Tech Tips


Windows XP and Security

If you still use Windows XP and your antivirus program is Microsoft Security Essentials, my recommendation is to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials and install Avast in its place before April 2014. This is because Microsoft is reportedly not going to support Microsoft Security Essentials updates for XP after that date.

Avast is free and is now actually ranked better than MSE by some as of mid-2013.

(Reference here)


Smartphone pictures can allow child tracking

Warning: Your child’s location right down to his/her bedroom or favorite park may be tracked simply through the pictures you post. If your smartphone has location services turned on for the photos you take, the location of the photo is embedded with it.

You should double check your smartphone settings to verify that you are not embedding location information into the pictures you post online.

How to turn tracking information off:

Settings -> General -> Location Services -> Camera : turn off

To turn tracking information off on an iPod touch:

Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> Camera : turn off

Turn tracking off for Android:

If you’re taking pictures with a camera app: In the camera app go into settings, under camera options uncheck geo-tag photos. Other apps that can take pictures (like Facebook) will have their own geo-tagging settings, but they can be turned off, too.

Also…

You should also verify your privacy settings for social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, to make sure that you are only sharing information with your friends, not with everyone (including search engines).

For Facebook specific privacy information, visit this post.

 


Techno-Trouble (2) – Truth and Tidings (March 2013)

This post gives an overview of posts related to the recent Truth and Tidings article. Please comment on areas that these posts have not addressed, etc.

Time-Saving Tips

Social Networking

Email

Facebook Security and Privacy 

Backing up data

Internet dangers / preservation

Viruses, Hackers & Phishing

 


Facebook Privacy

Yes, this is a bit complicated. I want to try to make Facebook privacy as easy as possible (as of February 2013). This doesn’t cover everything, but hopefully it covers the main concerns most people might have.

General Tips

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1) Don’t ever put something in a Facebook post that you would be humiliated if a friend’s friend saw it. Be especially careful if there could be bad consequences if the general public saw it. Accidents happen.

2) Keep especially private things in private messages, not in social media. If it’s meant for just one person, message that person in a private message (either with Facebook messaging/chat or email). Social media is social, not private.

Understanding Privacy Settings

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1) You control the privacy of the material you post. Click the button to the left of the Post button to change who can see your post.

2) To change the privacy of something you already posted (photo: Facebook)

3) The privacy of my comments on others’ posts depends on the privacy setting they chose when posting it, not on my privacy settings.

So if I comment on your post, you already controlled who will see my comment when you posted it. If it was posted as a public comment, my comment can be viewed by all my friends and all the friends of the person who posted it. Check the icon on the post: the icon below represents Friends, so all the poster’s friends will see my comment.

 Friends can see this post and all comments.

 

A globe means public– be careful with those.

 

Friends of Friends

 

Check the privacy setting of a post before commenting on it or liking it. Your comment will be visible to either their friends, friends of friends, or anyone, depending on the setting. (There is also a custom setting that can restrict the post from certain people, show only to a particular group, etc.)

4) According to Facebook, public posts can be found by anyone using an Internet search engine.

5) Any photo marked as a profile photo is viewable by anyone, anywhere.

6) To control what gets posted to your timeline (or choose to review posts before they get posted), see this link. (Your timeline is the info below your profile picture.)

7) If you don’t want your birthday year, etc visible to others, adjust those settings by clicking Update Info (under profile pic) and edit your Basic info.

8) The “ticker” or live feed at the upper right of your home page makes it simple for you to “eavesdrop” when one of your Facebook friends says something to someone you don’t know.  The ticker displays everything that your friends are doing on anyone’s post that is public or friends of friends. So beware that lots of people could be seeing your comment depending on the privacy setting of the post or image you are commenting on.

9) If you tag a photo, the friends of the person you tagged can see the photo, regardless of the photo’s privacy setting (with the exception of “only me”). Note that you can control what photos you are tagged in, and you can choose to review tags before they are published.

10) If you include someone’s name in your post (as a tag–that Facebook creates into a link to that person), then that person’s friends can see the post also (unless you adjust the custom sharing settings to not include that person’s friends.)


Links:
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Techno-Trouble (Truth and Tidings, Feb. 2013)

This post provides a way for you to comment on the published article and supplements the material.

Time Trouble

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Twice in the Scriptures we are told we need to be “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16, Col. 4:5). That implies changing something bad or undesirable for something that is profitable. Am I willing to redeem my time with something that matters for eternity? Am I walking “worthy of the Lord,” seeking to please Him in all things, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10)?

A few facts.

  • A presentation by CIW stated that tablet users tend to spend about 95 minutes a day on their tablets
  • The most popular activities on tablets include gaming (84%), searching for info (78%) and emailing (74%) (source)
  • 125 years of Angry Birds is played every day (source)
  • 89% of mobile users use their smartphone throughout the day (source)
Electronic devices are useful. Let’s use them to save time and be productive rather than waste a lot of time that could be better spent for the Lord.
What are some things you can do if you’re bored, waiting in line, etc. instead of starting a game on your mobile device?
  • Pray
  • Read the Scriptures (you can do that on your device too)
  • Study the Scriptures
  • Reflection on the Scriptures, alone with God
  • Listen to Christian music
  • Visit a lonely Christian or elderly saint
  • Bake a dessert for the neighbors
  • Reach out to neighbors with the gospel
  • Gospel outreach (see this link for ideas & resources)
  • Volunteer in the community (Boys and Girls clubs, hospitals, nursing homes, American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, hospice…)
  • Learn a foreign language
  • What else can you think of?

Treasure Trouble

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  • Shoppers spent $300 (median) on smartphone purchases in the past year (source)
Don’t put your treasure into a bag with holes. Invest it in heaven, where moths, rust and a bad economy won’t touch it.

Testimony Trouble

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Think about the following questions in regard to being a good testimony for Christ:

  • “Is this going to bring glory or shame to my heavenly Father?” (1 Cor 4:5; 10:31)
  • “Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with His authority?” (Col 3:17)
  • Will this help or hinder? (1Cor. 14:26)
  • Is this a good example to others? (Tit. 2:7)

Did you know that watching movies through an app on Facebook may post a story to your news feed about what you’re watching without your knowledge? (Also, never view videos that ask you to share them with others before viewing.)

Thought Trouble

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Remember Mr. Dryburgh’s five points to WATCH: your Words, your Actions, your Thoughts, your Company, your Heart.

Ideas for safeguarding our eyes and thoughts in this technology age:

  • K9 Web Protection is a good, free tool to filter the content you and your family come into contact with on the web. 
    • Add time restrictions, make exceptions, force safe search, and monitor user activity. 
    • Be aware! There is no perfect solution. Programs can’t look at pictures and tell you if they are bad or not. They can only filter out sites that are known to contain bad material. This includes sites like YouTube that could be used legitimately (although the writer believes no young child should be allowed to use YouTube unsupervised for long periods of time). 
  • See Parental Controls for other options when dealing with children
  • YouTube allows you to turn on safety mode at the bottom of the screen. Check the box to lock safety mode for this browser and repeat for all of your computer’s browsers. As far as I know, once it’s on, you can’t remove it.
  • Chrome and Firefox browsers have a plugin/extension called Adblock Plus which filters out many advertisements. Some sites like Facebook have found ways to get around it, but it still helps.
  • You might be able to use feeds to bypass some of the filth

Temptation Trouble

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  • The things you access via technology have the power to ruin your life and testimony for God, as well as your relationships.
  • Think outside of emotions and passions and see things from God’s perspective. 
  • Force yourself to think about the future ramifications of your present actions.
  • Cultivate your relationship with the Lord, family and other believers. Meaningful, satisfying relationships go far beyond the physical. 
  • “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:15-16 NASB). Flee …! Follow after …! (2Tim 2:22)
  • Like Christ, respond to temptation using the Word of God
  • Remember that suffering comes before glory, and hardship before rest.
  • Modesty is important
    • The world we live in has largely lost a sense of modesty due to many things, including advertising, television and the Internet. Please do not contribute to this sensual, immodest world by posting your beach (or perhaps prom) photos on social media (we won’t address the other related issues here). By doing so, you tempt others to sin, and that is serious. 
    • “…decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother” (Rom. 14:13 ESV). We recognize that our dear sisters likely have no idea how these images can impact a man. Modesty is beautiful to a spiritual man and of great price to God. Remember that!

It’s worth the trouble!


Parental Controls

I don’t have experience with Parental Control features, but a little searching online reveals that iOS (Apple) and Windows 7 have parental controls built in but Android does not.

Here are a few links that might help:

For Android/mobile users:

Android / iOS:

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

MAC users

PC Users:

  • Windows 7 Parental Controls 
    • Note: Internet filtering is not available with Windows 7 parental controls.
    • Note for Windows 8 users: there are reports that Family Safety for Windows 8 does not offer proper protection
  • Magic Desktop
  • Qustodio

Please share what works best for you.


“Take that Call” Technology Article Index

If you have comments on the Truth & Tidings article or things to add, please comment on this post or any of the specific posts relating to it:

Click links to view more about:

Bible Programs and Study Tools

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Mobile Electronic Bibles

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Mobile Apps

Audio Bibles

Audio Messages and Downloads

Websites and Web Design

RSS Feeds

Music

Communication and Social Networking

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Backing up your data

If you have precious data on your computer, you need a way to make sure you have it backed up in case of fire, computer failure, theft, etc. If your hard drive goes bad, you will either have to pay a LOT of money to get the data back, or you just lose the data. (Hard drive failure is common, even with new computers.)

Here are some easy backup options:

Microsoft SyncToy is a free Windows program that allows you to back up files quickly and easily to an external drive or flash drive. You can get small flash drives that are at least 32 GB in size for a very reasonable price. You click the sync option and only the files since the last sync operation are copied over to your backup.

Online Syncing: If you have less than 5-10 GB of data and a good Internet connection, there are a number of online sync options available that automatically back up your user data. See this article.

Make sure you keep installation CDs for any purchased programs you use.

If you can’t read the product key on your Microsoft Windows registration sticker or CD, you should record the key somewhere in case you need to re-install Windows.


Viruses, Hackers and Phishing

Antivirus

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Windows users need antivirus software, especially if you access the Internet or use email. If you don’t have a program installed, I suggest installing Microsoft Security Essentials (for free).

Windows 8 users should already have Windows Defender installed, which gives the same level of protection as Microsoft Security Essentials. But make sure it is activated. If your computer comes with an alternative, trial antivirus program, if you don’t renew the program, you will need to activate Windows Defender. I suggest uninstalling the trial and activating Windows Defender; it does a decent job and you don’t have to pay for it.

For users before Windows 8, if you never installed an antivirus program, you likely need to do that. As far as I know, Windows Defender before Windows 8 is not sufficient protection. Use Microsoft Security Essentials (Avast or Avira are also OK options at the time of this writing).

Presently, MAC users don’t have to worry so much about this kind of thing, since I think MAC programs have to be approved by Apple.

Antivirus tips:

  • Don’t install more than one antivirus program. It will slow down your computer dramatically.
  • You can install anti-spamware and anti-malware software along with antivirus programs. I generally do not use them for real-time scanning, but just run them every so often. MalwareBytes (free version) is a good software to use for this.

Email hacking

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This is also a common problem. If your contacts are getting messages that say they are sent by you and they’re not, change your password to something at least 7 characters long with symbols, and change your security question(s). This happens to people in my contacts all the time and has caused much frustration.

This also can happen as a result of clicking on a bad link in an email. (See “tips for detecting spam” below.)

Spam and Phishing

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“Phishing” involves emails that trying to steal your personal information from you for bad reasons. Obviously, mark as spam those emails that say you have money coming. The not-so-obvious messages from “PayPal” that tell you to log in because someone might be using your account are a bit more tricky. Always verify that the address of the link you are going to is the address it’s supposed to be, or someone will have access to your financial records and you won’t have a clue. Remember that just because the email says it is from PayPal and looks exactly like an email from PayPal and links to a site that looks exactly like PayPal’s site doesn’t mean it IS from PayPal. When in doubt, don’t follow the email’s links. Go to trusted, known website addresses instead or call a known number for verification.

Tips for detecting spam and phishing schemes:

  • Links go to an address that is different from what it should be
  • Words are commonly misspelled are don’t make sense
  • The sender’s email address isn’t what you expect it to be (some have faked PayPal by changing one letter)
  • The email contains gibberish
  • The email contains a link that doesn’t make sense or is not explained, even if it is signed by someone you know and looks real! (Hover over links and look at the place it is going to, shown in the lower left of your browser, before clicking.) Clicking a link like this could cause you to send gibberish to all your contacts, too (and who knows what else).
  • The email says you have money coming
  • You are asked to provide personal or login information

Email Scenario:

*Question about email.
You’re Jean Doe and you have a friend John Deer. You get an email from John Deer as follows:
————————————————————
From: John Deer [John’s email here]
To: Jean Doe, Pep Cole, Dina Winter [all are your friends]
Subject: hi
Body:
um http://yolbi.com/alrua/fhios.html
John Deer
————————————————————
* Should you check out the link or not? Why or why not? Should you reply to John Deer? 

Answer:
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My (suggested) short answer:
NO, don’t click on the link, because the email is NOT from John Deer. Be very careful about replying to John Deer from this email, but it’s a good idea to let John Deer know that it was sent and that he should change his email password and security questions.

The long answer:
Here are some suggestions based on my experience and education. (I don’t claim to know half of all that is involved here, though.)

1) As people above suggested, never click on a link that you don’t understand or that looks questionable, even if it seems to come from a trustworthy source. This link is obviously not taking you to a place you know is safe. Sometimes the real link location is not visible and you need to hover over the link before clicking on it and view the real link location in the lower left of your browser screen to know if it is safe. Verify questionable links with the person who sent them to you before clicking on them.

2) Verify questionable emails with the sender before assuming they come from the said source. This email is almost surely not actually from John Deer, even though it comes from his real email address, is sent to real friends, and is signed by his real name. Hackers or robot-computers can get all of this information and use it to trick unsuspecting people. We know it is fake because it makes no sense and contains gibberish. Spam often has misspelled words and gibberish. This email also has a link to a strange place, and links are one of the means hackers use to do damage by taking you somewhere where they can try to steal your passwords and information or perhaps install a program to spy on you while you use your computer. I’m not positive that clicking on a link like this could make you the next sender of a similar email to some of your contacts, but I’m guessing that’s possible.

3) I don’t know how someone was able to get the friends from John Deer’s address book. Maybe John Deer clicked on a bad link from someone else’s email that looked just like this! Maybe his email has been hacked. Maybe he added a bad app on Facebook which had access to his email contacts and the rest is history. Did you know that someone can send an email and make it say it comes from whatever email address they wish? Just because you get an email from John Deer does not prove he sent it.

4) Maybe John Deer was hacked. Maybe he uses the same password for Hallmark Cards as he uses for his email account. Hackers unleash their computer password crackers on insecure sites and then use those same passwords on more secure sites like banks or Dropbox- or your email. That’s why it is a good idea not to reuse passwords, especially for important things like email and banking.

5) So at this point John Deer has no idea he has sent out this email. Do him a favor and let him know, but be careful about replying to the hoax email unless you’re absolutely sure that the email is his exact address. It’s much better to email him directly in a separate email.

6) What should John Deer do? At a minimum, he should change his email password and the security questions used to reset his password. This many times will stop the incident from happening again. He should make the password at least 8 characters long, and add a capital letter with a special symbol. (Adding just one capital letter and one asterisk would change the hacker’s processing time to figure out an 8 character password from 2.4 days to 2.1 centuries [very generally, according to lifehacker.com]) He might want to check the validity of Facebook apps and change his Facebook password as well. He also might want to change the settings in his email to always use a secure SSL connection if he uses email through public wireless networks.


e-Books

Bible Truth Publishers has lots of free digital reading material available, including Macintosh’s Notes on the Pentateuch.

More eBooks can be found at Stem Publishing. I cannot guarantee that all of this material is doctrinally sound, but there is some good material there.

DiskAid (for  i-Devices)

Download files to your iPhone via USB. (Useful for eBooks that are in text form)

FileApp (for i-Devices)

Allows you to read PDF, MS Office and text files, among others.


Believers Hymn Book Mobile App

Click the icon to access:

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For more information and support, please go here.

FEATURES: 
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  • 465 hymns
  • Works on all mobile devices
  • 560+ audio tunes (Internet access required)
  • Lyrics search (case and punctuation insensitive, search terms highlighted)
  • Search by meter
  • Zoom functionality
  • Night mode display option
  • Easy number entry
  • Alphabetical index of first lines
  • Listing by number
  • Show hymns by category
  • Browse all hymns
  • No ads
  • Installs to SD
  • Bookmark hymns
  • Hymn starter notes with alternate tune suggestions


Tracts: Print, Purchase or Share via email

Make your own tract template

This template may be used for 1/4 sheet sized tracts. Print one sided and fold twice or print front/back and cut in two to get two tracts per sheet.

Have someone create/print your tract for you

Printable Gospel Tracts

1. Hudson Taylor

2. Eternity–Where shall it find me?

Send a tract via email

Places to purchase good gospel literature


Accessing info all in one place

RSS feeds enable you to check new news, weather, “verse of the day” and various blogs or websites, all in one location rather than visiting each site to check for updates. Do a search for feed readers to find one that works best for you.

These can help to eliminate the distractions and defiling images you find on news sites.

Note: I would mention that you can also put RSS feed modules on an iGoogle homepage, but iGoogle is reportedly going to be phased out in 2013.


Helping someone remotely

Join.me enables you to help another person with their computer problems without being right there with them.
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Have the person you want to help:

  • go to Join.me
  • click basic
  • click the orange arrow
  • run the downloaded file

Have them tell you the hyphenated number that appears on their screen.

Go to join.me and enter that number under “join” and click the green arrow.

You will see their screen.

The person you are helping can now give you access to their computer by clicking the mouse icon. Now you can operate their computer remotely. Pretty neat!

Note: You will both need a better connection than dial-up for this!


Note taking

Microsoft OneNote (part of the Microsoft Office suite)

  • Scan and organize your notes to remove the clutter of all those papers.
  • Automatic text recognition (and searching) for typed information.
  • Allows you to insert audio in a document, and if you take notes on that audio, it remembers where in the audio your note was taken so you can go back and listen to that particular location again.
  • Notes can be synced online (for free) and edited there as well.
  • There is an iPod/iPhone app for OneNote, but note that the free version allows up to 500 notes and then you can’t add any more notes.
  • You can click and drag whole outline structure sub-trees from one place to another.

EverNote is a popular mobile App.

  • It’s a quick way to take notes and organize them, with search capabilities.
  • Recent changes make you get an account, and I think you may have to have online access to use the free version.


The Word
and E-Sword allow you to create notes that are tied to Bible passages. You can even create your own commentaries. See the Bible Programs section for more details.

Auto-Insert Verses into MS Word

E-Sword has macros for Microsoft Word that enable auto-insertion of Bible texts. Select the reference, press the button, and there you have it. Pretty neat!


Time Management

Google calendar can be used to publicize meetings and events to the world or to the rest of your assembly (not to mention keeping track of your busy schedule). It can be embedded in your assembly website.

Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook have similar calendars, though they are harder to embed in websites.

Toggl works well for time tracking.