Alexa Routines Show Promise and Limitations

Add new routine

It shouldn’t be any surprise that I’m an Amazon Alexa fan. Naturally, I was intrigued when Alexa added a new feature called “Routines”. As the name suggests, it allows you to standardize certain actions for consistency. In theory, this works well, but it didn’t give me the flexibility I expected. I was hoping that anything I could speak, I could use in a routine. However, it’s still something worth exploring as it can make things easier.

How to Find Out More about Suspicious URLs

VirusTotal scan

I’m sure this experience has happened to many of us. You see an email comes in from a friend, but something just doesn’t look right based on the preview. Parts look normal, but some stuff was suspect. This happened to me this weekend and I decided to research it more.

Essential Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts & Customization

Toggle for Gmail keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to enhance your productivity. The benefits are compounded the more you use a program like Gmail. The problem is learning them and committing them to memory. In the case of Gmail, there are quite a few and some don’t seem intuitive to me.

Stop Being Lazy and Get a Password Manager

Example of a password manager

Before you get mad at me for the lazy reference, just know I’ve been called lazy too. Lazy people try to find systems so they don’t have to do mundane stuff. This article is a remake of one I did over a decade ago about predictability and passwords. However, the password strategy I outlined years ago is no longer recommended.

Could Your Printer Be Vulnerable to an Attack?

default printer settings

I know we’re sick of security warnings, myself included. But have you ever thought of your printer as a security threat? A recent article by Tenable, a network security firm, referenced some unexpected issues with a line of Hewlett-Packard (HP) printers including the default settings. Regardless of your brand, I would be inclined to check your printer settings. The reason is that automatic updates may not be enabled.

See Which Apps Access Your Google Account

connected apps to your Google account

We’re living in an interconnected world which offers a lot of conveniences. We can use Google, Facebook, OAuth to connect us to online services and apps. The downside is that there are more “bad actors” trying to trick us and gain access to our info.

Can Your Eyes Spot this Security Problem?

example of IDN code in address bar

This is a time when people like to hunt for Easter eggs. Either the traditional ones or the clever ones that are hidden by software vendors. Both of these are fun. However, this one is more a rotten egg and it could cost us dearly if we don’t pay attention. And it all starts with punycodes and fake domains. The good news is there are several workarounds.

How to Make a Picture Smaller

Squoosh app and controls.

Have you ever had one of those photos that you wanted to share or upload only to find out there was a file size restriction? Professional photographers and designers know how to make a picture smaller. Fortunately, some easy and free online picture optimization services can reduce image file size without sacrificing quality.

Protect Your Online Accounts with 2FA

Cloudflare two-factor authentication dialog.

Recently, I met a friend who looked stressed. He returned home from work only to find out that someone had broken into his online accounts. Naturally, he was concerned about the data, but also the amount of time it would take to fix the problem. I told him an easy way to reduce the risk of account breaches is to use something called “two factor authentication” or 2FA. But, it has some issues if you’re not careful.

How to Handle Fake Security Warnings

Fake virus alerts that appear in your web browser appear to be on the rise. The objective of these alerts is to have you buy a service you don’t need. There are ways you can spot these annoyances and get rid of them.