Tech Movie: The Internship

It’s a few years old now, but if you haven’t had the chance to see it, The Internship is quite entertaining. It costars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as two washed up salesmen, who lost their jobs to the digital world, trying to figure out a new career path. They decide to try for an internship at Google.

So here are two guys in their mid-forties trying to land an internship against a bunch of 20-somethings. To them it was like having their dads with them. What makes it even more interesting is their lack of tech-savviness against the younger generation but they do bring their life experiences. You will see some Google products in the credits such as Google Drive, Translate, Google+, and more.

Keep your browser extensions updated!

It is important to keep all software you use up to date. There are updates for a reason – most likely some of the code used was found to be vulnerable to attacks.

This past week, a popular extension was hijacked. The developer of the Web Developer for Chrome extension had his own account hijacked. The hijackers phished his Google account, then modified the code in his account and pushed it out to users. The version of Web Developer for Chrome that was pushed out is 0.4.9. You need to make sure you have the updated version 0.5 installed NOW!

The version the hijackers uploaded can force ads on pages, capture passwords, or other unreported problems. Consider changing passwords to pages visited during the time of the compromise. The date was August 2. The developer himself admits he fell for a phishing attack that started this. This effected over one million users.

The developer details the events in his blog. The bottom line is anyone can click on a bad link and it is important to have two-factor verification in place.

How do you listen to your tunes?

There are a lot of ways these days to listen to music these days. There are many streaming services these days. Most people stream or use their mp3 players. There are also home devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or coming soon, the Apple HomePod.

The Victor crew even knows someone who still orders CDs to play in their car? But what will happen when he buys a newer car? Many newer cars are starting to abandon them. It has been predicted that up to 46% of new cars will not have CD players by 2021.

You can use a lot of data if you stream from your car (if you don’t have a Wi-Fi service) so you’ll have to rely on your mp3 player, satellite radio, or built-in radio. If you insist on a CD player, you can purchase a portable one that could plug in with your auxilliary cable. Perhaps you can purchase a new car kit with a CD player.

We sure have come a long way from just AM radio. Next came FM. Remember the 8-track players of the 70s? Then they went away to make way for the cassette. Then the piles of cassettes were replaced by piles of plastic discs. Life is getting simpler where you don’t have to store all the discs, cassettes, or 8-tracks anymore.

The Price to say “Buh-Bye Ads!”

Don’t you just love it when you go to a website and you have all these things pop up, music blaring, or you’re reading something and along comes an annoying ad blocking you. There are two sides to this. Some people make their living from these ads. But for the user, it’s no picnic.

Google has joined the Coalition for Better Ads. This coalition has guidelines that should be followed when designing ads for a website. They plan on building a new Chrome browser with this ad-blocking built in. It won’t block all ads and you may only get the most annoying ads from showing.

The up side: maybe you will see fewer annoying ads.
The down side: someone will be making money from this. On the Google post, they mention Funding Choices where publishers can show a customized messages to people who are using ad blockers on their browsers. They can either enable ads or pay for removing the ads on that site through a new Google Contributor program.

So how does Google Contributor work? You buy a $5 pass for a particular website. The site has a per-page fee of their choosing (some are $0.01 per page, some $0.03 per page.) Every time you visit a page without ads, it deducts from the pass. You can add or remove sites from your pass at any time. This is still in beta at this time. They plan the rollout some time in 2018.

Google Post about Ad Blocking
Google Contributor

Geeky April Fools Day

This past Saturday was April Fools Day. The Internet wasn’t short of pranks. The Victor crew enjoyed putting together this list of some of them.

Stack Overflow had fun making this video of their Dance Dance Authentication protocol:

In case you don’t know, Stack Overflow is a site that is used by developers as a forum.

Google had fun with Google Gnome, something to make your backyard smart:

T-Mobile Onesie:

Amazon brought us Petlexa

Honda has Horn Emojis

Gmail Alert

If you use Gmail, like many others, the Victor crew wants you to be aware of a new phishing attack going around. This one is even fooling tech-savvy and security conscious people. They are trying to steal usernames and passwords for Gmail.

It starts as an email that appears to come from someone you know and may even have an image of an attachment you might think is from the sender. If you click on it, it will give a preview, like Gmail normally does but instead, a new tab will open and want you sign in to your Gmail account again. Make sure you look at the address bar and see only https://accounts.google.com… If you see “data:text/html,” before it, (data:text/html,https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=mail), DO NOT ENTER YOUR LOGIN!

If you think you may have already fallen for this attack, change your Google password.

https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2017/01/gmail-phishing-data-uri/
http://www.pcmag.com/news/351113/dont-fall-for-this-sophisticated-gmail-phishing-scam

Ever think about cutting the cord?

Cord-cutting refers to abandoning cable TV for streaming services. There are so many different avenues to go with this, the Victor crew thought we’d do some exploring into what was available.

One thing you can get is a Roku that you can stream many different channels from. It handles Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus for example. Netflix and Amazon have some crossovers, but Hulu Plus will bring you many current TV shows. Another streaming channel to consider is Sling TV for television shows. You might consider Apple TV instead of Roku. Another streaming device is Amazon Fire TV. There’s also Google’s Chromecast. You may want to find reviews on these devices and make your decision.

Another thing to consider is your Internet connection. How strong is it during peak hours? You can test it at speedtest.net or testmy.net. Do several throughout the day and evening to see how much you can handle. You may need to get an HD antenna to get the major networks in full HD.

You can find more information here.

Gmail and Google Calendar App Updates for iOS

Google just revamped the Gmail app for iOS devices today. Why use Gmail app for your Gmail on iOS instead of the native email app? In our opinion, it just works better with Gmail.

Now with its new look, it’s even better. There are quick links to Reply and Forward on the bottom that make it easier to respond. They are calling this the biggest overhaul in four years. This new look makes it more like the Gmail app on Android.

Here are some of the new features:
Undo Send: just like you can on desktop, you can stop the mail mistakes before that mail get sent.
Search Faster: they have sped up instant results and can correct spelling mistakes.
Swipe to archive or delete: In settings, you can choose to have swiped emails either delete or archive into ‘all mail’.

Google has also updated Google Calendar for iOS.
Month view and week in landscape view so you can see your schedule in a glance.
Spotlight search support for Apple’s Spotlight Search.
Alternate calendars – you can add Lunar, Islamic, Hindu calendars alongside your current calendar.

Source:
https://blog.google/products/gmail/gmail-and-google-calendar-get-a-whole-lot-better-on-ios/

Victor crew

Google phase-out

It seems every time you get used to something, it’s taken away! It has been announced recently that Google is going to phase out support for Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux over the next two years. They say existing apps will remain available and can still be updated. They are looking to simplify the Chrome browser. This includes both packaged and hosted apps.

Timeline:
Late 2016, newly-published Chrome apps will be available on Chrome OS. Existing Chrome apps will still be accessible.

In the second half of 2017, the Chrome Web Store will now longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. They will continue to have extensions and themes.

In early 2018, users will no longer be able to load Chrome apps.

Here are some examples of Chrome apps: https://web.appstorm.net/roundups/the-50-best-chrome-web-store-apps/

http://blog.chromium.org/2016/08/from-chrome-apps-to-web.html

The Victor crew

We the Geeks

Did you know there was something called “We the Geeks” on the White House website. The Victor crew came across this one day. So what is it?

We the Geeks is a series of Google+ Hangouts that features the future of science, technology, and innovation in America. They meet with Administration officials and private-sector contributors. You can join in the conversations using #WeTheGeeks and sign up for updates for upcoming hangouts.

Here is one of the last hangouts they streamed:

More info: https://www.whitehouse.gov/we-the-geeks

Start Coding Early

Google has a way to teach kids how to code. Not with a computer but with blocks. Called Project Bloks, it allows kids to learn some skills they need for programming.

They us a brain board based on Raspberry Pi to provide connection to the program and each individual “puck” can be the instructions that go to the brain board to move it. Toys can take any form. Check out the video:

Apple has a way to teach coding in Swift using an app on their iPad. Solve puzzles to learn the basics of Swift. Find out more here: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Not to be outdone, Microsoft also has a way to teach concepts using Minecraft Education Edition. You can find out about it here: http://education.minecraft.net/

We’re sure if you’re an adult you won’t get demerits for trying this out.

The Victor crew

Add your favorite sports team to your Google calendar

Ever want to plan your schedule around your favorite games so you can be there for them? Here’s how you can add the schedule of your team to your calendar so you will always be able to watch them.

First of all, log into your Google account online (this won’t work in mobile).

Click on “Other Calendars” then “Browse Interesting Calendars”

Team Calendar

Once there you can click on Sports.

Team Calendar

We chose Football then NCAA Football next.

Team Calendar

We scrolled down to Ohio State Buckeyes.

Team Calendar

Then looked at a preview of the calendar showing that Buckeyes Football starts September 3rd.

Team Calendar

What’s coming from Google

The Victor crew wants to share some new things coming up from Google.

Google Assistant

Google is unveiling the Google assistant. They say the assistant is two-way conversational. It helps buy movie tickets on the go, will find a restaurant for you to dine before the movie, help navigate to the theater. It is supposed to work seamlessly across devices.

Google Home

Google Home is a voice-activated gadget for your home. You can enjoy entertainment, manage your tasks, answer questions from Google using conversational speech. Just like the assistant, it can play a song, check your flight but also can turn on lights, set an oven timer.

Allo and Duo

Allo is a new messaging app with the Google assistant, so it allows you to interact in your chats. It includes Smart Reply that will suggest responses based on the messages.

Duo is a companion that allows one-to-one video calling.

Learn more here.

WayBack Machine

Ever wonder what websites used to look like? There has been an Internet archive around for years called the WayBack Machine Internet archive. They have saved 472 billion pages over time. You can even save a page now so you will have what it looks like before making a change. The only thing is the site has to allow web crawlers to access the site. That may be why you are not seeing a site you want to see the archive of. Also it won’t be able to crawl past the protected content on passworded sites.

In their blog, they tell us about a grant they received last October to rebuild the site. It won’t be completed until 2017. They have pages going back 19 years!

Here are pictures of Apple.com and Google.com from 1998:

Apple.com May 8, 1998


Google.com December 2, 1998

Google.ORG

Everyone knows about Google. But did you know google.org is a philanthropic side of Google? Each year, they donate $100 million in grants, 200,000 hours, and $1 billion in products.

At this writing, the top spotlight story is Fighting the Zika Virus. They made a $1 million grant to Unicef to help, updated products to make information about Zika more accessible and sent engineers to help analyze data and map the virus.

The second story is about supporting victims of racially-motivated violence here in the U.S. Google.org invested $5 million to support leaders working for racial justice in the criminal and educational systems.

There are sections for Global Giving, Local Giving, Special Programs, and Products.

Global Giving tells where they are helping out in other places, like challenges with disabilities, and using Seed Money. Local Giving talks about Regional Google Impact Challenges, Community Grants, the Bay Area (where they are located), How Googlers give back, and Disaster Relief. Special Programs talks about the above mentioned spotlight stories along with the refugee and migrant crisis, fighting Ebola, and others. The Products section tells how to get Google for nonprofits where you can get discounted or free tools from Google, and the One Today app where you donate $1 a day to a charity.

Chrome OS and Android

Last week several sites reported that Chrome OS was merging with Android to make one system that will run on Chromebooks and Android devices.

Examples of the reports:
http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/29/9639950/google-combining-android-chromeos-report
http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/29/android-chrome-os-merger-coming-next-year/
http://www.wsj.com/articles/alphabets-google-to-fold-chrome-operating-system-into-android-1446151134

These rumors are not true. At least not to the extent they’ve been reported. Chrome OS will always be Chrome OS according to Google’s Chrome blog. In the article they say that Chromebooks are listed as the best-selling laptop computer on Amazon.com. They say they will keep developing Chromebooks and they will only get better over time.

Some Google “Easter Eggs”

Ever play around with Google search just for the fun of it? There are a couple fun things you can do with Google that will give you similar results.

The first is to type in “fun fact” or “fun facts”. What happens? At the very top of the search results they will give you a fun fact.

The second is to type “I’m feeling curious”. You get similar results with a fun fact.

Each comes with a link to where the information comes from that you can read more about the fact. You can also click the large “Ask Another Question” button below the fact.

Here are some of our examples:

Search for “Fun Fact”
Fun Fact

Search for “Fun Facts”
Fun Facts

Search for “I’m felling curious”
I'm Curious

Another search for “I’m feeling curious”
I'm Curious

Have fun!

the Victor crew

Ever wonder what goes on at Google?

Now you can get a glimpse at some of what goes on. Two gals, Nat & Lo, who work at Google now go around Google on their 20% project time to find out what most people don’t get to see. A 20% project (20% of their work time) is given to every employee to work on what they want like pet projects etc.

They are documenting this via YouTube videos. (See below.) So far they have three videos.
The first is an introductory video explaining what they are doing.

The second video, which is actually Episode 1, has them talking to a fellow who works with the Google Street View Trekker program. This program allows people that may be going to remote areas borrow and carry a Google backpack camera system. This is to get areas on street view where their cars cannot go.

In Episode 2, they interview a hardware engineer named Gabby who works in the design kitchen making and testing hardware prototypes.

Catch the videos here:

Update: Since this post there have been more added. The video above links to the full playlist.

What do you do when you think you lost your phone?

There is nothing more discouraging than to think you’ve lost your smart phone. All your personal information could be out there! So what to do?

Safeguarding yourself:

Android:
Make sure you have installed the Device Manager app from the Play Store. It’s not enough to just download it. You need to make sure it is connected to your Google account and that your phone is verified through it. If you stil have trouble, you may need to check your location settings. They must be turned on. You must also go into your Google settings app and turn on the settings there to find your device. When I tested mine it found it and said “Right here in your hand,” so we know this will work.
Make sure you have some sort of security in place for the lock screen. Yes it’s a hassle but it’s worth it. You may have capabilities for fingerprint reading as well.
Don’t keep files with lists of passwords in your cloud drives.

iPhone:
Download and install the Find iPhone app from the App store. Make sure you do everything to set it up. Also you will need your location services on. You should be able to find your devices from your other Apple devices or from icloud.com.
Use whatever lock methods are available to lock your iPhone.
Don’t keep lists of sensitive data available.

In the case of loss or theft:

See if your carrier allows you to suspend service (with or without billing) temporarily so you can try to locate your phone.
Log into Google or iCloud.com and you should be able to either ring your device or erase the data.
Remember, even if you suspend the data plan, it can still be used through wi-fi to wipe it to factory condition and a new number installed.

Hopefully this won’t happen to you.

Jody Victor

What’s Google up to?

Jody Victor’s crew came across a few news items about Google that we’d like to relate to you:

Google Glass
Google Glass will not longer be available in its present state after today. They are pulling the plug on the Explorer Program. You can still purchase it at $1,500.00 through the Play store. With this, if you have already purchased it, don’t expect any updates.

Searching Bands, Events
Google is making it easier to search for your faves. Try entering a band name – you will see on the right of the search places to hear the band’s music (or even purchase it), a list of upcoming events with links to the different areas, a row of their public profiles with social media, Google+ posts and links to a search for each of the members. In some cases you can even purchase tickets to the event from the search. Any company can add the social media to their official site by following these instructions.

Yesterday while wondering who won the latest football games, we simply put “football” in the search bar and the latest scores and game times popped right up.

Softcard
Google may be positioning itself to compete with Apple Pay as it is rumored it is in talks with Softcard. They would integrate Softcard with their Google Wallet to create a creditable rival with Apple Pay. (The first thing I would do is get rid of “Tappy”, their “spokesperson” that is reminiscent of the old Microsoft paperclip office assistant.)

Phishing for your credentials

Google and the University of California, San Diego conducted a study to analyze the effectiveness of email scams. The study ran from 2011 to 2014. They explored how criminals acquire credentials of their victims, how criminals monetized the account credentials and how Google gave control back to the victim.

They found accounts were hijacked most often through phishing. Most of the hijacking attempts came from China, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Nigeria, and South Africa based on the geolocation of their ip addresses. Criminals attempted to access 20% the accounts within half an hour. . Victim’s accounts were found to be restored through SMS 81% of the time. A secondary email address helped 75% of the time. Without these to be relied on, they need to rely on secret questions and the causes the success rate to fall to 14%.

The ways criminals manually hijack an account consists of phishing the user’s credentials, installing malware on the machine to steal the credentials or trying to guess their password. The study was limited to phishing emails sent to victims and specifically to 100 emails selected at random from 5000 emails reported by users. They also used phishing pages that were detected by SafeBrowsing. They found that once they are into the account, the contacts are also targeted.

Of the hundred phishing emails studied January 2014, 62 of them contained urls that pointed to pages designed to impersonate a well-known site to trick users into putting in their credentials. The other 38 emails asked for users to reply to the email with their credentials. Since the emails with the links go to the page from the email itself, they found there wasn’t a referring website when they were tracking which confirmed when they were clicked on.

One surprise is that the most common email addresses being phished had the .edu top domain. The study reported that it was possibly due to schools having less robust spam filters and more social networks being used by the students.

The study estimated that 13.7% of visitors complete the web forms used in phishing, higher than they thought it would be. In order to get some data, they submitted 200 fake credentials into a random sample of phishing pages that asked for Google credentials. They recorded the times so they could follow the response times. They found 20% of the fake accounts were accessed within half an hour and 50% within 7 hours. Once logged in, they spent an average of 3 minutes to assess the value of the account before exploiting it. The criminals would look through email history for the victim’s banking information or what they flagged as important.

The hijackers would spend some time going through emails and contacts to see how they could monetize the account. They found some of the scams to consist of story to pull at people’s heartstrings in order to try to make some money.

What you can do:
Use 2-factor login. Check your account often. Have backup email address or SMS number available for account recovery.

Jody Victor

Ever wish you could undo an app?

Have you ever purchased an app or game and wish you hadn’t? Well the Victor crew found out that now there is a 2-hour window on Google Play where you can return an app. If the 2-hour return period has passed, you can contact the app developer directly to see if he/she will refund it. You cannot return an app or game more than once.

Here is what you do:

Mobile Device
On a mobile device, open the Google Play Store app. Touch the Menu icon then My Apps. Select the app or game you’d like to return and then Refund. Follow the instructions to complete the refund and uninstall the game or app. After the return time you can see an Uninstall button instead of a Refund button. You can uninstall the app or game but will not get a refund.

Android TV
Open Google Play Store app. Select the app you want to cancel. Select Refund. Same as above you will see an Uninstall button after the 2-hour window and can uninstall without a refund.

Computer
Go to the Google Play store with your browser. Click the gear icon then My Orders. Hover over the game or app you’d like to return. Click the menu icon that will appear. Select Report a problem > I’d like to request a refund. Describe the reason for the refund then click Submit.

Source: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/134336?hl=en

Tech news tidbits: FiOS, Chrome, Toyota

Jody‘s crew likes to stay up to date on some of the latest news in tech out there. Here are a few interesting finds:

Verizon FiOS – Upload speeds will now match download speeds. If you have 75mps download speed, you will now have 75mps upload speed as well. If you are enrolled in the MyRewards+ program, you will get your equalizing speeds sooner than those not enrolled. This will continue through the fall. Read about it here.

Google Chrome – Google is finally addressing a bug in its Chrome browser that eats up system resources. It seems to show more on laptops where resources are more noticeably affected by it. Rather than changing the rate of usage by what it’s doing, it stays clocked at the highest possible rate as long as it is open. Solution for laptop users – use a different browser.

Toyota – The newest Toyota Sienna minivan has an optional built-in microphone to amplify the driver’s voice through the speakers. It only works one way. It is called “Driver Speak Easy.” So “stop fighting or I’ll pull the car over” will be heard more readily! There are a some other new features on this minivan like a pull-down mirror so the driver can check on the kids without turning around, a Blue-ray entertainment system in the back.

Tech news this week

Yahoo!
You may have already heard of Yahoo! Screen. Now they want to go a step further and compete somewhat with YouTube, even poaching their some of their stars according to an article by re/code. They aren’t looking to allow users to upload all their content but want to pick the most popular ones and offer better deals.

Google
If you are a developer, you would have received an email by now telling of the revamped Google Play Developer Program Policy. Google is attempting to cut down on deceptive advertising practices from app developers and other third-party services. You can view the policy and hopefully report any apps that may be violating the new rules.

Printer Ink
Want to save money on ink? Use Garamond font. A 14-year-old boy from Pittsburgh, Suvir Mirchandani, did a study on his own to see how he could save his school district some money. He found he could save as much as $21,000/year just by switching to the thinner Garamond font. You can read about his research here.

Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook plans to use drones and lasers to improve Internet access. They plan to fly drones over areas that don’t have access. They are also looking into beaming Internet to people from the sky. Read more here.

~ Jody Victor

Some tech ideas for Christmas 2013

I thought you might like to consider some of these tablets for Christmas this year:

From Amazon: The Kindle Fire HDX 7″
This is the 3rd generation Kindle Fire. This is the one you see on the TV commercial where the guy pushes the Mayday button and a customer service rep pops up in the corner. The rep can walk you through problems or even take over your tablet. You can download the Amazon Kindle Freetime app that allows parents to control the time limits and apps if you let your children use it. The drawbacks are, you don’t get full access to the Google Play store, you have to download apps from Amazon’s appstore. You won’t find some of the popular apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive. There is only a front-facing camera. $230.

From Google: Google Nexus 7
This runs the newest version of Android, 4.4 Kit Kat. It has a rear and front camera and is preloaded with standard Google apps. $229.

From Samsung: Galaxy Tab 3 7″ Kids
This tablet was designed specifically for kids. It comes in fun colors with a rubber case to protect it. I thas big buttons, limited access to settings, and kid-type apps preloaded. It has front and back cameras. $190.

From Apple: iPad Air
This is the latest iPad (5th generation). It is thinner and lighter, faster with better video. There are a few versions – based on size (16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB) and connectivity (Wi-fi or Wi-fi and LTE). Prices start at $499.

From Apple: iPad Mini with Retina Display
Very similar to the iPad Air in a smaller package. Starts at $399.

~ Jody Victor