Two Step Verification

Since there are so many companies and sites that are being hacked these days that I’m going to set it up with my various accounts. David Pogue also has a nice article on this topic.

It’s a very simple process if you just send a text message to your phone. It appears that you only have to do this verification once on each device,although the video mentions every 30 days – we’ll see. Make sure you setup a backup phone number and also print out one-time verification codes. This is not done automatically – you have to set this up yourself. You can also get codes via the Authenticator App, but I chose to use my phone. The videos below explain the process of setting it up.

The video below seems a bit dated, but explains the process fairly well.



From the Gear Icon click on Account Info.
There you will find a Menu to – Setup you second signin verification

You can setup more than one phone for 2nd verification which is nice and they give you the option to use Security Questions which I chose not to use.

Here’s a video


Facebook – looks like it takes a lot of steps and is a pain. Here’s the link.


Below is a work in progress.

USB Security Keys

I just order the Yubico



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Email Inbox – From 50,000 to Not Checking

Over the last year I have helped friends who have had 50,000 emails in their Inbox, 350 Emails that they don’t check regularly, and some people that don’t have many emails, but they still rarely check their emails.

What I’ve learned from these three individuals is that to be productive and to be safe, you need to check your email and deal with it at least on a daily basis.

I suggest that in the morning and probably later in the day that you check your email and take one of these actions.

  • If it’s Spam, mark it as such in your email program. Hopefully, then you won’t get an email from that company again. If you just delete, it then you’ll be getting the same type of email from the company again and again.
  • If it’s valid email, read the email and move it to a ToDo list or a Calendar.
  • After you are done with the email and have taken action – Delete, Archive or Save the Email.
  • If you’re not going to need the email again, delete it.
  • If you think you may need it again, you can Archive it(gmail).
  • If you want ready access to it again, I give it a Label and put it into a folder or I might use Tabs.
  • For future events that I want to keep in my Inbox, I use Gmail Tabs.
  • Gmail has another feature where you can organize you Inbox into Tabs – Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. If I want to keep an email around for a future activity, I will put it into the appropriate Tab.
  • If you are the type of person who signs up for all sorts of retail sales, newsletters and other internet activities, I’d suggest having a separate email for those sites. Keep all those emails separate from your primary account.

I recently was invited to a school event, but when I got there, no one was there. The person who invited me, later drove up and said that she had not checked her email and the event was cancelled. The friend complained that she had too much spam in her email.


Another friend had her email password stolen via a phishing email, but she didn’t know of any problem because she hadn’t checked her email in a long time. Most sites like Yahoo and Gmail will notify you if your password has been changed. The picture above shows you the message that Yahoo sends when anyone changes their email.

My final friend had 50,000 emails in her Inbox and would never answer any emails I sent her because they were lost in the pile. Almost all her emails were Sales and Retail Advertising which overloaded her Inbox.

Handling email takes discipline just like exercise and a proper diet, but if you take care of it on a daily basis it will keep your organized, on time and safer from attacks.


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Free Phone Calls with Google Voice

Thanks to Michael Hand of Tekzilla for this tip on how to get Google Voice to allow you to make and receive phone calls just using your internet connection.

Here are the basics. I assume you already have a Google Voice phone number.

  • Install the app – Hangouts Dialer
  • You have an option to merge SMS with Google Hangouts – I chose not to.
  • The above allows you to make call. To receive calls do the below.
  • In Google Voice – under Settings – make sure you have Forward calls to Google Chat checked.
  • In the Hangouts app choose Settings (top left) – click on your account email and click on the box – “Ïncoming Phone calls”
  • Note – while my VOIP phone rang it never would actually connect – seems a little buggy.

Here’s a video about the process

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Is Your Password – Password?

Below is the basic text from the speech.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Charles Dickens – 1859 – A Tale of Two Cities

Those classic opening lines, pretty much sums up what our life is like today.

We have the world at our fingertips – From the comfort of my couch, the entire universe is now open to me, it’s open to you and in fact most people in the world.

It is the best of times – I can access my medical information, my bank, credit cards, the news, the world, movies, you name it – I can see itall.

It is also the worst of times – the world also has access to me –  all my medical records, my banks, my credit cards, my preferences, my likes, my history – my pictures – my personal information. The age of personal privacy is gone.

So how do we minimize our risk to the outside world and all those bad guys that want to steal our information. And it happens all the time. JP Morgan 83 million users, Schnucks Target, PF Changs, Michaels, Home Depot – the list is long and growing.

There are three basic things to remember for internet safety.

spam1. You did not win the lottery.
2. Girls do not really want to meet you.

3. You’d better have a good password system for the hundred websites you visit and have to log into.

Now most people are wise enough not to be PT Barnum suckers and fall for number one and two, but many people don’t have a clue as to how to manage those 100 different websites and passwords that they have to keep track of on a daily basis.

Here are some basic password rules.

Rule #1 – Don’t use commonly used passwords. 

So that brings me back to the title of this program – Is your password – password?

While is sounds ridiculous, yes there really are people who use the word password as their password- I know one – a good friend of mine. And in fact if you look at the list of most commonly used passwords it’s usually rated either #1 or #2.


Again – don’t use any of those commonly used passwords, because that’s one of the first things hacker do is to go through the list and check and see if any of those work.

Rule #2 – Stay away from  dictionary words or names


Hackers run what they call dictionary attacks and quickly go through every word in the dictionary. They will also go through all possible names. Don’t use a dictionary word or names.

Rule #4 – Bigger is Better.


Hackers will probably go through the common passwords, do a dictionary attack and name attack and then if they will do a brute force attack

Here’s is a good website to see how long it would take an attacker to figure out your password.

Passwords need to be long. 16 characters is a good length to start with.

Rule #4 – Don’t use the same password on all your sites 


If they get the password for one account, then all your accounts are compromised.

Rule # 4a – Don’t use variations of the same password


Rule #5 – Security questions – LIE!


 Here’s another tip to remember – don’t answer those Security Questions truthfully. You don’t want to base your entire security on something that is fairly easy to find on the internet. Be creative and make up answers to all those security questions. Not that does means you’re going to have to write those answers down, but it’s better than having your bank account wiped out.

Rule#6 – Use upper and lower case, numbers and characters.


You’ve got this entire keyboard – make use of it.


At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, there’s no way I can do all of that for every site I visit.

Well you can with this last rule – use a password manager.

I recommend using Lastpass.

While they do have a free version for your computer, if you want to use it on your tablet or phone, if will cost $12/year – just a dollar a month.

Have your phone number attached to the account as a security measure.

I’ve had a number of friends who have had their Yahoo email account hacked and it the hacker changes the password, it’s hard to get control of it again. If you have a phone number that can receive text messages, then this is an easy way to get back control.

To help you easily remember your password, consider using the first letter from each word in a sentence, a phrase, a poem, or a song title as a password.  Be sure to add in numbers and/or special characters.

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Desktop Icon Size


I had a friend whose desktop looked like the one above. It took me a while, but I finally found the right key combination which actually controls this function.

The steps are:

  • Click on one of the icons to select it.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key
  • With your mouse use the scroll wheel and it will resize the icons.

While this applies to Windows 7, it may also work on other versions.

It will rearrange your icons when you do this so be prepared to move them back to your preferred location.

Here’s the small version below.



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Windows 10 – Beta-Tips

Windows is coming out with a new version in 2015 – here’s a video of some of the new features. It appears that it might be a nice mix of Windows 7 and Windows 8. There’s not a whole lot of information, but it shows the direction that the build is going.

ALSO – here’s the link to Paul Thurott’s site and all his Windows 10 information.

Here are some notes:

  • They skipped over the name Windows 9 and went to Windows 10.
  • The Start Menu is back.
  • Has the old Task Bar.
  • Supports multiple desktops.
  • Task View – allows you to see all the windows which are open.
  • Command Prompt – you can now copy and paste into this.
  • On hybrid tablets/laptops (2 in 1) The desktop interface works when you have the keyboard attached and when you detach the screen, it prompts you to enter the Tablet mode.

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WordPress – Classic versus New Editor

WordPress has changed it’s default posting editor to a new type which they call “Improved.” I call it less efficient.

There’s a graphic at the bottom to show you how the two look different.

The new mode has a cleaner interface, but that’s because they got rid of a lot of options and force you to click on lots of buttons to get back what you had in the classic mode.

I am able to do everything on one page in the classic mode, but not in the New mode – I have to open and click on all sorts of buttons to do the same thing.

Luckily they still allow you to use the classic mode.
I hope they don’t take that away from us in the future.

  • There is a whole toolbar that is gone in the new mode. Changing font, underline, text color, justify are all gone.
  • Add poll, contact form, location – all gone.
  • Save Draft and Preview – hidden down at the bottom of the page – put it up at the top where it’s easy to see.
  • Categories – instead of being open and easy to see are hid under a couple of buttons.


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