April 20 & 21, 2024 Show Notes
Earth Day / TC Book Drive Weekend Edition

🎙️ Show airs live
Saturday: 10:05am-Noon
🔁 Rebroadcast
Sunday: 1:05pm-3pm
🎧 Podcast
Anytime
The crew this week:
Alan Perry
Host
Technology Tutor
iPhone 250-589-2926
Ricky Winter
Co-Host
Tech Experience Manager at London Drugs Tillicum
store 250-360-2753
Brian Pavlicic 
Producer
Technology Tutor
iPhone 250-634-8986
Our earlier Show Notes are here
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Security and Privacy News
1) Watch out for scam emails claiming to be from McAfee Security
The emails, which look like the screenshot below, are coming from an email address (@mail-gdkm.com) which we traced to Germany, and claim your info was stolen and found in a data breach…
If you hover your mouse over the "Renew Subscription" button on the actual email, or hold your finger on it on a phone or tablet, a pop-up will reveal that clicking or tapping on it would take you initially to a website at Fciflsbts-iad01.webex.com, which will automatically redirect you twice before ending-up at a fake McAfee page asking for your email address and credit card info for a charge of $99.99 CAD for a one-year licence for "unlimited devices".
If you give them your credit card info, they'll bill your card for that amount, and send you a download link for a fake version of McAfee which includes viruses, and will then also use your card info to rack up numerous other fake charges.
NEVER click on links in emails like this!
We don't recommend you use McAfee AntiVirus in any case, because it's just not very good, but if you did want to use it, either buy a licence key in a store, or go directly to McAfee's website (McAfee.com) and buy it there.

2) Watch out for scam "membership expiry" emails claiming to be from Costco
The emails, which look like the screenshot below, are coming from an email address (@mail-kfwf.com) which we traced to the same people as the McAfee scam above. The e-mail say that your Costco membership has expired, but that as part of their loyalty program, you can get a one-year membership extension for free…
If you hover your mouse over the "Extend For FREE" button on the actual email, or hold your finger on it on a phone or tablet, a pop-up will reveal that clicking or tapping on it would take you initially to a website at iad01.webex.com, which will automatically redirect you twice before ending-up at a fake Costco page at sipbelt.com asking for your email address and credit card info for a "shipping fee" of $4.
If you give them your credit card info, within minutes, the overseas scammers will start racking up fake charges on your credit card, until it's either maxxed-out or your credit card company cancels your card.
NEVER click on links in emails like this!
If you want to find out when your Costco membership expires (it'll be printed in bold across the top of every Costco receipt starting 60 days before expiry), you can go to Costco.ca and sign into your account there, or ask at Customer Service the next time you visit a Costco store.

3) If a message appears on the screen of your phone, tablet, or computer advising that your device is infected or is about to crash, and urging you to call the phone number on the screen, it's a scam.
Here's an screenshot of what one of these scams looks like…
If this appears on the screen, it got there because you clicked on a button or link which took you to what's called a Browser Hijack — a website which has been crafted to try to trick you. Your device is NOT infected. It's just a scam. If you call the number, it'll connect you to a call-centre (often in India) where a scammer will pose as someone from Apple or Microsoft or Samsung or Google, and will offer to fix the problem, either for a hefty fee — they'll want your credit card info — or they'll try to pursuade you to give them banking info. NEVER call the number, and NEVER click on the button or link. Just restart your phone, tablet, or computer and it should go away.

4) Here's an easy way to avoid being scammed:
If you get an email or a text about a problem with an account or service, or about a package that can't be delivered, or an invoice/receipt for an item or service you didn't order, or about a refund owed to you, or about a prize you've won, assume it's a scam, especially if it urges you do something right away.
If you think it might be real, check with your bank, or with the merchant, but NEVER call the number, and NEVER click on the button or link.

5) Download my document detailing how to report phishing emails:

PDF file

How To Report Phishing Emails.pdf

183.1 KB

Tech Deals This Weekend

Get a Windows 11 mini-PC for just $200!
Gary and Justin at Tesseract Computers have obtained 10 refurbished business-class HP ProDesk G3 mini-PC's.
They're powered by a 7th-gen Intel Core i5 7th gen processor, and come with 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and have two DisplayPort connections so you can connect two HD monitors.
They also have four USB 3.0 Ports, two USB-C ports and come with Windows 11 Pro.
They'll be available for just $199 on Monday when Tesseract Computers re-opens after the weekend on Broughton near Douglas in downtown Victoria.

Subway is offering buy one, get one free on foot-long subs via their app till end of Sunday
Subway Canada is offering a digital exclusive — BOGO on foot-long subs through this Sunday (the 21st), but only if you order using the Subway app, and use the code BOGOFL.

Epson ET-2850 Eco-Tank printer: $349 — save $50 — at London Drugs
We're big fans of Epson's Eco-Tank printers which come with (literally) two years worth of ink in the box, and their ET-2850 model (in white) is on sale for $349 — save $50 — this weekend at London Drugs.
It's a wired/wireless printer/scanner/copier, and being top-loading, you can print onto card stock and photo paper.

London Drugs

Epson EcoTank Wireless All-in-One Colour Printer - White - ET-2850

Create striking images and professional documents with this Epson EcoTank wireless all-in-one printer. The cartridge-free design makes refilling ink simple.

Someone asked about the cost of refill ink bottles when that time comes…a big black ink bottle is $33, and a set of the three colour ink bottles is $61, so for less than $100, you're good for another two years of printing!

Tech News Of The Week
Items start at #10, so the numbers don't get thrown-off if we add more security items above!
Tip: if an item in these Show Notes has the icon on the right in the upper-right corner, you can click/tap on it to make the additional info open in a new tab.
Times-Colonist Book Drive Drop-Off
is this weekend at Victoria Curling Club

Times Colonist

Drop off your books this weekend for the upcoming TC book sale

Books for the Times Colonist book drive and sale will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (April 20-21) at the Victoria Curling Club at 1952 Quadra St.

10) If you have extra hygiene products, mark this Earth Day Weekend by donating them for repurposing by Soap For Hope Canada
If you have leftover shampoo, conditioner, body wash or body lotion, or new unused deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs/brushes, razors, or feminine hygiene products, you can drop them off and Soap For Hope Canada volunteers here in Victoria will repurpose them…
Here in Victoria, you can drop off extra hygiene products starting today through May 17th at three locations:
  • at the Canadian Tire store in Hillside Centre
  • at Tillicum Centre, at the bottom of the escalators on the ground floor
  • at the Soap For Hope Victoria warehouse at 426B William Street in Vic West
Soap For Hope Canada also partners with hotels and stores to minimize waste and maximize repurposing…

Soap for Hope Canada

Soap for Hope Canada

Soap for Hope provides access to essential hygiene products to improve the health, hope, and dignity of vulnerable people, from Children to Seniors, to low-income Families, Refugees, Indigenous Communities, Homeless people, and people in Evacuation Centers for fires and floods. 

11) The Canadian government is planning to (somehow) prevent mobile service companies from charging us a fee to switch carriers to renew plans
As cellphone service rates have come down, "Service Fees" have steadily increased, and most carriers are now charging $60, although they regularly offer to waive that fee for specials or for online orders.
But buried in the Trudeau government's 2024 federal budget unveiled this week is a pledge to amend the Telecommunications Act to, among other things, prohibit carriers “from charging consumers extra fees to switch carriers.”
The budget documents says the CRTC will also be tasked to require carriers to help customers find plans, including lower-cost options, before their contract ends.

MobileSyrup

Feds plan to stop carriers from charging customers fees to switch providers

The feds plan to amend the Telecommunications Act to prohibit carriers from charging customers for switching providers.

12) Meta's newest AI-powered chatbots are impressive — and bizarre
Facebook parent Meta Platforms has unveiled a new set of artificial intelligence systems that are powering what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls "the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use."
But as Zuckerberg's crew of amped-up Meta AI agents started venturing into social media this week to engage with real people, their bizarre exchanges exposed the ongoing limitations of even the best generative AI technology…one joined a Facebook moms' group to talk about its gifted child, while another tried to give away nonexistent items to confused members of a Buy Nothing forum.
Meta AI — try it for yourself!
Meta AI is a free virtual assistant which can be used "to do everything from research, planning a trip with your group chat, writing a photo caption and more," according to the company's blog post, which is below.

Meta

Meet Your New Assistant: Meta AI, Built With Llama 3 | Meta

Thanks to our latest advances with Meta Llama 3, Meta AI is now smarter, faster and more fun than ever before.

To access the Meta AI chatbot in WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, or Facebook, type "@meta.ai" within a chat. You'll soon also be able to access the Meta AI chatbot by tapping on a colourful blue circle icon which will appear at the left of a search box or DM box.
In addition to answering questions, Meta AI can create AI-generated images. Using the prompt "imagine," users can ask Meta to produce any image that comes to mind.  Here are three examples…
AI language models are trained on vast pools of data that help them predict the most plausible next word in a sentence, with newer versions typically smarter and more capable than their predecessors. Meta's newest models were built with 8 billion and 70 billion parameters — a measurement of how much data on which the system is trained. A bigger, roughly 400 billion-parameter model is still in training.
Meta says "this is new technology and it may not always return the response we intend, which is the same for all generative AI systems." The company says it's constantly working to improve the features.
13) If your computer is running Windows 11 and it won't update, it's because you have one of a dozen problematic programs installed
Some people have reported that their Windows 11 computer is "stuck" on the 22H2 or 23H2 version, and while it gets Security Updates, it won't install the annual Feature Updates. We've discovered why…
To avoid computers crashing, Microsoft is blocking feature updates on computers which have one or more of a dozen problematic programs installed, until the makers of those programs make the software fully compatible.
The list includes two fairly common programs: RadeonSoftware.exe (for controlling NVidia graphics cards) and Realtek's 8192su Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter (used to enable budget PC's to connect to better WiFi).
There's a relatively easy workaround for those two programs: uninstall them, update to the latest Windows 11 build, and then reinstall the programs. The full list of problematic programs is in the PC World article below…

PCWorld

Windows 11 won't update with some apps installed

A preview version of this year's big Windows 11 update has a list of apps that block its installation, including a few popular surprises.

14) If you're needing to have your iPhone serviced and you have Stolen Device Protection turned-on, we found a way to avoid the built-in one-hour delay
Stolen Device Protection is a new iPhone feature which you can turn on in iOS 17 to make it very hard for a thief to erase and reset a stolen iPhone. When activated, it imposes a one-hour delay before "Find My Device" can be turned-off, and the same one-hour delay before an iPhone passcode or Apple ID password can be changed.
That can be a problem, though, if you're having your iPhone screen replaced, or some other repair done, or if you're selling it and want to erase it.
However, London Drugs Tech Service Manager Ben Kosciuk has found a work-around: Ben says you just have to use a computer to log into your iCloud account (using a code that'll be sent to your iPhone or other Apple device), and then temporarily deactivate the Find My Device protection

Apple Support

Remove a device from Find Devices on iCloud.com

Use Find Devices on iCloud.com to temporarily remove a device from the Devices list or remove Activation Lock on a device you gave away or sold.

15) How long do SSD's (Solid State Drives) last, what type is best, and how can you tell when they're about to fail?
SSD's are so much faster and more reliable than traditional spinning drives (HDD's) that they're used as storage in virtually all tech gear these days. But, as with any technology, there are significant ranges in price and quality and reliability.
Andy Klein at BackBlaze.com has written an excellent "SSD 101" article with lots of useful info…

Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup

Are Solid State Drives / SSDs More Reliable Than HDDs?

It's good to know the difference between HDDs and SSDs and understand how the different SSD technologies affect reliability.

16) Apple has removed Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from the App Store in China after Chinese officials cited unspecified national security concerns.
Apple says the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of WhatsApop and Threads from the China storefront based on national security concerns, adding, "We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree".
The USA has threatened to ban TikTok over national security concerns.
Update: Saturday morning, The US House of Representatives voted to ban TikTok unless its Chinese owner sells the US division to US owners. The Senate is expected to do the same.
But while TikTok, owned by Chinese technology firm ByteDance, is used by millions in the USA, apps like WhatsApp and Threads are not commonly used in China.
Instead, the messaging app WeChat, owned by Chinese company Tencent, reigns supreme.
Other Meta apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger remained available for download, although use of such foreign apps is blocked in China due to its “Great Firewall” network of filters that restrict use of foreign websites such as Google and Facebook.

The Canadian Press

Apple pulls WhatsApp and Threads from App Store on Beijing's orders

HONG KONG (AP) — Apple said it had removed Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from the App Store in China to comply with orders from Chinese authorities. The apps were removed from the store on Friday after Chinese officials cited unspecified national security concerns. Their removal comes amid elevated tensions between ...

17) Virgin Plus and Fido have quietly raised the price of their cheapest plans, but you still have good options if you're on a tight budget or a light user
Rogers budget brand Fido has raised the price of their basic plan to $39 a month, which gets you unlimited Canada-wide calling, international texting sent from Canada, and 20GB/month of 4G data.
Virgin Plus, which is Bell's budget brand, has replaced their $34/month 20GB plan with a $40/month 10GB plan — a dollar more than Fido for half the data!
Your best option remains Vidéotron-owned Freedom Mobile, which has three budget plans from which to choose…
Freedom MObile also has annual prepaid plans…
18) If you're using the Outlook Mail app and your newest emails are not on top, you may have accidentally told the app to sort them differently!
Several people have contacted us in the past few weeks to say that recent emails are missing in the Outlook Mail app…on checking, we've discovered that they'd accidentally changed the "Sort By" option.
That option is under the Filter button — three lines (yellow highlighting by me) to the right of the Inbox…
If you click on that button, you'll get several useful options, such as showing you only your unread emails, or emails which you flagged, or ones that have attachments, or calendar invites.
The last option, Sort, lets you sort your emails by Name of sender, or Size, or Subject.
By default, it's set to sort by Date, with the Newest on top.
If your email inbox doesn't look right, check to see if you've accidentally change the sort option, to, perhaps, sort by Name, so emails from people or email addresses that begin with symbols or numbers are at the top!
The Outlook Mail app will remember whatever setting you choose, and display your emails in that order each time you open it.
19) If you have an older phone and want to know if it'll work on Freedom Mobile here in Canada, or for international roaming, there's a tool for that!
Vidéotron-owned Freedom Mobile is building its own 5G network across Canada, and is using frequencies that some older phones don't support. The same for their international roaming partners.
To find out if your phone is compatible before switching to Freedom, they've created an easy-to-use online Compatibility Check tool… https://www.freedommobile.ca/en-CA/byop_compatibility_check
20) Leaked images suggest Apple is working-on a 3rd-gen HomePod which will have a display
Apple is said to be working on an all-new HomePod that would have a swivelling screen like Amazon's Echo Show 10, but that's not expected till at least sometime next year. In the meantime, leaked images suggest Apple is going to unveil a new HomePod this year that'll have a display screen on the top…

BGR

HomePod with display leak shows Apple's already working on a third-generation smart speaker

Apple is already working on a third-generation HomePod model with a screen. This smart speaker could tease a yet more significant upgrade.

21) Apple has resorted to shredding tens of thousands of old iPhones, because its much-touted iPhone-dismantling robot just can't keep up
Apple says Daisy, its iPhone dismantling robot, can disassemble around 200 iPhones per hour, which works out to nearly 1.2 million recycled iPhones per year. While that might sound like a lot, Apple sells that many iPhones in just 48 hours! What happens to the rest?
Bloomberg has discovered that Apple has regularly sent “tens of thousands” of old iPhones to Barrie, Ontario-based shredding company GEEP Inc. for destruction. Apple has shipped GEEP more than 530,000 iPhones, 25,000 iPads, and 19,000 Watches for shredding over the past few years.
Apple’s contract with GEEP explicitly required that every product it sent was to be destroyed, as they were “better off scrapped for their precious metals than refurbished.” But Apple sued GEEP claiming that employees actually made off with thousands of old iPhones and presumably sold them for parts.

MobileSyrup

Apple ordered Ontario company to destroy hundreds of thousands of old iPhones: report

A new Bloomberg feature has unpacked Apple's relationship with the Barrie, Ontario-based shredding company GEEP.

22) Netflix's crackdown on password-sharing is paying-off big-time, helping net the #1 streaming service 9 million new subscribers
In its latest earning reports, Netflix blew past analyst expectations, reporting an increase of 9.3 million subscribers in the latest quarter, pushing its subscriber base to just shy of 270 million people worldwide.
Netflix attributes part of that gain to their recent crackdown on password-sharing.
Netflix stock actually dropped after the earmings were released, though, because the company says it plans to stop reporting subscriber figures each quarter and instead will focus on how much time subscribers spend watching.
FYI, the #2 streamer is Amazon Prime Video, which has about 200 million subscribers; Disney+ has 146 million subscribers, placing it in third.

Engadget

Netflix is done telling us how many people use Netflix

Although subscriber metrics are an important signal to Wall Street that show how quickly a company is growing, Netflix isn't the first company to do this.

Homework videos (a.k.a. "time well wasted"!)
Videos start at #40, so the numbers don't get thrown-off if we add more tech news items above!
40) Watch the debut of an all-new electric Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics…
and watch a fond farewell to its predecessor, HD Atlas, and how far it brought the world of robots in 10 years…

41) Watch Fred Mills and the B1M team come to Vancouver to show how TransLink is keeping the road and shops open while building the $2.8 billion Broadway SkyTrain line…

42) Watch award-winning cinematographer Bertie Gregory's unprecedented National Geographic footage of Emperor penguin chicks leaping 50 feet off an Antarctic cliff…

43) Watch how Ryan Reynolds marked the 47th birthday of Rob McElhenny's birthday…

44) Watch a preview of how you'll be able to add or remove items from a video or even extend scenes later this year with Adobe's new Premiere Pro video-editing software…

45) Watch how ingeniuous Australian engineers are helping save the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu from vanishing due to rising ocean levels…

46) Watch Moyun reimagine "Despacito",on the traditional Chinese Guzheng…

…and finally…our Sign Of The Week…
from Gurton's Garage in North Saanich…
And so it goes…