Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2019

How to be safe using a computer in 2019

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2019. You can download a copy here.

Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continued

Read more

How To Pin A Chrome Shortcut To The Taskbar

Google Chrome

Google has changed the steps required to pin a website to your Windows 10 taskbar. It’s still possible but it takes a bit of extra effort.

There are some websites that fit your workflow best when they are running in their own separate window. When you set up a website to open in its own window, it shows up separately on the taskbar so you can switch to it easily, and you won’t close it by accident when you’re closing 12 other tabs in your main Chrome window. […] continued

Read more

It’s Not Just Your Computer – Everything Is Too Hard To Use (And It’s Not Your Fault)

It's not just your computer - everything is too hard to use

I wrote an article a few years ago about how difficult it is for non-tech people to manage the fiddly bits required to run a Windows computer. It’s one of the things that drove the transition from computers to phone and tablets.

An interesting thing is happening today. The explosion of devices, products and services is causing just as much confusion and frustration in the world of mobile devices. […] continued

Read more

The 2018 Bruceb News Year In Review

Bruceb News Year In Review 2018

Remember when I wrote an article a year ago predicting that always-connected computers would be heavily promoted in 2018?

Yeah, about that: not even close. Nada. All the buzz died away when the first PCs in that category turned out to be underpowered and, well, pretty awful.

Okay, that prediction didn’t pan out. […] continued

Read more

Algorithms And Paperclips: How Facebook Drives Us Apart

facebook_engagement_division

 

A famous thought experiment shows how an AI could be designed with good intentions and without malice, and still wind up destroying humanity.

Imagine that an artificial intelligence is told to maximize production of paperclips. Through an oversight it is not given any instructions about also considering human values – life, learning, joy, and so on. […] continued

Read more

Put A Google Home Hub On Your Xmas List

Google Home Hub - the best 2018 home assistant

The Google Home Hub is my favorite home assistant. Put it on your Xmas list, or sneak one under the tree for yourself. If your pictures are stored in Google Photos, then the Google Home Hub is worth the investment just because it is the best photo frame ever. But Google Home Hub stands out for everything else it does, too, so it’s highly recommended unless you are already so deep in the Amazon Echo ecosystem that it doesn’t make sense to switch. […] continued

Read more

Google Knows So Much About You That It’s Creepy, But It Might Not Be An Invasion Of Privacy

Google is creepy but it might not be invading your privacy

The term “invasion of privacy” is distracting us from understanding important issues.

Invasion of privacy is frequently thrown around as a core issue where consumers need protection against tech companies. Apple has made it the cornerstone of its marketing.

The European Union has enacted strict privacy laws for websites that obtain any kind of identifiable information about users. […] continued

Read more

The End Of New Product Announcements

New! Improved! Product announcements are starting to go unnoticed

In the last two months, there have been major announcements of new products by every computer and phone manufacturer on the planet. You don’t know about any of them, do you?

On September 12, Apple put on its annual presentation of new iPhones for hundreds of tech journalists, with the same showmanship that it has relied on since the days when Steve Jobs would take the stage in his black turtleneck and wow the faithful. […] continued

Read more

Something You Know, Something You Have: Better Security With Two Factor Authentication

Extra security with two factor authentication

Two factor authentication adds an extra step to the process of logging into your accounts.

It’s inconvenient.

It makes you safer.

Until recently two factor authentication was only used by techies and high value targets in government and enterprises. The world has gotten more dangerous and two factor authentication has become easier to use. […] continued

Read more

Saving Passwords In Google Chrome Is Better Than Nothing (And That’s A Good Thing!)

Google Chrome password manager

Google has improved the password management built into the Chrome browser. It’s . . . okay! Not bad! Better than nothing, absolutely. Saving passwords in Chrome is easy and kind of secure, as long as you take a couple of precautions that we’ll talk about below.

First, to be clear: everyone should use LastPass or another full-fledged password manager. […] continued

Read more

Security Alert: Chrome Extensions And Notifications Are Being Used For Adware

A new adware assault using Chrome extensions and notifications

Adware has started to turn up again, using Chrome extensions and notifications as a way to display annoying ads and muck up the time we spend on our computers and phones – as if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

In the old days, we installed adware on our Windows computers when we clicked “yes” on the wrong website popup or as unwanted companions to “free” programs. […] continued

Read more

The Samsung Ecosystem: When Technology Is Driven By Jealousy

Samsung ecosystem - no points for originality

Samsung is a global electronics company with hundreds of thousands of employees. It is the world’s largest information technology company, consumer electronics maker and chipmaker by revenue. Samsung sells more smartphones than any other manufacturer by a large margin.

(You think Apple is number two in smartphone sales, and you’re a bit surprised it’s not number one, right? […] continued

Read more

The Microsoft Ecosystem: Evolution And Extinction

Microsoft ecosystem - dead as a dodo for consumers

Microsoft does not have an ecosystem for consumers or small businesses in 2018. There is very little synergy between Microsoft products and almost nothing locks us into Microsoft products when we move from one category to another.

It makes old-timers sad to think of the past, because Microsoft had a successful ecosystem for decades. […] continued

Read more

The Google Ecosystem: You Will Be Assimilated

The Google ecosystem: you will be assimilated

Google is an advertising company. Its incentives are all tied to maximizing engagement with places where you will see ads served up by Google’s ad network. But that has more depth than you realize, driven by Google’s desire to have those ads be more effective and tailored to you than anyone else’s ads, combined with a strong ethical culture and the sheer joy of technology. […] continued

Read more

The Amazon Ecosystem: The Company That Wants To Sell Everything To Everyone

Amazon - the company that wants to sell everything to everyone

Amazon seeks to be the middleman in every financial transaction on the planet. Its incentives are all tied to making customers happy in every context where Amazon can take a small fee as money moves from one place to another.

Since the beginning, Amazon’s mission statement has been: “Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” In the most recent SEC filings, however, that is shortened; now it refers only to “Earth’s most customer-centric company,” without restricting it to sales from the Amazon website. […] continued

Read more