GOOGLE FINDS BAD RESTAURANTS

Harvard’s Public Health Center is using Google tracking to find restaurants that make people sick. This is how they do it: If you’ve been to “Mom’s Diner” and a few hours later start searching on terms like “vomit” and “stomach cramps,” there is a likelihood there’s a problem at Mom’s. In Harvard’s tests in Las Vegas and Chicago, health inspectors were sent out when the searches turned queasy. Over half the time, 52 percent, they found a problem at the restaurant the person had been to that day. Chicago has 38 inspectors for more than 8,000 restaurants. They find problems only 23 percent of the time, less than half the probabilities inferred by Google tracking. Reading this, you might worry […]

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GETTING A SMART PHONE

Hard to believe but there are still people out there thinking about getting their first smart phone. That’s a cell phone that can search the web and take selfies. About 80 people a year die while taking selfies. Sometimes they step back too far at the edge of the Grand Canyon, sometimes the flagpole on the tenth floor is slippery. Well, this has happened to us twice now. Not getting killed taking a selfie, but talking to older people who have decided they want one of those smart phone things. In one of the great marketing coups of all time, Apple has somehow made people believe that a smart phone is an iPhone. This is despite the reality that Android […]

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POP-UPS ON YOUR PHONE

An interesting thing happened: Joy was looking up recipes at VegetarianTimes.com. But as she was viewing these in the Chrome browser on her Android phone, she was inundated, distracted and annoyed by a constant barrage of pop-up ads. They were stupidly annoying: “You’ve won a new iPhone 9!” was the first one. (That’s not even the name of the new iPhone. It’s iPhone XR or XS. They skipped number nine).  The second pop-up: “You’ve won a prize on Amazon!” Really! The ads were so bad she closed the browser and started over. Pop-ups are supposed to be blocked automatically, if you want. To find out, she went to the Chrome browser, tapped the three dots in the upper right, then […]

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SLOW WEB

Recently, we wrote about websites that hog your computer’s resources and slow down your world. We dug in and found that our own chief culprit was one of our favorite sites, Techlicious.com. Later we found out it was a temporary problem caused by one of their advertisers. The advertiser has since been shut down. That’s good news. Even better, our Techlicious contact told us about a free plugin for users of Google’s “Chrome” browser, called “OneTab.” It takes all your open tabs (which show the websites you have open) and merges them into one tab. Collapsing all those tabs into one can cut the computer’s load by up to 95 percent. To find OneTab, search on the phrase “OneTab plugin.” […]

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DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR?

Topics: Finding your car, looking out for bogus email, sharing your opinions, and Google Now.

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FREE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM

PC Magazine recently did a review of leading free anti-virus programs. Their top picks were Panda Free Antivirus, BitDefender AntiVirus Free Edition, and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free. Avast, which we’ve used for years, was number four out of ten. For tough problems needing paid support, we recommend HelpHelpNow.com (with which we have no connection).

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GMAIL GAME

If the email monster has you trembling in a corner, here’s a free game to help. It only works on Gmail accounts, but that was good enough for us (and 200 million other users) as it went through our email like a squad car through jelly donuts.

The game is made by Baydin, which also has plug-ins for Outlook and Gmail to let you sche

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YAHOO! SOMEONE IS WATCHING

Privacy watchdogs went on the alert recently when a new version of Yahoo! mail included targeted ads. How can they target you if they don’t read your email?

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A DIFFERENT EMAIL ADDRESS

Choose a new email address at bouncr.com and any email sent to that address will pass on to your regular email account, but the sender won’t know your true address.

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TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SECURITY

A few days ago we used the computer at a first class hotel and found out later that spam had been sent out in our name. Of course we wonder what other information they collected from our online use. This is pretty scary, since it means there was malware on the computer in the hotel’s “business center” and that a program had intercepted our emails. And believe us, this was a hotel that considered itself five-star.  We are going to bring our laptop if we stay there again, with all the latest security updates on it. Free programs are the most popular security apps. Avast leads the way, followed by Avira Anti-Virus, AVG and Microsoft’s Security Essentials. We use Avast […]

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