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Show Notes

Starting in Feb 2024 I'll be appearing on The Daily Blend with AC.

Much as we did on Radio Friends with Paul Pepper, we'll be discussing how to get the most from your computers, smart devices, and technology in general.

This page contains notes from each show, diving a little deeper into the details on topics we discussed during our 8 minutes on the show.


Monday, 20-May-2024

People are "cutting the cord" more than ever today. Lots of younger people (20s and 30s) don't have "cable TV" at all, just internet service. Folks older than that tend to keep their cable TV service and may have some streaming services as well in order to maximize their choices.

Whereas the old cable TV was pretty much all-inclusive (except for a few premiums like HBO, Showtime, TMC, etc.), the newer streaming ecosystem is far more à la carte. That sounds good, but as we're all discovering lately, there's a bazillon streaming services with each offering exclusive content. You might have to subscribe to 6, 8, or 10 streaming services to watch all your shows. That can get pricey!

Read my deep dive on streaming services here.

Wednesday, 10-Apr-2024

Password management is a pain and a bane. But it's the only thing separating your private information (banks, email, social media, favorite online stores, etc.) from the bad guys so you gotta do it right.

Here's the most important things to do for password security:

  • Unique:  Every online account deserves it's own password, no matter how minor that account may be. Never re-use a password.

  • Length:  Passwords should be fairly long. At least 15 characters. The more the better. Mine are all 20+ chars

  • Personal:  Passwords should be something meaningful to you.

  • Don't obfuscate:  Silly tricks like symbol substitution (@ instead of A, zero instead of letter O, etc.) only confuses you, not the password hackers.

  • Use MFA:  Multi-Factor Authentication means verifying your logins with something other than your password, like your phone. But text messages aren't the best way. An OTP generator is better. That's geeky territory. I can help you on that.

Here's an example of how you could do your passwords:

  • Think up a 3-6 digit number that's important in some way. Like your ATM or phone PIN, the street number where you lived as a young child, a sibling's birth year, whatever.

  • Think of one (or more) special characters.

  • For each website account, make up a multi-word phrase that is somehow meaningful to you regarding that site.
    For Home Depot, maybe that would be "BuyingToolsAndLumber"


Following this pattern, your Home Depot password might be:  BuyingToolsAndLumber^3486

Your Schnucks password might be:  GroceryDeliAndWine^3486

Your email account might be:  TalkToOtherPeople^3486

You get the idea. Just make up your own pattern and stick with it.

Since you'll let the browser remember these passwords then you won't really ever have to type them in except for that first time. But since these are real and meaningful words and not a garbled mess of random characters, then if you ever do have to type them in (such as using a computer that you don't normally use), at least it'll be easy. And by using the same special chars and numerals, you'll have that part already memorized.

Wednesday, 21-Mar-2024

Privacy protection isn't just one thing. There are many components each protecting a certain aspect of your privacy. Some are easy to implement, some are more arcane. We'll discuss the easier ones here.

Privacy on Windows and Mac

On your Windows or Mac computer (desktop or laptop), I recommend switching web browsers from Google Chrome to Mozilla Firefox. Google will be updating Chrome this year that will nerf (weaken) the ad-blockers and privacy-enhancing add-ons that many people use. One of the most popular of these is uBlock Origin and is the one I recommend. You can read more details about that here, if you like.

To install Firefox, click this link:   Install Firefox
After you install Firefox, come back here and click this link to Install uBlock Origin

Firefox can import your credentials and favorites/bookmarks from other browsers like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. But if you run into difficulties or would like help to optimally set up Firefox and uBlock Origin, please contact me.

Privacy on your Phone

Phones are much more app centric than your Windows or Mac computer. And believe me, app vendors love this. That's because app vendors (like TikTok, Instagram, Amazon, and a bazillion others) have far more control of your experience when you're using their apps than when using their websites.

That means suppressing in-app advertising, preventing tracking, etc. is way more difficult. It can sorta be done, but not at the app level. Some things that you can do at the app level is to deny permissions that the app doesn't need. Some apps ask for every permission they can get away with. Don't allow that.


Permissions to consider denying are background processing, location, contacts, camera/microphone, camera roll, and photo library. Or at the very most, allow access to some of these items only while using the app.

For better privacy, when possible, use a browser instead. A good example: I like to read the NY Times. Using the NYT iPhone app, I am subjected to all their ads even though I'm a paying subscriber. But if I read the Times on my iPhone using Safari browser (with an ad-blocker) then no ads. Woot! And I have more control over my browsing experience in general, like zooming in, opening an article link in a new tab, and not losing my current tabs. These are things I cannot do using the app.

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