RSS
 

Archive for the ‘Phones’ Category

USE A PASSWORD VAULT!

05 Jun 2016

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of technical consulting for individuals and lots of small businesses. The one thing that is almost universal with all of those people is – they don’t use a password vault. But they REALLY need to use one.

Why? Because, if someone gets access to their computer, or steals their computer, or hacks it, those people can either lose all of their passwords, or worse, someone can login to many website and do malicious things. (Ya know, log into your bank, transfer money, send dirty or scam emails to hundreds of thousands of people, lock you out of your bill pay, etc.)

So – the best solution I’ve come across (and I LIVE WITH EVERY DAY) is LastPass. Right now – GO CREATE A LASTPASS ACCOUNT! – www.bit.ly/LastPassVault

Create a LastPass accont! - DaveTavres.com

Seriously. Right now. Go do it. Get started.

Even the basic free account will do more for your online security than you currently have with that Word or Excel file, or that book in the desk with all the family’s passwords in it.

Once you’re comfortable signing into the site and adding your accounts, you can move on to the really useful features like auto-login and shared folders.

What is auto-login? You install the Chrome or Firefox extension to your web browser, and when you go to a website that is listed in your LastPass Vault, LastPass can do an auto-login, or can let you choose the username and password to login to that site with. Not only is this a huge time saver, it’s far more secure than typing it out each time, or pulling up that file or book to find the password (when I’m standing at your desk and see the file or the book, now *I* know where to find ALL your passwords. If I’m not a good person, I effectively have access to ALL of your websites!)

Now you might ask, ‘What are shared folders?’ Good question!

If you upgrade for $12 A YEAR, you can have a single folder that is shared with your spouse, partner, friend, family, etc., and everyone can use that one folder for the commonly shared sites. The upgrade also lets you install the app on your mobile device to auto-login there too!

There are few things that I insist people do with their technology. This is one of those things. If you’re still using papers, sticky notes, books and a ‘clear-text’ file on your computer for passwords, it’s just a matter of time before someone steals your logins.

Create a LastPass accont! - DaveTavres.com

 

Cruise ship app

04 Dec 2015

Carnival CruisesAlmost EVERYONE today carries a smartphone. Carnival should create an Android and iOS app that can connect to the ship’s WiFi but can only access the ship. This app can be a way for passengers to communicate with each other, look up show times and schedules, use maps of the ship, request or schedule services and even scan QR codes around the ship that would give them information about where they’re at or what they are seeing.

Carnival could also send messages and information to passengers, coordinate disembarking, and advertise up-sells for internet connectivity, discounts at certain on-board shops and offer specials to premium services when attendance is low.

This app could work on ALL Carnival Ships and could even be a tool for users before and after their trip. By installing the app weeks before, Carnival can communicate ideas, up-sell shore excursions or help people plan their Port visits ahead of time. And once they finish their vacation, the app could be a way to entice users back to Carnival for future trips by sending photos of ship upgrades or announcing new shows and acts.

 

Ship1

 

Audio cues in podcasts

05 Feb 2015

When podcasts go mainstreamWith smartphones being a regular part of most people’s lives and podcasts becoming more popular as in-car entertainment, advertising needs to catch up with the technology a bit. I often hear ads that are interesting enough to want to look up, but if I’m driving I can’t pull up a website or even take a note, so I need to really want to remember what the ad was about to recall it later. So instead, what about an app that would listen for audio cues and pull up those websites for you?

CueCat - DaveTavres.comIn the 1990s there was this thing call the “CueCat”. It was a peripheral for the serious computer geeks that was really just a simple barcode scanner. You could scan barcodes in magazines or on the back of everyday products you bought form the store and their software would either search their database for the custom barcode or search the web for the product you scanned so you can get more information. A great idea that was literally 20 years ahead of its time. Today everyone should have a barcode scanner app on their mobile devices (Android | iOS).

Audio cue - DaveTavres.comFast forward to today… your smartphone is on the magnetic mount in your car, playing your favorite podcast and they read an ad or just talk about a product they like. If that content creator wants to get even more revenue (just like they do when they tell you to use a special code during checkout on one of their sponsor’s websites), they’ll add a quick audio cue that is hardly noticeable by the listener, but that is long enough for a mobile app to pickup. The app stores the cue so the next time you look at your phone, you can pull up the topics that had cues.

Something like this… notice the modem-like sound at the beginning:

Good podcast player apps could even incorporate this ‘listener’ into their app to help the user (and track clicks on ads that listeners pulled up later.)

 

How to stop Smartphone theft…

23 Jun 2014

iPhoneBrick[1]A recent article on CNET titled “Android, Windows Phone to add kill switch to thwart theft” missed the point on how to actually stop Smartphone theft. The article talks about Google, Microsoft and Apple adding a ‘kill switch’ to phones to "…remove all data and information in the event their devices were stolen." That’s great, but it doesn’t actually stop theft.

As an Android user, the ability to remotely find, lock and wipe my phone gives me great confidence that my data is safe(r) than if there were no ‘kill switch’. But cancelling my mobile provider account and wiping my device doesn’t stop thieves, muggers and miscreants from getting a five-finger-discount on an new Nexus 5, Apple iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy S5 – it just assures the crooks that they’ll be able to activate ‘their’ new phone without any old data on it.Android Device Manager - DaveTavres.com

Having worked in the mobile phone activation world (many years ago), I know that the devices are controlled by one simple thing – the ESN/MEID (Electronic Serial Number.) Whenever a phone sends or receives a call (or data), the towers use the ESN to identify THAT device on the network so it can route calls and data to you.

When credit cards get stolen, it’s often not the actual card, but the number itself. So most of the time, the consumer has no idea their account has been compromised. And, the thieves know that they have a very short amount of time to use stolen credit cards before they are turned off. The physical device being stolen is the issue.

If I can steal a phone and just wipe it and have a ‘new’ phone, there’s no deterrent.

Solution

Features like Google’s Android Device Manager are FANTASTIC features, but do little to stop the theft. The real solution is at the carrier level. A simple ‘black list’ of stolen devices that the carriers are required by law to check anytime someone wants to activate a device, would stop the vast majority of device theft. If it’s on the list, the carrier isn’t allowed to activate it.

For SIM-based phones, when carriers do regular auditing of the devices on their network, if a device from the black list is being used, they must notify the mobile account user immediately that the device their using was stolen and will be disabled. Sure, some consumers will be affected, but only at first. If a law was passed requiring carriers to be responsible for only activating ‘legal’ phones. Crooks would know that a phone is useless to steal if it just gets ‘bricked’ within a day or two. And would-be-buyers would learn pretty quickly that they need to verify if a phone was stolen before buying it on eBay and Craigslist.

If you steal a car, then try to register it in your name, DMV won’t give you a sticker or license plate.

Sure, there will still be the phreakers who clone ESNs and steal service, but those aren’t usually the same guys who snatch the phone from your hand on a busy street and run.

I’ve been talking about this for many years – I’m glad it’s finally getting some kind of attention.

 

Another reason to use Google Voice

17 Dec 2013

Another reason to use Google Voice - DaveTavres.comI’ve been on Google Voice for several years, though I only fully committed to it about 3 years ago. “Fully” meaning that I changed my phone number everywhere and started telling friends and family to stop using the ‘physical’ number attached to the mobile.

For those who haven’t used/heard of Voice, the basic idea is this – one number for everything. If you call me (my Google Voice number), my home, work, mobile phone and even my computer will all ring at the same time. So no more hunting me down – one number to ring them all! (heh). Plus, all my txt messages are stored in my Gmail account and voicemail gets transcribed to a txt message as well as being attached as an audio file in an email. I’ve even gone so far as to only give out my Google Voice number as my official work phone number. It works great across the board.

Now, to the ‘Another reason’ part… A month ago I got an odd phone call from an automated system that claimed to be a law office looking for me. Thanks to 800notes.com, 215-526-2600 turns out to be a scam. They changed their name from “Seiler & Associates, LLC” to “Oxford Law, LLC” as a way of scaring people into calling them back to get harassed for debt collection.

I listened to the recorded spiel last month, then hung up. In the past two days, I’ve gotten three hang-ups from the same number. So, I enabled the “Block caller” feature. Yes, my phones don’t ring anymore, but the best part is, they hear the “Sorry, this number has been disconnected” message. Sweet.

If you want help setting up Google Voice or just have questions, don’t hesitate to call so we can chat.

Not in service - DaveTavres.com