Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Jump Into The Internet

More and more seniors are jumping into the Internet. Some are moving to countries like Panama to “Enjoy Paradise”, and need a cheap way to stay in contact with family back home. Some are introduced to FaceBook by their grand children. Some have heard that they can sell their junk on eBay and get more money than at a garage sale.

There is no question that in today’s world, the Internet has become a necessary part of life.

Unfortunately the vast majority of newcomers are not equipped with the knowledge of the traitorous waters they are entering into to protect themselves.

Maybe it is time for another warning that most will skip over without reading.

I do not care if you are a Microsoft Windows advocate, an Apple fan or a Linux maverick. None of the systems are absolutely safe. All have worked hard to make their systems safer, but there will never be a completely safe system as long as humans are using them.

I happened to stumble onto this article and it brought to light a new set of flaws I had not considered. I think most people that use AntiVirus programs never think about the vulnerabilities of those systems. Continue reading

Planet Telecom Announces Expanded Coverage from Volcan Baru

I received a request to post the following:

DAVID, Chiriqui, Panama: July 26, 2014: Planet Telecom is pleased to announce the commissioning of our new internet broadcast site on the peak of Volcan Baru.

This new site will help us provide enhanced coverage to many areas where signal was previously weak or unavailable.
As Panama’s highest peak, Volcan Baru is an ideal site for internet transmission, it has the few obstructions, allowing us to provide clients with fast, reliable service.
The areas that will benefit most from this enhanced coverage include: Boquete, Caldera, Palmira, Poterillos, Cuesta de Piedra, Volcan, Cerro Punta, Boca Chica, and Puerto Armuelles.
By adding this site to our network of tower sites across Chiriqui, we will be able to serve more clients in “hard to reach” areas.

About Planet Telecom: Since 2009 Planet Telecom has been providing reliable, high quality, high speed internet service in the province of Chiriqui, Panama. In addition, Planet Telecom provides networking services, security and video surveillance systems as well as cell phone signal boosters.

For additional information, please check out our website: www.ptpanama.com, email at sales@ptpanama.com or call us at 777-9200

Dropped My VPN for UNLOCATOR

Yesterday I canceled my WITopia VPN renewal in favor of UNLOCATOR. Today, I received an email from WITopia providing me the reasons for continuing my VPN service.

Here is the content of that email.

Hello,

I just wanted you to know that your account will not be charged again when your service expires on August 19th.

There are many reasons to use a VPN. I believe just about anyone who uses the Internet can benefit from a VPN.

You may want to use a VPN if:

1.You want to protect your data over the internet
2. You wish to encrypt VOIP traffic (internet voice calls)
3. You use the Internet on public networks, where other users on the same network can tap into your connection.
4. You don’t want search engines such as Google, Bing, etc. storing your every Internet search – forever
5. You wish you navigate the Internet anonymously and privately.
6. You don’t want your ISP monitoring and logging your internet activity – including every webpage you visit.
7. You wish to protect yourself from identity theft.

Just a few things to consider before discontinuing use of the VPN entirely.

Thanks for trying us out.

Regards,

First let me say that my service with WITopia was stellar and their reasons are worth considering. My primary reason for using WITopia and UNLOCATOR is to be able to utilize NetFlix and other US services that are blocked in Panama. UNLOCATOR satisfies those needs with less speed degradation than a VPN.

Still the issues listed in in WITopia’s email are worth talking about. Continue reading

Unlocator out of Beta

Unlocator has ended its beta environment and the free trial is over. I received an email the other day that I had it another 7 days and now was the time to pay the piper. I just did that. I went for the one year $49.95 option.

As I have written before, I have been using Unlocator since it began beta. I have been very happy with the service. It has been much faster than using my VPN because it does not encrypt the transmission both ways. It does not replace the need for a VPN, but if you use it to watch a service in the US such as Netflix, I have found it much better.

Another benefit over VPN is that it behaves much better with Gmail. I continually had problems with Gmail and the VPN because it saw me entering from different places and would make me sign in manually to verify it was me. Unilocator uses the local IP address.

While it is not free, it is reasonably priced. HERE is the link if you want to keep the service. Note also that they changed the DNS addresses, so if you are still using the old DNS, now is the time to change.

Internet Advice needed For A Reader

Any readers with experience that might answer this CC question I just received?

The info I have read about internet in your blog seems dated. I am wanting any new info on who the best provider would be for me in 2014.

I am on an island in the bay of Meurtos. About 7-8 kms from Boca Chica.

We have used a usb internet stick from Claro but it was hit & miss. Planet Telecom is out on Boca Bravo & with a small tower I could get line of sight & make it work. I think MoviStar has a system for internet too. Claro seems to have a 4 G modem router. I am not sure if it would work better. The stick we were using would be on & off. Some days it would work alright, some not much at all.
Satellite is an option & VOIP phone may be able to be bundled.

Any of your readers have any recent pearls of knowledge to share??

Happy new year to you & yours.

Why I Write About Technology

I realize I write many posts related to technology. Every time I do, I receive comments and emails that tell me that many readers tune out when they see one of these posts.

So why do I do it? Well, for one thing, technology has always been a large part of my life, both as a hobby and as a profession. However, a bigger reason is that if you are a person moving from the US or Europe or any first world country and have most of your family ties back in your country of origin, then you will have to become more familiar with technology than had you not moved.

Even though I realize you have to be a little conversant with technology or you would not be reading this blog, and even though I have written similar posts in the past, I will do one more.

MAIL

As you can see from the recent posts, on Proof Of Life, the mail system in Panama is not very dependable. Most people use a Mail Forwarding Company to receive normal mail and packages. Not cheap, but dependable. I currently use Multiservicios International De Chiriquí.

Most of these types of services are similar. None are perfect, but if you find one you like, switching will rarely be worth the trouble.

For the amount of mail I get from the US, this has been the cheapest I have found.

To satisfy a Proof of Life address, I am now using a PO Box in David. I will use it only for Taxes and Social Security. I also will not count on it being 100% dependable. I am still waiting for my first letter from the US which was sent a month ago. Next week I will chat with the management. I hope they don’t go postal. Continue reading

Reflecting on a Rainy Day

Have you ever sat back and asked yourself if there was anything you are really missing in your life? You know that special item that would make you complete. I do that often and I am always relieved when I come to the conclusion that I have it all.

Oh, sure I could wish that my kids had more money and in my son’s case better health. However, I would never wish that they had so much money that they would lose the appreciation one gets from the simpler things in life.

I have mentioned this before. I have had more money in the past, but I have never had more happiness. As I sit on my terrace a gentle rain is making circles on the swimming pool. The air is fresh from the cleansing the rain is providing.

I have beautiful music playing on Pandora, my tummy is full and I finished reading the book I just wrote about in a previous post. I think the the book was even improved by the environment in which it was read. There is nothing like reading in a music filled stress free setting.

Even the occasional thunder added to the chemistry of making me think all is right with the world. I wish more people could feel as good as I feel today.

The biggest challenge I am facing is deciding what type of bread to bake tomorrow. I promised I would cook lunch tomorrow, and I think some fresh baked bread will be a welcome addition. I normally bake a Dill Bread recipe, but this time I want something different. Suggestions are welcome.

I will, go by El Rey in the morning and pick up a couple items I am missing. Maybe a little wine will be called for as it will have been a long time since I took on the cooking duty. The wine will will either help celebrate a success or make everyone forget how bad it is.

“…A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness – Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

Have I told you that it really doesn’t get better than this?

Internet Security and Passwords

I am in Panama City for a couple days. Today and tomorrow, I will be meeting with the Embassy for Warden’s Appreciation meetings and training sessions. Luckily, this time I am in PC with a capable laptop and don’t feel cutoff from the Internet.

Connecting to the Internet here has reminded me of a couple security items.

First, I am connected to a secure router requiring a password. However, when I turn on my PC I can see it and another 30 available routers. Most require a password, there are two InternetParaTodos free connections, and a few routers that the owner has not secured.

I have advised the owner, of the router I am on, to turn off broadcast mode so his router is not visible. If no can see your router, it is practically impossible to break in. Not impossible, but almost. If you use the default settings on a router, then others can try the various manufactures general settings.

Moving past router connection security, I want to talk about password management again. I have covered it several times, the last being HERE.

I started using LastPass as my password manager about 8 months ago. With it, I only have to remember one HARD TO CRACK password. I let it remember all the rest. I still currently use the free version, but am considering moving to the premium version so it will be available on my iPhone and iPad.

The primary reason for using a password manager is to have different HARD TO CRACK passwords on all sites. When you have multiple email accounts, multiple credit cards, multiple banks, multiple websites requiring sign-in, then remembering them all is impossible.

I can’t do it and doubt if many can, so they just use the same simple password on all sites. I just used a password tester on my password and it said it would take 500 iterations to crack it. I will change that in the next week by a factor of ten.

Since my need to improve my own security was on my mind, I thought I would post another awareness post for others. The Internet is less safe each day and you have to practice safe behavior. You can’t cover your PC with a condom and expect it to do any good. ;)

Whew!

The other day I received the upgrades for my Mac Mini that I had mentioned in a previous post. Normally, when I work on PCs I don’t worry too much, because I have always had a spare.

This time was different. Since downsizing, I am depending on my 2010 Mac Mini. The biggest problem I foresaw was that it had a relatively small hard drive and I didn’t think it would hold all the data from the iMac I sold. It also needed a small speed increase.

It took me literally two days to accomplish the upgrade. The installation of the SSD was a little more difficult than I expected. However, I got the SSD installed and installing the Snow Leopard OS that came on the system was no real problem.

With this done, I could see that all components of the PC still functioned. First deep breath taken.

Next I needed to install the Mountain Lion OS. This was my first mental challenge. The previous hardware installation required a little manual dexterity. This one just required mental agility, apparently more than I had after the SSD install. Continue reading

Neat Stuff


This is pretty neat. I am doing this post on my iPad which is tethered to my iPhone. I am in a location where I need to access the Internet and my iPad is WiFi only.

While viewing the Internet on an iPhone is possible and I do it all the time, it is really difficult to type much on an iPhone.

Tethering allowed me to connect to the Internet on the iPhone, but use the iPad for all viewing and data entry.