Recharging your batteries: How to stay powered up

No matter where you are, it helps to have access to charged cell phones and other mobile devices.

No matter where you are, it helps to have access to charged cell phones and other mobile devices.

(NewsUSA) - Who hasn't experienced that moment of panic when your smartphone is about to die just when you need it most? Without our tech gadgets -- and that includes everything from iPods to gaming devices to the latest tablets -- most of us feel absolutely lost. 

The problem has been finding a quality universal battery pack that works well at recharging the whole gamut.

And that's as convenient to use whether traveling or in your own stomping ground.

And, oh yes, one that looks good, too. 

Enter Rayovac (www.rayovac.com), which has long been the go-to source for reliable batteries. Its stylishly designed, white Platinum Rechargeable Power Pack may be no bigger than a cell phone -- though not so small that it gets lost in a pocketbook or suitcase -- but it's the complete and innovative solution that tech users have been waiting for.

With three hours of recharging via USB or outlet, the power pack is ready to give your gadgets an extra six hours of use. In fact, its 800-mAh internal Lithium Ion rechargeable battery means it's possible to charge an MP3 player, for example, three times on just one recharge of the power pack.

What's more, its accompanying adapters are good for all Micro USB, Mini USB and Apple devices.

Think of it. No more cameras dying half-way into your hiking or camping adventures because of batteries that need resuscitating. Ditto dead iPods and e-readers on road trips and long flights. 

And as for those dreaded missed calls -- be they business or personal -- frequent travelers will be especially glad to have packed the Platinum Rechargeable Power Pack, which is only available at Walmart, along as a travel buddy.

Posted on August 1, 2017 .

How to navigate hard drive recovery

When facing corrupt data or a crashed hard drive, consult recovery experts.

When facing corrupt data or a crashed hard drive, consult recovery experts.

(NewsUSA) - It's alarming every time your computer glitches in the middle of working on a crucial project -- alarm that rapidly turns to agitation and panic when you can no longer access important files on the hard drive. Whether the files are business-related or a personal cache of photos, music and blog posts, most everyone has felt the pain -- losing drafts for proposals, contracts, grants or financial data, the list is literally endless.

So, where do you turn to recover your hard work -- and possibly save your job?

"It's frustrating and disappointing because a lot of areas of the computing industry are really well developed," explains Nick Johnson, executive of HardDriveRecovery.com -- a Los Angeles-based business looking to fill gaps in the world of data recovery. "You'd think that with such a crucial part of the computing system being corruptible, they would develop an adequate service to resolve it when it comes up."

A crashed hard drive is worse than the spiderweb cracks across the face of a busted iPhone 5. No matter what is stored on a device, if the majority of data is unrecoverable, a crashed hard drive unleashes a wave of panic.

Depending on the damage and source of the problem, there is a variety of data recovery software. But, DIY data fixes can lead to worse problems.

"You risk further corruption of the data," says Johnson. "That's probably the biggest concern out there because there's so many points of potential failure that if you don't have extensive experience, you don't know how to address it. There are a lot of instances that require a great deal of finesse, and that's where having an expert is a real benefit."

The risks of an inexperienced or anonymous technician recovering private files can be huge. What if the drive is wiped clean entirely? Can you trust them with your data? Will they overcharge you?

In many cases, Johnson says these are valid concerns. "One of biggest problems we found is the price schemes," he says. "Because it's unknown what the actual price will be. Oftentimes, companies will give an estimate that's hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars less than the actual bill they give you when the work is complete. That's why it's important to find a reputable company to do your hard drive recovery."

According to Johnson, the best way to prepare yourself is by equipping computers with up-to-date antiviral software. But regardless of the hardware or brand, there's always potential for failure. Learn more at www.harddriverecovery.com.

Posted on August 1, 2017 .

Making email secure is just not that difficult

Email security is not the problem—it’s how we use email that is the problem. There has been no lack of press and attention regarding the insecurity of email and the consequences of account hacking. Look no further than the latest elections, the Sony Pictures hack, the latest Yahoo compromise, etc. We hear about the problem all the time. What is missing from all the discussion is how to solve the problem.

Keeping emails secure can be simpler—and more necessary—than many people realize.

Keeping emails secure can be simpler—and more necessary—than many people realize.

Email in its stock form is inherently insecure but that does not mean that it must stay that way. With a little bit of effort, one can confidently send secure email with virtually no risk of the contents being compromised. 

An analogy is that of a car and a seat belt. Cars are useful and largely safe. But we can make them safer by buckling up. While seat belts were not used regularly for many years, today, we understand their benefit and they are widely used. We need to make email safe and secure and we can do this when email encryption becomes as widely used. So get ready to buckle up before sending.

Email Suffers From Two Problems: 

The first problem is that the content of your e-mails is readable when the email is “at rest” (stored on either your system or on the corporate or cloud-based server such as Gmail). Emails that are at rest can be easily read by any administrator with rights to administer the system or by anyone with your e-mail address and password.

The second problem is guaranteeing your identity or the identity of someone sending you an email. Your identity or that of any sender can easily be spoofed. You have no way to be confident that the email you received was from who it claims to be, nor can anyone be confident that email from you came from you. All one needs is a friendly email server (i.e., one where you have administrator rights) to spoof email “To:” and “From:” addresses.

While these problems are significant, there is a great and relatively easy way to buckle up when using email that solves both problems. 

Encrypting your emails end to end (E2E) from within the email client solves the problem by ensuring that they are safe and secure at rest (and in flight). Your content might get hacked but the hackers wouldn’t be able to read the content because it is encrypted. If your account has been compromised such that a third party has access, they wouldn’t have access to your encryption keys and thus couldn’t decrypt your content. 

The second problem is solved with a technology that is closely related to encryption called Signing. When an email is signed electronically, it guarantees that the sender is as advertised. 

How does one get these protections? First, both sides of the communication need to agree to participate. It also takes an extra step, like buckling up your seat belt—you need to press a button (within your email client) to secure your email. 

Modern encryption products such as those offered by Trustera let you encrypt and sign your emails using your existing email accounts and using whatever platform you might like to consume and send emails. Trustera supports iPhone/iPad, Android, Mac, Windows, and Windows Outlook. 

Much like with buckling up or backing up your data, we all know we should be more secure with our messaging and now we easily can. There is no better time than now to start encrypting your emails. It is just not that hard to make email safe and secure. Though the hackers hope you don’t. - NAPSI

Posted on June 3, 2017 .

Five ways to help your child become a responsible digital citizen 

by YALDA T. UHIS, M.B.A., Ph.D.
UCLA, Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, Adjunct Professor, Common Sense Media, youth development expert

A new cartoon show can help kids enjoy learning how to handle digital media.

A new cartoon show can help kids enjoy learning how to handle digital media.

Why is “Dot.,” a new original animated series on Sprout from Industrial Brothers in association with The Jim Henson Company and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, so timely and important? In 2017, 10 years after the iPhone was introduced, mobile technology has rapidly changed the way we interact with media. Children as young as 2 use tablets and phones—swiping, tapping and viewing to gain access to content. For today’s youngest digital natives, digital tools are an integral part of their lives, used in fluid ways to explore their worlds. Technology is not SEPARATE but instead a PART of their lives, an important tool that helps them play, learn, socialize and engage. 

Mobile interactive apps and games provide ample opportunities for children to move their bodies, learn, create digital masterpieces and explore everything and anything that captures their imagination. At the same time, in today’s 24/7 digital environment, children can use media to make impulsive choices, view material that is not age appropriate or communicate inappropriately. The benefits are great but the risks must be mitigated.

When The Jim Henson Company asked me to be an advisor on preschool TV show “Dot.,” I enthusiastically agreed. The show’s creators wanted to embed digital citizenship lessons into each episode to help guide both children and parents to responsibly navigate technology. 

The hope is that through Dot’s experiences, children learn to harness the power of this interactive and informational medium in the most productive and pro-social manner. By starting to teach these digital citizenship skills early, parents can ensure that their children learn best practices and develop the skills they need to take advantage of the many opportunities that technology and media offer us.

Each episode features a learning theme—Making, Digital Citizenship, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Teamwork, Empathy, and Perspective Taking—and integrates a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) curriculum.

Five ways to help your child become a Digital Citizen:

1. The most important thing is to model good behavior. This means think about your media use and what your children see you doing. 

2. Find times when the whole family has no devices—dinner table, walks to school, hikes, sport games. The most important thing is that they learn there are times that are screen free—and that it is essential to build these into our day. 

3. Pick your battles. If you don’t want your teens to “unfriend” you or even worse create another page you won’t know about, don’t ask about every transgression and let a few things slide. Try saying a few positive things each day about their media use. 

4. Live where they live. Remember, it’s not just about social media…it’s also about what they’re watching, reading, and listening to. Common Sense Media is an amazing source for comprehensive information.

5. Look for teachable moments in the real world. You can use things that happen in real life to create stories that may resonate for teens. Bring them up in conversation. Often, kids’ ears will perk up when they hear these stories.

About Dot

Dot is an 8-year-old inquisitive and exuberant tech-savvy girl who launches herself into adventures and fearlessly sets about solving problems by making mistakes and laughing even more along the way. Based on the book of the same title by best-selling author and text expert Randi Zuckerberg, “Dot.” airs weekly on Sprout and is streaming now on Hulu. Visit www.hensonfamilyhub.com. - NAPSI

Posted on June 3, 2017 .

How to embrace digital organizational tools

Calendar apps can be optimized using reminders, alarms and even recurring entries.

Calendar apps can be optimized using reminders, alarms and even recurring entries.

When internet usage switched from mere fad to fully functional, few people may have imagined just how profound — and mobile — it would become. While electronic use was largely stationary as recently as a few years ago, it’s now second nature for users to send and receive information on the go. 


Smartphone use has increased dramatically in recent years, and these pocket-sized devices can be reliable hubs of information. The same devices that keep people in touch can help them stay more organized. Here’s how to use mobile devices to stay on top of schedules and other organizational jobs.

Calendars
One of the more useful smartphone organizational tools is the calendar app. Depending on the operating system or app used, calendar entries can be synchronized across phones and devices. That makes it possible to pull up your calendar while on the go or when sitting at a desktop computer. Calendar apps can be optimized using reminders, alarms and even recurring entries.

Shopping
Smartphones have revolutionized shopping, but even those who still shop in more traditional ways can use their mobile devices to make the process easier. Apps like Out of Milk can keep a running tally of ingredients and items in the pantry to make it easier to maintain shopping lists. The virtual megastore mySupermarket enables you to compare prices at major retailers and then decide where to buy certain products. The site works with each retailer to fulfill the order. Favado will build a shopping list based on local sales and favorite brands. The app can even notify you when particular items go on sale or recommend relevant coupons.

Financial management
The same capabilities that were once exclusive to desktop computers are now available on mobile devices. Online banking, bill pay and check deposit functions have cut down on the time needed to fulfill many banking operations. Bank and  credit union apps enable users to quickly check their balances or transfer money on the go. What’s more, apps such as Evernote can help you organize and save receipts or other information. Retrieve these items from your camera roll or through Evernote’s cloud services. Other receipt management apps serve similar functions.

Mobile scanning
Along a similar vein, mobile scanning functionality enables you to capture just about anything and turn it into a digital file. Text, multi-page documents, business cards, signatures, and more can be scanned and stored digitally, then retrieved and printed, if necessary. This can help cut down on paper clutter.


Mobile digital organization is the wave of the future. With phone in hand, smartphone users can run and organize many aspects of their lives.

Posted on May 30, 2017 .