Do You Really Need A Mac?

By   January 20, 2016

macpcmemeI recently had a conversation with a friend about getting a Mac vs a PC.  Her old Macbook had died and she was in need of a replacement computer.  She went to the Apple store where they sold her a $1500 new Macbook.  However when I was talking to her she said that she just wants to back up her phone and pictures, browse the internet, and occasionally type up a document.  And I told her she didn’t need a $1500 Macbook for that.  She replied and said that she just wanted to be able to connect her phone to iTunes, and she wasn’t sure she could do that on a PC.  Oh, Apple.  Good job at making people think they need to be locked into the Apple environment for everything.

I told her point blank that Apple computers were notoriously overpriced.  It’s a nice computer and everything, but certainly not something that she really needs.  I told her it’s like buying a Porsche to drive to the grocery store now and then.  I also informed her that she could buy a great PC for a lot less money and be perfectly happy.

She went and got a Surface Pro 3 and told me she is super stoked on it.  Not only is the SP3 lighter and more portable, it was also $600 less than the Macbook.  That is a LOT of money.  For her, that’s a surf trip or a new surfboard.

So here’s the thing folks, you DON’T need a Mac to do stuff.  I do a lot of photo and video stuff as a side job and people are always shocked across the board when I tell them that I don’t use a Mac, and I never have.  “Don’t you need a Mac for video stuff?” they ask me in confusion.  And I happily tell them that no, I can do everything on my PC just fine.  The software is there (Adobe) and works just as well if not better sometimes.  PLUS you can get a computer that is just as good, if not better, than what you’d be paying for in a Mac.  Macs are just so overpriced, and even the Mac Pro hasn’t been “refreshed” in 2 years – so you’re paying top price for a system that’s already 2 years old!  It’s outrageous, and Apple is truly taking advantage of people such as my friend who just aren’t computer people and aren’t aware of these intricacies.  They just think that “Macs are the best” and they need one in order to use their iPhone or other devices with it.

It’s brilliant marketing by Apple but it frustrates people like me who see friends getting taken advantage of.

Anyway, if you do decide to go the PC route then you’ll be happy.  Just ensure that you set up all the antivirus stuff and antimalware software.  I highly recommend Norton 360 as well as Spyhunter 4.  Spyhunter 4 is a very safe and effective spyware removal software program.  There’s a little grain of truth in the myth that Macs “don’t get viruses”. They do but just not with the frequency that PCs do.  It just has to do with hackers targeting PCs.  However, Macs can and do get viruses, and it’s been on the rise.

 

 

Using LastPass

By   January 3, 2016

For a long time I was extremely hesitant to use any sort of password manager.  This was due to the obvious fear that if someone hacked THEIR system or my master password, then the crooks would then have all my passwords.

However after realizing that I was starting to accumulate one too many online accounts and was already defaulting to using the same password every time, I took another look at one of the more popular password managers out there – LastPass.  I researched a bit about their own security and I decided it was probably just as good or  better than me using the same password over and over because I couldn’t remember it.

As you can see, LastPass is a great way to ensure that you not only use different, difficult to hack passwords on all your sites, but it’s also a way to make logging in much easier.  I now keep better track of my online banking accounts simply because I can actually LOG IN.  It’s really a strange problem but you know how it is, I’m sure.

Have you used LastPass?  What do you think of it?  I currently have found that I cannot live without it.  It allows me to use multiple computers with ease because I don’t have to worry about my passwords only being stored on ONE computer and then forgetting it.

Start 2016 Off With Better Security

By   January 2, 2016

cyber-attack2015 seemed to be the year that cybercrime really hit the front page and got the attention of the masses.  With more people than ever before doing much of their shopping, banking, and socializing on the computer, cybercrime has become a big deal.  So what can you do in the coming year in order to protect yourself from becoming a victim?  Here are a few tips that you can implement in order to make your life a hell of a lot safer.

First of all you should enable automatic updates for ALL of your software.  The big ones are your operating system, your internet browser, your antivirus software, and Flash.  Flash is a huge one because there are constantly patches coming out that protect you from the clutches of hackers.  I remember when I didn’t have Flash on automatic update.  I would always forget to do it!  Let’s face it – don’t try to kid yourself and think that you’re going to be able to remember to do it, because you won’t.  The best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

Anyway, an even better idea might be to lose Flash altogether.  More and more tech journals are calling for the end of this problematic software once and for all.  However, some sites still rely on it.  So it’s your choice.  There are a few options about getting rid of Flash that you can consider, however the problem will still remain.

Another thing that you might want to do is to ensure that you’re running a good antivirus or antimalware program.  These software are not the same – antivirus software will not always stop malware programs, and vice versa. This is because malware and spyware are programs that either install themselves or are unknowingly installed by the user.  I had this problem once when I installed a software program that I needed in order to open .rar compressed files.  However, unfortunately this program brought a piece of adware malware with it called Conduit that took over my browser and all my settings.  In order to get rid of this software I had to use an antimalware program called Spyhunter.  It did the trick.  However the point is that Norton antivirus did nothing to prevent or remove this spyware.  Viruses and spyware are two totally different things.

Another great thing to do is to ensure that you’re educated about the risks of malware and other internet dangers.  I always tell people not to download software from those shady free software sites.  These are known as internet “bad neighborhoods” and they are to be avoided.  Other risks include torrent sites, adult sites, and gambling sites.  These are always high risk when it comes to software that might install itself on your computer without your knowledge.

Downloading free software such as the one I did (RAR File Open Knife) is always high risk in that often other malicious software will piggyback onto your computer and you won’t know it until you open your browser and are suddenly redirected to a porn site.  Use at your own risk!