professionals networking group at @OcalaITPros.
Learning a new language has always been a challenging task whether you’re satisfying a class requirement in school, moving to a new country or adding a new language for work or recreation. The fact is that we take years to become proficient with our first languages from the time we’re learning to recognize language as infants through the time when we’re able to string sentences together as we reach school age. The expectations are much higher with a second or third language as most people would not want to take three or four years to be able to speak basic sentences and longer to communicate effectively in writing.
There’s a scam out there that you need to be aware of. I would call it shady although somewhat enterprising. In any case, it can cost you money if you’re not careful. Here’s how it works …
Let’s say that you own the domain WidgetKingdom.net. You would have gotten the .COM domain but it wasn’t available so you settled for .NET. One day you get an e-mail like this:
“… it’s not easy to fix, and any effective remedies would negatively impact the user experience. Just another example that Web security is fundamentally broken and the powers that be have little incentive to address the inherent flaws.” – Jeremiah Grossman, founder and interim CEO at WhiteHat Security
If you visit a lot of different websites, you’ve probably seen some that allow you to login using your Facebook or Google accounts. This is meant to make it easier for everyone; you don’t have to create a new account and remember a separate password and the site owners don’t have to maintain their own membership system.
Unfortunately, there’s a security flaw in the software that enables websites to accept your login information from other sites. Just like with the Heartbleed bug, this is in open-source software used by a number of popular websites. This time, it’s the OAuth and OpenID software and the bug enables “phishing” sites, websites that are specifically designed to get people’s personal information usually by mimicking reputable sites, to grab the Facebook / Google / etc. login information that you enter and then redirect you to a malicious website. This could enable the hackers to get a fair amount of your information or even take over your accounts on the legitimate sites.
As a computer support person, I’ve worked on many personal computers and talked to people about the way they use the Internet. One of the biggest complaints I hear is that the computer is “running slow” and, not coincidentally, that’s the same problem for which many support services will advertise fixes and specialized software. I can almost count on the fact that when I get to the customer’s house, I will find a machine that’s loaded down with a lot of software, much of which appears to have been installed from the Web and includes everything from browser toolbars to entertainment programs and “system utilities”. Since many of these programs can run in the background even when not being used, this is the first problem that I fix.
One week ago, it was announced that a new security threat had been discovered on the Internet, one that has affected many of the most commonly used sites such as Facebook and Instrgram. This threat, known as the Heartbleed bug, was discovered by a member of Google’s security team and researchers from a company called Codenomicon which subsequently named and publicized the bug in order to prompt affected sites to apply the needed fixes.
Not surprisingly, there was a lot of immediate confusion, hysteria and misinformation making the rounds. Now that the dust has settled a little, here is what you as an Internet user still need to know in order to keep your information safe.