How to Protect Your Computer from a Huge Security Vulnerability + News of the Week

The Biggest Threat to Your Computer

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    The biggest security vulnerabilities I’ve ever heard of were just announced about 2 weeks ago—Meltdown and Spectre. Just about every smart device out there that has a processor (computers, phones, smart devices) is affected. If exploited, a hacker can see everything that you’re doing. It’s a big deal.

    Thankfully as an Apple user, this won’t affect you if you’re keeping your software updated. Now is the time to backup your computer and update the operating system. PCs can significantly slow down with the update, but Apple engineers have cleverly worked things so you shouldn’t see any difference at all.

    The big question is, what is going to happen with the big online companies (i.e. Google, Amazon, Apple...literally everyone who has an online business)? Many of them have issued statements about steps they have taken to patch the security hole. I’m sure they’re working night and day on these things. This is one instance where I'm grateful for these bigger companies. They have a massive responsibility and massive resources to keep us safe from hackers. Of course no one is perfect, so maybe that’s just a false sense of security. Either way, that’s how I feel.

    The experts say those online companies are the big target and thus, the biggest payload. Not our personal computers or devices. But I’d bet 75% of you haven’t updated your software in quite some time, and you’re subscribed to a tech newsletter. You’re the easy target. All this to say, for the next few years this is likely going to be a problem as they discover more ways this can be exploited. Do yourself a favor and update your devices (after you've backed up!) when they’re available so you don't have to worry about stuff like this!

    How to Type Special Characters

    Ever wonder how to put in symbols like the © or ® in your documents or email? Or maybe the accent on an é or á? One way to do it is from the Edit menu (by clicking "Emoji and Symbols"), but you can also just press Control + Command + Space. The other way to see all the shortcuts for those symbols is to open System Preferences > Keyboard. Click the Input Sources tab. Now you should see a keyboard in light blue. Try pressing the option key and see how the whole layout changes. This lets you know, for example, if you press Option + G, it will make the © symbol! Try it out!

    Laptop Power Adapters for Less

    Need a new power adapter for your laptop? I get all my power adapters from macsales.com. They have the best prices on genuine Apple power adapters and cables, often at half the cost. In addition to laptop cables, they have batteries for laptops, genuine iPhone cables etc. Lots of cool stuff to check out if you're into that kind of thing :)

    Internet Addiction is Real: How to Protect Your Kids

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    The average 8-10 year old spends nearly eight hours a day viewing various multimedia; older kids spend upwards of 11 hours per day doing so, according to a report by Kaiser Family Foundation, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We have a problem. Internet addiction is getting a lot a attention this week, thanks to an article in the NY Times suggesting Apple may be our only hope to fixing the issue. Thanks to ad driven sites and services, companies have massive incentives to find a way to hook us deeper into their sites and spend more time than ever online.

    This isn’t just affecting kids, we’re all feeling the pull when you hear that notification. As a parent you have many options for limiting device usage, not just limiting adult content. Check out services like Qustodio or Disney Circle. Qustodio can actually lock the device so they can’t access anything outside of the parameters you set.

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    American Express Purchase Protection 

    Years ago when I was working at Apple, a woman brought in her phone for the screen to be replaced. She had just bought it and the screen was totally shattered. I expressed my sadness that such a thing would happen, and so soon after purchasing it. She was totally unconcerned and told me that American Express was taking care of the repair. After that I started looking into the benefits that come with the card. Apparently if an electronic device you purchased on an AMEX was lost, stolen or damaged within 90 days, they’ll take care of it! Read more here.

    No MacBook Pro Upgrades This Year

    I can officially say that there are no MacBook Pro upgrades coming in 2018. This doesn’t mean there won’t be a slight upgrade for something, but if you’ve been waiting to buy, I don’t think I’d wait any longer. My speculation is this has something to do with Meltdown and Spectre. That security vulnerability is actually a hardware problem which means it will take a redesign of the processors to fix it. That means a whole new generation of processors. I wouldn’t be surprised if most computer manufacturers out there also wait to do major updates if my theory is correct.  
     

    Vote for my New Logo!

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    The name Lemon Consulting was always meant to be temporary until I could figure out the perfect name. I never did. However, while my Apple knowledge is significant, and I do a lot, my favorite part is helping you regain control of your data, get organized, and trained on how this is all supposed to work together. After polling my friends and customers on Facebook, I'm 90% sure I'm going to use The Digital Organizer as my new business name. Madeline created a couple variations of a logo and wanted to share it with you. Would love to hear your thoughts! Click here to vote.

    Organize Your Bag

    I remember the day I got fed up pulling a rat’s nest of cables out of my bag on a job and thought, that’s it! I’m getting something to organize all this. That's when I discovered the Cocoon Grid-It—a truly awesome gadget organizer. It’s a board made with elastic to organize your stuff. I mainly use it for computer cables, hard drives, etc., but I even use it for all my toiletries when traveling so I’m not digging through my bag. You don’t need a huge one and they’re cheap! Some of the best prices are found on Amazon.

    Level Up Your Typing Skills

    Most of the time, I’m the one typing fastest in a meeting. Last week I was working with a guy that typed so much faster and more accurately than me and got me wanting to brush up my skills. For those of us who work on a computer for a living, typing faster and more accurately can be really valuable. Typist is an app I downloaded about 5 years ago to help me get used to the number keys above the letters and help free me from the habit of trying to reach for a number pad any time I had to type in my phone number. The interface is kind of ugly, but for some reason I just keep wanting to go the next challenge or get it perfect the next time. Maybe that’s just the OCD part of me. Either way, try it out! It’s free!

    That’s it for this week’s news. Don’t miss next week's Apple news you can use. Make sure you click below to get my weekly digest.