Digital Smarts Blog

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25
Sep

Some Notions of What to Do With That Old Smartphone

The announcement of a new Apple iPhone always creates a scurry of activity in the smartphone arena as people decide whether or not to upgrade or change platforms. But what about that old phone of yours? Some may suggest selling your old phone, but many experts feel that can be risky. Identity theft is still a possibility even if you think you have cleared that phone of all your personal information. Jennifer Jolly, a USA TODAY tech columnist, put together a list of Genius things to do with an old smartphone. Some of her suggestions include using your old phone as part of video surveillance system for your home, or as a baby monitor. You can also use it to keep doing many of the functions it is already doing – media player, digital camera, or even as a toy for your kids and their apps.

25
Sep

Some Notions of What to Do With That Old Smartphone

The announcement of a new Apple iPhone always creates a scurry of activity in the smartphone arena as people decide whether or not to upgrade or change platforms. But what about that old phone of yours? Some may suggest selling your old phone, but many experts feel that can be risky. Identity theft is still a possibility even if you think you have cleared that phone of all your personal information. Jennifer Jolly, a USA TODAY tech columnist, put together a list of Genius things to do with an old smartphone. Some of her suggestions include using your old phone as part of video surveillance system for your home, or as a baby monitor. You can also use it to keep doing many of the functions it is already doing – media player, digital camera, or even as a toy for your kids and their apps.

24
Sep

Hudway App Helps with Low Visibility Driving

In order to comply with state-mandated attendance requirements, schools are under pressure to hold off on announcing weather related closings until conditions are officially declared unsafe by the state or the town. The chance that parents will be trying to get kids to school in bad rain or heavy fog or snow is increasing. Hudway, an app that helps drivers focus on the road and keep their hands on the wheel, can help you navigate in low visibility conditions by using your smartphone to project onto your windshield information you need to find the road and stay on it. No additional equipment is needed and the voice assist feature can help you also navigate curves and other dangerous road conditions. Try the free version on the Apple App store or Google Play.

24
Sep

Hudway App Helps with Low Visibility Driving

In order to comply with state-mandated attendance requirements, schools are under pressure to hold off on announcing weather related closings until conditions are officially declared unsafe by the state or the town. The chance that parents will be trying to get kids to school in bad rain or heavy fog or snow is increasing. Hudway, an app that helps drivers focus on the road and keep their hands on the wheel, can help you navigate in low visibility conditions by using your smartphone to project onto your windshield information you need to find the road and stay on it. No additional equipment is needed and the voice assist feature can help you also navigate curves and other dangerous road conditions. Try the free version on the Apple App store or Google Play.

23
Sep

Privacy Tools 101

Did you know that your online activity is tracked on average over 200 times a day? Take a look at this guide to tech tools like PrivacyFix that can help you get a snapshot of what information is being shared.

23
Sep

Privacy Tools 101

Did you know that your online activity is tracked on average over 200 times a day? Take a look at this guide to tech tools like PrivacyFix that can help you get a snapshot of what information is being shared.

22
Sep

Smartphones and Domestic Abuse

There is a lot of discussion about the dangers and risks that come with using technology. Privacy concerns, cyberbullying and identity theft are all hot topics, but even scarier is the rise of cyberstalking. The use of digital tools by husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, and exes is becoming more and more common in cases of domestic abuse. An article on the National Public Radio site entitled Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims lays out exactly how tools like mSpy work to monitor targets and how they become a way for their users to dominate and control victims. Contacts, call logs, text messages, call recordings, photos, video files, and browser history can all be accessed using mSpy. There's a keylogger function that records everything the target types into his or her smartphone (including web addresses, usernames and passwords), and a location tracking function that shows where the device has been, how long it was there, and how it got there and back. In addition to pulling information from the device, mSpy also gives stalkers the ability to alter settings on the phone, such as blocking calls from a certain number.

Of course this software isn’t marketed as an app for an obsessed lover. Spyware like this is marketed to parents who want to watch their kids or employers who want to watch their employees – supposedly with their full knowledge. Apps like mSpy have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and even though customers sign an agreement acknowledging it's illegal to secretly spy on someone, no one is monitoring how and on who these digital tools are being used.

22
Sep

Smartphones and Domestic Abuse

There is a lot of discussion about the dangers and risks that come with using technology. Privacy concerns, cyberbullying and identity theft are all hot topics, but even scarier is the rise of cyberstalking. The use of digital tools by husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, and exes is becoming more and more common in cases of domestic abuse. An article on the National Public Radio site entitled Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims lays out exactly how tools like mSpy work to monitor targets and how they become a way for their users to dominate and control victims. Contacts, call logs, text messages, call recordings, photos, video files, and browser history can all be accessed using mSpy. There's a keylogger function that records everything the target types into his or her smartphone (including web addresses, usernames and passwords), and a location tracking function that shows where the device has been, how long it was there, and how it got there and back. In addition to pulling information from the device, mSpy also gives stalkers the ability to alter settings on the phone, such as blocking calls from a certain number.

Of course this software isn’t marketed as an app for an obsessed lover. Spyware like this is marketed to parents who want to watch their kids or employers who want to watch their employees – supposedly with their full knowledge. Apps like mSpy have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and even though customers sign an agreement acknowledging it's illegal to secretly spy on someone, no one is monitoring how and on who these digital tools are being used.

20
Sep

Privacy Concerns Among Millenials Surface

Facebook users seem to be rethinking online privacy, with millennials proving to be more wary about giving up their personal information than older users. "Previously there had been a sort of undue trust in the magic of cloud services. People are starting to reconsider that," says Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Despite years of resistance, Facebook recently changed its default for new posts from “public” to “friends”, and introduced tools to  untag yourself in other people’s photos and change old posts from public to friends-only. When did you last check your privacy settings to make sure you are taking advantage of the new protections Facebook offers?

20
Sep

Privacy Concerns Among Millenials Surface

Facebook users seem to be rethinking online privacy, with millennials proving to be more wary about giving up their personal information than older users. "Previously there had been a sort of undue trust in the magic of cloud services. People are starting to reconsider that," says Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Despite years of resistance, Facebook recently changed its default for new posts from “public” to “friends”, and introduced tools to  untag yourself in other people’s photos and change old posts from public to friends-only. When did you last check your privacy settings to make sure you are taking advantage of the new protections Facebook offers?

19
Sep

Want Get Paid for Your Data?

Your personal data is worth money to online data brokers who gather it from the searches you do online, your buying habits and even your marital status. Now several new services are asking why these data brokers should be the only ones making money off of your information. Several new services, such as Datacoup, Handshake and Meeco, are set to launch in the summer of 2015 and all share the same goal: to cut out the data-mining middleman. They each allow users to voluntarily share their personal information with companies — and get paid for it.  Each service uses a different model, for example, by paying you to fill out directed surveys or by using a private cloud to store your data and brand preferences in return for a discount at a retailer. Both options let you choose where your information ends up rather than with some unknown and unseen data broker. These new systems offer consumers a sense of empowerment while giving them the opportunity to earn or save some cash. Stay tuned for more on this effort to turn the tables on data brokers who operate with a fundamental lack of transparency.

19
Sep

Want Get Paid for Your Data?

Your personal data is worth money to online data brokers who gather it from the searches you do online, your buying habits and even your marital status. Now several new services are asking why these data brokers should be the only ones making money off of your information. Several new services, such as Datacoup, Handshake and Meeco, are set to launch in the summer of 2015 and all share the same goal: to cut out the data-mining middleman. They each allow users to voluntarily share their personal information with companies — and get paid for it.  Each service uses a different model, for example, by paying you to fill out directed surveys or by using a private cloud to store your data and brand preferences in return for a discount at a retailer. Both options let you choose where your information ends up rather than with some unknown and unseen data broker. These new systems offer consumers a sense of empowerment while giving them the opportunity to earn or save some cash. Stay tuned for more on this effort to turn the tables on data brokers who operate with a fundamental lack of transparency.

18
Sep

Headstrong Nation – Dyslexia is Not a Disease

If you have a child who has been recently diagnosed as dyslexic, or if you have been supporting a child with dyslexia though the pitfalls of your local school district, you may want to take a look at the resources for parents on the Headstrong Nation site. It is a site that stresses the empowerment of dyslexic students and adults through technology and other accommodations and reminds parents that they are not alone in trying to help their dyslexic children. Their catch phrase is “Dyslexia is not a disease. It’s a community.”

18
Sep

Headstrong Nation – Dyslexia is Not a Disease

If you have a child who has been recently diagnosed as dyslexic, or if you have been supporting a child with dyslexia though the pitfalls of your local school district, you may want to take a look at the resources for parents on the Headstrong Nation site. It is a site that stresses the empowerment of dyslexic students and adults through technology and other accommodations and reminds parents that they are not alone in trying to help their dyslexic children. Their catch phrase is “Dyslexia is not a disease. It’s a community.”

17
Sep

Millenials and Information on the Internet

Millenials’ lives revolve around technology, but results from a new survey by Pew Research surprisingly found they were more likely than their elders to say there actually is important information NOT available on the Internet. Approximately 98% of those under 30 use the Internet, and 90% of those Internet users say they use social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%). Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that. At the same time, 79% of Millennials believe that people without Internet access are at a real disadvantage.

17
Sep

Millenials and Information on the Internet

Millenials’ lives revolve around technology, but results from a new survey by Pew Research surprisingly found they were more likely than their elders to say there actually is important information NOT available on the Internet. Approximately 98% of those under 30 use the Internet, and 90% of those Internet users say they use social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%). Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that. At the same time, 79% of Millennials believe that people without Internet access are at a real disadvantage.

16
Sep

The Push to Teach Coding Collides with Teacher Shortage

Digital job opportunities are expected to rapidly increase over the next decade, and coding skills are going to become more and more valuable to have. Many schools throughout the country are embracing the addition of computer coding programs to their curriculum, but this change has resulted in a unique challenge: There are not enough trained educators to teach the subject. Some schools have responded by offering in-house training, but this could potentially cause teachers to leave their positions for better paying jobs in the private sector. More and more school districts are being challenged to find teachers with in-demand coding skills.

16
Sep

The Push to Teach Coding Collides with Teacher Shortage

Digital job opportunities are expected to rapidly increase over the next decade, and coding skills are going to become more and more valuable to have. Many schools throughout the country are embracing the addition of computer coding programs to their curriculum, but this change has resulted in a unique challenge: There are not enough trained educators to teach the subject. Some schools have responded by offering in-house training, but this could potentially cause teachers to leave their positions for better paying jobs in the private sector. More and more school districts are being challenged to find teachers with in-demand coding skills.

15
Sep

Basic Manners for Social Media

Although written with a business audience in mind, this helpful infographic on Social Media Etiquette is a telling synopsis of the dos and don’ts of getting along with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linked In, and Pinterest. Bottom line for all these platforms seems to be 1) keep it simple and to the point, 2) don’t over post or hashtag and 3) give credit when using someone else’s post or material. That’s called a “hat tip” on Google Plus, and just like everywhere else in life, most people on these social networking sites want to be credited for their contributions.

15
Sep

Basic Manners for Social Media

Although written with a business audience in mind, this helpful infographic on Social Media Etiquette is a telling synopsis of the dos and don’ts of getting along with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linked In, and Pinterest. Bottom line for all these platforms seems to be 1) keep it simple and to the point, 2) don’t over post or hashtag and 3) give credit when using someone else’s post or material. That’s called a “hat tip” on Google Plus, and just like everywhere else in life, most people on these social networking sites want to be credited for their contributions.

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