Friday, November 3, 2017

Freebie Friday - Evernote

Freebie Friday! Today we are going to take a look at Evernote!

Evernote is a handy note-taking app that has spread its wings to nearly every platform around. There are versions for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and an unauthorized versions for Linux.

There are a ton of uses for Evernote. Basically, if you once used a notebook to write something down, you can now use Evernote to keep track of it. Organize your day, collect and store information for a task, highlight the important matters, share with friends and family.

I use Evernote to store and organize recipes that I find online. I copy and paste the recipe into Evernote with a thumbnail picture of the dish and when I'm in the kitchen, my phone has the information! I keep the recipes in two categories - Yummers and Untried. If the Untried are horrible, they get deleted. If delicious, they go to the Yummers category! I also use it for little things like instructions for simple crafts.

The basic, free version of Evernote includes 60mb of new uploads a month and syncing on two devices. If you need more than that, you can get it for around $35 a year. I've never bumped up against the limits of the free version of Evernote though.

Give Evernote a try!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

KRACK AKA WPA-2 Vulnerabilities

Some of you may have heard about the KRACK (Key Reinstallation AttACK) Vulnerability by now. It's widespread and it effects any platform or device that connects over wifi. It's a serious vulnerability because the flaw lies in the connection (Wireless Protected Access - WPA and WPA2) rather than the platform (Android, Windows, iOS, Linux). Platforms can be hardened against attacks, but updating the router is the main way to protect the data sent over wifi.

It is important to note that devices are only vulnerable to attackers if they are within the range of your network.

It only effects routers that are connected in bridge mode. Most routers are not in bridge mode as it is not a default setting.

One of the ways that you can protect your data when browsing the web is by installing the HTTPS Everywhere on your browser. You can find links to the extensions for Firefox (Firefox for Android is also included), Chrome and Opera browsers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. There is currently no extension for Edge or Internet Explorer.

The response from tech companies has varied widely.

Microsoft, Apple and Ubuntu have all patched vulnerable systems and rolled out the fixes.

Google's response:
"We're aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks."

A slew of other devices that have not yet addressed the problem. I looked for a statement from Samsung and Verizon (my mobile device) this morning and could find none. I found a couple of customer inquiry messages on the Samsung community forum on a search engine, but when I went to the site, the messages had been deleted. I couldn't find anything on social media for either company.

Netgear's website is awesome. The directions for updating our router were crystal clear and up to date. It was easy.

You can find a brief description of the problem and list of devices effected here:

Note that the statements from various manufacturers do not seem to be current. Your best bet is to go to the company's website and look for a statement regarding KRACK.

The most important fix will be updating your router's firmware. Again, it's best to visit the manufacturer's website for that.

If that is unsuccessful, try a search.

Of course, if you want help with any of this, give us a call and we'll be happy to help!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CCleaner Compromised by Malware

If you use CCleaner, update to the latest version. From Bleeping Computer:

In an email to Bleeping Computer, Avast CTO Ondrej Vlcek said that updating CCleaner to the most recent recent versions fixes any issues, as "the only malware to remove is the one embedded in the CCleaner binary itself."

The malware is only executed if the application is run on the administrative account level. That should leave out non-rooted Android phones, but it's always a good idea to update anyway. Avast (the giant security company) bought out Piriform (the original owners of CCleaner) in July of this year.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Free Friday! Zero Dollar Movies

What could be better than two hours of Betty Boop Cartoons?

I found it by using Zero Dollar Movies. It's an awesome little website that scours YouTube for free movies in different "languages". Okay, Bollywood is not a language, it's a category, but that's what the drop-down list specifies. I selected English. I jumped on two hours of Betty Boop. Awesome. You have a choice of watching the movie of your choice sandboxed on the Zero Dollar Movies website or on YouTube.

There's a wealth of Bollywood movies too!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Freebie Friday! Print Friendly

Ever come across a page that you need to print out (recipes/instructions/patterns/etc), but there are so many elements that it looks like a carnival threw up on the web site? Never fear, Print Friendly & PDF is here to save the day. Print Friendly & PDF optimizes the page(s) you want to print by taking out the junk, but leaving in the important bits you need. It creates an editable, savable PDF file with links. It's very easy to use. Just copy the URL of the web site you want to print or convert to a PDF document, paste it into the Preview box at Print Friendly & PDF and click. To remove elements that you don't want, click on them and they disappear.

Turn this:

Into this:

Then hit print! No muss, no fuss.

If you find yourself using the site frequently, you can add the browser extensions for all the major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, etc.). Alternately you can drag and drop a bookmarklet to your favorite bar that enables you to produce a printable PDF with one click on any web page. There is also a paid version of Print Friendly for business web sites.

The next time you want to simplify the printed page, head on over to Print Friendly & PDF!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Freebie Friday - QuiteRSS

Dedicated RSS readers have fallen out of favor with the rise of online applications like Feedly and Inoreader, but they remain excellent ways to keep up with your favorite blogs, websites and other content producers.

I've been using an online service for some time now. I used the popular Google Reader until it ceased operation and moved to my current online reader. However, my concern over online privacy continues to grow. I decided to download and try out a native client for the first time in many years. I tried the built in readers for both ClawsMail and Thunderbird and was less than pleased. Neither were intuitive and were sort of tough to set up without email, which I have not switched yet, nor do I wish to set up. They might be fine for email + RSS, but they are not so good for stand-alone RSS.

I finally landed on the free and open source QuiteRSS. What an awesome RSS reader. I am once again an advocate of desktop RSS readers. I'll be paring down my online account for phone and tablet use and will be using QuiteRSS.
It's a full featured RSS reader with a built in browser (with ad-block built in!). You have the option of opening items in frame, in a new tab or in your default browser with a simple right click. You can also block images and flash content if you want.

It is cross-platform - It works on Macs, Windows, Linux, BSD and as a portable app.

Set up is absolutely painless. I downloaded a OPML/XML file of my subscriptions from my online reader, imported the file to QuiteRSS and like magic it appeared, ready to read.

The tool-bars are highly configurable and intuitive. They are also attractive.

Filtering and sorting is great. You also have the ability to save and tag posts. Of course, there is also a search function.

QuiteRSS minimizes to the systray and has various notifications for new items.

That said, there are a few caveats with QuiteRSS. It crashes with videos occasionally. Since the Google's latest censorship rage, many content creator's videos have been blocked to anonymous viewers, making it impossible to watch them without signing in. You can't sign in to Google on the internal browser and I'm not sure I want to. For those, I'll probably stick to my online service since Google is getting my viewing information anyway. (Yes, Google Overlords, I like Linux videos on YouTube. I'm not sure why my favorite Linux guy got stuck with an "adult content" label.)

Check out QuiteRSS! You won't regret it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Freebie Friday!

Today's free software is an excellent replacement for any browser that you might be using. I tested Brave Browser out this week and liked it quite a bit. The video from Brave describes it accurately. There are a few essential extensions built into Brave like the ad blocking/ad permission/content creator payment feature.

The content creator payment feature is perhaps my favorite feature. This is the most radical part of the internet right now and it is awesome. People who are being censored by the large companies like Twitter, Google (YouTube/AdSense/Etc) and Facebook are now reliant on direct payments through various means. Brave is just one of the fantastic companies working through the thorny problem of censorship online. You can deny ads that are obnoxious/offensive, permit them when you want to support a creator, and/or support a content creator directly.

There a few password extensions like LastPass, 1Pass, bitwarden and Dashlane. Pinterest and Pocket also show up in the extensions. One of them, Honey (a coupon clipper) seems a bit spammy, but I'm always suspicious of coupon extensions since I've removed so many of them as malware. (The reviews for the Honey extension seem to be okay on various sites.) There are also extensions for natively viewing torrent and PDF files.

You can disable all of the built in extensions, but not remove all of them. I wasn't happy with not being able to remove the extensions I didn't like, but most people will probably be okay with simply disabling the extensions they don't want to use. It's simple.

Brave Browser is configurable, but not confusing. It's easy to import bookmarks and settings from other browsers. It's an ideal web browser for people who don't want to do much in the way of customizing. It's very simple to just download and hit the sites you want to visit with no muss and no fuss.

Go ahead and give it a try!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Freebie Friday!

Today's freebie is a hobby for a lot of people. Jigsaw puzzles. I love Jigsaw puzzles - They are a fun way to pass the day.

Jigsaw Planet is one of the best free jigsaw puzzle websites around. They have a huge online community who have created millions of free jigsaw puzzles in all levels of difficulty. Users can create their own puzzles, play puzzles created by others, use key words or search to find specific attributes. You can also share jigsaw puzzles with friends. The site also has weekly competitions.

It's super easy to create your own puzzle and complete it. You can also share it to various social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There is also an embedding feature! Enjoy the beauty of Chris Christie on the beach!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Poor Language Hygiene

I think that the writer speaks ESL, but this title shows how weasel words can unintentionally infect our lingual habits. (See what I did there?)