Thursday, October 17, 2013

Protecting Yourself from Facebook

What can you do about Facebook privacy?
Facebook privacy concerns us all...
It seems like everyone is worried about Facebook privacy these days.  At least everyone seems to be sharing, and by sharing, I mean copy and pasting statuses regarding some sort of privacy issue, from instructions to friends to uncheck notification settings to protect your privacy (doesn't work - see my other post about Facebook privacy settings here) to posting that their content cannot be used for <insert legal mumble jumble here>...

What really works?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Walleye and Shallow Water Fishing

I can't believe it's March already and in a couple months the ice will be melting and walleye season will be getting close to opening.  Although for me it's a busy time of year with the start of our tourist season, getting all the houseboats ready, it's also nice to have open water fishing to look forward to.  I love getting out on the water and doing some fishing.  So much, in fact, that a couple friends and I started an online fishing show to give fishing tips for the area.

Rapala, the staple for trolling shallow.
During our first few weeks we spend a lot of time hitting the shorelines for walleye coming off the spawning beds and hitting the shallows for the minnows to feed on.  Our target area is anywhere from 4 to 8 feet along the shoreline.  Just any lure won't do in that kind of situation, so we go with the trusty Floating Rapala, allowing us to get the lure up shallow quickly when we hit those 4 foot areas (or less if we missed our trolling run).  I've always run black and silver original and jointed Rapalas in the spring, but with the start of the show, I wanted to try and focus on using low cost alternatives.  My motto was "successful fishing on a budget".

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Protecting Digital Data - Part 2

In my previous post we looked at the explosion of digital data coming onto our computers.  Photos, videos, movies, and games are all getting bigger and going digital.  What was a small part of our hard drive before has grown, and so have our needs for backup.  In this post we'll look at cloud based options, easy to use and share network options, and cheaper solutions for small data libraries.  With all the options before us, it shouldn't be hard to get a good backup system in place so you can avoid digital loss.

Online Cloud Backup
With services like Dropbox being around for years and everyone else getting into the game, cloud based backup is getting easier to find.  Microsoft launched Skydrive with Windows 8, Apple has iCloud, Google has Google Drive, not to mention several other companies offering similar services.  These services allow you to upload files to 'the cloud' and share them between your computers for easy access so you can always have your current project at your fingertips.  The ability to share with friends also makes these services a great tool.  Most services offer anywhere between 2-5GB for free and space upgrade plans with a monthly fee.  Dropbox will upgrade your space as you share the service with friends, both giving you more space and  bring them more users.  A few other achievements in the Dropbox list will net you a bit more extra space, the total free space you get get for friend referrals stands at 16GB now I believe, an incredible amount of space for a free service.  I've used Dropbox for a few years now and it has been invaluable for sharing video work between my partner and I.  If you are interested, you can try Dropbox here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Protecting Digital Data - Part 1

I've enjoyed years of watching the digital camera grow from a VGA capable camera that was bulky and wrote to floppy disks to my current (and almost antique in terms of cameras now) Sony A700.  As an amateur photographer, I've appreciated the ability to take nearly unlimited photos to practice getting the perfect shot.  I'm sure I have many thousands of photos left to continue to hone my skills.  Along the way, I've been lucky to get many great photos, and collected many not as great photos of rare nature sightings and special family moments that you just don't want to give up.  Eventually, a collection can grow very large, especially after years of shooting.  Add to this collection digital video and you've got a very large media library.  Sure, my dad's old video camera taped directly to VCR tape.  My old SD camera taped to mini tapes.  But now my HD camera is adding digital footage to my hard drive at an alarming rate, and much of it I need to keep around for potential video clips in different works. Newer DSLR cameras also allow taking video or photos with the same device, making the switch between photo and video while 'catching the moment' easy and convenient.

All this can lead to a rather large pile of precious data.  As cameras take higher quality photos, file sizes increase and the problem becomes one that must be faced by even casual photographers.  In my computer repair hobby business, I've seen a lot of issues, from dying or dead hard drives, to one of the more common issues in our area - lightning strikes coming in through phone lines and causing damage to one or more components.  Viruses used to be a big issue, but now most computers ship with antivirus and users, of Windows systems at least, are used to using antivirus to protect themselves.  Remember to keep your antivirus up to date! Even with this protection, things can go wrong.  How can we protect against data loss due to unforeseen software or hardware issues?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spam, Spam, Facebook, and Email Spam

Everyone loves to be in touch, but nobody really likes spam...  Except maybe Monty Python's Flying Circus...  Facebook can be a downpour of spam emails every day if you let it.  I'm going to show you how to shorten the list to a trickle each month.  Remember, only follow these steps if you don't like hitting delete on numerous emails a day from Facebook - that's what real email spam is for!

First off, we need to get to you account settings.  In the upper right of Facebook, you'll see your profile picture, name, 'Home', privacy, and a gear.  Apparently the gear makes all Facebook work, and it's where you find such things as the ability to logout (who'd ever want to!?!), privacy & account settings, ads, your apps, and the ability to use Facebook as any of the pages you administer.  You can see I could use Facebook as myself, Fish Temagami - my online fishing show fan page, or Leisure Island Houseboat Rentals, my business page for our houseboat rental business.  Using Facebook as one of these pages allows you to comment and like interests on behalf of your page.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blocking Facebook Game Alerts

Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch with friends or reconnect with old ones.  The only problem is, as your friends list grows, you're bound to start getting a plague of game notifications.  So and so wants a something or another in Whateverville.  Join your friend playing the newest Facebook game.  Hey, somebody just played this in that!  And soon you'll find your news feed is nothing more than a pile of game notifications with a random piece of actual news you want to read.  Hey, let's face it, those can be hard enough to find without all these crazy notifications, right?

There are several methods you can use to block Facebook game messages, but some of them still let certain messages through.  An example would be to turn off a friend's game notifications in your news feed (hover your mouse cursor over your friend's name, then hover over "Friends" button in the window that pops up, then click settings and uncheck "Games" from the list of your friend's activities that you'll be notified about.)  This can help, but I've found that apps can get around them by posting directly to your wall about your friend's activity.
Target the App Center...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Agricola All Creatures Big and Small - First Play

My wife snatching the horse for her farm.
Take your hand off the horse I was going to get!
Gwen and I finally got to sit down and enjoy the first of our three games from Christmas.  Abby was asleep for a short afternoon nap, so we picked Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small for a first play.  The box says a game can be played in about 30 minutes, and given it was a first play and it took just over an hour, I would say that is a fairly accurate estimation, since it included briefing the rules.  Rules are nice and clear, and they encourage play of parents with children, suggesting one parent team with a child against the other parent, letting the child choose two of the three actions and giving input on how to build the farmyard.  The box says 13+, but I would think this method would allow a child much younger to play and learn the game.