New Smart TV on your Christmas list? Be careful of what features you get on your TV. Specifically the ones with cameras or microphones built in. They could be used to spy on you according to the FBI.
Smart TVs connect to the Internet in order to update, download apps, connect through the apps. Some of the newer ones have built-in cameras for facial recognition so they can suggest your favorite programming. Microphones are generally used for voice control for the remotes to change channels.
If your Smart TV is unsecured, hackers can listen and watch you as well, or take control of the TV. If you can’t turn off the camera, consider using black tape over the lens. Make sure to keep the software updated.
If you are victimized by any fraud on the Internet, contact the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center).
Are there times when you aren’t sure you are getting the speed from your ISP that you pay for? Running a simple test on your computer will tell you. First you need to know that the speed you receive via a computer connected through an ethernet cable may be closer to what your ISP says you have and connections through Wi-Fi will be lower.
Why would you need to do these tests? Well if you are streaming and run into a lot of buffering problems or connection problems, you might want to take a look at your speeds. Are others in your household doing things that require more bandwidth such as streaming or gaming?
Here are a few sites you can test (we are supposed to have 75 mbps up and down with FiOS):
Many ISPs have a speedtest if you want to try them – in some cases you just the need the url of your ISP then add /speedtest/ to the end of it.
So what is Net Neutrality and why is it in the news lately? Jody Victor’s crew will try to answer these questions.
According to wikipedia, Net Neutrality is “the principle that Internet all Internet traffic should be treated equally.” Open Internet is the “idea that the full resources of the Internet and means to operate on it are easily accessible to all individuals and companies.”
According to theOpenInter.net, “Network neutrality is the idea that your cellular, cable, or phone internet connection should treat all websites and services the same. Big companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast want to treat them differently so they can charge you more depending on what you use.” The site has an interesting info-graphic explaining this.
Have you ever looked at “a website about everything”? There are many websites that may fit that description. Maybe wikipedia.com. The one showing that phrase right on their home page is reddit.com. On reddit.com, everone is a “redditor” – they can vote on stories and discussions. The stories and discussions with the most votes rise to the top. You can create a community called a “subreddit” which is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers. You can choose which subreddits you want to see. Anyone can comments can be posted on every story. There is a page with “reddiquette” so you know what the rules are.
Right now reddit claims to have over 6,000,000,000 pages. Yesterday, they had over 3 million logins. If you want to see a fun way to learn about it, you can watch this video. You could easily get caught up in it so be careful how much you use it. We’ve heard it said that reddit should be the front page of the Internet.
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.
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.
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.
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‘s crew found an article citing one in seven Americans don’t use the Internet. In the article, Steven Vaughan-Nichols talks about a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project from May 2013 that 34% of the Americans not using the Internet aren’t even interested in it. They say it’s not relevant to them. 32% say it’s not easy to use, frustrating, and they are afraid of spam, hackers, spyware. 19% state it’s too expensive to own a computer or pay for connection.
Nearly half of the non-Internet users are over 65. Maybe some of you tech-savvy youngsters can help your family connect!
I was telling Jody about this article I ran across the other day on the internet called “Meet the Rules of the Internet“. They chose some of their favorites from different places (most are tongue-in-cheek.) They are as follows:
Nothing is Sacred. No exceptions
Anything you post will eventually become public.
Anything you post can and will be used against you.
If you post something epically stupid it will go viral.
Whatever viral thing you love today you will come to hate tomorrow.
However bizarre or obscure your interests, someone shares them.
There are facts on the internet if you know where to look.
Everything on the internet is free or will be soon.
Post pictures or it didn’t happen. (Photoshop is an amazing tool.)
If it exists, there is porn of it.
YOU SHOULD NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPS.
Anything can be made better by adding cats … or babies.
Jody was curious about the origins of Cyber Monday. This is what he found out:
Cyber Monday is a term first used by shop.com in November 2005. It has since become one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. The name grew from the observation that people were returning from their Thanksgiving break to their high-speed Internet and buying what they liked on Monday at work.
Cyber Monday Online sales went from $610M in 2006 to $1,251M in 2011. This year is projected to be $1.5B and up to as much as $2B.
Many employers had to fire employees or restrict/block employees from accessing certain websites.
In 2006, shop.com set up a new website, cybermonday.com, where you can see many deals all at once.
Don’t shop at work.
Don’t shop while driving.
Sites like cybermonday.com allow you to comparison shop.