How can I create and remember secure passwords?

I changed all my passwords to 'Incorrect'...

It seems like everyday we are hearing of some Website has been hacked and oftentimes personal information and passwords have been compromised.  ‘Knock on wood’, I’ve never had a problem with my passwords. I currently use LastPass.com which I like a lot and it has really helped me.  I currently use a system that is very easy to remember for each Website. It includes all of the following in this order:

  • the date of my wedding anniversary
  • the year of a favorite childhood year (the year my father and I flew to a a professional baseball game)
  • two or three letters representing the Website syllables. The first letter is capitalized. Example: for Facebook I might use ‘Fb’. For THIS Website, I might use ‘Pct’.’
  • @
  • a time that you can remember. Example: 5:00
  • Example (none of this is actually part of my passwords)  031579Fb@500

USA Today posted an article today about creating and using passwords, ‘Password tips you’ve never heard‘. The content of the video and the text are actually different and I recommend you watch the video as well as read the article.

Here is another article from Wired.com that offers excellent advice – 7 Password Experts on How to Lock Down Your Online Security.

After reading the Wired article above, I am going to start beef up my passwords by inserting a word into my password in between the two letters or something like that.

Click here for the Worst Passwords of 2015.

‘Google Keep’ – the Google product you haven’t used, but that you might really like

I am a Google Drive POWER USER and love most all of their applications including Google Sites, Google Slides, etc.  That is why it is surprising that I had never used ‘Google Keep’ before – until today.

Google Keep (source: Google.com/keep)(Image source: Google.com/Keep)

It has similarities to Evernote, to Mac’s ‘Notes’, and other programs, but better! You can use it to jot down notes, to make shopping lists, to make reminders, to save information from Websites, and more.

When you save something in the ‘Google Keep‘ app for iPhone or Android OR via the Chrome browser extension it syncs to the other devices. You can also add it as an app on your desktop or Mac dock (I haven’t figured out how to change from one email address on the desktop version yet.)

Keep has excellent voice recognition for recording audio notes.

It is very easy to save the things you ‘keep’ to Google Docs.

You can ‘tag’ items under categories such as: News, Inspiration, Music, Tasks, Lists, Websites, etc. You can then look at only items with the ‘tag’ that you select.

Here is a video that shows the BASICS (there is so much more you can do with Keep using its Apps and Chrome browser extension)

A feature I particularly like is the ability to ‘grab text from an image’ so you can use it in a word processor, etc. In other words, if you save an image to ‘Keep’ then you request ‘Keep’ to copy and paste the words from an image for you to use later. Click here for a ‘screen recording’ of me ‘grabbing the text’ from a Dr. Seuss image. (Sorry – no audio, just video)

Keep – grab text from image


Here are some articles on how to get more from ‘Keep’:




MIT’s New ‘DATA U.S.A.’ Website presents U.S. Data visually to make it “easier to sift through” AND to ENJOY.




Warning: A new online project from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) may just blow you away!

DATA U.S.A: THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE VISUALIZATION OF U.S. PUBLIC DATA” came out on Monday and was announced in the NY Times.  The story is titled, “Website Seeks to Make Government Data Easier to Sift Through“. It does, indeed! The article goes on to show you how it works…

Type “New York” into the Data USA search box, and a drop-down menu presents choices — the city, the metropolitan area, the state and other options. Select the city, and the page displays an aerial shot of Manhattan with three basic statistics: population (8.49 million), median household income ($52,996) and median age (35.8).

Lower on the page are six icons for related subject categories, including economy, demographics and education. If you click on demographics, one of the so-called data stories appears, based largely on data from the American Community Survey of the United States Census Bureau.” (Source: NYTimes.com)

The Website pulls off a major feat in that there is so much to look at (in a good way – you’ll WANT to look at more) but it is never cluttered.

One cool feature is that a small number of ‘suggested’ searches scroll across the search field every 4 seconds ago – if interested in one, simply click on ‘Search’ while the keywords are in the field. For example, ‘computer science’ scrolled across the field for me. That was of particular interest to me because #1 I love computers and #2 my son is majoring in computer science. Here is a search on ‘computer science’.

On the left are other links you will want to look at (if the list disappears, click on the ‘hamburger’/3 horizontal lines)




I typed in 28405, a zip code from Wilmington, N.C. and it brought me to a page that looked like this (cropped here) –

http://datausa.io/profile/geo/new-hanover-county-nc/

Thanks to ResearchBuzz.com for the heads up on this!

Prediction: Voice Search Will Soon Become More Popular Than Typing Into A Search Box




A speaker at the SMX West 2016 (Search Marketing Expo and Conference) in San Jose made that bold prediction. Indeed, voice activation control of computers is becoming more and more common. Just a couple of weeks ago I solved a student’s inability to type by showing her how to type in Google Drive by her voice.

The prediction was presented in MarketingLand.com’s article – “The rise of personal assistants and the death of the search box: Columnist Eric Enge recaps the SMX West 2016 keynote by Googler Behshad Behzadi, who envisions a not-too-distant future in which voice search becomes more ubiquitous — and may even replace the search box.

The article ‘speaks to’ (pun intended) to the future of search and how it is changing quickly toward voice commanded search.

Talking to Siri on an iPhone or another voice activated device is not that different from Star Trek’s Captain Kirk communicating with his computer as shown in this YouTube video –

Not on board yet? That’s okay. You may be sooner than you ever imagined though. More and more voice activated devices are being put on the market and the prices and the abilities are improving rapidly. If you watch TV, you’ve even seen more commercials featuring them. A Super Bowl ad for Amazon Echo featured Alec Baldwin, Misty Elliott, Dan Marino, and Jason Schwartzman.

Other devices that are voice activated that you might have heard of include:


and…

  • Amazon Echo
  • Apple iPhones, Watches, etc.
  • Honeywell Smart Thermostat
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Sony Smartwatch 3
  • and many more.

 

Here is a list of 15 voice activated devices.

 

Are you a ‘SLACK’er? Not yet? Maybe it’s time to become one. : )




Slack is considered to be ‘Team communication for the 21st century’. THAT ‘team’ may be at work, at school or it may be just friends or family.

Slack is a messaging system which has some similarities to Facebook Messenger or Google+ but it is much more useful.

Add in ScreenHero and you have one incredible tool providing voice, video and screen sharing features!

Here is a brief video that will give you an overview –

Some key features:

  • You can organize your team’s conversations in channels – one for a project, one about a topic, or anything. Everyone will be able to see what’s going on.”
  • You can create ‘private channels’ and invite only a few team members. Everything on the channel will be kept private among that team and in that channel.
  • You can ‘direct message’ a team member directly privately and securely.”
  • You can use your browser, use an App on a PC or Mac desktop, or use a mobile app.
  • You can easily upload files to Slack to securely share them with a colleague, a channel, or a group.
  • You can set a ‘Do Not Disturb

Mentioned earlier, ScreenHero adds a really cool feature! You and another person can share computer screens – I can show you mine and you can show me yours. This is a great tool that can be used for effective ‘Desk Help’, troubleshooting, or for teaching computer skills to another or to each other.

“Slack is a team communication tool that’s not just powerful and easy to use, it’s actually fun.”

Learn more about ‘Slack’ and become a ‘Slack’er!

The SLACK Website

25 Weird & Wonderful Slack Integrations You Need to Try 




Have You Filed your Taxes Yet? You may have longer AND more options than you thought.

Filing Taxes Online - Flickr

Filing Taxes Online – Flickr

Did you know that Taxes are to be filed for 2015 tax year by Monday, April 18th, rather than the traditional April 15th. Here is the reason:

Emancipation Day is an official public holiday in the District of Columbia. It usually falls on April 16, but when April 16 is a Saturday – which it is in 2016 – then Emancipation Day moves to the previous day (Friday). (Source: IRS.gov )

TheFiscalTimes.com lists ’10 Important Tax Dates for 2016′. 


 

It used to be that you had two options – use a tax preparer OR use tax software. Before that you either used a tax preparer OR you wrote down your taxes on forms you picked up from the library or post office.

Now you have all kinds of options! You can still use a tax preparer (a CPA, an accountant, H&R Block, Jackson Hewett, Liberty Tax Service, etc.) OR you can…

I’ve used H&R Block Tax preparation service and have been pleased with the service. For one thing, it helps to have someone working with you rather than you feel all alone in the process. The price for a service can be steep though.

I’ve also used both online and software versions (mostly TurboTax). Each year they seem to get better and better and easier and easier. I’ve actually used the software the same year that I’ve used a service and the results of both were very similar.

I have not used APPS and probably won’t but if someone has very easy taxes, it might work out great.


 

Security, of course, is an issue with any of the choices but what are you going to do. It seems to me the risk is about the same with all the choices, although the risk in each is different.


 

Good luck on those taxes! YOU CAN DO IT!

Protect your Computer from Malware

Ran across a video from The Federal Trade Commission posted a YouTube video on preventing malware. The description is…

Malware is short for “malicious software.” It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Learn more about how to avoid, detect, and get rid of malware. Learn more at http://goo.gl/6gfhIh

Every computer needs to be protected from viciuos malware. Here are some good tools…

Now, “On with the show!”

For Lifelong Learning, technology is great but ‘place-based learning’ is preferred

Pew Research Center reports that…

A large majority of Americans seek extra knowledge for personal and work-related reasons. Digital technology plays a notable role in these knowledge pursuits, but place-based learning remains vital to many and differences in education and income are a hallmark of people’s learning activities

The article goes on to say that although the Internet is a very important tool for lifelong learning that…

For the most part, these learning activities occur in traditional places – at home, work, conferences or community institutions such as government agencies or libraries. The internet is also an important tool for many adults in the process of lifelong learning.

In their summary of the Pew Center findings, a NPR article says…

For the 74 percent of adults who identified as personal learners, only a third turned to the Internet for most or all of their learning.


Could you use some help with your computer, tablet, smartphone, TV, etc.  If so, I’d love to help!  Check out these pages for more information…

FreeMapTools.com is a great tool for showing others your ‘route’

Do you enjoy traveling? Like to share with friends your trip? FreeMapTools.com’s measuring tool is great for giving a general view of a trip.

I use it to map my Stand Up Paddling trips because I don’t want to take my iPhone out on the water (ruined one and can’t afford another one!).  Here is an example:

FreeMapTool.com's Measuring Tool

Here is how you can use it…

  • Type in the city or zip code in the ‘Location’ field and ‘enter’
  • Look under the map for these options and select one –

Total Distance Miles km Nautical Miles Yards

  • Click on ‘Full Screen’
  • Enlarge the map by scrolling mouse or clicking ‘+’.
  • Click on your STARTING point
  • Click on your next stop (or along the road curves, etc.) as much as you like. Click on the pin and drag to move it to a new location.
  • When finished, click on ‘Close Screen’.
  • Look for the mileage (or your choice) under the map.

 

New Online Map showing NYC Historical Landmarks

ResearchBuzz.me is absolutely the best source of interesting information! I can’t wait to read what Tara Calishain shares each day. Sign up for their email alerts and/or follow them on Twitter 

Here is a great one just posted…

“All of New York City’s historical landmarks (article about it >) are now available on one big map. “There are tens of thousands of officially-designated landmarks in New York City, and today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission launched a fun new tool that lets you explore all of those protected sites.”

Here is a link to the map itself . It is searchable by address.

Enjoy!

Here is an example of an ENLARGED section. Click on a dot or pin for information. (the actual will have clear text)

NYC Landmark Map - 'Statue of Liberty'