May 23, 2018

May - 23 2018 | By

Amy called about losing her dog Wally last night. He’s a chocolate brown bulldog wearing a light blue collar. She lives near Brooks Road and Tiger Lily off of Rattlesnake. Call 510-606-0445 if you have any info.


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– They’re tagged with #Zentech.
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For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

The intro & outro music was by Pentatonix.


Paul won’t be on the next show, on 5-30-18 and Glenn might be serving jury duty. So there’s a chance Zen Tech will not broadcast next week.


Both Paul and Glenn were in the studio today.


Glenn thanked subscribing members of KVMR. <If you’d like to become a member, you can call the station at 530-265-9073 or go to>


Paul talked about the GDPR <he said GDPA> — aka General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a European law to give users more control over how their personal information is gathered and shared by internet companies.
<U.K. vs. U.S.: How Much of Your Personal Data Can You Get?
How Facebook and Google Could Benefit From the G.D.P.R., Europe’s New Privacy Law>

Scheduled to go into effect in Europe on 5-25-18, it has some teeth and should be adopted in the U.S., Paul said, In particular, it requires a company to have a data protection officer and 2% of the company’s revenue will be levied as a fine for a violation.

Paul noted that some browsers have a setting to notify the site you’re visiting that you don’t want to be tracked, but it’s pretty ineffective and may even draw attention to you.

Glenn has seen notifications coming from some services that have changed their privacy policies. He wondered if they will now allow the users to see what data has been collected about them and to change it. In his answer, Paul wasn’t clear if he was talking about European users, but said that users will be able to see but not necessarily modify the data. <Google does let you delete the data. Facebook lets you see your data but not all can be deleted.>
<Google’s File on Me Was Huge. Here’s Why It Wasn’t as Creepy as My Facebook Data.
It’s worth reading those policy notifications. Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them>

Paul told us about someone in Europe who looked at what data was collected abut him and found that his phone number was included. He’d never given out his phone number. Apparently, the number came from the data aggregated from the people who knew him.

Also, Paul warned us that there will be scams that take advantage of the GDPR. You may receive emails saying something like “in order to remain in compliance with the GDPR” you have to do this or that. Just ignore them, he said. If it was a reputable site trying to contact you, you’ll find out soon enough.

Glenn invited listeners to call in with comments or questions: 530-265-9555. Or you can email the guys: zen at kvmr dot org

One other requirement of the GDPR is that businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours, if there’s an adverse effect on user privacy. And Glenn noted that when you request your data, don’t expect an instant response. The website is allowed some time to gather all of your information. Paul said Google used to have your info scattered among its various service, now everything about you is in a centralized location.

Security of companies like Google and Apple is becoming stricter for things like recovering passwords or even establishing an account.

Paul explained what happens when you fail with repeated attempts to login to an account, normally the account gets locked. It used to be that you’re notified that you’ve exceeded the allotted tries for username/password, that’s not true with many websites now. This to discourage anyone trying to break into an account. A lockout can last anywhere from 30 min to 3 days.

Glenn said if you tried to log in but failed a couple of times while using a password that you’re sure is correct, instead of taking a chance of being locked out, use the “forgot my password” link. Another tip is to use fake replies to the security questions like “who was your 1st girlfriend”, “your dogs name”, etc. That way they’ll know less about you. Just be sure to remember the answers you have on record so you can give the correct answers when challenged.

There are 2 things you should have for services like Google, a backup phone number where a text message can be sent, and a secondary email address (use a friends email if you don’t have another of your own).

As Glenn warned many times, be aware of phone calls <or emails> offering help with your tech issues, they’re often scams. If you need help with something, you should be the one to initiate the help request. <And in doing so, use a known good email address or phone number.>

Paul said both he and Glenn have had problems with the Apple ID. Sometimes they would enter the ID & password and it would just sit there with the spinning icon for a long time. Paul suspects it’s a security feature to deter those trying to break into the account. The hackers depend on quickly guessing the ID & password over and over. He said there is a number you can call if you have problems logging in with your Apple ID, but do it only as a last resort.

There’s someone at KVMR who had the firmware password changed on their Mac. In a case like this, one would have to authenticate that they were the original purchaser of the Mac. It was the first time Paul has seen this problem.

Neil called. Last week he got a phone call that was supposedly from Microsoft saying that he needed to renew his license. He ignored it, thinking it was bogus. Paul said it’s true that you don’t need to renew a license and, furthermore, Microsoft doesn’t call people. For private users, the computer manufacturer is your support — if you have a Dell computer, you deal with Dell not Microsoft.

Paul read a question from a listener. Verizon sent me a notice to pay for extra storage and to make a copy of the my stuff because it will be deleted on May 31. How do I find out what is being stored at Verizon?
– Don’t click any links in the notification.
– Verizon offered a bunch of free perks for a year when you signed up. Now that the year is up, they want to switch you to a pay service.
– If you don’t have a Verizon phone, ignore it.
– If you do have a Verizon phone, you have an online login where you pay your bills. That’s where you can look at your storage
– It’s possible that what’s stored at Verizon exists nowhere else (not on the phone itself). So it’s important to check, if you don’t want to lose something that might be important.
– Glenn said you can dial 611 to take you the tech support of your carrier. You can then ask how to get the data back onto your phone or computer.
– Paul said he likes having 15gig of free storage for his pictures at Google Photos, <As an alternative to storing your stuff with Verizon.>
– Glenn said he pays $.99/mo for extra storage on iCloud but is planning on moving everything to his home devices and dumping iCloud.

Bob called from southern Brazil using Skype. In 2 weeks he’ll be coming to the US. He’ll be using a smartphone for Uber or Lyft service because he doesn’t drive anymore. He wondered what’s a good choice for a mobile carrier. He thought T-mobile had a pretty good plan but wanted to know how to find the best carrier.
– You’re not limited to the 4 major carriers. There are mobile virtual network operators who lease access from the major carriers and resell to the public. <There’s more about these MVNO’s in the 8-24-16 show notes.>
– As an example, Paul uses the MVNO called Total Wireless, For about $25/mo you get a SIM card for your phone giving you unlimited voice and text. 5 gig of data is and extra $10. That’s about the lowest he’s found.
– Newer phones made in the last year or two “don’t care about CDMA or GSM“, Paul said. However, Bob’s phone is GSM so he won’t be able to use Verizon, which uses CDMA.

Bob then asked for a recommendation of an Android phone for under $200. Paul suggested looking on Amazon for unbranded Chinese Android phones in that price range. You can spend more for something like a Samsung Galaxy phone and you’ll get value for the extra money. But Bob said he doesn’t need a fancier phone. If you buy thru Amazon and you don’t like it, you can always send it back. And check out the user reviews on Amazon, not always spot on but they give you the general idea about a product. Also check out Kmart or Walmart where you can get a prepaid SIM card.

There’s also the used and refurbished market. But Bob doesn’t want to buy used due to a bad experience he had when he bought an iPad in the US and brought it back to Brazil. When he had problems with it, they wanted him to return it to the store. Paul said he could have gotten better service if he also bought Apple Care.

There has been resistance from the major carriers to the FCC effort for a portable SIM. It’s a SIM card that lets you switch carriers easily without removing the card. An example of it is called the eSIM. Paul said it’s not available yet but it will be. <I recall seeing and ad for a phone with an eSIM but don’t remember who it was.>

Paul talked about losing a password to a Windows 10 machine. Make absolutely sure a local account is used, he said. When you first boot a Win10 machine it tries to lure you to create an account at Microsoft, but in the far lower left you can choose “Local account”. There’s something similar with an Apple computer, but depending on the version of the operating system, there are “various incantations” to do it.

The Mac has an increased level of security now. There’s an “online repository of your keychain and your password”. You can use Command + R to get the recovery console on any version of the Mac OS going back to about 10.9. When you do that, it boots from a separate partition with a miniaturized version of the operating system, the Safari browser and wireless access. From that point you can reinstall your operating system. The other thing it lets you do is reset your password.

The last time Paul tried to reset the Mac password it was for his friend and it asked him to sign in with his Apple ID. He said that anyone with a Mac should be absolutely sure which Apple ID you’re using. Your Apple ID is an email address. His friend couldn’t recall which of his many email addresses had been used before. The solution was to use a different machine to go to and try to sign in. Paul suggested using the same Apple ID for all of your Apple products. “You should put in a recovery and you should answer the security questions,” he added emphatically.

Added link to article regarding privacy policy updates you may be seeing in your emails

Last Updated 7:50 PM 5-25-2018

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