Thursday, June 25, 2009

Google Voice

Today, one of the headlines on Lifehacker.com was “Google Voice Invites Going Out to Reservation List” so I thought I would give some insight into this free Google-own telephony service. Google Voice uses voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) to enable the linking of an individual's various phone numbers (home, cell, business) operating from one number and SMS (Short Message Service) messaging. Several of the articles on the Internet mentioned Google had obtained over a million phone numbers for this new telephony service. Currently, we are told it is available only for GrandCentral users (the original name for the project), but yet I am seeing it available nationwide for today only as reported on The Today Show. Features of this service include:
  • Call screening – announce and screen callers
  • Listen in – operates like an answering machine so you can hear who is calling as the call is being recorded
  • Block calls – block unwanted calls and have message play to let them know they calls are no longer welcomed---you have reached a disconnected number or the number is no longer in service.
  • SMS – you can send, receive and store SMS messages on your PC and receive them sent you your Google number on any phone as well as respond from your PC
  • Place calls- call any US number for free (cheaper international calls) using your Google number from any phone, call anyone from an email or missed called via the Google Voice application
  • Taking calls – depending on how you set up your settings one or all of your phones will ring when you receive a call to your Google number and the listen in feature will be activated
  • Phone routing – phones ring base on who calls. You can customize which phone will ring for who, set as a group of people, customize or send calls straight to voice mail, the Spam folder or block completely, you decide
  • Forwarding phones – add phones and decide which will ring

Voice mail
  • Voice mail – the voice mail is transcribed allowing you to read what was said and becomes a permanent record. Transcriptions can be turned off is you prefer not to have this feature
  • Listen to voice mail – you can listen to voice mail from any phone or online
  • Notification – you are notified when there is a new voice mail via email or SMS. Email notifications contain the caller, length of the message, transcription of the message and a “Play Message” link enabling you to listen to the message
  • Personalized greeting – you can customize your greeting for a group or individual and choose from an existing greeting or add a new one of your own
  • Share voicemail – this can be done through forwarding an email to a friend, save a copy to your computer or embed in a Web site or blog --- available to all visitors to the site

Note: All the features have settings for you to customize it to your needs that you can learn more about via the “Learn more and get an invite “ link below are:
  • Conferencing
  • Call record
  • Call switch
  • Mobile site
  • Goog-411
  • Manage groups

Pray this brief intro to Google voice has whet your appetite and you will take the ball and obtain more info which will allow you to decide if you want to be part of this ground breaking telephony service and customize it to your individual needs.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

Links:
Learn more and get an invite

http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

Clip from The Today Show on Google Voice
http://lifehacker.com/5302430/google-voice-may-open-to-all-today


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Live It Forward - In Real Life

The below article has nothing what so ever to do with home computing, but I felt compelled to share it here on Web Bytes Blog. Let me know your thoughts on this article or better yet checkout Kent’s Web site for more articles of this type if you are encouraged by this one.

Live It Forward - In Real Life
By Kent Julian (www.liveitforward.com)
If you read only one post from me, this is the one to read!

I wanted to update all of you on the life and times of the Julian family :-) But I really want you to understanding something as I share. Even though this has been a difficult week for us, Kathy and I feel like we are as blessed as ANYONE on the face of this planet. Let me explain.

Monday morning, my mother passed away suddenly. In other words, we were not expecting this. She had some health concerns, but nothing life threatening. So it was a surprise.

My mom lived her life well. Not perfectly, but well. She was a follower of Jesus Christ and stayed committed to Him during her entire life. During the past 2 days, this reality was very apparent to her family as over 1,000 people came either to the viewing or funeral to honor her life and her commitment to Christ. So while I'm sad that my mom is gone, I'm blown away by how many lives she impacted. If you get a chance, pray for my dad...the days ahead will be esp. sad and lonely for him.

Also, on Wednesday morning, Kathy and I rushed Kelsey (one of our twin daughters) to the hospital. I won't go into all the details, but 3 or 4 weeks ago we notice a few, slight changes in Kelsey--in her eating, drinking, energy-level, and more. The changes were very slight at first, but starting this past weekend everything accelerated, with each day getting worse. With all the chaos with my mom's death and our kitchen/hardwood floors being remodel (our house is currently a construction zone :-), we were not sure what was happening with her. We tried everything we knew to figure out what was going on and finally, in desperation, took her to the Emergency Room at Gwinnett Medical Center on Wednesday morning. Within a matter of minutes they diagnosed her with diabetes, and when all the test came back, we discovered she has Childhood Type 1 Diabetes. She is currently at Scottish Rite Hospital and all her training starts Friday.

So, our lives have changed a lot this week. Mom will no longer be with us here on earth. And we will now be a family learning what a "new normal" is all about. There is, of course, mourning and sadness. We have all shed tears during the past several days because Gramme is no longer with us and b/c Kelsey now has a life-long condition that, while she can live a normal life, requires constant monitoring, multiple shots and finger pricks on a daily basis, and more.

Yet again, Kathy and I feel as blessed as we've ever felt. Ever!!! One of our philosophies in life is that seldom are we in control of what happens to us, but we are always in control of our responses. In fact, the attitudes we embrace and the responses we choose are basically the only things in life of which we have 100% control. This is what I speak about and write about through my company--Live It Forward (www.liveitforward.com). Obviously, if I'm going to inspire others to live this way, I better be living this way myself.

So today, the Julian family chooses:

1. To embrace Kelsey's condition as normal.

2. To believe that Jesus is smiling on Kelsey, saying: "I have something extra special for you that you can only experience through having Diabetes. Trust me Kelsey, I have your absolute best in mind. I'm gracious and kind, and this condition is something that will ADD to your life, not take away from it. Remember, you are my special child."

3. Be excited about encouraging and leading Kelsey through the range of emotions she will experience because of this challenge. We know she will feel sad, scared, disappointed, and confused (we, as her parents, are feeling these emotions as well). However, we also know that as time goes on, Kelsey can choose to see her new life as normal and, even more, as something special and unique. What a great opportunity for Kathy and I to encourage and lead Kelsey, as well as Christopher and McKenize, through new challenges and options we could never have experienced without having a family member with Diabetes. As a family, we are beginning to realize that these new challenges also lead to new adventures that we would never have the privilege of experiencing if not for our "new normal." Sure, there are costs, but there are also unique privileges and rewards that we could never experience others.

4. To know that Kelsey will be an overachiever, which she has always been. One of my nicknames for her is "Competitive Princess." If you know Kelsey, you know she is sweet, quiet, gentle, and kind (i.e. "Princess"). Yet, you might not know that while quiet and gentle, she is extremely driven (i.e. "competitive"). Hence, my nickname "Competitive Princess." I think that nickname fits her even more now.

5. To understand that we are so BLESSED to live in the USA. Kathy grew up overseas in a third world country and KNOWS how hard it would be to support our daughter in a different county. I've led over a dozen short-term youth ministry mission trips and have seen this reality myself firsthand. The opportunity to embrace a "new normal" has a lot to do with the privilege of living here.

6. To understand the AMAZING communities which surround us. Stonemill Church, the Stingrays Swim Team, Jackson Elementary School (where Kathy works), and the national entrepreneurial networks like 48Days.Net and FreeAgentAcademy.com (networks I am connected with through my business) have been amazing during this week. We are thankful for each of you who have given of yourself to us.

7. To "live it forward" in the most important roles of our lives. To live WAY BEYOND our average.

I could say so much more, but are you beginning to see why we feel so blessed? While we would not choose Type 1 Diabetes for Kelsey (and we know she would not choose this path either), we do choose to accept it and believe Kelsey will do the same. But even more, we choose not to just accept it, but to embrace it! To experience life in a new and even better way. To choose, by faith, to know that Jesus has Kelsey's very best in mind. We choose to "live it forward" and live WAY BEYOND our average.

For the Julian family, these are not empty words...they are words by which we live.

© 2009 Kent Julian, Live It Forward LLC — All Rights Reserved

Life and career coach Kent Julian, "America's Career Coach for a New Generation," publishes the "Live It Forward™ REAL Success EZine," a bi-monthly ezine filled with free tips and strategies for pursuing the life and work you love. If you are ready to jump-start your career and find more joy and fulfillment in life, join the growing and dynamic Live It Forward community now at http://www.liveitforward.com


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Today in Computer History

On this day
…… in 1951, U.S Census Bureau dedicated UNIVAC 1 (Universal Automatic Computer), the world’s first commercial computer. This first generation computer was quite large and probably can be compared to what is known as super computer was the building block for the computers we use today. As I surf the Net, I am getting conflicting dates as to when this event actually transpired. Some articles state June 14 and some the 16th. Since the majority of the articles show June 14th, I dug a little deeper and eventually ended up at the U.S. Census Bureau Website (http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/001784.html) and the date is listed as June 14, 1951. I decided to go ahead and publish this information today any way as I felt this is an important part of computer history and should be known…next year is not promised.

…… in 1995, Apple announced its “Partnership in Education” grant recipients for 1995 allowing for the incorporation of Apple technology in the ten K-12 schools and teacher training institutions. The grant encompassed computer equipment, software and training worth $1.5 million

Sources:
Computer History Museum

http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/

High Beam Research
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-17065214.html

In His Service,
AvaByGrace



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Friday, June 12, 2009

Today in Computer History

On this day
… 1997 – 3Com Corporation and U. S Robotics Corporation finalized their merger. 3Com paid U.S Robotics $6.6 billion which merged these two computer-industry giants in the area of networking.

….2003 – AOL released an alpha version ICQ Lite that would connect AIM and ICQ users allowing for exchange of instant messages (IM) between the two networks. AOL purchased ICQ in 1998.


Sources:
Computer History Museum

http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/

AOL Connects AIM, ICQ, Networks
http://www.betanews.com/article/AOL-Connects-AIM-ICQ-Networks/1055462892


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

AVG Anti-Virus

In April one of the blog post was on freebies for Windows which included anti-virus programs (http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/04/more-freebies-for-windows.html). In reading various comparison studies, professional product reviews and users’ evaluation reports, one of the applications featured in this blog post stands out and has been deemed the best free anti-virus program. This free product is AVG anti-virus free edition and is said to be more effective than other free anti-virus software. Reviews of the paid version of AVG said it is right behind Norton Anti-virus 2009 which is a great position to be in. The paid version would have the same base as the free with additional features.

For more information check out these two links showing what to look for when deciding on an anti-virus program from About.com and a review of some of the products from Consumersearch.com

What to Look for in Anti-virus Software
http://netsecurity.about.com/od/antivirusandmalware/a/lookforav.htm

Anti-virus Software Reviews
http://www.consumersearch.com/antivirus-software


As always, submit your questions and comments and let’s have fun learning together.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Today in Computer History

On this day
...1978 – On a single Silicon chip, Texas Instrument (known for calculators in 1978) introduced the first electronic duplication of human voice tract through an educational aid for ages 7 and above. This aid/toy was called Speak and Spell and would say a word for the user to spell via its alphabetical keypad. In turn, as the user depressed the key, Speak and Spell would pronounce the depressed letter for the user to hear the spelling of the word. At that time, Speak and Spell was quite an amazing educational toy.

...2006 – Google introduces a new online spreadsheet application, Google Docs spreadsheet, advancing into an area Microsoft has dominated with its Excel application. Google’s spreadsheet falls into the area of cloud computing or Web based applications and in the open source category.

Sources:
Computer History Museum

http://www.computerhistory.org

Google Combines Word Processing and Spreadsheets
http://news.cnet.com/Google-combines-word-processing,-spreadsheets/2100-1032_3-6124593.html


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OpenOffice.org Update 2

Today I received the periodic newsletter from OpenOffice.org (OO) and once again I am blogging on this free office productivity suite which has given us a free alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. The folks at OO are working diligently to improve the software and are listening to what we, the users, have to say.

First up is a few links that will help you stay in touch with what is happening with this software. The bloggers provide current and relevant issues and experiences via their use of the software:

Planets - consolidate posts by several bloggers allowing you to find the information in one place (http://planet.services.openoffice.org/). There are also specialized Planets
Bloggers - (created by members of OpenOffice.org projects) and Individual Blogs (http://www.openoffice.org/editorial/blogs.html)

Some new features in OpenOffice.org 3.1 are:

Improved anti-aliasing for graphics. In other words, reducing the stair-stepping effect or jagged edge appearance of text and images…the edge pixels are blended to provide a smoother view of the image. This feature applies to the entire suite but should be more noticeable in Impress which is the suite’s presentation application equivalent to MS PowerPoint
Improvements to comments – Writer offers new collaboration functionality supporting comments between document editors
Text highlighting in Writer with a subtle background color and the SQL syntax in Base, helpful for finding errors
• Spell check is extended to grammar checking
User Feedback Program

For all the new features and a detailed description check out this link http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.1/index.html#r2.1 and to check out the OpenOffice.org Community Forum visit the site at http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/

Lastly, want to know how you can contribute to OpenOffice.org for developing this free productivity software monetarily or with your God given talents? Check this link to get complete information on how you can support this project http://contributing.openoffice.org/

As always, submit your questions and comments and let’s have fun learning together.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Today in Computer History

On this day
… 1977 – Apple Computer Inc (now Apple Inc.) released Apple II Plus today. Due to increased memory, this computer could run video games, a database, word processor or a spreadsheet. Its predecessor, the Apple II, was also one of the first computers to have color display and was also available as a board only without the case and keyboard as known today. This may not mean much to us, but was a big stride in 1977.

….2002 – Apple Inc. launched an advertising campaign showing on people who switched from Microsoft Windows platform to Mac. An outgrowth of the campaign was these so called “real people” becoming celebrities

Sources:
Computer History Museum
http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/

The Obsolete Technology Website
http://oldcomputers.net/appleii.html

Apple Switch Ad Campaign
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Switch_ad_campaign



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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today in Computer History

On this day
… 1986 – Supercomputer Center supports precursor to Internet. This is a huge step in making the Internet available to all as we know it now. Originally, the network was government owned and ARPANet (Advance Research Project Agency) a U.S military research network was the original Internet backbone. With the start of this, the government reassigned pieces of the ARPANet to NSFNet (National Science Foundation). In 1991 NSFNet allowed commercial use of the Internet for the first time and on April 30, 1995 the NSFNet backbone was decommissioned allowing the Internet to become a self-supporting industry consisting entirely of commercial ISP (Internet Service Providers) and private networks. Mistakenly, people call the Web (World Wide Web) the Internet, but this is just a service that operates over the Internet. This blog entry today is a brief glimpse into the history of the Internet and how the Internet we use today began.

If your are interested in learning more on this interesting topic see History of the Internet at http://www.glasglow.com/e2/hi/History_of_the_Internet.html or A Brief History of NSF and the Internet at ttp://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/cyber/internet.jsp



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Monday, June 8, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was born on June 8, 1955, making him 54 years old today. Berners-Lee is known as the inventor of the World Wide Web (WWW) and this invention change the way we use computers today.

The source for this congratulatory note was ascertained from Time 100
at http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/bernerslee.html


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Backup Applications

Backing up of our computer documents is a very important aspect of computer maintenance as well as security. This task can be done on external disks such as the USB, hard drives etc. There is also online applications that should be considered, some free and some for a fee. Most companies have backup applications for both home and business, but of course we will focus on home/personal use as this blog is geared toward home computing.

First up is Mozy.This company offers MozbyHome which is 2GB of online backup for home users with no setup fees, no expiration of the account and no credit card required to get this service. A copy of your data is stored at a remote location as is standard practice in any disaster preparedness plan for an organization. All that you have to do is sign up for the an account, download and install their software, select the files or the types of files you want to backup and the application does the rest. Mozy also offers MozyHome Unlimited for $4.95 a month unlimited backup for those requiring more than the 2GBs in MozyHome. http://mozy.com/

Next is Carbonite. This is a completely automated service for unlimited online backup at $54.95 a year. There is no free service, but you can try Carbonite for free for 15 days. The files are encrypted prior to being uploaded and stored at a secured backup location as with Mozy. I guess this is standard operating procedure for this type of service, as it should be. The application check constantly for new information and automatically backs up whatever new info is found. As this is an online application, you can access your files from any computer with Internet access. This service is also available for Macs. http://www.carbonite.com

Third is Adrive. This service has three plans (basic, signature and premium) with the basic for home/personal use. The basic plan is free and allows 50 GB of online storage and backup with the ability to edit your files online. Additionally, the basic plan allows for universal access as it is online and can be access from any computer with Internet access, file sharing, upload and download of files, search tools and remote file transfer. If you need more features than the basic allows, you can check out the other two plans at the link below (Signature is $6.95 a month or $69.95 for the year and Premium increases storage capacity to 100GB as well as other features for $13.95 per year). http://www.adrive.com/

This is just a few to get you started in investigating this aspect of computer security and maintenance. Don't forget to include Mediafire in your research as we used this storage application with our first Web Bytes Blog eBook back in January. You can check out the article that came out of researching this application at http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/01/mediafire.html

As always, submit your questions and comments and let’s have fun learning together.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Today in Computer History

On this day
...1954 – Computer pioneer Alan Turing found dead of an apparent suicide. He made major contributions in the fields of Mathematics, cryptoanalysis, logic, philosophy, biology, computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and artificial life1

...1979 – CompuServe was the first to offer email and the technical support for this application to personal computer users. The following year, the company continued in this vein to be the first to offer real-time chat2


1. Alan M. Turing
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/609739/Alan-M-Turing

2. CompuServe: The Value Leader in Cyberspace
http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/menu/about.jsphttp://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/menu/about.jsp


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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Social Networking - Ning Platform

Due to the rise in social networking1, as reported by Nielson Online, a Market researcher, I decided to write this blog post on a specific social network platform. This platform is Ning2 (Co-founded by Marc Andeeson of Netscape and Opsware), which gives one a choice of not following the pack (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) but creating your own. Ning allows you to create your own social network around your specific interest(s), catering to whom ever you choose, while making it public or private. It’s your choice.

The platform is very user friendly and made of templates that you can customize to suit your particular taste. There is the free version which comes with a sub-domain name which includes Ning in the domain name for example,www.mysite.ning.com or a paid version which would be a regular domain, for example www.mysite.com. The architecture allows you to drop and drag the layout of the site with such features as videos, photos, discussion forums, blog entries, events, RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds and of course a “My Page” where individual members can customize to reflect their particular taste. The free site includes advertisements placed on the right side of the page. Creating your own network can allow for family interaction through a family site which can be private, by invitation only; for a particular event such as family reunion; a church fellowship community; craft groups, book clubs, study groups, technology groups as in home computing, projects, etc. The possibilities are limitless. You, as the creator, control the features to add to the site from those available and the levels of authority to give to participants.

The above is just and introduction to the world of social networking and if you would like more Web Bytes installments on this particular topic, let me know. I find the topic quite a fascinating as I have created two such networks and am a member of three other work related communities, allowing for the exchange of information of similar interest and creating new friendships.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

1. Social Networking Up 83% for U.S.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10255626-93.html

2.Ning
http://www.ning.com/



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Today in Computer History

On this day
…… in 1995, The Los Angeles Times announced The Vatican Library will be on the Web.

…… in 2005, Steve Jobs announced Apple will switch their Macintosh computers to Intel microprocessors in 2006.

Current Event: If you are in the Erie County area (Buffalo, NY) they are having an Recycling Collection Day event today where you can recycle your computer and electronics (personal not business) from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. To view the flyer for this event visit http://www.erie.gov/environment/pdfs/recycle_event.pdf

Let me know your thoughts on this segment as well as any other technology trivia occurring in the near future you would like to see as part of this blog segment.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bing

Bing is a new search vehicle from Microsoft that is supposed to help you search, explore and decide. According to Microsoft, Bing is a search engine that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions. Below are the features Bing brings to the search engine arena.

Images – This selection shows various pictures of the topic you type into the search field. Hover your mouse over an image and you will see the title, size, Web address for the image, links to similar images and to send feedback to Bing. The photo also stands out as in a two dimensional view. Once you click on the image you are taken to a page where additional information is available on the image and the topic is expanded on to encompass all relevant information.

Videos – This selection is broken down into groups – TV shows, Music, Most Watched, News and Sports. You can also just type right into the search field and all the results for the topic appear on the screen. Once you select a video it opens in another window and starts to play right away. On the video page you can customize the video by length, screen size, resolution and source.

Shopping – On its front page you can take a tour to see how this section works, get cash back, read user reviews, and click on the Frequently Asked Questions. You can sort search results according to Best Match, Best User Rating, Best Expert Rating or Price. You can also select to show only the cash back items as your criteria for the search. There is quite a bit to see on these search pages so you definitely need to customize it so you would not miss what is important to meet your shopping needs.

News – This section starts with Today’s Top News displaying some with video and some without. The main screen displays World, US, Local, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Politics, Sci/Tech and Health news in this order as well as the tabs on the left hand side of the page with the same areas.

Maps – In this section you can get directions to a specified location, share this information via email or blog it through Windows Live ID, create a collection of this information for future reference, and you have the option of a general tour or a 3d tour video and you can print out the page information --- map and text, map only or text only. During my review, I found that the email links did not work for Gmail and AOL. After selecting the option I remained on the page without the email application opening up. When I click ‘Choose’ to select another email application, I was routed to make a select from an application on my computer. May be you will have better luck!

Travel – This section has tabs across the top for Flights, Hotels, Cars, Cruises and Vacations. The Cars, Cruises and Vacations tabs route you to Orbitz.com for this information. The Flights and Hotels tabs are like other travel pages that give you the options to customize and narrow your selection to suit your need.
Tour - You can tour Bing at http://www.discoverbing.com/tour/http://www.discoverbing.com/tour/

Preferences – This selection allows you to customize your Bing experience. There is a series of features under the General Settings group that apply to all your searches and another series under the Web Settings group that apply only to your Web search results

Once again we are given another option to choose from when the need arise to search the Net. Give Bing (http://www.bing.com/) a try and see how you like it as well as let your fellow Web Bytes readers know your thoughts on your Bing experience.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Today in Computer History

On this day
…… in 1991, The US and Japan made a pack agreement to trade Microprocessors.

…… in 2006, Microsoft announced they will remove support for saving files in the PDF format option from Office 2007 and Vista due to a threat from Adobe to take legal action. Apparently their differences were resolved since the save as PDF feature is included in Office 2007 and Vista…this would be for another day in Computer History.

Let me know your thoughts on this as well as any other technology trivia occurring in the near future you would like to see as part of this blog segment.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Today in Computer History

On this day
…… in 1990, Robert Noyce co-founder of Intel and co-inventor of the Integrated Circuit which allowed the power of computers to increase dramatically died.

…… in 2005, Google started to experiment to aid web indexing with Sitemaps

This is a new segment to Web Bytes, just a little bit of computer history, and I hope to be able to bring some technology trivia to you on a regular basis. Let me know your thoughts on this as well as any other technology trivia occurring in the near future you would like to see as part of this blog segment.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Secure Passwords

Several weeks ago I added a link to my friend, Dillon Ross', blog on strong passwords called “My password is...” (http://yourtechnologycoach.blogspot.com/) and today I am going to reiterate this message as well as add some more tips to help you secure your passwords. Additionally there will be some links to help in this area, assist in password selection and manage your passwords.

DON'T:
  • Use easy to guess information such as your last name, birthday, family, pets, etc...things that are easy to guess.
  • Proper words, words that you can look up their meaning in the dictionary
  • Use the same password on multiple sites
DO:
  • Use combination of letters, numbers, special characters as well as upper and lower case letters
  • Use at least eight (8) characters
  • Add middle numbers and special characters
  • Change or update your password often
  • A memory trick or cipher like Dillon specified use a letter or special character to represent the first letter in each word in a memorable phrase such as "All good things must come to an end" the password would be: Agtmc2ae.
You can test the security of your password by using the password strength checker at www.passwordmeter.com. While there, also check on ways to strengthen your password.

If you find it hard to come up with a strong password, you can try one of the sites listed below:
Password Bird at www.passwordbird.com
Strong Password Generator at www.strongpasswordgenerator.com
Gibson Research Corporation at www.grc.com/passwords.htm
Password Checker at http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/checker.mspx

You can engage a password manager at one of the links below:
Roboform at www.roboform.com
Passpack at www.passpack.com (online only)

Remember, using strong passwords will only be one item in your arsenal to secure your information and files.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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Monday, June 1, 2009

Safety Tips on Free Internet Access

Anyone with free Internet access through hotspots using a laptop with a wireless device or mobile phones to connect to the Internet needs to be cautioned. This is terrific but these are shared networks, meaning other people are also connected to the Internet using the same connection. In situations like this, you have to presume hackers may be stealing your personal information and listening to everything you do. Hackers can set up a second network as if it is the legitimate connection you think you are connecting to. Once your information is captured by the hacker you are then routed to the correct network – this is called man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) as there is a third computer involve in the communication. Man-in-the-middle attacks can be active or passive. Active attacks involves the contents being changed before it is sent to its intended recipient and passive attacks involve the contents being captured and then sent to the intended recipient without being detected. When you are using a secured connection your secured router will act as adequate physical security.

Below are some precautions to help protect your information when it is necessary to use a public Internet connection:
• Keep operating system, firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs up to date
• Encrypt your communications. If you are interested in more information on this check out this article on Lifehacker…may be a bit technical but it is an option (http://lifehacker.com/180878/how-to-encrypt-your-emailhttp://lifehacker.com/180878/how-to-encrypt-your-email)
• Use only sites that use https and also when checking your mail check to see if there is https connection (see The Difference between http and https http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/01/tib-bit.html)
• Any activity involving sensitive information, do on a network you control – at home or one you are paying for Internet access
• If possible, plug into a high speed connection using a cable
• Check who is physically in view of your laptop screen. Information compromise can and does occur physically, the old fashion way

Don’t think the above only pertains to outside connections, the same can also be said for Internet connections such as in hotel rooms, cafes and air planes etc. because these connections (via routers, cables and hubs etc.) are owned and controlled by the entity’s management. Also, the configuration of the network may be such that you and the other users in the area may be able to see each others activities. Remember you are not controlling the connection or paying an ISP (Internet Service Provider) for the connection so anything is possible.

Pray this helps you with accessing the Internet using a public access connection as you are out and about in this wonderfully warm weather.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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