Archives for Computers

Posts about software, the Internet, and computing general

Freezing Your Credit

Following up on my post from two weeks ago, I went and did it: I obtained a copy of my credit report and placed a security freeze on my reports with the three major agencies. Here are my impressions of how it went. Free Credit Report I’ve never actually requested my own credit report before, […]

Protecting Your Credit in the Wake of Equifax Breach

The credit rating service Equifax announced on Sept. 7, 2017 a massive data breach that compromised the private financial information of more than 140 million consumers. The compromised data includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, and (in some cases) driver’s license numbers. It’s one-stop shopping for criminals wanting to commit identity fraud — […]

How to get updates for Windows 7, long after Windows 10 came out

Like many Windows users, I had Windows 7 on my machine and was perfectly satisfied with it before Microsoft “encouraged” me to upgrade to Windows 10. This “encouragement” included some tactics I consider aggressive, such as making the normal Windows Update utility — necessary to get security patches — install Windows 10 by default. If […]

Understanding Heartbleed

This week, a major security bug called Heartbleed was discovered. Technology sites for programmers, system administrators, and security experts have been abuzz about it all week, but I haven’t seen much coverage of it in the mainstream press. I was able to find this article at CNN.com. In a nutshell, Heartbleed affects a large fraction […]

Weather.gov

Today we’re having another winter storm here in New England. I was getting tired of all the advertising (and third-party tracking cookies) at the Weather Channel web site, weather.com. It finally occurred to me that all the weather alerts weather.com was sending to my cell phone come from the U.S. National Weather Service, and the […]

Stop Your Search Engine from Spying on You

I quit using Google for Internet searches a couple of months ago. I did that because of yet another story in the tech press about Google customizing search results to each user. In a nutshell, what Google does — and has been doing for years — is build a detailed profile of each user’s search […]

Security Myths and Realities: Easy-to-Remember Passwords

I’ve been meaning to write more about computer security, but all the topics are complicated. That makes it time-consuming to write about, and potentially dry and confusing to a reader. So I’ve decided to try something new: to write short, narrow posts that address a smaller subset of the topic. In doing this, I realize […]

International Day Against DRM

It’s late in the day as I post this, but today is the International Day Against DRM! So what’s DRM? It stands for “digital rights management,” and refers to technology that forces users to have a license in order to play a movie, read an e-book, or run a computer program. Big companies claim that […]

Android Tablet and Buyer’s Remorse

About two months ago, I decided to find out what the tablet computing craze was all about. Mainly out of professional interest as a software developer, I bought an Android tablet: specifically, a 10″ Toshiba Thrive, which runs the Android operating system. The trouble is, as soon as I turned the device on, I was […]

What SOPA Means in Plain Language

By now you have probably noticed that the Internet is abuzz with a protest against SOPA. I’ve read some of the news coverage and it does a shockingly poor job of explaining the objection. SOPA stands for “Stop Online Piracy Act.” It has a related piece of legislation, PIPA, the “Protect Intellectual Property Act,” that […]