Have you ever thought to yourself, "Self, it sure would be nice if I could automate certain tasks without having to learn how to code or root my device."? Well, take a look at IFTTT (pronounced like Gift, without the "G").
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. To use it, you create an account and then build recipes. This is just clever terminology for actions that you wish to automate. Let's say, for example. on the first day of the month, in the morning, you want to download all of the images from your phone's camera to a desired location (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc).
9 times out of 10 there is a "recipe" or command that has already been developed to do just that. This is a great way to automate routine tasks that you may do either by phone, tablet, or PC. But when you start thinking across devices and platforms, then you enter the arena known as The Internet of Things. This is a clear and simple way to dive into the Internet of Things, or, the interconnectedness of devices, as opposed to multiple stand-alone devices.
For example, some of the "recipes" that already exist for IFTTT users include:
Now, many of these require another connected smart device: Nest thermostat or fire alarm for home; Fitbit, Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs, Wemo/Belkin devices, and the list goes on. But that should not discourage you from giving IFTTT a try. I'm sure there are some things in your electronic life that you would like to automate. Give IFTTT a try on those items, and see how you like it.
IFTTT is available on iTunes and Google Play for both iOS and Android devices, and can be run from your computer(s) as well.
When the head of Google + stepped down recently, the assumption was that Google seemed to be backing away from the original Google+ strategy, in which it tries to compete with Facebook and Twitter.
It makes sense for the company to back off of forced integration of Google +. As a Google user, I'm happy to use the tools I select - I don't like the fact that I must create a Google + profile to upload content to You Tube, for example. It adds a layer of unnecessary complexity to something that should be relatively straightforward (a standard Google profile).
In short, if you must force your users into your Social vision, you're doing it wrong. Do you use Google +? Why or why not?
You are probably too wise to fall for this, but since everyone is online these days - from children to seniors - tech support scams and their impact are an unfortunate growing industry. Keep about this threat so that you can protect your friends and family.
Imagine getting a cold call from an unknown phone number. The person calling you says that they're calling from Windows or Apple or Microsoft, and advise that your computer seems to be infected. Then they advise their certified technician can help you.
If this has happened to you or someone you know, you have been a victim of scamming. How severe a victim depends on whether or not you believed the caller, granted them access to your computer, and provided your credit card information.
These kinds of tech support scams have been around for almost a decade, and while the FTC is aware of them, it is not very effective at stopping them. This article from Malwarebytes expertly summarizes the variety of tech support scams out in the wild. They range from cold-calling, fraudulent toll-free numbers that fill up search results, and fake pop-ups. Once you are talking with a phony tech support agent, you will be requested to grant remote access to your computer, during which a whole new set of scams are applied to make it appear your computer is infected.
During a remote access session, the scammer can implant anything onto your computer -you effectively grant them full control. So, you provide your credit card information to have this issue cleaned up. You are then held hostage to this scam which will continue to charge your credit card to keep your computer "safe", or relaunch the spammy software that it paused previously.
The main point I stress with elder relatives is this:
No legitimate technical support entity is going to phone you out of the blue to assume your computer is running slowly. If in doubt, take down their contact information and tell them you'll phone back. In most cases, that will end the call right there.
If you are having a computer problem, here is what I suggest:
The Malwarebytes article is an excellent resource with screen shots of what fraudulent "tech support" people may show you, along with an explanation of what you are actually seeing. It concludes with a Tech Support Black List of known fraudulent "tech support" resources.
Stay safe out there!