Bill And George Fall For The Flash Drive Scam

June 22, 2016

What is nice about having your own blog is that you can have some fun with your friends and at the same time educate others…

My elders alway told me, “If it is too good to be true, stay away from it…” Two computer friends of mine, who I will call Bill and George, came across a “no name” flash drive that was advertised as 1 TB for $16 (out of China). They were excited when they received their perfectly packaged “no name” drives (all the way from China) and were bragging to ALL, “look what we got, 1 TB drives for $16″… Their excitement soon turned to blush when they started filling the drive with data and discovered at approximately 10% capacity of the drive the data started spilling out and the drive would not accept anymore data.

Flash Drive Scam Alert

Bill and George were victims of what has become a very common scam on the internet of counterfeit USB flash drives. Many of the these drives can be found on eBay (and even Amazon); typically ship from China; and, often are in packaging (and branding) that replicates popular manufacturer’s such as Kingston, SanDisk, Toshiba and Corsair. Oftentimes, the seller themselves are unaware that the drives are counterfeit and take the hit on this, as the middleman (resulting in poor customer feedback that affects their seller ratings).

So, as you can see great measure and tactic has been taken by these crooks to take your money. Usually, with these drives, most folks do not realize in time, that there is an issue, due to the fact most folks do not “right away” start maxing out the capacity of the drive.

Again, “If it is too good to be true, stay away from it…”.  Here are two tips to abide by when purchasing these drives:

  1. Do your homework… See what is current from reputable manufacturer’s (such as Kingston, Corsair, Sandisk, Patriot, etc…). You will get a general idea of what the current generation drive capacities are (and their true costs). For example, CLICK HERE to see the real cost of what a 1TB drive can be at present…
  2. Buy only from a reputable online source or buy at a local box store… I am seeing that a great majority of these counterfeit drives are found on eBay and typically ship from China (making it difficult to get your money back).

Malwarebytes’ Junkware Removal Tool

May 2, 2016

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-018)

Malwarebytes has a junkware removal tool that I was unaware about that will aggressively perform the following tasks:

  • Removes adware that spawn popup ads, such as Conduit
  • Uninstalls unwanted toolbars and browser helper objects, including the Ask and Babylon toolbars
  • Removes potentially unwanted programs (PUPs)
  • Cleans up traces left behind by PUPs

I am a big user of the Malwarebyte products and decided to give this tool a test run. To run the tool, simply download and run it. A command-line window will open up that will prompt you to hit a key on your keyboard to launch the program.  If you have any browser windows open, they will automatically be closed. In the end I found that the tool is pretty aggressive in its’ cleaning to the point it actually removed one of my Chrome browser extensions that I use on a regular basis.  With that being said, I recommend you make a note of what extensions you have. If you are in a situation where you find your PC running slow and suspect an infection, you may want to run this tool.

Malwarebytes Junkware Removal Tool

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MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

Free Alternative to Office365 Called Open365I Love Free Software has a great article about LibreOffice’s new alternative to Office365 called Open365. After reading the article I went ahead and opened an account (for FREE) at Open365  (which appears to be in beta). Once I opened the account, client software was downloaded to my PC; which, I opted to not install. Instead, I went directly to the cloud-based version of Open365. First impression, not bad…  Will be keeping an eye on this.

Open365

Open365

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ZOTAC ZBOX E series Mini PC
with Intel Core i5 4200U, dual-core, 1.6 GHz, Turbo up to 2.6 GHz Barebone System

ZOTAC ZBOX E series Mini PC

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Easy Screen Capture MP3 Direct Cut

 Remove QuickTime Windows 10 Interruption

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Protect Your Android Apps From Unwanted Access

April 18, 2016

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-016)

Recently I have been paying special attention to folks who have Android smartphones (and tablets) and I am noticing that the majority do not have their phones locked down (either with a pin code or pattern lock). I highly recommend that you get into the security setting on your devices and lock them down; preferably, with a pin code so that when your phone is turned “on” or awakened out of its’ sleep mode, a code (that you pre-designate) is required to access and operate the phone. You will not realize the importance of this “slight” inconvenience, until your phone is misplaced.

To take this a step further, there are apps available that allow you pass code protect individual apps to prevent apps from being launched on your phone (or tablet) in the event you hand off the device to someone else, such as your kids. An app locker that I have been testing out is called Avira Applock+. What I like about Applock+ is that it is very easy to setup; and, it specifically focuses on securing access to your apps (and not a bunch of other stuff is bundled with it). An included powerful feature in the FREE version is the unlimited remote device management, where you can remotely lock and unlock apps on your managed phones (as many as you like!) from Avira Online Essentials – your online dashboard.

Avira Applock+

 AppLock+- screenshot

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MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

A Surge Protector For High-End Home and Professional Workstations – Here is a surge protector that is highly recommended.  It is the Belkin BE112230-08 12-Outlet Surge Protector that is a #1 Best Seller at Amazon. This surge protector is built to protect professional workstations, laser printers, telephones, home-theater systems, and everyday household electronics. While it is recommended for heavy duty devices, it can also be used to protect other household electronics as well without problem.

Belkin BE112230-08 12-Outlet Surge Protector

Belkin BE112230-08 12-Outlet Surge Protector

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Q-Dir  Windows 10 Emulation

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Google Calendar Keeps Getting Better And Better – You may not have noticed; but, as of this month, a new feature has been implemented that will allow you to create reminders in your calendar. 

Just like on Android and iPhone, you’ll get the following:

  • Reminders stick around – If a reminder isn’t completed, it will appear at the top of your calendar until you mark it done.
  • Reminders work across Google – Reminders you create in Inbox, Keep, and the Google app will also show in Google Calendar.
  • Reminders sync with mobile – Reminders created in mobile show up on the web and vice versa. So you can stay on track from just about anywhere.

To read more on this, CLICK HERE

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How To Watch YouTube In TV Mode On Your Computer

April 11, 2016

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-015)

This week’s blog posting on “How To Watch YouTube In TV Mode On Your Computer” is actually a very easy posting for me. To go into the YouTube TV Mode on your computer, simply open your browser and type in the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/tv … That is all there is to it. Once you are there there are three very easy keyboard commands you need to know. By hitting the “G” key on your keyboard, a guide will slide out from the left side of the screen. To perform a YouTube search, simply hit the “S” key on your keyboard. If you need to go back to the Home Screen, simply hit the “ESC” key on your keyboard. You can also easily navigate YouTube.com/TV with your mouse (pay special attention to the sidebar on the left side of the screen).

YouTube TV

YouTube.com/TV is also called YouTube Leanback and can also be launched by entering the URL of https://www.youtube.com/leanback. This mode of watching YouTube, which is commonly not known (or is forgotten about), is especially beneficial for those who have the larger computer monitors or have a media center set up on a large screen TV.

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MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

File Encryption Software That I Was Unaware Of – Have you ever heard of MEO File Encryption Software? I was unaware it existed and glad that I found it. A free version is available for non-commercial use. If you like it, I found that following the install you can copy the folder where MEO File Encryption is installed to your flash drive and turn it into a portable app. Very nice (and easy) file encryption software with the following features (in the FREE version): Easily encrypt files and folders; Decrypt files that have been encrypted; Encrypt emails and send within MEO; and Create self-extracting encrypted files that can be decrypted without encryption software.

MEO File Encryption Software

More MEO Encryption Software Screenshots

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Reddit App ScreenShader

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Learn To Tie Knots Online – Check out Animated Knots by Grog that is described on the site as “TIE KNOTS THE FUN AND EASY WAY – Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it”. There is a desktop and mobile version available.

Animated Knots by Grog

Animated Knots

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Bet You Never Saw This Before – I have been looking around for a bluetooth capable mouse for my Android tablet and came across a mouse with a bluetooth speaker built into it. It is called the Aerb® Wireless Bluetooth Speaking Mouse . I haven’t decided whether to splurge for this (just to have something different); but, I have never seen anything like it.  A mouse with a speaker built into it is a really neat concept; especially, for a tablet or smartphone.

Aerb® Wireless Bluetooth Speaking Mouse

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I Use CCleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, And Bitdefender Antivirus Free To Keep My PC Safe (and Clean)

April 4, 2016

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-014)

I have been involved with computers for nearly 30 years. I have never installed any “paid” antivirus software products and have solely relied on common sense and the FREE products that are available (and suitable for computers in the home). I have never had a virus on any of my home based computers. As you noticed, I mentioned “common sense” as one of the factors, which may be easier said than done. I do believe that you have to develop that sixth sense (or gut feeling) in knowing when you are entering potentially dangerous territory. On the software side I currently use three products to help keep my computers (at home) safe and clean.

CCleaner – Without a doubt, CCleaner is the number one optimization tool that not only cleans your computer, but also aids in keeping your computer safe. There is a FREE version and a paid version. I have always gotten along just fine with the free version.

Laptop showing the CCleaner interface - 1 billion downloads

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Detects and removes malware on an infected computer with industry-leading anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-rootkit tech. Scans for the newest and most dangerous threats. Safely removes malware. One thing to point out at the start is that the FREE version of Malwarebytes is only a scanning utility and does not provide real-time protection. You can get the real-time protection by purchasing the commercial version of their software. Don’t let this deter you from downloading the FREE version. I use the FREE version and make a habit to manually download the updates and perform routine scans of my computer. If I was going to purchase protection for my computer, I would definitely go with the “paid” version of this software (so that it runs continuously in the background, stopping infections before they happen. Scans automatically and halts attempted attacks).

Malwarebytyes Anti-Malware

Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition – What I like about Bitdefender is that it is “smart and silent”. Once you install the FREE version, you will have to register with an email address; then, after that you will not even know it is on your computer. Bitdefender has a great reputation and has been well reviewed. As a reminder, when installing antivirus software; always remove (uninstall) any other antivirus software you have installed on your computer.

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A NEW Tool For The Tech Toolbox – Saw this on betaNews, “Investigate your PC’s RAM use with ATM“… This tool, called ATM performs an in-depth, low-level look at your PC’s system memory use. If you are a troubleshooter, ATM may be right up your alley. Being an old dumb PC Tech, this one was definitely above my level of comprehension (which isn’t much these days)…

ATM

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Easily Control Automatic and Unwanted Windows 7 & 8.1 Upgrading to Windows 10 – Here is a “How To”  @ Tech-for Everyone on using a utility called Never 10 that will disable the Windows 10 Upgrade (wiith just one click). Many folks are sticking to or reverting back to earlier versions of Windows due to the privacy concerns in Windows 10.

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Windows 10 Secret Apps View Basket

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REFURBISHED
(GREAT RATINGS)

HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19″ LCD

HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19" LCD

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Microsoft Edge Browser To Get Extensions Support — and MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-012)

March 21, 2016

Microsoft Edge Browser To Get Extensions Support – If you use Google Chrome or Firefox, then you are familiar with browser extensions that extend the functionality of the browser. Microsoft recently announced that they have shipped the first preview release of Microsoft Edge with extensions support to Windows Insiders. Microsoft Edge is the browser that we see in Windows 10. To us at home, we will not see this just yet. I am also reading in various places where Microsoft is working on a tool that will let developers port Chrome extensions to Microsoft Edge… READ MORE

Microsoft Edge

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Crush Malware With Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – I have featured the FREE version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in the past and thought this would be a good time to once again promote this “must have” security software. One thing to point out at the start is that the FREE version of Malwarebytes is only a scanning utility and does not provide real-time protection. You can get the real-time protection by purchasing the commercial version of their software. Don’t let this deter you from downloading the FREE version. I use the FREE version and make a habit to manually download the updates and perform routine scans of my computer.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytyes Anti-Malware

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Launch Your Windows Desktop Like An iPad – How would you like to double click on your Windows desktop and a program (or shortcut) launcher appears that allows you to customize and launch your favorite programs, apps, files, folders or web URLs? If so, you need to take a look at PaperPlane. I have always loved program launchers and this one is no exception. PaperPlane Smart Launch is a free launcher program (shortcut manager) which enables you to launch your desktop like an iPad. If you are familiar with Mac OS Launchpad, you could say that it’s a better Launchpad just for your Windows. It enables you to quickly access your most used apps, open a recent file, visit a website URL, play your favorite game, or open any shortcut etc, in one place.

PaperPlane

PaperPlane

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A Best Seller Portable Hard Drive – Looking for a way to safeguard your personal files? The WD 2TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive (w/USB 3.0) may be the solution you are looking for. I currently use a similar Western Digital portable drive to backup my personal files that I then transport and store offsite (away from my home) — READ MORE

WD 2TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive

WD 2TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive

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Beware Of The Social Security Email Scam — and MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-10)

March 7, 2016

Beware Of The Social Security Email Scam – I felt this important enough to “pass it on” and post about the most recent Social Security Email Scam where you receive a phlishing email that leads you to believe it is from the Social Security Administration. I first read about this on the Comsumer Reports website.

Here is what Consumer Reports had to say about this scam:

This Social Security email is a classic phishing ploy, a form of identity theft in which hackers use fraudulent websites and fake emails to attempt to steal your personal data, especially passwords and credit card information. Clicking on the link may open your computer to malware, such as viruses and spyware. Or the link might send you to a spoof site—a copycat version of the Social Security Administration’s site—to trick you into entering your personal information, including your Social Security number [source: Consumer Reports]

It is important to report all questionable emails to the FTC and to the organization impersonated in the email. You can initiate a scam report at the FTC Complaint Assistant web site by — CLICKING HERE .

How problematic are scams, such as this? I encourage you to visit the FTC’s Scam Alert page to see the multiple listing of “known” scams — CLICK HERE . What I find is that the scammers will follow similar patterns in their scams by using clever schemes to get people to send money or give out personal information. I have found that the scammers prey on the elderly, who came from a trusting generation. Always, with most things in life these days, “believe nothing and verify everything”.

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TCAT Shelbyville Blogs Windows 10 Update Information – Thank goodness I follow the TCAT Shelbyville blog. I just learned this past week, from their site, that Microsoft has unleashed and update that is quite large in size (+500 mb). These large updates affect those who are on limited bandwidth’s (such as a satellite connection); and, they are wondering why they are mysteriously exceeding their bandwidth limitations. Actually, looking at what this update consists of, they should have called it an upgrade (LOL)…  I encourage you to visit the TCAT Shelbyville Technical Blog to learn more… Again, to see detailed information about Windows 10 Updates, you can visit Microsoft’s new site that provides a history on these updates (click here)…

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My Favorite Third Party Windows Task ManagerAnVir Task Manager FREE is the task manager that I use and carry in my tech toolbox (a portable version is available, as well as the full install version). If you look at the graphic below, you will see that this task manager is like a swiss utility knife. I have included this program on the download’s page under the software and portable apps swarms.

AnVir Task Manager FREE

 AnVir Task Manager is a swiss knife

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A Dual-Pane Tree View File Explorer For Android – I recently switched over from ES File Explorer to X-plore File Manager and have not regretted it since. Don’t get me wrong, ES File Explorer is an excellent file manager, as well; however the big “main” feature I like about X-plore is the dual-pane tree view. This feature allows you to toggle from one file location to another, making file management faster (and easier). X-plore, like ES File Explorer, is loaded with all the features you would need for an android based application. I highly recommend X-plore…

X-plore File Manager

 X-plore File Manager- screenshot

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A SanDisk Flash Drive With Dual Micro-USB and USB 3.0 Connectors – With the dual connections, the SanDisk Ultra 64GB USB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive With micro USB connector For Android Mobile Devices gives you the luxury of connecting this drive to your Windows OS based computer and to your Android OS based phone (or tablet).

SanDisk Ultra 64GB USB 3.0 OTG Flash Drive
With micro USB connector For Android Mobile Devices

SanDisk Dual USB

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