So, we have had an Amazon Dot for nearly a year now. I primarily use it to play music, ask it the weather and the news, very rarely do I order something from it. My soon to be 5 year old daughter uses it to play Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer every month of the year. She also asks her the weather and to asks her to tell her jokes.
Today she was watching Spookley the Square Pumpkin. It’s a story about a square pumpkin that gets teased and taunted by the other pumpkins but in the end he’s the true winner! The pumpkins are competing for a Candy Corn Crown. It’s a cute story the first or second time you watch it, but after about 15 times you tune it out and try to go to your parenting “Happy Place”! LOL!
Today I was otherwise occupied in the bathroom, when I heard my daughter go to the Amazon Dot and say, Alexa, Candy Corn. Alexa politely came back with, “Brach’s Candy Corn two count. Would you like me to order this?” My daughter said “Yes” and then next thing I hear Alexa say is, “Your order has been placed, you will receive your Candy Corn on Sunday”.
My first thought was, I gotta shut that off! I unplugged the machine until I shut that function off. I should have shut it off to begin with, but it was never an issue before and luckily this instance is only going to cost me a little over $6.99!
So, here’s how you shut that off!!!
Go into your Alexa App on your phone. Look for the three lines in the left corner and click on them. It will bring up this screen. Scroll down and look for Settings and click on it.
That will bring up this screen, scroll down and look for “Voice Purchasing”
You will then see this screen below. You can either shut off voice purchasing or make it so that you have a 4 digit code. I’m just shutting it off, because I rarely use it and my daughter has an excellent memory and will remember that passcode faster than a grown up word she should not be saying!
Blue on Purchase by voice shows it’s enabled. click the button to gray it out and save changes. If you want to require a 4 digit code, leave voice purchasing on, but enter a 4 digit code and then click save changes.
Then you are done. No more Candy Corn, Barbie Dolls and or Doll Houses coming to your house!!!!
I have a fix for that!!!! It appears to started after the last update to iOS 10.3.2. All of a sudden people started complaining that I sounded muffled. At first it was the same person, so I thought it must be on their end. Then the complaints came in from other people. There is a setting that can be changed that will fix this issue!
Go into your Settings on your iPhone. Scroll down to the General button and open it.
While you are in the Settings–>General area, scroll down to Accessibility.
Under Settings –>General–>Accessibility look for Hearing Devices.
Go into Hearing Devices.
Settings –> General –>Accessibility–>Hearing Device
As weird as this is about to sound, turn ON Hearing Aid Mode. Yep, you read that correctly!!!! Make a test phone call to someone who complained about you being muffled and see if this has indeed fixed your issue! Let me know how it works for you!
At some point we have all been guilty of this, reusing passwords on multiple sites because it is impossible to remember every password for every website we are required to log into these days! I personally used to think having a password manager was bad, but it isn’t!!! Password managers enable you to use features like, generating secure passwords. It remembers them for you, so you don’t have to rely on your memory or sticky notes around your computer! Just make sure you password manager has a secure password!!!
Troy Hunt teaches courses on Pluralsite.com and is an Australian Microsoft Regional Director and also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Developer Security. (from his website!) He’s an expert on this!!!! He has a website called, haveibeenpawned.com and he uploads security breach information to a database and then all you have to do is put your email address in and it searches to see if you have been pwnd. Pwnd meaning that your security credentials have be compromised. I recommend you visit it ASAP! You will be shocked and I guarantee you will start changing many of your passwords!!!!! It’s a free service he provides and it’s a ton of work!!!! I highly recommend donating money to the site. It’s a ton of work he is doing to keep us safe. 🙂
I recommend you read his blog post about passwords and password managers. He has listed a few that are very good. Check the post out here.
This video has some awesome info on why you should have complicated passwords everywhere! A link to the article he mentions in here as well! https://www.troyhunt.com/password-reuse-credential-stuffing-and-another-1-billion-records-in-have-i-been-pwned/
Today someone was awesome enough to send me an email to make sure that it was valid before they clicked on anything. I cannot express to you how happy that makes me!!! It saves me so much work!!!! Of course, we now have Cylance as our Anti-Virus(AV for short) and that in itself has made my job so much easier!!!! We’ve had it nearly a year and NOT 1 computer has become infected with ANYTHING! If you are a business thinking of changing your AV product, I cannot recommend this product highly enough!!!!
First, let me break down the beginning of the email:
From: Media Player <firstname.lastname@example.org> <———– This is NOT an Apple address
Subject: New version of Mac Media Player available for download!
Apple and Microsoft will NEVER send you an email about this!!!!!! They would send it to your device through an update! Sometimes phishers will fake the email address or make it look so close to the real thing. I’m actually surprised at how bad this email address even looks! Even if it looks real, and you think it might be a valid email from your bank, Paypal, Amazon anything like that go to the website directly. DO NOT CLICK on the link!
Then we go into the guts of the email: It’s a bunch of pictures with links attached to them:
Looks fairly realistic huh? This is actually very easy to do!!! I just did this with a screenshot! Anyone with minimal computer experience could do this!
Now, for the most important part. If you just hover over the Download link or anywhere over the pictures, this link comes up:
First off, this is NOT an Apple link! The link here is to a domain named flymail.cf. The portion of the address that is wrong is the .cf. That is not a legitimate top level domain name, like .com, .org, gov or .edu. To see a list of actual top level domain names, you can find it here: http://www.domainsherpa.com/top-level-domains/ .
The other portion of this link that bothers me is track-url. Now, this leads me to believe that this link is going to track your urls (websites) that you visit. I’m going to say that this tracking will happen through cross-site scripting. Essentially this site will inject code into your browser that will capture your sessions on the websites you visit after this website, including your usernames and passwords!!!
This means if you go to an unsecured website the hacker can easily capture your username and password with this code. It’s one of the most frequently used types of hacking, it’s called session hijacking. Later on you start to wonder why you are getting spam, or why did people just get friend requests on Facebook from me when I am already friends with them? If you use the same password for one site, then the hacker can go to several websites and try that password and have remarkable success!
This is why you need to have different and complicated passwords for all sites you visit. There are password managers that you can use to help you with this. Let’s face it our brain can’t remember all of our passwords and writing them on a piece of paper and saving them in your desk, or under your keyboard at work are HORRIBLE options! I will do more research on what password managers are the safest and best to use for my next Tech Tip Thursday.
Oh yeah, and if I find your passwords written on a sticky note taped to your monitor I’m rippin’ that bad boy off and throwing it out!
So it’s the new year and as usual, most people are looking to get healthier. There are all sorts of technology-based items that can help you keep you on track!
There are lots of different food diaries, exercise diaries and the like. I’ve looked at several almost all of them offer some sort of premium service. So far the one food diary that I have liked the most is My Fitness Pal. It allows you to sync your Fitbit and TONS of other devices with it. Many of the other diaries only sync with certain devices, which I think is a downfall. If you pay for the premium you can customize your macro-nutrients so you can focus on certain nutrients more than others. Recently when I was stuck at a certain weight and couldn’t seem to get it to budge I figured out the cause thanks to a Facebook group I was in. The app will work with your activity tracker and add more calories to your daily allowance. So, I thought I was able to eat a little more (not going wildly overboard but still under my allotted “extra” calories, and that’s what was doing it! Turn that feature off if you get stuck at a certain weight!!!!! My weight finally budged after that!!!
Many of you have Apple iPhones, you probably are aware of their “Health” App. Well, it’s supposed to track your sleep, mindfulness, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. For a more detailed idea of what it can do, there is an awesome article from How to Geek here! It integrates best with, of course, the Apple watch. Unless you have a ton of money to blow on that along with the fact that the new iPhone that is coming out is supposed to be over $1,000!!!! I find it to be a giant waste of money!
The Apple Health App also integrates with My Fitness Pal for the nutrition portion of the app. It also works with some iHealth devices. They have a wireless blood pressure monitor that keeps track of your blood pressure so you can show your doctor. iHealth also sells a Smart Gluco Blood Monitoring System to test your blood sugar and you can sync it with your iPhone to keep track of that. They also sell scales.
Withings sells many devices that will sync with your phone, as we all Fitbit. Fitbit also sells scales. I have the Aria scale. It syncs with my phone and tells me my body fat percentage. Last time I got on it, my weight didn’t go down, but my body fat did. I have been working out more lately on a new regime so I can attribute my body fat going down. I don’t know how accurate the body fat calculator is on this scale, but in this case, it would seem to me that it’s working. Remember a pound is still a pound whether it’s fat or muscle, they weigh the same!!!!! Muscle just takes up less space!!!! As shown by this picture of some props that are in my office!
Now I have a Migraine app on my phone called Migraine Buddy, it’s a pretty slick program that helps you keep track of daily headaches, possible causes, what you did to or take that helped or didn’t help AND a sleep tracker. The sleep tracker is inaccurate. I was annoyed by it when I realized that it was getting it from my Apple Health App. My Fitbit sleep tracker is way more accurate. So, I thought why can’t my Fitbit tell Apple’s Health App Sleep Tracker the correct info. Well, apparently it’s not that simple! It doesn’t work yet, BUT there’s an app for that!!! It’s a $2.99 app called Sync Solver. It manually will allow you to sync all your Fitbit data to your Apple Health App. Now all of your info is in 1 App. Seems a bit ridiculous, but if you are like me someone who suffers from Migraines it’s good to have a record of all of this stuff to show my doctors because if feels like a never ending battle trying to prove to them that it isn’t JUST STRESS!
So, there are lots of new devices out there to help you keep track of your health, and help you to become a happier, healthier person.
I know many people will pass this article up because they will think how in this day in age, can someone still not know how to do it. Yet, this is one of my most frequently asked questions! You are NOT alone!
In Windows 10 once you are logged in. Hold down the keys on your keyboard labeled Ctrl and then Alt and then Delete. That will bring you to this screen-Select Change Password.
This is also where you should go if you are getting up from your desk and need to lock your computer so no one else can get into your system!!!!! It’s a very important security measure!
Next selecting Change a Password will bring up this screen:
Make sure your password is complex!!!!! Some complexity rules to follow are:
1. The longer the better! At a minimum make it 8 characters, however, it SHOULD be longer!