Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Tech Talk Oy Vey – "May You Get What You Wished For"

 

January 1, 2018 | View PDF



You survived Christmas!

All your gifts and presents have all been unwrapped and now our lawns are all filled with tree corpses that await the sanitation department to come by and grab up a handful of tinsel and cracked ornaments we refused to wrestle away from the fake fir branches. A new year has begun and we’ve even made more resolutions that we will keep for all of one month, then somehow allow them to wane as the second month approaches.

Now, there’s the piddling issue of figuring out all the new techy gadgets we received as presents from “ever-so-thoughtful” children and grand children – all in the name of wanting to make sure that “MeeMaw” and “PawPaw” were up to date with the Technological Times.

Everything in you wants to fight learning new technologies and having to join in the tech craze – but then, all of a sudden you recall you asked your “Millennial offspring” to get you this stuff. So, now you find yourself wedged into a world similar to that of WW Jacob's famous short horror story, “The Monkey’s Paw”. In this story, a family whose son has been killed in a work accident uses one of the three wishes granted them by the Monkey’s Paw, for him to come home, and deeply regrets it when he does, because they have failed to specify what condition, alive or dead… It is from this story we get the phrase: “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it!” It’s enough to make you sigh in dismay and exasperation, and utter the phrase – “Oy Vey”! (Okay, so perhaps you don’t speak in Yiddish, but you get the point).

Regain your composure, breathe deeply, gather your thoughts, quit cursing and dive in. You’ll be very wise to open all your tech gifts while your social-media-connected-tech family is there to assist. You slowly fire up all your new gadgets, to include getting the new laptop “locked and loaded”. Now to figure out that smart watch strapped onto your wrist, or the daunting task of connecting your now “smarter-than-you” television to your home network. “To think, I didn’t even know I HAD a home network. Must be that router thing!” you finally

conclude.

The good news is that just about every new gadget comes with a simple quick-start guide that’s easy to follow. Most of the time, these guides tell you to plug in and charge your new gadget, then connect it to Wi-Fi, and link it to an existing email account. When you connect your email account, be sure to create a smart password and/or use a password manager. Overall, getting started is now usually pretty simple stuff, and you just need to follow directions like you would a recipe for cooking.

Next, it’s time, when needed, to go to school – “YouTube University”. People have learned to fly planes and perform brain surgery here. (That’s a bit of an exaggeration – I HOPE – but you get the gist). Whenever this doesn’t work, however, never feel inhibited from calling a local tech shop for help. They are used to answering many of the common questions you’ll have and therefore, there will be no need to feel less than adequate. Remember, the reason technology feels like it’s accelerating is because it actually is!

Think for a hot second about all of the personal information you store on your devices: Emails, family photos, business, property, health, and maybe even banking information. That means you'll want to protect your digital life with strong security settings from the get go.

Set up a PIN code, fingerprint, facial recognition, pattern, or password on your start screen. If you see a prompt for two-factor authentication, do that, too. Be sure to enable Find my iPhone or Lookout on Android devices.

For computers, be sure to set up your screen lock password. On Windows machines, find this option in Settings under Accounts and Sign-in. In macOS, open System Preferences and look under Security & Privacy.

Once you've protected your computer from snooping strangers, add antivirus protection. On Windows, the built-in Windows Defender is enough for most people

One last note: the FTC says tech support scams are running rampant right now. Be sure that wherever you’re reaching out to for help, that it’s legit by checking with the BBB, or staying with the company’s own site. Don’t click on attachments or links sent via text, email, or DM, and when in doubt, ask your tech savvy friend (or me) about it first.

Darnell Hughley is the Owner, Certified Technician and Consultant for HY-Tech Solutions, LLC - having more than 23 years of total experience in the PC Repair and IT Consulting field. Email him at: dhughley@hytech.solutions.

Follow him on Twitter @HyTech_Solution.

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