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In the Heat

If you have a Google account, Google is using your profile information to target ads to others in your groups of friends and such. It may not sound too bad to learn that your friends find that you “liked” or +1’d that new restaurant down the road when they are searching for hot new places to eat, but at least Google does let you opt out of providing such “opinions.” In your Google Plus settings, find your Shared Endorsement settings and turn them off. If you have difficulty finding those settings, google something like “turn off google shared endorsements.”

The downsides of subscription software or cloud software, became clear to many professional users of Adobe Creative Suite in May when Adobe’s license server was unavailable for users of their Creative Cloud suite of software for nearly a day. As more software companies are touting the benefits of cloud-based systems it is good to step back and consider if a one-day outage of their cloud would drastically hamper work. Just as with backing up your computer, there is no one perfect answer, you have to feel comfortable with how you will deal with those what-ifs of data and software not being available.

The benefits of researching “big data” like review sites is that you can spot trends in fake reviews. Recent work from Cornell finds various patterns in such fakery. Hallmarks of faking it include: similar language across many reviews, highly enthusiastic language and punctuation, highly specific brand and model references repeated through out, and, hotel reviews that focus on all the surrounding family fun activities rather than just on the hotel itself.

With Apple’s announcement of new operating systems coming in the fall, Mac users may be wondering which of their Macs and iPhones may be left in the dust. The short answer for Macs is that if you are currently running 10.8 or 10.9 then 10.10, AKA Yosemite, will run fine. That pretty much includes any Mac from 2007 model year on. With iPhones, if you have an iPhone 4, you will be out of luck, but anything newer will support iOS 8.

Assorted email scams going around this year include: the BBC notifying you that you have won in the British National Lottery, Netflix letting you know that your account has been suspended because it has been hacked but one of their paid Microsoft certified techs can help (for a few), and any of the shipping services letting you know that a package could not be delivered and that you have to download something to follow up on rescheduling delivery. Finally, there is “Microsoft” calling you to fix your hacked computer (again for a fee), they will never really do that.

One last tip, if a web site is not working the way you expect, you might try that same site in another web browser, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, etc., are all examples of different web browsers.

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