Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You do Need a Computer

By the way, seniors do need computers to avoid becoming disconnected as they age.

Aging brings too many new challenges to be without a wizard at your side.

So, you who do not have a computer or access to one need to get going with learning sooner rather than later.

The least cost Kindle Fire at $50 would be a good place to start.

Or Windows 10 or an iPad.

The day will come when you cannot do the simplest things, such as minding your medical matters, or even shopping, without it.

So enjoy learning how to use it and make sure you use the latest and most advanced devices and systems to make that process as easy as possible.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Computers are Just a Tool

A fellow resident asked me to help another resident (xxxxx), who had been given a digital picture frame but was not interested in doing anything with it.

Here was my reply:

This link pretty well covers my approach to digital picture frames: Tap or click for it.

To date xxxxx is frank that she has little use for computers.  She simply hasn't yet found how to use the tool and what to use it for.  She is probably put off by techies.

I think she should get a cheap phone or tablet and expose herself to it, anyway.

In my work I had to deal with one woman who was about to resign rather than learn.     The "chief" assigned her to me for an hour a day.  The first day she came in distressed.   I noticed, but she said it had nothing to do with computers.

It seemed she had a child with a rare disease and did not know where to go for help.   In an hour on internet we found the world expert on the disease, and this physician put her in touch with internet resources and even contacted her by phone.   The next day she came in and smilingly said she needed no more convincing about computers.

The chief came in a little later and said "HOW did you do that?"

What are xxxxx's interests?   Computers are just a tool for how she wants to live as she ages.

/Martin (snrtech.org)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Keeping Connected

All I try to do is help seniors keep connected to the world, and there is no better way than to use a computer.

So how is it I get hung up with panics about Windows? And worries and fears about any computer.

Look, I hold no brief for Windows, but a lot of people like it and and Microsoft has just come out with the best version yet.

All I want to do is get seniors connected to the computer which serves their needs and capabilities best. And there are plenty of choices these days.

How about the new Kindle Fire at $49? It will do it all, with fewer security exposures. You can even add a display and a keyboard. And you can even get help on call from Amazon.

The latest Kindle Fire 7 at  $49 is a cheap way to get your computer feet wet.
(Just add the free Lookout antivirus, and don't install any flashlight or screensaver apps.)

All I need much of the time is my cheap but wonderful $100 smartphone with a plan as low as $5 a month (after putting up with phones I hated at $100 a month for years).

So, guys, don't make it so difficult for yourselves and everybody else..

If you really want Windows just install it with a VPN app, and rest back and enjoy it.

And rather than spending your time preoccupied with technical computer issues, just enjoy being connected to the world and all its marvels and resources to help you along the way as you get older.

As for me, internet pointed me to a medical procedure which changed my whole quality of life for the better. I hope Internet changes your life for the better in countless ways.

Bedridden for a time, one senior here stopped me one day and just said simply "Thank goodness for my iPad. I don't know what I would have done without it lying there all day."

I was glad I had helped her with it.

You do need Wi-Fi. Willow Valley here has it in all the public places and throughout areas of special care.

There are PC kiosks everywhere, interest groups for PC and Mac, and training for iPad.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

VPN Safety

If your are really spooked about security, you might try a Virtual Private Network or VPN which insulates you from internet exposure.  Easy and simple.

Tap or click for how VPNs work. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Overblown Windows 10 Worries

In updating to Windows 10, with its great ease-of-use improvements, the following may help you to keep it secure once you have taken the common sense precautions for any operating system: minimize sensitive data and keep it encrypted, and so on.

Click or tap for an evaluation of Windows 10 Worries.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wrap-up W10 and Security

Windows 10 is by far the best version of Windows yet and a major improvement for seniors over previous versions.

Here is a wrapup on Windows 10 and security.

If you are really really concerned about security in any version of Windows, go to an alternative operating system. Windows is the leakiest of all systems.

If not, take special measures with sensitive information, especially financial information. Then, it goes without saying in Windows, set security settings to your comfort level.

I set up a virtual private network for maximum protection.   Tap or click for VPN info.

For alternative operating systems, the Chromebook or Chromebox is the safest simply because it is extremely difficult to implant spyware into it.

Next, the Apple operating system was completely rebuilt several years ago to make it safer.

Finally, the Linux operating system is the most capable to do everything offline and therefore not expose to online security problems. Of course, your data is still exposed in your computer.

Otherwise take special care with sensitive and financial information and get ready for the best Windows ever.

You could simply leave such information off Windows all altogether, the most drastic solution. Or you could be highly selective, my personal choice.

Otherwise, encrypt your spreadsheets, and make sure online applications are using encryption. That can be done by looking at the URL search box.

Whatever you do, do not respond to questionable communications.

Bottom line, it is your choice.

For the most functionality you will need to deal with Windows and Windows 10 offers that.

If your needs are simple, then a Chromebook would be the safest choice.

Apple computers and tablets offer the additional benefit of widespread support.
There are plenty of other alternatives in tablets and smartphones.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Windows 10 Insecure?

I have been very much surprised at all the  alarms I read on internet about Windows 10 security.   I have delved into them to see what the furor is all about.

I have never been a champion of Windows. And all Windows versions have had security problems.  

BUT security problems rest mainly with the user. You just have to work at being secure.   Otherwise, all versions of Windows have malware traps.

And this version of Windows is by far the best yet.

Also, the so-called Windows 10 unique exposures cited insecure to date are based on theoretical rather than actual cases.  And they are being extended back to earlier versions of Windows anyway!

Worse, the two main complaints are based on some wrong assumptions that some old procedures are something new and evil!

They are based on logging your keystrokes and by sharing transmittal of data.

These have been around forever and are not new but are now being described with new technical catch phrases as new and dangerous.

In fact, both date right back to the origin of Internet as visualized by Tim Berners-Lee, its creator.

Internet was conceived of as a peer-to-peer network and only in the more recent past understood as more efficient than a client server based network.

In comparison, the client server system is incredibly inefficient.

It is just that Microsoft is taking peer-to-peer seriously now and using it for major improvements.

It appears that the alarms are based more about paranoia than reality. That paranoia is more a religion than a reality. It is an irrational fear about the Internet cloud.

It is irrational because you, the user, are in control of your security, and no one else. It has little to do with the version of operating system.

As for financial security, financial apps and services use safe encryption which displays on the URL search window.  Spreadsheets do need to be protected using specific spreadsheet encryption tools.  They are not safe otherwise.

I opposed Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 because they made it difficult to navigate the system. I would never have accepted it as a business user.

I support Windows 10 for careful users because it simplifies and improves so much. Seniors need that.

The response from those who have used it has been overwhelmingly positive.   Microsoft is going in new and important directions get seniors better connected.  It would be foolish to "throw out the baby with the bath water".

Microsoft is not overriding our 4th amendment rights to privacy.

So take the alarm jargon with a grain of salt.  Let the critics cite actual cases of unique Windows 10 security holes.   If Windows bothers you, then take the time and effort to learn to use something else.

It looks like the new iPad Pro offers a better platform than Windows anyway,  and there is plenty of support, as opposed to Windows' lack of it.   Click or tap for a comparison of Surface vs. iPad Pro

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Paranoid Survival Guide

If you are paranoid about computers, or Windows, or especially Windows 10, or even none of those and just about security, here is a good read. Click or tap for The Paranoid's Survival Guide.  

But if you are paranoid about the Cloud, click or tap for Whats With all the Cloud Paranoia?   

Then, if you want to "fix" Windows 10 particularly, click or tap for "Fix" Windows 10.  Try not to overdo it, but do what you need to do to use Windows 10.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


When Windows 10 came out in final form at the end of July there followed a whole series of updates one after the other.

That spooked a a lot of people. What? So many security holes so soon?

Actually, no one should have been surprised. Windows will never be free of security leaks.

As they say nowadays, "ain't gonna happen". It is up to the user to provide security. Microsoft Windows was never designed to do that.

That is reality, so we need to deal with it.

There are much more secure systems out there, but Windows 10 offers a lot.

So there are a whole range of actions you as the user can take to protect yourself.

Just a sampling:

Keep your sensitive data off Windows altogether.

Set up your firewall and don't respond to anybody suspicious. They cannot get at you through that firewall unless your respond.

Restrict to sites and applications which use their own security measures.

Setup a virtual private network.

For sensitive data use an Android device.

Keep your spreadsheets offline. Set up a live Linux flash drive for the purpose.

In other words, face the reality of Windows leaks and use common sense.

Then, enjoy the wonderful new Windows 10 upgrade.

Just don't let anybody ever tell you that Windows 10 is now safe. Ain't going to happen.

And backup everything in every way so that you can get back running again when your system crashes for whatever reason.

That includes disk image(64gb flash) system restore with system image(16gb flash) and.repair disc(CD). The disk image must be recorded as a flash shared drive under networking.

No, if all this is still scary, avoid Windows. Safest might be a Nexus 7 tablet at $149.