Category Archives: Google

New Technology and Old Minds

I have received the new 128 GB Google Pixelbook and am going through the process of understanding how to work in a Chrome environment.

Most people that move to Panama only use a computer for email, to watch videos and surf the Internet. For that, a Chromebook fills the bill and is much more secure than an Apple or Microsoft PC. Chromebooks can be picked up from around $150 to $1,650 for the top Google Pixelbook. The difference in price is for memory, internal storage and processor capability.

You really don’t need a lot of memory because your main storage medium will be the cloud. Obviously, that does mean that you need WiFi connectivity to the Internet.

I always felt that the Chrome environment would be beneficial to those living in Panama because of its built-in security and secure environment design. While the Chrome environment is more secure from viruses, trojans, and malware, it does not eliminate the need for good passwords.

If you use the internet to enter your bank account, view Facebook, read email, etc, and use the same password for all sites, then you are asking for trouble and no system will protect you. I recommend a unique password for all sites and use the LastPass password manager.  With it, I only need to remember one password and LastPass remembers the rest. I also use two-factor authentication to protect access to the LastPass account. For that, I use AUTHY. Continue reading New Technology and Old Minds

Just When You Thought It was Safe to Go Into The Water

You should read the following article. https://www.androidcentral.com/hide-yo-kids-hide-yo-wi-fi-cuz-they-hacking-errbody-here

If you live in Panama and typically use WiFi at public places, you should be even more concerned. The fix will require a ROM fix for all WiFI routers and many public places in Panama will never update their routers.

All hardware vendors should be providing fixes soon. This is probably the most serious security hole that has been found to date.

If you have a home router providing Wifi, then you will need to watch your router manufacturer for a ROM update. Google should be providing a software fix for its OS soon.

Security Now

When I have time, I enjoy watching the podcast of Security Now on  You Tube. If you are concerned about technology security, this is a good investment of 2 hours a week.

As the world has changed, computers and technology are in every part of our lives. There is almost nothing that you touch or use that is not affected by technology.

I truly do not believe you can move to a foreign country without having a Smart Phone.

I am amazed how often I use Google Maps to find some office or place of interest in David or Chiriquí.

You have to be connected. Not only do you need a phone to call offices or people, but you need them to keep up with your friends and family back in your country of origin. Continue reading Security Now

Pixel and Me – 1 Month + later.

I have been using my Google Pixel for over a month now. With each day, I appreciate it more. It is the only brand, in the Android fleet, that truly competes with the Apple iPhone. Yes, Sony and Samsung have premium devices that are great phones, but they lack one thing. That is direct, immediate support from Google with the OS.

I think Google rushed the phone to market a little early and that is the reason it is missing the waterproofing that it gets knocked for. I’m not bothered by not having it. There is the the lack of waterproofing, but I like the build and finish.

If there is a downside to the Android OS, it is that it is a more open operating system than Apple’s IOS and you can truly tailor your device to your personality. By being able to tailor it, you can also install some software that isn’t safe, if you don’t know what you are doing. If you install software that doesn’t come from Google’s Play Store, you cant be sure if you are loading a valid copy or not.

I think Android is plenty usable without tailoring, but there is that flexibility. If you only download software from Google Play Store, then the apps should be as safe as apps from Apple’s App store.

Another caution to mention is that there are so many Android phone brands out there and they are not all equally supported. In today’s world a properly maintained computer has a chance of keeping bad things out. Make no mistake, today’s smart phones are computers and you need to pay attention to security.

Back to my experience with my Google Pixel. Continue reading Pixel and Me – 1 Month + later.

Moving to Panama – Technology Cons

This is the second post on technology’s role for people moving to Panama.

In this post I will focus on some of the dangers that technology poses for those that are new to using technology.

Passwords

Let’s start with the most obvious. The technology I am talking about requires the Internet to be useful. Connecting to the Internet will require an email address and an email account requires a password.

This is the first point of failure for most people. They don’t realize how important it is to have a hardened secure password. I have written several posts that cover the password subject and won’t cover the topic in detail here. A search on this blog for “passwords” will bring up old posts.

I will summarize what I have previously written as follows. All sites and emails requiring a password should have unique passwords. If you are using the same password for multiple things, you are already in danger. Continue reading Moving to Panama – Technology Cons