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Password advice, Lynda training, router setup pointers

Some new rules for passwords come from the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST.) As you make new passwords or change existing ones, don’t just go for the minimum you feel is forced on you, go with such improvements as: use more than eight characters in the password as more is harder to guess; stay away from known bad passwords like common sports teams or “password”; and consider using a passphrase with punctuation marks if allowed. Additionally, the NIST finds password hints as dangerous, as are all of those recovery questions that often involve answers are publically available. And, they find that forcing frequent password changes means that people use easy passwords, rather than using something longer but harder to guess.

On the Mac side of things, there is another app that can help with screen dimming. Some of you may use f.lux for changing your screen to a less blue color later in the evening and now you may want to add in lumen to help adjust screen brightness on an app by app basis, depending on how light or dark an app is. It will darken the screen for those apps that use a lot of white while raising the brightness for those darker apps. Unfortunately, there is not an easy installer but the process of installing lumen may encourage you to learn a bit more about the underpinnings of the Mac operating system J. Lumen is at <https://github.com/anishathalye/lumen>

For anyone with an A-B Tech student account, you can access all sorts of computer training for free from Lynda.com, one of the best online software training sites. Ask at the A-B Tech library for more information.

When setting up a new router, there are a some things to do that can help with performance and security. First, set up the router in a central location and in the middle of an imaginary bubble surrounding your house while not placing it right by masonry walls or by microwave ovens or telephone base stations. And, then orient the antennas, if you have them, perpendicular to each other. Second, change the default administrator password, if possible and update the router’s software or firmware. Third, make sure that outside or remote management is turned off. Fourth, figure out how to change the radio channels and experiment with different ones to see if performance improves. This does not matter as much if there are not other Wi-Fi networks within range. And, finally, if you have the choice for setting up a guest network or enabling parental controls, decide if either or both will help with limiting abuse of your internet connection.

Figuring out if an online review is legitimate involves things like: looking at what specifics are being criticized or complemented vs. just generally repeating ad copy; did the reviewer actually use the item or visit the place; are relevant points being discussed; and is the item, place, or service being compared on similar points to related items, places, or services.