I have to preface this by saying I am in no way an Amazon fan boy, however I do enjoy many of their products. Amazon has produced many huge hits in the past and a few major fails. Does anyone remember the Amazon Mobile phone? By far the Amazon Echo has been a huge hit, I have owned mine since its release.
Over the past few years Amazon has attempted to integrate their Alexa software into as many devices as possible. There is a slue of Echo devices, plus Alexa has been integrated into both the fire stick and Amazon tablet. You can even build your own Alexa out of a Raspberry Pi.
This time it would appear that the Amazon Echo Dash is more of a fail then a success.
Why is it such a fail?
First off and most importantly, this thing can’t play music. I can understand from Amazon’s point of view with a limited battery life and a speaker the size of a quarter I’m sure the sound quality would be extremely poor. I would love to have the option and make my own decision on usability.
Sorry, It’s been about two weeks since I released a post. I have been working on another project that has occupied most of my free time, yet another website. Details to follow!
As some of you know I am heavily involved in youth hockey since both my children are on multiple teams. As manager of the teams each week I am responsible for sending out information regarding our upcoming games to the players and parents to insure they arrive to the rinks on time. In my emails I include all the pertinent information, game time, rink address & location, driving directions and info regarding the rink conditions. Some details you normally wouldn’t find on the internet.
Yesterday I spoke about the different “i” series processors offered by Intel and compared them to various model cars from economy to performance. Today I want to talk about the different types of SATA hard drives you might come across when purchasing a new PC or portable backup drive. I don’t want to talk about brand specifics, but rather what kind of performance you can expect out of the different types of disks. I’m a bit of a Western Digital fan boy so I am going to focus on their hardware, however the information in this post would hold true for just about all hard drive manufactures.
Since its inception in 1956 hard drives have been mostly mechanical devices. Only until recently have SSD (solid state drives) become more main stream and I will talk more about that later. A mechanical hard drive consists of a spinning platter driven by a motor and a magnetic read / write head that can change a microscopic spec on the platter from a positive to negative charge and vice versa. The spinning disk in your computer right now is filled with 0’s and 1’s and when read back from the disk is converted to data. Our pictures, videos and word documents are just a sequence + or – magnetic fields. Amazing!
Depending on the type of drive and its specification will determine how fast it can read and write our files. Mechanical spinning disks are rated at rotation speed, how fast the drive can spin the platter. Faster rotation speeds can equate faster data transfer.
Ransomware! Sounds scary doesn’t it? What exactly is ransomeware and how can we protect ourselves from being a victim?
a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.
That basically sums it up, Money paid for the release of a prisoner and in this case the prisoner is your data. You accidentally visit a shady website, or open an attachment that you maybe shouldn’t have and in an instant the ransomware virus begins encrypting your files.
Apple attempts to be super secretive regarding their new and upcoming products, however leaks do occur. Some of the leaks are true and others just hype. This year is no different, and the “Apple Products” rumor mill has churned out quite a few. It will be fun looking back at this post in 2018 to see which products and predictions came true.
The Siri Home Assistant / Smart Speaker
Why let Amazon and Google have all the fun? The Amazon Echo was the first smart speaker to the market back in June of 2015, followed by The Google Home in November 2016. Apple has been catching up for almost 2 years. Will their version of the home assistant be superior to the competition? The rumors state that it will come with a screen, face recognition and emphasize sound quality.
What did we do before MP3? I remember the early years using my Dolby high speed dubbing tape decks to make copies of the tapes my friends and I used to share. Not too soon after came the Compact Disc, and I ran out to buy a Pentium 60mhz with a 2x CD-Recorder to make my mix CD’s.
I was amazed that we could “rip” huge wav files off the CD’s and play them back on the PC. But disk space was at a premium in the 90’s, due to the limited capacity of hard drives.
There had to be a better way to store music! That’s when a friend introduced me to the MP3 format. Full length songs at decent quality only 3mb – 5mb! WOW this was amazing, think of the possibilities. There were no portable MP3 players yet, I found myself taking a laptop in the car hooked to an FM transmitter to listen to my music.
I even marketed a CD on eBay for $10 that had plans for a car MP3 Player Just imagine putting a computer in a pizza box in the trunk of your car, running a PS/2 cable to a numeric keypad and mounting a 40 character display to your dash board with a parallel cable. It was good business until the portable MP3 players began to arrive about a year later.
A BRIEF TRIP DOWN THE PORTABLE MP3 PLAYER MEMORY LANE
As you may know from reading this blog I am a huge advocate of protecting online privacy. You the user should have a choice of who or what can monitor your Internet activity. I have already covered articles regarding the governments stance on Internet Privacy. Internet Privacy – Should you care? and also about using Tor as a method to keep your browsing habits secret. How Tor can keep your online identity private. I just wanted to reiterate how essential a VPN can be in keeping your browsing and online identity private. However you have to choose a service provider wisely. This is why I am recommending Pure VPN.
There is no simple answer to the Internet privacy solution, but lately the news media has been kicking up a storm regarding the repeal of the Obama era privacy laws.
Lets take a look at what is going on in the realm of Internet privacy and I will give you some good options to protect yourself if you deem it necessary.
How many people did you say?
You are just 1 of 3,200,000,000. Yes you read that correctly there are over 3.2 billion people on the Internet across the entire world. You are just one bit in the world of terabytes upon terabytes of people. Does any one marketer care about you specifically, not exactly. Most of the time your ISP and other Internet companies are compiling data in batches to analyze trends. Maybe count the number of Netflix subscribers, or the number of YouTube videos watched. However more recently we have been seeing increasingly targeted campaigns at specific groups users. Is this a breach of your privacy?
Was the Obama law repealed?
Yes and no. The new FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring them to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements. However, the rules were never in effect. So basically we repealed a law that never happened anyway. Its business as usual. The controversy of the law stems from different standards for the ISP (like Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Spectrum etc) and other websites like Google and Facebook. In other words the law would force the Verizon and others to obtain consumer permissions to track and sites like Google would not need consent giving them an unfair advantage. Continue reading “Internet Privacy – Should you care? Is VPN the answer?”
Recently a colleague at my day job fell for a scam email that appeared to be from PayPal. She clicked and entered all the info they requested and at the very end realized she had been taken for a ride. This post will cover some of the things you can look for to help identify a scam “phishing email” .Many of you are able to identify a phishing email in seconds, but if I can help one person identify a scam its worth the effort to write this post.
1. English as a second language
A good portion of attacks originate in non-English speaking countries. The hackers generate a phishing email that may be grammatically correct in their language, however when translated using google translate some of the message is lost in translation.
I have enjoyed the convenience of simply placing my thumb or index finger on my iPhone’s finger print scanner and having the phone quickly unlock. Apple has convinced me and many of you that the fingerprint scanners are secure and almost impossible to hack.