With summer here many of us are taking trips with our cars. If you are looking for the lowest gas price while on your travels or even locally you may want to think of having the GasBuddy app on your smartphone. GasBuddy is a great app to help you find the lowest price in your area. If you do not have a smartphone you can go to http://gasbuddy.com and search before you hit the road. The prices are for areas in the US and Canada and the various grades of gas. Prices are obtained from members and you can see when the price was entered as well. By removing the price data after 72 hours for each station, you are assured the prices are current. The site is free, has about 5 million users and is advertising supported.Gas prices can widely vary in an immediate area. I have used it on my trips and found it to be useful in finding the lowest prices wherever I was. When we were in Maine last summer, prices in a small area varied as much as $0.20 per gallon. The app also gives directions to get to that gas station as well. Just make sure that a passenger is doing the search for you or you have pulled over to the side of the road if you are doing the search yourself.So give the site a try and/or add it as an app to your smartphone and start saving. You may decide that you too wish to become a contributing member and help yourself and others find the lowest priced gas in your area.If you have further questions or wish to know of other apps that may be useful to you, please call me at 917.572.3468.
Last week 3 prominent websites revealed that passwords to log into their respective accounts were stolen. It was also reported but not confirmed that presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Hotmail account was hacked as well. When you add to the fact that there are people who use the same passwords for each website they set up an account for, there is more than ample reason to be concerned. Keep in mind even the strongest password would not have protected you from the LinkedIn and eHarmony hacks. This is because the files containing passwords were hacked. You need to do what you can to protect your online accounts from being hacked.
So you may ask how do you have a password that is difficult to hack? I said earlier that there are those who use the same password for everything. You have separate keys for your home, car, office, etc. You should also have a different password for all of your accounts. If you were to have the same key for your home, car, and office, someone would only need to get that one key to have access to all. The same concept is true for passwords. A person gets that one password and they have the key to all.
Your password needs to have at least 1 of the following: Upper case letter, numeric character and at least one special character (*,$,@). How long should your password be? Your password should be a minimum of 8-12 characters. I personally would opt for the latter. A few years ago, a computer professional using the name of John P. wrote how quickly he could crack a password based upon the password length and types of characters used while on a computer. For 3 characters it was 0.86 seconds using all types of characters (uppercase, lowercase, numbers, characters) and .02 seconds using only lowercase characters in your password. For 8 characters the times were 2.10 centuries and 2.42 days respectively. The assumption is that you were not using a word in the dictionary. Going from 8 to 9 characters increased the time to 20 millennia and 2.07 months respectively. And yes, your password should not contain words in any language.
So how do we create a secure password? Think of a sentence that you can remember. For example “My Dog Was Born in 2011.” With that sentence we can create a password “Mdwbi2011!” This password represents the sentence by using the first letter in each word, adding “2011” and then adding an exclamation at the end. We capitalize the letter “M” since it is the first word of the sentence. As mentioned, we do not want to use the same password for each account. So what do we do to create a unique password for each account. Most will suggest adding a prefix prior to the acronym password noted above. To be different, add at the end the first three characters of the account. For example using Facebook, your password would be “Mdwbi2011!fac”
By using the example above as a basis for creating passwords for the sites you use, you can greatly reduce the chance that your password will be hacked as your passwords will be much more secure and much harder to break.
While we are on the subject of passwords, it is easy and convenient to enable the option to remember passwords. This will enable anyone using the computer to log onto the site without knowing your password. Especially when using a laptop, you should disable this option whenever it is given. It is another layer in staying secure. Further I have worked with clients who leave their list of passwords on the same desk as their computer in full view of all. I have heard stories of relatives, housekeepers and others copying these to access their sites and get information they would not have gotten otherwise. If you are keeping a list of passwords, keep it in a safe place but not such a safe place that you forget where you put it.
If you have questions regarding password security or other technology issues I can be reached at (917) 572-3468.
Computer Concierge NY LLC, provides expert computer and technology services in the Bayside, NY area, Including Queens, Albertson, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellrose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park, Flushing, Forest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park, New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside vicinity.
Recently I read a blog post on Bayside Patchwhere the writer mentioned that many of us have become addicted to the online world. There were some very valid points that the author brought up. That said there are also ways that being online has given us free time as opposed to taking away time.We have become an information society where information is both available and demanded quicker. The killing of Osama Bin Laden and the death of Whitney Houston broke on Twitter before anywhere else. It used to be if you needed to do research you went to the library. Now you can do your research online. I can remember having to wait for the news to get weather and sports or dialing 976-1212 or 976-1313 which if I remember was a local call for charging purposes and the information I was looking for could be at the end. Today you can set alerts on your smartphone for the weather as well as the score of your favorite teams. If we are not, we all should be lifelong learners. Google “opencourseware” and see all the free college courses available online. YouTube is a good source of educational videos as well.It used to be that unless you ordered from mail order catalogues you had to spend time getting in your car and going to the store to buy what you were looking for. In this day of $4 a gallon gas, you can order going online any hour of the day from your home. You’re saving gas and driving time plus a lot of times the price is less than when you go to a store.Banking online is also a growing trend. You can pay your bills online automatically saving the time of writing a check to the same payee every month for the same amount. Paying bills online is faster and less expensive (think stamps). You no longer have to write the same checks every month.Text messaging has become a big thing with the younger generation. My sons do not want me leaving voice mail messages. They want me to leave text messages instead. Texts are quicker to read then listening to a voicemail. Grandparents have gotten on Facebook partially because that is how they find out what their grandchildren are up to. Our phone books and calendars are online. The list goes on.Being online can be a saver of time and money from the standpoint of business travel. There is less of a need to travel for business meetings in many cases. Meetings can be done via Skype, Google+ hangouts or another online medium. Time and money spent travelling are saved because these meetings can occur online. This can give some businesspeople more family time.Newspapers have fallen victim to the online world. The New Orleans Times Picayune will start publishing 3 days a week and will no longer be a daily paper. The news is more current online then the published version. Declining newspaper circulations are also saving trees as less paper is needed to reach the declining circulation.I mentioned Skype earlier. If you are unfamiliar with Skype, it enables you to have a video conference with another Skype user anytime, anywhere without a time limit for free. Not only does it have business uses but people are using it to keep in touch with out of town friends and family. It is touching to see grandparents talk about and seeing them have a conversation on Skype with their out of town grandchildren. I know of a family who lives in New York who did a Passover Seder with family in Australia using Skype. The telephone company used to say, “Long distance: the next best thing to being there.” In today’s word, Skype may be the next best thing to being there.While our online activity can be a distraction, it also can save time as well. Yes we have become addicted to the online world but so much is going on in today’s world that occurs there. I think we all have seen people together in a public place keeping busy on their phone rather than interacting. Is it necessary? Personally I can remember growing up playing in the park and playgrounds with friends and enjoying being outdoors. I am concerned when instead of enjoying our parks and playgrounds, young people are indoors playing games on their Wii, Xbox or another video game console. For those who feel the need to check their email or texts while connecting during dinner maybe a compromise is in order. Perhaps check to see if the call, message or email is something of a truly urgent nature. If not, it can wait. If it truly is urgent and by this I mean an emergency then yes take the call, answer the text or whatever. Otherwise use the time to connect with friends and loved ones. If you are interested in learning how to better use your technology and save some time of your own call me at (917) 572-3468.Computer Concierge NY LLC, provides expert computer and technology services in the Bayside, NY area, Including Queens, Albertson, Bayside Hills, Bay Terrace, Bellrose, College Point, Douglaston, Floral Park, Flushing, Forest Hills, Great Neck, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens, Kings Point, Lake Success, Manhasset, Mineola, Munsey Park, New Hyde Park, North Hills, North Shore Towers, Oakland Gardens, Plandome, Rego Park, Roslyn, The Bay Club, Thomaston, University Gardens, Williston Park, Whitestone and Other Areas in the Bayside vicinity. HRBHGV7C4DRDTweet