OK, so I've been waiting since this summer for Apple Music to come to Android, and it is finally available. As a long-time Spotify Premium user, the services are close to each other in such areas as selection and audio quality.


Apple has a slight edge in audio quality in my opinion, and selection is a little better (witness the spats with Taylor Swift and others, Adele may not make her new album available, etc.).


So, why am I switching?

If you have an Android phone, ANY Android phone, new or old, you need to pay attention.

7 new vulnerabilities have been found in Android (all version up to and including 5.0 Lollipop) where a malicious MMS Text can take over your phone and install malware.

6 of the vulnerabilities were discovered in July, and a fix written. The fix has problems, so now there are 7 problems. Google has said it will not have a fix until at least September, and then you have to wait for your phone vender to vet the fix, and finally your carrier to vet it and decide if they will offer it as an update.

It is likely this will not be fixed soon. Maybe not ever if your phone is more than a year old.

So, what can you do? 

Here are some interesting differences between experts and non-experts on how they stay safe online:

Experts believe that you should:

Today, Adobe released updates to patch the worst possible security holes in Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader. Also, Oracle issued patches to Java for 25 security vulnerabilities. The Adobe Flash Player and Java security holes allowed a hacker to silently take over your computer!

My answer: Get rid of all three! You don't need them!

Download this ebook:


EPUB (Apple iBooks and others)

MOBI (Amazon Kindle format)

Staying Safe Online

short link:

Stay Safe Online ; Buying a Computer / Mobile Device 

by Fred Laxton


Staying Safe Online


The reality of being online.

What are the dangers? They include:

  • Constant attempts to attack your IP address.
  • Viruses and other malware.
  • Phishing attacks.

How do computers or devices get infected? 

  • A vulnerability in the operating system
  • A vulnerability in an application
  • These usually come through the web browser or email program.

How to mitigate or prevent the dangers?

  • Use a router to get online.
  • Follow the 3 Basic Rules for Online Safety

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Executive Summary:

A serious vulnerability has been identified in bash, the command shell used by nearly all Linux, Mac and Unix computers and servers. Our servers have been patched. Normal user Macs, while technically vulnerable, because they do not "serve" files to the outside world, have no practical impact and so those users do not need to fret about this.


Just a heads up to let everyone know that I'm already on this. I heard about it yesterday, before it hit the mainstream news.

With the celebrity photo hack all over the news, security is getting some long-overdue attention.

I wanted to weigh in with some security best practices, so here goes.

How did these accounts get hacked? The prevailing theory is that their email was guessed (like first initial, last name) and then the security questions asked for password recovery were found on Google, or guessed.

Here's what YOU should do to keep your info safe online:

1. Use a password manager to store, and generate, good strong passwords. I recommend Free on computers, $12/year on mobile devices.

2. When you create an account on a service, and are asked to set up "security" questions...LIE ON YOUR ANSWERS! Speculation is (no one knows for sure) that hackers got a hold of a celebrity's email account, and then answered their "security" questions to get access to the account. LIE ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS! Anyone, especially celebrities, can have their information found through a quick Google search, and thus, their account hacked, IF THEY ANSWER THE QUESTIONS HONESTLY! LIE about the answers, AND THEN RECORD YOUR LIES SOMEWHERE, LIKE YOUR CONTACT MANAGER. If you use a Contact Manager, then YOU are responsible to make sure you keep a copy of it just in case you need those answers again.

After many years of using the (formerly) excellent SimpleNote service on my Mac and iPad, I'm switching to... (drum roll) 

Microsoft OneNote 

For those not familiar with SimpleNote, it is a plain text note-taking service, that syncs all your text notes in the Cloud. They have been around for so long that I don't even think it was called the "Cloud" when they started. It started on the Mac with a web app, and eventually there was a Mac app and an iOS app.

During this time, I used it heavily, with nary a problem.

Then things took a turn for the worst.

Windows XP, 2001-2014, R.I.P.Windows XP and Office 2003

Microsoft is dropping support of Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. So should you throw your Windows XP computer in the trash, and run out and buy another one? What about Office?, you should not necessarily throw out your computer. 

Windows XP end-of-life means no more security updates from Microsoft, for Windows XP or Office 2003. But that is not how most Windows XP computers get infected.

Other software, like anti-virus, will continue to be updated for computers running Windows XP, for some time to come.

The majority of malware comes in through applications, not the operating system. Applications like:

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