Tag Archives: Internet

A Bad Facebook Day

I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook. It has its good points, but there are several negatives. One downside is that the social network provides one more way for thieves to try to take advantage of others. On Tuesday, I had my account replicated by an imposter that tried to scam people on my friends list.

It started with several people sending me messages on Facebook saying that my account had been hacked. I also had someone post on my wall and my sister even called me to let me know what was going on with my Facebook account. The imposter account had send friend requests to her and everyone else. She added the fake account thinking it was me and that’s when she got strange messages from that person (trying to defraud her). Okay, they had my attention. Step one for me was to change my password and lockout all other devices.

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No New Updates for Old IE

I’m a big advocate for updating to the latest version of Windows. There’s a lot of reasons to do it (and a few compatibility issues that might be reasons not to do it), but the main motivation is the underlying security of the OS is improved. There is an entire industry out there that makes its money off of bugs in major pieces of software. When a bug is found, it is sold to either the “bad” guys or the “good” guys in order to find a way onto users machines without their knowledge. Most of this is outside your control, but what you can do is stay up to date with your security and product updates.

Microsoft announced a while back, but it is going into effect today. There will be no more public patches for Internet Explorer versions before 11. So if you have IE 10 or earlier, you need to upgrade it to IE 11 or switch to Chrome or Firefox. Even if you switch to one of those, you still need to update IE as a good portion of the Windows 7 and later uses it in the background.

So the bottom line is that if you are on Windows 7 and don’t want to upgrade, then make sure you are using IE version 11. If you are on Windows 8.1 or 10, then you are using either IE11 or Edge. Just keep your system updated. If you are on anything before Windows 7, stop using that system if it is connected to the internet. It’s time to move on as your system will be compromised. Windows 10 has been a mixed bag for many, but I will say that it works great when installed fresh. The upgrades have been problematic for several although the four machines that I’ve upgraded at home work great. The choice is always yours.

Electronic Devices at Church

With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it’s not surprising to see more and more of these devices showing up on Sunday morning (and other weekday nights you might meet together). It’s really just a part of society these days. It’s not totally different from the Gameboys of the past, but there are so many more shapes and sizes and these are almost all connected to the net. I’ve been bringing my Surface RT to church for a while now and I use it for my Bible as well as a way to copy the sermon recording from the office server to the FTP site after the service is over. Its nice to have. Most of the people there also have their cell phones (and some of the phones are actually muted).

First off, let me say that I don’t think that there is anything inherently evil about an electronic device. It’s just an inanimate object. I think we can also use them in plenty of good ways, but over the years I’m noticing that they are becoming more of a distraction. As a family, we are heavy electronics users yet I’ve always had the policy of no games at the church building. We did however let them bring a few toys which are the same kind of distraction without the chance of the electronic beeping noises. As they transitioned out of childhood and into grade school and teens, they don’t bring their toys or non-religious books to read. We expected that they would start to focus on the real reason for being there.

So what is our reason for being there? You know, the “Not forsaking the assembly as the manner of some” (Hebrews 10:25). If you read on, it says that we should be exhorting each other as we see the day approaching. We also take this time to worship as a collective group, but that also helps to encourage each other. We also take part in the memorial of the death, burial and resurrection (Acts 20:7). How is this affected by electronic devices? As I see it, when used improperly they are a distraction and fall in the category of an adult just bringing a book to read while they are there (with loud electric sounding pages). It’s just easier and is become more accepted. I have to keep myself in check as well. This is not my time to surf the web. It’s my time to take part in the community of Christ. This is something I need to remember. As an adult, I can just stay home if that’s all that I’m going to do while there.

For us parents, I would encourage you not to send your grade school kids to their classes with electronic devices. Not that this is evil, but you end up with four or five kids looking over one person’s shoulder watching them play. It’s also bragging rights in a place that doesn’t need the world’s distractions. Just leave them in the car and they can play them on the way home. Your kids might not thank you later, but they probably will later in life.

Too Connected

I had a very disturbing experience going into a Starbucks for a cup of coffee the other day. As I walked in the door, I was greeted by a line of 20 or so people waiting to order their morning cup. Without fail (as far as I could see), everyone had their cell phone out and stuck in their face. You could see them shuffling around trying not to bump into each other, but they wouldn’t look up from their devices. Ahh, the modern coffee shop. Starbucks really has their dedicated patrons trained with their app though, so can you really blame them?

It seems that the “connected” trend is growing ever stronger as Google is releasing their glasses and Samsung, LG, Apple and many others are releasing watches that allow you to stay connected without pulling your phone out of your pocket (like it ever makes it into your pocket). Also, what’s up with people holding their phone horizontally (not vertically) in front of their face while driving. It just looks weird. What’s wrong with putting it up beside your head or even better, using a headset (or even speakerphone). I suppose the microphone must be really poor quality.

I’ve just found myself retreating from my smartphone use. Perhaps it’s just a getting old thing. I just can’t imagine having my brain active every waking hour checking the news and waiting for the next text message (not that I get many) in the corner of my eye. It’s enough to make sure that my phone gets charged, but I’m not sure I can stand the pressure of keeping my watch, glasses, book, etc. charged each day let alone throughout the day. As a society that is already extremely self saturated, I wonder what the long-term effects of these new habits will mean. Not sure there is anyway to accurately guess what it might mean in 10-20 years from now. You can bet that electronics manufacturers will continue to offer more and more connectivity going forward as previous generation devices saturate.

It’s times like these that I really appreciate the hour or so that I spent walking, running or cycling outside. There’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with the electronics, but I think we are hitting a saturation point.

10 Year Blog Anniversary

Big day today from my blog. It hits the 10 year mark! I initially started this site using BlogSpot (which is now just another Google property) and switched about 8 months later to WordPress using my own domain name. It was handy to have my own domain name as I use it for my primary email address and also to provide everyone in our family with their own email addresses. Managing it myself has had it’s own benefits as I could “turn their email over to them” when they got old enough.

With over 1,200 posts during those 10 years, that works out to about 120 per year or 10 per month. Sounds about what I originally thought that I would post. Obviously, some months I have more to say and others, well…. less. It has been a lot of fun to share a little bit of our family through these posts, also serving as something of a memory bank for me. I can look back at my emotions during different times over the last 10 years. Medical challenges, birthdays and special events all logged away.

My number one post over the years has been my experience repairing my Samsung TV. It seems that a lot of people had that same problem and benefitted from the photos. At times I’ve had to block a post because it used a keyword that didn’t really represent the topic of the email. Other than that, it’s been fairly quiet with a few random visits here and there. Most visits come from family and friends with a few people looking for hiking information on regional trails. It has been rewarding to thing that I might have helped a few people out along the way.

One thing that I would like to see over the next 10 years (with regard to this site) is that my children and perhaps my wife would join me in posting items when they have something to share. Hayden is a much better writer than me and so it would be neat to see him or one of the other kids take advantage of this space. Thanks for those that have stopped by to see what’s up with the Callahans and my apologies for sometimes spouting off about my own techie leanings. Not that I stop with those anytime soon.