How You Are Affected by Heartbleed

The Heartbleed security threat was all over the news last week, but you may still need to pay attention in the aftermath.  Many commonly used accounts were affected, and while those companies have updated their servers to address the problems posed by Heartbleed, you should be certain that you've updated your passwords.  Mashable had a great article to help people cut to the chase and be sure they made the appropriate udates.  In case you weren't paying much attention, you really need to check their list.

passwordRemember that the best and strongest passwords:

  • contain one or more characters from each of these groups: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and special characters that include these: *-_#$%^! and even a period
  • or a pass phrase, which is several words connected, no spaces but you can use an underscore character, and for added security includes the same things listed before.  A good example might be: thISPassWord$tuff!sForThe_B1rds.  Of course, you could just type ThisPasswordStuffIsForTheBirds, but the other one is stronger.

So, if you ignored the news story, be sure to double-check and make your changes as soon as you can.

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The Cost of Private Computer Lessons

dollarsign2Recently, someone asked me about the cost of private computer lessons, and why I charge what I charge.  It seemed a reasonable question that deserves a reasonable answer.

We go to professional people for specific reasons - they went to school to learn specific skills that they are licensed to practice, or they've studied to pass certain exams so that they can put coveted initials after their names, or they have had special training and experiences that mean they have knowledge others may not have.  We carefully select the surgeon who will operate. We know our CPA knows things that the seasonal employee at tax time doesn't.  We depend on our dentist, attorney, auto mechanic, chiropractor, masseuse, manicurist, veterinarian, IT guy, etc. because we know that they know what we don't, and they're qualified for their profession.

Just like those professionals, not everybody can help others learn to become empowered computer users.  In my case, I was trained as a teacher, but I've also had 35 years of experience using a wide variety of computer hardware and software that many others haven't had.  For many years, I designed, developed, and tested software for a wide range of uses.  Using a computer as an empowered user involves a lot more than just knowing how to use a mouse, or understanding how to search online and buy an airline ticket.  Many people who use computers every day don't have a sound understanding of how they work, or how to use the full range of the software applications they depend on for their jobs.

Sometimes, it's not enough to ask a child or a neighbor how to do something with a computer, and the odds may be good that they don't know.  Sometimes, you just need to have an expert who has the knowledge and experience to explain how it works and helps you to master those skills.  That means that, just like the professionals mentioned above, there's a cost for that person's time and expertise.  The real question should be:  what's the cost if you don't know how to use your computer as an empowered user?

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Outlook Class at Children's Friend

Children's Friend in Providence I just love being part of the Children's Friend family, and recently, I conducted a 2-part Microsoft Outlook class for them in Providence.  Children's Friend has been named one of the best places to work in Rhode Island by the Providence Business News, and I think that a large part of that award has to do with the fact that they are seriously invested in staff development.  They have an important mission there, and the better trained their staff is, the more productive and effective they can be.  I'm proud to be the only technology trainer that's part of their training program.

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Making a Change in How robinTime Provides Computer Training

2012-07-05 15.28.48robinTime, the local award-winning provider of computer training, is making a change - at the end of October, we're closing our local teaching space at 683 West Main Rd in Middletown.  We're still the award-winning local source for private computer lessons, application training workshops for small businesses, and application and workflow consulting assistance.  If a group is interested in a specific class, a space will be arranged to meet their needs.

These classes are still open for enrollment through the end of the month to be conducted at 683 West Main Rd in Middletown:

Early bird discounted rates are available for every class up until 2 weeks prior to the event.

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Free SEO Class on August 21st

Tony's book coverIf you haven't yet tried one of the free TechSavvy events co-hosted by robinTime and Newport County Computers, then you should attend the free SEO class on August 21st.  Not just because it's a great topic for every business, but also because of the speaker!  Tony Guarnaccia, founder of Big Fish Results, has his first book coming out any moment!  He's coming to explain what SEO (search engine optimization) is and why it matters to every business with an online presence, PLUS he's prepared to give away a few copies of the book to the first folks who arrive in time for the event!  So, plan to be at this coming week's TechSavvy event to learn more about search engine optimization for your business - Wednesday, August 21st at 5:30 pm, at robinTime and Newport County Computers, 683 West Main Rd in Middletown.

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