Friday, May 27, 2016

The skimmers have hit the fan!

According to, a site I follow, skimmers are making their way inside stores. This is pretty frightening stuff! If you hadn't heard, skimmers, a fake looking panel put over the keypad at the ATMs, are used to grab all of your financial data. I have been talking about these for several years and the situation has only gotten worse. They have got to a point, that they are indistinguishable from the real parts of the ATM. Typically these are all outside units or in places that aren't secure. Finding them inside means any financial technology (ATMs, credit card terminals, ...) that you use is suspect. The worst is that there really isn't anything to do other than monitor your accounts closely or set up safeguards or alerts. I, for example, setup my Bank's app alerts for all sorts of activity. See what your bank has to offer to make your stuff more secure.

Via Geek

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Come on by!

Here's the details for the next eBay class:

Selling on eBay with Shane Sher: Thursday, May 26 at 6:00 p.m.
Everyone making millions but you?  Need to offload the contents of your basement? Learn the basics of selling on eBay and discuss how to handle transactions effectively and safely. Also learn some tips on shipping, feedback, and much more in this free class.

Who is the fastest?

Netflix just put out a speed test to measure your current speed. It's as simple of a site as there is. Go to and it starts immediately.

Once you have the a number, you can find out what that number actually means in this quick explainer.

Remember, your internet service provider usually guarantees some base speed. Check to see if your's is at least above that number and give 'em a call to complain if not.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away

The other day I looked at my Mac's screen saver and thought, I can do better. About 20 minutes later I found a few runner-ups but my clear favorite is the StarWarsScroll from KillerRobots. It is everything I want in a "way too nerdy" sort of way. Basically, it's the Star Wars crawl you see in the beginning of the movie, set against a background of stars. It even has the logo and the famous text in blue. The great part is they have every crawl from every thing that has ever had one, like Clone Wars or some barely known special.You can turn any of them off or on and choose the crawls you like. None of it looks pixelly or fuzzy.
So, if you need to upgrade your screensaver, try out StarWarsScroll.

Note: The above screensaver is Mac only.

A runner-up, Screenstagram - Grabs your feed from Instagram. Pretty cool!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Google Alerts makes me sad

For years, I have recommended Google Alerts to students for keeping track of everything from subjects you care about to seeing where your name has popped up on the net. Unfortunately, Google has let Alerts languish and now it only seems to work sporadically.

So I need a replacement to monitor information. Enter TalkWalker Alerts, a free service that looks very similar to Google Alerts. In fact, it's so similar, it will take you all of two minutes to figure out how to use it. Basically, throw in your search and decide on where the info comes from (News, blogs, everything...) and how it will be delivered to you.(Once a day or when it happens) I prefer not to get emails, so instead I use their global RSS feed which is linked to all my alerts and I can use it in my favorite RSS reader, I'm looking at you Feedly.

A few notes when setting up your alerts.

  • Use quotes to specify that you want both of these words found in the search. Example:"Shane Sher" 
  • Sometimes, adding a location can filter out results that are not relevant. Example "Shane Sher" Massachusetts
  • If you are getting unwanted info in your alert, use the minus sign and parentheses to remove certain keywords Example: "Shane Sher" Massachusetts -(Cher,Sherwood,Alan Ladd)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Have an iPhone? Time for a little paranoia

Just recently, an exploit was found for iPhones. It is pretty simple to pull off and it can kill your phone. The exploit involves getting in the way of your phone attaching to some public WiFi signal, like that of Starbucks. Basically, they send a signal back down to your phone telling it the wrong date. Once this is done, your phone is basically a high priced brick.

To protect yourself, do two things. One, make sure to keep your phone updated. Apple is pretty good about patching issues...mostly. Second, use a little caution about which WiFi you connect to. Use your friend's but maybe not one from McDonald's or anything public unless you're phone is current with updates..

And since we are on the subject of Apple issues, go ahead and delete the software QuickTime from your computer if it is a Windows machine. Apple has basically disowned that software and it already has exploitable holes. So, be proactive and head to control Panels>Programs and Features>remove QuickTime.

Via Gizmodo

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Captain, the dilithium crystals, she can't take any more!

Not too long ago, I saw a rechargeable battery go on sale. It was around 10 bucks and I figured if it was bad I won't lose too much. It turns out it's AWESOME! It's easy to plugin and throw in a bag,  It has two USB ports that make it really easy to share with someone else on the couch. I like this item a lot and I wouldn't recommend it unless I used it.
I ended up buying two of these.
As we enter hurricane season, I remember all the blackouts from the last hurricane and think these will make a nice addition to the preparedness kit.

Click the photo to get one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Do your duty!

For many years I have been ambivalent about getting a flu shot. I would if it was convenient but otherwise I never thought much about it. A recently read article changed my mind. It was off of the Huffington Post, and the title read There's no good reason not to get a flu shot. About half way through I saw this line, A FLU SHOT IS A CIVIC ACT. This really got me thinking. Of course a vaccination protects more than just you. It helps “young children, with older people, with people with cancer, people with serious lung disease -- we are walking around, we are the transmitters in our community." Where we can, we should protect others is an idea that resonates with me, and so I did my duty and got a free shot. Took a few seconds and now I got a warm glow.
Why not do the same?
Don't be a transmitter.

The time to jump on Amazon Prime is now

I use Amazon a lot, too much actually. The reason is that Prime has made it very simple to not have to think about shipping and getting some money off items. Normally, the price for this is $99 but on Friday it drops to $67. I do really like the service and it even comes with a bunch of streaming videos. If you've been on the fence about this, it might be time to decide.
Read more here

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Debates are my World Series

If you'd like to watch the presidential debate tonight you have to be a cable subscriber. I am not but I am a political junkie and I do have a lot of time to search for alternative streams. So far, I found one that allows you to watch without a subscription. It may take a while for it to load, so I would do that well before 9 PM (the start of the debate).
So get out your popcorn and watch the Republican debate!